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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Recycled Rag Rug For Earth Day

Hi!  Years ago rag rugs were made from old clothing, stockings, etc. and rugs were used on beds to keep families warm and then went down to the floors and on walls to insulate their homes.  I’ve crocheted rag rugs for a long time but  I’ve always used new store-bought 100% cotton fabric.  I even have several rag rug crochet patterns that I sell.  But the prices for cotton fabric has gone sky-high here in Anchorage and I simply can’t afford to make rag rugs anymore.  So I got to thinking that I should give recycled sheets another try and succeed this time!  So I’m RECYCLING FOR EARTH DAY (tomorrow) and beyond!

I absolutely love going to thrift stores and looking for treasures!  I’ve never told anyone this, but my Senior Prom dress was from a lovely second-hand store and it was gorgeous, definitely something I’d never be able to afford if I bought it new!  So I’ve been having a blast looking for recycled bed sheets and I’ve found some nice colors and designs.  There’s not a huge selection to choose from but it’s a start.  I got a BIG SHOCK though at the cost!  I had no idea they cost sooooo much!  The lowest was $7.95 for a twin and then jumped to $12.95!!  These are used, and some with holes!  But then I remembered that some thrift stores have different colored tags–50 % off weeks.  Last week it was yellow and this week is orange.  And the Salvation Army sheets cost less but usually only have one or two, maybe.

Recycled Sheets

Recycled Sheets for my Rag Rugs

I started my new recycled rag rug in my usual spiral fashion with crochet hook size Q and it was terrible!  The color joining was horribly uneven! I couldn’t figure out what I was doing so wrong?  And I was so close to being done!

Uneven color changes

Spiral Rag Rug and Uneven Color Changes

I ripped it out and tried and tried again and again.  Nothing worked!  So I ripped it back to the second red circle and joined each round. But it still didn’t work, so I ripped it back to the center red circle and it still sucked!  So…….I guess the lesson is, rip it ALL out and START OVER! I knew that!!

Finished-more even color changes

Rag Rug with joined rounds and even colors

And this is how my recycled rag rug FINALLY turned out! I can live with this one, OK 🙂

1. When working with such contrasting colors it’s better to join each round to minimize color changes.  With similar colors you can use the easier spiral method just fine.

2. When it doubt, RIP IT OUT!

3. Trust your gut and do it right the FIRST time!  I knew that!

4. Happy EARTH DAY 2012 and hooray for RECYCLING!

♥ 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??


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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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Crochet Beaded Covers and Doilies Pattern

Hi, I promised this pattern to several people out there who encouraged and inspired me and I thank each one of you!  I was especially inspired when I received a message from someone in Australia who is currently going through the HOT and BUGGY summer months and said she really uses them (thank you Anna)!  It is winter here in Alaska where I live, but we definitely use them during our mosquito summers!  I posted the pattern in my Etsy Shop and Ravelry Shop!

These covers are very USEFUL for keeping falling debris and bugs out of beverages, wine glasses, and food containers!  Plus they make pretty doilies!  I made several for my daughter’s outside wedding.  They make great gifts!  They also work well at barbeques and even indoor parties so the quests will never lose their drinks!  Adding beads, buttons, or charms at the ends of the chain loops not only add beauty but also weights the covers down so they stay on!

This is an easy and quick round pattern which uses basic crochet stitches as the slip knot, chain, single crochet, double crochet, and slip stitch and illustrated by Kurt Jacobson (my husband).  Make different colors and all sorts of sizes to fit your décor!

The beaded cover samples are about 5.5 inch in diameter and with the chain loops and beads or buttons they measure about 8.5 inches wide.  I use #3 crochet cotton thread because it is a little thicker and sturdier than #10 and is available everywhere.  Hope you enjoy the pattern and have fun!

Crochet Beaded Covers & Doilies Pattern

For more photos go to my June 3, 2011 post, “Beaded Glass Covers & Doilies”.


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Second Chance At Love

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

I have a love story I’d like to share! 

A long time ago, there was a group of five 19 year olds, two girls and three boys who met at college and became great friends.  They were introduced through friends of friends and their friends………….in a co-ed dorm (I wonder if their parents knew?).  They did lots of fun things together inside and outside the college and even after some of them moved away, they always kept in contact with each other.  The core of the group was one girl and one boy who were the best of friends and they are the main characters of this story.

One time he moved out of state for a whole year but they still visited each other.  He eventually moved back to Seattle and their friendship continued.  They both thought it would last forever, but one day she found out he was getting married.  She was absolutely devastated!  They were not to see each other ever again!  She was CRUSHED!  She had lost her very best friend!!  She just couldn’t understand why she was taking it so hard?  And at that very moment she realized she had fallen in love with her best friend and would never be able to tell him how she felt, never!

About five years went by and she often hoped she would hear from him or bump into each other.  She eventually married and had two beautiful children who were her life .  But there was a deep sadness inside her, as she could not share her joys with her best friend.

This is a good time to take a potty break 🙂

More years passed………….and she was divorced.  One of the first things she promised herself was that she would find her best friend, no matter what!  It was going to be difficult since she only knew his college nickname.  Eventually she remembered his name but didn’t know how to spell it as both the first and last names could be spelled a number of ways.  She started locally because that was the last place she had seen him, but no luck.  Then she moved on to out of state calls, knowing that his parents had lived out of state.  And finally, late one night she was left with two names and that was it.

She nervously called the first one and again said, “I’m looking for an old friend from college”.   And who in the world was on the other end………….but her best friend!  YES she found him!!  She had found him in Alaska, of all places!  They talked all night!  And the most wonderful thing happened………..he was single too and they both confessed to how much they loved each other, always have and always will!

They continued their LONG distance relationship for about 2-1/2 years and she moved to Alaska with her whole house, 2 children, 2 cats, and a dog.  And they got married!! ♥  As it turned out, he also had two children and the two girls were only two weeks apart!  His boy was 2 years older and her son was only one year younger.  So they ended up raising all these kids and pets in a little tiny 1000 sq. ft. home and lived happily ever after!

P.S.  They had a second chance at love and it is now going on 15+ years and 2 grandbabies later!  I personally know these lovely people and YES it really happened!

Donna and Jake

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Baby Blossom Hats

Hi,  I teach crochet and locker hooking classes at Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts in So. Anchorage (Dimond Blvd).  This is an older store but has been remodeled recently and they built a NEW CLASSROOM!  I’m really excited about this store and the opportunity to teach again!  Now both Jo-Anns in town offer classes!

Every month or two Jo-Ann holds an “Open House” where all the teachers come together and we promote our classes and people are free to ask us questions and sign up for classes (plus they can get a discount that day!).  We have one coming up this Saturday, 2-11-2012 It’s a lot of fun!  We usually have other demos going on too.  Part of my responsibility is to make and show samples of class projects which are being offered and are coming up on the calender.  It’s like “show & tell” and I love it!  I really enjoy talking to the people and many of them I know or know me BUT they don’t know we offer classes NOW!!

One of the classes that is being offered is the crocheted Baby Blossom Hat and I thought you might enjoy a sneak preview!  It’s easy and I had a blast making it.  Don’t you think these are absolutely adorable!!

Make a Baby Blossom Hat at Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts

Hope to see some of you at this “Open House” or the next one…………


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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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