The twelfth day of Christmas

6 01 2020

Mister Snowman and Rudolph

We let these two stay up until the twelfth day of Christmas. Rudolph has turned off his shiny nose until next year. I mua! Onward!

The first storied Christmas tree

21 12 2019

Mary Dominis, of New England, is credited with bringing the first Christmas to Hawaii in 1858. She was the wife of the first Governor. Last night on an evening tour of Washington Place, the official Governor’s mansion in Honolulu, I was charmed by her handmade ornaments.

I see Santa

25 12 2018

Merry Christmas from all of us at the studio! ~ DH, JJ, and Rebekah

Virtual snow

7 12 2016

Aloha, studio fans! As you can see it’s snowing at Rebekah’s Studio! In reality it is the time of ho‘oilo, the wet and rainy season in Hawai‘i. Damp and muddy! Amid the hustle and bustle of the season and the busy highways, I remind myself to drive safely and really be aware of what is around me. It’s a crazy time of year in many ways.

At the studio we are still wrapping up a couple of publishing projects—a coffee table book for my high school class’s 50th reunion (you do the math, haha!) and a second printing of a family recipe book, originally published in 1999. Painting and music classes are finishing up for the year. The holiday calendar of events is starting to fill now, too.

Be kind to each other. I wish you all much deserved peace and serenity, inside and out, with plenty of aloha! ~ Rebekah

At Honolulu Hale (City Hall)

At Honolulu Hale (City Hall)


Christmas family memory

6 12 2015

WAHIAWA — Momma used to save butcher paper, the heavy pink paper with dark fibers that the butcher wrapped meat in. I wonder who remembers butcher paper. In those days she recycled everything. She traded the morning Advertiser with Uncle Harry and Aunty Edna next door for the afternoon Star-Bulletin to read. She saved the plastic bags from the poi to reuse, long before today’s ubiquitous plastic came across the Pacific from Hong Kong. Paper grocery bags lined the trash cans. The animals got our food scraps. Those were the days we had a party line and had to dial “0” for the operator to make a long-distance phone call.

The butcher paper. She sponge-washed and dried the sheets all year. Then around Christmas she would finger paint on them. Sometimes she cut out designs from half a raw potato to make pretty stamps, like a Christmas tree or a sprig of holly. And sometimes she let me finger paint, too. I don’t recall ever playing with mud, but the feeling of finger paint oozing around my hands is probably like that. It was fun to decorate.

To dry our creations, she crawled under the grand piano, a Howard, in the living room and spread the painted papers flat on the maroon wool rug. (Dad’s choice of color in the Fifties.) Our house was a small two-bedroom plantation cottage rented from Uncle and Aunty, and the painted papers shared the floor with Dad’s record collection. He had a huge Scott radio/record player.

Funny. I wonder where the piano and record collection went.

So, if you can imagine in our small parlor—it was called a parlor, not a living room—there was the Scott, a blue overstuffed couch, matching overstuffed chair, the grand piano, and Momma’s sheet music cabinet. She was a piano teacher.

And she made her own Christmas wrapping paper! With hardly any more room in the parlor, especially after the first TV of the neighborhood moved in, she would set up the card table in the bedroom between the double bed and her green metal dressing table, the kind with a big tri-fold mirror, drawers both left and right, a bench in front, and a place for a comb-brush-hand mirror set on top. Where I used to play dress-up in her fancy gowns. There is where we both spent delightful times wrapping presents.

Colorful monochromatic papers of deep shades of blue, green, red, violet—so vibrant. Momma showed me how to crease the paper around the corners of a box and Scotch-tape them closed. The packages came to life with ribbons and bows of gold and silver. Even today, two and a half generations later, my cousins tell me they remember the beautiful sight of those packages under the tree.

Copyright 2015 Rebekah Luke

Memories of Christmases past

15 12 2014
Walter made the reindeer caroler.

Caroling reindeer by Walter

A couple of early marriage Christmas memories come to mind as I catch up with the holiday spirit this year—the time when DH and I waited until Christmas Eve to shop and the time I flew from Honolulu to Philadelphia on Christmas Day.

They were fun times.

The first time, we had a list of loved ones we wanted to give presents to, but we hadn’t planned ahead or gotten anyone’s Santa list. We’d procrastinated, and soon it was Christmas Eve. We headed out to Ala Moana Center, at that time still the largest shopping center in the world, before they were called malls, and when most of the merchants were local.

It’s fun to shop with Pete. He will tell you that he can leave me at a certain spot in a store, go away to pick up what he needs, and then come back a half hour later and I will have moved less than ten feet. He always knows he can find me.

His style of shopping is like fishing, he says. You poke around, see what you like, hook it, then move on, to the next hole. No dilly dallying. Especially on Christmas Eve!

The second memory is about the time when I ran a Hawaiian cooperative from its brick-and-mortar store in rural Hau‘ula on O‘ahu. It was a cute shop that carried Native Hawaiian made products, and the only good gift store for miles.

We stayed open on Christmas Eve until 6 p.m.  I let the other workers go home, and I took the closing shift. DH and I spent every Christmas in Springfield, Pennsylvania, while his parents were alive, and this time he was already there. I flew out alone on Christmas Day and was among just a handful of passengers on the plane, so cabin service was great.

What I remember is arriving at the Philadelphia airport the next morning and being scooped up by Pete, his brother Paul, and their dad—my father-in-law Walter. It was boxing day and we were going straight to Mitchell’s in Delaware.

The family was celebrating Christmas “late” this year. Paul had just driven up from North Carolina. Mitchell’s was Dad’s favorite craft store, and everything was on sale. Wrapping paper, suitable gifts, and all-around good buys. I found a shiny eggplant tree ornament. Cool! Mom’s favorite color was purple.

Toy trains and cars for Paul’s boys, some things for the girls, brushes and tubes of oil color for me. The others had a field day selecting supplies for whatever craft and woodworking projects they were working on. Heck, everything was on sale, and Delaware had no sales tax!

The wooden ornaments for the tree were made by Pete's parents for their granddaughter Ari. Dad made the big Rudolph with the shiny nose, too.

The wooden ornaments for the tree were made by Pete’s parents for their granddaughter Ari. Dad crafted the big Rudolph with the shiny nose, too.

Because we arrived early in the morning, we’d beat the crowds. On the way home to where my mother-in-law Dorothy was waiting and where Pete’s sister Penny would be arriving, we probably stopped at the Brandywine River Museum of Art to pick up more presents, and we probably stopped at the Brothers restaurant run by my Italian sister-in-law Patty’s relatives for pizza. There are certain places we always went when touring Pete’s old stomping grounds at Christmastime.

Nice, sweet memories, and a reminder that it’s not necessary to plan everything to the last detail during the holidays. Christmas is not just a day on the calendar. Christmas can be every day. I think if I keep open minded to welcome the surprises that are bound to come along this year, it will be enough.

(Well, okay, I did start a list today. Sort of! ;-))

Copyright 2014 Rebekah Luke

Hawaiian garland for the holidays

10 12 2011

In Hawaii we are fortunate to grow gardens with flowers and foliage to decorate our homes and adorn ourselves the year ’round. I’ve started to show others how to craft holiday garlands, such as Christmas wreaths, table centerpieces, hostess gifts, and swags.

Today some of us gathered at the yacht club in Kaneohe to put the decorations together. It’s a fairly easy method adapted from the Hawaiian wili style of lei making. We substituted wire for natural fiber used to whip the plant material together, and we omitted a separate backing that is unnecessary because the stiff stems of ti leaves are sufficient foundation.

This fresh wreath is made of green ti, red ti, laua‘e, and song-of-India leaves. Red and pink ginger blossoms offer pops of complementary colors. A big bow completes my creation.

Just in time for the holidays: handcrafted decorations from our gardens

Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke

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