Finding Amber Renee, Miseducated Herself

A few years ago Amber and I met online, she emailed me as soon as she saw my cartoon pop on tv. She wrote me to tell me she liked the fun and cuteness of my animation. We realized we like very similar things and quickly became good friends! She also sent me a link to this amazing community site she was working on called “Miseducated”. When I saw it I loved the design and colors soo much! It looks so delicious that I want to eat it. I began to find myself going there when I wanted to see something pretty, or learn about a cute Japanese fad. This site has a sprinkle of everything I love!!!! I knew I had to find out about the girl behind this amazing portal of cuteness……..

I love Miseducated.net. It’s like the stylish 1960’s blended with Japanese cuteness!! What inspired you to start this?
Well once upon a time in 1996 I decided I just had to make a website or I would burst.. I studied web design, learned html and used MS Paint to create the first version of Miseducated. Since then it got sillier and sillier, more whimsy nonsense and inspiration by the gallon! It seemed only natural to share it with other artists and produce a collected blogzine of deliciousness on this world wide web.

How did you get into graphic design?
Oh.. I’d say it happened when I was a young girl who sketched doodles all day, I could never stop creating these whimsical worlds on paper!

Not only are you a designer but you are also an illustrator! What do you look for, for inspiration when drawing?
Vintage children’s books and Japan of course! I’m always obsessing over something… whether it psychedelic 60s art or 1750s French decor. I’m inspired by the world around me and the people I meet everyday — most of my art is based on icing explosions from my brain.

What are your favorite subjects to Illustrate?
Anything cute, psychadelic, fantasy or covered in sugar!

As a professional designer what kinds of jobs do you normally do?
All sorts of jobs. I dabble in everything so I often get asked to do nearly everything. In college I specialized in print design, magazine layout design and photography, today I usually bring in the bucks with web design and illustration. I sell my original artworks as well when I’m not moving across the country.

You have a very definitive style. What are your biggest inspirations?
Sweets, animals and wonderland! I’ve got this little world I’ve created in my mind which I’m always trying to translate onto paper.

Who is your favorite Japanese character? Why?
MOMO BEAR. A pink bear by Sony. Next to Hello Kitty of course. I grew up watching vintage Sanrio movies so nothing really surpases the magic, wonder and happiness that Sanrio provides.

I have to ask, What was your favorite cartoon show growing up?
Minnie Mouse! When I was really young, I often tried to dress like her and even made ears out of paper plates — haha. You can’t imagine my delight when I found gemed & decorated decora-style Minnie ear headband in Tokyo’s Disneyland! I felt like a new woman. haha

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Daquiri Ice from Baskin Robbins! Or Lollipop Candy from Baskin Robbins in Japan. :9

I know you love Japan. What other cities do you love to visit?
I’ve lived near Chicago my whole life so that’s a big one, I haven’t been to NYC since the black out (ha!), I’ve only been to Paris in the winter but still fell in love, Toronto is one of my favorite cities ever and I adore exploring L.A. with my very best friend and partner in crime. I love cities so I’d love to visit absolutely any city — they’re generally stuffed with art, culture and delicious food. I think the view of city lights at night is one of the most beautiful sites to be seen, it’s a nature that we built with designs made by women and men.

Your fashion sense is also super cute! How would you describe it?
How funny! and my father always commented ‘I don’t think that matches..’ I always mixed and matched everything I liked, colors, styles, decades and cultures — I wear whatever I like and it’s OFTEN a joke with my friends that I always find the ugliest thing in the store! However when I put it together I feel it’s an artwork on my body — it just seems to come together!

If you are not designing, making content for Miseducated or taking great photos on the Amcam, what else are you passionate about?
Traveling, combing thrift stores and boutiques for amazing things that I cannot live without, relaxing with my husband, diy-ing and having fun with the people I love. I adore dressing up and going out, perhaps a little too much.

If you could make any dessert what would it be?
Creme Brulee because it is the best dessert ever and I do actually own a little torch for desserts — haha.

If you ever feel blue, what’s the first thing you do to get you back on track to your sunny self?
I battle the blues quite often! I just try to see it as a problem that I need to sort out.. the anxiety might be coming from an unsuspecting source and rather than surpress it I like to realize it and move on to focus on my work, family and friends.

Favorite music and why?
Dance music; although I generally just listen to my favorites David Bowie, Veruca Salt, No Doubt and Kissy Sell Out.

If you could have a pet that is a mythical creature what would you have?
This has been my dream forever, a Mogwai (aka Gizmo from Gremlins) — haha.

In the future what do you think is in store for Miseducated?
To be honest, I’m really excited that it’s growing more everyday and I adore all of the amazing people I meet because of it — I see very great things happening as more and more get on board with the Miseducated way of life! I cannot thank everyone who visits, comments, emails us — every single word is appreciated and adored! Live inspired.

Customizing a New Home

CUTiE BookTurning your apartment, house or beach-side bungalow into a home? I’ve moved a lot only recently. After being smothered in a small-town, for way too long, I was ready for new adventures and surroundings. First I lived with a family in my heart*throb, japan. Then we moved around in Indiana’s capital delicious wonderland city Indianapolis, from downtown apartment to east-side apartment. During the summers, I shack up with my lovely best friend in California and always find new places and friends to love. I’ve found amazing people I want to forever keep in my life (there are still many years for us to end up together) and I knew if I explored to find my own paradise in the US I would be truly at peace with my world. (I still plan to visit Japan always until I finally accept a job there -why don’t you???- and live my dreams)

delicate & sweet a balcony for me shoes in a row

So we’re picking up and moving again! This time to a paradise we fell in love with together, Nevada. Now Las Vegas is a kitschy tourist attraction, mind you, but there are always amazing things going on that you can be involved in, it’s not far from L.A. and the sunshine replenishes your body with Vitamin D as well as inspires your mind to produce melatonin.

The most important thing about a new home is what new whimsical world will unfold as I place items around and attempt to customize my surroundings (this gets tough in city apartments!). In case you need a kick start or just a push in a new direction, enjoy the inspiration and let your home drink it up!

Let’s Get Started!

Need some furniture or decor inspiration? Take a look at the resources listed at the end of the article.
Be sure to hit up local thrift stores and flea markets, you could find delectable art-deco, mid-century and antique goodies to paint/ design for your home for a fraction of the cost of most designer deco. One of a kind items are always smile inducers while lounging in your quarters.

With some sanding and a few coats of glossy enamel you can turn a sad, chipped and rusty 60s wall shelf into a new sleek treasure.

paint it~

Starting to see endless possibilities in creating your ultimate wonderland on earth?

Yummy Inspiration & Boutiques

Urban Outfitters: Apartment
Brocade Home
IKEA
Mason Reve
The Paris Apartment
Espirit Cabane
Jeu de Paumes Books
Three Potato Four
Decor8 Blog
Design*Sponge

Miseducated Articles

A Spare Roomedy
Apartment Seventy-Seven
Pretty on Penn St
Home in South Korea
Interiors of Amelie
Gwen Stefani’s Chic Space
Lala’s Kitschy Paradise

Mise en Snap: A Woman is a Woman

A Woman is a Woman (Une Femme est une Femme’) is a 1961 French new wave film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It’s colorful, quirky and adorable in it’s imagery and story. I found the interior shots to be clean, bright and simple, yet quaint and kitshy-cool. Reminds me of the delicious interior eye-candy to be gorged on in each of the Jeu de Paumes books.

The film centers around the relationship of an adorable exotic dancer Angéla (Anna Karina) and her live-in boyfriend, Émile (Jean-Claude Brialy). This films requires little-to-no serious thought, all of the discussions are completely trivialized and cute to watch. For instance they use book titles to argue and debate issues, pointing to titles that communicate the response that they would like to give.

Angéla wants to have a child while Émile does not, all the while Émile’s best friend Alfred (Jean-Paul Belmondo), constantly insists that he is in love with Angéla. It must be that every woman’s biological urge to have (bear, adopt, get a cat or chihuahua instead of) children kicks in at some point in their lives (even if just by passing thought!) no matter how much fun they may be having. *wink*

Have a taste!

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

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a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

a woman is a woman

Create Easy Macaron Charms with Clay

Finally, I was able to catch some sun through my tiny window and take some photos, so here is the step-by-step process to make polymer clay macarons!

Easy Macaron Jewelry

Instructions

1. Make 5 balls: 2 bigger, 2 smaller and 1 of a different colour
2. Slightly flatten the 2 bigger, and completely the 2 smaller
3. Put each “slightly flat” with a “very flat” and flatten the different coloured one too
4. Make a “sandwich” with the 3 of them
5. Ruffle what exceeds form the sandwich with an instrument like a tooth pick
6. Put it in the oven for half an hour (depends on the clay you use)
7. Do not eat!

How to Create the Perfect Polymer Macarons

I believe many girls love macarons. Tell me who can resist the delicious and cute looking French macaron?

macaron diy

Besides the edible macaron, macaron accessories are also very popular in Japan and all around the world. There are may ways to make macaron accessories for yourself or for your little Blythe. The simplest way is to use air dry clay or polymer clay. In this tutorial, I choose to use air dry clay because I don’t like to use polymer clay that has to be cured in the oven.

macaron diy

You Need

Acrylic paint (any colour you prefer)
Clay cutter and measurement spoon (size is up to you)
9-pin
Embedded crystals (any colour you prefer)
Vaseline Petroleum Jelly or hand lotion
Air dry clay (you can use polymer clay which needed heat up in oven to cure)

Steps

1. Apply the Vaseline (or hand lotion) on the tools and surface that will contact with the clay. This step is important to avoid the clay stick at the tools or surface.
2. Apply the Vaseline on the surface and your hands too.
3. Cut this amount of clay (enough to make two macarons).
4. Put a little red acrylic paint on top of the clay (I chose red because I want to make a pink macaron).
5. Twist and rub the clay until the colours mixed evenly with the clay.
6. Then put the measurement spoon on top of the clay.
7. Press down so to get a shape alike the shape of the measurement spoon
8. Please see if it looks like the photograph above.
9 Then use any flat surface to press it down until it looks like this.
10. Repeat the step 6 to 9 for the bottom piece. Some embedded crystals are put on top of the top piece.
11. As shown in this picture.
12. Cut this amount of clay.
13. Put a little bit dark brown acrylic paint on top of the clay (to add some colour to the filling) then twist and rub the clay until the colour mixed evenly with the clay.
14. Then use any flat surface to press it down until it looks like this.
15. Sandwich the white clay in between the top and bottom pieces of pink macaron.
16. If you want to make accessories with it, you have to add a 9-pin. Enter the 9-pin from the side.
17. Set aside the clay macaron for two days for completely air dry.

Tips

1. I recommend you to trim your nails first before handling the clay, because clay tends to stick to long nails.
2. Make sure all the tools and surface are dust free to avoid any dust twisted or rubbed into the clay.
3. In case the clay become dry, add a few drop of water to get back the flexible feeling.

Adoring the Interiors of Amelie

You may have noticed the heavily magical and saturated imagery in Amelie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. It was an eye candy carousel for my mind and I can’t watch it enough. It actually started me on a kick of running to Mass Ave Video to rent every cute, feminine, French film I could find in hopes to see more of this style. I found a few gems and one of them actually is a bit like this, magical and sweet: Love Me if you Dare.

Below I’ve captured some delightful interior shots from the film Amelie. Enjoy the quaint decor and be inspired by the tiny interiors of Paris radiating huge personality.

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Cake is Love: A Japanese Chef

I graduated from Le Cordon Blue in Tokyo. My major was French cake making and my teachers were french chefs whom taught me a lot of details. My teacher’s actions, skills, techniques, designs, chocolates, all kinds of sweets, everything really impressed me very much. They inspired me a lot and are still living in the bottom of my heart. Those experiences made me improve myself.

Since then I have been working at a french cake shop (a shop of long standing), the head office is in France. I wanted to study more and more so I decided to study many subjects in a correspondence course while working at the same time. I finally got a license. I wanted to get it, really. My wish was to broaden my horizon.

I think sweets are art. A chocolate is a jewel, cake is love. I love seeing people think about cakes a lot, which cake they will get (maybe for oneself? or for parents? or for a special person?). I have seen a lot of wonderful things in my life. A thousand broad smiles spread over everyone’s face. It’s like a magic.

Story: Erika Yoshida
Photos: Erika Yoshida