Saturday, February 28, 2009

March coming in like a Lion!

In 30 minutes it will be March! Where did February go??? Don't get me wrong...I wasn't sitting around peeling grapes and fanning "Menehune Man". This kid has been busy! Are you ready for the February tally??? (drum roll please...) With the help of my wonderful husband...I made 101 bags and 43 key fobs in February! (thank you thank you *as the crowd goes wild!*) What a great start I am having to 2009!

When I lived on the mainland, in a wintry climate, we always went by the saying that if March came in like a lion, it would go out like a lamb! It referred to the weather. If it was snowy and miserable out on the first of should be nice and warmer by the end of March....BUT...if it were nice on the first of March, be prepared for another few snow storms to shovel your way out of!

Well, My March orders are coming in like a lion. We will see how the month pans out. Today Earl was cutting out bags for me and I was making linings assembly line style. I only finished 4 totes but have 17 linings ready to pop into some coffee bags.

I am still working on a big order for Kauai Coffee but am hung up waiting for supplies from the mainland. Have you ever ordered from JMK??? It is a wholesale company. I placed my order 4 weeks ago and they haven't even mailed it yet!!! They said that they hope to mail it by the beginning of next week! Next WEEK??? I really need the rope cording to finish my Kukio style bags for Kauai!

I must admit, though, that there are times when I crave a day to just be able to be creative and sew whatever I would like come up with some new designs and sit back admiring my work....sipping a lemonade...but then reality hits. Right now I have over 60 bags on order from my amazing customers (who haven't been told that we are having a recession...Shhhhh! Its our secret!) I have to write everything down...all requests and special orders so that I can fill them in the order I received them.

I have so many bags inside of my head that I want to make. I need to schedule a day or two a week so that I can bring these gals into the world. Janet Lipps up at the former Paole Gallery in Holualoa has shut down for a couple of weeks so that she can revamp the space and paint... and stage all the beautiful items in her gallery. It is a special gallery with a warm inviting atmosphere. I am honored that Janet has selected some of my divas to fill a space in her new Pacific Islands Design gallery and I will be attending the preview opening on March 7th for artists and their families. I am yearning to make some fresh new Divas to fill her shelves. I have a bin full of exotic and luxurious silks that call to me. Some of these fabrics are from my trips to Thailand and Japan a few years ago. But most days I find myself up to the eyebrows in burlap....It makes me wonder if peoples tastes will change when the economy changes. Most of my customers are into the recycle/reuse movement! When prosperity returns, will they still want burlap bags??? Time will tell.

But what time is telling me right now is that it is bedtime so that I can get up early and make my way to the sweat shop! I am feeling very blessed right now. Life is good. Tomorrow is a new day...and a new month.

a hui hou

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Totes and more totes!

Yesterday was a tote bag kind of day. Just needed to fill my shop up again thanks to all my fabulous customers! So here is a sampling of my newest market totes.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I bought an extra machine because my business is at a point that I can not afford to be without my sewing machine when Sven goes to the spa (for those of you who don't know, Sven is my Swedish sewing machine, the spa is the repair shop....but shhhh don't tell him) So this week I gave my husband a quick lesson on how to use a sewing machine so that he can do some of my prep work. Simple zigzagging the burlap so it doesn't unravel before I get to make it into a bag, cutting straps and sealing the ends etc. Tuesday I was out and about all day and when I got home, there was a pot of spaghetti on the stove....which by the way, I did not put there! and (here is the biggie) my DH was in the sewing studio zipping through my stacks of burlap! In Hawaii there are legends of the Menehune. They are often mischievious but helpful little imps that sneak in during the night and accomplish mountains of work. So, little wonder why I call Earl my Menehune!

For those of you wondering how on earth I got my husband to sew....its like this...My husband like most men, loves power tools. He has many and is quite a skilled craftsman working with wood. He makes koa music boxes and even some furniture. So I simply explained to him how a sewing machine is "just another power tool". Instead of ripping wood apart on a table are sewing fabric together. He bought the idea! Or maybe, he just sees how busy I am and is really a great guy who wants to help me see my dreams come true. I kind of like to believe the latter.

Off to the sweat shop!
a hui hou

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Now selling on 3 Hawaiian islands!

Friday I shipped off the initial order to the Hawaii State Art Museum Gift Shop or HiSAM as they call it. Here are some of the bags.

Last week I got a shipment of bags from Kauai too. I hope to get their bags finished by this weekend.

And on the homefront...
I am just keeping my head down and my foot on the treadle. finish one bag, start another! I did take a couple breaks this week though. Tuesday I did go get a massage and see the chiropractor. Then I came home, loaded a cooler with refreshments and headed to the beach. There was a huge pod of dolphins swimming by and I saw a couple of whales. My favorite season! Whale Season!

Then for Valentine's Day, Earl and I went on a nature hike with Hawaii Forest and Trails. We did the Holoholo Hualalai trek in a Pinzauer. Our guide, Bob, was fantastic! Very knowledgeable and respectful of the Hawaiian people who gave permission for their company to take groups onto the mountain's sacred areas. He also knew all the legends and folklore to share about many plants and their association with Goddess Pele. It made it fun and interesting. We rapelled down a lava tube and just had a nice morning. Then that evening, Earl cooked for me. We went to Costco and bought 3lbs of king crab legs....not knowing just how much crab meat that was! We also had filet mignon, seaweed salad, baguettes and baked brie! Oh and did I mention champagne??? My diet, I fear was no where in sight! Tomorrow is Monday! *sigh*

We took our walk tonight on the beach and tomorrow I must find time to walk as well or else that Valentine's dinner will be with me longer than I would like!

Off to bed so I can work the sweat shop tomorrow.
a hui hou!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

99 Sasaki Bags on the wall, 99 Sasaki Bags.....

Remember that old song we used to sing in the car that drove mom and dad crazy! 99 bottles of beer on the wall...99 bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around, 98 bottles of beer on the wall. One beer at a time....That is the philosophy of how I am reaching my goal. No! not a drinking goal! A sewing goal!

I am doing quite well with my goal of sewing 90 bags a month this year. Infact, since my last posting here two weeks ago, I have sewn 48 more bags. Most of which are already gone! sold! history! ka-put! The retail store that I sell to here in Kona has just been going crazy. My business has doubled with them since the same time last year. I am just hoping that my customers don't find out that we are in a recession! Shhhh! Its our little secret!

I have also agreed to see how my bags will sell at the Hawaii State Art Museum's Gift Shop. They found me on Etsy and they have placed a small order so we can both see how it works for us. It is in downtown Honolulu. I do anticipate heavy sales there, but time will tell.

I also have some gorgeous paintings by Stephanie Bolton here in my studio, waiting my inspiration. I just can't rush with those. They are so special that I have to take my time and put a lot of thought into each of those bags. I will get atleast one finished this month. The power of determination!

My sister has been reminding me lately about taking care of ourselves. It is important to make a commitment to yourself. If we don't make a commitment to care for ourselves, how do you expect anyone else to? It is okay to have some "all about me" time. Infact it is healthy!

With all that said, I am taking a well deserved day off today! I have an appointment with Dr. Stanley, my chiropractor, and Kim my masseuse for this morning! I may even end up on a beach after that! Just taking a little day off to take care of ME, regroup and do a little day-dreaming.

Have a great day!
a hui hou