Learning something new, feeling vulnerable, and letting go

Have you explored my new website yet?✨

(If you did, THANK YOU!)

I continue to feel super proud of what I’ve created – it’s beautiful and functional – but there have been challenges and learning curves as well.

You’d think once you launch a website, you can sit back and relax, watch orders pour in effortlessly, and move on to other exciting projects you’d put on hold until the website was done.

It turns out it’s actually a time when you learn that a bunch of things aren’t working properly and you have to fix it in a hyper speed 😱

Like when my first wholesale customer placed an order, she got charged full retail price at check out even though the correct wholesale prices were showing while she was shopping.

Oh, and I stopped getting emails to honeyberrystudios.com address when I first redirected the domain name to my new shop.

(Not to mention it took the domain server customer service over a week to connect my old domain to the new site. A long story and a mystery when I was able to do it in 5 minutes when I decided to take matters into my own hands.)

And finding out that Shopify doesn’t offer a very intuitive, customizable shipping settings, and it’s caused some confusions to both retail and wholesale customers.

(note: if you’re thinking about having a shop with Shopify, know that they lack some basic functions and would want you to buy more apps to customize your shop… do your research before jumping in!)

There are more minor things that have gone wrong, but every time an order comes in or I get a message from a customer, I get a little knot in my stomach thinking, “is something wrong?”

Because I’ve been fixing what I could (with the help of various developers of the apps), 95% of the time, nothing is wrong.

And I tell myself it’s good that I’m finding out the mistakes and hiccups now. And I’m grateful my customers are taking the time to tell me if something is not working.

Things will get easier in the future.

While I get it intellectually, it’s caused me some anxiety and stress, too.

I hate feeling incompetent and vulnerable.

I SO want you to have a positive experience when you interact with me and my shop.

But when something goes wrong and I have to send messages to customers explaining what happened and drop everything to put out fires, I fear that people would think I’m incompetent.

I fear that people would be annoyed they have to go through extra steps or wait till the problem is fixed.

I fear that you will lose trust in me.

(And leave me FOREVER 😭 Dramatic. I know.)

What’s making me extra vulnerable through this experience is that most of the problems, I have no clue how to fix.

Sure, I can fix typo and update images on my website, but customize apps and scripts? That’s WAY out of my expertise!!

So I’m having to rely on pros to fix the problems, and I’m super grateful they exist to help a non-techy like me.

But I have no control over how/when the problems are fixed. OR if it’s fixable at all 😱

Like the price calculation issue I just had with my wholesale customer, it was caused by an external change that the developers wouldn’t have known about. And it took them 4 days to figure out what was wrong and fix it.

Four days. Sure, I’m no Amazon, but it sure felt like a long time not knowing if my customers were gonna get charged the right price or not.

In the midst of feeling uncomfortable and ungrounded, I’ve reminded myself of a few things to stay centered again.

I’ve told myself things like:

“I’ve done challenging things before and somehow, I managed them. It’s gonna be OK again.”

“I’ve done my best to fix the problem and passed it on to the professionals who can help me. There is no good that comes from worrying about it now.”

“Trust doesn’t come from being perfect. People trust you because you’re honest about your mistakes and handle them with integrity.”

And I thought of this:

Boom.

It’s times like this, when I’m feeling vulnerable and insecure, that I want to pat myself on the back for creating art that encourages and nurtures our souls ✨😀

Honestly, I make happy, uplifting art because I need them the most.

I’d be a wreck if I’m not surrounding myself with positive art (and people!) that lift me up when I’m feeling down.

​Naturally, my website learning curve is getting less steep every day I work on it.

I’m not checking my email every 5 minutes to see if anything went wrong or if the developers have any updates for me.

I’m able to focus on other things in life and business (like making new art for my next collection 😻) and enjoying a slower month before the holiday fair season kicks in high gear in November.

Well, friend, I hope my creations cheer you up when you need a little boost ❤️​

Because that’s what it’s all about!

xo

p.s.🍂🍁 Don’t forget –  you get 5% off on your first order and all the future orders when you create a customer account in my new shop 😉 (offer ends on Monday, 10/22).

My winter holiday show schedule is here!

It’s October.

That means the winter holiday season is just around the corner.

(well, to me anyway 🙀)

I’ve been booking a bunch of holiday shows since summer, and here is my calendar! 👇

Eastlake High School Holiday Bazaar | Sat. 11/3, 9am – 3pm | Sammamish

Periwinkle Rose Open House | Sat. 11/10, 11am – 4pm | Snohomish

Tacoma is for Lovers Artist Craft Fair | Sun. 11/18, 11am – 4pm | Tacoma

Port Townsend Holiday Craft Sale | Fri. 11/23 & Sat. 11/24, 10am – 5pm | Port Townsend

King Street Maker’s Market Holiday Pop-Up | Thur. 11/29 – Sun. 12/2, 11am – 7pm | Seattle (*My new ceramic ornaments will be on display and for sale! I will not be present however.)

Phinney Winter Festival & Crafts Fair | Sat. 12/1 & Sun. 12/2, 10am – 5pm | Seattle

I’m still waiting to hear back from a couple of shows I applied for… I’ll keep you posted as I hear back from them🤞

If you’re not in the Seattle area and feeling sad you won’t be able to shop from me in-person…😭 I’m sad, too!! Well, at least you can shop all of my adorable gifts on my new and improved online shop now.

NOTE: You always get free US shipping for orders of $35 or more (before tax)! No coupon code needed.

If you’re in the area, I hope to see your beautiful face at one of the holiday shows 😘

xo

p.s. You can always check my updated holiday schedule on my new website here!

I opened my first Etsy shop in 2010…

{I took my mini sabbatical off during the week of 9/17 but instead of my normal sabbatical week report, I have a more urgent news for you…}

Hey friend,

I opened up my first Etsy shop in December 2010.

I’d posted a picture of my crocheted fingerless gloves on Facebook (can’t believe FB has been out there for so long…) and a couple of friends said “you can sell that!”

I didn’t know what Etsy was and it was hard to imagine if anyone would want to pay for what I made.

But I said “why not?”

So I opened up a shop called “TeAmi Works” – te ami means “hand-knit” or “hand-crocheted” in Japanese – and posted a few pairs of fingerless gloves I made.

(OMG the quality of photos were so BAD 😂 a humble beginning…)

The very first day, a super sweet customer in Nashville, Tennessee, purchased a pair and turned around and placed another order right away because her daughter loved them too and wanted a pair.

It was so rewarding to be appreciated for what I made with my own two hands.

I caught the bug and kept making more gloves and other crocheted accessories to sell.

Over the last 8 years, I’d moved on from making/selling crocheted wares because I got sick of making the same things over and over, and how could you price them for the time it takes really? (anybody wants $150 pair of fingerless gloves?? 😀 maybe with the right kind of positioning and marketing, but I didn’t know that stuff back then.)

I was getting more into drawing then and was getting the same kind of appreciation for it.

And people started asking me if they could pay me to draw or design something for them.

The light bulb went on again 💡

Drawing and selling cards and prints were much more in line with how I wanted to do business, so I slowly transitioned from selling crocheted stuff and adding more art in the shop.

I changed the name of the shop to “Honeyberry Studios” in 2013.

And, mind you, I was never a hot seller on Etsy – between 2010 and until I quit my day job in July 2015, maybe I sold a thing or two per month.

It only started to pick up after I quit my job and started to devote more time making and promoting my work.

But still, Etsy has never brought me enough sales consistently.

I feel it’s hit and miss, and there is the sense of “pay to play” (in fact, they raised their seller fee a couple of months ago) and you need to be on top of your SEO game etc., which I just don’t have the time and energy for.

I was originally going to build a separate shop just for my wholesale business – because Etsy decided to close their wholesale shops at the end of July this year.

I have a bunch of friends who do really well on Etsy, and I’m happy for them!!

But I don’t like the feeling of not being in control of my shop, and it’s just not working for me.

It was time for me to move on and have my own shop that’s under Honeyberry Studios’ name.

I started working on building my new shop back in May when they first announced the closure of Etsy Wholesale.

I then decided to combine both retail and wholesale shops in one place per Shopify’s advice (that’s who’s hosting my new shop now.)

I thought – oh, I’ll take a couple of weeks to finish bulk of the website. It’ll be done by the beginning of summer.

I’m not building it from scratch (thank you Shopify!) so how hard could it be? It’s basically just copy and paste, no?

WRONG.

I always tell myself everything takes 3x longer than you think. In this case, it took me almost 5 times longer 😅

There have been learning curves and bumps on the road, BUT the important thing is…

IT’S DONE!!!! 🎉🎊🎈

Without further ado, meet new Honeyberry Studios shop!!

Isn’t it pretty?? 😍

Not only is it prettier than my old website, it’s got more functions that make your shopping easier (and save you $).

Allow me to point out some of my favorite functions here.

(I know you know how to shop online – I’m just too excited to not talk about it!!! 😆)

First of all, you don’t need to enter a coupon code to get a free US shipping any more.

When your total purchase reaches the minimum of $35 (before tax), bam, your shipping’s free.

(I’ve been manually refunding shoppers on Etsy who forgot to use the coupon code. So it saves me time, too 😀)

I love how easy it is to create/select categories, too. Etsy only allowed a limited number of categories (I think), so it’s a big bonus.

You can either start shopping by selecting a category from the “Shop” button up top, or…

Scroll to see the categories visually laid out for you!

I’m particularly happy about how you can filter all of my greeting cards by occasions, too!

On Etsy, you’d have to scroll through 80+ cards to find what you’re looking for 👎

One thing I’m a little annoyed about, thou, is that every time you put something in a cart, you’re directed to your cart and can’t just keep shopping.

If you want to keep browsing, I suggest you click on the top “Shop” button and get back in a collection you want to explore, rather than hitting the “CONTINUE SHOPPING” button at the bottom because this will throw you in “all products” page where you have to wade through 150 products all mixed together!

And may I suggest you create an account during your first visit??

Not only would you save time on your future shopping, I’m rewarding your loyalty by giving 5% off on every single order you place through your customer account!

(**NOTE:: I was hoping there was an easy way to automate this, but since I haven’t found one, I’ll be manually giving you a refund on your first order after you activate an account. Please allow 48 hours for you to see the refund. After that, it should automatically come off.)

And if you have any questions, I’ve got links to important stuff at the bottom of the website. Of course, you can always shoot me an email, too!

Last but not least, with the grand opening of my new shop, you finally get to shop my fall & winter collection!!! Weeee!

You can explore the llama stationery gifts pictured above, new holiday cards, 2019 calendar, and wrapping papers in my shop now.

FYI – if you’ve already bought some of my new products at markets and are sad you didn’t get the discount – wipe your tears, friend, because I don’t charge you sales tax at markets and fairs. Plus you don’t pay for shipping, so you’re still getting a pretty good deal 😉

My old website used to make me cringe – you know, I built it from scratch using very few coding skills I had, which I’m super proud of.

It worked for what I needed in the beginning, but it felt outdated and didn’t really represent who I was and where I wanted my business to go.

My creative business is labor of love. It’s so much work but gives me so much joy in return.

I’m so happy you’re here with me, witnessing and being part of my dream!!

Take a few minutes to explore my new site today! It’s still somewhat a work in progress, so if you notice something not working, email me and I’ll take care of you!

I’m so looking forward to continue helping you find the adorable and thoughtful gifts for yourself and your loved ones ❤️

Thank you, friend!!!

xo

p.s. If you’re wondering what happens to my Etsy shop now – I’m undecided. It will be there for now, but I will be investing all of my time and energy learning and improving my new site from now on.

New Fall Block Printing Workshop has been added!

Hey friend,

I’m on my mini sabbatical week off and wasn’t gonna write you today…

BUT! I wanted to tell you that a new Introduction to Block Printing Workshop has been added to my calendar! Hooray!

If you’ve been wanting to sign up for it, now is your chance. I have a limited seat available and I’m 99% sure this is the last one I’ll teach this year.

It’s gonna be on Sunday, October 28 from 10:30am to 3:30pm at IGIMO Redmond.

Hop on over to my enrollment page and claim your seat today.

(Hot tip 💡: you save when you sign up with a friend 👯‍♀️👯‍♂️)

Let me know if you have any questions 😊

Hope you’re having a fantastic day!

xo

p.s. In case you skipped right to the bottom of the email, you can sign up for the workshop here.

On handling rejections

I had kind of a bad day on Wednesday.

I received, not one, but TWO rejection emails from the holiday craft shows I applied for.

They’re kind of big, well-known shows (read: most lucrative) in the area that I really, really wanted to get into (and thought I had a good chance.)

Needless to say, I was disappointed and sad.

My emotional process looked like this 👇

1) DISBELIEF: First of all, I thought the notice wasn’t gonna be sent out till Friday?? Was this a mistake? Is this really happening?

2) FANTASY: Some of my friends didn’t make the cut either. And they’re all talented, amazing makers. Did the organizers make a mistake and send the wrong email to the wrong group of people?? I’m still waiting to get that “sorry-we-sent-the-wrong-email-and-you’re-actually-in” email.

3) CONFUSION: But people love my work! and I’ve been great to work with, haven’t I?? I’m so organized and responsive. WHY DID YOU NOT WANT ME?? 😭

4) NEGATIVE SPIRAL: Is this it for me? What if I don’t get in to ANY of the shows I applied for? Was it just a luck that my business seemed more successful this year? Is it all going to be down hill from here??

5) LOGIC: People DO love my work (and they tell me so!), and I’ve had great relationships with the organizers. It’s not personal. I have other opportunities and will most likely get into other shows.

6) ACCEPTANCE: Oh well. It is just what it is 🤷🏻‍♀️ The show must go on. What’s on my to-do list today?

I know intellectually it’s not me or that my work is bad, but it just hurts to be rejected.

I have my “You Are Enough” sticker on my laptop, and it helped 💙

As a self-care strategy, I re-watched the puppy and horse Budweiser commercial from 2014 Super Bowl and had a good cry. It’s truly soul-cleansing ✨

(I question your humanity if this bit doesn’t make you even a little emotional…🐶)

I treated myself for a delicious brownie and pretty dahlias at the farmer’s market.

I also received a copy of Retailing Insight Magazine in the afternoon, where one of my designs was featured (along with my friend, John Met Betty‘s beautiful vegan handbags!) That helped boost my confidence for sure 😊

I don’t have a profound lesson or insight for you today.

But I just wanted to share that things aren’t always great and positive.

I’ve been noticing a trend on social media where people share hard and messy stuff in life. And even without the “things-went-to-hell-but-I’m-all-better-now” hero ending sometimes, which makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

It makes me sad to see people I admire and care about struggle, but I also appreciate their realness.

It helps me feel OK with having those ups and downs in my life, too.

Even though most of the posts on social media are curated and positive, it never tells a whole story.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re having a hard time or feeling rejected, you’re not alone.

Nobody has it all together.

We’re enough ❤️

xo

p.s. I’m feeling a lot better after processing the feelings with friends and doing all those self-care stuff. So don’t worry!

p.p.s. I’ve got a few holiday events locked down and am waiting to hear back from a bunch more, so it’s going to be OK. I’ll let you know when I have a more solid calendar!

p.p.p.s. I’m gonna be on my 7th week mini sabbatical next week – I’ve been chipping away at my new website so I can launch it very soon. Send me good tech vibes and stay tuned 😉

Join me in the “Thinking of You Week” challenge! 💌

Last week, my mom sent me a picture of a postcard that was sent to me from my high school Japanese literature teacher.

Mr. Eto was a really cool teacher – he was my homeroom teacher for two years and was also in charge of the drama club I was a part of.

(And as you can tell, a very skilled block print maker.)

He was funny and always treated us like we were responsible, intelligent people. He was one of the most influential adults I had in my teenage years.

On the back of the card, he wrote to say he retired last year and that they’ve got 6 grandkids now.

I felt so touched that I was still on his “thinking of you” list after 22 years.

I used to send him New Year’s greeting cards when I first moved here but can’t remember when the last time I wrote him was…😢

So it was a perfect timing when I received this message from Thinking of You Week via Instagram:

“We’re working with The Greeting Card Association to promote Thinking of You Week, an international movement that encourages everyone to send a card every day for one week. We’d love it if you could help spread the message by asking your followers to send a card a day from September 24-30.”

I get requests to promote things to my followers occasionally and only follow through when the cause resonates with me and I believe it benefits you, too.

For someone who creates and sells greeting cards for a living, I don’t send out hand-written note enough!!!

When I got the postcard from Mr. Eto, I knew I wanted to send him a card and tell him what’s been going on in my life.

I wanted to tell him that I got married to a sweet loving man, I quit my job 3 years ago, and now I’m a full-time artist.

I know he’d be delighted to hear from me and would be so proud of my accomplishments 💕

The invitation to promote this challenge inspired me to join in the movement, too.

I’ll be sending a greeting card to my friends (including Mr. Eto) every day between September 24 and 30!

I already thought of a few more people I want to say hello to via a card and am getting super excited to figure out which cards to send them 😍

Do you want to tell someone that they’re on your “thinking of you” list??

I’d love it if you join me in this challenge!!

Thinking of You Week has been promoting giveaways on their Instagram, and I’ve created a special “Mystery 7 Cards for $7” pack in my Etsy shop to make it easier for you to participate 😘

Go check them out!

I’d love to hear from you if you decide to do the challenge. Leave a comment and let me know.

Happy writing, my friend!

xo

p.s. in case you missed the links, you can check out the giveaways on Thinking of You Instagram here and the special mystery pack in my shop here.

Fall & Winter collection sneak preview (pt. 3 of 3) + vacation pics!

Dave and I got back from our mini road trip on Monday night.

We picked up our new (to us) car in Phoenix, Arizona and drove all the way through California, Oregon, and Washington over 5 days.

Here is Bruce (the car)! We drove 1500 miles including some mountains, and he did really well.

We stopped at Joshua Tree National Park – well, we didn’t plan it very well and ended up just exploring the lower part, but the landscape was out of this world. I felt like I was on the moon or mars! (I don’t know my planets very well 😬🌕)

We stopped at Redwood National Park as well. This tree had been hollowed out by the lightening and fire but the outside of it still stands tall and strong. Amazing!

We took a 90-minute tour at the Oregon Caves National Monument. Natural formation of the minerals over marble was truly breathtaking. If you go there, I highly recommend this tour!

On our last day, we visited Mt. St. Helens National Monument in Washington. It’s kind of hard to see in this picture, but the whole north side of the mountain had been blown away when the volcano erupted in 1980. We read several stories of the people who were near when the eruption happened. Many lives were lost and so many more were changed forever. So powerful.

We didn’t have whole a lot of time on this trip as we were trying to get back home in a timely manner, but we still enjoyed our adventure very much.

I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things and am super excited to share more previews form the new collection with you today

(Psst, in case you missed the previous previews, you can see them here and here.)

You know I care about self-care.

I used to work with people in domestic violence situations for 14+ years and found self-care to be the most important thing in their (and service providers’ ) healing.

Winter holiday season brings cheer and joy to many of us. But it can also be stressful and bring sadness and painful memories.

If you have a friend who needs a little encouragement to take care of themselves during the holiday season, this holiday self-care card would be a perfect a reminder 💕

It feels silly sometimes that we need external permissions to do something like self-care.

But I often need a permission to do or not do something and ask Dave to tell me it’s OK, like saying no to a business opportunity or a project, and he’d just repeat back to me word by word what I said and I say “OK” 😀

It’s silly, but it helps…

Speaking of self-care, I’ve also created a sister design to my popular “Self-Care is not Selfish” design.

It’ll be available as 8″x10″ (20.32 cm x 25.40 cm) archival giclee art print and a blank notecard 👇

Again, if someone you care about is going through a hard time or just not feeling like they’re doing “enough,” let them know they’re doing the best they can ❤️

(BTW, I’ve fallen in love with this soft pink color recently, and you will see more of it in my future collections!)

Before we move on to my next preview, I need to confess.

I was planning on creating 2019 calendars with self-care themed art and sayings, including the design above.

But creating 12 new cohesive and amazing art is no easy feat, and after considering the costs and timeline, I decided not to create a monthly wall calendar for 2019 😢

My goal is to create a stunning monthly calendar for 2020 and give myself plenty of time to do so – my apologies if you’ve gotten my previous wall calendars and have been waiting for the new one! I promise it’ll be worth the wait.

I still wanted to create a calendar that will bring you joy all year long, so I created this fun Llama Dream 2019 calendar poster instead!

It’s printed on 11″x14″ (27.94 cm x 35.56 cm) cotton paper, and has a very yummy texture.

That llama face, tho 😍

Sure, the yearly calendar may seem more decorative than practical, but it’s good for keeping track of things that happen monthly (like your period, that’s what I use my annual calendar poster for), quarterly, and/or annually.

I’d like to think of it as a wall art that happens to tell you the dates.

(Plus it’s printed digitally, so the price is more affordable than my archival prints.)

I created the calendar in a simple and neutral color palette (navy and warm yellow, my fave color convo!) so it’d look great in a kid’s room or your office all year long.

You like??

My new collection will debut in the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out for the announcement! 👀

(Are you on my email list? Sign up, because I like to spoil my subscribers when I launch new products 😉)

Have a joyful day!

xo

p.s. Oh, and if you’re in the US, have a happy Labor Day! I’ll be at Fremont Sunday Market today 9/2, 10-4 if you’re in Seattle.

Fall & Winter Collection sneak preview 🐱🐷🐶 (Pt. 2 of 3)

Did you enjoy the sneak preview of my new collection last week?

Today I’m back with more cuteness to delight you!

Let me show you some of my new winter holiday designs.

Meet the Winter Kitties 🐱

I love all animals, but I’m more of a cat person if you ask me.

Last year when I made my doggie design, A LOT of my customers asked “where are the CATS??”

So I designed these adorable winter holiday kitties just for you ❄️

Also available as wrapping papers (how can you not??)

And notepads! Wouldn’t you love to organize your holiday to-dos on this cutie? You can, very soon 😻

The next up is 2019 Year of the Boar card!

New Year’s holiday is a BIG deal in Japan and many other cultures, so I’ve designed cute animal zodiac cards for the last 4 years.

2019 is the Year of the Boar, and these happy, party boars bring me SO much joy 😆

And I updated the Doggies in Sweater design from last year (it was for the Year of the Dog design for this year).

Now it’s a plain doggie design without any texts 🐶 so it’s appropriate for Christmas or any other occasions!

Don’t forget – doggie wrapping papers are already in the shop!

And here is my new Hanukkah card design 🍽

I love learning about foods in culture and the meaning behind them – I really enjoyed researching about foods for Hanukkah for this design! 😋

(and it made me hungry!!)

Well, did you enjoy the previews​?

There is a lot more where they came from, and I can’t wait to share more next week 😘

xo

p.s. My new collection won’t be available online till early September, but you can shop the existing cuteness (and they’re equally cute 💕) today.

Fall & Winter Collection Sneak Preview 👀 (Pt. 1 of 3)

If you’re following me on Instagram and seeing my Stories, you may know that I’ve been working on my new online shop.

What prompted me to move my shop from Etsy was that Etsy Wholesale closed at the end of June, and I needed a new platform to sell my products to retailers online.

I was originally planning on moving only my wholesale shop to elsewhere and keep the regular Etsy shop. But after talking to a few people, I decided it makes the most sense to have both shops on one website.

I’ve been wanting to have my own online shop for quite some time, so it was the kick in the pants I needed to actually make it happen! 

So I’ve been chipping away at it for the last couple of month as I juggle my full summer show schedule  – I have lots of products to transfer (150+ if you include all the variants) and it’s a slow process. I swear​ everything takes 3 times longer than I expect. And my deadline has been extended at least twice now 😬

I’m hoping it’ll be done in time to launch my new collection in early September. 

It’s gonna be a lot easier to shop in my new shop than Etsy – no pesky coupon codes, and I want to reward your loyalty even more in the new shop, so stay tuned!!

In a meantime, I wanted to share some sneak previews for my fall & winter collection to get you excited.

Be warned, it’s full of cuteness ✨

Of course I’ve seen my new collection so many times, but my heart still skips a beat when I see it (or maybe I have some kind of heart condition. Hope not.)

I’ve got several new everyday cards and am especially in love with this “Have a Wild Birthday” card 😍

Sometimes my customers ask for more gender-neutral birthday card, so this was my attempt at it 😀

Ok, and I’m super excited about this next one, too!

“Foods of the Pacific Northwest” design’s got all the delicious gifts this lovely region has to offer.

You know I love food. I’m so very grateful to call the beautiful PNW my home – the foods here are just SO good!

And this design will also be available as 8″x10″ and 11″x14″ archival giclee art print.

How cute would it be for your kitchen or dining room?? 😍

And I wanna end today’s post with a new llama design!!

And they come in many gift-able forms 😍

I’ve been more intentional about embracing the joy in my design lately.

​Believe it or not, I didn’t always feel that “cute” art was a “real” art.

Many of you know that I didn’t go to an art school or have an art degree. And it’s been a source of my insecurity for a long time.

But, I’ve been finding that the more I embrace the cuteness of my work unapologetically, the more it resonates with you.

​And, not only that, it just makes me so darn happy when I create stuff that are so stinking adorable 😆

​So stay tuned for more cuteness as I share previews for the next couple of weeks!

xo


p.s. No need to wait for the new collection if you wanna shop the existing cuteness in my current shop or in person in a meantime 😉

Mini sabbatical report – making art the old school way

I took my mini sabbatical week the last week of July.

I’ve been taking every 7th week off since October 2015 to rest and recharge.

(This brilliant idea was created by Seanwes, one of my biz heroes.)

I swear having to turn off my hustle switch regularly is the biggest reason why I haven’t burnt out yet.

And burnout is the worst thing that can happen to you when you’re pursuing your passion (for a living or for fun.)

I often get asked what I actually do during my sabbaticals.

Short answer is, you can do whatever you want to recharge your energy!

For me, It’s a time to relax and do things I don’t normally get to do.

I might work on personal projects, read more, or focus on a big picture visioning for my business.

One rule I’ve set for myself is I don’t do any work for other people during sabbaticals.

This is not super relevant now as I don’t do custom or commission work any more.

But, I wouldn’t schedule my video making for Sakura of America during sabbaticals, for example.

See, that’s the beauty of having a regular time off – you can actually schedule things around it way in advance!

(I have every 7th week blocked off on my Google calendar. Forever.)

Anyway, I did some fun things like getting a facial, going to Fremont art walk, and taking myself out on a solo lunch and shopping date.

{Fish tacos at Poquitos, Capitol Hill. Yum!}

I also enjoyed making art the “old school” way.

a.k.a. making art without tech 😀

Here are some of the highlights!

1. Pottery class

I’m in my pottery class at South Seattle College every Tuesday whether I’m on a sabbatical or not.

It definitely felt more relaxing, though, when I didn’t have to mentally track what I needed to do afterwards.

I glazed these cuties last week.

Tuxedo kitties were very popular last time and sold out pretty quickly, so I made more!

(Go check it out today if you want them. There are only a few left at the time of writing this post.)

2. Watercolor painting

I’ve been drawing on my iPad Pro almost exclusively since I got it last Christmas.

I love how quick I can make and process art digitally, and my most favorite function of all, “undo.”

It’s been very exciting to learn a new way to create art, and I’ve been immersed in it for the last 7 months.

Lately, though, I’ve been missing drawing and painting on paper more and more.

So I played with watercolor and gouache (an opaque watercolor) and made a fun flower drawing.

There is just nothing like drawing and seeing the paint do its thing on paper.

Seeing the luminance of the paint and brush strokes made me so happy!

While I still love drawing on my iPad, I’ll be painting and drawing on paper more in the coming months.

3. Block Printing

I used to do a lot more block printing.

But since I stopped making block printed things to sell (got burnt out) and have been focusing more on teaching, I haven’t been block printing as consistently.

I saw a couple of my friends make beautiful block printed work on Instagram and got inspired, so I worked on a small piece on Sunday afternoon.

I created a design based on the flower watercolor drawing I made.

The whole process probably took me about 2.5 hours from sketching the idea to finish printing.

I really liked the end results a lot. I wanna make more of these small prints!

During my last sabbatical, I had a two-day festival at the end of the week. This time, I decided I wasn’t gonna do any fairs and just enjoy the entire week off.

It usually takes me a few days to come down from the hustle mode and get into a resting mode, so having the entire week and weekend off was great.

Oh, and Dave had just come home from a 2.5 week out-of-town work stint, so it was double awesome to get to spend some time with him, too!

My energy reservoir is full again, and I’m feeling more centered and grounded.

I’m ready to tackle the second half of my summer, my friend!

Don’t forget to do something to recharge your energy today 😘

xo