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EasterPassover

Last fall I was doing some tidying up around the house when I found this fused glass pendant featuring a bunny rabbit that I made years ago when I took a workshop that was offered through Profusions of Glass. (I may have even still been married when I made this pendant. LOL!) Well, anyway, I found it back in November shortly before Thanksgiving and I now have it in the place where I keep all of my other jewelry. I waited to write about it until today because the pink color scheme along with the rabbit just seems more like it’s appropriate for Easter Sunday than last November.

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Groundhog Day

Since today is Groundhog Day, I’d thought I’d post some photos I took at last weekend’s World of Pets Expo that took place at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland. I last went there in 2014 when I was battling a nasty chest cold. This year I was in much better health so I was able to enjoy myself at the expo even more. There were all kinds of vendor booths for both pets and their owners. There were various competitions for dogs including running through an obstacle course and jumping into a pool. I even went into a stall in the women’s restroom that had two toilets in the same stall.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

There were all kinds of animals on display including llamas. Here are the pictures I took at that expo.

This is where I went today. For only $10 admission I saw all kinds of pets on display. I loved seeing all of the animals.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.
What I saw at today's World of Pets Expo at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

Free Tutorials

Still need a last-minute Easter craft project? Here are free crochet patterns where you can make a bunny and a lamb.

Have some leftover yarn that you don’t know what to do with it? Here’s a list of 34 adorable things that you can create with leftover bits of yarn.

Drink a lot of soda from a can? Instead of just chucking the cans into your recycling bin, here’s a list of 20 genius ways to recycle soda cans into amazing DIY projects. (I think this could work with beer cans and energy drink cans as well.)

Need a creative use for your adult coloring book? If you have an Ikea table, you can decoupage those pages onto it.

Ever had a desire to create your own original amigurumi? Want to kick your original creation up a notch by writing your own amigurumi pattern that you can sell or even give away? Here’s a free tutorial showing you how you can do just that.

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

Miscellaneous Links

Here’s a heart-felt open letter written by a Republican titled This is Not My Republican Party where he expressed his dismay over the racism and violence that has plagued this year’s election on the Republican side.

This year is the 10th year of The Washington Post’s annual Peeps diorama contest. (It’s also the time of the year when my 2013 rant, A Warning for Those Who Intend to Enter This Year’s Peeps Diorama Contest, becomes among the most read posts on this blog until after Easter Sunday.) You can now view the winners and finalists of what is called The 10th Anniversary Edition right here.

I recently checked out this free event at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC that was a cross between Alice in Wonderland and a 1990’s-era rave. Basically there were these giant inflatable bunny-shaped sculptures that were also lit up at night. The bunnies were created by an Australian artist named Amanda Parer and they are currently on a tour of the United States. (The installation is officially known as Intrude.) If that wasn’t enough, there was also music and street performers. It was a pretty wild experience to say the least. Here is a short video I shot of this event.

Here are the still photos I shot that night. The giant bunnies were located near this fountain that had lights that constantly changed colors.

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Both the giant size and the light fixtures inside the inflatable sculptures made those bunnies stand out against the night sky.

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There was also a party event that reminded me of a 1990’s era rave. Spinning the tunes was a deejay known as DJ Manifesto. He not only played music but there were times when he would play the violin as well. He was pretty amazing to watch.

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There were also performers who did dance routines with lights.

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There was a giant Lite-Brite board where the general public can create their own designs using large light pegs.

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That even drew a lot of people of all ages. (There was an earlier late afternoon event that was geared towards families that took place before I arrived.) I saw plenty of people wear special bunny ears that flashed various color lights and I saw a few people dance. The temperature was in the 30’s but it was still a fun event despite the cold weather.

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I even brought my small sketchbook with me where I did this drawing based on one of the giant inflatable lit bunnies.

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Today is February 29, which only comes around once every four years. This means that it’s the first time that this blog actually has entries dated February 29. This month I only did three drawings in what I’m still calling my daily sketchbook even though I no longer do a new drawing on a daily basis. On Valentine’s Day I did this drawing, which I had posted in a previous entry (click on that link if you want to learn the story behind that sketch).

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Last Saturday I went to this free event at the Navy Yards Park in Washington, DC. It’s a massive art installation featuring giant inflatable lit bunnies. I brought my sketchbook with me and I drew one of the bunnies.

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I’ve also shot photos and a short video of this event, which I’ll write more about in a later post. For those of you in the Baltimore-DC area, this event will continue until this weekend then the bunnies will hop (or is it float?) away to a new destination. Here’s a local news story about the giant inflatable lit bunnies if you want to learn more about them.

And last, but not least, I did this drawing especially for today.

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Happy Leap Year, everyone! 🙂

It’s been two years since I last attended the annual Sakura Matsuri street festival that’s held in downtown Washington, DC as part of the larger National Cherry Blossom Festival. I thought about going down early in the morning so I could check out the Cherry Blossom Parade that precedes the Sakura Matsuri by starting at 10 a.m. But I was too lazy to get my act together so I could arrive that early so I basically ate breakfast and lunch at home then headed out to the Sakura Matsuri in the afternoon. (I was glad I ate my meals at home because nearly all of the food vendors had very long lines.)

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I even dug out this Japanese imported Stitch hat that I purchased at one of the Otakon anime conventions that were held in Baltimore. I know it was before my marriage broke up because I bought it with my then-husband in mind because he was such a huge fan of the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch and Stitch was his favorite Disney character. I also remember when I modeled the hat for him and he was thrilled with it. That hat had been sitting in a drawer since my husband left but I decided that I could continue to use it because I think it’s a cute hat. Besides, it enabled me to blend in a little bit with the other people who were cosplaying. I even had several people at the festival notice my hat and telling me that they loved it. When I arrived in downtown DC, the one of the first things I did was to take a rare selfie of me wearing that hat.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Like most other years, the festival was very crowded. I still enjoyed myself as I looked around at the sights and sounds of the festival. I even took a few silly pictures while I was there. I recently started to follow the official Sonic the Hedgehog accounts on Facebook and Instagram and it was through social media I learned that there is something called Travel Tuesday where people can submit photos of a Sonic doll or stuffed animal either at an event or some famous landmark (like the Eiffel Tower). I decided to pack my articulated Sonic vinyl doll so I could take his photo for Travel Tuesday. Here are the photos that I submitted but, as of this writing, none of them have been selected for Travel Tuesday.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I also played around a little bit with the Hatsune Miku photo app on my smartphone. I thought it was appropriate since that character originated in Japan. (Although now that I look at the pictures, I realized that I should’ve varied the girl’s pose just a little bit since she had the same facial expression and pose. Oh well.)

Hatsune Miku at the Sakura Matsuri

Hatsune Miku at the Sakura Matsuri

Hatsune Miku at the Sakura Matsuri

I basically walked around shooting pictures of cosplayers and the various items I saw on sale. I noticed a lot of ram and sheep plushies on sale this year, which makes sense since 2015 is the year that’s known alternatively as the Year of the Sheep, the Year of the Ram, or the Year of the Goat.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I only purchased one thing at this year’s festival.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Yes, it’s chocolate gelato made by Dolci Gelati and it was very delicious!

While I heard musicians perform on the various stages throughout the festival, I only managed to capture one of the acts with my smartphone because it was one of the few times that I was even able to get close to a stage because everything was so crowded. As for the act that I captured, according to the program book, she is a pop singer from Kyoto named Jonetsu Mariko. I thought I recognized the name for some reason and the program book said that she was making a return appearance to the Sakura Matsuri. After I got home, I searched through this blog and I found out that I previously saw her at the 2010 Sakura Matsuri and I had also videotaped her that time. (She appeared under the name Jonetsu Marie and Shabondama High School.) In any case I took a still photo of her.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I even shot a short video of her performing on stage.

That video was the only one I shot at this year’s Sakura Matsuri.

I also saw that NASCAR driver Akinori Ogata was there with his race car, just like the last time I attended the Sakura Matsuri two years ago. Once again he appeared with Eneos, which makes motor oil. Eneos also had a bean bag toss game called “Cornhole.”

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

Getting on the Metro so I could go home was a bit of a hassle. The last photo shows the long line that I had to stand in just so I could enter the Federal Triangle Metro Station. I’m only lucky that I had the foresight to put enough money on my Metro SmartTrip card for a round trip so I wouldn’t have to stand in another line at the farecard machines.

Sakura Matsuri Street Festival, April 11, 2015

I made a return trip to Clark’s Elioak Farm this year, which is notable for being a farm that has many of the old attractions from the former Enchanted Forest amusement park, which closed years ago. For this trip I added an excursion to the site of the original Enchanted Forest park.

I’ve already written extensively about the history of The Enchanted Forest before so I won’t go into too many details here other than to say that it originally opened at a location that now houses The Enchanted Forest Shopping Center.

Old King Cole originally pointed the way to the amusement park and he continues to point the way to the shopping center.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

The castle, which not only housed a gift shop but also provided the main entrance to the park, is still there.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

The lute playing dragon still remains at the top of the castle waiting to see visitors.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Here’s the front entrance to both the castle gift shop and the park itself, which is now permanently shuttered and locked.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

If you walk off to the side of the shopping center, you’ll see a wooded area surrounded by a fence with “NO TRESPASSING” signs. In some places there is additional heavy rope to discourage people from even coming up to the fence. If you look in the background of the photo really close, you’ll see the old Gingerbread House.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

Here’s a very close-up shot of the Gingerbread House. Even though the official name was Hansel and Gretel’s House, many kids dubbed it the Gingerbread House because of the fact that it looked like, well, a gingerbread house. That building was one where parents could rent for an hour so they could hold birthday parties for their children. I’ve always wanted to have my birthday party in the Gingerbread House but I never had one mainly because my birthday is in December, when The Enchanted Forest was closed for the season. (The amusement park was only opened six months a year.) Nowadays no child can have a birthday party in the Gingerbread House and that structure looks like a shadow of its former self.

Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, October 18, 2014

As for the rest of the shopping center, it’s a typical suburban shopping center. Without Old King Cole and the castle, it would be pretty indistinguishable. I shot this video a five years ago showing the jarring juxtaposition between the site’s origins as a fairy tale theme park and its current incarnation as a shopping center.

And here’s an old Super-8 movie of The Enchanted Forest when it was still operating that someone uploaded on YouTube. The colors in the film are faded and it’s mostly a silent film but it gives you an idea as to what The Enchanted Forest was like.

I ate lunch at the bagel place in that shopping center (BTW the food is pretty good) then I drove three miles to the place where many of the old attractions from The Enchanted Forest are currently displayed, Clark’s Elioak Farm.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

I had taken extensive photos of the place last year so I’m just going to focus on some things that I haven’t photographed before, like this display of pumpkins that the farm is currently selling.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

One of the teacups from the old Alice in Wonderland Teacup Ride is now permanently stationery as a funky chair among the other plainer wooden chairs.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here’s are a few landscape shots of the old Enchanted Forest attractions that sit side-by-side with the farming fields. (Yes, Clark’s Elioak Farm is a working farm.)

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The one new thing I noticed is the addition of a dinosaur family. I don’t recall seeing any dinosaurs at the old Enchanted Forest. Maybe it’s something new that was put up because dinosaurs remain a perennial favorite among children. This attraction was among the more crowded ones as children clamored for their parents to take their pictures in that area.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here is one of the trucks used for the hayride. I didn’t go on it because the lines to buy tickets were so long and that ride was frequently packed with people.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here is the birthday cake which used to be the centerpiece inside the old Gingerbread House (as I wrote earlier, that building was the ones that parents could rent for birthday parties).

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Baby Bear peeks out the window of the Three Bears’ Home while Goldilocks looks terrified.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

A framed portrait of the Three Bears inside their home.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The ceiling of the Three Bears’ Home provides an interesting picture.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

A line of gingerbread men.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Another new thing I noticed this year is the re-creation of the old Mt. Vesuvius attraction at The Enchanted Forest. Mt. Vesuvius was a giant manmade mountain over a giant lake where the Little Toot boat ride used to ride through an opening in the mountain. There was a giant sliding board on the side of that mountain. While Clark’s Elioak Farm’s version of Mt. Vesuvius is way smaller than the original, it is still a sliding board and the kids seemed to enjoy going on it.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

There was a hay maze added that the kids seemed to enjoy.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Another addition was that some of the trees on the farm now have faces on them.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here’s a really cool artsy shot of the Crooked House.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here’s another artsy shot of the Easter Bunny’s Home and Mother Goose. I especially loved the clouds in this picture.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Here’s a painted map of the old Enchanted Forest.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The biggest addition is this mining attraction where people can either mine for gems or do some geode cracking. (There are separate fees for each option.) This attraction is only in operation on the weekends. The seven dwarfs from the Snow White story are at this attraction, which is fitting since they were depicted in the Disney movie as being miners.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

I also had some more fun with that new Mikuture smartphone app where I managed to insert a few photos of international pop superstar Hatsume Miku having fun on the farm. Here’s Miku rolling down the hill alongside Jack and Jill.

Jack and Jill and Hatsume Miku at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Here she is sitting on a mushroom.

International pop superstar Hatsume Miku sits on a mushroom at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Hatsune Miku is risking being swallowed alive by Willie the Whale.

International pop superstar Hatsume Miku gets eaten by Willie the Whale at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Last, but not least, she’s sitting in front of the Crooked Man.

International pop superstar Hatsume Miku and the Crooked Man at Clark's Elioak Farm in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Here are the animals on the farm.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

The last photo shows the two bars of handcrafted soaps that I bought at Clark’s Elioak Farm. I’m keeping one bar for myself and give the other to my mother since her birthday is this month.

Clark's Elioak Farm, October 18, 2014

Like I wrote earlier in this post, I had taken extensive photos of Clark’s Elioak Farm last year so if you want to see those, click here.

UPDATE (April 24, 2015): The current owners of the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center have just announced that they plan on moving the original giant storybook and the castle with the lute-playing dragon to Clark’s Elioak Farm while razing both the Gingerbread House and Cinderella’s Castle. Once these changes are complete, Old King Cole with his pointing finger will remain the only vestige of the shopping center’s theme park past.

I’ve been attending a lot of local conventions lately and I found another one that seemed interesting to me. I originally considered going to it on Saturday because there would be special sceening of the animated movie Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie which would include not only the movie but also a live appearance by Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes that will include a Q&A that would be part of a live podcast. The only reason why I didn’t go was because of the price. A one-day Saturday pass cost $25. That’s not so bad except the Jay and Silent Bob event cost extra. The Saturday pass did not automatically give you an admission to that event yet if you wanted to buy the pass for the separate event, you were required to buy the Saturday Comic-Con pass as well. The regular Jay and Silent Bob pass cost $40, which meant you had to pay a total $65.

But that’s not all. There was a "Super Groovy" ticket for the Jay and Silent Bob event that cost $75, which not only netted you an autographed print but it enabled you to enter the event first before those who purchased only the regular $40 pass. Since the "Super Groovy" ticket also required that you purchase a Saturday pass for the rest of the Baltimore Comic-Con, anyone who wanted it had to pay a whopping $100.

I not only wasn’t crazy about paying extra fees but I had an issue with the idea of people who paid more for the "Super Groovy" ticket had the right to cut in front of people who could only afford the $40 pass. I was personally more in favor of the usual first-come, first-served policy that usually accompany a movie screening where people who line up early had the right to get good seats over those who arrived later. With this two-tier pricing, one who arrived very early to get in line but paid only the lower $40 price would see later arrivals get into the theater before that patient person simpy because the later arrivals had deeper pockets and could afford the higher ticket price.

On top of it, I was still smarting from having to pay a very high $1,600 health insurance bill. (Here’s some background. As a spouse of a federal government employee, I had long enjoyed being covered under my husband’s generous health insurance benefits. When my husband succeeded in his quest to divorce me, I filled out a form with the federal government in order to continue being covered under my ex-husband’s health insurance since I’m currently seeing a therapist and I also want some kind of insurance in case something unexpected happened to me. The federal government takes up to 90 days to review my request. In the meantime I would remain covered, I assumed that they would continue to deduct some of my ex-husband’s pay to keep me covered while the govenment reviewed my case. Imagine my surprise when I got a notice saying that I would continue to be covered but I needed to cough up $1,600 for the 90 days I was covered while the government reviewed my case.) I really didn’t feel that I could afford to be extravagant so I decided to skip the whole Jay and Silent Bob event and attend Baltimore Comic-Con on Sunday, when ticket prices cost only $20. Besides, the one panel that I was interested in (besides the Jay and Silent Bob event) was held only on Sunday.

Normally when I attend an event at the Baltimore Convention Center, I usually drive my car to the North Linthicum light rail stop then take the train to the Convention Center stop because it’s the cheaper option. However the one panel I was interested in was being held in the morning and the light rail system tends to start later on Sundays and I was afraid of missing that panel. So I ended up driving the car into the city and parked at one of the many parking garages. I arrived early enough to park in this one garage that had a special rate: If you leave before 4 p.m., you only have to pay a $15 parking fee. (The full price is $20 per day.) On top of it, that garage was just a short walk from the convention center, which was great since it ended up being so hot and humid.

I knew I was at Baltimore Comic-Con when I arrived at the Baltimore Convention Center and I saw all kinds of cosplayers waiting outside in line on a bright sunny September day that ended up in the high 80’s along with very high humidity. (It felt more like summer than fall that day.)

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

In the lobby of the convention center was this really awesome life-sized balloon sculpture of Dr. Who and a Dalek that was done by Starkey’s Balloons.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

Everywhere at the Baltimore Comic-Con there were cosplayers and staffers wearing these interesting looking t-shirts.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

I managed to make it to the one panel I wanted to attend. Toy designer Paul Harding and comic artist Mark Buckingham gave a very interesting presentation on the topic "Toy Design: From Paper to Plastic." It was a demonstration on how an original 2-D illustration gets translated into a 3-D statue and action figure. It was a very interesting topic that I enjoyed while I ate the lunch and drank the sodas that I brought with me from home. (I brought my own lunch rather than buy any of the overpriced food and drinks sold in the Baltimore Convention Center.)

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

They had some real-life models based on the characters Snow White and Bigby Wolf from the comic book Fables.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

I spent the rest of my time in the Baltimore Comic-Con in the Artists Alley. The high point was seeing this framed The Amazing Spider-Man comic book that once belonged to actor Nicolas Cage on sale for $250 on one of the vendor tables.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

The rest of the area was a whirlwind of vintage comic books, dolls, costumes, t-shirts, vinyl figurines, DVD’s, and stuffed animals while various cosplayers were walking around the area and the various comic book artists and writers signed autographs for fans. There were some strange stuff on sale like a Jerry Garcia action figure (I’m old enough to remember when Jerry Garcia was alive and The Grateful Dead used to frequently go on tour) and Stan Lee Cologne (that’s right, you now have the opportunity to smell like the famous Marvel Comics comic book writer and editor <LOL!>). There was even a table that gave away free samples of PlowOn Energy Gum. (To be honest, I didn’t like the taste that much although it did a great job of keeping me awake since I chewed it at a time when I began to feel physically tired. I managed to keep on visiting every table in that room at least once. But I would rather drink Five-Hour Energy to stay awake than to chew PlowOn Energy Gum.) The next several photos should convey an idea of what the giant Artists Alley room was like.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013
Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

I finished my day at Baltimore Comic-Con by sitting in on a cosplay costume contest for a few minutes. I didn’t stay long because, as you can see in the photo, the room was very crowded.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 8, 2013

Thanks to my decision not to skip the Jay and Silent Bob event the day before, I treated myself to a couple of items from the Artists Alley. Believe me, it took a lot of discipline to limit myself to just two items because there were a lot of stuff sold in that room that I felt tempted to buy but I didn’t because I didn’t want to go further into debt than I already am.

I found this really cute Funko vinyl figure that’s based on the character Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony.

Swag From Baltimore Comic-Con 2013

I also found this DVD collection of vintage early 1960’s black and white episodes of Astro Boy. It’s definitely a blast from my childhood. (Astro Boy was definitely one of the first Japanese anime series I ever watched on TV but I was too young to realize that was anime.) Now I can relive my early childhood whenever I want.

Swag From Baltimore Comic-Con 2013

September 8, 2013 turned out to be a momentous day for me and it’s not just because I attended the second and final day of Baltimore Comic-Con. When I came home I did the usually weekly Sunday cage cleaning of my pet hedgehog Spike. Little did I know at the time that this particular day would be the last day I ever saw Spike alive. When I finished with cleaning his cage, I saw that he went into the pink plastic igloo that he used as his bedroom. I never saw him alive again after that.

Spring Fling

Spring Fling
mixed-media
(fused glass, stickers, acrylic paint, and acrylic gel on canvas)
2 inches x 1.5 inches
5 cm x 4 cm

A few weeks ago I went to the annual all-women’s retreat at my Unitarian Universalist congregation where Tina Van Pelt, owner of the fused glass studio Profusions of Glass, was running one of her fused glass workshops. I managed to make another fused glass piece even though I’ve taken plenty of Tina’s other fused glass workshops in the past. I was just in the mood to make something crafty.

Since spring was coming soon, I chose cheerful bright colors. I took a bunny and unicorn paper punchers and punched out those shapes on thin copper foil and added them to the glass I selected. Once the glass went through the kiln baking process, the bunny and unicorn turned a reddish color. A bubble had developed over the bunny’s head during the kiln baking process so it looked like the bunny had a halo. The unicorn turned out to be partly buried by the green stripes. In any case I had a unique fused glass piece that I could wear as jewelry and could join the jewelry box with the other fused glass pieces I already own.

But then I went to A.C. Moore soon after that women’s retreat I saw these really tiny canvases on sale. I had an idea. I purchased one of the tiny canvases along with a sticker sheet that contain bright dots that could seamlessly match the dots in my fused glass piece.

When I got home I painted the canvas in yellow acrylic paint that matches the yellow in my fused glass piece. After the paint dried I stuck the sticker dots on the painted canvas. Then I painted green stripes to match the ones in the fused glass piece. Once the paint dried I painted a layer of irridescent acrylic gel to give the canvas paint a diffused look not unlike certain types of fused glass. Once all the acrylic paint and gel dried, I sealed the canvas with a gloss varnish. Finally I took some regular acrylic gel with a pallette knife, slathered some of it on the back of the fused glass piece while slathered the rest on the canvas itself and attached the fused glass to the canvas.

The results look pretty funky. The canvas is tiny enough that it could be displayed in a variety of places like dollhouses, office cubicles, mantels, countertops, desktops, shelves, and more.

I recently cleared out some space in my smartphone by downloading these pictures on my computer. These photos feature a wide variety of subjects that I photographed on impulse over the past five months at various places that are all located within a 30 mile radius of my home.

Just a few weeks before Halloween last fall, I found these unique pumpkins (some of which have a light pink tint while others have a deep orange color that looks almost red) on sale at the Home Depot in Laurel, Maryland.

Pumpkins
Pumpkins

This mariachi band gives free afternoon performances at Beltway Plaza in Greenbelt, Maryland two Sundays a month.

Mariachi Band

A sign that’s posted on the door at the Laurel Factory in Laurel, Maryland.

This is Art

Last November I celebrated my first Thanksgiving since my husband abruptly walked out on me three days after Christmas, 2011. For the dinner I ate a boxed Marie Callendar’s frozen turkey meal. For dessert, I purchased a 10" pumpkin pie from Giant along with a can of Reddi Whip whipped cream. I cut a slice of pie then totally drowned it in whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pie

Last fall, before the start of the Christmas holiday shopping season, the Target in Greenbelt, Maryland got a shipment of these special Barbie products that were designed by Tim Gunn of Project Runway fame. During one store visit I saw a Tim Gunn Barbie outfit on sale while during another visit I saw a Barbie doll dressed in Tim Gunn’s outfit. Both of these products were quickly sold and I haven’t seen any more Tim Gunn Barbie products since.

Barbie by Tim Gunn
Barbie by Tim Gunn

On January 6, while I was observing Little Christmas/Feast of the Epiphany/Twelth Night and the third anniversary of the start of this blog, I stepped outside my home where I saw these bare trees against the sky that looked like an ink and watercolor painting. These photos prove that nature is the best artist.

Bare Trees in January
Bare Trees in January

On January 25 there was a light snow that only covered the ground but not the streets. (I think it accumulated no more than a half-an-inch.) Here’s a shot of Roosevelt Center with the Mother and Child statue in Greenbelt, Maryland after the snow.

Roosevelt Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

On February 8 I was attending an afternoon seminar on health care for artists that will be available in Maryland thanks to the passage of Obamacare that was put on by Health Care for All. (With my husband hellbent on divorcing me, my ability to remain under his health insurance is currently endangered.) The seminar was held at the Maryland Historical Soicety in Baltimore, which is a really nice building. There is a nice museum that has various Maryland artifacts like Baltimore Orioles memorabilia and items associated with film director John Waters. I wasn’t able to entirely view the museum due to time and money constraints but I’m definitely going to try to return there to visit in the future.

Maryland Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society

The area where the Maryland Historical Society building is located is a pretty interesting area to walk around. Here’s this cool looking sign that’s shaped like a circular saw. The company responsible for that sign, Skarie, has since changed its name to MultiCam East but the sign still remains on North Howard Street.

Skarie sign

The building with the coolest looking windows located near the Maryland Historical Society belongs to A.T. Jones & Sons, which is a costume shop that specializes in theatrical costumes and stage makeup. The clowns in the windows look creepy but they add to the charm of the area.

A.T. Jones & Sons
A.T. Jones & Sons
A.T. Jones & Sons
A.T. Jones & Sons
A.T. Jones & Sons

Right next to A.T. Jones & Sons is this building that has this really cool op-art inspired black and white mural.

Mural

On Valentine’s Day last month I was in Parkville (which is located north of Baltimore) because I was going to an independently owned comic book and video game store that was willing to pay cash for some old video games that I wanted to unload in order to reduce clutter in my home. Located just a few doors away from that store is a wine shop—appropriately named Sipping Pretty—that is notable for these two Blues Brothers statues standing next to the door.

Blues Brothers Statues at Sipping Pretty

Here is the store where I sold my old video games when it was still in its old location. It’s called Collectors Corner and, as of this writing, the owners are in the process of moving to a larger store located just down the street.

Collectors Corner Store

As a child I used to get Peeps in my Easter basket each year. At the time they only had the yellow chicks and they only came out once a year around Easter. As time went by, Just Born (the manufacturer of Peeps) added bunnies. Then they added bunnies and chicks in other pastel colors besides yellow. Then Just Born decided to have candy available for other holidays besides Easter and to make them in different shapes other than bunnies and chicks so now one can buy ghosts and pumpkins for Halloween, snowmen and reindeer for Christmas, and hearts and teddy bears for Valentine’s Day. I recently got a hold of this special pack of vanilla-flavored chicks sold in Target to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Peeps. (The vanilla Peeps were quite good and tasty.)

Peeps

I found these special Matchbox cars at Wegman’s that have artwork on them based on the classic arcade video games of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Video Game Matchbox Cars

On March 8 I attended a quarter auction that was a fundraiser for my support group for people who are separated or divorced. The quarter auction is a cross between an auction and a lottery. Basically you throw in a quarter for an item that’s up for auction that you want. Afterwards you raise your numbered paddles high. If the auctioneer selects a ping pong ball that has the same number as what’s written on your paddle, you get the item. Theoretically you could get something that has a market value of $75 for only 25 cents. This is the second time I attended such an auction. At the previous fundraising quarter auction I attended just a few months earlier, I didn’t win anything. For the March 8 auction I hit paydirt twice. I got two small bags full of these treats from a company called Tastefully Simple. Both bags had the same products so I only empited one of the bags for this picture of the items next to my winning paddle number.

Auction Prize

At that same quarter auction I won this really cool looking pen that writes really nice. This one has to be one of the best pens I’ve ever gotten as an adult. (For far too many years I made do with the cheap pens that my husband would pilfer from his NASA job. These pens didn’t last long and sometimes they even leaked.) Here’s the pen with my winning paddle number 54.

Auction Prize

Here are the most recent photos from my smartphone that I took last Saturday (March 16). I was driving to Today’s Pet in Columbia, Maryland in an effort to restock some hedgehog food for Spike when I found some interesting looking pets for sale in that store. The white rabbit on the right in the photo below had an interesting hair style that made me think of President Martin Van Buren (who was the subject of this recent Google ad).

White Rabbit With Wild Hair

The rabbit in the next photo is one of the largest rabbits I’ve seen since the time I was taking an early morning walk in Phoenix on the morning before my late mother-in-law’s wedding to her second husband in the early 1990’s (I was suffering from time zone changes) and I saw jackrabbits hopping around. This particular rabbit’s ears aren’t as long as the jackrabbits I saw but the rabbit is about the size of a cat or a small dog. It’s more apparent if you see this rabbit in real life than what this photo shows.

Giant Rabbit

Today’s Pet also sells large turtles such as the one in the photo below.

Turtle

I’ll finish this entry with these two photos I took at the Greenbelt Metro station yesterday as I was on my home from attending the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Washington, DC. An abandoned Minnie Mouse plush toy sits on top of a trash can as if she’s waiting for her owner to come and claim her.

Abandoned Minnie Mouse Plush Toy
Abandoned Minnie Mouse Plush Toy

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