A kawaii reversible tote bag is the design creation from Carlsbad’s Akemi Kuramoto Alpaslan. (Courtesy of Tomodachi Kitty)


Tea for two.

Make a lunch date with your best friend for the Heavenly Treasures Christmas Tea on Dec. 10 and 11. Includes a fashion show with the latest accessories, free giveways, favors, and more importantly, time to go shopping.

Whimsical fabric origami ornaments by Brenda Iwai of Kent, Wash. are embellished with wire and beads. (Courtesy of B. Iwai)

Heavenly Treasures is a Christian micro-enterprise, non-profit with a retail store, HT Handicrafts, in Glendora. A major goal is to aid people in developing countries with small business endeavors to create self-sufficiency. Giving hope is their credo.

Need a small hostess gift? Made in Africa wood servers, some with bone handles, others with a small carved lion, giraffe or lion on the ends, will impress. From $10-15.

“Bag ladies” will love the choices that come from Thailand, Guatemala, Phillippines, Phnom Penh and Kenya. Perfect to hold their stash of African multi-colored beaded bracelets and necklaces and banana bark and raffia angel ornaments.

Limited seating is available. First 150 takers per event. More info, go to
A holiday procrastinator—who could that be? Change is in the air. Three popular Asian arts and crafts events this weekend accentuate the positive. Two locally, one up in Seattle. A shopper’s delight!

At Alhambra’s Almansor Court is the Koi Krafters event celebrating 15 years of holiday fare. Make a date for a round of golf some other time and head directly to the Lakeview Room.
First-time participant is retired civil engineer Al Sasano whose passion is for all things wood. What started out as a hobby 10 years ago keeps him busy in his workshop turning out pens, letter openers, salad tongs, cutting boards, kaleidoscopes and crosses.

Taking shop classes at Cerritos College jump-started an existing appetite for working with wood and tools in furniture and cabinet making and wood turning.

“My father was a carpenter, so I grew up with tools. Woodworking seemed like a natural thing to pursue,” he said. “I’m influenced by  Sam Maloof’s work.”

Out in the OC is the Beary Best Friends holiday boutique at the Buena Park Holiday Inn. When they first opened

Woodturning hobbyist Don Saguchi of Monterey Park makes wooden pens for holiday gifts. (Courtesy of D. Saguchi Woodcraft)

their doors, it was back when home parties were trendy.

A new artisan to the scene is USC-grad Akemi Kuramoto Alpaslan who loves diversity, whether in art, fashion and design or international relations.

Her Asian-inspired tote bags, in three sizes, are multi-functional—purse, weekender, stash-all, even as a lightweight diaper bag. Look for cosmetic pouches, kids’ mini-backpacks and book bags. All products are limited by fabric availability, though the styling remains true.

Peer into her crystal ball. Alpaslan sees herself creating her own fabric line along with kids wear.
“My grandmother is a major influence on me. When I was little, she used to always draw with me. She would say that there is no mistake when you are making something. There is beauty in all that you see,” she said.

No need to be sleepless in Seattle with shopping and chow on the agenda.  A food tradition at the Ayame Kai Holiday Craft Fair are homemade apple pies for sale, the only event that holds this title.
Head out to Blaine Memorial Methodist Church to do that holiday shopping. A new take on origami ornaments comes from Brenda Iwai. No paper, these designs are made of 100 per cent cotton fabric aided by a fabric stiffener. Steps include saturating the cloth, letting it dry, iron and cut. Prices start at $10.

It all started with a single crane five years ago and is now a relaxing weekend outlet for this Hawaii-born gal.
What’s not to love about a cool dragon, dog or hummingbird? “Animals are great subjects for ornaments because they have so much character and personality,” said Iwai. Reason enough that they’re top selling stocking stuffers.
As you gather with family and friends over food and spirits on this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, take your own quiet moment to give thanks for all those people, near and far, who add joy, laughter and meaning to your daily life.

Saturday, Nov. 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ayame Kai Holiday Craft Fair
Blaine Memorial Methodist Church
3001 24th Ave. S., Seattle, WA
425-827-4930, Shizue Yahata

Saturday, Nov. 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Koi Krafters
Almansor Court, Lakeview Room
700 S. Almansor, Alhambra
626-282-2932, Irene Jong

Sunday, Nov. 21, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Beary Best Friends
Holiday Inn
7000 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
562-865-2637, Ellen Mabuni


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