Choose to be Happy

Today, and everyday I choose to be happy.

I refuse to allow anyone’s negativity affect my life in anyway. No more. I wont do it.

Growing up with an abusive alcoholic mother was horrible. Ridiculous. Awful. Sickening. Devastating. Depressing. & Humiliating.

Everyday is still a struggle. But I choose to put a smile on my face, and put one foot in front of the other.

Moving away from home was the best thing for my recovery. Recovery from an abusive, horrible, awful mother who was verbally abusive for the last 20+ years.

I am an adult child of an alcoholic parent. On the inside I am hurting. Hurting a lot. But it gets better as each day passes. I am getting better, or trying to get better.

I am comfortable in telling my story. I don’t break down in tears anymore. And I can laugh about, even if its not funny. Humor is a good thing and I chuckle to myself thinking it hasn’t been an easy road to get where I am today.

I am thankful that I can share my story. Because growing up with a parent who constantly called you a fucking cunt, or a bitch. Or tell you to go spread your legs so other men can fuck you isn’t normal. And its not right. And just because she was in an alcoholic state doesn’t give her an excuse.

Alcoholism is an addiction. Yes. But name-calling isn’t an addiction. It is a choice one makes. And let me tell you from experience those words will never go away. Never. Those words will forever be ingrained my in mind, and I have never been able to forget them. Sometimes I can just hear them echoing in my mind and it makes me sick to my stomach.

I can remember the first time my mom started calling me all those awful names that your parents tell you not to say. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. How? I was only a little girl. Why? Why me? I didn’t understand. And then it never stopped the name calling just got worse. And I got used to it. Until I got bigger and started sticking up for myself.

I deal with my mother the best way that I know. And I wholeheartedly choose to separate myself from her. It is my choice and not anyone else’s. Please don’t tell me how you think I should deal with it. Because if you haven’t been in my situation, or a similar situation where your mother was screaming obscenities at you, and trying to fight you then you don’t know what its like.

I am learning how deal. So please just allow me to deal with it the best possible way I know how. I am doing my best.

I choose to be happy.

Do you?

Fish, Sew, Fish

 

Sew. Fish. Sew. Fish. Fish. Fish. Maybe Sew 🙂

Such an amazing weekend with my family down here fishing! I got to spend time with my sister, nieces, brother in law, nephew and uncle fishing down at the mouth of the Kasilof dipnetting. Which was Ahhhhhhmazing! My heart is happy!

I was able to finish a couple qaspeqs. More beautiful fabric arrived in the mail. And I need to whip my butt back to the sewing room to whip out more 🙂

Im going home this weekend for a quick trip and celebrate 4th of July with friends and family 🙂

We put away the filets in the freezer until we build our smokehouse and drying rack.

Made some eggamarrluk (half dried fish), and akutaq (eskimo ice cream) with naani Bess.

Life is good!

Keep posted I shall have more qaspeqs, fish processing, and salve making posts shortly!

Sewing Tuesdays

These beautiful qaspeqs are ready for new homes 🙂

They are all smalls, and the last picture is a tunic style qaspeq.

All qaspeqs are $115+flat rate shipping $6.45

Please contact me thru email sewyupik@gmail.com if interested in purchasing any of these qaspeqs

Quyana for looking!

On another note I spent a wonderful two days filled with my stinkiest, rottenest, most cutest little nieces! Family is my priority and especially my little stinky nieces and my nephews even though they are little men.

I brought my two auntie/nieces to the Eklutna Pow Wow on Saturday and spent some time there checking out the vendors, munched down on a hot dog and watched some dancing. I call them my auntie/nieces because they are named after my favorite auntie Tun who was like a mother to me and took me under her wing as her own. She was the only mom I really knew growing up and I miss her everyday. So being around my auntie/nieces my heart was happy!

Afterwards I decided to take them on a drive to the Eklutna Lake. And boy! isn’t that a long drive! I don’t think I have ever been back there before, or its been a long time.

But we got to blow bubbles, well the wind did it was blowing smitherins. We had some fun with jumping photos and of course had to stop and get some tasty ice cream. Who doesn’t like ice cream on a windy, chilly day 🙂

And then Sunday I picked up other nieces and my auntie and we went to jump it out at bouncing bears. We jumped until there was no jumping left! And then it was a rush to get the girls back out to Wasilla, and get back in time for the Modest Mouse concert.

Which by the way was horrible. I don’t know if I am getting old or what but I don’t appreciate beer being spilled on me, drunk people pushing their way through the crowds, and rude, obnoxious people who only care about themselves. I have never been shoved by so many grown adults in my life. Who gets so drunk on a Sunday night that they lose their manners? Needless to say I will not be attending another Modest Mouse concert, and I am not sure I will want to attend another Mooses Tooth concert. Did I mention the concert started late? For $60 it was definitely not worth it.

After the concert it was a white knuckle drive home because my front wheel axle cv joint on my passenger side is going out! So I was definitely holding my breath every time I had to turn right. But thankfully Mac and I made it home in one piece!

Here are some fun snapshots of my crazy weekend!

 

Qaspeq Wednesday

It was a good evening of sewing, visiting, and laughing! I showed Kris to make a 241 tote bag and it turned out super cute! She also cut and almost finished a 2nd bag. I love these bags because they are super cute, practical and fun!

I also finished these two beautiful medium women’s modern qaspeqs. The Cotton and steel Cat lady qaspeq sold but the other one is available to purchase.

I can accept card payments now. I finally set up my square, woohoo!

I hope you have a wonderful Thursday! It is another beautiful day!

Kenai River Festival Weekend

It was a whirlwind of sewing, visiting, setting up, taking down, enjoying the fresh air and making new friends.

The Kenai River Festival was this past weekend and it was a festival full of good food, live music, artist vendors and more! I had a wonderful weekend of awesome networking, sales, and lots of laughter and fun!

This was my first show/festival that I have really done a whole weekend of setting up and taking down. It was a whole lot of fun and learned a lot. I don’t know if I will be doing another one for awhile as it consumes my whole weekend and weekends are my rest time since I have a full time job. Maybe after a good nights rest and a weekend of relaxing I might be ready to rock and roll.

I have two diva frame wallets ready for new homes and I will share the details on the Items for sale page and I will update what I have left of the qaspeqs for sale. I finally set up my square so I am set to take credit/debit cards.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! And hope you have a good week ahead of you!

Ripping Qaspeqs & Cottonwood Salve

Wow is all I can say. My heart is overflowing with awesomeness from last nights evening of learning how to rip qaspeqs the traditional way like my great grandmother, grandmother, mom and aunties learned. There were no rotary cutters, cutting mats all they had was their nussiicuaq (scissors), fabric, and their body to use for measurements. What an amazing experience and I am so glad I learned how to finally rip qaspeqs the traditional way.

Traditional qaspeq making involves using your hand as a measurement tool as well as arms, elbows, and body to make a pattern. It is an amazing experience to witness as well as to make one based on your body. No pattern. No sweater. No shirt. Just your body, elbows, hands, thumb. I am grateful for Bethany for being eager to learn from the wonderful teachers in Toksook Bay and for her eagerness to pass this knowledge to anyone and everyone who wants to learn. Quyana to her!

I never really sewed as a young girl. My mom was never around to teach me how to sew and my aunt who was like my mom passed away when I was 9. My cousin/auntie/sister stepped in and showed me how to make my first qaspeq maybe when I was 10 or 11. And she helped me to make a quilt for my pops and other projects along the way. She was the first to introduce me to sewing on a sewing machine. If it wasn’t for her I don’t know if I would have learned to sew at a young age and I am forever grateful to her 🙂

After ripping qaspeqs, munching on musk ox (thanks to my brother-in-law and sister for sharing) it was time to finally make some cottonwood bud salve. The cottonwood buds had be infusing in the extra virgin olive oil in the sun since April 20th and they were ready and strong.

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Most recipes called for the olive oil, vitamin E oil, beeswax, and shea butter. I found these cute little tins at the local thrift store, and then I also had some small jars. Since this was my first it making it I wanted to put them in as many containers because I plan to give these away as gifts. And course share with the two helpers Naan and Bethany 🙂

So in order to get all the oils out of the cottonwood buds Naan squeezed all the cottonwood buds because I forgot to pick up the cheesecloth. It worked out awesome!

After the oils were all squeezed out of the cottonwood buds we just put them back in the container and those will be used down the road to make salve or include them in another type of salve.

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Then we cut up the beeswax and shea butter and melted them down in a double boiler method.

While the shea butter and beeswax is melting we turned on the burner low on the cottonwood bud oil so that it could slowly heat. Don’t let it boil. Because these had been infusing in the sun since April 20th we didn’t need to cook the oil too long. Usually if they are not solar infused for awhile you can turn the burner on low and let it cook for a few hours. These were strong and ready so we just let them warm up.

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Once the beeswax and shea butter was melted we added it to the cottonwood bud oil. The cottonwood bud oil came out to about 5 cups which is a lot. So I ordered beeswax sticks and used 5 of them. So we estimated one bar per cup of oil. For the shea butter we just guesstimated and put in a handful.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00455IWK6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Here is the beeswax that I ordered and it worked awesome. We also added some shea butter so that it could firm up the consistency. To test the consistency we just dipped a spoon in the oil and pulled it out. Let it dry and checked it. It wasn’t quite thick enough we added another bar of beeswax which totaled 5 bars, and a little spoonful of shea butter.

This is the shea butter we used:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D9NV2D4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Vitamin E oil was also added to the oil but we didn’t measure just guesstimated.

Once the extra beeswax, and shea butter melted we let it cool. While it was cooling I quickly finished up this qaspeq ordered and showed the gals how to add the knit on this qaspeq 🙂

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Once it was cooled down enough we poured them in the containers. And the consistency was right because you could see the bottom of the jars the salve was firming.

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And here is the finished product! Cottonwood bud salve is excellent for achy muscles and joints, burns, cuts and wounds. And much more!

I am grateful for Naan. She came into my life at the right time and she is showing me the traditions of what she learned from her parents. I want to document and share this knowledge so that it can be passed down for generations to come. I am always learning about new plants and their uses. My goal is to document and share it so the younger generations can know the traditional ways of using plants as medicine.

Happy harvesting! Happy salve making! Happy Day!

And just for reference here is the recipe that we used as a base and just added shea butter and vitamin E oil from other recipes found on the web:

http://www.wildernesscollege.com/cottonwood-salve.html

Sew. Sew. Sew.

All I do is sew. sew. sew.

No matter what. what. what.

I forgot to mention head over to my Sew Yup’ik facebook page for a 241 tote bag giveaway!

I have been living NON-stop on my sewing machine trying to bust out as many qaspeqs, bags, cup cozies, fish bags, and key fobs as quickly as I can!

The Kenai River Festival starts tomorrow and is all weekend long of music, food, beer garden, craft booths and much more!

And trying to gather spruce tips because it is almost too late to pick them. This evening I am going to try and make cottonwood salve with the help of some awesome ladies.

I will share the process and photos!

Happy Thursday!

I hope you are having a wonderful day!

You are loved!

You are awesome!

And keep on keeping on!

Busy, busy weekend

Lets just say that I have been living on my sewing machine night and day.

Its tough with a full time job finding time to sew in between trying to gather as much as can with greens, flowers, and what not. And then of course taking time away from my family. Somehow I manage to squeeze time in to sew even if it means staying up till 1 in the morning and my eyes are cross eyed.

But I must say that I have the best customers because they are so patient with me. And of course grateful to my family, especially my husband who is my rock.

Like a crazy person I signed up for the Kenai River Festival which is this weekend June 10-12th in the Soldotna Creek Park. So on top of my orders I have also been trying to get qaspeqs, bags, cup cozies sewn for my first real festival. I don’t know what I got myself into but I am excited 🙂

June is already shaping up to be a busy month! I am taking time away from the sewing machine next weekend and going to the Eklutna Pow Wow! I am so excited! I have not been since 1996! Modest Mouse concert 🙂

Happy Monday! I hope you have a wonderful day! Be grateful!

Memorial Day Weekend Fun!

It was a WHOLE weekend of fun, fun fun!

I was a road master between Cooper Landing, Homer, Soldotna and Cooper Landing it was a whole lotta driving.

We had a sewing retreat in Cooper Landing from Friday night-Monday afternoon. I made it Friday night and was able to whip out two qaspeqs for my customers, and a cute Diva Wallet frame for another awesome patient customer.

Saturday was a busy day working at the quilt shop Bearly Threaded Quilting Too! And then I was a roadrunner and headed out to Homer to have a fun evening with the girls “camping” on the beach. It was a much needed night of lots of laughs, jumping pictures, Baywatch beach running, and more laughs! So glad I snuck away for a night and was able to visit with friends from home 🙂

Sunday was a perfect day resting. My body must have needed it because I just lazed around on the couch all day and it was wonderful!

Cooper Landing was calling my name Monday so I went back and able to almost three BB bags, organize my fabric for the millionth time, finished a customers order that went to Shageluk  and visit with the gals. My allergies were giving me heck from the fresh smelling rain on the cottonwood buds for my motivation was slugging.

I also finally received all my tags for my Sew Yup’ik business! Made in Alaska and the Silver Hand Program thru the Alaska State Council on the Arts! So I am going to be rocking and rolling at the Kenai River Festival which is in two weeks! I better get sewing!

Its also my dads birthday! So if you see him around wish him a Happy Birthday! I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for my strong, amazing dad who has been there for me from the very beginning. I feel lucky and am super grateful for him 🙂

And of course! My pops and Arraq share the same birthday too! So its my wonderful anaans birthday Arnaq! Who would always send for me in the summers to visit her in Anchorage and would take me all over! I love her for that and if you see her in Anchorage wish her a happy birthday and give her the biggest hugs!

Happy Wednesday! Happy Sewing! Happy June!