Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ben Franklin Craft Stores Hawaii

Market City Ben Franklin at 2919 Kapiolani Boulevard, Kapahulu.

The yarn wall at the Market City Shopping Center (Kapahulu) Ben Franklin

First in my Hawaii fun/crafty shopping guide: Ben Franklin Crafts of Hawaii! Although there are one or two stores per island for the Big Island, Maui and Kauai, there are four stores here on Oahu: One in Kapahulu, one in Mapunapuna/ Moanalua, one in Pearl City and one in Kailua. (Click here for a list of the stores and their addresses). Originally a larger chain from the Continental United States, Ben Franklin Crafts Hawaii has become a local crafting institution and carries hard to find local craft items. Locally-themed rubber stamps, papers, lei-making supplies and instructions, clay and netting flower making instructions, washi and origami, clover products, imported Japanese beads and much more are trademarks of these stores; each store has different feature sections too. For example, the Ben Franklin at the Market City Shopping center in Kapahulu (a few minutes outside of Waikiki) has a large scrapbooking section, while the Ben Franklin in Mapunapuna has a large beading section. And of course, all Ben Franklin's carry lots of yarn (my fav!)and they most definitely have the widest color range of Red Heart yarn in the Islands, albeit at a more expensive price. They don't carry too many novelty yarns, and their wool yarn is quite expensive.

Although it doesn't even begin to tap into what they carry in their actual stores, Ben Franklin Crafts Hawaii does have an online shop here, though I've never bought anything using the online shop.

Ben Franklin's prices aren't the cheapest, though they do carry a wide range of products as well as some really cool items that are sometimes hard to find here in Hawaii; particularly for the serious crafter. Just don't expect to pay what you would in a JoAnns/Michael's/AC Moore. And again, they also carry distinctively local/Hawaiian craft items, so if you are looking to take some unique crafty items home with you, I'd definitely recommend Ben Franklin as a top choice! In any case, a crafting emergency can usually be solved by a quick trip to your local Ben Franklin :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

happyapplet update this week

Soon to go into happyapplet, my not oft-updated supply shop on etsy. I scored these kawaii goodies around town in the past month or so; I was so excited to find the cosmo fabric!

Friday, April 24, 2009

the start of a beautiful thing...

I've been looking around for crafty fun guides to Washington DC (thanks for all your great tips guys!), and I've realized something; it's often hard to find specific guides for things that you want to do wherever you're going. Oh sure, there's the regular tourist guides that point you to attractions where there will be a million other tourists, and while those guides are really good and helpful, they don't always get you off the beaten path, or necessarily give you tips for things you really want to do/see. I think a really smart way to overcome this obstacle is to connect with people who actually live there (which may be why so many of you lovely people ask me what's fun to do when you're visiting Hawai`i... I love it!) Being that its really helpful to have some city guides by local people who are familiar with not-often explored fun things, I've decided to make a mini-series through my blog featuring crafty shopping and cheap eats here on O`ahu. The posts will be stored on a side column in my blog (not sure if it will be left or right yet) for prosperity's sake; the first one will be coming soon!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This weekend I had an assignment for my Hawaiian Language class which required me to go to Kahana Valley and work in the taro patch, which is where Hawaiians traditionally grew kalo, which is a starchy potato-like root that was then boiled or steamed and sometimes made into poi. Poi is purple and sticky like a paste; many people who try it don't like it (I LOVE it... I guess people like what they're raised to like). Taro is considered the "staff of life" for Hawaiians; many genealogies actually trace Hawaiians as the younger siblings of the taro plant. Cultivation of kalo requires extensive knowledge of the environment, sustainability, irrigation and agriculture, and it's a very labor-intensive crop. The labor part is where my classmates and I came in! At first I was made because it was on a SATURDAY, and I had to wake up at 5:45 am (on a Saturday... come on! You'd be mad too ) and drive all the way out to Kahana from town, which is like an hour or so if traffic is moderate. Bah humbug!

Even though I initially didn't want to go (on principle!), I learned so much and had fun! Here are some pictures; I didn't get to take that many because we were supposed to be working. I got really dirty and muddy; I fell into the irrigation ditch like a goober.

A view of the taro patches from a hill; the ditch I fell in is behind the clump of dark green trees in the far right corner

The flag of the Hawaiian Kingdom, now appropriated as the State flag; the Union Jack on there is to honor the friendship and international treaties between Great Britain and the Hawaiian Kingdom during the mid 1800s.

Opening the imu/underground earthen oven. Traditionally in Hawaiian culture men did all the cooking and preparation of food. When we went to Kahana, we had baked pork and chicken, banana, sweet potato, pineapple, white rice, freshly made poi, apple and coconut gelatin, and lots of other yummy foods. There was also kava, which is an intoxicating drink made from roots (but I don't like it so I didn't drink any).

Preparing laulau (baked pork wrapped in taro leaves)

My Professor pounding the taro into a paste for making poi. We are all sitting on huge mats woven out of lauhala/pandanus.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Quickie post

Just a quick post today. I did some watching of Netflix: Kinky Boots was awesome! I already had a fondness for Chiwetel Ejiofor from Love Actually and Four Brothers (that's actually all that I've seen him in... oh and Serenity too) and not that those were all really great movies, but it was easy to see why he is considered by many people to be a great actor. He was both hilarious and endearing in Kinky Boots, and the movie was super entertaining. I give it a 4 out of 5!

Also, here is a book that looks super awesome; The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy: I Link Therefore I am. How could you not love it with a title like that (All you Zelda players understand!) The book is actually a collection of essays, with similarly hilarious yet academic titles such as:
  • "Look before you warp"
  • "Shape shifting and time travel: Link's identity issues"
  • "Hyrule's green and pleasant land: the Minish cap as Utopian ideal."
I was in Barnes and Nobles a while ago when I saw it... and I laughed SO hard the people stocking books came to look at me!

Finally, here is a fun thing to do: I forget where I saw it but it's pretty cool.
  1. Go to Wikipedia and hit random for a random article; the title of the FIRST article that comes up is the name of your super cool band.
  2. Go to a random quotation generator, like this one; from the SECOND quotation that pops up, look at the last 4 or 5 words; this is the title of your album
  3. Go to flickr, and click on "explore the last 7 days" or just click here. The THIRD picture, no matter what it is, is your album cover.
  4. Use photoshop or a similar program to put it all together!
Bang! Now all you need is musical talent, a recording label/ contract and a slew of catchy songs. Here's mine: I imagine we're a crossover punk band from Poland on a global tour that is currently delayed because one of our band mates was arrested for indecent exposure in Madrid.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Thanks for all the sweetie comments and good wishes guys; I'm still so excited about the Smithsonian♥ I hope everyone's Easter was lots of fun: mine was! It was a nice, relaxing day where I was able to crochet a bit (working on a new design... possibly to be offered as a pattern in my shop! I'll give you a hint: It's a cute insect!) and catch up on schoolwork. Other than than we didn't do much... we didn't even color eggs this year. I managed to color something though; here is cream of wheat mush (is it the same as grits?) which I like to add color to before I eat it... because you can never eat too much food coloring :)

It turned out orange!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Yeah! Washington DC here I come!

Yayyyyy! I've been accepted to the Smithsonian Summer Institute thing I told you guys about earlier! I think they picked like 12-16 graduate students from around the country, and I am one of them! It means all kinds of neat-o things; I'll get to go to the Smithsonian and take classes from their ethnologists and curators in museum anthropology, look at all of their collections and get hands on interaction with artifacts and data..... I'm drooling already (and I'm such a nerd!). The only thing is, I am almost 100% positive that during this time I won't be able to do berrysprite stuff, so my shop will most likely end up being closed from June 29th to July 24 or so. I'm trying to see if I could keep it up while I'm away, but it doesn't look good; Oh well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it! In the mean time, this summer institute is just one more reason why I want the school semester to be over!

I'll be going to Washington DC and living there for a month to do research, all expenses paid (with a weekly stipend, I might add!) I am going to do so many things... I can't wait to go to all the museums and historic places! And the shopping (have you seen that way cool Apple store that is like a glass cube?) I wonder what else there is to do? (Maybe you guys could suggest cool things if you live there/have visited!) Man, the euphoria from being accepted has yet to wear off...

Well as you can see, I've been quite busy imagining some of the super cool things I'll get to do in DC. My friend Tiny has decided to illustrate some of his hopes for the trip:

At the Museum of Natural History:
Tiny to Elephant: "Do they give you peanuts?"

Tiny: "What a beautiful day to visit the peanut bank!"

Tiny to President Obama: "I'm so glad you could meet with me Mr. President. Yes, I feel very relaxed too; but what about that peanut stimulus plan..."

President Obama: "World, I've decided to make Tiny my Peanut ambassador. Get ready for change!"
Tiny: "Huzzah!"

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April Calendar is here

Yay, better late than never (I believe that is my personal motto!) Now available for download on flickr or photobucket; April's desktop calendar featuring special amigurumi Paddington! Paddington loves wearing his bunny hood, partly because he has stubby little ears, but also because he enjoys rabbit activities; munching on carrots and frolicking with his chicken friends are among his favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon! With his bunny ears he can even hear long distances and run faster... Hop hop hop!

It took a bit to get this calendar done, even though I had a week of Spring Break! As soon as I came back to school we had midterms, and I only just finished grading them. Paddington was named by my sister, because he's a brown bear. He was actually hard to visualize! I had the hood done, but not his accessories; originally I wanted to give him Easter eggs out of fimo but they turned out lumpy and not egg-like at all! So then I decided to give him jellybean colored chickens.... and I couldn't be happier; they are all so adorable together! Paddington will be in my store this Saturday at around 10:00 am Hawai`i time!

Friday, April 3, 2009

cool websites for etsy

Here are some cool websites that can enhance your etsy experience:

Many people probably know about this website, but craftopolis can tell you if you are featured in any treasuries or gift guides!

Heartomatic can give you an overview of your hearts, as well as breakdowns for your individual items and related statistics (it can also tell you if you've been on the front page and Gift Guides!)

So this isn't a website that can help you on etsy, but cuteable has just featured my chicks and egg cups on their Friday flickr picks; Berrysprite has been getting a lot of press in the last few days, and I'm so happy and grateful! I've also been getting lots of random people saying how much they love Berrysprite, which makes me smile all the time! Thanks so much to everyone who is a fan, has hearted me and convo's me/ comments on my blog! I love you all so much :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Totally awesome!

logo by

**Wild screaming*** Check it out guys, I'm on etsy! I mean really on etsy, as in I appear in a storque article for the first time ever! And it's all thanks to sweeties Marceline and Claire, who were guest curators and included my caterpillar in their picks of kawaii-ness. I'm so happy to have my little bug in the article, but there's so much more sweetness featured in the article from other talented etsy-er's, including but not limited to a truly awesome bunny vase, zelda cards and a cute coconut bun; you should check it out! It's so awesome to have Marceline and Claire as curators and to feature cute and kawaii goods, I feel so honored to be a part of it! Also, if you need even MORE, more, more cuteness all year round, you can go to Marceline and Claire's website/blog/online shop at!

PS. Don't worry guys, I'm still working on April's Calendar!
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