Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Best and Worst ...Its kinda like a battery!

It is funny how fast the years seem to slip by as one gets older. When you are 4 years old, why a year is a quarter of your life! When you are younger, and something horrible happens, you have no idea just how you are going to EVER get past it...and yet you do.

And when you live long enough, you realize that events in life come in cycles. There will be good times and not so good of times. The good times give us hope and the strength to survive the bad times. To quote my dad, "You know, Barbie, is kinda like a battery! You've got your positive and you've got your negative." Boy, how I used to hate it when he would say that! He was just boiling life down to the simplest of things....and sometimes my life didn't feel all that simple! "No, dad, life isn't like a battery! Sometimes it is complicated and so complex!" But, guess what! My dad was right! (Dad are you listening?) He knew then what I have come to appreciate as true. And, if you don't have both positive and negative in a battery, you have "no juice"! That energy or life just won't exist.

So, what things added to the positive and the negative of 2009 for me? A year is made up of so many moments. Professionally, I had some amazingly inspirational things happen. A couple that stick out are landing the corporate account that topped off my year with a sale of 235 bags in one order and pushed my total sales above my goal! Also, being 300 miles from home and having a woman come up and say, "Where did you get your Sasaki Bag?" That was cool!

But this year, the best and worst for me were personal, not professional. As most of you know, I live in Hawaii and my family does not. I don't often get to see or hug my kids, parents or siblings. But this year, in April my "baby girl" flew out here. That was truly the best thing of 2009. It was the highlight of my year! She moved away from home right after graduating high school and went off to explore the world. She finished growing into the woman she is, while away from me so at times I still marvel that she is no longer a kid. She is an amazing, beautiful woman!

The worst thing to happen to me in '09 had to be the diagnosis of skin cancer. Not so much the cancer itself, but what it may mean for me in the future. You see, I rarely share this with anyone, but I still have an outside job. I have worked at this separate employment for 13 years. This year, I worked so hard on building Sasaki Bags so that I could possibly quit my other job in the future and just solely work for myself. But when I got this dx, I guess I felt like my dreams were being sucked away....right into this hole in my leg. How can I quit my other job and give up my insurance benefits? How can I keep up this pace of working two full-time jobs and not collapse? It really made me feel sad. Before the dx, I knew that there would be an end in sight. Now...I can't see that.

So that is my best and worst of 2009. Somehow, putting it in writing makes it all simple....."kinda like a battery". (I love you, Dad!)

a hui hou

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An alternative to resolutions

Several years ago I was working at a luxury hotel in Hawaii on New Year's Eve. I overheard a conversation with two little girls and their grandparents that has continued to touch my life. "Gramma" asked each girl, "What was the best thing that happened to you this year...and what was the worst?" Each person shared the best and the worst with each other. The message was that "you survived even the worst thing that happened...and also had something wonderful happen this year." It gave hope.

Every since that year, my siblings and myself, though separated by 1000's of miles, email each other with our "best and worst". I love this tradition much more than making resolutions. Some years it has been easy to come up with both a best and worst...other years, I had to ponder a bit longer. It isn't always something "horrible and grand".

I have already chosen my best and worst of 2009...but must wait to share until tomorrow. If anyone one else would like to "play along", please leave a comment about this past year. I would love to hear what has been going on in everyone else's lives.

a hui hou

Friday, December 25, 2009

A peek inside my studio

So, on most days, I wouldn't think of showing you my work area! But today, with my new shelves and after a day of cleaning and organizing my area, you are allowed to peek inside my studio! I am now able to have my designer fabrics, most of which are Amy Butler, in one area, my aloha prints in another and my themed prints in yet another. Wow! Thanks Menehune Man! I still need to pick up some empty bolts to fill with fabric but for now, this is a good start.

Next stop...organize the closet in my bathroom....

a hui hou!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wrapping up more than just presents!

I am wrapping up for this year. Menehune man is going wild making me new shelves, slots and cubbies to help me to get more organized before the new year. I am taking a break from the dreaded task because I came across a final tally for this year. As you know, I set a goal last January to sell 1000 bags this year. Well, I reached that goal in November and the final tally for 2009 is *drum roll* ....1,311 bags! I am very pleased.

*twirling around, doing a happy dance*

The bag pictured was my 1000 th bag of the year! It went to Janet Lipps of Pacific Islands Gallery.

Only by setting a big goal and breaking it down into monthly, weekly and daily goals, was I able to achieve this total.

Going into the new year, I am already thinking about new goals that I will be setting for myself and my business as a whole. I am trying to manage the growth of Sasaki Bags so that I am able to keep up with projected sales in my existing wholesale accounts. I feel that is more important than adding new venues at this time. Not that I won't be....In fact, I have an exciting announcement that I will be sharing in the coming months. It is pretty big news...but I must do all things at the appropriate time so the announcement must wait.

For me, it isn't about having my product in every store that says they want to carry it. That is flattering but I do not plan to saturate the market in any location. For example, some of the bags that I sell in boutiques, I sell exclusively to those locals. And they are doing a great job of keeping me BUSY! And just because I make bags out of Kona coffee bags, I do not aspire to have every coffee shop carry my bags! I am working hard on "branding" Sasaki Bags so that they can be recognized even before seeing the label. I want to KEEP them in demand...KEEP people wanting more!

So, I have many wonderful things to look forward to in 2010. I am scheduled to be featured in Green Craft magazine in February if all things go as planned.

I will be expanding my business to a place that makes me feel like I have come "full circle". I am really looking forward to sharing that story with you. I love stories that reinforce that there is an unknown reason for many things that happen in our lives...and if we just stick around long enough....we may be blessed with finding out how it all connects!

But none of this will happen if I don't get this studio put back together. This is the stuff night mares are made of! I have found "dust bunnies" the size of Jack Rabbits! So back to the grind...if I may use a coffee phrase...

a hui hou

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Amy Butler "Love"

Today I finally received my 13 bolts of Amy Butler fabric! I am SO excited to have some beautiful new fabrics to work with. I primarily use them in the production of the bags that I send to Kauai. Palm Palm likes the designer fabrics and has great success in selling whatever I make! Tonight I was supposed to be working on one thing....but couldn't resist cutting out some linings for Big Kahunas. Tuesday is the last day I can ship interisland before Christmas so must get crackin'.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Baby Mikayla

I just wanted to give an update on my friends' tiny little baby girl. She is just over 2 weeks old now and thriving at just about 2lbs. This week they removed the oxygen and the IV. She has been off the respirator for a week. This little girl is a fighter. My heart goes out to their family as I know their lives changed so much over night! Thank you to all who believe in the power of prayer that have included little Mikayla. All I know is that the doctors are amazed. I have seen photos of this little girl who came into the world weighing 1 lb 1 oz., and she is simply a miracle with everything so perfectly formed. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

a hui hou

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Remembering Janelle Morse

It was a year ago tonight that a beautiful young woman, who I knew so briefly, died due to a car wreck. Today I am remembering her and sending my love to her friends and family. Janelle Morse is not forgotten.

Here is a link to the posting I wrote following her beach memorial at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

a hui hou

Saturday, December 12, 2009

What a Week!

I share this photo as a mere warning! It is of my shin on my left leg. It is cancer!

I haven't posted for quite awhile. Life got in the way! A week ago last Tuesday I had a biopsy on an area of my leg that I have been concerned about. I first noticed it in August or September...who writes those things down??? I had it frozen in October when we returned from Molokai but it never I went in for the biopsy. They said I would have results in a week, so imagine my surprise when they cheerfully called the next day to tell me that I have cancer! It is a squamous cell carcinoma to be medically correct...but when you hear that...all you hear is CANCER! Because they have already froze it and burned it...the next step is to have surgery to ensure that they get all the cells. I am flying to Honolulu to have the Moh's procedure preformed in January.

At first I was just going to keep this to myself, but after telling family, I decided to call one of my dear friends who lives in Seattle to tell her. We have been through much together. She once sat with me waiting for the ambulance following my car wreck two years ago which was near her house in Kona at the time. Then she sat at the hospital with me and fed me ice chips for 7 hours and put vaseline on my swollen and bruised lips. She was there with Menehune Man and I and offered much support and comfort. She had been in a bad accident a year before. Flipped her car....rolled it and skidded on the pavement while trying to hold her head off of it! She knew what I was going through!

So with that background info said, I called her but she didn't answer and a day went by...then two days before my phone rang. She was calling from the hospital in Seattle. Only two weeks previous, she had discovered that she was pregnant and on this day, had been rushed to the hospital for an emergency C-section. She now has a tiny, 1 lb 1oz baby girl to add to their family. Yes, that weight is correct! 1 lb oz.!!! It was touch and go for a time and my friend nearly lost her life due to complications of the pregnancy. That does still happen, even in this age!

Somehow, hearing of her brush with death, helped me to put my own ailment into perspective. Funny how that works. I guess a premature baby and pre-eclampsia trump skin cancer any day! I am just thankful that both momma and baby are doing so well. Infact, baby Mikayla has almost doubled her weight in one week! Everyday I wait to hear updates on her and was thrilled with a photo of her yesterday.

So to my customers, I share this as an explanation for why my bag production was down this past 2 weeks. Sometimes, life just happens. I am still looking at about 71 bags on order that I hope to have done before Christmas. Keeping my hands busy also helps to keep my mind occupied while I await surgery.

According to the USPS the last day to ship to the mainland US is December 17 and shipping interisland has a cut off date of December 22. Knowing that, I am planning to close shop from December 23 - January 4th to take inventory, clean house, enjoy MM and regroup for a BUSY new year!

a hui hou

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Snow on Mauna Kea

Yesterday I had to drive out to one of the hotels to deliver a tote bag that the sales department was planning to send to a client. It is about a 12 mile drive from home. Somedays, when I am out and about, I realize how much time I spend INDOORS! So yesterday I was really enjoying my drive. On the makai (ocean) side, the water was so blue! I even saw my first whale of the season! Well, sort of.... I saw its SPLASH! So at least I do know they have returned.
Winter is my favorite time of year in Hawaii. Some people think that we don't have seasons but we do. You just have to look for them. We have Jacaranda Season when those beautiful purple trees are blooming that goes until about March, we have Night Blooming Cereus season which starts in June and we have Whale Season which is usually December to April. And there are other seasons as well.
While driving to the hotel, it was so clear that there were few clouds on the mountain so I could see the fresh snow on top. There wasn't as much snow as I have seen in the past. More of a dusting I would guess, but I had to pull over and snap this photo. Hawaii is such a land of contrasts. You can have tropical landscapes AND snow! Perhaps that is one of the reasons I love it here. I enjoy contrasts! Even in my sewing. I enjoy working with burlap coffee bags because they offer a uniqueness...but give me some luscious silk and I am thrilled!
Speaking of sewing...I better get back to it.
a hui hou

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey, Sushi, and family

What do you see on your table on Turkey Day? If you live in Hawaii, it could start out with something like this.

We were invited over to Menehune Man's sister's house. She always works hard to put on a spread for family. Our dinner consisted of Turkey, Ham, garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, dressing, carrot souffle, cranberries of 3 varieties, sushi, sashimi, poke, weiner wraps, ceviche, chips, 5 pumpkin desserts and an apple crisp.
The guest list is almost as varied as the food. A few years ago, in order to share the holiday with her husband's children, my sister in law started inviting his ex-wife to join us. I really admire her for this because not everyone could do that. But it works! And all their kids and grandkids are able to share the day with both of their parents without feeling divided.
My 90 year old mother in law enjoys watching football. She knows all the teams, players and can tell you what game will be on what channel on what day! She is so sharp still.
My brother in law flew home from Oahu. I think at one point I saw him and MM and one of the kids all snoozing. My nephew who recently moved to LA called and chatted for a bit to be part of the festivities.
Oh and the Buddhist Minister and his wife joined us as well. I believe it is the 3rd year. Mrs. always brings her carrot souffle which is delish! I thought it was so funny when they told me how they had met at a Karoke bar and later married. He is Japanese, from Japan. She is caucasian. One of the grandchildren said she wanted to "Thank Jesus" for the food, but this didn't bother the Buddhist Minister. He simply said, "it is good to be thankful.", and encouraged her to say "two prayers". Kudos to him!
It was nice being with family for the day. That is something I do miss. I miss my own family. I miss the way we interact and kid each other. I miss the way dad teases my mom and how she always predictably reacts! "Gene!" I miss eating, resting, and eating again! I miss my mom's sour cream lemon pie and fresh huckleberries. I miss my dad's homemade wine that he is so proud of. I miss my sister and my brother and maybe even his dry sarcasm! It has been more than 2 years since I have seen my family. I hope to remedy that in the next few months. Life gets so busy at times but sometimes you just have to make the time to do the things that matter.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jackie Rey's Restaurant keeps giving

I just wanted to give a shout out to the great folks over at Jackie Rey's in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. It is one of my fav places to eat all year around. But something they have become well known for is their generous spirit during the holidays. Tomorrow, they will be closing down their regular eats and offering free dinner to anyone who for any reason may want to join them. In the past they have served as many as 400 dinners (according to my sources) but this year, with so many out of work in the area, they are expecting around 800 turkey lovers!

This is available to people with children, homeless people, lonely people...etc. So if you are in the area and can help out in any way via volunteering today doing prep or tomorrow serving, bussing, cleaning up, please do what you can. If you want to help, give Anna a call at 808-327-0209.

Life often goes around and comes around so do what you can, when you can. You never know when it may be you on the other end of the serving line.

a hui hou

Friday, November 20, 2009

November update

So, despite my little "mishap", we had a fabulous show on Saturday at the Old Airport. I wasn't sure what to expect because they had a change of venue this year and I was afraid we wouldn't get the foot traffic, but the plentiful free parking seemed to have lured in both the locals and tourists alike! There was a nice mix of both!

About my "mishap"...

Well, I was scurrying about setting up my booth on Saturday morning...hanging xmas stockings for display etc. While cutting the ribbons to hang the stockings from, I missed the ribbon and took a BIG bite out of my finger with my Fiskar scissors. Not nice sharp-edged pointy scissors...but thick, blunt-edged, (yet sharp), scissors.

note* this may be a good time to have the squeemish leave the room.

I knew immediately that it was a bad cut. I felt the force with which I had tried to sever my finger! That and the fact that blood pumped out of my finger in tune to the rhythm of my heart.

I was so glad that I had already set up my silk tissue totes to sell because I knew I couldn't wrap the finger in burlap so I grabbed one of the packs of Kleenex out of a tissue tote and wrapped my finger tightly. The girl next to me offered me her chair because she said the color all drained out of my face and she thought I was going to hit the ground! Someone offered me a band-aid but I knew it was too bad for a little band-aid. But I wasn't about to leave before my show even started and go to the ER. I had worked too hard preparing for that show! So I just got fresh tissue, wrapped it tight and held my clenched fist close to my body above my heart for most of the day.

When we got home, it took a bit of soaking before I could get to the wound and see how bad it was. The scissor blades are so wide that even though I didn't actually cut a chunk of flesh away, it had left a crater in my finger that would not close up. So I let Menehune Man finish his cigar, since I had lasted that long already, and then had him drive me to the urgent care.

In the end, the dr. didn't want to put stitches in because he said there was nothing to "stitch it to". I hope I made the right decision to accept his opinion. To tell you the truth, he didn't instill much confidence in me for that clinic. It seems that the first two dressings that he requested my finger be wrapped in, the clinic had quit purchasing due to the "cost" so in the end, he had his receptionist put on a ....BAND-AID! That is a $100 band-aid! And no, they do not accept my insurance!

Later, in talking to some friends who had also gone to that clinic, I have decided to not ever go there again. This is simply my own opinion, feel free to form your own, but I would not go to the Keauhou Urgent Care unless all other options were not available.

Luckily I finished my big order that was due today. Menehune Man and I delivered 225 bags to a local hotel for a big group that will be staying there in a couple of weeks. What a relief to have that off my plate! Plus it was very nice that they had the check ready and waiting for me as well!

I am also shipping off a box of bags and xmas stockings to Oahu today to the Na Mea (Native Bookstore) in Ward Warehouse. We will see how my new Kaloko bags do in Honolulu. They are small zippered bags that have coffee bag burlap on one side and fabric on the other. They have an adjustable strap that can be worn across the body, over the shoulder, or around the waist like a fanny pack. I have been using mine for about 3 weeks and love it. It holds all the necessities.
That is all for now.
A hui hou

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Kona Coffee Festival 2009 continues

Well, I am up before the sun this morning getting all the last minute things finished to take to my final show of the year. Menehune man took the day off from his regular job to help me with my booth today. I worked hard this week and made up several little bags that were so popular last weekend at the gallery. Some are made from kimono and obi, the others are coffee bags. Some have shoulder straps, some just wristlets. They are the perfect size for a cellphone, lip gloss, credit cards and sunglasses. Grab and Go!

So anywho...if you are in Kona today, stop in and say hi. I am giving a free gift to anyone who mentions that they read about the show online. My booth is in a new location this year. We will be under the tents at the Old Airport Beach Park Pavilion. The Kona Coffee Festival parade starts at 9am at Huggo's and ends up at the Pavilion. There is lots of free parking and many other booths to see as well. See you there!

a hui hou

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Holualoa Coffee and Art Stroll 2009

What a fabulous day! First of all, thank you so everyone who stopped by the Pacific Islands Gallery for my trunk show today. Since the gallery is a little out of the way, I didn't know what to expect as far as traffic. I met some great people today from all over the world including Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Korea, Japan, the mainland US and even lots of locals. Big Mahalos for supporting the local farmers and artisans. It really does mean so much to us.

Janet Lipps went all out today for her gallery. She hired a top notch musician who kept us all entertained throughout the day with his Flamenco guitar.

King Coffee was on site freshly grinding and brewing up their coffee and there was even a local artist working her magic on canvas.

Menehune Man helped me set up early this morning. I love it when my man does some heavy lifting! Then, once it was set, I pretty much I sat on the lanai all day, sipping coffee, chatting with visitors and realizing why I love living here so much. It is definately a package deal.

Right now I am trying to figure out why I am so tired after a pretty easy day. And alas, the diet is on hold tonight! Its a Digiorno pizza and a Guiness beer for dinner for me! I actually think that the entire pizza may be in danger....fair warning!
Now I am headed back to the Sweat shop to start all over again for next Saturday at the Old Airport. See you there!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hapa Hale

I want to send a big Mahalo out to Leigh at Hapa Hale who reminded everyone about my upcoming trunk show. Check out her weekend spotlights here:

As a reminder, tomorrow, I will be at Pacific Islands Gallery and gift shop, from 9 am - 3pm.

Now back to the sweat shop so that I have some products to share!

a hui hou!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Coffees of Hawaii

I just had to share these bags with you that I made yesterday because...well, because of the "too cute" factor! I now sew for Coffees of Hawaii on the island of Molokai and this shipment will go out to them tomorrow. Molokai is known for its mule train that ventures down a steep hill to Kalaupapa. So one of their bags is "Mule Skinner Coffee".

These Christmas stockings are just very cute. I made some as sets and others are one of a kind so that if a family wants to buy one for each kiddo, they will know which one is theirs!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tally - Ho!

As you know, my goal for bag making/selling for 2009 was 1000 bags. Well, I just did my tally for the year, since we are through with 10 months and (drum roll, please....) as of today, I am at 980! I have approximately 100 bags on order and the holiday season is still ahead of me so I am feeling pretty confident that I will reach my goal this year. At this point, I am guessing that I may even reach 1200 for this year.

So, how should we celebrate when I reach that 1000 mark? Hmmm... any suggestions?

Today my favorite mailman brought me 4 new obis and 2 kimono! I would SO love to open them up and start cutting, but I am pooped! I got up today at 5am and made 12 Xmas stockings with cuffs and 9 tote bags to ship off to Coffees of Hawaii on the island of Molokai. That finished up my order that I can ship out on Monday. I will post some photos before I ship them because I LOVE them! I am very pleased with how they turned out and had fun working with their handpainted bags. But for now it is 10pm, I have been sewing for just about 17 hours today and I think it is time to hit the hay!

a hui hou

Friday, October 30, 2009

Trunk Show

I will be having a trunk show on Saturday November 7th at the Pacific Islands Gallery in Holualoa, HI. It is all part of the Kona Coffee Cultural Coffee and Art Stroll. Holualoa is a quaint little artsy town. The gallery I am working with is just south of town. I am so excited to have been invited to be a part of this year's festivities. Janet Lipps, at the gallery has been so supportive of me this past year. She carries several of my diva bags and painted bags.

I will be offering my new Kaloko bag with the debut on Saturday. It is a small-ish bag with a zip top and convertible, adjustable straps. You can wear it across your body, over the shoulder, around the waist or take the shoulder strap off, attach the wrist strap and carry it as a wristlet!

This is a great time of year to be visiting Kona. There are activities daily starting on Sunday with a concert at the Old Airport Beach Park. For more info on the activities, go to

If you are on island, stop up and say hi to me on Saturday. There will be live music, fresh hot kona coffee from the Kings Farm and an artist in house working on a painting.

a hui hou.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Green Craft Magazine

For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook or twitter, you may have missed my big news this week. My bags have been selected for an upcoming issue of Green Craft Magazine, a magazine that features items made from recycled goods. I am very excited about this opportunity and hope that it will bring me even more business.

Just had to share my big news! More details to come in the near future.

Become a Facebook Fan of Sasaki Bags and see my latest photos and news. Just clik on "become a fan" on the Facebook box I have installed on this page over there on the left upper corner....see, right there! now, clik! Mahalo.

a hui hou

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Kauai Coffee

I just finished up an order of 20 bags for Kauai Coffee today. Here is a sneak preview. I LOVE their 2010 coffee bag. They have a new logo printed up for every year. I wasn't crazy about 2009's bag....It made a nice Xmas stocking but it wasn't striking like the one this year. It is a hula dancer rising up out of a cup of coffee! I made a small omiyage out of one of them as you can see in the photo.

More Molokai

One of the great places on Moloka'i is the Kualapuu Cook House. It is very near to Coffees of Hawaii and a "must do" for dinner on a Thursday night because that is when they have live music! We chose to sit outside on the picnic tables so we could enjoy the music. They have a BYOB policy there so customers are seen with their coolers, enjoying a bottle of wine or a 6 pack of beer. My dinner was fabulous! I had the opakapaka that was sauteed perfectly and had a del-ish sauce. Dinner began with a nice salad and then was served with baked potato and vegies. Yum!

Have you read the stories about Kalaupapa? I bought a book at Kalele Bookstore on Moloka'i that had excerpts of letters parents had written to Father Damien to inquire about their children who had been forced to live in exile for fear they had Leprosy. I can't even imagine such a thing!Some parents, if they were allowed to, chose to live in exile as "helpers" to aid their own children or other Leprosy patients. The life was very difficult and lonely. I highly recommend reading about it before you visit the area. It heightens your appreciation of the island. I also learned a few things (thats always a good thing!)
1 out of 500 people on earth have leprosy.
The name of the disease was not changed to Hansen's disease until the doctor (Dr. Hansen) discovered the cure.
The disease is not contagious once you are being treated.
It does not cause your extremities to fall off but at times they must be amputated.
Most patients with leprosy just want it to be known that "they are not a disease". Don't call them "lepers"! Anymore than you would call a cancer patient "cancers". They are "leprosy patients". A people who suffer with a disease....not the disease itself. This photo was taken from above the settlement of Kalaupapa from the lookout.
And here is an ironwood forest on the walk to Phyallic Rock. It is near the Kalaupapa lookout, just up the road from Coffees of Hawaii. It was so peaceful there.

Now don't you just want to go to Moloka'i? All these photos were just from my little digital camera. I have a couple rolls of film to develope from my BIG you will no doubt be seeing more of Moloka'i.
A hui hou!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Touched by Moloka'i

I had never been to Molokai until last week. I have lived in the islands for 15 years, and I didn't know what I was missing! Every island is so very unique.

On Maui, I love the upcountry area of Kula. The elevation is such that it gets very cold up there which is kind of refreshing when you live in Hawaii! And there are some great beaches!

On Oahu, I love Haleiwa for the quaintness of the surfing town. There is a great little restaurant there that serves the freshest of local produce and fish.

On Kauai, there is so much to love! I love the Princeville area. Waking up in the morning and seeing the waterfalls streaming off the mountains. The beaches are is just what you envision Hawaii to be!
Lana'i has huge pine trees which remind me of Idaho. I love the gardens at Koele Lodge.

The Big Island is HOME! On the Big Island I love the Volcano area. The fern forest where we love to escape to when Kona gets to hectic.

But Molokai....ahhh...Mo lo ka i! I think it has to be the people! We had such great experiences in the short 3 days we were there. And don't get me wrong! Moloka'i is gorgeous! It has a 3 mile stretch of golden sand beach. On the other side, Halawa Valley is breathtaking! And the history of Kalaupapa is heart-wrenching. But Moloka'is real treasure are the people who live there.

The island only has about 7000 people on it. It is a very rural community, but it is the kind of community where all the locals wave each time they drive by. You know it was a tourist who just passed you if they didn't wave!
Our first stop was to check out Kalele Bookstore and Divine Expressions. Somehow, several months ago, through people who knew somebody and then somebody else, I connected as a "friend" on Facebook with Teri Waros. I read her story of how she had worked in the resort called Molokai Ranch and when that shut down, she fought to open a business. She had a strong background in the hospitality industry and had traveled the world opening up Ritz Carlton Hotels as a Catering Manager. But, the banks turned her down and she really had to struggle to open her little store. In my mind, Teri's store sounded like it was a little hub of the community where you could pop in for coffee as a friend, and not fork out $4! A place where friends came by to share good news and bad.

I had this little picture in my head of what that place would be like and was almost afraid to check it out for fear of disappointment. But when we walked through the door, it felt like home!

There was Aunty Arti with her spinning wheel. She explained to me how they grow cotton on Molokai and she was spinning some into a fine soft yarn to make baby caps out of. Sarah, you would love it!
Another lady, Aunty Snooky stopped by and right behind her someone came bursting in all excited because she had just purchased a book that Aunty's story was published in and wanted her autograph. It is a book with stories and poetry of Native Hawaiian Women. The title is "Ho'okupu an offering of Literature by Native Hawaiian Women. " Check it out! I bought a copy and had Aunty sign mine too.

Through all this, Teri realized that she thought she knew Earl. It turned out that they opened the Ritz Calton Kapalua together back in the 80's! Its official! Earl does know somebody on every island! We had fun and Teri gave us tips on the best and worst places. She was right on with all of them!

Her best tip was to set us up on a guided tour of Halawa Valley. Earl and I have been on many guided tours, but I think I can say, without exaggeration, that this tour was life changing. It is a special valley with a deep history of the Hawaiian people. A young Hawaiian man, named Kawika, met us and the 3 others who were on our tour. It began at 8:30 a.m. He didn't just take us to the waterfalls. He introduced us to his Kumu (teacher) and his Kumu's Kumu who are 49 and 50th generation Kumus. He shared his rich knowledge that he has been taught, living in the valley without electricity or many conveniences. This young man hasn't spent his life there. He has seen much of the world since his father was quite high up in a large company requiring them to live in Costa Rico and other places including the mainland. He is college educated and very humble. Kawika spoke of his ancestors and showed us where the birthing stones were located, pointed out different plants, but mainly, explained many stories of the Hawaiians. I came away feeling so much respect and so humbled.

When we returned to his home, he called his Kumu, Uncle Lawrence, out. There had been some questions asked on the tour that he didn't know the answers to with regards to the migration of the polynesians and other topics. So Uncle Lawrence sat on the steps of his humble home with his cup of coffee and us all at his feet listening to every word. He shared so much about "Aloha" ...the true meaning and how it isn't used today in a meaningful way, all too often.

It was almost 2pm when we said, "a hui hou" and made our way back out to the car. Later that evening, we popped back into Kalele Bookstore. Teri had arranged for a Talk Story with a Big Island speaker on the topic of "Aloha". We both were eager to attend. I bounced in to thank Teri for setting us up with Kawika and told her what a wonderful young man he is and she said, "well, he and Uncle Lawrence are here, over in the corner!" It was hugs and kisses all over again!
Molokai has a saying: "Don't change Moloka'i. Let Moloka'i change you!". Maybe that is what I experienced. I came away a richer human being. I was touched by Moloka'i.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

She lives!

I must be almost back to my "old self". Today I made 16 tote bags in a marathon sewing session and then decided that my house was out of control and I needed to do something about it! At times this whole "burlap" thing really gets old! The burlap schmuck and lint seem to have no end! Especially right now. I am 3/4 of the way finished with my big corporate order. I have about 60 bags left to make so the 160 or so bags that are finished are occupying every nook and cranny in my humble home.

Tonight, since Menehune Man was working, I got busy and did some cleaning. I basically had to relocate things in order to reclaim our living areas. There was a rogue closet door, used as a cutting table, leaned up against one couch, a couple of bolts of canvas standing ever so casually in a corner by the front door, and pre-cut fabric completely covering said couch. My mom would gasp in horror, I fear!

I hope no one is planning on visiting in the near future because my "guest bedroom" is definately "the burlap room" right now! The bed has about 80 tote bags on it, the closet is full of Rubbermaid bins holding bags and those have now also overflowed onto the floor. Let's just say, that room is definately not "guest friendly" at the moment!

In the near future we are planning to go off island for a couple of days for Menehune Man's Bday. Neither of us have ever been to Molokai yet so we decided it would be a fun place to go. I am really excited about exploring that island. I have seen so many beautiful photos and am curious about seeing Kalapapa, the former home for Hansens disease patients...aka (non PC) leper colony. We have decided not to take the mule tour down though. I think I must be a control freak because after reading the online reviews, walking down seems to be a better choice for my personality type! Plus, I don't want to have a sore behind for the remainder of our vacation!

For those of the Catholic faith, the famed priest, Father Damien who died of Hansens Disease is being cannonized as a Saint today (in Rome) tomorrow here! He died almost 100 years ago but left quite a legacy.

Well, off to bed for this bag maker. Tomorrow is a new day and I have so much to accomplish!

a hui hou

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Saturday in Barb's World

How did you spend your Saturday? I woke up not planning on accomplishing much because my throat was still sore and I didn't have much of a voice. But I had committed to picking up some coffee bags from a couple farmers today.

Heavenly Hawaiian coffee farm is in full force right now. They had a full crew of coffee pickers on property and it was a beautiful day to be picking coffee! I asked Dave and Trudy if I could snap a couple photos of their farm. Not a bad place to be working! They have such a beautiful location that overlooks the ocean from a high elevation. The coffee trees are loaded with cherry right now that gets picked and then the skins are removed and the beans are raked out onto this roof where the coffee beans are dried in the sun.
I know I am still "not all there" because after I paid for the coffee bags, I got in my car and drove down the driveway...and nearly went back to town....WITHOUT the coffee bags! I had counted them and left them in the barn and just drove off without them! Oh dear, Barb! But thankfully, when I reached the end of their long driveway I realized my guffaw and went back to collect my precious coffee bags!
Today was the designated day for our monthly "Stitch and Bitch" gathering. It is a great group of women in all stages of life who met because of a wonderful little sewing machine store that brought us all together many years ago...and is no longer in business. I think the youngest among us is a gal who just in the past year and a half adopted a little boy from Russia. Most of the rest of us have grown children if any at all. Today was Merle's 80th bday celebration. She is our most senior member and drives all the way from Hilo once a month for our gathering. It is about 200 miles round trip. So today we spiffed up our normal routine a bit. Champagne replaced the wine. I cut open a new bolt of fabric to cover the tables with and brought in some flowers from a wedding I was at earlier in the week. Someone brought a cake, and of course Linda made her famous lilikoi icecream! We chatted for about 6 hours and called it a day! So for a day that started out with few expectations, I had a really full day surrounded by friends and full of ideas. I hope you had a wonderful Saturday too!
Tomorrow I hope to have a full day of sewing. No sore more naps....just some serious bag making!
a hui hou

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Warm Jello and Richie Rich

When I was a kid, and I felt sick...or even pretended to feel sick by wrapping the thermometer in a heating pad, my mom would make warm jello for me because it felt so good on the sore throat. I also remember her coming back from the store with a new comic book. Usually Little Lotta or Richie Rich! I don't remember getting comic books for any other reason. But that could just be a childs perspective and selective memory.

Today, after two weeks of feeling sorry for Menehune Man, it seems he has shared his bug with me. I woke up at 5am with such a sore throat. I didn't get up again until 11:30 when MM announced that he had made me some soup.

So today has been one of those days that a little warm jello would feel so good. Instead of the Richie Rich and Little Lotta, I sat with a remote and watched a full season of Project Runway! I just couldn't bring myself to do much of anything else.

Finally I came into the computer room and decided to catch up on my records. I hadn't updated Augusts' sales yet so needed to add that up since here we are at the end of September! If you will recall, my goal for the year was to make 1000 bags. As of yesterday (since I didn't sew today) I am at 812! With three months left in the year, I am confident that I will reach my goal. It may not be warm jello, but it did cheer me up!

PS...the photo was taken of my big sis feeding me when I had the chicken pox. (a few years ago)

a hui hou

Monday, September 21, 2009

Taking a Break

Now, don't panic....Sasaki Bags isn't taking a break! I meant ME! Literally I am just taking a short break from my busy day to write a short note to whet your appetite about some things in the works. Today is my day to sew for Palm Palm on Kauai. I have two Big Kahuna almost ready to send off to Marjorie this week but need to finish one more.

So what am I up to? Well, Sasaki Bags is going to be launching a whole new line of accessories in the next few months. I am not going to tell you any more than that just yet. I just wanted to let you know that I am not sitting by idly watching TV and eating Weight Watchers cheesecake! No siree! I feel like I am either sewing or thinking about sewing and am always looking for fresh ideas. I am still in the prototype stage but it won't be long....

That is it for now! Stay tuned for further updates, clues and sneak peeks!

a hui hou

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Reason...a Season...or a Lifetime

I think that friendship is one of the amenities that life offers that allow us to survive otherwise insurmountable odds. Some things we just can't go through on our own! Some friends have only lasted for a particular stage in our life...while others have been there since grade school! Some friends are just "shopping friends", or "chat on the phone friends", but then there are the friends that you know you could call in the middle of the night!

I have a favorite saying that goes, "People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime". But something that I have discovered on my journey through life is isn't always about ME! (I know that is hard to believe!) Once in a while...a person will come into our life and maybe...just maybe... it is because THEY need whatever it is that WE have to offer or teach THEM. Usually it is hard to know the difference, because when you open yourself to another person, you can't help but grow in some way yourself.

I was reminded of the importance of that kind of friend this week. You see, my mom is the kind of friend that anyone would be lucky to have. She is able to keep a confidence. She is fun to be with. She will be your shopping and going to lunch bud....and if ...heaven is time for you to pass out of this life, she will be there to hold your hand. I know this because she has done it more than once...for people that in the beginning, weren't even close friends. But in the last moments of your life....I believe that the one left holding your hand, IS your closest friend at that moment. For some, that has been my mom! Yesterday, she again was there, holding the hand of a friend who only two months and four days before had been "fine". As I recall, this 59 year old woman from mom's church called her to take her to the doctor because she couldn't think straight. She wasn't in pain...but felt something was wrong. Within a few hours, it was determined that this woman had brain cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer. Quite a lot to process.

My mom is not a nurse or a professional caregiver. She is just a wonderful friend who has survived loss in her life. Her mom died when she was only 7, while in a plane being flown to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She died of Addison's disease. Mom was also there with her grandma as she died of cancer. She has also been present when other friends of hers have passed.

My mom is determined not to let a friend die alone. She could have just checked her friend into the hospital and her obligation would have been fulfilled. But instead, for the past two months, she became taxi driver, caregiver, bottom wiper, and confidante. As a daughter, I worried about her over doing it. I know that she is a slight woman, beyond her prime...although she would dispute that fact! But she did what she felt she had to do. I know that it is important to my mom that no person be alone when they die.

Last night I got a short email that just said, "My friend Terri died tonight". I knew she must just be exhausted. I once lost a friend with cancer who I had visited daily and tried to be "up" for. Early on, she had "appointed" me as her official "sense of humor" because she knew that in time, with the chemo, the hair loss, the loss of her breast...the vomiting, fatigue....etc she would probably lose her sense of humor. I took my job very seriously! (as I wore the Groucho Marx glasses!) I insisted that in the final stages, anyone who came into the hospital room to visit my friend, had to put on the Groucho Glasses! My friend would see them and crack up! When they saw her laughing, it was harder to cry! (it is really hard to cry when you "feel funny"!) But...she did age 32...with two small children left behind. The after effect is one of adrenal depletion! (Mom...I understand!)

I called mom today and she described herself as a person who had been trying to run into the wind...a strong Eastern Montana kind of wind....for two months...and then the wind suddenly ceased...and she just fell flat on her face." That is where she was today! In need of a nap!

My mom lives her life without regret. She is my hero! I hope that one day I will be just like her! (when I grow up! ha!) I'm not sure if she was in Terri's life for a reason or a season....but I do know that for Terri, she was blessed to have met my mom! Love you, mimi!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mahalo to Lei Chic

I just opened up my daily "Lei Chic" ezine and to my delight saw that they gave a shout out again about my coffee market totes! Just clik on "tote bags" to read more! I am feeling the love from those girls over there! Thank you so much.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Day After...

Today is the "day after" September 11. It is the day I feel grateful. You see, on September 11, 2001, I was a newlywed of less than 3 months. My 20 year old daughter had moved to New York on September 1st. She called me on the 10th to tell me that she was excited that she had gotten a job in NYC at Mario Bedescu's...a day salon in Manhattan. For some reason I wrote it all down.

My hubby likes to sleep with the TV on, so I oblige since he has so few vices. I awoke at about 4:30 am. Oddly, the power had been off and had just come back on. As I lay there, I flicked through the channels and in minutes, to my horror, saw the second jet hit the world trade center. Within minutes I was confused because they were talking about a jet crashing into the was it???? I couldn't comprehend that it could be BOTH! I tried to call my sweet baby girl but couldn't get through.

In a panic and a need to connect with anyone out there, I found a phone number of a man we had met on our honeymoon on Kauai. He was an executive for Estee Lauder in NYC. He had given me his information and offered to assist my daughter if needed in getting a job. I called them and just talked. Their teenage boys were stranded at their school and they too were worried. But it helped to talk to another mother...albeit a stranger, who was also worried about her kids. She could see smoke from her house.

Although I have never been to NYC and do not know the layout, I did not suspect that my daughter was in the twin towers. Perhaps because I would not allow myself to "go there". But I did suspect that my baby girl was somewhere in the city and she was scared. I so wanted to reach out to her...hold her, stroke her hair...I finally got ahold of her room mate. She told me that Sarah had left her phone at the apartment that day and she could hear it ringing. She knew that Sarah had left for the city and was headed to her first day of work.

My chest was pounding. My eyes felt hot! I feared she would be stuck in a subway and didn't even want to imagine more than that.

Almost 3 hours later, I got an email. It was short. It said something to the effect that she "had made it into work and couldn't talk now, but would contact me later." I crumbled into a pile and started to cry for the first time! I went into the bedroom and woke Menehune Man. "She's alive!" I cried. "Sarah's okay".

I will never truly know the trauma she suffered. She was so young and so far from home. I told her she could come home and it wouldn't mean she had failed in anyway...but she chose to stay. She stayed another 2 years! She said that the New York people had been so supportive that she couldn't leave them. The events that followed shaped her into the person that she is today. And I think she is pretty wonderful.

So on September 11th, I remember those that were lost. But on September 12th, I feel grateful for those who came home. I love you Sarah!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Time management

Okay, who put my calendar and clock on fast forward? I have so much going on in my life that there seems so little time! I was informed that I got the big order of 225 bags and have been slaving away, trying to stay on top of my projected schedule. Yesterday I purchased 120 yards of aloha fabric and today went back for 100 yards of canvas. I also ordered another 150 yards of cotton webbing which makes about 500 yards in the past 3 months.

When you live on an island there is always so much more to consider when scheduling your time. You see, we could have a tropical storm or hurricane, a strike by workers who ship our goods here or just plain old "Hawaiian Time" service. So with the holidays approaching along with the deadline for my big order, a wise bag maker ensures that she has all her supplies on hand!

Through the years I have discovered a thing or two about myself. I am not the type of gal who thrives on drama or adrenaline. I don't like working "under the gun". I like things to run smoothly and as planned. Don't spring unwelcome surprises on me! I like it when people are true to their word and I don't respond well to someone trying to control me. Cinnamon bears are my favorite candy, Casa Blanca Lilies are my favorite flower and bad hair can ruin my day. It doesn't always work out as planned...but in a perfect "Barb's World" that is what you would see. Ah...peace, birds chirping and the sound of Sven humming my favorite tune. ( you girls do know Sven by now, right?) So with all that in mind, I do try to plan my schedule and even prepare for the unexpected. For instance, Menehune Man is sick. Usually that means that in a week or so...I will be sick! So this week I am working OT to cut out linings and coffee bags. I look at MM with his feverish face and can't help but think....OMG, he's had a high fever for 2 days already...I have no time for that kind of sick..(in the event that I get sick)...I have bags to make! So it really is all about time management....

Just a note for anyone who may be wondering if I am still sticking to my Weight Watchers...
Yes, I am. I have lost 10lbs so far. I am really doing it differently this time in hopes that I will be more successful at keeping the LBs off. But thanks for caring....

Now back to the sweat shop!

a hui hou

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sewing and Shopping...the life of this Bag Maker!

When I haven't posted for over a week, you know I've been busy! I have been helping Menehune man in the yard in the mornings and then when he goes to work, I put my treadle to the metal!

Palm Palm over on Kauai has been selling my Kimono Keys like crazy. She said she sold 40 this week alone! So yesterday I whipped up another 37 to ship off to her tomorrow. Then she accidently sold a bag that had been special ordered, so I made a duplicate tonight to include in tomorrow's shipment.

I drove up mauka this week and bought a couple hundred coffee bags. It is a little over 60 miles round trip and makes for a long day. It is fun visiting the farms and chatting with the farmers to see what they are up to.

Dave and Trudy at Heavenly Hawaiian were nice enough to help me with sorting out 40 coffee bags. They are very supportive of my venture.

I also met some new friends at the Kona Pacific co-op. They had heard of my bags and were eager to sell me some of their to add to my collection of Kona Coffee Bags!

Karen and Lee over at Hula Daddy are becoming old friends! Their bag is very popular with my customers. It was nice seeing them again, too!

Tom Bong and Linda up at Bong Brothers are the furthest away on my route. They used to be married, once upon a time but now Linda has the store and Tom does the coffee. Linda's store is at Honaunau. She makes the best vegetarian wraps. I was getting hungry by the time I stopped in there and when I saw this vegie wrap I had to try it! It had tofu, shredded carrots, beets, lettuce and avocado wrapped in some sort of whole-grained tortilla or flatbread.

I also had to buy me some apple bananas and a great big mango from the front porch of the Bong Bros. store. If you are visiting the Big Island, head south, just past the Middle Keei Rd on the makai (ocean) side of the highway. Bong's store is a historic building where you will find some authentic aloha. Now, if I could just talk Tom into reordering his beautiful cardinal logo Bong Bros. coffee bag! I will keep working on him as I have for over a year now.

In the meantime, I think I have a better chance at having Linda print up her own logo of Bong Sistah's on some bags. That would be a fun one!

Something that some people don't know about my business plan is that I like that fact that I use authentic Kona Coffee bags. Yes, I could have my own printed up with "Sasaki Farms" or something similar on them as has been suggested, and in the long run it would save me some $$$...but that isn't my plan! I love the fact that I buy from working farms so that if someone buys one of my coffee sack totes or purses, they could actually come to Kona and go visit that coffee farm! And the variety of logos on the bags exemplifies the variety of people that own the farms. There are the lawyers who have moved over and bought land and became farmers. There are people who have grown up on this island and are doing what they know best. The one thing they all have in common is their enthusiasm for Kona coffee and love for this island that we all live on.

a hui hou

Friday, August 21, 2009

Made in Hawaii Fesitval

Well, I'm home from Oahu. I had an amazing day. I met Janet Lipps, owner of the Pacific Islands Gallery at our precious Kona airport (it really is precious) and we flew over to Oahu for the Made in Hawaii Fesitval. It is a gigantuous show of items that are made in our 50th state. I wanted to attend as a buyer this year to check it out and see if I could possibly sign up for next year. I had to investigate the logistics of shipping my bags over to Oahu and setting up a professional looking booth and all the extras that go along with doing a "craft" fair. I had intended to include photos in this post. I even took my camera to Honolulu this morning....but forgot the san disk card in my computer at home! ugh! So there are no photos of the Chinese Dragon that greeted us as we walked in or the marvelous people we encountered today. So I will have to do my best to describe the day for you.

Todays events opened to the general public at 10 am. We arrived a little early and waited in line behind a pretty young mother and her little 7 month old baby girl. She shared with us that she had worked for the state for several years but with cutbacks was heading to the mainland to make her new home in Washington state. But she added, "we'll be back someday". She fed money to the Chinese Dragon to ensure her daughter's good luck and we bid aloha to her. Then we entered the main arena. WOW! So many booths.

Janet and I sort of drifted off in our own directions early on and reconnected later. She was looking for unique items for her gallery and I was looking at booth configuration, lighting, and displays. I also wanted to see if anyone else was selling items that would be competition to me. (no one was I am happy to report!)

At 11am, I meandered into the concert hall and had a bite to eat and listened to Makana. He is just an amazing young slack key guitarist. I have heard him live several times and always enjoy his musical talent.

I must admit something to you here that I am a bit ashamed of. I did not expect the Aloha on Oahu that we experienced today. When I did approach fellow artisans and tell them that I was considering a booth for next year, I was blown away by the responses. One gal I met, who makes beautiful sea glass wrapped jewelry, was so full of aloha that she told me she has extra tables and if I needed to borrow, just to let her know! Her name is Tanya Maiava Ochoa. She is still working on her website but her email address is

I stopped by my friend, Joan Blackshear's booth and was in awe of the beauty of her work. When you see her display of silk table runners and wall hangings, it is breath taking! I HAD to buy one of her runners for myself! And she is SO funny! I love how in love with her husband she is. He cracks her up and it is fun to watch them together. go to to see her work.

I also met two women who just cracked me up. One shared that she just didn't know what she would do if her husband died because she relies on him to set up her booth and cut out her wood products! We laughed! I am going through my collection of business cards and I am thinking that one of the gals was Charlotte Martin Del Campo - Retailer of Various Gift Items. (no web site)

Then I had the opportunity to meet an artist that I have admired for a very long time! She too has an Etsy site, which is where I discovered her. Her name is Holly Kitaura. This woman is amazing. Her art is whimsical and colorful. Much of it cracks me up, which may be why I purchased 3 pieces! And this woman who I admire, but who I just met, offered to let me crash at her house if I do the show next year! Did I mention how much I love Hawaii and the people here? Here is her link:

I had a highlight of the day that truly gave me "chicken skin" as we say here in Hawaii....or "goosebumps" as they say in Idaho! I was purchasing some spices from Kaiulani, the queen of spices on Oahu, and a woman next to me says, "Where did you get your Sasaki Bag?". Stunned, I replied, "I AM Sasaki Bags!". Little did she know that she just fulfilled one of my dreams! Someone recognized my bag without even seeing the tag! (its on the inside). She said that she had been looking at my website for quite awhile but hadn't made a purchase yet. She gave me her name and if she reads this, ....

when you are ready to purchase a Sasaki Bag, let me know it is you, and I will ship it to you for free because you really made my day!

On the flight home, Janet ended up sitting by a pretty girl named Dominique, who is my daughter's age, 28, who was coming to Hawaii because her grandpa just passed away and she wanted to support her parents at this time. We started chatting because I showed Janet the "feet" on Dominique's tote bag and told her I am looking for that kind of feet for my large totes. Then we realized that Janet and Dominique were dressed almost identically! Blue jeans, dark cowl top, greenish leather was uncanny! In the end, Janet offered to save Dominique the $25 cab fare to her parents and she drove both me and her home.

Maybe it was just all the aloha we had experienced today that we just had to share. That is what it is all about, right? Can you tell I had a wonderful day? Will I do the Made In Hawaii next year? I am not ready to decide yet. It is a bit overwhelming. But I will definately consider it.

a hui hou

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Aloha Friday

It is almost aloha Friday...and what a week it has been. I think I broke my own record of bag making by completing 50 bags this week. I'll have to double check past figures!

Tomorrow, I am flying off to Oahu for the Made in Hawaii Festival. My friend and fellow artist, Joan Blackshear, is having a booth as she has for several years now and has been very successful. It is a huge event. I am going so I can check it out and see if it is something I could ever attempt. Joan makes gorgeous silk table runners and wall hangings, but it all folds quite bags wouldn't pack so nicely. I was putting together some numbers and trying to figure out how many jumbo rubbermaid containers it would take, full of Sasaki Bags, in order to do the show justice. And how would I transport all of those containers to the airport and then to the event? But that is why I am going....just to watch and learn.

Also tomorrow is the grand opening of Palm Palm on Kauai. I am so excited for Marjorie! Her other store was so beautiful, I can only imagine what she will do with this one. I shipped off 5 Big Kahuna Bags and 21 Kimono Keys today. She should have them by Saturday.

So all in all, I had a good week and am looking forward to my trip to Oahu. I will be flying over with Janet Lipps, the owner of Pacific Islands Design Gallery in Holualoa. She will be scoping out the festival for fresh artists to feature in her gallery. It sounds like a fun and exhausting day!

a hui hou

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Growing Pains

Remember when you were little and any aches and pains were explained as being "growing pains"? Well, these days, it isn't my body that is experiencing this, but my business! I have worked so hard and am seeing rewards in many ways yet it has come to a point where I have to grow. My wholesale accounts are doing an amazing job of selling my bags and my Etsy store is keeping up a steady sales pace. But that all means that I have to spend more money! Sometimes I feel like I am just spinning my wheels because I keep putting all my profits back into more supplies! Always preparing for bigger orders. Anyone who has known me since I was a little girl knows that I am not a spender. I am a saver! I remember my sister always spending her allowance as fast as she got it and I always had a little jar of money that she would inevitably end up borrowing.
(This is me and my sis probably about grades 3 and 5 looking ever so spiffy!)
This week I opened up a couple of new wholesale accounts to buy my supplies from. I remember two years ago when I was beginning to buy fabric, I would pick out a couple fabrics and maybe splurge and wince as I told the gal to "go ahead and cut 3 yards for me." Now I am preparing to order 11 bolts from one company! I already have 29 bolts plus flat folds of fabric in my studio! But it is all different! Some of it is aloha fabric, some of it is coffee themed fabric, some is just novelty fabric, and now I have orders that require Amy Butler fabric. Why am I explaining this to you....You know how it is! Atleast I do use my stash of fabric. I know some gals who really just collect it!

I should find out by September 1st if I am going to get the order for 200-400 bags. The final count hasn't been decided yet. Just doing the supply list for that is mind boggling. Over 300 yards of fabric, 400 grommets, 300 yards of cotton webbing, 200 magnetic snaps...and the list goes on! I just pray that Sven and I stay healthy until this order is complete! (Sven is my Swedish sewing machine)

(my daughter took this photo 10 years ago when we took a trip to Maui for her graduation. I was looking pretty reflective, which is how I've been feeling again lately)

It has all been a bit nerve racking! But even with all the stress, I am still doing well on my diet. I have lost 7.4lbs in the past 3 weeks. I do believe that weight watchers is probably the most healthy and supportive way to go. I get great tips from the others at the meetings. I have quite a ways to go...but I am headed in the right direction.

I keep telling myself that you have to spend money to make money. My daughter who is a bank auditor, reinforced that mantra the other day and assured me I am doing what I need to do. It's funny how the roles switch back and forth once your children are grown and become experts in their own fields and can offer you advice!

So even though the spending is stressful to me, I believe I need to follow this path and see where it leads me. Thanks for following my journey.

a hui hou