27 Jan


I finished another one! This one started as one idea about four years ago, got abandoned, and then came back to life last year in this form:


Hale’aina (ha-lay aye-nah) is hawaiian. Hale means house and aina means “of the land.” In the old days, the hale’aina was the house where the women ate. Today, it usually refers to a restaurant. But as most hawaiian language also contains a “secret” meaning, it could be interpreted as “the house that nourishes.” Hale’aina also happens to be the name of the street we live on.

Women, home, nourishment, where we live — how could I not do something inspired by this? I already had the houses (appliqued to a duvet cover — more comforts of home) with collaged floral roots, so I decided to just take it further. I added food themed fabrics, and once I found one with a spam musubi the whole thing shifted into whimsical and allowed me to add other things like a pizza button, a pumpkin bead, two flounder, and a cocktail olive. It’s a house chock full of food, love, hope, fun, and dreams.

On the technical, or construction side, this is all about the contrast between the plain corduroy areas and the richly embellished house and roots area. I had fun laying it on. Every time I thought I could stop, I found another place to add something. This one is very rewarding up close, and I dare anyone not to be tempted to touch it.

The quilt is 25″x37.” Hale’aina is the working title. I’m going to ask a hawaiian speaking acquaintance if it calls for something more poetic. It’s obviously not a hawaiian quilt, so maybe I’m pushing the boundaries already, but that’s at least where the inspiration came from.

26 Jan

Roots to Grow, Wings to Fly

I think it’s done.

Rooots to growsm

“Roots to Grow, Wings to Fly” 2009 by Kristin La Flamme 22″x40″

I actually finished the stitching in November or December, but it’s taken me this long to get stretcher bars to mount it on and get a feel for the finished piece. I hung it on the wall to let it sink in, and it’s still there — which I take as a good sign since the last thing I hung up I took down the next day.

This one’s been a long time in the making. I first heard the saying “Wenn die Kinder klein sind, gib ihnen Wurzeln, wenn Sie gross sind, gib ihnen Flügel” when my daughter entered German kindergarten. It resonated with me. I later remembered it when I started adding roots to houses in my work. It translates to “When the children are young, give them roots; when they are older give them wings.” Somehow in my brain it tied in with my dream of a home with roots. The house may not exactly represent the children, but for them to have those roots, I think they need to have a home. And, what grown child hasn’t taken some piece of home with them when they’ve flown the coop?

The dishtowel that is the ground for this is one I’ve had for many years, having first bought it at a flea market thinking I’d use it in my kitchen. I later decided it would make a perfect fabric to sew or embroider on. It speaks to the homeyness of what I’m trying to communicate. (I don’t know who ET is, but I’m comfortable with them adding “history” to my art.) Added to that is random fabric, old lace from an ancestor, and a little bit of knitting. Holding it all together and blending the pieces, is quite a bit of stitch, which I seem to be incorporating more and more into my work. You may notice that the dishtowel is hand quilted onto the background fabric. I first sewed it by machine, but the voice was wrong. The piece didn’t speak to me, it YELLED that it needed to be done by hand. I think it’s important to listen to one’s media.

25 Jan

Kid Craft

Katja told me one day that she wanted a necklace with hawaiian words on it. She also wanted flowers and stuff, but words were the most important. I immediately thought of the words printed on the underside of the Kona Brewing Company’s bottle caps and happily started collecting and scheming. Last week Rubber Stamp Plantation announced the month’s craft project was bottle cap jewelry! A trip to the bead store, a pu’pu (appetizer) to share, a few dollars and a few hours later, Katja got just what she wanted!

Friday, she told me she wanted curls for school on Monday. Sure, why not? If I can craft for my kids, I can certainly craft ON them. Here’s what she looked like last night:

And here’s what she looked like before school today:

21 Jan

Plantation Days

I’ve posted a few times about the ancient Hawaiians and the Polynesian influence here in Hawai’i (click on the Aloha tag in the cloud over there on the right), but not really about the other main cultural influence — the days of the plantations. I’ll leave you to research on your own, but I wanted to share some photos of a historic area not too far from where I live (it wasn’t too long ago that where my house is located would have been in the middle of a cane field, with nothing but more cane as far as the eye could see). You can click on the photos to go to my Flickr set with a few more details.

Manager’s House

General Store?

Cane grabber-lifter thingy.

Ewa Community Church

Nifty part on the train that used to carry cane, but now carries people on a secnic tour (betcha didn’t know there was a train on Oahu, did you?).

More historic trains.

Rich businessman Dillingham’s private, parlor car.

08 Jan

What I Wore Yesterday

Is it just me, or did someone come and steal about three hours away from everyone’s days? I can’t seem to find enough hours to get to everything and the blog is one of those things. May I also ask that all my bloggy friends please stop posting new stuff for about a week so I can catch up with all your writings?

Totally unrelated, last night I found myself at the end of a long day, laying on the couch, not wanting to go to bed because that would mean I’d have to change out of my new dress and I just wasn’t ready to do that. It’s even more comfy than the previously “world’s most comfortable,” Socialite Dress. I didn’t make this one though. I did draw my whole ensemble though because then I could stay up longer, and, I thought it captured the island life.

What I wore

01 Jan

Ode to 2009

2009 was the year of the deployment. It was also the first full year in Hawaii for the kids and I. As I looked through my photos, I can see that we’ve settled in here pretty well. Counting all the places we’ve been and things we’ve seen would probably be worse than uncle George’s slide show from his summer vacation. And we made it through what seemed to be the longest year ever just fine.

At this point last year I was pretty angsty about my goals and accomplishments, but this year I’ve settled in to my lack of focus. I’m much more comfortable with it today. As for my conundrum of which path(s) to follow, I’ve started down each one. Perhaps 2010 will be the year in which one makes itself clear — through the fog I think I’m seeing art quilts.

The last month has been supremely unproductive for me in terms of my artistic life, so I made a mosaic of all the projects I’ve done in 2009 to reassure myself that I’m doing just fine. And a fine year it was:

2009 Projects

In summation:

Twelve by Twelve: 8 pieces (and a book in progress)
Classes: 2 taught, one taken
Mushroom pin cushions: 4
Other crafty things: 16 (including designing my own fabric)
Clothing: 6
Yarn projects: 1
Crafting/Quilting for charity: 3
Quilts: 7 for beds (a personal record) 8 for the wall (16 if you include 12×12 quilts)
Pieces sold! 2

2009, you weren’t so bad after all.

2010, I’m going to keep on going, so I’m expecting you to be even better.