Friday, December 02, 2011

Hawaiian Christmas Nativity - The Coconut Creche

The Hawaiian Coconut Creche is our signature Christmas item in our online store. Year after year, it is a favorite both for locals and mainlanders alike. Everyone is included - Mary, Joseph, the wise men, sheep, shepherds, the angel and of course baby Jesus. And it wouldn't be a "Hawaiian" creche without a little coconut tree to add to the subtle, yet obvious coconut shell nativity scene that everyone is presented on.

Because the creche is a handmade handicraft and made from coconut shells (no one is exactly alike), each creche is unique. That's one of the attractions we enjoy as we inspect and send them out. We notice the subtle differences of each and every one.

What happens when you travel to Hawaii during Christmas, get a Hawaiian Coconut Creche as a gift and it breaks during travel or in the mail? Do you send it back? You can, but because it is so easy to fix, you might want to rethink that. With all the time it takes to repack it, run it to the local post office and wait for a replacement, you might be able to avoid all that with a couple minutes of work with some wood glue.

If you don't have any wood glue, you can probably borrow some from your friendly neighborhood handyman, or craft enthusiast, or even pick up a small bottle at the local department store. Just press the glue into the area that is loose or has fallen off. It's that simple. The glue dries clear so it's hardly noticeable. If you are really good with the glue, you might not even see any evidence at all that there was a break or damage. Voile!

Of course, if you want to send it back, no problem there as well. Your satisfaction is paramount. We'll send a replacement painlessly. After all, it is the season and we strive to embody the subject. Just some food for thought.

Mele Kalikimaka!

* This post has been updated with new link to our new storefront. Adjustment to repair instructions also updated.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Customize Your Hawaiian Quilt Christmas Stockings

It's something that you really don't see outside of Hawaii very often, let alone in Hawaii. Hand quilted Hawaiian Christmas stockings are a creative take on the Christmas icon and traditional Hawaiian quilting. Sometimes you'll see "embroidered" Hawaiian stockings that are done by machine. But they just don't have that "handmade" feel.

A few years ago, we started to offer our hand quilted stockings online. They were an instant classic and an immediate bright spot for our store. The little extra touches such as the piping edges, traditional Hawaiian quilt motifs and the "Mele Kalikimaka" embroidered on the cuff lent to the authentic look of the stocking.

Now we are offering an option - a blank cuff where you can add in your own name or saying. It is something that has been requested in the past and we loved the idea. It only makes sense that you would want to put your own name on your stocking. All the other elements are there except for the name so you still have that "Hawaiian" feeling.

We aren't going to be actually doing the custom embroidery but you should be able to do that at your local mall. We suggest looking at a hat store or a logowear store. Even some department stores have customizing services.

Mele Kalikimaka!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Our New Tahitian Pareo - Maeva Pareu

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

It's been 2 years since we introduced our last custom fabric design - Tehani, to the world. We would have loved to keep going with that classic but due to some problems with the manufacturer, we were no longer able to have it produced. It was difficult to give it up, but as with just about everything in the modern era, we have to move on.

Our new Tahitian pareo print - Maeva, is just what we wanted. The Maeva print is available in five beautiful colors. Each color name was inspired by an element of Tahitian life. Arii Red is named for the arii (or nobility) of old, Mango Orange is named for one of our favorite fruits so endeared in Tahiti, Green Tiare is named for Tahiti's iconic flower and leaves, Poehere Blue is named in honor of last years Miss Tahiti and one of our featured models, and lastly, Brown Tapa is named for the original "pareu" of Tahiti and pays homage to the 'ahu of old.

The Maeva custom fabric design is reminiscent of our Tehani design. We have the same kind of feel and look but we added in more traditional Tattoos. The variation of the otipi or plate/bowl design was added into the leaves and we added more tiare flowers. The Hawaiian lauae leaves were removed and outline marks were also removed. The all-over print is now brighter and distinctly Tahitian/Marquesan in look and feel.

We love our new Maeva design and look forward to making more options available in the future.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Island Themed Wedding-Wedding Favors

With Spring and Summer rapidly approaching, weddings are abound and invitations to share the special event are being sent out to family and friends.

At the reception, there is food, music, flowers, cameras, balloons, the wedding party, gifts and everything else that comes with the event. One of the details that might be given a special island touch is the wedding favors. Here are a few ideas that can help dress up the tables with a little island style and not break the bank in the process.
Palm Tree Favor Box with Multi-dimensional Detail (Set of 24)
Palm Tree Favor Box with Multi-dimensional Detail (Set of 24)
Palm trees sway and seagulls soar where the ocean meets the shore. An unforgettable destination wedding becomes even more memorable when the perfect wedding favor greets guests at the table, and Kate Aspen has mastered the art of the perfect beach wedding favor in this blending of spectacular scenery and sweet delights. Give your guests ""frond memories"" with these Palm Tree Favor Boxes-a tantalizing taste of the tropics. Palm fronds in subtle shades of green and ripe, brown coconuts sit atop a trunk just waiting to be filled with treats. The palm tree favors measure 5 ½"" x 3 ½"" and are sold in sets of 24. Some assembly is required.

"Tranquility" Eco-Friendly Bamboo Place Card (Set of Four)
A symbol of friendship and long life in many cultures, bamboo brings an exotic Asian touch to any occasion. You'll be amazed at how something so light and delicate can carry so much meaning to your guests. Features and facts: Section of real bamboo stalk has a 1/2" slit at the top for place card or photoMatching place card with bamboo motif includedHolder measures 2" x 3/4" in diameterRelated: Bamboo Wedding Favors

Soy Coconut Shell Candle - White Wax

Soy Coconut Shell Candle - White Wax

The beach bride's secret weapon when it comes to favors they'll truly love (not to mention setting a stylish table — or whipping up a last-minute gift)! These pure soy wax with cotton wick candles are poured into real coconut shells making them as green as they are clean-burning. Made from real coconut shells and sanded for a smooth finish the bottoms will sit easily for candle use. Our coconut shells are uniform looking but there will be slight variations between each shell as they are real. Each one is approximately 5 inches wide and 3 inches high. Sold individually and unscented.

"Shells by the Sea" Authentic Shell Placecard Holders with Matching Placecards (Set of 6)

Every shell in these placecard holder sets is an authentic natural specimen gathered from the sea. They make great placecard holders at your wedding celebration, while afterwards your guests can use them as photo and memo holders. Sold as a set of six, with matching placecards. Please note that as each seashell is unique there may be some variation on size and shape.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tongan Salusalu Lei

There are times when a flower lei might not be the most practical gift. Sending it through the mail to a faraway loved one may not be possible. What do you do then? A silk flower lei can be a great option, or even a crocheted lei can be a prized memento as well.

But if you want to get something a little more authentic and won't perish in the next week, you might consider this. Our Tongan Salusalu Lei is handcrafted right here in Hawaii by local Tongan artisan Mele Tovo. For years she has crafted and demonstrated at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Now retired, she crafts for fun and teaches her grandchildren and neighbors the cultural arts that she mastered.

Mele's creations can be seen daily at many of the Polynesian shows throughout Hawaii. One of her most visible is the Tongan Salusalu Lei. The vibrant lei is made from the wild hibiscus fibers found throughout Polynesia. The lei is handmade looping, tying and weaving the fibers to make the flower petals. It's very lightweight just as its flower counterparts. Available now in traditional Tongan colors (red & white) and in a festive option (red, white, green and orange). Custom colors are also available in quantities.

A great gift for the upcoming holidays including Christmas and Valentines. And don't forget graduations, birthdays and special days. These Polynesian leis will keep the lasting memories of the moment.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Anniversary Sale at Black Pearl Designs

We're celebrating our 6th year!
It's amazing how time flies. We've gone through our share of ups and downs and we're looking forward to a great 7th year. To celebrate, we're doing something we usually don't do. We're putting our black pearl shell jewelry on sale now for the month of October. In addition, we're putting our Mahana Pareos on sale as well.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tongan Ngatu - Tapa

We just introduced on our website a new artisan and some of her initial offerings. Melenaite Tovo, a Tongan cultural expert, has created ngatu, or tapa as it is known in English, for us. Her first 5 pieces are now online available in our artisan section. She hand paints each piece using traditional methods. It goes without saying that each piece is unique and one of a kind.

The tapa or ngatu are typical small pieces that depict traditional Tongan motifs. The piece that you see here features the Kalou which represents the inside cross-section of the mapa seed. This is surrounded by borders of the design called Manulua, one of the oldest of Polynesian design and Fata 'o Tu'i Tonga which refer to the sennit bindings that hold the central beam in a royal house.

In addition to our initial offerings, check back soon for the introduction of the larger pieces (seen here below) which can be used for a number of uses including costumes, wall hangings and other creative uses.

Today, ngatu is used for gifts, ritual dress and decorations. In Tongan culture, tapa making continues to occupy a position of importance and prestige. The methods used today are the same as in ancient times before the European explorers set foot on the "friendly islands."

Take a look at a video introducing how Tongan tapa is made. This is a film produced by the Documentary Educational Resources company.