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