Thinking of You Week is coming!

Thinking of You Weekย is September 23 – 29 this year ๐Ÿ’Œ

image from thinkingofyouweekusa.com

It’s an international movement to celebrate the joy of sending and receiving hand-written notes.

Yes, emails and texts are so much more convenient, and it communicates the message just the same as a hand-written note.

BUT.

You know it feelsย different, right?

With physical notes, you can hold them, feel them, smell them, enjoy the artwork, and my favorite part is seeing their handwriting.

I love how people’s handwriting shows their personalities.

You may be self-conscious about your messy handwriting, but don’t fret! I think it’s quite endearing ๐Ÿค—

When my hubs, Dave, and I were in a long-distance relationship (for 5 years!), we would send each other letters and notes, and seeing his handwriting was like hearing his voice.

(But better, because I don’t like talking on the phone very much ๐Ÿ˜ฌ)

I still keep all of the notes he sent me. They’re such treasures โค๏ธ

Every once in a while, I get the box of letters out of my closet and go through them to re-live the warm and fuzzy feelings.

Sigh.

Wouldn’t you like to give someone you love warm and fuzzies??

Join the movement and send a card every day during the Thinking of You Week, September 23-29!

I participated in it last year and had so much fun!

It gave me a pause to think of the people I cared about. And really focus on showing how much I appreciate them.

My friends are on my mind constantly, but it was refreshing to take 5 minutes a day to think of oneย particular person and what I appreciate about them.

And they, of course, enjoyed getting a surprise note from me ๐Ÿฅฐ

How about you? Do you wanna join me this year?

I’ve got 88 designs to choose from in my shop! Browse away and have fun picking ย your 7 cards ๐Ÿ˜ฝ

Snail mails rock ๐ŸŒ

xo

pps. would you rather shop in-person? I plan to be at Fremont Sunday Market on 9/15 and 9/22 (weather permitting – check my Insta in the morning), and The Make Sale Fall Market in Monroe on 9/20 & 9/21!

Fall block printing workshop early-bird enrollment is OPEN!

Pssst… I just opened up early-bird enrollment to my fall Introduction to Block Printing on Fabric Workshop!

You can join the fun on the following two dates in October:

Sat. 10/12, 1:30-6pm at Seattle IGIMO

or

Sun. 10/27, 1-5:30pm at Redmond IGIMO

These classes are kept pretty small and will fill up, so sign up early! Tuition goes up on Tuesday, September 24. (hint: best value if you sign up with a friend ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™€๏ธ)

let me know if you have any Qs. Hope to see you there ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy September,

xo

Yellowstone vacation pics ๐Ÿž

My mom and I went to Yellowstone National Park two weeks ago. We were there for only 4 days but got to see some amazing things!

Here are some vacation pics you might enjoy ๐Ÿ“ธ

One of the many thermal pools at Yellowstone. They’re super pretty but also boiling hot and/or very acidic, so don’t go in there!
These trees are dead because the water that’s flooded the plains contains glass and it chokes the root system.
Beautiful view from Madison Junction
One of the many waterfalls I loved. This is at Artist Point.
Yellowstone Lake. We had breakfast here one morning. So quiet and serene.
Gibbon Fall
Because I’m obsessed with lichen ๐Ÿ˜€
Overlooking Gibbon River
Massive rock wall along the road
Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces
me and mama selfie!

We did see some animals, too, like, bisons, elks, and whole a lot of chipmunks ๐Ÿฟ but I didn’t get good pics of them so drew a bison afterwards.

He’s adorable in my sketchbook. But the real thing was pretty terrifying ๐Ÿ˜ฌ SO BIG.

I’m so grateful I got to spend time with my mom and be part of this majestic place even for a few days.

These photos don’t do justice, but I hope you enjoyed them! I wanna go back in different seasons and see changing faces of the park some day… ๐Ÿ‚โ„๏ธ๐ŸŒธ

Have you been to Yellowstone before? Or any other amazing places? Tell me about your favorite nature adventure you’ve ever had. I wanna know!

xo

Say YES to yourself ๐Ÿ’

At the time this post goes out, I’ll just have gotten back from my trip to Yellowstone National Park with my mom ๐Ÿ‘ฏโ€โ™€๏ธ

(I’m on sabbatical next week, but I’ll probably share some pics with you ๐Ÿ˜‰)

Rather than skipping my post for a week, I wanted to send you a quick reminder…

Yes, that’s right. Say YES to yourself!

Give yourself what you need to feel good and whole. It’s not selfish. Your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being is very important. As important as your family and friends’, if not more.

And according to my therapist, whom I trust very much, needs are not negotiable.

So here you go, my friend. You have my unconditional permission to say yes to yourself. Today and always.

xo

Happy 4th Freedom Anniversary ๐Ÿฅณ

I celebrated my 4th “freedom anniversary” a.k.a. the day I quit my job to work on Honeyberry Studios full-time on July 31st๐ŸŽ‰

(If you’re interested in knowing more about my transitioning process, you can read this blog post and many other entries from 2015.)

A few days after I quit, I went on a solo retreat to set intentions for my artist/business journey.

and here is the manifesto I created on my retreat. most of it still rings true except for creating every day and the health-obsessed bit ๐Ÿ˜€

The past 4 years have been a marathon self-development therapy session, I tell you.

I’ve learned so much about myself and am so proud of the accomplishments I’ve made so far.

I’ve been reflecting on some of the things I’ve learned and wanted to share them with you today โœจ

First thing that’s come up is this:

You don’t have to be the best artist. But you need to be fiercely, unapologetically,ย you.

I used to feel insecure about my art. I even felt a little cringy calling myself an artist. I’m mostly self-taught, and my technical skills aren’t that advanced. I thought it was cute and child-like but not “real” art.

I thought art should be more, shall I say, deep? whatever that means…๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

When I saw the work of other successful artists I admire, I’d think “oh, I wish my art looked more like that. It is so _______ (sophisticated, elegant, cool, hip etc. <- things that my art is not)”

Over the last several years, I’ve slowly learned that you don’t have to be the most technically advanced artist to be successful, but it needs to have your distinct voice.

I’ve gotten to internalize this as I started selling more at shows and markets last year and kept witnessing my customers’ happy reactions in person.

People’s face light up as they walk by my booth. I can see them mouthing to their friend “cuuute.” I hear “awwwwww” and “so adorable” every 5 minutes.

It’s reinforced to me that yes, cutenss is valuable, and it makes people extremely happy.

And it’s ok if that’s the only thing my art offers.

I may be oversimplifying it, but you get what I’m saying? I mean people pay a lot of money for therapy, drugs, and experiences to be happy, no? ๐Ÿ˜€

Sometimes I make something and say to myself “wait, is this too cute? Should I tone it down?”

like when I made this adorable baby card…๐Ÿ˜

Fortunately, I can snap out of the silliness of the situation pretty quickly now. The answer is, OF COURSE NOT.

It turns out so many people love cute things. I know you do! Tone it down?? I’d be doing a disservice to you and humanity.

I want to give you what you came here for. Adorable, happy art that makes you smile.

The more joy I express through my work, the happier I get doing what I do.

And that brings more joy to you, and that gives me the fuel to keep going, and it’s a never-ending love fest โค๏ธ

You may have been in my community since well before I quit my job 4 years ago. Or you may have just found me last week.

I still feel like a baby in my biz journey and without you, there is no Honeyberry Studios, so yeah, you’re awesome. Just wanted to make sure you knew that.

Ok, I had more reflections I wanted to share today, but this is getting a bit too long ๐Ÿ˜€ so I’ll parse it out later.

Have a cuteness filled day!

xo

ps. my mom is coming to visit me next week ๐Ÿฅฐ and we’re going to Yellowstone ๐ŸŒฒ๐ŸฆŒโ›ฐ๐Ÿ our first time!! If you need anything from my shop, come to Fremont Sunday Market today 10-4, or place your order online before Monday and I’ll ship them out before we head out!

Life lessons my grandma taught me

I’m a glass-half-empty kinda gal. Does that surprise you? Or you knew that already?

I still haven’t figured out if it’s nature or nurture. It’s probably a little bit of both.

I suspect my grandparents on my dad’s side played a big role in instilling pesimistic tendencies in me at a young age.

My dad was the eldest son, so we lived with his parents, which I loved as a kid. My grandma was my main caretaker until I was about 4 since both my parents worked outside of home.

The thing about my grandparents was, especially my grandma, they didn’t have a lot of boudaries or filters ๐Ÿ˜ฌ They’d often criticize our neighbors or family members openly. They never ran out of things to complain about and lamented about life in general.

I don’t blame them. Life did deal them bad hands especially for my grandma.

She went through WWII as a terrified and hungry teenager, had an arranged marriage to my grandpa when she was 18, forcing her to move away from her family in the city to a rural area where she was expected to do physical farming work while raising 3 boys – she desparately wanted a girl and told me how dissapointed she was when my dad and uncles were born ๐Ÿ˜… She also told me she never loved grandpa. Like, all the time.

Yikes.

But you can understand why she was so bitter about life, no?

One of my earliest memories of her is me feeling an intense sadness for her when she was telling me how she’d saved up little money she had as a teenager to buy this delicious looking bread that she’d been ogling from outside of the bakery – and when she finally saved up enough money to buy the bread, it turned out so nasty tasting and she was extremely disappointed.

So, so sad.

Most of my adult life, I’ve been working to reset my mind to a default that says life isn’t full of sadness and suffering.

Staying positive takes me a lot of practice and intentionality.

I started meditating in 2013, and it’s helped tremendously with staying centered when things get hard.

Another thing that helps me with my positive mindset is my daily journaling. I jot down three things I’m grateful for in my journal before I go to bed.

It only takes me a minute, but I love having the time to reflect on the day and focus on the good things that happened before going to sleep.

I’ve been journaling for almost two years now, and here are some of my most common entries:

– laughing with Dave

– walks in sunshine

– going to bed

– good show & meeting awesome people

I rarely have big, over-the-top things to be grateful for. It’s the small, seemingly unimportant things that make me realize how good my life is.

And I’m grateful for my grandma for teaching me that – the little things I take for granted could be taken away at any moment. I’m lucky to have choices that she’d never dreamed of having.

Do you have a grounding practice or ritual? Are you a glass-half-full or empty kinda person?

Reply to this email and tell me. I genuinely enjoy hearing from you ๐Ÿฅฐ

xo

ps. I’m discontinuing my notebooksin my shop, and they’re on good-bye discount now. Grab them while supplies last๐Ÿ“š

I โค๏ธ Cats

I love cats so much.

When I was little, I wasn’t allowed to have cats.

Neither of my parents understood my intense needย to have cute furry feline friends, and it was very sad.

We had a shiba inu, Alex, but he and I were never good friends.

So I thought about cats pretty much 24/7.

I’d check where the neighborhood cats hang out on my way to and from school every day.

I fantasized many scenarios where a kitty would show up at our doorstep and my parents would magically OK me keeping it.

As I got a little older, my parents finally understood it was ok to have a cat, and I’d adopt cats from my friends or just off the street throughout my early teenage years.

My parents had a strict “No Pets in The House” policy (except for our giant gold fish. Seriously, those things grew to be 9 inches long!), so the cats had to live outside, and none of them lasted longer than a few years, sadly ๐Ÿ˜ฟ

Fast forward 15 years, I adopted two cats with my ex, and we (cats and I) had a nice, long-term relationship until a few years ago.

lulu & sheppie respectively

I haven’t had any kitty of my own since then, but I do make a point to visit friends with cats from time to time and get the refill on some kitty love.

Cats also inspire my creativity a lot. Surprise!

Many cat-themed drawings were made during my Happiness Is 365 day project back in 2014-2015
Kitty doodle in my sketchbook

And, here are some of my fan favorite kitty designs in my shop.

This is my ideal birthday party!
You did it!
oldie but a goldie
Works for pet sympathy or every day
winter kitties

Do you love cats, too??

In case you didn’t know, I have an entire Cat Lover’s collection๐Ÿ˜ฝ in my shop that you’ll love.

In addition to these adorable cards, you’ll find prints, wrapping paper, and ceramics, too!

Meow ๐Ÿพ

xo

Mercury retrograde got you down? ๐ŸŒŒ

If you know me at all, you know I HATE conflicts.

I know hate is a strong word, but I’m not even going for a dramatic effect. I really do hate. it. so. much.

When I’m in a confrontational situation (especially the unexpected kind), I feel sweaty-palmed, my stomach gets tied up in knots, my body is shaky, and my brain gets all scrambled.

I can’t think of the right words to say in the moment so the whole experience is extremely frustrating and unsettling.

Usually after an incident, I’d have an intense inner monologue about how things went and what I should’ve said/done differently in the situation.

I’d run many different scenarios in my head and imagine how the outcome could’ve been different, Dr. Strange style.

Or trying to find reasons why it wasn’t my fault and it was about the other person.

Because most of the time, it isn’t about me even though it may feel sooooooo personal at the time.

This cycle might continue for a week or comes back months, sometimes years later ๐Ÿ‘ป

So when I had a few unexpected interpersonal confrontations/conflicts/awkward moments in the last few weeks, it’s thrown me off balance.

For example, I was being courageous and said something in a meeting that stirred a very emotional reaction from another person and it became very messy very quickly ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

In another setting, my behavior (I don’t even know what I was doing specifically) hurt someone’s feelings, and we had to have a follow-up convo about it.

And most recently, I accidentally shared certain information about a mutual friend to someone, which was not public yet, and had to do a minor damage control…๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

(Wait, am I just becoming more insensitive?? ๐Ÿ˜‚ Something to ponder…)

I was in my usual super analyzing mode after an incident and then learned it was Mercury retrograde this month.

I’m not an expert astrologist and don’t usually track when they happen. But I get the gist of it.

When Mercury retrogrades (i.e. it looksย like it’s going backwards from where we are), you may feel things are out of wack and stressful for no good reason. I understand Mercury retrogrades impact the areas of travel, communication, and technology, in particular.

You may think it’s a bunch of woo woo nonsense ๐Ÿ”ฎ and it’s ok!

But as soon as I found out it was Mercury retrograde, instead of staying caught in my negative thought spiral, I said to myself “Well, it’s Mercury retrograde. No wonder it didn’t go well ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ”

I was able to move on much more quickly and stopped blaming myself or the other person.

There are lots of memes about Mercury retrograde. And I totally think they’re funny, too.

I โค๏ธ Adam J. Kurtz

But it does help me be more forgiving and compassionate towards myself and others.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful it we could be so understanding when Mercuryย isn’t in retrograde? ๐Ÿ˜€ which is most of the time?

Who am I kidding – you probably already are, you beautiful magical unicorn. But me? No ๐Ÿ˜‚ I try to be. I don’t always succeed.

I put this card up at my desk where I see it every day as a reminder.

Maybe I need to pretend it’s always Mercury retrograde. Or create an imaginary entity that influences us beyond our control at all times.

Oh, wait, I guess we don’tย have control over anything anyway wether the stars are aligned or not ๐Ÿ’ก

So maybe just remembering that would help??

And, if you’re feeling the effects of Mercury retrograde like I am this month, good news is, it’ll be over in a few daysย ๐Ÿฅณ

Be gentle with yourself, and take good care, ok?

xo

Back from mini sabbatical โญ๏ธ

I was on my mini sabbatical week off last week.

What the heck is a “mini sabbatical”?

I take every 7th week off to rest and recharge.ย 6 weeks on, 1 week off, then repeat. (I still take the weekends off in the meantime, or the weekend equivalent ๐Ÿ˜ฌ)

It’s on my Google calendar perpetually, so I don’t even have to think about it.

Brilliant, right? The idea is not mine. It’s seanwes.

(BTW, he’s writing a book about it. Totally check it out if you want to learn the hows/whats!)

I’ve been practicing it since October 2015, and I’m pretty certain I would’ve been burnt out in my biz a long time ago if I hadn’t been taking the regular time off.

During my mini sabbaticals, I still engage in my biz to keep it going, like replying to my customer emails and fullfilling orders.

But other than that, I try to keep my calendar open and do what I feel like doing.

Last week, I had a few obligations that took me out of sabbatical mode, but I still got to do things just for fun.

Here are some highlights ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ

I’ve been baking more lately. I wanted to eat chocolate-y cookies, so I made these Chocolate Crescent Cookies. They were delicious ๐ŸŒ™
These porcelain cuties came out of the kiln. I turned them into little pins โค๏ธ They’re not for sale, but I’ve got a few more kitties and birdies and plan on putting them in my shop when I have the time. Sign up for my newsletter if you wanna hear about it first!
Dave’s working on Orcas Island for a couple of weeks, and we share one car, so I took him there last Wed. I miss his big smile ๐Ÿ’—
On my way back from Orcas, my ferry was late for over an hour ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ so I doodled this. I’d had a difficult confrontation with someone the day before and had been processing it. Making art about my emotions and situations always helps.
And then I was back to work at Redmond Arts Festival last Friday – Sunday. It was a great show and I was so happy many of you came out!

Self-care is super important, my friend.

And NOT selfish.

Hope you’re doing something to recharge your energy as often as you need!

xo

You are brave ๐Ÿ’›

I was much braver when I was younger.

I said goodbye to my friends and family and moved to Seattle from Japan when I was 18.

I wasn’t afraid. I just knew that’s what I wanted to do. I knew we’d stay friends and family even if I was no longer there physically.

I was SO excited for my future in the U.S. None of the “what-ifs” could’ve held me back.

(And I wasn’t asking a lot of what-if questions back then ๐Ÿ˜†)

As I got older, it’s become scarier to take risks.

Changes are hard because letting go of what’s safe and known is scary. The older I get, the more I’m attached to what’s “mine.”

I have more to lose.

But I still say yes to things that are scary.

Some things are small, like should I be wearing overalls? Would they make me look like a weird 40-year-old teenager?

with my friend, Katie, at Magpie Mouse Studios

You be the judge. I think I look pretty cute in them. Ok I may have posted this because I doย look so cute ๐Ÿ˜€ haha!

And really, who cares?? I’m sure you have much more important things to worry about than my outfit choices ๐Ÿ˜‚ I know I do!!

(But what’s up with my left hand in this pic? ๐Ÿ– It wasn’t a bad Photoshop job, I swear!)

Other decisions have more serious and long-lasting consequences.

Like, quitting my job 4 years ago to work in Honeyberry Studios full-time.

Veryย scary.

(๐Ÿ‘†In this case, Dave was the true brave one.)

And, you know I got a major case of imposter syndrome when I took on a Board position at the NW Network recently.

When I hear a little voice in my head say, “Don’t do it! It’s dangerous. You’ll fail and everyone’s gonna know about it!!,” I have to pause.

I remind myself of what I’ve heard on a podcast once that the regret of notย doing something is much worse than the regret of doing something.

So when I created a bunch of new work for my 2020 calendar (coming in October!), this message resonated with me the most.

Here is the thing – I tend to deflect when someone tells me I’m brave.

I think, “No, I’m not brave. It’s no big deal. It happened because of _______ (my parents, my partner, my situation, my age, my luck, fill in the blank!)”

Do you do that, too??

(Did you notice I did that earlier when I mentioned it was Dave who was the brave one when I quit my job? ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ Correction: It took both of us to be equally brave to make that decision.)

I’ve been practicing owning my own bravery – no matter how small it is.

The more I notice myself being brave, the more confident I feel in business and life. And it helps me put myself out there more and share my gifts with others.

See? It’s a win-win.

You’re brave, my friend ๐Ÿ’›

xo

ps. My new collection offers this and other encouraging new designs ๐Ÿ˜˜ย Go get inspired today.