October 2nd, 2015 / posted by paularath

Trach & Treasure 2015

TEMARI’s Trash & Treasure just gets better and better with each passing year. This, its 34th year promises to be really terrific and well worth the effort to get out of the house on a Sunday.

T&T started as a sort of garage sale in TEMARI’s former site on 10th Avenue in Kaimuki. Members and faculty used it as an opportunity to clean out their studios and sewing rooms. It has evolved into a juried selection of crafters, a White Elephant put on by other non-profits and a series of demonstrations. This year’s demos will be held from noon to 2 p.m. and include:

  • Hui o Laulima demonstrating Nuno Zori, or rag-woven slippers
  • Moiliili Senior Center with a demo of paper floral pins made with magazine paper
  • A folding paper activity for keiki put on by the Asian Affairs Council
  • Silent auction and keiki art activity presented by the Autism Society

There will be 46 crafters, including a few seldom seen at craft fairs in Honolulu, such as weaver Joan Namkoong, Jana Higa of Blue Bird Jewelry Hawaii, Lesli Matsumoto of Ume Pits and Linda Ryan of Over the Blue Horizon.

Wiki Wiki goes trick or treating.

Wiki Wiki goes trick or treating.

Also on Sunday, October 4, is the Wiki Wiki Vintage Collectibles & Hawaiiana Show.

10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ($4.50 general admission)

Early entry at 9 a.m. ($15)

Blaisdell Center Hawaii Suites

It’s a great place to start your Halloween shopping or fund a Ming’s piece or two to add to your collection, a mid-century treasures, a treasure trove of vintage textiles, Shabby Chic and all sorts of Hawaiiana items, from kitschy to classic.

- Paula Rath



September 28th, 2015 / posted by paularath
Japanese plantation clothing from the collection of Barbara Kawakami

                              Japanese plantation clothing from the collection of Barbara Kawakami                                  Photo courtesy Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles


I am really not sure where my passion for indigo comes from. I often think it’s influenced by my two years living in Africa (Botswana and Nigeria). There is some debate about whether indigo came first to Ghana in Western Africa or to Japan.

Of course the passion is also stirred because of Hawaii’s deep roots with indigo and my deep appreciation of Darius Homay, who has taught me much of what I know about indigo and has let me play and experiment in his indigo vat for many years.

Indigo kimono from Hawaii's plantation days. Photo courtesy Barbara Richie

Indigo kimono from Hawaii’s plantation days.  Photo by Trish Coder

No one knows more about our islands’ indigo roots than the incredible Barbara Kawakami, who is now a spry and savvy 94-year-old who still lives independently on her own. Barbara has a remarkable collection of Hawaii plantation clothing, most of which is now housed in the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles.

Many of the garments worn by our Japanese plantation workers were indigo,  as were the kimonos and hapi coats they wore during leisure times. Barbara even added a mosu to the collection, a wool piece used to cover a baby’s diaper so it wouldn’t leak, that’s a beautiful indigo fish print.

An indigo mosu, used to cover a baby's diaper.

An indigo mosu, used to cover a baby’s diaper. Photo by Trish Coder

Far too beautiful for its purpose? Well, maybe. But my maternal grandmother, Helen Jacobs, always said that  everything we touch in our daily lives should be a thing of beauty….

Indigo plantation clothimg

Indigo plantation clothing. Photo courtesy Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles

My dear friend Barbara Richie, with whom I grew up on Papailoa Road on the North Shore of Oahu, has been working on a new book with Barbara on the subject of Japanese picture brides in Hawaii. It’s due to be published in the spring by University of Hawaii Press.

Barbara sent me the wonderful photos featured in this blog. My mother and Barbara’s mother worked together during WWII in the censorship department. They became life long friends.

Since I no longer have access to an indigo vat on a regular basis, I’m going to segue into kakishibu (persimmon) dye to express earth and buildings on my canvases. I’m starting a “Kakaako: Now and in 2025″ series. More on that as I progress….

- Paula Rath

Indigo kimono kawakami

Indigo kimono. Photo by Trish Coder



September 21st, 2015 / posted by paularath

Nui Mono sale blue top

Gone are the days of waiting until Black Friday for holiday shopping. Some of my favorite events for gift shopping happen in September and October.

Leading the way is the wonderful Nui Mono and Girlfriends sale this weekend. Expect to find original one-of-a-kind wearable art, handbags, handcrafted jewelry and fabric remnants perfect for quilters.

Nui Mono sale Lisa Weimken 1

The sale will be held:

Saturday, September 26

8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Palolo Hongwanji, 1641 Palolo Avenue

Ample free parking is available


Nui Mono sale Sherrie Rupert 2

Here’s a lineup of the Girlfriends you can meet there:

  • Laurie Ito of Teru
  • Lisa Wiemken of Pitacus
  • Suzi Iizaki of Melons
  • Irene Kawaguchi of Wabi Sabi
  • Sherrie Rupert of Why Not Bead
  • Wendy Kim Messier
  • Kim Kono
  • Cora Yee
  • Bev Seki
  • Esther Nowell
  • Colleen Kimura of Tutuvi
  • Marie Kodama
  • Lue Zimmelman of Nui Mono, with her own line of clothing, Water Lily

Nui Mono sale Lisa Weimken 2


For more information, call Lue at 946-7407 or email her at shop@nuimono.com

- Paula Rath

Nui Mono sale Sherrie Rupert 1

Nui Mono sale Sherrie Rupert 3

September 16th, 2015 / posted by paularath

Threads mags photos

I am making a valiant effort to edit all the “stuff” in our home. After 25 years living here, it has, quite honestly, gone out of control.

My sewing room is a good place to start. I have culled my “Threads” magazines that date back to 1998. I would like to give this collection away. Are you interested – or do you know anyone who would like to have them?

Threads magazines  all neat and tidy in their boxes.

Threads magazines all neat and tidy in their boxes.

The collection is in magazine boxes and will be given away in them so storage is simpler.

In addition, I am ready to part with many of my (mostly vintage) patterns. They are from Vogue, The Sewing Workshop, McCall’s, Patterns Pacifica (great vintage muumuu styles) and other pattern companies. Interested?

Patterns Photo


You can email me at paula@paularath.com.

- Paula Rath

September 13th, 2015 / posted by paularath
Under the gazebo at Kahala Park

Under the gazebo at Kahala Park


How adorable is that?

But the story’s even cuter.

On Sunday mornings, Jerry and I often choose to do something different for exercise, rather than just going to the Honolulu Club (for Nia, Pilates, Aqua Zumba, cardio or weights) or the YMCA (for pool swims). We often walk around Kapiolani Park, then swim at Kaimana Beach. Today, however, there was a community walk at the park so there were no parking spaces at all. Instead, we kept driving and stopped at Kahala Park. After a nice beach walk in what is apparently doggie heaven  (the four-legged folks were deliriously happy in the sand and sea), I went in for a swim in spite of the fast approaching rain.

I talked a little to a fisherman, Leland, who explained the lay of the ocean to me so I wouldn’t swim into an undertow, rock or coral reef.

As I emerged from the water, it was really pouring.  A young Japanese couple. complete in wedding regalia, were clutching each other under the Kahala gazebo while the photographers made a Plan B. As the photographer began to shoot photos under the lovely green canopy of hau, Leland ran to this truck and returned carrying a beautiful kukui nut lei. He graciously placed it around the groom’s neck, insisting that he wear the lei for his wedding photos. (It paired perfectly with the rubber slippahs.)

We couldn’t hear all of  the conversation, but I did hear Leland explain to the couple that the lei had been made by his father and that it had a great deal of mana. I don’t know if the couple understood all the language, but it was clear that they were touched by this warm gesture of aloha.

And so were we.

Only in Hawaii, right! Please always feel free to share any of your “Only in Hawaii” stories with me and my readers! I know we encounter them every day and they so enrich our lives.

- Paula Rath