Category Archives: self-care

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

 

🐱🍄 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

Self-care is not selfish 💗

How do you take care of yourself?

Or, are you that person who feels “self-care” is a nice thought but not meant for you?

Do the words “self-care” make you cringe and fill you with guilt?

What’s self-care anyway?

You may think of cliche things like taking a bubble bath and eating chocolate 🍫 (which is my favorite).

I see it as giving yourself what you need emotionally, physically, and mentally so you can be loving and present with yourself and people you care about.

For example, when I feel overwhelmed and not like myself, I:

– Lie down and close my eyes for 10 minutes.

– Break down what I’m overwhelmed about into smaller steps and do something.

– Watch cute animal videos on YouTube (thank goodness for the internet!)

– Talk to Dave. Sometimes, all I need to feel better is to verbalize how I’m feeling.

– Doodle.

– Cancel dinner with friends if I’d rather stay home and have an alone time.

– Eat a donut and don’t punish myself for it.

– Take a walk.

– Diffuse my favorite essential oils (my fave uplifting combo is lavender, wild orange, and peppermint from doTerra.)

– Watch a sad movie and cry.

– Give someone else encouragement.

– Make a list of what I’m grateful for, no matter how small.

(These are just some of the things that help me – your list may look very different, and that’s OK!)

At my old non-profit job, we once had a speaker come and talk to us about the importance of self-care.

She said “saying no to someone else is saying yes to yourself.” And that’s stuck with me for many years.

(In fact, I should make a card saying that 💡yes?)

You know, self-care’s like taking care of your car – if you take it in for a regular maintenance, you prevent the major issues from cropping up in the future – saving you money and the headaches (and accidents!) in a long run.

Nobody thinks taking a good care of your car is selfish. They actually think it’s smart!!

Self-care works the same way. If you do small things to take care of yourself every day, it’ll keep you away from that scary B-word.

BURN-OUT.

Who wants a burn-out? NOBODY. If you’re burnt out, you stop caring. You’re no good for anyone, including yourself.

You may think “nah, I’m too busy for this. I’m doing OK.”

Hear me out. It’s not the matter of “if,” it’s “when.” Just like a head gasket in your car, which is guaranteed to get blown at a certain mileage (speaking from an experience 🙋🏻‍♀️), burnout will happen if you never stop to take care of yourself.

Taking care of yourself before you get too drained to care is not selfish. It’s necessary.

You know, your friends and family don’t care as much if your house is sparkling clean or your kid’s dressed in a perfectly matching outfit – they’d prefer that you’re happy and fun to be around.

My “Self-Care is not Selfish” design has resonated with many people since I created it last summer.

It tells me that so many of us struggle to put our needs first.

We all need to believe in this message. And if you need to hear it from someone else, hear it from me!

And now it’s available as a vinyl, dishwasher safe sticker!

Decorate your water bottle, mug, laptop, bike helmet, or car with this sticker (I have a friend who put my “You Are Enough” sticker on her bathroom mirror as a daily reminder ❤️) so you can take it wherever you go.

I hope my little creation will remind you that you’re a human being who deserves a little TLC every day❤️

xo

 

On handling rejections

I had kind of a bad day on Wednesday.

I received, not one, but TWO rejection emails from the holiday craft shows I applied for.

They’re kind of big, well-known shows (read: most lucrative) in the area that I really, really wanted to get into (and thought I had a good chance.)

Needless to say, I was disappointed and sad.

My emotional process looked like this 👇

1) DISBELIEF: First of all, I thought the notice wasn’t gonna be sent out till Friday?? Was this a mistake? Is this really happening?

2) FANTASY: Some of my friends didn’t make the cut either. And they’re all talented, amazing makers. Did the organizers make a mistake and send the wrong email to the wrong group of people?? I’m still waiting to get that “sorry-we-sent-the-wrong-email-and-you’re-actually-in” email.

3) CONFUSION: But people love my work! and I’ve been great to work with, haven’t I?? I’m so organized and responsive. WHY DID YOU NOT WANT ME?? 😭

4) NEGATIVE SPIRAL: Is this it for me? What if I don’t get in to ANY of the shows I applied for? Was it just a luck that my business seemed more successful this year? Is it all going to be down hill from here??

5) LOGIC: People DO love my work (and they tell me so!), and I’ve had great relationships with the organizers. It’s not personal. I have other opportunities and will most likely get into other shows.

6) ACCEPTANCE: Oh well. It is just what it is 🤷🏻‍♀️ The show must go on. What’s on my to-do list today?

I know intellectually it’s not me or that my work is bad, but it just hurts to be rejected.

I have my “You Are Enough” sticker on my laptop, and it helped 💙

As a self-care strategy, I re-watched the puppy and horse Budweiser commercial from 2014 Super Bowl and had a good cry. It’s truly soul-cleansing ✨

(I question your humanity if this bit doesn’t make you even a little emotional…🐶)

I treated myself for a delicious brownie and pretty dahlias at the farmer’s market.

I also received a copy of Retailing Insight Magazine in the afternoon, where one of my designs was featured (along with my friend, John Met Betty‘s beautiful vegan handbags!) That helped boost my confidence for sure 😊

I don’t have a profound lesson or insight for you today.

But I just wanted to share that things aren’t always great and positive.

I’ve been noticing a trend on social media where people share hard and messy stuff in life. And even without the “things-went-to-hell-but-I’m-all-better-now” hero ending sometimes, which makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

It makes me sad to see people I admire and care about struggle, but I also appreciate their realness.

It helps me feel OK with having those ups and downs in my life, too.

Even though most of the posts on social media are curated and positive, it never tells a whole story.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re having a hard time or feeling rejected, you’re not alone.

Nobody has it all together.

We’re enough ❤️

xo

p.s. I’m feeling a lot better after processing the feelings with friends and doing all those self-care stuff. So don’t worry!

p.p.s. I’ve got a few holiday events locked down and am waiting to hear back from a bunch more, so it’s going to be OK. I’ll let you know when I have a more solid calendar!

p.p.p.s. I’m gonna be on my 7th week mini sabbatical next week – I’ve been chipping away at my new website so I can launch it very soon. Send me good tech vibes and stay tuned 😉