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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.

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017
Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

Sakura Matsuri 2017

American Flag

I recently gotten involved in a group that’s known as The Grange. This group originally started in rural areas and it’s still a big deal in small towns across the U.S. In recent years the Grange has been trying to expand to the suburban area and it was trying to start up a chapter in my neighborhood so I decided to check it out. So far I like the people and their positive attitude but I don’t know if it will take off or not. (It has only been in existence for about three or four months.) I’ve even offered to be Vice President of that chapter because they were desperate for volunteers.

Well, anyway, the last meeting was held last week and we decided to do some origami turkeys during that meeting. Someone had brought scrapbooking paper and I made this turkey.

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I’m going to visit my mother at the Thanksgiving gathering in the home of one of my cousins later today and I’ll bring this turkey with me to give to her.

I also made something else for my mother and other relatives at today’s Thanksgiving gathering. I was in Five Below recently when I saw that they had two different types of edible house kits for sale. One was the traditional gingerbread house and the other was a Hershey’s chocolate house. I went for the latter because it was different from the usual gingerbread house. Since I bought it at Five Below, I paid only $5 for the kit.

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Everything was included with the kit. There was even a small cake board included where I can display the house once I finished building it. The sides of the house were already baked so all I had to do was just assemble everything together using the included icing.

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As I was unpacking the contents, I noticed that one of the larger sides of the house was already broken. I decided that this would be the back of the house.

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I initially repaired that broken side with icing, which worked out okay. Then I followed the instructions when it came time to assembling the house together. I basically cut loose with the icing and the included candy embellishments (which included a small Hershey’s bar that could be broken into even smaller pieces, peppermint candy cane-flavored Hershey’s Kisses, a few pieces of Jolly Rancher candy, and some hard candies that resembled holly. I’ll admit that I have never attempted making anything like this before. (In the past I purchased already-made gingerbread houses from Safeway.) It was a such challenge trying to keep the walls up at times that I ended up putting this house in the refrigerator once I finished making it yesterday. Here’s the result, starting with the front of the house.

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Here’s one of the sides. (Yes, I admit that my own version looks nothing like the house that’s pictured on the box.)

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Here’s the back of the house. If you look close enough you could see the repaired break.

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Last, but not least, here’s another side of the house.

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Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2016

I started the day by going to Sunday service at my Unitarian Universalist congregation for the first time in several weeks. I was surprised to see two onetime members who had since moved to Florida and they were up in the DC area for a visit. They are a longtime gay couple whom my then-husband and I visited in Florida shortly after I started this blog back in 2010. (You can read the entries about that trip here, here, here, here, here, and here) We chatted for a bit and I learned that they managed to evade Hurricane Hermine, which struck the Tampa-St. Petersburg area where they now live. One of them has a son from a previous marriage to a woman and it turns out that I recognized the son’s girlfriend from the fact that we both participated in the yard sale that’s put on by my support group for people who are separated or divorced. I also found out that the son had been attending that same support group’s meetings at its Columbia chapter while I attend the ones in Crofton. The son met his girlfriend through the Columbia chapter. So it was a cool coincidence.

After church I decided to go to this local art supply shop then move on to the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. I discovered that I didn’t take out enough money at my bank’s ATM the day before. So I went to my bank’s ATM and tried to take out some more money only to get a slip that said “Access denied.” This was reminiscent of what happened Friday in Baltimore! Worse, I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it until Tuesday because of the holiday weekend. So I wasn’t able to do grocery shopping nor was I able to spend any more money at the festival on things like food.

I had just enough money left in my wallet to go to this local art supply shop to buy a tiny 3-inch canvas and one tube of black acrylic paint because I decided to take part in a local tiny art contest. Basically I worked on that canvas the whole weekend when I wasn’t at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. Here is what that canvas looked like.

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You can read more about the making of this tiny painting right here.

Since I was short on money I ate lunch at home then headed out to the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival. Instead of taking the shuttle bus I decided to park in the parking lot at St. Hughes Catholic Church and just walk the rest of the way to the festival ground. On my way there I checked out the Greenbelt Peace Memorial. I remember when I went to the opening ceremony for that memorial last year (which was held indoors because it rained heavily that day) and I visited it in person for the first time shortly afterwards. Since that visit I noticed that someone had added a pole that says “Peace on Earth” in four different languages.

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

I eventually made my way to the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from the 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

The weather was very lovely. It was warm but not too hot and the humidity was very low. It was the perfect day for going to that festival for the second day in a row. I went to the Greenbelt Museum because it was having its free admission day. After that visit I perused the craft tables because it was the first day of the craft show but I didn’t buy anything because of a lack of money. I did take a few photographs, starting with these handmade beds that were for American Girl and other 18-inch dolls.

Photo from the 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Makerspace 125 had this table outside its doors where anyone can pick up some free fabric.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

Photo from 2016 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

I went back home after spending some time at the festival. I spent my time eating dinner and working on my tiny canvas for that upcoming contest.

Greenbelt Parade and Labor Day Festival, September 5, 2016

After attending the May Day protests in Baltimore the day before while facing police in riot gear and Maryland National Guard people looking like they were ready to fire their rifles at any second plus seeing a drag queen/female impersonator/transgender person named Britney Girl Dale flirt with those same police officers/Maryland National Guard people, I was ready for a change of pace that would be more sedate. Makerspace 125 was offering a free workshop on the ancient Japanese paper folding art of origami and I decided to go for it.

When I arrived there were already samples of origami, many of which were folded ahead of time. Some were shaped like animals while others were shaped like boxes.

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

I managed to create a set of two paper cranes, which brought back memories of the time I read the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (which was based on a true story).

Origami Workshop, May 2, 2015

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