Monday, 25 June 2012

Ray and Karen's house in Loose Moose Loop North Pole.

 Daryl and Julie in the  pretty bedroom.  We swapped rooms after 2 nights.  The four of us also shared the ensuite bathroom.   Karen and Ray slept downstairs in the basement and used the main bathroom.

 Karen is a birdlover and had many gorgeous 'birdie' decorations.  I loved this one in our bedroom.
All the light switches had decorative covers and were beautiful.
Richard, their son (who stayed with friends while we were staying at the house) was starting some herbs on the widow sill ready for summer.

 This sculpture of birds on a branch was made of different types of wood.  It sat on the window sill in the dining room.
 The living room with some of Karen's craftworks around.
 Karen's prize winning ribbons for her cooking at the Tenana Fair.  They were pinned up across her kitchen window.  Just gorgeous.  She is a very clever woman.
This rooster on display in the kitchen was all made of seeds.

 Karen kept cookie cutters in these big jars on top of her cupboards.  They looked lovely.

 I loved the window treatment here in the 'laundry' which really was just part of the hallway.
 The Pantry

 Her pantry was huge but also contained the spearpoint well for their water source and the hot water service which heated the house with pipes running around the edge  of the floorspace in every room.  They still call the hot water service the 'furnace' which still conjures up pictures of shovelling coal into a big fire box!  Karen's  basket collection hangs from the pantry ceiling.

Karen's kitchen with the ceiling painted blue with clouds.  A welcome sight in winter.

 I loved Karen's night light covers.  So much more imaginative than the ones I've seen in Aus.

 Karen had made lots of little vignettes to decorate her house.  This raven sat atop a wardrobe with a 'nest' Karen had made from a bush.  I love the touch of the feather sitting in the nest.
 A raven eating blueberries.  Lots of ravens feature in patchwork and quilting in Alaska.

Another vignette.  This time a tin lantern, an antique candle mould and a horn of some animal.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Big in Alaska

 Julie and I shopping in Anchorage.  I loved it that a lot of the shops had stuffed animals, or carved animals. And they are all so BIG. 
Jeff had a Davy Crocket hat when he was a boy.  I had to buy him
 this one when I saw it.  He loved it.  The Alaskan cousins were disgusted saying that racoons don't even live in Alaksa!

Mike standing next to a Grizzly Bear in Anchorage Museum.  Mike is 6'8" tall!!

 Jeff and me beside a moose.  They are so tall.
. The barn at Creamers Dairy in Fairbanks.  A typical Iowa barn, in Alaska!

Friday, 8 June 2012


After Auntie Dot's 100th birthday celebration all the guests went out to dinner at Lone Star
Restaurant in downtown Anchorage.  It is so typical of Alaskan architecture outside the big cities.
I loved all the bits and pieces in the restaurant which reminded me of the cowboy and Indian movies we watched every Saturday afternoon at the Como Picture Theatre.  We learnt so much about Indian culture back then.
 Mike, Jeff and John.
You can see how tall Mike and John are compared to Jeff.
Mike is 6'8" and never stands straight up tall.A flight attendant told him he couldn't put his coat in the overhead locker and had to have it under the seat in front.  He drew himself up to his full height and in his slow Alaskan quite droll he said "Look lady, I can't even fit in your seats, let alone put my coat where my feet are supposed to go!"  She let him put his coat on the overhead locker.
 The view from Lone Star carpark looking over at the mountains surrounding Anchorage on three sides.  The fourth side is open to the Cook Inlet.
 John, Julie and me, colour co-ordinated!!
 L to R: Natosha Norris, me, Doug Norris, Dianne Norris, Julie Chipperfield, Daryl Chipperfield, John Norris, Linda Norris, Tanya Norris, David Norris, Jeff Kingman, Shavaun Norris (Bobby's wife).
Can't remember what we ate?

Broccoli was certainly popular.  Often served raw in salad.
 This is Sheila, Uncle Bob's niece.  She was about 4 years old when Auntie Dot first came to Alaska.  Bob and his brother, Sheila's dad, went to work at the Jonesville coal mine and lived side by side with their families.  Sheila has many memories of Auntie Dot from when she first arrived in Alaska.  Sheila said Auntie Dot walked everywhere, put up with more than wives would endure these days and spent a lot of time alone with her four sons when Uncle Bob was working away from their home.
 Daryl standing under a bison head.
Bison were always in the cowboy movies.  The Indians hunted them and used every part of them from their skins to their entrails.
They were hunted into almost extinction, down to a herd of only about l50.  Alaska has had a breeding programme, part of which we saw at Portage Wildlife Centre on the Kenai Peninsula, and have now bred them up and are re-releasing them into the wilds again.  No doubt to be hunted by today's hunters who are licensed and patrolled as to the number of kills they can make in a season.
 I loved this mural on the wall of the Restaurant.
All restaurants in Alaska were beautifully decorated and themed.  None seemed to be just cafe's and no Chrome/black/glass that we seem to be getting.
One hamburger restaurant we went in seemed to be a picture gallery of any family who wanted to have their photograph hung there.  Lots of sporting awards and family celebration photos.  Very 'community'.
Linda Norris with Julie and me.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Anchorage Alaska April 2012

 This was the view from my cousins John and Linda's living room window in mid April - Spring.
The snow was quite packed down and firm.  The snow plough had cleared the roads.
 This is directly across the road from their house.  The air was cool outside but the sunshine was beautiful and warm.
 This is the view of their backyard from the back deck.  The thermometer shows the temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius.  The trees are birch with no leaves and spruce with leaves.
 These are the 'ice thrones' John's son David carved for us to have our photograph taken sitting in them.  They were freezing!!!  You can see how firm the snow is.
 Everyone removes their shoes inside the front door as they are always slushy or muddy.  I was able to just wear my Mary Janes if I was careful where I walked and kept to the paths.
Jeff and John standing in the backyard.  David's  boat and John and Linda's massive motorhome are in the background.  Most people have motorhomes for their vacations and they are all huge.  Of course you have to provide your own bathroon and toilet.  Are another subject for a future blog, outhouses.  Yes they are cold!  But when you've got to go, they are appreciated!backyard.  David boat and John and Linda's massive motorhome are in the background.  Most people have motorhomes for their vacations and they are all huge.  Of course you have to provide your own bathroon and toilet.  Are another subject for a future blog, outhouses.  Yes they are cold!  But when you've got to go, they are appreciated!
This is my cousin Doug standing on his back deck also in Anchorage.  The snow is piled right up at the back of the house from where they shovelled it off the roof.
 Around the neighbourhood.  These people still have their Christmas deer lights on the front lawn.  Of course they would have been covered over with snow after Christmas and are just now becoming visible again!  Some people even still had their Halloween decorations in the garden.  They had also been covered with snow since before Christmas.
 I loved these letterboxes.  In the springtime the tubs are planted with flowers.  What a lovely idea.  You have to keep your mailbox dug out all winter or you don't get mail.  If you want to post a letter you just place it in your own mail box, put up your little flag on the side of the box, and the mailman collects it when he delivers your mail.  How wonderful would that be.  It is a Federal offense to tamper with someone else letterbox or to put anything than mail into it.  Thus no Junk Mail.  Everything has to be address to you personally for you to receive catalogues.  Shop catalogues are always in the newspapers.
The mailman.  No cute little red vans like Postman Pat.
 This gorgeous house still had its Christmas decorations up in April.
I loved this playground in the deep snow.  This is where we found Thomas the Tank Engine toy which had been dropped by some child probably last October and then covered with snow.  Spring had melted the snow enough for us to find it poking out.  I gave it to Cooper, after John and David had painted the Alaska Flag big dipper stars on the roof of it, and painted Alaska Thomas on the back.  Cooper was over the moon to receive Alaska Thomas when we got home.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Back home for a whole week at last.
Life has been hectic since we arrived back home 3 weeks ago.
We missed Xander's 2nd birthday party while we were away, but made it home in time for Jaimeson's first birthday.

Tassy's  10th birthday party a week later.

. Tassy always has the day off school for her birthday and chooses an activity for the family.  For the third year in a row it was ice skating.  No one else was at the ice rink at 1.30pm on a Monday!
Beyond Q Bookshop Curtin

Yvette took us to a very interesting bookshop, downstairs in the tiny shopping centre at Curtin.  The number of books for sale was amazing and each bookcase was topped with a display of old toys or bits and pieces of interesting stuff.  A lot looked like they had come out of someones old house.  While looking through the books we were delighted to hear an old Grandfather clock chime.  It made the whole atmosphere perfect.  Especially when the smell of brewing coffee wafted from it's coffee shop tucked away in one corner of the shop and furnished with old velvet dining chairs and little tables.  We indulged ourselves with an Apricot custard tart, Irish Cream cheesecake and chocolate caramel tart.
I bought some more vintage knitting books to add to my collection.

We also visited The Silk Road Exhibition at the National Museum.
It was very interesting with the sounds of the ancient market towns and displays of stalls selling herbs, spices, exotic vegetables and furs.

 We had our photo taken beside the stuffed camel at the entrance.  He was loaded with his goods for travel and trade.
 The amazing entrance to the National Museum.
 A tranquil back water to Lake Burley Griffin
An interesting fence near the Museum.