Saturday, January 30, 2010

#6. Scuba Diving (top HI memories)

Deciding to get certified for scuba diving was one of my better decisions in life. There truly is another world under the sea. It passes my understanding. The sea turtles just leave you speechless. I can't even begin to describe the emotions of swimming with the sea turtles. I love them so much.

We went to 4 completely different dive sights. The first consisted of arches an alleys of coral to swim through. It wasn't the place for a clastaphobic (sp?) person. We had seen turtles swimming around but I found this particular one that was nuzzled into a dark part of the coral where the sun didn't reach. I put my mask right up to his noise and we were face to face. He didn't budge either. Some of the others would swim away when you singled them out. I was having a moment there eye to eye with what I think is the most amazing creature ever. The ocean is so serial--even though there is activity around, the deep breaths of oxygen are really soothing. And then there was the faint noise of whales calling back and forth. I'm trying to describe it but doing a terrible job. I've dreamed of swimming with turtles since I can remember. I had no expectation to see any thing else. So when we saw the Octopus ink and the Eel looking creepy, I maxed out a threshold of enjoyment I didn't know I could experience.


I didn't get a steady hand on this shot. But still worth posting. I lost count of all the killer whales we saw. These pictures were taken as we were headed out to sea for diving.

This might be my favorite. I love the water trailing behind his tail.

I wasn't able to get a picture, but on a separate occasion we saw a little baby whale swimming next to his mom. He kept trying to jump out of the water like her. His little body was doing the tinniest splash our of water. He would jump probably 5 times to her .

Free Willy!

I actually emailed this pic in to the "Great White Trail." If you get a good pic of the tail, they want to add it to their records to track where it is going. No two tails are alike. So I did my service there. Maybe I will hear back that he was in Alaska 6 months ago. Wishful thinking...

Our instructor said this is probably a male looking to mate because he is playfully slapping his tail back and forth. I didn't get a pic but the neatest thing ever was seeing a whale on his belly with his noose out of water and flapping his tail back and forth. He was just floating there with the curve in his back to have his body under water but his noose and tail out.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Felt Pixel Rug

My last day of the convention, I had a chance to walk around and see the show floor. I was taken back when I saw the display of a multi-colored felt rug in one of the booths. The vendor was a felt manufacturer out of Nepal, India. So they don't sell to the public. The rug was simply a display of how the felt could be used. I stoped and stared. I had fallen in love with virtually the same thing at Anthrologie. But a 4x6 is $600 and their 10x12 is $1,300. Apparently, it takes forever to ball up the felt and sew each indiviual piece together. I looked in to making my own wreath one time as seen here.

When I asked the lady standing close by, if I could buy the display, she didn't understand my English. She called another guy over who said he "would give it to me for next to nothing" because they were about to travel to their next show in Germany and shipping costs are high. When I asked how much he said $75. I didn't have any cash on me and I needed to return to our booth. But I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I went back and bartered him down to $60. He reminded me that it was worth much more but he didn't want to pay for its shipping cost. He was clearly frustrated a bit too. I can understand why though. Sometimes people get in the convention with a simple tax ID and they don't have a buisness to give them reason to be there. And they want to buy a piece of the booth. It's frustrating becuase we are there to move bulk from the warehouse. Not peazy things.

Thankfully, I got the rug. I lucked out. I'm still on my rug high, and I've had it for over 24 hours now.


Bagmati is the manufacturer out of India that I bought my rug from. This pic above is one I got off their site. You can see the ladies hand sewing the product. It is neat to see how the lamb's wool is turned into this felt dye.

I'm so tall, I make the rug looked dwarfed above. It is bigger than it looks. I actually asked the guy if they supply the rug to Anthropologie. He said yes but it wasn't very convinving so I don't know. When I asked if I could potentially get another for a friend that was interested, he said he doesn't sell to the public and it was a display, but the third time I came around to the booth he said, if I let him know the demensions, he would have one made and bring it to the next show.

I pulled the following quote from their site. I'm humbled as I think of the work that went into it. "As the felt products are relatively simple to make, lot of under priviledged women have become involved in this industry. This in turn has helped in improving their living standard and empowered them."

This is the one from Antho.

#5. Fruit stands (top HI memories)

Loved having the fresh fruit stands at my fingertips--tons of fresh fruit. This Juice Stand was almost 'too fresh.' None of us finished ours--too strong.

Surprisingly, the pineapples are more expensive than I remembered them being. When we were in HI for basketball a few years ago, teammates were getting them for a buck and bringing them home. I didn't see one for under $5. Apparently, it is getting to be too expensive to farm them there so they are outsourcing to other countries. Sad.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Craft & Hobby Convention

I've been in Anahiem, CA for almost a week now for the huge crafting convention of the year. I posted about it last year here. I've been looking forward to the excitiment ever since. As much as I hate being apart from Drew this week, it has actually flown by for the most part becuase I've been so busy.

This past year has been a great one for American Crafts despite the economy. Sales are up. We've grown quite a bit. We have everything you could possibly need in the scrapbooking/crafting world--adhesives, albums, paper unlimited, ribbon unlimited, thickers of all sorts, stickers, embossing powders, stamps, inks, fabric. You name it, we have it. & just about in every color too. I think our catalog for wholesalers is about 200 pages.

But this recent release has been especially exciting. Liz Katchner co-designed a line through our design team. Although I didn't know who she was prior, I've enjoyed getting to know her. Not only was she scrapbooker of the year a few years back, but she also has her own column in Creating Keepsakes called Dear Lizzie--hence the name of her spring release. She just published her first book. Her blog has a loyal following too. When I saw her for the first time I recognized her from Nie Nie's post here. Hard to forget a pretty face.

Her line is adoreable. It sells itself. But it was nice to have the hype to go along with it too. If retail owners get so excited about the new releases, I can only imagine what goes on at the consumer level.


I love the show for a lot of reasons. It's nice to travel with 20 people from the company as opposed to solo like I usually do. I really like meeting with all my top customers too. I love the interaction that my job brings. But dealing with product more in bulk as opposed to smaller quantities is nice. I really love my job. I never could have imiagined liking my job so much. But the time away from my husband is extremely hard and makes it a tough one.

I booked out my scheduale with appointments and stay busy the entire show. The last day everything lightens up. I had a chance to walk the floor a bit. I couldn't begin to see it all. But I got a glimpse. I can't even begin to get my mind around the art and beading side of things. The quilting and yarning sections run over me as well. Spools of yarn arranged and stacked by color are so beauitful though I will say. But that is the extent of what I recognize in those setups. The woodwork booths are impressive to see as well.

The convention was saturated with paper releases and di-cut machines. Di-cuts seem to be the thing right now. I can't even keep up. There was the silhouette, the slice, much more, and now the new cricut that can be using to cut out cake's icing. My goodness. I can't keep up with it all.

Except for American Crafts, who I love and am so proud to work for.

This is one of the 20 sectionals of our booth. I love our stamping section. It's so colorful.

Graphic 45 gets a lot of attention for their vintage scence and distressed papers. I really like what they have to offer and the way they display it.
I forget the name of this booth. Creativity Your Way maybe? I don't even know what they represent either. I just liked the diplays.

#4. Life of the Locals (top HI memories)

It's neat to observe the locals and how they live. Whether it was basket weaving with dry sugar cane, or the excessive fireworks on New Year's Eve, it was all so neat. I couldn't of imagined the famalies gathered grilling out and kids running around with huge fireworks. I gained a new appreciation of the word "Aloha." To me it means, 'Hello, we're friends. Let's take it easy here living the life.' That's my interpretation of course, but I can't help but smile at some of the faces that would so warmly say "Aloha."


#3. Nephews (top HI memories)

Two weeks straight with my nephews was bliss.


Silly boy faking asleep.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

#2. Zipline (top HI memories)

Our faces say it all?

I don't recall ever getting cold in HI except this once. It was early morning and we were high in altitude. It was a neat vegetation though to be zipping through.

Top Hawaiian Memories... #1.Tennis with the Family

I come from a tennis family--period. I play by default. The rest of the crew is qualified in their own right. My dad actually noticed my mom for the first time when she was playing tennis at BYU. One of the coaches was my dad's PE instructor who proceeded to match them up. To complete the background understanding, know that my bro. and sister both used to hold top USTA rankings in LA. My brother still plays in a competitive league on top of 5+ intramural T-shirts. I take lessons every time I go home to work on my strokes a bit. I enjoy the exercise, but I moreless need the basics to hang with my family junkies--especially when the competitive situations arise.


Dixon (Dad) and Dixon (nephew) playing tennis together.

The all of us.

First of all, my posture stinks. I really need to get ahold of that before it gets out of control. Correct me when I do it. I hate it. Secondly, awesome T on Drew! We got that there and I have been wearing it non-stop. Never, have I ever gotten so many complements on a piece of clothing in my life. Who would of thought a T-shirt?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kaui Hiking...

One of my favorite things to do is hiking. For many, a relaxing week on the beach is the ideal vacation. I love to relax myself, but there is nothing I prefer on my itineary to a great hike.

Our first full day in Kaui, the weather was perfect. I didn't want to miss our chance to hike the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali coast. We didn't have the camping gear to do the full 24 mile round trip hike. So we settled for the 8 mile to Hanakoa Falls. I'll never forget that hike. We started out on the shear cliff to the ocean for the first few miles. The views were stunning. The last mile we weaved our way up a rainforest type of vegetation crossing a fairly deep and swift current creek--one rock at a time. After weaving back and forth accross the creek we reached the most amazing waterfall ever--better than I could ever imagine. It was a secluded enclosed area with greenry all around which made it cozy and remote. Yet the pool of water below the falls had complete visibility all the way down to the rocks deep below. The pressure of the warerfall isn't to overwhelming to where you couldn't swim below and underneath the falls. I'm guessing the falls were over 100 feet tall. We did the hike later in the day so we were the only people left at the falls. Most everyone hikes it in the morning to ensure they are back by dark. It would be a scary trail if there was no sunlight. We weren't sure if we would make it all the way to the falls because we had a time mark we knew we had to turn around by to make it back. We were pushing it close--way too close. But it made for a beautiful sunset on our way home.
The only way one can view the Na Palai coast is by foot (the full 24 mile hike), by air (this pic is from the heli ride), or by boat/kayak (which during winter, the swells are too high). The sheer cliffs, waterfalls, and narrow valleys along this coast line are breath taking.

(self-timer pic taken on a very unsturdy rock)
The climatic point of our hike...Wish we could have spent all day there, but we had to get home before dark. Wouldn't want to be on that cliff in the dark that's for sure.

Hanakapia Beach is half way to the falls. It is really quaint beach tucked away too along the trail. I could see how many would just jump on in. But the tide apparently has pulled many out from where the waves break. The waves broke so early and then just sucked its way back if that makes any sesne.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hawaii Sunsets


Align Center

He thought he saw a whale.
Twilight--my favorite time of day.

One of my favorite nights... going to the locals beach as they surfed past sunset.

On the end of our 8 mile hike. We were hustleing for fear we would have no light on the last part of our hike.

This was sunrise in Kauai. Sad to see the crosses of the shore side. I saw too many of those. Apparently surfers trying to hit the big swells pass away too often.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1850's Bank of Spice Drawers...

Isn't this the neatest drawer set you have ever seen in your life? I must have opened every drawer and read through every label the first time I saw it in Seattle. This old piece is from England where it was at one point an old refrigerator for multiple spices, breads, and even fish (bigger compartments at the bottom). I could easily give this piece a home for multiple storing purposes. But the $12,000 tag must mean it already has a home and isn't meant to be moved from the store. The old wood and tattered fabric covered knobs are amazing. I can only visualize the era and people putting this to use.

I have had fun researching similar purposes on line. Nothing compares...