Sunday, March 19, 2017

"Involve me and I learn"

I can't believe we are almost done with the first year of homeschooling. Wow. Between working at BK and juggling homeschooling schedule, my day is incredibly full... and so as Frido's. I am pretty lucky if I get to bed by midnight and yes... I totally feel sleep deprived occasionally (especially in the late afternoon... and during kid's bedtime) But I am glad that we are making it happen through a process of trial and error.

Being on the east side of Los Angeles, we are finding that there are many kinds of homeschooling supports and groups and we are lucky to be in close knitted friends who also started their homeschooling journey as we did last year. I can't imagine our experience would be the same without them. We are at home learning few days a week and out and about on other days. Kids learn at home, on the road, during our field trips, with friends, and on their own... We took the concept of the weekend away from our family conversation because I work on Sundays and we consider Saturday and Sunday just another day to explore and learn. Sometimes our week feels too busy and chaotic and I take a note to myself to take few things off our plate in the next season. Other times I notice we can use more time with friends and a bigger circle of community and we seek out for the experience.

Few weeks ago, we took a learning field trip to The Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert with friends and it was magical. Kids got to really take in and experience the zoo and its environment in their own pace. They watched a cheetah catch a wild rabbit that happened to pop out of the ground when we were watching. We saw a warthog family come out of their barrel as morning got warmer. We found an empty patio/picnic table area right next to the camel exhibit and spread out to do some art while admiring how beautiful camels were. One of our highlight was to visit animal hospital on site and get a little tour from the main zoo veterinarian Kevin. The tour took about 30-40 minutes and kids were so focused, attentive and curious and it blew me away. After the tour, we spent the rest of the day at the zoo playground and they played with all their hearts in.

Every kid is different and they all have different ways of learning. I am seeing that our girls enjoy learning so much... especially if it's is mixed with play. They can focus on topics they are interested in as long as they have other time before and after to let loose and be kids. Satchi enjoys that she can choose to explore a topic as long as she is interested in and she is an integral part of how we decide the day/week/year to feel like for us.

Probably the most importantly... I am learning about Satchi and Coco so much through this experience and am reminded how wonderful they are as two growing human beings with big personalities and so much love to contribute to the world.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

― Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Metamorphosis: TSL Pen Holder Clip // New vs. 3 months

We just received a parcel from the Superior Labor and it included the BK original design "Pen Holder Clip"!!! This pen holder is really special to me and Frido since it's one of the ideas that came out from our meeting with the Superior Labor (last July!!). We went back and forth with an idea via email and few prototype samples were made by the team of TSL. I love how collaboration could happen even with the distance.

I have been using the final prototype for last few months and I am so in love with how it is aging. Especially when I hold my worn-in version next to the brand new one. The front part of the leather has patinaed just enough to match my TN Camel! It has a quite bit of scratch marks from clips of the fountain pens digging into the leather and I enjoy seeing them grow to be one of the kind.

The brass clip behind the leather is originally designed as a money clip so it grips well to the TN leather cover - an important feature so you don't accidentally lose your Pen Holder Clip with your favorite pens!!!

I can't wait to see how it looks like over many many more years.

Grow life in your favorite tin can!

After using the TN 10th Anniversary mini notebook to capture a special story, what do you do with the tin can left behind? Of course, you can use it to organize analogue goodies, letters, rubber stamps, etc.!!! Addition to those very awesomely functional ideas, we wanted to share few fun ways to incorporate this beautiful container in our everyday life.

First one is to turn it into a mini succulent planter. Succulents in our garden are growing quite wild this year with all the rain we had... so girls and I had a lot of fun clipping our favorites and arranging them. The tin can is wide enough to add multiple kinds of succulents and it will be a nice addition as a tabletop plant:)

How are you using your tin cans??

Sunday, March 12, 2017

TN Mini for special stories

We adore how tiny the TN Anniversary Mini notebooks are!!!
Although TN Mini might be bit too small to use as an everyday journal as we are all used to..., there are so many different ways of incorporating them into your analogue world than just admiring how cute it is!

We love the idea of writing and documenting something that is truly personal and special in the TN Mini notebook and keeping it close to us as a charm. You can hang the TN Mini on your favorite bag, or pouch and have it always available to flip through.

If you would like to add mini pictures, you can print your favorite photos in 1"x1" size and they will fit perfectly on the Mini refill notebook!

How will you use your TN Mini??

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Meet our incredible BK Team!

At home, our family is learning about an evolution of the earth and our world right now... When we were reading this lovely book, The Story of Life: A First Book about Evolution, Satchi asked me "Does it mean that I am evolving too?? Changing??" I love how she took the concept and found a way to relate to herself with the question.

And yes... we are all evolving and it has been the case for our Baum-kuchen studio/shop too.

I often get a question, "did you know that you were going to be doing exactly what you are doing today when you first opened Baum-kuchen nearly 7 years ago?" And my answer is always... "not really." We didn't (and still choose not to) have a fixed business plan that puts us in a rigid box. But instead, I am always trying to listen, learn, be open minded, stay aware, and dream. 

Listening to my gut and what my heart is saying. Listening to the feedback of our customers and a group of trusted informal advisors I count on. Listening to how my girls and Frido feel about how things are going. Learning about what is changing around us and figuring out what new tools/skills we need to stay relevant today. Being aware how products and brands we are working with are changing and evolving. Be open minded to change the course as needed. And as importantly dreaming small and big ideas so we can orient ourselves towards what might be next. 

I am thankful for so many many things that have happened to us through our BK adventure in last seven years. But if it's one thing I personally have to pick... I am most thankful for having an opportunity to serve our incredible BK team including Frido, Nerine and Eunice. Baum-kuchen of today would never be possible without our team. I pinch myself often how lucky I am to be a part of their life's journey and remind myself that my mission is to contribute to their lives in the most meaningful way through the experience I can provide at Baum-kuchen.

If you have a moment, I would like to invite you to browse the updated BK about page on our website. A talented artist Arotin created pencil drawings of BK team. I had so much fun capturing images of each portrait with artifacts that represented individual role and personality within our studio. While you are there, you can also read a little bit more about Frido, Eunice, Nerine too! 

 Sketches of Baum-kuchen team portraits by Arotin Hartounian 

Adventure continues...

I so believe that even when our exciting trip comes to an end, our experience lingers in life for a very long time. 

Last few trips we have taken definitely proved the theory for us and impacted the way we orient and live our life at home in Los Angeles. 

When we were staying on the Big Island of Hawaii in early January, Frido started drawing and sketching things that were inspiring him at the moment. Whenever we had downtime at our home away home, he would zone into painting and sketching logos and ideas to capture what our Hawaii experience felt to us. 

When we came home and looked at his sketchbook pages, we thought we should finalize some of the ideas and turn them into something we can share at our studio... and that's how our BK Travel Sticker / Hawaii came to life. I love that it's a postcard size so we could put the entire sheet in a clear sleeve and mail it as a travel postcard. I also adore that the entire sheet feels like it came out of his sketchbook. A lot of callouts and notes... just the way Frido tinkers and designs. Some of the watercolor paintings are already die-cut so they can be easily incorporated into your journal or letter... I personally saved and cut all the tiny details with scissors! 

We hope this personal capture of our experience in Hawaii brings inspiration to your future travels as well as stir your memory from the past travels.  

BK on Big Islands //
Live light... and travel even lighter

Up and close with volcano
Our home away home in jungle
Gone fishing... (well sort of)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dear Satchi & Coco

When I was a little person, I had this notebook that traveled between me and my friend. The exchange journal... We wrote to each other as if we were writing letters... but words stayed in the notebook instead of being loose papers. It was so special.

The other day, I gave Coco a little letter on a loose paper and her smile was priceless... so I thought I really should be doing this more often.

I dug out my special Traveler's Notebooks (which I kept in the safe spot!!) and declared that I will dedicate each notebook to Satchi and Coco. Kids have seen us using Traveler's Notebook for so many years... and have asked me if they could have their own someday. So their faces lit up when they held these notebooks. I told them that we can use it together.

So now a new ritual has begun. I have been taking few minutes each night to jot down some words on each notebook... reminding them how much I love them and how important they are in my life. They wake up in the morning and read the letter from the night before.

I am hoping that we will continue...
Because really... our girls can never hear enough "I love you" from me and Frido.

Friday, February 17, 2017

BK in Tokyo // Boutique stationery shops!

Now reflecting back..., the very last full day we had in Tokyo with Eunice and Nerine (back in October!!) was one of my favorite adventure day. It was a beautiful sunny October day. The air felt light and we were up for exploring!

The first two stops we made were Tegami-sha. We all fell in love with their concept of stationery meets lifestyle meets amazing food...  They have 2 locations with different cafe/stores which was about 15 minutes walk from each other. If you are analogue enthusiasts like us, I think you will enjoy visiting both locations.

We enjoyed our very slow lunch at Tegami-sha "Tsutsujiga-oka" after meeting the creative duo of Kata-kata (which happened to be next door!)

In a very Japanese fashion their lunch menu sells out often (!!!) so I recommend visiting there for early lunch. We totally took our time to indulge their delicious food and their sweets. The inspiring space really sparked some great conversations. I have a fond memory of chatting with Eunice and Nerine about the possible future of Baum-kuchen and where we might or could go next. In some way, stepping away from our everyday operation really helped us to breathe some big dreams and to me... that's what traveling is all about.

Our second stop was the Tegami-sha 2nd Story. We enjoyed their take on artistic display. Creating unexpected experience... encouraging us to feel more curious.

From there, we took a 30 minutes taxi ride to cross the town. (If we had more time, we would have taken trains... but we were quite pinched with time!) Next stop was Nakamura Bungu Ten. I had to smile when I looked them up online to check their opening hours. Their opening hours is like ours! (You know what I mean... if you have been to our shop in Glassell Park)

The 3rd generation owner of this stationery store curates mostly unused vintage stationery from Japan. When I walked into the store, I felt like I had time slipped to my grandparents house. In their living room where they kept old notebooks and binders... my grandfather's house on Yakushima island with his stationery...

Frido loves Vintage graphic and it inspires quite bit of our BK aesthetics so I was over the moon to be in the space picking every single vintage stationery I could find... and admiring them.

From there we took JR "Chuo-line" train to make our way back to the city and stopped by 36 Sublo store.  This boutique store was like stationery lover's dream. The space is small but a lot of little items to go through and discover... In some way, it felt like walking into an amazing flea market booth. I am glad we visited a big stationery store like LOFT on the previous day. We knew exactly which item(s) were hard to find anywhere else.

If you are visiting Tokyo and LOVE analogue items, I highly recommend visiting these little stores!


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