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Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 | 0 comments

Kate’s Custom Crochet Doll: The Rainbow Lady

Kate’s Custom Crochet Doll: The Rainbow Lady

If you live in Del Ray and have kids, I can all but guarantee you’ve heard of Rainbow Rock. They’re local musician Kate Moran’s band that has been performing for children since 2012 at parties and festivals, in cafes, and at the annual festival that Kate also produces in the spring, the Tot Rock Fest. When Kate performs, she transforms into “Rainbow Lady” in a colorful bob, rainbow t-shirt and hoodie, sky blue skirt with rainbow appliqué, and black-and-while saddle shoes. What would be more fitting than for Rainbow Lady to have her own lookalike plush doll. The idea came to her in a moment of serendipity, when Kate was browsing the booths at Del Ray’s annual Art on the Avenue last fall and met crocheter Sarah Potter from Hooked and Loopy. Sarah specializes in amigurumi, the Japanese art of making knit and crochet stuffed toys. Kate says, “I walked into Sarah’s booth to buy a penguin and I noticed she had these superhero dolls which were SO cute!...

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Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 | 0 comments

Going Solar in Alexandria

Going Solar in Alexandria

Steve and Michele have joined a growing list of families in Alexandria by adding solar panels to their home last summer. It didn’t cost a fortune, and they’ve already seen an extraordinary drop in their energy consumption. I met with Steve and Michele the other day to hear about their experience. They told me they spent about $13,500 to purchase and install the panels, which is the typical price for the average size of homes in this area. But, they say that they decided on installing panels mainly to avoid wasting energy and to be more resource conscious in general, to make as they say, “an investment in our lives.” The roof attachments have rails that the panels sit on, as well as waterproofing in the roof shingles. They showed me their Dominion bill for September to October, 2016, which was only $15.36. What’s most notable is that when it’s common around here to run the A/C the most often, during August, they only paid $25. Virginia provides for...

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Posted by on Nov 29, 2016 | 1 comment

A Charlie Brown Christmas in Del Ray

A Charlie Brown Christmas in Del Ray

In the next few weeks, many of the businesses along Del Ray’s Mt Vernon Ave. will feature winter wonderland-themed murals on their windows. For the mural at Del Ray Pharmacy, my friend Candi and I offered to paint an ode to one of our favorite holiday stories, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Our supplies: Washable tempura paint and black tempura pen (not shown). Powder tempura paint. Adding about a tablespoon of powder to about a cup of the premixed paint makes the paint thicker to allow better saturation of color on the windows. Dish soap. One squirt in the mixture also helps the paint to stick to the window better. Paint brushes of various widths. Hair spray (not shown here). Spraying the final artwork will help protect it from the elements. First, we found images online and had them enlarged in black and white (we got ours printed at Affordable Signs) to the actual size we would paint. We then taped the images in place on the inside of the...

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Posted by on Nov 10, 2016 | 0 comments

The Alexandria Film Festival: Celebrating 10 Years

The Alexandria Film Festival: Celebrating 10 Years

The 10th annual Alexandria Film Fest kicks off tonight, with a line-up of more than 40 international and award-winning local, national, and international films in many genres. Screenings, special events and discussions will take place all over the city. “The Alexandria Film Festival began as an idea,” says one of the festival’s founders Margaret Wohler. “How can we create a welcoming space in the calendar for not just the film arts and filmmakers, but for the entire Alexandria community to come together and discuss topics in a civil and creative way? We welcomed many local and international filmmakers during those first years and have only grown since then. This year, we offer more than 40 films in high quality professional screening venues with 35 filmmakers attending. ” As an all-volunteer 501(c)3, the Alexandria Film Festival, “we have totally willed this thing into being,” she says, “with a bleary-eyed staff of volunteers and a few grants, for the the past 10 years. Our thanks to our director and founder, Patti...

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Posted by on Nov 7, 2016 | 1 comment

Meet the Mural Artist: Patrick Kirwin

Meet the Mural Artist: Patrick Kirwin

You may have noticed a new mural gradually taking shape in the neighborhood, becoming more and more colorful and elaborate, alongside the long wall of the VéloCity bicycle co-op on the corner of Custis and Mt. Vernon Avenues. The local artist who proposed the idea of painting an outdoor market scene and has been doing the painting is Patrick Kirwin. He specializes in Trompe L’oeil. Patrick currently teaches at the Alexandria Art League and has taught at The Corcoran College and the Smithsonian Institution. He has completed large commercial projects, as well as the interiors of many small shops, private wine cellars, and residential murals. Initially, Patrick worked with children from the Community Kids Club, a group of nine 4th and 5th graders from Mount Vernon Community School, to paint the flower pots along the bottom of the length of the mural. As the mural acquires more and more detail, Patrick fills the flower pots. He is also beginning to paint people and dogs into the mural to add...

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