Second Annual Nonprofits to Love this February

Screenshot_20180204-152207_20180204154937942.jpg

It the time of year for hearts and cupids, roses and poems, romantic dinners, Galentine’s Days and… my Second Annual Nonprofits to Love List!

I realized that this is the best time to remember our local nonprofits, and so I listed some great nonprofits last year. All of the past nonprofits were ones dear to my heart, but I wanted to switch it up this year and let you nominate the honorees. The following are the nonprofits chosen to be featured this year.

So what can you do now?

  • Send that check you didn’t get around to sending during the holiday to one of the honorees or your favorite charity. The season of giving may be over, but the season of love just started! Now’s the time to send that donation.
  • Start that New Year’s resolution to volunteer more—many organizations are starting to feel the New Year’s rush drop off, so now is your chance to swoop in and lend that much-needed hand.
  • Donate those items you have packed in a box and ready to go. Trust me they are still needed.

So this Valentine’s Day season (which I’ve decided is the entire month of February), I challenge you to show some love to your favorite local nonprofit or charity.

The point is, now is the time to remember the others that don’t always get remembered beyond Thanksgiving and the typical charity holiday season. So this season of love, let’s look to those that might be overlooked this time of year. Share your faves in the comments section to spread the Valentine’s Day vibes!

What could just ‘B’ more loving?

Art with a Heart

IMG_1340.JPG

Little artists sharing their creations. (PC: Art with a Heart)

Founded in 2000, Art with a Heart’s mission is to enhance the lives of people in need through visual art. Art with a Heart works to harness the benefits of arts education to cultivate positive, long-lasting changes in the lives and communities of its students. It provides engaging, educational and interactive visual arts classes to underserved Baltimore-area children, youth and adults in schools, group homes, shelters, community centers, recreation centers, permanent housing facilities, foster care agencies, senior facilities and hospitals.

Sound like something you want to get involved with? Volunteer tasks range from assisting art teachers in classrooms to making sample projects and more! Want to get involved? Email Jenny Hyle! jenny@artwithaheart.net and visit their open house on April 8, 2018. While you’re there, be sure to drop off a gift card to Michael’s or Home Depot to help the artists!

Open House graphic screen resolution.png

 

 

The Buddy Foundation of Maryland

37e7dcb.png

The Buddy Foundation of Maryland was started by Jay Dackman and his basset hound, Buddy, with the belief that no dog should be euthanized simply because their owner cannot afford their medical expenses. By helping families in financial need, TBFMD makes sure that our companion animals are taken care of when surgical care is needed.

The Parker family is one great example of community, family and TBFMD coming together to help a dog get back on her paws. The Parkers’ dog, Colleen, had been unable to run and play for quite some time because of an injury to her back left leg. Tanya Parker was told that Colleen would need a cranial cruciate ligament repair in order to get better and have some quality of life. As a single mother, Tanya could not figure out how she would afford the surgery and worried about not being able to get Colleen the help she needed. Working closely with the Parker family, their friends and family, and Northwind Animal Hospital, TBFMD helped piece together a plan of care and provide the funds necessary to make it happen. Colleen received her surgery at Northwind Animal Hospital on 12/26/17 and has healed beautifully!

If you wish to help dog-loving families you can sponsor a family, send in general monetary donations or refer a family in need to the program. For more information go to: www.tbfmd.org

colleen and kids.jpg

Colleen and her family. (PC: The Buddy Foundation of Maryland)

 

 

  The League for People with Disabilities, Inc. 

IMG_0217a.jpg

PC: The League for People with Disabilities Inc.

The League for People with Disabilities, Inc. is committed to offering individuals the opportunity to gain independence, increase self-sufficiency and improve their quality of life. Within that is the awesome CLUB1111, The League’s newest program! A nightclub/social club in Baltimore designed especially for our friends with disabilities, CLUB111 opened in January of 2015 and it has been going strong ever since! On the 2nd Saturday of every month, the club opens to anyone with a disability and their family/caregivers. Held in The League’s 50,000 sq ft headquarters, visitors get to dance the night away in an authentic urban nightclub with over 500 people from all across the state! This is available due to a very dedicated community of volunteers and donors—and you can be one of them!

IMG_0138.JPG

Dancing at CLUB111 (PC: The League for People with Disabilities, Inc.)

Advertisements

New Year: New Happenings for just B more

 

just B more logo

The end of the first month of 2018 is quickly coming for us and many people in Baltimore spent the first few weeks reading articles, watching news segments or listening to podcasts all about how to make changes to your life in this new beginning that is 2018. Over here on just B more I decided to take a break from the list of things to achieve—and start anew.

2018 is going to be a big year for just B more starting with that snazzy new logo you see perched at the top of the page! Designed by local Maryland high school senior Lauren C., it is just one of the things that’s exciting and new for this website. That’s right, we’re growing up and going places in 2018.

And I wanted to give you a little preview of some changes that are coming to this corner of Baltimore’s internet community. Here are some things to look forward to:

This Moment in Politics

—More features about the places, people and things you didn’t know you loved!

The whole mission of just B more is to give Baltimore and Maryland locals a place to find and support locals. I’m all about keeping it in the family here. I created this website to promote the great things happening in the place that I love, because I believe we are the best there is! And I think there’s more to Baltimore than “Top 10” lists which is why you will continue to see in-depth features on local organizations, like The Nasty Press, and small businesses, like The Broken Plate. Because I believe we should just B more than a customer—we should be a community.

—Unique collaborations with locals like you!

I believe that if we work together we can all just B more. We can be more than unconnected people going to grab our morning coffee and heading to our jobs, homes, or cell phones. I want to collaborate with like-minded doers and work towards the common goal of making a stronger Baltimore/Maryland community. Collaborations like working with Lauren C. (look out for a feature on her in the coming days!) help to promote the unknown talent, passion, and dreams of everyone. And I would love to collaborate with you! Send me a message through my contact page or simply comment below.

 

Buffalo Adventure! 121—Personal invite into my life, mission and dreams

Sounds a little narcissistic? Well, what I realized over the course of 2017 is that I really want to get to know my readers and collaborators better. But a relationship isn’t just a one-sided post. If I want to learn about you, then I have to just B more willing to share about myself. So once a month you’ll get the chance to learn a little more about me, my life and the dreams I have for this community I’m building.

Those are just a few of the fantastic things that will be happening throughout 2018. I’m incredibly excited about what is to come and beyond thankful to all of you who have been following this little website since it first started. Look how far we’ve come!

Please reach out to me!!! You can comment below, send me an email (justbmore@gmail.com), or DM me on Instagram (@justbmoreblog) to suggest locals to feature, set up a collaboration or just say, “Hi!” And if you love just B more, share it with a friend!

What could just ‘B’ more exciting?

 

 

just B more

Nominations Needed for Great Non-Profit Organizations!

 

Nominations needed

Know of a Non-Profit organization that you think everyone needs to know on a first-name basis? Do you volunteer for an organization that’s doing good and deserves to be in the spotlight? When you hear the phrase “making a difference” does a special group instantly come to mind?

Then nominate them for a spot in my Non-Profits to Love: 2018 Edition. (You can read about last year’s featured non-profits here.)

I’m looking for Baltimore and Maryland non-profit organizations of all types, focuses, and missions to showcase in February’s special feature. It’s an annual post that gives locals a different way to show love in the season of hearts and cupids. The only qualifications for nominations are as follows:

  • MUST be a Not-for-Profit Organization
  • Be Baltimore or Maryland based

To nominate your non-profit simply answer the following questions:

  1. What is the name of the awesome non-profit you think should be featured?
  2. What do they do that makes them so special?

You can answer in the comments below or or email me at justbmore@gmail.com. Who knows? Maybe they’ll get a little extra love this season!

What could just ‘B’ more thoughtful?

Fun Things in Mighty Packages: An Interview with ‘mightyPigeon’

Mighty Pigeon - Trio of Monsters

PC: mightyPigeon

As the holiday season nears and the year comes to an end, there is no one I would rather feature than the mighty imaginative Danamarie Hosler of mightyPigeon. I mean it — spending time with her will inspire you and make you smile! With creative monsters, an open minded way at looking at unfamiliar creatures and an uplifting spirit, Danamarie’s energy and animals will get you in gear to take on anything 2018 throws at you!

Mighty Pigeon - Girl and Pigeon

PC: mightyPigeon

Just B More: So how did you get started in the making of monsters, Under Appreciated Animals cards and other imaginative finds? Have you always been making fantasy products or did you have another artistic outlet before this?

Danamarie Hosler: Professionally, I started out as a Children’s Book Illustrator & Muralist, but I actually started making my dolls back when I was a sophomore in college. I went to MICA and was fascinated by this girl in my Art History class who used to knit socks during the lectures. I’m from Miami, so the whole concept of wool socks was new to me in general, but also that she could come to class with a ball of yarn and leave each day with an entire sock was just… whoa.

So I taught myself to knit and it turned out that socks were kinda boring for me, but I had these silly little paintings I was doing of happy big-nosed creatures with little horns and cats with one big eye and teeny little feet, and one day I just decided I needed to know what one of them would feel like to hug, so I set to work knitting it. I called them Knitimals and the rest is kinda history. I don’t really knit the dolls anymore, but I’ve since expanded my line to include a number of new “species” of creature (all of them have the same sort of design style, which originates from the way I drew faces when I was little) and that keeps me on my toes.

In general, my work is about making childhoods happier, brighter, smarter, more imaginative & more representative. I want kids to look at my stuff and feel inspired by it, excited by it, to see themselves in my characters and see faces that look like theirs. And I want all those same feelings to reach grown-ups too, and tap into their inner child and feel connected to that part of themselves again. So, having all these different outlets and imprints/collections helps me do that.

 

Mighty Pigeon Underappreciated Animals

PC: mightyPigeon

JBM: I adore your Under Appreciated Animals line! Where in the world did you come up with that line of merchandise?

DH: The Under Appreciated Animals project actually started as something I was just going to make for my son. When he was two, his favorite animals at the zoo were the Okapi and the Dik-dik and he asked me one day, while going through one of his many ABC books, how come they weren’t in any of them.

I was just going to draw them and stick them over the O & D pages, but then realized that EVERY kid should know what those animals are and there’s no reason to keep giving kids the same animals over and over again. As an educator and with my Children’s Book background, it was something I knew I could (and should!) pursue. Once the cards came out, the rest of the merchandise grew out of customer response and request, believe it or not.

JBM: How long have you been in business?

DH: I officially launched my business in 2000 when I graduated, and used to balance other full-time/part-time work alongside it… and that got old fast. I wasn’t able to fully commit to my work and myself and eventually had to make the choice to just strike out on my own and see what I could do. I’ve been happily working for myself full-time since 2006.

JBM: Why the name mightyPigeon? (It’s adorable!)

DH: I LOVE PIGEONS.

My business is actually twofold; the plush side is called *might and the Illustration side is mightyPigeon. *might is a play on the double meaning of the word — possibility and strength, which is what I think of when I think of my younger audience. Little kids have so much amazing potential and possibility, and I think if we give them the right tools, they can be fortified and grow up strong & resilient and ready to take on the world!

mightyPigeon is who I am… the grown up version of the *might kid. I’ve still got the possibility in me, but I’ve already been fortified and I AM taking on the world! I relate very strongly to pigeons. They’re actually incredibly smart and skillful birds with rich histories & cultural importance all over the world… but they’re deeply misunderstood and taken at just face value, you assume you know everything you need to know about them (and a lot of it is actually false). People tend to see pigeons as a cluster, as opposed to each individual bird as unique and special. I want to change that! I want my art to make people pause and reflect. And for people to see their own value & strength — the mighty pigeons they are.

Mighty Pigeon - Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse

PC: mightyPigeon

JBM: Your creatures are so whimsical and unique. Where do you get the inspiration for your pieces? 

DH: I’m inspired by a lot of things. Color is a big one for me; color is so emotive and sometimes I’ll just lay a bunch of fabric out on the desk and see what combinations occur naturally and pull my eye to them, or I’ll just let myself paint and move colors around the paper until something starts to look like something. I love patterns and repetitive shapes and designs. I’m inspired by my kids and the things that get their attentions or seem to be interesting them. I love seeing the world through their eyes — the perfect way they draw, without rules and restriction, the connections they make, the words they use to tell stories.

I’m inspired by current events too — though, most of the time these days, what I’m trying to do is make work that can brighten a dark day, give voice to the voiceless, draw attention to an issue that needs addressing, or simply say, “I see you. I hear you. I value you.” Its hard to stay positive all the time, but if I can find one thing to make me smile each day, that helps and sometimes I need to be the one to make that thing exist for myself.

JBM: So I have to know, do you have a favorite collection? 

DH: A favorite?!?!?! DONT MAKE ME CHOOSE!! I don’t think I can pick favorites. I love them all for different reasons. There, that’s my “mom” answer for you.

Mighty Pigeon - Megacon 2017

PC: mightyPigeon

JBM: Do you have any fun stories from the business?

DH: My work has traveled far more than I have. In fact, I have sent work to every continent on Earth, which is a pretty fun claim to fame.

I did MegaCon, a convention in Orlando, FL last year though and it was SUPER fun. I’d never done a con before so I was anxious and had no idea what to expect, and then the doors opened and whoaaaaa! It was SO crowded, SO fast. And EVERYONE was so incredibly kind and patient and passionate, it touched my heart every day since.

I LOVED seeing all the cosplay and how people would stop and pose for pictures with strangers of all ages — and the cosplay was so detailed and intense; people clearly put so much pride into their work and then would stop by the table and buy something from me and tell me that they wished they had my talent. Meanwhile my jaw is in my lap because I’m gawking at this larger-than-life, fully functioning, robo-exoskeleton something-or-other that they’re wearing like it’s nothing. I don’t know… I just loved that experience so much. I love geekery. I love seeing the things people are REALLY into… because, like, I get really into stuff and geek out about it and have to collect the heck out of whatever it is and can talk to people about whatever it is for hours on end, so to have an entire convention center full of people with all these various but often overlapping fandoms, and to see them all connecting over it, it was kinda beautiful.

It was clearly an environment without judgment and there were people of all ages mixing and mingling. It was all a really nice reminder of how lovely the world can actually be.

Mighty Pigeon - Monster

PC: mightyPigeon

JBM: You’re such a joyous person and you seem to absolutely love what you do! What do you love most about mightyPigeon? Is this your forever job?

DH: This is absolutely my forever job. I will probably continue to ebb and flow, add products, do less sewing and more drawing and then come up with some great new idea for a new doll design and go back to doing more making than painting, but I will be an artist and will run my own business forever and ever and ever and ever.

I love the freedom it affords me, both in terms of actual physical freedom (hello working in my pajamas!) and mental freedom (I just don’t feel like doing anything today… so I won’t). I love that I can homeschool my kids and still work — that I can prioritize without having either side of my life suffer. I love that if and when I have some nagging idea that has to be acted on, I can just go and do it and I don’t have to wait until I finally get that vacation time I’ve been accruing, like when I was managing another full-time job.

But mostly, I love that I am doing exactly what I have always wanted to do, ever since I was little. And its not easy… at all. And money is very often tight. And I am very much at the mercy of other people’s tastes and budgets and gift-giving lists (all of which I completely understand). BUT I am also very lucky to have found and cultivated a wonderful following of supportive art lovers, who appreciate what I do and have made room for it in their lives. And I love that about my job too. I’ve met incredible people and knowing that other people are out there loving my work as much as I do is just the coolest thing.

JBM: I’m thinking that people should all own at least one of your creatures to give them some of your positive spirit. It’s hard not to smile when you look at them. How can people get in touch?

DH: Follow me on Instagram for (nearly) daily posts — sneak peeks at works in progress, studio scenes, inspiration and more — @mightypigeon_art.

Shop online at SHOPdanamariehosler.tictail.com and email me knitimal@gmail.com for commissions or custom work, or to be added to my mailing list for coupons and announcements.

JBM: Thank you so much for your time. This was a delight!

DH: THANK YOU!!

Mighty Pigeon -Pigeons

PC: mightyPigeon

 

I’ll Be Row-Home for Christmas: An Interview with ‘Row House 14’

Holiday Cards Row House 14

PC: Row House 14

There’s no place like home for the holidays, and there’s no better way to say it than with a greeting card from Row House 14. Seriously, if you want your gifting to stand out this season, then you need Heidi Shenk’s funny-’cause-they’re-true cards and adorable wrapping paper.

I chatted with Heidi about how it all started, a cute orange cat, and my love of her wrapping paper.

Pencils Row House 14

PC: Row House 14

Just B More: First things first, where does the name Row House 14 come from and how long have you been in the business of making fun paper products?

Heidi Shenk: Just until recently, my studio was in our [husband’s and my] tiny guest bedroom in our Baltimore row house. Fourteen was the address number of our home and my studio, hence the name Row House 14.

Row House 14 turns seven at the end of November. I can’t quite believe that myself, but time certainly flies when you’re having fun!

JBM: What made you think, “I’m going to make stationery and awesome pencils?”  Did you make other items before Row House 14?

HS: This is my first official small business endeavor, but I’ve always made things to sell, even as a small child. I come from a family of makers, so it always seemed natural. Illustration has probably been my favorite form of art. My parents are both self-employed makers, so doing something of the same always felt more normal to me than more traditional occupations.

I also love humor and writing and so I think it came naturally that I could do all of those things with greeting cards. I used to teach in Baltimore City and I needed a creative outlet for the days that burned me out. Illustrating and writing were those outlets and that’s essentially how Row House 14 came about.

Wrapping Paper Row House 14

PC: Row House 14

 JBM: So about that humor.  Where do you get the inspiration for your hilarious pieces?

HS: If you find yourself chuckling about one of my cards, mostly likely there is a personal story behind it that you can relate to. I draw from my own personal experiences, jokes amongst friends, or other daily life realities. I believe laughter in life is essential. If you can’t laugh about your own downfalls or mistakes, then it’s harder to get through life.

My husband and I also have a very twisted sense of humor, so some of my best selling cards have come from jokes made while sitting at the table eating dinner. Some of my favorite cards are those starring my orange tabby, Finn. He’s the epitome of the phrase curiosity killed the cat. The cards that he stars in are representations of true stories about him, and they also happen to be things that many other people can relate to.

JBM: I’m very partial to the ‘Holy Shit Balls’ wrapping paper. I remember I HAD to have it and I get so many compliments on it. Everyone loves to get a gift wrapped in it!)

HS: I’m glad people love the gift wrap! It’s one of my faves!

Happy Ho Days Row House 14

PC: Row House 14

JBM: I know that in the world of small business, shows and events are a common part of life. Do you travel far and often with your work?

HSI don’t travel much specifically for work, though I do sometimes vend at art markets in Philadelphia and Richmond, Virginia. However, when I do travel for fun, which is fairly often, I’m always on the lookout for new card shops and interesting paper goods. I love finding inspiration in these kinds of places while I’m taking time off from my own work.

While I don’t travel very far, my cards do! My cards can be found in many retail stores across the country, and one of the most rewarding feelings is getting a text message from a friend who happened upon one of my cards while they were traveling or shopping at a local store.

Row House 14 Greeting Cards

PC: Row House 14

JBM: I always ask this question: What do you love most about what you do? 

HS: I love hearing different stories from my customers about why they buy my cards or the significance behind a card they are giving to someone. When I sell my cards at art markets, it’s so much fun watching people reading my cards, laughing, and listening to their reactions. Often, people will open up to me about something that they were able to relate to through my work, and hearing those stories is why I do what I do.

JBM: Your cards are so great, I could see them in the big box stores. Are you hoping to “get noticed” and become a staple at one of the large corporate retailers?

HS: While it would be fun to find my cards in larger stores, it’s not a priority for me. Enjoying what I do and sharing that with other people is a bigger driving force for me. I prefer being a part of locally owned shops that I can build personal relationships with rather than larger chain stores, because I think it’s important to support that community wherever you live.

JBM: So when someone wants one (or ten!) of your awesome cards, what are the best ways to get in touch with you ?

HS: People can find me via my website or Etsy shop. I’m also a huge fan of Instagram and love connecting with people there @rowhouse14. During the holidays, you can find me at all sorts of local markets. And I’ll be at the Last Stop Hops and Shop event at Peabody Brewing on the 21st of December.

JBM: So fun talking with you. Have a great holiday!

HS: Thanks!

Row House 14 Cards

PC: Row House 14

Breaking Dishes this Holiday: An Interview with ‘The Broken Plate’

Matyland

Photo credit: Juliet Ames

Many people have the urge to break things from time to time, maybe even more so during the holiday season. But did you ever think of making a living by breaking dishes?

The unbelievably creative Juliet Ames of The Broken Plate did and she’s been breaking plates since 2006. That’s quite the run for a job that doubles as fun stress relief. Here we discussed with Julia how breaking a plate to make a mosaic turned into a creative small jewelry business.

Teacups  Jewelry

Photo credit Juliet Ames

Just B More: So how in the world did you get the fantastic idea to break plates for a living and then turn it into jewelry? Did you make other jewelry before or was this your first go?

Juliet Ames: I started as a photography major in community college but when my credits didn’t transfer (because of the death of the darkroom) I realized that my quickest path to graduation was by getting an Interdisciplinary Craft Degree from Towson University. I took an odd mix of classes to learn all sorts of different materials such as glass, paper, ceramics and metals. I spent most of my time in the metals studio. Upon graduation, I didn’t make anything for about six months when the creative bug struck and I spent a weekend in the basement, manically making myself a mosaic mailbox out of an old plate that I bought at Goodwill. When the project was complete, I still had so many pretty shards leftover that I decided to make them necklaces. The rest, they say, is history. 

JBM: So how long has this been your small business? Have you always been a small business owner?

JA: This company began in 2006, but I have been making and selling my own jewelry and photography since high school. I even managed to earn the “Most Likely to be a Millionaire” superlative in high school, but unfortunately I don’t think selling jewelry is the path to that. Maybe my next business. 

Before and after The Broken Plate

Photo credit: Juliet Ames

JBM: Where do you get the inspiration for your pieces? Do you have a favorite collection? (Mine is of course the Pyrex!)

JA: I’m usually inspired by the pattern of the plate, but lately I have been really enjoying just using simple stained glass. Since I make so much jewelry, I am finding most pleasure in making some self-indulgent art with my shards, like the map of the US or animal shapes. 

JBM: Do you have any fun stories from the business?

JA: I was honored to be invited to have a solo show in Hong Kong last year. I initially thought the invite had to be a prank, but I took a chance and traveled across the world to show my work. It was an incredible experience to be treated like a pop star for a few days. They even built me a plate breaking stage and massive broken teacup for photo ops. 

JBM: What do you love most about what you do?

JA: I love the creative process and assembling all of my pieces.

The Broken Plate Jewelry

Photo credit: Juliet Ames

JBM: Do you think this will be your “forever job” or do you see something else on the horizon?

JA: This is my forever job for now. I will never get rich doing this, but I can work in my pajamas and be there for my boy after school. They only other thing I am half qualified for is maybe being a line cook, but even that would probably kick my ass. 

JBM: Now that you mention it, don’t you have a cookbook?

JA: Yes, I made a cookbook last year.  Will have some at Holiday Heap and in my Etsy shop.

JBM: It’s the holiday season, how can people get their hands on some plate jewelry for gifts (or to treat themselves)?

JA: Email is best for me.juliet@ibreakplates.com 

My Etsy shop is www.thebrokenplate.etsy.com

My only holiday show is Holiday Heap with the Charm City Craft Mafia on December 16th at 2640 St Paul Street. 

Art on display at Silver Queen Cafe until January.

Studio visits by appointment.

JBM: Thanks so much for speaking with us!
JA: Thanks for the opportunity!

cookbook

Photo credit: Juliet Ames

Baltimore Small Business: Three Local Women to Support this Season

Presnt

What’s in here?!?

It’s the holiday season and here at just B more blog I believe in keeping it local. That’s why each Wednesday for the next three weeks I’ll be featuring a local artist whose wares are sure to be a hit on any holiday shopping list.

Whether you need something for a hostess gift, a special present for the child in your life or would like to treat yourself, these ladies will have something for you to gift wrap.

That’s right—ladies. I’m featuring three local women because their talent is fantastic and they represent what local business in Baltimore is all about: heart, creativity and quirk.

So check back here on Wednesday, December 6, to meet the first of three seriously creative small business women from right here in Charm City!

What could just ‘B’ more festive?