Rafu Craft Editor

Fall’s here! Bet you hardly noticed as it quietly tippy-toed in. That’s why we love SoCal! Summer-like weather stays with us, despite this seasonal transition.

As daytime highs dip to the sixties on the East Coast, nature dramatically takes its course with the ever-changing autumnal colors.

We celebrated the space shuttle Endeavour’s Los Angeles arrival this past Friday, yet dread an upcoming major freeway closure. Here comes Carmageddon II!

On the Westside of town, near UCLA and the Getty Museum, the 405 Freeway will be closed for a 10- mile stretch between the 10 and 101 this Friday night, 7-ish. It reopens Monday at 5 a.m.

Get your BFF on the right track using an oh-so-cute fabric note pad by Donna Dohi of La Cañada. (Courtesy of Flip Flops by Design)

Commuters have been forewarned all around town with those flashing alert signs since mid-August. What a big deal!

Carmageddon I happened back in July. Drivers were determined to avoid the area for fear of a traffic nightmare. And it worked.

All this aggravation is stirred up to complete a much-needed northbound carpool lane and expansion of the Mulholland Bridge.

Stay cool. Plan your weekend activities closer to home, or stay put. Find alternate routes to get around this closure, and leave all options open. Think comfy shoes for walking, biking, taking the Metro. Be tempted with Metrolink’s special offer of $10 weekend passes.

A gal’s will to shop means that such obstacles are eliminated! Getting to her destination site is a snap. That’s what iPhones are for.

Local holiday shoppers hit gold this weekend with two Asian arts- and-crafts events. Creative artisans offer lots of well-made, interesting gift ideas and wearables. Use those recycle bags to tote your buys.

On Saturday, mosey on out to Pasadena Buddhist Church for the second Craftastic Gift Boutique sponsored by the church’s women’s association.

Here’s the perfect gift for those gals and co-workers on your list. A fabric-covered notepad organizer. Made in a bunch of sizes by Donna Dohi of Flip Flops by Design — from sticky notes to legal pads, simply pick a special fabric that’s a good match to the receiver’s style.

Check out her assortment of fabric covered magnets, calendars and even embellished flip-flops.

Designed by Doreen Watanabe of Big Bear, an eye-catching Hawaiian print bag will bring on the compliments. (Courtesy of Hawaiian Bag Lady)

Crafting part-time for six years while “chauffeuring my three kids” around, now they’re pretty much on their own. Her eyes are set for expansion with a soon-to-launch Etsy site.

“Love what you do” is Dohi’s mantra. Her mom was the ultimate crafter, so she and her sister grew up enjoying crafting at its best.

On Sunday, the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo opens its doors for the Kokoro Craft Boutique with some 45 vendors participating. Coming down from Big Bear is the Hawaiian Bag Lady, better known as Doreen Watanabe.

Born and bred in Hawaii, she transplanted to a Cali mountain residence in 2005, leaving the halls of justice as a paralegal for 20 years. Stress-free, she took to designing Hawaiian print handbags, aprons and casserole carriers.

“Customers like the idea of their bag being one of a kind, or only one of two,” she said. “And I love finding beautiful fabrics to create my products.”

As a result, her fabric purchases are limited and online sales are out of the question.

Watanabe learned how to sew at the young age of eight. Then, with the birth of her first grandson, she dusted off her Viking sewing machine to whip up jammies and appliqued blankets. Now she has four grandsons living in Hawaii and Washington!

Loving the outdoors, her winter hangout is working at the Bear Mt. Snowsports School.

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Saturday, Sept. 29, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Craftastic Gift Boutique
Pasadena Buddhist Temple
1993 Glen Ave., Pasadena, Corky Ishikawa

Sunday, Sept. 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Kokoro Craft Boutique
100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, Janet

Saturday, Oct. 6, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Eden Holiday Craft Show
Marina Community Center
15301 Wicks Blvd., San Leandro, Alice Hu

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