Lava Luau Bucket Bag

I love taking a flat piece of fabric and giving it form.  To me this bag represents the lava flow, island sunsets, the abundance of flowers, graceful hula dancers, and the vivacity that is so very much the islands.  Despite all that glory, this bag is still totally laid back and 100% wash and wear — just like Hawaii.

This Lanai Style of Kona Bucket Bag — “Lava Luau” is molten fun. Fully lined, this bag is sturdy enough to be free-standing and measures 24″ in diameter and stands 10″ tall. It has one large inside zippered pocket, a draw-string closure, and sturdy, crossbody carry straps.

Quilly Sews

Once again, it’s been awhile since I last posted.  Let’s see if we can remedy that. First, let me catch you up on my life.

I live in Hawai’i.  I’m a substitute teacher. I love to sew.

Since it is summer and I am not teaching, I have been sewing. Here is one of my creations:

Jazzy Music Tote

 

This Lanai Style of Kona Music Bag — “The Jazzy” really knows how to sing the blues. The bag measures 19″ x 19″ x 4″ and has one outside slip pocket, and one 12″ wide, 8″ deep inner zip pocket.

These totes are huge.  A couple of our local music teachers carry these.  Gloria has had hers for over 2 years and it is still going strong.  She regularly carries 20 pounds of music and student files in it, and takes the bag everywhere she goes.

 

 

She’s Baaack!

Once again I have been given licence (and a license) to educate children.  I love to make kids think. Sometimes my methods are a little unorthodox, but they are usually fun.

Today I was in a special needs classroom with 3 hearing impaired kids and their aid, Ms. Ash.  Cognitively there is nothing wrong with these kids, they’re just a little behind because they are having to relearn life with cochlear implants.  It takes them a little longer to process verbal input because their brain isn’t accustomed to hearing, but they are plenty bright.

So, Jay was out of the room for a while for speech.  When he returned, I was sitting in his desk beside two other students and we were working on a science project.  Jay walked up to me. “Uhm — uh –” he pointed at his desk.

“Yes?” I answered.  He needs to verbalize his thoughts, not just make sounds.

“Uhm.” he said, and pointed again.

“Oh!”  I smiled brightly and said, “Hi!  My name is Jay.  This is my desk and here is my name tag.”  I ran my hands over the desk top and pointed at the name tag.

Jay glanced over at Ms. Ash.  She shrugged. He turned back to me and said, “What?”

I repeated, “My name is Jay.  This is my desk and here is my name tag.” I tapped on the name tag then asked, “Who are you?”

Jay looked over at Ms. Ash again.  Again she just shrugged. Jay turned back to me, put his hands on his hips, and said, “Your name is not Jay.”

“Really?!”  I tried to sound very surprised. I leaned forward and studied the name tag. Feigning confusion, I looked at him.  “Are you sure that’s not my name?”

Jay frowned again, and then answered, “Noooo.” He looked uncertain for a moment, then took a deep breath and said. “But I am sure that my name is Jay; this is my desk; and that is my name tag.”

“Really?” I exclaimed.

Jay nodded emphatically.  I grinned at him, we all shared a laugh, and I got up and moved.

Fast forward to the end of the day (about six hours later):

As we were cleaning up to leave Ms. Ash announced, “Ms. Teacher will be out sick tomorrow, too, so Ms. A. will be coming back.”

Jay looked up from putting the blocks away, “Who is Ms. A.?”

Ms. Ash pointed at me.

Jay looked at me, raised his eyebrows and smirked, “Oh, you mean Ms. Jay?”

*   *   *

Yep.  I am going back tomorrow.  They pay me for this.

~names changed to protect the sassy. 

Honeyflower And Pansy, by Esmé James

honeyflowerHoneyflower And Pansy is the debut novel of Esmé James.  The story is billed as a teenage romance, but it is really so very much more. Despite the fact that the story’s author is only 18 years old, Honeyflower And Pansy is an emotional and satisfying read.  Perhaps some of the story problems come to a much more satisfying and tidy end then similar problems would in real life, but that is the nature of young adult fiction.

Amanda Daryl is an engaging and proactive character.  She is concerned with the welfare of her family, her friends, and her autistic little sister Sage. As such, Amanda takes steps to help each of them with their various predicaments.  She helps her friends plan a dance; she helps a drunk reclaim his life and his business; she helps her father raise her little sister Sage; she helps the community get a new school; and she helps the mysterious Tristan with a difficult good-bye.

Sage Daryl is presented very realistically in the story, the triumphs and challenges of being autistic shine with authenticity because Esmé James has an autistic sibling.  Clearly writing from her heart, James details the complex communication, fixation, and aversion/avoidance issues that face autistic children and their families, but she does so with a very deft touch, enlightening the reader without detracting from the main story.

Honeyflower And Pansy is a love story, but the primary focus of the story isn’t on Amanda and Tristan’s budding relationship, or on Amanda’s drive to secure a school for autistic children like Sage.  This is a love story about love, and how it can change a life, save a soul, and rebuild a community.

I rate this book a 4 on my 1 to 5 scale.  It looses one point only because from time to time Ms. James gets so caught up in “writing” that she forgets she is also storytelling.  Some of her lovely, lovely prose is actually too artistic, and interferes with comprehension.  I suspect several of her words were swept from a Thesaurus and used based on their formal definition rather than their colloquial meaning — or perhaps the occasional stiltedness is merely differing shades of connotation between Australian and American word usages.

Honeyflower And Pansy, by Esmé James is well worth the $2.99 Amazon purchase price.  I look forward to more offerings from this talented, young storyteller.

I was given a free copy of this novel in exchange for an unbiased review.