November 21st, 2018 / posted by paularath

Skip the masses at the malls on Black Friday and Small Biz Saturday. Join Lynda Sakraida, Ron Irwin and me at a sane and soulful holiday sale.

I have been creating cards that will make ideal gifts for the very special people on your list. Each card is one-of-a-kind, hand sewn in layers, with many featuring vintage fabrics, buttons and ribbons. A little love and a lot of passion goes into every card.

In addition, I will be selling original watercolor paintings, matted and ready for giving, for just $25 each. They are a highly personal and meaningful gift.

Lynda has been firing up her new industrial sewing machine and adding beautiful, supple leathers to her consequential fabrics and notions from every corner of the globe. Her one-of-a-kind creations become more personal and sophisticated every season.

Ron has recently returned from Indonesia with fabulous new textiles of his own design. (I adore the hand painted stripes!) He has also imported some beautiful rugs from Nepal, as well as home accessories that will make you smile.

Please join us as we celebrate the season together!

  • Paula Rath
November 19th, 2018 / posted by paularath

Producer Jim Burke answers questions from the crowd after the showing of his film “Green Book.”

Saturday afternoon Jerry and I had the great pleasure of seeing a film at the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) that outshone every other film we have seen in the past few years: “Green Book.”

Although the showing had a rough start – we had to wait for about 45 minutes for the projectionist to cue it up – even that experience contributed to the film, as one of the producers, Jim Burke, was there and graced us with an enlightening commentary about how the film came about, how star Viggo Mortensen gained about 50 pounds (“He ate and ate and ate…”) and as many insights as he could, without crossing into the realm of spoiler alert.

The comedy-drama benefits tremendously from the remarkable chemistry between the two stars: Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. I found Linda Cartellini’s performance as Mortensen’s wife to be spot-on as well.

“Green Book” is the true story of a real friendship that grew in 1962 and lasted a lifetime. It’s about an eight-week concert tour in the Deep South, a road trip that actually happened and stands as a sometimes caustic reminder of the racial inequality in our nation. “Live inside it and see how it changes you,” Burke said.

Of course it’s always fun to see the early 60s again, with the fabulous cars and clothes. And, oh yeah, the sound track!

Mortensen plays an Italian American, Tony Vallelonga, a bouncer at the Copacabana, who is hired to drive – and protect – Jamaican-American classically trained concert pianist Don Shirley. Tony has a sixth-grade education, while Don has several PhDs.

I don’t want to spoil the film by giving away any secrets, but I would like to share a few of the comments Burke made during the Q&A:

  • “It’s a handicap that I’m white. In the process of this movie I only knew what I knew. I talked to Octavia Spencer (an Executive Producer) and she caught (all of us) when we went off the rails. She kept us on target.”
  • “We carefully navigated what might have become a white savior movie.”
  • The two characters “Had nothing in common, but Tony was hired to protect him,” and he could certainly do that.
  • “People say this is a perfect time to be making this movie, but, unfortunately, it’s always a perfect time.” But I would say it’s especially important now.

I am rooting for three Academy Award nominations for this film: Best Picture and two Best Actors. And maybe a fourth for Best Director, Peter Farrelly. It opens in Honolulu on Wednesday. Don’t miss it!

  • Paula Rath
November 5th, 2018 / posted by paularath

One of the nicest things about living in Lower Heyford, Oxfordshire, is that you can walk to Rousham Gardens in less than half an hour.

Jerry and I love these gardens, and visited them several times. Unlike many of England’s more famous gardens, these are not at all commercial and remain totally unspoiled. There’s no tacky tea room and no gift shop! And we had Rousham all to ourselves.

The view of Rousham House from the bridge on the road to Lower Heyford

Rousham House was built in 1635 by Sir Robert Donner, and it’s still owned by the same family. The architecture is Jacobean.

The gardens are often a pilgrimage for landscape architecture students because they were created by William Kent (1685-1748), who is considered the father of English landscape design. Fortunately, the gardens remain almost exactly as he left them.

The formal gardens lead to the pigeon coop.

Rousham House is seldom open because it’s still occupied by the family, but the gardens are open every day. It costs just six shillings to go in and it’s on the honor system. There’s a big bushel of apples inviting you to take some home.

A view from the side of Rousham House

Sustainability is clearly important at Rousham and the gardens include many apple trees, as well as vegetables and herbs galore. There is an entire greenhouse just for the tomato crop.

An abundance of pears grow up the side of the pigeon coop.

There are interesting ponds, porticos, groves, streams and cascades scattered around the property, as well as classic Greek style statues of gods and goddesses. A herd of Long Horn cattle graze in the park.

But it was the flowers that captivated me the most, especially the dahlias.


Dahlias were in full bloom


The rose garden


I love these beautiful little passageways to secret gardens.


Wow! What a color!

Now that’s a hot pink!

Dahlias come in such delectable colors!

I love kids. I really do. ( I even have one of my own.) But it’s nice to know that Rousham Gardens does not allow kids under the age of 15. It’s a place for quiet contemplation and perhaps a picnic lunch. Silent and serene.

Paula Rath

October 25th, 2018 / posted by paularath

Elizabeth Kent’s pretty and festive silk shibori gift bags

This weekend, and the first weekend in November, bring us an art show that offers an ideal excuse to spend a day in the country. Five artists and artisans come together to show their latest creations just in time for the start of the gift-giving season.

Tagami & Powell Gallery & Gardens

October 27 & 28 (Saturday & Sunday) and November 3 & 4 (Saturday & Sunday)

10 A.M. – 4 P.M.

47-754 Lamaula Road, Kaneohe (actually Kahalu’u)

The show will feature paintings and giclees by Hiroshi Tagami, ceramics by Kenny Kicklighter, jewelry by Babs Miyano and clothing by Elizabeth Kent. Painter Michael Powell says this will be his last Kahalu’u art show.

“Meet Me at the Meat Market” by Elizabeth Kent

Kent, designer and maker of Vested Interest, will  introduce her charming little silk gift bags. They’re perfect for a jar of chutney, some decorative soaps or a little bauble of any kind. She has also fashioned dyed lingerie, patched together to create the jacket above, which she calls “Meet Me at the Meat Market.” It’s a political statement protesting one of Kent’s causes: human trafficking.

The back of a patchwork jacket.

 Babs Miyano has also been working on some new products, including appliqued aprons and tote bags. Her newest line of jewelry includes earrings fashioned with druzy crystals, as well as her popular eyeglass holders (made with a little help from her mom). Don’t miss her lauhala bags embellished with amethyst crystals and bodhi leaf skeletons.

Appliqued aprons by Babs Miyano

Why not pack a picnic brunch and stop at a beach park on the way out to Kahalu’u? We all need little reminders that we are lucky we live Hawaii.

Paula Rath

October 23rd, 2018 / posted by paularath

Coopers Cottage, our home for two weeks

Following our rather intense two-week watercolor workshop with Australian artist John Lovett, we wanted to have some time to absorb what we learned and paint on our own before touring more of England. It’s way too easy to lose your rhythm as an artist, and once you let go, it’s often hard to get back.

The back of Coopers Cottage. The open door on the left leads right into our “studio.”

I did some homework early this year and asked several friends from England if they would recommend a small, quiet, quintessential English village for us to live and paint for a spell. Two sources came up with the same village: Lower Heyford, in Oxfordshire. One of those friends was Chris Oliver, a dear friend and colleague, the former travel editor at The Honolulu Advertiser, who lives half the time in Kailua and the other half in Cambridge, England. Chris has a friend who lives in Lower Heyford and she and her husband, Gareth, have visited there often. The other source was Brett Thiebaut, who attended Oxford and fondly remembers Lower Heyford.

Jerry enjoyed painting on the patio at the back of the cottage.

I went online and found just one cottage for rent in Lower Heyford: Coopers Cottage, available through ShortLetSpace, a company based in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. I booked it immediately.

We were happy that the TV didn’t work, as we had plenty of time to read novels.

The cottage is 400 years old, at least the central thatched part is. On either side are additions. Where ladders once were, there are now stairs going up to the bedrooms. The kitchen and bathroom are new and very efficient, except we didn’t have hot water the first week. But we had a tea kettle and I just boiled water for a bath.

Lov ely claw foot tub with a garden view

The wood fireplace in the living room is lovely, although it was seldom cold enough to warrant a fire. Our good weather continued after the watercolor workshop.

The back garden of the cottage

Lower Heyford is very quiet and rural. Traffic is sparse and non-existent after about 6 p.m. There are lots of lovely walks to take, around the neighborhood and up and down the canal on the Cherwell River.

A typical morning walk along the canal going toward the train station

Lower Heyford is known as a hub for long boats, the barge-like boats that people can rent to travel on the canals, through locks and under bridges.

On weekends the long boat business really picks up.

We were delighted and surprised that there are many thatched roof homes in Lower Heyford. One such home was being thatched while we were there and we had an interesting discussion with the thatcher.

A professional thatcher at work

The average roof needs to be thatched about every 25 to 30 years. The decorative portion, which also keeps the thatch pinned down, is refurbished about every 15 – 20 years. Luckily, there is a new generation that is learning the trade, so thatching will continue to be viable.

Isn’t the design of the thatch beautiful? The job took about five weeks for two or three men.                                                           Photo by Jerry Mayfield

Here are just a few of our neighbors’ thatched roof homes.


Photo by Jerry Mayfield


I love these windows.


Can you see the little red box? That’s the community’s mail box, inside this private home.                                                                            Photo by Jerry Mayfield


A five-minute walk away was the local pub, The Bell Inn, with good draft beer and yummy steak and kidney pie. Kizzie’s, where they served a delicious breakfast and lunch with great coffee, was a godsend.

Our local pub in Lower Heyford

Lower Heyford offered us the perfect respite for a quiet, serene and creative time well spent. Perhaps next year we’ll rent a cottage near Cambridge or in Chipping Campden….

Paula Rath