My name is Rebecca Sirevaag and I have just finished my Masters in Education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks!
I have lived a lot of different places, but consider Fairbanks my home. My family has been here since the early 80’s and I attended Lathrop High School and then UAF.
I have a BA in Theatre, with an emphasis on Acting and Directing, and I have a very strong Music Minor. After graduating from UAF, I moved to Fort Worth Texas where I worked in a small traveling Repertory Theatre group called The Company. We performed in schools, camps and a variety of venues. I was based in Fort Worth for five years and I LOVED it. While there I also tutored English for the Fort Worth ISD in grades 6-12.
Then I moved to Seattle WA, where I taught Drama for two years in a private school called Chrysalis Individualized School, which focuses primarily on kids who struggle with the regular school setting. Many of my students had learning challenges such as ADHD or dyslexia. I had the opportunity to teach k-12 drama there and I wish I could go back to that school. I learned so much from my students!
While in Seattle I met my soon to be husband, Jake Sirevaag. My first pregnancy was life altering- I almost died, my daughter almost died, and I wanted to be closer to my family (who were all still in Fairbanks). So we moved up here. I worked as an ERRI tutor at Woodriver Elementary and realized all my jobs kept leading me to schools.
I have been taking the required classes I need to teach English and Art for the last few years, and have finally finished!!!
I hope to be an English and Art teacher here in Fairbanks, using my Theatre background and non-conventional interests to rope in my students.
I love to read! I am mostly drawn to fiction- Fantasy and Science fiction are my jam, but I read mysteries, YA fiction, Graphic literature, Shakespeare, and most anything that catches my eye. I am currently reading a non-fiction exploration of our modern fascination with zombies titled “Living with the Living Dead”.
My sister and I have sold our art jewelry at the Tanana Valley Farmer’s Market for the last 10 years as Two Sisters. We make unique one-of-a-kind pieces using an eclectic assortment of materials, including metal-smithing, beading, and wirework.
My husband and I have two amazing and challenging teenage girls, who amaze, delight and confound me on a daily basis. Both of my girls attend high school here in Fairbanks. Together we enjoy camping and exploring Alaska.
My Education Program for becoming a teacher… I am ALWAYS growing and learning. I want to show my students that life is a journey where we never stop growing and learning!
I don't know if I will be teaching English or Art next year, but I know that it is going to be incredible! I want to engage students who haven’t previously enjoyed reading, and show them how exciting it can be to enter a book and step into a new world, whether it’s non-fiction or fiction. I want to teach my art students that everyone can have an incredible creative life, and that every person can explore their own creativity.
I'm shocked at how quickly time flies...
I'm almost a certified teacher! Just a little bit longer- til next Spring.
My girls are 14 & 16 and they don't want me to share any photos of them.
And my mind has been stuffed with so many facts I can barely breath in here...
I hope that changes and I can think freely soon.
I'm still reading obsessively.... I'm still writing, but it's a little more directed now- focused on papers and lesson plans.
The shocking thing from this year happened last December- I was diagnosed with breast cancer... A serious one too. I've had chemo and radiation. And I'm slowly coming out of the never-ending weariness. I've been weary and tired for so long now I don't remember not being tired.
The biggest thing I'm dealing with right now is a certain level of neuropathy in my fingers. It was a potential side effect of the second dose of chemotherapy they gave me. And I got it full on. I'm taking a break from making jewelry right now... I'm scared about what I'll be able to make when I have time to make it... Will I ever have the dexterity I expect in my fingers? I don't know.
Here are some pieces I've completed over the spring-
It's been almost a full year since I published on here... Wow.
I'm still alive. My family is still alive. My sister and I are still making jewelry. I'm still going to university to be a teacher. I'm in the home stretch now- working on my M.Ed. classes, observing classes and stepping into a student teacher role. I'm very busy, and a little overwhelmed.
But I'm doing the right thing for right now.
I've been so sick for the last three weeks...
A horrible hacking cough that just hangs on and on and on.
Bronchitis is so fun.
I missed too many classes, and felt like I was viewing the world from the bottom of the swimming pool's deep end. I basically ended up sleeping all the time. I'm finally coming out of the fog, but I still feel like I'm walking under water.
I've missed two reading response papers. And I actually enjoy writing those- crazy me.
The strangest part of this virus has been a constant ringing in my left ear. I'm desperately hoping it goes away before I end up taking some weird tinnitus medicine.
These last two weeks have flown by...
My girls started school, I've been busy with work (still subbing at the library, which works out to about two days a week, not enough), market and getting my classes & funding straightened away.
On Saturday Beth and I were at market. We had a good day, and I was able to make money for groceries.
Some of my leaves
A new necklace I finished
Some of my enameling
Then on Sunday we took our de-stash beads and supplies to a Fairbanks Arts Association art supplies Rummage Sale. We were able to pick through our stash-(our cavernous hoard of beady goodness) and release some of it back into the wild... it was hard! I love my beads and you'd probably be shocked at how many I own. At this point I really can't even begin to put an estimated number on my treasure trove of beady delights.
The rummage sale we were at on Sunday
I began my classes today, and at least the first two will be fun. I have an American Literature class and a Modern Art History class today. Yes, I'm weird. I wish I could just go to school for the rest of my life....
Today I was reminded again and again how God provides for us in little and big ways-
*Since my kitty died, I returned all her canned food to the store which provided enough money for everything on my list...
*In Fred Meyer (grocery store) everything on my list except the fruit was on sale...
*Which meant I had a little left over so I could put gas in my car...
*I am scheduled to sub tomorrow at the library, which means I'll get paid...
*The food I had planned for dinner stretched to feed two unexpected people...
*Jake worked with me to accomplish a couple of my requests before he went back to work tomorrow...
*I got to enjoy Jake's company today on his last day of vacation as we worked together...
*We remembered a couple fun and silly moments from our camping trip last week and thought how good it was to get away together.
It's been so long since I blogged I almost don't know what to say...
First some updates:
*We've moved- we're still in Fairbanks, but we've moved across town. My sister has her own awesome apartment, and my mom is now in an assisted living facility.
*I'm still taking classes on campus in the hopes of own day soon becoming a fully certified teacher. I knew it would take a long time, but I've had to take two semesters off which has stretched it more than I expected.
*As part of many Alaska-wide budget cuts, my job at the library was cut. Right now I'm a substitute at the library, but that can't continue. So I'm looking for some part time work.
*My girls have both moved up in schools- Deborah is starting high school, and Abigail has graduated elementary and begun middle school.
This last year has been one of the hardest I've ever lived through-
I started 2016 with shoulder surgery for a damaged rotator cuff which meant taking another semester break in classes.
While I was still in PT for my shoulder my mom had one last very bad fall, and just stopped being able to use her legs. She has a pacemaker so they cant take an MRI, but we think she has spinal damage, so the messages just don't get down to her legs anymore. We took care of her for as long as possible, but a nurse reported us because we didn't have someone with her 24/7. My mom was moved into an assisted living facility. Which is what I was trying to prevent because she didn't want to go. I admit that it has been better for her- she has the care she needed, but no one should have that choice taken away from them. Her income has to be used for her care, which meant her home had to be sold. The home my family has had for the last 20 years has to be sold. And my little family of four had to find our own home, and impossible task. But God is in the business of impossible. And God provided.
We are renting a wonderful home that we adore and really cannot believe is ours. It's beautiful. And I'm still stunned it's ours.
I lost my perfect part time job at the library, and now we are limping by on my husband's salary and praying God provides.
Last week I said goodbye to my little old lady kitty, Luna, of 17 years. I miss her so much. Having a kitty on my lap while I read and next to me when I sleep...
I have struggled with massive depression over this last year- caring for my mom, losing her, losing my family's home, moving, losing my job, losing Luna... I shouldn't be depressed, because I know God. I know He loves me and cares for me. I know He's got everything in His hands. I should be okay. But I'm just not.
I know God hears me. But I feel like my prayers are going in a file drawer for Him to look at later, after He takes care of more important things.
I'm surviving, but not thriving. Sleeping too much. Eating too much. Playing on my phone too much...
I'm still going to school, working at the library and making jewelry.
New events in my life:
*My sister has her own apartment! She's moved out and is doing well.
*My mom's health has rapidly deteriorated and I'm her primary caretaker- which is as hard as having a new baby. We are trying to find an assisted living facility for her, but it's just difficult right now.
*I had shoulder surgery over the winter- torn rotator cuff which yanked a bit of bone out. I'm doing better but frustrated with the muscular weakness in my arm. It will come back slowly, but I'm so impatient!
*I have a sixth grader and an eighth grader. Now that's just insane!
I am shocked. I really had no idea it had been this long since I'd posted.
I knew it had been a while... But 7 months? No, I did not know it had been that long.
I have been busy with classes and a new job. Being a mom and a wife. Trying to keep my house-hold running. Making some jewelry. Painting some.
I'm now working at the local library as a page, which means I put the books that people turn in back on the shelves. I alphabetize them, and then scoot around the library with my little wheelie cart and put them back. It's good, and I enjoy still working in literacy. I like that my job stays at work and that I don't come home all upset about giving kids detention for their recess behavior or ranting about the way my supervisor is making me teach. I love having instant access to books, and I have discovered so many new authors. I have more opinions about books, and I'm pretty current on what people actually read...
I MISS the kids, though. I miss talking to them and seeing their reading improve. I come home after being quiet for three or four hours and my family is always shocked at how much I need to talk. The worst part for me is that I now work on Sunday, which means that I miss half the church service... Really stinky. And I miss the time when you talk to people at the end of the service...
I have begun the process of becoming a certified teacher. First, I have to take the five or six classes I missed in English, then I'll take a test, then I'll be assigned a mentor and do a year of student teaching while taking a part time class load. I have a B.A. in Theatre, but nobody lets you just teach acting and direct shows unless you teach in a private school. I want to be certified to teach English and Theatre.
I also really want to teach art.... This involves a lot more work because I had almost no classes in the art program, just beginning drawing & painting and all my metal-smithing classes. If I just focused on the English I think I could be done pretty quick, but I've been trying to do both... I think I might be more likely to be hired if I was qualified for all three, and I'm feeling compelled to do it. I don't know why.... I hope God knows why.
I love the art, and after taking music, theatre, church and art history I have a rather unique perspective on the history of the world. I do not want to take a regular history course at this juncture, but I bet I'd have fun...
I got to hang out with my youngest daughter today. She's a fun kid.
She got to choose our destination, so first we went to Petco and looked at all the animals. I admit I enjoy that kind of a trip, too. Her favorite was this silly, young ferret snaking along on his belly. My favorite was a parrakeet who dangled upside down by one toe while gently twirling around. He watched us watching him for about five minutes.
Next, we went next door to the new Fairbanks Pier One and tried on all their clearance masks. (Random Question: how can a store be 'new' and already have clearance items? They've been here a couple of months, but really?)
Her choices sum up my Abigail pretty well- she loves animals, loves dress-up, and would like to be either a veterinarian or a dog musher when she grows up. Although if she could, she'd be a wolf instead.
At a dinner, one of the diners, an Atheist, asked the Christian sitting next to him:
"How do you know your God forgave your sins or that He listens to your prayers, when you can't see anything of that sort?"
"How do you know your tea has sugar?" asked the Christian
"What do you mean? I taste it!"
"So you know there is sugar in your tea, even if you can't see it. Just the same, I feel God's love in my heart. My sinful soul feels delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Divine Liturgy, Holy Confession, and prayers make my spirit soar and find peace in God. You can't see love with the eyes of your body, but with the eyes of your soul."
I am reminded of God's love when I look at the painted sky and blooming flowers. I am reminded of His faithfulness as I watch the sun rise and set.
Deborah turned 11 this week. Pretty hard to believe...
I still think of her like this...
(That's her daddy & my husband, Jake.)
There are several things I miss about baby Deborah- she was cuddly, with the most amazing chuckle, and less inclined to talk back...
But there are some wonderfully cool things about watching her grow up and turn into a young woman- talking with her and hearing her opinions, watching her make smart choices and learn from her mistakes.
One of my favorite pieces from my last semester of metal-smithing is this necklace- partly because I am so pleased with how it turned out, but also because it took me four semesters of metal-smithing to complete the project. I've come so far in my ability to envision a piece of jewelry and then bring it into being. It is fun to look back at the small steps it took to complete the entire piece.
My "Bloom" Necklace
I hammered the fold-formed copper piece during my first semester and soldered it to the nickel back at the beginning of my second semester. Towards the end of that semester I cut out the flowers and soldered them onto the pendant base, but I didn't know what I wanted to do with it next. It didn't feel complete and I didn't really have a direction or idea. So I chose to let it simmer rather than push it.
A year later I took my third semester of metal-smithing and one of the first things I did was use letters to punch in the word bloom. Finally, towards the end of this last (and fourth) semester I added the rivet, the crystals, the leather, the liver-of-sulfur and the chain.
And I am keeping this one. It has been kind of cool to stretch out the process and see how my abilities slowly increased and allowed me to fully develop an idea.
Hello! Welcome to my little space on the inter-webs. I'm so excited to be part of Lori's soup party again! Honestly, she throws the best parties ever.
I was partnered with the bold and delightful RaMona Woolson of Jersey Girls Beadwork. Here's the soup she sent me.
RaMona's Bead Soup
Such a lovely mix of blues and turquoises! Pretty humorous since I sent similar colors...
My Soup For RaMona
I knew pretty quick what I wanted to do with that cute whirlpool handmade focal bead. I had seen a bracelet using a long handmade glass bead, and I wanted to try something similar. I also have just recently made my first purchase of sari silk and I wanted to work that in, too.
I love the sound this bracelet makes when you wear it. Ramona's swirly charms and the spin of the focal bead and the clinking of the glass beads make me smile.
I fell in love with the mosaic shell beads and wanted to work with them next. I had an idea, but it didn't quite work at first... It wasn't until I pulled out this large handmade glass bead from my stash that I knew what I was doing. And again, I pulled from my new stash of sari silk!
Caribbean shores bracelet
I find I'm mostly using large lobster clasps with my pieces right now because more of my customers prefer the ability to change the length of their bracelets and necklaces. I'm using a lot of extension chains to make them longer and varying the size of the lobster clasps. Which means I've got a lot of lovely clasps stashed away and I'm not using them.
And the sweet leaf clasp RaMona sent me was leaving me in a bit of a confusion. What was I going to do with it? Then Lori sent her bead soup tips e-mail and I jumped on the challenge of creating earrings with a clasp. Thank you, Lori!
Bloom Where You Are Planted Earrings
I pulled out my green wire and combined it with my stash of Lucite flowers & leaves to create these little cuties. And now I want to pull out some of my tucked away and unused clasps and make lots of asymmetrical wire-wrapped earrings.
Finally, those sodalite leaves were telling me they wanted to be long dangly earrings.
Leaf Wrap Earrings
I liked working with the wire so much on the clasp earrings that I did some wrapping here, too. It was fun to combine the different colors of silver.
I still haven't done anything with the cute birdie, the large shell beads or the blue pearls, but I have some ideas kicking around in my brain that haven't quite gelled yet. I'm looking forward to working with them this summer.
Thank you, Ramona for sharing your stash and playing beads with me!
Thank you, Lori for your work putting this party together!
I hate to admit this, but I am currently experiencing technical difficulties (partially contributed to by finals week) and my post isn't up yet. I have completed my pieces and my photos are mostly finished. I expect to have my post up today.
Please enjoy the rest of Lori's fabulous soup!
And if you think of it, come back later today or tomorrow. =)
Well, I got the chance to work on them again last night, and I'm pleased with how they turned out. I only have two of them halfway complete, the other one is still in the metals studio on campus.
Bezeled Collage Marbles:
"Dream", and "Once Upon A Time"
I love soldering on copper, but the other one needed a silver finish. Which made it more complicated for me to solder, since I chose to use nickel silver instead of the real thing for the back plating.
I cut and shaped the copper, then cut and filed the silver bezel strips. I soldered the silver bezels strips into a circle, then soldered the circles onto the copper. Then I drilled the hole, but I think I'll need to go back and drill the hole a little bigger. I want to put an eyelet or grommet (a rivet with a hold through it) through the hole to give it a more finished look. I also intend to attach leather to the back of the copper so that no one has an allergic response to copper. Besides, I just like the way the leather looks and finishes the pieces. I have some more sanding and finishing to do, but I am so pleased with the way they turned out.
Bezeled Collage Marbles:
"Dream", and "Once Upon A Time"
After Note: Anyone else out there hate trying to photograph glass or crystal? I am terrible at it! I can see the reflection of the camera in all of the marbles, and I didn't I got the collages as sharp & detailed as I wanted because of the reflective glass. I know I can only get better with practice, but my results are always so disappointing to me that I don't want to practice...
I'm a wife, Mommy, writer, actor, director, poet, painter, singer, jewelry designer and beader. I have always loved the idea of an 'artist in residence' program... I pray that my life is a reflection of the love, mercy and grace of God.