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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New home for my threads

Lookie, lookie what I did.
I found these boxes at a specialty food store which also sell wines and cigars.  I think they are pretty and beats the plastic containers where they originally lived.  At the bargain basement price of $2 each I bought 5 of them.  (I already had 2 boxes that I picked up a while ago which houses my beaded trims.)  My thread now live a tangle free life.  Now, if I could devise a cute and clever way to label or make a distinction of the contents of each cigar box without marring it too much, that would be grand.

The old thread house

And the new thread boxes

Even the elastic threads have a new home

stacked thread homes
It's hard living in a 375 square feet dwelling that also houses a studio.  Keeping it clean and orderly is an all consuming task.  Especially living in a bug infested, damp ridden forested area at the foot of a mountain range. These cigar boxes help keep the threads from tangling, bugs don't care for the smell and the boxes are compact in size.  I just keep pulling out the wrong cigar box when I need a certain color or size.  But, I really like the look of the boxes.
Now, if I can only keep all of my fabric and notions in order I'll be really happy.

The next project - lighting, another bookshelf and purging of unwanted stuff that has invaded the studio area.  Oh! and the garden.  And always, thinking up new designs to pattern and sew.  


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal

Just a short little post of a nice, but slightly overcast day out at China Walls at Portlock, O'ahu, HI.  

A flowering dracena plant

Paraglider over the bay

View from above the pathway

interesting flowering plant 

"da wall"

"something is out there!"

"Aw, it's a monk seal!"


long body

Gliding effortlessly through the rough ocean and high waves it's a, um, a big black blob.  No, it's a Hawaiian Endangered Monk Seal.  'Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua in Hawaiian which translates into dog that runs in the rough seas.  The seal didn't mind the swimmers and surfers that swam nearby.  I could hardly keep up snapping pictures of the fast swimmer.  I was thrilled to witness a threatened and endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal in the wild.  That was and is a very rare occurrence. Happy, Happy, Happy!!!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cancelled get together presents great opportunities

Aptly nicknamed 'Octopus tree' grows behind my studio bungalow.  The little ripe fruit are a beautiful pink, fuschia and dark fuschia in color.  Beautiful tree but an evasive one, so this tree will be cut down in the near future.

It rained on Saturday which provided numerous waterfalls in the valleys behind the property such as this beauty
As you can tell by the title, my little get together with my girlfriend for our combo birthday bash was cancelled and rescheduled for this Wednesday evening.
Since I had some time on my hands I decided to create another dress.  Currently in the re-love, recycle and creative mood I was in it for the challenge.  As you remember, in the last post I highlighted a colorful vintage hawaiian print on a black background that I made into a halter dress.  I was thinking (dangerous) that her favorite color is blue.  So I went rummaging through my stash with little luck in securing enough blue fabric.  Then reading an article in one of the Stampington publications I was inspired by a women who re-worked wool jackets and fashioned them into beautiful handbags and totes.  Voila!  Inspiration ensued.  I remember that I had a stash of unfinished tote bags partially sewn and lined in a dark blue kapa design hawaiian printed bark cloth from the 70's.  So, I just reversed the technique from the article.  Instead of making a handbag from a piece of clothing, I took a unfinished tote bag and incorporate it into part of a dress.
The 3 remnants
It was just wide enough for me to cut a halter (another halter, yes, I know) dress bodice using the handle part of the tote bag as top of the halter where the ties go through.  The tie was made of a small piece of blue striped remnant of a thin polyester fabric from another "age old" project, and the skirt and bodice lining was a give away fabric (at Christmas) that I received when I worked at a fashion house in the mid 90's.  I also made a matching fabric flower pin from the 3 fabrics to jazz it up a little.

Take a sneak peak at my "Vintage, Re-loved Blue Hawaiian Halter Dress"

You can see where I ripped out the lining of the tote bag at the top of the stash

The finished piece

Tea length

The halter bodice and pin

close up of fabric and bauble pin
 So, what do you think?  I was pondering the thought of letting her choose which one she wanted, but Mom said to give her both.  So, I think I'll give both of them to her.

Additionally, here are some things that have given me inspiration lately, whether it be color, texture or scent.  I see it's beauty.

fresh red and golden beets ready for the steamer.  They have a wonderful vibrant color.

After I steamed and peeled the beets, I cubed them and put them into separate containers.  I topped them over a bed of chopped romaine lettuce, corn, cubed tomatoes and cucumbers, finely chopped cilantro and a sprinkling of black beans.  I then made a salad dressing out of lite Ranch dressing and slowly mixing in balsamic vinegar to taste.  I prefer my dressing a little on the tart side, so I add a lot of the vinegar.  Add a slice of good baguette or a piece of roasted chicken or other sides that you prefer.  Yum!

flowers in a 2 baskets
I love flowers.  In Hawai'i flowers are everywhere.  It's a riot of color.  And scents.  They bloom, rain or shine.

pink fragrant plumerias outside my Mom's dining room window
Hawai'i is the most isolated spot on the planet.  We are (state of Hawai'i)  made up of island that are tiny dots in the middle of the pacific ocean separated in every direction by thousands of miles of ocean from everybody else.   Which brings us unique natural wonders and beauty that fosters endless creativity.

A favorite spot to relax and recharge, gather inspiration, soak in, smell the salty ocean air and  to thank God that I live in the most beautiful place on earth.

After Wednesday I'll post a update on my birthday get together with my friend.  Remember, It's a surprise (sorta) so keep it under wraps.  Although, I did ask her for her dress size recently, she'll still be surprised.  And I promise the next project will NOT be a halter dress.  I'll let you know, until then, happy inspirations and creative endeavors.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

It's my birthday weekend!

Just a short post.  
My birthday was this past friday on the 12th.  Lately, I've been dreaming of going to the beach to swim.  That is exactly what I did for my birthday.  My brother and I went to one of our favorite beaches located in Lai'e, O'ahu called Baby Ponders Beach or the old CYO camp beach.  It was a nice sunny day.  A few birds circled me while I was swimming and a school of baby fish visited me twice.  All in all, I had a great day at the beach.

Dreaming of swimming in the ocean.  Evidenced by my doodling.

Finally got my wish on my birthday

Baby Ponders aka CYO beach in Lai'e, O'ahu

A good spot to park the party

Ah!  my spot of paradise

Neptune's garden at my feet

weird decapitated tree!  Neptune's seat, perhaps?

view towards North Shore

Sandman's poop!

Daddy Sandman?

Pohuehue (Hawaiian morning glory)

Pohuehue field

3 little birds that kept flying around me while I was swimming

Tide came in during the late afternoon hours.  Time to pack up the party!

I think that I will make this an annual event.  Maybe a few more party goers.  Or maybe a different beach.  Maybe you can join me next year!  That'll be a blast.

Love and Aloha,

My friend's birthday is the 14th

As you read in my previous post, my birthday was on August 12th.  Well, my friend who I've known the longest, her birthday is August 14th.  We're born on the same year (that remains private info) and I'm always 2 days older than she.
For her present this year I decided to sew a dress for her using a vintage hawaiian fabric popular in the late 50's and early 60's.  A drawstring top type sundress.  I chose to use a commercial pattern instead of drafting - how difficult is that.  Well, as it turned out, this commercial pattern wasn't completely trued and I was frustrated at different points of my sewing.  However, I managed to finish the dress in 3 hours, not quite the 1 hour that it claimed.  Funny thing is, a friend of mine said recently that she used a commercial pattern and some of the seams and buttonholes/button placements didn't match up.  Now, I experienced almost the same thing.  Also, the fabrics from that time period seems to have a larger weave and not as tightly woven.  Lot's of fraying and shifting.  But I got it done.  Here's a few photographs to share with you.
A really old roll of rayon bias that I used for the drawstring

An up-close shot

A blurry full shot of the dress (it was windy)

I don't know why I started doing sideways labeling, but now it's my trademark

strewn on the picnic table

I saw this laua'e fern growing along the moss in the cement tile wall

crooked red ginger flower

pink and red impatients

I hope my friend reads this post after I give her birthday present to her.  We're meeting up Sunday the 21st.
Think she will enjoy wearing this dress and will look cute with a denim jacket or vest.  What do you think?
I'll let you know!

Love and Aloha,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A fresh new start.

This is a brand new blog I started that eventually will link with my new business website featuring my  fashion, accessory & home fashion designs.  My business is called Lei Jolie.

using microsoft paint to doodle

I'm so excited that I'm finally starting an actual business.  It has been years in the making.  Some years I've just flittered and floundered, and other years I've been prolific in designing and being creative.  I just needed to find my way in the exciting world of creativity.  I'm also a bit apprehensive, starting a business is a little like gambling - taking a chance.  But here's the deal... if you don't step out and take a leap of faith, for certain your dreams and goals won't materialize,  there will always be a little nugget of thought "I wonder if it could have happened."  So here I am, starting on this brand new venture, for better or for worse,  with scissors and needle in hand.

native flower

With this blog I want to share what makes me tick.  Show you my inspirations.  Examine colors and textures.  Things that make me silently shout "WOW"!  Hopefully, these things will be reflected in the joy that I have in creating dresses, dolls, jewelry, pillows, etc.  My pretty things.
kanzashi hairpick

Lei Jolie - fashion that you were born to wear and to love.

Kolea - Hawaii's migratory Plover

That's all for now.  Tootle Loo! 

Love and Aloha,