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!

Devils Club Process

 

Dealing with Devils Club is quite a process. You have to be careful not to get pricked by the thorns. I use a potato peeler or the back of a small knife to de-thorn the devils club. Once I get all the thorns off then I use my small knife and start cutting away the bark.

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After I get all the bark off I let it sit out and dry in the basin either outside, or in the garage. Once it is dried off then I cut it up or break it in small pieces and put it in he grinder and grind away.

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Once it is all ground up you can store it in a glass jar in a cool dark place. I will put some of the ground devils club in olive oil and use it to make salves. It definitely smells stronger ground up and I am excited to start making some salves!

Happy Harvesting!

I will share the process of making salves when I make them. Hopefully this weekend I can set aside some time to make some goodies!

Cinquefoil Herb

Cinque Foil Herb also know as five fingers, crampweed, five leaf grass, goosegrass, goose tansy and silverweed to name a few.

As I was weeding away the dandelions away from my wild irises I noticed this weed that was trying to invade them as well. And I reached out to a Facebook group Alaskan Harvesters that I am in and asked if anyone knew. Some told me a weed pull out, and some others told me it has wonderful medicinal qualities. So I checked out the links and it looks like they have strong medicinal qualities which is great!

It is an astringent, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, tonic, antiseptic, hemostatic and antiphlogistic (which I have no idea but I am going to look it up).

It was used for a laxative by the Paiutes, can be used for a red dye. It is also good for diarrhea, enteritis, inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth and bleeding gums, cancker sores, dysentery and much more!

I don’t know how I am going  use it either dry it, grind up the roots, make a salve, or put it in a tincture. But once I figure out how I will use it I will definitely share my recipes and the process.

Here are some links with Crampweed information.

https://altnature.com/gallery/cinquefoil.htm

http://medicinalherbinfo.org/herbs/Cinquefoil.html

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fivele20.html

On another note! The dandelions are trying to take over my beautiful wild irises and me personally I prefer the iris over the dandelion. I started weeding without even thinking of using the dandelion roots and halfway thru I realized that the dandelion roots are very medicinal and are strong! So I went back to my weed piles and started taking off the roots and setting them aside. I have harvest a bunch of flowers for dandelion salve but have yet to harvest the flowers for dandelion jelly. That is my list this weekend when I can set aside time to take care of the dandelion flowers.

SO! But I did gather some dandelion roots and rinsed them off immediately and they are sitting in the sun drying. Once they are dried and cleaned good I will grind them and figure out what to do with them. Dandelion root is super good for your health! So before you rip out the roots see if you want to harvest them for medicinal or share them with someone who will use them medicinally.

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Here are some awesome links to check out!

https://sunwarrior.com/healthhub/11-health-benefits-of-dandelion-leaves-and-dandelion-root

What Are the Health Benefits of Dandelion Root?

Dandelion – A Backyard Herb with Many Benefits

Happy Harvesting!

Qaspeq Class & May Fun!

My qaspeq class at Bearly Threaded Quilting Too was ahhhmazing! There was two gals Barbara and Nikki and it was wonderful! They both made beautiful qaspeqs! And I got to sew and make a couple qaspeqs for my amazingly patient customers 🙂

I love how Alaska is such a small world! I used to work for Nikki’s son Luke in Bethel over 10 years ago. And she knew alot of people from back home 🙂

And! I finally busted out Janome Memory Craft 500E Embrodiery machine and put it to good use! I cant believe it took me this long to brave it and try it out! Now all I want to do is embroider 🙂

Its going to be another busy week I have quite a few orders to fill and need to gather more spruce tips and dandelion flowers before its too late!

Hope you have a wonderful week! IMG_2264

Busy Busy Month

Its already been such a busy busy month of May already! I snuck home for a weekend for some good maqii’s, my nephews, auntie, and my Conwads graduation, and lots of cenirtaqs!

Its also been a busy busy sewing month! I have been getting orders in left and right and am trying to keep up with all of them between work, gathering devils club, dandelion flowers, and spruce tips! All are medicinal and I am hoping to make them into salves 🙂

I just had a wonderful weekend teaching a small two person sewing class at Bearly Threaded Quilting Too which was great! I got to sit and sew with the gals and had fun!

I will share some photos 🙂