Category Archives: Mini Sabbaticlas

Working & Resting Sabbatical

I was on my mini sabbatical the week of June 11th.

It was a part work sabbatical because Etsy Wholesale is closing and I need to move my online wholesale shop elsewhere 😱

Sabbatical is a good time to work on a project like this because I can just focus on it and not the mundane little tasks or other deadlines I would normally juggle.

I chose Shopify as a new platform to have my wholesale shop at as I’ve heard good feedback from other makers, and some of my favorite online shops use Shopify.

I’ve been thinking of having my own online shop for a while, so Etsy Wholesale’s announcement to close the platform has kicked me into action!

I didn’t make as much of a headway as I would’ve liked to, though.

I guess when you’re on sabbatical, your brain just doesn’t want to do much work after all 🤷🏻‍♀️

Well, at least I started the process. It’s a work in progress and needs to be done in the next week and a half so I can share it with my retailers!!!

Wish me luck 🤞

(I need it 😅)

On another note, Dave and I have been searching for a property to do a land-based project in western Washington. 

We went to look at a couple of potential lands during my week-off.

There are so many complicating factors surrounding this project, so it’s taken a long time to find the “one.”

I can’t share much more than that publicly right now but will be sure to tell you more in the future 😊

I did take some extra time to read, too.

I read “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual” by Luvvie Ajayi.

It’s funny, insightful, and heartfelt. I laughed out loud at several moments in the book😂

Highly recommend it if you’re looking for honest truth about life, internet, relationships, and oppression.

After having a relaxing, slow week, I participated in the Fremont Fair during the weekend of June 16 & 17.

photo by Rocket Buddah

There were so many people and cute dogs!

We had an amazing weather, too. Blue skies. No clouds.

I did get a little overheated in my booth but had a great time.

I just enjoy connecting and re-connecting with wonderful vendors and customers so much 😊 It makes my heart happy.

I have a really busy summer coming up with more fairs and markets – I’m glad I had a moment to breathe before jumping in!!

How’s your summer shaping up? I hope you get to take some time off and enjoy yourself!

xo

What I did during my last mini sabbatical week

Hey friend,

I took my mini sabbatical week off a couple of weeks ago.

In case you’re wondering what that’s all about, I’ve been taking every 7th week off to rest and recharge since October 2015.

(The concept of mini sabbaticals isn’t mine: I’ve been listening to Seanwes podcast for creative businesses, and that’s a brilliant idea I learned from him.)

Every sabbatical is different – sometimes I work on projects I don’t normally have time to do. Other times I just relax and veg out.

Most of all, I just try not to have any deadlines or other people’s priorities drive my decisions if I can help it.

So here are some highlights from my most recent mini sabbatical.

We purged.

To be more precise, we went through my clothes and books and got rid of about 80% of them.

I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo a few weeks ago and was totally inspired.

I grew up in a somewhat of a pack rat-ish household, so the clutter’s never bothered me very much before.

But it bothers Dave, and as my business grows, our small apartment has been bursting at the seams with all of the boxes of products and shipping supplies, I knew I needed to make more room.

To follow the KonMari method described in the book, you must go through your belongings throughly and discard what doesn’t spark joy in you.

Thank goodness Dave was here to help because it was so tiring and overwhelming!! 😅

After a day of sorting, we took BIG piles of my clothes to Goodwill and some of the items went to our neighborhood consignment shop.

It’s AMAZING to walk into my closet now!

Much more spacious and every piece of clothing and accessory I actually want to wear 😆

It’s true what Marie talks about in her book – it’s not just the physical space you’re reclaiming in your home – it’s really more about the mental weight you’re shedding by discarding what doesn’t bring you joy any more.

I’d held onto SO MUCH for so long… sigh.

I did the same process for books and other papers (documents, receipts, etc.) on that Sunday by myself because Dave was working, and got rid of most of my books/papers.

We sold some books and DVDs and rest was donated and all papers were shredded.

Now I only have the books that I truly enjoy, which turned out to be comics and arts & crafts books!

This method helps you strengthen your intuition and gives you a permission to let go of what’s not serving you any more.

It’s no wonder her students don’t rebound and start collecting things again. I love the space I tidied up so much that I’ll be so selective about what to add in the future.

I also feel more content and peaceful.

It’s funny how your “wanting mind” quiets down as you get rid of so much stuff.

It reminds you that you actually DO have everything you need at this moment. What a wonderful feeling!

(We’ve continued to purge over the last week and can’t wait to finish going through rest of our stuff! I’m definitely addicted 😀)

OK, so here are some other fun things I did during my sabbatical!

I’ve been working on these kitty ornaments in my pottery class.

I made a few pet ornaments for friends who’ve lost their pets lately.

They were so cute that I decided to make more for my shop!

I still have some work left on these new kitty ornaments, but they’ll be available for purchase in the next month or so!

(Note: if you want the first dibs on these cuties 🐱, be sure to sign up for my newsletter!)

Speaking of adorable, I visited my friend’s new puppy during my sabbatical.

Meet Nelly.

When I met her, she’d just turned 8 weeks old.

A tiny, sweet, sleepy puppy.

Puppies can turn any day into a happy day, can’t they??

Oh, and I finished my new Tacoma art during my week off.

It’s work but it’s fun work 😁

To tell you the truth, for a small business owner like myself, sadly the art making time is actually pretty limited. So when I get to spend hours just making art, it’s pure joy.

I’m really happy with how it turned out and am glad a bunch of Tacoma friends have approved it so far 👍

I’ve become quite charmed by Tacoma as I spend more time down there this year – it’s got art, history, and plenty of quirkiness.

Do you love it? Know someone who would? It’s available as art prints and notecards in my shop 😘

It was a really nice sabbatical. Productive but felt so restful at the same time.

Can’t wait to do it again in June!

xo

My #1 self-care strategy!

You know what I’m afraid of more than anything? More than ghost or accidentally eating spicy food?

I’m afraid of burn-out.

As a solopreneur, I’ve fallen into the habit of working a lot and not really taking a break, especially in the beginning.

When I noticed I was getting burnt out only a couple of months after I started working on Honeyberry Studios full-time, I started taking mini sabbaticals every 7 weeks. (The brilliant concept was created by Seanwes.)

Basically, I block off every 7th week on my calendar and don’t schedule any work.

That’s a time to purposefully relax and pursue things I enjoy but don’t have time to do normally. I might see friends for coffee or make something just for fun.

Full disclosure – I’ve been neglecting my mini sabbaticals for a few months – the last couple sabbaticals happened during a super busy holiday season and right before a big trade show – so I kind of tried to take it easy but not really 😑 and I’ve been feeling run down for a while.

So when I was on my mini sabbatical last week, I was determined to enjoy it!

Here are some highlights from my week off 😉

So, the weekend before the sabbatical, I had worked at Custer’s Spring Arts & Crafts Show in Spokane, Washington.

It was a fun show, and the day we left turned out gorgeous!

Dave and I enjoyed a stroll along the riverfront after the breakfast. Spokane river was impressive!

I worked on my pet ornaments in my pottery class on Tuesday.

These are not for sale but I may make more for my Etsy shop in the future. Aren’t they so adorable?

I love a good homemade moisturizer.

I’ve been making this recipe for a year or so, and it’s VERY moisturizing! I’ve been adding my favorite doTerra essential oils to make it smell nice, too 🌿

I also started working on my Crafter’s Box punch needle project.

I’m still getting a hang of it, but it’s therapeutic and I love the fuzzy texture of the piece 😊

Last but not least, we went to The Outback Kangaroo Farm in Arlington on Sunday!

It was a spring-y, sunny day, and all the creatures were so adorable 💕 Totally worth a visit if you’re in the area!

This mini sabbatical was just what the doctor ordered.

A perfect reminder to not overlook my #1 self-care strategy again!

Hope you’re doing something nice for yourself this week 💕

xo

My Hawaiian vacation pics!

I love Hawaii!

Oh the sunshine and the warm, plumeria-scented breeze… I could feel every cell in my body relax as soon as we landed.

My mom and I met in Oahu, HI (it’s about the same distance from Japan and Seattle) and spent a week hanging out, eating, shopping, and sightseeing during the last week of January.

Enjoy some snapshots from our vacation 🌴🌺🌈

We went on a dolphin watching tour. We’re holding a fake dolphin skull 😂 We did see dolphins and a humpback whale! It was amazing.

Bishop Museum. Stunning exhibits & buildings.

Beauty of the building itself is worth a visit!

Waimea Valley & Falls

In the hibiscus garden

Waimea Fall. No we didn’t go swimming 😉

Beautiful flowers everywhere at the Waimea Valley Botanical Garden

Ladies on the beach in North Shore. There are lots of wild chickens and roosters roaming around once you’re outside of Waikiki.

Kitty chilling in old Haleiwa town

We watched a beautiful sunset in North Shore. My favorite sight in Hawaii ❤

I made a couple of art inspired by the beauty on the island.

I’ve only been back for a few days, but I miss it SO MUCH 😢 I wish I could’ve stayed there a little longer. Sigh.

I hope I’m lucky enough to visit the paradise many more times. If you go (or live there, jealous!!), soak up the sun for me 😉

Aloha,

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

SaveSave

My Mini Sabbatical: Yayoi Kusama Exhibit at SAM

I was on my mini sabbatical a few weeks ago. I had just finished my very first trade show that Monday (woo hoo!) so I was READY to relax and unwind big time!

I’d been meaning to see Yayoi Kusama‘s Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum for sometime, and I finally did!

It was a VERY popular exhibit, so I had to wait in line for 2.5 hours to get my ticket (all the advance tickets had been sold out), and then come back a few hours later to actually get in to my time slot 😀 It was definitely an all-day affair!

But the exhibit was purely magical, and here are some of the highlights:

When you enter the exhibit, you were greeted by Kusama’s large bright paintings! Such intense colors and shapes – it makes me want to paint big paintings, too.

And her soft sculpture pieces. It reminds me of some kind of viruses under a microscope!

 

Phalli’s Field

Then you wait in line (again!) to enter each of the infinity rooms. Only a few people are allowed to get in at a time for 20-30 seconds each.

Love Forever

I felt like I snuck in to a world of Alice in Wonderland or Charlie And the Chocolate Factory! So playful and full of wonder.

Entrance to the Dots Obsession – Love Transformed into Dots
Inside of Dots Obsession
Mini dots obsession you peep into.
The Obliteration Room a.k.a. sticker room. Each visitor is given a sheet of stickers to add to the room! So cool.
Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity. This room is filled with golden flickering lanterns. Truly magical.

I watched a brief video of Kusama’s interview as well. It was inspiring and touching to see her talk about her hopes and intention for her work, which is to create love and peace in the world. (here is a snippet you can watch.) She’s been making art every day for 70 years. Yes, seventy! If that’s not inspiring, I don’ t know what is!

It was an awesome exhibit. Made me realize again how powerful art is. I was transported into another world and experienced pure joy and wonder. So glad I got to do that! 🙂 If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend it!

Keep playing, and have a magical day, friend 🙂

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

My Creative Sabbatical

I took my mini sabbatical during the July 4th week, and it was so refreshing and relaxing.

(In case you are not familiar, I’ve been taking every 7th week off to relax and recharge since 2015. This brilliant concept was inspired by Seanwes.)

Mini sabbaticals are like staycations with intentions, and I try to do things that refuel my creative and spiritual reservoir.

I used to schedule a bunch of lunches and coffee dates with friends during my sabbaticals because I never saw them otherwise. But then I realized it was not very relaxing 😀 (introverts, you feel me.)

Lately, I try to keep my sabbatical weeks open and unscheduled as much as possible and decide what to do when I’m actually on my sabbatical.

It’s also a time for me to pursue things I normally don’t get to do – like spending hours exploring and organizing recipes online (which I’ve done during this sabbatical) and read books on my couch in the middle of the day.

Here are some of the highlights from my most recent mini sabbatical!

1. Marimekko, With Love exhibit at the Nordic Heritage Museum.

I’d been meaning to check out the exhibit for some time, and I’m so glad I went before it ended!

The show was absolutely STUNNING. I loved all the beautiful designs, colors, and art… Sigh.

And, what I appreciated the most about the exhibit was that you know they’re not trying to be like someone else or please everyone – they have a very recognizable style and that’s what makes them so iconic.

I sometimes feel self-couscious about my style, feeling it’s too simplistic. But, after visiting the exhibit, I felt inspired to keep doing “my thing” and be myself creatively!

2. Sewing with my new fabrics

I’m a fabric lover and love spending time at fabric stores ❤ I love examining beautiful fabrics and dreaming of all the things they can turn into.

However, I’m not very good at sewing (yet!) so I have stacks of fabrics I’ve collected over the years in a bin on my craft shelf 😀

I’ve recently created my own fabric designs on Spoonflower and ordered them to see what they look like in person.

I’m very happy with how they turned out, and it’s a special feeling to see your art come to life on fabric 🙂

I’d originally attempted to make zippered pouches with the new fabrics but realized it was a bit beyond my current skill level.

So rather than stressing about it, I sewed a few things that were easy for beginners.

This bag was really easy to sew! I could carry snacks or use it to organize things in my big bags.

Simple coasters with the grey and pink succulent fabrics! ❤

And even made these hoops – no sewing involved 😀

Pssst… If you want to know when my Spoonflower shop opens, be sure to sign up for my newsletter!

3. Block printing

After the Marimekko exhibit, I was inspired to create block print repeat patterns.

I came up with this original design when I was making my daily painting a few weeks ago.

An image of simple blue birds in flight came in to my head and I thought it would make a cute pattern!

I’d love to print this on a simple linen to make a scarf sometime. Or a T-shirt?

And I created this mushroom design – just because.

Wouldn’t it be a cute tea towel or tote bag design for fall?

Most of my sabbaticals go by really fast, but this one felt like it went by slowly. 

It was a good combination of staying home to work on my creative projects and going out to see friends and family.

Since I’ve got a pretty busy summer coming up preparing for my very first trade show in August (!!), I really enjoyed this break.

Hope you get to have some creative fun this summer, too!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

p.s. Wanna see what else I do during my sabbaticals? You can check out the archive here.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

What I did during my sabbatical week

Hello! I hope you’re enjoying a nice Memorial Day weekend!

I’m not doing anything special… 😀 Since I quit my regular job almost 2 yeas ago (!!), I don’t keep track of holidays very much any more, except for the big winter holidays. Dave is out of town this weekend (he comes home later tonight, thou) so I’m just enjoying peace and quiet.

Speaking of peace and quiet (notice my smooth segue? :D), I was on my mini sabbatical a couple of weeks ago.

(If you don’t know what my mini sabbaticals are, I’ve been taking every 7th week off since October 2015 to rest and recharge. You can read more about it here.)

I’d been feeling tired, unmotivated, and low-energy for a couple of weeks leading up to it and knew I really needed that time off.

I had a couple of work stuff and chores to take care of but didn’t plan too much else. Had dinner with a couple of friends but otherwise enjoyed my alone time, which is super important for an introvert like me! (Dave was out of town for work for most of the week.)

On Tuesday, I went to my pottery class. I had a few underglazed mugs that came out of the kiln so I glazed them.

I find glazing (putting the shiny coat once it’s fired once) to be the hardest part! I tend to lay it on too thick, I guess, and it tends to crack once it’s fired…:( I hope these mugs will turn out OK. (BTW, I talked about the joys and struggles of being a beginner on this blog post!)

On Thursday afternoon I block printed! My pottery instructor asked me to make a studio apron for her, so I’d been designing a new pottery-themed art for it.

Pottery tool block print ❤

It was more complicated than my usual design, and I loved how it came out! And she loved the apron 🙂

On Saturday, I vended at the Bastyr University Herb & Food Fair! We had such a gorgeous weather and had a great turnout!

This is my booth!

Shows are a lot of work, but most of the time it’s worth it! This fair had a nice laid-back vibe, and the shoppers were super nice 🙂

And lots of cute dogs, too!! <3<3<3

The show was more successful than I expected, which is always a plus 🙂

Although my sabbatical was a bit on a busy side, I was so energized and ready to go by the time Monday rolled around. I was so focused and productive.

It confirmed my belief again that taking a regular time off isn’t a luxury for me or my business – it’s a requirement for my success and happiness! 

If you’re curious about how I spend my sabbatical weeks, you can read my past sabbatical blog posts here!

Have a great week, my friend 🙂 Do more self-care!

xo

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

Greetings from Ithaca!

I take every 7th week off to recharge and rest.

(a.k.a. Small Scale Sabbaticals – a brilliant concept I adopted from Seanwes)

I was on my mini sabbatical during the last week of March, and my husband, Dave, our friend, Ed, and I visited the EcoVillage at Ithaca (EVI) in Ithaca, NY!

Beautiful community! © Ecovillage at Ithaca

We arrived at the village a little before 9pm, and it was already dark. I didn’t get to see the village itself but the stars were amazing! Ed is from Argentina, and he was telling us how it still freaks him out to see the constellations upside down! 😀

I made my daily art on the flight from Seattle to O’Hara. I ❤ llamas!

Elan, our kind innkeeper at Frog’s Way B&B, met us at the dark parking lot and led us in to the cozy basement apartment we stayed at. I was so exhausted from the long travel (we’d left our home in Seattle at 4:30 am), I went to bed and fell asleep immediately.

The next morning, we had our breakfast – guys had homemade granola and yogurt with a cup of coffee while I had a couple of pieces of gluten-free toast with chunky peanut butter and sliced bananas and an apple with a cup of Bengal Spice tea. Mmmmm…

Cozy frog enjoying his cup of tea. Painting inspired by the B&B we stayed at called “Frog’s Way”

Their kitchen was at the north side of the house and only has a tiny window (it’s designed this way to maximize the insulation in the house), but the view from our bedroom on the south side was pretty awesome.

Looking over the community gardens.

Yes, the landscape was still pretty grey and bare, but we looked out the window and saw grassy field, gardens, and trees. Definitely different than our normal view from the apartment of pavement, town homes and cars… 😀

Temperatures were in the mid-30s, and though it was not “cold cold”, it was damp and felt a lot colder to me. I hate being cold so immediately followed the wisdom of my Wisconsin-bred husband and put on a pair of long underwear.

I really loved the combination of wood and earthen walls of these houses ❤
One of the ponds in the village. So serene.
A little sauna shack. I bet it’s amazing in the cold winter!

Our purpose of being there was to learn from the founders – how they got started, lessons learned and successes of building a thriving ecovillage.

Our first meeting was with Liz, the co-founder, and we met in one of their common houses (at EVI, they have 3 distinctive neighborhoods – Song, Frog, and Tree – and though residents live in their own private homes, they get to use the common house for shared meals, meetings, and other gatherings.)

Frog common house. So bright and inviting!

This common house in the Frog neighborhood was by far my favorite! It felt so open and airy. Even on a grey, drizzly day, there was so much light in the building.

And, of course, I loved all the artwork there 🙂

Beautiful mosaic work on the wall.
Succulents in pretty painted pots!

I was drawn to their handmade gourd lampshades immediately!

Homegrown organic gourd lampshades by Graham Ottoson.
And the boys were drawn to it as well…, like moths to the flame… 😀

They also have a workshop/studio/shop Graham’s husband built, called “Gourdlandia”, in the village, and I was thrilled to take a peek at other beautiful creations ❤

My dream studio ❤
Magical gourds… ❤
Love the delicate lights shining through ❤

And, of course, I had to paint one of the gourd lampshades for my daily painting project 🙂

Gourd Lampshade!

During our stay, our friend, Devon, who used to be an intern at Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead, where Dave lived for 7 years, and his lovely partner, Star, invited us over for dinner at their home in Ithaca.

I ❤ tacos!

They had an awesome build-your-own taco bar with all the goodies. Oh, it was amazing!! And it was so nice to see an old friend and meet new ones, too 🙂

On the last day on our way to the airport, we stopped at one of the falls in Ithaca.

Because all the snow was melting, the fall was pretty impressive! I could feel the mist on my face from 50 yards away!

Beautiful camo colors and textures on a sycamore tree ❤

We were there for only 3 days, and it was disorienting to wake up in my bed the next morning.

With all the technological advancement, you can travel so far away so fast now. When I got up on Sunday and walked out of my bedroom and looked out the living room window, I wasn’t sure if we were really in Ithaca the day before.

But I look at these pictures and paintings and know we were really there!

I’m so grateful to have been able to spend a few days in such a beautiful place and meet the kind people at the EcoVillage!

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot