Where do I even begin…

Its been a whirlwind of travels since July 23rd! Whew!

Where do I even begin?!

I quit my job July 21st and I was on the plane en route to Kotzebue to Camp Sisualik to be a camp counselor for a week! It was such an ahhmazing experience! Camp Sisualik is 14 miles northwest of Kotzebue and a former village and it is still currently a summer camp. It was such a wonderful experience! I taught the kids fish skin tanning. Taught them how to take a good Yup’ik hut maqii. We went out on a hike. Berry picking. The kids were able to check the white fish net. We played some native youth olympics. Made fireweed/bluerry and fireweed jelly. The students collected and made a traditional oil using stinkweed, fireweed flowers, and blueberry leaves. And the students got to just play! There were 10 girls and 6 boys from Kotzebue who made it to camp. Did I mention I was teaching the kids Inupiaq? Or what I learned from the book and shared with the kids. It was such a crazy, wonderful experience! I dont know if I would camp counsel again but it was one for the books!

After camp! I was home for an evening and then right back on the plane the next day to Nome to teach a qaspeq class to the students at the Rural Providers Conference. It was such a wonderful time! I was able to cenirtaq lots with family and friends. Berry pick. Fishing. Get some pro style pictures from my talented friend. And then I was able to share the art of cutting qaspeqs to 23 students from the Norton Sound region! It was such a wonderful experience! I also took the time to speak to our Senator Lisa Murkowski about the heroin epidemic affecting the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta. I urge you if you are concerned to call her office, send her an email, write a letter. Share your concerns with those who have the ability to make waves. Enough is enough. It it is time to take back our communities and protect our future generations.

After Nome! It was home sweet home. For about a week 🙂 I was able to work on some orders before I was right back on the plane heading back to Bethel to teach a class and get lotsa of visits in. I was able to squeeze in three maternity photo shoots! I am not an expert but I am able to point and shoot and try and find good lighting. It was so much fun! I am learning lots and definitely feel like I am improving on my skills. I was able to get out and berry pick for blueberries and tundra tea. And then I taught a class to 6 students and it was wonderful! Everyone was able to make 2 in the class and we had a blast! The weather was raining and windy so it made for a perfect day to be inside sewing.

After Bethel! I was home only for a day before I was right back on the plane the next day to Takotna to teach fish skin tanning at Spirit Camp. I was so thankful for Takotna Community Association for reaching out and making it possible. It was such a wonderful experience! There were 16 students from Takotna, 16 students from McGrath, and 4 students from Nikolai! I was thankful for my Soldotna friends for saving me halibut I was able to bring halibut with me for the students to tan. The water level was so HIGH the students werent able to catch any silvers. It was such a wonderful week with the students. They berry picked. Fished. Hiked. Fish skin tanned. Made survival shelters. Ethical wildcrafting. Knot tieing. Packed water. Chopped wood. Stacked wood. And so much more! It was such an ahhmazing experience! I am so thankful I was able to make it up there and be at my other other home 🙂 I hope to make it again!

After Takotna! Home sweet home! Whew. I am finally home, rested and ready to plan for the fall classes and trips. We are also in the process of home improvements which include painting, new flooring, and light fixtures. I am hoping to make it to new places this fall to teach classes! If you are interested in having me come to teach a class in your community please send me an email sewyupik@gmail.com

I will share more photos of qaspeqs and make up bags I have finished in the last couple days. But for now back to sewing!

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Choose to be happy and healthy!

Fireweed Jalapeno Jelly

First the fun part is gathering the fireweed petals. Try and pick away from the roads so they are not super dusty or dirty. You just have to be careful of the bees I usually just talk to them and tell them to find a new petal. Gather enough petals to fill 8 cups.

Once you’ve gathered enough fireweed petals then you will put the 8 cups and I usually just add enough water so it covers the petal. I have read other recipes that use 4 cups or 4 1/2 cups of water so just depends on how you want to go about it. You boil the flowers until they are a whitish color.

Once the flowers are a nice whitish color then you strain out the flowers. I use a potato masher and mash the flowers down to get all the juice out of the flowers. Then you can discard the flowers and you should have a nice reddish juice.

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On medium heat you bring the juice to a boil then I add my 1/4 cup of lemon juice. And then I will start to add the sugar. There are different recipes that call between 4-6 cups of sugar. I had a lot of juice so I ended up using 6 cups of sugar. I will add the cups of sugar one by one until the sugar dissolves.

This recipe I used 4 jalapenos and 2 sets of seeds.

Caution! Use gloves when cutting jalapenos. I thought I could wing it and not use gloves and I am still feeling it on my fingers. Oh! And just a tip for you and maybe for me take your contacts out BEFORE you cut the jalapenos. Not After. Big mistake. My eyes are still burning from last night hahaha!

After I add all my cups of sugar I will let it come to a rolling boil. Once it does I then add the jalapenos and the two packets of Sure jell. I let that come to a rolling boil for a minute and then I ladle it into my sterilized jars.

There are a couple ways to sterilize jars. You can throw them in the dishwasher and sterilize them that way. I usually just throw them in two pots of boiling water on the stove top and then let them sit and cool until I ladle in the jelly.

I always garnish my fireweed jelly with fresh picked flowers. They look pretty when you open them. And they gel nicely in the jelly. If it sets the first time. Which unfortunately this did not set this morning after a hot water bath for 15 minutes. So I am going to wait a couple days and if it still does not set I will have to re boil it and add one more cup of sugar and one more packet of pectin. It is a hit or miss with fireweed jelly some years it sets overnight and other times it doesn’t set. There is an art to making jelly!

Happy Jelly making!

There are many different variations of fireweed jelly. You can add raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, or any other kind of berry. If I pick enough I am going to try and make fireweed spruce tip jelly. And one year I also made fireweed, cinnamon and all spice jelly.

May the jelly be with you!

Happy Harvesting! And always leave something behind for the plants or thank them if you have nothing to give them. If you have water give them a little water. And don’t over pick save some to grow next year.

Fireweed Tuesdays

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I finally got enough energy to finish two qaspeqs last night! Whew. I think I finally recovered from my whirlwind of a weekend.

Weekend consisting of fishing and berry picking, and berry picking.

And then this afternoon on my quick lunch break I was able to pick a bucket full of fireweed. I am hoping to make fireweed jalapeno jelly, fireweed raspberry and another variation of fireweed jelly before Saturday.

My next few weeks are going to be insane! I head to Kotzebue July 23-31 to visit with family and be a camp counselor at Camp Sisualik! Which I am so excited about!

Then I get home for a day and then head back the next day to Nome for 4 days to teach a qaspeq class at the Rural Providers conference.

And then I am home for about 10 days and then off to Bethel for a week!

Whew! I will be excited once all my travels are done. And I can finally relax and continue working thru my orders.

Life is wonderful! Especially when you fill with smiles, positivity and laughter!

Milky Chance Thursdays Kick Butt!

Thursdays are soo much better when they include Milky Chance, dancing tushies, headaches from too much smiling, achy feet from dancing like a maniacand ahhhmazing friendships.

I did the 4 hour road trip so I can catch this amazing concert by Milky Chance at Mooses Tooth. So WELL worth it! Although my head hurts from too much laughing and shitty grins. Calves hurt from dancing my birks off. Butt hurting from sitting in the car for 2 hours. And too many damn selfies!

Of course when I got home I had to snuggle with Mr. Mac! Its been three years since we got this cute Walker hound dog and I just love him!

Happy Thursday! I am off this weekend to venture out for berries, fish, tundra tea, blueberries, purple clovers, and much more!

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesdays Rock!

Wednesdays Rock! when they are filled with fish head soup, fish egg spread, akutaq, pike and seal oil, finishing a qaspeq, and finishing a beautiful wall hanging that I inherited from my mama bear Jeanne.

The fish egg spread was ahhhhhmazing! And now its all gone! In my tummy and I shared with my coworkers and friends! I cant wait to make more.

I was able to finish this lovely qaspeq for one of my first friends in kindergarten. I loved how bright and fun it is!

You cant have fish head soup without the akutaq so I had to make a fresh batch. Akutaq is eskimo ice cream made with Crisco, sugar, milk, and berries. This time I used my fresh blueberries and salmon berries and it tasted scrumdiddlyumptious! Don’t knock it till you try it 🙂

And my mama bear Jeanne gave me this beautiful wall hanging that she was going to toss aside but I gladly snatched it up! The only thing I had to do was add the binding. I love how beautiful and simplistic it is. This is her view from looking out her store in Cooper Landing.

I am hitting the road and heading to Milky Chance this evening in Anchorage. I hope to goodness the roads are not jam packed and I can make it in time to see the show!

Happy Thursday! Seize the day!

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Sleep. Whats Sleep?

Sleep. Whats that?

I haven’t been able to catch a good wink of sleep since the fish, berries, and business have been in full swing! Oh yeah and working full time. But, next Friday is my last day and I am going to pursue my business full time, school full time and hopefully a traveling teacher of qaspeq making.

I got to go home for 4th of July and it was so wonderful! I got to fill my bucket with blueberries and salmon berries! Lots of visits in my with stinkiest nieces and nephews and lots of visits with good friends and family.

I am having some serious berry picking withdrawals seeing all the blueberry picking and salmon berry picking photos. The berries are in abundance this year and I miss the walk to my favorite tundra spot. Urban living is a little different because you have to worry about bears, property lines, and getting lost. Ha! Bethel there is tundra for DAYS. You would be able to see a bear 20 miles away running to you. Haha. And I am not to comfortable being in the woods yet.

Dipnetting on the Kenai is in full swing! I got my first taste of it on Sunday and now I am hooked! I walked away with 3 Kenai River reds and lost about 7. Oops! I am learning this way of fishing which is definitely different from fishing on the Kuskokwim.

I tested out a new sewing pattern Prima Diva Wallet which I had some difficulty with. I don’t know if I will be making anymore. But it was a good challenge.

I had a Homer getaway with the girls which was much needed. We were tourists for the day. Homer is a beautiful place! And it is only an hour drive away which is awesome.

I was able to finish one custom ordered qaspeq with this beautiful Art Gallery buttery fabric. It turned out beautiful!

I was able to whip out some beautiful BB Bags and two of the three are sold. I will post the one that is for sale on the Items for Sale page.

We celebrated Easy E’s 11th birthday yesterday! Cant believe that kid is 11! Its been fun watching him over the last 6 years.

Salmon Life is the way to go. We use everything from the head, heart, eggs, backbone, skin and the whole fish. We don’t waste. I have yet to brine, dry, and smoke my fish because I don’t have a hanging rack, or smokehouse yet. Hopefully this month we will build one and I can take care of the fish in the freezer.

Life is busy. Life is good. I am excited for my next adventure!

Life is too short to be anything but happy! Do what you love. Follow your heart. If your unhappy find what makes you happy and jump. Don’t wait until your retired to do all the things you WISH you could do now. Make a plan and execute it.

Stay tuned for more fun posts! I got berries, fish, outdoor concerts, half marathon fun, and sewing more to come!

Happy Hump Day!

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!