Thursday, November 25, 2010


Wow, Thanksgiving already! I can feel the holidays spirit in the air....Every holiday, I decorate our home with decorations my children made throughout the years. While we've shared a bunch with the grandmas and grandpas and other family members, I've kept a few for our family. This is a little something my son made when he was in the first grade. It is a Thankful book that consists of eight construction paper pages, indicating on each page what he is thankful for.  As each page is turned over, it will seem like you are peeling off a layer of the landscape.

I am thankful for.....

The green grass

The good earth

The tall trees

The clear cool ocean

The high mountains
The warm sun

The blue skies and you!
 Here's wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

I am always thankful for……
For the wife who says it's hot dogs tonight because she is home with me and not out with someone else,
For the husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato because he is home with me and not out at the bars,
For the teenager who is complaining about doing dishes because it means he is at home, not on the streets,
For the taxes I pay because it means I am employed,
For the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends,

For the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat,
For my shadow that watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.
For a lawn that needs mowing, windows that needs cleaning, & gutters that needs fixing because it means I have a home.
For all the complaining I hear about the government because it means we have freedom of speech,
For the parking spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking, & I have been blessed with transportation,
For the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means I can hear,
For the pile of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear,
For weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been capable of working,
For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means I am alive,
And finally, for too much e-mails because it means I have friends who are thinking of me

Thursday, November 4, 2010


A blog that I frequent is having a giveaway to celebrate her 100th post......You can find it here.  I found this blog after admiring her work on flickr.  I just love the way how she combines fabric together and create spectacular totes!  When you have a chance go and visit My Casa Bella.  Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Simply Style Tote Round 2

Remember my Simply Stylish Tote I made some time ago.  Well, a good friend of mine admired it greatly and actually place my first ever order.  She had a few specific requests so it took some time to shop for that perfect handle and fabric color. 

This was my first time working with store-bought handles.  It was quite a challenge considering my handle tabs were cut a little too short and I just got too lazy to cut longer ones and was determined to make this happen! 

Finally, a few months later, it's done!  I'm calling her my Rita Bag made with cotton canvas, faux suede and natural fiber handles.

Thank you Rita for your order.  I hope you enjoy the bag as much as I enjoyed making it just for you!  You think she'll like it?

Little Details

After making a few things out of Sweetwater's pattern, I seemed to like their easy to follow directions and simple projects that really can be even more special with a few creative twists.  My next project I'd like to share with you is Sweetwater's Little Details bag.  Such a cute bag that don't take much fabric. 

These Little Details are made with canvas and little bit of extra fabric from previous projects.  The linings are the same fabric as the exterior print.  I even gave the crystals from Creative Crystal a try.  Love how they turned out and best of all they were ever so easy to do!

Peace Little Details

Rolling Stones Inspired Little Details

Heart Crystals Little Details

Little Details
It's such an easy project that really can be made a bunch at  time!  Surely this Little Detail is age appropriate for all occasions and definitely all ages! Would you?

Sunday, October 10, 2010


There's nothing better than to hear the "Ice Cream Van" drive around the neighborhood playing happy tunes on a hot afternoon.  Yep, you know what I'm talking about.

This afternoon as I was working on the computer, I heard the most happiest tune playing in the distance.  Sounded like the tune of  "It's A Small World" and the tune seemed to get closer and louder at the same time.  Then I heard all the excitement outside....."It's the Candy Van!",  "No, it's the Bubble Gum Van!",  "Not, it's the Ice Cream Van!"......We all ran out of the house and look at what we found waiting for all the neighborhood kids.....the cutest little brightest yellow "Candy/Bubble Gum/Ice Cream/Treat (and so on) Van" with every ice cream and sweet treat you can imagine:

Just in time to cool down during a hot Hawaiian afternoon.  Here are the yummy treats before they were gone:

Yummy rainbow snowcone

Layered pop ice cream sprinkles treat
 We all get excited whenever we hear the Ice Cream Van come around.  It's always a pleasant surprise as it shows up unexpected and always at the perfect time.  Apparently we are one of the lucky ones that the van comes thru our street.  Word got out about the van making its way around the neighborhood only to find out there were only a few that knows about it.

Thanks for coming!  Come back again!

Did the "Candy Van" visit your neighborhood lately?

Friday, October 8, 2010


This week is fall break for most schools in our area and so school kids are home and my refrigerator is working over time!  For lunch my daugher wanted to eat one of her favorite things, pesto....Yummy!  Told her I'd help her make it if she picked the basil and get the rest of the ingredients out....which brings me to today's post.....

This is a picture of a book my mom picked up at a recent garage sale and let me tell you, it contains lots of old-school homey comfort food!

Recipe Book Front Cover
Inside Front Cover and first page

My recipe library consists of about close to 200 cook books and believe me, every page of those books have been read and  many of them recipies tried and became our family favorite.    I remembered seeing a pesto recipe in this book and thought to put my other pesto recipes on the side and give this one a try.


Ingredients:  4 garlic cloves, 2 cups fresh basil leaves, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1/2 cup parmesean cheese and 1/2 cup olive oil

Put all ingredients in a processor except the olive oil

It should look something like this.  With machine running, slowly, add oil through feed tube in a slow, steady stream until mixture is the consistency of thick mayonnaise.
This sauce can be stored in a refrigerator for several weeks.  It is good on soups, salads, pasta or french bread.
We tossed our sauce with 1 lb. al dente penne pasta then added some shredded smoked turkey just for the heck of it.

Served it on a romaine lettuce w/a few peices of baguettes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar...
Glad my daughter made the suggestion for pesto!  We all sat around our dining table dipping our little slices of bread and ate our lunch....Yep quality time at the table eating what we all helped to prepare is definitely priceless!

Recipe review, thumbs up!  How can you go wrong with fresh ingredients and great company...

What did you make for lunch?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Do you flickr?  Well, I's a place where people showcase photos and there are a bunch of ever-so-talented people that share their pictures and creations in all areas that you can think of.  In one of my "groups", a rainforest catch all bag caught my interest as it is a rather large size and the simple style of it, well, I found it attractive.   Well, that's when my hunt for a copy cat rainforest bag started and found this cute PRACTICAL BAG pattern from Grand Revival  at Emerald City Fabrics on e-bay:
Pattern front

Practical Bag
Used some  left over fabric from another project.  It is another perfect project for the beginner sewer.  I always look for beginner/easy patterns as I consider myself an "advanced beginner" until I can master a few more things w/out struggles (i.e. zippers, etc.).  With just two pattern pieces and  only four fabric pieces total, this baby was cut and finished in record time.  However, there are two things I did outside of the instructions which was was fuse woven interfacing on the exterior fabric to support the weight that the bag will carry as well as add an interior pocket as I find myself in need of pockets in all of my bags.  LOVE this! I'm afraid to use it, I might dirty it (wink)!
Interior pocket of Grand Revival's Practical Bag

Grand Revival Practical Bag
Do you have a favorite PRACTICAL BAG of your own?

Friday, October 1, 2010


Have you heard of Nicole Mallaieu?  Well, she's a talented bag designer out of Australia and I visit her blog, YOU SEW, girl! for valuable tips on constructing the perfect project.  In one of my flickr groups, I saw a bag made from one of her patterns and it was aboslutely simple and so chic.  Had to make one....(of course!)......Here it is, the DAY BAG made out of the last of my daughter's Japanese Fabric from her GIRLS TOP and BACK TO SCHOOL BAG projects. 

I went ahead and added a few "blings" from CREATIVE CRYSTALS randomly adhered them around the fabric to give it that extra "bling".

This was my first time making an interior zipper pocket and a zipper gusset on the top rather than a magnetic clasp. 

The directions were very easy to understand and this Day Bag is probably one of those practical bags we all should have.  I had fun with this, finished it in one afternoon.  My fear of zipper has lesson with this project.  Thank you Ms. Mallaieu for sharing your wonderful tips and making your wonderful patterns available! 

Ya think I can get away using this as a "night bag"?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Goodness gracious, where has the time gone?  No one told me that having a teeanager and a pre-teen would be so busy! I can only imagine what parenst go through that have more than two actively involved kids....We've been busy with sports, music lessons, and the plain old simple day-to-day activities that consumes so much time.  Would I have it any other way, NO WAY!  Love being busy...keeps me out of trouble (hee, hee!). 

Anyways I want to share with you my recent crochet project.  Thinking back, my first crochet project was probably when I was about eight years old.  Think it was a little lap blankie.  My mom is a self-taught crochet genius that can crochet almost anything just by looking at it and taught me the simple stitches to get me by little projects.  Over the years, she's made tons of blankets (baby blankets up to king size blankets) as well as house slippers, hats, beanies, gloves, ponchos and the list can go one and on.....Luckily, I inherited a few and my kids got a few of their very own "grandma's yarn blankies".

In one of my travels to visit her,  my mom gave me some colored twine she picked up from the local thrift store.  She actually picked them up from a "FREEBIE" bin and insisted I take them.  The only place I can recall seeing this type of twine was at Chinese bakeries where it is used to tie up boxed take out orders.  Here are a few pics of the colorful twine, very pretty:

Just a few weeks after, I saw a cute crochet bag at a popular surf shop and the material reminded me of the twines from my mom sitting in my closet.   As always, I took a close look at the bag, studied the stitches and concluded it was mostly done in chain and single crochet stitches.  EASY (I think)!  When I came home, I went straight to the computer and searched for a crochet pattern.  Wadda you know, I found the perfect bag.....and even had the almost exact color as the bag in the surf shop and instructions.  Found the pattern here at knit-o-matic.
Although the pattern calls it a grocery bag, I think it will do just as fine as a beach bag.  The twine is like a plastic yarn texture so if it gets wet, don't think it will hurt it.

Crochet Beach Bag

Love the fact that the bag is "airy" for those wet swim suits and soggy towels.  There's nothing worse than the smell of that wet beach towel that was fogotten in a plastic bag, uh, maybe last week...eeew!

Beach anyone?

Monday, August 30, 2010


Yesterday was one of those lazy Sunday's for me.  My husband and son had to drive to the east side of the island for an athletic function and my daughter and I opted to stay home and "relax".  About 15 minutes after the "boys" left home, I got a sudden urge to sew.  But I wanted to sew w/my daughter and was trying to think of away to get her involved and away from those little electronic gadgets that consumes time away from the "real world"....Sitting in the distance I saw that fabric that my daughter purchased for her BACK TO SCHOOL BAG we made together just a few weeks ago.   Bingo!  I called her in, we sat togehter and brainstormed what would be worth both our time to make out of her fabric.  I suggesed a top for school....She gladly obliged.... Off we went, cut, snip, trace, pin, etc., etc...In just a few hours, it was done!  Pattern is McCalls 5573, blouse A.
She's so proud of it!  The cute top was worn to school today....with the matching bag:

Job well done!

Oh, she's already thinking what to make the next time the "boys" are away....What did you make today?

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I haven't been sewing much lately.  Yardwork has been calling my name to tend to those "I'll do it later" projects. This is one of my zen things that allows me to spend time to myself and be productive in a way that I can share with others....  My orchids actually have been consuming most of my time in the yard and garden.  Keeping them happy allows them to bloom and provide me with beautiful blooms. 

I remember my first Orchid gift came from an amazing person I worked with "Theresa" whom we all call "Gramma".   I believe it was a gift for my wedding shower about some 18 years ago and was quite amazed how long the beautiful delicate flowers lasted....get this, for three months!  This is when my Orchid addiction started.  From there, I've visited Orchid shows, purchased orchids from the local farm and garden shops where flowerless Orchids were sold for almost nothing.  My goal was to revive them and surprise myself with a bloom.  

Orchid farmers have educated me and inspired me in the care of these precious creatures...the less you do, the better!  Here are a few of my plants that have given me blooms this year:

Mrs. Joanz blooms

What kind of flower do you treasure?

Monday, August 23, 2010


I've been craving for something sweet and homemade BUT want to make a sweet treat that will satisfy everyone in my family.  Me, gotta have nuts (macadamia nuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans, whatever, you name it, just gotta have nuts!).  My kids, gotta have chocolate (white, milk, dark, whatever chocolate!).  My husband, love them all; but oats, he love oats the most!  So, what's out there with nuts, chocolate and oats?  Found it!  Found it here.  Press on "recipe",then desserts and treats and scroll to CHOCOLATE OAT SQUARES.

Here is the recipe if you are unable to download it:


1 cup plus 2 tbsp butter or margarine, divided
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs (I had mine at room temperature)
4 tsp vanilla extract, divided
3 cups quick-cooking oats
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp baking soda
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

In a mixing bowl, cream 1 cup butter and brown sugar.  Beat in eggs & 2 tsp vanilla.  Combine the oats, flour, salt and baking soda in a seperate bowl; stir into creamed mixture.  Press 2/3 of oat mixture into a greased 9" x 13" baking stone (or pan).  It's also fine in an 8" x 8" pan.  You'll just have taller squares.

In a saucepan combine milk, chocolate chips and remaining butter and salt.  Cook and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted.  Remove from the heat; stir in walnuts & remaining vanilla.  Spread over crust.  Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool.  Cut into squares.

Yield:  4 dozen

Anyone want to join me for some yummy homeade goody?

Recipe review results: thumbs up!  Thank you Beckly Higgins for sharing this yummy recipe on your blog and thank YOU for visiting!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Today is a State Holiday where we observe the day Hawaii became part of this great country. 

Hawaii’s Statehood Day commemorates Hawaii’s admission as a state on August 21, 1959. In 1898 the United States annexed Hawaii, which was declared as a “necessary” navy base for the conduct of the Spanish-American War. The United States’ interests coveted the islands for some time. During World War II, Oahu served as the command post for the US operations in the Pacific. Large portions of Hawaii were turned over for the US military bases. After the war, two-thirds of the residents favored statehood.

However, because of the many ethnicities present, there was resistance to Hawaii’s statehood from segregated southern states. A primary election took place in Hawaii on June 27, 1959, and various statehood propositions received many votes on that day. Following the certification of the election results, President Eisenhower signed a proclamation on August 21, 1959, declaring Hawaii to be the 50th state. This was known as Admission Day until 2001.

There is a fair amount of debate surrounding this holiday, which has sparked discussions among locals. Some say that the day, which was formerly known as Admission Day, should either be removed or celebrated on a larger scale. There are those who say that no official celebrations are held on the day and describe it as a silent day. Many opinions voice out that the anniversary of statehood is virtually ignored. Some people write messages or newspaper articles to promote the holiday, wishing the state a “happy birthday”.


Thursday, August 19, 2010


My cousin, "Holly", is a very talented bag/tote designer/maker and has inspired me to try out bag/tote making after seeing her creations.  Recently, I picked up an "envelope" from the Post Office and was really excited to see the return addy was from Holly.  

Aside from the goodies she packed for my two kids, she also packed me the cutest reversible handmade tote:

I have to give full credit to my at the time 9-year old "photographer" daughter who insisted this is THE photo for this post.   Why, of course it is!  Totally love the length of the handles and the size of the tote is perfect for many uses! 

She sewed in a strap on each side of the top to tie it closed and also sewed in pockets (I love pockets!).  It was perfect for my Farmers Market trip.  Got lots of looks w/smiles when they saw my tote so I take that as a compliment!  Love the earthy warm colors she used!

These are just a few of her fabulous handmade gifts that I am so lucky to be the recipient of:

Thanks Holly, I appreciate them all!  Don't you just love gifts that are handmade!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Here's a "healthy noodle salad" I want to share with you.  This is a quick and easy salad my family enjoys.  My daughter shared this recipe in her elementary class during Healthy Week where students demonstrated how to make something healthy to eat. 


1.  Chop into bite size pieces raw vegetables such as:

1 summer squash
1 carrot
1/4 of a head red cabbage
1-2 broccolli heads (I par boiled mine for this posting to give it a nice dark green color)
Shelled Edamame
Colored sweet peppers

2.  Cook a package spaghetti noodles (about 500g) according to directions on packagage.  Drain, rinse and set aside.

3.  Make sauce.  Mix together:
1/2 cup low sodium tamari (found in the oriental section of the supermarket)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

4.  Put noodles in a large bowl:

5.  Add raw vegetables:

6.  Add sauce and toss.

7.  Serve and enjoy!

In the past, I've tossed this salad with grilled shrimp, chicken, salmon and/or tempah with great results.  The colors of the vegetables are amazing and makes it a big hit at potlucks and bbq picnics!  My daughter's class enjoyed this and asked for seconds!  Oh, don't forget to add, if you have on hand, freshly chopped parsely and green onion for garnish, it does makes a difference. 

Hope your family enjoys this as much as mine.  This can be made one day prior, just toss prior to serving.  Oh, one more thing, there were times I substituted the spaghetti noodles with others such as:  ramen, somen, and angel hair pasta and it was just as delish!  Get creative and try it with groumet organic flavored pastas, too! Yummy!