I have created a Sew Yup’ik YouTube Channel and I would love for you to head over and tell me what you think.
What types of tutorials would you like to see?
Would you be interested in a live class with me for a donation?
I am open to any and every suggestion! I love to share and teach and I am hoping to create more tutorials around salve making with traditional plants, making moose jerky, salmon processing, akutaq making and sew much more!
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As a small business owner I do not have any employees but myself. Sometimes my almost 4 year old daughter Syd loves to help me, and my 3 month old often sleeps on the job. So any like, share, post or anything helps me and it is much appreciated.
You are not in charge of anyone’s happiness but your own.
You don’t owe anyone anything that includes space.
You are amazing. I am amazing.
You are okay. I am okay.
You are exactly where you need to be at this very moment.
You do not have to enjoy every moment. It’s okay to not like this moment.
You can do this. I can do this.
You are strong. I am strong.
You are loved. I am loved.
Step outside and take three deep breaths. Breathe in love. Breathe out the anger.
I am grateful for my health.
You are a survivor. You are giving your children the best possible life.
You are alive. I am alive.
I am here. I am ready. I am prepared to ride out this wild storm. I am strong. I can do this.
Here are my positive affirmations to help me in my postpartum depression bouts. When I am suffering I will turn to these to help me through those deep, dark moments. The one that I will repeat to myself over and over again is:
You are not your thoughts.
I am not my thoughts.
My thoughts can be so scary at times but I know that those moments will pass. I know that there are times when I am overly exhausted and I need to remind myself that I am okay. My goal is to post my affirmations on post its around my house. I will repeat them every morning when I wake. I am a good mom. I am safe. I am not alone.
Postpartum depression and postpartum rage can be so scary. I know that I am not the only suffering and I find comfort in knowing that I am not alone. Navigating through those emotions can be so difficult when I am trying to heal my childhood trauma wounds. Becoming a parent opens up wounds that I must have hid deep, deep down in my heart. But I am trying every day and that is the important part. I am doing the work. I am showing up and learning. It’s hard. And somedays are harder than others and I avoid going down that road because its hurts my core. I know that I have to go down to that dead end so that I can heal and move forward.
My self-healing journey has been a long, long road but I am so thankful where I am today. And I am excited where I am going to be 1, 5, 10 years down the road. I deserve to be healthy. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to enjoy my life to the fullest. My children deserve a happy, healthy mama. My husband deserves a healthy wife and partner but mostly friend.
Find your people. Find what works for you. Keep going. Don’t ever give up. Know that you are not alone. Reach out to me if you have no one and I can be your person. Motherhood is hard. Self-healing from childhood trauma is hard. And navigating those headwaters can be scary but know that you are not alone.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!