Tag Archives: Alaska

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.



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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.


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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.


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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)


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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!


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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??


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Dance Through Life

Hi!  When I was a young girl I took classical ballet lessons from a mean old Russian woman who was soooo strict.  She always carried a stick and hit us when we were not performing perfectly!  But she was the best of the best (so my mom said) and I fell deeply in love with dance.  When I was fifteen (the summer I turned 16) I went to live in Seattle, WA, and studied dance at Cornish School of Fine Arts.  I lived and breathed ballet as I was grooming for a Dance Company in Vancouver, Canada.  Yes, I was serious and very good, but something else happened during that summer that made me look at my future and make a life changing decision.  I had discovered BOYS!  Sweet 16………a job, car, skiing, and boys!  So I put my ballet in the background, decided to become a nurse, and went on to take jazz dance lessons and WOW was that fun!  Yup!

While I was in my last years of college I started dancing at Bellevue College and became serious again.  I was asked to audition and join their Dance Company, which was a dream come true!  But once again I had to make another life altering decision………..marriage or dance?  My wedding date fell on the one day I was to audition.  Once in a life time!  Well, I got married, moved out-of-town, and had two beautiful babies.

I eventually moved back and when my kids were toddlers I went back to dancing at the same college and decided once again to audition and join their Dance Company.  I wasn’t TOO old!  Then another life turning event happened I wasn’t expecting………..I got sick.  I knew something was wrong when I couldn’t do my turns without losing my balance and falling!  I was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I not only had to quit my dance but ALSO my nursing career ended abruptly!

Years went by and something wonderful happened!  My son, Ryan, who is a complete and total computer geek his entire life (that’s what he graduated in!) become an accomplished and professional modern dancer!  He got into it during college and now is a member of the Momentum Dance Company in Anchorage, AK.  And he is GOOD like his mom!  This is the kid who used to make fun of me when I danced in the kitchen and BEG me to stop (and now I’m laughing at him)!!  He will be performing this Friday & Saturday at the Performing Arts Center in Anchorage and I can’t wait!  You should come too!

Ryan Nixon

Ryan Nixon

Funny how some things work out, don’t you think?

P.S.   One thing is for sure, I will never stop dancing through life!

“Dance like no one is watching”!


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Yes, I Live in an Igloo!

Hi!  We’re into February now and last month Alaska broke some records for coldest weather and most snow!  I’ve lived in Anchorage for over 15 years and this has definitely has been a winter for minus degrees and snow!  In fact we have a problem…….. where to put more snow (and as I speak it is still snowing!)? I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been trapped in my home just waiting for Jake to come rescue me with the snow blower.  But really I haven’t panicked because I’ve gotten a lot of crafting done and I have a lot of company here, like moose.  I do have a job teaching classes at Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts and the last two “open houses” for class sign-ups we had severe blizzard warnings and Jake had to take me to work because I couldn’t get my car out the driveway.  Cross your fingers because we have another open house this Saturday!  Up on the Hillside we are the first to get snow, the most dumped on, and the last to lose it.

Did you know that I live in an Igloo!  Actually I think it comes pretty close to one!  It is funny to hear some people think we really do up here.  But what is not so funny is many people down in the lower 48 think we live in another country!  The postal services certainly charge us like we do!  We don’t even get mentioned on the national weather channel unless something like one our towns gets shut down from all the snow or when  the tanker couldn’t make it into Barrow recently because all the ice.  We made some headlines this year!  But hang on…………Hollywood came up and made a movie which came out this weekend.  It’s a true story that happen here in the 80’s about several whales that got trapped under the ice and there was a massive rescue that took place to save them.  And then we have tons of “Alaskan reality shows” on TV, like Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Coast Guard which I must say are excellent, and my favorite!  Definitely the “real” Alaska!  Oh of course there’s Sarah Palin……….. and I think they might be making that into a movie too!

P.S.  We are the 49th state in the USA.

But back to my igloo 🙂  This photo was taken a day ago!


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Hope, Alaska

Hi!  Last weekend Jake and I took a beautiful drive to Hope, Alaska.  Jake, my so famous Alaskan artist husband, was asked to bring some of his original paintings to Hope’s small Art Gallery.  And so we did, and it was such a wonderful day!  Hope is a community of 150 people (year round) but then you have to add a couple of 100 or more people during the summer.  The fun thing to do is to pop your tent out by the ocean (free!) and hang out all summer long.

It’s just a CUTE little town!!

Does anyone remember back in the early 1980’s when Hope, Alaska, got on world-wide news?  Their town was so small with very few women and so the men went on TV to ask if any women would be interested in moving to Hope?  If so………….well they would just LOVE to have them!  They even went on a bunch of popular talk shows.  I guess three women did go ,but I found out on the weekend that all three eventually left!  SO SAD!  But I can understand because I think the hard winters and isolation in Hope was just too much for some of the ladies to take!

I wonder?  Would you go?

I went to the town’s yard sale (for their school & library) and wandered into the little book store, and if you want to buy something you just leave a few dollars in a container.  Before we left Hope, the highlight of the day was having dinner in their little View Cafe.  It was so enchanting! And the food was absolutely yummy!  (I had a BLT w/avocado and Jake had halibut).

I just fell in love with this little town!

Hope Fine Art Gallery

Hope Fine Art Gallery

David's home, owner of Hope's Art Gallery

Scott & Fayrene Sherritt's home, owners of Hope's Art Gallery

Hope's Cafe and Bar

Hope's Cafe and Bar

Hope Cafe

Dinner anyone?

So the next time you are near Hope, Alaska, you must come visit!

♥ Donna

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Alaskan Fireweed

Hi!  Anchorage broke a record a few weeks ago for raining 31 days in a row for a summer.  It’s been cold and gray skies.  Reminds me of living in Seattle!  But the few days of sun have been wonderful and reminds me why I’m sooooo in love with Alaska!

Several weeks ago Jake and I went to Homer.  The ride from Anchorage to Homer is breath taking with the huge snow capped mountains coming straight out of the ocean……….and FIREWEED!.  In July the fireweed blooms and it’s the most beautiful pink sight you’ve ever seen!  I took this photo in Homer behind a bookstore.

Fireweed in Homer

Fireweed from my camera

There is a story about fireweed that Alaskans love to tell.

Fireweed is a well known wildflower (OK, a weed) in Alaska.  In summer you’ll see fireweed all over Alaska, like a velvety blanket of bright pink.  It is one of the first plants to come alive after a forest or brush fire.  Isn’t that amazing?  It multiplies very quickly (that’s probably why they call it a weed and not a flower).  Fireweed looks like large tall green stalks with bright pink color flowers.  The rich pink flowers are one reason how fireweed got its name.  Usually in July, you will see them bloom starting in the middle of the stalk.  The flowers continue to bloom one above the other ones until the pretty pink flowers reach the top of the stalk.  They are truly gorgeous! I personally think they should be Alaska’s state flower!

In August, the flowers on the lower part of the stalk start falling off and they turn to seed, a fluffy like cotton.  Very awesome!  The wind carries the cotton off to reseed for the next year and this is when Alaskans say………… there are about six weeks until winter begins.

In September, the flowers are gone and the stalks slowly change color from green to red with bright red-orange leaves and this is when Alaskans say……….that summer is at an end and Fall is upon us. Now, all you see is this beautiful bright red ground, miles and miles of red!  This is the second reason how fireweed got its name.

They say the inside of the fireweed stem is nutritious and is used to make jelly, syrup, ice cream, ointments, soaps, lotions, honey, and the early leaves are used in salads.  I bet you didn’t know that!

Did you also know you can buy fireweed seed in Wal-Mart, Fred Meyers, and Safeway?  Many who come to visit and want to take home a little “Alaska” will take it home and grow their own fireweed!

I LOVE fireweed! And I don’t care if it is a weed.  It’s beautiful and I look forward to it every summer!



Filed under Alaskan Life