Thursday, January 31, 2013


I think my sister is a fashionista.  She's got all the best clothes and she puts them together in funky, unexpected ways.  The best part of her fashion sense is that about 80% of her wardrobe is either from someplace like Value Village or from the recycling pallet at our local transfer sites.  The transfer site pallet is a Fairbanks tradition. In fact, it is such a tradition that an entire web-site,  Arrogantly Shabby is devoted to finding fashion at the Fairbanks transfer stations.  We've got a local friend who does not buy anything except food- her entire house is "transfer station up-cycled".  And I know what you're thinking- trashy, right?  But no.  Her house is absolutely lovely.  She has re-used and re-made many things, but she also just has a great eye.

Beth comes home with the best stuff- clothes for my girls, (yes, we wash everything before we wear it), furniture, dishes... Plus, she finds great clothes for herself.  Like this great green shirt and purple sweater, which I simply adore.

I want this shirt!  It's green (my favorite color) and it is sparkly.  I like sparkly. 

I have adopted some transfer station style into my wardrobe, but I don't think I'll ever pull off the combinations my sister makes look great.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday Smiles

On Saturday I post about a couple of things that have made me smile over the last week.

1) Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party
I signed up!!!  Yay!  Lori's Bead Soup Blog Parties are so amazing that there is even a book about them. =)  I am so excited.  I love doing blog hops.  (And Lori's are the best, in my opinion.)  Love them!  They are a good opportunity to see what everyone else is doing out there in the world of handmade jewelry.  I love getting to meet other bloggers, and develop new friends.  I love the challenge of creating something out of pieces I didn't choose.  It's HARD! And fun.
Blog hops are definitely worth the effort and I hope I get to be involved in more than just one this year.  (Although if I only get to be in one, this is the one I'd want!)

2) Lian Tanner's Keeper's Trilogy
I gulped this trilogy down so quickly!  and was amazingly disappointed when I finished it and it was over.  I loved the characters, adventure & magic of the stories.  I found fascinatingly mature reader ideas behind so much of the story- overprotecting children to the point of paralysis, experience is the best teacher, the paralysis of fear holding captives... There is a really fun interview with Tanner about the first book HERE:

3) Painting
I'm painting in a group/class again, and I'm loving it!  I've only gone twice, but the best part of this is that we pray before we paint, chat about life, listen to cool music and have fun.  The teacher is Vicki Salmon, and we are holding the class at our church, but there are students from all over the area.  Some of the other painters go to church with me and I'm getting to know them in a casual environment (always the best way to get to know people), and it's pretty awesome!  I don't have a finished product yet, or I'd share.  I will share when my first piece is complete.  I'm finding little time to paint at home, so it will take longer to complete my work.
Here's a link to some of Vicki's work.  I think my favorite is the one of Jesus portrayed as an Athabascan with nail scars in His hands titled "Come to Me".

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Best Things

I don't know how many times over the years I've casually said, "Wow, that's the best thing that ever happened to me." Not a lot, but enough to know that I'm incredibly blessed.

I tend to mostly focus on the negatives.  Isn't that silly?  I'll think 'wow, this was my worst year ever for health problems', or 'that doctors appointment was the worst one I've ever had.'

I want to focus on the Best Things, not the Worst Things.   So, in honor of my challenge to focus on the good rather than the bad, I am going to start a running list of the Best Things that have ever happened to me.  I will add more to the list, and I hope to start adding posts entirely dedicated to great things.

Here are some to begin with:

*My First Best Friend
Being born into my specific family was one of the Best Things that ever happened to me, because I got my first best friend, my sister - Beth, handed to me and did not have to go out and find her.  She was just there!  We moved around a lot, so I learned that Beth was one of the constants in my life.  We played together, we fought a little, and we got to experience life together.

*My First Kitty
I prayed and prayed for a kitten for years, and finally, when I was 11 we moved to Kotzebue Alaska.  It's a tiny Eskimo village way up inside the Arctic circle, and for whatever reason, (I was miserable and lonely, I was suicidal) my parents let me get my very own kitten.  I named her Tiger and she was extremely special.  She was smart, unusually smart, and she knew she was a cat and we were people.  We'd play fetch and she'd sit on my lap while I read.  She had beautiful green eyes, and I was her special person.  I told her everything, and she kept my secrets.  Tiger was one of the Best Things that ever happened to me.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saturday Smiles

On Saturday I write about a couple of things that have made me smile this past week.

1) The Noel Wien Public Library in Fairbanks

I found two new books from authors I love!  Plus some older books I've thoroughly enjoyed.  While my girls are in Girl Scouts I get two quiet hours to go pick out as many books as I can carry.  I read so many this last two weeks.  In particular I love Tanya Huff's The Silvered, and Mercedes Lackey's Home from the Sea.
But the library itself is a joy and delight.  There is a huge area just for kids, and computers, and rooms to check out for groups and they have trees growing in the foyer.  Real trees!  Which I think is really cool.

2) Girls Scouts
My girls simply adore their troop, and have been delighted at being able to participate.  I don't know if they will next year, but this year has been so fun for them.  Deborah is a Girl Scout Junior, and Abigail is a Brownie.  They play together and learn how to get along with other kids.  They learn about the world around them and are earning badges.  Pretty cool.

3)  I got to go back to tutoring this week.
We assess all of the kids in the school three times a year.  It's this crazy marathon of listening to every kid read for about 3 minutes.  It's exhausting and stressful.  Boring, because you hear the same stories over and over; but high tension, because you want to get it just right for every kid.  It takes about a week, and we finished on the 14th, so I got to go back to working with students.  Which I prefer.  I know that checking on students progress helps them, but it is not fun for anybody.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Memories and Thanks Blog Hop

A very special lady named Lori Anderson created a special blog hop based on the idea of remembering and honoring someone special in your life.  And when I read the story about why she decided to have the hop and what this particular blog hop was based on, I wanted to be part of something extraordinary, too.

Thank you, Lori! I loved the idea for this blog hop, and I am so glad I got to participate, even with the very limited 'free time' I have to make jewelry.  Christmas time is so busy, but having this project to look forward to helped me think about January and the new year.

I struggled with who I wanted to honor...  I thought about my Grammy, and all the family living down south (in the contiguous states- for those of us in Alaska everybody is south!) that I miss so much.  I thought about some of my Company friends from my days in Texas.  And I thought and thought....  I've been thinking about it for quite some time, and I finally had to just sit down and choose.

So, I chose my dad...  .I think I chose my dad because I've been thinking about him a lot lately.  He passed away about 7 years and 2 months ago. Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that I saw him walking down the stairs. 

This is my dad, my little sister - Beth-  and me:

My dad was a botanist, a forester, and a rock-hound.  Most of my memories of him are tangled up with being outside and searching for something- rocks, flowers, trees...  I remember tromping through the woods in Oregon, the deserts in Southern California and the tundra of northern Alaska with him.  I remember walking on the beach in Oregon and looking for agates.  I remember digging through red desert sand trying to find rocks with him.  I remember camping and taking our huge old turquoise Dodge so deep into the woods that we thought we'd be stuck forever.

From him I gained an appreciation and love for the great outdoors.  I gained a wonder and delight in the simple things- the beauty of an agate, the mystery of deep dark woods, the majesty and awe of our the Northern Lights.  My dad never saw an impossibility in being a scientist and a Christian.  In fact, I think his scientific study gave him a greater appreciation for the intricacies & detail that God created.  He loved sharing the trees and flowers with us, and would always spill out the Latin names for everything.

 He also was a talented singer who loved to share songs with his family and church.  I gained a love of music an singing from him, too.

From him I gained a love of animals and compassion.  He would frequently remind us to be gentle with the dogs and cats we'd meet.  My dad believed that we have a responsibility as care-takers of God's creation to do our best by the animals and people in our reach.  He was 'green' way before it was cool. 

My dad was a talented painter who focused his artistic passion on the flowers he loved so much in his botany job. After he retired from the Bureau of Land Management, he started pursuing a BA in Fine Arts from the University in Fairbanks and he was working on his final exhibit when he passed away.  I have only recently started playing with paint, but part of the reason I tried was because he didn't really try until he was in his 60's and 70's.  And he was good.  He took those flowers and leaves he loved and turned them into fantasy style landscapes, where everything looked alive with personality.

His tiger lilies:

His calla lilies:

A forest scene:

I wanted my necklace for him to have the colors I associated the most with him- the blue of the ocean and the green of the forest, the brown of the earth and the trees.

And I wanted some of the rocks we had found with him to be in the necklace; however, I don't have a rock saw here at home to turn the rocks into beads.  I had to settle for wrapping one of the petrified tree branches he found, and I think I'm happier with that than if I had made the piece all smooth and polished.  I included flowers for his him, and a key.  I believe my dad opened areas of interest to me that I wouldn't have normally had, like geology and botany.

Thank you, Lori!!!  This necklace was a joy to make.  I struggled and struggled to sit down and make it, but when I finally started it just flowed effortlessly.  I honestly would never have thought of making a necklace for my daddy, and this was a very special project for me.

To see more blogs from this hop, go HERE.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

COMPUTER on the Fritz

Yikes!  My computer is having serious issues right now, so I am unable to keep up with my blog.  I'll be able to check in on my phone and borrow my sister's to approve comments.
Please know that I will return as soon as possible, and that I still read comments and LOVE them.
I miss blogging and reading my daily allotment of favorite blogs!
I'm still here, just silent and frustrated! =)

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Planning for 2013

Happy New Year!

I want to look back over the year, evaluate what happened and think about what I want to happen this year...   I rarely do that.  Mostly my life is spent putting out fires...  You know what I mean: making jewelry for the next event, planning dinners for this week, caring for a sick child or husband (shocking how similar those can be!), rehearsing for the next performance...

I want this to change!  Most of the time I feel very out of control and like I can't handle anything else on my very full plate.  I want to be able to evaluate my current responsibilities and choose whether I will deal with anything extra and maybe ditch some of the things that I shouldn't be doing.  I want to have a pleasant & clean home I can invite friends & family to (which I currently do not have!). 

I want to make changes that transform my life and bring more peace to both myself and my family.  I don't really know how to make sweeping changes, though.  I know how to take small steps, but I'm not sure where to start.

So, I'm currently looking for the specific things I want to change... 

One of those is where we live. 
Jake & I came up to Fairbanks for him to go to school, and we moved in with my parents so that we could afford for him to pursue a degree.  LOTS of things happened: another baby was born, my dad died, Jake's job didn't work out, Jake had serious health complications, I had serious health complications, Jake dropped out of school...  And here we are.  Still living with my mom.  And we want to be on our own again...

This isn't something I can just wave a wand and change.  For us to live on our own, I need a full time job.  But I'm honestly not qualified to do much.  =)  Those of us with art/drama degrees have to make strange decisions about jobs.  I love working where my girls go to school. I love seeing them during my work day, and they love having me there.  I don't know that I want a full time job, but I do want to live in our own place.... .  Kind of an impossible change unless God makes it happen.

It's interesting to me how one change affects everything else in my life.

I also want to have fun making different kinds of jewelry, and make time to create more. 
I have to be more focused if I'm going to make that happen...  Instead of floating through my evenings and discovering that suddenly its time to go to bed after doing 'nothing'.  Maybe I can choose a specific day to make new pieces?  I'll have to think about it.  But I don't want to think about it so much that it doesn't happen.

So...  Not much decided here, except the fact that I definitely want to make changes. I will choose some specific things to change.