Saturday, March 31, 2012


This week was a bit less demanding design-wise. I finally completed the "Never-Ending" pattern, and started and completed a second by the end of Friday evening. Two designs in under three weeks... I supposed that's a good average... Right? I would have to say yes... ONLY because with each new design I start and complete, it is accomplished with more learning and less trial and error of how to use, manipulate and design in Photoshop.

Other than that, it was a quiet week - and most certainly a quick one (you know what they say: Time flies when we're having fun, and I'm certainly having fun!)

I saw the hen and her chicks foraging in the back yard a couple of days ago - cute as can be except that I only counted five scuttling behind here and I know the first time I spotted the clan, there were a lot more peepers behind her... :(   There are two cats that patrol the property and keep it pest and rodent free - I'm not saying it was Sebastian or Ariel but anything is possible I suppose. I hope not but I guess it's all just part of life and natural selection.

A few weeks ago I put the Buddah's Hand out back on the patio with the Kaffir Lime, Starfruit and Banana trees, and yesterday I noticed it's getting some new buds... hopefully after almost two months in Haiku it has climatized itself to my location and the new flowers will produce fruits that will hang on and mature.

Pineapple week #5 - Is it ready yet? 

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A cute little guy (miniature horse) at the Haiku Ho'olaule'a & Flower Festival 03/31/12

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"Pencil Grass" Asparagus grown in Makawao, washed, trimmed and oiled for the grill 

Hibachi Grilled Lobster Tail with Dried Black Mission Fig Bar-B-Que Sauce
Grilled Upcountry Asparagus
Red Winter Wheat Berries, Caramelized Maui Onions, Baby Shiitake Mushroom Caps, Toasted Walnuts

Grilled Steelhead Salmon, Hawaiian Honey Teriyaki Glaze, Slivered Scallion FInish
Japanese Eggplant in Sweet-and-Spicy Garlic Sauce, Unhulled and Black Sesame Seeds, Red Pepper Flakes
Fried Rice of Wild and Brown Rice and Mixed Legumes, Fresh Garden Veggies

Hope you had a great weekend! 


Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Sometimes -- okay MANY times - I find that I am ahead of my time when it comes to design. I suppose I must have an innate knack for spotting a hot trend way before it's even a trend, or perhaps it's because I have the attention span of a dead flashlight battery and get bored easily - or more accurately it's probably both. It's a good thing that almost never works for me because I am more than likely ahead of the curve and the acceptance of the general public.

"I truly believe they (the fabrics) were ahead of their time."

Disco Dot is one example of a lucrative trend that's still alive in the market, and that I happened to hit upon at the right time. About the same time that dots became the new black, a hot trend appearing in the market was to embellish quilts, clothing, etc. with glitz and bling, rhinestones, sequins and metallic threads. Fairy Frost, in part was, developed because the mixing of metallic and pigment dye-stuff allowed the printed fabric to be "pre-embellished".

Then came the marriage of the dot and the pearlized pigment. I had a print in the market called Altoid Dot (the dots were about the size of an Altoid). At the same time, I was developing product for a client that did private label manufacturing based on their customer's theme, which was Hollywood Glamour. One of the easiest way for me to maximize design is to tweak or revise an existing design, which means at the printing mill, using screens that are already engraved and available.

In my thinking, Hollywood Glamour = pearlized pigment, and a pre-existing design that was a good candidate was Altoid Dot which also meant I could see test print samples quickly (of course, deadlines always seem to be the day before yesterday!) 

The name was taken from a Jennifer Saunders (Edina of Absolutely Fabulous) comedy pilot called, "Mirrorball". The opening is of a mirrorball spinning and flashing and throwing off glints of light from its multi-faceted, reflective surface. Epiphany!

Unfortunately for me on one hand, the program for which the design was developed fell though (don't worry; I got paid for my services) but on the other hand, I had a fantastic design at my disposal and knew it was too good to let it just fade away.
I presented the design to Kathy and staff at Michael Miller Fabrics, and it was a go. We did it in forty colors, and it did well... not a well as Fairy Frost was doing at that time, but it held its own for a while. It had all the right variables to be uber-successful but it just kind of okay. Why? We were asking ourselves. Perhaps it was too specific a shape - the dot - opposed to a non-specific texture. Perhaps it was too late at the end of the frenzy of the dot... maybe it was that people just didn't get it (after all, it took about 5 years for Fairy Frost to catch on fire!)

So, the design just lived its short life but not without attaining a bit of a cult following. The people out there that got it LOVED IT! They wanted more; they scavenged and scoured stores and online sites for every last inch of the available fabric. I've recently come upon a few of these connoisseurs, these coveters of a long unavailable fabric and they are thrilled beyond belief... 

"There were 2 fabrics that started it all. Michael Miller's Mirror Ball Dot fabric by Mark Hordyszynski in Rice and Toffee. We got them in the store this summer and have loved them ever since. I went searching for others a while back, just to find out there were 40 of these fabulous fabrics, all of which are not in production anymore. Oh the humanity! I couldn't believe they weren't making these wonderful fabrics anymore!"

The Big Island: Hawai'i
Designed by Mark Hordyszynski and made by Marinda Stewart

The time is now - the market is showing every indication that a broader audience exists to embrace this design... Debi, the sales manager at MMF was the first to recognize the importance of re-releasing the design. She put the bug in my ear - of course I would love to see this design come back! Kathy is brilliant at listening to the whisperings of the needs of the shop owners, e-tailers, and manufacturers and their customers.

by Marinda Stewart
(Click on the name to go to the page for the free quilt pattern)

As of the end of last month, 5 colors were introduced: Onyx, Platinum, Rice, Silver and Snow, and were all used in the quilt at left, with lots more to follow throughout the rest of the year and the full collection making an official debut at the Fall International Quilt Market in Houston in October.

 "More Mirror Ball Dot shimmery goodness is on its way? Cue angel song. I'm pumped to hear about just which shades are coming out, too!"

"I know how you feel! I just started to use some of the colors I've been clinging to. The promise of new fun shades makes it okay to start sewing with them again."

"You have no idea how happy you have made me!! I know it sounds crazy, but I think I could shed a tear!!! This is my all-time favorite fabric line and I cannot wait to be able to get more of it! I have been hoarding it and now feel safe using my stash! ;) Thanks!!!!!"

Photos: Google images, Mark Hordyszynski, Michael MIller Fabrics, SK Burton Designs and Worthygoods Textiles. Quotes from adoring MBD fans.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Welcome Baby Sea Turtles!

At the start of this year, six baby green sea turtles arrived at the Maui Ocean Center from Sea Life Park Hawaii, Oahu, where they were born on July 15, 2011. All from the same clutch, the six-month old turtles weighed a little over one pound and were about five inches in width. A traditional Hawaiian ceremony to bless and officially welcome them to the Aquarium was held on January 20th. (Alas! I forgot to attend as I was engrossed in a project I was working on... oh well...)

This month the Maui Ocean Center held a contest to name one of the baby turtles. The aquarist team provided the traits and behaviors of each turtle to help in choosing the perfect name.

The names were to be in Hawaiian and include a definition of the name and an explanation of how and why that name was chosen to be submitted.

So I got out my Hawaiian-English / English-Hawaiian dictionary and started thumbing through the pages...

Turtle #1:      Solid; the largest turtle.
Turtle #2:      Carefree and spends most of its time underwater.
Turtle #3:      Mellow, but holds its own.
Turtle #4:      Voracious; eats quickly and always wants more. Not to be messed with!
Turtle #5:      Active, small but spunky.
Turtle #6:      Only eats what it wants, when it wants.

On Tuesday - appropriately the 1st day of Spring - I received an email congratulating me on having chosen a name for a turtle. I laughed out loud when I saw which turtle I had connected with! I suppose the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree - or perhaps, more appropriately - the turtle doesn't swim too far from the shore.

The name I submitted and in turn that was chosen was ANA'OLE - which means, "insatiable, never satisfied; without equal, unsurpassed". So turtle #4 is my little dude. I'll get to see him, and the rest, when they gather the winners for a special behind the scenes turtle encounter at the Ocean Center! Guaranteed I'll be posting pictures as soon as I can!

On a side note, the Never-Ending project should be wrapping up tomorrow... so I promise to publish a design related post on my other collection that was released at the end of last month - for some it will be new... and for others... a bit of deja vu!

And if you're as fond of these little critters as I am, don't forget to check out my baby sea turtle (or honu in Hawaiian) print Surf's Up! by clicking on the "Sea Turtles" label below the post.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Spring

Happy First Day of Spring!

So, one advantage to living in Hawai'i is that I am 6 hours behind the East coast and 3 hours behind the West, so technically although most of you won't read this until tomorrow, I did post this to make it on the First Day of Spring.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am working on a new design, and it's just one of those things that one can never anticipate the amount of time it will take to complete a project. I started designing the essential parts in Photoshop a week ago Monday, and although I've really only worked diligently on it during "working hours", I did put in some time this weekend. And even before I could dare to consider proceeding too far, I had to check the design with the printing mill engraving technician to make sure that would be able to print the design on fabric... (and I was told yes!) Hmmm... why do I complicate my life so? It's so I can bring fresh and exciting fabric for your to work with! ;)

I started tomatoes from fruits I picked from wild plants along the roadside and they're doing incredibly well... the Buddah's Hand unfortunately lost all of the fruit which started to develop mainly because, as I am told, it's going through an acclimation period of adjusting to the new environment of Haiku. 

As you can see, the pineapple is looking more pineapple-y... and unless this plant is perhaps going to go to seed or something, I never knew pineapples bloomed before the fruit matured and ripened... Live and Learn!!!

And as it has become customary, here are some new culinary creations from this past week, complete with home-brined corned beef for St. Patrick's Day! 

 Shellfish Pasta
(Clams, Mussels, Shrimp, Top Shell Snail)
Miso-Lemon-Soy-Olive Oil Sauce with Garlic and Anchovy

Grilled Line Caught Hawai'ian Blue Marlin with Nasturtium Flower-Lemon Butter
Grilled Corn-on-the-cob, Japanese Eggplant with Miso and Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes

Home-brined St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef

Spices measured out for the brine, including Organic Raw Maui Sugar, Kosher salt, garlic, Blood Orange-rind rose, "pickling spices" of cardamon, bay leaf, black pepper, mustard seed, allspice berries, cinnamon stick, fennel and other spices

 The spices are toasted in a dry pan to release the fragrant oils

 Along with filtered water, the brine had a can of Maui Brewing Company "Big Swell IPA"

 The organic grass-fed beef brisket from Whole Foods

 The brisket immersed in the brining liquid

 The cured brisket after brining for 4 days and after rinsing

 A side dish: Russian Kale in a Roasted Garlic-Cocoanut Stout Cream Sauce with
Toasted Macadamia Nuts, Kiawe Smoked Hawai'an Salt, Cracked Black Pepper

Sliced Corned Beef, Purple Carrots, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Local Green Cabbage
Side of Mark's Cole Slaw, Stone Ground Horseradish Mustard (prepared) and Whole Grain Wasabi-Miso Mustard (home-made)

A hui hou! (Until we met again!)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dark Shadows Has Arrived!

Now, this is not the Dark Shadows that I grew up with and have grown up to become cultist about, but I cannot wait to see this take on a displaced person coming to grips with a new reality!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Just Touching Base

I know I usually post a design related tid-bit on Wednesdays, but I have just started my new group for fall International Quilt Market. I have gotten the okay to proceed with the group, and this particular design I am working on is quite time consuming and precise.... so much so I had to check with the technicians at the mill to make sure the design was printable on fabric...

No sneak peak... yet. But in the meantime - I think I have found the World's Smallest Banana - given to me by my friends Penny and Bob from a tree on their property in Puaklani.

Monday, March 12, 2012

03/05-12 Week in Review

Another week... another...?

Well, more progress... the pineapple is beginning to take shape (see how it's beginning to "crown" on top, and how the purple flowers are more visible...?) This is the 3rd week of photos, and the 4th week since the bud started to appear; at this rate it's going to be several months before a fully-grown, ripe and mature pineapple develops. That's okay -- I'm patient!

Whilst preparing the meal below, I was readying the hibachi. There was all this peeping close by. I looked around to discover a hen and her brood. She would scratch in the dirt - then peck - and the chicks would scramble eagerly to the exposed patch of earth to mimic their mother.

Very cute and entertaining until it started to downpour! Then they took cover in the bushes.

With the rain came a drop in temperature and it was nice to have a blaze of charcoal heating the cast iron grill. When finished, this is what I had prepared...

Hibachi Kona Coffee-and-Spice Rubbed Sirloin Steak

Grilled Scallions and Maui Gold Pineapple Wedge

Dry-Sauteed Blackened Green Beans, Toasted "Rough Chopped" Skin-on Almonds,
Blood Orange Segments

Hawaiian Black Lava Sea Salt

Fresh Raspberry-Ruby Red Grapefruit-Hawaiian Honey Sorbet
Meyer Lemon "Cup"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The Paradise Cove collection has been released! The complete story, merchandised in three parts: Mermaids, Flamingos and Dolphins, is shown below and if you click in the link, it will take you to the Michael Miller Fabrics website page that shows the collection along with Hula Dolls. There you will be able to see how wonderfully these two collections mix-and-match and expand the possibilities of using them together!

Mermaids of Hana Bay - DC5378 - Mermaid

Island Hibiscus - DC5017 - Lagoon

Scales and Waves - DC5014 - (Clockwise from top left: Sunshine, Amethyst, Petal)

Shell Dot - DC5379 - Breeze

Siren Song - DC5377 - Rainbow


 Flamingos - DC5463 (Top to Bottom: Banana, Lagoon, Limeade)

Hearts of Palm - DC5462 - Shell

Shell Dot - DC5379 (Clockwise from top left: Coral, Lagoon, Limeade)

Siren Song - DC5377 - Caribbean

Dolphin Babies - DC5449 - Seafoam

Hearts of Palm - DC5462 - (Clockwise from top left: Black, Lagoon, Graphite)

Siren Song - DC5377 - Graphite

Shell Dot - DC5379 - (Left to Right: Graphite, Black)

Gingerbread - DC5218 - Sand