Monthly Archives: May 2013

Glitter Not Gold

Glitter Not Gold

I just visited a new-to-me blog, Glitter Not Gold. Four Irish women have gotten together to write about “...their love of all things pretty, girly and generally glittery. The four of us have different passions in life including make-up, arts, crafts, baking, drawing, sewing – to name a few. This blog is going to be an outlet for us to show you our obsessions, projects as well as a broad snapshot of the things we enjoy“.

The post I particularly want to highlight is this one: the Seamless Pledge; wherein these women won’t be purchasing new clothes, but will buy secondhand and make their own. Similar to the Wardrobe Refashion pledge I took several years back. I haven’t poked around a whole lot yet, but I did like the Great Gatsby dress that Lany made. So go take a look! They look like a fun group! And they’re Irish-what could be better??

Oh, and p.s., Wardrobe Refashion has morphed into Handmaker’s Factory.


New wristlets

I just finished these today! My desk at work has a thin metal edging that is really cold, plus my mouse pad has a nasty sharp edge. With these wristlets my tender arms are protected.

I used my favorite Cooperative Extension Service mitten pattern, cut down to expose the fingers. The polar fleece is scraps that needed to be used up; I love the cheerful bright yellow-not a color I normally wear, but as a small accessory, it’s fun. Inside the mittens on the bottom that slides along the desk, is another layer of bright blue polar fleece. The fabric flowers are motifs from a flowered fabric by Blank Quilting; apparently it’s discontinued because I couldn’t find it.

The flowers are edged with my typical chain-stitch-and-tight-buttonhole stitches and then attached to the mittens with beads. Simple, quick, and I think they’re attractive!

Butterfly, don’t fly away

I finished the butterfly! This was my Polish project; I had it all ready to go when I got on the plane to go to Poland in April. It’s worked on a piece of satin fabric backed with a lightweight, loosely woven cotton. I wanted to see whether the satin would ravel if I did the edge in a chain stitch/tight buttonhole stitch and cut it out.

I am very pleased that it worked just fine. I was a little hesitant because I worked quite a bit of embroidery on the wings before I did the chain stitch/buttonhole edge and I would have been pretty bummed if the satin had raveled too much to hold the edge stitching. I wouldn’t want to work anything much smaller than the butterfly (it’s about 6 inches across), and you definitely need to make that edge very tight. There’s one area where I didn’t get the stitching real snug and it’s kinda bobbly there.

Once the butterfly was finished, I layered two pieces of turquoise tulle over a lightweight white fabric with a shiny finish. It’s a polyester of some sort… I know it’s a synthetic fabric, but not exactly what. It was a scrap I had. The butterfly is held down with seed beeds. The antennae are beads strung onto a thin piece of wire (from a tag the shipping company put on my table; I’m sure beading wire would work just as well) and are only attached at the butterfly’s head. I’m going to put the butterfly into an embroidery hoop for a wall hanging.

I’m very pleased with it, and look forward to making another one. I was going to use the butterfly as a thank you gift, but decided to “do lunch” for that instead. The backing is on now, and she’s hanging in the living room.

Cozy toes!

I finally bought a pair of slippers; I’ve been wanting a pair since forever and never felt like I needed them badly enough. Now that I’m renting, I’m more careful about wearing shoes in the house, and run around in my socks instead of tracking mud and silt all over the place. But the floor is so cold!

Saturday Market is a monthly craft affair at the cultural center, next to the college. I went to my first market this past Saturday, to “see what I could see”. Not as much Native art as I expected, but still a good selection of jewelry and skin sewing. Only one booth with bone and antler carving. The market was probably half Native sellers. Some people were selling homemade breads and sweet rolls, and there was one booth selling fry bread. Another booth was selling chili. There was also a massage chair, which I took advantage of. My very first massage!

I almost didn’t buy my slippers, until I realized that if I didn’t buy them now, it was going to be a whole month before they would be available again. So I went around and around, trying to decide between blue flowers, the butterflies, and an abstract design. I finally decided on the butterflies, and after trying them on, it was an instant sale. I love them! They’re super warm and cozy, and now I go to bed with warm feet!

Saturday was a busy day for me. I rode up to the post office to check the mailbox, and the package Christine shipped to me has arrived. But, I didn’t have any bungee cords to hook it to my bike, so I’ll pick it up on Monday when I can catch a ride in a vehicle. After Saturday Market, Harpo and I went on a fun run/walk for suicide prevention. I got a tee shirt out of the deal, but all Harpo got was some exercise and quite a bit of attention.

Lucky for us it was a bright sunny day and not too cold. Windy of course, but not too bad. That kept us from getting too hot (yeah, I wish!). Harpo is so anxious to be outside; lots of times when we come home from walking she wants to stay outside. The previous tenant left a dog tether, so I’ll hook her up to that and leave her out. She usually wants to come in within 5-10 minutes, as it’s too chilly to lounge around in the sun. Poor little girl! She misses our big yard in Fairbanks! When we find a place to buy, it will have a yard for her!

Walking in Bethel

Pinky’s Park – select photo to see more of Pinky’s Park

Harpo and I go on a long walk almost every day. I’m convinced that she needs tons of exercise and Harpo is happy to perpetuate the myth. I have a feeling that in another year I am going to be pretty bored with walking in Bethel, but for now we’re really enjoying it.

We go to Pinky’s Park, just around the corner from the house, two or three times a week. It’s the first place I’ve found where I can turn Harpo loose. I brought the camera up with me one day and took some photos of the park and the boardwalks. Next time we went to Pinky’s I wore my breakup boots and we hiked out on the tundra.

We won’t be able to go out there too much longer without Harpo being on a leash. The birds are starting to come for the summer and it’ll be nesting time. Well, if it ever warms up! Harpo loves chasing birds and while she can’t catch them, she could really disturb nesting birds. I found out that there’s a walk-short but nice-along the river, and I can turn Harpo loose there.

The river pathway – select photo to see more of our walk along the river

There’s quite a bit of driftwood along the path, and amazingly enough, I did NOT pick any up on our first walk! Harpo however, ate a large quantity of ptarmigan feathers. At first I tried to stop her, but I finally gave up. I didn’t think it would really hurt her, and it was too much of a battle to keep her away from the feathers. They’re everywhere in Bethel; lots of ptarmigan come through town and of course they’re great eating (the ptarmigan, not the feathers!). However, she was pretty quiet when we got home, so I’m wondering if she didn’t feel so great after eating all that fluff…

Or was she just tired? She found a friend to play with, and they romped up and down the path along the river in town for about an hour. He was a really cute little blond dog, maybe 10 pounds heavier than Harpo. Sweet and shy, a real cute little guy. I was glad he didn’t follow us when we took off to go home.

On Friday I went to a “Second Friday” event. The art association sponsored an art show at a local bed ‘n breakfast, and of course I had to go. Marie is a Native artist; she works in watercolors, pencil, pen and ink, and does some woodcarving as well. I bought one small watercolor; I really liked the dreamy, double-meaning woman’s face. I’ll add a photo of it tomorrow; I forgot to bring it home with me tonight.

Saturday I went to a SmartBoard workshop at the Yupik immersion school. A SmartBoard is basically a huge mousepad… hey, that’s what the instructor said! Lot more than a mouse pad though. It’s more like a whiteboard combined with PowerPoint but way better. I’ve started playing with one at KuC, but I keep doing something by accident and then don’t know how I did that. I’m going to work on some presentations of my own so I can get good at using the SmartBoard.

The Yupik immersion school was really neat. The two other women in my workshop were primary school teachers and we used one of their classrooms. Yupik words everywhere. Not that I learned any Yupik! But I figure everytime I hear some Yupik it’ll make it easier to eventually learn some.

Saturday evening I went out to dinner. I unknowingly picked Prom Night, so the restaurant was full of very dressed up high school boys and girls. Very sophisticated young people! I’m sure the kids in Fairbanks dress up just as nicely, but I’ve never gone to dinner with any. A friend in Fairbanks gave me a “gift certificate” to Dimitri’s, a long-time establishment in Bethel. They didn’t really do gift certificates, so she gave me a check made out to the restaurant. Thanks Tako! I had a nice seafood dinner, as nice as anything in Fairbanks, and not much more expensive.

I’m pretty much done with unpacking and sorting out all my sewing stuff. I even worked on a project this weekend and nearly finished it. I’ll show it off as soon as I get the last little bit done. I’m a little worried that I still haven’t found my scissors (3 pairs, including a set of pinking shears that belonged to my mother), rulers, tape, etc. I’m hoping they’re mixed in with a box of fabric and they just haven’t been unearthed yet. Or else they’re still at the cabin in Fairbanks… maybe I’d better go root around in those fabric boxes…

Hah! just found my scissors, etc. Sitting right in front of me on the table!

Day One in Bethel-Arrival

I thought I’d lost this post! so sorry for the out-of-sequential writing…
Anyway, I wrote this on my first Sunday, April 28, 2013
The flights to Bethel were uneventful; no mad dash to the airport or bobbles when leaving Fairbanks. I picked Harpo up in Anchorage because we had a 3 hour layover and I figured I might as well get her out to pee and poop. Which she took care of speedily. She couldn’t get on the plane until two hours before the flight, so she got a nice long walk around the airport that really helped settle her down.
Getting Harpo back on the plane was a little more difficult than in Fairbanks tho. Her kennel was missing one of the metal pieces that keep the kennel door closed, so that caused some concern with the airline folks. Apparently they’ve had some dogs get loose on the tarmac, and well, you can imagine the owners’ concerns! Finally they decided a ziptie would work, and Harpo was back on the plane.
We had a lovely sunny trip the whole way, so I got to see lots of snowy hills and mountains on the way to Bethel. Lots of little lakes/ponds and creeks/rivers too; most still very iced up, but I did see one river with an open channel in the ice-or it seemed like it was open. I suppose it could have been a snow machine trail or something.
It was windy and cool when Ann Willert met me at the airport. We hastily loaded all my gear-a carry-on bag, cooler of frozen food, an action packer full of leftover stuff I forgot to ship on Friday, and Harpo and her kennel. We unloaded everything even more quickly and I got an eyeful of the house crowded with boxes.
I spent a good share of the afternoon opening and distributing boxes to the appropriate location, until I could sort of walk through the house. It was time to take Harpo for a walk! We spent a good hour and a half walking through Bethel. The university is just a few minute’s walk from the house, and the grocery store is about a ten minute walk. Drivers don’t seem to worry about walkers; they don’t slow down or go ‘way around, but then, they’re not going all that fast anyway.
We met several people on our walk; everyone is very friendly here! We even got a bag of Skittles from a Friends of Canines (I think that’s the name of the group) volunteer who was happy to see Harpo on a leash. There IS a leash law in Bethel, so dogs must be confined in their yard or on a leash, which I’m happy to learn. We didn’t meet up with any loose dogs, tho I did see a couple. Managed to steer Harpo away from them before getting involved.
By the time we got home we were both ready for dinner and bed. Harpo curled up on the couch after checking out both bedrooms, while I fixed some macaroni and cheese. We were in bed and sound asleep by 8 p.m.!

Bethel – the first week

Well, here we are, in beautiful downtown Bethel! Um, not sure I’m living downtown… don’t really think there is a “downtown” to Bethel. Stores and restaurants are scattered in between houses, mostly in the oldest part of Bethel, and all along Chief Eddy Hoffman Highway, the main road. I am ridiculously close to KuC (Kuskokwim Campus); about a 5 minute walk or bike ride. By the time I unlock/lock the bike, it’s the same amount of time to walk.

Select photo to see more of Bethel.
Harpo and I are living in a small two bedroom house that’s probably twice the size of my cabin. She is loving the room for tossing toys to chase! I am enjoying the freedom from hauling water, or at least I’ll enjoy it until I get the water bill! Harpo loves jumping in and out of the bathtub, filled with water or not. I had thought I’d get a roommate, until I got here and saw the mound of boxes that I’d shipped. Somehow it looked like a lot less stuff when it was in the cabin!
I haven’t gotten the sewing room organized, but the kitchen, bedroom, living room, and bath are all set. It’s wonderful to have so much space! Even though I’ve already crammed the house with what I brought from Fairbanks.
I’m listening to public radio as I write this; KYUK 640 AM. Pretty much like KUAC, from what I’ve heard so far. There are two FM stations, but they only play music and I quickly got bored with them. There’s a public tv station too, but since I have no tv, I can’t tell you much about that.


Select photo to see more of Bethel.
I got a ride up to Meyer’s Farm on Saturday, to go vegie shopping. I didn’t get to see the farm, just the store. It’s a really small little place, jammed with people and vegetables. The big draw is the freshness and the fact that everything is organic. I didn’t feel like prices were too out of line compared to what I’d pay in Fairbanks; higher but of course there’s shipping to account for too. The grocery store-AC Value Center-is much more expensive! I don’t plan on doing much shopping there. There is also Sammy’s, another grocery store that carries more exotic foods according to one of the women at school. I haven’t had a chance to go in yet.
Harpo and I have been doing lots of walking. She has to be on the leash all the time; there are too many cars and too much cool yucky stuff to get into. People drive surprisingly slow; mostly because of the gravel roads. The highway and one or two other streets are paved, and parking lots are rarely paved as well. The occasional taxi speeds down a street, and four wheelers are almost always going too fast, but other than that I don’t feel like I’m taking mmy life in my hands to ride or walk in Bethel.
Pinky’s Park isn’t far from my house; we go up there almost every day. There’s a baseball field, a hockey rink (well, I think there is; the ice is mostly melted and just the goal cages are there), and a small building that seems to be some sort of rec center. There’s also a whole system of boardwalks that Harpo loves. If there’s no one around I’ll turn her loose to run. The first day we did that she was so happy to be loose! She’s been a really good girl on the leash, but she loves running loose and she missed it more than I realized.
It’s been pretty chilly this past week, so Harpo wears her snowsuit when we go out. We get a lot of looks and “Isn’t she cute” from people who pass by us. Most people have been super friendly, although on today’s walk a woman asked if Harpo would attack her. Harpo? she might lick you to death!
My first week at work has been pretty easy. Graduation was on Friday, May 3, so everyone else has been finishing up the semester and getting ready for the ceremony. I reviewed my notes from iTeach and explored some of the tools we learned about. I also helped with decorating the stage for graduation. The ceremony on Friday was lovely; so small and intimate. It was the nicest graduation I’ve ever attended! Afterwards there was a party for faculty and staff, hosted by one of the retiring staff at her bed and breakfast. Vicky does it every year, and Mary (Pete, the director of KuC) wouldn’t accept her resignation until Vicky agreed to keep doing the party.
So I think you can tell I’m enjoying Bethel! I like the small town atmosphere, the friendliness, and how relaxed everyone seems to be. I like everyone at school; they’ve all been very helpful while I settled in.