Monday, March 31, 2014

Leaf Lei Class

Two kinds of lei making classes were offered at our hotel, for leaf leis and flower leis.

Leaf leis are made by braiding boiled, softened ti leaves. (I wanted to know what a ti plant looked like, so the instructor pointed out one growing in the hotel lobby, above.)

Two softened leaves are tied in a knot.

Held taut (as between the toes above) each leaf is twisted twice, then crossed over and twisted again, and so on, to form a long braid. If the leaves are twisted left, they are crossed over to the right, or vice versa.

Leaves are added by twisting them into the braid when about 10 centimeters or 4 inches remain. As they get longer, the braided leis can be held taut by attaching them to a chair or door knob.

When the lei is long enough to go around the neck and reach to about the waist, the ends are tied off and trimmed with scissors to look like the tips of the leaves. A ti leaf lei is more like a shawl than a necklace. To preserve it for a few weeks, it needs to be placed in a plastic bag in the fridge, wrapped in a damp paper towel. A leaf lie can also be shaped into a circle and left out to dry as a wreath.

Our instructor said: Giving someone a lei on a special day, like graduation, is like giving them a hug,

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Outdoor Art Show

While in Hawaii, my daughter and I discovered an unusual art show.

For years now, on Sundays, local artists have been displaying their art on the fence surrounding the Honolulu zoo.

We wandered over early in the morning to check out their work...

It's interesting to see how the styles of the artists differ.

I could identify with this artist's vibrant colors - the colors of water, sun and sky...

... not to mention fish and flowers! (I wonder if any of these artists are able to support themselves from these Sunday sales.)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Visiting a Honolulu Botanical Garden

There were several places I wanted to visit when I went to Honolulu, among them a botanical garden of native plants. I discovered that Honolulu had five botanical gardens - not necessarily with all native plants.

The easiest one for us to get to by city bus was the Foster Botanical Garden near the main downtown hospital.

Unfortunately I didn't bring along my drawing supplies:

There were so many beautiful flowers...

... and interesting leaves...

... to paint and draw.

I couldn't help but wonder how hard it would be to organize a "botanical art" trip for artists!

With five botanical gardens in and around Honolulu, we could sit and draw or paint in a different one every day!

My daughter and I wandered around, enjoying the different parts of the garden, sitting down from time to time to enjoy the peace and beauty. We weren't used to the hot weather!

Many of the trees were impressively large!

This one was perfect for hugging!

Another, a cannon ball tree, dropped large"cannon-ball-size" seed pods from time to time. An unwary person sitting under the tree could be bonked in the head!

We wandered through the open greenhouse in the "butterfly garden."

I had never seen a plant like this one before - a stag horn fern! (Does it attract butterflies?!)

There were other botanical gardens I wanted to see, especially one located in Koko crater - but we ran out of time.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Hawaiian Quilts

Quilting is popular in Hawaii.

Hawaiian-style quilts can be seen everywhere.

Originally they were made out of flags, as this old quilt (above) shows.

Appliqued leaf patterns - made by tracing the shapes of leaves on fabric - are a traditional Hawaiian style...

Pineapples are another traditional motif.

I love the way quilting here has developed its own flavor here. I'd have been tempted to buy a quilt or some fabric... but I haven't finished the quilted pillow kit I bought five years ago when I was last in Hawaii! Must look for it... then get back to work!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Visitors to Ottawa often comment on all the squirrels running around our neighborhood.

Visiting Honolulu, we noticed the birds!

Pigeons, hoping for a handout, appeared every time we ate on the balcony.

Other birds dropped by as well.

(Not that there is any lack of people feeding them.)

Once we encountered some ducks that looked familiar.

But most of the birds were different from ones we have here.

Near our hotel is a house, strange amid all the hotels and condominiums...

Doves covered the roof and the overhanging trees. The ground around the house was full of birds, too.

Was the house a bird hostel run by some wealthy eccentric?! I never found out!

Yes, we saw lots of birds in Hawaii - as well as lizards...

... and a few cute pups.

But not once did we see a cat!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Segway Adventure

Our first few days in Honolulu, we noticed several groups traveling around on Segways.

It looked like a fun way of getting around! When we came across the Segway rental office, we signed up for a three and a half hour historical and cultural tour in downtown Honolulu. It didn't cross my mind that I would first  have to learn to ride a Segway! From a distance, it looked effortless! But once I got on, and found myself higher off the ground than usual - with a machine pulsing under my feet, I realized it was a little harder than it looked.

We would be riding on sidewalks as well as bike paths, sometimes with cars and trucks nearby, so we had to know how to stop or turn suddenly. It helped that the instructor compared it to riding a horse. 

Our ride was a real adventure!

Our guide (in the straw hat below) took us to beaches and parks we had never visited before.

I had my camera, but could only take pictures when we stopped for a break.

One interesting stop was at the Honolulu harbor.

We paused to watch fish swimming around some coral.

It was a wonderful way to see Honolulu and some of its most historic places. My first Segway adventure should probably have been shorter - I was stiff (from standing so long) in the end. But the hour and a half ride up (and down) Diamond Head crater didn't seem that easy either!

Now I'm ready for my next Segway adventure! (Perhaps closer to home...!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hawaii Again!

Our decision to fly to Hawaii was impulsive.

A few days later, my daughter and I were on our way. Our flights took us to Vancouver (above) where we had a brief stopover.

It's always a thrill - after months of winter weather - to step outdoors for the first time with summer clothes on!

The freedom!

Our hotel balcony overlooked the pool of a neighboring hotel.

At mealtimes a guitarist entertained hotel guests (and us) with Hawaiian songs. He was often accompanied by a hula dancer.

Our balcony also gave us a partial view of the ocean. We really couldn't ask for anything more!