Happy 4th!

If you’re in the U.S., Happy 4th!

I usually don’t do anything on the 4th πŸ˜… but this year we’re going to a BBQ at my friend’s. They’re grilling up some steaks and salmon, they said. So fancy ✨ We’re bringing a salad from our garden. A proper celebration!

(However, I guarantee you I’ll be in bed by the time fireworks start πŸ˜‚ I got earplugs.)

Just like my new birthday card implies, I’m not much of a partier. Cozy celebration that ends at a reasonable time is def my style.

No matter what you’re doing, be safe and enjoy your day πŸ’™β€οΈ

xo

πŸŽ‰ New collection is here! πŸŽ‰

I did it 😭

My new collection is online NOW.

Enjoy 5 new cards, 2 prints, 4 stickers, and one magnet!

And remember, you always get free shipping with an order of $35 or more (U.S. only).

I LOVE every single thing in my new collection, and I hope they’ll bring you joy today.

Happy Sunday, and Happy Pride!

xo

ps. in case you missed the link, you can shop my new collection online here.

Loss & Gratitude

[πŸ‘‰ trigger warning – I talk about loss of a partner in this post]

Hey friend,

Loss of a spouse is popping up in my life a lot lately – not my own, thankfully, but it’s showing up in a podcast I listen to, a Netflix show I watch, artists I follow on social media, a book I’m reading, and recently, a friend of a friend.

I haven’t had death in my close relationships yetΒ but know it’s inevitable.

Like the writer, Elizabeth Gilbert, joked about in this podcast episode, death rate has kept it up at 100% since, well, always. Yet we’re still flabbergasted and appalled when someone we love dies.

I’ve been reading the book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resiliance, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant.

This book had sat on my “for later” shelf in my library account for a few months, and honestly, I forgot what it was about.

I was jolted awake in the opening scene where Sheryl’s husband, Dave, dies suddenly and unexpectedly on their vacation in Mexico.

(Pretty much my worst nightmare.)

I have a tendency to fantasize about terrible situations on a goodΒ day, and loss of close loved ones has been on my mind a lot lately.

My Dave makes fun of me that I have such a morbid imagination and I “pre-mourn” stuff.

He’s Mr. Silver Lining – always looking for positives in life and doesn’t spend whole a lot of time and energy thinking about the negatives.

You may agree with Dave and think it’s unhealthy for me to dive deeply into the world of loss and grief when things are fine in my real life.

I can understand the argument. It does seem unproductive and harmful to intentionally picture your spouse dying suddently and experience the loss and grief on purpose.

(Granted, it’s an “imagined” loss, which cannot be compared to the real thing. I acknowldege the real loss would be 1000x more devastating and horrifying and life-changing.)

Yet, I can’t help but wonder, how would I survive such a loss? Would I ever be happy again? Could I feel true joy after you lose someone you love?

From what I’ve been learning (and from my experience working with domestic violence survivors for many years), it seems the answer is yes, even after you experience a tremendous loss and trauma, you can still be happy again.

One thing I want you to understand is when I’m in my dark fantasy world, I’m not feeling depressed.

Rather, I find overwhelming gratitude for what I do have in life.

Clearly, Dave is alive and well today. I don’t want him to go anytime soon but even if he did (sorry Dave!!), I’ve had wonderful 12 and a half years with him. It could’ve been 3 years instead of 12. Heck, maybe we would’ve never met if the stars hadn’t alighned in the first place!

And let me state the obvious that I’m choosingΒ to imagine this situation. If this were real, I’d have no choice but to live it.

I do believe in silver lining. It’s just that I need to fully embrace the bad before I can appreciate the good. It’s not helpful for me to jump right into the positives before giving time and space to honor the negatives.

Only then, I can move on to celebrate the good things that surround me. And my art allows me to express joy in life.

Thank you for letting me share what I’ve been thinking a lot about 😘 I know it’s not very easy to hear or think about loss.

I hesitated to write about this today but did it anway in case you’re struggling with loss and grief, whether it’s from death, divorce, illness, or rejection from your family.

I wanted you to know I’m thinking of you. You’re not alone.

xo

ps. I highly recommend the book and podcast episode I highlighted above ☝️if you or someone you love is experiencing grief. Great resources.

pps. I’ll be back next week to tell you about my new collection! πŸ₯³

 

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 πŸ˜€

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

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 πŸ₯³

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 πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

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 πŸ˜›πŸ˜­

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! πŸ₯³

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 actuallyΒ 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 πŸ’™

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 robotπŸ€–

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 πŸ₯°

From bored to inspired πŸ¦πŸ€πŸŽ¨

Hey friend,

Back in the first week of May, Dave and I took a couple of days off to get away to Whidbey Island, a short drive and ferry ride from Seattle.

Gorgeous view from Fort Casey State Park

We wanted to spend time together and relax away from our daily routine.

We’re independent people with different interests and schedule, so it’s easy for us to do our own thing and not connect with each other intentionally.

We stayed at our friends’ beautiful studio for a couple of nights, and on the second day, we went out to some of the state parks and did hiking and birdwatching.

Dave looking for birds to watch

Dave’s always been a bird nerd πŸ¦…πŸ€“, but me, not so much.

I like nature and animals, but birding seemed sort of too stationary?? I’d get frustrated and bored because I didn’t know what I was looking for/at.

Every time he would stop to see something, I’d be like (inside my head, sometimes out loud, maybe) “Ugh, again??? I only see brown dots fluttering around. Let’s keep walking.”

I know, not a very fun companion for your birding activity πŸ™Š

Maybe it’s more of a mature person’s thing, because I’m learning to enjoy it more as I get older.

(Or maybe it’s because I finaly figured out how to adjust my binocular πŸ‘€ so I could actually see the things πŸ˜‚ It helps.)

We hiked around Fort Casey State Park, Ebey’s Landing, and Coupeville and spotted a bunch of neat birds.

I love colors and textures of these rocks on the beach
Ebey’s Landing
Lighthouse at Fort Casey State Park

Later, I sketched some of the birds to document the fun time we had.

Birds we saw on Whidbey Island, May 2019

And they turned out so adorable 😻

It inspired me to learn more about the birds and draw more.

And then I thought, wouldn’t it be so cute to create a new design with birds of Washington πŸ€”??

The answer, of course, is YES, it would be SUPER cute.

I asked my Facebook friends for bird suggestions, and boy they had so many great ideas!!

(If you were one of the people who helped me, THANK YOU!)

Here are some of the birds I’ve sketched for the new artwork.

Bird sketches
I drew them on my iPad Pro with Procreate app if you’re wondering!

I’m having a lot of fun with these little birds, and the new print will be available in late June when my new collection debuts!!

Stay tuned, my friend.

xo

Back by popular demand (+ new work sneak preview! πŸ‘€)

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? πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ”

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? πŸ˜€ 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! πŸ€“)

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? πŸ₯πŸ₯–πŸ₯§)

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 πŸ™€πŸ˜‚

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 πŸ₯°

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

Why do I make these? Because I 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

πŸ¦™πŸ¦†πŸ§ Stock up on cards for dads & grads! πŸ¦™πŸ¦†πŸ§

If you celebrated Mother’s Day last Sunday, hope it was a good one!

I was at Fremont Sunday Market, and it was lovely to see so many customers hanging out with their moms/kids πŸ’

(or secretly picking out cards and gifts for their mom ❀️)

I had warm and fuzzy feelings all day long. It’s the BEST feeling.

Thanks for being a thoughtful human being πŸ€—

That reminded me I should let you know I have Father’s Day and Graduation cards for you.

Father’s Day is June 16th!

Don’t forget dog and cat dads 🐢🐱 I mean, how cute are these?? 😍

And this one is for those who lost their dad/child or areΒ otherwise having a hard time around this holiday.

Life is not perfect, and I try to offer cards to express your empathy forΒ your loved ones.

Reaching out to someone who is struggling can beΒ awkward.

But your small act of kindness can help them feel less alone πŸ’œ

(that’s worth your awkwardness, right??)

Also, the graduation season is upon us!! πŸŽ“

These adorable cards will cheer up any grads πŸ˜€

Love what you see?

You can grab them in my shop or pick them upΒ at one of my shows and markets!

 

xo

ps. a quick reminder – prices of my 8×10″ art prints and wrapping paper rolls will increase on June 1st, 2019. If you’ve been eyeing them, now is the good time buy them.

It was meant to be

Hi friend,

Do you remember what I said my two goals were this year??

One of them was to hire help so I can serve more customers in person.

(And the other was National Stationery Show 2020. More on that later this year.)

Well, I’m checking that one off my list! βœ…

Tada! Meet C.C., my new star helper! 🌟🌟🌟

I met C.C. last April and knew immediately I wanted to be her friend.

She’s a super talented knitter/knitwear designer who has published 3 knitting books and numerous knitting patterns. And she’s been podcasting with her daughter, Dami, for 7 years πŸ‘―β€β™€οΈ

C.C. has also been a big fan of Honeyberry Studios, so when she told me she was interested in helping out, I did a happy dance!

Last Saturday, she came to learn the ins and outs of running a booth at a craft fair. It became apparent in the first 5 minutes that she was a natural.

C.C. is so easy to talk to. She’s so friendly and helpful to everyone who walks into our booth, you just wanna chat with her and hang out!

(And, she’s obsessed with kitties 🐈 maybe a little bit more than I am 😺 if that’s even possible…)

This summer, I have a pretty full show schedule, and C.C. will be at a few of them to help you out 🌈

Please introduce yourself to her and make friends with C.C. when you see her at shows and markets!

(or at grocery stores, you won’t miss her bright pink hair πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸŽ€)

Yay! I’m so excited πŸ₯°

xo

ps. you can learn more about each event and see most up-to-date calendar on my website!

All things that remind me of spring πŸŒΈ

It’s finally warming up a bit in Seattle.

Truth be told, I’m not a biggest fan of summer 😬 Mostly because our apartment heats up so much that this homebody gets pretty miserable staying indoors. I’m sticky and tired by late afternoon.

But spring.

Especially late spring when you don’t need a down jacket any more but you’re not sweating profusely walking around in the sun.

65FΒ°, lightly cloudy, gentle breeze… That’s heaven for me.

You know, if I were a vegetable, I would be a lettuce. Not a tomato or cucumber. Just plant me in a cool shaded area. I’ll get bitter and go to seed as soon as the temperature goes above 75FΒ°.

I often browse my website just to enjoy the cheerful artworkΒ and daydream for a few minutes (that’s not weird, is it? 😝).

These are some of my cards that reaffirm my love of spring!

May the spring be always in your heart 🌸

xo