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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Brontosaurus Coloring Page

Brontosaurus coloring page- blank available

I've never even tried drawing a dinosaur before, but Spoonflower has a contest going on and the them inspired me to try. I'd really appreciate a vote on my design, but there are a lot of great designs in the contest and you can vote for more than one. I'll put that information at the end of this post.

When I was a child studying dinosaurs in school, my teacher told the class when we were coloring them "Dinosaurs lived long before people, and all we have now is fossils. Nobody knows what colors they were, if they were patterned or not. They might  have had fur or feathers. There is no wrong way to color a dinosaur!"

I loved that. All my dinosaurs were polka dotted or striped and in the brightest colors possible.

Here are the blank pages. Click on the image for a larger version, print and color!

Small jpg dinosaur coloring page:

Cute brontosaurus printable coloring page. Available in jpg and transparent png.

Large transparent png dinosaur coloring page:
Cute brontosaurus printable coloring page. Available in jpg and transparent png.

If you'd like to vote on the Spoonflower contest before July 9, 2019- this is my design in that contest-

Click here---> Spoonflower Boy Wonder fabric design contest

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Arctic Valley- photo post

As we are getting closer to berry picking season (yay!), we are checking out some of our favorite spots for berries. Some of them I won't show pictures of because they are secret places my family goes to, but others, like Arctic Valley, are well-known enough that I'm happy to show pictures.

Arctic Valley has a lot of kinds of berries available, but what we plan to go there specifically for is crowberries. In a lot of the books I have, it says that aren't choice berries. Well, that's what the books say.  The Elders I've spoken to love them and my family will eat them out of hand as well as using them for jam and pies. Not that we will turn down other berries! Of course we will pick what's available. Obligatory warning: NEVER EVER EAT A BERRY OR MUSHROOM YOU AREN'T CERTAIN OF IN YOUR IDENTIFICATION.

So we were checking out how it looks this year. It's still early, but we decided we would have 2 days of specifically picking for Elders. One of those days will be crowberries.

The drive up is one of those typically Alaskan gorgeous drives. There's a lot of it that is dirt roads, with a few pull outs to take in the scenery. In one of those pull outs, Michael spotted a rabbit.

William and The Amazing Turnip Girl love it up there.

A lot of the photos I took are for a project I'm working on to help my family identify berries in all stages of growth. I will be putting that together in e-book form as well, with recipes. Today I also took photos of some flowers. I hope you enjoy them. 

alpine forget-me-nots

 Lots of robins up there singing, it was a very nice time.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Printable frame with a leadership quote

Outstanding leaders quote by Sam Walton

It's been a while since I did a printable frame quote. I hope you enjoy this one. I like printing out these quotes on Astrobrights paper, but for people who like intricate coloring, they could certainly be colored in by hand.
"Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves it's amazing what they can accomplish."
-Sam Walton

Click the images below for large versions to print.

Small jpg version outstanding leader quote:
"Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves it's amazing what they can accomplish." - printable quote

Large transparent png version:
"Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves it's amazing what they can accomplish." - printable quote

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Eating Weeds: Dandelions

Bee on a dandelion

I was just asked on Facebook about eating dandelions.

The answer deserves it's own blog post, not just a reply to a comment.

Dandelions are one of those superfoods in every way. Every part of a dandelion is edible. My family doesn't eat the stems, because they take some preparation and can cause stomach upset. But the rest of it we do. Fortunately, when my children were little they blew lots of dandelions and my lawn is not chemically treated.

First thing: Make sure your dandelions come from places that are not treated with chemicals or close to busier roads with exhaust particulates that will fall on the dandelion. You don't want to eat those things.

Okay, have a safe place to harvest?

In the spring, young green leaf rosettes can be pulled up or cut off at the base. Rinse them, pat them dry, and fry them in a tempura batter for a nice treat.

Later in spring, start looking for buds close to the ground, the buds should be tightly closed and sort of squared off at the top. A tapering bud like formation is after blooming but before going to seed. A new bud tapers down to a rounded end at the stem and has a flat wide top in comparison to the base. (I'll post a picture here later). The buds can fermented like pickles to use as a substitute for capers. I have some fermenting now! You'll use a basic salt brine, plus seasonings you like. Mine have garlic, red pepper, onions and peppercorns in them. A basic salt brine is 2 Tablespoons of salt to 1 qt of water. Clean all your ingredients, chop your onions if you're using them, and put them in the brine. Weight it down using either specially made weights, a smaller jar full of brine or a small zip bag full of brine. Make sure all your vegetables are completely submerged. Put the top on the jar finger tip tight and put it in a warm but not too warm part of your house. Check every day to make sure that it's not building up too much pressure. You'll see bubbles forming, that's normal. If the button on the top of the jar won't press down, relieve the pressure by carefully opening it just a little. After two weeks, check the tartness and if it's where you want it, put it in the fridge to slow (not stop) the fermenting. Eat within a couple months. If you want it more sour, let it ferment longer. Watch for mold, but as long as everything is properly submerged, there shouldn't be any.

Also in spring, young leaves can be used in salads. They are delicious, and considered a bitter.

Dandelion blossoms can also be fried, made into jelly or made into wine. A quick internet search will turn up a lot of recipes for dandelion wine.
My Dandelion Jelly Recipe
My Fried Dandelion Recipe 

You can rinse and freeze dandelion blossoms for later use in wines or jellies. Rinse, use a salad spinner to extract excess water or even squeeze it dry, freeze in single layers, then put in a labelled bag in your freezer to make the jelly when you have time.

For fried dandelion blossoms, any basic tempura batter works just fine though.

Older but not huge leaves can be boiled as any other vegetable, then used in soup. Discard the boiling water. Boiling helps get rid of some of the oxalates.

The bigger they get, the more bitter they get, so there is a point where you won't want to eat them.

The seeds can be collected, and threshing them lightly in a paper bag then using a fan to blow away the fluffs makes for a free seed that you can use to grow microgreens in the winter. Just sow as you would any other seed. They can also be sprouted, but I find microgreens a more effective use of time, plus if you miss some fluff, it won't matter with microgreens which you are cropping.

Dandelions are high in vitamins A, C, K and a good source of dietary fiber.

In the late fall, you can dig up the roots, cut them up and let them dry to hard, roast them either in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or toast them in a cast iron skillet. Store in an airtight jar. A decoction made by simmering the root in water makes a tasty non-caffeine coffee substitute.

More dandelions on this site include:

Dandelion Printable Recipe page

Dandelion and Bee coloring page

Dandelion Lined Paper Printable

Friday, May 17, 2019

Feather Coloring Page- intricate!

Feathers coloring page for adults #coloring #mandala

I haven't done anything this intricate in a while. I hope you all enjoy it!! I'll be posting a less complex variation in the next few days.

This is inspired by those amazing beadwork wings that Billy Porter wore to the Met Gala event.

Click the images below for larger versions to print and color and sharpen your pencils!!

Small jpg version of feathers coloring page:
Feathers coloring page for adults- blank available in jpg and transparent png #coloring #mandala

Large transparent png version of feathers coloring page:
Feathers coloring page for adults- blank available in jpg and transparent png #coloring #mandala

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Soft statement bracelets- crochet and fabric tutorial

Crochet statement bracelets

These bracelets are one of my new favorite projects. I like crocheted bracelets, Spoonflower fabric, and quotes.

The fabrics for these bracelets is available here- Bracelet Swatch Fabrics, a swatch is 5.00 USD and will make 5 bracelets, or you can use some of it as appliques. I'll be adding more quotes as time goes on. These are too much fun.

The first part is making your very own fabric.

You'll need a graphics program, a quote and an idea for how you want it to look. Remember that making it too busy makes it hard to read the quote. I love my 1st Amendment bracelet, but it's a lot of text on a rainbow background and very busy. Using a soft stroke outline on the text helps it stand out a bit.

Open an image 8 inches wide and 1.6 inches tall at 150 ppi minimum. Lay out your background and text, but remember it has to fit your wrist, so 6 inches wide and 1 inch tall for the text works well. Add graphics if you want, keeping them within the borders of what will fit your wrist when it's stitched into place.

Upload your design to Spoonflower. Set it up so the ppi matches the ppi of your design. Order a swatch. I used their woven cotton.

OR!! You can get really crafty and embroider your statement on fabric!

To make the bracelet:

You will need

  • yarn
  • appropriate sized hook
  • button or buttons
  • needle to weave in ends
  • fabric
  • pinking shears
  • embroidery floss
  • tapestry needle

Pick a yarn.

1st Amendment Bracelet
 This is Darn Good Yarn Lace Weight Silk Yarn in Exotic Rainbow. It's gorgeous with really short color changes so it's very colorful even on small scale projects. The hand is very soft.

She Persisted crocheted bracelet
This is a basic size 3 crochet cotton thread. More structure than the silk, and it's a heavier weight so it works up quicker.

Yes, you can use worsted weight, that will be chunkier, but that's a neat look too.

Both bracelets are made close to the same way. Chain approximately 1.5 inches, single crochet a few rows, then you make your button hole. The button hole is made by figuring how big the button you're using is, and how many stitches across that is, then you subtract that number from the number in your base row, and divide that number by 2. sc that many stitches, chain the number of stitches for your hole, skip those stitches, and then sc to the end. So for the cotton bracelet, it was 8 stitches wide, and my button would fit into a 4 stitch hole.
Sc in first 2 stitches, chain 4, skip 4 stitch, sc in last 2 stitches, turn.

Then continue working back and forth until it's long enough to fit around your wrist with a 1 inch overlap. Break off, weave in ends.

For the silk, I used a size 0 steel hook and 11 stitches. For the cotton, I used a size D hook and 8 stitches.

The fabric needs to be washed, but because it's just a very small piece, I hand washed it and laid it flat to dry. Use the pinking shears to cut the strip and cut off the ends to fit on your bracelet. Press the fabric. Again, tiny piece. Rather than set up an ironing board and iron, I just used my daughter's hair straightening iron!

Stitch the strip into place. I used a running stitch. Starting it, I made a knot at the end of the thread with a few inches tail. Pulled it up through the fabric alone, then went down into both the fabric and the crocheted bracelet, then stitched around the entire patch. When I got to the end, I tied the thread off to the tail in a firm knot, then buried the ends in the crochet.

The button on the 1st Amendment bracelet is one from my mom's button box. The buttons on the Nevertheless bracelet are stacked inexpensive plastic buttons because I love how the colors pop that way.

The No Censorship pinback is from the early 90s. My family was advocating against a local measure and I still have several of them.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

SEED Lab- Repairing a very special box that was damaged in the earthquake

Anchorage SEED Lab

Anchorage Museum won a competition for a Public Art Challenge from Bloomberg Philanthropies. 5 cities got 1 million dollars each for the challenge. Ours is the SEED Lab.

"SEED Lab, a center to bring artists, designers, engineers and community members together to propose solutions to climate change and related challenges." 
Today, as part of their opening ceremonies, they had a community workshop for repairing things. There was a lot going on. Screen printing, rubber boot repair, repairing poetry,  and the thing that caught my eye- repairing pottery.

In the earthquake, one of my mom's favorite boxes got it's lid broken. I saved the pieces, unsure what to do with them.

I was so happy to be repairing the piece that I didn't get the name of the woman who helped me. Whoops. Bad blogger!

But!! Also good blogger, because I'm going to explain how it was repaired!

This is what was there. They had a few pieces from thrift stores for people to break and learn how to repair using a method inspired by kintsugi- the Japanese art of repairing with gold.

This is the lid to my mom's box. 5 pieces, all there! Isn't that pretty and happy?

If you're going to try this- you'll need:

  • 5 minute epoxy- double syringe type (available in any hardware department) 
  • Mica or Pearl Ex Powder Pigments (affiliate link - like these Jacquard Pearl Ex Powder Pigments 32 color set ) 
  • something to mix the epoxy on- scrap of cardboard, disposable plate, etc
  • craft sticks
  • soft brush
  • deep bowl or pan with uncooked rice to hold pieces
  • rubbing alcohol
  • cotton swabs
  • craft knife
Now the disadvantage to this method is it's decorative only. Don't use it for anything that comes in contact with food. If you're using it for a fruit or candy bowl- line the bowl or use only wrapped candies. 

Advantage- it will work with glass, color availability and it's very affordable and easy. You can also practice with thrifted pieces. 

Figure out which edges you're going to put together first. Clean them with the alcohol and cotton swab to make sure no skin oils or dirt are on them. 

Put a small amount of the epoxy on your mixing surface- about the size of a nickle. You'll only do a little bit at a time because of the short open working time of the epoxy when mixed.Mix in a very small amount of the pearl powder or mica- about 1/8th of a teaspoon. 

Use the craft stick to spread a small amount on both edges you're connecting. Then line them up and press them together. A bit of the epoxy will ooze out. it's supposed to. Hold until they are tacky enough to hold together, put them into the rice to hold it. Make sure your glued seam isn't in the rice! 

After a few minutes, about 3 or 4 on a warm day or about 6 on a cold day like today, use the brush to sweep some of the powder over the oozed seam of epoxy. Let it set a few more minutes.

In a couple hours, use the craft knife to clean up any blobs. I had to cut off a few blobs on the bottom so the lid would fit properly on the box. 

Now with this piece, I did 2 sections of 2 pieces each. Also while I was working on it, we got a visitor to the table who was watching and asking questions! I told him the  history of the piece. That my mom had brought it with her when she came up to Alaska as a VISTA volunteer. It's Anchorage's Mayor Ethan Berkowitz!! (see my lid in the rice behind him?) 

The job I did wasn't perfectly neat, but it was, for me, perfectly right. When I showed it to William and TG (who were at a comic book convention and that's another post)- they were both very happy. They both said they want me to teach them this method to repair things. I'm glad they are happy with how it turned out. It's their history too. 

They were also upcycling shirts with fantastic silkscreens by local artists. I had one put on the back of the jacket I was wearing that says "Seeding Change" (I'll get a photo later) and did this shirt that I know TG is going to "borrow" at some point with a gorgeous salmon print. 

It was a very fun day. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Some of us are foraging coloring page

foraging clip art by Shala Kerrigan

First- this design IS available on a shirt without the striped background at my Redbubble shop.

You can get it here- Foraging Shirt

But you can also download and color this page.

Click the images below for larger versions to print and color.

Some of us are foraging small jpg version:
foraging coloring page available in jpg and transparent png versions #mushrooms #berrypicking

Some of us are foraging lg transparent png version:
foraging coloring page available in jpg and transparent png versions

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Qaspeq/Kuspuk Coloring Pages

Kuspuk Qaspeq coloring page- blank available

A friend of mine up here who teaches school and has been making traditional qaspeqs for years is planning to teach her students to make them. That inspired these coloring pages. They can be used to experiment with color combinations and trim ideas.

(learn more about qaspeqs HERE

The stars in the upper left quarter are the stars that are on the Alaska state flag. The flowers on the right are fireweed- we use the blossoms for jelly, the leaves for tea and we eat young shoots. Another traditional way to eat them is to split more mature ones, sprinkle them with sugar and scrape them out with your teeth and use what's left to make cordage. Lower left hand quarter is Alaska's state flower- forget-me-not.

Click on the images below for larger versions to print.

Shortie/Boy's style qaspeqs:

Small jpg version:
shortie boy's style qaspeq or kuspuk to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png formats

Large transparent png version:
shortie boy's style qaspeq or kuspuk to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png formats

Girl's style skirted qaspeq-

Small jpg version:
Skirted girl's style qaspeq or kuspuk to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png formats

Large transparent png version:
Skirted girl's style qaspeq or kuspuk to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png formats

Friday, April 12, 2019

TG and I took a kuspuk sewing class together

Kuspuk qaspeq sewing class

Recently I wrote about a drum making class that I took with William and TG. The class is part of a series for Alaskan Natives/Native Americans that are meant to build wellness and community.

Today and yesterday, TG and I went to a kuspuk/qaspeq making class. Kuspuks are not part of our tradition. They are Yupik traditionally. The original version was made of skin and meant to cover and protect fur clothing. The advent of flour sack fabrics and calicos led to brightly colored, gorgeous fabric variations.

In Alaska, they are more ubiquitous than parkas. They are a uniquely Alaskan, super functional garment. They can be adapted easily. You may have seen photos of our Senator Murkowski wearing one, and in our state legislature, Qaspeq Friday is a regular occurrence.

The teacher of the class is planning to put up youtube video how tos and I'm absolutely going to give you all the link when it happens. I gave her my e-mail address so she could let me know when they were available. Angel Oliveira is a fantastic teacher and has taught a lot of people to make them.

TG generally sleeps until 8:30 am. I told her "Classes start at 8 you know." We agreed to go early and have breakfast first.

We got there, and oh my goodness! All the fabric choices! After careful consideration and a lot of back and forth, I settled on just a blueberry fabric. I was strongly tempted to add in a bright orange with it. They can be made with different fabrics all together in one garment and look gorgeous that way. TG chose a gold and blue fabric. We opted for the same trim.

TG is generally a hand sewer- and in fact, plans to hand sew one for her brother. For the class, we used sewing machines.

It was a lot of fun. After the first day, we had our hoods, cuffs and pocket done.

Today, we finished putting them together, I opted for a more traditional skirted kuspuk. Something that I can wear out berry picking on slightly chilly fall days. It will go great with jeans or leggings! Here I'm wearing it with a dress it completely covers.

There was one lady there who was super enthused over every lesson she learned and that was a blessing. It's good to see people happy about learning. TG's sense of pride in her finished kuspuk was wonderful too. 

Angel asked the class why we took it. TG said "Because I want to learn to make kuspuks and it was something I could do with my mom." and everyone, including me, was very "AWWW!!" 

Stand out moments for me, less about sewing than about life lessons and experiences. 

Angel and another teacher were talking about how they wanted to teach, so that the people they taught could go on and share it, could teach others. The lady she was talking to was speaking specifically of a salve class. That the class was filled to capacity, but she believed that people who were in the class would go on to teach their new found skills to other people. That's one of those things that's super important to me. It's not enough to learn, but at some point, you have to teach. Teaching helps you think of things differently, it helps you to verbalize exactly why some things work and others don't, it helps you learn what more you can learn. We all have things to teach and learn. 

It's the single candle thing, but in this case, that candle is culture and community. It's belonging. 

There was a mass casualty exercise in the building. We weren't really affected by it in the classroom, but you could hear the shouting. I'm glad for the exercise, for the fact that my family's care providers were making sure they were as prepared as possible, but it's a lot to think about it and I'm not quite done thinking about that yet. 

Once a month, Traditional Healing does a cleansing and blessing on their offices. We happened to be there while they were doing it. That was amazing and wonderful. I was wearing my reading glasses so I didn't recognize my healer until she was walking out but I did point her out to TG. Buz, who is a manager there, has a wonderful singing voice. There was prayer, songs, dancing and drumming. It was good. 

After leaving class, we stopped to say hello to a friend and people complimented my blueberry kuspuk and asked if I made it. I said "YES! Just finished it!"

And now for my FAVORITE photo of the day. 

This is Angel, our teacher, showing TG on a 50 year old kuspuk that belonged to my mother, how to make a pattern for one for her brother. This kuspuk has a full zipper, and plain sleeves instead of cuffs, with a separated pocket. When TG found it in her grandmother's things, it had a long rip down one sleeve. TG bought thread to match, and very carefully hand stitched it back together. It's very precious to her, and it brings me joy to see her wear her grandmother's kuspuk. That she learned from that one how to make one for her brother is such perfect balance. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Drum making with my family

Alaska Native Drum Making Workshop

One of the things my health care provider does is classes of all sorts. My daughter and I took several last year about cooking and foraging. Yesterday, William, The Amazing Turnip Girl and I took a drum making workshop.

The classes provide many things. A sense of community, information for life, a bit of philosophy, a sense of history that is not specific to any one People up here, but ties together things that the various groups and cultures have in common. A sense of respect.

This class was taught by David Harrison. Since I'm writing for all of my regular readers who are mostly not Alaskan and mostly non-Native, I'll do my best to introduce you to our instructor in just words. (I only took pictures of TATG and William)

While we were in the waiting room, waiting for him, I saw him come in. He stopped to talk to people he knew who were in the waiting room but not necessarily there for the class. He laughed easily. He was wearing a beaded vest and a long delantium shell necklace.  He moved quickly, but stopped often and took his time to notice people.

When the class started, he talked about how drums were something universal. That cultures around the world had made them. How it's the heartbeat of our People, all of them. How we move towards drumming because our hearts are already there. My children smiled. They've been watching me move towards the drums their entire lives. They've seen me move unerringly towards the sound even before we are close enough to really hear it. He said that when we made them, we had to be happy, at peace. Because the drum would keep that feeling, and when we were unsettled, it would give us that feeling when we drummed.

Once the making started, it went fairly quickly. The forms were pre-made, so it was about cutting and stretching the skin and lacing it into place.

The Amazing Turnip Girl's Hands

Mr. Harrison was incredibly patient, and made jokes, made it comfortable. He emphasized over and over that mistakes, as long as the skin was stretched the right way, could be worked around. Obviously practice, as in anything, makes you better. You learn how materials work together.
William's Hands

We made our drums. He told us to work the edges while they were drying, and all 3 of us have been doing just that. I watched TATG working the edges with one hand while she was reading her favorite Twitter feeds yesterday.

When the workshop was over, I asked them "Are you feeling happy?" and they were both quietly enthused, proud of what their hands had accomplished. 

Urban Natives, especially those who've grown up distanced from their culture, can feel misplaced. Not a part of the larger culture around them, not in touch with the history or culture of being Native, whichever Nation they belong to. Programs like this help. It may not be a drum made the same way as our own ancestors made them, but we know our ancestors used drums. We know they heard drums made in a similar fashion. And these, imperfect though they may be, are our first drums that we made with our own hands. 

I'm very grateful for these programs. Thank you Southcentral Foundation for providing them. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Get your button gear (coloring page)!

Button gear coloring page

Are you late for starting plants for spring?

Is your family standing outside by the car waiting for you to finish up a bit of coloring?

Is there anyone you know having those kinds of problems?

Well, here you go. A button gear just for you or for anyone else you think needs to get their button gear.

Click the images below for larger versions to print and color.

Button gear coloring page small jpg:

Button gear coloring page in jpg and transparent png versions #coloring #motivation
Button gear coloring page large transparent png:
Button gear coloring page in jpg and transparent png versions #coloring #motivation