december 17, 2014

I’ve been hearing myself chuckle lately, and it catches me off guard.  For a millisecond I think to myself, “whose that?”

I must be feeling better; my camera is my companion again.

november 06, 2014

Aloha ‘Oe quilt update:

Words cannot describe how pleased I am to be wrapping this one up!  Today I finished the quilting and attached the binding… all that’s left is to tack down the other side and I’m done!  Beyond the simple act of finishing up, and getting my groove back, I think what most pleases me most has to do with the pure goodness of creating this keepsake for our son.  Having a child leave for college is a bittersweet experience; this is what they are supposed to do, yet still, it has a certain sting to it.  Creating this quilt out of my hand-dyed fabrics and old scrubs, and his father’s old aloha shirts gives me comfort in knowing that even though he’s far away, our son will have something from us to keep him company.  He might not appreciate the time and effort I’ve put into this, or the sappy reason why I’m doing it, but that doesn’t matter one bit!  I’m sure you understand.

VivienZepfNovember 13, 2014 - 12:12 pm

He’ll love having is as much as you loved making it.

Kristin LNovember 10, 2014 - 4:22 pm

You’ve made this for all the right reasons and with such love and care. He may not know he appreciates it, but I think deep down he absolutely does. :-)

RumiNovember 8, 2014 - 7:36 am

So sweet! I like how it looks. Good luck to your son in college.

november 4, 2014

Two weeks, a buttery blend of yellow and cream, many restarts and failed attempts, and one hot mess of yarn playfully unraveled by my sweet little dog Bleu, equals this, my first knitting project. It’s supposed to be an 8-hour baby blanket, the pattern from this book, but I think the name is a little deceiving; 8 hours came and went days ago.  It’s not in any way perfect, and I’ve already strayed from the pattern, ahem, but I think I’m gonna be alright.  I can’t really say I’m hooked on knitting, yet I’m beginning to feel that perpetual tug to see it through.  It’s as if this blanket is taunting me… “finish me… finish me.”  So in between piles of laundry, dog walks and long days at work I’m finding myself planted squarely here adding one row at a time.  With the Gilmore girls as my companions, and orange lights casting warmth to this space I can surely say I’ve found my way to sit peacefully as the rainy season begins.

DianeNovember 4, 2014 - 3:15 pm

Hi Robin,

I love the color of your yarn. YOU CAN DO THIS, JUST KEEP PLUGGING AWAY!!! GO FOR IT GIRL!!!!

I will be away for a quilt retreat with my guild for 5 days but will mail you a simple pattern for a dish cloth to learn on when I return. It will be something that you will be able to use and enjoy!!


DianeNovember 4, 2014 - 3:12 pm

Hi Robin,

Love the color of the yarn. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!!!
Can you hear me cheering you on!!?? GO FOR IT!!

october 12, 2014

i started stitching and something old and familiar came back to me.  i could feel myself relaxing back into this.

(i’d like to thank all you for commenting on my last post.  i’ll be taking a trip soon to arizona and although we won’t have time for the grand canyon, i’m sure i’ll have a little time for a yarn shop… dun, dun, dun… and so it begins.)

Vivien ZepfOctober 22, 2014 - 9:02 pm

Good for you! Hope you enjoyed your time at the machine.

AngieOctober 17, 2014 - 2:30 pm

Glad to see you “losing yourself” in your stitching. I got a longarm a few months ago and the joy, contentment, and respite it offer me is surprising. Good luck yarn hunting.

october 06, 2014

I want to learn how to knit, but I’m afraid of investing myself in something so inconsistent with this tropical climate.

Penelope GlobeOctober 12, 2014 - 4:56 am

I agree with the other ladies, cotton would be the way to go. In the past few years I have been making kitchen hand towels out of a heavy cotton that you would make a dish cloth from. They are wonderful and absorbent. I make them for friends for Christmas and there is always requests for more.

Jill Lee-JonesOctober 8, 2014 - 5:35 am

Try linen…it has a lovely hand once you wash it and is cool to wear.

Kristin LOctober 7, 2014 - 9:47 am

Cotton and linen yarns are a less springy than wools, and therefore a bit harder on the hands to knit, but not too bad. Definitely good tropical fibers. I knit two wool/acrylic blend afghans while in Hawaii, and surprisingly, I actually got use out of them during the chillier rainy season. I did not work on them during the warmest months though. ;-)

KatieOctober 7, 2014 - 1:55 am

I’m obsessed with knitting (and also started off sewing/quilting). You could try out a linen or cotton blend yarn for your climate. Or use lace or sock weight yarns. The author of the website used to live in Hawaii too.

MaryOctober 6, 2014 - 11:45 am

As a quilter, I also wondered if I would like knitting. And guess what? I LOVE it! I can understand with your climate but try knitting with some cotton yarn. It is the perfect craft for when quilting seems like too much work some nights. Good luck!

september 30, 2014

I’m often tired at the end of a long day but then I remember how it used to be.  Seems like those years of juggling the kids and busy household prepared me for this.  Now, in these moments of solitude, I have the time to reflect and contrast; I miss the pitter-patter of little feet, but I’m grateful for the silence evening brings.


september 25, 2014

even though I  had to rally at 11 to pick him up, I’m thankful he doesn’t drive yet.  our ten-minute chat was worth it.

GretchenSeptember 26, 2014 - 4:29 pm

As I recall, some of the best talks happened on the way home from “the last ferry”. Enjoy those moments!

Bali House Update


Our Hana house continues to move forward.   It is being disassembled piece-by-piece, labeled and wrapped ever so carefully.  I’m reminded of those lincoln logs we had when we were little, but instead of scooping it all up and shoveling into a container like my mother used to do, this house is stored neatly and methodically.  We’ve been told that two shipping containers have been located in Bali and more will be needed to accommodate it all.  Because the road to Hana is long and windy, no containers longer than 25 feet are allowed.  I am thankful for such workers that are willing to accommodate such a restriction. I pray that this house makes it here safely.  I pray that the final pieces of the permit puzzle fall into place, the insurance, the contractor…. it’s all so overwhelming, sometimes I can barely breathe.  Rather than depend on others for strength and assurance, I’ve been going inside and nurturing that twisted little gut, sending it soothing thoughts of acceptance and love.  One step at at time Robin, one step at a time.

Vivien ZepfSeptember 22, 2014 - 4:02 pm

I’m hopeful for you.

Gayle KushSeptember 13, 2014 - 8:47 am

That is going to be awesome. Worth the wait for sure!

august 27, 2014

Things are just a tad calmer without him here.  Still, he is on my mind constantly.

This quilt, a gift for his graduation, ahem,  his going away, keeps him within reach.

Somehow working on it makes me feel better about this situation.

july 24, 2014


I powered through my night, I had a job to do.

I was startled by the amber glow of morning.

Beauty catches me by surprise.


robinJuly 29, 2014 - 4:00 pm

Thank you so much Minna! One of the things on my “to do” list is to get my shop back up and running. I hope to do that soon. I’m thrilled that you like my work enough to seek me out! Makes me feel good.
I hope you find opportunities to plug in and combat that boredom. Retirement! Time to get quilting! Show me your work sometime!

Minna LevenkronJuly 29, 2014 - 6:35 am

I have been looking for your webs tie for months. I never thought of looking up, duh, do I feel dumb. I bought two of your small quilts and would love to buy more. How can I find out which are for sale. I am so glad I found your site. You are such an inspiration for me. I have been ill for many years following two motor vehicle accidents where I was rear ended. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t quilt. After six years I finally found a physician in New York City who finally diagnosed what was wrong with me. I will never fully recover but I’m getting better everyday. I had to stop working two years ago after working for forty years and I’m soooooo bored. Thank goodness I can quilt again so I’m going full steam ahead. I can look at your beautiful quilts and you are such an inspiration. Thank you.

MaryJuly 25, 2014 - 1:31 pm

I have been somewhat where you have been in the past year…I feel like you are coming out of your fog. I am happy for your days of peace.

july 17, 2014

I love that they didn’t have to go so early.  summer is good that way.

GayleJuly 20, 2014 - 10:25 am

Making headway on the shirt quilt. Good for you!

Kristin LJuly 18, 2014 - 11:26 am

I like where this arrangement is going!

july 5, 2014

after dinner we played around by making balloon animals.  I heard myself giggle at their silliness.  it was something I had not heard in a while.

Vivien ZepfJuly 18, 2014 - 12:21 pm

Love this! Can’t remember the last time we made balloon animals!

july 3, 2014

I’m making progress on my son’s “Aloha ‘Oe” quilt.  Just 16 more blocs to go!

 I have mixed feelings about him going off to college… part of me wants him to stay near, the other part sees that he needs to move on.   I guess this is how it goes.

robinJuly 5, 2014 - 12:15 pm

Thank you so much for your kind words. It helps that I have the ear of those who’ve paved the way before me.

Vivien zepfJuly 5, 2014 - 11:27 am

Looks fabulous, Robin! I’m sure he’ll love it.

MaryJuly 4, 2014 - 12:26 am

His quilt is perfect. You’ll be okay. It’s always hard letting the chicks take a first solo flight, but try to remember that he’s been trained by the best (mom) to be self-sufficient and able to handle himself. Having raised three, I can tell you that the compliment is that he makes it on his own–sort of a testament to your parenting. That doesn’t make it easier, of course! Try to focus on quilting and other things so you don’t miss him so much. And remember that it’s okay to miss him and okay to cry.

july 1, 2014

the sunlight shifted and suddenly i noticed rainbows dancing on my walls.

Bali House Update


Building a house is never easy.  Building a house with layers upon layers of complexity is even harder.  Our Bali house project is well into it’s third year.  We were on a roll with the plans and building, moving along in “Bali time”… which is much like “Hawaii time” only slower.  Than the obstacles hit.  It started when we were side-railed by  personal crisis… I cannot blame this project for the breakup, but I can say it had to take the back-burner while we figured things out.  Thankfully, our enthusiasm for the house remains so here we are.  I like to think of it as our fourth child… well deserving of our attention, this is something that will be good for our whole family.  After that, there was the rainy season in Bali, during which time nearly everything came to a stand-still.  I know not many people would be able to stomach putting such important work aside for a few months out of the year, but the Balinese seem to handle the yearly ritual with grace and acceptance.  The seasons moved on and in the spring our builder was consumed with the “anti-GMO” initiative here on our island.  You see, Hawaii produces approximately 90% of the world’s GMO corn seeds… not to mention a host of other seed crops…  which despite how anybody feels about GMO, has certainly come at a cost to our land and people.  It’s a “David and Goliath” type of battle, but one that many people here feel strongly about.  I’m happy that my builder has concerns beyond himself, enough to work hard to get the initiative on this November’s ballot (which it did),  so it’s with that in mind that I remind myself to be patient.  It would’t have mattered anyway, back in the factory in Bali they were experiencing delays in getting materials due to holdups in customs.  Real holdups.  Our shipment of   Cetol was confiscated so I guess it was more of an outright theft than a delay.  Now, with those set-backs behind us, we are experiencing issues with the permit.  I won’t go into detail but it’s safe to say the good folks in the building department on Maui are doing their best to accommodate our unusual project.  It’s not every day that someone walks into their office and reports they would like to build a house in Bali, have it deconstructed, shipped to Maui and subsequently erected in Hana, of all places.  Building in Hana is never easy.  I was warned.  Building in Hana, with our building department and a house from Bali is downright exasperating.

So it’s with great enthusiasm I share with you these pictures today and news of forward movement!  They are currently working on the roof system.  Layers of foam, mat and wood are glued together to form panels which are then cut into pieces that will fit on the roof under the tile.  Looking at it now, the project seems so big and overwhelming, frightful almost.  How and why did I ever think we would be able to pull this off?

In times like this I reflect back to the early days and dreams we had.  My baby comparison is not too far off.  In it’s early stages, life is good, the plans were exciting and big dreams were imagined.  A trip to Bali was adventurous, and seeing the structure was like saying “Hello.”  We’ve had growing pains along the way,  we’ve poured out  money, time, and attention to foster it along.  We’ve had agreements and disagreements, compromising and negotiating as best we can.  We’ve depended on others in our village to make it happen, we’ve met new people, made new friends, believing in the goodness in people even when we’ve had our doubts.  It’s opened our world to a different way of life, specifically life in Bali, thus forever changing me personally, a consequence I did not see coming.  Our “baby” is now a “teenager” or at least nearing that point, and I’m finding myself struggling with the real issues of having such a large project veer off into territory I would not have chosen.  Painful and frustrating we are patiently supporting each other despite our circumstances; when he gets disappointed and is at a loss, I am here to gently encourage him, and when I get deflated he’s there to carry on.  Like raising teenager it’s those in our village that are most important these days so we move forward as a tribe, all working towards the goal of completion.  I wish I could tell you someday we will have something worthy to offer, something we could be proud of, something we could present to the world… or at least Hana, but the truth is I still don’t know.  The obstacles we’ve encountered are certain to continue; we have the details of the interior of the house, the disassembly of the structure,  the packing, shipping, unloading, subsequent erecting and reassembly, not to mention the convincing it will take with the county and some unnamed insurance agency to even allow us to do this.  Life is messy.  I have nothing but my breath to rely on when I lose faith.  That and the belief that all that we’ve sacrificed and have been through is not in vain.  Surely we have a chance.  Surely indeed.

Vivien ZepfJune 24, 2014 - 5:24 pm

I will take deep breaths with you, Robin. This will surely work out; I feel it.

SueJune 24, 2014 - 12:22 pm

I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve been wondering how/if the house is coming along. Hope you don’t mind me living through you:-). It’s going to be a masterpiece when done. Glad you’re going forward.

Tammy WelshonJune 23, 2014 - 6:15 pm

I can see that this post took a lot of effort and I understand your struggle as much as I can since I have not experienced it directly. But my, it is exciting and beautiful. I could imagine an interesting, colorful oh-so-robin like quilt that you could make that highlights the stages of this process. Good luck and have faith.