April 29th, 2016 / posted by paularath
Chris Oliver's Kailua Crates serve many purposes.

Chris Oliver’s Kailua Crates serve many purposes.

There’s just no keeping a creative person down. When The Honolulu Advertiser closed in 2010, Chris Oliver was one of the multi-talented folks who lost their jobs.

Chris was the travel editor in the Island Life Section and she put together an eclectic, imaginative and intriguing section every week. I have a file full of “Future Trip Ideas” clipped from her sections.

Since the newspaper’s closure, we have become lifetime friends. When we need a sounding board – someone who truly understands us – we get together for coffee or lunch.

The closing of the newspaper allowed Chris to do something she has long dreamed of – moving back part time to her native England. She and her husband Gareth live half the year in Kailua and half the year in Cambridge.

Perfect for a bathroom caddy.

Perfect for a bathroom caddy.

In addition, the freedom of writing part time as a freelancer allows her to use her able hands to build furniture (her children’s Adirondack chair was a sought after item at our Malama Palama silent auction), grow flowers and start an innovative (not to mention adorable) home decor line called Kailua Crates.

These make wonderful Mother’s Day or hostess gifts, but I plan to buy some for myself. Hey, I’m a mother!

Kailua Crates have versatile uses for the home and outdoors.

Kailua Crates have versatile uses for the home, inside and out.

The crates will debut this Saturday at a special Art Extravaganza, featuring some of my favorite artists and artisans, including:

Bev Creamer (Jewelry)

Sabra Feldstein (glass works)

Leslie Hayashi (children’s books)

Elizabeth Kent (vintage kimono artwear)

Pam Sandridge ( hand knitted shrugs)

 

One-of-a-kind kimono jacket by Elizabeth Kent

One-of-a-kind kimono jacket by Elizabeth Kent

Here are the details:

Saturday, April 30

9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

1033 Hunakai Street (by Kahala Mall)

- Paula Rath

 

April 28th, 2016 / posted by paularath
Jacket by Pitacus

Jacket by Pitacus

This weekend seems to be the jump start of the spring/summer trunk shows, fashion shows and craft fairs. And of course, it’s just in time for Mother’s Day.

Nui Mono and Girlfriends, which only comes around twice a year, will be held:

Saturday, April 30

8 a.m. to noon

Palolo Hongwanji

1641 Palolo Avenue

Expect a carefully curated collection of fashions, jewelry, accessories and food. Lue Zimmelman, owner of Nui Mono, has wonderful taste and a strong desire to share what she finds with her adoring customers.

New to the scene is Momoterrascapes, a collection of tiny potted plants. In addition, Hui o Laulima will sell gifts and bentos, while the Palolo Hongwanji women’s auxiliary will hold a White Elephant sale to raise money for their community projects.

Among the “Friends” are:

  • Pitacus by Lisa Wiemken
  • Sweet Charlotte by Charlotte Tanaka (maker of of my late mother’s favorite Ginger Snaps – how I’ll miss giving her some this year)
  • Melons by Suzi Iizaki
  • Wabi Sabi by Irene Kawaguchi
  • Wendy Kim Messier ( you never know what she’ll be creating next)
  • Sherrie Rupert
  • Kim Kono
  • Cora Yee (where in the world will her beads come from this season?0
  • Bev Seki
  • Esther Nowell’s adorable, and collectible, clay creations

- Paula Rath

April 18th, 2016 / posted by paularath
Watercolor by Jerry Mayfield

We did encounter some rough seas, but this image came from Jerry’s imagination. Watercolor by Jerry Mayfield

Readers have been asking me to post photos of the paintings Jerry and I did while on our trip to Antarctica and South America. We both gave most of our paintings away to fellow passengers and ship’s staff, but we have a few left. Here they are.

Paula iceberg painting 1

“Ode to Antarctica,” watercolor by Paula Rath

I became entranced with icebergs and painted a number of them. Every iceberg – and glacier – looks completely different, as you may have noticed in our photos of Antarctica.

Glacier cove by Paula Rath

Capturing some glacial colors in Antarctica by Paula Rath

Icebergs change radically with the light. While you may think icebergs are all about white, they actually have many shades of blue, green, teal and sometimes gray.

Watercolor of "the puka iceberg" by Paula Rath

Watercolor of “the puka iceberg” by Paula Rath

Jerry and I were so surprised at how dry the coasts of Chile and Peru were. I guess we expected those countries to be more like rain forests throughout. We tried to capture some of the desert-like colors.

A view off our ship's veranda of a huge rock on the coast of Chile. Watercolor by Jerry Mayfield

              A view off our ship’s veranda of a huge rock on the coast of Chile.                                                                                             Watercolor by Jerry Mayfield

An unexpected palette greeted us on the coast of Chile.

An unexpected palette greeted us on the coast of Chile.

I now sort of regret giving away so many of our paintings, but oh well. I hope they will be enjoyed by the recipients. We certainly had fun painting on this trip!

Our next trip, to Ireland in August, will be an art retreat with an artist, Crystal Beshara, from Ottawa, Canada. She’s calling the tour “30 Shades of Green.” What a delightful change of palette!

- Paula Rath

April 17th, 2016 / posted by paularath

 

The dye bath after soaking the fresh indigo leaves overnight.

The dye bath after soaking the fresh indigo leaves overnight. The bubbles are a good thing in green leaf dyeing.

I have e new passion, having just discovered fresh leaf indigo dyeing.

Thanks to a multi-talented friend, Donna Miyashiro of Hawaiian Blue, I recently learned how to use fresh indigo leaves, easily grown in one’s garden, to create a soft, beautiful range of blues and sometimes greens or teals. No temperamental indigo vat to baby – it’s so simple!

Donna has a little studio in Lana Lane Studios in Kakaako, a fabulous artist’s enclave that reminds me of the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia. She does much of her dyeing and sewing there.

The green indigo leaves after being soaked and strained.

The green indigo leaves after being soaked and strained to make the dye bath.

Donna grows her own fresh leaf indigo in her “dyeing yard” where she tends to several varieties of plants which produce different dyes.

To make the dye we used, she soaked the leaves in water for 24 to 30 hours. She said you can tell it’s ready when it takes on an irridescent finish and has some little bubbles on its surface. (See the photo on top.)

The dye bath holds up for about an hour and then it becomes too weak to be useful, so you need to be organized and have everything ready to go.

Just drop the fabric into the dye and swish it around.

Just drop the fabric into the dye and swish it around.

This type of indigo is only effective with silk and wool. It won’t “take” with linen, cotton or other natural fibers. We tried three types of silk and look how different the colors came out! That’s one of the exciting things about working with any kind of indigo – the mystery and awe when you take the fabric out of the dye bath.

Left to right: A mesh silk, silk organza and crepe de chine, each turned a different hue.

Left to right: A mesh silk, silk organza and crepe de chine, each turning a different hue in the fresh leaf dye bath.

These dyed silks are now ready to be incorporated into one of my fabric “painting” series, Sand and Sea. (The quotation marks are because they look like paintings – but don’t have any paint on them, only hand-dyed fabrics.) I sold six of this series at Punahou Carnival and there’s demand for more, which is really exciting. Here’s one:

Here's one of my "Sand and Sea" series.

Here’s one of my “Sand and Sea” series.

The blues are created using a variety of shibori techniques on all sorts of fabrics (linens,cottons,silks); the browns are rust-dyed.

Donna Miyashiro playing in her indigo vat.

Donna Miyashiro playing in her indigo vat. She is so tidy she doesn’t even wear special dyeing clothes or gloves!

Next up: Learning to dye with eucalyptus. Donna is already having great success with it, and I want to try. I can find plenty of eucalyptus trees right across Nuuanu Valley from where we live. A great excuse for a walk in the woods!

I have to say that I am always impressed with how generous textile folks are. Many forms of art seem highly competitive and the artists tend to keep every “secret” they discover to themselves. Not so with textile artists. They are enthusiastic, open and generous when sharing their art.

Donna is even going to give me fresh leaf indigo seeds so I can start my own garden. She is such a kind and generous friend!

- Paula Rath

April 5th, 2016 / posted by paularath
Photos in this blog are by Jerry Mayfield

A view from our veranda in Antarctica.                                                      Photos in this blog are by Jerry Mayfield

We had some technical difficulties with Jerry’s new iPhone and have been unable to get photos from his phone into my blog until now.

Rather than expecting you to go back and look at each previous blog and the photos that went with it, I am simply putting his glorious photos in one blog for you to enjoy.

Mahalo for taking this journey with us!

I found the icebergs so inspiring!

I found the icebergs so inspiring! And look at the mountains peeking out behind clouds.

One of the icebergs that inspired a watercolor painting.

One of the icebergs that inspired a watercolor painting. Look at all those blues!

A slightly different view, with different light.

A slightly different view, with different light.

Sunrise as we prepared to enter the Panama Canal.

The bird life in South America is remarkable. A pair of birds kept pace with the ship for days!

The bird life in South America is remarkable. A pair of birds kept pace with the ship for days! We loved watching them dive for fish.

Jerry captured a Valparaiso graffiti artist at work on a street mural. He didn't seem very happy about it. Oh well.

Jerry captured a Valparaiso graffiti artist at work on a street mural. He didn’t seem very happy about it. Oh well.

Here we are with the nice Valparaiso couple who sold us my Valentine's Day roses.

Here we are with the nice Valparaiso couple who sold us my Valentine’s Day roses.

Paula, Paula Patrascu and Jerry at the bar in the Starlite Room.

Paula, Paula Patrascu and Jerry at the bar in the Starlite Room.

One of our favorite things to do on the ship is to create new cocktails with our lovely Romanian bartender, Paula Patrascu.

Mixology is a hobby of Jerry’s and he soaks it up (pun intended) with so many excellent professional bartenders available to share tips and treats with him.

We return from every cruise with at least one new cocktail. Somewhere off the coast of Peru, Paula came up with “A Perfect Cloud,” a dessert cocktail with a divine combination of Frangelico, Bailey’s, Creme de Cacao and vodka. She garnished it with shaved dark chocolate and served it to us with a fabulous truffle on the side. We had a A Perfect Cloud every night before bedtime! Jerry has learned to make it so we enjoy it at home now.

After 11 years working on the Crystal Symphony, Paula retired n March 25. She and her husband, Tio, who was a butler on the ship, decided to return to Romania and start a family. Paula was the first friend we made on the ship and we have remained close friends over the years. We will miss her so much!

Please watch for a few more South America blogs, including one featuring photos of the paintings we did while on the ship.

- Paula Rath