Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Pine Cone Gnome Giveaway!! (closed)

 These dolls are sooo adorable, aren't they!? Shannon over at The Pine Cone Gnome hand makes them! I came across them one day and grabbed one for my daughter for Christmas! She loves gnawing on it. Shannon is giving away one of these cute teether's to a lucky reader! First let's learn about Shannon!

Please tell us a little bit about you and why you started your business.

One day, when I was about seven years old, a family from the Netherlands came to visit us. I remember the little boy and girl hugging onto two beautiful cloth dolls that were dressed in perfectly knitted outfits done made from a Nordic pattern. I can still see those two dolls in my mind to this day! It took twenty-two years before I learned those dolls were called "Waldorf" or "Steiner" dolls, and better yet, I could learn how to make them!

 I grew up sharing my childhood years between the great bush of Alaska and the beaches of Hawaii. My parent’s homesteaded land on a small private island located within the Lake Clark National Park in Alaska.

After a lot of hard work, they started a summer fishing lodge that brought wonderful guests from all over the world into our home. I was constantly surrounded by wilderness and amazing plants animals and couldn't have imagined a better way to live.

 Spending most of my summer days barefoot, running on the slate rocks that covered the beaches and swimming in the glacier fed lake. I was quickly given the nick name "leather-foot" because of how tough my feet became. 

I had a few friends that would visit me, but only when they flew out in float planes. They would often stay with us for a week or two at a time.

My mother home schooled my brother and me until I was in the fourth grade. She had promised my brother that he could go to a traditional school starting in the Ninth grade at which point we moved to Hawaii. I started attending a wonderful Montessori School there and that was just what I needed for a very gentle transition from my home school life.
Hawaii fed me a whole new type of nature. Although at first glance it seemed completely different to me. I still had amazing plants and animals that surrounded me and I still choose to leave my shoes at home, but the water was a whole lot warmer!

I moved back to Alaska in 1996 where I currently live with my husband and two wonderful boys. All of them have been very supportive of my creative outlets and give me continued inspiration for my work.

I hope to be able to continue making dolls and toys for a long, long time and hope to never stop learning new techniques so that I can keep growing with this loving craft.

Where can I purchase these dolls?

What do you love about Alaska?

Alaska is more than just a place to live for me, it truly is a part of who I am and no matter how long I live here I will never take for granted how blessed my family and I are to be able to wake up each morning in such a beautiful state. I love the diverse terrain Alaska offers us; from the beaches to the mountains and from tundra to the rain forests of S.E., each holding within natural miracles both large and small. It was a wonderful place to be brought up as a child and now I am enjoying being able to see Alaska through my own children’s eyes!
Thanks Shannon!!!
My daughter loves her teether! The velour is so soft and she goes to town on the ring! I love knowing that this doll was all handmade from natural materials.
Now onto the giveaway, wahoo!!! I will pick a winner randomly on SUNDAY night. Here are the rules, please follow them!
1. You must live in Alaska.
2. You must be a follower of the blog. Your profile should link up to a page to contact you or leave your email address.
3. Please one entry per follower, if you have to make another one, delete the previous comment.
4. Anonymous comments will NOT be counted!
Good luck!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

krazykidlets Hat Giveaway (closed)

Winter is a great season for cute hats! I'm excited to introduce our next giveaway, a krazykidlets handmade hat! Have you seen her work?! SO CUTE!!!! You want one? I know you do! Let's get to know her first!

Micehele, please tell us a little about yourself and why you started this business.

I am a SAHM to four amazing kidlets and I am lucky enough to be married to my high school sweetheart. I was raised in Eagle River but settled here in Palmer a few years ago. I started my business shortly after the birth of my last baby. I am a babywearing mama but could not find the perfect pocket sling to fit my over sized babies.... so I took all my needs and voila... came up with the sling that was perfect for us. A friend opened Sugar and Spice Ecotique in Anchorage and asked to carry my slings. That worked well... so I dropped off a few hats to test the market... and they flew off the shelves. After about 1.5 years, the store closed its doors so she could be a SAHM to her babies. I then moved my items to another store and added some clothing. That was working so well that I decided to open a facebook page so that I could interact with my customers. I got a lot of response and a lot of encouragement to go further.... so, last summer, once a month, I had a booth at the Palmer Friday Fling. I also did a few craft shows in Anchorage and the Valley over the Holidays. I love doing the craft fairs... I love seeing sweet little heads with a krazykidlets hat on it in random places... I love seeing pictures of kids in the clothing that I have made. Business has been so busy, that I have been able to stop selling via boutique and focus solely on my artfire studio, facebook and the craft fairs that I love.

Where can I get these hats?

My hats and clothing can always be found in my artfire studio or my facebook page. I list which craft fairs I will be at with times and places on my facebook page.
What do you love about Alaska?
I love the summers. Where else can I drag my sewing machine outside and spend 14 hours sewing and listening to my kidlets squeal in delight while they just be kids. Now that my babies are getting older, we are rediscovering camping, kayaking and fishing... I am very much looking forward to this summer and all the fun we will have in it.

Thanks Michele! Be sure to visit her facebook page and look at all those cute hats! Michele was so kind enough to give a hat of choice from her inventory to one lucky reader!

Here are the rules:
1. You have to be a follower of the blog and live in Alaska. Please be sure I have a way to contact you!
2. Visit krazykidlets page and tell me your fav hat and who it would go to!
3. You can only enter once.
I will pick a lucky winner Sunday night! Good luck!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Alder Patch Art Giveaway (closed)

  I'm so excited to start off our first giveaway from an AMAZING lady, Samantha Geuss. We used to work together back in the college years at Trailside Discovery. Samantha opened up her own business, Alder Patch Art, selling photography, greeting cards, and apparel.  I love her photographs, be sure to check them out! She has some cute shirts and sweatshirts for everyone in the family! All of the apparel companies she works with are globally and socially conscious and the designs are screen-printed locally!  Samantha was so kind to donate 2 shirts and a cool sticker. They are SO cute!  

The yellow onesie is size 18-24 mons and valued at $18.

The kid shirt is actually a royal blue with this design and is a size 3T valued at $18.

Then of course a really cool "Midnight Sun Playground" sticker valued at $4.

 Just in case you don't win, you can find her products on line at, Alder Patch Art. Dos Manos and Babes in the Woods Gallery in Girdwood carry some of her apparel. You can get her greeting cards at FlyPaper, Metro Music & Books, and Terra Bella in Anchorage. She is usually at the weekend craft shows as well! Be sure to "like" her on her facebook page!

 Here are the rules:
   1. Comment on which one you would like to win and what cute kid would get it!
   2. You have to live in Alaska and be a follower of the blog!
   3.Make sure I have a way of contacting you! Your profile must link to your blog or you can leave your  email address. Anonymous comments will be deleted.

Three lucky winners will be randomly picked to win. This giveaway will close this Monday at midnight.Good luck!

Buy Local!

  I'm really excited about starting our local giveaways! I hope this encourages us all to get out and buy locally and support the community! I don't know about you, but Im tired of paying an arm and a leg for shipping and handling! Or getting my hopes up cause I see FREE SHIPPING, only to read except in AK or HI. SIGH
 In order to win a giveaway you need to live in Alaska AND be a follower on our blog. Please check out the local stores or their websites when I post the giveaway. There is some cool and cute stuff donated for everyone in the family!

 If you are local artist or business and want to participate, please send me an email at!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Our Little Miracle

  It was a Saturday morning when I started becoming concerned for my little baby girl, Peanut who was growing in me. I was 38 weeks and I wasn't feeling her move as much as I usually do. I drank some juice and laid on my back to see if she would move. Was that a kick? Maybe she is sleeping.

  Later that day, I still wasn't feeling her move. Maybe I missed it while I was chasing my 20 month old son. Maybe I should go in to the hospital. Ah, I'm just being paranoid. Maybe she does not move as much as my son does, maybe this means she will be more laid back?

  That night my concern was growing even more. I laid in bed and asked my husband to pray for me, I was afraid. It was 3am, maybe I should just go in and then come back home cause everything is okay. I finally decided to go in in the morning by myself and then be back in time for church.

  I started crying telling why I was there to the nurse. They brought me back and started doing tests. Oh thank God, there is a heartbeat, but the nurse is concerned and being vague. Peanut was failing all the tests. While this was going on, I was on the phone with my husband, we were glad that we heard the heartbeat and thought things were okay. The nurse said that the doctor was on his way and that Peanut would be born via emergency C-section. I told my husband to call my mom to watch our son, and come in as soon as possible.

  I was in such shock, I don't really remember those fast moments . I remembered going into a room where lots of doctors and nurses were. I was so afraid. Afraid for Peanut, afraid for me, what is going to happen?

  My husband finally arrived and came into the room right before they opened me up. It happened so fast. The doctor pulled her out, but no cries. They said the cord was wrapped around her neck very tightly 3 times and she needed help breathing. Finally I heard my little baby cry out. Big sigh of relief.

 Things were looking hopeful, she didn't have to go to the NICU nursery. A couple of hours passed and we finally were both doing great resting in a room.

  As a nurse was making her rounds, checking vitals on Peanut and myself, she asked to take Peanut back to get some oxygen cause she didn't seem to be taking enough in. Sure, I said, and thought the delivery was rough so she would be back shortly.

 The nurse walked back into the room with a doctor and no baby. The doctor started telling me that Peanut has a seizure and they wanted to do a Spinal Tap to rule out meningitis. He talked about all the things that could go wrong. Please, do whatever you need to do to help my baby. I was in shock, again. I don't even know what to do, what to say. What is going on. I called my husband to come back because they didn't know what was going on with Peanut.

  I can't even tell you everything that happened within that long hour. They were trying to get things under control, telling me everything that was going on, medicine they were giving her, procedures that needed to happen. I just wanted to see her, to hold her.

  We finally got to see her after all the tests were concluded, they had her on 2 types of medicine to control her seizures. We walked up to her bed side and she was sleeping from the medicine. She then stopped breathing, we watched her oxygen levels go down, and we were helpless. All I could say is please Lord let her live. She then started breathing, but this is what her seizures looked like, she stopped breathing. I could only touch her little wrapped up body. I couldn't hold her to my chest and kiss her little head.

  They started an EEG on her and her brainwaves were very abnormal. The neurologist couldn't tell me anything, the NICU doctors couldn't tell me anything and the nurses couldn't tell me anything about what was going to happen.
  Every hour we just waited for something, some hope. I visited her as much as possible as I was healing from a C-section via classical incision.
 Several days passed and her seizures were under control. They did an MMR and found brain damage, more then likely from the birth. It was so lonely. The world passed by outside the hospital and I didn't even know or even care what was going on. I just wanted my baby to be healthy.
 I finally got to hold her, to nurse her, to touch her. Then I got to room with her and start taking care of her. It was round the clock care making sure she ate enough so we could leave. The medicine made her so drowsy so she left even more so then a newborn does. She failed the hearing test several times. Another thing to add onto my worries.
 After a week, we got to leave. I was blessed that it only was a week. Some babies had been in there for months. I was even more afraid to be at home. What if she has more seizures? I don't have a machine that will go off. I don't remember too many of those days.

  She failed another newborn hearing test. I was afraid, what if she is deaf? More doctor visits and more concerns. She wasn't gaining very much weight, her head wasn't growing either. We had to visit several doctors to try and find out what was going on. Many months of waiting. There was no diagnosis, which I wanted so badly. Tell me how her future looks, will she ever hear, will she ever live a normal life, will we have to take care of her for the rest of her life, will she be able to have friends, drive, have children? Wait and see, Peanut will tell us.

  I grieved my "perfect" child that we all hope for. It sounds horrible. Nothing prepares you for this. This was out of my control, which is so hard because I have such a need to be in control. My son was by the books, normal. What did I do wrong? What did I eat? What did I do to cause this?

  Peanut was diagnosed with microcephaly, which means small head. I cant even tell you the number of doctor visits we have been to.We found out she is not deaf but has mild/moderate loss in her right ear. She wears a hearing aid, waiting for her glasses to come in, and an orthopedic brace on her right foot. She does occupational, speech, and physical therapy 4xs a week.

  This girl has come a long ways and surprises us daily. I don't know what her future holds, but I know and love Who holds her future. That's all I can trust right now.

  Why did I tell you this? I tell you all this because I want you to get touch with the gut feeling. Trust it. Its a God given gift that sometimes we don't listen to. Your son isn't where the other kids are, get him checked out now. You don't trust your doctor when she says your daughter is fine, get a second opinion. Go with your parental instincts, it can save a life.

 I leave you with a picture of my little peanut and my 5 month old Snugglebug. I had tons of fears with Snugglebug's pregnancy, but that's for another day.