Telling Stories, One Stitch at a Time

Holiday in Hawaii #17

As a quilt maker, I’m always on the lookout for quilt shops and quilt shows when we travel. In Hawaii, I was lucky to see many beautiful quilts, both old and new.

Missionaries in the early 1800s taught the skills of quilting and patchwork to native Hawaiian women and, along with the geometric designs of traditional patchwork, they incorporated Hawaiian designs and symbols in their work to create a new style – the Hawaiian quilt.

Three antique quilts are displayed at the Baldwin House in Lahaina, Maui. Two of the quilts feature geometric designs and simple hand quilting, while the third quilt is Hawaiian and depicts sea animals surrounded by intricate echo quilting.

Also on Maui, at the Hula Grill in Lahaina, is this striking quilt. The floral design celebrates Hawaii’s beautiful tropical gardens.


This flag quilt hangs in the Hawaiian Hall at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Dating from the end of the 19th century, it is thought to be a wedding quilt gifted to Marie Ford by Queen Lili’uokalani. The flags placed upside down are believed to show the Queen’s distress at her removal from the throne after the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States of America in 1895.


I found more quilted treasures at Iolani Palace, official residence of the last Hawaiian Kings and Queens. While Queen Lili’uokalani was imprisoned in the palace after being dethroned, she created this quilt in the crazy patch style popular at the time. The “Queen’s Quilt” is 97 x 92 inches and is composed of nine large blocks; tiny scraps of fabric are pieced together and embellished with embroidered stitches and inscriptions. This precious quilt, fragile and time worn, is displayed in a large glass cabinet.



Two modern quilts, featuring beautiful appliqued designs, are displayed more openly on beds in the private suites of the Royal family.



The tradition of Hawaiian quilting flourishes today, and there are shops devoted to beautiful hand worked pieces made by talented Hawaiian women.



Their prices are indicative of the hundreds of hours of work that go into each work of art. This stunning king size quilt was for sale for US $3000.


I spent some time admiring this beautiful quilt but I didn’t buy it. Instead I purchased an instruction book for $15 so I can make my own!

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Admiration

Mānoa Falls

Holiday in Hawaii #16

If you love seeing waterfalls at the end of easy walking tracks, Mānoa Falls is the place for you.


Located in the Mānoa Valley, the 2.6 kilometre trail is well maintained with a small incline, until the last hundred metres where it becomes rocky and steeper.




The trail winds through thick vegetation – lush rainforest, tall stands of bamboo and beautiful tropical flowers thrive in the damp conditions. This part of Oahu receives plenty of rain, and the insects love it as much as the plants. Remember to bring your insect repellent!



The last short climb over a tumble of boulders to reach Mānoa Falls is worth the extra effort. The water of Waihi Stream drops 46 metres from the top of the sheer cliff to the small pool at its base, before rushing away downhill to the coast.


If you’re thinking the Mānoa Valley looks familiar, you’re not mistaken. Parts of the movie “Jurassic Park” and the TV series “Lost” were filmed here.


Luckily it’s almost impossible to get lost on this relaxing walking trail. Just make sure you stay on the path!


See more close up garden photos with Jude and some other lovely walks with Jo.

Up, Down and Round About

Holiday in Hawaii #15

While the journey to the North Shore is one of the most popular in Oahu, Tantalus Drive, which climbs into the mountains, reveals some more spectacular views of the island. The road begins in the suburbs in the foothills of the Ko’olau Range.


It’s only 14.5 km, but the road is winding and steep in places, with hairpin bends and one lane bridges to negotiate.



There are many places along the road where cars can pull over. Glimpses of the city are revealed between gaps in the trees, and the Pacific Ocean shimmers to the horizon.


Wildflowers bloom on the roadside and walking tracks disappear into the rainforest on the slopes of Mount Tantalus, a volcanic cinder cone 613 metres high.


The road is not just popular with drivers. Cyclists take on the challenge of riding up the mountain while skateboarders choose the other direction, hurtling down the road and round the bends at breakneck speeds.

Where Tantalus Drive ends, Round Top Drive begins. It leads to Tantalus Lookout at Pu’u Ualaka’a State Park; at an elevation of 319 metres, the view extends from Diamond Head and Koko Crater in the south to Waikiki and Pearl Harbour in the north.


Tantalus Lookout is the perfect vantage point to watch the setting sun – the glow of evening is reflected in the calm waters of the Pacific Ocean. The drive up, down and round about the mountain is worth the effort to see this view at the end of the day.


Dressed to Impress


Holiday in Hawaii #14

The World of WearableArt Awards is a design competition held in Wellington, New Zealand every September. It attracts hundreds of entries from around the world, all competing for a share of $165 000 in prize money and mentorships with renowned design companies.

We saw some of the winners from past years at a travelling exhibition at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu;  weird and wonderful garments constructed from textiles, jewellery, found objects and other unusual media in a futuristic display of creativity and innovation.

My favourite was this delicate gown, fashioned from wafer thin layers of wood.


Are these the clothes of the future?

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Future

Where the Mountains Meet the Sea

Holiday in Hawaii #13

The island of Oahu was formed by two massive volcanoes, Wai’anae and Ko’olau. The mountains that remain rise out of the sea, in some places as sheer, stony cliffs while elsewhere the slope is more gentle.

From Yokohama Bay on the dry leeward side of the island,


to the white sands of Makapu’u Beach on the island’s south east coast, the landscape is spectacular.


Viewed from Diamond Head Lookout, the city of Honolulu spreads across the coastal plain and up into the valleys and ridges of the mountains.


Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Landscape

All Day Trippers

Holiday in Hawaii #12

Oahu’s North Shore is famous for big surf and tasty shrimp, and it’s definitely a place we want to visit. It’s only an hour’s drive from Honolulu but there’s so much more to see on the way; we spend a whole day getting there.

Oahu is divided by the Ko’olau mountain range, the remnant of a massive shield volcano which is thought to have last erupted only 10 000 years ago. The Pali Highway climbs from Nu’uanu Valley through several tunnels to Nu’uanu Pali Lookout before descending to the coast on the windward side of the island. It was at the sheer cliffs of the lookout that King Kamehameha I defeated the army of Chief Kalanikupule in 1795.



Kane’ohe is the largest community on the windward side of the island. Tucked away at the base of the mountain range outside Kane’ohe are the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens, where lush tropical plants from around the world cover 400 acres..


From the gardens we continue on Highway 830, which heads north along the coast. There are reminders of Oahu’s volcanic past all along the highway. Tiny Mokoli’i Island, a volcanic cinder cone, rises out of the ocean just off shore. We stop for a snack at Kane’oha Bay, where black lave flows separate the road from the narrow strip of white, sandy beach and the ocean.



We might have just eaten, but we’re still thinking about lunch; it’s shrimp we’ve come for. Giovanni’s shrimp van is the most famous of Hawaii’s unique dining experiences; consequently the queue is very long.


We’ve heard there are plenty more vans on the highway and we’re too hungry to wait, so we travel a few kilometres up the road to another one. The menu is tempting and it’s difficult to choose. Eventually we order a serve each of buttery garlic shrimp and crisp coconut shrimp to share. Along with the shrimp vans there are market garden stands on the highway, laden with fresh tropical fruit and vegetables for sale.

At Waimea Bay, where board riders pay homage to surfing legends Duke Kahanamoku and Eddie Aikau, the surf is up and the water is wild. The beaches are closed, but that doesn’t stop some swimmers from taking risks in the pounding waves.



Our round trip continues on to Waimea Valley, an historical area with a beautiful tropical garden. It’s almost closing time when we arrive so we just wander around the gardens, admiring the monkey pod trees with their vast spreading canopies. The resident peacocks and the wild roosters, both sporting beautiful plumage, compete for our attention.


We return to Honolulu via Highway 99, past sugar cane fields ready for harvest. The mountains are lit by the setting sun, and by the time we’re home the sun is gone and the lights of Waikiki are twinkling.



We’ve journeyed from Honolulu to the North Shore and back again, on an all day round trip – a distance of just 136 kilometres!

Dancing on the Beach

Holiday in Hawaii #11

As the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean at Waikiki, the call of the conch shell summons everyone to the Hula Mound at Kūhiō Beach.



The audience gathering in the fading light is as enthusiastic as the band on the stage. They’re about to play the music in a free show featuring traditional Hawaiian hula dancing.



For first time visitors to Oahu, there’s an invitation to join the hula dancers on stage for an impromptu hula lesson and I’m keen to join in. Each movement tells a part of the story; “over the waves…catching fish…return home to your true love”. It all comes together and we dance to the music, hips swaying and hands waving gracefully.

It’s fun on stage and when the dance is done the crowd shows their appreciation, but I’m happy to leave the rest of the dancing to the experts.

See the free hula show every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evening at the Kūhiō Beach Hula mound on Kalākaua Avenue, Waikiki from 6.30 pm. BYO chairs or relax on the grass around the hula mound.


Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Dance