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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.
The past few days I’ve been writing about having a Tabletop Christmas and I’ve timed these writings so they would be uploaded during the traditional 12 days of Christmas. Today I’m going to write about handmade ornaments.
If you were to read enough back issues of this blog, you’d know that this blog’s main focus is on my arts, crafts, and photography. I’ve previously written about some of the ornaments I have that I made myself. Today I’m going to write about the ornaments I currently own that were handmade by other people.
Back in 2011 I purchased this hand-decorated ornament ball at a local arts and crafts show for my then-husband as a Christmas present. Even though, by that point, we had so many ornaments that we couldn’t put them all up because we didn’t have room on the tree, I purchased it anyway because my husband always told me that he loved Christmas balls and he had been miffed that we didn’t have too many ball-shaped ornaments. At the time I didn’t know that my husband had been secretly planning his exit from our marriage three days after Christmas (he didn’t even tell me that he was the least bit unhappy and he pretended that he “loved” me). So it turned out to be among the last Christmas presents I ever gave my husband. This ball survived the Christmas ornaments purge the following year because I really liked the delicate lace-like painted design on it.
The next ornament is a lace fan that has been permanently stiffened so it would always be a bit wavy. I had a co-worker at one of my old jobs who was a recent newlywed. Her mother-in-law and father-in-law had escaped their native Cuba while her mother-in-law was pregnant with her future husband. (My co-worker said that her husband would frequently quip that he was made in Cuba but born in the U.S.A.) Her mother-in-law was a very crafty person and she made a bunch of these Christmas ornaments. My co-worker brought a few into the office to sell on behalf of her mother-in-law and I purchased this fan. I love its pretty delicate appearance.
This folk art bird was among the many ornaments that my then-husband had brought with him when we were married. His late mother’s side of the family were Hungarian and this ornament definitely has Eastern European-style patterns on it. This was among the ornaments that he decided to leave behind. I kept the bird because I really like the folk art quality it has.
As I wrote earlier, I’ve made a few fused glass ornaments by taking workshops that my friend Tina Van Pelt teaches through her business Profusions of Glass. The ornament in the next photo is one that Tina made herself.
This next ornament is a handmade one that I’ve owned since childhood. It’s a diamond-shaped mirror with a gold cherub in the center surrounded by tiny gold trim. I remember purchasing it at an arts and crafts show but I don’t recall if the show was held at the Catholic church my family attended at the time or if it was held at the now-demolished Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie, Maryland. I remember once having two of these mirrored ornaments but I don’t remember if they were sold as a set or if I simply bought two of them. I remember they weren’t very expensive because I was able to buy them with my allowance money. I only have one of these mirrored ornaments because the other one broke years ago. I’m amazed that this ornament has lasted so many years.
The small beaded ornaments in the next two photographs were made by my sister-in-law. One is shaped like a Christmas tree while the other is shaped like a bell. Here’s some background. At the time we were married, my future ex-husband had only one living grandparent left. She was the widow of Michael Somogyi, whose diabetes research had earned him his own Wikipedia page. (No, I never met him. He had been long dead by the time I met my future ex.) She wasn’t able to make it to our wedding because she lived in St. Louis and her health had grown too frail to make the long travel to our wedding in Maryland. She died about a year-and-a-half after our wedding. Members of the Somogyi family decided to use her death as an occasion to hold a family reunion in St. Louis. My sister-in-law made these tiny beaded ornaments to give to all of the attendees. (I recall at least 50 people showed up, which meant that my sister-in-law was very busy for several months before the reunion.) My ex-husband left those behind and I’ve kept them because the beaded ornaments make a really cool glittery effect when the lights are on.
The last photograph shows a pair of miniature teacups. For many years there was a woman who made them and she had a booth at the annual Greenbelt Festival of Lights. These were made as a set. I purchased them five years ago (I remember buying them shortly before my husband left me)and I was glad I bought them when I had the chance because I didn’t see her booth at the Greenbelt Festival of Lights this year. I don’t know why she wasn’t there. These teacups look so dainty and delicate hanging from the tree.
The opening ceremony for the Festival of Lights happened just a few days earlier, which led the way for the biggest event of this festival: The Festival of Lights Arts & Crafts Show. This is among the events I make an effort to attend each year because I always run into at least two or more friends and I usually find at least one present to give to someone. This year was no exception.
The arts and crafts show runs the entire weekend but I was only able to attend the second and final day. In some ways the second day is better because it ties in with the last Greenbelt Farmers Market of the year before it goes on the winter hiatus until May. I managed to take this picture of some really nicely decorated Christmas decorations that were painted gourds.
I saw these nice instruments that were handmade from wood. They were made and sold by Roussell Family Arts.
These watercolors were made by Mary Ann Lipovsky, whose workshops I’ve taken in the past when she held them at Makerspace 125. (She told me that there’s a chance that she may start up those workshops at Makerspace 125 again sometime next year.)
I also visited my good friend, Tina Van Pelt, who’s a fused glass artist. She surprised me with this gift of a fused glass piece that could be worn as either a pin or a pendant. (She gave it to me as a special “thank you” for helping her out with a few things.) She’s been making fused glass American flags interspersed with safety pins as part of the new trend of wearing safety pins that have taken root since Donald Trump’s election last month. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this special line will go to the ACLU.
You can view more of her work through her business, Profusions of Glass.
I purchased this soap as a Christmas present for my mother. (I’m comfortable with mentioning it here before Christmas because she’s not on the Internet at all.) It’s shaped like a popsicle complete with a wooden stick.
I think she’ll get a kick out of it. Unfortunately I didn’t get any business cards from the booth where I purchased this soap so I can’t provide any information about the person who made and sold this.
There were more booths at this year’s event but those were the only photos I took because I was more focused on shopping and socializing with friends.
One of my friends from my Unitarian Universalist congregation asked me to do a favor for her. Basically she wanted to sell her fused glass jewelry at the annual church auction but she was going to be out of town for the weekend but she still wanted someone to sell her jewelry on her behalf. (Especially since 50% of the proceeds would go to the church.) So I agreed to do it. I took a few photos of my set up at the church auction.
The next picture shows some of the fused glass jewelry that was on sale that evening. (The flaming chalice that’s in some of the jewelry in the next photo is a symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith.)
The last photo shows samples of my banana bread that I baked for this auction. (I put two loaves up for auction while I made a third loaf to give away as free samples.)
If you like the fused glass in these pictures, check out my friend’s business, Profusions of Glass.
Once every summer there is usually a tye-dye day at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland. It’s an all-ages event where children begin tye-dyeing while their parents and other adults are attending Sunday service. Once service ends and the post-service social time begins, the adults will join in the fray. While people are free to bring their own items from home to tye-dye, there are a limited number of white clothes available for people who forgot to bring anything. Tye-dye day is organized by Tina Van Pelt, who’s more well-known in the local arts and crafts scene for her fused glass jewelry that she sells through her Profusions of Glass studio.
For her tye-dyeing projects, Tina swears by dye that’s manufactured by the Dharma Trading Co.
As you can see in the next few photos, a good time was had by all.
Even though I got a notice via e-mail and Facebook about this event, I forgot to bring a shirt. (Ironically I have a few extra white t-shirts at home.) There were some white clothing available but the vast majority of them were in children’s sizes. Then I found a sports tank top t-shirt in an Adult Large size and I decided to try my own hand at tye-dyeing. I’ll admit that I haven’t done any tye-dyeing since I was a child so I had to literally think through my childhood memories in order to figure out how to do this project.
When the dyeing was done, I was given a plastic zip-lock bag to keep the shirt in. Tina instructed me to keep it out in the sunshine for 24 hours. I left the shirt in my car because i don’t have a garage and I have to park it outside where it gets exposed to full sun.
The next day I consulted Dharma Trading Co.’s tutorial in order to see what to do next after I take the shirt out of the zip lock bag. I followed the instructions to the best of my abilities even though I had to use regular detergent for the post-dyeing wash because I didn’t have Synthrapol or Professional Textile Detergent on hand. Here is the result of my tye-dye effort.
The front of the shirt.
The back of the shirt.
Here’s a selfie I took while I was modeling the t-shirt, a multicolored rainbow wig, and over-sized sunglasses.
It’s a sports tank top so it’s a bit on the tight side. But it’s still very comfortable to wear.
After I got out of church today I decided to check out the annual ArtsFest that was held today in Riverdale Park, Maryland.
When I first arrived to the area, I was greeted by a display of classic vintage cars and one classic Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
There was also this unique one-of-a-kind art car that looked really cool. The owner/artist is known as Clarke Bedford and he has more visually interesting stuff at his website.
At one point one of the owners of one of those classic cars would periodically get in his car, start the engine, then rev up the motor for at least five minutes. He did this at twice while I was at ArtsFest and it’s possible he may have done it more times before I arrived. What was really bad was that it was so obvious that his car didn’t have a muffler installed because it was so noisy that it drowned out the music and people’s conversations in general. I don’t know why he was doing it other than to say “LOOK AT ME! I’M AN ATTENTION-WHORING ASSHOLE IN A VINTAGE CAR WITH A LOUD MOTOR BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE A MUFFLER BECAUSE I THINK THEY ARE FOR EFFEMINATE SISSIES!” I heard several people complain about this guy’s antics. All I can say is that I’m glad he doesn’t live in my neighborhood.
I basically went there to see if a friend of mine was there and, sure enough, she was. Here are a couple of photos of some of her fused glass jewelry and plates. Her name is Tina Van Pelt and she has her own fused glass studio known as Profusions of Glass.
One strange highlight of ArtsFest came when I was visiting other tables and came across one table that sold porcelain dolls in their original boxes. Some were marked as Madame Alexander dolls. Each doll was on sale for $20. The woman behind the table claimed that her mother, who recently died, was a doll collector and the items on that table were from her personal collection. The woman also claimed that she did an eBay search where, according to her, these same dolls that she was selling in real life for $20 each were selling on eBay for as much as $150. She was trying to get me to buy one of her dolls for $20 while convincing me that I could sell that same doll later on eBay for $150.
I ended up not buying anything from her table because 1) I’m not into porcelain dolls, 2) I’m trying to watch my money these days, 3) I’m trying to avoid cluttering the house with more stuff, and 4) I call “bullshit” on her claim that I can resell those dolls on eBay for a lot more money than the $20 I would’ve spent. After all, if those dolls were really worth $150 each on eBay, why wasn’t she selling them online herself so she could pocket the $150 profit on each doll instead of selling those dolls on that table at ArtsFest for $20 each?
Come to think of it, I wonder if those dolls in the Madame Alexander boxes were really from the doll company or if they were just some clever bootlegs? I didn’t take any pictures of that table, which I now regret because I could’ve done my own online research to see how much of a bullshitter that woman really was. Oh well.
Last Friday (December 13) I was invited to a fused glass ornament making workshop that was led by Tina Van Pelt in her Profusions of Glass studio and I made this gingerbread man. The results turned out really well. One could feel hungry looking at it (even though it’s not edible).
It didn’t take me long making this ornament but I stayed a while because some of my other friends were also there so I spent some time socializing. It was a fun, creative, and relaxing evening.
It was just as well that I went because, lately, my therapist has been urging me to get out of the house more and socialize with my friends so I can further put the whole ugly separation and divorce further behind me.
This opportunity to sell at another festival literally fell into my lap, which I wrote about in this blog entry. Basically a friend of mine, Tina Van Pelt, wanted to sell her fused glass items under the Profusions of Glass name but she had planned to be out of town that weekend so she and I hashed out an agreement where I would sell her things along with mine. In exchange she would pay the $20 vendor fee and I would get a 20% cut of whatever I sold of her things.
Despite that agreement, I came very close to cancelling participation in the first-ever Acorns A Go-Go Groovy Vegan Fest. For the past few days it had been raining non-stop (this latest storm started the same day that I went to downtown Washington, DC to take part in the latest Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School at Chief Ike’s Mambo Lounge) and at times it was really pouring heavily. My Accuweather App on my smartphone predicted that it would be more of the same weather on the day of the festival.
But then something happened on the morning of the festival. Even though it was still cloudy and the ground was wet, it stopped raining. I still waited with trepidation because I thought that it would be a short-lived thing. As it got closer to festival time, I found that the rain was holding off so I decided to participate after all.
After experimenting with using a beach umbrella for the last couple of shows, I decided to go for it and use the whole canopy that my husband and I used to put up together. I thought that the canopy would provide better protection from the rain than that beach umbrella. The downside is that, despite my efforts, it’s hard for one person to put up a canopy by herself. Fortunately, I had some people volunteer to help me with putting it up and I succeeded. Here is what my setup looked like.
A view of my tiny art canvases and my fairy dolls made from thrift shop Barbie dolls.
Another view of the fairy dolls alongside the animal bubbles (which I sold for $1 each or free with each purchase) and some of the fused glass earrings.
Some more of Tina Van Pelt’s fused glass jewelry and a couple of my polymer clay paperweights.
This item was my biggest seller. It was a bumper sticker I was inspired to create after the Federal Government Shutdown of 2013. I sold it for $1 each and there was a great reaction to it. There were a couple of people whom I had to explain who the man in the picture was (Senator Ted Cruz, the Tea Party Republican from Texas who, prior to the shutdown, gave this epic 21-hour speech on why Obamacare needs to be defunded and he was among the elected officials who cheered on the government shutdown).
My vending area was close to the stage so I was able to see the entertainment. The Mistress of Ceremonies was Honey LaBronx, the self-described Vegan Drag Queen who has a vegan cooking show on the Internet.
Throughout the day there were a couple of speeches urging the public to go vegan but there was plenty of entertainment as well, such as this guy who wore a black t-shirt that said "Vegan Strong" on the back and he busted some incredible breakdancing moves.
There was a hula hoop contest where the last hula hooper standing won a prize. (I forgot exactly what the prize was but I think it might’ve been a gift card or something like that.)
The entertainment lasted throughout the day as there were all kinds of bands and dancers.
In the end I only sold two of the fused glass earrings for $20 each. I did slightly better with selling one tiny canvas, one paperweight, and a bunch of anti-Ted Cruz bumperstickers. It’s not bad considering that it was in the middle of the Federal Government shutdown and there were a lot of cash-strapped furloughed federal employees and laid-off federal contractors who took advantage of the festival’s free admission. But I’m glad I decided to sell at that festival. The rain held out until 4 p.m., when there was a brief 15-minute shower. But then the rain stopped and it remained stopped through the 6 p.m. closing time. The rain still held out as I got some people to help me with taking down the canopy and I hauled the stuff to my car. About a half-an-hour after I returned home, it started to rain pretty hard. I was so lucky that day. 🙂