Archive for the ‘craft’ Category

Custom curtains

March 27th, 2015

Olivia said she's tired of her green walls and asked me to paint her room pink. I said no.

It took me three years to paint the chalkboard wall. She might get pink walls by graduation. By then her favorite color will be blue.

I told her the next biggest thing we could do the change the room would be to change the curtains. She has drapes that are 80 inches long, so it practically takes up the wall.

She was excited, so I brought her to the fabric store to pick out material. In my mind, I envisioned super cute tokidoki curtains. Maybe, for variety, three different backgrounds but all fitting the same character theme. (Sanrio set me up well to become a fan of tokidoki.)

I remember when I was a child, my tastes ran so counter to what the adults liked. When I crafted with my mother and aunts (which was constant), I always thought their suggestions for my projects were so boring. Now, I'm that boring adult.

The first thing she asked for in the store was a fuzzy rug material that was neon green and fluorescent pink. <?!?> For curtains?? No.

Also, knowing that she changes her mind every other week, I told her it would have to be fabric on a budget. I gave her a price limit of $4 a yard, though I ended up giving in and letting her go up to $6 a yard.

To my amusement/ horror, she wanted three different materials for the three separate curtain panels. Olivia has always been really colorful so it wasn't a total surprise, but none of her materials match. I pointed that out, but she didn't care.

Then, the project gets more elaborate. She saw the notions section with all the sequins, ribbon roses, and lace, and asked me to embellish the curtains.

The chosen fabrics and notions.

The chosen fabrics and notions.

"Honey, this is rather complicated for Mommy. I'm not the best seamstress. I'm a desk worker," I pushed back.

"But! You ARE THE BEST seamstress! You made me that skirt! Please?" she said sincerely.

And visions of Super Mommy danced in my head. I acquiesced. "OK. Pick out the decorations."


I walked out of the store having spent double the money and committing to double the work.


Two weeks later, I finally finished the curtains. Naturally, it took even longer than I thought because half the notions needed to be hand sewn.

Hand sewn ribbon roses and sequins.

Hand sewn ribbon roses and sequins.


Good grief. If I was more experienced I could have realized that in the store and rejected it.

They are pretty cute, though when taken as a collective, so mismatched!

Making marble magnets with kids

March 13th, 2015

I'm always looking for a fun kid-friendly craft. If it's too difficult, Olivia will end up losing interest and making me do it, so these cute little marble magnets were a good choice.


Often, we play weekends by ear, partly because we are so tired during the work week that we can't think that far ahead. Other times, though, we wait to see if the neighborhood kids are out and about, or if some adult will wake up Saturday with the energy to call another adult to schedule a playdate.

Failing all that, Ben Franklin Crafts Hawaii is on my regular list of fallback activities.

So here's what I bought:

Flat Marbles
Flat Disc Magnets
E-6000 Glue
Really cute craft paper with hearts and words on it (you could just use pretty pictures from a magazine)


You'll also need a scissors and some newspaper to work on in case you drip glue.

There's more than one way to do this, but this was what I did - considering I had two impatient seven-year-olds to oversee.

Find the desired section of the paper and glue the flat side of the gem onto it. Let dry. Cut the marble off the paper. This will probably not look perfect, but if you're doing this for fun, it won't matter. Use E-6000 to glue magnet to back of glass gem. Allow to dry. Attach to any metal surface and enjoy!


You could absolutely buy these, pre-made, for less at the store, but think of the ten whole minutes of fun you have just bought yourself. Until they start bickering over who has the glue or who is hoarding the prettier paper.

Chalkboard paint

February 23rd, 2015

When you walk into my house, there is absolutely no question a child lives there. Other than the fact that most of the time, Olivia's toys are scattered throughout all the common areas and several rooms and bathrooms, we now have a big chalkboard painted on the wall at the entrance.


It's something I've seen on restaurants, offices, and stores, and have been meaning to do... for three years. I got the can of paint immediately after hatching this brilliant idea. It just took me some 1,000 days to crack it open. Ha!

Meya and Olivia breaking in the new chalkboard.

Meya and Olivia breaking in the new chalkboard.

It happened one weekend when my friend Kalei came to visit and then got bored sitting around. Kalei is Type A, needs constant motion, but hates the outdoors.

"Do you want to do some craft project? We can go down to Ben Franklin and find something to make," I suggested.

"Crafts? No!" she rejected.

"Do you want to walk or hike?" I offered.

"No!" she said.

"Do you want to go to the beach or pool?" I said because I was getting desperate.

"Diane. Do you even know me?" she asked.

Then I remembered about the chalkboard wall. "Do you want to help me paint my entrance way with chalkboard paint?" I asked.

Kalei got excited, and that became our afternoon project. Claus supervised and mixed up the paint while we cleaned, taped, sanded, and painted the wall. We thought perhaps he assigned himself the good job as supervisor. I'm grateful to Kalei because if it wasn't for her, I know that we never would have done this.


I felt kind of guilty because Olivia would want to paint with us, but I've learned as a mom that my energy and time is unpredictable, so I have to strike while the iron is hot.

Olivia was out with the babysitter, so I texted the sitter: "The foyer paint is wet. Don't tell Olivia we did this without her. Tell her the Paint Fairy came."

Two coats later, it was done, and it works like a charm. It was covered with chalk drawings within five minutes of me declaring it dry and peeling the tape off.

I thought our family could use it as a little message board (one that doesn't get covered up with clutter or blown away in the breeze) but I see it's found a primary home as an art surface. And that works, too!

Chinese New Year's bottles

February 18th, 2015

For Chinese New Year, Olivia and I made our friends bottles. We bought teensy little bottles, colored sand, twine, and shells at the craft store and made it at home.


It is the perfect project for a seven year old. I don't know about your kids, but mine loses patience and interest very quickly with any kind of detail work, so something that requires just mixing together a few simple ingredients is perfect.


I sometimes bead, so I happened to have little blown-glass sheep charms that I could wire wrap and attach to the outside of the bottle like a charm. This is the part where Olivia abandoned me to do all that tedious work.

Olivia enjoyed putting it together, though I was amused watching her as she started playing with the sand. I gave her a funnel to pour the sand into the bottle, and she experimented all kinds of ways with putting the funnel upside down, or filling the funnel all the way up and stopping and starting the flow of the sand into the bottle. Kid stuff - funny. Table was a little messy after, of course.

My bottle!

My bottle! My charm is a slipper.

The last step involved cutting out little strips of paper. The intention is that you write your new year's wishes on the paper, roll it up, put it in the bottle, and let it serve as a reminder to you all year long to achieve it. Kind of a Western version of a daruma doll.

I got excited about this craft project, so in addition to making mine, I asked Claus if he wanted one. He quickly answered no. Clutter and girly charms are not his thing. Then, Olivia decided she wanted to make one for Daddy, and he was all in. Cute.

So I've got my beautifully decorated new year's bottle, and I'm super excited about the Chinese New Year. 2015 so far has been fantastic, and I have high hopes it will continue through the Asian calendar!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Hawaii State Public Library System's January events

January 14th, 2015

The public library offers a number of free public events across its Oahu branches this month:

Mililani Library Presents Preschool Storytime Jan. 20 - Feb. 24 

Keiki ages 2 to 5, accompanied by a parent or caregiver, are invited to attend this free one-hour program and listen to stories and poems, learn finger plays, and sing songs.  A simple make-and-take craft will follow each storytime; crafts are available while supplies last.  No registration is needed.

Storytimes will be presented on January 20, 27; February 3, 10, 17, and 24. Contact the Library two weeks in advance if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed.

Mililani Public Library is located at 95-450 Makaimoimo Street.  For more information, please call the Library at 627-7470.

Award-winning Band Performs at Aina Haina Library Jan. 21

The award-winning musical group Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem will perform in-concert at Aina Haina Public Library on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 2 p.m. in the Children's Section.   Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, from Middletown, Conn., performs music that combines folk, country blues, progressive bluegrass, contemporary pop, and jazz.

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem Band. Courtesy Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem Band.

Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem Band. Courtesy Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem Band.

Band members include: Rani Arbo (fiddle, guitar), Andrew Kinsey (bass, banjo, and ukulele), Anand Nayak (electric and acoustic guitars) and Scott Kessel (percussion).  The band's CD Ranky Tanky (Mayhem Music; 2010 family album) won Gold Awards from the American Library Association, Parents' Choice Foundation, and National Association of Parenting Publications.  In addition to their performance, the band members will introduce themselves and discuss their style of music.

This one-hour program is suitable for all ages and is a production of the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Outreach College-Statewide Cultural Extension Program. Funding is provided by the Friends of the Library of Hawaii, National Endowment for the Arts, Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Contact the library two weeks in advance if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed.   Aina Haina Public Library is located at 5246 Kalanianaole Highway.  For more information, please call the Library at 377-2456.

Make Unique Greeting Cards at Kaimuki Library on Jan. 27

"Creative Greeting Cards," a free craft program, will be presented at Kaimuki Public Library on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 6 p.m. in the Adult Reading Section.

Greeting card. Courtesy: Sharie Torres

Greeting card. Courtesy: Sharie Torres

Sharie Torres, who has taught the art of paper crafting for more than 10 years, will demonstrate how to create three unique greeting cards.  Registration is required for this 1½-hour, hands-on program that is limited to 15 participants.  All supplies will be provided.

The Friends of Kaimuki Library is sponsoring this program which is suitable for ages 10 and older.  Children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver.    Contact the Library two weeks in advance if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed. Kaimuki Public Library is located at 1041 Koko Head Avenue.  For more information or to register, please call the Library at 733-8422.

Seminar for Inventors and Small Businesses at Aiea Library on Jan. 28
Inventors, entrepreneurs, legal professionals, and the public are invited to attend a free seminar on patent and trademark searching at the new Aiea Public Library (99-374 Pohai Place) on Wednesday, January 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. in the Program Room.

“Patent and Trademark Searching: Essential Information You Need to Protect Your Intellectual Property” will feature presentations by Tom Turner and M. Neil Massong from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, Va.; Len Higashi of the High Technology Development Corporation, Joseph Burns of the Hawaii Small Business Development Center, and Jayna Uyehara of the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Business Action Center.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the Hawaii State Public Library System, the Hawaii State Library, and other donors are sponsoring this seminar.

Participants will learn step-by-step guidelines and strategies for conducting patent and trademark searches, and gain knowledge of lessons learned from local entrepreneurs.  They will discover ways to protect intellectual property rights, avoid infringement lawsuits, and learn how to launch businesses the right way.

Registration is required due to limited seating.  Call the Hawaii State Library's Federal Documents Section to register by Friday, January 23, 2015.

A seminar tie-in exhibit “Island Innovation: A Spotlight on Hawaii’s Patents and Trademarks” will be on display at the Hawaii State Library in January 2015.  The exhibit will showcase a variety of Hawaii’s patent products and iconic trademarks, from unique plants to familiar logos.

"Martial Arts in Chinese Culture" lecture on Jan. 31

Stanley Henning, a researcher of Chinese martial arts history, will conduct this free slide presentation on martial arts in Chinese culture.  Henning, who is also a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, has studied Yang Style Taijiquan and Shanxi Che in Taiwan, two popular forms of Chinese martial arts.

This one-hour program is suitable for ages 12 and older, and will include a question-and-answer session.  Contact the Library two weeks in advance if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed.  The new Aiea Public Library is located at 99-374 Pohai Place.  For more information, please call the Library at 483-7333.

Meet Project Runway Hawaii Finalist at Kapolei Library Jan. 31  

Courtesy: Kini Zamora

Courtesy: Kini Zamora

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a fashion designer?  Meet fashion designer Kini Zamora, a recent contestant on "Project Runway" Season 13, at Kapolei Public Library on Saturday, January 31 at 2 p.m. in the Main Lobby.

Learn how this talented local boy from Kapolei followed his dreams and overcame obstacles to become one of four finalists on the Lifetime Channel's popular "Project Runway" television show, and own two successful clothing lines in Hawaii.

The Friends of the Library Kapolei is sponsoring this free one-hour program for teens and adults, ages 12 and older.   Contact the Library two weeks in advance if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed.    Kapolei Public Library is located at 1020 Manawai Street.  For more information, please call the Library at 693-7050.