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I went up to Dr. Sketchy’s in Baltimore for the first time in a few months. The really good thing about the days being longer is that I’m able to do some walking around the neighborhood after I finish eating dinner at the local Popeye’s (which has its awesome $5 chicken meal bargain that it only offers on Mondays and Tuesdays). Here are a few pictures I took, starting with a few store window shots.

The window in the next photo has words and letters written in white right on the glass itself.

Late last year I noticed that a new mural was painted on the wall between Red Emma’s and The Wind-Up Space, which replaced this one. I wasn’t able to take a picture until recently mainly because the days have grown longer with the arrival of spring.

Here’s an alleyway located near The Wind-Up Space and The Centre (where the Impact Hub is located).

Back in January I took some pictures of The Centre, including the Impact Hub and other windows at night. This time I took photos of the same building while it was still daylight.

This window had a cool looking mosaic. If you look close enough, you can read the words “GO TO COLLEGE.”

One of the windows still had a poster promoting the Johns Hopkins Film Festival, which had recently passed. I liked the design of this poster (including the position of the cigarette. LOL!)

I eventually made my way to The Wind-Up Space. Here’s a shot of some interesting art that was displayed behind the bar.

The last time I was at The Wind-Up Space, that place had a Christmas tree that was filled with Krampus ornaments. The Christmas tree was still up when I was there (even though Easter was just a few days away) but the Krampus ornaments were removed. There was a lampshade treetop, which was pretty hilarious.

The next photo shows one of the promo flyers for that night’s Dr. Sketchy’s Anti=Art School.

The rest of this post consists of the drawings I did that night. The model for this event was a burlesque performer named Cherie Nuit. Some of the drawings are definitely NSFW.

I participated in two contests that evening. The first was where we had to somehow incorporate brunch. I drew Cherie lying on a pile of ice cubes at the bottom of a giant glass of mimosa. That drawing didn’t make it among the finalists.

The other contest I participated in was one where we had to somehow incorporate Peeps (in honor of the fact that Easter was just a few days away). My drawing made it among the finalists but it didn’t win.

I did one more drawing of Cherie Nuit before I decided to head back home.

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Easter

Passover

Last month I wrote a post after I learned that The Washington Post was no longer running its annual Peeps diorama contest. The editor of the alternative weekly Washington City Paper hinted on Twitter that her paper may pick up the mantle while providing an email address for inquiries. From there it snowballed into a new Peeps diorama contest. Today is Easter Sunday so The Washington City Paper announced the winners of its first Peeps diorama contest on its website. I have to admit that everyone involved did very well on such a short notice.

One fringe benefit of the City Paper reviving that contest is that my 2013 rant on A Warning for Those Who Intend to Enter This Year’s Peeps Diorama Contest has once again risen to the top five most-read posts in my blog. It’s too soon to tell whether The Washington City Paper will run this contest again next year although I have a hunch that it’s highly likely that there will be one in 2018. Even though a different publication is now running the Peeps diorama contest, it still wouldn’t hurt to read my original rant because some points I raised in it still applies to that contest.

In any case, here are the winners of The Washington City Paper‘s Peeps Diorama Contest. If you want to view the winners in person, you can travel to the Peeps store located at National Harbor (which had been running a separate unrelated Peeps diorama contest as a tie-in with its #ThisIsHowYouHarbor social media campaign but also decided to team up with The Washington City Paper as a partner for the resurrected Peeps diorama contest).

Easter

Passover

Since today is Easter, I’d thought I’d share these pictures of Peeps that were available in a variety of different flavors this year.

As a child I received at least one or two small packs of Peeps in my Easter basket each year. At that time Peeps only came out in the spring to coincide with Easter. They were available only in one flavor (the original marshmallow flavor) and one color (yellow). The only choices available were bunnies and chicks. Once Easter season passed, the Peeps would go away from the store shelves and I wouldn’t see them again until the following spring.

In recent years Peeps has expanded to other holidays (Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas), come out in other colors (like blue, orange, and green), come out in other shapes (such as snowmen for Christmas and jack o’lanterns for Halloween).

Peeps have even come out in different flavors besides original marshmallow. This year I purchased a few of these different flavored packs. I’ll admit that I liked some better than others. (I found the lemon lime Peeps to be way too sweet for my tastes.) Here are the photos of the Peeps flavors that I tried this year.

The sour lemon lime Peeps. Despite the “sour” description, I found that these Peeps tasted way sweeter than the usual Peeps.

Sour Lemon Lime Twist Peeps

Sour Lemon Lime Twist Peeps

The triple chocolate Peeps took chocolate Peeps, filled them with chocolate filling, then dipped their bottoms in even more chocolate.

Triple Chocolate Peeps

The bottoms of the vanilla Peeps were dipped in crème flavored fudge. These chicks were flecked with multi-colored sprinkles.

Vanilla #Peeps dipped in vanilla fudge are a thing this year.

Check out the colored flecks on these vanilla #Peeps

The vanilla caramel brownie ones had vanilla Peeps that were filled with a caramel filling then their bottoms were dipped in milk chocolate.

Check out these fancy #Peeps

Check out these fancy #Peeps

The chocolate mousse Peeps had bottoms that were dipped in milk chocolate.

Chocolate Mousse Peeps

Chocolate Mousse Peeps

I was at a local Target store when I encountered the world’s most confusing door. Is it an entrance or not? MAKE UP YOUR OWN DAMNED MIND!!!

The world's most confusing door.

Here’s a less-confusing door, this one leading to the Three Little Birds Sewing Company in Hyattsville, Maryland. The top of the door has a quote by Maya Angelou while the bottom has a sign indicating how this store welcomes everyone no matter what race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender.

Three Little Birds Sewing Company Door, Hyattsville, Maryland

Here are some daffodils that I saw by a white wall while I was walking through Hyattsville, Maryland recently.

Flowers Along a White Wall

Pretty daffodils in Hyattsville.

Last, but not least, I learned that Triple Chocolate Peeps are a thing this year. Basically a chocolate peep is filled with a chocolate filling on the inside then its bottom gets dipped in even more chocolate. I found this pack at Target.

Triple Chocolate Peeps

St. Patrick's Day

Wegman’s usually has this cow on display selling Beemster Dutch Cheese. On special occasions the store will have the cow wearing something that’s appropriate for the occasion. Here is how the store dressed that cow for St. Patrick’s Day.

Behold the lepre-cow!

Each year St. Patrick’s Day unleashes its share of green atrocities. I saw these green bagels on sale at a local Giant.

Green Bagels on Sale at Giant for St. Patrick's Day

I’m sorry but green bagels for St. Patrick’s Day is just not appealing. Plus bagels aren’t even Irish to begin with!

I used to eat Lucky Charms cereal a lot as a child. It’s been years since I last had a bowl of Lucky Charms. I saw Lucky Charms sold in individual cups on sale at Giant for 99 cents. I bought a couple of Lucky Charm cups for old times’ sake. Yes, the leprechaun is still on the package.

Lucky Charms Cereal Cup

Lucky Charms Cereal Cup

Lucky Charms Cereal Cup

They tasted just like how I remembered them. Giant also had other kids’ cereals sold in individual cups like Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Puffs. I probably won’t be buying these cups too often but they are nice for a once-in-a-while occasion where I find myself wishing I could eat Frosted Flakes but I don’t want to buy an entire box of the stuff.

Even though these next two photos aren’t Irish, they are green, which is the traditional St. Patrick’s Day color so I’m including them here. Sour Lemon Lime Peeps are a thing this year. I found this pack at Five Below. I found that they tasted way sweeter than the usual marshmallow Peeps.

Sour Lemon Lime Twist Peeps

Sour Lemon Lime Twist Peeps

Four years ago I wrote this rant titled A Warning For Those Who Intend to Enter This Year’s Peeps Diorama Contest after I saw a Washington Post Peeps diorama wall calendar that had gone on sale at a local store. As someone who entered the contest two years in a row (in 2008 and 2009), I realized the full implications of that release I was required to sign before I could even enter my dioramas in that contest where The Washington Post could launch spin-off products without having to pay a dime to the original artists and the artists had no legal recourse because they signed that release just like I did.

In the years since I wrote that rant, I noticed that it would become the most-read post during the time of the year when The Washington Post announced its annual Peeps diorama contest only to have it slip out of WordPress.com’s list of my top ten most-read posts once the winners were announced. In fact, seeing that post rise to the top of the most-read list is how I usually knew that The Washington Post has announced a new call for entries to that contest.

According to this article on DCist.com, The Washington Post will no longer hold the Peeps diorama contest. The Washington Post said that it has been getting fewer submissions, which correlates to the decline in readership in recent years. So, after 10 years, the annual Washington Post Peeps diorama contest is now history.

However, the alternative weekly Washington City Paper is hinting that it may pick up the Peeps diorama contest and the show could still go on this year. In the meantime there is a DC-area Peeps diorama contest that’s being held at National Harbor (which makes sense since the Peeps store is located there) but the theme of that contest is limited to depicting the new National Harbor social media campaign #ThisIsHowYouHarbor.

In commemoration to the now-defunct Washington Post Peeps diorama contest, I’ll end with post with a few videos—all of which I shot. The first two feature Peeps dioramas that were submitted to that contest by the late prolific Peeps diorama artist Carl Cordell and he later displayed all of his dioramas at the 2008 Artomatic.

The last two are my own entries to the contest that I submitted in 2008 and 2009. I didn’t even get Honorable Mention. I decided to quit after 2009 when I read that The Washington Post received over 1,000 submissions that year and I decided that it wasn’t worth working on something that would most likely get lost in the shuffle. So, without further ado, here are Peep Floyd and Pop Star Peepney Pursued by the Peeperazzi.

UPDATE (April 16, 2017): The Washington City Paper went through with its hint that it would pick up the Peeps diorama contest for this year. They pulled it off despite the short notice. Following The Washington Post‘s previous tradition of announcing the contest winners on Easter Sunday, the City Paper has posted the winners on its website today. If you’re in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area, you can view these winning dioramas in person at the Peeps store located at National Harbor. Given the response to this contest, it’s very likely that The Washington City Paper will probably hold this contest again in 2018 and in the years to come.

Dancing Skeleton

I had a relatively quiet Halloween this year due mainly to a combination of tight finances and my mother’s latest health battle. (She spent a few days in the hospital earlier this month for sepsis.) I purchased this interesting pack of marshmallow Peeps from Five Below because these Halloween Peeps looked pretty unusual. I’ve seen Halloween Peeps shaped like black cats, ghosts, jack o’lanterns, and gravestones but this was the first time I’ve seen Peeps shaped like Frankenstein’s head.

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But that’s not all I found at Five Below. I also found pumpkin spice-flavored Peeps. These are the chicks that I usually see at Easter but I guess Just Born has decided that chicks aren’t just for Easter anymore.

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I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the combination of marshmallow, white chocolate fudge, and pumpkin spice but I found that they were quite tasty.

Among the treats I gave out this year was Utz Bats & Jacks Pretzels. That pack usually gives out a free black and white Halloween decoration (which is basically the Utz girl dressed as a witch while being surrounded by bats).

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The same decoration is given out each year. I know that the decoration is in black and white because it’s meant for children to color it using crayons or other media. I displayed it outside a couple of years ago in its uncolored state at the last minute before the first trick or treater arrived. This year I decided to take out some colored pencils and color it in.

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I did the coloring Friday night. I displayed it in the trunk of my car at my church’s Trunk or Treat event yesterday (Sunday), which was held in the parking lot for the children at that congregation. I took some photos of the event, which I’ll write about later.

After the Trunk or Treat event I hung that same colored decoration on the door of my home alongside the ghost from the Scream movies (which I’ve owned for a number of years) and a traditional Mexican Day of the Dead decoration (which I purchased from Five Below just a couple of days ago for only 99 cents).

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Like I wrote two weeks ago, I purchased this new bat to replace a previous bat that was stolen from the porch in 2014.

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I have a Grim Reaper dangling from the bottom of my mailbox near my small coffin.

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I also have some smaller Halloween items placed on the front porch near the coffin and Grim Reaper.

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I deliberately didn’t cut down the dead Black-Eyed Susans and other dead foliage in order to have this dead plants effect (which is way cheaper than buying fake dead Halloween foliage in the stores). Safeway had a special “2 medium pumpkins for $10” sale so I bought two pumpkins and carved jack o’lantern faces on them then placed them among the dead plants. I kept the seeds and roasted them so I now have healthy snacks.

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The next photos were taken in Glen Burnie earlier this month during one of the days I visited my mother in the hospital. After that visit I drove past a couple of homes where I saw those Donald Trump signs on the front lawn, which were the first homes I’ve ever seen anyone display anything that was pro-Trump. (It figures that I saw them in the town where I grew up from ages 5-19.) After I took photos of those two houses with the Trump signs, I decided to stop by Giant because I needed to buy a few things and I thought it would be easier to buy them at the Giant in Glen Burnie then drive straight home. I got out of that store just in time to enjoy this lovely sunset.

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In the same shopping center as that particular Giant I saw that one of those Spirit of Halloween stores had set up its temporary shop there.

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I went over to that store where I took these pictures documenting what’s considered “in” for Halloween 2016.

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Of course since this is an election year, there would be opportunities for people to dress up as either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

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There was a Bernie Sanders mask available for sale. It’s too bad that there were reports of primary election rigging in places like IllinoisMassachusettsKentuckyArizonaNew YorkCalifornia, and Nevada since there were many poll results that stated that Bernie Sanders could’ve beaten Donald Trump by a much wider margin than the current narrow margin between Clinton and Trump. (Some recent polls say that Hillary Clinton has since come out way ahead but who knows what will go down on November 8.)

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I didn’t buy anything at that store due to tight finances. Even if I could afford to shop there I don’t think I would buy very many items because I’m really not into large lawn displays and there are so many costumes and masks that I can really keep in my home before I get overrun with costumes and masks.

I spent the bulk of Halloween day going to the first of a two-day session on how to improve my job hunting skills that’s offered by the State of Maryland. It’s currently being held in its offices in Laurel, which is located next to Laurel Shopping Center. During one of the breaks I walked around the far end of that shopping center where I saw the place where a second-run movie theater used to operate (but it went out of business a few years ago). There’s currently a haunted house known as Laurel’s House of Horrors that’s operating there. I didn’t go inside at all mainly because the admission was $30 and I’m really not into spending that much money on something that’s only going to last one hour at the most. I have to admit that the exterior looked interesting.

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I’ll finish this entry with this giant spider in the center of this giant spider web that’s currently displayed outside Makerspace 125.

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I went to the fourth annual Silver Spring Maker Faire. I’ve gone to the three previous Maker Faires but all those other years I had to cut my visit short due to a meeting or something similar. This year was the first year where I didn’t have anything else scheduled or other things that I needed to do that day so I could just leisurely tour the Maker Faire at my own pace.

Across the street from Veterans Plaza, where the Maker Faire was held, a group of Hare Krishnas were doing their chanting and proselytizing outside of a Chick-fil-A of all places. (It’s convenient for the Hare Krishnas that Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays because, otherwise, the fast food chain’s Fundamentalist Christian owners would literally have a cow over this. LOL!)

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

I eventually dodged the Hare Krishnas and made my way to the Maker Faire, where I took these pictures.

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

2016 Silver Spring Maker Faire

I also shot a short video showing some of the exhibits that were either moving or making sounds.

All in all it was a great event on a very beautiful day in weather that was warm but not too hot and the humidity was low. I enjoyed myself.

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.

Last week I did some shopping at a local Safeway where I saw these items.

If you’ve ever read the Harry Potter books or watched the movie versions, you would’ve heard all about butterbeer.  I saw this four-pack on sale that comes awfully close to butterbeer. (No, I didn’t buy the four-pack on that trip because I didn’t have spare money.) I would like to do so in the future because I’m curious as to what butterbeer would actually taste like.

Real Life Butterbeer on Sale at Safeway

In the frozen food section I found chicken patties shaped like dinosaurs. No kidding!

Dinosaur-Shaped Chicken Patties

And last, but not least, I saw these huge stuffed animals resembling the marshmallow Peeps bunnies. (Which indicates that we are now in Lent season and Easter will be coming soon.)

Stuffed Peeps Bunnies

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