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.

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.

june 11, 2014

my daughter, with her pink hair, is learning she can’t get away with seconds in the sample line.

I’m learning Tuesday is the worst day to host a get-together… at least my house is clean.

Cathy BertanzettiJune 12, 2014 - 6:49 pm

Beautiful work, Robin!

june 8, 2014

working the nightshift, I’ve had to adjust… but today, despite feeling as if I could fall asleep standing, I found it necessary to do sunday breakfast.

of particular importance were the roses; they completed the meal.

 they added a touch of romance and intention to our otherwise common spread.  love resides in the little steps we take towards beauty.

maggie looked at me in a way only she knew how.

Jane S.June 8, 2014 - 10:54 am

Maggie is a sweet pup — look at that soft round head!

in the pink


One of the first things I did with my new yard was plant a dozen rose bushes.  The former owner, a friend of mine, told me about her unfulfilled desire to plant a row of roses along the edge of the lawn.  I know it’s not practical like a garden or a row of herbs, but after hearing it there was nothing I could do to get the image out of my mind.  Her plan was perfect and I simply had to make it so!  Now with a little love and time, these beauties are beginning to mature!

I planted every color imaginable… red, yellow, peach, and (sigh) pink!  This one named Chicago Peace, is a particularly beautiful blend of vibrant fuchsia which gradates into a sunset gold in the recesses of the bloom.  It has a subtle fragrance, so delicate and clean; I close my eyes my nose closely inspecting the bud, and it’s like I’m taking a walk on a cool breezy hillside on a spring morning.


Lately it’s been my routine to slip outside sheers in hand and see what the morning has to reveal.  Each day I’m rewarded with something new.   I now have mason jars  scattered around my house filled with my delicate harvests.

 Inside, quite a different expression of color has taken hold; our 13-year old has decided that pink is her color of this summer!  I must admit, it took some work on her behalf to convince me, but in the end her gentle persuasion won me over and I realize little-by-little, she is revealing herself to me as well.

I’d like to dedicate this post to Diane K.  She inspired me to write and share today… something that I’ve not been doing lately.  I can assure you that I am well… busy… very busy… but in a good way.  As you can see I’m finding new ways to engage and take delight, my work as a nurse being the biggest consumer of my time.  It’s all good tho.  If only I could get my passion for quilting back… my muse eludes me.  For now tho, it’s behind the lens that I’ll have to settle.  One eye open, I’m still curious.  Thank you Diane for contacting me!

robinJune 8, 2014 - 10:04 am

Aloha Vonda! Thank you so much for contacting me! Yes, you are certainly welcome to use my little video from Vimeo. I love that one and I’m glad my efforts are still being appreciated. Yes, I’ve been a member of the Maui Quilt Guild, but not for a while. I keep on telling myself that I truly should go someday… I will… someday. I am still quilting, but not very often these days. It’s a phase. The good thing is that I will always have quilting in my blood so I’m certain to return to it! Cheers and thanks again for contacting me! Robin
P.S. Next time you can contact me more directly by using my email:

Vonda piersolJune 6, 2014 - 2:39 pm

I have just seen your vimeo on the simple littl quilt and then followed that to here. You photography and colors are very inspirational and the color of your daughters hair is just as beautiful. I live in Waikiki. I have just found vimeo and the inspirational short films. I am the newsletter person for the hawaii quilt guild and after sending about five different videos to myself with the idea of sharing them on what I hope to be a newly updated and more inspirational newsletter starting in July, I thought I would ask your thoughts. I intend to send one a month on the emailed newsletters and with this and other changes pump some much needed life into it and inspire our guild to be the best it can be. Hope you agree to let me use your little vimeo and the music is very nice too! I would love to send you the letter when I do use yours. I wonder do you make the cute little quilts to sell and are you in the guild on Maui? They share their newsletter with me and vice versa. My name is Vonda Piersol and I have been quilting since 97. I love the newer modern quilts and am in love with you tubes art journalling too. I think I waste a lot of time when I should be quilting too!

AngieJune 6, 2014 - 1:51 pm

Always nice to visit your site. Your daughter’s hair is beautiful. Brought back a happy memory of my son’s purple and orange hair days 15 years ago.

DianeJune 4, 2014 - 1:47 pm

Always good to see a post from you. Glad you are well hope you are finding time for quilting !

GretchenJune 4, 2014 - 1:41 pm

Thanks for your beautiful post today and thanks Diane K for being the spark. Your long quiet spell was concerning me but quilting dry spell I understand. Your lovely photos are always enjoyed even if it’s not about quilting. And I vote yes on the rose-petal coloured hair.

sandyJune 4, 2014 - 5:55 am

Welcome back! Love all those colors especially your daughter’s hair.

sandyJune 4, 2014 - 5:53 am

You’re back!! Great to see you’ve been busy.
Love all the colors!! esp. your daughter’s hair.
Looks good.

Colleen KoleJune 4, 2014 - 1:52 am

Thanks Robin. I enjoy reading and seeing your beautiful art no matter what the medium is! Roses and peonies steal my heart all the time.

aloha ‘oe quilt

We here in Hawaii are familiar with a phrase “aloha ‘oe” which means farewell to you.  It’s also the name of a popular song known by many to be Queen Liliuokalani’s favorite.  The song, translated in english goes  like this:

Farewell to you, farewell to you
The charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers
One fond embrace,
‘Ere I depart
Until we meet again

Sweet memories come back to me
Bringing fresh remembrances
Of the past
Dearest one, yes, you are mine own
From you, true love shall never depart

I have seen and watched your loveliness
The sweet rose of Maunawili
And ’tis there the birds of love dwell
And sip the honey from your lips

I’m telling you this because it’s the name of my next quilt… a gift for our son who is graduating from High School soon, and leaving for Arizona at the end of summer.  It’s bittersweet.  I don’t know weather to laugh or cry… mostly cry these days because I’m really going to miss him… my charming, brilliant, beautiful son.  It’s part of growing up, I realize and as with everything else I’m left to simply watch the magic of this process unfold as it does, with a grateful heart and attentive spirit.  I have in mind to use the colors of the ocean from my hand-dyed stash, and slices of aloha shirts from his father’s closet.  I’m wanting to insert a little piece of each of us in his everyday, keeping him warm and safe at night in his new home.

I imagine somewhere out there an e-bay seller of used aloha wear is moaning in agony as I cut these lovely shirts up.  This is what one does with tired casual wear here in Hawaii… at least in my house that is.

I can already tell this is going to be one of those projects that comes through me… fueled by love for my dear sweet boy I’m sure it will be done quickly.

Meanwhile, the mynah on the fence keeps a watchful eye, curious about the sounds and colors coming from this busy room.

Vivien ZepfJune 2, 2014 - 3:01 am

Wonderful project! Adam will love this quilt forever, not just during his college years…

Kathleen ProbstMay 8, 2014 - 6:33 pm

Perfect send away gift. I’ll need that recipe for a quilt when my boys are off to college. You will always be home to him and he will always come back.

NatalyaMay 1, 2014 - 3:35 pm

how perfect! your son will treasure this quilt forever…

Colleen KoleApril 16, 2014 - 5:11 pm

I cried the entire senior year of my first daughter. I celebrated her first day of college though and was so happy for her. She has grown into a wonderful woman with a new job which she is so proud . Now daughter number two is far away-11 hours away at college. Thank goodness for texting and Skype! Congrats and what a wonderful quilt to wrap up with for him!

Kristin LApril 13, 2014 - 2:45 pm

I’m not sure a quilt could get much more meaningful than this. To wrap your son up in the love and warmth of both his parents and his island home is wonderful. Your fabric, his fabric (I can’t think of a better thing to do with quality aloha shirts), the ocean colors, and the traditional song are all a tender and appropriate send-off. Aloha to you and your college-bound boy!

Gayle KushApril 13, 2014 - 1:59 am

What a wonderful gift for him to cherish for the rest of his life.

HelenApril 13, 2014 - 1:44 am

Beautiful Post! I feel the Mother’s Heart Ache with you.

Gail BaarApril 12, 2014 - 5:47 pm

My heart aches for you, as I understand exactly what you are going through. Now I have 3 sons who are adults; out of school, with jobs and families. I worried about them, missed them and loved them-I know it is hard. it looks like a beautiful quilt.

april 10, 2014

i needed some time away to realize that there really is love here… yes indeed, love survives the storm.

AngieApril 12, 2014 - 2:12 pm

I always see so much joy in your beautiful quilts.

april 6, 2014

these days are mostly good days.

half moon: in light and shadow

I’ve been thinking a lot about circles lately.  Blood circulating throughout the body… the daily pattern of the day-night cycle… the rhythm of the seasons… the ultimate cycle of birth and death.  I’ve been thinking of how sometimes we hurl along in sunshine and we probe along in shadow, but mostly we find ourselves in a different yet familiar place.  It’s as if we are born spinning.

I’ve been working to finish something I started a long time ago.  The palate is not something I’d choose today, but immersing myself once again in these colors, I’m able to pick up on what I was thinking and feeling when I started this project.  Already I’ve resolved the overall shape, and perhaps the quilting.  Hopefully when it’s done it will be that poised silent beauty I’ve had in mind.

PamMarch 25, 2014 - 8:49 am

Beautiful piece! I wonder if you are making any fabric these days. I loved your solids. So beautiful! Take care and hope to see more of your work. Pam

NatalyaMarch 20, 2014 - 1:02 pm

oh yes!! can’t wait..

Vivien ZepfMarch 16, 2014 - 3:57 am

Glad you’re working on this again; I think it will be lovely.

Cathy BertanzettiMarch 12, 2014 - 4:04 pm

I immediately felt and saw sadness and light when I saw this piece. I hope you’re seeing more light in your life.