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Santa Claus

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10

This latest installment in my 12-part Tabletop Christmas series focuses on other tree ornaments that I haven’t featured in this series so far.

The ornament in the next photo was one that was released in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World in 1992. That commemoration was controversial mainly because Christopher Columbus’ role in history has become extremely controversial in recent years. I remember when replicas of the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria docked at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, which drew some protests. I saw those ships myself and I was disappointed to learn that only the top deck was opened to the general public while the rest of the decks were roped off. I purchased the ornament because I thought it was very cute, which was the same reason why it survived my purge of excessive ornaments.

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This next photo shows a very stylized reindeer that I purchased from the Christmas shop at Valley View Farms years before I started this blog. I’ve always loved the design of this reindeer, which was why that one also survived my ornaments purge.

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Here’s a cute Hallmark ornament in the form of a bull-shaped piñata that has “Feliz Navidad” written on the sides.

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Here’s a glittery gold snowflake ornament that was given to me by one of my relatives years ago. I especially love the way it reflects when the lights are on.

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Here’s a gold heart that I purchased years ago because my then-husband said that he loves hearts. I kept it after he left and I made my ornaments purge because it looks lovely in the Christmas tree, especially when viewed from afar.

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The two ornaments in the next photo feature a gold leaf and a dolphin. I know the gold leaf was given to me and my then-husband by a family member but I don’t remember if it came from my parents, my mother-in-law, or my sister-in-law. The dolphin ornament was a Hallmark ornament that I purchased for my then-husband not long after we were married because my husband really loved dolphins. Naturally he left that one behind when he left me but I kept it because the dolphin looks really cute in the tree, especially with it looking like it’s in the middle of a mid-air jump through a Christmas wreath.

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This stylized wood star came from a relative from my then-husband’s side of the family but I don’t remember if his mother, sister, or his late Aunt Sue gave it to us. I usually hang this one towards the bottom of the tree.

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The next photo features two small ornaments. The pink elephant is made from glass and I purchased it from the Christmas shop at Behnke’s Nurseries years ago because it reminded me of the famous “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence from the Disney movie Dumbo. This ornament even came with a tiny plastic champaign glass but, unfortunately, the champaign glass snapped off a long time ago and I couldn’t find it. The pink elephant still looks nice without the champaign glass so I kept it. The cat is a Hallmark ornament that was given to me by my parents when I was a teenager.

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The next photograph shows a Hallmark Mistletoe Fairy that I purchased mainly because when I was married my husband and I had a tradition where we hung mistletoe above the kitchen door and we used to time our meetings at the kitchen door so we would kiss. (LOL!) We didn’t get mistletoe in 2011 mainly because I was recovering from hip surgery and my husband was sick with bronchitis at the same time. I also didn’t know that he was planning to leave me three days after Christmas (and three months after my hip surgery) for a seriously mentally ill friend of ours. I thought about getting rid of that ornament when I was doing my ornaments purge but I ended up keeping it because this fairy looks really nice in the tree. I no longer keep mistletoe in my home so this ornament is about as close to having mistletoe as I get these days. (LOL!)

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This next ornament is a ceramic peppermint unicorn ornament that I purchased from a Hallmark store at a clearance price during a post-Christmas sale one year. That’s another ornament that I’ve always loved to hang in my tree.

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Remember the Beanie Babies craze of the 1990’s? At one point Ty came out with a line of Christmas ornaments that were smaller versions of the Beanie Babies. I selected Peace the Tye-Dyed Bear because I thought he was cute and I also remember the traditional “Peace on Earth” greeting at Christmas.

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The next few photos are small greeting cards that double as Christmas ornaments, which were given to me by my parents. Each of these greeting card ornaments have the same Victorian Era illustrations on both sides along with a tiny string to hang them on. Here is one of these card ornaments that I still have.

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The inside of this card says “A special gift from you to me to hang upon your Christmas tree. From: Mom & Dad To: Kim”.

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Here’s the other greeting card ornament that I still have. This one also has the same Victorian Era illustration on both sides.

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The inside of this card says “A special gift from you to me to hang upon your Christmas tree. From: Mom & Dad To: Kim.”

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Last, but not least, is this red bell that’s currently hanging on my tree as a Christmas ornament. Here’s some background. I’m currently involved in starting a new local chapter of the National Grange in my hometown and I’m serving as the Vice President mainly because this new chapter desperately needed officers and I stepped up to the plate. We decided to walk around town singing Christmas carols one evening before Christmas as a way of both publicizing the new group and spreading Christmas cheer in general. One person brought a bunch of bells that we could ring so that was how I ended up with this red bell. The high point came when we walked around the hallways of this apartment complex that’s designed for senior citizens and disabled adults singing Christmas carols and the residents there really loved it and they all smiled. At the end of the evening I attempted to give my bell back to the person who brought it but she told me that I could keep it. So I hung it on the Christmas tree.

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I especially like the snowflake cutout at the bottom.

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Part 12

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Santa Claus

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

For the latest installment on my series about celebrating Christmas on a tabletop, I’m going to devote this entry to the Christmas tree ornaments that I’ve had since I was a child. All of them were given to me by my parents for either my birthday or Christmas. (Both days are only 10 days apart.)

Here’s a brass bell-shaped ornament engraved with my first name.

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Here’s a bird’s nest that includes two birds—one red and one blue—whose beaks are opened as if they are about to burst into song. I still have the remnants of the original blue bow towards the top of the strings but that bow has mostly fallen apart.

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Here’s a Hallmark ornament that my parents gave me. It’s marked “Christmas, 1980” and it has these words:

A Daughter is the sweetest gift a lifetime can provide.

The ball’s image has a couple of white cats (which is pretty ironic because I’m allergic to cats) and a bunch of plants including poinsettias, a spider plant, a Norfolk pine tree, and a coleus.

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Here’s a brass ornament that’s shaped like a guitar. I took guitar lessons throughout my teen years and I still play it occasionally.

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This next photo shows a Santa Claus whose arms and legs are jointed so one can put him in a few poses (mainly looking like he’s running while swinging his arms).

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I have a wooden block ornament that has the same picture of Santa Claus on all four sides. The top of the block is mainly red with the letter “A” and the bottom is mainly red with the letter “B.”

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Last but not least is this white harp-playing cherub angel. I think it might have graced a wrapped package as a decoration (I don’t remember off-hand) and I decided to use it as an ornament since it had string attached to it. All I know is that I’ve had that one since my childhood.

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Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

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

Last week I was making some cat drawings for a potential children’s book project that someone who lives in my neighborhood wrote and she’s trying to get it self-published through Amazon.com. (She needed some illustrations for her book.) While I was drawing one cat that was based on a photograph of the writer’s recently deceased cat, I had this weird idea. I’ll admit that I was inspired to do this after seeing yet another photograph of Donald Trump online while he’s spewing his latest hateful rhetoric. (He’s said so many hateful things in public on a daily basis that I literally can’t keep track anymore.) I even parodied the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. I did this in colored pencils.

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I need to find a different title than “daily sketches” because I have completely thrown by the wayside my New Year’s resolution that I would create one new sketch each day. I quickly learned that working on daily sketches each day takes time from other arts and crafts projects that I’m working on as well as other things that I should be doing (such as cleaning the house). My “daily sketchbook” effort really became pathetic when I made only one new sketch in the entire month of June—and that one was in response to the horrible shootings at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

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This past month I managed to churn out three sketches, starting with this one. I was inspired to create this sketch after hearing the news about a bullfighter matador in Spain named Victor Barrio who was recently gored to death by his bull opponent in the ring. His death was shown live on Spanish television and he is known to have been the first matador killed during a bullfight in over 30 years.

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I feel bad for the bullfighter’s family because I know that dealing with a loved one’s sudden and unexpected death is such a shock. But I have zero sympathy for the late bullfighter himself because he was participating in a so-called “sport” whose advocates call it “sheer beauty and artistry” when all it really entails is some man slowly torturing a bull to death with spears while waving a red cape and shouting “¡Olé!” I’ve never understood what was so great about bullfighting, especially when I took Spanish in college and one of the chapters in the class textbook dealt with words and phrases related to bullfighting. I remember the instructor in that class admitted that she personally didn’t like bullfighting either. (She originally came from Cuba, a nation with no bullfighting tradition.) That bullfighter would still be alive had he picked a different occupation that’s less dangerous and deadly. Bullfighting is one so-called “tradition” that needs to go away along with other so-called “traditions” like female genital mutilation and slavery.

Later in the month I did this drawing full of gears of many colors. I had gone to an event at this makerspace located in Crystal City, Virginia known as TechShop and its logo has the letter “o” shaped like a gear. I just took that gear idea and elaborated it further with a bunch of interconnected gears. It was something I did really quick and it shows. (If I was doing a professional drawing, I would’ve done it using a 2H pencil first while erasing and refining it until I got it just right. Then I would’ve traced over it with ink.)

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For the last drawing I did in the month of June, I went back to Rory’s Story Cubes. I mixed the Prehistoria and Enchanted sets together and this drawing was the result.

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I spent Thanksgiving Day with family members. I baked this black forest cake that I made from a cake mix that I purchased at Aldi. (All I had to do was add eggs, oil, and water.) The frosting is one of Pillsbury’s canned frostings while the cherries came in a jar. It was incredibly easy to make and my relatives were impressed so it was all good.

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The dinner itself was held in the home of one of my cousins. The house in the photos isn’t her home. It belongs to one of her neighbors who have this incredible penchant for putting up a lot of outdoor decorations for every single holiday both major and minor. Here is what it looked like with the Thanksgiving decorations.

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My cousin owns two dogs and one cat. She used to have two cats until last month when one of them, Cookie, suddenly died. While the dogs seemed normal, her remaining cat, Purdy, has taken Cookie’s death very hard. I wrote about Purdy a few months ago about how she seemed to act like she’s the queen of the home and I even took this photo.

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I generally saw Purdy more than Cookie, who was a very shy cat whom I only saw when he was darting from one hiding place to another. Despite the different personalities, Purdy has pretty much changed since Cookie’s death. My cousin told me that the cat tends to hide more and there are times when she will go outside and start meowing as if she’s calling out to Cookie. Both Purdy and Cookie arrived at the home as kittens within a few weeks of each other 15 years ago. Even though they weren’t biologically siblings, they treated each other as if they were. When I was at the home I didn’t see Purdy in her usual roosting places (either on a couch or in an empty box) and she was in hiding. She only emerged once while meowing forlornly. Only time will tell whether Purdy will get over Cookie’s death and resume her normal regal habits.

Overall I had a nice Thanksgiving Day visit and I enjoyed myself.

Recently I decided to visit my mother at my cousin’s place (where she currently lives) on my way to a bingo event that was located nearby. I also ended up taking pictures of the real Queen of the House (and it’s not my cousin either).

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She is a cat named Purdy and she acts very regally. She meows every time you call her name. She expects to be petted but she will never come to you begging for pets. That’s the kind of thing that the two dogs she lives with would do and she considers herself to be above all that. No, she wants YOU to come to HER so YOU can attend to HER NEEDS. Now THAT’S acting regally.

Purdy also lives with another cat named Cookie but he tends to be incredibly shy and he hides most of the time. I can pretty much count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually seen Cookie (and it’s usually when he’s darting from one hiding space to another). I don’t know if Cookie is naturally shy or if Purdy has anything to do with Cookie’s behavior. But, for all intents and purposes, Purdy is the Queen of the House.

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

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Makerspace 125 decided to hold an Open House where guests were encouraged to socialize, eat lots of food, play games, and make something. As you can see in the photographs, a good time was had by all.

The 3D printer was kept busy printing out all kinds of small 3D items.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Here are a few close-ups of one of the 3D printer’s outputs—a small shark paperweight bust.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

The next few pictures show a toy robot cat. A few days earlier, one of the kids who frequent Makerspace 125 decided to skin the body of this cat to see how it works. The kid thought that the robot cat’s body looked far cooler without the skin so the skin was never put back on the cat.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

An exhibit on how someone managed to repair his broken backpack instead of just throwing it away.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

A few days ago I took a couple of photos of an infrared camera known as the Cheese Webcam as a work in progress. The result of that work was on display at the Open House using Makerspace 125’s large TV set.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

A few kids were playing with LEGOs.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

A Minecraft game already in progress.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

And, finally, here are a couple more shots from the Open House.

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Open House at Makerspace 125, January 25, 2015

Lately it seems like I’ve been writing new shorter posts about some other website that has interested me. I decided that I needed to do something a little bit more streamlined so I’m not constantly running back to this blog with new updates. I have to organize myself a bit more because I have other things that I also need to spend time doing.

So I’ve decided to start a new feature called Link-O-Rama where I’ll provide links to other places on the Internet that have interested me and I want to share with you. I don’t know how often I’ll do this feature other than I’ll do it once a week only if I have a link to share. If I don’t have other links in mind for a given week, I’ll skip a week or two.

So here are the first links for this new feature that I’d like to share with you.

FREE TUTORIALS

How to use leftover crayons to create small funky Valentine’s Day hearts.

Make a “no sew” bed for American Girl dolls or other 18-inch dolls.

MISCELLANEOUS LINKS

If, for whatever reason, you need to do some research on clothing, tools, toys, or furniture of the past or you just want to experience a quick trip down memory lane, Wishbook Web is a great resource. The site has scans of old store catalogs from Spiegel, Sears, Lord & Taylor, Wards, JC Penny, FAO Schwarz, Simpsons-Sears, and Eatons. The vintage catalogs posted at that site range between the years 1933-1988. This site also has a Flickr account full of more retro goodies like vintage greeting cards and obscure CD labels.

It’s never too late to code. A story about how people over 50 can learn to code and even start new careers.

I built my rabbit a cart and now he delivers me a beer! Seriously! That video is totally cute.

My father suffered a spinal cord injury that left him in a wheelchair for the last several years of his life. Geoff Raismen says that his research has come up with a new way of beating paralysis. It’s too bad that my father, who passed away in 2000, didn’t live to see this.

A musician’s tale about the hard choices she’s facing regarding putting her music on YouTube and the response from YouTube after her post gained media attention.

An awesome video by Creavite using kinetic typography that also has a serious message about the current state of education: I Will Not Let An Exam Result Decide My Fate.

Pictures of LEGO Minifigs designed as hipsters.

Here’s a really beautiful yet informative graphic on the development of the various world’s languages, which visually show why some languages (like the ones spoken in the Scandinavian Peninsula) seem so similar to each other.

Jane Perkins is a British artist who creates stunning works of art using everyday objects she finds in recycling centers, second-hand shops, and junkyards.

A brief excerpt from an open letter to Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do you REALLY want to help your party and your country? If so then stop sucking all the (financial/political) oxygen out of the system giving other (genuine) progressives a shot at the White House.

A two-minute educational video on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) narrated by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

Here’s a cat’s perspective on the Superbowl, which is this coming Sunday.

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