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.

Progress, bundles & tea towels πŸ³

Hi friend,

I turned my calendar page to July and felt so seen 😭

Sigh.

You may be having a similar struggle as I am… Facing big problems and holding hard emotions without clear answers or timelines.

There is so much urgency. So many fires to put out, and they seem to be spreading despite your effort.

It’s overwhelming and exhausting.

I totally hear you.

I’m so with you.

That’s why this month’s calendar message resonated with me so deeply.

You’re doing the best you can with what you haveπŸ’œ

What we’re facing today are a direct result of unjust systems that have been created and maintained over hundreds of years.

Let’s be honest that most of the problems will not be solved over night. Or even a year. Maybe not even in my lifetime.

Here is the thing.

We’re not aiming for perfection.

Progress is what matters.

Our individual progress may be small. But we, you and I, have to continue our best effort for as long as it takes.

So by the time we leave the earth, our world is closer to the vision we’re working towards.

Are you with me?

With that being said, I want to share the progress on my anti-racism work since my last email in case you’re looking for some ideas for yourselfπŸ‘‡πŸΌ:

β˜… Updated my Day 1 email for the “100 Brighter Days” email series to incorporate my intention – my messages are applicable not only for our challenges with COVID, but also in our anti-racism work.

β˜… Updated my to state my anti-racism values more clearly.

β˜… Watched – If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend it! It’s free and you’ll get so many helpful ideas to make your biz or workplace more anti-racist.

β˜… Set up monthly donations to , , and . Now a portion of your purchase on my website is supporting these non-profits advocating for the marginalized communities.

β˜… Continue to learn/reflect/take small actions through with Nicole Cardoza.

β˜… Checking in with suppliers/manufacturers re: their anti-racism values. Replacing the ones who support systemic racism (ULINE πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ) with new partners who are doing the work.

Many of these items turned out to be more time-consuming than I expected, so it’s slow going. There will be on-going follow-ups and adjustments as I learn more.

I’ll be happy to share my learning and progress in my future emails and would love to hear what you’re working on, too.

Now – some shop updates for youΒ πŸ’Œ

I created several cards and gift bundles for a virtual popup in May, and it was a lot of fun πŸ₯° so I’ll be bringing them to my webshop!

You can now shop 13 Card & Gift Bundles.

Another exciting news…

I’ll be making more block printed tea towels in the next couple of weeks.

Just in time for summer cooking 🌞

I haven’t block printed on fabrics for a while, so I’m looking forward to the meditative process of print making.

Take care of yourself and keep doing the work πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

xo

On learning, reflecting, and taking actions

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my friend to be my anti-racism accountability buddy so we could support each other in our ongoing (and perhaps a life-long) work.

She said yes, and we met on zoom last Saturday.

We had a heartfelt and honest conversation about our own experience with racism and how we have been allowing white supremacy to thrive in this country.

One of the many inspiring things Jen said resonated with me deeply.

She said instead of telling people what to do or what they should’ve known, she wanted to invite people in and share what she’s doing and learning.

Ah. Yes.

So I decided to share (and will continue to share) my learning and anti-racism work with you – not because I’m better or have all the answers – but if it moves you to take meaningful actions to create a more equitable, safe world for everyone, I’m here for it. For as long as it takes.

I also want you to know I’m not looking for your sympathy or validation – I’m just doing what I should’ve been doing all along. I’m way late for this. Now I’m taking responsibility. No need for a praise.

Ok, so here are some of the things I’ve been reflecting on and doing for the last two weeks (in no particular order):

+ Giving myself space to grieve and honor the collective pain and loss of Black lives, which unfortunately still continues. Empathy fuels me to keep doing the work.

+ Having ongoing conversations about racism with my partner, Dave, who is a straight, cis white man. We’ve both experienced hurt and frustrations trying to navigate these types of conversations before. We’re doing better, and these difficult conversations are bringing us closer.

+ Asking myself how and why I’ve invested in my proximity to whiteness. Examining internalized (that is so rampant in Japan and many other Asian countries) and how it’s shaped my self-worth. How am I holding onto “lighter the better” belief for myself? (e.g. wearing long sleeves on a sunny day – am I chilly or am I trying not to get darker? Am I lightening my skin color beyond my natural skin tone when I edit photos?) And since I’m not considered “dark” in the US and am benefiting from a white supremacist system, is calling out anti-blackness threatening my sense of security (however false that may be)?

+ Digging deeper in my guiding values: self-care, self-love, and self-acceptance. I know my work is helpful and these messages are important for everybody – but also recognizing that if you (and people who look like you) are facing systemic dehumanization and violence every day, these concepts are not as accessible. And how are they inspiring others to make a difference (or not)? I’m working to better clarify my values and intentions for myself and Honeyberry Studios and integrate it into my designs and messaging.

+ Majority of my fans are white, straight, cis-gendered women. While I appreciate and care about every single customer equally, I also have to wonder why it is. Who am I not serving and why? Whose opinions am I valuing more than others? How is my intention showing up (or not showing up) in my work and my messaging?

+ I’ve avoided bringing up certain issues that are important to me, like racism, fatphobia, and LGBTQ liberation, with you because I didn’t know where you stood and didn’t want to make you feel uncomfortable. I realize now that my passivity has caused a lot of harm. I’m making a commitment to place my integrity over comfort (and profit) and will share more often how these issues are part of my inspiration moving forward.

+ Attending webinars (mostly for Asian American/ Pacific Islander allies) and watch to tweak my biz practice to align with my anti-racism value.

+ Signed up and became a Patreon at Email. Reading, learning, and taking at least one suggested action every day.

+ More readings. I’ve found these helpful:

by Kat Vellos

by Imani Barbarin

by Melissa Jeltsen

+ Continuing to create art and content for my “100 Brighter Days” email series. To be completely honest, it’s been really hard to engage in anything that’s not directly “fixing” the world 😞 I know beauty and joy are important and necessary. And art is the vehicle through which I could deliver my messages most effectively. I’m working to find my center again and get re-engaged with my work with a renewed purpose.

+ Practicing compassion, healing from traumas, and taking care of myself so I can continue to show up as an effective ally for as long as the work is needed. This is not a sprint – it’s a marathon!

+ Giving financially to various BIPOC orgs and individuals when I can.

As you can see, I don’t have a well-organized to-do list.

I believe each of our journey is unique and we’re on a different place on our journey.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. We make mistakes and learn from them.

I’m making a point of doing somethingΒ every day and not “moving on” when the news media stops covering protests and Black Lives Matter movement.

Be brave, my friend.

If you’re a white ally – I kindly ask you to share your struggles, disagreements, and confusions in your anti-racism work with your white friends (and/or BIPOC friends/ paid-professionals who have consented to help you.)

It’s draining for me and many people of color I know to manage a white person’s emotions around racism and anti-racism work, no matter who close we are. It’s always been hard, and I’m sorry I’ve never asked you not to do it. Now you know.

Stay well and strong πŸ’œ

xo

ps. My emails (except for “100 Brighter Days”) may be somewhat irregular for a while and I may not respond to all of your messages (that are not customer inquiries) to give myself extra space. Please know my shop is always open, and your orders are shipping out daily if you need any for Pride or .Β I appreciate your continuing support!

When you can’t find your happy place…

I wasn’t planning to start my post this way.

But my heart is feeling heavy this morning.

There is so much loss and suffering in this world.

No matter how blue the sky is and the sun is shining brightly,

I can’t always find my happy place.

I’m giving myself space to grieve and just be.

That’s the kindest thing you can do for yourself sometimes.

Sigh.

I’m also feeling grateful this morning.

I got a beautiful thank you card in the mail from a friend this morning, and she wrote a heartwarming message that lifted my spirits.

An incredibly touching email came in from one of my fans yesterday letting me know how much joy my daily email has brought to her grandma who has just passed away.

I shared how I was feeling during the Board meeting last night and woke up to several reassuring messages from my team in my inbox.

They’re all helping.

Slowly. But surely.

When I feel disconneted from the world and feel like I have a piece missing, I turn to art.

It may not solve all the world’s problems overnight, but I believe in the power of art.

It heals.

It brings us together.

It helps me express my love for humanity in a way that I can’t in words.

Maybe it was meant to be that I scheduled to launch for preorder last week.

I originally created Β with Pride month celebration in mind πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ

Due to the pandemic, many of the Pride events are cancelled or going virtual.

So I wanted to create a way to celebrate it with your loved ones from afar.

I believe all suffering begins with us not embracing ourselves fully and lovingly.

Including our shiny and messy parts.

We just want to be loved and be happy.

Be seen and heard.

For who we are.

That’s all.

I’ll keep creating as long as it makes my heart happy.

It’s my way of saying “I love you.”

To myself and to the world.

Thank you for being the reason why I do what I do.

xo

Bundles of joy πŸ’Œ

It’s been a hectic week.

I was in a weekend long conscious communications workshop last Saturday and Sunday, which was…

Totally life changing.

Practicing empathic listening skills and being listened to all day for two days…

That was my version of heaven πŸ˜‡ haha.

I’m in no way an expert communicator… I felt really impatient witnessing how the facilitator demonstrated the skills so effortlessly.

It takes practice. There is no hack for this!

Even though I was on Zoom for two days, I felt light and peaceful at the end of the weekend.

But I’ve been feeling a little sluggish this week, not having had a downtime, so I’m very much looking forward to this weekend without any to-dos.

Before I sign off for the weekend, I wanted to show you some new offerings πŸ‘€

You remember I’m part of the this month?

I’ve added 3 more fun card bundles to their shop!

I’ll show you :

I’m a sucker for bundle deals… πŸ™‹πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Let’s face it, you get more for the $ when you buy things in bundle.

And sometimes a bundle may include a product or a design I wouldn’t normally pick if it’s a single item, you know?

It gives you an opportunity to try something new ✨ and that’s exciting!

You also get to have a creative exercise to figure out who to share it with.

comes with 6 notecards to let you express your love and appreciation to someone you care about.

They’re not only for your romantic love but appropriate for friends and family, too.

(or you have anniversary cards for the next 6 years!!)

comes with 4 sweet cards.

Snail mail with a handwritten message makes a big difference in someone’s life πŸ’–

And this is versatile – personally, I find myself reaching for these blank cards a lot when I write to my friends.

These and are available exclusively at throughout May.

Go check out the shop and enjoy the diversity of creative talents in our AAPI community πŸ₯°

Have a relaxing Sunday, my friend!

xo

ps. the only accept PayPal as a payment method – be sure to create your account or have your account info ready before you shop.

AAPI Virtual Spring Crafts Fair is LIVE πŸ’

Just wanted to let you know that is live now!

Us vendors got to tour the shop before it opened up to the public yesterday morning – they did a great job setting up a beautiful shop ✨

It’s not the same as shopping in-person πŸ˜” but I hope you enjoy “meeting” new artists and makers in the Asian American Pacific Islander community and treat yourself and your loved ones πŸ’–

I’ve put together 8 cards and gift bundles exclusively for the show, and you can find them in the πŸ‘‡πŸΌ

Or go to on the main page and search for “Honeyberry Studios”

It goes till the end of May 😻

Enjoy!!

xo

ps. 🚨The shop only accepts PayPal as a payment method– please have your account info ready or create one before you shop πŸ™πŸΌ

Thank you, mom πŸ’—

Mother’s Day is 5/10 – which is two weeks from today!

I consider myself very lucky to have a mom whom I love and get along with, even though she lives in Japan, and we don’t get to see each other in real life very often.

In Washington, where I live, we’ll continue to be in quarantine in two weeks 😒 and many moms will be spending the day without their family around.

I’d imagine many of you will be calling, zooming, and sending your mom (and mother figures) cards and flowers for Mother’s Day.

Here is a reminder that I have several Mother’s Day cards !

They’re colorful, thoughtful, and I even have cards for pet moms 🐢🐱 and an empathy card for those who have a hard time around this holiday, too.

You can review them and other gift ideas !

(+ mini previews of “Blue Period” paintings, which are going live TODAY)

especially if you’re having to mail your gifts to her this year.

Who wouldn’t love a happy mail? And who deserves it more than she does? πŸ’—

xo

ps. reminder – spring sale is still on! 15% off on everything with your code “SPRING15”

Hello sunshine 🌞

Hi friend!

My first ever watercolor original painting sale is live now 😘

You can to enjoy the gallery and shop your fave pieces.

Remember – your spring promo code “SPRING15” gets you 15% off on everything, including my originals.

These floral paintings are on early bird promo, and the price will go up once the new batch of paintings (“The Blue Period”) go live next Sunday 4/26.

Can’t wait to see which ones end up in your home πŸ’—

xo

ps. Missed the link above? to view all of my floral watercolor paintings.

One of a kind πŸ’Ž

Happy Sunday!

(or whatever day it is πŸ˜€)

You may have seen on that I’ve been making small watercolor paintings every day since the beginningof April.

I got inspired to start painting again when I dug up a box of paintings from a few years back last week.

Watercolor is my first love❀️

Since I’ve been making my art mostly on iPad Pro nowadays, it’s a nice shift from my work-work.

I had started a daily painting challenge in November 2016 so I could exercise my painting muscle every dayπŸ’ͺ🏼

Although I set out to continue painting for 365 days, I quit after day 237. Which is still a lot!

But at the time I was getting tired of it and didn’t find the challenge joyful any more πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

So when I unearthed the box last week, I sat down and went through all of my small paintings. I hadn’t looked at them in a loooooong time.

And they’re SO GOOD.

What charming, sweet pieces of treasure they are 😍

I had a lot of joy making these paintings. But now they’re sitting in a box for nobody to see…

That’s a little sad…but wait…

Could they bring joy to someone else?

I’d much rather my paintings go to a nice home where they’re appreciated than keeping them in a box in my office!

That’s why I’ve decided to make them available for purchase on my website.

So you and your loved ones can enjoy them 😽

I’m keeping some of the pieces myself, but there’re still lots of work for you.

To make your viewing/shopping experience a little easier, I’ll be releasing them in collections, according to themes.

Potential themes I’m thinking about:

Florals

Blue Period

Animals/Creatures

Foods/Vegetables

“Lucy the Yoga Chicken” πŸ”

Etc.

You can see some of them in :

You can start shopping my original watercolor paintings every Sunday starting April 19th!

If you’re on my email, I’ll let you know in advance the exact time they’re released. You’ll also receive sneak previews via email, so if you haven’t already, sign up!

I’m super excited to offer you my one of a kind treasures!

Stay tuned,

xo

ps. Need to restock in the meantime? Spring sale is still on, and you get 15% off everything with a code “SPRING15”πŸ₯° (you can use the code as many times as you want!)

Aries in your life? β™ˆοΈ

Hey friend,

I just found out that April is National Card & Letter Writing Month!

I’ve been more intentional about sending my loved ones snail mails since we started physical distancing a few weeks ago.

(Right? It started a few weeks ago…? Honestly, I don’t remember any more πŸ˜… It feels like forever ago.)

There was a thank you card we sent to a relative who gifted us some money πŸ™πŸΌ

A get well card for a friend who just had a surgery.

And a few others just to say hello πŸ‘‹πŸΌ

It’s simply more joyful to find a handwritten card from a friend in the mailbox than bills and junk mail, you know?

This week, I’ve made a list of friends who have their birthday in April – and all of them are Aries – including my best friend from 3rd grade ❀️ Aw.

In , I show you which cards I selected for my friends and why:

πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

If you’re feeling a little shy about reaching out to someone in writing, birthdays are an easy opportunity to get your card writing habits started πŸ€“

Don’t let the blank page scare you, either.

A short and sweet message, like, “Happy birthday. I’m thinking of you.” will go a long way.

Got your birthday list?

Good!

You can to shop these adorable birthday cards😽

Give your loved ones a reason to smile on their special day!

xo

ps. Spring sale is still on! Get 15% off your entire with a promo code “SPRING15”Β You can use this code as many times as you want πŸ’—