Category Archives: Alaskan Life

My Mono Tangle Challenge

Do you have favorite tangles? The ones you refer back to again and again, especially when you’re stuck and can’t think of a tangle. Your comfortable go-to tangles. Maria Thomas calls those her “mac & cheese tangles” 🙂  Some of my favorites are Poke Root, Printemps, Tipple, Flux, Hollibaugh, and Rain (created by Zentangle®). You will see these tangles in many of my tiles! I’m taking a break from classes this summer because when summer starts in Alaska, people are outside fishing, camping, hiking, traveling, gardening, etc.  So this is usually the time that I put a fall class schedule together but this summer Jake and I bought a small motorhome and have been camping a lot. I’ve been away from technology and tangling is perfect when camping! All you need is an ink pen, pencil, and paper!


I admit that I don’t do well with change and so I have a hard time with structured challenges. I have to force myself to try new tangles and I tend to fall back on my “mac & cheese” tangles. But since I have time and I’m off camping, it’s the perfect time to challenge myself.  I’m starting out small and doing mono tangles (one tangle) and I’ll choose different tangles that I’ve never done before! Yikes, be brave! I’ve always wanted to do Mak-Rah-Mee tangle, by Michele Beauchamp, CZT. This tangle has always intrigued me because it’s so pretty and I love how it flows, but looks hard to do. But I actually found it easy when following the step out at www.tanglepatterns.com  It looks similar to a craft knot like you’d find in macrame. I love fiber art! I added some Tipple and finished the border using Curly Q, by Diane Lachance, CZT. All were really FUN tangles to do! Sometimes we just need a little push…in my case, a BIG push!


So I’m challenging myself to do a new tangle every week until classes start again in Fall. Why don’t you join me!

❤️ Donna

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Pretty Glazed Balls

Hi!  OK, my 2014 New Years Resolution has started!  My goal is to get back into blogging again!  I spend so much time on my facebook pages that I have neglected blogging and I’m sorry about that!  I’m going to try to keep you posted with my current projects, experiences, and thoughts 🙂

Right before Christmas I suddenly got this idea to decorate hanging glass balls.  I’ve actually wanted to do this for the last two summers for the tourists, cutting and painting “Alaskana stuff” on them.  They’re so pretty and can be hung all year round.  What nice little gifts they make!  A long time ago, my sister gave me a friendship ball (painted glass) which hangs in my living room and I think of her every time I look at it 🙂

GlazedBalls-Facebook Photo

I’ve been having soooo much fun making them and selling them at Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center (where I work).  I either use clear glass or plastic ornament balls.  I got mine at Michael’s Arts & Crafts store (use your coupon!).  I cut small pieces of paper or fabric and paste them on using a small sponge paint brush and Mod Podge.  WOW!  I’d forgotten how much that glue stunk!!  But I kept on and after three days of horrible headaches, I took a break, and when I went back and got headaches again, and I realized it was the Mod Podge.  What a huge bummer!!!  I switched over to “Golden Gel Medium”, which is a lot more expensive but I don’t get headaches and so it’s worth spending more 🙂

Before-Glaze Balls-cropped

On the drying rack and three more coats to go!

Let them dry between coats.  I used “Golden thick Gel (Matt)” on the ones in the photos but found that it was just too thick.  I really love and recommend the “Golden Regular Gel (Gloss) Medium” because it’s a thinner and shinier coat!  I think it’s the best!

After-Side View Glazed Balls-sm

Finished glazed balls and in the store! The hanging balls are made with fabric and the balls in the bowl are Alaskan paper.

Interesting…I found that when I put them on a green Christmas tree that the lighter ones stood out so I need to make more of those.

GlazedBall-one-name

One of my favorites!

Wishing you much love for 2014 and lots of fun projects!

Donna

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Finally Friday Paint & Stitch

Hi!  We just recently wrapped up our Finally Friday Paint & Stitch Get-togethers!  Jake and I have been hosting these gatherings all winter long and now will take a summer break and come back in October.  Every month, on the 2nd & 4th Friday evenings, people from the community who share common painting & stitching interests gathered at the Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center, downtown 5th Ave, Anchorage, Alaska.  It’s a beautiful Art Gallery and so cozy in the back where we meet.  Thank you Jana for letting us get together there!  So Jake’s (Kurt) the painter and I”m the stitcher.

Our First Gathering

Our First Gathering

It’s been a lot of hard work but soooo much fun and rewarding!  Almost every gathering we’ve had different people come and join us along with a small core group that formed.  We also have a potluck and that has been really nice because we start at 6pm and many come straight from work and we all share our goodies together while unwinding from the hectic week.  We all share our talents too and I’ve learned so much and made friends.

Jan Instructing

I saw painters who started as beginners become experienced and awesome painters!  I saw crocheters who began to knit!  I saw friendships develop and blossom!  I’ve known some of the people for a long time but got to know them better.  The buzz was always “what are we going to bring to eat and work on this week?”  I saw the excitement each time we all came together, excited to share and learn.  I have a hard time around people (I fake it pretty good) but everyone made each other comfortable and was accepting of each other.   Even though we were all different ages, we were like one big family!  It was so wonderful to experience that! I love each one of them.

11-23-2012 Beautiful Paintings   Joni and BlueHands

We even shared things that we made, like I bought a beautiful pair of earrings from Cathe!  And Nicole brought handmade felted soap!  Jan and Joni bought some of Jake’s paintings and Angie showed her cute crocheted baby onesie & hat sets along with her Angry Bird hats she sold at Christmas.  We all watched Sarah work on her darling crocheted mushroom until she completed it.  Funny, I never did really complete anything because I always got side tracked looking at everyone else’s projects:)

Angie and Nija Turtles                Sarah

The last Friday the stitchers convinced me to show them how to locker hook and before I knew it I had a FULL class!  I honestly wasn’t prepared for a class….thought it was just going to be a demo!  But everyone, having stitching experience whether it was knitting, crochet, tatting, felting, weaving, embroidery, jewelry, sewing, and etc. all caught on fast.  It was a great class and I am so proud of them:)

locker hooking gathering

I know we are going to miss our Friday gatherings but it always seems that when spring & summer come we all are out doing other things.  In Alaska we take advantage of the good weather!  But we will all come together again in October and share more projects, fun, food, laughter, and friendships.   Hope everyone has a great summer and Jake and I can’t wait to see you in October!

Jake Painting

Donna

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Our Hurricane

Hi!  About a week ago we had a HUGE storm, in Anchorage, Alaska!  Up where I live it was recorded up to 100-130 mi. an hour winds and hurricane rain.  They had just started working on our road and had closed it off (for a month!) so I had to take another road which is dark, narrow, windy, and scary during the day time let alone the night!  I was working downtown in the Gallery that night and I found myself driving home in the dark, during a  hurricane.  Each time a wind gust pushed my car I wondered if I was going over!  But the biggest problem was the poor visibility because the rain was so fierce!  It was pounding so hard on my windshield and my wipers were full blast, and I could hardly see the narrow road!  I remember thinking, I may go over the cliff and there is nothing I can do about it!  I was pretty shaken up by the time I reached home and I sure was glad to be there!  When I got out of my car I was literally shaking!  Soon after (during the news), we lost power but got it back the next day.  We were fortunate because most people around us lost their power for about a week.  Many of our friends went without power for well over a week.  We lost our TV and internet for five long days 🙂

It howled all night long and shook our house, and the next day I looked out my kitchen window and this is what I saw…….

Fallen tree from my window

Photo taken through my screen window

The Tip of the Fallen Tree

The tip of the fallen tree

This is a BIG thick, tall healthy tree that fell!  That tree was right next to our bedroom, next to our heads!  My first thought was “I hope it didn’t fall on the neighbor’s shed!  We would be in big trouble”  It didn’t.  I went outside and took this photo showing how close it actually was to our house….

Fallen tree next to our house

Fallen tree next to our house & truck

I had just recently watched the coverage of Hurricane Issac off Florida and New Orleans and I could now identify somewhat with those who go through hurricanes!  I have an absolute love and fascination of the wind and of storms, but this one was just too close to home!

Click here for more photos of our  hurricane.

Donna

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Crocheted Dream Catchers

Hi!  Oh my gosh!!  I’ve been having Soooo MUCH FUN making crocheted beaded dream catchers and learning all about the history!  I love crocheting and I love dream catchers!  I thought I’d see if they sell at my Etsy Shop, Alaska HomeCrafters Emporium, or maybe a tourist at Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center might find them as fascinating as I do.  When I moved up to Alaska someone gave me a dream catcher to keep the good dreams coming and the bad dreams trapped in the web.  I still have it!  I think everyone should have one 🙂

Dream catchers are arts and crafts of the Native American people.  Traditionally dream catchers were made from willow branches bent into rings  or oval shapes and sinew for the web.  Feathers decorate infants and children’s dream catchers, but all dream catchers are embellished with totem animals, beads, and small stones.  (I love to embellish!)  The ring is believed to represent wisdom, strength, and unity.

One legend tells of an elderly spiritual leader who had a vision of Iktomi, the great trickster and searcher of wisdom.  He appeared in the form of a spider and spoke to him.  As he spoke, the spider picked up the elder’s willow ring and began to spin a web.  He spoke about the cycle of life and and many lessons.  The ring represents the cycle of life, for as we come into life as infants and grow into adults, as elderly adults we must be taken care of as infants, thus completing the cycle of life.

When the spider finished, he had spun a web inside the ring and told him that when the dream catcher is hung above ones bed, good dreams will float through the web’s holes and down the strings of beads and feathers,  placing good dreams into your head while one sleeps.  Bad dreams are caught in the web and tangle up in the web & beads and stones and with the first rays of daylight, they evaporate and disappear.  Pretty awesome don’t you think!

Wishing you good dreams and peaceful sleep.

Donna

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Alaskan Landscape Series

Hi!  I’ve started a series of wall hangings, canvas, and etc. (which means the possibilities are endless!) featuring, “Alaskan themed landscapes”.   I can’t paint like Kurt Jacobson (Jake, my talented husband), but I love working with fabrics, yarns, beads, and mixed media.  When I first moved to Alaska, I was told that I’d “better get a hobby” because the long winters will drive you CrAzY!  All my life I’ve been into arts & crafts but to finally have an excuse to “get serious” about it, well it was just perfect!  PERFECT!  So…….. I took a quilting class and got a new start in my art, new marriage, new happiness in Alaska!  Back then I really enjoyed making small wall hangings and selling them, until I got totally  lost in my locker hooking with fabric…………and well, the rest is history!

I will be taking a “Painting on Silk Class” this Saturday and I hope to incorporate this into my Alaskan Landscapes.  I tried my hand at painting a silk sun catcher at Francine Dufour Jones demo and I loved it, and so all these ideas have been running in my head and I can’t stop running!  I’m pretty excited!!

This is my first official quilted wall hanging in my “Alaskan Landscape Series”.  It begins with water and fish, land with flowers and trees, to the Northern Lights sky.

Alaskan Landscape Wall Hanging

I entered this one in the Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center’s First Friday last month.

Donna

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First Friday

Hi!  The Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center has officially moved from L St. and reopened its doors on 423 5th Ave, Anchorage, and I was there!  It was absolutely fabulous!  We had a great turnout for the event and everyone was amazed at the transformation of the store.  The first Friday of each month, galleries and cafes downtown feature different artists and art shows and a lot of them are within walking distance.  We had old friends, other artists, and tourists stop by, which was really fun!   For our first friday’s “First Friday” we featured all the artists in our store!  It was awesome!  I brought in my quilt rack and hung two large crocheted rag rugs.

Opened 5-16-2012

Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center opened its doors

The front of the store is our Gallery (I’m on the right behind desk) …………

Front of Gallery

The Gallery at Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center

………And the “Sled Dog Cafe”,  is in the back of the store where we have tables & chairs, couch, and comfy chairs by a fireplace.  We sell coffee and cookies which goes to support our classes and events.  Our cafe motto is “Stop. Sit. Eat a cookie”!  The Sled Dog Cafe is where we hang our “First Friday’s” featured art and lay out food and drink. The art will stay there for the month until the next “First Friday”.

Sled Dog Cafe in back of store

Sled Dog Cafe at Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center

Our store also features the  Jon Van Zyle Museum, which is in the back of the store next to the Sled Dog Cafe (door on the left in above photo).  Jon Van Zyle is a well known and respected artist who paints beautiful Alaskan art and the Iditorod and has ran & completed TWO Iditorod races.  He also is the official artist for the Iditorod Poster, which comes out every year.  They are awesome!  He has illustrated many, many Alaskan books.  He and his wife, Jona, live in Anchorage, Alaska, with their dogs (and cats).

Jon Van Zyle Museum

Jon Van Zyle, at “Jon Van Zyle Museum” in Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center

It was a fabulous and successful evening and we are already getting ready for next month’s “First Friday” which will also be our “official” GRAND OPENING of Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center, featuring Jon Van Zyle!  He will be there, so write this on your calenders…….July 6, 2012.

Donna

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Remodeling and Opening Gallery!

Hi!  Our new adventure begins!  Our goal was to paint, remodel, put up track lights, and OPEN the Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center by May 16, 2012 and feature local artists work and the famous Alaskan Artist, Jon Van Zyle.

The building used to be a t-shirt shop and had been vacant a number of years.   What an absolute mess!!  Dark walls and ceilings are not good for art work so everything had to be painted white.  The Sled Dog Cafe’s ceilings had to be black because we needed to cover up big pipes on the ceiling.  A new sink for the bathroom was donated and the walls in the cafe were spay painted with “texture”.  They put in a door in the back for security and redid door knobs.  They also had someone come in and install dark film on the front windows to protect the art work.  I helped with the front display windows.  Soooooo many people donated things and their time and so much hard work!

Jake Painting Inside Slatwall

Jake is Painting My Slat Wall

Jake and I are now part of the co-op and we get 10 feet of wall.  Jake takes 8 feet and I get 2 feet 🙂   And I’m very excited because I get to work in the store, which is so much fun!

Donna Jacobson at Arctic Rose Gallery

My Little Space-After Painting!

Kurt Jacobson at Arctic Rose Gallery

Jake’s Space-After Painting!

The transformation was TRULY AMAZING!!

Sled Dog Cafe-Before

Sled Dog Cafe-Before!

Sled Dog Cafe-After

Sled Dog Cafe-After!

Arctic Rose Gallery and Art Center is located on 5th Ave, downtown Anchorage, across from the 5th Ave Mall and between two well know and respected Alaskan restaurants (Club Paris and Gingers).  YES, in the heart of the city where tourists love to hang out.

Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center will offer art, events, classes, and be involved with the community.   And………we will be right downtown for the start of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race!  So Awesome!

Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center Opens 5-16-2012

Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center Opens 5-16-2012

WE DID IT!  We opened May 16, 2012!

(The official grand opening will be July 6, 2012)

Donna

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Our New Adventure

Hi!  Since I last talked to you, Jake and I were invited to a special meeting.  There were about 10 of us and the owner of Artic Rose Gallery and the Firefly Co-op presented a fantastic idea to us.  She wants to blend the two stores into one large co-op store and call it “Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center”.   It will be a beautiful professional art gallery for talented local artists (like Jake) as well as FIBER ART  (me!), pottery, jewelry, “Mush Girls” t-shirts, beading, photography, etc., AND will feature the art and a museum by Jon Van Zyle  (THE most famous Alaskan Artist who also completed The Iditarod Sled Dog Race two times!).  He is the “official artist” for the yearly Iditarod Posters!  What an honor!  Arctic Rose Gallery & Art Center will offer art, events, classes, and be involved with the community.

My first reaction to the idea of a co-op was pure JOY, but suddenly my mind went back to those horrible days I spent after I joined a co-op years ago.  But the location, location,  location got me really excited because it will be in this huge building on 5th Ave, downtown Anchorage, across from the 5th Ave Mall!  WOW!  In the heart of the city where tourists love to hang out 🙂  And maybe I would get to work in the store…….I loved that part of it.  We knew pretty much everyone at the meeting and all are trusted and well known people.  It is the “PEOPLE” of a co-op who can make it or break it (speaking from personal experience).  So I swallowed my bad memories and kept on listening.

Now Jake (Kurt Jacobson) has never had his “own store” where he can hang his choice of art.  He has been in art galleries.  An art gallery “co-op” is different.  I thought it would be perfect for him and I could be involved in a small way too.   So we both said, “let’s do it!”………and that’s what I’ve been doing!  Our NEW ADVENTURE begins!  We open May 16 after we paint and totally remodel the inside.

Our New Adventure!

Our New Adventure!

Donna

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Warm in his Cocoon

Hi!  It is sooooo cold in Alaska!!  I love Alaska but I’ve always wondered why so many people take off every winter and I swore I would never leave.  I came up from Seattle where it rained all winter long and we ignored it and just went on our way.  No big deal.  So when I moved to Alaska, I adopted this attitude and I pretend it isn’t cold and there is no snow out there.  Of course I’m always prepared in case!

But this winter is different and I’ve had it!  I’ve tried to live with it, but this year there is NO pretending that it is TOO cold and there’s TOO much snow!  I’m caving in!  I really wouldn’t mind leaving Alaska and coming back when it’s warm!  I certainly don’t want to be around when break-up happens!  We are going to have a lot of MUD!!

This winter has been really hard on everyone!  I have friends that have literally escaped to their cabins and I haven’t heard from them at all.  Some friends who are up-beat people have admitted this winter is the first that they’ve experienced cabin fever.  Some have broken bones.  I walk through stores and I’ve NEVER seen so many SADD lights.  Yup, I bought a Happy Light!  Some swear by them.  I’ve been using mine and haven’t noticed anything significantly different.  But I haven’t had to increase my prozac again………..yet 🙂

But if you have to live and stay in Alaska, this is the time to bundle up, like Joseph!  I crocheted this warm cocoon for him when he was little and now his brother is at the right age to use it.  I bet it’s cozy and warm to sleep in!  I would LOVE to have one for myself!  I’d go into my cocoon the first sign of snow and not come out until it’s gone.

Joseph's Cocoon

Joseph's Cocoon

It is still snowing and this week we have MORE coming and even a blizzard warning for tomorrow!  One good thing is that it gives me an excuse to craft more!  I wonder how others “cope” with hard weather??

Donna

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