Almost time for Christmas in the County

Christmas in the Country Banner

The time is getting near for our 5th Annual Christmas in the Country Arts & Crafts Fair. We’re looking for vendors and would love to get your applications early. Please click here to go to our Events Page for Christmas in the Country information, application form and payment through PayPal. We are also looking for volunteers and would love to hear from you. If  you’d like to volunteer, please use the form below. Many people are needed to make this event a success.

Mahalo in advance. We’re excited to get started.


Pua Melia
Pua Melia

Yesterday’s monthly rummage sale was absolutely amazing! We got to meet so many folks, some residents from Hawaii Island, and a few from our Neighbor Islands, as well as visitors from the mainland. After learning of our great project and all of its benefits, they pledged their support and donated. Every little bit helps.



A big Mahalo goes out to Gretchen and Mike Klungness who gave their time to be there and assist with the event. Mahalo also to the staff of Hilo Coffee Mill that assisted with the set up and storage of the rummage items.

I would also encourage anyone reading this, to subscribe to receive these posts via email (its easy, see the button on the right). And share the Carousel Of Aloha with the WORLD! It benefits everyone! And everyone can help, because it is a community built project.

So, next month’s rummage sale in on February 2, 2013 at the Hilo Coffee Mill during their Farmer’s Market @ the Mill.  Mark your calendars now. If you can help on that day, let me know.

There is an Hawaiian saying: `A `ohe hana nui ke alu `ia which means:  no task is too big when done together by all.

Lets do this!


Help Needed for Tomorrow’s Rummage Sale

Help!! With all of the holiday ‘busy-ness’ and the attention that end of year, end of month stuff needs, the first weekend in January is already here. That means that it is the monthly Carousel of Aloha Rummage Sale fundraiser that is held at the Hilo Coffee Mill. I desperately need help in the way of people to assist with setting up, sales, giving information on the COA project and at the end, putting away the remainder of the unsold goods. If there is anyone with some available time tomorrow from 730am to 130 or 2pm, please let me know.

Although I know it happens each month, somehow I get caught at the end. Perhaps you can look at your calendars and let me know if you can help with any of the future rummage sales. It’s only once a month, on the first Saturday. Please try. It would really help and is so much appreciated. And let your friends know of the project, and maybe they can help too. The rummage sale is a great way to find deals on all sorts of things, from clothes to construction materials. Its held during the Mill’s Farmer’s Market, so it is fun and entertaining. You can shop while you’re there, eliminating the need to go to the grocery store for your fresh products. See, it can be a win-win-win all the way around!

Thanks in advance! Hope to hear from you soon!


Yen’s Thoughts and a New Wish List


I have long advocated–half seriously–that we should move Christmas to August because of the stress the holiday adds to December. During the darkest days of the year, I’d prefer to have the leisure to sit quietly and read a good book. Instead, December brings a mountain of holiday-related work. Consequently, I’ve had to push the Carousel of Aloha to a back burner where it has simmered, and its gentle bubbling reminded me of all the carousel chores I was neglecting. Guilt knows no bounds. 

I’ve felt a measure of guilt in December for my inability to devote more time to the carousel. I’ve even felt it through the fatigue that has often accompanied my waking hours this month. The amalgam of guilt and fatigue has a toxic quality, so I’m glad that Boxing Day has come and gone. Now I can resume a semblance of ordinary life. 

Today is Thursday, December 27th, and Ken’s Master Carving Workshop looms large. I’ve got to kick it up a notch of two in order to properly prepare for that. The list of task is long and as varied as the list of material wants and needs. For example, we need several pairs of old jean.  We actually only need the legs which we will make into sandbags to steady carving stock. We also need someone who will play tour guide for Ken and Betty, his wife during their days off. So please visit Yen’s Wishlist for a complete inventory, and offer your assistance to whatever degree. 

The third Introduction to Carving Workshop also approaches. We elected not to schedule any workshops in December (thank goodness) because we knew that everyone would already be overwhelmed by the season. We’ll hold the January Workshop inPahoa on Sunday, January 13th. January is also the month we need to make all the carving blanks for Ken’s Master Workshop. 

Phew, I’m tired already.

Learn to Carve with the Master


Ken Means serves as the Master Carver for the Carousel of Aloha, and we’re very lucky to have his help. Since he and his wife, Betty live and work in Oregon, he mostly offers advice and support from afar. Happily we are able to bring Ken an Betty to Hawai’i for two weeks in February. Ken will teach a Master Carving Class for two weeks, from February 11 through February 22, 2013. For more information click here.

Ken has devoted the bulk of his artistic life to learning about and keeping alive an old tradition. Ken currently has his own carousel carvings on exhibition at the Coos Bay Art Museum through January 26, 2013. We invite you to study with Ken. This class is a rare opportunity to learn how to carve carousel animals with someone who possesses great knowledge about that process.

If you want to know the details about this class, please Subscribe to our Blog via Email, located on every web page, to receive regular updates as we know them.

Learn more about Ken Means.

We Are Building the Carousel of Aloha

Thomas and Yen
Thomas and Yen strategizing before the workshop.

Last week I found Thomas sitting in my path.  I was traveling a straight and narrow path that had scheduled me for a 15 minute–half hour max–stop at the Hilo Coffee Mill.  I needed to re-glue the three carving blanks that had come loose from their carving boards during the previous Sunday’s Introduction to Carving workshop.  And I had a lot of other stops on my “to do” list.  As always, that list ran longer than I could reasonably accomplish in a day or two, or seven.  Sound familiar?  But anyway, there sat Thomas sipping coffee and gazing at the screen of his laptop.

Thomas and I started talking story, a mode to which he seems naturally prone, for he couldn’t have learned the trick in the short time he’s lived in Hawai’i.  We talked story for two hours.  Philip joined us midstream, and we probably could have gabbed the whole day.  Maybe some day we will, but that day I couldn’t extend my indulgence that far.
The Carousel of Aloha Project makes an obvious connecting among the three of us, or maybe I should say that the Project highlights the connection that has always existed.  And I when indulge in the richness of that connection I become more open to engaging in other serendipitous encounters.  Later I quipped to the unknown woman in line in front of me at the supermarket, “chocolate chip cookies?”.  She was waiting to buy all of the ingredients including a foil baking sheet.  And we began a short conversation that revealed that she and her husband had just moved to the Big Island, and he’s retired.  So I gave her my Carousel of Aloha business card and encouraged her and especially her husband to visit the website.
I have no idea if those 10 minutes will measurably advance the Carousel.  I do know that I felt happier as I left the store, and I think that she did too.  And I believe that the unplanned two hours I spent at the Mill changed me in a way that make possible those 10 minutes.
We are building the Carousel of Aloha, the carousel of ALOHA.  As I travel down this path I realize, however slowly, and appreciate more and more the importance of building not only with basswood and glue, but also with aloha

A Successful Workshop…and more

Yen, Susan & Juanette discuss workshop
Yen, Hawaii Island PM, Susan (all the way from Canada to help, & Founder Juanette Baysa

Last night, as I lay on the day bed and attempted to compose a blog posting about that day’s Introduction to Carving Workshop, I found that I lacked the energy to continue.  So I stopped, read a magazine article, and went to sleep.  So much for writing when memories still have that fresh picked bouquet.

This morning the chores try to re-assert themselves claiming that I have neglected them in the name of frivolity, but I know better even as I know that I also must yield to the requirements of my daily life like taking the rubbish to the dump or cooking dinner.  I know that I spent a rewarding afternoon in Volcano yesterday. I also believe that most, if not all that folks who shared that time with Juanette and me think likewise.  We had other key members of the Carousel of Aloha team come by for a good look and to perform some very useful tasks that I simply couldn’t handle.
I often find myself in situations in which I face more useful tasks that I can handle well.  That’s one of the curses of having a fertile mind; an over-abundance of play things.  In my case, the clutter also suffers from wealth of interconnections among the several toys.  Thus I wanted photographs of each of the people who carved, but I forgot to bring my camera.  I had signed releases in hand, but I lacked the means of pulling the trigger, so to speak.  Happily Philip arrived with gear in hand.
I couldn’t have taken the pictures anyway because facilitating the workshop took all my time and energy.  I couldn’t have even set up the workshop room were it not for help from Rich and Thomas.  Those Portable Carving Stations (PCSs) only qualify as portable because they come apart into three sections for transportation and storage.  Collectively the 13 PCSs weigh more than I care to carry in my small pickup truck.  Thanks goodness for willing helpers who drive larger vehicles.  Clint joined us for the caravan back to the Mill to re-store the PCSs, and several others stayed around to sweep and schlep after the formal end of the workshop.
We need to figure out how folks who want to continue to carve can do so with a little help from their friends.  But addressing that need lies further down the road for me.
Now I turn my primary focus to the trip that my wife, Patricia and I have had in the works for months.  We’re gone for the last three weeks in October in pursuit of high art, fall foliage and lobster dinners.  Before we depart, I still need to prepare for the second Intro to Carving workshop in mid-November lest I make for a too stressful return.  For example, I need to make more hibiscus carving blanks and I should address the problem of insuring that those blanks stay attached to the carving boards.  Anybody got a bandsaw?

Yen’s Wishings

Cut out the design traced on basswood
Yen Chin, Hawaii Island Project Manager

I wish that we had a secure place in which to hold Ken Means’ carving workshop in February 2013.  Ken is our Master Carver.  This past July I learned to carve from him at the annual three-week workshop he convenes near his home in rural Oregon.  The guy has a wealth of knowledge to share, and, in just four months, he’s coming to the Big Island to teach a two-week session.  How exciting.

But I wish that we had a secure place in which to hold that workshop.  I cast a hungry eye at the former McDonald’s in Hilo.  And I cast an introductory letter to the new owners.  I only have the mailing address they gave the County, a P.O. Box on Maui.  Wish us luck.

I think that this location would serve us well because of its proximity to so many institutions that might take interest in the Carousel of Aloha: schools, churches, museums.  I looked in the windows during a recent stroll through downtown Hilo.  I saw that the building could contain as many as a dozen craving stations even though all the tables remain in place.  It also has lots of other features that would suit our needs.  I even dream of using the space to build the carving blanks for Ken’s workshop.

I dream a lot these days.  I think that one needs to invite dreams especially these days.  Working on the Carousel of Aloha helps me invite dreams.  I dream of the day when we have more people giving their time, labor, and hearts to the project.  Along with dreams I have the sure knowledge that the efforts I’ve given so far have yielded rich rewards.  So come join the party, and send us your good thoughts to help us find a space in which to hold Ken’s workshop.


Meetings Tonight

Carousel of Dolphins
Carousel of Dolphins

Sorry for the late notice. We are having two meetings tonight at Hilo Coffee Mill. The Fundraising slotsetic Committee Meeting will be from 4:30pm until 5:30pm and the Board Meeting will begin at 5:30pm. Everyone is invited. Hope to see you tonight.


Christmas in the Country Vendor and Volunteer Info

Christmas in the Country Aloha ShirtIf you are interested in becoming a vendor at the 2nd Annual Christmas in the Country at Hilo Coffee Mill in Mountain View, take a minute to review the information regarding booth space and becoming a volunteer. The information can be found here, as well as the link to the vendor application. Spaces are filling up quickly. Last year over 1000 people attended the event. This year will be even bigger and better.

Be sure and complete your application soon to ensure your booth space.

More information will be posted as available and can be found on our Facebook Page.


Woodcraft Hawaii Joins Paradise Ponies, Inc.

Woodcraft StorefrontAs our project grows and gains more credibility, there is no doubt in my mind we will have all the support we need. Getting the initial support is the hardest. It takes a few brave souls who either understand or almost understand, what this project can do for Hawaii, it’s people and it’s visitors, to get the ball rolling.

Woodcraft is one of those forward thinking businesses in Hawaii.

A clip from their website:

Who is Woodcraft?

Since 1928, Woodcraft has delivered the finest woodworking tools, woodworking plans and woodworking supplies to America’s woodworkers. Woodcraft brings you over 20,000 woodworking tools and backed by our 90-Day Guarantee and industry best customer service. With top of the line power tools, clamps, pen kits, hand saws, fasteners, woodworking plans and more, Woodcraft is able to fill all your woodworking supply needs. Woodcraft has provided the woodworking community the best woodworking tools for 80 years, helping people complete countless projects. If you’re looking for the best in woodworking tools, woodworking plans, and supplies, look no further than Woodcraft.

The way we became involved was through FlexCut, one of the finest names in carving tools. I sent them two emails and they thought this project was worthy of their attention and support. FlexCut contacted Woodcraft on Oahu and Iris, from Woodcraft contacted me. It has been a wonderful experience, they have helped us immensely and we hope our relationship lasts throughout and beyond the life of our project. Not only have they helped with tools for our carving workshops, but their customer service has made it a pleasure.

From Paradise Ponies, Inc and the Carousel of Aloha, we’d like to welcome Woodcraft to our family and mahalo you for your kokua.

Katherine Patton, President

Christmas in the Country

Christmas in the Country Aloha ShirtAloha all,

The 2nd Annual Christmas in the Country Craft Fair at Hilo Coffee Mill is going to be a benefit for the Carousel of Aloha. Mahalo nui loa to The Mill for their generosity. This year is going to be even bigger and better than last year. There will be over 40 local crafters with items like Christmas wreaths, jewelry, Pysanky eggs and a whole lot more.

There will be a big food booth with broke da mouth food, games for the kids, pictures with Santa and Carousel figures and of course, music and entertainment.

The Carousel of Aloha will manage the affair with the support of our volunteers, Hilo Coffee Mill staff, and Market @ The Mill vendors.

This will be a great fundraiser and we’re excited for the day.

When: Monday, November 12th
Time: 10:00am until 4:00pm
Where: Hilo Coffee Mill, 17-995 Volcano Rd, Mountain View, Hawaii
Contact: Katherine Patton, email:

All items will be Made In Hawaii.

Katherine Patton, President

After a Long Day – Yen Chin

Cut out the design traced on basswood
Yen Chin, Hawaii Island Project Manager

My legs feel tired and stiff.  That comes as no surprise to me because I spent most of the day fabricating carving benches in preparation for the Introduction to Carving Workshops that we have scheduled for the next few months.  Fortunately, I had a couple of helpers who turned what would have been a trying couple of days labor for me alone into a very productive morning.  I have long said that two people working well together can accomplish much more than twice what two people working separately can do.  And in this case three people working together made short work of the task.  Well maybe not that short, but we surely made a fine collaboration.

When I take part in a good collaboration I always get a warm fuzzy feeling; I always get filled with hope for the human species and find reason to break into an easy smile, something that the evening news never provides.  Therein lies the attraction to the Carousel of Aloha Project for me, the knowledge that my work matters in this world and that together we can.  I know that we’ve probably all that slogan attached to election campaigns both locally and nationally, but that doesn’t mean that it must be an empty slogan, and empty promise.  I have faith that it won’t be for the Carousel, but faith must partner with sweat, ingenuity and good old fun before we can take our first turn on the big wheel.
In a few days I will put my chisels to the wood.  I’ll try out the new carver’s mallet I ordered through the internet.  It’s a big hummer that weighs in at 18 ounces or almost as much as a framing hammer.  I tried it for a few minutes a couple of days ago and thought that it was a tad heavy.  Good for the heavy cuts of roughing out but more than I want to wield for a whole day especially when carving fine details.  I suffer from intimidation.  I fear that I won’t be able to render the hibiscus that the class will carve at the end of September.  I’ve felt this way before.  I felt this way many times during my three weeks in Oregon carving with Ken Means, but I always managed to work my way through the fear.  Going beyond the apparent limits that fear creates is another aspect of this project.  I think that it has to do with finding our true selves, of becoming more of what we really are rather than settling for the best that comfort allows.
Tomorrow I will work in the garden.  I will use other tools, quiet tools that I don’t have to plug into the wall.  I’m carving out our landscape too, and that too feeds my soul.  But now I need to rest my body.
Yen Chin, Hawaii County Project Manager

Upcoming Workshops & More – Yen HIPM

Cut out the design traced on basswood
Yen Chin, Hawaii Island Project Manager

When I volunteered to do the job of managing the Carousel of Aloha Project for the Big Island alone (I’m not the Head Cheese, thank goodness), I suspected that I had agreed to take a very large bite. Of course, I had a poor appreciation for the real size of the bite; I needed that poor understanding because I never would have made the commitment had I accurately understood the magnitude of the task. That is NOT to say that I regret saying, “yes”. Like committing to build a house here in Hawai’i, I expect that my committing to the Carousel Project will yield great personal rewards. And I believe that those goodies will more than fairly compensate me for my time and labor. What a great job. I never got such a good deal when I had to sell my labor.

We have a middle-term vision that has a Master Carver, Ken Means by name, come to the Big Island in February to conduct a three-week Carousel Carving Class. I spent three weeks carving with Ken this past July, and I came home with lots of horse parts. Many of those parts are finished. Some of them need more work. The product of my four weeks away impresses my wife, Patricia for both quality and it’s quantity. And I’m pleased by what I accomplished in a relatively short period of time. For the record, my wife does not agree that one should describe the time I spent in Oregon as “short”, but that’s another story.

This story is more about preparing for that middle-term vision. Of course, you’re all invited to participate in the February Carving Class. Stay tuned for details as we flesh them out.

But back to the preparations. We’ve scheduled three Introduction to Carving Workshops for Puna. You’re all invited to participate in them too. Details to follow. The first workshop will be in late September. I believe that we’re shooting for the afternoon of the 30th in Volcano. Time and place are not yet set, so if you have any ideas of a good location, please let me know. Send your email messages to:

The next two are in Kea’au and Pahoa in the winter.

In the Intro to Carving Workshops people will use our tools and materials to transform a block of bass wood into a Hawaiian theme figure. The participants won’t get to take their work home. Instead it will ultimately get included in the finished carousel. Speaking as one who recently took a block of wood and brought a horse’s head out of it, the feeling of satisfaction is amazing. And I’m confident that anybody can successfully carve the figure we’ll work on in September. I have to be confident because I need to carve it before the first workshop, gulp!

I have professional help doing the carving, so I’m not really worried. All I really have to do is make the time to put chisel to wood. You all can help me find the time, if you’ll take on some of the other chores I now must shoulder. We really need someone who will work with other volunteers to bring them into the project in ways that tickle their fancy. But if you can’t chomp at that piece, I could use the help with a lot of smaller chores. Got a couple of hours to help make portable carving benches? Contact me, or leave me a telephone message at: 808.315.1093. Don’t like to work with plywood? No problem. Click on Yen’s Wish List for a full list of needs.

Aloha, Yen

Flyer for First Introduction to Carving Workshop

Board of Directors Meeting Scheduled

Beginning the detail with a farrier raspAloha all. It’s time again this month for our Board of Directors meeting. We’ll meet at Hilo Coffee Mill at 5:30pm, Wednesday, August 22nd. This is an open meeting and we’d love to have you come. We’ll be giving updates on all of our committees and discussing our new Carousel Carving Workshops.

See you tomorrow.

Fundraising Meeting

Yardsale September 1st
It’s that time again and everyone is invited. We’ll have our Fundraising Committee meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, August 14th, at 5:00pm at Hilo Coffee Mill. Come with ideas and help us plan our next few events. It should be fun.

Carving Workshops to Begin

Actual carvings will be of native hibiscus
We are about to announce a one day carving workshop to introduce people to the carousel and carving. Everyone will be carving a small icon, approximately 12″x16″, most likely a native Hawaiian hibiscus. The workshop will have limited enrollment and a very reasonable fee. The icons will be used throughout the Carousel of Aloha Pavilion & Park. Keep your eyes and ears open for more information. Please share!

Newest Board Members Announced

Please take minute and get to know our newest Board members Louise Butler, Marlene Hapai and Patrick Naughton. Click here to learn more.


Chin named Carousel of Aloha project manager | Hawaii 24/7

Here is the Official Press Release naming Yen Chin Project Manager for the Island of Hawaii.

Chin named Carousel of Aloha project manager | Hawaii 24/7.


Upcoming Meetings

Aloha All,

We have two meetings coming up this week. Anyone is welcome and we’d love to have you.

  1. Fundraising Meeting – Tuesday, July 24th at 5:00pm at Hilo Coffee Mill. Come with ideas and ready to help.
  2. Board of Directors Meeting – Wednesday, July 25th at 5:30pm at Hilo Coffee Mill

Both meetings are open to the public. Hope some of you will make it.

Boy on Pua
Kids love the carousel