Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Spring!

Ah...spring is in the air! Depending on where you live, that can have a big impact on your frame of mind. For me? Well, as you know, I live in Kona, Hawaii, so the change of the seasons is much more subtle around here. The one thing that I look forward to as a designer is seeing the new colors and prints of fabric! I love seeing when girls get a new purse for spring/summer. Do you dare to get a white one? Do you love nautical looks? Or are you all about color?

I ordered some new fabric last night in small amounts to play with. The designs are a bit whimsical with chubby elephants and lanky giraffes in lime green and white and black and white. I also ordered more polka dots just because that is pretty much a staple in many of my designs. I am excited to see what I am inspired to make.

I also have some new hardware on the way. I have intentions to add more grommets and metal hooks this season. Can't wait to try out my ideas in that department too!

I am still plugging away at my BIG order (806 bags). There is an end in sight now and I am hoping to finish it all up in about 3 more weeks. What a relief that will be!

But for is a beautiful Sunday morning. The birds are chirping, my kitten is taking his bath and I just heard MM wake up! So pardon me while we head out the door for our ritual Sunday coffee and crossword puzzle kind of morning!

a hui hou

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tsunami and being a good neighbor

The world can change so fast! Last Thursday MM and I had just enjoyed a nice dinner in Kona. When we arrived home we heard of the earthquake that had hit Japan. I did what many social network junkies do, and went on Facebook to see how my friends in Japan were doing. Most of the people that I know there, live near Tokyo and responded that they were fine. Then I saw that Hawaii was under a tsunami watch. Within an hour it was elevated to the highest threat, "tsunami warning". The local news told us that we had about 5 hours before it would hit our beautiful state...but that "it is coming, be prepared!". MM dealt with it the same way he deals with everything in life....calmly. He went to bed. (love that man!) I dealt with it like I do....stayed up, watched the news, listened to the tsunami sirens, wondering what it would bring and how life may be different the next day for many. I knew we were safe because of our high elevation but I still couldn't sleep. I watched the news to see how big the wave was as it passed over Midway island and as it crossed paths with the buoys that are positioned to give wave information. It was ominous.

As you all know, Japan suffered unspeakable traumatic loss. That beautiful country that I adore, will be healing for a very long time. My heart goes out to everyone there.

What many do not know is of the damage and loss that many of my own neighbors on my own island have suffered. One man who is in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy, lost his home. It is a twisted mess. Another house was swept out into Kealakekua bay and later sunk. Last night I saw photos of a tangled mass of metal....with dishes ....wait! It was their dishwasher and the dishes were still enclosed in the racks!

Many businesses downtown in Kona suffered incredible loss. One business in the King Kamehameha Hotel had their security footage shown on TV last night showing the first wave crash through the window and wipe out all of their inventory.

One of the stores that I sell my tote bags to was across the street. I called the owner the next day to see if she needed help shoveling sand or cleaning up. She sounded in shock and told me that she "didn't have a store anymore". A wall that Da Kona Coffee Store shared with the Cindy Coats Art Gallery, collapsed. The water came in with such force that it destroyed everything in both stores.

There have been many relief funds set up to help out our Pacific Island Nation neighbor of Japan. And the Red Cross has made it so easy to donate funds. If you can help, I'm sure you already have. I have a personal philosophy that I will share with you. You may not agree with me and that is fine. I am FIRST a supporter of helping locally before I help globally. I am not one to send funds to victims in Africa or Thailand or elsewhere in the world when there are hungry children down the street. My children and I have (many years ago) been grateful recipients of food from both the Salvation Army and the local food bank. So my emotions are to act first locally.

For the rest of this month of March, I am donating all of my profits in my Etsy store to benefit my friend who is working to reopen Da Kona Coffee Store. I don't have mounds of money and my donation will not change the world. But I do know this person. I have done business with her and my heart goes out to her. If everyone first helped people that they know and then their neighbors who they may not know, there will be fewer people who need the help of the larger organizations. Granted, you don't get a big ole tax deduction for helping out a friend, but if that is your motivation...then you have really missed the bigger picture.

There will be a fund raiser on Saturday March 26th from 9-1:30pm for the man with cancer who lost his home. Here is the info that someone sent to me:

Gordon Leslie Family
Kona Adult Day Center
81-989 Haleki'i Street (across the Kealakekua Post Office)
Kealakekua, HI

In Hawaii there is a saying: "If Can Can, If No Can, No Can". To me this means that when you can help or do something, DO IT! If you can't, maybe you are the one needing help....then don't! But know that when you will!".

You could say that my word of the year, "Awareness", also includes being aware of what you can do to be a good neighbor. I am working to be more aware.

a hui hou

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sasaki Bags 1st Quarter

Is it possible that we are in March and my first quarter is nearly over with? There has been so much going on here at Sasaki Bags that I haven't had much time to do anything but sew! I finished up two of my corporate orders and will be delivering one of them next week. Ahhh, fewer boxes to line my walls! I am starting to rethink my decorating style as "early industrial"! There are currently 19 large boxes full of Sasaki Bags surrounding my living room. I apologized to MM for this unsightly display and being the man he is he said, "I just see $$$". ***sigh***

I am right on track for finishing up my huge corporate order that is due in May. That is a feat that I am quite proud of considering I found time to go see my parents and deal with two bouts of the flu! I am thankful to my seamstress who kept things rolling along.

I have been working on a couple of things "in my spare time". I designed some fabric and had a few yards printed up to see how I like it. It is quite fun playing with design! The first design was developed by just photographing my label and having it printed in a 1/2 brick pattern. The second pattern is the Sasaki family Mon repeated. I changed the colors to a nice purple to match my labels. If you have ever thought about making your own fabric, is the place to try it out. You can also sell your fabric there if you are really good!

I have also been working on a some new techniques that I was encouraged to try by reading Lisa Lams new book. She has such a great website . Lisa has an easy style and I enjoy her blog as well as her tutorials. So the technique I am playing with is adding darts to add volume to a bag. I am just fiddling around with how big to make the darts and placement for best results. Here are a couple of my new bags:

The purple corduroy bag has a black lambskin gusset and flap that don't show up well in the photo. The other bag was made with a fabric in Amy Butler's Love line. I believe it is called Soul Blossoms. I lined it with my new "Sasaki" fabric.
Lots more items in the works.

a hui hou