A gentle reminder for your self-confidence

Do you ever get a funny look when you try to explain to a stranger what you do?

“What do you do for a living?”

“Oh I’m a Cheese Sprayer.”

“A cheese what!?”

Ok, maybe you don’t have an odd-souding job like Chesse Sprayer (look it up, it’s a thing.)

And really, neighter do I.

But there is one thing I tell my customers that gets a funny look, oh maybe 75% of the time.

It’s not the fact I’m obsessed with cats. Or that my bedtime is 8:30 😴

It’s when I tell people my stickers are dishwasher-safe.

I tried to ignore that funny look at first – I thought I was reading their faces wrong. You know, sometimes, people just look funny and it has nothing to do with you.

But then I noticed the sense of relief in them when I followed up with “so you can put the sticker on your water bottle, and it won’t peel off.”

photo by Lauren Krygier

ohhhhh, I see, they thought I was suggesting they wash the stickers in the dishwasher. By themselves.

Which they can. But, that wouldbe weird, wouldn’t it? I’d give them a funny look, too, if they told me that 😀

Honestly, I don’t know how they make the stickers dishwasher-safe. I know they’re vinyl. The rest, magic, I suppose 🦄

I still get the funny look when I tell people about its dishwasher-safe-ness, but I just smile and explain what that means.

You know what else makes me smile?

It’s that my stickers have quickly become one of my best-selling products.

Naturally, new designs are coming out when the next collection launches in a couple of weeks 🥳

If you’re needing a gentle reminder to feel more confident, these are for you❤️

They will be available in my online shop during the week of June 24.

Sign up for my V.I.P email list, and you’ll hear about it first, and I’ll send you a promo code, of course 😘

Can’t wait for you to have them very soon!

xo

ps. You can also pick them up at Fremont Street Fair and Urban Craft Uprising Summer Show on 6/22-23 if you’re in the area.

Imposter Syndrome & saying yes to something that scares you

Happy Pride!🌈

You may have seen my announcement on social media that I’ve recently joined the Board of Directors at the NW Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse.

I’d worked for another local DV org for 14 and a half years before making a transition to working in Honeyberry Studios full-time and have always been a big fan of the Network.

So I was honored and surprised when I got an email from my friend, Eli, who is the Board President at the organization a few weeks ago.

In his email, he said he thought I’d be a great candidate for the position and asked if I’d be interested in joining the team.

I was very excited for the prospect of joining the Board but hesitated to say yes at first because I didn’t feel qualified.

When I pictured “Board of Directors,” I imagined a group of people who are white, older (than me), upper-middle class, and have a corporate job or a “real” business.

(You know, not a “handmade” kind of business…)

I didn’t fit the profile at all 🤷🏻‍♀️

Big imposter syndrome kicked in, and I was swallowed in a whirlpool of “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios.

What if I suck at the job? What if I couldn’t deliver what they expected from me? What if I make a bad decision or give terrible advice? What if it’s more time-consuming and stressful than I think?

I was afraid they’d find me out.

They’d be disappointed and it’d be super awkward. And then they’d wish they’d never asked me to join the team, and now they have to have a meeting to make a plan to gently exit me from the Board and never speak about it ever again.

I know, my imagination runs WILDsometimes – it’s good for my creative work, but not so good for other situations 😛😭

Eli and I had a few back-and-forth about the logistics and my concerns – he patiently reassured me that I had a combination of qualities they were looking for.

While I still felt an imposter-syndrome hangover, I wrote this letter of intent.

That’s when I knew I really, really wanted to do this.

So I was very happy when I got a call from Eli several days later telling me that I was officially IN! 🥳

Interesting, though, that my imposter syndrome got even worse when I shared the news on social media.

A lot of people sent me kind, encouraging messages and congratulated me. It was wonderful and overwhelming at the same time.

Overwhelming because a lof of the comments were about me as a person, like “you’re great” or “you’re wonderful” and I didn’t feel I deserved it.

I was telling Dave how these comments were making me uneasy because I hadn’t actually done anything yet.

A little voice inside me was saying, “Yuko, anyone can join the Board. But what are you going to accomplish? You’ve been away from the work for so long. Do you remember half of the things you said on your resume?”

Yeah, right. People should really hold off on congratulating me until I do something awesome.

Maybe I shoud’ve kept it a secret.

And then Dave said, “You know you’re gonna do great work, right?”

Right.

Sometimes when my brain tells me I can’t do something, I listen to the people I trust, who say “yes you can.”

from my next collection 💙

If I trust their judgement, and they say they believe in me, then I should believe in myself, too, you know?

It’s so meta, but I think you get it.

And that’s how I’ve gotten over the most recent bout of self-doubt.

Being uncomfortable with something new and unknown is healthy.

I know I’ll continue to have moments of insecurities throughout my life – after all, I’m a human being with lots of feelings (LOTS) – but I’ll also continue to learn and practice skills and tools to manage them more effectively so I can get back to being my whole self more quickly.

Why am I telling you all this?

Well, because I wanted you to know it’s OK if you feel this way too.

when I say I make art that tells me what I need to hear, I mean it 🌵

You’re not a robot🤖

Sometimes we stumble and get stuck. There is no shame in that, my friend.

I know you can, too.

xo

ps. my friend Sarah at Saltstone Ceramics is having Queer and Dear show throughout this month and July! Go enjoy the work of amazing queer artists in person or online 🥰

From bored to inspired 🐦🐤🎨

Hey friend,

Back in the first week of May, Dave and I took a couple of days off to get away to Whidbey Island, a short drive and ferry ride from Seattle.

Gorgeous view from Fort Casey State Park

We wanted to spend time together and relax away from our daily routine.

We’re independent people with different interests and schedule, so it’s easy for us to do our own thing and not connect with each other intentionally.

We stayed at our friends’ beautiful studio for a couple of nights, and on the second day, we went out to some of the state parks and did hiking and birdwatching.

Dave looking for birds to watch

Dave’s always been a bird nerd 🦅🤓, but me, not so much.

I like nature and animals, but birding seemed sort of too stationary?? I’d get frustrated and bored because I didn’t know what I was looking for/at.

Every time he would stop to see something, I’d be like (inside my head, sometimes out loud, maybe) “Ugh, again??? I only see brown dots fluttering around. Let’s keep walking.”

I know, not a very fun companion for your birding activity 🙊

Maybe it’s more of a mature person’s thing, because I’m learning to enjoy it more as I get older.

(Or maybe it’s because I finaly figured out how to adjust my binocular 👀 so I could actually see the things 😂 It helps.)

We hiked around Fort Casey State Park, Ebey’s Landing, and Coupeville and spotted a bunch of neat birds.

I love colors and textures of these rocks on the beach
Ebey’s Landing
Lighthouse at Fort Casey State Park

Later, I sketched some of the birds to document the fun time we had.

Birds we saw on Whidbey Island, May 2019

And they turned out so adorable 😻

It inspired me to learn more about the birds and draw more.

And then I thought, wouldn’t it be so cute to create a new design with birds of Washington 🤔??

The answer, of course, is YES, it would be SUPER cute.

I asked my Facebook friends for bird suggestions, and boy they had so many great ideas!!

(If you were one of the people who helped me, THANK YOU!)

Here are some of the birds I’ve sketched for the new artwork.

Bird sketches
I drew them on my iPad Pro with Procreate app if you’re wondering!

I’m having a lot of fun with these little birds, and the new print will be available in late June when my new collection debuts!!

Stay tuned, my friend.

xo

Back by popular demand (+ new work sneak preview! 👀)

I was on my mini sabbatical week this past week.

(What is it? I take every 7th week off to rest and recharge. The best self-care strategy I learned from seanwes.)

But I wrote this a week before, and I’m planning to spend my sabbatical week 1) reading the book, Profit First, to learn and implement the new accounting system for my biz and 2) making more art for the new collection.

Ok, ok, I can hear you saying, “But Yuko, you’re on sabbatical! Why are you working? 🤷🏻‍♀️”

To me, my mini sabbaticals are for doing things I don’t normally have time to do.

Sometimes that means I get to work on more big picture things for my business, like reviewing and revising my accounting system.

(Sounds boring? 😀 I used to think accounting was boring, too, but when I get to experiment with it and see how it impacts my business, it’s kinda exciting! 🤓)

And making art is fun and rejuvenating.

Sabbatical or no sabbatical.

I’m debuting my Fall & Winter Collection at the Urban Craft Uprising Summer Wholesale Show on June 24th, so I need to crack on.

(Someone’s been watching the Great British Baking Show, hasn’t it? 🥐🥖🥧)

I’ve made some designs already, but I need more to complete the collection.

I made a list – I need 8 more designs to be exact. Um, ok, that’s more than I thought I had to do 🙀😂

Most of my new designs need to be finished by the first week of June so I can send them to print, design my new catalog, and order postcards etc.

So, yeah, I really need to crack on.

(Gosh I love saying “crack on” so much!)

Since I don’t schedule a lot of other things during my sabbaticals, it’s a great time to focuse on art making.

If you were sad that I didn’t make 2019 monthly calendar, dry your tears because you’ll have one for 2020!

Here are some artwork for the new calendar 🥰

It’s going to be full of reminders for self-care and self-acceptance.

Why do I make these? Because need to hear it the most. And it turns out, you do, too 😘

And the calendars are a great way to enjoy beautiful art and helpful reminders.

I love having a calendar poster this year – but it is fun to see new art every month, isn’t it?

It won’t come out till October, but I’ll share more previews between now and then!

Hope you’re as excited about this as I am ❤️

xo

🦙🦆🧁 Stock up on cards for dads & grads! 🦙🦆🧁

If you celebrated Mother’s Day last Sunday, hope it was a good one!

I was at Fremont Sunday Market, and it was lovely to see so many customers hanging out with their moms/kids 💐

(or secretly picking out cards and gifts for their mom ❤️)

I had warm and fuzzy feelings all day long. It’s the BEST feeling.

Thanks for being a thoughtful human being 🤗

That reminded me I should let you know I have Father’s Day and Graduation cards for you.

Father’s Day is June 16th!

Don’t forget dog and cat dads 🐶🐱 I mean, how cute are these?? 😍

And this one is for those who lost their dad/child or are otherwise having a hard time around this holiday.

Life is not perfect, and I try to offer cards to express your empathy for your loved ones.

Reaching out to someone who is struggling can be awkward.

But your small act of kindness can help them feel less alone 💜

(that’s worth your awkwardness, right??)

Also, the graduation season is upon us!! 🎓

These adorable cards will cheer up any grads 😀

Love what you see?

You can grab them in my shop or pick them up at one of my shows and markets!

 

xo

ps. a quick reminder – prices of my 8×10″ art prints and wrapping paper rolls will increase on June 1st, 2019. If you’ve been eyeing them, now is the good time buy them.

It was meant to be

Hi friend,

Do you remember what I said my two goals were this year??

One of them was to hire help so I can serve more customers in person.

(And the other was National Stationery Show 2020. More on that later this year.)

Well, I’m checking that one off my list! ✅

Tada! Meet C.C., my new star helper! 🌟🌟🌟

I met C.C. last April and knew immediately I wanted to be her friend.

She’s a super talented knitter/knitwear designer who has published 3 knitting books and numerous knitting patterns. And she’s been podcasting with her daughter, Dami, for 7 years 👯‍♀️

C.C. has also been a big fan of Honeyberry Studios, so when she told me she was interested in helping out, I did a happy dance!

Last Saturday, she came to learn the ins and outs of running a booth at a craft fair. It became apparent in the first 5 minutes that she was a natural.

C.C. is so easy to talk to. She’s so friendly and helpful to everyone who walks into our booth, you just wanna chat with her and hang out!

(And, she’s obsessed with kitties 🐈 maybe a little bit more than I am 😺 if that’s even possible…)

This summer, I have a pretty full show schedule, and C.C. will be at a few of them to help you out 🌈

Please introduce yourself to her and make friends with C.C. when you see her at shows and markets!

(or at grocery stores, you won’t miss her bright pink hair 👩🏻‍🎤)

Yay! I’m so excited 🥰

xo

ps. you can learn more about each event and see most up-to-date calendar on my website!

All things that remind me of spring 🌸

It’s finally warming up a bit in Seattle.

Truth be told, I’m not a biggest fan of summer 😬 Mostly because our apartment heats up so much that this homebody gets pretty miserable staying indoors. I’m sticky and tired by late afternoon.

But spring.

Especially late spring when you don’t need a down jacket any more but you’re not sweating profusely walking around in the sun.

65F°, lightly cloudy, gentle breeze… That’s heaven for me.

You know, if I were a vegetable, I would be a lettuce. Not a tomato or cucumber. Just plant me in a cool shaded area. I’ll get bitter and go to seed as soon as the temperature goes above 75F°.

I often browse my website just to enjoy the cheerful artwork and daydream for a few minutes (that’s not weird, is it? 😝).

These are some of my cards that reaffirm my love of spring!

May the spring be always in your heart 🌸

xo

 

Plastic or no plastic? 🤔

I don’t feel guilty very often.

I know, it’s so un-Japanese of me! But for some reason, I seem to lack the “guilt gene.”

I don’t feel guilty for saying no to dinner invitations if I’ve already had enough social engagement that week (limit up to 2 per week! 🙄)

I say “sorry” if I accidentally step on Dave’s foot – which happens more often than you think because he has big feet 🐾 But I don’t feel guilty because I wasn’t trying to hurt him on purpose.

I eat donuts 🍩 and french fries 🍟 without feeling guilty because they taste good and bring me joy.

I take responsibility for my actions and face consequences, but as long as my motivations are not malicious, I don’t feel guilty.

BUT.

There’s something I’ve been feeling guilty about for quite some time…

Can I tell you what’s been killing me inside slowly?

It’s having to package my greeting cards in plastic sleeves.

Yes, it’s there for a good reason. Mostly to protect my goods from the oils on our skin (and the worst offender, children with candy-covered fingers, I see you!! 👦🏻🧒🏻🍭)

But they’re BAD for the environment. Period.

I’m not one of those people who preach zero plastic use. I’m surrounded by it every day in our home, vehicle, clothes, etc. It’s so convenient and useful, I can’t imagine how we can or want to go back to not having it at all?

I do try to minimize the use of single-use plastic (e.g. food wrap) and try to reuse or recycle our plastic stuff as much as we can.

{I made these waxed fabrics to cover foods in the fridge a few years ago and love them!}

Greeting cards are by far my best selling products. I sell so many of them and use tens of thousands of plastic sleeves every year.

Even the plastic sleeves come in their own plastic bags. Ugh 🤦🏻‍♀️

I know my decision to use plastic sleeves or not won’t make a significant impact on the environment as a whole. I’m such a small fish in a big, big ocean.

But I want to be more mindful and feel good about every aspect of my business.

(At least all my cards and envelopes are made from 100% recycled content 🌱)

So I’ve been asking myself, do they need to be in a plastic sleeve?

The short answer is, of course, “no.”

There are lots of other companies who sell their cards naked.

(This may not be something you ever notice, either – I never paid attention to whether a card was sleeved or not before I started selling my own.)

I’m aware that there are biodegradable sleeves on the market as well. It’s definitely a more expensive option as you can imagine.

As I head into my busy show season, I’m planning to experiment with not having them in plastic sleeves.

Does it change my customer’s behaviors?

Impact on sales?

Is the disastrous result I imagine (like previously-mentioned sticky-handed-children touching everything in my booth and running away 😱) really going to happen?

I don’t know. I just have to experiment and see.

In a meantime, I’ll be making plastic sleeves “optional” in my web shop!

I currently offer 98 card designs in my shop 😬 and have to add the option individually (as well as editing my product descriptions), so it may be a work in progress for a while, FYI.

(You can always email me and tell me if you don’t need a plastic sleeve before the change is fully implemented!)

Thank you for letting me “think out loud” with you today 😘

xo

ps. Are you easily guilted or not so much? Is there something you’ve been feeling guilty about and want to change?? What’s the hardest part of making that change? Tell me in the comments! I love learning more about you 💗

Does it speak to you?

When I’m at shows, I often see my customers carefully go through my prints and cards and have an emotional reaction.


I hear:

“Oh…this is so true.”

“My sister needs this.”

“Your art is so HAPPY!”

And occasional (and my favorite)

“I’m dying of cuteness 😆”

I also hear:

“Your cards say exactly what I wanna say!”

YES!

What that tells me is my messages feel more authentic than the ones you find at big box stores.

It makes me happy because I do care a lot about what I say on my cards.

Art is important, of course. And the message is equally as important!

When I craft my messages, I pull a lot of inspirations from my past work in social service.

At the domestic violence organization I worked at, we were trained to be non-judgemental listeners and supporters of the DV survivors.

Not an advice-giver or tell-them-what-to-do-er.

That approach was perfect fit for my personality. Everyone’s situation is so different. I don’t even wanna pretend to know what’s best for other people!

Instead, I let them know I saw and heard them. I wanted them to know they were not alone, and that they didn’t have to prove anything to me.

No matter what you’re going through or how you feel about yourself, you deserve respect and dignity.

So when I create messages for my work, I ask myself, does this feel respectful? Would I actually say that to someone I care about?

Or would it be helpful for me to hear this?

Because when I dig deeper – and making good work always requires you to dig deeper – I’m the one who needs to hear those messages the most.

I’m no better than you. I don’t have it all together. I need to be reminded of my worth every day.

Art heals, and to be honest, I’m just as much of a recipient of its healing power as you are ✨

Art also connects people.

Even though I’m severely introverted 🙋🏻‍♀️ I still need connection to other people to thrive. And my art has helped me to share myself and connect with so many awesome people (like YOU ❤️).

I’m super grateful that you’re at the receiving end of my creations, and I hope my art is helping you to connect with your loved ones, too 🌈

Thank you for being amazing!!

xo

ps. do you wanna come enjoy my art and connect with me in person? I have shows and markets coming up! Click here to see my show schedule.

pps. a friendly reminder – price of my 8×10″ prints go up on June 1st. Purchase them now to take advantage of my current price.

What I made during my mini sabbatical 🌈

I throughly enjoyed my mini sabbatical week off last week!

It was a good mix of doing stuff, quiet alone time, and hanging out with friends, too.

I’d been itching to do some crafting, so I spent a few days making whatever my heart desired.

Here is what I made!

OK, so technically, I didn’t actually make these ceramic pieces last week, but the plate did come out of the kiln last week 😀 Does it count?

This delicious-looking lunch, I did make. How come everything looks and tastes so much better when they’re served on handmade wares??

(I’m drooling from looking at this pic right now! Yummmmm 🤤)

BAM!! THESE COLORS!!

I’ve had this beautiful wool for several years and finally did something with it!

I dusted off my needle-felting supplies and decided to make a felt ball necklace.

I followed this DIY felt ball necklace instructions

Ta-da! Love these colors so much. It’s super lightweight, too.

Luckily I had all the supplies needed for the project, and they came together pretty quickly.

I couldn’t resist playing with all the fun colors I had… Now I have felt ball necklaces that go with all of my outfits! 🌈🌈​🌈

NEXT: I’d just taught my block printing workshop on the previous Saturday and was super inspired to block print as well…

So I made tea towels with a fun spring design 😍🐰🦋🍄

​I’m keeping one for our home but have a handful of extra tea towels for you.

You can buy them here.

(20% off early-bird price until the end of today, Sunday, April 14th!!)

​Making things brings me so much joy 💗

​Hope you have a creative day, my friend!

xo