The stark beauty of the rugged landscape of a lava field in Hawaii Volcano National Park.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Missed you!


I'm back from a brief hiatus from blogging because of my injury to my foot.  Growing old pains!  My foot is not a 100% percent yet, but pretty close.  I couldn't take it anymore.  Today, I went outside in the garden, cleaned up a bit and found that my bleeding heart plant was blooming.
Yeah, just in time to start the Christmas season.

My foot seems to be healing really slow, more than the normal 8 weeks.  I didn't want to chance tweaking it again.  Especially sitting too long at the work/computer table or trekking outside on the uneven landscape.

See the lump? taken at 4 weeks.
While in my absence from blogging, I did manage to sew a few tote bags.

Bags waiting for packaging and delivery
And sewed a couple of Christmas hale (house) for hanging on the tree.

I'm glad to be back in the saddle again.  Until next time - take care, love each other and keep the flame of creativity burning!

Love and Blessings,

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I will never ...

I'm laying here, foot propped up with a cold pack on it.  Today, it was painful.  A gnawing pain similar to shin splints.  Earlier today I was sitting in a car waiting for the driver to come back with cups of latte.  We parked fronting another business with a irritating neon sign that matched the pulsating pain in the front of my leg.  Now I will forever relate my foot pain to the pulsating buzz of a neon sign.  Great!
Well, I'm getting tired of being immobile.  So, I went outside last night and snapped some pics - a long story made short - I was in pain all night.  It's going to be a long 5 weeks.
Other than that, my best friend that lives in Colorado Springs (my old home town) had her birthday October 24th.  I have her box with gifts at home waiting to go to the post office.  I spoke to her on her birthday and sang her a song.  Her presents are different from normal presents.  Things to make her laugh, some sentimental and another that I know she will really like.
Since I've been on the mend I have been doing a lot of handwork.  Which I love to do, but now it's getting boring.  I guess I miss my sewing machine.  I've made a lot of handmade christmas ornaments and glass plate/soldered jewelry.  I'm really excited about these two projects, especially the jewelry using pages from the original pages from Degener's Flora Hawaiiensis.  The book in good condition is rare, however, the copy I have is not in good condition and missing the original cover and pages in horrible condition.  I love using the pages because it gives it a historical and vintage look.  Other than that, nothing much is going on.

So my mantra at the moment is:  I will never sit inappropriately for hours while sewing ... I will never ...

I'll have some pics to share with you all.  Soon.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On the mend

Aloha Gang,

Well, it's been a couple of weeks without a post.  The reason for my lack of blogging is that I hurt my foot.  More specifically, I believe I sprained of strained my foot just above my left ankle and going towards the front of the leg just above the foot.  My naturopath says that I strained it with unending hours of sitting in one position in an inappropriate chair when sewing.  WOW!
It has been almost 3 weeks now.  And the pain is more intense, but shrunk in size, which the doc says is normal.  The deal is that I need to be off my feet once I'm at home.  Let me tell you it's a hard thing for me to do.  Sit still.  Also, elevate my foot (uncomfortable) and alternate ice and heat therapy (bothersome).  What interest me is when will I be back to normal.  The doc reminded me of my painful stubbed and fractured toe that I suffered earlier this year, and how long it took (8 weeks) and the pain (lots) associated with that injury.  Boy, do I see a pattern here!

Also, once I heal I will be shopping for a recommended chair for the sewing/craft room (yeah!).

With the rapidly approaching holiday season, I am behind schedule with finding craft fairs to sell my wares.  I'm also behind in my sewing.  Such is life, nothing is set in stone.

I will try to snap a few pics and move my computer away from the inappropriate chair area and download a few pics and type up a post.  I can't promise anything, but I'll try.

Hop-a-Long aka Lei

Monday, September 26, 2011

My new colorful banner

Well, now that you know that I love to create things from the top of my head.  Hee Hee!  I decided that if I would be selected to have a booth at a craft fair, one of the things that I would love to have is a colorful banner.
LEI JOLIE would be in big and bold letters in different colored aloha print fabric.
First, I drew out the letters on a regular sheet of paper until I came up with a style that I liked.  That took about 30 minutes.
Then I decided how large I wanted the letters.  And drew them out and hung them outside, on the ceiling beam of my porch to see if I really liked it.  Made a few changes.
a little windy

My next move was to decide on the different color choices and arranging them to flow nicely.  That took longer than figuring out the font.  Once I made my choice, I colored the letters and hung them out for a final review before selecting fabric.
constant wind

Fabric selection was the hardest and longest task.  I needed the letter the flow and feel right next to each other.  I actually cut out 3 letters that I didn't feel like they belong.  So, off to the fabric store I went.  Hunting for over an hour finding the right fabrics.  And only purchasing 3/8 of a yard each, I sighed, thinking that this is crazy.  Trying to be cautious about spending too much money on this project I decided to use an old stretch sparkly denim for the background and a green calico for the backing.

The second hardest task, of course, the sewing of the letters.  I decided (just kick me) to hand sew the letters on.  The problem was the denim proved to be really thick and I had a hard time getting the needle through the denim.  Also, made the letters a little lumpy in some places.  And, of course, I was too lazy to find my leather thimble.  I had tender fingers for a couple of days.  Sometime during the hand sewing process I decided that the next banner I make I will be fusing the letters on or use a different fabric for the background.  I added tabs for hanging and machine embroidery around the edges.  Which also didn't work well over the thicker areas of the banner.  Also, I should have made it wider, next time.  But, all in all, I love the look of the banner and it's still nice to use.
colors from the left; red, yellow, blue, purple, pink, orange, green and fuschia.

Well, that's all for now.
Trying to complete a caftan style top for myself and maybe a dress for the CCH Annual Membership Meeting on October 1st (LOL).  Didn't I say I love this kind of stress, which is not really stress because I thrive on creative stress.  The other types of stress I could do without.
I also have to put together thank you packages for the volunteers for the event (I'm the volunteer coordinator and decoration coordinator), package a children's door prize or auction item, select greens for table decoration, etc. etc. etc.
Maybe I won't have time for the dress.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

A new handle on things.

I love tote bags.  They can go anywhere.  To the beach, shopping, overnight stays, to the gym, school, work (lunch bag) as a baby bag, just to name a few.
I've been having a hankering to design and sew me up a new tote bag for a long time.  Not that I needed a new one.  I have  a lot of totes.  I just love the challenge of creating something new.  I know - most people would be perfectly fine buying a ready made pattern - no, not I.  This is my weird side, the stress of challenging myself to make a pattern that I have in my head.
So, I took a old square-bottomed tote to get the measurement for the body of the tote.  Shifted the handles from the sides to the front and back.  Rounded the edge between the handle and the body, so it's not just a square bag with handles.  Then I took an old leather handbag and measured the elongated oval shaped bottom.  And I gathered the bottom of the tote body, gathered it up and sewed it to the oval bottom and VOILA!  (I love the word voila.)  A stylish tote bag, fully lined with a inner pocket.  Oh!  I added a drawstring pouch that I can insert a folded tote bag into it or use as a separate bag.
What I really love about this tote bag is that I can sling it on my shoulder and have the ability to look in the tote bag without needing to take it off my shoulder.  I can carry a lot without it being cumbersome.  I can also put my wallet in the large pocket and go for a quickie to the grocery store for small purchases.  Carrying both a purse or handbag and slinging the tote bag on my shoulder is no problem for me.
I made 5 of them before I decided to take pics.  I have 2 for myself (without the drawstring pouch)  made from old fabrics that I use to carry my lunch in. These 2 were the "test" totes. The other 3 were for a contract from a friend who saw me carrying one of the "test" totes.

I call them the 'Any Kine Tote Bags'.  Any Kine is a Hawaiian pidgin for anything or any kind.

Here they are!

Sienna, tan and white on black cotton/poly fabric

going into the drawstring pouch

closed up

tropical barkcloth 

2 sets made with vintage barkcloth from the early to mid 70's.

Mr. Gateway aka Crooked-ah (for his very crooked tail) pronounced with a japanese accent  croak -keed-aah.  He was given his alias name by my ex-mother-in-law who is originally from Kyoto, Japan.

Crooked-ah was very curious of my picture taking and followed me everywhere although he doesn't let us touch him and he doesn't like the rest of the cats.  My ex-sister-in-law has several on the property.

hanging on a macadamia nut tree next to spanish moss.
in the front yard

on cut Norfolk Pine logs
 I'm getting ready to cut another bag that I will be donating to the Conservation Council for Hawai'i.  They will be having their Annual Membership Meeting and silent auction on October 1st.  I can't decide between two fabrics to use.  With only a week before the event I need to choose the fabric soon.
The 2 choices are:

1) A vintage (late 60's - early 70's)  barkcloth which has very large orange and black bamboo motif on a white background.  I need to find a coordinating lining fabric for this one.

2) A modern barkcloth design with pink and white lehua leaves and flowers and tan colored palm leaves on a black background. I also need to find and coordinating lining.

 Which fabric do you think I'll pick?  Which one would you pick?  I'll let you know.

See you soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

a lovely bee skirt

As I was reading some of my fave blogs I came across a very cute and stylish bee skirt from Melody Miller from Ruby Star Rising.  She made a video. Check out her blog at

My skirts

The skirts that I made recently were not of the human kind.  But, that will change in the very near future because I just received a batch of vintage kimono obi fabric and some old mu'umu'u that were unsuitable to wear again.  I took the mu'umu'u apart to reuse the fabric.  So, I'm looking forward in creating something new from vintage 50-60's hawaiian fabric and vintage japanese obi fabric.

But my little lovelies are cute.  
from my 2009 Hawaiian Angel collection

Le Chic Angels

Miss Lehua
Well that's all I wanted to share with you for now.  But, I do have some exciting things to share with you soon.  Until then, a hui hou and malama pono (until we meet again and take care).


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fiery Skies

Just a quickie.  Dramatic skies above the islands.  I had to stop the car and take out my camera.  Enjoy!

I hope these photos brightened up your day.


Friday, September 9, 2011

New Mini Garden

Labor Day Weekend 2011

It actually started on Thursday prior to the Labor Day weekend with a trip to the Kobayashi home.  Mr. Kobayashi is a ceramicist and a mosaic artist.  He is also a avid gardener and incorporates his art into his home and gardens.

I have been thinking of the small area right outside my front door.  It is a barren wasteland.  I had a large bbq grill and a couple of rusted lawn chairs.  The grill now lives at my brother's and I tossed the lawn chairs.  A large root from a octopus trees runs through this patch of nothingness.  There are many octopus trees scattered on the hill above the house.
A tiny glimpse of the grill under the gray cover and the blue fabric of the rusted lawn chair in the background.

I've always wanted to landscape using black cinder because it reminds me of the lava fields on the Big Island of Hawai'i.  I guess it's an island thing, after all, the Hawaiian Islands are a string of volcanoes.  And I also I like the contrast of green against the black.

Up close hot of the black cinder pebbles and an old japanese glass fishing float

The PLAN - clean out the area, lay black cinder rocks (looks like lava rock) and replant herbs and lime trees in nice ceramic pots, pin keiki (hawaiian for child/baby) orchids and adhere air plants (tilandsia) onto old tree fern trunks and add some garden bling... and maybe a water vase with fish and a water plant.

I started the ground work on Friday.  Continued and finished the garden on Saturday.

my new mini garden

The only item that is missing from my list for the area is a water feature.  I've been on the lookout for a ceramic vessel in the same color scheme.  I want to fill it with water, add a single water plant and some guppy fish to control the mosquito population.  And maybe a few more plants.  Although I don't have magnificent artwork to showcase in my garden like Mr. Kobayashi,  I'm very happy with what I've done.

scented blooming orchid
chain orchid growing on a dead tree fern stump
I have two citrus fruit trees.  A Tahitian lime and a Persian lime tree.  Both in pots.  I decided to get lime trees because I use them often.  Eventually, I would like to get a calamondin, lemon and a blood orange tree.

baby tahitian lime fruit

a branch of mint with a lava stone decoration in the background

basil growing in a pot with a patch of thyme

close-up of a nest of thyme
Tillandsia (aka air plants) are one of my favorite plants to grow.  They have 2 plant attributes that I love, low maintenance and easy to grow.  I have several hanging tillandsia gardens, mounted on driftwood or by itself.
They have a primal look about them - I like that.  Primitive beauty.  
baby tillandsia growing on a dead tree fern log.

a single hanging tillandsia plant on a piece of driftwood
tall hanging garden

A hanging ball of tillandsia - A gift from Mr. Kobayashi

another tillandsia

tillandsia - beautiful curled leafs

Meanwhile, on the other side of the porch the other garden trembles in anticipation of a remodel.  

garden bling

native endemic hibsicus

different colored ti growing abundantly along the hillside

I was surprised to see a visitor the next morning.  Checking out the new potted garden with hungry anticipation.  

garden snail

I love walking down the path towards my cottage and turning the corner and seeing my new garden.  Truly beats that big grill and the lawn chairs that belong in the trash.  It's rewarding to accomplish a somewhat involved task.   Now I can relax and view the new garden from my chair on the clean porch (another task accomplished.)

Now, I'm headed back indoors to vacuum my carpets.  And back to sewing.  Until next time, happy gardening or doing the things that you love.