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Since the winter holiday shopping season has officially started three days ago, I’d thought I’d post pictures of stuff I’ve seen lately on the store shelves. I took these photos mainly to show some of my friends on social media who would be especially interested in these products.

First, here are some photos I shot at Target over the past month or so. Target is selling the 3Doodler along with the DoodleBlock Kit.

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target has a LEGO aisle filled with all kinds of LEGO kits for all ages.

Target, October-November, 2017

Last year American Girl came out with a line of multiracial 14 inch dolls known as Wellie Wishers, which cost $60 each. Target is now selling a line of multiracial 14 inch dolls known as Glitter Girls for $20 each.

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target also sells a line of 3-foot tall dolls based on various Disney characters.

Target, October-November, 2017

You know Christmas is coming soon when you start seeing special gingerbread spice cereal like this.

Target, October-November, 2017

Target has been selling a line of STEM toys, kits, and games for makers of all ages. You can now make a variety of things including LEGO stop-motion animation, piñatas, video games, drones, Raspberry Pi computers, and more. Below are just a few of them.

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

Target, October-November, 2017

This is probably the most unique and off-beat product I found at Target: A Funko Pop! vinyl toy based on the late painter and television show host Bob Ross.

Target, October-November, 2017

I also found some Hot Wheels toy cars that seemed to be made with Baby Boomers in mind. How else can you explain cars based on The Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night and Mad magazine.

What I Found at Target Today

What I Found at Target Today

What I Found at Target Today

What I Found at Target Today

Recently a new Guitar Center store opened up in Laurel, Maryland so I decided to check it out.

Coco Guitars

I saw these special edition Cordoba acoustic guitars for adults and children that are tie-in products to the Disney/Pixar movie Coco, which was recently released. (I haven’t seen it yet. All I know that it’s based on the Mexican El Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead holiday, which happened earlier this month, and which also explains the skull motif on these guitars.)

Coco Guitars

Coco Guitars

Coco Guitars

Last, but not least, are a few of the photos I took when I made my last trip to a local Five Below store.

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

What I Found at Five Below Recently

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I purchased a pack of mozzarella cheese sticks featuring the characters from the Disney movie Frozen because it was on sale. (I was more interested in the cheese than how the package was decorated.) I have to admit that the outside package was cute.

Look at what I found on sale at Giant today-- #Frozen mozzarella cheese sticks. #Anna #Elsa #Disney #AnnaandElsa

It was worth buying just so I can see what the design on individually wrapped cheese sticks looked like. Like all cheese stick packages the wrapper is perforated so one can separate the individual cheese sticks. But the package is cuter when it is still in one piece because you can see Olaf the snowman do some serious photobombing on each of the cheese stick (which each feature one of the main characters from that movie).

Look at what I found on sale at Giant today-- #Frozen mozzarella cheese sticks. #Anna #Elsa #Disney #AnnaandElsa

On a different note, I recently saw the band Snakehead Run perform its blues set at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Snakehead Run

Santa Claus

 

 

 

 

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Continuing with this series on having a tabletop Christmas, here are some more ornaments that I currently have on my small tabletop tree.

I’ve been into animation since I was a child so it’s quite logical that I would have a lot of Christmas ornaments to reflect my interest in animation. Some of these ornaments were ones that I purchased while others were given as gifts from various relatives over the years. I used to have a lot of animation-themed ornaments back when my husband and I used to put up a six-foot tree. Since my husband left I’ve done some serious downsizing. While I still have a few animation-themed ornaments left, my collection of Christmas animation ornaments is a far cry from what I had five years ago (when my husband left just three days after Christmas with no indication that he was the slightest bit unhappy).

The ornaments shaped like Disney characters tend to predominate my collection the most. Okay, so I like Disney animation, especially Mickey Mouse. Here’s a caroling Mickey Mouse next to a ceramic ornament featuring a pink mouse in a stocking that I was given as a child by my parents and I still have it.

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Here’s a wooden Mickey Mouse clock. (No, it’s not a real functioning clock.)

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This was an ornament that I purchased during one of my many trips to Walt Disney World over the years. My husband and I arrived shortly after the 1st Disneyana Convention was held so the resort was selling these ornaments at a clearance sale for half-price.

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I also have a Mickey Mouse stocking hanger. I still have the same stocking that my parents originally purchased for me when I was an infant. It hasn’t been filled with anything since my husband left. These days I just hang my stocking as a decoration since it’s really not worth the effort for me to fill my own stocking. (Filling one’s own stocking kills the element of surprise right there.)

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I have a small Santa Mickey snow globe decoration that I received when I attended the annual post-Christmas white elephant gift exchange that my support group for people who are separated or divorced puts on each year. The snow globe has the year 2013 written on it.

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I also have other Disney characters besides Mickey Mouse in my Christmas tree, such as Winnie the Pooh.

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Flit is a hummingbird from the animated Disney movie Pocahontas.

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The next photo has two Disney ornaments. The raccoon is Meeko from the Pocahontas movie. The other figure is Stitch from Lilo in Stitch and he’s dressed like Elvis Presley.

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I have another Stitch ornament. This one is a small plush ornament and he’s wearing ear muffs, mittens, and a red sweater that says “NAUGHTY” on it. Next to Stitch is Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh and he’s sliding downhill on a sled.

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These next two photographs show a double-sided ornament. On one side is Belle and the Beast from the film Beauty and the Beast.

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The other side shows the Beast after he’s been transformed back into his original human self.

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Rounding out the Disney decorations are two dolls resembling the two princesses Anna and Elsa from the movie Frozen. I originally bought the dolls thinking that I would display them at Christmas then put them away in the attic after the holidays. Except when it came time to take down everything, I couldn’t bear to put these dolls away. These days I keep them with my doll collection upstairs and I bring them downstairs to join the other Christmas decorations.

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I have other animated-themed ornaments that are based on non-Disney characters as well, such as this one featuring Sylvester and Tweety from the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes cartoon shorts.

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My parents gave me this ornament based on Dr. Seuss’ classic Christmas book How the Grinch Stole Christmas (which was later turned into a made-for-television animation special then it was remade into a live action theatrical feature film starring Jim Carrey). This one features the scene after the Grinch had finished making a Santa outfit for himself and placed reindeer antlers on his dog Max and they are both standing in front of a mirror (which is actually a real mirror).

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I know that technically the ornament in the next picture is really based on a video game but Sonic the Hedgehog was turned into a cartoon series in the 1990’s so I’m going to include it here on a technicality. I bought this ornament back in the days when I owned a Sega Game Gear and I was really into playing Sonic the Hedgehog. Basically the ornament is shaped like a Game Gear (including a Christmas scene featuring Sonic) while Sonic is running on top of the Game Gear bearing Christmas presents. I’ve long since sold my Game Gear but I still have the ornament nonetheless.

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Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

Passover

I’ve taken a few miscellaneous photos recently that I’d like to share with you. These photos are a further reminder that spring is really here at last.

Flowering Tree

Azalea Bush

Tulips

Spring Flowers

Bleeding Heart Fuchsia

Spring Flowers

Lilac Bush

Despite the fact that it’s spring now, Anna and Elsa from the hit Disney movie Frozen are still going strong years after the movie was released. I recently saw those two sisters on bags of Pop Chips at a local Giant supermarket.

Frozen Pop Chips

Santa Claus

Ever since my husband left me just three days after Christmas in 2011, I’ve been celebrating my birthdays by going out to all-you-can-eat Asian buffet places. While they were okay, I was ready for something a little bit different. I got a combination birthday/Christmas check from my mother so I could indulge myself a little bit. I originally planned on going to the Christmas Village that’s temporarily located in Baltimore where I would indulge in German food and do some shopping. But then I looked at operating hours and I found that the Christmas Village is closed on certain Tuesdays—including December 15.

Okay so that plan fell by the wayside. Then I decided on Plan B. I went to Tyson’s Corner Mall instead.

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Here are the first few images of the plaza area where Metro riders arrive at the mall.

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Käthe Wohlfahrt had a heated tent set up outside.

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The next shot is one of the two giant wooden soldiers that guard the entrance to the tent. There was a photography ban inside the tent but you can just go on the website to see the variety of German-made Christmas decorations that are currently for sale.

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Once again the mall has erected an ice skating rink on the plaza. It was empty mainly because I came on a Tuesday night.

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I saw that Jon Wye now has a kiosk in the mall. I can remember when Jon Wye was a regular fixture in many of the local indie craft shows (such as Crafty Bastards). One year I purchased this t-shirt for my then-husband, which he really loved. (My husband loved to cook, although in the later years of our marriage I did more of the cooking because he would come home from work totally exhausted.)

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I ended up eating my birthday dinner at Wasabi. It’s cool they deliver food on a conveyor belt plus the food is excellent.

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After dinner I walked around the mall some more. I saw these cute Christmas villages made from Legos at the Lego Store.

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A few months ago I wrote a rant on Why Kim Kardashian and Her Family Need to Just Go Away. I was exasperated over the fact that the entire family seem to have a knack at calling media attention to themselves even though most of them have no discernible talent. Even though I go through great lengths to avoid having anything remotely to do with Kim Kardashian and family, even I can’t avoid them completely. One example is this poster in a store window touting a fashion collection that’s promoted by two of Kim Kardashian’s younger half-sisters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner.

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Nintendo set up this temporary display in the middle of the mall. People had the opportunity to actually try some of the latest Nintendo games that are currently on sale for both their 3DS and Wii U systems.

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I saw these cute dolls made by the German company Götz in a Pottery Barn Kids store. Here’s a fun fact: Götz was the manufacturer of many of the early American Girl dolls, which ended when Mattel purchased American Girl and, in a cost-cutting measure, shifted all production to China. These days Götz makes its own 18-inch dolls that are sold in Pottery Barn Kids stores.

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I also saw this Star Wars display in the Pottery Barn Kids store right across from where the Götz dolls were displayed.

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In the middle of the mall was something called Those Animals, which were motorized stuffed animals that one could ride through the mall. Each animal is billed to carry a person up to 500 pounds. I thought about renting one briefly to try it out but I didn’t because I wasn’t sure if I would be considered too old to ride one. I later saw a group of teens riding those animals so maybe it would be okay for adults to ride as well. Maybe I’ll consider it again if Those Animals are still around the next time I go to Tyson’s Corner Mall.

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I went to the American Girl Place. I focused mainly on the Christmas related stuff this time around because I’ve already taken so many pictures of that store in the past. There was this store exclusive dress that was displayed on different dolls.

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There were also other types of holiday outfits for dolls available as well.

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They also brought back the horse carriage that I photographed extensively last year at the same store.

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Earlier this year I wrote extensively and posted a bunch of photos on Samantha Parkington’s gazebo. It was adorned with Christmas decorations when I saw that gazebo this time.

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Their Bistro area was all decked out in holiday ornaments. The doll on the counter is Kit Kittredge, who’s the BeForever historical doll representing America during the Great Depression.

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There were a variety of winter holiday decorations strewn throughout the store.

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I took one more token photo of the 2015 Girl of the Year, Grace Thomas, because by the time I make a return visit to the American Girl Place, she’ll be long replaced by the 2016 Girl of the Year.

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I took a few more photos of various store windows and displays throughout the mall.

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I saw the ultimately geeky Christmas ornament: Darth Vader wearing a Santa hat and one of those ugly Christmas sweaters featuring all kinds of Star Wars-related motifs. I didn’t buy it at the time because I didn’t have enough money on me (after eating at Wasabi). When I attempted to go to a Hallmark store located closer to me, I found that all of the Darth Vader ornaments had been sold out except for the display model.

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I finished with a visit to the Nestle Toll House Cafe. Instead of getting a birthday cake for myself, I opted to purchase a cookies and cream brownie. Boy, was it good!

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I purchased only one thing during my trip to the mall. I found this $9.99 miniature gumball machine that had the images of Anna and Elsa on it from the Disney movie Frozen.

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There is a coin slot but one can get the gumball just by twisting the handle. However, if you opt to pay with a coin, there is a lid at the bottom where you can retrieve your coins. (In other words, it functions as a bank as well as a candy dispenser.)

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As I went back out on the plaza in the direction of the Metro station (so I could return home), I saw an employee spraying the surface of the ice skating rink with water.

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I also saw some people sit on the outdoor couches by the tables with lit flames, such as this family in the next photo.

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During a recent visit to Target I found a few curious items, starting with this Star Wars spatula with a handle shaped like a lightsaber.

Star Wars Lightsaber Spatula

Here is a whole line of nutcrackers based on characters from Frozen and Star Wars, including even a Darth Vader nutcracker.

Frozen and Star Wars Nutcrackers

And, last but not least, here is a chance to do a special DIY project where you can customize your own ugly Christmas sweater.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Kit

I was on a trip to Target recently when I saw some interesting things for sale. When I went down the cereal aisle, I saw an entire row of cereal based on movies. Seriously!

Cereals Based on MoviesCereals Based on Movies

I saw a couple of robots on sale. One is the MiP robot, which has been out for over a year. The other is one I hadn’t seen before. It’s called a MiPosaur and it’s a robot dinosaur with a soccer ball!

RobotsLast, but not least, is this doll I’ve been hearing about on the Internet. She is known as a My Friend Cayla doll and she is the same size as an American Girl doll. Except she has something extra. She can connect to the Internet and she can carry on a conversation with a person. One can interact with her using a smartphone. She can speak either English or Spanish depending on which language app you download to your smartphone. This doll reminds me of the Japanese anime series Chobits. My Friend Cayla

The weekend of August 15-16 was a tough choice because of two scheduled events that I was interested in. Since I had a scheduling conflict on the 16th with the watercolor workshop at Makerspace 125, the 15th was the only day I could do something fun and I had to choose. One was the annual Intervention Con in Rockville. The other was the 60th anniversary of the day that the Enchanted Forest amusement park opened its doors to the public, which would be held at Clark’s Elioak Farm (which houses most of the attractions that were once at the Enchanted Forest, which has long been since closed and a shopping center now stands in the amusement park’s former location).

There were two factors that helped me make my decision. One was that I attended Intervention Con for one day in 2013 and all three days in 2014 (see Day One, Day Two, and Day Three). I looked at this year’s schedule and I found that they were repeating some of the same panels I went to last year and I wasn’t really interested in the other panels and events that I was less familiar with. As for the Enchanted Forest celebration, this year is the 60th anniversary, which is a milestone. I still have fond memories of when my parents used to take me there as a child. And I liked what Clark’s Elioak Farm did with the old attractions. So I chose the Enchanted Forest anniversary event instead.

The only downside of my decision is that it was the usual hot and humid weather that permeates August in the Mid Atlantic Region. (In contrast, Intervention Con is held inside an air conditioned hotel.) I later learned that the temperature reached a high of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. I made the best of the situation despite the hot weather.

It turned out that there was more to this celebration than just the 60th anniversary of the Enchanted Forest. Earlier this year I read that Kimco was prepared to get rid of the last vestiges of the old Enchanted Forest amusement park that still reside around the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center. (Yes, the theme park is now a suburban shopping center.) Last October I took this photo of the shopping center. Old King Cole continues to point the way to what is now the shopping center. Directly behind the sign is the Enchanted Forest storybook sign. Right next to that is the castle that was both an entrance and a gift shop.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Here’s a closer view of the castle, along with the lute-playing dragon on top, in its original location.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

I managed to get a telephoto shot of the Gingerbread House that was behind the shopping center.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

The only shot I didn’t get from that prior trip was Cinderella’s Castle mainly because it was placed so far into the property that I would’ve had to risk arrest for trespassing in order to photograph it.

Basically the castle and storybook sign were moved to Clark’s Elioak Farm while the Gingerbread House and Cinderella’s Castle were completely razed. (The two buildings were too big to move to the farm and both structures had rotted so much that the shopping center’s owners felt that they had become a liability.) These days Old King Cole with his finger pointing now remains the only reminder of the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center’s theme park past.

Even though I left for Clark’s Elioak Farm early in the morning, the parking lot was already filling up to the point where I had to go to the overflow lot. When I arrived I saw that there were not one, but two castles.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th AnniversaryThis castle is a replica of both the original castle and the lute playing dragon. Rapunzel standing on the balcony is the only one that came from the original castle. Like the original this one also serves as a combination entrance and gift shop. The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

When I entered through the replica castle, I noticed that a few new items had been added near the ceiling.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th AnniversaryBoth the original castle and the storybook sign had been moved to the entrance of the pine maze (where some of the Enchanted Forest attractions are located). The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

This is definitely a contrast to what the entrance to the pine maze used to look like. (I originally took this photograph in 2013.)

Entrance to the Pine Maze

This next photo shows a panoramic view of the storybook sign, the original castle that now serves as the entrance to the pine maze, and the castle replica that serves as the entrance to the entire farm. You can also see the crowd that had gathered to a formal ceremony celebrating the move of the latest items to the farm.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

Here’s a closeup of the storybook sign.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

Here’s a close-up of the castle. The door entrance to the maze was blocked by a ribbon. A portion of one of the castle turrets was covered as well. The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The ceremony began at noon. The speeches and proclamations from local officials were truncated because of the very hot and humid weather and the fact that the ceremony took place in full sun. The next few photos show the ribbon cutting ceremony at the entrance to the pine maze.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary
The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

Then there was a second unveiling of the one area of the castle turret that was covered. The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th AnniversaryI thought the figure under the cloth would be another Rapunzel. But I was surprised to find someone else instead. The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

It’s Old King Cole standing at the turret. In a way it’s fitting that he’s there instead of Rapunzel since the original is still busy pointing the way to the shopping center.

There was one more unveiling that needed to be done. There was another sign that had been hidden. It was unveiled to reveal a sign announcing the arrival of dinosaurs to the pine maze next month.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th AnniversaryOnce the ceremony ended, many people stepped through the entrance into the pine maze. Here are a couple of views of the castle from the back. The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th AnniversaryThe pine maze was well shaded so it was a definite improvement over being directly in the hot sun. There was a mix of one or two new touches with the fairy tale attractions from the original Enchanted Forest. It’ll be interesting to see how the coming dinosaurs will be integrated into this. The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary
The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th AnniversaryMost of the anniversary-related activities took place in one of the barns where they served free slices of cake on a first-come, first served basis. I managed to snag this delicious slice of chocolate cake with white icing that had a digital image of what looked like the original Enchanted Forest castle. (Much of the cake had already been cut up by the time I arrived.) The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

Half of the barn space was devoted to an art show where local artists created their own versions of the Enchanted Forest in a variety of media. Most of the art was for sale.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary
The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary
The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary
The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary
The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary
The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary
The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary
The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The rest of the space was devoted to vintage artifacts from the original Enchanted Forest during its heyday.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary
The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

There were even a few personal family photo albums on display, which showed various people of all ages enjoying the park.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary
The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

There was a mini fair where local groups and vendors could set up canopies and either sell their wares or provide free information about a particular group. I purchased one item from one of the booths that I’ll write about at the end of this post.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th AnniversaryThere were a few special decorative touches throughout the farm just for this occasion. The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

There were entertainment for children, such as Anna and Elsa singing songs from their movie Frozen.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th AnniversaryMother Goose was on hand for some craft projects. The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th AnniversaryThere were a few new items I noticed on the farm since my last visit last year. They were relatively minor compared to the arrival of the original castle and storybook but I still noticed them nonetheless. The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary
The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

This next photo shows what the landscape of Clark’s Elioak Farm looks like on a very hot and humid day with full sun.

The Enchanted Forest's 60th AnniversaryI focused the bulk of this visit on the castle and storybook, the special dedication ceremony, and all the things in that one barn. I skipped the rest of the exhibits (including the petting zoo) because I began to feel overheated after two hours so I decided to leave. I didn’t feel too upset that I didn’t see half of the farm because I’ve seen them before on prior visits. I feel tempted to return for a visit in the fall after the dinosaurs arrive, when the weather will be much more pleasant and the leaves will turn into lovely shades of red, orange, and yellow. I would also be in a better frame of mind to visit the animals in the petting zoo.

I drove to the nearby Enchanted Forest Shopping Center where I ate lunch at this bagel place that’s located there. (I’ve eaten there last year and I really like the food.) I saw the empty spots where the castle and storybook used to be located. I didn’t take any pictures because I just couldn’t stand being out in the heat and humidity any longer. (At least the bagel place has air conditioning.) Additionally, someone announced during the dedication ceremony that there will be a special plaque commemorating the former location of the castle and storybook that will be placed there within a few weeks. So I have a reason to make another trip to the shopping center in addition to Clark’s Elioak Farm sometime in either September or October.

I purchased this gingerbread man from one of the vendor booths at Clark’s Elioak Farm. The cookie crumbled in transit but it still tasted very good. It was made by a local baker called Touché Touchet, which is located in nearby Columbia. The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

The Enchanted Forest's 60th Anniversary

UPDATE (August 27, 2015): Just one day after I posted this, I found an interesting story in Smithsonian magazine about both the Enchanted Forest and the moving and preservation that was done at Clark’s Elioak Farm. That link also includes a bunch of photos that includes vintage photos of the original amusement park, the attractions that were in various states of decay prior to the move to the farm, and what the attractions now look like in their current location.

Previous Entries in This Series

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

It was getting on the fourth week in a row with no new instructional videos from Ady Almanza even though she’s been uploading to her Facebook account new art that she has been working on (some are works in progress while others are either complete or nearing completion).

I began to wonder about this tutorial series so I posted a polite note on her Facebook page asking if there will be more tutorials in the series or if they were going to have only the three tutorials that she has already uploaded. (I thought she said that there were going to be 10 tutorials in all.) She responded promptly saying that she was on holiday but she will eventually get around to uploading the rest of the tutorials sometime in the near future.

I have to admit that she was very quick in her response. In the past I’ve dealt with other artists who either don’t reply at all or reply several weeks or months after you’ve sent an e-mail and, by that point, I’ve forgotten what I had written or why I even wrote to them in the first place.

So I’m just going to wait until she gets around to doing more tutorials. In the meantime I still have extra pages that I needed to fill (mainly because the children’s board book I chose to use has more pages than what Ady Almanaza has been using in her tutorials). So I decided to wing it with another two-page spread, this time dedicated to the Disney movie Frozen.

I’ve seen the movie when it was in theaters. I’ve bought it when it came out on DVD and I’ve watched it a few more times since. Yes, I like it. You might think that I’m fudging things a bit by using a movie instead of dolls in my Dolls Dreams Book. But I actually have two of the dolls based on that movie.

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They are 1/6 scale dolls, which makes them around the same size as Barbie, Monster High, Ever After High, Volks Dollfie Plus, etc. As you can see, they are very gorgeous dolls, despite the fact that half of their outfits are molded and painted on their bodies so it would make changing clothes difficult at best. (Yet I found these in the toy department.) Elsa is somehow missing one of her shoes, which means I’ll have to do a search of my living room at some point. They are not only wearing the same outfits as in the movie but they are also wearing fancy crowns on top of their heads (which signifies the fact that they are royalty). I bought them at Target late last year because I thought it would be a cute idea to have two winter-themed dolls on display along with my Christmas decorations (which are mostly limited to just the coffee table in the living room). I originally intended to pack them with the other decorations once the holiday season ended. When it came time to pack everything away, I decided at the last minute that I couldn’t bear to pack away such pretty dolls in the attic and left them on the coffee table. (Yeah, I can be pretty lame at times. <LOL!>) By including art based on those dolls in my Doll Dreams book, I can say that there was a reason why I didn’t pack them away. Never mind the fact that I made that decision long before this online tutorial even existed. <LOL!>

Here are the two pages before I worked on them.

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When it came time to work on this project, I had Anna and Else look at each other, just like in this next photograph.

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Here is what the finished result looks like.

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This latest art is a departure from the other ones in the Doll Dreams Book in that I decided not to use ink at all and I stuck with using just acrylic paint. I painted them as if I was taking a traditional painting class where students use paint only and no other media other than an H drawing pencil (which is used to lightly draw the shapes and other objects on the canvas before painting begins).

Since I painted this piece in August, where it’s usually hot and humid in the Washington, DC area, I pictured the background as being this hybrid between what the mythical kingdom of Arendelle looks like in the summer and what it looks like when Elsa decides to mess around with her winter-making powers. So I had Anna, who has no supernatural powers, standing in the summer area staring at Elsa, standing tall in her own personal winter wonderland on the other side.

I have to admit that while I enjoyed working on this piece, I also developed this obsession over working on it that bordered on insanity. I did the background first, which was no big deal when I quickly finished it on Monday night. When I was doing laundry on Tuesday, my original intention was to just work on the faces and save the hair, crown, and clothes for the following days. Well, something grabbed a hold on me and I began to become obsessed with working on it and working on it and working on it. I took breaks only to take out and put in new laundry loads. By late Tuesday night I found that I had finished about 99% of the piece. The following day I embellished the crowns with glitter glue, which was pretty quick. Then I started to do a few touch ups and I continued to find flaws while worrying about whether people would recognize it as Anna and Elsa to the point of paranoia.

At that point I finally remembered why I rarely do fan art. It can be quite stressful making sure that your interpretation of someone else’s work is still recognizable to others while putting your own unique touches on the piece without compromising the original artist’s vision. While I had fun working on the Frozen pages, it turned out to be time-consuming as well (which I didn’t anticipate).

I’m only glad that I’m using a relatively small book for this art. Had I decided to paint a separate canvas that’s 11” x 14” or larger, I would probably still be working on it to the point of almost total burnout.

I currently have three extra pages left that I can use to create art without relying on the tutorial video. If Ady Almanza resumes her video series, I’ll follow along to what she teaches. Otherwise, I’ll probably wing it again. I’ll know by Sunday what I’ll do. (She usually uploads new tutorials on the weekends.)

Subsequent Entries in This Series

Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

During a recent trip to Target I took a few photos of some items that caught my eye.

When I used to own a pet hedgehog named Spike, I used to go out of my way to take pictures of every single hedgehog shaped product that I came across and I would write posts about the items I found. I’ve cut way back on documenting hedgehog consumer products since Spike’s death in 2013. But I found this salt and pepper shaker set featuring a fox and a hedgehog that I felt was really cute. I can’t really use another salt and pepper shaker set right now so I did the next best thing and take a picture of it.

What I Found at Target on May 18, 2015

Back in January I made a trip to Tyson’s Corner Mall because I wanted to check out the American Girl Place. After I was finished, I visited a few other stores like The Disney Store, where I saw a line of Tsum Tsum plushies that covered two shelves and I even picked one up to get a closer look. At the time I only saw those plushies at The Disney Store. Since then it looks like the Tsums Tsums are spreading to other stores because I saw them at Target.

What I Found at Target on May 18, 2015

I also saw the latest Frozen spin-off product: sunscreen featuring Anna and Elsa.

What I Found at Target on May 18, 2015

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