May 19th, 2020 / posted by paularath

During the past couple of weeks I have been enjoying interviewing prospective scholarship candidates for our Palama Settlement student scholarships. (Sadly, we’re on Zoom this year.) It’s always one of my favorite times of year, as I get to catch up with students we have been helping the past year, as well as meeting new students who need a little assistance.

I inevitably well up with tears when I hear them talk about their lives. Many have GPAs I didn’t know exist, such as 4.25. They are an ambitious, often driven, group. Most come from the Palama neighborhood and many grew up in nearby public housing. They are often the first person in their family to attend college, and they are out to prove themselves. They are future accountants, social workers, mechanical engineers, physical therapists and pharmacists.

It’s really inspiring, and that’s why my family is now sponsoring The Rath Family Scholarship. Perhaps you would like to help? Just go to

So what does that have to do with my blog headline? Well, this year some of the students turned the table and asked the interviewers what we are doing during the COVID-19 crisis. I became tongue tied and couldn’t think of anything I am doing creatively.

But that’s not really true. I am doing some creative projects, though not as many as I “should” be doing. I am making curtains, getting back into a painting style I haven’t tried for many years, and creating my one-of-a-kind greeting cards.

Hand-dyed shibori indigo silk organza with Italian interiors fabric and a special button.

As I sit down at my sewing machine to assemble the fabrics, ribbons and assorted notions for the cards, I think of a reason for each card to exist. Here are a few:

An invitation for a chat and cocktail with a friend you haven’t seen for too long:

A great card to invite a friend for a chat and a cocktail!

In lieu of sending flowers to a friend who may need a little blossom:

Layers of silk organza over a skeleton leaf.

Just a little nudge to say “Hey, thinking of you”!

Buggy for art

A reminder of a day long ago when you swam in the ocean and sat on the beach with a friend or loved one:

Hand dyed indigo shibori with a little fish swimming through.

Honestly, though, some of the best cards are sent for no reason at all. I have been sending cards to friends “just because” since the shutdown started, and have learned that they are much appreciated.

  • Paula Rath


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