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Last year I went to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore because it has free admission on Martin Luther King Day. (The regular admission price is $15.95 for adults under 60 and $13.95 for people age 60 and up.) I had a blast even though I arrived too late in the day to get a free slice of birthday cake that the museum usually serves for that occasion. This year I decided to do it again except I made every effort to wake up early and get out of the door so I could arrive by noon (when the birthday cake would be served).

So I managed to arrive earlier than last year while braving the cold weather (the temperature was in the low 20’s that day). I took the light rail into the city then transferred to the Charm City Circulator bus. I managed to arrive shortly before noon. The main disadvantage is that the museum was way more crowded than I remembered last year when I arrived later in the afternoon. But I still tried to make the best of my visit since it was free admission day.

One of the buildings had a new exhibition which featured this giant dragon sculpture that was made entirely from balloons.

There were a few wall hangings that were literally displayed on the ceiling of that building.

I managed to arrive on the third floor of the building where the birthday cake was being served along with a few other activities as well. There was an opportunity to create buttons, which I didn’t get to do because the museum had run out of button making supplies by the time I arrived. But I managed to get a photo of a couple who were able to make buttons.

The entertainment featured a children’s gospel choir known as the Cardinal Shehan School Choir, who came from one of the local Catholic schools in Baltimore. This group has been featured on Good Morning America after one of their videos went viral. After hearing them, I understood why because this choir was so phenomenal, especially since the singers were all children.

In fact, I shot this video of them doing their final number called “Rise Up” that I think you will definitely enjoy.

While the choir was performing I got a chance to look at the birthday cakes that were served to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis. The cakes were available in a variety of flavors.

The museum also gave out a variety of hot beverages (including hot chocolate and a few different flavors of tea). The next photo shows my cup of hot chocolate and the slice of cake that I chose.

This next photo should give you an idea as to how crowded this room got with people making buttons and consuming cake and hot drinks.

I stepped out of the balcony on that third floor where I got a great view of both the museum’s main building and Federal Hill.

Once I finished eating my cake and the choir finished performing its set, I left that large and crowded room and explored the rest of the museum where I took these pictures.

The museum had this special exhibit called The Great Mystery Show, which featured art related to science and mysticism. This NASA astronaut sculpture in the next photo had me thinking about how my ex-husband would’ve loved this since he works for NASA and he told me that he once wanted to become an astronaut only to find out that his eyesight would’ve been considered too poor for such a position. (He managed to study computer programming so he found another way of working for NASA even if he never became an astronaut.)

The statue in the next two photos intrigued me because it was made mostly from sea shells.

The most memorable part of the museum was seeing this sculpture of Edgar Allan Poe that was made entirely from marshmallow Peeps.

The base of the Poe sculpture was flanked by a black cat and a raven, who were both also made from marshmallow Peeps. (Those two were references to two of Poe’s famous works—The Black Cat and The Raven.)

Near the Poe sculpture was this heart that was made from glass, which was a reference to another famous Poe piece known as The Tell-Tale Heart.

The most surreal part of the museum was seeing a TV monitor that had non-stop showings of Martin Luther King giving his famous “I Have a Dream” speech while the monitor was flanked by flowers, tarot cards, two gold masks, and an Ouija board.

I was amazed by this life-sized sculpture of what looked like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz.

I found this interesting recipe posted on the museum wall that I would like to try at some point in the future.


I really liked this colorful and funky cat illustration.

This dress looked like it was made from glass with all of the glass beads.

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this inspirational quote from Leonardo da Vinci regarding science and art.

I really liked this next photo, which is a painting of Albert Einstein.

I was also amazed by what this one artist did with small tins (such as a sardine tin and a tin box that was about the size of a pack of Altoids). This person created scenes with paper cutouts. The tiny details were astounding.

I made only one purchase at that museum. I found this crochet pattern book for $5 that was about creating tiny equipment, furniture, and buildings that were small enough for LEGO Minifigs, tiny dolls, and other types of tiny toys. It looked really interesting.

Even though I had that slice of cake, it was no substitute for lunch and I was starting to feel hungry as I was touring the museum. I thought about eating in the museum’s cafe until I saw that it was very crowded. I began to become tired of the throngs of people who were crowding in the museum because they were also taking advantage of the free admission. I decided to leave the museum and walk along the Inner Harbor while taking some photos. This next photo shows a building in the middle that’s under construction complete with a construction crane.

The weather had been mostly non-stop freezing since Christmas with an exception of a couple of days when the temperature reached the low 50’s just a couple of days before MLK Day. Unfortunately that respite was short-lived and the area was plunged into yet another deep freeze. The next few pictures clearly show the effects of the below-freezing temperatures had on the water itself where you can clearly see ice that had been forming.

Some of the litter thrown into the Inner Harbor had been encased in ice.

A pair of ducks were swimming in the non-icy portions of the water.

These stone installations resembled three Adirondack chairs.

The next photo shows the statue of William Donald Schaefer, who served as the mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland.

I walked by Harborplace where I visited It’s Sugar.

 

I bought a few things in that store, including a special pack of Skittles that  was known as “Sweet Heat” because spices were added to the candy. I tried them and I found the spicy taste to be interesting but, to be honest, I prefer regular Skittles.

I bought a small box of this treat called Marshmallow Madness. The idea is based on the Lucky Charms cereal except that the cereal part has been excluded so all you get is just small colored marshmallows in a variety of shapes. I’ve seen Marshmallow Madness be available in cereal-sized boxes. On this trip I saw that there were smaller box versions of Marshmallow Madness so I decided to buy it to see what it tasted like.

My verdict is that while the marshmallows are tasty, I found myself missing the cereal part. (I used to frequently eat Lucky Charms cereal as a child. Even though I rarely eat presweetened cereal these days, I still found myself lamenting the lack of cereal in Marshmallow Madness. I guess old habits die hard. LOL!)

I purchased a pack of orange-flavored Donald Trump-themed gummy candy known as Make America Sweet Again mainly because the package design was such a hoot. I took a bunch of detailed photographs of this product so you’ll get the idea.

I haven’t opened that candy as of this writing. I have an idea of doing something creative with this candy so I don’t want to just eat it right now, especially since there are only two It’s Sugar locations in the entire Baltimore-Washington, DC area (one at Harborplace and the other in the Chinatown area of DC) and I don’t really live close to either location so I can’t shop there too often.

I took a couple of photos of Harborplace, which showed it becoming more and more of a dead mall. This was shot on Martin Luther King Day when a lot of people are off from school and work. I remember Harborplace in better days when it used to draw a huge crowd of shoppers. I remember the days when I made special trips to this place so I could spend the day there. Despite the presence of It’s Sugar, H&M, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium, this pavilion is still pretty much empty. I didn’t even bother with visiting the other pavilion because I know it’s the same situation from previous visits. Too bad, so sad.

The sign announcing a “New Tradition” at Harborplace that “Begins Fall 2016” had me laughing. Or maybe having a mostly empty mall is Harborplace’s idea of a “new tradition.” LOL!

The only area of Harborplace where I saw quite a few people was at the temporary ice skating rink that was set outside of one of the pavilions.

There weren’t really a lot of affordable place to eat lunch at. (I still remember the old days when that pavilion I had just visited used to have an entire floor dedicated to a food court that had all kinds of foods ranging from pizza to sushi to Chinese to Subway subs.) I decided to go to the Così that’s located across the street from the Baltimore Convention Center for a late lunch. Except when I arrived just 15 minutes before 3 p.m. I saw a notice on the door saying that Così would be closing early at 3 p.m. for MLK Day. I basically got my lunch to go and walked around the area looking for an appropriate place to eat lunch. Unfortunately it was way too cold to eat anywhere outside. I ultimately walked to the Hilton Baltimore where I sat down in one of the cushions in the lobby and quietly consumed my TBM (tomato, basil, and mozzarella) sandwich with a bag of potato chips and a Diet Coke. That hotel was very empty that day where the staffers outnumbered everyone else.

After I finished lunch, I decided that it was time to head back to the light rail station and get out of the city. I walked past Orioles Park at Camden Yards and took this one last photo. The place definitely looked pretty sad and deserted in the off-season. Baseball season will begin in a few months so this area will have a lot of Baltimore Oriole fans entering through those gates. (It also reminded me of the fact that the last time I attended a game there was back in 2007. It was the year before my hip replacement and it was also when I was still married because I used to accompany my husband to those games. I don’t know when I’ll ever attend another game there in person.)

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ReCreative Spaces, which opened back in 2015, was a studio space for artists and makers located in Mount Rainier, Maryland. Last month I got word that ReCreative Spaces decided to close its doors. I wanted to go to its Farewell Party last month but I decided to scrap that plan when a snowstorm coupled with below-freezing temperatures hit the area and I just didn’t want to risk going out too far from my home and risk either getting in a car accident or slipping on some ice on the sidewalk and risk injuring my hip replacement. (Although that storm made some pretty pictures, such as the ones I took that day.)

Ultimately I went to the last ever event at that place, which was basically a going-out-of-business sale where everything must go. Here are a few pictures I took while I was there.

The ReCreative Closing Sale, January 6, 2018

The ReCreative Closing Sale, January 6, 2018

The ReCreative Closing Sale, January 6, 2018

The ReCreative Closing Sale, January 6, 2018

The ReCreative Closing Sale, January 6, 2018

The ReCreative Closing Sale, January 6, 2018

The ReCreative Closing Sale, January 6, 2018

The ReCreative Closing Sale, January 6, 2018

The ReCreative Closing Sale, January 6, 2018

I only found two things that I decided to purchase, both of which had cost me a total of one dollar. I got a pack of inkjet fabric sheets.

The ReCreative Closing Sale, January 6, 2018

I also found this Christmas rubber duck that I thought was cute enough to purchase on impulse.

The ReCreative Closing Sale, January 6, 2018

Here’s the rubber duck next to my small collection of Ginger Cottages. This rubber duck is now currently residing in storage with the rest of my Christmas decorations.

The ReCreative Closing Sale, January 6, 2018

Since I’m publishing this post on a Thursday, I’ll make this into a Throwback Thursday by highlighting just a few past photos of ReCreative Spaces along with links to the original posts that they appeared in.

The first and only time I ever took part in a vendor show at Recreative Spaces.

ReCreative Spaces Open House event in Mount Rainier, Maryland, September 6, 2015

Photo originally published in the September 21, 2015 post.

I created this Christmas card during Small Business Saturday at ReCreative Spaces.

photo24

Photo originally published in the December 9, 2015 post.

The time ReCreative Spaces sponsored Art in the Park(ing Lot) where local artists painted murals on a soon-to-be-torn down shopping center.

Painting Party, August 7, 2016

Photo originally published in the August 23, 2016 post.

The time I made this Christmas ornament as part of Small Business Saturday at ReCreative Spaces.

Small Business Saturday at the Gateway Arts District of Prince George's County

Photo originally published in the December 19, 2016 post.

When I saw this funky Christmas tree made entirely of wood.

Gateway Arts District Open Studio Tour, December 10, 2016

Photo originally published in the December 27, 2016 post.

When I colored a page from an adult coloring book.

Winter Gallery Opening Event at ReCreative Spaces, Mount Rainier, Maryland, January 8 2015

Photo originally published in the January 12, 2016 post.

I created this postcard-sized collage.

surrealflight-webversion

Photo originally published in the March 3, 2016 post

I’ll never forget the time after Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States where ReCreative Spaces hosted this mural.

Deport Trump Mural

Photo originally published in the March 16, 2017 post.

From time to time ReCreative Spaces had musicians and deejays provide the tunes at their events, such as these two musicians.

ReCreative Spaces

Photo originally published in the May 22, 2017 post.

I’ll definitely miss going to their events because I usually enjoyed myself as I made art and met some new people.

Santa Claus

I wasn’t able to get to Behnke’s Nurseries before Christmas so I decided to spend the day after checking out the post-holiday sales. There were still plenty of Christmas and Hanukkah decorations that were available for sale at discounted prices.

I made only one purchase. It was a cute Ginger Cottage that I purchased for 25% off.

Here are a few reasons why I prefer Ginger Cottages over Department 56: 1) They are smaller, which means they take up less space in my modest house. 2) They are more affordable for my budget than Department 56. 3) They are actually made in the USA while Department 56 cottages are made overseas in countries like China.

Santa Claus Baby New Year

The day after I observed yet another birthday I decided to check out the Riverdale Park Festival of Lights and Holiday Market. I ran into a few friends of mine and just basically hung out. Here are my photos from that event.

Near the Christmas tree stand was this toy train layout, which had a toy train that was going around and around.

The two young boys in the next photo were constantly following the toy train. As it rode around and around in a circle, the boys walked around and around in a circle as well.

The bulk of the event was held inside of a building. There were all kinds of arts and crafts available for sale ranging from paintings to freshly baked cupcakes to dolls to handmade soap to fused glass jewelry. There was live entertainment as well.

Santa Claus Baby New Year

I decided to check out the Baltimore chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at The Wind-Up Space when I decided to go to the Christmas shop at Valley View Farms in Cockeysville as well. When I used to have a pet hedgehog I would sometimes schedule buying more hedgehog food where I would go to the original pet store where I got Spike, buy his food, then drive south along I-83 into Baltimore where I would go to Dr. Sketchy’s. (The pet store in question was located about 3-5 miles away from Valley View Farms. That store has since gone out of business.)

So I had a similar idea regarding Valley View Farms. I left home a few hours early in order to leave myself with plenty of commuting time. I figured that I could leisurely walk through Valley View Farms then head on into Baltimore where I can check out Dr. Sketchy’s. But then I encountered a horrendous accident followed by extremely slow traffic on the Baltimore Beltway. What should have been an hour-long commute turned into a nearly two-hour commute. By the time I arrived at Valley View Farms I only had 45 minutes to browse the store before I had to leave in order to make the start of Dr. Sketchy’s on time. I was kind of peeved that my plans went awry but what else could I do? I decided to make the most of the limited time I had. I also managed to take a few pictures.

The next two pictures show mistletoe, which brings back memories of the years when I used to buy mistletoe for the house when I was married. I haven’t purchased any since my husband left me because it seems useless and silly to buy it since I live alone these days.

I only purchased one thing at Valley View Farms and it was a tub of Fisher’s Popcorn. I used to buy it whenever my then-husband and I went to Ocean City. I haven’t had too many chances to buy it because I haven’t gone anywhere in the Delmarva region since my husband left. I know I can buy it online through their website but I haven’t gotten around to doing it. So I literally leapt at the chance to buy it when I saw that Valley View Farms had it in stock. The popcorn tasted just as good as I remembered it.

I took so many pictures in this post that I’m going to do a separate post about Dr. Sketchy’s. (Link is definitely NSFW.)

Santa Claus

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Santa Claus

One early Thursday evening I decided to make a stop at Homestead Gardens on the way to attending my weekly support group meeting for people who are separated or divorced. They had their Christmas shop open and they decorated the grounds with all kinds of gorgeous lights. That store sold a variety of Christmas decorations along with plants like poinsettias. Here are the pictures I took.

Once again Homestead Gardens had its giant train layout where one can see toy trains travel past the various Department 56 ceramic buildings.

After I went to Homestead Gardens I went to Wegman’s where I purchased dinner to eat before I headed to my meeting. I also took some photos of interesting Christmas display, which I’ll write about in my next post.

Santa Claus

IKEA is such a great store to walk around in over the winter holidays. In addition to the furniture, cafe, and food marketplace, IKEA sells all kinds of traditional Swedish Christmas decorations and food. I took a photo of this interesting looking plush that looks like a smiling rainbow cloud.

Here are the rest of my photos that have that Swedish Christmas look.

I went to the annual Holiday Warm-Up Party at my church where I ate food, socialized with people, helped a little bit with trimming the Christmas tree, and I took a bunch of photos. We had a variety of crafts and activities centering around both Hanukkah and Christmas. I had a blast being with my friends on the first night in December.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

One of the crafts involved making ornaments using oranges and cloves.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

People of all ages helped with decorating this year’s Christmas tree.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

The church served dinner during this party, including pizza as well as a variety of other food.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

The Director of Religious Exploration lit the chalice, which is a ritual that is usually performed in Unitarian Universalist churches to indicate the start of an event, such as Sunday service or a more social event like this party.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Puzzles and coloring pages about Christmas and Hanukkah were available for anyone to use.

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

We also had a singalong of various holiday hymns like “Deck the Halls” and “Light One Candle.”

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

Here is what the Christmas tree looked like at the end of the party.


Holiday Warm-Up Party, December 1, 2017

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