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Microsoft Paint avoids brush with death.

Tutorials—some free—on how to make doll clothes for any size or shape of your doll.

Why the death of malls is about more than shopping.

How to get your Instagram marketing off the ground.

After a century of dispute, the German alphabet just got a new character.

In her first act as a Disney Legend, Whoopi Goldberg tells Disney to stop hiding its history.

Artist Leticia Santos finds geometric inspiration in D.C.’s row houses.

Black Southern Baptist minister renounces church over its Trump support in a scathing open letter.

An open letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “small church” pastor.

Download 200+ Belle Époque art posters from 1880-1918 for free.

A new low: “Photo community” asks for (and gets) free commercial license to photos.

Growing paper clothes in rural Japan.

The extraordinary reason exceptional people avoid mediocre friends. (They rewire your brain.)

Colorizing an early 1900s photo of New York brings it to life.

12 tips to being a better photo blogger.

A history of why the U.S. is the only rich country without universal health care.

The best worst reactions to the news that the next Doctor Who will be a woman.

Honda debuts a one-of-a-kind “Minnie Van.”

This untouched 70s home is the grooviest thing you’ll see all year.

An attempt at a world record for the most Frida Kahlo lookalikes in one place.

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On the Saturday during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, I decided to check out this toy show that was being held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.

It was such a feast for the eyes as the toys and various other vintage items were displayed at various vendor tables. The whole show took on the air of a flea market with an emphasis on vintage stuff dating anywhere from the 1900s to the 1990s.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Someone had a jukebox for sale, which reminded me of my childhood when many of the local restaurants had them and people could choose songs to play for about a quarter each.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

The jukebox played music during the entire event. (Which proved that it definitely still worked.) I couldn’t help taking pictures of the songs that were available on the jukebox. The majority of them were hits when I was a kid.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

And speaking of music players, here’s a vintage 8-track player with an Elvis Presley 8-track tape. I once had a stereo system that included an 8-track player but I never owned one like that. But I could’ve sworn that one of my friends or maybe one of my cousins had a player just like that but I don’t know for sure. (Memory is one of those funny things where you remember something but you don’t remember when, where, or how you remember it.)

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Late last year I did a series of blog posts with accompanying photos known as A Tabletop Christmas (so-named because I limit my Christmas decorating to just a single tabletop in my living room). Among the items I showed off was a small plastic Santa Claus puppet that I’ve had since I was a child. I didn’t know anything about the origins of this puppet. It wasn’t until I went to the toy show when I saw a tiny plastic Santa puppet on sale that’s identical to mine.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

The only difference between the two is that this Santa still had its label at the base while mine doesn’t have any labels at all. (I suspect that whatever label it had must’ve fallen off a long time ago.) My Santa puppet is currently stored in a box with the other Christmas decorations in the attic but here’s a picture of my Santa puppet that I took last December.

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At first I thought the animal in the next picture was a stuffed animal until I saw the dog move his eyes around. He laid there the entire time I was at that show.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

This show also had examples of how the mighty had fallen. I found this book by disgraced former Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly on sale for only $1 at one of the tables. (LOL!)

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

There was one token of something new that I found. Someone was selling glow-in-the-dark versions of the hottest toy of 2017: Fidget Spinners.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

By the way, you can check out a video I shot recently where I unboxed and played with one of those Fidget Spinners for the first time (and, no, the one I bought didn’t glow in the dark).

Everywhere there were visual treats, many of which harkened back to my own youth.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

As I was walking back to the light rail stop I shot this photo of The Cow Palace building because it had a nice small garden.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

I didn’t buy a lot of stuff at that toy show due mainly to tight finances. But I managed to snag a couple of things at bargain rates. I found the second season of The Simpsons DVD set for only $6.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

I bought a Monster High doll for only $5. I was attracted to her pretty winter-themed clothes. At first I thought I may have purchased a relative of The Snow Queen until I did an online search and I was able to make a definite identification. Based on this web page, her name is Abbey Bominable and she’s described as the 16-year-old daughter of the Yeti.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Here’s a closeup of her hair, which looks like it has glittery plastic pellets weaved throughout the strands. It gives a really cool ice/snow effect, especially when the light reflects off of her hair.

Toy Show, July 1, 2017

Why entertainment public relations can be unprofitable despite having clients who hit the big time.

Art galleries are exhibiting the work of Grenfell Tower fire victim Khadija Saye.

A computer designed Stanley Black & Decker’s new tool, marking a big shift from relying on humans to do the job.

Permanent Japanese residency to be possible for foreigners with anime-related jobs after one year.

USA Today did an investigative report about how many truck drivers are forced into debt and frequently worked past exhaustion.

Someone purchased the first Apple computer that was released in 1976, the Apple-1, for $355,500 at an auction.

XOD: A new and open source visual programming language for Arduino, Raspberry Pi, etc.

How to choose standout fonts for your embroidery projects.

98-year-old Russ Gremel donated $2 million in stock to create a 395-acre wildlife refuge.

Why the last thing open source needs is more corporate oversight.

This Ethereum-backed art could be the future of collectibles.

These crochet baby flip-flops are too adorable.

Open source documentation is bad, but proprietary software is worse.

How these crochet octopuses are helping premature babies.

Home robot Kuri can now recognize pets, see and stream in HD.

Artificial intelligence dolls and robots are this year’s Christmas must-have toys.

German breeders develop open source plant seeds.

A free tutorial on how to make fake succulents from pine cones.

Download more than 2,500 images of vibrant Japanese woodblock prints and drawings from the Library of Congress for free.

Download 36 vintage Dadaist magazines (plus other avant-garde books, leaflets, and ephemera) for free.

30 years, 30 great anime titles.

Studio SoHy is a relatively new art gallery that opened its doors in Hyattsville, Maryland. On February 18, 2017 it held a reception for its newest exhibit, which was done in partnership with the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center and Soul & Ink. The exhibit is based on the recent Women’s March on Washington and it’s also being done in conjunction with the many follow-up events that are being held all over the U.S. that coincides with the first 100 days of the Trump Administration.

Studio SoHy is a small gallery that’s located next to the Vigilante Coffee Company.

Vigilante Coffee Company in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Here is the entrance to Studio SoHy itself.

The Entrance to Studio SoHy

The gallery is small so it didn’t take too many people to fill it up.

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland

The exhibit consisted of protest signs, some of which were actually carried in the march itself while others were created more recently.

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland.

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland.

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland.

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland.

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Wine was served among the protest signs.

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Soul & Ink were printing out posters and t-shirts for sale that said “Resist Hate, Assist Love.”

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland.

As part of the reception, visitors were encouraged to write postcards to elected officials.

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland.

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland.

There were two main focus of this postcard writing campaign. One was for Maryland Governor Larry Hogan asking him to oppose President Trump’s immigration ban. The other was for the Office of Government Ethics asking that they release all information about any conflicts of interests regarding President Trump’s business holdings.

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland.

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Here is one of the postcards that I wrote while I was at the event.

#womensmarch installation reception at Studio SoHy in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Santa Claus

 

 

 

 

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Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

I have a decoration on my tabletop that reminds me of someone whom I used to be friends with but he’s now deceased.

drexandrexssoodblockprint

This is a print that I have in a box frame that is currently sitting on my tabletop next to the Christmas tree. It was originally a wood printed Christmas card that was created by my friend based on his own original art.

The friend’s name was drex Andrex (he used a lowercase “d” in the first letter of his first name) and he was a very talented artist. My then-husband and I first met him through our Unitarian Universalist congregation and we served on a variety of committees together and frequently met with him and his wife, Ann, at a variety of social events. drex would’ve loved to have been able to make a living as an artist but, unfortunately, he never made enough money at his art to pay the bills. He had a day job as a federal employee plus there were the years when he and his wife raised three children so he had to limit doing his art to whenever he had some free time.

I remember when he and Ann would hold a series of weekly get-togethers at their home in the summer known as the Carport Studio where we would get together in the carport, socialize, drink beer and wine, eat whatever snacks they put out, and create some art. I had some pretty fond memories of those times.

drex was mainly into painting landscapes and cityscapes based on places where he and his family lived. (They lived in Europe for a few years—mainly Belgium and the United Kingdom—in the 1970’s and 1980’s.) He painted in an impressionist style and I’ve always loved his work. He tried selling his paintings to galleries and art dealers but he frequently got turned away. Having seen his work, I never understood why the galleries and art dealers rejected him. He was able to have a few art shows here and there but he really deserved better from the art world.

Fortunately he had his day job so he didn’t have to be the stereotypical starving artist.

At one point drex and Ann became involved with a group of people who were keen on starting a co-housing group. It took several years for this group to get off the ground because they had to find and buy the land then there were arguments and discussions over all kinds of issues ranging from what kind of houses would be built there to procedures to accepting new members into that group. By the time the co-housing development was finally built near Frederick, drex and Ann’s youngest daughter was midway through her senior year of high school. They waited until the daughter finished school, put their current house on the market, then moved to the co-housing development.

The Carport Studio get-togethers had ceased when they moved but my husband and I visited them in their new home a few months after they moved and they seemed happy. drex was selling his paintings that weekend and my husband and I purchased one of his oil paintings of a boat in a harbor and we hung it in our living room.

Sadly their happiness was short-lived. A year or two after the move drex was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. drex went through the treatments and did everything he could do to get well but the cancer got the best of him. I remember my husband and I going to Frederick to visit drex one last time. At the time his wife told us that he was so weak that he could only manage visits of no longer than an hour. However, when we arrived something inside of drex gave him enough energy that our originally scheduled one-hour visit was extended to three hours until he became so tired that we left. Even his Ann was amazed by how our visit had given him a new vitality.

Sadly that vitality was short-lived. One of his last pictures showed him with the family after his oldest daughter gave birth to his second grandchild. Six weeks after the birth, drex died. He was only in his mid-50’s.

When my marriage broke up and we were haggling over the separation, my husband wanted that painting that drex did. I reluctantly agreed to it because I was getting the house that we had shared together even though I would’ve loved to have kept that painting. I had foolishly told my husband that I was attending weekly Thursday night meetings of a support group for people who are separated or divorced because, at the time, I still hoped for a reconciliation and I hoped that he would be impressed by my efforts to improve myself. Unfortunately he took advantage of that knowledge to let himself into the home whenever I was out so he could take his things—including drex’s oil painting that hung in our living room. My husband was basically a coward throughout the whole separation and divorce in that he didn’t tell me he was unhappy until the night he left, he refused to see me in person or talk to me via the telephone, and he only communicated via email and text and that was when he demanded that I adhered to this separation schedule that existed in his head or else he would sue me. Naturally he only went to the house to get my stuff on the one night he knew I would not be home so he wouldn’t have to face me.

I was sad that I had nothing that drex had made until I was going through some clutter and I found the woodblock print he made for my husband and I as a greeting card. I found a block frame to put it in. This block frame is thick enough on the sides that it can stand up on its own. This print is now stored with the other Christmas ornaments and decorations in the attic and I take it down to display during the winter holiday season.

There are the occasional times when I still miss drex but I’m glad I have at least one thing to remember him by.

Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

Free Tutorials

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.

Miscellaneous Links

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.

Free Tutorials

Here is how you can make a lantern that looks like a fairy has been captured inside.

Remember Furby? There are hackers who have created the Open Furby project whose main goal is to hack Furby to do things like read people’s emails out loud. If you want to try this yourself, here’s a free tutorial on how to hack Furby into a Zombie Furby.

Most crafty people own at least one hot glue gun. Here’s a list of 17 Insanely Cool Things You Can Do With a Hot Glue Gun.

Here are a few free crochet patterns for making superhero character (including Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman) finger puppets.

Right now it’s Lent season, which means it’s the perfect time to crochet some Easter Bunny finger puppets.

Browse other free tutorials previously mentioned in this blog (along with pictures) right here.

Miscellaneous Links

Here’s a realistic computer animation recreating the 79 AD destruction of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii.

Feeling nostalgic for the clicking of the typewriter keys? Want to show the younger generation what an old fashioned telephone and cash register sounded like in the pre-digital technology age? You can relive those sounds and many others at the Museum of Endangered Sounds.

Need some art for your walls but have a very limited budget? NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has these incredibly gorgeous high-resolution posters that you can download and print for free. (All you’ll need to provide is a frame.) There are plenty to choose from including planets (I personally like the modern geometric art of the Mars poster), moons, exoplanets, and stars. Can’t choose or you have a lot of wall space to cover? Download them all.

Someone has actually built a larger version of the R.M.S. Titanic, known as the Titanic II, which will set sail in 2018.

Here is Dante’s Nine Levels of Hell as rendered in Lego bricks.

In 1971 Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmajer made an experimental surreal stop-motion animation called Jabberwocky, which featured the famous Lewis Carroll poem being recited alongside surreal images of dolls eating smaller dolls, a set of clothes that move around by themselves without anyone wearing them, and toy soldiers walking around by themselves. Thanks to Vimeo, anyone can watch this 13 minute short anytime.

It’s a well known fact that Disney frequently used fairy tales and legends from all over the world when they created many of their animated features. For a real treat, hear the Disney Princesses sing in their native languages.

Here’s a unique art project where people who are currently in prison did a series of portraits of prominent people whom they think should be in prison. Among the people depicted are the Koch brothers and the CEOs of such big corporations as Wells Fargo, Tysons Foods, The Nestle Group, ExxonMobil, and Monsanto.

Last Saturday I decided to go to Crafty Bastards again for the first time since 2014. This event was subtitled “Cabin Fever” because this event was held indoors (which makes a lot of sense when it comes to Washington, DC in February).

I took the Metro to the NoMa/Gallaudet University station then walked along New York Avenue. I assumed that the venue was within walking distance. Actually it turned out to be at least a half-an-hour’s walk from the Metro station. Along the way I took some photos, such as this structure which graces the overpass on New York Avenue.

Structure at Edge of New York Avenue, NE Overpass

Not too long ago it was considered foolhardy to walk alone anytime in the Northeastern section of DC, especially during the crack epidemic of the 1980’s and 1990’s. It seemed like there was at least one shooting a week in that area. I still remember when I was taking night classes in an ill-fated effort to study desktop publishing (I finished the certificate but I wasn’t able to find a job in the desktop publishing field) back in the 1990’s. One class I took included a field trip to this printing plant that was in Northeast at the time. The week before that trip we were instructed to go directly to that printing plant and, what’s more, she strongly urged us to drive there instead of taking public transportation because that area as so crime-ridden at the time. We parked in a gated parking lot. The printing plant has since closed and there seems to be a resurgence of Northeast as these pictures show.

Mural on the Side of a Storage Facility

Wall Mural

I happened to stumble upon a really neat vintage shop known as nomad yard collectiv. I didn’t stay too long in that store because of Crafty Bastards but it sells all kinds of really cool vintage stuff.

nomad yard collectiv

nomad yard collectiv

nomad yard collectiv

I did some more walking along New York Avenue as I took these pictures.

National Park Service Brentwood Facility

National Park Service Brentwood Facility

DC Animal Shelter

Ivy City Area

After walking for a half-an-hour from the Metro station I finally made it to the venue in the Ivy City section. Hecht Warehouse once served as the warehouse for the Hecht department store chain. All that changed when Macy’s purchased Hecht and all of the Hecht stores were either converted to a Macy’s store or they were shut down (especially if the stores were located in a mall where a Macy’s already existed). Hecht Warehouse had remained empty for nearly 10 years when a developer decided to try converting it into upscale loft apartments along with building a few retail stores.

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Right across the street from Hecht Warehouse is a bunch of giant storage boxes with smaller signs announcing the coming of another development known as Hecht Town.

Across From Hecht Warehouse are Signs Announcing Hecht Town

I eventually found a sign leading to the entrance to Crafty Bastards.

Sign to the Crafty Bastards Entrance

Next to the Hecht Warehouse is a MOM (My Organic Market) and a sign announcing the arrival of a Petco that will come soon.

Retail in Ivy City

I eventually found the entrance to the Hecht Warehouse.

Hecht Warehouse Entrance

There were a couple of outdoor food trucks such as this one in the next photo.

Lemongrass Vietnamese Cuisine Food Truck

The inside of the Hecht Warehouse lobby was amazing to behold. The developer took a gritty warehouse and totally remodeled it so it would look pretty upscale complete with a fireplace in the lobby.

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

The lobby even had a bar, which is amazing considering that the Hecht Warehouse is supposed to be an apartment complex and not a hotel.

Hecht Warehouse

There are a few vestiges of its warehouse past but they have been totally integrated into the new design.

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

Hecht Warehouse

I eventually made it to the area where Crafty Bastards was held. Since I arrived after 3 p.m. I only paid $5 admission fee to get in. (The regular price was $10.) Like previous Crafty Bastards this one was also a feast for the eyes and it provided a major challenge to the wallet as well. Here are just a small sampling of what went on at the Crafty Bastards Cabin Fever event.

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

Crafty Bastards at the Hecht Warehouse

I felt really tired by the time I managed to see each vendor booth at least once. Rather than walk for another half an hour in order to get to the NoMa/Gallaudet University stop, I decided to take the Metrobus back. Except the but I got on insisted on going all the way to Fort Totten, which was a half an hour trip. At least I got to sit down that time instead of spending all those 30 minutes just walking.

While I purchased a few things at that event, I was still very careful with how I spent my money since it’s pretty tight these days. I forgot to bring one of my cloth shopping bags from home (which is a big deal since DC has those laws where you have to pay in order to get a paper or plastic bag from any store or vendor) so I purchased this reusable souvenir bag for only $2.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

I purchased this framed print from fashion designer Jay McCarroll (also known as the winner of the first season of Project Runway). I now have this print hanging in my living room.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

I got this bar of fairy cakes soap from Dirty Ass Soaps, which smells wonderful.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

I purchased this autographed copy of a book called Goodbye, Penguins by Greg Stones (whom I briefly met at his booth). This book is short but it’s full of twisted humor coupled with delicate illustrations.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

And, last but not least, I purchased this dark chocolate candy bar from Harper Macaw, which is a chocolate candy maker based in Washington, DC. What’s really cool is that every Saturday Harper Macaw offers a guided tour of its factory for only $10 a person and it includes chocolate tastings. How cool is that? By the way, I loved that one chocolate bar I purchased.

My Crafty Bastards Purchases

On Small Business Saturday a few weeks ago, I went to the open house at ReCreative Spaces in Mount Rainier where I created this card using woodblocks, ink, and pens.

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Not long afterwards I found this appeal on the Internet from a young girl named Safyre. Two years ago she survived a horrendous fire in her family’s apartment that was set by an arsonist. She lost her father and three siblings in that blaze. She suffered burns over 75 percent of her body and she has been suffering through numerous operations ever since. She told her aunt (whom she now lives with) that the only thing she wants for Christmas is to receive as many Christmas cards as possible.

So I decided to pass on that card to her. I wrote a short note mentioning how I created that card.

resizedforweb

I dropped it in the mailbox yesterday.

Today I found that a lot of other people have sent her cards as well. As of this article, she has amassed over 300,000 Christmas cards. What’s more, according to this article, she is even getting a free trip to Disney World.

It’s nice to see something good happen to someone who has gone through so much loss, pain, and grief.

I don’t know if Safyre will ever see my Christmas card or if it will literally get lost in the shuffle of so many other Christmas cards but I hope she’s happy that so many people cared enough to send her a card. And I have one less item lying around my own home so it’s all good.

It looks like she has more than enough cards but if you want to help her go up to over half a million cards or more, I’ll provide her mailing address.

Safyre
P.O. Box 6126
Schenectady, NY 12306

(You’ll need to add “USA” if you’re mailing from outside of the United States.)

UPDATE (December 24, 2015): President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were among those who sent Christmas cards to Safyre. The New York Times have an interesting story on how the arson case behind Safyre’s current condition have dragged on for over two years and it had even led to Safyre’s mother being jailed for perjury.

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.

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There was free hot cider along with live music provided by local musicians and lots of vintage items (including Christmas displays).

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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.

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Here’s the bracelet I made for myself.

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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.

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 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.

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 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.

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There was a free hands-on activity where visitors were encouraged to make a printed holiday greeting card using wood block stamps and ink.

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The last photo in this post shows the card that I made that day.

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