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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Down Memory Lane

As much as I like to look forward to new experiences and new relationships, I also enjoy taking a walk down Memory Lane from time to time--sometimes revisiting my own memories, and sometimes discovering lovely parts of a past I have not known. Are you like me?

Today, a friend of mine shared a photo of a bear I created for her 13 or 14 years ago. I named him Juniper after the juniper bushes that grew in front of our house on New Avenue when I was young. My friend made Juniper some darling overalls to wear.

Juniper in his snazzy overalls
Juniper lives with my friend Hiromi Nagataki in Japan. Hiromi is a teddy bear artist and creates darling bears with exquisite clothing; her business is called Teardrops. She made a sailor bear for me named Satsuki. Before I sent Juniper to Japan, I took a picture of him with Satsuki taking tea in the garden.

Satsuki (by Hiromi Nagataki) and Juniper (by Debora Hoffmann) taking tea
I created New Avenue Crew 19 years ago, in 1996. The Crew entered cyberspace (cybearspace?) in about 2000 with a site on the now-defunct Geocities. I thought I would never see my website again, but three years ago, I found it on a site called Reocities and wrote a blog post about it. Imagine my surprise when today I stumbled upon my Geocities site in another place I didn't know it existed! You can visit my website and read all the pages and see all the photos as they appeared in 2008. It is a snapshot in time, a walk down Memory Lane.

The New Avenue Crew website on Geocities.ws

Friday, July 10, 2015

Teddy Bear Picnic Day

I was surprised earlier this week to find out that today is Teddy Bear Picnic Day. I had no idea! We shouldn't miss an important holiday like Teddy Bear Picnic Day!

Juniper enjoying the garden (pretend he's having a picnic)
It has been raining quite a lot here this summer, so there haven't been many opportunities for a picnic, but indoor picnics with teddy bears are allowed, I'm sure.

Enjoy this new, very important holiday with your teddies!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Bear's Favorite: Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

bear, swimming pool
Source: Internet
Every bear knows that there's nothing better than a cool treat on a hot day. And because bears love honey, and we at New Avenue Crew love bears, I thought I would share my favorite cool treat with you.

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

1 quart cream (not ultrapasteurized, preferably from grass-fed cows)
1 vanilla bean (or about 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
5 egg yolks (preferably from pastured chickens)
1/2 cup raw honey (or high-quality maple syrup)
pinch sea salt

For the tastiest, most nutritious ice cream, use the best quality cream you can find, preferably from grass-fed cows. Never use ultrapasteurized cream.

Pour cream into a medium saucepan. Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape out the vanilla bean "seeds" and add them and the vanilla bean pod to the cream in the saucepan. On medium-high heat, bring the cream to a gentle simmer/boil, stirring with a wooden spoon. Watch carefully; when the cream seems to start to foam a bit, it is done. (If you leave it longer, it can foam over the sides. Yes, that happened to me!)

Take the cream off the heat, cover, and let infuse for 25 to 30 minutes. Then remove the vanilla bean pod. (I save the pod for another batch of ice cream, 30 to 35 minutes.)

Add egg yolks to a large mixing bowl. Beat egg yolks with a wire whisk. Add honey to egg yolks and whisk to combine. Add a pinch of sea salt.

When cream is finished infusing, whisk it to break up the top layer, or remove it if you wish. If the cream is still hot, add only a little at a time to the egg yolk mixture, starting with about a tablespoon. Once you have whisked three or four tablespoons of cream into the egg yolk mixture, you can add larger amounts of cream until it is all mixed.

Cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator until completely chilled.

Process in an ice cream maker (the one I use is below) according to directions, and then add to a chilled container and store in the freezer.

Enjoy!

Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker
Source: Amazon.com

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

By Jim Lawrence of Kootenay Reflections
(Read the article here.)

I just love this image. Perhaps this bear has a future as a wildlife photographer!

Friday, October 24, 2014

"On the Scrap Heap" Challenge

In January 2012, Paula Carter of All Bear by Paula issued a challenge on the Guild of Master Bearcrafters:

"Make a bear using reclaimed materials--no mohair, alpaca, or faux fur allowed!"

Challenge accepted! The gears in my head started turning. I had many different fabrics that were not fur, but I had always wanted to make a bear from denim. So in response to the challenge, I created my first completely furless bear from a worn, well-loved pair of my husband's Levi's blue jeans. Allow me to introduce you to Strauss:

Strauss, 12.25 inches tall, a furless Crew member 
made from my husband's well-loved Levi's jeans

The name Strauss is taken from the name of the jeans company: Levi Strauss & Co. I gave Strauss a nose, mouth, claws, and paw pads in the color of the stitching on the blue jeans. This sweet hairless bear also features black glass eyes; steel shot and polyester stuffing; and a nose, mouth, and claws embroidered in perle cotton. He wears a label from inside the jeans that says COMFORT (so appropriate for a teddy bear to wear), and his neck ruffle is made from some reclaimed furniture trim.

Imagine my delight when Paula told us that a print magazine from the United Kingdom called The Teddy Bear Annual wanted to run a feature about our Guild scrap heap challenge. What a thrill it is to see one of my bears in print! Here is Strauss pictured in the pages of the magazine:

The Teddy Bear Annual, Autumn/Winter 2012
"On the Scrapheap: Recycling with Guild of Master Bearcrafters"
Strauss is pictured on page 44.

The cover of the scrap heap challenge issue of

I ordered the issue of The Teddy Bear Annual from the UK and very much enjoyed it when it arrived. It is a very well done publication with lots of interesting features and lovely photographs.

New Avenue Crew and I have appeared in a few print and online publications, and I am always so delighted to have my creations featured in that way. You can see many of the Crew's appearances on the Published page of this site. (You can also find the navigation buttons to the site's other pages under the photo at the top of the page.)

P.S. Sweet Strauss has been adopted.