Monthly Archives: January 2014

Birthday Floatin’

When I first heard of the sensory deprivation float a few years ago, I didn’t really get it.  You float in the water with no sound, light, or gravity…  It sounded kind of dark and scary.


Since then I’ve been trying different meditation and relaxation techniques to manage stress.  A couple of months ago, I came across a coupon for Urban Float in Seattle.  I decided to have my first float on my birthday!  As one of my friends put it, I was going to “spend my birthday in a fake womb.”

それからストレスを減らすために色んな瞑想や、リラクゼーションの方法を試してきました。数ヶ月前にたまたまシアトルにあるUrban Floatという、アイソレーション・タンクを営むサロンのクーポンを入手し、誕生日に自分へのご褒美として試すことにしました!ある友人には「誕生日を、ニセの胎内で過ごすんだね。」とコメントされてしまいました、、、

I made my appointment for the 50-mins float session.   When I checked in, the nice woman there gave me a quick tour of the room & the pod.  It was comforting to know that there is an emergency button inside of the pod…


At this facility, you have an option of floating in a pod that looks kind of like a giant, sci-fi kidney bean (pictured below).  The water is kept at body temperature, and it is a highly saturated epsom salt and water, so your body floats even though the water is less than knee deep.  Once you’re in, you can close the top all the way, or leave it cracked, depending on your comfort level.  You wear ear plugs so the water won’t get in your ears.  This also helps shut out any noise while you float.


space-age pod for floatation

After showering, I wasted no time getting my floatin’ on.  I got in the pod, closed the top all the way and lied down in the water.  It was a strange feeling to just “float.”  Normally, when I’m in the pool or the ocean, I’m trying to swim or move about in the water.  But here, you just lie still.



It took me a few minutes to relax my head.  I’m so used to laying on something solid, something to support my head, so letting my neck to relax in the water was hard.  I was afraid my face is going to be under the water.


I was eventually able to let the water support my head, and my eyes, nose and mouth stayed above water.  They play a soothing music for the first and last 5 minutes of your session.


I tried not to move my body once I got the hang of floating.  For some reason I was drifting inside of the pod.Eventually, I stopped drifting.  But whenever I focused on not moving my legs or arms, it started twitching!  Because you don’t have other sensations, I became very sensitive to every little move I made in the water.  I felt the water around me rippling with the subtlest of moves.


I thought I read on their website that the light inside of the pod would automatically turn off with the music, so I just floated there for several minutes.  I opened my eyes to see if the light had turned off, but it was on…  Actually, it stayed on for the entire time.  I could’ve turned it off manually, but at that point, I didn’t feel like getting up to push the button, so I let it go.  I could also hear sounds from outside as the facility is right by a busy street.


I went in and out of sleep while floating.  Had mini dreams.  Then the music came on to let me know that my time was ending.  It went by too quickly!


I got out of the pod, showered, and got dressed.  I felt super relaxed and a little groggy afterwards.  I drank lots of water and cooled off before heading out to the busy outside world!


My very first floating experience didn’t exactly knock my socks off, but it really helped me feel relaxed and detoxed.  I would be very curious to see how I would feel if I had an actual “sensory deprivation” experience, you know, without any light or sounds.  I’m sure it affects different people differently.  If you ever wonder what it’s like, try it and see how you feel!


Meet Honeyberry!

In my last post, I talked about how I created my brand and named my business Honeyberry Studios.  In this post, I want to show you how I designed my logo!

先日のブログでは、Honeyberry Studiosの名前の由来についてお話しました。今回は、ロゴのデザインの過程をお見せしまーす。

As an illustrator, I thought it would be imperative to create an original image for the logo that showcased my style.  People describe my stuff as “cute, warm, friendly,” and such.  So my logo needed to have those qualities as well.


It’s kind of silly, but I knew my logo needed to have eyes.  I hear that eyes are windows to your soul, and if I wanted it to have some kind of emotional impacts on people, it needed to have eyes!


I also thought to myself: “If this is going to be a logo for my business, I better like looking at it all the time for a long time.  What do I like to look at for a loooong time?”  The answer was very simple.  Cats.  I love cats.  I used to think of cats 24/7 when I was a child.  OK, I still kind of do.  I have two kitties, Lulu and Shepherd, and they have modeled for me a few times for my art.  I was inspired!


kitty in the window yellow lulu_color sheppie

I sketched some cat characters for the logo.  It has to be simple enough so it looks good when the size is reduced.  It also needs to work in color and in black & white.


Luckily, I was taking a logo design class at that time, so I was able to get helpful feedback from the instructor and my fellow students about my design.  This is my first version.


initial comparison
raw sketch, black & white, color

I combined my two lovely kitties, one black cat and one tabby cat with pink nose.  After receiving feedback that “black cats have negative connotations,” and “the cat’s stare is too intense,” I made a few changes.


I made the cat honey colored, which actually works perfectly with the company name.  Modification with the eyes were made, and it all of a sudden gave the cat some distinctive personality.


Yellow Cat Logo

For the typeface, I looked for a script typeface that fit.  I wanted a typeface that had a soft, handwritten feel to it.  After searching for many hours on the inter web, I finally landed on a typeface called “Learning Curve.”  I found it beautiful, simple and legible.  Done!

次はロゴの活字書体選びです。筆記体で、手描きっぽい書体を何時間もかけて探したあげくに、「Learning Curve」という活字書体を見つけました。綺麗だし、シンプルで読みやすい!決まり!


I added a circle and dashed line inside of it to have a “stitching” effect to up the handmade feel of my company.  For my class project, I incorporated the company name in to the logo, but in practice, I use them side by side.  The warp of the text did not look good in the circle, and I would have needed to make the cat so small in order for the text to be big enough.


Yellow Cat FinalColor&BW

My color combo is determined based on what each color says: honey yellow=”honeyberry,” red = “warm and comfortable,” green=”nature.”


I love how my logo turned out!



What’s in a name?

I’m super excited about my new creative company, Honeyberry Studios!  As you can imagine, a lot of thoughts and energy go into building a brand that represents you and your company.  Today, I want to tell you my thought process behind naming my company 🙂


I started an Etsy shop called, TeAmi Works, (te-a-me) back in 2010.  I started out by selling my hand-crocheted fingerless gloves.  I wasn’t sure where I would go with it, but I very much enjoyed my experience as a seller and the sense of community I had in the Etsy world, so I kept adding more crochet items.


Before you knew it, I started selling my illustration prints there as well.  I started doing more commission drawing work and loved it, too.  Then I began to feel a little funny calling my shop “TeAmi” because it means “hand-knit” or “hand-crocheted” in Japanese (my native language).  I did more than crochet then, and I wanted to do more.  I needed a new name and identity for my shop!


I started thinking of a new name that was as versatile as my crafts.  I thought of just using my name, Yuko Miki, but I mostly work in US, and as simple as my name is (to me), people mess up my name all the time.  So that was a no-go.  Then I thought of using an English word or words that reflected my Japanese-ness, like “persimmon studios” or “chestnut designs” or something like that.  Well, those are very popular, and there are hundreds of companies who use them already.


I literally went over hundreds of words that I thought represented my style and vision.  It needed to be simple, warm, and friendly, like my art.  It also needed to have an organic and natural feeling to it – as I get my inspiration from nature and organic things most of the time.


I really liked the word “honey” for some reason.  It’s sweet and golden, and it’s good for you!  I started jotting down words that worked well with “honey.”  Then I thought of “honeyberry.”  Many people don’t know that honeyberry is an actual berry.  It is also known as “blue honeysuckle.”  They look kind of like blueberries with oblong delicious edible berries!  Being married to a permaculture designer, I get perks of learning about unusual edible things!  And even if you don’t know what “honeyberry” is, you still get the warm and sweet feelings from it, right?  Yes!  I knew immediately that was going to be the one.


After trying out different combinations, I landed on “Honeyberry Studios.”  That encompassed my crafts, arts, graphic design, and who knows what else I’m going to be doing?  Perfect.  My research on the inter-web showed no one else had that domain name, so I claimed it right away.  Honeyberry Studios was born.


I will show you how my “spokescat” Honeyberry was born in my next post 🙂


space needle b-day card_watercolor

Welcome to Honeyberry Diary!

I just started a creative business called Honeyberry Studios where I make fun and adorable illustrations, crafts & design.  Honeyberry Diary is a blog about my creative adventures, inspirations, and simple joys of everyday life.