I’m Dreaming of You

My husband is so cute when he’s sleeping.
He talks in his sleep, you see.
Tonight I asked him why he was moving and he said “I’m just waiting on you to come get me. I miss you.”
In the past (he hates coffee -even the smell- and I love it) he told me he wants to know how much the coffee is so he can buy it for his wife.
I’m always wondering what he’s doing in his sweet, mundane dreams.

Meanwhile, in my dreams, I’m flying, moving to some alternate universe, swimming with my daughter while we have mermaid fins, finding rooms full of fairies and shimmery blue butterflies, and eating desserts because I know I can eat as much as I want and not gain weight.
I have noticed these days in my mundane (and stress) dreams I seem to often be moving.
I’m moving and arranging all of the kids’ bedrooms.
I love arranging a house and also going through the things the past owners left.
In a recent stress dream I was moving and I was rushing through throwing all of these flower decorations away that the owner left.
It was so kitschy cute, every single item was covered in roses and pastels.
However I was so upset that they were not my own things in my home that I decided to just toss them compulsively.
Then I realized that I probably should have notified the owner.
Oops.

Iridescent Shower Curtain from Urban Outfitters

Happy Valentine’s Day! from POOCHIE

Valentine’s Day reminds me of the 1980s for some reason…
Perhaps it’s because I was born the day before Valentine’s Day and that happened to be in the 1980s.
So for many (the jewelry, candy and greeting card companies would hope) Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love.
For me it is a time to celebrate pastel hearts and the 1980s and all of the cute, pinkness splashed through the stores.
What does Valentine’s Day mean to you, if anything?

I was also inspired to add a couple of new love-inspired items to my shop!

One of them is a Lolita POOCHIE pin because I have always been a big fangirl of Poochie.

The other is a reprint of my Micro Zine (6 pages plus a front and back cover), 5 Reasons Why I Love You. It’s a “Valentine” for anytime, much like Poochie!

So my little Valentine gifts to you are…

and I would totally put these in the Valentine mail box you decorated and sat on your school desk

scanned 1980s Rainbow Brite Valentine’s~

a cute conversation heart coloring page~

Twin Stars Valentine wallpaper by Sanrio that I’ve had saved for years~

xoxo

Shop is OPEN With New Pin Street Collaboration

It’s official! The shop is back open! Pin Street invited me to do a collaboration and design a Kawaii Shop. It’s pretty much one of the coolest lapel pin collaborations I’ve seen. It totally reminds me of the “Quilting Bee” pixel club and so many of the old website clubs we used to have in the late 90s/early 2000s! What about you?

What is Pin Street?

Pin Street is an on-going collaboration between about 16 pin designers who are releasing new shops every month! Each pin has the same size specs so they will line up nicely but each is as unique as the Illustrator.

The Kawaii Shop is designed by me and is the 37th in our series. The last collaboration pin. It is a limited run, as the others are. The metal is rose gold and it is in all pastel colors as well as a glittery pink cloud with rose gold stars. I feel like I’m floating on a glittery pink cloud anytime I walk into a kawaii shop so it was a necessary feature! It also is a throwback to the old Times Square Sanrio store and Puroland with the rainbow on top!

If you’re interested in visiting the shop and checking it out, just click the link in the menu or HERE and stay tuned for a Cyber Monday sale~

Shipping now!

Follow @pinstreetshop on Instagram to keep up with the street!

Wear the World: Pinky Paradise Vanity Contacts

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First off let me say I do not condone the use of vanity contacts unless you have extensively read about how to wear, care for and use them safely. If you’re in any doubt please see an eye doctor and take the lenses to learn more about them. These lenses are a one size fits all so if you have a different eye shape it can cause complications.

Next, I finally uploaded a little review of the contacts from a NON-SEASONED contact wearer. In other words.. this was my first time wearing contacts. It wasn’t too tough or painful so I would have to say for a quick photo shoot these will do wonders! They are lovely, easy to wear and come in tons of colors and designs. If you’re looking for a good selection of lenses at an exceptional price check out Pinky Paradise. I know I’ll be getting a few more colors for fun next time!

I’m pretty new to VLOGGING on YouTube so if you’d like to be friends or collab in any way please let me know. I’m enjoying the ease these days of having a new phone to shoot and edit video on the go. The above video is one of the older tries! Beware the audio is a little slow! Ooops. Bad import.

Pinky Paradise Cosmetic Lens Closeup

Pinky Paradise Lenses

Pinky Paradise Lenses and Cat

Accessories by Sanrio and Sugar Junkie!

DIY: Neons vs Pastels » Craftspiration

Because I can never decide which one is better so all of my pastel-coated paintings always have a little hot pink strewn through-out and same for my collages. Why choose one when you can have both? Have a hot pink Easter.

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Easy Neon Hanging Planters Tutorial by Brit + Co

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Candy Necklace Inspiration by Love the Day

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Chocolate Surprise Egg DIY for Easter

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Dip Dye Placemats by Design Love Fest

and lastly a breathtakingly beautiful home office and craft studio to inspire you to design your work space to fit your inspiration ala I Love Crafty:

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Tea Talk With ‘Maqaroon’ Maven Joanna

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Joanna is a Miseducated Eyecandy Girl through and through! Not only is she obviously adorable but she is a talented and successful business woman who owns and runs her own company filled with cuteness called Maqaroon. She creates jewelry, accessories and art inspired by Japanese fashion and unisex-friendly kawaii. She even blogs on her website and features female bloggers (most recently myself, so honored beyond belief) she feels drawn too in her super sweet, kawaii colorful and unique style of illustration. I am very happy to get a chance to chat with her and to share a bit of her world with all of you.

When did you start focusing on art and design as a hobby or passion and why?
I first discovered manga style when I was 8. I was in a tiny stationery shop in Beijing and found a Sailor Moon card showing all the characters wearing evening gowns. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen and became obsessed with wanting to draw like that! I was a very geeky teenager and loved video games, animes and RPGs so drawing fanart fit perfectly into that scene.

When and why did you decide to take it online?
I became very involved in the online manga community (Deviantart, Animexx, Livejournal) during high school because it was a great place to post work, get feedback and stay motivated. During university I learned enough to create a portfolio website and several years after that, after working as a web-designer, I finally had enough experience to design and set up my own online shop.

What is most challenging about starting a business on and offline?
The hardest offline part was finding the right third party contacts who help your business work. These include web developers, event organisers, couriers, photographers, printers, bloggers, financial/tax advisers and countless suppliers in Europe and Asia. Each one involves a financial gamble and you only know if that pays off after you receive the product or service. I invested (or wasted) a lot of money in the process but unfortunately there’s no way around the process as each business is unique and you need to try out everything to find what works for you.

The biggest online challenge is maintaining a constant presence on all your social media, including coming up with relevant, unique and interesting content for each platform and meaningfully interacting with other people. This is a full-time job for most companies, but if you’re doing everything alone then you have to fit it in around all other tasks! I have utmost respect for bloggers/vloggers who manage to post every few days as editing content is so much more time-consuming than anyone could imagine.

What would you tell an artist starting out marketing and selling their work online?
Start with as low quantities of each product as possible, then participate in craft fairs/pop-up markets where you sell a lot in a short space of time. Once you discover what people like to buy, go and design a batch of new things based on the bestselling product or theme. Then repeat with another event, and keep streamlining your products based on sales.

I have to emphasise participating in offline events because I found this was the best way to get a lot of feedback in the shortest space of time. When you first start out, online sales can be incredibly slow so it might take months if not years to get an idea of product popularity and you don’t want to wait that long! Once you know what sells, it will automatically drive your sales up both online and off.

Another good tip for any online shop is to choose light, flat products which are cheap to ship and not easily breakable. And always keep a very close eye on profit margins. I made an early mistake of offering keyrings and items with very small margins (e.g. 2-3 dollars). If I ended up miscalculating shipping by a tiny amount, or having to replace the parcel if it got lost then I would have negated that sale or even made a loss.

Lastly, don’t worry about comparing yourself with other brands or businesses. Just like how people make their lives look shinier on Facebook, a lot of brands may present a successful façade but that’s no reflection on how well they’re actually doing. Some companies simply buy fake Facebook and Twitter followers, others plough tons of loaned money into their start-up but are actually in debt. From talking to many people behind the scenes, I learned that many small businesses that are professionally represented at trade shows are still only being done part-time, and the owner(s) still rely on other sources of income.

So in short, don’t doubt yourself if it appears like everyone else is more successful. Even if you’re selling a few handmade items a month, you could still be making more profit than a shiny start-up with several employees that’s actually being funded by investors or a bank loan. The only thing to focus on is how your business is performing compared to itself, and work on steadily increasing sales. If it does become stuck, then try to change direction, products or audience until you discover what works.

What inspired your brand?
The original inspiration was my overwhelming love for Japanese street fashion. Ever since university, I’d been fascinated by street style and collected a huge amount of research through books, magazines, blogs and two trips to Tokyo. I wanted to create an illustrated resource for all those styles, both for myself and for others so people can see at a glance what the typical characteristics of each one are. This image is actually from the cover of a book pitch but I never heard back from the publisher, so I re-used many of the character designs!

The inspiration behind Maqaroon’s jewellery is a blend of Japanese “sweets deco” scene with classical European design. I live in Vienna, Austria which is a very traditional and baroque city. There are horse drawn carriages all over the streets and people take black tie ball season extremely seriously. There are also tiny boutiques everywhere selling amazingly delicate necklaces and bracelets made out of precious metal and diamonds.

So considering the two big influences in my life, I imagined Maqaroon to be a classy re-design of kawaii style. I wanted to create things that are very cute, but would still fit into an elegant wardrobe or upmarket occasion.

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Where do you find inspiration when you feel exhausted?
I really value spending time with my friends, family and boyfriend. I think when you’re in the presence of people you care about, your mind unblocks easily letting ideas and inspiration flow. I definitely believe in ‘leisure investment’ for creative people i.e. prioritising things which make you happy in order to produce higher quality of ideas/art, which in turn generates more sales. I also love yoga and find it’s an excellent way to reboot you mind & body when you’re stressed.

What is your favorite work to do these days?
I like simple hands-on work the most, which includes making jewellery, gluing boxes, packaging products. This is what I missed most when working as a freelance designer/illustrator because I’d spend 10 hours a day in front of the computer. I developed bad neck and shoulder pain as result so that was another reason I decided to change careers. Now I really relish evenings where I can just sit in front of the TV and make things with my hands, almost like back in school!

Do you craft your own jewelry and if so do you have a glimpse into your workspace or studio? How does the space work for you?
I design my jewellery on computer and then have the raw components (necklace/bracelet chains, earring bases) manufactured in gold-plated stainless steel. Then I make additional elements such as resin clay macaron shells by hand and assemble everything in my studio.

Unfortunately I have a really small apartment so I usually work on my dining table or coffee table and have to take out and clear up all the supplies before and after. This is also why I don’t have any workspace photos as it looks quite messy and uninspiring :P. Though I’m in the process of moving in with my boyfriend and will have a studio room just for myself so I’m really excited about that!

I’ll finally also have space for a larger computer and plan to start making videos and craft tutorials on my YouTube channel.

Do you use inspiration boards or have any to show?
Yep, I’ve been using WeHeartIt long before Pinterest came out so I still keep everything here!

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Favorites
Drink: Starbucks Iced Chai Soy Latte
Food: Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry
TV Show: Girls
Book: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Song: Everything by Michael Buble
3 words to describe yourself: Fun, Hyperactive, Artsy

What do you feel you communicate within your work?
I really want people to be happy when they look at it. I try to show all the creativity and happiness that still exists in the world through all the styles that young people choose to express themselves in. In addition, I believe strongly in diversity, tolerance and respect. This is why I decided to use animals instead of humans in Maqaroon, as it makes the issue of race and gender less contrived but still visibly present.

In terms of product and pricing, I’m a big believer in making good design accessible to many people. Graphic design is making things for the masses, whereas art is for the elite. Obviously having been a designer all these years, I don’t consider my work ‘artisanal’ or ‘special’ in any way and therefore don’t want to price it as such.
In this sense, I want Maqaroon to be a beautiful but fun and down-to-earth brand. If it were a person it’d be like that fabulously glam friend who you can always rely on as well! I didn’t want the brand to feel like an expensive, aloof and snobby girl who you sort of aspire to but feel you have to act slightly fake to be accepted in their clique.

Where do you plan to go next with your work/brand?
I plan to concentrate on jewellery and work on expanding the range to include delicate choker necklaces, bracelets and possibly rings. My dream would be to be stocked in stores that I love to shop at myself (like Topshop or ASOS). I’m also hoping to increase the non-sales side of the brand with a Youtube craft channel and more collaborations/portraits with bloggers!

Why does the “maqaroon” have a mustache?
Hehee this actually has an explanation behind it! I had two rules from the very start of the brand, which is that Maqaroon should not appear too childish and that it should lean towards being unisex. The risk with any kawaii brand is that it’s extremely easy to slide into using loads of pinks, creams, strawberries and flowers. I wanted Maqaroon to be cute but not over-the-top frilly and feminine.

So I decided on a neutral green as the main branding color, with virtually all backgrounds kept in white. When I was designing the logo I tried out loads of different facial expressions. I realised a typical kawaii mouth made it look too childish so I decided to use a moustache to show that the macaron is an adult male (this sentence is starting to sound a bit ridiculous XD). This again reinforces the unisex aspect, and not making it overtly girly.

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Lastly, are you Miseducated and why?
Yes definitely. Miseducated is about non-conformity, creativity and inspiring readers to follow their dreams, express themselves and live their best life. Too many people lose sight of these values when chasing after superficial things or trying to live up to other people’s expectations.

Growing up, I was always eager to please and would try to do everything right at school. I believed that you need to get good grades, get a degree, get a good job and somehow life would reward you. I spent many years doing different jobs and even though the experience was really valuable, I felt slightly disillusioned. I was working crazy hours yet barely making enough money to cover my living costs.

As it happened, in 2010 I became very ill and took several months to recover. During that time I had a serious think about my priorities and my conclusion was that I wanted a career with unlimited creative freedom, lots of leisure time and the potential for a much higher income. So here I am, three years later and doing what I’ve always dreamed of. There’s still a long way to go but I’ve never felt happier and more fulfilled!

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Mood Board: Lock my Heart and Never Part

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a Mew for Today because I really was going through a painfully overwhelming period in my life that I am slowly navigating out of. I am happier and healthier than I have ever been before and I owe it to my one true love, spirituality and sobriety. Thankfully as more time goes on I have started feeling very much inspired and overwhelmed with ideas again and I would love to share some eye candy that is oh-so-Miseducated and catching my attention on tumblr tonight…

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Strawberry Switchblade Sings My Soul

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One band I cherished since a child (much like Bowie but more relatable on a sensitive and misunderstood girl level) and never outgrew is Strawberry Switchblade. I formed a cherished online friendship with Rose McDowall in the late 90s and grew to understand her in a more personal way as the creative soul she is. In grade school I created a very cute, pink and polkadot website devoted to the band visuals and audio decadence, I had musical appreciation websites for Strawberry Switchblade, No Doubt, Veruca Salt and Shampoo (my all-time favorite bands), to which I thought why not create features here as I’ve been meaning to do for years.

Rose is as magical as her music is. She and Jill Bryson wove visual gumdrops for my eyes to munch on obsessively and still inspire me heavily to this day. Miseducated’s first layout and many layouts thereafter were created while blasting Strawberry Switchblade songs over and over (and I mean OVER AND OVER). When I met my very best friend Kimi online in 1997 it was like the magical world they wove, a world of polkadots and acid-like colors dripping with cute psychedelia, came to life in our relationship. As a troubled child I often felt Kimi was the one person in the world who understood me, who would always be there (she’s still there). Our song was “Since Yesterday” by Strawberry Switchblade. When she calls even today that song rings out to let me know it’s my soul mate calling.

If you’ve never heard of Strawberry Switchblade and don’t appreciate the delicious 80s whirlwind of drum machines and their unique electronic music filled with happy, depressed, in love, best friend adoring, memory mourning troubled girl lyrics then you might not enjoy it but I honestly, yes with a big bias, cannot imagine how anyone could not want to dance, twirl in daisies and sing to their music. When I listen now it transports me back to memories from childhood, the good and bad, middle and high school filled with love, loss and raves, as well as today the love I still have for my very best friend Kimi, my cherubic three year old daughter and my boyfriend who is, at last, my love dream come true. Step back in time and many of the photos in the gallery below were posters on my wall and locker. Can you get enough?

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Many who know me well see the photos and instantly understand why I was so odd as a child (or even as an adult!) with my polkadot dresses and big, offensive, neon bows. I stood out like a miniature pop star in a small town school and many thought it was hilarious at my expense. I still get it to this day if I visit the town, people look at me like I’m an obviously lost alien. Hell it even happens in the city I reside in occasionally, I only seem to not be an eye sore in southern California on my many summer visits to stay with Kimi and in Tokyo, Japan of course.. but never really here, and so I know Strawberry Switchblade is singing my woes in a way that I will always understand. When you find a band like that you rarely let them go, who would want to? I’m still ready to dive into their “Deep Water” and never return.