All posts by Yuko

About Yuko

Hi! I'm Yuko! I'm the illustrator/artist at Honeyberry Studios. I live and work out of my home studio in Seattle, Washington. I like to create art that is joyful, happy, and accessible. I get my inspiration from everyday small things, nature, animals, and food.

🦙🦆🧁 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

 

I’ll be on my sabbatical

Hey,

My 7th week sabbatical is coming up this week.

(It’s a practice I’ve been sticking to since October 2015 inspired by seanwes.)

I often get asked what I do during my sabbaticals.

I stick to my routine more or less because I feel the best when I follow my routine. I also maintain my biz, like responding to emails and shipping orders. I try not to schedule big deadlines during my sabbaticals.

Other than that, I prefer to not have anything pre-scheduled so I can do whatever I feel like!

If Dave happens to be around during my sabbaticals (he also has his own business), we might go see a movie or go thrift shopping. Maybe I do a big picture planning for my business. Or just read and doodle on my couch.

(You can read my blog posts to see what I’ve done during my past sabbaticals.)

I do what refuels me.

I work very hard while I’m “on” so having a regular recharge time has kept me from getting burnt out.

Do you have a regular time off or self-care routine? What refills your energy reservoir? Or are you having a hard time taking care of yourself?

Tell me in the comments 😊 I genuinely love hearing from you!

There won’t be any blog post next week. See you in a couple of weeks 😘

xo

I’m a pessimist.

When I’m at craft fairs, my customers ask me what inspires my art.

I tell them I’m not a naturally positive person so I need a reminder to be happy.

So I make art that’s uplifting and positive.

Often people respond with “me, too!” 🙋🏻‍♀️ or “yeah, it’s so important, especially now.”

I make happy art because it brightens my day and I want to share the joy with you.

Here are some of the messages I think of on a daily basis. If you’re needing a little boost today, soak it in 😘

I have this hanging on my living room wall.

I often take so much for granted – my husband, health, friends, etc.

When I’m in a funk, this message is a great reminder that I still have a lot of things to be grateful for.

I’ve got this in a sticker form and have it on my laptop where I see it every day 🌈

It’s easy for me to feel I’m not _____ (pretty, talented, thin, productive, focused, loving, good wife – you name it, I got it.) enough especially when I compare myself to others (more on that next.)

It’s nice to see this reminder and tell myself that I’m enough the way I am today.

And THIS. This also hangs in our living room.

I use social media, like Facebook and Instagram, every day for my business. I love how easy it is to connect with my friends and community there.

At the same time, it’s made it so much easier to compare myself to other people on the internet.

These are the thoughts I have often:

“Woo, look at her beautiful studio space! My work space is a mess, and I can never show it to anybody.”

“Her shop has so many sales! I wonder if I’d ever be so successful.”

“Wow, she has so many followers and likes on Instagram. Why don’t I have more?”

I still have these thoughts, but this message grounds me.

I remind myself that there are lots of people who have fewer followers or “likes” (or not on social media at all!) and have a very successful business.

(Or HAPPY.)

And everyone’s journey is different. I’m the only person who can know 100% of what’s going on in my life and business. What works for someone else may totally be a wrong choice for me.

It helps me to find peace wherever I am in life.

And if you’re having similar struggles, I hope it helps you, too 😊

xo

Find Honeyberry Studios in more retail shops! 👀

Hey,

I’m so excited that several new retailers have joined the list of stockists who carry Honeyberry Studios goods this year ✨

I want to send a warm welcome to:

T-SPOT​ – Manzanita, OR

Petals & Vines​ – Monmouth, OR

The Third Planet​ – Bellingham, WA

Black Bear Outpost​ – Black Diamond, WA

Island Books​ – Mercer Island, WA

Seattle Chocolate (flagship & airport store) – Sea-Tac & Tukwila, WA

Baskets of Joy​ – Seattle, WA

Sip and Ship​ – Seattle, WA

The Lookout​ – Spokane, WA

The Proctor Mercantile​ – Tacoma, WA

I absolutely LOVE working with shops big and small – it tickles me to know that my creations are loved by customers I’ve never met or talked to 💗 

I have a goal of getting into at least one shop in every major city of US! 🇺🇸 Sounds big but I believe it’s do-able 💪

If you have a cute shop in your area that I should be in, do send me a message and let me know! 

(Bonus point if you have the contact of a buyer or owner 😽)

You can find all 60 retailers who carry my goods here

Shop local and support your community ✌️

xo


 

Self-care, Coeur d’Alene, and price adjustments

Hey there,

How’s it March already?? 😬

In Japan we have a saying: January goes, February runs away, and March leaves. I guess people have felt this way about the first three months of the year for a long time.

It’s nice to know it’s not just me. Hehe 😀 Do you feel the same way?

As this post goes out, we’re in Spokane for Custer’s Spring Arts & Crafts Show. Come visit if you’re in the area!

In the meantime, I have a few announcements today, so let’s jump right in.

First off, I have a couple of new items available in the shop!

“Self-Care is not Selfish” design is now available as magnets!

It’s been one of my customer-favorites, and the vinyl stickers with the same design has been very popular as well. I’m excited to add this to my magnet family.

What a helpful reminder for every day 💗

I’ve also added Coeur d’Alane greeting card to my line just in time for the show in Spokane this weekend.

It’s also available as 8×10″ and 11×14″ archival giclee art print.

I love how colorful it’s turned out 🌈 I’ve been told many times how beautiful Coeur d’Alene is. I need to visit there!

You can find all these items in my shop or at shows.

OK, on to another news – I’m adjusting a couple of product prices effective June 1, 2019.

For your reference, 8×10″ art prints are currently $22, and gift wraps are $12 for a roll of 3 sheets.

This is both due to manufacturer cost increase and to balance out my prices in general.

Everything else stays the same ✌️

If you wanna grab them at the current price, shop before May 31st 🏃🏻‍♀️

Have an awesome day!

xo