Friday, October 30

happy halloween!!

halloween is my very favorite holiday. i am so sad that for the first time in 21 years, i didn't have a costume to sew, no tulle, no aluminum foil, no cardboard, no feathers. luckily i have a friend with 3 wonderful little girls whom i adore, so i've spent the morning making them treat baskets out of peat cups. that left me feeling a little better.
i felt a LOT better after i walked down to get the mail and .....this was in my box....

wow! i was the lucky winner of linda's altered cabinet card. linda hosts great swaps at A Swap for all Seasons. she sent me a package full of halloween goodies: a ghost stamp, a tiny little broom that probably gets great mileage, little spiders, pumpkins and bats, and this over the top necklace made on a domino - i love it all, thanks linda! (i am such a poor photographer..)

trick or treating on kodiak is not always a treat. for many years we trudged through rain storms, slush, and snowy blizzards to bring our kids trick or treating. our poor kids never once got to go outside just wearing their wonderful costumes it took days and weeks to make, they always had to be buried in snowsuits or rain gear. it wasn't until my daughter was at college in oregon her first year that she realized fall was an actual season that didn't include snow or ice, and she called to let me know she felt cheated thinking back on all those trick or treat nights that no one knew she was a fairy ice princess. i told her there were hundreds of children down there who have never gotten to pull their own king crab pots. she quieted down a little after that. but she has a point. at any rate, we are having a sunny dry halloween right now, and boy are the local kids ever out in full force. good for them! and happy halloween to all of you, hope yours is also dry and sunny!

Wednesday, October 28

words of wisdom...

i've been working the last couple of sunny but freezing (i mean it~ice on the lakes, cold air coming in all the cracks kind of cold) days on some ATC's for a show my friend liz is hosting at her gallery. it's entitled "words of wisdom." when she put out the call we all went and picked up a sheet with a vintage vocabulary flash card attached to it. my word was facetious. i was thrilled. i have no problem being "facetious." the problem came with trying to visualize the word on a 2.5 x 3.5" card. i've spent days pondering ideas, and finally settled on these two. all of us participants have been saying the same things to each other ..."oh man, i wish i had your word..." i can't wait to see what everyone else has done. wouldn't this be a great art/english project for a teacher to do in class?
i'd like to give credit to debrina of land of enchantment for the marie image and karen the graphics fairy for the pierrot photo and sheet music image (what a title for a song, huh? cracked me up)
i've also made several more necklaces, have started on some sea glass charm bracelets, and am gearing up to head back to mermaid shadow box land for the holidays. and i have a group of silk velvet scarves to get in the dye baths. sure wish the two remaining members of my family didn't expect dinner every night...

Tuesday, October 20

oh this is so sad

saturday night was the last dinner my son devon will have with us for some time, as he left for Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio Texas sunday morning. he wanted kraft macaroni & cheese and hot dogs. it was tough, but i pulled it off. we did a lot of remembering over that dinner. like how he used to always choke on his hot dogs. set fire to things inside the house. tinkle in his sisters' dollhouse in the night. the next morning we brought him to the airport and had to say goodbye, without knowing exactly when we would see or hear from him again... he was allowed to take only a backpack. and gosh he looked just like he did on his first day of kindergarten. now there's only 3 plates on the dinner table.

on the bright side, it only took his younger brother cullan 25 minutes to complete the move from his old room into devon's...

if any of you out there are in texas, maybe you could keep your eye out for devon. sure hope the heat doesn't evaporate the poor alaskan boy.

beach jewels...

there isn't a windowsill or flat surface in my house that hasn't collected a few pieces of sea glass. who can walk on the beach and not pick these beauties up? not me. if our house falls off its' foundation, i know it will be from the tons of jewels i have been collecting. i finally decided it was time to share them, and am working on perfecting my drilling and wirework. i do love the feel of my dremel tool in my hand. we'll see where this takes me...

Sunday, October 11


hot dog, look up there everyone! at my new header! it has taken me so many frustrated hours trying to figure out how to get a nice banner up there, using a font i liked...i have shed tears over this, and felt all the worse knowing it could be done, because everyone else is able to....if i had champagne handy, this would be a mimosa moment. a very heartfelt thanks to karen, the graphics fairy, who shares such beautiful images with everyone.

Monday, October 5

is there anything more wonderful than a package in the mail?

i've spent all morning with my pile of mail. i'm probably the only person ever who even loves her junk mail. i read it all. but i always save the best for last, and boy howdy, did i get some great stuff. earlier this summer i joined the Good Ol' Summertime Mini Quilt Swap. i finished mine up and sent it off before i left in august. how fun to get home and open up this....

what an awesome piece! i am so lucky to have been the talented doris' swap partner! my quilt was made by doris from threads of conversation and i love it. she does beautiful work, the colours and curved piecing are fabulous. thanks so much doris!

i saved my last package for last because i knew what would be in it, and i love prolonging the excitement. halloween is my very favorite holiday, so when sarah (gypsy mermaid) announced a vintage halloween tag swap i didn't think twice. she is a great swap coordinator, and did something really fun with this one - each of us made 13 tags and mailed them to her, then she collected them all, and assembled them into books for each of us. after opening up my box and looking at each incredible tag, i am so amazed at how much art can be fit on such a small surface. each tag was so different, and so wonderful. my photo doesn't do justice to them at all, and i can't wait to visit everyone's blogs to see more of their work. look at these great treasures!!

i love them all. i can't wait to haul out all my halloween stuff now. thanks sarah, for putting these together for us!

Sunday, October 4

hello, i'm finally back home!


after almost 2 months, i'm home with the family. when i left, i had no idea it would be for so long, but what an adventure.

it's a bit hard getting back into the swing of things, it's taken me a couple of days to even be able to turn on the computer. i feel like i've been fast-forwarded back into civilization, and i'm most definately on overload. the grocery store almost did me in...

the first week at ugak i spent with my family at our cabin, in beautiful sunny weather, it was wonderful.

then for the next few weeks i moved over to our neighbor's working lodge, Alpenview, where i cooked for clients and staff. check out their website, it is pretty incredible, especially if any of you fish or have fishing husbands. what a fantastic time.

owners/guides dave jones and shawn finn have been fishing guides on kodiak for many years, and they sure know what they are doing. i had the pleasure of meeting and cooking for clients from all over the states and many countries.
alpenview has an incredible top-notch commercial kitchen for being out in a remote area, what a treat for me to create meals in. combined with the freshest fish and seafood ever, i was in heaven. i never thought i could be so happy getting up at 5:30 every morning, but it was so much fun watching folks from ohio, arizona, colorado, germany or spain get up at the crack of dawn and be thrilled about pulling on rain gear to go fishing....even when it was raining sideways from the wind. amazing, these fishing people.

before i left i packed up my baby sewing machine and some other supplies, thinking between meals i would have some great time to do my art, but that never happened...i did nothing but create food from sun up to sundown, and often much later. however, i have a head full of inspiration for this winter.
i did find a creative outlet while making meals - i began a "food as art" campaign. i have a long way to go before i reach julia child status, but the clients seemed to enjoy everything. we pulled the crab pots every week for a huge fresh crab dinner. i also made sushi every week, and made bread every day. so much different from cooking for my family - no blue box mac & cheese! and the wonderful clients were so gracious. (of course, it helps when the folks eating your food have been standing on their feet in water and rain all day catching fish, they are usually cold, tired and starving.) having an unlimited supply of fresh halibut, salmon, rockfish and crab to work with was wonderful.

at any rate, the days at the lodge were great. it was hard every saturday, the client switch out day, to say goodbye to our "family" of the week, but also fun to meet our new guests. now there are so many places i want to visit...after hearing folks talk about their homes, i'm pretty sure i need to see north carolina, spain, portugal, germany, and ohio...

as well as running guided fishing stays at alpenview lodge (where there is the wonderful kitchen, hot running water, showers, windows and floors...) dave and shawn also operate an outcamp on the ayakulik river, located on the southern end of the island, miles and miles away from...anything. the outcamp is definately camping, with a main tent for the kitchen/eating area, a tent for the banya (an native kodiak island steam bath, like a suana) and 5 sleeping tents. and the outhouse. all this is enclosed in a solar powered electric fence because the outcamp is located in the middle of kodiak grizzly bear home.

i've enjoyed photos of the outcamp, but never ever had any longings to visit it. the clients who stay at the outcamp are hard core fly fishermen, usually there for king salmon, silver salmon, and what i believe is the holy grail of fly fishing - steelhead.

during the course of my stay at alpenview, i was gently convinced i wanted to experience cooking at the outcamp. and so, for the last 2 weeks, that is where i have been. i never took my longjohns off once the entire time, except for 2 quick banyas. i slept in my longjohns, wool socks and a hat and mittens.

my best friends were sweetpea, the bear, a little ermine, and several fox. and the heater in the kitchen tent.

i thought that ugak bay was peaceful, but the calm peace at the ayakulik was amazing. the outcamp is in a huge valley, the mountains are quite a ways off, so the sky is huge, bigger than i've ever seen. at night it is so pitch black the stars are overwhelming, it is like being in a 3D movie. there are always shooting stars flying by and once we even saw jupiter. the quiet was incredible. so quiet i could hear the bears swimming down the river. i loved it. then it froze. one morning we woke up to 18 degree weather. a very cold trip to the outhouse. a lot of water hauling. the clients were all so great, so happy to be there. it was fun seeing it all through their eyes, especially when they were from new york city & such. one mom bear we call susie mocha, and her three 3 yr old cubs we call the chocolate drops, were frequent visitors and fun to watch as she gave them lessons on fishing in the home pool by the kitchen tent. the cubs loved to visit in the mornings and caused many clients to cut their outhouse visit all, it was a great experience. i'm glad i went. i made some great friends, learned how to fly fish, sort of, and created meals on a 3 burner camp stove instead of a viking range...i learned i'm not too old to haul water from a stream outside of the bear fence. also learned how incredible total silence can be for your soul. and i hummed the national geographic explorer song a lot. especially when trying to cook on the smoker outside in pelting cold rain with bears watching me.

anyhow, it's good to be home with the boys. and the toilet that flushes. and my flannel pj's. i won't be wearing rubber boots again for a while.

i remembered how to drive my car, and i survived my first trip to the grocery store in 5 weeks without too much culture shock. it is a bit hard to get used to the noise and bustle of life...and i admit, i miss conversing with sweetpea in the mornings, and dodging fox poop on the boardwalks.

i wish i could post all the photos i took while down there, but i have to say getting photos on this blogger thing sends me minute they are there, then they are gone, or even more fun, jump to somewhere else in the post... but i did want to share my bear friends with you all, and some of the fellows i had the pleasure of meeting and watch fish. i am throwing in one of myself, which i usually don't like to do, but i am quite proud of my beautiful dolly varden i caught after shawn patiently taught me how to cast out the line and all the other motions of fly fishing. my fish was happy to be put back in the river and swim away from my bumbling efforts.

i have a lot of catching up to do here in blogland i can tell, and i can't wait. i have a huge pile of mail to go through also, i'm waiting for everyone in the house to go away so i can have a good cup of coffee and open up all the packets... fall has definately arrived here, even though it's not as cold yet as at the outcamp, the colours are changing. i will be glad to get back at the sewing machine and get busy with all the projects i've been carrying around in my head.

i would also like to say thank you to all of you who have visited & left me comments! it's so exciting to hear from all of you, everywhere! even if i never get off this little island, it's so awesome to be able to converse with folks out in "the real world" - so thank you for taking the time to share a few words with me!