Category Archives: Mini Sabbaticlas

Your holiday self-care reminder

Winter holiday season is by far the busiest for me.

I’ve been non-stop with holiday shows (including two back-to-back out-of-town shows) and order fulfillment for the last month, I’m feeling pretty run down 😵

I’ll be on my mini sabbatical this week and am gonna try to prioritize self-care as much as I can.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to take care of yourself this busy holiday season, know that you have my permission 😘

xo

Two things ✌️

Hey friend,

I’ve been on my mini sabbatical week this past week.

But wanted to let you know a couple of things…

Number one, my fall and winter show calendar has been finalized!

I’m excited and grateful for all these opportunities… Really lucky to live in an area where people support handmade, small businesses 🎉

You can click here to get links to all the events above. Save the date and come say hello if you’re local!

Ok, update number 2 – my 2020 calendars are here and shipping!!

Real talk here – I ordered 250 copies, thinking I would sell out but not until later in the season.

But you all showed up in a real way during preorder, and as of right now, I’ve sold nearly 190 of them 😍

A simple math says I’ve got 60 copies left.

If you look at how many shows I’ll be selling at this holiday season 👆🏼you know they won’t last very long…

I’m probably gonna re-order more copies but haven’t decided when/how many yet 🤔

I do want them available to everyone who wants it. And at the same time, I don’t want to carry a bunch of leftovers into the new year… 🤷🏻‍♀️

I’m telling you this because I want to be transparent with you and don’t want you to be disappointed later when I’m sold out!!

A good news is – I’m still offering an exclusive promo for my VIP email subscribers.

Sign up if you haven’t already and grab a 15% off code in my welcome email! Offer is good through Sunday, November 3rd.

Well, friend, it’s always nice to connect with you!

Now I’m gonna get back to some relaxing 😎

xo

Back from mini sabbatical ⭐️

I was on my mini sabbatical week off last week.

What the heck is a “mini sabbatical”?

I take every 7th week off to rest and recharge. 6 weeks on, 1 week off, then repeat. (I still take the weekends off in the meantime, or the weekend equivalent 😬)

It’s on my Google calendar perpetually, so I don’t even have to think about it.

Brilliant, right? The idea is not mine. It’s seanwes.

(BTW, he’s writing a book about it. Totally check it out if you want to learn the hows/whats!)

I’ve been practicing it since October 2015, and I’m pretty certain I would’ve been burnt out in my biz a long time ago if I hadn’t been taking the regular time off.

During my mini sabbaticals, I still engage in my biz to keep it going, like replying to my customer emails and fullfilling orders.

But other than that, I try to keep my calendar open and do what I feel like doing.

Last week, I had a few obligations that took me out of sabbatical mode, but I still got to do things just for fun.

Here are some highlights 👇🏼

I’ve been baking more lately. I wanted to eat chocolate-y cookies, so I made these Chocolate Crescent Cookies. They were delicious 🌙
These porcelain cuties came out of the kiln. I turned them into little pins ❤️ They’re not for sale, but I’ve got a few more kitties and birdies and plan on putting them in my shop when I have the time. Sign up for my newsletter if you wanna hear about it first!
Dave’s working on Orcas Island for a couple of weeks, and we share one car, so I took him there last Wed. I miss his big smile 💗
On my way back from Orcas, my ferry was late for over an hour 🤦🏻‍♀️ so I doodled this. I’d had a difficult confrontation with someone the day before and had been processing it. Making art about my emotions and situations always helps.
And then I was back to work at Redmond Arts Festival last Friday – Sunday. It was a great show and I was so happy many of you came out!

Self-care is super important, my friend.

And NOT selfish.

Hope you’re doing something to recharge your energy as often as you need!

xo

Back by popular demand (+ new work sneak preview! 👀)

I was on my mini sabbatical week this past week.

(What is it? I take every 7th week off to rest and recharge. The best self-care strategy I learned from seanwes.)

But I wrote this a week before, and I’m planning to spend my sabbatical week 1) reading the book, Profit First, to learn and implement the new accounting system for my biz and 2) making more art for the new collection.

Ok, ok, I can hear you saying, “But Yuko, you’re on sabbatical! Why are you working? 🤷🏻‍♀️”

To me, my mini sabbaticals are for doing things I don’t normally have time to do.

Sometimes that means I get to work on more big picture things for my business, like reviewing and revising my accounting system.

(Sounds boring? 😀 I used to think accounting was boring, too, but when I get to experiment with it and see how it impacts my business, it’s kinda exciting! 🤓)

And making art is fun and rejuvenating.

Sabbatical or no sabbatical.

I’m debuting my Fall & Winter Collection at the Urban Craft Uprising Summer Wholesale Show on June 24th, so I need to crack on.

(Someone’s been watching the Great British Baking Show, hasn’t it? 🥐🥖🥧)

I’ve made some designs already, but I need more to complete the collection.

I made a list – I need 8 more designs to be exact. Um, ok, that’s more than I thought I had to do 🙀😂

Most of my new designs need to be finished by the first week of June so I can send them to print, design my new catalog, and order postcards etc.

So, yeah, I really need to crack on.

(Gosh I love saying “crack on” so much!)

Since I don’t schedule a lot of other things during my sabbaticals, it’s a great time to focuse on art making.

If you were sad that I didn’t make 2019 monthly calendar, dry your tears because you’ll have one for 2020!

Here are some artwork for the new calendar 🥰

It’s going to be full of reminders for self-care and self-acceptance.

Why do I make these? Because need to hear it the most. And it turns out, you do, too 😘

And the calendars are a great way to enjoy beautiful art and helpful reminders.

I love having a calendar poster this year – but it is fun to see new art every month, isn’t it?

It won’t come out till October, but I’ll share more previews between now and then!

Hope you’re as excited about this as I am ❤️

xo

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