Monsters for Hope Gardens Project
I’ve blogged about Hope Gardens before. It’s an amazing place that works with broken families to help them stabilize their lives and progress from homelessness to independent living.
Last year I decided to do something special for the children there & created hand-made, one-of-a-kind, lovable monsters that could be cuddled & taken anywhere. The monsters are something they can love & hug; something to bring comfort; something made from the heart! It took months, but I managed to make 49 monsters!!
The monsters were such a hit, that I would like to do this again. I would love to deliver even more monsters this year, So, I am turning to fellow artisans & crafters. If you knit, crochet, or sew… please consider making a monster & donating it to this project.
I have set up a page on Ravelry.com with all the details…. please, check it out http://www.ravelry.com/projects/bonniejacobs/charity-monsters-for-hope-gardens-2
This was sent to me… and I thought it beautiful:
Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
1 stick butter softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa
1 Tablespoon red food colour
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 Tablespoon milk
2 eggs (or alternative for vegans)
3/4 Cup flour
Pour batter into greased 8x8 pan
8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg (or alternative for vegans)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Spoon mixture over brownie part
Use a knife & swirl/drag through
Top with choco chips
Bake 350F for 40 min or until done
Allow to cool before cutting
“Watch Your Step”
Wandering around the streets of NYC there is just so much to see that it’s easy to miss things. I try to take in more as I explore. Camera in hand forces me to look at the world a bit differently—slowly, carefully— as I compose thru the viewfinder.
Many times I am unaware of the strange glances I get from the passersby, other times I feel the stares full force. I know they wonder.. what could she possibly be taking a photo of… it’s just a sidewalk. But the artist in me sees it a bit differently.. line, texture, colour… something I must capture & take home with me.
Cappuccino Chocolate Cookies
I have ben making this recipe for as long as I can remember. They have become such a family tradition that friends & neighbors now ask for them.
1 cup butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups flour
Beat butter, sugar, & eggs together.
Add in cocoa, coffee, vanilla & cinnamon.
Stir in flour until just blended.
Wrap & chill at least 4 hours or until firm.
Heat oven to 375°F.
With rolling pin, roll out portions of dough to 1/8” thickness on floured surface
Cut out shapes & place on cookie sheets.
Bake 8 minutes or until crisp.
Remove & cool on paper bags or rack.
When cool, drizzle with icing (below).
Allow icing to harden before storing.
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar
additional water (as needed)
Mix together until smooth.
Drizzle over cooled cookies.
Makes approx: 4 dozen 3” cookies
Ways to help Vets & Active Military:
It saddens me to know that so many women and children find themselves homeless and living on the streets. Union Rescue Mission’s Hope Gardens Family Center works with broken families to help them stabilize their lives and progress from homelessness to independent living.
Thinking about the children at Hope Gardens and how being homeless can turn your life upside down; sometimes you must leave all your possessions behind when you leave a bad situation and you turn up at a shelter with nothing but the clothes on your back. I wanted to create hand-made gifts for the children, something they could love & hug; something to bring comfort; something made from the heart! I decided on lovable monsters that could be cuddled & taken anywhere.
Each flannel monster is a hand-made, one-of-a-kind, stuffed soft toy. Each unique felt face is hand embroidered to give each monster his own unique personality. They are very soft & cuddly and are perfectly made for giving comfort & love to a child. I also added a heart to each monster so it can share it’s love.
This project has taken several months to completed… and I am thrilled to have finished 49 monsters. They will be carefully packed & delivered to Hollywood United Methodist Church. Members of the church will distribute these & other toys to the children Dec 4.
Some things in life are just so comfortable I don’t know how I would live without them.. a well worn pair of jeans, the perfect fitting tee, a soft and oh so warm sweater, my favorite pair of Chucks.
I need to add my new Fuji X100 to this list. I’ve had it less than 48 hours and I am already in love. From the moment I removed it from the packaging I was in love, it just felt right in my hands. I have been playing with it most of the morning and don’t want to put it down…. love. love. love. I’m in love!
Alan Bennett (The History Boys)
“Pete Seeger’s Clearwater”
Music legend and environmental activist Pete Seeger launched the sloop “Clearwater” in 1969 to clean up the Hudson River through concerts, education programs and environmental advocacy programs that inspire, educate and activate people.
I was privileged to sail on this magnificent sloop with my family.
Make no mistake, the Clearwater, a replica of the Dutch sloops of the 18th and 19th centuries, is a work boat. But instead of food-stuffs and mail, she carries a poignant reminder of the potential beauty and wealth of the region’s much-abused and neglected waterways.
While on board it’s an educational excursion for all. Nets are trailed behind as we sail, then brought up so contents can be used to teach about what’s in the river. At the end, all living creatures are returned to their home & trash is kept to be disposed of properly.
It’s amazing how much more can be learned by hands-on education.
And if your lucky, Pete, will be on board with his guitar for a mid-sail sing along :)
As Pete says, “The time is now or we will not, I fear, have a future for the human race.”
For more information: http://www.clearwater.org/category/latest-news/
So I’ve been dealing with Insomnia the past few nights, nothing new to me. I get a lot done during the quite dark hours of the night & early morning: creating art, knitting & thinking… lots of thinking
I’m thinking about:
How a simple act of kindness can change someone’s life.
And how it’s good for both giver & receiver.
How I love all my old worn comfy T-shirts & how new ones always seem so scratchy
How I love hugs from friends…
and how much I love my friends
and how they love me back even when I’m at my craziest
How the thought of Freddy Mercury in his black/white uni can make me smile
How I need to be in constant motion no matter what I’m doing.
Rocking, swaying, bouncing even if I am just standing in line or making dinner
How I must have multiple projects going on at the same time so I don’t get bored doing the same things
How much I love what I do!
I get paid to create, design & play while rocking out to tunes.
How awesome is that??!
How much a handmade item or piece of art can mean so much
How awesome it is to have a full blown laughing fit
How good it feels to do a favor for someone even when you really don’t feel like doing it
How proud I feel when I navigate somewhere by myself even tough I’m totally directionally challenged
How silly & hateful drama is
How some people are raised to hate themselves and the consequences of that
How I love my kids
How I can tolerate stupid people but ignorant ones annoy me
How much I hate liars
How I need to cut out all the scratchy tags from my clothing
Karma & how much negative/positive energy can effect you
How I wish I lived closer to the church I follow
How much I love homemade mac-n-cheese
Why companies feel the need to sneak stuff like Omega-3 into food
How Heidi Winzinger’s song “It’s just me” reminds me so much of me
How much I love music, books, art & photography
Why people feel the need to lie & how painful & evil it can be
Why my dad thought tossing me in the river at age 5 would teach me to swim
Why the local bartender taught me to drive at age 10 so I could get my dad home
How much I miss my dad at times
How I wish I could knit faster so I could make more things like hats, scarves, toys & blankets for those that need them
Why I’ve had so many near-death experiences & why God keeps me here
How perfect a banana is & even after it starts to go bad, you can still use it to make banana bread
How I can keep track of all my kids schedules & appointments but forget to feed myself
How much I love my paper & pencils
How much I love my mum’s Pumpkin Cake
How I can be so focused at times & yet get so distracted by the simplest things
How long hours of good productive work makes me feel good
How even when I’m exhausted a good run can make me feel energized
How much I love my “self adopted” sisters & family
How stupid racism, bigotry & homophobia are
Why people can’t just all get along & do good to each other
How I love the smell of vanilla & almond body wash
Why I can’t be in two places at the same time
How great trust is, especially when it turns out you’re right
How I miss my dog, Tawny, and wish I could have a dog right now
How I need to try to find the good in everyone
Why these thoughts come at me all the time & keep me up thinking when I should be sleeping.. and how I wish my brain had an off switch so I could use it to stop the thoughts from coming for a while. Or maybe a dimmer switch so I could slow them down a bit.
This is my mum’s recipe & my favorite cake.
1 cup butter (or shortening)
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups pumpkin
Preheat oven to 350°F
Beat butter, sugar & eggs
Mix in dry ingredients
Fold in pumpkin.
Pour batter into greased & floured cake pans
Bake for 45 minutes (Bunt pan 55 minutes)
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 pound powdered sugar
Cream together cream cheese & butter.
Add in vanilla
Slowly add in powdered sugar
Mix well until creamy
Icing cool cake
“Barber Chair, Eastern State Penitentiary” One of my favorite places to explore is Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA. It was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. I can get lost for hours photographing the prison, as there is always something new to be found as I walk the halls, cell blocks & grounds. Although the vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone, I find places off the tour path the most fascinating. Away from the crowds, just me, my camera & tripod. Although signing liability waivers upon entry is no longer required, you must still explore with caution and stay with in the “open” sections. Among the rot & ruin you can feel the spirits of those that once roamed here, it always feels like someone or something is watching you. That heightened sense is wonderful to my creative mind, as I am more attuned with my surroundings. I never tire of this place or the feeling it gives me.
“Barber Chair, Eastern State Penitentiary”
One of my favorite places to explore is Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA. It was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. I can get lost for hours photographing the prison, as there is always something new to be found as I walk the halls, cell blocks & grounds.
Although the vaulted, sky-lit cells once held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone, I find places off the tour path the most fascinating. Away from the crowds, just me, my camera & tripod.
Although signing liability waivers upon entry is no longer required, you must still explore with caution and stay with in the “open” sections.
Among the rot & ruin you can feel the spirits of those that once roamed here, it always feels like someone or something is watching you. That heightened sense is wonderful to my creative mind, as I am more attuned with my surroundings.
I never tire of this place or the feeling it gives me.
Sometimes waiting will get you the perfect addition to your photograph. I was in West Hollywood taking photos outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a woman in red heels looking over all the names. I knew I wanted to include the heels in my photo, so I set up the shot & waited, it didn’t take long until she walked into the frame just where I wanted her.. CLICK.. got it.