Sunday, September 25, 2016

Wander: DIY Jack Skellington Bow Tie Disney Craft

One of my favorite times of the year is here: Halloween!

I get pumped up about the Halloween season, a.k.a. fall or autumn, as soon as the month changes to September. This is what I put up during the first week of September:

Truth be told, I love all the seasons. By the time one is ending, I'm ready for the next. I have favorite activities and feelings associated with each. The only one that stands out in my mind is spring; it's the only one I'm not super excited about each year. 

Today, I have a DIY craft for my fellow Disney's and Tim Burton's The Nightmare before Christmas fans.

See how to make Jack Skellington's bow-tie, using materials you probably have lying around the house! The method used is similar to my DIY Mickey Mouse Ears project - Take a look after the jump!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Wander: Drawing Challenge 2016 - Part 2

I'm terrible.

I realized that though I finished the Drawing Challenge 2016 back in February and showed you guys the first 5 out of 8 drawings that came from that challenge, I never actually posted the last 3 here on the blog....


Anyway! Without further ado, here are the last three items from my completion of the Wit & Whistle Drawing Challenge 2016!

I've not been as good about keeping up on my drawing as I was hoping to at the beginning of this year. Isn't that so expected?? Ugh - I hate it.

I have done a teensie little bit more drawing - - Can you guess which one is mine??

Mine is "Kevin Bacon :)." I think he looks a bit like a dog...

This little contest was a lot of fun. It was a neat way to break up the day and to see a different side of my coworkers! We never really get to see the artistic side of one another and as you can probably guess, a lot of these people don't consider themselves "good" at drawing or "creative."

But look at this!! SO much creativity!

I think the point of this exercise (from the "LEAN Green Certification Class" training) is that the task was simply "draw a pig," and though everyone's pig looks distinctly different, they are still clearly identifiable as pigs. No one's pig drawing is "wrong." Similarly, in many instances, there isn't just one way to solve a problem or complete a task.

Pretty deep for a pig drawing exercise, right?

I personally love it.

Sorry that it took me so long to post those last three drawings. I hope all y'all are doing better at maintaining your hobbies! Let me know if you have any secrets or advice for setting aside time to enjoy hobbies and "me time."

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wonder: The Rhythm & Melody Within, A Resonance

I know music has a very significant impact on all kinds of people. I've felt it firsthand. I've seen it transform people in ways I never could have expected.

Music transcends language, culture, and customs, all while deeply influencing language, culture, customs, and humanity. 

Amazing, right? 

I have a few songs that I consider my soul's rhythm and melody

We all have favorite songs. We all have "our jam." & we've all experienced that moment when a song comes on the radio or in a playlist or at a concert and we just can't help but whoop and holler.

But I'm not talking about those songs. 

There are a few songs that, when I hear them, I feel quietly empowered, whole, and complete. It's as if I'm listening to my aura or hearing my soul. It's a strange feeling. I hear these songs and my thoughts are "If I could translate my energy to music, this is what I would sound like." 

These songs don't change with my mood. Whether I'm angry, sad, happy, utterly distraught, or completely apathetic, I hear these songs and I feel the same feeling of resonance. 

Here are a few of my songs.

Have you ever felt that feeling? Do you have songs like that? How would you describe it? 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Wonder: Road Trip Love

Recently, I've driven across the beautiful state of Washington three times from my home on the semi-arid desert, steppe region on the Eastern side to the lush, evergreen, and mountainous Western side. Each time was for a different reason but each time was to visit the same set of family who live over there. The first weekend, it was for my cousin's baby shower (it will be the first grandbaby for my dad and his siblings! It's exciting!). The second weekend was a girls' trip for my friends and I to see Ellie Goulding in concert at Key Arena. The third time was a single day trip back to pick up my car, because life happens and I lost the one and only key to my car during our fabulous day in Redmond and Seattle, meaning my cousin graciously let me borrow one of her vehicles while my car stayed behind getting a new chip key made at the dealership.

Yesterday as I drove to and from the West side of the state for the third time, I spent a lot of time thinking.

I thought about a lot of things, as is how my brain works, but something that struck me again and again was how I actually enjoyed the drive. It's 3.5 hours one way and the third trip was not planned nor was it spurred by a fun event, and yet I had a strong feeling of belonging and understanding and, well, peace.

I love road trips and I always have. My dad is a huge fan of driving and I grew up with an appreciation for that truly American tradition of road trip vacations.

There's something so satisfying about listening to the tires on the road hum and feeling the sun move across your skin as you slowly turn with the curves of the highway. Think about the wind in your hair, sunglasses on your face, passengers smiling, and just leaving it all behind. Growing up in the West has definitely supported these things; I know that, culturally, we hold on to the adventurous charisma that allowed the West to be discovered and settled in the first place.

Even when driving alone, I relish the drive. I like being able to settle in for a long haul with road snacks and beverages and music. There have also been times when I left the house, to go for a drive - no destination in mind - just to clear my head. I'd drive out of town toward the hills and sometimes just keep driving until I felt better. Other times, I'd drive to the top of a hill, park, and then sit on the hood of my car, looking over the town.

My car and I are a pair, a team. It's so silly to be so attached to an inanimate object, but there have been long days, long weekends, and hardships where the sight of her waiting for me to take me anywhere I wanted to go was everything I needed. She is my home on the road. I love her and she has been so reliable and strong, truly a mighty steed.

All of these thoughts (and more, of course), were on my mind as I drove for hours these past few weeks... This has been my first "Wonder" installment of the blog. Wonder will also include poetry and prose, aside from this type of post, which I'm going to call an open writing from my stream of consciousness. Hope you enjoyed it, even if only a little.

What thoughts do you have while you drive?

Do you like long drives and road trips?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Eat: Mint Swirl Cheesecake with Dark Chocolate Whipped Cream Topping

Happy Easter, friends! & to those who don't celebrate it, happy day! 

True to Jenny form, I am going to talk about a recipe for a holiday, but not today's holiday - the one before that: St. Paddy's Day. 

I work in an engineering group that has a lot of fun, despite being so busy. We have monthly "all hands" meetings where all of the employees of the three sub-groups of the larger organization (which is still only a sub-organization of the overall Engineering organization of my company) get together to discuss current events, cover safety topics, and build friendship and morale.

In addition to these monthly meetings, we also like to put together feeds and celebrate with one another often. 

This month, we had a St. Paddy's day feed and it was delicious. One of my coworkers has a "Cowboy Oven" in his backyard that was big enough to cook pounds upon pounds of brisket that he corned himself over the week and potatoes and cabbage all together over a wood fire. As a lover of food, I was in heaven and in dire need of a nap afterward (not exactly the most productive form, but happy workers mean hard workers! - - once they're done digesting). 

I was unable to assist with the main course - though, what I wouldn't do for a Cowboy Oven! 

I decided to make a dessert, because with all that smokey, salty, savory goodness, who wouldn't like to follow up with a sweet treat?

For these feeds, I often like to try a new recipe. It's a bit risky and I'm always a little nervous that it won't turn out, but so far, the recipes have been a success, including this recipe for a "St. Patrick's Day Cheesecake" by the Cooking Channel

I made a few tweaks before starting though - 

  • I knew I didn't want to use a sweetened sour cream as my topping. I replaced it with a dark chocolate whipped cream. Dark chocolate and mint are the way to go. 

  • I only used one 3/4 oz package of fresh mint (instead of one packed cup of mint leaves). 

  • I switched out the cream cheese for Neufchâtel cheese, for a lower fat content. I know for some purists, this is a disgrace, and I am a big fan/proponent of full fat = full flavor, but I have to say that with  Neufchâtel vs. cream cheese and full fat sour cream and light sour cream, the difference is minimal. 

You'll also notice that my cheesecake is super thin. That's because my springform pan is like 12" rather than 8"... and I didn't have the time to buy another more appropriately sized pan. I also didn't want to risk adjusting the recipe to size. 

In the end the cheesecake was delicious and a hit. The thinness actually worked out for the better after such a heavy main course. The fresh mint came through in the baked end result and tasted so much better than mint cheesecakes made with the extract alone. 

What's your go-to potluck dessert? 
Do you have a good St. Paddy's day dessert? Any good ones for a work/alcohol free event?

Happy Spring, Friends!

A photo posted by Jenny (@jennyjakalope) on

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Wander: DIY No-Sew Woven-Edge Fleece Throw


You, my friend, were probably aware that it's March. I, on the other hand, am still reeling.
Where in the hell did time go? I know February is a short month, but we even had an extra day this year! I'm for real deal flabbergasted at how quickly February went. So much life happened in addition to the everyday life the usually occurs, too! 

For now, while I reel and recover from the pace of time, something for my DIY crew! 

No-Sew Woven-Edge Fleece Blanket

I impulse purchased a no sew fleece blanket kit.

Now, when I say "impulse," I mean as impulsive as it gets. My friend and I walked into JoAnn's specifically looking to see if they had any plain baseball caps that we could decorate for some costumes we needed. There weren't any hats, but as we walked through the store there was a bin of these fleece blanket kits 50% off and as I was buzzing by, my eyes were caught by the pattern of one kit - CACTI. I'm a big ol' sucker for adorable cacti and succulents. - it's a real problem - and without any thought, the blanket kit was in my hands and I wasn't about to let it go... smh.

Now, I'm sure many (if not all) of you have a no-sew fleece blanket, have made one, or have at least seen someone else's. They are super comfy, popular, and easy to make - if you have the patience to cut all the fringe pieces.

This was a 48" x 60" fleece throw kit. Though I know a throw blanket isn't supposed to be very big, I have always been a little irked about how the knotted fringe edging of most no-sew fleece blankets effectively reduces the blanket size by about third (depending on the length of the fringe, obviously). A 48" x 60" blanket is small enough as it is, in my book.

So I used a different edging method - a woven edge.

See the How To for this blanket after the jump!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Wander: Drawing Challenge 2016

As a citizen of the interwebs, I follow a number of bloggers, YouTubers, and other contributors to the community. One of my favorite bloggers is Amanda of Wit&Whistle. She is basically living the life of my dreams (not that I'm jealous or anything). She draws witty, clever, and funny things for unique greeting cards, shares the adventures and sometimes misadventures of her day to day life, and lets her followers in on some of the fun.

Last year, she did a 15 Day Drawing Challenge. I did not partake but I loved seeing all the drawings shared by fellow Wit&Whistle followers and, of course, shared by Amanda herself. This year she proposed a 2016 Drawing Challenge with an 8 item list for the month of January. One of my new year's resolutions was "Do more of what I love/Take more time out for me." Ever since transitioning to "adulthood" with college responsibilities and then, finding a job and building a career, I have struggled to take the appropriate amount of time out my life for myself. I lost touch with a lot of my previous passions, one of which is drawing. When I saw Amanda was running another drawing challenge, I immediately knew I had to jump on board. What a great way to build up the habit again.

I've only completed 5 of the 8 items, and it's already January 31, 2016, so you can see that putting aside the time is still a battle for me, but it's progress!

Below is the first item on the list: "Your Favorite Childhood Toy." See the other four after the jump!

What are your hobbies and passions? Have any tips for making time for them?