20 Nov

JDRF Fun Day

Last week my kids and I participated in a Fun Day to benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. In previous years we’ve joined the official Honolulu Walk at Kapiolani Park. This year, our fearless Team Taylor Kickin’ Diabetes leader organized a Fun Day for family and friends at our local Community Center.

We kicked off the day with a fun jump rope demonstration,

and then walked around our park.

Since a big part of the group was the Oahu Taekwondo family, a group of kids working towards their Black Belts had to run two miles, timed, as part of their qualification.

Oh, these aren’t the blackbelts — they’re a group of guys that like to dress up for charity events. For those not in the know, on this day they were soldiers from the video game Halo.

Afterward, we ate a yummy lunch (with adorable logo cupcakes) and were entertained by guitarist, Kamuela, and then a family band who dusted off some oldies.

All in all it was a great day, and raised a good amount of money for the cause. Even from our back row seats, it’s obvious that life with Type 1 Diabetes is not easy for Taylor, or her family. Lots of missed days at school, visits to the hospital, and a restricted diet — not to mention all the needles! The insulin pump is a great help, but even more can be done and JDRF is leading the way. Thank you Team TKD!

Fabric Postcards

And THANK YOU to my friends and family who donated. As promised, these fabric postcards are on their way right now. (Kim, you might recognize an abandoned project in these!)

12 Oct

Let’s Kick Juvenile Diabetes!

For the last two years our family has joined our friend and neighbor’s fundraising team in the annual JDRF walk to raise money to help find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes. Our friend Taylor is an energetic, adorable, 11 year old, who was diagnosed about 3 years ago with Type 1 Diabetes. That’s not the one where your insulin system gets out of whack because of poor diet or other outside influences; Type 1 is a disorder of the body’s immune system and the body basically stops making insulin. Although it seems everything in her routine has changed, Taylor and her family work hard every day to allow her to have the most normal life possible. Advances in medicine like the insulin pump make Taylor’s (and many other kids with juvenile diabetes’) lives easier. Hopefully, with the help of organizations like the Juvenile Diabetes research Foundation (JDRF) even more breakthroughs can be made and eventually a cure can be found.

This year, we are doing something a little different.  Team Taylor Kickin’ Diabetes (TKD) will have our own Fun Day on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at the Royal Kunia Community Center.  This is a private event for our team.  All monies raised will benefit JDRF. The total event goal is to raise $20,000.

Team Taylor Kicking Diabetes and I would love any little bit of support. Like previous years, to sweeten the deal, I’ll send a fabric postcard to anyone who makes a donation via my page. Last year it was rooted houses. I’m not sure what I’ll make this year. I’m feeling a bit floral though…

Kristin’s JDRF Fundraising Page

Many thanks, or, as they say here in Hawaii, Mahalo nui loa!

28 Aug

Honolulu Walking Tour

As part of my mission to show our exchange student as much of Hawai’i (or at least Oahu) as possible, I took the gang on a self-guided walking tour of Honolulu today. By doing it on a Sunday, we saved on parking, avoided crowds, and didn’t have the opportunity (much to my kids’ delight) to go into any of the museums for tours.

Armed with an informative printout from Frommer’s, we started at St. Andrew’s Church.

Honolulu Walking Tour

The kids needed a bathroom so I asked the first people we saw — who just happened to be the bell ringers. They encouraged us to join them in the bell ringing (practice is Tuesday nights, no need to be a member of the church) and gave us great tips on how and where to add to our tour. Definitely filled with Aloha spirit.

Honolulu Walking Tour

The next stop was Washington Place, the home of John Dominis husband to Queen Liliuokalani, who lived there after her imprisonment at Iolani Palace (from reading the book The Betrayal of Queen Liliuokalani, I gathered that she didn’t like living at Washington Place prior as John Dominis’ mother also lived there and he was a total mama’s boy).

Honolulu Walking Tour

My son suggested that Father Damien was a “Cuban” (get it — “cube?”). Despite being afflicted by the teen years, he can be pretty funny sometimes.

Honolulu Walking Tour

Behind Father Damien is the Hawai’i State Capitol. By reading the guide, we learned that the Senate and House rooms are cone shaped like volcanos, and that the columns represent palm trees.

Honolulu Walking Tour

In contrast to the 1960s Capitol Building stands Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the US. According to the Frommer’s guide, there’s actually two — the second being the Royals’ summer home in Kona on the Big Island. No tour today, but definitely worth returning to (sans smaller kids).

Honolulu Walking Tour

And on the palace grounds stands the lovely Bandstand built for King Kalakaua’s Coronation.

Honolulu Walking Tour

Across the street is the main reason for our tour — Aliiolani Hale (the State Judiciary Building), AKA Hawai’i 5-O Headquarters. J and I watch Hawai’i 5-O together as do her parents back in Germany. We love picking out locations where we’ve been, and they love recognizing some of the place names their daughter has talked about.

Honolulu Walking Tour

Not on the tour, but a must-see next door for us, is the Honolulu Post Office. I’m quite certain that these are the arches under which McGarret and Danno meet with lawyers and banter with each other while underway to the police station or other important business. I’ve confirmed via Hawaii Five-0 Undercover that the Court House is indeed the Post Office in real life, and should add that the Territorial Office Building should be part the walking tour as it stands in for HPD in the show.

Honolulu Walking Tour

Back to the tour, we stopped at Kawaiahao Church — Hawai’i’s oldest.

Honolulu Walking Tour

Then we continued on to Mission Houses Museum. The home of the first missionaries, this group of buildings is a little patch of New England in the center of a tropical metropolis.

Honolulu Walking Tour

Heading back to our car, we passed Honolulu Hale, or City Hall.

Honolulu Walking Tour

And finally, we passed the State Library. I’ve never been inside, but now I’m tempted.

Now we’re home, tired from the heat, but happy to have had a taste of Honolulu and it’s history.

15 Aug

Jump In, The Water’s Fine!

The kids are back in school, but we’ve got an addition to our family, a lovely exchange student from Germany, and so we need to make the most of our weekends, sharing the wonders of Hawai’i with her.

So far, we’ve been boogie boarding at Bellows beach and shopping for school clothes at various malls, where we also introduced her to the deliciousness that is a fresh banana lumpia. On Saturday, we set out to go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, but the parking lot was full, so we opted to bide our time at Ka Iwi Inlet. This is the same area as Pele’s Chair, the Makapu’u Lighthouse hike my kids hate, and the coastal nature walk we took. This time we joined the locals and jumped in the water. I particularly enjoyed watching the guy spear fishing nearby. Later we did return to Hanauma Bay and saw plenty of fish, but visibility at this time of year wasn’t as great as we’ve experienced before — so we’ll just have to go back!

Sunday we met up with Deborah’s family who are visiting Oahu, and went on a super hike to Maunawili Falls. Yes, I was just in NY with Deborah! Anyway, my kids and I had not been on this hike in several years and it’s such a good one — just challenging enough, and with a waterfall and swimming hole as payoff at the end.

I enjoyed the company, and our exchange student proclaimed it the most wonderful hike she’s ever been on.

16 Jul

Farmer’s Market

We went to the KCC Farmer’s market today. I love the idea of farmer’s markets, but don’t seem to get out to them much.

The crowds don’t help. I was on a mission though and filled my bag with all the goodies that I can’t get at our nearby grocery (which does, by the way, carry much the same local produce!). I bribed the kids with ginger lemonade, and we came home with a bottle of syrup to make our own too — yum!

I also bribed them with Ono pops. Click on the photo to see all the delicious flavors. Today’s special flavor was chocolate covered strawberry. The guys said they made it for Valentine’s Day and then made more this week for the wedding of one of the founders.

We think they should make them all the time!

09 Jul

Art Spree

I love free activities for the family. Military appreciation day at the zoo, at the aquarium (OK, that one had too long of lines, but it got my son and I back another day when we really did enjoy the experience), Prince Lot Hula Festival, Family Sunday at the Honolulu Academy of the Arts, and today — Art Spree at the Contemporary Museum.

Art Spree at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

I had never been to the museum before, but now I must go back. It is in a lovely residential setting overlooking Honolulu. They had very efficient shuttles from Punahou School (wow, is that a big and beautiful campus!), and it was well organized with plenty of activities and options.

First, we went to the manga printmaking tent. OK, not so Manga unless you already knew how to draw that style, but it was very cool to pull mono prints from the comic-cell shaped plates.

Art Spree at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

Then we helped an artist fill out her armature to make larger than life figures on the lawn.

Art Spree at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

My kids were deemed experts at the weaving tent, and I joined in the group project weaving fabric into a large fish net.

Art Spree at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

After lunch the kids wanted nothing more than to play hide and seek in the museum’s lush garden. One could get lost in the vegetation and winding paths.

Art Spree at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

My daughter wanted to play with clay…

Art Spree at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

…and while she did that, the other two kids and I watched performance street art.

Art Spree at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

This guy, who’s name I didn’t catch, spun records, painted his substrate, and danced on it.

Art Spree at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

It captivated even my usually nonplussed son.

Art Spree at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

A dance troupe caught our attention before we left, so we watched them for a while before heading home.

Art Spree at the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu

Thank you Contemporary Museum for a lovely day out.

03 Jul

Visiting Quilt Hawai’i 2011

Last year I attended Quilt Hawai’i on the Big Island and became a certified Threadologist. I’m not a big class-taker, so this year I did not attend. But, I went Saturday to see the small exhibit of quilts and to check out the vendors.

There were a few quilts from local makers and artists (I never quite got my act together to send something, and I suspect many others had the same problem). I took a few pictures with my phone for the sake of conversation; please forgive their poor quality.

This first one was my son’s favorite. I like that the figure is well drawn (poorly drawn figures are a pet peeve of mine), the quilting is done skillfully, and I’m intrigued by the series (people texting at the mall). But I’m not wild about the way the dense quilting distorts the fabric and I’m not really sure why it’s a quilt and not a big sketch. I think that’s just my own personal preference though, and not a reflection on the quiltmaker.

“Texting at the Food Court” by Kathleen Kastles

The Japanese quilters have embraced Hawaiian quilting. I love how they are not hampered by tradition either. They use fabrics and play with designs in ways traditional Hawaiian quilters wouldn’t dare. It seems to be popular amongst many Japanese quiltmakers to use radially dyed fabrics. I think Meg Maeda is the frontrunner of this. Here’s some better photos of Meg’s work. I’ve been crushing on this fabric since first seeing Meg’s and her students’ work at last year’s Quilt Hawaii, so I enjoyed seeing more quilts made with it this year.

“Tropical Paradise” by Keiko Tsuneyama

This one is by Meg Maeda. I like the muted tertiary colors. No radial fabric for sale at her vendor table though.

“Wind and Lights of North Shore” by Meg Maeda

Another trend (or perhaps just a something a particular group has been working on recently) is using fabric that’s been “sun Printed” with foliage that may relate to the overall Hawaiian design. I was drawn to the colors of this one and the unusual shadow detail, but the painted fabric adds an interesting bit of visual texture.

“Golden Beehive Ginger” by Harumi Kanayama

This one may also have sun painted fabric, but I liked the unusual design of whales and voyaging canoes. Overall, these quilts had beautiful, precise, hand quilting that I just love. I don;t do much of it myself, but I definitely appreciate it when others do a fine job of their stitching.

“Great Navigation” by Mayumi Kakunaka

In the end though, my favorite wasn’t a strictly Hawaiian quilt, but this one with glowing fireflies. There was a little bit of everything for me here: hawaiian style foliage, random fireflies, delicate embroidery on the flowers, unexpected quilting pattern, and skillful execution. This is the one that spoke most to me.

“HoTaRu in Moonlight” by Miyuki Humphries

While at the show, I also had a chance (much to my son’s chagrin) to schmooze a bit with some friends and vendors, to include Karen from Quilt Passions on the Big Island. We’ve been talking for a while now about me going over there to teach or something but I’ve been overcome by life and flakiness. It may finally happen next February though! And, Karen loves the Twelve by Twelve book and would like to carry it in the store. My fingers are crossed that she’s got a supplier that can get it.

The day before going to the show I took part in a show-and-tell at Kuni Island Fabrics with a group of quilters from Japan who are here for Quilt Hawaii. I represented art quilters. Also in attendance was Carol Kamaile who is a Hawaiian quilting rock star in my opinion. Every time I see her work, I have the urge to make my own Hawaiian quilt (there are ideas and sketches). After the four locals showed our work, our Japanese guests showed some of theirs. To my delight, they had some lovely little pouches and bags that I love from the Japanese craft magazines. After we oohed and ahhed over their work and pictures in magazines that they’d been published in, they gave us each a collection of fabric and a magazine! I thought maybe I was over my crafting Japanese phase, but now I think it may just have been in hibernation. That maori-inspired purse is looking good to me, and I may have found some radial dyed fabric too.

29 Jun

My Next Career

Check out this gorgeous dress!

No, that’s not me with an awesome tan, that’s our friend Malia (stage name) who my daughter and I used to take hula lessons from. She is providing the entertainment at her brother’s graduation party and needed a new dress to dance in. Since I sew, she asked if I could make this for her.

It still needs a hem and some minor adjustments, but it turned out so beautiful I had to share. The funniest thing is that, whereas I would test a dress by approximating the hight of heels I might wear with it, or whether or not I could sit in it, Malia tests a dress by how well she can sway side to side, or crouch low and point her feet out in a “hela uehe” movement. This dress (McCalls 5100 — sadly out of print) does all that and more. Malia is convinced that her aunties and friends will love the dress so much that they will all come clamoring to me for their own dresses!

So, if the art quilting thing doesn’t work out for me, perhaps I could make custom hula dresses.

P.S. Here’s two photos from last year of Malia at her “day job” dancing at Germaine’s Luau:

Germaine's Luau

Germaine's Luau

P.P.S. I ordered yarn….