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It’s been two years since I last went to this annual event, which traditionally closes the weeks-long National Cherry Blossom Festival. The last time I was there, the Sakura Matsuri was held on Pennsylvania Avenue right next to the Old Post Office Building (which was then undergoing renovation into the Trump International Hotel—you can see those giant blue TRUMP signs in the background of some of the photos I took during that event).
Since that time the event has been relocated. It is now held at the Navy Yards near Nationals Park. I don’t know if Donald Trump have had a hand in that festival’s relocation or not but it doesn’t matter because I don’t have to see those Trump International Hotel signs.
Like previous Sakura Matsuri festivals, this one was a celebration of all aspects of Japanese culture including anime, J-pop, J-rock, kendo, and traditional Japanese crafts. There were also a lot of cosplayers walking around. Here are the photos I took of the Sakura Matsuri.
Last fall I was doing some tidying up around the house when I found this fused glass pendant featuring a bunny rabbit that I made years ago when I took a workshop that was offered through Profusions of Glass. (I may have even still been married when I made this pendant. LOL!) Well, anyway, I found it back in November shortly before Thanksgiving and I now have it in the place where I keep all of my other jewelry. I waited to write about it until today because the pink color scheme along with the rabbit just seems more like it’s appropriate for Easter Sunday than last November.
The opening ceremony for the Festival of Lights happened just a few days earlier, which led the way for the biggest event of this festival: The Festival of Lights Arts & Crafts Show. This is among the events I make an effort to attend each year because I always run into at least two or more friends and I usually find at least one present to give to someone. This year was no exception.
The arts and crafts show runs the entire weekend but I was only able to attend the second and final day. In some ways the second day is better because it ties in with the last Greenbelt Farmers Market of the year before it goes on the winter hiatus until May. I managed to take this picture of some really nicely decorated Christmas decorations that were painted gourds.
I saw these nice instruments that were handmade from wood. They were made and sold by Roussell Family Arts.
These watercolors were made by Mary Ann Lipovsky, whose workshops I’ve taken in the past when she held them at Makerspace 125. (She told me that there’s a chance that she may start up those workshops at Makerspace 125 again sometime next year.)
I also visited my good friend, Tina Van Pelt, who’s a fused glass artist. She surprised me with this gift of a fused glass piece that could be worn as either a pin or a pendant. (She gave it to me as a special “thank you” for helping her out with a few things.) She’s been making fused glass American flags interspersed with safety pins as part of the new trend of wearing safety pins that have taken root since Donald Trump’s election last month. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this special line will go to the ACLU.
You can view more of her work through her business, Profusions of Glass.
I purchased this soap as a Christmas present for my mother. (I’m comfortable with mentioning it here before Christmas because she’s not on the Internet at all.) It’s shaped like a popsicle complete with a wooden stick.
I think she’ll get a kick out of it. Unfortunately I didn’t get any business cards from the booth where I purchased this soap so I can’t provide any information about the person who made and sold this.
There were more booths at this year’s event but those were the only photos I took because I was more focused on shopping and socializing with friends.
One of my friends from my Unitarian Universalist congregation asked me to do a favor for her. Basically she wanted to sell her fused glass jewelry at the annual church auction but she was going to be out of town for the weekend but she still wanted someone to sell her jewelry on her behalf. (Especially since 50% of the proceeds would go to the church.) So I agreed to do it. I took a few photos of my set up at the church auction.
The next picture shows some of the fused glass jewelry that was on sale that evening. (The flaming chalice that’s in some of the jewelry in the next photo is a symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith.)
The last photo shows samples of my banana bread that I baked for this auction. (I put two loaves up for auction while I made a third loaf to give away as free samples.)
If you like the fused glass in these pictures, check out my friend’s business, Profusions of Glass.
I spent part of the Mother’s Day weekend at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival. Earlier this month I made an allusion to showing off a new product that I modeled on behalf of a new startup. Basically the startup’s first product is a jumpsuit that’s been pretreated with Sawyer Permethrin so one can go hiking, camping, gardening, and other types of outdoor activities without worrying about being bitten by ticks and mosquitos (both of which carry nasty diseases like Lyme and Zika). I posted a selfie while wearing one of those suits. I was also given packaged suits to carry around with me to sell as I walked around the festival ground.
I didn’t sell any suits. Most of the people I spoke with said that they weren’t into camping or money was tight. But the suit I was wearing did get people to open up to me about Lyme disease because they mentioned that they have a friend or relative who’s struggling with this devastating illness. I even had a longtime friend admit to me that she currently has Lyme disease. I knew that she had health issues, which have affected her mobility, but they never got specific as to the cause until she saw me wear that jumpsuit with a sign affixed to the back saying “Ask Me About Permethrin-Treated Disposable Jumpsuit.”
I wore the suit on the first day of the festival while I walked around taking pictures.
Like I wrote earlier I didn’t make any sales on those permethrin-treated jumpsuits. What was worse was that I saw The Backstabbing Couple From Hell (a.k.a. my ex-husband and his mentally ill second wife who used to be a friend of mine until I found out she wasn’t such a good friend). I left the festival about an hour before closing time because I grew tired of seeing them walking around acting all happy. (I have no idea if they are really happy or not and I don’t care.)
The following day I was scheduled to be a substitute teacher for the English language classes my church offers to recent immigrants on Sunday afternoons. I ended up skipping Sunday morning service so I could check out some of Greenbelt Green Man Festival. I didn’t wear the jumpsuit on the second day because I was only there about an hour and a half at the most and I went straight to church for the English classes. I took a few photos of the second day of the festival.
I bought just two items at this weekend’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival. One was a pendant made from recycled dominos that features an image of Edgar Allan Poe.
The other was a t-shirt featuring an image of Jesus riding on the back of a dinosaur.
Anyway that’s it for this year’s Greenbelt Green Man Festival.
UPDATE (June 25, 2016): You can read about why I’m no longer involved with that startup for whom I was selling those jumpsuits at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival right here.
I was going through my Flickr account and I recently found the first album I’ve ever uploaded. Here’s the background: I was selected as a vendor for the 2007 Crafty Bastards event that was held in Adams-Morgan in Washington DC for the second year in a row. (The first year I was selected to participate was in 2006.) When I went to a planning meeting a few weeks before the show, the organizers asked us vendors to get accounts on Flickr so we could have a place to share our photos online. I did so and I brought my Canon Digital Rebel DSLR (which was my primary camera in those days) with me so I could take a few photos.
The first photo is my vending area. The man sitting behind the table is my then-husband, who was a great help to me on that day. (Obviously these pictures were taken in happier times.)
I basically sold polymer clay necklaces, polymer clay boxes, photojewelry with my small photos being placed in polymer clay frames, magnets made from my own photographs, and fairy dolls made from recycled Barbie and Ken dolls that I found in various thrift stores.
Here’s another photo of my then-husband sitting behind the table filled with my handcrafted merchandise.
My husband and I took turns with taking breaks so that someone was always in the vending area. I took a few photos of the event in general during my short breaks (which were mainly the times when I went to the bathroom or went to buy a soda or a snack).
It was a good show for me. The refurbished Barbie fairy dolls were the biggest sellers for me. The other non-doll inventory was a bust though. Otherwise I was okay with how that show turned out for me.
The 2007 Crafty Bastards show was the last Crafty Bastards show I took part in as a vendor. In 2008 I had hip problems that were so bad that I barely walked so I decided not to try out for that show. (I had a hip replacement that year.) In 2009 and thereafter I was rejected for that show and I found out the reason. Crafty Bastards originally was an event that showcased local artisans and crafters. In recent years that show began to provide space to vendors from outside the Baltimore-Washington, DC area (I’ve seen vendors at the last Crafty Bastards show come from as far away as New York City and Atlanta) at the expense of local vendors.
Sometimes I have a fantasy of starting my own annual craft show that would harken to the earlier Crafty Bastard shows in that local artisans from the Baltimore-Washington, DC area would be given top priority while vendors from outside the area would only be given space if there was any left. But starting a show like Crafty Bastards would require money, volunteers, organization, and space and I don’t even know where to begin. Besides I’m financially struggling too much right now to even consider making my fantasy a reality. But one can dream, right?
Here’s a video tutorial on the worst mistake acrylic painters make.
Got any scrap fabric and threads that you hate to throw away but can’t think of what to do with them? Try making fabric beads, which you can then use to make jewelry.
Here’s a tutorial on how to draw distorted pictures that reveal themselves in a curved mirror.
Browse other free tutorials previously mentioned in this blog (along with pictures) right here.
If you live in the Washington, DC area or plan to visit soon, there is a new attraction that will open in the city on May 1. It’s a museum that’s unlike all of the other museums that are currently located in the District of Columbia: the Vector Gallery, a museum devoted to Satan and Satanic worship. It should provide a nice contrast to the Museum of the Bible, a self-explanatory museum that’s currently under construction and is founded by the same person who founded the Hobby Lobby craft store chain.
The U.S. has a history of legalized slavery with many slaves coming from Africa. But did you know that there were also Irish slaves as well? This link provides a fascinating detail on this lesser know aspect of slavery in America that you can use in social conversation, especially if you are planning to go to any upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parties.
Read the fascinating story about how Adolf Hitler’s nephew ended up fighting in the U.S. Navy against his famous uncle during World War II.
And speaking of Adolf Hitler, here’s a 1922 New York Times article that documented Hitler’s rise and there are some eerie similarities with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Here’s a bizarre diorama that was created by artist Mark Ryden. If you insert a penny into the coin slot, the diorama will come to life where you get to see things like twin Abraham Lincolns riding on a bicycle built for two and skeletons all over the place. All of it is set against a pastel pink Gay 90’s background. You have to see it to believe it.
Here’s a fascinating BBC News story about how artists have structurally different brains.
Don’t believe the hype: Being a bestselling author on Amazon.com isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Would you like to have some vintage posters that were made from the 1890’s to the late 1930’s hanging on your wall? You can now download them and print them out for free, courtesy of the New York Public Library.
Or does your personal taste lie more towards Jan Vermeer? The good news is that you can now download and print all 36 of Vermeer’s paintings (including his most famous piece, Girl With a Pearl Earring) for free right here.
For the last few years there has been this push among local businesses throughout the United States to start something called Small Business Saturday. The idea is for people to shop local stores instead of going to the big box retailers. Small Business Saturday comes two days after Thanksgiving and one day after Black Friday.
A few local places in my area decided to make Small Business Saturday into a festive occasion complete with free activities for all ages. First I decided to go to Community Forklift and its two smaller off-shoot businesses that shares facilities with Community Forklift—Tanglewood Works and Decorative DeZign Interiors. They were all throwing one party for people to attend.
There was free hot cider along with live music provided by local musicians and lots of vintage items (including Christmas displays).
I took a free workshop that Community Forklift offered on how to make jewelry from old t-shirts. I have to admit that it was a pretty interesting session.
Here’s the bracelet I made for myself.
Once I was finished with the workshop, I decided to check out the two off-shoot businesses that share space with Community Forklift. Tanglewood Works is devoted to selling handcrafted items made by local artisans using recycled materials.
DeZign Interiors is the newest of the Community Forklift off-shoots and it specializes in interior decorating using vintage recycled items. I have to admit that this store has all kinds of cool funky decor.
After my visit, I went on to ReCreative Spaces, a relatively new artist space that recently opened in Mount Rainier, Maryland. The last time I was there was when I participated as a vendor in the Maker Fair that was held there during Labor Day weekend. This time I merely visited the place. There were a couple of vendor tables selling smaller crafts when I was there but there seemed to be more of an emphasis on selling the larger works of art made by the artists who currently live and/or work there, such as this painting in the next photo.
There was a free hands-on activity where visitors were encouraged to make a printed holiday greeting card using wood block stamps and ink.
The last photo in this post shows the card that I made that day.
I did plenty of things at Artomatic on Friday, November 13. First, I saw that Street Sense bus, which I already wrote one post about. Then I participated in the DC Drink and Draw event, which I wrote about in a different post.
After those two events, I spent the rest of the evening checking out the art in Area 2, which is located on the 2nd floor of the building and is across from Area 3 on the same floor. (By the way, you are on the 2nd floor when you enter the building through the main entrance.)
Area 2 is a pretty wide open area with plenty of art all over the place.
Did you know that there’s a chance to win a piano? That’s right. All you have to go is go to the Swag store located on the 3rd floor in Area 4 and purchase raffle tickets for $5 each. The drawing will be held sometime within the next few weeks.
Here is just a small sampling of the art I saw in Area 2.