Category Archives: self-care

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

You are brave 💛

I was much braver when I was younger.

I said goodbye to my friends and family and moved to Seattle from Japan when I was 18.

I wasn’t afraid. I just knew that’s what I wanted to do. I knew we’d stay friends and family even if I was no longer there physically.

I was SO excited for my future in the U.S. None of the “what-ifs” could’ve held me back.

(And I wasn’t asking a lot of what-if questions back then 😆)

As I got older, it’s become scarier to take risks.

Changes are hard because letting go of what’s safe and known is scary. The older I get, the more I’m attached to what’s “mine.”

I have more to lose.

But I still say yes to things that are scary.

Some things are small, like should I be wearing overalls? Would they make me look like a weird 40-year-old teenager?

with my friend, Katie, at Magpie Mouse Studios

You be the judge. I think I look pretty cute in them. Ok I may have posted this because I do look so cute 😀 haha!

And really, who cares?? I’m sure you have much more important things to worry about than my outfit choices 😂 I know I do!!

(But what’s up with my left hand in this pic? 🖐 It wasn’t a bad Photoshop job, I swear!)

Other decisions have more serious and long-lasting consequences.

Like, quitting my job 4 years ago to work in Honeyberry Studios full-time.

Very scary.

(👆In this case, Dave was the true brave one.)

And, you know I got a major case of imposter syndrome when I took on a Board position at the NW Network recently.

When I hear a little voice in my head say, “Don’t do it! It’s dangerous. You’ll fail and everyone’s gonna know about it!!,” I have to pause.

I remind myself of what I’ve heard on a podcast once that the regret of not doing something is much worse than the regret of doing something.

So when I created a bunch of new work for my 2020 calendar (coming in October!), this message resonated with me the most.

Here is the thing – I tend to deflect when someone tells me I’m brave.

I think, “No, I’m not brave. It’s no big deal. It happened because of _______ (my parents, my partner, my situation, my age, my luck, fill in the blank!)”

Do you do that, too??

(Did you notice I did that earlier when I mentioned it was Dave who was the brave one when I quit my job? 💁🏻‍♀️ Correction: It took both of us to be equally brave to make that decision.)

I’ve been practicing owning my own bravery – no matter how small it is.

The more I notice myself being brave, the more confident I feel in business and life. And it helps me put myself out there more and share my gifts with others.

See? It’s a win-win.

You’re brave, my friend 💛

xo

ps. My new collection offers this and other encouraging new designs 😘 Go get inspired today.

A gentle reminder for your self-confidence

Do you ever get a funny look when you try to explain to a stranger what you do?

“What do you do for a living?”

“Oh I’m a Cheese Sprayer.”

“A cheese what!?”

Ok, maybe you don’t have an odd-souding job like Chesse Sprayer (look it up, it’s a thing.)

And really, neighter do I.

But there is one thing I tell my customers that gets a funny look, oh maybe 75% of the time.

It’s not the fact I’m obsessed with cats. Or that my bedtime is 8:30 😴

It’s when I tell people my stickers are dishwasher-safe.

I tried to ignore that funny look at first – I thought I was reading their faces wrong. You know, sometimes, people just look funny and it has nothing to do with you.

But then I noticed the sense of relief in them when I followed up with “so you can put the sticker on your water bottle, and it won’t peel off.”

photo by Lauren Krygier

ohhhhh, I see, they thought I was suggesting they wash the stickers in the dishwasher. By themselves.

Which they can. But, that wouldbe weird, wouldn’t it? I’d give them a funny look, too, if they told me that 😀

Honestly, I don’t know how they make the stickers dishwasher-safe. I know they’re vinyl. The rest, magic, I suppose 🦄

I still get the funny look when I tell people about its dishwasher-safe-ness, but I just smile and explain what that means.

You know what else makes me smile?

It’s that my stickers have quickly become one of my best-selling products.

Naturally, new designs are coming out when the next collection launches in a couple of weeks 🥳

If you’re needing a gentle reminder to feel more confident, these are for you❤️

They will be available in my online shop during the week of June 24.

Sign up for my V.I.P email list, and you’ll hear about it first, and I’ll send you a promo code, of course 😘

Can’t wait for you to have them very soon!

xo

ps. You can also pick them up at Fremont Street Fair and Urban Craft Uprising Summer Show on 6/22-23 if you’re in the area.

Imposter Syndrome & saying yes to something that scares you

Happy Pride!🌈

You may have seen my announcement on social media that I’ve recently joined the Board of Directors at the NW Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse.

I’d worked for another local DV org for 14 and a half years before making a transition to working in Honeyberry Studios full-time and have always been a big fan of the Network.

So I was honored and surprised when I got an email from my friend, Eli, who is the Board President at the organization a few weeks ago.

In his email, he said he thought I’d be a great candidate for the position and asked if I’d be interested in joining the team.

I was very excited for the prospect of joining the Board but hesitated to say yes at first because I didn’t feel qualified.

When I pictured “Board of Directors,” I imagined a group of people who are white, older (than me), upper-middle class, and have a corporate job or a “real” business.

(You know, not a “handmade” kind of business…)

I didn’t fit the profile at all 🤷🏻‍♀️

Big imposter syndrome kicked in, and I was swallowed in a whirlpool of “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios.

What if I suck at the job? What if I couldn’t deliver what they expected from me? What if I make a bad decision or give terrible advice? What if it’s more time-consuming and stressful than I think?

I was afraid they’d find me out.

They’d be disappointed and it’d be super awkward. And then they’d wish they’d never asked me to join the team, and now they have to have a meeting to make a plan to gently exit me from the Board and never speak about it ever again.

I know, my imagination runs WILDsometimes – it’s good for my creative work, but not so good for other situations 😛😭

Eli and I had a few back-and-forth about the logistics and my concerns – he patiently reassured me that I had a combination of qualities they were looking for.

While I still felt an imposter-syndrome hangover, I wrote this letter of intent.

That’s when I knew I really, really wanted to do this.

So I was very happy when I got a call from Eli several days later telling me that I was officially IN! 🥳

Interesting, though, that my imposter syndrome got even worse when I shared the news on social media.

A lot of people sent me kind, encouraging messages and congratulated me. It was wonderful and overwhelming at the same time.

Overwhelming because a lof of the comments were about me as a person, like “you’re great” or “you’re wonderful” and I didn’t feel I deserved it.

I was telling Dave how these comments were making me uneasy because I hadn’t actually done anything yet.

A little voice inside me was saying, “Yuko, anyone can join the Board. But what are you going to accomplish? You’ve been away from the work for so long. Do you remember half of the things you said on your resume?”

Yeah, right. People should really hold off on congratulating me until I do something awesome.

Maybe I shoud’ve kept it a secret.

And then Dave said, “You know you’re gonna do great work, right?”

Right.

Sometimes when my brain tells me I can’t do something, I listen to the people I trust, who say “yes you can.”

from my next collection 💙

If I trust their judgement, and they say they believe in me, then I should believe in myself, too, you know?

It’s so meta, but I think you get it.

And that’s how I’ve gotten over the most recent bout of self-doubt.

Being uncomfortable with something new and unknown is healthy.

I know I’ll continue to have moments of insecurities throughout my life – after all, I’m a human being with lots of feelings (LOTS) – but I’ll also continue to learn and practice skills and tools to manage them more effectively so I can get back to being my whole self more quickly.

Why am I telling you all this?

Well, because I wanted you to know it’s OK if you feel this way too.

when I say I make art that tells me what I need to hear, I mean it 🌵

You’re not a robot🤖

Sometimes we stumble and get stuck. There is no shame in that, my friend.

I know you can, too.

xo

ps. my friend Sarah at Saltstone Ceramics is having Queer and Dear show throughout this month and July! Go enjoy the work of amazing queer artists in person or online 🥰

Does it speak to you?

When I’m at shows, I often see my customers carefully go through my prints and cards and have an emotional reaction.


I hear:

“Oh…this is so true.”

“My sister needs this.”

“Your art is so HAPPY!”

And occasional (and my favorite)

“I’m dying of cuteness 😆”

I also hear:

“Your cards say exactly what I wanna say!”

YES!

What that tells me is my messages feel more authentic than the ones you find at big box stores.

It makes me happy because I do care a lot about what I say on my cards.

Art is important, of course. And the message is equally as important!

When I craft my messages, I pull a lot of inspirations from my past work in social service.

At the domestic violence organization I worked at, we were trained to be non-judgemental listeners and supporters of the DV survivors.

Not an advice-giver or tell-them-what-to-do-er.

That approach was perfect fit for my personality. Everyone’s situation is so different. I don’t even wanna pretend to know what’s best for other people!

Instead, I let them know I saw and heard them. I wanted them to know they were not alone, and that they didn’t have to prove anything to me.

No matter what you’re going through or how you feel about yourself, you deserve respect and dignity.

So when I create messages for my work, I ask myself, does this feel respectful? Would I actually say that to someone I care about?

Or would it be helpful for me to hear this?

Because when I dig deeper – and making good work always requires you to dig deeper – I’m the one who needs to hear those messages the most.

I’m no better than you. I don’t have it all together. I need to be reminded of my worth every day.

Art heals, and to be honest, I’m just as much of a recipient of its healing power as you are ✨

Art also connects people.

Even though I’m severely introverted 🙋🏻‍♀️ I still need connection to other people to thrive. And my art has helped me to share myself and connect with so many awesome people (like YOU ❤️).

I’m super grateful that you’re at the receiving end of my creations, and I hope my art is helping you to connect with your loved ones, too 🌈

Thank you for being amazing!!

xo

ps. do you wanna come enjoy my art and connect with me in person? I have shows and markets coming up! Click here to see my show schedule.

pps. a friendly reminder – price of my 8×10″ prints go up on June 1st. Purchase them now to take advantage of my current price.

What I made during my mini sabbatical 🌈

I throughly enjoyed my mini sabbatical week off last week!

It was a good mix of doing stuff, quiet alone time, and hanging out with friends, too.

I’d been itching to do some crafting, so I spent a few days making whatever my heart desired.

Here is what I made!

OK, so technically, I didn’t actually make these ceramic pieces last week, but the plate did come out of the kiln last week 😀 Does it count?

This delicious-looking lunch, I did make. How come everything looks and tastes so much better when they’re served on handmade wares??

(I’m drooling from looking at this pic right now! Yummmmm 🤤)

BAM!! THESE COLORS!!

I’ve had this beautiful wool for several years and finally did something with it!

I dusted off my needle-felting supplies and decided to make a felt ball necklace.

I followed this DIY felt ball necklace instructions

Ta-da! Love these colors so much. It’s super lightweight, too.

Luckily I had all the supplies needed for the project, and they came together pretty quickly.

I couldn’t resist playing with all the fun colors I had… Now I have felt ball necklaces that go with all of my outfits! 🌈🌈​🌈

NEXT: I’d just taught my block printing workshop on the previous Saturday and was super inspired to block print as well…

So I made tea towels with a fun spring design 😍🐰🦋🍄

​I’m keeping one for our home but have a handful of extra tea towels for you.

You can buy them here.

(20% off early-bird price until the end of today, Sunday, April 14th!!)

​Making things brings me so much joy 💗

​Hope you have a creative day, my friend!

xo

 

I’ll be on my sabbatical

Hey,

My 7th week sabbatical is coming up this week.

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

I often get asked what I do during my sabbaticals.

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

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

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

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

I do what refuels me.

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

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

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

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

xo

I’m a pessimist.

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

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

So I make art that’s uplifting and positive.

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

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

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

I have this hanging on my living room wall.

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

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

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

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

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

And THIS. This also hangs in our living room.

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

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

These are the thoughts I have often:

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

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

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

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

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

(Or HAPPY.)

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

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

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

xo

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

Hey there,

How’s it March already?? 😬

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a helpful reminder for every day 💗

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everything else stays the same ✌️

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

Have an awesome day!

xo

My self-care strategies for a busy show week 💗

Hey,

I wrote this post for my newsletter a week ago – the event has already passed (or if you read this when it comes out, you can still catch the last day of the event ) but thought my self-care strategies would work for any time I have a demanding schedule… so here  you go! Hope it inspires your own self-care goals 😉

***

I’m exhibiting at NW Flower & Garden Festival for the first time this year. I’m super excited for the big show this week – and feeling nervous.

Feeling nervous not only because it’s a big investment for Honeyberry Studios, but I’m worried I’ll be completely exhausted after 5 long days (11+ hours) of being in public.

Being the biggest introvert I’ve ever met, I know spending that much time around people is going to drain me of all the energy. Probably by day 2. Terrible.

So I have a few self-care strategies to help me get through the week:

Stock up on foods: I don’t like spending a ton of money on foods at show venues (plus I don’t really have time to get away from my booth to wait in line.) We went grocery shopping yesterday and bought a bunch of snacks, lunch foods, and beverages to take with me. Plus I have some frozen leftovers in our freezer I can just thaw out. I know I won’t have time to cook for 5 days, so now I’m well stocked with foods I could possibly want!

Ask for help: Dave will also be out of town most of the week and I had a shipping conundrum. I ended up asking my kind neighbor for help, and she’s gonna take some packages to the post office for me while I work at the show. I feel so much better reaching out for help! If this is hard for you, remember, people who care about you want to help you if you let them.

Sleep: This is gonna be hard. I’ve been trying to get 8 hours of sleep every night after watching this interview on Joe Rogan show. But, the NWFGS goes until 8pm most of the days, and by the time I get home, it’ll be 9, and then I need to unwind for a couple of hours before I go to sleep (some people, like my husband Dave, are lucky enough to be able to sleep whenever, wherever – that is not me, unfortunately.) and I have to be up at 5-5:30 the next morning. So, no, I won’t be getting 8 hours of sleep. I’ll shoot for 7 if I can!

Let it go: I believe mental well-being is as important, if not more important, as physical. So my biggest intention for self-care this week is – let go of all the expectations. I’ll try not to obsess about everything going as planned (because you know it won’t!) and be ok with that. I’ll do what makes me feel good, and that includes cutting myself some slack when I don’t meet my goals. After all, 5 days out of your entire life is a really short time. It feels overwhelming now, but I know once it’s done, I won’t even think about it. So why stress about it today? I’ve done everything in my control to make it a successful week, and I trust that I’ll figure it out if something doesn’t work.

And I know I’ll have fun, too. Meeting customers and making friends with other vendors is always delightful 💗

So I’m taking a deep breath and moving forward with peaceful mind.

Hope you’ll have a self-care-filled week, my friend!

xo