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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 19, 2002

A shaping experience

For anyone who has ever been to a boring baby shower, here's an idea for one that definitely will make a lasting impression: A belly casting. Casting parties have been dubbed by publications such as the Wall Street Journal as "the latest fad at baby showers." The trend requires a guest of honor comfortable enough to strip in front of her friends and let them cast her swollen shape into a work of art.

The fad has made for a cottage industry. Do-it-yourself belly-casting kits are everywhere on the Internet, starting around $30. Some popular sites are bellymask.com (standard kit is $65) and bellycast.com (where a kit costs $30).

In Hawai'i, Jen Dawn Loustalot and Erica McMillan, owners of Origin Birth Creations, make house calls. They've even appeared at a few baby showers, toting tarp to keep from making a mess when they break out the plaster. Commemorative molds decorated with paint or mosaics cost about $150. But they say they want to make belly casting affordable for everyone. Call 680-5433 or 291-2650 for details.

— Tanya Bricking, Advertiser staff writer

Worldwide exposure

The folks at University of Hawai'i Press are tickled about the vast exposure an image from one of its books is getting this month on the cover of United Airlines' in-flight magazine, Hemispheres. A quilt image, photographed by John Daley for Lynnsay Rongokea's "Tivaevae: Portraits of Cook Islands Quilting" (UH Press, $29.95), graces the March cover, pegged to an article inside.

With the magazine on all United flights, it's expected to be read or seen by 5 million passengers. There's also a link to the UH Press, an added bonus. To see the cover, visit hemispheresmagazine.com/home.htm.

— Wayne Harada, Advertiser staff writer