KRAFTY KORNER: Walk, Don’t Run


Brilliant fall foliage sets off an old bridge that mimics a cat’s eye reflection on the South Pond in NYC’s Central Park. (Courtesy of T. Miyasaki)


NYC’s towering old buildings contrast with the voluminous green space at the pond in Central Park. (Courtesy of T. Miyasaki)



When in New York City, you walk. On the pavement, up and down stairs, it’s a constant flow of people in motion to catch subways and trains. That’s how you get from here to there and back.

A walk in the park is a welcome diversion from the pace and frenzy of that everyday lifestyle. Not just any park. Central Park sits across from bustling Fifth Avenue. Acres of man-made green space are surrounded by the roar of this big city.

Make it a crisp day in October, weather in the low sixties and the fall foliage is aglow with a palette of popping greens, reds, yellows and golds. Nature is basking in her glory. Awesome!

It’s a Friday afternoon so it’s not crowded. Big kids are in school, little ones stroll by with nannies. Lovers share a picnic break on the lawn, locals relax on scattered benches reading and chatting. A few runners go by as well as horse-led carriages and others with pedaling drivers. Times have changed with the economy.

Susanna Tam’s contemporary pendant shows stylized black leaves offset with a silver chain. (Courtesy of SuStudio Jewelry)

Typical tourists, my family had cameras in hand snapping photos as we sauntered around the south end. The Trump-Wollman Ice Rink was prepping for their winter opening the following week and a vast playground area bustled with sounds of laughter.

A popular pendant and earrings moon-mountain design comes from Susanna Tam of Renton, Wash. (Courtesy of Hideo Horiuchi)

We even eyed a photographer shooting an Asian bride in her wedding gown and cute tennies.

Take a time out and go for a stroll through the park. Try it—you might like it.

Once back on the West Coast, the car reigns supreme.

When in the Seattle area, the home of Starbucks and, drive to the Ayame Kai event at the Blaine Methodist Church on Saturday. See Susanna Tam’s jewelry creations, happily chow down on yummy homemade apple pies and peruse vintage Asian goods.

A vintage look is created with Kari Iwaoka’s art deco hoop earrings. (Courtesy of Kai Ai Designs)

Surprise your BFF or significant other with a signature piece from Tam. Moon Over the Mountains is a sterling silver necklace with freshwater pearls. Add earrings to match.

Fate led her on this path of metalsmithing. After the ’89 San Francisco earthquake, she bought a couple of sterling silver rings from a lone street vendor the next day.

Curiosity about these baubles led up to her now four-year-old SuStudio Jewelry. A UC Davis grad, Tam later learned about the nuances of jewelry, resulting in a Certificate of Jewelry Arts.

An eclectic black agate pendant created by Kari Iwaoka of Las Vegas is accented with light gun metal chains, crystals and pearls. (Courtesy of Kay Ai Designs)

Simplicity is her mantra. “I’m a firm believer in the concept of less is more … my designs are simple, yet different, with clean lines,” she said.

Tam looks to the world of nature, Chinese brush painting, ethnic artwork and fashion trends for inspiration. Even a mere pile of papers or shadows and scribbles may do the trick.

Closer to home is the Koi Krafters arts and crafts show at Almansor Court in Alhambra on Saturday.

New kid on the scene and self-taught jewelry visionary is Kari Iwaoka of Las Vegas via Hawaii.

Thanks to YouTube and a caring fiancé’s suggestion to do whatever makes her happy, Iwaoka did just that. After watching videos on wire wrapping rings, an inner passion for jewelry making was reignited. As a teenager, she’d buy jewelry from the $1 store, or use throw-away family pieces, then recycle them into new designs.

After hours, she designs one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces under the Kay Ai Designs label, available at the Beary Best Friends show in Buena Park on Sunday. Two rooms filled with holiday gifts and goodies will help shoppers go merrily on their way.

Iwaoka gets high on each stone’s character imperfections, colors of the setting sun and all the wonders of nature.

“Follow your heart,” she said. “If you do what you love, you never work a day in your life.”

To family and friends, near and far, let’s count our blessings this Thanksgiving Day. We have a lot to be thankful for.

Saturday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Ayame Kai Holiday Craft Fair
Blaine Memorial Methodist Church
3001 24th Avenue So., Seattle, WA
425-827-4930, Shizue Yahata

Saturday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Koi Krafters
Almansor Court, Lakeview Room
700 S. Almansor, Alhambra
626-282-2932, Irene Jong

Sunday, Nov. 20, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Beary Best Friends
Holiday Inn
7000 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
562-865-2637, Ellen Mabuni

Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
imaginAir Crafts Boutique
Toyota Meeting Hall
3330 Civic Center Dr.
North, Torrance
310-719-8697, Deanna

Sunday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Krafty Delites Christmas
Boutique #2
Carson Community Center
801 E. Carson St., Carson
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Sunday, Dec. 4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
St. Mary’s Christmas Boutique
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
963 S. Mariposa, LA
213-215-3883, Fifi Newcomb

Sunday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
A Time for Sharing Christmas Boutique
Gardena Elks Lodge
1735 W. 162nd St., Gardena
310-329-5874, Stephanie Nakayama

Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kimochi’s Silver Bells Arts & Crafts Faire
The Event Center at St. Mary’s Cathedral
1111 Gough St., San Francisco
415-931-2294, Sakura Suzuki


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