Happy 3 Years at Fanciful Wish Jewelry

Today, my shop Fanciful Wish Jewelry, marks it’s 3rd year anniversary.  It reminds me that my son will be 3 years old in August.  I started making macrame bracelets because I was pregnant and bored since I took a break from working at a spa as a massage therapist.

After selling the bracelets to some friends and family, I decided, why not open an Etsy shop?  So that’s how it started.  I’ve made a few mistakes along the way but it’s all about learning and growing!  That’s what I try to do.

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I went from making macrame and wax cord bracelets to hand stamping metal and dyeing silk.  And it’s been an eye-opening, creative ride for sure.  I love creating and learning different ways to make jewelry.  There is still so much I want to learn.

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A lot of people still ask me what I do on the days my son is in preschool, which is twice a week and I say “I work.”  And they look at me weird.  Ha ha!  I guess it doesn’t seem like work at all when you are playing around with tools and working from home.  But it is.

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There is stamping to do, polishing, ordering supplies, organizing paperwork and supplies.  Updating my Etsy shop with information or new items, replying back to my customers.  Packaging orders and creating new items all take time also and not to mention the photos I have to take of my items.

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Dyeing ribbons is another involved process.  I cut, prep, wash, mix, dye, sew, and photograph those as well.  But it’s a work I love doing.  So thank you to all my customers for giving me a chance and helping me to keep running for 3 years.

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I dye ribbons and sell them individually but the ribbons I used for the ribbon wrap bracelets (in photo above) are made by some awesome women in Wisconsin who I think make the best dyed silk ribbons around.  I love love love their ribbons and one day hope my ribbons can reach that level of perfection! (probably never!)

So here is to maybe another 3 years in the business or more?  One can only dream and hope!  I’m adding more new items made of leather and even brought back the macrame bracelet for nostalgia sake so check out my shop: Fanciful Wish Jewelry.

For a limited time only you can use this coupon code: 3YEARS and get 15% off your order.  It’s my way of saying thank you for supporting me these past 3 years.

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Mahalo Nui Loa! (Thank you very much)

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Tea at 1024 – Afternoon Tea Service

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In downtown Honolulu, there is this sweet little placed called Tea at 1024.  I thought it would be a nice place to take my mother-in-law who was visiting us from Philadelphia.

IMG_0741The place is small and decorated with all things feminine and pastel.  We didn’t make a reservation so I’m grateful they had a table for two available.

There is a hat rack that my mother-in-law and I perused through.  We picked our hats and then picked out tea sets.  There are a few to choose from and they are all so pretty!

The menu is fairly simple.  An afternoon tea service comes with a salad, sandwiches, desserts and a pot of tea that they refilled generously.  We chose the house tea which I always find so delicious.  I think it was called Raspberry and Roses?  Or something to that effect.

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Tea for two!

Delicious and refreshing salad

Delicious and refreshing salad

Sugar with your tea?

Sugar with your tea?

IMG_0754I’ve had tea service here before and at another place.  But whenever I see how much food is served at a tea service I always think it’s not enough to fill me up.  Maybe because they are all bite sized, but after drinking a few cups of tea – you will feel full.

For our tea sandwiches we chose, egg salad and tomato with cheese.

For dessert we had an array of scones and other sweet goodies.  I love clotted cream with scones – so good!  We did polish off the desserts and took home the rest of the sandwiches we didn’t finish.

A nice cup of tea

A nice cup of tea

Tea sandwiches: egg salad and tomato with cheese

Tea sandwiches: egg salad and tomato with cheese

Dessert anyone? Mmm!

Dessert anyone? Mmm!

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We had a lovely time wearing our hats and drinking from our pretty tea sets.  The service was great.  My mother-in-law really enjoyed this outing and I’m glad I remembered to do this with her.

It’s definitely a nice way to feel extra girly – much needed for me since my son is all about animals, trucks, and dinosaurs!

Definitely check out this place if you are in downtown Honolulu.  It’s a fun place for a girl’s lunch but I saw a few guys in there too.  And they were even good sports and tried on some hats.

Let the Light Guide Your Way

Last week, my grandmother (my dad’s mom) passed away.  She was like my second mom.  The mom my cousins, sister and I had while all our parents worked full time.  She was always there for us.

me as a baby with my grandma :-)

me as a baby with my grandma 

Today (tuesday in Hawaii, wednesday in the Philippines) is her funeral and my heart is heavy.  I wish I was there to say goodbye – but I couldn’t make it happen.

Every year for the past 17 years an event called the Lantern Floating Hawaii is held on Memorial Day.  It’s a beautiful event that brings together people who have lost someone.

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The first time I attended this event was 8 years ago.  I had lost my first husband in a tragic motorcycle accident and a few months later, I loss an aunt to lung cancer.  It was a hard couple of months.  Then I heard about this event and with a friend of mine willing to brave the crowds with me – we went.  It was what I needed.  Tears were shed, the mood was solemn, but so hopeful and peaceful.

Because I felt helpless about not being able to be at my grandma’s funeral, I wanted this to be the way I say goodbye.

Since I had to drive all the way into town, I knew I’d be spending my whole day there.  I left early, wanting to get in line for the free individual lanterns they give out to the public, which would start at 10am.  I got there at 10:15am and the line was so long, I thought they would run out of lanterns by the time I got to the front of the line.  But the volunteers for the event reassured us that about 6,000 lanterns were available and about 1,000 were handed out so it seemed like they had enough.  I stood in line for 2 hours.  Thank goodness I brought an umbrella to shade me from the hot sun, and the people standing in line with me were really nice.  And thank you to the friends that kept me company by texting me! You guys are awesome.

Waiting in line for a lantern

Waiting in line for a lantern

2 hours later - I'm at the tent! Yay!

2 hours later – I’m at the tent! Yay!

I found out through Facebook that a friend of mine was in the tent volunteering for the event.  It was a pleasure to see a friendly face and get a hug after waiting for 2 hours.  She is from Nepal originally and we talked about the earthquake.  I am so relieved her family is okay.  We saw each other for only maybe 15 minutes, but it meant a lot to me to see her.

After getting my lantern and writing my messages, I had another couple hours to kill before the event started at 6pm.

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I walked over to Ala Moana Shopping Center and decided to buy myself a small lunch.  Water for sure, because I was parched.  I was even convinced by a nice worker at Aloha Gelato to buy a scoop of Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet.  After all the walking and standing I did in the sun, this was so YUMMY in my TUMMY.

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Then I got another nice treat and saw another friend who worked at the center – she had a 15 minute break so we sat down and caught up as best as we could in such a short time.  I was so happy to see her!

I did book a massage at Ho’ala Salon & Spa so I could pass the time even faster.  Yet again while I waited I got to spend some time with another friend.  She sat with me after her work shift was done and we passed the time talking.  This good friend of mine even decided to wait until my massage was over so she could join me at the beach for the ceremony.

After my wonderful massage we walked down to the where the ceremony was being held at Ala Moana Beach Park and it was packed.  My own cousin who was there couldn’t find me in the crowd.  My friend and I found an area on the sand and sat down as the ceremony started.  Of course I cried.  They featured a family who had lost their daughter to brain cancer…and with all the emotion I was already feeling, there I was, crying.  And there was my friend, handing me tissue.

Even though about 50,000 people were in attendance, it was a calm and peaceful event.  Maybe because we all have lost someone and have grieved or were grieving…we were joined together in that.  In a larger sense, this is an event to remind us, we are NOT alone in our grief and loss, EVER.

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The ceremony and entertainment is only 45-50 minutes long.  Soon it was time for people with lanterns to gather by the water.  Every few feet there was a volunteer with a lighter, lighting the candles for us in the lantern.

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There are a lot of spectators here at this event, clicking away with their cameras, and I don’t blame them.  The glow of lanterns on the ocean is breathtaking – it feels sacred and special.  I don’t remember having so many cameras clicking off around me the first time I attended this event, but these days with everyone being a photographer, it was everywhere.  At least spectators did move aside when they saw me carrying my lantern and for that I am grateful because it was already a long day for me and all I wanted was this moment to say goodbye to my grandma and honor my other loved ones.  And I didn’t linger once I put my lantern down.  There were so much people waiting to say their own goodbyes.

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If you have never attended this event, I do recommend you go at least once.  It’s such a touching way to memorialize your loved ones and those who have fallen fighting for our country.  It brings peace to my heart knowing the spirit of my loved ones live forever in me.  In my heart, in my memories.

When I came home last night I thought about my long day and what happened.  All I can say is that I am BLESSED.  Blessed with such good people in my life.  I have lost amazing people, but my grief is great because the love was so great and I miss them so much.

I thought my day was going to be about “waiting” all day.  Alone.  But I wasn’t.  I had the nice people in line.  I ran into friends I hadn’t seen in months.  I am so eternally grateful that God put these people in my path this very day so that I wouldn’t feel alone in this.  My cup runneth over, a million times over.

How could we not talk about family when family’s all that we got?

Everything I went through you were standing there by my side

And now you gonna be with me for the last ride

So let the light guide your way

Hold every memory as you go

and every road you take will always lead you home

-Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth “See You Again”

Staycation – Disney Aulani

Last year we went to Disney Aulani for a weekend staycation.  This year we did it again, this time we were meeting up with my sister’s family to enjoy some much needed family time.

Earlier this week, my grandmother passed away so it’s been a hard week.  Plus my hubby leaves for the east coast this week to be in his best friend’s wedding, so I really was looking forward to this staycation to help me deal with grief by spending time with people I love dearly.

We only stayed one night but we filled it up with fun in the pool and walking on the sand.  A wonderful short stay, but just what we needed.

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At the hotel they greet you with “Aloha, Welcome Home” which is very welcoming.

Our view from the hotel room.

Our view from the hotel room.

We changed into our swimsuits and jumped into the heated pool right away.  Ahhh…just what we needed.  My son was overjoyed to be having fun with his older cousins in the pool.

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After a buffet dinner at the Makahiki restaurant, we took a walk around the grounds to help digest the food in our tummies.

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Everywhere you look here, you see something beautiful.  As my husband, who is originally from Philly says, he sometimes has to pinch himself because he can’t believe he lives in Hawaii.  IMG_0628

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We wait for story time at the fire pit by gazing out at the sun setting over the beautiful ocean.  What a way to spend time with family and end the day.IMG_0639

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Boys having fun in the sand!

Boys having fun in the sand!

I love hearing Hawaiian myths and stories at the Fire Pit.

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And that’s all my little guy could handle – from swimming all afternoon with his cousins, walking the grounds, playing in the sand and story telling, he was ready to sleep.  Of course he demanded we go home to sleep (he’s 2 years old lol).

The next morning we woke up early. I went to get breakfast and hotel guests were already reserving their lounge chairs, ready to use the pool at 8am!  My little guy was ready to see his cousins again too and jump into the pool.  So after breakfast we did just that.  It was a little cloudy overhead so thank goodness for the heated pool.

The Kiddie splash pool.

The Kiddie splash pool.

Enjoying Sunday morning at Aulani

Enjoying Sunday morning at Aulani

Digging for treasure!

Digging for treasure!

My little man really got to digging :-)

My little man really got to digging 🙂

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It’s back to reality, but I have to admit, my reality is pretty good 🙂

Garden Magic

Last month, my son and I visited an urban garden.  We had the place all to ourselves and it was magical.

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The sound of the bamboo leaves rustling in the wind was soothing.
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I was mesmerized by color – everywhere I looked, my mind found inspiration.IMG_0466

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We had an adventure, just my little guy and I.  Lost in the visual splendor of flowers and music of the leaves.

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Braided Friendship Bracelet Tutorial

Hi everyone!

Today I wanted to share with you something I made the other day.  I was going through my supplies and found I have a lot of embroidery floss leftover from the friendship bracelet craze a few years ago.  The colors are so vibrant it reminded me that spring and then summer are on its way except…Hawaii is an endless summer, so what am I thinking?! 🙂  Bear with me, people who are dealing with freezing weather.

I wanted to use up some of the floss and a few brass blanks that I still had a lot left over as well.  So here is what you need:

SUPPLIES:

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* 2 skeins of cotton embroidery floss, the DMC brand is always nice, but I got some generic other brand too – it doesn’t matter, any color is fine – pick what you love.  I bought mine at Wal-Mart, and our local craft store has it too (we don’t have a Michaels in Hawaii by the way).

* a metal tag connector – I made my own hand stamped one BUT you can buy some on Etsy, or Amazon and it doesn’t need to be a connector with a message on it, a symbol is awesome too!  Auntie’s Beads has some infinity connectors that are cute – the possibilities are endless.

* scissors, tape, ruler

LET’S START! –

1.  First cut 12 pieces of floss measuring 30 inches each.  I made the string long for this tutorial because wrist sizes are different but for my 6.5 inch wrist 24 inches of string is enough.  After you have 12 pieces, divide them into 2 batches, 6 pieces each, fold them in half like in the photo below.

12 pieces of 30 inch string, divide into 2 sections

12 pieces of 30 inch string, divide into 2 batches

You will also need a small piece of string or floss, just an inch or 2 in size.

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2. Next take one batch of the folded floss and take the small piece of floss.  Thread the small piece of floss through the loop of the folded batch.

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3. Once the small piece is looped through now it will be easier to pull the thick batch of floss through the hole of the connector.  Slip the batch of floss in the hole through the FRONT of the tag.

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4. Now take the ends of the batch of floss and pull it through the big hoop – pull slowly, making sure the floss doesn’t get bumpy as you pull.

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5. This is what it should look like once you are done pulling the ends through…I like to pull it tight, fixing the knot to make it look smooth as I go along.  Repeat the steps on the other hole with the 2nd batch of floss.

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6.  Now it’s time to braid – tape your bracelet to a smooth sturdy surface like a table.  And because your 6 strings got folded in half to put through the hole, you now have 12 strings to braid.  Divide them up into 4 sections each and start braiding.

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7. To end the braid, just tie a simple knot.  I braided 5 inches for this bracelet, but you can make yours shorter or longer.  Remember you need enough braid length to be able to tie it in a knot around your wrist.

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8.  Repeat on the other side of the bracelet and snip off the ends after the knot and you are done!

Braided friendship bracelet

Braided friendship bracelet

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Where alone or stacked with other bracelets :-)

Wear alone or stacked with other bracelets 🙂

I made a bunch of these the other day and had a lot of fun making them.  The colors!  I love color.

wander - create - alive - integrity

wander – create – alive – integrity

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Happy crafting everyone!  Hope you get to make some lovely friendship bracelets for yourself or your friends.  🙂

xo,

Yolanda

Take A Step Back

inhale - exhale

inhale – exhale

My little man and I enjoyed the fresh air in our backyard yesterday before dinner.  I got to take a photo of the beautiful sky and watch him play with sticks and rocks.  Our dog rolled around on the grass, trying to scratch her back I think 🙂  I scratched her tummy and she loved that.

I needed a moment to breathe.

I was really frustrated (still am a little) with a project I was working on over the weekend.  I ran out of yellow ribbons for my Endo Warrior bracelets that I sell in my shop.  I donate 50% of the proceeds to the Endometriosis Foundation of America and so far since I started selling these in December 2014 I’ve donated $45.50.  At the end of February I will be donating another $52.00, which is AMAZING!  Thank you to all the ladies suffering from Endometriosis who have been buying the bracelets and wearing them proudly – thank you for sharing your stories with me and I pray whatever I donate, though it’s small, can help with research and education.

I dyed up a bunch of new ribbons which was easy enough but my Serger has been giving me problems.  It might be the thread, which I still have a lot of, but may be breaking as it goes through the machine.  I spent an hour trying to troubleshoot – and still no luck.  I tried again today for only 15 minutes before I knew I would just lose it.  I will try again later because I am NOT giving up.

But I did have to take a step back.  I had to remove myself from the situation and breathe.  Literally I just did not want to look at my serger anymore.  I know I will find a solution, maybe not today.  I know it will work itself out, eventually.  It’s something I’m trying to teach my son, who at 2 years old gets really mad when something doesn’t go his way.  I tell him to chill out, relax, not to panic and that I can help him with whatever he needs.  He just needs to tell me.  If it still makes him mad, he tells me “I’m frustrated.”

The first time I heard him say that – I smiled.  Just saying it I think, is a big relief to him.  So I do try to help him or remove him from a situation so he can calm down.

Here are some of my favorite ways to deal with frustration:

* walk away and not think about it until my frustration is gone (because then you have a clearer head)

* work on another project

* go outside and breathe the fresh air, LOOK UP (stretch those neck muscles), admire nature at its finest

* jump on the elliptical and play a favorite movie while doing so

* talk it out with my hubby, or friends

*write it out – (blog haha)

* laugh it out – you know when I try to tell my troubles to my little guy he has the funniest responses and we get a good laugh from the both of us NOT making sense to one another

* baby and doggy kisses are good too! 🙂

And my baby boy will tell ME these days “it will be okay mommy” when I tell him I’m frustrated.  Melts my heart I tell you.  So it’s good to take a step back.  And what do you know, I’m ready to tackle my project again!

What are some ways you deal with frustration?

XO,

Yolanda