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Santa Claus

Here’s a free recipe and tutorial on how to create a gingerbread replica of the Millennial Falcon starship from Star Wars.

19 baffling vintage Christmas cards.

The 25 most popular passwords that people used in 2017 that you definitely do NOT want to use for yourself.

Check out the bizarre Christmas cards of comedian John Cessna.

All 19 fun, festive, utterly bizarre Rankin/Bass Christmas specials ranked from worst to best.

Chilling images of German Christmas decorations inspired by the Nazis.

Need a new Christmas tree topper? Here are free instructions on how to make one that resembles the house from the Disney/Pixar film Up.

27 completely tacky and hilarious Christmas displays.

Want to display ornaments without getting a Christmas tree? Here is a free tutorial on how to make a Christmas tree consisting entirely of ornaments.

29 viral posts and GIFs from 2017 that were totally fake.



Instead of crowding into some suburban shopping mall on Black Friday, I decided to check out some local alternative festivities that were going on with some locally owned businesses. I took so many photos that day that I decided to divide them into separate entries with each entry representing a different town or business that I went to.

I began Black Friday with a trip to Community Forklift, a warehouse store that specializes in used/upcycled/recycled items like appliances and hardware, which was having an alternative Green Friday celebration.

When I first arrived I noticed a few signs indicating that they welcome everyone no matter who they are. More and more locally owned businesses have been putting up such signs in their shops since Donald Trump moved into the White House.

Santa Claus was there that day.

One of the Community Forklift employees offered to take my picture with Santa so I allowed it.

There were all kinds of Santas that were available for sale at Community Forklift that day.

I really liked this cast-iron vintage oven and stovetop that was on sale. If I lived in a bigger house, I might consider buying it. But I have a small kitchen so I really don’t have the space. This oven would be an asset to anyone who is looking for vintage items.

There was a craft show at Community Forklift as well where local artisans were selling ornaments, jewelry, locally made honey, and other items.

Local musicians provided live music.

They had face painting for kids.

They had a couple of free make and take demonstrations. One was on making wreaths using natural materials.

The other was making coasters from recycled tiles. I’ve made such coasters in the past but this one had a technique I’ve never used before where you decoupaged backing paper on the tile first.

Then you selected a photo that you decoupaged on top of both the backing paper and the tile.

Afterwards you place a piece of cork on the table and add Modge Podge on the top.

Then you placed the tile on top of the cork and let everything dry for a few minutes.

I now have a new coaster with a blue-patterned background and a photo of the U.S.S. Constellation (which is docked at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore) on top.

After I went to Community Forklift, I headed to similar celebrations that were going on in Riverdale Park and Hyattsville but I’m going to write about them in separate posts.

I decided to head to Gaithersburg for a networking event that was taking place during the late afternoon-early evening hours. I looked up Gaithersburg on Google to see if there was anything that was worth checking out before the networking event and I learned that there is a historic district stemming from the era when Gaithersburg was a small rural town. So I decided to arrive in the area a little bit early and check it out.

The historic area has a train station with a History Park where one can sit on the benches next to a vintage locomotive that’s permanently parked there.

Next to the History Park is the Gaithersburg Community Museum. Unfortunately that museum has limited hours and I arrived after the museum had closed for the day. It’s a nice looking brick building. The Wikipedia has a paragraph about this museum if you’re really curious about it.

Gaithersburg started as small rural town but this photo shows how much development had encroached on the original town.

The downtown historical area has a lot of nice locally-owned shops. Apparently there’s a Latino population in the area because I saw a number of Latino restaurants and other Latino-owned businesses.

Many of the buildings have historical markers such as the ones in the next two photographs.

I ended my stay at the Gaithersburg historical district by visiting the area’s one and only antique store, which had a lot of interesting vintage stuff on sale.

I have to say that, compared to the historical districts in Laurel, Ellicott City, Annapolis, and Alexandria, Gaithersburg’s historical district is very small. I was able to tour all of it in less than 30 minutes. (Had the museum been open and/or I had opted to eat a meal in one of the restaurants, I could have stretched the touring time a bit more.) The architecture is charming but it’s one of those places where if you have to be in Gaithersburg for some reason, it’s worth a brief detour. But it’s really not worth going out of your way to visit because the aforementioned historical districts in other towns and cities are larger and simply offer more than historical Gaithersburg.

The networking event itself was located at the Casey Community Center just a few miles from the historic district. When I arrived there I found that this community center is really a converted barn, which I thought was interesting. (Most community centers I’ve visited tend to be in nondescript modern buildings.) I thought it was so cool that I couldn’t help taking pictures of it.

The entrance to the networking event itself was on the side of the building.

Recently I found this really cool vintage Volkswagen Beetle that someone had turned into an art car. While I don’t know for sure who had done this car, it has the hallmarks of one that was done by A. Clarke Bedford, based on his previous work he did to his home, his van, and one of his other cars.

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Art Car, October 8, 2017

Once again I volunteered to handle the money transaction for the yard sale that was held by Changing Focus, a nonprofit group that helps people deal with separation, divorce, and being widowed. The yard sale took place on the grounds of the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church in Crofton, Maryland, where the weekly Changing Focus meetings take place.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

The weather was cloudy and it veered between being warm and cool. When the sun was behind the clouds, I felt cool enough that I would wear my hooded sweatshirt that I brought with me.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

However when the sun emerged from behind the clouds, the temperature would suddenly shoot up and I would end up removing my sweatshirt.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

The weather was crazy at times but at least it didn’t rain so people were more likely to come out and do some shopping.

The yard sale gave me an opportunity to take pictures of some oddities that were on sale. I have to admit that the organizers’ decision to no longer accept certain electronics and other outdated items have had an effect. Like the spring yard sale that took place earlier this year, there were far fewer oddities that really belong in a museum than in the past. (My all-time personal favorite is the time when someone donated a Westinghouse vacuum tube that was still in its original box.) There were still a few items that were worth photographing but they were more of a cool vintage sort than something that was totally outdated. Some of the vintage items could easily belong in a museum.

These fuzzy slippers were obviously meant to resemble an animal but I wasn’t able to figure out which animal. (I couldn’t tell whether it was a bear or a pig with that snout.) In any case, I saw someone purchase it so it all worked out.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

This plate had the pictures and names of Canadian songbirds written in English and French. The one thing I learned is that Canada has the same songbirds as in the United States.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

Those Depression-era pink glass plates looked pretty nice. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m trying to live a more simple life with fewer possessions, I would’ve definitely bought the whole set.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

I never knew there was such a thing as a Never Clog Sugar Shaker.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

This one really caught my eye because it looks like something that belongs in a museum. It’s a cookbook called Frances Lee Barton’s Cooking School of the Air and it also has the name General Foods on it. Many of the pages had the date July 5, 1934 printed on the bottom of each page. I later did a Google search and found that this cookbook was based on a radio show that aired on the NBC Red Network from 1932-1935. After reading that, I found myself wishing I had actually bought it for myself because it would’ve been interesting to try some of the recipes from a long time ago. Oh well. I found that has a few used copies of that book so if I ever feel the need to cook any meals from that cookbook, I can buy it online.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

There was one customer who asked about what kind of furniture it was and it had me stumped. Someone else with the Changing Focus group figured out what it was. Apparently it was something that was used in the days before indoor plumbing became common. Basically one would draw water from a well then place some of the water in a pitcher on the top shelf level of the furniture. A bowl would be placed on the lower shelf while soap and other washing supplies would be placed in the cabinet below. Anyone wanting to wash up would take the pitcher of water, pour it into the bowl, then wash his/her hands or other body parts.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

There were a set of two wine glasses that also had seven colored 3 LED lights. The photos on the boxes made it look like one could drink liquids while the glass glowed a variety of different colors.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

This set of vintage 1948 crochet baby bibs looked really nice. It’s amazing that something that was handmade for a baby nearly 70 years ago has survived being spat upon and enduring other food stains.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

I came upon a postcard that caught my attention. It was for an ice cream parlor known as the Sugar Bowl. I remember when, during one of our numerous trips to Arizona, one of my husband’s step-sisters encouraged us to try going for ice cream at the Sugar Bowl in Scottsdale because that was one of her favorite places. We ate there once and I liked it. (I think my husband liked it as well but we only ate there once.) I looked on the back of this postcard and saw that it was the same Sugar Bowl that is in Scottsdale. That is pretty ironic that I would find this postcard at a yard sales held thousands of miles away from Scottsdale.

Changing Focus Yard Sale, September 30, 2017

The Changing Focus yard sale is usually held in conjunction with the Festival on the Green, a craft show that’s held on the grounds of the Crofton Country Club (which is located next to the Prince of Peace Presbyterian Church). At one point I managed to walk over to the festival where I saw all kinds of neat stuff.

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

There was even a boxing demonstration.

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

At one point I shot this photo of the mascot for the Washington Capitals NHL hockey team.

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

Someone who was in that same booth where the mascot was located had offered to take a picture of me with the mascot using my own camera. I only went along even though I wasn’t in the mood to have my picture taken. Here’s the shot.

Festival on the Green, September 30, 2017

I helped with the yard sale until 2 p.m. when a truck arrived to take the unsold items to a nearby thrift store. I helped with packing the inventory in boxes, loading them onto the truck, then dismantling the folding tables (which belonged to the church). It was sometime around 3:30 or 4 p.m. when I finally left Crofton.

I only purchased two things for myself and they were both from the yard sale. One was the first book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring. Among the numerous things that my ex-husband left behind when he abruptly ran away from home three days after Christmas in 2011 (and three months after I had hip surgery) were The Hobbit and two of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I tried looking for that third book but I couldn’t find it. (It would be weird if my husband had taken only the first book in that trilogy but none of the others but he’s been doing weird stuff ever since he ran away from home. In the process he has not only alienated me but many of our long-time friends as well.) It turned out that the yard sale only had one of the books and it was exactly the one that was missing from my home.

What I Purchased at the Changing Focus Yard Sale

I also purchased this book because it has some neat craft ideas that I wouldn’t mind trying in the future.

What I Purchased at the Changing Focus Yard Sale

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The 388-year-old bonsai that survived Hiroshima.

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