We are returned from our anniversary trip to the Big Island. Wherever we’ve gone in Hawaii we’ve loved the climate, culture, and natural beauty, and this trip was no exception.

We stayed in a vacation cottage about 10 miles north of Hilo. It was just about paradise, so calm, quiet, and peaceful. Below us was a spreading fruit orchard.

Avocado tree with baby-size avocadoes.


All around us were grazing horses, cows, and goats.

Our cottage.

BUT, for us, being the dog people that we are, one of the very best features was the frisbee-loving, sweet, affectionate, huggy border collie Lilly!

The green one is her favorite.

Just waitin’ on you!

Lilly came to greet us, give us hugs and kisses, and hang out with us throughout our stay. Dog love = bonus!

Nor far away were the beautiful Akaka Falls. On the way down we saw:

A banyan tree.

Pineapple ginger.

Fiddlehead ferns.

Akaka Falls.

As soon as we went into Hilo town, I sought out the quilt shop, Fabric Impressions.

Beautiful pa'u skirts in the window.

Inside were luscious batiks, island prints, Hawaiian patterns, kits, and quilts hung everywhere.

Dana liked the way they packaged their fat quarters… like stars!

I picked up a brochure for an upcoming summer camp, Quilting on the Beach. Oooh!!! It’s July 21-26 at the King Kamehaha Kona Beach Hotel. I can’t make it, but maybe you can!

One morning we signed up for a Segway tour at Botanical World Gardens. I had always wanted to ride a Segway, and this was my chance! OMG, I loved it! Our instructor told me I was a natural and I really did feel as though I took to it like a duck to water. It all depends on where you put your weight, and once you get the hang of it, it’s like you just think what you want to do and it does it. Very cool!

We toured the gardens and were given tastes of many fruits picked fresh off the trees. There was one that tasted like brown sugar, yum, one that was supposedly like chocolate pudding, not so sure about that one, and several that were too tart for me but that Dana liked. We zipped here and zipped there, learning about various plants and trees. We saw a rainbow eucalyptus, amazing!

Dana did very well also, but he did have one unscheduled dismount, and I did not, so I am the official Mackenzie Family Segway Champion!

One day we drove the two hours to the other side of the island to visit Kona-Kailua. We were sitting in a coffee house drinking cool libations and looking out over a street fair that was going on that day. Right across from us was SusunGallery Art School on the Beach. All of a sudden, Dana says, “I think I’m Facebook friends with her.”

Can you believe it? Susun used to live in Santa Cruz and studied hula with the same instructor as Dana! We went down to say hello and she recognized him immediately. Wow, universe, sometimes you really know what you are doing.

She told Dana about a drop-in hula class the next night that was in the kahiko (traditional) style. Even though it was our anniversary, I urged Dana to go, because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you should have seen the way his eyes lit up. I skipped the four hours in the car and stayed home with Lilly. :) After all, number one on my agenda for our trip was to relax. We each had a fantastic time.

Our last day, we visited the active volcano at Kilauea.

They say that at night you can see the glow from the molten lava, but we were flying out that evening so had to settle for a daytime visit.

I sought out the nearby quilt shop, Kilauea Kreations.

A quaint little shop that felt just like home to a quilter. Many gorgeous fabrics, quilts, kits, and patterns, and also a little bookshop that Dana enjoyed.

Check out Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam, Island Style.

And then it was aloha to Lilly and our other hosts, Bob and Cady, and off to the airport for the long trip home.

In case you’re interested, the Sun and Moon Orchard Suite is Listing #512344 on VRBO.

Aloha nui loa,
By Kay Mackenzie


Last month I had the privilege of taking a class in Hawaiian appliqué from Maui resident Keri Duke.

Keri was here for Pacific International Quilt Festival and came a week early to give a workshop for our guild. She’s snorkeling buddies with our program chair Tracey Brookshier so yay for us!

It was a beautiful day and a great location for a workshop. We were making a traditional breadfruit (ulu) appliqué. As Keri told us, this is usually the first pattern made by a quilter because it is supposed to bring fruitfulness and good luck in life.


Cutting out the motif, folded in eighths.

Cutting out the motif, folded in eighths.


My big basting stitches. I was the first one done basting; some spent the whole morning just basting, using little bitty precise running stitches instead of big honking toenail catchers. Not necessary, gals. Just throw ’em in there.


Some of the class members chose other colors for their projects.


It looks good any which way you do it.

After the entire dark-green leaf motif was basted, we did traditional needle-turn hand appliqué. I’m a fast stitcher (well, you know, it isn’t my first rodeo) and I had my block all done for Show & Tell at quilt guild the next night. This type of Hawaiian appliqué is about the most fun, I think. Once you get it all prepped, you just sit and stitch and stitch to your heart’s content.

uluMy Ulu.

The following week was PIQF.


The crowd waiting to get in on Thursday morning.

Once I made it inside the doors, I chatted with Keri in her Keri Designs booth, and I was delighted to learn that she and another quilter had curated a special “Colors of Maui” exhibit for the show!


hibiscusThis hibiscus was my favorite entry, and come to find out, it was Keri’s!


If you’d like to go on a tropical tour of the Colors of Maui, there’s a lovely slideshow posted over at The Quilt Show. Enjoy!

By Kay Mackenzie

Thank you so much to everyone who left warm wonderful words about my new book. I’m kinda sorta thrilled about it and can’t wait to show it off. Now, on to our monthly feature!

In her new book, Cynthia Tomaszewski’s message is that paradise is not a place, or a destination, but really the journey.


Little pieces of paradise are right there in our daily lives (if we have the wisdom to recognize them), and quilts made from these spaces in our heads are quilts from paradise. The designs in this book will lead you to Cynthia’s personal idea of paradise… the magical spirit of a tropical isle.

Filled with hot tropical colors, this book takes you step-by-step through 12 different quilt projects. Names like Falling Water, Natural Beauties, Tequila Sunrise, and Tropical Whimsy will give you an idea.

Tropical Whimsy by Cynthia Tomaszewski

Tropical Whimsy by Cynthia Tomaszewski

There’s also a cute Island Tote and a darling rounded purse called Romancing the Bag.

All the appliqué templates are given full-size, and besides placement guides and detailed instructions for each project, Cynthia includes quiltmaking basics and an introduction to appliqué. Here she covers fusible appliqué with hand embroidery stitches for finishing the edges, freezer-paper appliqué with the freezer paper on the back or on the front, needle-turn appliqué, bias stems and vines, and embellishments.

I’ve always found it so fascinating that Cynthia lives in Abu Dhabi. The bio in the back of the book says that she and her husband plan to relocate one day to some land they have in Fiji. Until then, these colorful tropical quilts will remind her (and us) of island paradise.

I have a copy of Quilts From Paradise to give away to a lucky reader of the blog, courtesy of That Patchwork Place. If you’d like to leave your hometown behind for awhile and immerse yourself in tropical quiltmaking, leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Tuesday, September 7, 2010. U.S. and Canada only due to the cost of shipping.

Until then,
By Kay Mackenzie

As I’ve written before, Dana and I had our 20th wedding anniversary on May 19 and we decided to go to Hawaii as our special celebration. The Starwood people sent us an offer for a cheep package at one of their 5-star resorts on Kauai, which is where we wanted to go anyway, so it was kismet!

westin.gifThe Westin Princeville Ocean Resort and Villas

kiddiepool.gifThe keiki pool

One of the first places we went was Limahuli Botanical Gardens, not far away on the North Shore.

taro.gifTaro (kalo in Hawaiian). The roots are the main starch of the traditional Hawaiian diet and the source of that poi.



hala.gifDana in some hala trees.

pineapples.gifPineapples grow on the ground, not in trees.

koa.gifCrescent-shaped koa leaves.

A most special and beautiful spot on the island was Hanalei Bay. You remember Puff the Magic Dragon, who frolicked in the autumn mists in a land called Hanalee? Well, there’s no proof that Hanalee is really Hanalei, but Hanalei has claimed Puff. In fact we heard someone say that the best sunsets are when the sun goes down behind Puff’s nose in the bay, so of course we had to see if we could make out a dragon in the cliffs. We think we can.

hula-hanalei.gifHere’s Dana practicing his hula on the beach at Hanalei, in front of Puff. Picture it as a dragon’s head, with his lower jaw submerged in the water. You can see the top of his head, and there’s a bare patch that looks like his eye, and then the snout goes off into the ocean.

We visited the Kilauea Lighthouse, an old lighthouse in need of restoration. Today the area is a preserve for marine birdlife and we saw many different kinds of sea birds as well as some spectacular coastal views.

kilauea.gifLooking left from the lighthouse, back toward Princeville.

more-please.gifIn a nearby shop I found a Jack Russell terrier who’d never met a stranger.

chickens.gifEverywhere on the Kauai lowlands, and I mean everywhere, you see these chickens. According to my bird book, they’re “Red Junglefowl.” Here’s a typical fancy rooster with his plainer lady friend.

Zipline! So much fun! We took the Kauai Backcountry Adventures zipline tour and loved every minute of it.

zipline3.gifMe on the zipline. The guide said I had the most relaxed posture of anyone in the group.

dana-zipline.gifDana zipping along. His posture was likened to that of a cat about to be put in the sink for a bath. I think the red shorts and white socks really add to the effect.

luau1.gifOf course when you’re in Hawaii you can’t miss going to a luau. On the recommendation of some friends, we chose the Smith Family Garden Luau.

peacocks.gifOne of the great things about this luau (besides the plentiful mai tais, the delicious feast, and the multinational show) is that you get to a take a tram tour of their lovely gardens. There were gobs of tame peacocks who, I swear, loved to show off their plumage for the visitors.

x28l.gifYou can’t miss the aloha shirt on the wall outside the Waimea Canyon General Store in Kekaha, just before you start up the road alongside Waimea Canyon. It’s a size 28XL.

waimea-canyon2.gifWaimea Cayon, from not very far up.

And now the stop that you’ve been waiting for… the Kapaia Stitchery!

bento.gifNot one step inside the front door, I saw Tracey‘s Bento Box hanging up.

hula-huts.gifHappy Hula Huts by Lisa Boyer, a Kauai resident.

keiki.gifAnother of Lisa’s patterns, Keiki Hula.

batiks.gifThey have tons of batiks.

batiks2.gifMore batiks.


hawaiians.gifHawaiian prints.

bolts.gifLots of bolts.

bolts2.gifMore bolts.


pillows.gifPillow tops.


lei.gifLei. Check out the one made out of yoyos!

As you can see, it’s a fabulous shop, very friendly, and of course you must go there when you visit Kauai.

wailua-falls.gifRight next to the Stitchery is the turnoff for Wailua Falls. About 4 miles up the road all of a sudden you’re beside a beautiful rushing waterfall.

Thanks for coming with me on my tour of Kauai.

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

I’ve had this Hawaiian appliqué block hanging around for 9 years, ever since DH Dana and I went to the Big Island. I got a pillow kit in a little quilt store there. I remember swapping out the background for something from my stash. The pattern was all cut out and ready to sew. I did all the stitching, and there it went into the UFO stack.


It’s been kicking around so long that I don’t even remember the name of the pattern… I think it’s Breadfruit. Anybody? Anybody?

Dana was so taken by Hawaii and its culture that about three years ago he started studying hula at the Hula School of Santa Cruz. He absolutely loves it. The halau (school) is coming up on its 10th anniversary and they are planning a huge ho’ike (hoedown) in celebration. The students are holding lots of fundraisers to be able to pay the musicians that are coming over from Hawaii.

So, a couple weeks ago I pulled out my block and decided to finally make it into a pillow. I can’t claim to know much about Hawaiian quilting, but I do know that you’re supposed to do echo quilting in succeeding rounds to recall the waves of the ocean. I gave it my best shot.

Yesterday I sent Dana with the project down to Round Robin Fabrics here in Santa Cruz to get a Hawaiian print for the back. He and Robin had a great time picking something out and they did a great job.


I completed the quilting, cut out two pieces for the back, and finished the pillow envelope style, stuffing in a pillow form.


Now the cat hair has been removed and the pillow is hermetically sealed in a plastic bag for delivery to the halau, to go in a raffle basket or as a door prize.

This is why it’s nice to have a little stack of UFOs. :)

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Purple saves the day

Filed Under Embellishment, Hand appliqué, Hawaiian | Comments Off on Purple saves the day

I spent the weekend at one of my favorite places in the whole wide world… Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California.

Asilomar is right by the ocean and we always see deer, who are very used to the comings and goings of the visitors. Asilomar is often associated with the Empty Spools seminars, but lots of other quilting events happen there too. My friend Janet Locey organizes quilting retreats a couple times a year there (as well as at other locations). Her Quilters Getaways are the most fun thing ever. We bring our own projects and sew, sew sew, talk, talk, talk, and eat, eat, eat.

At one point during the weekend, I looked up and happened to see a fellow retreatant holding up a lovely Hawaiian appliqué quilt with what looked like some sort of skein of cording hanging off of it.

Intrigued, I made my way to that side of the room to investigate.

I made the acquaintance of Metha Schuler of Petaluma, California, who has been an avid Hawaiian appliquér for 12 years, ever since she became acquainted with the craft on a Maui vacation. I asked Metha what was up with the purple cording.

Metha related that when she was mostly finished with this quilt, she actually hated it. It was just “blah,” she said. It lacked contrast between the background and appliqué fabrics. Instead of pitching it (gasp), she decided to try to rescue it by putting something around the appliqué motifs to better define the edges.

She tried everything she could find at the craft store, and finally found something she thought would work… purple elastic bracelet cord. Metha is now in the process of couching the cord around all of the edges of the motifs, and when she gets done, she allows as how she thinks she will now like her quilt!

Here’s a closeup showing one of the interior areas that hasn’t been edged yet. You can see how much better the contrast show up with the purple cording.

Here’s Metha with her nearly rescued quilt, Seaweed.

Here’s another quilt, Raintree, that Metha held up during Show & Tell.

For more information on Janet’s Quilters Getaways, please visit her website at Hen Scratch Quilting.