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Santa Claus

Since today is Christmas Day, I figured that it would be very appropriate to blog about The Doll and Teddy Bear Show that took place at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg, Maryland earlier this month.

I used to go to that show frequently. While the show, which is held about two or three times a year, has always had a huge emphasis on vintage dolls prior to 1960, I remember that the show had tables that were devoted to more recent dolls from my own childhood (such as Beautiful Crissy, Barbie, and Dawn) as well as newer dolls from recent years. I even remember seeing a table or two selling Asian ball jointed dolls.

I have lots of memories of going to those shows, starting with the couple of times I attended doll meet-ups at the Gaithersburg show that were organized through the Den of Angels forum where we all carried our Asian ball-jointed dolls around the show as we browsed the various vendor tables.

It was at one of these shows in September, 2005 where I found a vintage Velvet doll that was partially clad and had eye mold. I purchased her for only $10 then went to another table that sold vintage doll clothes and purchased Velvet’s original dress with a pair of shoes in her size for another $10. I managed to get rid of the eye mold and restored Velvet to her original glory. I took photos of what I did at the time. I later wrote a post about what I did back in 2010 and that post still remains among my more popular posts of all time.

At another show I found two vintage circa-1940s dolls that were totally disheveled and they were on sale for only $3 each. I purchased both of them and I turned one of them into a Little Red Riding Hood doll that I later sold on Etsy. (I’ve since misplaced the other doll but I’m hoping that she’ll eventually turn up once I get really serious of decluttering my home once and for all.) It was at that same show where I had unfortunate encounters with vendors whose hearts weren’t clearly into their profession of selling dolls.

The last time I went to a show was in 2011, when I purchased a couple of adorable outfits that were perfect for this doll that I had recently purchased. But then my hip problem became so acute that I had to have surgery followed by my husband leaving me abruptly just three months after my surgery. Then I spent the next few years dealing with the fallout from the hip surgery and divorce while adjusting to my new reality. (And that’s not to mention the crappy economy and the crazy politics that have gone on since an African American was elected to the White House for the first time followed by unlikely election of Donald Trump. But that’s a whole different series of blog posts that have nothing to do with the topic of this post.)

So it was 2017 and I found out online that another doll and teddy bear show was being held in Gaithersburg in early December. I hadn’t gone in six years so I was ready to visit again. I remember that the December show was usually the biggest one. The show’s organizers would rent more space than usual and it would be filled with lots of vendors and lots of dolls and teddy bears. I was looking forward to seeing some eye candy. My attitude was that I would purchase a new doll and/or doll clothes only if such items fit in with my tight budget but, otherwise, I was only there for window shopping with no anticipation of buying anything new for myself. I wasn’t disappointed because there were tons of eye candy and I took tons of photographs to prove it.

There were plenty of Christmas-related dolls and teddy bears for sale but I found one vendor table that had a Hanukkah menorah on display.

The most memorable booth was the one that sold Lenci dolls. The most notable thing about these dolls is that Dare Wright used her own Lenci doll in The Lonely Doll book series. I found them to be very lovely to see in person.

I really loved the expressive look on their faces.

Lenci even made a Madonna and Child doll.


Many of the outfits on these dolls are very exquisite.

The only thing about Lenci dolls is that the original company went out of business in 2002. As a result many of these dolls are collector items and they are definitely not cheap. Many of the ones I saw on sale cost thousands of dollars. The cheapest Lenci doll I found was a tiny doll that was less than one inch tall and that was on sale for a whopping $75.

The show had plenty of miniatures on sale that were made for dollhouses.

I even saw hand-painted clothespin dolls at that show.

I saw American Girl dolls on sale that were even cheaper than buying a new doll at the American Girl Place store.

I found two Barbie dolls that were made to resemble Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance from the famous “Job Switching” episode of the TV sitcom I Love Lucy. (That’s the one where Lucy and Ethel get jobs working in a chocolate factory only to have their stint be short-lived.)

One table had a variety of doll parts in a variety of sizes available for sale. It would be great for anyone who was looking for a part for an old doll.

Since the show was known as The Doll and Teddy Bear Show, it was natural that there were plenty of bears there, as well as other types of stuffed animals (such as rabbits, and dogs).

There were plenty of Santa Claus dolls available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Some vendors had those reborn baby dolls which look very lifelike.

I found some odd things on sale at that show, such as this vintage children’s book called Beloved Belindy. It was written by Johnny Gruelle, who was the original creator of Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. With the Aunt Jemima/Mammy-style illustration on the front cover, I can see why Beloved Belindy is more obscure today than Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy.

I saw a couple of Native American kachina dolls on sale at one table.

I vaguely remembered when I was a very young child, there was a TV show called Julia, which starred Diahann Carroll. That show is remembered today as the first TV show to depict an African American woman in a non-stereotypical role. (The main character worked as a nurse.) I remember some kids in my elementary school had Julia lunch boxes but I never realized that a Barbie-sized doll was also released until I went to that show.

I saw a couple of other dolls based on the main characters in the TV shows The Flying Nun and I Dream of Jeannie.

I saw this one vintage Mickey Mouse doll.

There were plenty of vintage Barbie dolls but the ones that still had their original boxes were expensive.

I saw some vintage dolls that were based on Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

I saw a set of vintage Dionne Quintuplets baby dolls. I have to admit that they are adorable to behold as long as you’re willing to overlook the sad real-life story of what happened to those girls behind the dolls.

I found these bottles of dollhouse-sized perfume and cologne to be totally cute.

I found this sign announcing that a family-owned business will close down in a few months after being in business for 72 years.

Most of the dolls and stuffed animals on sale were very expensive. I found one vendor table that sold something called Bling Dolls, which measure around six inches tall.

They cost $6 each but if you bought two or more, they would cost only $5 each. I might have considered buying two if it weren’t for the fact that all of the dolls had the same hairstyle, hair color, eye color, and skin color. That one doll type was cute but I wasn’t into buying the same doll with different outfits.

I basically bought only one Bling Doll. It was an impulse buy but she costs $6 and I found her to be quite cute.

There’s a keychain attached to her head, which means that she can either be attached to a few keys or clipped to a backpack.

Here’s a closeup of her face.

I took those last three pictures while I was eating lunch that I had purchased from the food stand at the show. A woman sat down near me and we started talking. Like me she had also attended previous doll shows and she mentioned that she felt it was smaller than she remembered.

As I was walking around the show I noticed that too. I remember the Christmas doll shows used to fill at least six large rooms. It would literally take me at least two or three hours to visit them all and I would be exhausted from visiting every single vendor table. This time I basically finished the entire show in less than 90 minutes. On top of it, I saw no Asian ball jointed dolls or even recent modern dolls from the 1970’s onwards. The vast majority of dolls on sale were made before 1960. The older dolls looked nice but they were very expensive. (It was common to see such dolls being on sale for over $100.) I still remember the day when I bought a wrecked Velvet doll for under $20 and I rehabilitated her. Or the times when I found some cool fabric that would be perfect for a doll outfit or a really neat doll clothes pattern that I wanted to try or a really interesting doll book that I decided that I wanted to read.

I don’t know for sure why it had changed so much. Maybe it’s the rise of sites like eBay and Etsy where people prefer to sell online than to actually transport their wares to a doll and teddy bear show. Maybe it’s the rotten economy where too many people have finances so tight that purchasing an expensive doll would be considered a frivolous luxury that they literally can’t afford. Whatever the reason, this show didn’t really have the little surprises that used to amaze me so much and were so relatively affordable that I ended up making impulse buys. The only surprise that really came close was that $6 Bling Doll I purchased. She’s a cute find but I still remember the show’s better days in the past.

The only fringe benefit of going to a smaller show is that I still had time in the afternoon to check out a flea market that was also held on the grounds of the Montgomery County Fairgrounds but it was located on the other side from where The Doll and Teddy Bear Show was held. I ended the day by checking out a show that was held closer to my home and it was also where I ran into a lot of my friends. I’ll write about those two events in a separate post.

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Santa Claus Baby New Year

In the wake of the recent presidential elections that resulted in Donald Trump becoming the next President of the United States, there have been concerns about his antics, especially regarding his tweets on Twitter, where he has managed to piss off China and declared that the U.S. will be creating more nuclear missiles and possibly using them. There are concerns about how suitable he really is to occupy the Oval Office.

The Electoral College was scheduled to meet on December 19. Usually they tend to rubber stamp the results of the elections. This time a movement known as the Hamilton Electors sprang up and they were urging the Electoral College to reject Trump in favor of a more moderate Republican like Mitt Romney or John McCain. On December 19 these Hamilton Electors had called for rallies to be held in every state capital in the U.S. urging the Electoral College to reject Trump in favor of someone more moderate and with more experience than Trump. (Donald Trump is the first president-elect in history with no prior military or political experience.)

Since I live in Maryland the rally was being held in Annapolis. I had thought about going there to make a stand against Trump. But then I remembered that Hillary Clinton had swept Maryland in the elections so Maryland’s Electoral College delegates had already pledged to vote for her instead of Trump or another Republican. On top of it, it was a cold day and I was less enthusiastic about freezing to make a public stand against Trump when my state’s delegates had already committed to Clinton. So I decided to skip the rally altogether and do something fun instead.

My decision turned out to be a good one for two reasons: 1) the Electoral College decided to award the presidency to Trump anyway despite the Hamilton Electors movement and 2) I went to a place that I hadn’t been to in two years and it was nice to go there again.

I went to Valley View Farms in Cockeysville. It’s a long commute from the DC area but it’s so worth it because it has one of the most awesome Christmas shops anywhere in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. Here are some photos I took to show how awesome it is.

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And if you like these photos, check out photos I took of the same place in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

A few weeks ago I was going through my Flickr account when I found this album I created back in 2009 that has brought back memories for me. Here’s some background.

In late 2008 I underwent a hip replacement followed by several months of physical therapy. By early September I was starting to feel like my old self again. One day I was browsing through both the This is Blythe website and forum (both of which sadly no longer exist). I saw a notice in the Meetups section of the forum announcing a meetup of Blythe doll owners at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show that was held at a school in Waldorf. I was intrigued by the announcement so I went. I took my camera with me (this was long before I had received my first smartphone) and I also brought this doll, who was the model in this photograph that I actually exhibited in a few local art shows.

Blythe Doll in Cherry Blossom Tree

This particular Blythe is an Ashton-Drake Galleries reproduction of an early 1970’s Blythe doll that was manufactured by the now-defunct Kenner Toy Company. If she had been an actual Kenner Blythe, she would be sold on eBay for at least $900. But since that doll is a reproduction, I bought her off eBay for around $60.

The notice on the original forum didn’t specify what time everyone was going to meet nor did anyone respond with saying that they were going to be there. I decided to pack the doll while thinking that if no one showed up for the meetup, I could still peruse the doll show itself so it wouldn’t be a total loss.

Basically I met other people (I remember that it was all women there) with their Blythes so I took out my doll and introduced myself. We all took photos of each other’s dolls and someone urged us photographers to post our pictures on Flickr then post the link to our albums on the forum. I did that.

In addition I also wrote some notes about the event shortly after the doll show, which I found on my hard drive. I think I took those notes around the time when I was considering starting a new blog so it would’ve made sense for me to take notes so I would have some content for this new blog. I think I may have even considered it starting it in the fall of 2009 but I ended up not doing it. I think it was probably because I still didn’t feel ready yet and I was still getting over the last vestiges of that hip surgery. In any case I didn’t take the plunge and start this blog until January 6, 2010—four months after the Blythe meetup took place.

Thanks to the current trend of having Throwback Thursdays on the web, I can now revisit that event using the notes that I took back in 2009. Basically I went to the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show exactly 10 months after my hip replacement surgery. I carried my Blythe doll in a bag because I wasn’t sure if the meetup was really going to take place or not since no time was specified. (My notes said that the doll show itself took place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on September 12, 2009.)

I arrived at the doll show where I paid my admission fee and I was encouraged to fill out this ticket for door prizes that were being given away. A new name would be drawn every hour until all of the prizes were given away. I began to peruse the various vendor tables filled with all kinds of dolls when I saw three women who were openly toting their Blythe dolls. So I pulled out my Blythe doll and introduced myself. The other women were very nice and friendly and their Blythes were all very lovely.

I remember we all started to peruse the vendor tables together when one of the women who was working the doll show was walking around calling my name. I caught up with that woman and she said that the other women had just had the hourly raffle prize drawing and  they pulled my ticket. So I walked over to the table that was near the entrance to the doll show and I had my choice of prizes. I remember that the prizes weren’t much and that was my only memory. I ended up picking this Asian doll that was encased in a plastic box.

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

I attempted to remove her from her box but her feet just wouldn’t budge so I figured that she was meant to stay in her box forever. There was some Asian writing on the bottom of the box but I didn’t know what it said since it was in a language that I was not familiar with.

After I picked up my new doll, I caught up with the others from the Blythe meetup. (I remember that it wasn’t a very big doll show so I had no problem with finding them.) At one point we decided to temporarily leave the doll show and eat lunch. We all carpooled over to a nearby Texas-themed BBQ restaurant where we displayed our Blythe dolls (and my newly won Asian doll) at our table.

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

We returned to the doll show after lunch where we shopped among the tables. A lot of vendors asked us questions about our dolls and seemed genuinely interested in Blythe. One of the vendors was kind enough to let us put our Blythe dolls among her merchandise and take pictures of them.

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

I also took a lot of photos of dolls other than Blythe. The show itself was held in a high school and the vendors were all set up in the cafeteria. The school cafeterias I used to eat in during my public school student days generally had no windows. This high school cafeteria was different in that one wall had a series of long windows that overlooked the hallway next to that room. The show organizers used the long windows to put up this display of dolls and stuffed animals. The toys displayed in the windows were not for sale at the show and the displays were pretty imaginative. Each window had a different theme ranging from Harry Potter to Raggedy Ann to fairies to dolls from around the world to Gone With the Wind. The window displays were really lovely to behold.

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

Doll and Toy Display

I remember that I stayed at the show for most of the afternoon socializing with the other Blythe doll owners until it was close to the time when the show would close. Soon after that meetup I uploaded my photos on to Flickr and I provided a link to my album on the This is Blythe forum.

I haven’t been to another Blythe meetup since that time. I went to a few other doll meetups but they were all for Asian ball-jointed dolls and I only went to the ones that were connected with an anime convention (mainly Katsucon and Otakon). The last anime convention I went to was Otakon in 2013 and I had pretty much stopped going to anime conventions because they had become way too crowded for my taste. (It got to the point where if you wanted to go to a certain panel, you had to stand in line for at least a half an hour before it began. Even then you weren’t guaranteed entrance because there were times when a room would be full by the time I had reached the front door of a panel.)

I haven’t been to another doll meetup since Otakon 2013. Right now attending doll meetups are a very low priority in my life. If one happens to occur near when I live and I don’t have anything else that I needed to do, I might go to another one just to check it out. Doll meetups are fun in that you can see actual dolls in person without having to buy them yourself but, to date, I have never made an actual friendship or created any kind of meaningful relationships through a doll meetup. Those types of meetups are basically focused on what dolls your brought rather than who the doll owner is and what does he/she do other than collect dolls. These days I find it easier to just look at photos of dolls on the Internet than to get in my car or hop on a Metro, go to some place, and meet a whole bunch of strangers where the only thing you have in common with any of them are dolls and everyone present basically talk about nothing but dolls the whole time you’re there.

The Southern Maryland Doll Club Show continues to be an annual event (the last one was held on September 12, 2015) but I haven’t been back since. I should think about returning for the heck of it, even if there is no doll meetup of any kind.

As for that Asian doll that I won as a door prize, I displayed her on a bedroom shelf for a few years.

Blythe Doll Meet-Up at the Southern Maryland Doll Club Show

Even though I thought she was cute, she didn’t really do much for me. The fact that she was permanently stuck in that plastic box enclosure didn’t help. The weirdest part about that box enclosure is that she’s covered on all four sides and the bottom yet the top has no lid or any kind of covering. That made dusting the doll a major hassle since I couldn’t remove her from that box. I placed shrink wrap over the top in order to keep out the dust. About a year or two after my husband walked out on me in late 2011 I ended up donating her to the American Rescue Workers as part of a general decluttering of my home.

I enjoyed myself at that one Blythe meetup but my biggest regret that I didn’t take any pictures of the other women who were there that day (although I took plenty photos of their dolls). I don’t remember their names or what they looked like or anything about their personalities. (Our discussions basically centered around dolls in general and Blythe in particular.) In fact, I haven’t seen any of those women since that meetup. If my memory is correct, I think it’s because the other three women all live in Southern Maryland while I live closer to Washington, DC so there is that distance factor. I also didn’t hang around the doll forums very much after my hip surgery so it was by chance that I happened to see that notice about that meetup in the first place. It’s still too bad that This is Blythe is no longer online because it was kind of cool reading posts by other members and seeing lots of nice doll photos.

At least I still have this Flickr album to remember that Blythe meetup by.

A few weeks ago I took part in the fall yard sale which benefitted Changing Focus, whose support group meetings I have been attending since my husband suddenly walked out on me in late 2011. This yard sale was held in conjunction with the larger Festival on the Green that’s held in Crofton, Maryland. I didn’t have as much to donate as previous yard sales because I’m finally starting to make a dent in my own pile of excess clutter (much of which was stuff that my ex-husband had left behind and didn’t show any interest in picking it up). I volunteered to help with the sorting the day before the yard sale and to also help out with the yard sale itself.

The big challenge for me was that I caught a really bad cold right before that yard sale. For both days I took some Emergen-C just so I could get through everything without wanting to fall asleep. It was cloudy both days but fortunately the rain held off and it attracted a lot of frugal shoppers.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Like the previous yard sales I was involved in, this one had a bunch of interesting items. There is this old overhead projector I remember used to be used frequently in classrooms from elementary school all the way to college. This is the really old-fashioned kind that doesn’t hook up to a computer and it uses sheets of plastic that were either printed on with a printer or written on with a marker prior to use. This one brought back a whole lot of memories for me while I also began to think that maybe this one is ready to be donated to a museum of some sort.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

And then there’s this JVC micro cassette recorder that uses actual micro cassette tapes.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

And a few blank 5.25-inch computer floppy disks.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

You also learn something new at yard sales. For example, I never knew that there was a jigsaw puzzle based on marshmallow Peeps.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Then there were the dolls, such as these creepy looking ones in the next few photos. The boxes said that they were “Swinging Hobo” dolls but they looked more like clowns to me.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015I found Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy. I once had both rag dolls as a child. These dolls still sport the embroidery heart underneath their clothes that says “I Love You”.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015
Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

I saw this very cute porcelain tea set that’s doll-sized and would be perfect for a tea party. (I was briefly tempted to buy it but I ended not doing so because I’m kind of adverse to add new clutter to the household these days.)

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Then there were some items that I didn’t even know what the hell they were.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

There were all kinds of stuff available for sale.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015     Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 26, 2015

I was one of the volunteers to was in charge of taking money from people who wanted to buy something from the yard sale. I bought my lunch from one of the food vendors at the Festival on the Green. During one of my breaks, I walked over to the Festival on the Green’s craft show that was held at the country club that was located next to the church where the yard sale took place.

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Crofton Festival on the Green, September 26, 2015

Friday the 13th

FREE TUTORIALS

Planning a night garden party once the weather warms up for the spring? Here’s a free tutorial on how to make glow-in-the-dark jars that only costs 20 cents each.

This free tutorial on how to make weathered-looking signs includes instructions on how to transfer anything printed on an ink jet printer to the surface of your project.

Here’s a free tutorial on how to make your own Raggedy Ann-style doll.

Here’s a video tutorial that shows how Sonia Singh of Tree Change Dolls takes used thrift shop dolls, removes the original factory paint, and re-paints their faces. She especially has a talent for taking Bratz dolls and making them look less like overly made-up tarts and more like real people.

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Still haven’t found anything appropriate for your Valentine? No problem. Here’s a free tutorial on how to make a DIY Confetti Painted Heart Mug that you can quickly whip out in about an hour or less.

MISCELLANEOUS LINKS

Here’s a map of the United States that emphasizes the most iconic movie filmed in each state. It’s kind of cool that The Blair Witch Project is considered the iconic movie for my state (Maryland) since I thought it was an interesting film. (Avoid the sequel at all costs—it totally sucks.)

How the anti-domestic violence organization, No More, is more focused on branding and feel-good corporate marketing than on actually helping domestic abuse victims.

Here is a cool stop-motion animation showing artist Jon Rolph recreating a Piet Mondrian masterpiece with Legos

Here’s a realistic looking midcentury American town that is actually made up of 1/24 scale miniatures.

A fascinating story about a novelist named Barbara Newhall Follett who published her first novel to major critical acclaim at 13 only to mysteriously vanish without a trace just a few years later. (By the way, you can now download for free her first novel that she published at 13, The House Without Windows & Eepersip’s Life There, right here.)

Another fascinating story about a man known as Australia’s oldest man, 109-year-old Alfie Date, who spends his days knitting small sweaters for penguins injured by an oil spill.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, which is when the much-hyped movie is finally unleashed to the world that I like to call Fifty Shades of Twilight Fan Fiction (because Fifty Shades of Grey originally started as Twilight fan fiction—all this “writer” did was to turn the vampires and werewolves into human beings, made the female character just a few years older than the teenaged Bella, and included lots of sex and BDSM). Instead of shelling out money to watch this in the theaters, here are some cheaper—and far more enjoyable—ways of experiencing the movie for yourself.

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