Thursday, September 26, 2013

Feeling some aloha.

Best thing to do when you're feeling the aloha, share it! Check out my shop and use the coupon code ALOHA and receive 20% off all purchases. Awesome photo above taken by D on our trip to Oahu last January. Ahhhhh, so gorgeous!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Weaving again!

If you're going to have a huge piece of equipment taking up space in your studio, you really need to use it. I am determined to get handweaving more again, and get some pieces into Craftland. It's fall, it's scarf season, so it's the perfect time to do it. It's been fun remembering what I love it and getting the wheels turning again. I'm trying to focus on just getting into the groove and not constantly focusing on who will buy it, how much it should cost, and all those questions that I can't help but think about. It's a challenge, but it's been a good one. Some photos of my first warp. It's already off and items will be at Craftland starting tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July is Sale Month!

This month I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop. Each week I'll have a different part of the world on sale. Each week the sale will differ a bit, maybe it'll be free shipping, maybe a percentage off, you'll just have to check each week to see what is in store.
I decided to kick things off big with 50% off all books featuring the Middle East. Now is the perfect time to snatch one of these books off. Check back next week to see what's on sale!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Working abroad in Hangzhou, China.

I just spent most of the month of March in Hangzhou, China. I have been designing for a mill there for about 9 months, and finally made it over to work from there.

Working in a foreign country is not for everyone. It's hard to live at a hotel for a long period of time, to be away from loved ones and to absorb an entirely different way of working. It's intense, and invaluable. While I didn't get to see the Forbidden City, or the Great Wall, or the terracotta warriors, I got an insight into everyday life, and had conversations with people I would never have had if I were there strictly as a tourist. I got to feel the buzz of a country growing at a dizzying rate, and saw how that's affecting people's lives for better and for worse. Working there day to day, I had to let go of my regular routine and creature comforts, and be open to things being different. It wasn't very hard. It's amazing how quickly old habits can die and you can get used to an entirely different way to go about your day. In fact, I'd say it's refreshing.

Before I left, we spent the weekend watching a lot of travel shows filmed in China. While there, I kept thinking of the opening of an Anthony Bourdain episode filmed in Shanghai. "Saying I've been to China is like saying I've been to Planet Earth. It means maybe, at best, that you've seen a little, a slice, a nibble off the edge. China, with more than a billion people, over 3 1/2 million square miles of territory, 56 unique ethnic groups and at least 8 distinct major cuisines, is not a destination, it's a life's work." 

While I don't have a ton of photos, I did have some time off and do have some photos from West Lake in Hangzhou, and the ancient part of the city there. More to come in future posts!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Etsy shop sale!

I will be closing my Etsy shop down for the month of March. In honor of the break, I'm having a sale! 10% off all purchases. Use the coupon code BREAK2013 during check out.

Why will my shop be closed for the month of March? Because I'll be going to China for 3 weeks on a business trip. Eek! It's exciting, and  kind of crazy, but I'm up for the experience.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Spirit of Aloha

I often tell people, if you only want to sit on a beach and drink fruity drinks, then Hawaii is maybe not the best choice for you. It takes a long time to fly there, and it's pretty expensive once you're there. If you're never going to leave a resort, pick some place different. But, if you want aloha, then it's worth whatever you need to go through to get there.

I wondered if being in Waikiki, the aloha might be a little less obvious than in other quieter parts of Hawaii. Honolulu is a huge city, with lots of the real life problems that most big cities have. Waikiki is a small area of Honolulu that is jam packed with tourists from all over the world. I wondered if this might burn people out, if the people who worked in this city would have some aloha zapped by the traffic or constant crush of tourists. The answer is no. The aloha is everywhere, and we just can't seem to get enough of it. What was interesting about Waikiki, was we also kept seeing signage, kind of explaining what aloha is. That it's not just a word that means hello, it's a lot more than that.

The first place I saw it was on the ground. At intersections in Waikiki, if you're waiting for the light to change so you can cross the street, if you look down, there are stones on the sidewalk with Hawaiian words and their meaning. I loved this, and loved the simplicity of the aloha stone.

Another place was on the base of the Duke Kahanamoku statue.

Finally, I noticed it again in the tourist trap, International Marketplace in the center of Waikiki. (Total tourist trap, but if you've watched old Hawaii Five-O episodes, then it's worth walking through.)

We left, as usual, in total aloha mode. Relaxed, happy and plotting our next trip back. More photos to follow, I promise.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Final Stop: La Posada

The last stop on our trip was such a pleasant surprise. We left the Petrified Forest, and drove to Winslow, Arizona to stay at La Posada.

This hotel is an old historic hotel which has been renovated to its former glory, while also being an art gallery that showcases local artists, as well as the art of the owner, Tina Mion. You could easily spend a whole day wandering the galleries and grounds.

It was originally a Harvey Hotel, a man who "civilized the west" by building hotels along the old Route 66. This was right next to the current train station, and if you're a train lover, this would be heaven.

The restaurant is also one of the best in Arizona, and we had an amazing meal to toast to D's 40th birthday, and brunch there the next morning was equally delicious.

If I could plan it all over, I would have had us spend 2 nights here, so we had one whole day to lounge around and be lazy. After a trip full of lots of hiking, and lots of getting up and hitting the road, one lazy day would have been great. Of course, no matter where we go, we always seem to want one more day!

We stayed in our room until about 5 minutes before check out. We couldn't help it. Our flight back home was out of Phoenix, but not until about 10:30pm, so we had the whole day to work our way back to Phoenix. Along the way we stopped to see the huge Meteor Crater.

It's funny, had we done this first, I probably would have been blown away by how huge it was. After a week in the Southwest though, my eyes had grown used to things being unbelievably huge. We enjoyed the stop, and the small museum attached that gives a lot of information about meteors.

Our last stop was lunch in Sedona. The drive into Sedona was gorgeous, but we were a little underwhelmed in Sedona. After so much time on the road with no other cars, and at these gorgeous sights, with hardly any other people, we found Sedona really crowded, and just not the vibe we were wanting right then. I'm sure had we done it as an escape from Phoenix, it would have been a totally different experience, but on this particular day, the crowds has us eager to move on. We had lunch, snapped some photos of the red rocks, which are super gorgeous, and headed back to Phoenix.

Our trusty Ford Escape served us well on this trip, and we did just about 1460 miles in it. This was the first kind of trip we've done like this together, and (not surprisingly) we loved it. At first we'd been worried there'd be too much driving, but it never bothered us.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stop 5: Petrified Forest & Painted Desert

After a night in Chinle, we hit the road through Eastern Arizona to the last National Park of the trip, the Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park.

This is a large park that is designed to be driven through. There are pull offs throughout the park where you can get out and gaze. We did the northern part first, which was the painted desert. The colors were gorgeous, and with so few other people, it was so peaceful. It felt like we had it to ourselves.

The park then crosses over Route 40, and you enter the southern half. This side of the park has more areas where you can get out and do some short hikes. One area had some ruins from old dwellings, and one trail was closed off. We took this warning seriously!

There were also lots of petroglyphs in this part of the park. By this time in the trip, I had become fascinated with finding petroglyphs all over. Having learned that the big swirl symbol meant travels, we always looked for one.

One of the most serious hikes in this park wound through badlands. I loved this section. I had never seen badlands before, so I was fascinated about the geology of it and the colors! I loved the stripes in the rocks, and colors that I had never seen in nature before. It was breathtaking.

And another in my "D hiking" series, I seemed to have a lot of shots like this. I just love seeing him with no one else around, just big nature.  

After the badlands, you start entering the areas with serious amounts of petrified logs.

I'm not a huge geology geek, or know much at all about rocks, but this was still a fascinating stop simply because nature is amazing. The colors in these logs are gorgeous, and you really get the sensation that you're watching nature happen. Sure, these rocks took millions of years to get to this point, but they're so obviously wood and solid stone, that you can get a real feel for the process.

A close up of minerals in one of the logs. 

From here we got back onto the highway and headed to our final stop: Winslow, Arizona.