Let Your Light Shine

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve and I am sure all of us have different intense emotions regarding 2020.

For me, 2020 was more bitter than sweet. Everyone can relate to how the pandemic affected us globally. I think this year was a big test for all of us with regards to our faith and our character. We were challenged to be patient, more kind and considerate, loving and trusting. We had to deal with difficult decisions and situations with grace and wisdom. Those are not easy. For most of us, those are way out of our comfort zone.

Our downtown square – there is an ice rink in the middle and behind the trees are good hills for sledding.

But I choose to believe that there is always hope. Amidst the darkness, we can be the light. With the gloom and ugliness around us, we can shine.

The moon tonight.. behind birch trees.

Have you noticed how the Christmas lights around us are a bit more illuminating? I guess it depends on our perspective. The fact is, even with the empty town squares and lack of the holiday hustle and bustle, life moves on. We can choose to be the light in the darkness, and bring a bit of joy to the gloominess. Whether it be a random act of kindness, volunteering for a good cause, a smile or an encouragement, will surely impact someone’s day.

To all our frontline and essential workers who continue to sacrifice their safety and time away from their families, we appreciate all of you and we want to thank you for letting your light shine.

Let us all be faithful and strong. I wish you all a blessed new year!

DIY Ice Globes

Merry Christmas everyone! Another week to go and we are saying goodbye to 2020. What a year, huh? This year definitely has been a roller coaster ride. I am thankful for each one of you for supporting our little handmade shop.

If you are located somewhere with freezing temperatures, here is a fun and easy project that you can do to bring some light and decoration to your yard or deck. We had the winter solstice a few days ago and it is a big deal up here in Alaska since it means we are starting to gain back daylight a few minutes each day.

I found these beautiful ice lanterns on Pinterest and decided to try the simplest one. We ended up lining our driveway for Christmas Eve last night. We haven’t been to church lately because of COVID restrictions and we were grateful there were even Christmas Eve services to attend.

There are a lot of different ways to make these ice globes. I admire some of these bloggers who are just so passionate and driven to find the perfect technique. This is my first time trying it out and I am definitely pleased with how they turned out.

Onelittleproject.com has the blog post on how to make these: Ice Luminaries: How to make your own ice lanterns. This approach only uses balloons and battery operated tea lights. It is a fairly cheap project that can actually produce a very satisfying result. I chose Ashland’s Color Changing Flameless Tea Lights and they were a little over $4 for a 4-pc at Michael’s. The balloons were the 15-pc pack from Walmart.

The first step after gathering the materials is to fill the balloons with tap water. The balloon opening should wrap around the faucet’s mouth and you can fill them according to the desired size.

I suggest about 6-8 inches in diameter. It was a good idea that I made extras since a couple of the balloons popped during the freezing process. We had a storm a few days ago and the temperatures went up and down the freezing temp.

My husband found a round can to press the snow with, placed the tea light and then rest the ice globe on top. Since we used the color changing tea lights, these are the effects we got.

It is an easy DIY project and will be fun to do with kids too. Some bloggers suggest putting in food color to achieve colored ice globes. I imagine using the color changing lights will achieve a similar outcome if using food color. There are a lot of other variations to this DIY. I am pretty sure I will try a few others and share them with you here.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of the year. Happy holidays everyone!

Fairbanks Weekend

So last Friday morning, the first thing my husband asked me was “Are you up for driving to Fairbanks for the weekend?” Since this pandemic, we have not been out of Alaska and it is always a refreshing switch to take a road trip for a change of atmosphere. Of course, it took me two seconds to say yes.

Fairbanks is a good 5-6 hour drive from Anchorage. It was a nice, long drive and the sun now rises at around 8:00 AM so we got to see that golden sunrise glow behind the mountains. One thing though, while it was dark still, it was a bit scary driving and being aware of moose and wildlife that can suddenly cross the street or jump on the road. But we made it… and now, I would like to share these views with you.

These were just along the Denali Highway. You can see that the mountains now have snow dusting on them, signaling that snow is due to come any day now. The lowest temperature we came across was 19 degrees Celsius.

Now I should admit that whenever we go to Fairbanks, we cannot not go to the Santa Claus House in North Pole. It is one of my happy places! My favorite is seeing Santa with Mrs Claus and I love browsing through the whole store for Christmas ornaments.

The first four photos were taken back in August, when we visited then. Since I missed the opportunity to post them, I think they are still good to share. While the last two photos were from our visit last week, taken beside my favorite Christmas trees!

On the way back, we stopped at a spot by the Nenana River and took some of these pictures. I recently finished a pattern test call for Kalurah Hudson’s Chai Latte Beanie. Isn’t it lovely? You can find her work on Ravelry and Instagram, @kalurah.

So that was our weekend and it was actually a nice break from all the knitting. I started creating my Christmas line last week in preparation for the upcoming Market Days for Revive Home Market, which is this local shop that I bring my hats to.

My next post will be featuring my Christmas line so watch out for that! Thank you for visiting and don’t forget to follow me on social media for updates, upcoming sales and coupons.

Happy making!

Reed Lakes Hike – August 2020

Last week, I finally had the opportunity to hike Reed Lakes with some amazing ladies. This popular hiking trail around Hatcher’s Pass highlights the lower and upper Reed Lakes which are about a mile apart. You can find more information about this trail on the Alaska.org website.

Reed Lakes Trail Map

From the trailhead, it is a fairly easy hike that follows an old mining road along Reed Creek. The path reminds me of the valleys towards the Symphony-Eagle Lakes, except when you get to the wooden makeshift bridges, there is a switchback up the side of the mountain that leads to a beautiful waterfall. The switchback trail is mainly compressed dirt held with rocks and small boulders which I think is a tremendous help for the soil to not erode. That day, the steep parts of this path was scary to trek on the way down because they were slippery mud. The trail is also filled with blueberry bushes and fireweed, the gorgeous fireweed!

The boulder part is pretty challenging, at least for me. I am certain other people would find it easy but if you have not done a lot of hiking in Alaska, please be warned. They are huge, gigantic boulders that one can easily slip from and get injured. On the other hand, I can also see why this sense of adventure is so worth it. People not only trek these mountains for the scenic view and adrenaline, but also for the experience of it.

After passing the boulders, there is a stream with again, boulders that we had to climb up on. However, as I learned on the way back while it was drizzling, getting in the water instead was better. There were some shallow parts so it was not that bad, as opposed to slipping while trying to get on the boulders which can be pretty disastrous.

At the hill overlooking Lower Reed Lake.

We had our little lunch at the lower lake. It was indescribable! Blues, greens and the light reflection just made it so beautiful and pristine.
At the top of the hill on the way to Upper Reed Lake, there is a beautiful waterfalls off a granite ledge, framed with mountain ridges that look like they were carved into an intricate formation.

It is about another mile up the hill to reach the Upper Reed Lake. When we got there, we snapped a couple of photos and by the time we were heading back, it started drizzling. The setting looked like it was from the movie Lord of the Rings, with the fog and the mist. This hike was definitely in my bucket list and I am so thrilled to say, I was able to check it off! If you ask me right after the hike if I would do it again, it would have be a resounding NO but now that my body has been repaired, I will gladly do it again.

Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska

HNPnook2It was such a delight visiting North Pole, Alaska for our first family road trip for the year!  My sister and brother-in-law came up here from Australia and we were so blessed to have had this amazing experience right in the middle of winter… at -40 degrees F!

Of course being in North Pole, we visited the world famous Santa Claus House – where festive creations and beautiful ideas were endless!  As a striving small business owner, I was so inspired to hone my craft and to come up with new ideas.

We stayed at The Hotel North Pole and was impressed by the Alaskan rustic Christmas ambience.  There was this little nook that I found that was perfect for knitting!  It made the Cable Headband I was working on even more special with the North Pole charm.

The cold?  Insane.  I know for a lot of people who live in cold weather places, this might not be a big deal.  For us who live in Anchorage though, this was a bit extreme.  Our vehicle did not have an engine block heater to keep the vehicle warm and so we had to get a magnetic block heater so the vehicle would not freeze for the night.  Yup, it was that cold.

No complaining here though.  Alaska is beautiful and whether it be winter, summer, spring or fall, no photo can capture and justify its beauty.

County Fair 2019

Wow! After months of market preparation, the County Fair that I was participating in finally wrapped this year. Dozens of vendors with their crafts, trade and expertise, our ever-loving community that never ceases to support our local dreamers, and of course, the dedication and commitment of the organizers all helped make this event a successful one for the books.

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My handmade shop Shelah Knits featured trendy and fun hats, headbands and scarves.  Check out some of my photos from the fair.

I had some knitted pumpkins, my Fireweed cozies, fun kids’ hats, and trendy headbands and fingerless gloves.

Some of these items will be on my Etsy Shop so stop by and check them out!

Thank you to all who came out and dropped by. We hope to see you next year!

Market Prep 2019

It’s been a week since fall started but here in Alaska, it seems like we are closely approaching the end of it. Check out the mountains around us and they are all screaming winter! That brings me to point out another exciting thing…. hat season!

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Knitting wise, I am having a blast.  I am currently doing a market prep for the end of October.  So for you makers out there, you know what this means.  I have been knitting away hats in different sizes for months now, and I am loving it.

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New discovery: Lion Brand Yarn’s Wool Ease Thick and Quick has released newer colors.  I am not entirely sure when these colors came out.  However, among what I have used so far, these are my favorites: Coney Island which has gorgeous shades of fall colors and Astropolis which has pinks and purples.  These color ways definitely made my all-time fave list like the Hudson Bay.  Look how those colors play out!

How about you? Do you have a market or bazaar you are prepping for? Share with us what you’re working on.

Happy knitting!

 

Fireweed Chunky Hats

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This photo was taken by my good friend, Jess. You can find her work at jlcrispphotography.com

 

Did I mention I live in Alaska?  This summer has given us some of our warmest months!  The record of Summer 2013 saw 42 days of 70 degrees or warmer.  Today, we broke that record as Summer 2019 moved past that mark with 43 days of 70 degrees or warmer, and it is not over yet.

We had a full exhibit of our beautiful fireweed this summer.  As a tribute and in honor of this gorgeous wildflower, I made some knitted hats using simple and solid colors to feature this lovely fireweed.

I debated on whether to use the satin stitch to make the flowers but decided to go with french knots instead.  I used Woolease Tonal yarn in Raspberry for the flowers and DMC thread 906 for the leaves.  To secure the flower stitching. I patched the inside of the hat with some Waverly Cotton Fabric.

Visit my Etsy Shop for these lovelies! They are available in 3 colors: Charcoal, Taupe and Slate.  These are regular adult sized.  The brim measures 14 inches in circumference but can stretch and fit 22 circumference.  They are shipped out 3-5 business days upon receipt of payment.

I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer. Happy knitting!