30 Oct

Local Food

I’m afraid my blog has turned into exactly one of those blogs “real” bloggers complain about (just like some parts of America are apparently more “real” than others). So, sorry about all the “my kids are so cute,” “this is what I had for lunch today,” and “look at my fabulous shoes” posts. The upside of all the mundane-ity around here is that I am sitting on the couch a lot, hand quilting. Today, I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and he was in Hawaii. It reminded me that I had yet to share one of the typical local foods here.

And this big ole display of Spam at the regular grocery store near us has nothing on the entire canned meat aisle at the Asian market by the laundromat. Spam was a wartime food, and since Hawaii was a war zone in WWII, the locals ate what the soldiers ate. Apparently it stuck and Hawaiians eat four million cans of Spam a year.

I jumped right in and tried a Spam Musubi (essentially Spam sushi) at the family festival we went to. Actually, it’s pretty good. Robin told me that she sometimes slips these in her kids’ lunch boxes. I wish my kids would let me do that too, because they’re pretty easy to make and a nice change from PB&J.

Saimin is another local food. It’s like fat ramen noodles and comes with a variety of toppings. In addition to the classic variety with that crazy pink fish cake, I’ve also had a bowl with fried pork, teriaki beef and wontons. I have yet to try Saimin with Spam, but here it is on a menu. I’ve heard that garlic Spam is the best.

In case this asian influence is too foreign, even the chains have gotten on the Spam train. Check out this ad in our local paper:

Note that it comes with rice, not hash browns. I meant to get a photo of a similar plate from local restaurant Zippy’s, but we don’t get out much (remember — mundane). If Spam and eggs doesn’t excite you, maybe the Spam croissanwich I saw on TV will:

There’s lots of other local food too — a fusion of food plantation workers brought with them from around the world and adapted to local ingredients.

On my list to try is Poké, but since it’s raw fish, kind of like the bastard child of sashimi and ceviche, I’m the only one one in the family that would be remotely willing to eat it.

I see lots of Lau lau too, but fatty pork and fish steamed in a leaf doesn’t appeal to me.

29 Oct

Princess and Pin-Up

The Garden Princess Halloween costume is done — with three days to spare!

And even though we’re no closer to feeling like Fall here in Hawai’i, at least I no longer have to figure out how to incorporate jackets into the kids’ costumes.


Now that we have TV, I’ve been watching What Not To Wear. That’s where I got the idea for the scoop neck shirt. I also saw some really cute shoes and set about to find them. It took a few weeks, but I found something close and darn cute in my opinion. The day they arrived, the exact shoes showed up on a new episode. I feel so dressed.

22 Oct

Living With Art

No, not my husband, my artwork. This could be seen as a follow-up, or serial post to the one with my “Quiltstadt” at home at my MIL’s house.

Village Series #1, 2007

It’s been difficult to find places to hang artwork in our house. There are a lot of windows and everything is very sunny. It’s great for living, but not so wonderful for art. We also have many favorite photos, prints and paintings competing for space with my quilts.

I like this little surprise walking down the stairs though. Not only is it a good size for the space, but it plays nicely with the artwork on the way up the stairs.

“Crenshaw” mixed media by Rachel Ann Austin, “Village” by Tatjana Novakovic, German Railroads Information Office, NY poster by Ludwig Holwein.

21 Oct

A New Dragon

Wanna know what I’ve been doing evenings in front of the TV? I’ve been making a dragon for my son. Not content with the Pokemon inspired creation we made last summer, he wanted a more traditional creature.

I didn’t want to start from scratch again and found this pattern by Pro-Baer at Kreativ Welt in Wiesbaden last November. It has taken me this long to get around to making it.

Once done, I realized it was somewhat similar to a dragon belonging to my daughter (that I definitely did not make).

This dragon is completely sewn by hand, with jointed limbs and head, and wings that I added by special request. Very fiddly, slow work, but totally worth it.

Of course, one reason it took two weeks to make could be because we’ve been doing things like going to Pali Lookout (on a rainy day — not the smartest choice; we’ll be trying this again another day), to an ice skating birthday party, and up Tantalus road to Puu Ualakaa State Park (Hubby has pretty pictures here). Yeah, it’s rough living in Hawaii.

18 Oct

It IS October!

There were pumpkins at the Commissary today. They reminded us of some cute little ghoulies in an old Halloween issue of Martha Stewart Kids we had perused for my son’s monster birthday cupcakes. Once home and dressing up pumpkins, my daughter encouraged me to get out our paper bats from a party one or two years ago. And in the blink of an eye, it’s actually kinda Halloween-y around here.

Of course, I’m still sewing up warm weather clothes. The fabric for the last top (Simplicity 7399 for anyone wondering) was supposed to go with a yellow and brown skirt I bought (and didn’t bring fabric shopping). No matter, it’s soft drape was perfect for it’s final incarnation. I tried again for a blouse to go with the skirt, pulling out McCall’s 8722 which has been in my pattern box since the 80s.

I remember being very happy with the blouse when I first made it 20-odd years ago, but it didn’t occur to me that maybe I should make the collar a tad bit smaller until it was too late. Please tell me big collars are coming back in style! (I also see I need to adjust the placement of a button or two, but that I CAN do.)

17 Oct

The After

Remember the before?

Here’s my studio “after:”

I’m not calling it done, but it has plateaued to the point where it is functional and I’ve been spending my mornings there. The table is a new addition since our belongings that were in storage arrived. It’s a vintage Saarinen table that belonged to my parents and even though I’ve parted with nearly all of my college and graphic designer reference, inspiration, and tools, have purged my collection of California pottery, and I plan to garage sale a good deal of furniture and stuff that doesn’t work in this house, I just can’t part with this table. It’s too short for lots of cutting but I don’t care — it’s bigger than the even shorter dresser I was cutting on before the storage stuff arrived. Margaret of Resurrection Fern found my table’s daughter and made magic with it. Too bad Canada and Hawaii are an ocean apart because I’m tempted to try and convince her that the mushroom stool really belongs at my house!

Opposite the sewing and cutting side of the room is this side. I had set up the dresser as my cutting area, but when I couldn’t find any studs in the wall on which to hang the box of drawers, I moved them here (where they are working just fine) and brought in the pedestal table to cut on. The green paper collage is my son’s work. The rest of the wall is pretty much filled with my collection of mushroomy fun.

The wall between these two is mostly one long window and will eventually have some sort of sleeping arrangement in front of it. Whether that’s the white sleeper sofa currently downstairs, or a new fold-out foam thing has yet to be determined. The fourth wall is the closet with it’s mirrored sliding doors. They may be covered with a batting “curtain” for a design wall, but as long as I’m making garments and small stuff I’m not going to worry about that yet.