Category Archives: Mini Sabbaticlas

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

Am I putting too many eggs in one basket? 🐣

Hi friend,

​I was on my mini sabbatical week last week.

I’ve been taking off every 7th week to rest and recharge since October 2015. 

(This brilliant idea is inspired by seanwes and is THE best self-care strategy I’ve incorporated into my life so far ✨)

I typically stick to my routines during sabbaticals. Getting up at the same time, going to the gym etc. I find that if I don’t follow my routine, I feel more sluggish and low-energy.

For work, I do minimum maintenance, like shipping orders and responding to emails, but no big deadlines. And sometimes I do big picture planning stuff during my sabbaticals.

To me, mini sabbaticals are not exactly a vacation, but it’s time to focus on things I don’t usually prioritize.

(And I’m writing this email the week before, so don’t worry! 😉)

Sometimes, it allows me space to just ponder. 

For example, I created my 2018 revenue chart inspired by one of my heroes, Jen Hewett.

Ta da! This is where my income came from last year.

My overall chart didn’t surprise me. It looks very similar to what I had in 2017. Teaching and video-making took a bigger portion of the pie in 2017, but I’ve been cutting back on them to focus more energy on my product sales, so it makes sense.

Breakdown of my retail sales, though, was a little bit concerning.

Almost 90% of my direct customer sales came from doing shows and markets. No surprise because I upped the game on in-person events significantly last year.

But I wonder how sustainable it is.

Just these couple of weeks, Seattle was hit by heavy snowfall. And if you know anything about Seattle, you know that even an inch of snow on the ground can shut everything down.

Earlier last week, snow hurt the traffic for Seattle Gift Show. The last two days of the show was so painfully SLOW 🐌 Then another show got moved to a different weekend because of snow. And as I write this, I’m wondering if the show for this weekend is gonna get cancelled or if I’m able to get to the venue, and even if the show happens, chances are the traffic is gonna suffer because of more snow in the forecast.

So much of the show’s success is out of my control.

It depends on so many things, like whether or not I get into a show that attracts the right people for my work, what else is happening in the world (like Super Bowl), who your booth neighbors are, where your booth is located, and of course, weather.

I’m not saying I won’t do shows any more, because I genuinely love doing them, it’s totally my jam 😎 and apparently, my #1 money maker.

It makes me realize, I want to make my online shop and wholesale business just as successful so I’m not relying so heavily on revenues from in-person shows.

I’m not looking for a business advice or suggestions today – I have a process of figuring out ideas and strategies that work for my unique needs. I’ll ask for help when/if I need it 😉

When things slow down, whether it was intentional or forced, it creates a space to ask questions.

How are things going? What’s working and not working? Where do I want to go? What could change to make things better? These are some of the questions that are floating in my head right now.

Speaking of growing my online shop, you know my new collection has just launched last week.

(Now THAT is a segue if you ever saw one 😆)

It’s a delightful collection with colorful and happy art – and my shop is always open even during the Snowmageddon ☃️

Grab a hot cocoa, and enjoy exploring the world of cuteness 🐰 from your cozy couch.

Stay warm,

xo

 

🐱🍄 Cats and mushrooms 🍄🐱

Hey,

I was on my 7th week sabbatical this past week.

What the heck is that? A fine question. I take every 7th week off to rest and recharge. A practice I started in October, 2015 inspired by seanwes.

(This is pretty much how I stay sane and don’t get burnt out in my biz.)

But I wanted to pop in and say hello!

I’m actually not feeling 100% this week, so this time off came at a perfect timing.

My week’s itinerary included: sleeping more, organizing my inventory for the upcoming holiday fair season, and just kind of hanging out on the couch a lot.

I also thought it’d be fun to show you what I’ve been working on in my pottery class at South Seattle College this quarter.

Tuxedo cat ornaments are coming back! 

Once they’re glazed, these cuties will be going to King Street Maker’s Market 11/29-12/2. If I have leftovers, I’ll post them in the shop later!

I’ve also been working on some personal projects.

I plant to mount these mushrooms and the hedgie on a wall in our kitchen to create a fun woodland scene 🦔🍄 I wanna make different seasonal themes so we can switch them around throughout the year!

Oh the possibilities are endless 😍

xo

Mini sabbatical report – making art the old school way

I took my mini sabbatical week the last week of July.

I’ve been taking every 7th week off since October 2015 to rest and recharge.

(This brilliant idea was created by Seanwes, one of my biz heroes.)

I swear having to turn off my hustle switch regularly is the biggest reason why I haven’t burnt out yet.

And burnout is the worst thing that can happen to you when you’re pursuing your passion (for a living or for fun.)

I often get asked what I actually do during my sabbaticals.

Short answer is, you can do whatever you want to recharge your energy!

For me, It’s a time to relax and do things I don’t normally get to do.

I might work on personal projects, read more, or focus on a big picture visioning for my business.

One rule I’ve set for myself is I don’t do any work for other people during sabbaticals.

This is not super relevant now as I don’t do custom or commission work any more.

But, I wouldn’t schedule my video making for Sakura of America during sabbaticals, for example.

See, that’s the beauty of having a regular time off – you can actually schedule things around it way in advance!

(I have every 7th week blocked off on my Google calendar. Forever.)

Anyway, I did some fun things like getting a facial, going to Fremont art walk, and taking myself out on a solo lunch and shopping date.

{Fish tacos at Poquitos, Capitol Hill. Yum!}

I also enjoyed making art the “old school” way.

a.k.a. making art without tech 😀

Here are some of the highlights!

1. Pottery class

I’m in my pottery class at South Seattle College every Tuesday whether I’m on a sabbatical or not.

It definitely felt more relaxing, though, when I didn’t have to mentally track what I needed to do afterwards.

I glazed these cuties last week.

Tuxedo kitties were very popular last time and sold out pretty quickly, so I made more!

(Go check it out today if you want them. There are only a few left at the time of writing this post.)

2. Watercolor painting

I’ve been drawing on my iPad Pro almost exclusively since I got it last Christmas.

I love how quick I can make and process art digitally, and my most favorite function of all, “undo.”

It’s been very exciting to learn a new way to create art, and I’ve been immersed in it for the last 7 months.

Lately, though, I’ve been missing drawing and painting on paper more and more.

So I played with watercolor and gouache (an opaque watercolor) and made a fun flower drawing.

There is just nothing like drawing and seeing the paint do its thing on paper.

Seeing the luminance of the paint and brush strokes made me so happy!

While I still love drawing on my iPad, I’ll be painting and drawing on paper more in the coming months.

3. Block Printing

I used to do a lot more block printing.

But since I stopped making block printed things to sell (got burnt out) and have been focusing more on teaching, I haven’t been block printing as consistently.

I saw a couple of my friends make beautiful block printed work on Instagram and got inspired, so I worked on a small piece on Sunday afternoon.

I created a design based on the flower watercolor drawing I made.

The whole process probably took me about 2.5 hours from sketching the idea to finish printing.

I really liked the end results a lot. I wanna make more of these small prints!

During my last sabbatical, I had a two-day festival at the end of the week. This time, I decided I wasn’t gonna do any fairs and just enjoy the entire week off.

It usually takes me a few days to come down from the hustle mode and get into a resting mode, so having the entire week and weekend off was great.

Oh, and Dave had just come home from a 2.5 week out-of-town work stint, so it was double awesome to get to spend some time with him, too!

My energy reservoir is full again, and I’m feeling more centered and grounded.

I’m ready to tackle the second half of my summer, my friend!

Don’t forget to do something to recharge your energy today 😘

xo

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