Zoom Qaspeq Classes

I plan on hosting three qaspeq zoom classes.

The zoom classes will be over three different weekends. The three weekends are:

November 27-28

December 4-5

December 11-12

The first two zoom classes will be traditional qaspeq classes. And the third class will be a modern qaspeq class. There will be three sessions over the weekend. There will be two (2) hour sessions on Saturday, and one (2) hour session on Sunday.

Students will need to provide their own material, and sewing machine.

The fee to participate in the class with $75 per person. And there will be at 15 person maximum capacity.

I will create three different events on Facebook for these events. If you do not have Facebook you can send me a message to sewyupik@gmail.com if you are interested in participating.

I wanted to create this post to prepare those of you who are interested in attending. Please do not ask me to remind you, or to message you when I post the events. I work full time, work part time, have two little ones at home, and my mom brain is in full force. I forget when I showered last so I am not a good person to ask to remind anyone. Sorry for the TMI but I want to be honest.

Materials needed for a traditional qaspeq:

3 yards for sizes XXS-XL with no skirt

3 1/2 yards for sizes XL and up with no skirt

Add 1/2 yard if you would like a skirt

2-3 packages of bias tape, trimming of your choice

I personally like using the extra wide double fold bias tape, and piping

Materials needed for a modern qaspeq:

2 yards for sizes XXS-XL

2 1/2 yards for sizes XL and up

1 yard of rayon knit spandex

Here is what I like using from Joanns Rayon Knit Spandex

Please let me know if you have any questions. Please keep an eye out for those events created on Facebook and it will have all the information on how to register for the classes.

Quyana Chuck Norris!

Its been hard

Being a school nurse during this difficult time has been unbearable at times to the point that I am breaking into a million pieces.

I cherish my times with the students and generally love every aspect of being a school nurse. But now it has been so hard that I get physically sick to my stomach every morning when I drive to the school. Being yelled at daily is normal. Most times its more than once.

It is all out of my control.

I don’t have control over the school policies. I am not making up any nilly willy rules just because it’s fun and I feel like it. I want students in school just as much as the parents. We all saw how last year students suffered mentally and emotionally because they were not socializing. It was tough. For every single one of us and some more than others who have lost a family member, friend, coworker. I get it. I too have lost family members to COVID related illnesses and it sucks.

It is not hard to be kind. It is not hard to be empathic or sympathetic. We are all doing our best. Most days I am prepared to be yelled at and that is the shittiest feeling in the world. But today is not one of those days.

So please be kind. It’s not hard. And I hope that you can find joy. Life is too short to be angry.

My beautiful babies

Setting your children up for success

My two little investors

Here are my two littlest investors and I am going to share how I am setting them up for success. First and foremost I am not a financial advisor and by no means an expert but I am sharing what I know and have learned in my investing journey.

I first learned about 529’s at a young age when my father started putting my Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) in my own account. He was also gracious and put half of his PFD in my 529. A 529 is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed for future educational expenses. The only downside to a 529 is that the funds can only be used for educational purposes. It may not work in your favor if your child does not have plans on attending college, or a vocational school. I am not planning on investing huge amounts into each of my children’s accounts. With each of their PFD’s half of the funds will go into their accounts and the other half will be invested in their UTMA which is a Uniform Transfers to Minor Act.

My children who are 4 years old and 6 months old each have an account for their 529’s with Alaska 529 which is associated with T.Rowe Price. There are many other websites that offer 529 plans make sure you do your research. I chose Alaska 529 because my children’s PFD’s can be deposited directly into their accounts.

Now I chose to open UTMA accounts for my children because I can invest in Mutual Funds, ETF’s (exchange traded funds) and individual stocks. With a UTMA I am able to invest as little or as much as I prefer up to $13,000 per year per child. I chose Vanguard to open their UTMA’s because I have been a Vanguard investor for the last 10+ years and I like how their website is user-friendly also their funds have low expense ratio’s.

Creating an account on Vanguard is fast and easy. Once you decide which account you want to open with them then it takes a couple days for the funds to hit the account. Once you see the funds in the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund the key is moving those into a mutual fund, index fund, or individual stock. You do not want those funds to sit in the Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund because they will not start accruing that compound interest.

When it came to selecting funds for my children my go to tickers have always been VOO (Vanguard S&P 500 ETF), VTI (Vanguard Total Stock) and VTSAX (Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares). The key to choosing funds is selecting ones that have a low expense ratio. I prefer funds that have an expense ratio of 0.10% or less any more than that you are losing out on free money.

If all this is another language to you and confusing I recommend checking out Personal Finance Club’s website Jeremy does an amazing job of explaining all of this in simpler terms. At the beginning of the year I knew that I wanted to learn more about investing and the stock market. I went head first and started watching hours of YouTube videos, researching the web and then started stumbling across great finance accounts on Instagram. If I can start, you can do it! Sure, it can be scary at first but the scarier thing is not starting. If you have funds sitting in a bank account and you are not sure what do with it I suggest you start researching investing. And if you are scared to put it into the stock market look into HYSA (High Yield Savings Accounts) at least allow your money to work for you.

My goal for my children is to set them up for success and allow them to have that financial freedom that I am working hard to create for myself. I am working on that generational wealth. Money should not be a topic that is taboo it should be something that we discuss with our children at a young age. I know that when my daughter is old enough I will allow her to choose her own stock to invest in for her birthday present. For now mama will invest in one stock for her each year and right now mama is liking AAPL (Apple).

And if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out I am willing to share what I know to help others. I hope that this post was helpful and if you enjoyed it please feel free to leave me a comment. Quyana Chuck Norris!

It was hard.

It was hard to see her like that.

It has been a long time since I saw her and seeing her brought back a flood of awful memories and tears.

Tears rolled down my cheeks

I was angry.

Again.

why?

I thought I was okay. I thought I was moving forward.

but seeing her again like that

brought me back to when I was an angry, angry teenager and I wanted to bury myself

into my obnoxiously loud music, scream into my pillow and escape. But escape where?

No matter where I go she’s there. she’s always there.

I feel like I will never be able to move on with my life until I completely cut her off.

But why?

Why do I have to feel like the bad guy?

All I am doing is trying to take care of myself. Better myself. Heal myself.

But I feel like the bad guy.

What is so wrong about trying to be healthy? Happy?

All my life she has tore me down. Called me the most horrific names and I am talking

horrific. Adults should never say those words, especially to their children. I don’t care

how intoxicated a person is they should never, ever call their children the names that my

mother has called me for almost my entire childhood, and adult life.

But it will always be hard to see her like that.

No matter the day.

The time.

Place.

I wrote the blog post above almost 3 years ago and couldn’t finish it. Thats how hard it was to see her that way. But thankfully I am in a much better place that I was then and have been able to move forward. For a long time I was stuck in the same place and I couldn’t seem to get past it. But I made it and everyday I work on getting better and better so that I can give my daughter and children the best possible life they deserve.

 

 

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!

End the cycle, here.

The cycle ends with me. I choose to stop the cycle. The cycle of generational trauma is on repeat. And WE need to do something to stop the cycle. Not the government. Not the schools. Not the tribal councils. But WE as a family. Community. It has to start in our homes. Aunties and uncles homes. Friends homes. And it needs to happen sooner than later before we continue to lose more of our family members to alcohol, drugs, suicide, domestic violence, and so much more.

As an adult child of an alcoholic, everyday is a battle. But I am dealing with it the best way I know how. It may not be the right way but it is the only way I know, and for now it has been working. For now. Growing up I never wanted to seek help because I thought I had it covered. I kept telling myself I was fine and nothing was wrong with me. It wasn’t until my later adult years I realized I wasn’t fine. I wasn’t okay. Something was wrong with me and I couldn’t figure it out. I was an angry kid, angry teenager, and it carried into my early adult years. I refused to deal with my emotions and I turned to alcohol and chew. But then there was a turning moment in my early 20s when I realized I didn’t want to be anything like her. And that’s when I knew. I knew that the cycle would end with me. I will refuse to be an alcoholic parent. I will refuse to be a verbally abusive parent. I will refuse to make my children live in fear, every single damn day of their lives.

I know that when the time comes for me to be a mother I will never, ever, ever put my children thru what I was put thru as a child, teen, adult. No child should ever have to hear those words, be treated with such hate and anger, or live in a constant state of fear. No child should ever have to put a restraining order on their parent. No child should ever have to be scarred for life for the hateful words that were spewed in a drunken screaming match.

 

But.

 

I am not bitter. Angry. Hateful. Sad. I do not feel like I am a victim. I am grateful. I am grateful for the person I am today. I am motivated, and determined. I have a raging desire to find my pursuit of happiness every single damn day. My childhood was a mess. But as an adult I have a choice to dwell in the past or make the best of every day. I choose to make the best of everyday. I choose to smile. Laugh uncontrollably. Cry when I feel a wave of emotions overcome my body. I am not ashamed anymore to show my emotions. They have been in hiding for 20 years. No more hiding.

 

So please.

 

Choose the path that is right for you. But please do not continue the cycle of abuse. You can stop it for your generations to follow. Think of your children. Grandchildren. Great-grandchildren. But mostly for yourself. Because in the end you have to live with yourself. Your mind, body, and soul every single day and you have to be healthy for you. Not for anyone else, but yourself.

 

But for me.

It ends with me.

I choose to be healthy.

The cycle ends here.

 

 

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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