Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Shopping on Kauai

I just love visiting your blogs and seeing all the Christmas decorations where you live! So I thought you might like to see some from my corner of the world. I took these pictures when Clayton and I did a little Christmas shopping last week. Enjoy!

Ukuleles, gourds, and other hula implements decorate the above tree. Can you see them?

Below, Hawaiian quilt motifs are embedded in the garlands.

Below, the Hyatt hotel in Koloa has some elegant, understated decorations.

Not really a Winter Wonderland...but at least it's warm.

Below is the new Kukui'ula Shopping Center.

Do you have bananas in your Christmas garlands?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Forever Spring, Darn It

See this sock?

I'm mad at it. No....wait...I'm not mad at this sock specifically....I'm mad at its other half:

This is the sock that never ends. I've been half-heartedly trying to work on this sock now for four months. This is "Spring Forward," a free sock pattern I downloaded from Ravelry. I'm not sure why I'm not finishing it. Perhaps because I'm not fond of this Shibui yarn, or perhaps I don't like the length of the completed sock. Whatever it is, I am stuck, stuck, stuck, motivationally speaking, just past the heel of this sock.

But being stuck alone is not enough to make me mad at this sock. No. Something far worse has happened.

I'm a one-project-at-a-time woman. I've always figured that if I didn't love a project enough to work on it--if I had to go traipsing off onto another project just to get un-bored--that I should figure out what was wrong with the one that had stalled me and fix it. Make it exciting enough to work on again. Sort of like marriage, you know? You just can't go calling up Brad Pitt or Gerard Butler because you're sick of your own husband! Even if he does generate too much laundry or leave wadded-up paper towels on the kitchen counter every hour on the hour. Ahem.

But being promised to a duplicate of a project that barely entertained me the first time is agony! (Imagine having your husband's identical twin come to live with you on laundry day. He's also brought his spare roll of paper towels.)

So...for the first time in my knitting life...I'm thinking of being unfaithful. Why? Because Daniel Craig showed up my mailbox today:

Swoon. Mittens...Mostly Mittens (with a few adorable hats thrown it) by Charlotte Schurch. Charlotte has already stolen my heart with her fantastic sensational sock books; now she's tempting me with mouth-watering mittens!

I don't know if I can stand it. Temptation, thy name is Mitten #11.

Or maybe Mitten #20.

Nope. Mitten #24 has stolen my heart. Sorry, Spring Forward socks. It wasn't you; it was me. I tried, but I couldn't resist the call of Charlotte's beautiful mitten patterns. Her instructions and techniques are clear and concise, and her projects are divine. You couldn't help it, red socks; you were just plain red. Right now in my life, I need a rainbow:

Sigh. What will my friends and family say?

I know! I can distract them with this uber-adorable fez!! How could they be mad at me if I'm wearing this???

Monday, November 23, 2009

My FAVORITE Hawaiian Song EVER

I've been meaning to post this for a while now--my favorite Hawaiian song EVER. Truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of Hawaiian music, but this song gives me goosebumps every time. The song was written by a woman and the words have something to do with the beauty of ocean life. I was very happy to find an accompanying video on You Tube! I think the song and the video are very beautiful. Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Goodbye Ol' Girl

See this? This is not good. These are computer guts. Although I certainly marvel at the complexity of their anatomy and appreciate all they do, I can't say that I'm ever happy to see them.

I took a computer hardware class once. On the first day, the teacher handed us a screwdriver and told us to take one of his computers completely apart. I actually zipped through that day, de-gutting mine in record time, as unscrewing things is a lot like seam ripping. Believe me, I know my way around a seam ripper and I am FAST.

On the second day, he told us to put his computer back together. I guess I should have expected this, but I sincerely thought he was going to TEACH us something in between the taking apart and putting back together. He obviously was under the mistaken impression that I had paid attention when I had taken it apart, and somehow remembered where all those pieces went. Well, this was the part that wasn't a bit like seam ripping at all. When you rip out something, you don't care how it WAS (since it was wrong), you want to put it back differently, hopefully better than it was.

After several grueling hours, I did finish this nearly impossible task. And I do have to say that to my credit, mine looked a whole lot better inside than when I took it apart! All my wires were bundled neatly and my screws were aligned much more tidily. All the dusty parts got a good cleaning, and the ports got de-fuzzed. The CD drive had been a little bit crooked in its bay, but now it was held tight in perfect position, aligned at a perfect 90 degrees with the side seam of the processor.

Of course, the computer didn't work any more after that. The Grim Computer Reaper had appeared sometime during my trial and condemned my patient to the eternal ethernet with his mighty Blue Screen of Death. Not even the teacher could figure out what was wrong, which actually was a little bit comforting to me. Not because it may have been a mechanical problem beyond both our expertise...but because I had wreaked some sort of vengeance for his torture of me. I could only hope he spent as many anguished hours fixing it as I had un-fixing it.

So why this topic today? Well...I couldn't stand to talk about it before now, but my beloved computer's guts were a part of my post-vacation/real life re-entry process. The first time I turned my computer on after arriving home, she crashed spectacularly--with noise and lights and fizzle and pfffffts!, no less. I opened her up, and I saw the problem immediately: me. I love computers--but I'm more like a benvolent computer zookeeper than a computer neurosurgeon.

Courtesy of Costco, I now have a new HP PC with a 25" monitor!!! I love it. Windows 7, 750 GB hard drive, 8 GB RAM and a 2 Quad Processor!

Sorry ol' gutsy girl; we shared some great times, but I'm in love with my new hunky HP. Let's hope I never ever have to see what he's made of...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Nine Patch Mystery

I wish I'd taken more pictures of this little quilt before I donated it. I didn't like it very much at the time, but now that it's gone, I'm liking it much better!

I was inspired by a book I saw at Border's. A full-sized quilt that looked very much like this one was on the cover. I thought about the book for a couple of days, went back to purchase it, but it was gone. I didn't even get the author's name or the name of the book! So here is my attempt at reproducing her quilt from memory:

My apologies for not being able to give credit to the wonderful person who designed this quilt! I like the pattern; I think I just fell out of love with the quilt during the making because I'm not used to staring at these intense colors. My eyes needed a vacation before I could appreciate it again.

Does this quilt ring a bell with anyone? Remind you of any quilt books you have?

I'm in a crafting lull right now. I think it's Post-Wonderful Vacation Syndrome. You know how it go on vacation and it's really really great, then you come home and have to do this re-entry into your life. There are bills to pay, messages to answer, groceries to shop for, pattern orders to fill--it takes me at least three weeks to get back into some sort of routine. Unfortunately, I feel like my brain is moving too fast to sit down and quietly sew pieces of fabric together, or work string into doilies, or knit yarn into socks.

Oh...and part of the life re-entry is to get sick, too. You have to have the re-entry flu--you know the one you actually contracted at the first airport before you even got on the departing plane--but refused to get sick on vacation? Yeah, that one. Fortunately, I'm over that one, but now I'm onto the second illness--the cold I got from being so busy and not sleeping and eating right when I got home because I was too busy catching up and suffering from the first flu. Yeah, that one.

I think, all in all, vacation recovery time for me is about three months. But since Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are in that three month period...I'd say...oh...I should be feeling caught up and healthy around February? Yeah, February. Looking forward to it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's been quite stormy lately here on Kauai. This past Saturday, my friends braved the weather and came to my house for a day of sewing. We chatted through the heavy rain, thunder and lightning--even through the power outage we had during the storm. But alas, by early afternoon, there was talk of closing our road due to flooding, so my friends high-tailed it out of Kapaa and headed for their homes on the south and west sides of the island. This news report shows what happened on our street that day.

Our north and east shores got 14 inches of rain in 12 hours that day. The amazing thing? When my friends got home, they reported that the sun was shining where they live, probably only 10 to 15 miles away! The skies cleared by Monday, and today, we are enjoying sunshine as usual.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lightning Storm on its Way!

It's 9:52 on Thursday night and I'm just about to turn off my computer and enjoy our first lightning and thunderstorm of the season. See those little yellow and red dots between Kauai (second island on the left) and Oahu? On the radar loop, they're coming this way, bringing lots of light and noise.

Oh, how I LOVE thunder and lightning! So much much power! It's just thrilling to me. Of course, our electricity will go the first thing, so I better turn off my computer so I don't get any unwanted surges. Yay!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Slightly Better than No Post at All

Have you noticed that there is a dearth of bloggery in Blogdom lately? I think I'm noticing it because I'm missing some of you and your wonderful daily posts. Perhaps it's Facebook to blame...or Twitter...or just our busy lives catching up with us; I'm not sure.

But I can hardly complain, can I, as I myself have been responsible for a portion of the dearth! I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post. So I thought I'd better post

How about pictures of my pretty Rainbow Shower tree?

This was taken about a month ago. August and September are the months that these trees go off all over the island. They're gorgeous!

Look at all those blooms! And they aren't small blooms, either:

There is my hand on just one of the giant brachts. There are pink shower trees, yellow shower trees, and a mix of pink, peach and yellow like mine. I just love my tree. Now that it's fall, there are only a few blooms left.

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging much is this:

I'm learning to use my new machine. Here, I'm trying my first pantograph on a couple of baby donation quilts I made. All I have to do is follow that black line with the red laser light on the machine.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hee hee hoo hoo. Follow the line...whoo hoo! It SOUNDS easy, doesn't it? NOT!

Oh well, they didn't come out too badly when you don't look closely. These were my first two pantos--I've done six baby quilts now, and I think I'm getting better. I had to learn to slow down, believe it or not...I was trying to quilt too fast! The problem was that my old machine-on-a-stick went very fast and it trained me to go like a bat out of...well, you know...just to get my stitching even. My new Gammill has a stitch regulator, so I can go any speed I want and there will be even stitches. But my brain doesn't quite know that yet. The machine goes on and I feel like I'm a horse out of a starting gate. Zoom!

Well, if they ever give awards for speed quilting, bet on me. Accuracy? Not so much.

Not too bad, now that they're all bound and donated.

So that's what I've been working on lately. Pretty snore-y, huh?

My wonderful son had his birthday recently. Here is a really sweet picture of him and Mr. Bigglesworth, taken when he was home for the summer:

I can just tell by the way he treats his little cat brother that he's going to be a great father one day.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Feather Challenged

Remember these blocks? The ones you've been staring at on my neglected blog for over a month?
At long last, I bring you....closure. Or should I say "clothes"-ure?

The "Better than Laundry" quilt is done. Here it is on my bed:

I lost track of how many shirts, dresses and skirts I used to make this quilt. I even used a pair of men's pajamas! I had a ball.

While my son was home for summer, we watched the "Twin Peaks" series from Netflix. I think that's how this quilt ended up so "mountain-cabin-in-Snowhomish" looking. I certainly doesn't look like it belongs in Kauai, but that's okay. Change is fun.

The only fabric I purchased was for the black border. The rest of this quilt was made from my last-chance stash (destined for rag rugs) and old clothing.

I had fun with the quilting. Sunbursts, spirals, leaves, flames, feathers...yikes.

I'm okay with leaves and swirls, but feathers defeat me. This quilt is an oversized KING comforter (!), so I thought I would tackle feathers on the gigantic black border with black fine thread. I thought by the time I feathered FOUR large, wide borders, I'd be great at feathers!

Nope. I guess my next few quilts will have to stay plucked for now.

Can you see the feathers in the black border below? No? Good. about this...can you spot the fur in the next picture?

Mr. Bigglesworth inspects my latest. Oh...and as long as we're playing "I Spy"....did you spot my new quilt hanger?

It's quite big for a quilt hanger, yes?

Yep...I'm surprised, too. My husband bought me this for my 51st birthday. I told him that my friend Joe was selling his Gammill, and the next thing you know, the Gammill was parked in our living room. Well...not exactly "the next thing you know." It required six people and a twelve-foot trailer, plus lots of noises like, "oof" and "ow," not to mention some major bruises and back pain.

I'm floored. For as long as I can remember, I've dreamed about owning one of these machines. I can hardly believe it when I see it in my very own sewing room. Pinch me.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Better Than Laundry

I present here for your viewing's laundry.

There are several shirts and dresses in here, along with some pieces of fabric I dug out of my fabric recycle bin. My "fabric recycle bin" is where fabrics go that I haven't used in ten to twenty years--my fabric graveyard.

I had to soak a few of these pieces in Biz to get the yellow and mold spots out. I guess you could call some of these "zombie" fabrics since they arose from the dead...ha! (You can tell my son is home for the summer. I've watched more than a few zombie films since we put him in charge of the Netflix queue.)

Yep...just a big pile of laundry. But wait!

What is far, far better than folding laundry???

Making a quilt is far, far, far better than folding laundry!

This dress was always too short. Unflattering, too.

It looks so much better as a quilt, don't you think?

So far, I've incorporated six old shirts and two dresses, along with various fabric zombies to make it interesting. I'm having so much fun! This is, by far, my favorite kind of quilt.

Stay tuned. More blocks and sashing to follow....

Update: I'm still waiting for an appointment with a gastroenterologist, so I don't know anything much yet. (I stumped the G.P.) But my lab blood tests were incredibly excellent! So that's good news. Trouble is, we only have one gastroenterologist on the whole island, so I think there's a bit of a wait to see him. Meanwhile, I'm off grains, dairy, starchy vegetables, sugar, and chocolate. Yes, chocolate. If I eat chocolate, my eyes swell shut and I get big itchy lumps all over my head. It would be really quite funny if we weren't talking about CHOCOLATE...which happens to be my FAVORITE THING in the WHOLE WORLD. Sigh....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Quickie Post

May was spectacularly busy for my family and I. I hope June eases up a bit! It's been Crazyville.

I haven't had much time for crafting, but I did want to pop in and say hello.

I finished a scarf:

This is the "Spring Ripple Scarf," and it's crocheted with Noro Sock Yarn. Sure is colorful, eh? Springy. I'm not exactly sure if I'll ever wear it...actually...with those colors, I think it would wear me. But working on it was fun and it looks pretty hanging in my closet.

We picked up Grayson and Angela from the airport on May 9th, and it sure has been great having them around. One of the first things Angela said to me (I think we were still at the airport!) was that she wanted to learn how to knit.


That made me VERY happy, of course. So here she is with her first project, the "One Row Handspun Scarf." She's finished quite a bit more of it since this picture:

I think she likes knitting! Yay!

I had a day to do a little sewing:

I made four summer lightweight cotton elastic waist skirts. I absolutely lived in the two I made last summer, so I added to my summer collection. Easy as pie, washable, cool...they're great, even if they are a little dorky grandma farm-woman-looking. I love them.

These farm lady skirts will probably look great with my screaming Spring scarf, eh? And maybe some galoshes. Totally dig the crazy ol' lady look. People give you wide berth at the post office.

You haven't seen Mr. Bigglesworth lately, but he sends a big kitty hug:

He loves you all as much as I do.

I am really really really so very sorry that I have not answered hardly any email lately. Besides having visitors and deadlines, I'm having some health issues that I'm researching. No, I don't think it's serious, just sort of a puzzle. Giving up gluten, sugar and dairy seemed to solve many of my mysterious issues, but some remain. For instance, I suddenly seem to be allergic and/or intolerant to so many foods and substances! It's all so strange, because I've never been allergic to anything at all before now. So I've been reading every book and visiting every website I can in search of some answers. I'll hope I'll know more after my doctor visit next week. Wish me luck!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Kauai's 2009 North Shore Quilt & Fiber Show

Would you like to go to a quilt show with me? I hope you don't mind if my brain doesn't come along; it's still missing. (No, it hasn't even sent me a postcard. I'm getting worried...)

We're going to have to do some backward time travel....I hope you don't mind. This quilt show, the brainchild of quilter Jeni Hardy and the result of hard work of the No Nene Quilt Group, is just a couple years old, but growing every year. It was held this year on March 27th and 28th, 2009, at the Church of the Pacific in Princeville, Kauai.

I'm estimating there were approximately 90 quilts, which is a pretty great showing for our tiny island. This first quilt is by M. Lea Ingram, who never fails to blow me away with her talent:

"Hanalei Moon," M. Lea Ingram, 2008

This is the show as you walk in; the quilts filled a number of rooms in the small church:

Of course, I wish I could show you all the quilts. I'm so proud of our quilters here on Kauai.

These Hawaiian quilts were a special display. These are the work of Pua Miriam Kaona.

Her family graciously lent these quilts to the show. Amazing. All hand-appliqued and quilted. Gee...and I whine when I have to sew block rows together....

I wish I had a long shot of this next quilt by Eileen Sanders. This is the farthest away I could get from the quilt because frankly, I am so in awe of her hand quilting skills that couldn't back away. I was hypnotized by her tiny, perfect, regular stitches:

"Baskets" by Elieen Sanders, 2009, voted Best in Show 2009

Eileen is a stab-stitcher. She makes those stitches ONE AT A TIME. One year at Quilt Hawaii, Eileen's work was almost dismissed by the judges in the hand-quilting category because the judges initially thought her quilt was machine quilted--it's that perfect.

Can you imagine? Stab stitching all these stitches one stitch at a time??? Mind boggling. And Eileen is a prolific quilter! She turns out one of these huge hand appliqued, hand pieced, hand quilted quilts about one every two months or so.

I am humbled by her awesomeness.

This quilt is pretty humbling, too:

"Iz" by Paula Jimenez, 2002

This quilt is a picture of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, a beloved singer here in Hawaii, now deceased. He's sitting under a mango tree, strumming his ukulele. This quilt took Paula five years to complete. The quilt includes many native Kauaian birds. It's spectacular. The quilt is large...possibly queen size?...not that you'd ever put in on a bed. That's just to give you a size idea.

I love this colorful strippy quilt:

"Rainbow Quilt," Jeni Hardy, 2009

I loved this next quilt, but I cannot find the maker's name in the program! No Nene' I'll edit the maker's name in later. But I just had to show it to you't it great? Look at those colors!!

"Unknown," by Unknown, Unknown Year. Anyone??

There were demos, too:

And this cute Hawaiian shirt quilt by Happy Parks, who comes up with the greatest ideas! I wish I could take a tour of her brain:

"Reyn Spooner Family Quilt," by Happy Parks

This quilt was made from a collection of Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirts that belonged to her son, husband, father, and brother-in-law.

She used the collar, plaquet, and pocket of 12 shirts, then used the rest for the sashing. Isn't this clever?

Happy made one of my "Keiki Hula" patterns once and set it in such an imaginative way that I had to ask her if I could copy it. I love her work.

Back at the home front, I am busy being a mom again. All's right with the world.

I guess having a brain is overrated.

I am content.

Oh! and P.S. Be sure to look for me in the latest Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. I haven't seen the "Meeting Place" article yet, but thanks for your nice comments about it! I always worry about how I'm going to come off in an interview...I can be a little irreverent, you know. I hope it's okay...