Crafting a Better Life of Love This Holidaisy

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I’ve been feeling a need to write. It’s been awhile that I have felt compelled to write a personal entry but I miss doing such so here I find myself plucking at the keyboard. I don’t often write personal entries these days because of what I’m still going through and an attempt to keep it under wraps mostly until it is long over. I’m still in the midst of a divorce and custody battle and I feel it’s best to keep it to myself and my family in order to protect myself, my ex and most importantly my daughter. It has been very draining to say the least, to start my life again from scratch after I had given most of myself to another for so many years. However even in the midst of this I have found love, happiness and the beginning of a family I always wanted that came easily and without negativity. Our home is filled with love and once everything is over I can fully start a new and devote myself to my new family, the family I had always wanted for myself and Colette.

So anyway, I am living many of the dreams I never really thought I would acquire. I am a housewife of a beautiful man who is a genius realism artist and gorgeous home in the city where I have everything I need to cook decadent meals and delicious desserts for family and friends. I get to spend my days working on beauty and fashion graphic design from my home office while chatting with my boss who becomes a closer friend everyday. I keep only true friends around and the rare free time I have for having fun I get to spend with amazing and creative women (such as Jamie Sucre) chatting and enjoying the finer things in life like sparkling cider, fairy lights and skittle-flavored shisha. I spend my evenings relaxing by the fire and crocheting with my mister by my side, taking a motorcycle ride through the city for a tasty dinner or playing games with our total of 4 children which include tons of laughter and imagination. I’m so inspired by this life filled with love and whimsical creativity and color that I cannot stop creating and planning for new projects for our family and for our work. I get to do many things it seemed I had no time or energy for in the past because I was so down about things I felt I couldn’t change.

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For instance this year I crafted my daughter’s costume because I couldn’t find a Chibi Moon costume small enough for her size and we dressed up together and Sailor Moon and Chibi for trick-or-treating! It was her first time to actually go and it was a blast. We traveled through the colorful leaf covered sidewalks to houses with lights and faux spider webs to fill our bags with candy. It was like a dream. Then Colette and I hung our tree very early this year, Nov 1, and decorated it with candy sweet adornments. I hung my stocking, sewed a French-y damask one for mister to complement my Versailles style stocking and promptly bought gorgeous, fluffy fabrics for the children’s stockings and embroidered characters on the front. Theirs are still pinned and waiting to be completed but they are oh so excited!

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Winter is my favorite time for yarn crafts as well, don’t you feel the same? I’ve currently got a crochet project going on for Jamie and a knitting project using a magic yarn ball someone made me last year. I was so excited about this yarn ball I saved it until I got settled in my new home so I could look forward to knitting my mother a scarf this winter. It’s not my style of colors and happens to be her favorites: muted forest greens and soft blues and purples all woven together in wool. I’m so taken by this yarn ball surprise I’m crafting one for a penpal friend online and we’re swapping soon so I will be sure to do a feature on that for you to participate in the fun! I feel there was a period in my past I was almost so excited because I spent most of my time crafting things for friends and family while my baby cooed in the background. It’s so fun now that she’s 3 and can actually help me or give me advice on things she likes most. She will always be my little cherub, the center of my heart. She is too perfect and I cannot wait to spend my whole life with her and my soul mate crafting a better life of love, color, whimsy and true, internal happiness which I once thought unreal. I hope you are also feeling reminiscent and content at the end of this year seeing what resolutions you will make and what things you are most grateful for.

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Also for some random updates I finally got my hair done for the holidays as I had planned, scary change but I felt it was time for a big change to match the way my life has changed. I’ve also become really into American Horror Story on FX — I watched seasons 1 & 2 around Halloween and now I’m caught up with season 3. I had stopped watching horror entertainment for my whole previous marriage because my life felt so chaotic without it. Now that my life is secure and stable for the most part, filled with love and calmness, I have gotten back into horror for fun. What are you into this year? XX

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I’ve Since Been Crowned by Flowers and Love

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to update and felt free enough to explain a little of what has been going on in my life and all of the changes and struggles I have encountered. I felt very disappointed that my work and my blog fell to the wayside in the midst of this but my life was in dire need of most of my effort, the rest was given to love and support my little girl and my boyfriend (Mister Educated).

Although I can’t be too specific because it’s not appropriate and feels gross to put other’s private lives on a public blog, I can say the basics. My marriage fell apart in June. It had been falling apart for quite a while prior to that but it reached it’s breaking point in June. I’m not hurt about it anymore as I was when it happened, I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had and most importantly for the beautiful little girl myself and my ex share. If you met her I have no doubt that you would instantly smile from ear to ear. She is the kind of special soul that leaves a positive imprint on everyone she meets and everywhere she goes. She’s always happy and saying something very clever for her age or something completely silly and comical. She reminds me so much of myself when I was little and enjoys playing with miniatures in her doll house with her Sylvania cream cats, love all animals, loves painting and loves to be outside. She can find fun in most situations and is a ball of cuteness and sweetness.

I also started talking to another very special person in mid-August. This is a person I had cherished having met and being a friend of mine. He taught me a lot of valuable skills and ways to see the world and I openly considered him a mentor. I met him in 2003 in college but remained friends with him after graduation via short occasional chats online about our families and work. We decided to hang out after we began talking again in August and the connection we had was still there but things had changed quite a lot. The connection was less of a friendship and inspiration connection and more of a romantic connection. The attraction was almost unbearable and we couldn’t get enough of just hanging out and talking or going to dinner and laughing, everything we did together was a very uplifting experience for both of us at the most painful time in my life. A month went by and things became gradually more serious until in late-September when I moved in because he offered that I needed a safe place to get my new life in order and get back on my feet. Since then we have became not just star-crossed lovers and soul mates united, but a family. We have a gaggle of smart and beautiful children that adore each other and hanging out with us and we are both happier than we have ever been before and so thankful we were united at last.

Our home is a big, old house. Over 100 years old to be exact and my Mister (as I lovingly call him because we will not be publicly open until after everything is resolved sometime next year) spent most of his past free time fixing and remodeling every room, nook and cranny until we got serious and I began helping as well. It feels like such a positive environment as soon as you walk in the door and you feel a lightness that is created from love, effort and a million memories left from a happy family. The floors, stairs and accents are lovely and original hardwood, there are 4-stories including a finished basement and loft studio and our sparkly mint and latte fireplace we just rehabbed and intricately tiled is the heart of the home. There is a large, fenced-in backyard with gardens of all kinds and a play set for the children. The front has gardens, stones and red hedges to welcome passersby. There are two balconies, one amazing one off our bedroom and another unfinished as well as a big front porch. It is a big change going from apartment life to a antique mansion but I’ve adjusted quite nicely and I adore living here. I haven’t felt I had a home since I was a child and I feel through and through that this is my home and my long lost beautiful family, my cute 15-year-old house cat Hobbes included.

I am happy now. I have found my higher power and I don’t take any medications for anxiety or depression anymore, I don’t ever drink even recreationally or socially and I work towards a more healthy self daily. I still have struggles such as doing extremely trying self work and moving on completely and I recently found I have pre-cancer which I have been getting treated but I never thought it was possible for me to have what I have. It has been an IMMENSE amount of work thus far and still is as I am still not where I want to be. I’m rebuilding myself online yet again and offline as well in my new community. I adore the opportunities that continue to pour in and I very much missed blogging and doing designs especially for you. I am home now and I am back. Thanks for hanging in there on this long and bumpy ride. You wont regret it!

Some exciting things coming in the future that were put on hold over a year ago: kid-friendly projects and activities, more reviews, interviews and features, his and hers articles, the world according to us articles, more tasty and easy recipes, positive energy projects, diy and craft projects, kawaii kitty care articles, art features, more products in our new shop (officially open again!), pretty photo shoots and daily life shoots. Stay tuned!

Five Staples to a Domestic Artist’s Day

While relaxing after I did a speed clean of the beautiful and character-filled 4-story home I share with my partner (and our kiddies) and being brilliantly blinded by the fairy lights adorning our tree I’m impatiently waiting for my love to arrive home after a long day of work. I’ve been asked many times recently by friends and visitors alike how I manage all of my work, hobbies and activities while still remaining happy and seemingly on-top of everything. I’m not entirely sure I’m managing my time in the best way having just been through hell on earth not so long ago but I know I must be doing something right because the important things get done and I still have plenty of time to spend bonding with my love, myself and, most importantly, my daughter.

I was thinking recently… what what better way to stay motivated and inspired than to blog about what staples help me stay focused and chill throughout my day? What objects, products and regimens do I rely on to make my days a little more delightful? What can’t I seem to live without? What’s funny is I’ve recently realized I can literally live without ANYTHING (besides food, air and water) and there’s nothing like being stripped of everything you love to wake this inner strength in yourself. It’s extremely tough but the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter than you could ever imagine and the positive life that follows is the icing on the cake. What are the sprinkles, carousel candles and strawberries on that same delicious cake? Well some of my daily must-haves are…

1. Lavender

One of my favorite colors of all time is lavender and it just so happens to be one of my favorite herbs as well. Although lavender is not to be ingested it can bring peace and relaxation through aromatherapy and nothing is better than the scent of lavender with a bit of warm sugar. One of my daily staples is a relaxing sitz bath sprinkled with lavender extract while my lavender macaron candle burns a soft glow throughout the bathroom. Lavender incense works well too and be sure to hide some lavender sachets in your lingerie drawer so you can carry a faint relaxing aroma with you throughout your day without overdoing it (which is very easy to do with such a strong scent).

2. Coffee and Tea

Where would I be without coffee and tea? Although my love despises my intake of caffeine I feel without it I would move quite a bit more sluggishly throughout my daily tasks. Not only do the flavors entice me to take another drink but the ritual of brewing coffee and steeping teas are rituals I look forward to. Nothing is better to me than waking up early to black iced coffee and winding down in the evening with a nice, hot cup of tea. We keep a box of assorted teas and numerous tea tins in our kitchen so it’s a real treat picking out which tea to try next.

3. Crystals

The energy and earthen decadence of a crystal is matched by few objects to me. Something about crystals has always attracted me like no other. Since being a young child and carefully selecting my own crystals from traveling new age shops and then proceeding to cleanse and charge them with positive energy I have been a self-proclaimed crystal queen. Crystals hold a natural beauty that is unlike any other stone, they are much more precious than diamonds in my opinion and they create rainbows of light when sunlight hits their prisms just right. If you’re looking for your own special crystal but still haven’t found one that calls to you be sure to check out our shop next year (January 2013) for a limited selection of cleansed and charged kitschy, natural crystal necklaces and spiritually enhancing house wares. Not feeling crystals quite yet? We have lots of other earthen goodness made whimsically colorful coming your way for more positive life-enhancing decadence! Stay tuned and keep the positive energy flowing.

4. Candles & Incense

To explain the benefit in lighting candles and incense is to explain the importance to me of the daily life aesthetic. Setting the scene or mise-en-scene to me is pertinent in living a life as art. The visual aesthetic of everyday life is nearly as important to me as it is in a scene I’ve styled for a specific photograph or shoot. This value of mine that I’ve always held so dear doesn’t always seem to translate well to those I share this world with. Why does everything have to be perfect? Why are you constantly shooting photos of nothing? With the introduction of cell phones having digital cameras this is much more understood but still I receive blank stares when I take photos of what some consider to be mundane settings. The artistic beauty of life is wonderfully misunderstood. The importance to me of living a life as a genius, yet mad, artistic creation is unmatched. Your life is a drama in which you are the actor and your higher power is the director. Enjoy the extensive beauty that can be found throughout it. Adding a soft glow to the room and a relaxing, refreshing or comforting scent is key to utilizing the whole scene of the moment. The smoke of incense brings back memories while calming me. The psychedelic swirls of smoke that flirt with the air are as relaxing as the soft flickr of candlelight softly setting the room aglow. The scent adds volumes to this experience and if you’re interested in learning about aromatherapy you can even utilize some techniques to inspire your mood or productivity. Below I’ve listed a few scents that can be used for aromatherapy. Remember you can also mix scents!

Aromatherapy Guide

  • Aphrodisiac: jasmine, patchouli
  • Energy, Refreshing: peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, tangerine, basil
  • Relax: lavender, cedarwood, chamomile, clary sage, frankincense, myrrh, cardamom

5. Music & Podcasts

Nothing sets your mood quite like the perfect song. When I’m working, whether I’m writing or designing a print or website, music and podcasts are very important to my productivity. I’m even known to listen to ‘brain hacks’ or ‘brain waves’ when working so that I gain more inspiration or stress relief as needed. The podcasts I tend to listen to while working are those of the spiritual or inspirational nature. Any way that I can take in inspiring information while working, relaxing or enjoying a hobby is pleasurable to me. Music sets the scene almost instantly and I enjoy a large selection of music when creating artwork and it’s definitely something I don’t tend to work without.

Day With a Camera: Don’t Give Up On Me

It seems with my leave of absence (pregnancy, new motherhood and loads of work) a lot of the chatters here at the blog from earlier days are quieting down. We discuss that everyone has given up on any chance of an update or response so they’re no longer coming back to check.. well whatever the reason, I’m officially off of maternity leave! I always leave little updates on twitter assuming you get them but why assume? I figured I’d update (on a weekend day!) just to let you know how I feel about the situation.

Our visitor stats ARE back up and we’re glad. I’m happy many more of you are finding our colorful home and reading our splendidly girly articles. I speak for everyone involved when I say we LOVE it.

Hopefully with new content we’ll also be hearing from our other wonderful contributors, huh? You’ll see very soon!

Also — please nominate your favorite artist and handmakers for future features. Who deserves some praise from our whimsical neck of the wonderland woods? It’s one of my new favorite things, featuring artists. There are so many amazing artists out there I cannot wait to tell you about!

Another giveaway is coming up soon so stay tuned.

Do you think this alternate deericorn pendant might impale people unintentionally? Coco's room is huuuge and filled with love~
I love having the same size feet as a child. Looking under the weather~

French Magazine Clippings: MiLK Home Decor

You’ll be noticing some changes around here.. mostly just cleaning things up and preparing for more change.. there are so many things I’ve wanted to get done but have continually put off!

Don’t throw tomatoes yet! .. remember, I’m a new mother!

I’ve decided that when you’ve figured out how to work with a baby on your lap you must be really driven. Ha!

So here I am preparing a move, trying to work and giving Colette every free moment and busy moment I have. I want to build her a world of dreams and wonderment — color and whimsy. I cannot WAIT to move and finally unpack. I’m starting to forget what my real office even looks like anymore..!

So in the middle of all of this I’ve been feeling the insatiable need to travel again.. and so I’m planning a couple of trips to cities in the USA but I’m having urges for more international travel. I miss my friends and family in Japan and I would love to go on a shopping spree for our new place. A trip back to Paris wouldn’t be so bad either, have you seen MiLK Decor in France? I’ve been EATING home decor magazines lately.

Do you want more??

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Rice, the Colorful Home Decor Company

I recently had the delight of viewing rice of Denmark’s summer catalogues. The color and decor is very Jeu de Paumes and left my eyes swelling with sugar and sparkle. Eye candy and color for kids rooms, outside and of course, the home!

I can’t get enough, can you? I’m ready to have tea in the garden with all of these goodies tomorrow.

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“Rice is a basic survival product for many people in this world, and especially in the Third World.”
~ Rice

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Inspired by Lovely Lovely UK

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I *love* Lovely Lovely — you may even recognize seeing some of their goods in my apartment feature — I had to have quite a few of their pop art cute, neon sugar clad brand. Years later, they’re still my favorite plates.

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If your taste is anything like mine, the retro revival food (check out the rosy gelatin mould!) and cake-inspired palettes are enough to make your eyes gleam with eye candy overload.

Cleaning out the Closet

I figured I should write about something I’m currently tackling and how I dealt with it. I’m not just organizing my closet either, I’ve got everything (except my clothes) organized into boxes and in storage ready to move.. this ‘transitional stage’ is quite tough on a ‘nesting’ pregnant woman, but I found that I can feel confident simply by knowing I’ve went through and discarded/donated/saved anything I’ve ever had. I have a lot of junk. When I say junk I mean cute toys and nonsense from Japan, ridiculous amounts of assorted craft tools and art supplies, geeky technological computers and games (mine and my husbands combined), my husbands music equipment, my extensive Blythe doll collection (which includes a Blythe-size-inhabitable dollhouse)… wah!

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I used to listen to others with absolute sympathy and little understanding as they complained about having to get rid of all of their Blythe doll boxes and anything they aren’t really attached to, having to slim down their collections, clothes and more.. I just guess being from the Midwest I assumed I’d always have a lot of space at my disposal.

Space is over-rated, having things is over-rated. First thing any psychologist will try to explain to a hoarder is that memories are not items. You can get rid of everything you have except your basic needs and you would still have your memories. Take photos of a cherished item. Store it in an album. There are many ways to reminisce without filling your house with everything you’ve ever loved. It’s easy (for me) to do.. but it’s not good, being attached to any item is dangerous.. Instead use that attachment on people and new memories, a 60s tumbler from your grandmother might be irreplaceable to you, but remember not to confuse the attachment you feel towards your grandma with the item.

It’s hard for me to get rid of anything I had in Japan, I feel if I lose it I’ll forget.. I just love visiting my room at my parent’s house and holding random items from my time there, it’s like the room is actually frozen in time and I’m still that same girl in school when I visit.

Before I move out of state I have to decide what I really do and do not need of course and start living a simple life, stop trying to save everything. After living in cute, tiny city lofts I quickly realized STUFF is exactly what I do not want. I did not want to carry boxes and boxes of junk down that tiny, spiral staircase and into the basement-looking living room. I quickly realized being on my own that stuff was useless — and yes my dolls were still with me all the way.

I do hope to someday have a home with more space, but I’m not ready to settle down yet. I’ve still got a lot of career-obsession driving my life.

Tips ala Real Simple

I found a lot of organizing tips in Real Simple Magazine, these were the ones I found most helpful.

If you are on the fence about an item, “flag” the hanger. As you wear each item, remove the flag. At the end of each season, items that are still marked with a flag should be donated. If the item is in good condition and/or if you paid a lot for it, think about selling it at a local consignment store or online at a site such as eBay.

Use every square inch of your closet. Hang shoe racks on the back of your closet door. Classic belt hangers with multiple hooks are also a good solution for hanging camisoles, bras, or scarves. Always remove sweaters from hangers and fold them. Hangers will ruin the shape of sweaters over time.

It’s possible that no matter how much you try to edit and organize, you just have too much stuff to fit in your closet. If that’s the case, then you need to resort to a seasonal system by rotating your fall/winter clothes with your spring/summer clothes. Out-of-season clothes and kept in your attic or basement or under your bed in storage boxes.

Mew for Today: Where in the World?

It’s been quite a terrible week! What better reason than that to go shopping in Japan? Another department store no less, this one, tailored for us online shoppers! It’s a big stop for Japanese and Americans alike~

I’m a little speechless today because all I want to discuss is the features coming up soon and I’m trying to wait.. 😉 You’re probably not as silly as I am, but if you love toys, cuties, and more you’ll be happy!

Speaking of toys, cuties and more… let’s get a load of the goodies I found while searching high and low in the wonderland of Japanese whimsy splashed product. I’m certainly feeling the urge to go back to my heartland soon… Where do you feel you belong in the world? I’ve been questioning this a lot recently as we’ve been prepared to move for quite awhile and yet we find ourselves unable to make a move.. or should I say ME. Until very soon.

So to relieve my worries I’ve always found happiness in being surrounded in cute, lovely, well-designed items.. I’d love to hear your ways of coping with stress and anxiety as well! Feel free to leave them below — much appreciated~

Did I mention How Magazine added us as one of the Top 10 Sites for Designers this month? It’s funny because I *love* that magazine, always looking hot on the shelves begging me to dive into jumpstartworkmode.