Dorothy Umiker, an accomplished artist in several media, thinks everyone should try painting -- even those who think they have no talent for it.
"With so many people suffering from depression these days, I would think they would like some kind of hobby that would make their lives much more worthwhile and give them feel a sense of accomplishment. I have seen some marvelous things done by people who say they have no talent."
Her work of acrylics on wood will be among handcrafted gift items sold in the Unique Boutique at the 30th annual Victorian Christmas Dec. 3-11 in Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, sponsored by the site's volunteers.
A retired secretary and accountant in the former Lafayette General Hospital, she started with china painting, taught to her by her mother-in-law, the late Mary Umiker, an international china painting teacher. She also learned painting on glass and painting on bricks. Her newest venture is a Home Bureau course in pen and ink and oils.
Also for holiday shopping in Teddy's Victorian Cupboard are jams and jellies, baked goods, treats for dogs and catnip mice. Many items will be wrapped, ready for gift giving. Tempting Treasures will present "nearly new" items and the Gift Shop will have a selection for children and adults of one-of-a-kind seasonal ornaments and decorations, teddy bears, old-time toys and Buffalo-related gifts and books.
Jerry Sullivan, the first man to head the site's Victorian Christmas, is chairman for the second year. Frieda Litzel is co-chairwoman. "Victorian Reflections" is the theme to be carried out in decorations throughout the house provided by volunteers from Eighth District, Federated Garden Clubs of New York State, as they have done for more than 25 years.
Opening night from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 3 will feature a silent auction with wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres and Gary Garth at the piano. The cost is $22 for members and $25 for nonmembers.
Candlelight dinners will start Dec. 6, with champagne at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30. Vincent O'Neill and Josephine Hogan of the Irish Classical Theatre Company will entertain. Joseph Dispenza & Company will present "Forest Lawn: Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future" Dec. 7. A fashion show from the Site Costume Resource Center, "Reflections of Glamour," will be given at the dinner Dec. 9 and the Hutchinson Family Revival will perform at dinner Dec. 10.
At luncheons at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 4, "Reflections of Glamour" will be reprised. Gordon Gerber will give a program, "Victrolas and the Birth of Recorded Sound," after the 11:30 luncheon Dec. 6 and Mary Kate O'Connell will sing holiday favorites at the 11:30 luncheon Dec. 7.
Chef Ken Kerber of Wegmans and Joel Altre-Kerber will present "Victorian Christmas Teatime" Dec. 8 at 10:30 a.m., preceding luncheon, and after the 1:30 luncheon. Janice Nichols will give a program, "Christmas in the White House," at 12:30 Dec. 9 after luncheon. Serendipity Bell Ringers will perform after the 11:30 luncheon Dec. 10. "Reflections of Glamour" will be given at the Dec. 11 luncheons.
Prepaid reservations are required. Dinner reservations are $35 and luncheon reservations are $18. For information or reservations, call the site at 884-0095.
The public may visit the site from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. General admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children ages 5-12.