Self-Care Strategies for the Holiday Busy-ness

My mini sabbatical was last week. Or I should I say, it was supposed to be.

This is by far the busiest time of the year for me with the holiday fairs and events. I wasn’t sure if I should be taking my sabbatical this time especially because I had a big double header craft shows on the weekend.

I tried to tie all the loose ends the week before so I could still enjoy my time off, but it just wasn’t feasible. I also had two events the weekend before, so essentially preparing for 4 shows in one week was not realistic.

So instead, I let go of the idea of having a complete time off and prepared as best as I could the week before so the week leading up to my biggest craft shows wasn’t as stressful.

Here are some things that helped me:

1. I created and scheduled contents ahead of time.

I used to be a lot better about scheduling my contents (blog, newsletter, social media posts etc.) ahead of time, but it’s been slipping a little bit.

So, the couple of weeks leading up to my sabbatical week, I focused more time and energy on having enough contents scheduled so I didn’t have to worry about it during and after the sabbatical. I knew I’d need a little buffer after I finished the big shows to recover.

2. I didn’t schedule anything other than prepping for the shows.

No deadlines, no producing new work, and no outreach to potential retail shops.

Knowing I could only focus on one thing – to prep and pack up for the shows – gave me the mental space to be more present.

3. I asked for help.

If you’ve done any arts & craft shows before, you know it’s A LOT OF WORK. Naturally, I was freaking out about the volume of work that needed to be prepped for two big shows at once.

I am very fortunate to have a super supportive husband. When Dave sees that I’m stressed out, he’s always there to help out.

He did a chunk of preparation work, like folding notecards, stuffing them in sleeves, packing them in boxes, putting labels on them etc. etc.

I honestly don’t know what I’d done without his help!!

Honeyberry Studios HQ

On the side note, I should’ve kept track of how many hours he spent helping me so I have a better idea if/when I decide to hire someone to help me out in the future.

4. I slept more.

I usually wake up at around 5:15 to meditate and do some writing in the morning.

But during my sabbatical, I set my Sleep Cycle app around 6 or not set the alarm at all so I could catch extra sleep. I’d already scheduled all of my contents beforehand, so I could take a break from my early morning daily writing.

It doesn’t seem like much of “sleeping in” to you, but extra 15-30 minutes of sleep does wonders for you! I definitely felt more rested and relaxed during the week.

Me at the Urban Craft Uprising Winter Show in Seattle.

I’m happy to say my two big shows went really well.

And If you were wondering how I managed to be at two shows on the same weekend – I didn’t 😀

Dave rocking the booth at Phinney Winter Festival

I sent my sweet husband, Dave, to do the other one. He’d never done any shows before, yet he did SO well!!

So well in fact I wish he could do all my shows in the future (He declined. Sad.)

I have a couple more busy weekends ahead of me, so I’m continuing to not schedule anything big during the weekdays. 

After all, I do want to enjoy the magic of the holiday season, too, you know?

A perfectionist part of me was thinking “if I couldn’t take my sabbatical week off the way it was supposed to be (i.e. not working ), I should just work as usual and take a time off when the holiday rush is over.”

But I’m glad I ended up taking a little bit of a breather.

After all, running a business is like a marathon, not a sprint (although it may feel like one sometimes 😬), and the last thing you want is a burnout.

I’m trying to take a deep breath, trying to focus on one thing at a time, listening to what my body needs, and doing my best to stay well mentally and physically for the rest of my busy season.

If you feel overwhelmed with all the holiday crazy-ness and feel you don’t have time for self-care, that’s when you need it the most. 

Pause, breathe, and do something that helps you stay present and grounded today.

You got this!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gelly Roll White Folk House Drawing Tutorial

Hey friend,

My most recent drawing tutorial, “Gelly Roll Folk Houses,” is on Sakura of America’s YouTube channel! I had fun with their new Gelly Roll White pens in this one.

You can watch it here:

Enjoy!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

p.s. If you share your work on Instagram, be sure to tag me @honeyberrystudios so I can see what you come up with 🙂

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2017 Holiday Fabric Collection & Notepads in Shop!

Hi Friend!

My new winter holiday fabric/wrapping paper collection is now available in my Spoonflower shop!

Check out all the designs and colors ❤

{Triangle Forest: black | black/white | smoky blue | red | light blue/white | light blue | honey yellow | red/white | green/blue/yellow | blue/red/yellow }

{Cross Stitch: smoky blue | black/white | honey yellow | red |light blue }

{Cozy Pups in Sweaters : white }

​I love these simple coordinating designs ❤ They’re so clean and versatile but have the warm handmade feeling to it.

I’m thinking about making myself a tote bag with the red Triangle Forest fabric on the outside and black/white Cross Stitch fabric on the inside. You can purchase them in fat quarters, too, which are perfect for making tea towels!

Oh, and I just recently found out they have a sweet Fill-a-Yard deal where you can buy multiple designs that fit a yard of fabric so you can buy just what you need for the project you’re working on! It’s BRILLIANT.

{I played with their 1-yard cheater quilt template. I’ve never quilted before, but this cheater design may just work!}

And don’t forget, all of my designs are also available as gift wrapping paper and wall paper.

Your creative possibilities are endless… 🙂

(*Be sure to check out Spoonflower’s holiday shipping deadlines – their standard turnaround time could take 2 weeks or more, and I’d hate for you to have to pay extra for rush order!)

I hope you can handle more cuteness today because my new notepads are in my Etsy shop now!

{ Eat a Rainbow Market List / Succulent To-Do List / Cozy Pups in Sweaters To-Do List }

How adorable are these? I couldn’t be happier with how these turned out.

I’ve been “test driving” them at home, and it makes me smile every time I use it 🙂

These will make perfect stocking stuffer gifts and/or a little pre-holiday gift for yourself so you’ll feel more organized during the holidays!

And they pair so well with some of the other goodies in my shop, don’t you think?

(Pssst, I’m working on putting together some fun holiday gift bundles, so keep that in mind as you plan your holiday shopping! More to come next week.)

Oh, and don’t forget – you’ll get FREE U.S shipping on orders of $35 or more in my Etsy shop. Just use the coupon code “HAPPY35” upon checkout!

Thank you always for supporting my work 🙂 You rock!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

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Nurturing connections, belonging, and making time for what’s imporant

When I visited Japan in October, I got to see my friends from high school.

{dinner with my high school buddies 🙂}

Even though we are 40 now, and some of us hadn’t seen each other for almost 20 years, we clicked instantly.

We have different lives now – many of them are married with kids (a couple of them have kids in high school even!!), handle lots of responsibilities at work and home, and some have lost their spouse or a parent.

But we laughed and talked for hours and bonded over funny/awful stories from our teenage years.

The whole time we were hanging out, I was overcome with gratitude.

First of all, I was so grateful that they wanted to see me! It makes me sound like I have a low self-esteem, but I just honestly didn’t know they wanted to see me because I hadn’t kept in touch with them in any meaningful way.

Sure, some of us are on Facebook and occaionally “like” each other’s posts, but it doesn’t make me feel super connected. It’s like reading the news I won’t remember two weeks later (or even 2 hours later!)

But seeing them in-person and eating and laughing together created an instant connection.

Even though it’d been a long time and we’re all in different places in life, I still felt like I belonged.

It’s hard to have a split life between the two worlds. It’s my choice to live so far away from home, and I appreciate it 95% of the time. I have a fulfilling life and a loving community in Seattle, and I have a great time when I’m in Japan, too. Of course, neither places are “perfect” and we all know what kinds of problems exist in both countries.

But I still wish there was a magical portal that connects the two places so I could go back and forth whenever I want. I wish I could just drop by my parents’ house for dinner or see my friends’ kids grow up close by.

It was sad to say goodbye, but my heart was full. 

​Yes, it sucks to be away from your loved ones. But it makes me realize just how special our relationship is. I’m grateful I have family and friends who are truly happy to see me and make me feel accepted for who I am today. 

It’s kind of like when Dave and I were in a long distance relationship for 5 years – I was a wreck whenever we had to say goodbye to each other, but it made our time together so much more precious. We were much more intentional about our communication and didn’t take each other for granted. The distance between us made our hearts grow stronger.

And it really doesn’t matter how close or far away you’re from your loved ones.

Full disclosure: I’ve only seen one of my closest friends in Seattle, who lives one train station away, 5 times this year. That’s like seeing each other every 8 weeks. I was actually shocked to learn that just now! I gotta take a deep breath to calm down…

Yea, we traveled a lot this year, and I was frequently out of town. It seems my friend’s been working on demanding projects at work all the time. We’re both introverts, so we really need alone time to unwind on weekends etc. We text each other sometimes to check in, but still…

There is an artwork on my wall that says, “You always have time for the things that are important to you.”

There it is. It can’t get any truer than that. If I value connection with my friends and family, then I will make time to nurture that connection. I can always choose to be the person I want to be!

So I decided this year I’m gonna take the time to send out Christmas cards to my friends and family. 

I may not be able to send them to everyone I care about. I may not be able to do it every year. But this year, I’m going to do it because I can and I want to.

I know I’m lucky to have them in my life, and the holiday season gives me an opportunity to do something extra. (Plus, I already asked for a bunch of my friends’ addresses, so they’re expecting to receive something from me 😀 Accountability!)

How about you? What helps you feel connected to people you love? How do you make time for things that are important to you? 

xo

 

p.s. If you’re inspired to join me in sending cards to our loved ones this holiday season, you can browse all of my holiday notecards in my shop here.

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New holiday cards in shop + exciting sneak preview!

Happy November, friend!

First of all, how the heck is it November already?

And second, I finally feel less weird talking about the winter holidays now 😀 and am excited to tell you my new holiday cards are in my Etsy shop!

Keep scrolling to see your options 🙂 (You’ll find direct links to purchase them after each photo.)

These folded notecards are all blank inside and are printed on 100% recycled paper.

Christmas Cookies Holiday Greeting Card / Singles / Pack of 8

Christmas Forest Holiday Greeting Card / Singles / Pack of 8

Gift Box Holiday Greeting Card / Singles / Pack of 8

Menorah Tree Hanukkah Holiday Greeting Card / Singles / Pack of 8

Year of the Dog 2018 Holiday Greeting Card / Singles / Pack of 8

If you love adorable illustrations and bright colors, these cards are for you! Imagine what the recipients would feel when they open an envelope and find one of these cards?

And you know the truth is – what they’re gonna find the most touching is not the card itself – it’s your thoughtfulness. The fact you thought of them and took the time our of your busy schedule to send them a card alone means so much.

I’m grateful if I could help brighten up your loved ones’ day with my art ❤

AND, let me give you a preview of my new notepads!

They’re not in the shop yet but coming in the next couple of weeks. I love paper products and use notepads all the time, so I’m extra excited to be able offer these for the holiday season. An excellent stocking stuffer!

Be sure to sign up for my VIP list so you get notified when they become available later this month.

Have a wonderful week 🙂

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

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Japan trip photo album

I’m back from my vacation in Japan! And, it was awesome ❤

It’s hard to choose our favorite moments from this trip, but here are some of the highlights!

Tokyo

I almost always book hotels that include breakfast buffet because Japanese breakfast buffets are THE BEST. There are usually a few different kinds of rice, several veggie dishes, meat and fish, pickles, soups, condiments, pastries, fruits, coffee, tea, etc. etc. We ate SO well while we were there.

We stayed in Ryogoku, Tokyo for the first couple of days. Ryogoku is the Sumo capitol of Japan. They have these portraits and hand prints of sumo champions at the station.

Seriously big hands!

Nagano & Obuse

After Tokyo, we took a bullet train to Nagano.

We accidentally joined the underground tour at Zenkouji temple, where you walk in a pitch black darkness for like 20 minutes (it felt like an eternity) guided only by feeling the wall next to you.

The idea is you find a “key to heaven” mounted on the wall but it’s so sacred, you’re not supposed to see it. Your eyes never get used to the darkness and there is no going back, so you just keep going forward even if you’re freaking out… It was surreal!

(And, yes, we found the key to heaven!)

Lotus in the pond.

It was the height of the chestnut season in Japan. We tried to eat it in all forms possible. Here we’re enjoying mont blanc soft serve (by the way, the Japanese LOVE their soft serves. If you see a sign for “ice cream,” 99% of the time, it means “soft serve.”) and regular mont blanc.

We spent a day in Obuse, which is a little town 30 minutes outside of Nagano city. In Obuse, we stopped at their folk history museum.

Museums and other recreational facilities are super cheap to get in there. This one was only 100 yen per person to go in (that’s about 88 cents). The most we paid to get in to a museum was 1,200 yen (about $10.50) for Hokusai Museum in Tokyo, where you can see the Hokusai originals – but still a really good deal when I think of going to an exhibit at Seattle Art Museum!

Kanazawa & Noto Peninsula

Then we traveled to Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture, and met up with my parents! They’d driven for 6 hours that morning from home to meet us there… (Also, I’m impressed with Dave’s selfie skill. No selfie stick needed!)

Of all the things we saw at Kenroku En Japanese Garden, I was most attracted to moss and lichens 😀 I just love their textures so much.

After our walk in the park and a visit to a ninja temple, we stopped for tea and treats. My dad and Dave got a sweet bean soup and they got to roast their own mochi!

Another superb breakfast buffet at the hotel in Kanazawa… It makes me drool even now!

We made our way out to Noto Peninsula the next morning. We got to drive on the beach at Chiriga Hama Beach Drive. The ocean was so calming…

After going to Wajima morning market and having our lunch, we stopped to see the terraced rice paddies. It was overcast but still quite a view!

This region is known for its salt. We stopped at a salt farming demonstration site where they harvest the salt from the ocean using a traditional method.

We took a hike up to see Rokko Saki light house in the afternoon. Simply stunning.

Selfie time!

We stayed at a quiet inn overlooking the sound. Gorgeous view from our room at sunset.

Shirakawa Go

On our way back to Himeji, my hometown, we visited Shirakawa Go historic village.

They’d moved these super old houses from a nearby village to preserve the culture and educate the public about traditional ways of living. I have no idea how exactly they’d moved these houses here, but some of the houses have been converted into a living museum so you can go in and check out the inside of the house and see the old tools etc.

Pretty much every region of Japan has a “thing” they’re known for. I tried theirs for lunch: soba noodle and beef steak rice bowl! Delicious!

Himeji

We got back to Himeji, where I grew up, and visited my brother’s cafe, Kamada Kura No Coffee! Weee!

My brother opened the cafe about 2 years ago. It had been his dream for a long time, and I was beyond impressed with what he’s done!

Kura is an old Japanese storage house, and he’s converted the building into a modern cafe. Much of the original structure is still there, including walls and beams that are 150 years old!

It’s a really chill space, and Dave and I were there every day while we were in Himeji 🙂

Dave says my brother’s coffee was the best he had in Japan!

Oh and I designed their logo. It was nice to see how everything fit together.

I even hosted a block printing workshop there 🙂 Now I can check off my goal to teach overseas on my goals list.

While in Himeji, we visited the Himeji Castle – it’s a pride of every Himeji person (Himejian? Himejilite?) Ask anyone in Himeji about the castle and they’ll tell you it’s the BEST in Japan 😀

Last couple of times we were in Himeji, it was undergoing renovation, so we weren’t able to see the inside.

This time around, most of the construction was done so we go to see view from the top of the castle.

We had a great time there and wish it was closer – like an hour drive – so I could visit my family and friends more often.

Thanks for letting me share my photos with you! Maybe you’ll make it out there some day 🙂

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

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New winter holiday greeting cards coming soon!

I’m back from Japan!

Even though I hate saying good bye to my family and friends 😦 it’s nice to get back to my life and normal routines here in Seattle.

(I’ll share some of our favorite moments from our trip next week, so stay tuned for that ;))

The winter holiday season is fast approaching, and I’ve created several new holiday greeting cards for you!

Coming to my shop on November 1st.

Are you known for delicious holiday cookies? Decorating cookies on paper was much easier than decorating them in reality 😀

Holiday season can be busy and overwhelming. I wanna take a walk in this quiet, winter forest. How about you?

And let’s not forget all the fun presents! I kinda wish I had all these wrapping papers 🙂

I’m excited to present to you a new Hanukkah card this year! At one of the shows, someone told me this was the most beautiful Hanukkah card she’d ever seen. Aw ❤

And, last but not least, 2018 is the Year of the Dog! Look at these adorable dogs in sweaters. I want to hug them all ❤

These adorable cards will be available in my Etsy shop on November 1st.

Hope you love them 🙂

xo

New drawing tutorial video on YouTube

My new oil pastel dog portrait video is up on Sakura of America’s YouTube channel now!

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create adorable portraits of sweet dogs by layering fun colors of Sakura Cray-Pas oil pastel sticks.

Watch the video here and let me know what you think! Tag me (@honeyberrystudios) on Instagram so I can see what you come up with 🙂

Enjoy!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

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