Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fabric Shopping at the "Top of the World!!!"---Picture Heavy!!!

  (Don't let this pic fool ya, it's REALLY cold!!! The Chukchi sea is behind me and bowhead whale skeleton is to the right.)
I've been missing in action a bit because I'm in Barrow, Alaska again for work. You know I MISS sewing so much!!! I also miss seeing all of your blogs and definitely plan to catch up with all the wonderful things many of you are sewing. In brief, just because people usually ask, here's a brief description of what I'm doing up here. My lab has funding to work with other scientists to study climate change  in Barrow, Alaska lookingspecifically at bacterial response (using molecular microbiology techniques) and nutrients in the ocean. Our project began last year and you may recall the last time's I've gone were in April and August of last year. April was breathtakingly beautiful with the sea ice and ice ridges. Not so much for August, especially since there's no snow and just lots of dirt and mud. But the Chucki Sea is an absolute. And hey, where else can you go and pay more than $11 for a gallon of milk....

and have 24 hours of daylight in the Summer.....this is what it looks like at 10 O'clock at night!!!!
 (One of the lab buildings we're working in.

and see a Polar bear resting on the beach after an ocean swim.....
(This is my 3rd trip here and I FINALLY saw a polar bear. Yup, and there are no fences or glass. He was about a good distance away and I just had my camera on max zoom. Fortunately, there was a local bear guid right next to us with a rifle to scare off the bear if he got aggressive. Fortunately he just looked around a couple of times but laid very quietly. I think he had an exhausting swim.)


Anywho, I've been up here since Wednesday, Aug 10th and as you can imagine had so much to do to get my household and personal self prepared for my 13 day excursion.  At home I was in the middle of a couple of projects and unfortunately didn't get to finish the binding on my cute tank dress. That will be one of the first things I tackle when I get back.
(unfinished tank dress with white tank top underneath)

Before I left I also ordered Peggy Sager's new DVD which I blogged about HERE. Unfortunately it didn't come in time for me to take on my trip. Grrrrrrr! So instead I grabbed a couple of sewing items (you know to make sure I accumulate my 10,000hr challenge "sewing or sewing related hours).....

.....thinking I would be slammed with work and have no time to really read/watch them. Man was I WRONG. As soon as we got here we had one adventure after another. Long story short, the entire city was out of fuel (yes, none at the pumps or anywhere) so they had to get an emergency delivery by barge. Furthermore, Mother Nature's furious winds prevented us from even attempting a boat trip to collect seawater. So I sat twiddling my thumbs for 4 days with no real work to do. You bet I was sure happy with the Project Runway 1st Season DVD's and the 142 Threads Magazines on DVD-ROM.  I tried to check out the new Project Runway episodes online but unfortunately the internet here isn't the best for streaming. So the lesson is always bring enough materials in case you'll have alot of down time. The Threads DVD-ROM will keep me quite busy.

On Monday the winds finally calmed down and we were able to get some work done. Part of our research group went out to sea and me and another team member decided to go into town to check out a craft store we'd heard about. Well we headed to the Fur Store and it ended up being an absolute treat!

Here are some of the goodies in the store. Lots of fabric....
They had a good deal considering the small size of the store.

Exotic furs.....everything from fox, to chinchilla, rabbit, wolf and beyond. Every hide imaginable---from pig to deer. The native Inupiat Indians use these furs to line the hoods and bottoms of their parkas so they can stay warm in those -60F winters.
 Here's what the traditional parkas look like....
 
(People posted pics of the parkas they sewed in the store. Isn't this little number cute!!!)



They even had parka patterns but for $30 a pop I kinda shy-ed away from them. The Jo-Ann's $0.99 patterns have me spoiled. LOL! I think I could get one on Ebay for alot cheaper.
 

The furs really had me drooling. I'm not into furs, never had been, but I appreciate the way the natives use them. They really know how to responsibly and reverentially use their resources.




And of course you need really long zippers for the parkas. That's a ton of zippers.
The store also had lots of notions, yarn, lots of trims, etc. Everything except sewing machines. The store even doubled as a florist and souvenir shop (I picked up some cute T-shirts and a great picture.) It was truly a crafter's paradise. Although I didn't purchase any fabric, for now that is---I'm planning to visit again, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. And I'm delighted to say that I feel at home at any fabric store even if it is at the top of the world!!!

30 comments:

  1. you DIDN'T buy any fabric??? I would have to buy something, just for a conversation piece!!!! Totally cool!! Enjoy your research (both MBI and sewing LOL)

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  2. That was so kewl! Thanks for sharing it with us!

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  3. Wow! Wow! You definitely have an exciting job!

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  4. Victoria, I totally agree with Cennetta...you have a very exciting job!!! Can't wait for your to return!! Don't work to hard and include more fun if you can!!

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  5. There's another place where milk is that expensive. Norfolk Island! $4.50 per litre (work out the conversion) & if you don't get it the day the plane lands, you're outta luck. :)

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  6. Seriously exciting job. Thanks for sharing! Love the photos.

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  7. I'm so impressed by your job - it really is helping the world! And I can't believe that amazing store had chinchilla for 50 bucks a pelt. You should get into fur.

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  8. Looks like you had a nice time browsing. We were in Ketchikan, Alaska last year visiting our daughter and a trip down the grocery store aisle just about floored me. $6.50 for a pound of butter, $9.00 for a 12 pk. of soda and $12 for (4)four granny smith apples...I Yi Yi! Thanks for sharing all the details...loved the info on the parkas and furs. Very interesting!!!

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  9. You really plan well for your trip, and will never be bored. Leave it to a true seamtress to find the fabric store (lol).

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  10. Wow thanks for sharing very interesting! Great pics.

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  11. What an interesting job and I am still reeling over the cost of milk. Great pics.

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  12. Wow, how interesting. Great pictures, thanks for sharing.

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  13. I bet that store was really interesting! Hubby's done a lot of DOD work up in Alaska. I've never been, but he tells me that it is one beautiful state.

    Enjoy your trip, get your work done, and be safe...

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  14. Wow what an assignment....sounds so interesting and deep! Barrow...Alaska...just SOUNDS cold! Were you as close to that Polar bear as it appears or did you zoom in? It looks HUGE! Got milk?! Love this post! Wishing you safe travel back to GA. Take care!

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  15. How cool Victoria! I love the picture of the Polar bear!

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  16. Thank you so much for posting pictures and telling us about your Alaska trip. I am truly awed by the work you are doing. Alaska looks like such an amazing and interesting place and how wonderful to get to see a polar bear - they are such beautiful creatures. I love the look of those traditional parkas - that little girl looks so adorable in hers!

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  17. Please for Christ sake help this poor boy from Haiti.

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  18. Awesome! My hubby has been wanting to go to Barrow for years! Now that I know I can fabric shop...I'm in!!!

    I bought one of those cute parka patterns when I was in Anchorage, but wasn't sure about actually making it. They do such a great job and are so clever with the native materials. Have fun while you are there!!!

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  19. Soooo interesting! Thanks for sharing.

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  20. Wow! Exciting job, no kidding. Cool pictures.

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  21. OMG! Your job is wonderful! Besides all these adventures, this is very exciting!

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  22. Thanks for sharing. Very interesting, great pictures.

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  23. Wow, I really enjoyed seeing what you have been up too. Those furs are amazing!

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  24. So cool to hear about your day job! It sounds fascinating and important.

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  25. Thank you for sharing pics of your trip. Those furs are fantastic.

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  26. Lucky you to get a glimpse of a polar bear in action.

    Have a safe trip.

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  27. WOW, what a neat trip!!! I can't get over the 10:00pm picture. Thanks for sharing

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  28. This is a great post. Thank you for sharing your trip pictures. That polar bear made me feel a little bit cooler on a 100 degree Georgia day. ;)

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  29. I am with some of the others, Wow! My next thought is how do people there afford to eat! The parka on the little girl with the fur on it, to cute!

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  30. What a great trip! Thanks for sharing with us, Victoria! But $11 for a gallon of milk? Yikes! And only $48 for a chinchilla pelt!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and for following me on my 10,000 Hour Sewing Challenge:)

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