ReVamp and ReNew

It’s been a while since posting and blogging.

Most of that is due to my memorial post of a dear friend that passed away last May. She left me her entire bead collection and, although I did not post here, I did make up A LOT of her items. She had 9 rubbermaid tubs of beads to create beaded angels. I made up over 500 of them. Beaded Angels were EVERYWHERE and we gave away A LOT of Guardian Angels over the last 6 months to people who themselves in their everyday lives are Angels themselves.

Once taking a side path to beading, sewing, embroidery and other crafts stepped to the side. And with a need to do some other chores, I diverted my creative talents to baking.

With all this diversity, I suppose the name CURIOSITIES is a good one since it encompasses all aspects of creative goodness.  I feel it is now time to step back into the documenting/sharing blog world with whatever diverse creativity is happening as it happens. I birthed this site out of the love of embroidery, so if you’ve come on board because of embroidery, I hope you can hold on through the baking, sewing, painting, and other artsy crafty things I will now build here as well. Eventually, I know posts will circle back to touch on embroidery and it’s sister crafts.

Maybe you are like me and dabble and indulge in many creative avenues. If that is the case, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the many CURIOSITIES that will appear here and the stories that will accompany them!  🙂

Enjoy the changes! Let’s embark on some new adventures together!

Your life needs fun. Go ahead, have some fun! –

alicia in Hawaii

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Filed under Beaded/Beading

Tutorial ~ Nostepinnes: How to Wind a Center Pull Yarn Ball and Yarn Parking

The Nostepinne

I like all kinds of creative avenues!  Yarn fun, like, Spinning, Dyeing Wool, Knitting, and Crochet are part my adventures. Woodworking also is in there, and my woodworking creations lend many hands to tools.

I thought that people might like to see how I use my tools with yarn.

A Nostepinne is useful for winding a center pull ball, especially when the yarn/thread is thin or the total amount of yarn is not enough to make a ‘jumbo’ ball. However, even an abundance of yarn can be hand wound, if necessary, and with a Nostepinne, the job is much easier than using no ‘core’ or center to keep the middle section open for the ‘pull center’ to freely flow from the yarn ball.

Here I am using my ‘mini Nostie’ to wind a mini handpainted yarn skein for a mini sock.

Hold the Nostie, working end out.

Hold the end with thumb, this will be the center pull start so do NOT lose this strand. It is important to keep hold on this end. I have lots of slack beyond my thumb, to ensure that this end does not get lost.

Wrap around the end of the Nostie for an inch or two. This is a mini Nostie making a mini ball, so I wound it just about an inch.

To start the crosswise winding, wrap the yarn up to the top right of the straight wraps, bring the yarn around the Nostie and back to the lower left of the straight wrap. This makes a diagonal line across the straight wrap.

Continue to wrap the diagonals, while turning the Nostepinne around so the the next diagonal sits on the top of the previous diagonal.

Continue those diagonal wraps as the Nostepinne turns to let the next wrap rest above the previous one.

Voila! The ball is done. All the yarn is wrapped. There is the ‘center pull ball’. However, the ‘pullable’ side is facing the handle, and I want it to face off the ‘end’ of the Nostepinne. So, I slip it off the end and turn the ball around, then slide it back onto the point of the Nostepinne.

Here it is, turned around so that the ‘pullable’ side is facing the end of the Nostie, ready for that side to get on the needles or hook.

Here is the center pull ball, parked, ready to use!


I also use my Nostepinnes to “park” my yarn.  😉

I’m knitting a pair of Kilt Hose for my son. I’ve got 2 socks on 2 circulars, the ball of wool is a natural color, and I’m working it from both ends of the ball. The ball is parked on the Nostie the center pull yarn is attached to one sock, the other yarn that unwinds from the exterior of the ball, is attached to the other sock. When it is time to ‘flip’ the needles, I simply ‘flip’ the Nostie…the yarn never tangles.

Here, I have set up 2 balls of yarn, each on its own Nostie. I am currently working a swatch on the one shown here. To work 2 socks from 2 different balls of yarn, park each ball on their own Nostie. The center pull is attached to the knitting work.

Here, I have a commercial yarn ‘parked’ on a Nostie. (Yes, I sometimes have commercial yarn to work with)
I was swatching with the needles, so I had them detached already from the work, but you can see that the pull center is coming off the working end of the Nostie, going to the needles and the project.

With all of these, when I need to clean up or put any of this away, I simply lift the Nosties and the project and place them all in a project bag. The yarn never tangles or collapses in on itself. The projects are kept neat and simple.
My hubby and I have so much fun making the Nostepinnes. We have our one of a kind handturned Nostepinnes in my ArtFire store.

Your life needs fun. Go ahead, have some fun! –

alicia in Hawaii

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Filed under knitting, Nostepinne, Nostepinne, Spinning, Tools, tutorial, Wind Center Pull Yarn Ball

Island Style Quilting

Mystery Mix

What do you get if you mix these fabrics together?

How about if you cut them up into little 6.5″ and 3.5″ squares?

Then sew them back together like so…

Now, what to do with the 12×12 squares…what could they become?

What if the big squares are mixed with a few other bright fun fabrics?

Your life needs fun. Go ahead, have some fun! –
alicia in Hawaii


Filed under Hawaiian Creations, Quilting, sewing

Memorial of a Best Friend-JoAnn Sakuoka

Normally, I refrain from personal posts, but sometimes life just seeps in and it wouldn’t feel right NOT to post it.

On Monday, May 24, 2010, I lost one of my best and closest friends.

Here is a photo of me and JoAnn (with the glasses) together at my son and dil’s wedding back in August 2009.

JoAnn found out that she had colon cancer in the second week of May. The doctors gave her 6 months time to live, she swore that she only had a month, if that. JoAnn died just shy of one month after finding out about the cancer…just like she said she would. She was 49 years old…she almost made it to 50…her birthday is in July. By the time 3 weeks had passed, we had just enough time to help her get her belongings in order and to help her find some peace of mind.  She had just barely found out about her diagnosis and she was already on oxygen and morphine.  Her brother cared for her for the short time that hospice was involved. She had just enough time to speak with her closest friends then, she died peacefully at home.

JoAnn was one of my best and closest friends. When I started my Elementary Teaching Career, after teaching 4 years of Intermediate school,  back in 1997 or so, she was the one person who helped me survive teaching the 4th Grade.  She had just finished one year of 4th grade. We were the ones way out in the field…far away from the rest of the grade level…and we stuck together and had a great start to close friendship. She and I have had many adventures together…personal fun, karaoke, crafting, beading, taking all kinds of classes…and just goofing around. We shared so many secrets and so many of life’s ups and downs…and through it all  she has been there for me, my husband, my son, my mom and my dad, no matter what and no matter when.  I know that I was as good a friend to her as she was to me.

To a wonderful, caring person, JoAnn Sakuoka…you were a true blessing.


your closest friend…



JoAnn Sakuoka was currently teaching at Iroquois Point Elementary School and was previously at Ewa Elementary School.  We were both very active with HSTA while I was teaching and she continued to represent her teaching colleagues within HSTA.  She also taught English abroad in Japan prior to being a public school teacher. She always said that she had some of the best times of her life living and teaching in Japan. Teaching: It was an experience that she cherished.


Filed under Memorial

Tutorial-Embroidery Tools–The Sulky Hot Iron Transfer Pen–Creating Iron On Transfers-Tarot Card Purse Panel

Here is another tutorial about creating Iron On Transfers. This is how I have created hot iron transfers with the Sulky Hot Iron Transfer Pen.

1. Have a pattern image. Copy the image onto plain printing paper. You can even enlarge or reduce the image size!

For this project, I want to create an embroidery panel for a purse using a  card that my husband created. He made a deck for me a few years back and this card is one of my favorites. It shows both of us and our little Jack Russell Terrier, Mr. MacKenzie.

I copied the card image with my computer printer. For this one, I even ENLARGED the original image to get the size that I want for the purse panel.


2. Get a hot iron transfer pen…and an iron.

This is a brown Sulky hot iron transfer pen. I used to buy mine at, but they no longer carry them. If you know of a good place to buy this pen online, please share your source with me.

The iron will come into play later. 😉


3. Trace your design on the reverse side with your hot iron transfer pen.

I flip the printed paper over and use my cutting mat as a solid surface since light can travel through the plastic. You can see here that the design is visible and easily traceable when I hold the mat and the reversed sheet up to the door.

After you have the entire design traced out…go on to #4.


4. Place the pattern image, hot iron PEN SIDE DOWN onto your fabric. Just decide where you want it to be…and get ready!


5. Press with hot iron. Set your iron to the cotton setting. (That is the setting that I usually use…unless the fabric is some type that will not survive the heat.)


6. Leave iron placed on the transfer. Peek under a corner to see if the transfer is done.


7. The transfer is done.

You’ve created a Hot Iron Transfer for embroidery…or for just about anything!

Let the embroidery begin!

Your life needs fun. Go ahead, have some fun! –
alicia in Hawaii


Filed under Bags/Purses, Iron On Transfer, Projects, Tarot Card Purse, Tools, tutorial

A Birthday Card Twist – In A Tin

I was looking for these wonderful little tins to do up some cross stitched or embroidered covers. A wonderful friend, Joan, ever faithful Needle Shop extraordinaire, gave me a whole box of these little wonders. She was so kind to share them with me.   🙂

I needed a Birthday Card for my mom…and I had these tins…and some colored pencils…and some watercolor/chalk paper… so was birthed:

(I call it) Film Can Greeting Card

I did up a sketch of our little Jack Russell, Beagle and one of the many kitties for a birthday gift/card cover.  I created a little cover for a tiny tin. Here it is.

I then cut a teeny tiny sliver of paper-strip to write my message on, curled it up into the tin like a film can, and called it a ‘card’.

It has a cover, you open it, and the message is inside!

Now, my little creatures images are featured in color pencil and in thread.

Too see the creation of the thread square go here (to my Counting My Bessings Blog) or here (New Post on Embroidered Square)

I created the drawing before doing the piece up in embroidery.  🙂

Your life needs fun. Go ahead, have some fun! –
alicia in Hawaii


Filed under Colored Pencil, Embroidery Ideas, Favor Tins, Film Can Greeting Card, Pets

Stitched Blessings, Squares 1 and 2

The beginnings of my blessings…

Me and my hubby, John, are the best of buddies…and we love to snorkel. Living here in Hawaii , we are blessed with (just about) 365 days a year in which we CAN and are ABLE to snorkel. Go warm weather and sunshine!

Can you see the resemblance?

The bottom edging is a Stem Stitch-Portuguese Knot, the sides are Feather Stitch, the top is a Running Stitch with an interspersed Double Cross Stitch. I think of it as corals below, greens and seaweeds for the sides and sunning skies above.  All the edges are stitched with a multi-color dyed Caron Watercolor thread.

What’s snorkeling without some water and waves.  Here is some embroidery with a ‘twist’ for the wave action! Stitched with Blanket Stitch-Detached Twisted Bar and some good ‘ole DMC thread.

Did I mention that these are 1 inch squares?

Very tiny faces. Very tiny squares.

This has been a great start! I’ve already had some fun!

Your life needs fun. Go ahead, have some fun! –
alicia in Hawaii


Filed under 100 Blessings Embroidery, embroidery, Embroidery Ideas, SAL