Saturday, March 10, 2012

Oh Makiko!

One year ago today I had an unusual sale in my Etsy shop that unbeknown to me would change my life for the better.  It was April 11th 2011, and the Tsunami had just ravaged much of Japan, Earthquakes and aftershocks were shaking the poor country to it's core, and nuclear power plants there were spewing dangerous and scary leaks.  And I got an order for 2 aprons- one being my favorite Kate Spain central Park design- from a gal named Makiko O'Neil in Japan.  I have to say I was immediately curious- who could be thinking of aprons at a time like this?  I decided to write her a message and ask if she was affected and if there was anything I could do to help.  Thus beginning a beautiful friendship and business venture that has made me smile several times over the coming year.  Makiko was affected by the earthquakes, and was very unsettled by all that was going on in her beloved country, so she decided to look on her favorite fabric designer (Kate Spain) website.   She saw that Kate had listed some of her favorite Etsy retailers on a sidebar and my shop AtomicAprons was one of them.   Makiko's husband Jason encouraged her to order a few aprons to cheer her up and give her something to look forward to.  In the following months we emailed regularly, I got perspective of a healing Japan, and she got insight in to the world of a small business owner who made and sold her wares.  We inspired each other.  Makiko decided she would like to have her own shop there in Japan, and as she wasn't yet doing much sewing she decided selling my aprons amongst other American made delights would be a fun thing to do.  She supported my little business very well and bought many aprons from me over the year.  When it came time for her birthday her husband Jason contacted me to order one of my quilted pillows in her favorite Kate Spain fabric as a special surprise.  I had so much fun working with him to surprise her- and we ended up being good friends too.  They are the gift that keeps on giving.  Makiko has supported me as I have learned to Free Motion Quilt and always been a cheerleader and fan of my work.  Jason has told me funny stories about life as an American in Japan- and brought a whole new perspective.  I have encouraged and given advice to Makiko in the realm of being a small business owner, and also a new sewer.  She has done wonderfully- and is blowing my mind with all her newly acquired skills.  I have so much respect for this gal- who could turn tragedy  into triumph and follow her dreams so fully.  I am so proud to have her as my friend- she has given and shown me so much- and I can't imagine life without her.  It is amazing how the people we meet change us- after meeting her I truly understood that connections were never to be taken for granted- if we are not open to the people we come in contact with- who knows what we might miss out on.  Thanks for a great year Makiko- happy friend anniversary and I hope to meet you in person one day to give you a well deserved hug!
Makiko and Jason
Makiko's shop displaying one of my Aprons

traditional Kimono fabric sent to me by Makiko

Japanese fat quarters and piping another gift from Makiko

more Japanese fabric

and even more, I am so spoiled!

traditional Japanese carpet binding-

this little pincushion I made from a Heather Baily pattern Makiko sent to me


  1. That is such a wonderful story of friendship! How lovely it would be to meet in person some day.

  2. Thanks Kristy- she is a super special gal that just sort of fell into my lap- I would really love to meet her in person and I feel like someday it might just happen!