Sunday, October 31, 2010

baum-kuchen {wrap}

Since we are starting to ship some of the baum-kuchen items to our lovely customers, I've been wanting to create a special way to wrap our items...  So I looked for inspiration from Japanese and German cultures and did some brainstorm...

I really wanted to make the unwrapping of the package to be a "process"... unique to baum-kuchen. Also it was important to make sure that the method was flexible and simple enough to be applied to all kinds of shapes and sizes.

When we were visiting Japan few years ago, I bought these books about traditional Japanese gift wrapping.  Both of these books have beautiful examples of paper folding as a way to wrap items and also talk about "a way of giving". One phrase from the book really resonated with me...

"To wrap an object by folding a paper is to capture the true gratitude and appreciation inside of the paper".

Isn't it just beautiful? (I really love Japanese culture... can you hear me sighing with admiration...?) I thought it would be really meaningful to go through a ritual of paper folding each time someone purchases an item from my little shop...  It will be a way for me to thank my customers and be a part of the experience.

I also looked for materials that felt true to baum-kuchen. Something simple yet distinguished.

At the end I decided to use a craft paper with a special edge fold as a base and a strip of Japanese washi paper as a simple decorative layer all wrapped by a string of red/white bakers twine (which my hubby swears that it very much reminds him of a string that holds a little clothe over a canning jar in Germany). I liked how the bakers twine give a dash of color... red is a symbol for celebration in Japan.

You can see the last two photos to check out how the wrap came out!

I really enjoyed the design exploration in this... Life is busy but I need to be always designing "a way of living" everyday:)
wrapping inspirationwrapping inspirationwrapping inspirationwrapping inspirationbaum-kuchen wrappingbaum-kuchen wrapping

Friday, October 29, 2010

Little roo Friday {babylicious 2.0}

My dear little roo grows so much everyday... but some day, the growth curve seems much steeper than any other days...

Since we came home from the weekend trip last Saturday, she has shown so much maturity in her, it is incredible.

For the longest time, little roo did not like to fall in sleep by herself. So our solution was to carry her in the baby carrier (we started with a ring sling, moved to a moby wrap... then a baby bjorne) until she completely fell in sleep. Moving her from the baby carrier to the crib was a huge challenge where we felt like we were playing a giant domino game. If we put her down too fast/soon, she would instantly wake up and cry. I swear to you... for last four months we were carrying her with us most of her awake time.

Well... since last Sunday I have not worn the baby bjorne. One day she just decided that she would like to go to sleep... armed with her favorite rubbit (we call her wu-sa-chan, little rabbit in Japanese) and a pacifier, I lay her down in the crib when she seems to be tired and voila... she is out in a few seconds. We couldn't believe this change for a few days... so we kept telling ourselves that it was just the day and might not be the same the next day. But for an entire week she has kept her record so now it's official!

Little roo is in her babylicious 2.0!

I am imagining that the world is starting to make sense to her. 

Aside from her awesome new sleep habit, she smiles and giggles more, reaches her tiny hands to my face, wants to play with a glass of water in my hand...  she is precious. I have always enjoyed being with her... but now more than ever, I absolutely treasure her company.

My little roo is my big happiness... and everyday I am so grateful to have her in my life.
little roo_1029little roo_1029

Thursday, October 28, 2010

one thing at a time...

I like this picture. It was taken in September... with my father-in-law mopping the tarp they used at the Burning Man. He was so focused in cleaning that time just passed by him...

I think the nature of being a mom comes with a list of never ending laundry list... and I just got back to consulting part-time again...  Sometimes when I am doing one thing, my minds are running to million different directions... and it can be bit overwhelming.

So time to time I look at this photo to remind myself that it's okay to do one thing at a time... slowly but surely.

inspired by... {spooky story}

Growing up in Japan and Germany, we don't have a particular tie to American holidays nor cultural icons.  Thanksgiving, 4th of July... and of course... Halloween... My sister who is more into costumes (well... she is more Japanese than I am, I suppose) dragged me out to several Halloween parties over last 10 years but other than that, Halloween has been another day of the year for us.

Now we have a house in a little neighborhood and a daughter, friends have been asking if we would give candies to trick-or-treaters or dress up our little roo in the first costume...

Well. We don't really know yet. Most likely no to the first question and maybe we will put a cute hat with ears on little roo. We kind of decided that if we have time to decorate the house, we could use the time to go through the stuff in closet and garage... (are we too boring?)

But that does not mean we can not enjoy the Halloween decorating party at our friend's house! Last Sunday we had so much fun helping our friends' kids to decorate their front yard. Did you know that each corner must have a "special story"?  One corner became a graveyard and other corner was a chop shop!! I love the idea of the mini story as a vignette. This I can totally get into!
1027_spooky story

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Road trip #3: Mission Bay, San Francisco

Mission Bay in San Francisco is a relatively new development so even though it is only a few mile away from center of the city, it felt like we were in the very cute urban suburb. Our friends (with their sweet baby Ale) live in this neighborhood. Little canal, house boats (these are oldies), volleyball court under a major freeway, narrow strips of park on both sides of the water. Everything was super approachable and accessible!

It was so refreshing to stroll to the breakfast restaurant. I love our house in LA... but sometimes I dream about a coffee shop in a walking distance. (you know... when the afternoon chai latte craving hits me) But for now I am happy that my wish came true on last Saturday:)
San Francisco Mission BaySan Francisco Mission BaySan Francisco Mission BaySan Francisco Mission Bay

Monday, October 25, 2010

Road Trip #2: sun rise in Santa Cruz

I was so happy that I sneaked out early in the morning for a quick jog when we were in Santa Cruz. It was a foggy morning and the sun was just peeking through the thick cloud. Santa Cruz has a board walk right by the water. It was creepy but fun going into the empty arcade even though none of the rides were operating.

Fresh air, quiet morning... what more could I have asked for? 
Santa Cruz pierSanta Cruz pierSanta Cruz pier

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Road trip #1: Visiting Heath Ceramics

Ever since our friend introduced us to the Heath Ceramics when we got married (their classic dinnerware set was one of the very lovely wedding gift we have received), I have always wanted to check out their factory in Sausalito (just north of San Francisco).

So I was really happy to finally have the opportunity during our trip! Unfortunately we didn't have enough time to do the factory tour... but had plenty of time to browse all of their goodies at their shop. I really liked seeing their collections... their lines of ceramics as well as other handcrafted products they carry in their shop. Every one of their curated items has a story behind the creation. We especially loved Edward Wohl Bird's-eye Maple cutting board (first pic on the right) and recycled glassware made from wine bottles.

If you have a chance to visit San Francisco, it's a nice afternoon trip over the Golden Gate Bridge. While you are there, don't forget to visit the restaurant FISH which is one block away from the Heath Ceramics. They have great seafood and a lovely view to the harbor!
heath ceramic factory storeheath ceramic factory storeheath ceramic factory storeheath ceramic factory storeheath ceramic factory store

Little roo Sunday {1st road trip}

Happy Sunday everyone:)
We just came back from the first road trip as a family of three! It was a three day road trip to San Francisco with a pit stop at Santa Cruz. Little roo did really really well considering this was her first time being in the car for an extended period. She didn't mind the long drive nor sleeping in the unfamiliar environments.

One of our big agenda for this trip was to spend time with our friends in San Francisco who also have a little girl. Their daughter Ale is one week older than little roo!  With two of them together, we can cover quite bit of global view (little roo is German/Japanese. Ale is American/Peruvian/Italian) It was so cute to see them together side by side.

Inspired by little Ale, little roo tried her first solid food tasting (a.k.a. yummy avocado). Before this trip, I was pretty convinced that we were not going to introduce solid for another 4 months or so... but I am so glad we let her try. She totally loved munching on mushed avocado. 

Ale and little roo did some modeling together with Snug Attack GIRL shirt. (aren't they cute holding their hands together?) The purple looked quite cute on them and I really liked how abstract typography looked once I put the shirt on little roo.

I hope you enjoy the rest of Sunday! I have a few more travel posts I would love to share with you as well as some shipment to take care of so I will be working for next few hours from here. Then we are off to Halloween decoration get together with friends:)
satchi_travelPA244658satchi&ale_3 PA244605satchi&ale

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Inspired by... {moisture in the air x fresh green}

We had one rainy week here in Los Angeles! We barely saw the sun come out so we stayed mostly inside. As much as I love sunny days, it's nice to have a change of scenery here and there. Weather like this reminds me of my days in Seattle.

Foggy morning is my favorite time of the day! The smell of wet soil... very quiet surroundings... I could almost hear the sound of water. Our garden plants are also loving the moisture in the air. The fruit trees we planted in early summer is greener than ever and we are starting to get mossy ground in our (slightly empty) backyard.

When little roo one was asleep, I was able to explore our garden and capture some moments.

I hope your week is as sunny as the sky above these clouds!
1021_moisture in the air x fresh green

Monday, October 18, 2010

Future of heirloom - cast iron bottle opner

Our friend brought back this lovely bird from Portland. It is a bottle opener made of "Nambu-tekki" (traditional cast iron craft from Japan).

I love the fact that the designer, Tadanori Baba has married the traditional craft and an abstract form of a crow motif to create something that is appropriate for today. This bottle opener can easily fit in a modern kitchen. 

I feel that there is a movement in Japan to invigorate old craft/manufacturing process in order to survive the effect of globalization. If people need something cheaper..., there really isn't a reason why products have to be made in Japan. But through cross-pollinating traditional craft/manufacturing process with contemporary designs, Japanese makers can position themselves in a very unique market with superb quality and good and long-lasting design often inspired by wabi-sabi philosophy.

The SIWA collection follows a very similar concept and I believe in makers and manufactures who are finding ways to appreciate "old" in new manners.

This is one way of creating a future of heirloom... something we will still love using 50 years from now... and potentially passing it on to the next generation. (maybe little roo will open a bottle of beer with this bottle opener when she turns 21:)
bottle opener

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fresh and tasty

I am one of those people who keep going back to my favorite places in the city! So when hubby and I decided to go out for a lunch on Thursday..., of course I suggested that we would do the "favorites".

My recent frequent visit is the Sunset Junction in Silverlake - Forage and Pazzo Gelato... conveniently located next to each other and ReForm School for handmade items shopping.

Oh how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE looking at the yummy deli over the counter at Forage... and tasting their freshly made food and refreshing drinks. Forage is a very unique restaurant where they "forage" harvest from neighborhood farmers and create menus that are true to local (with excellent taste... of course). I am so thankful that my friend Penelope recommended this place a while ago. When in doubt, I can always go back there!

After enjoying our food at Forage we usually like to "top it off" with gelato and do some people watching. Fashionable preggy lady with her friend (they totally gugu gaga over our little roo by the way), a mom with a cool stroller, a guy on a fixed gear bicycle... we got them all. This little corner in Silverlake makes us feel like we were in Europe... just little sunnier and more crowded with cars but still very lovely:)
forage + gelato in Silverlakeforage + gelato in Silverlakeforage + gelato in Silverlakeforage + gelato in Silverlake

Saturday, October 16, 2010

what I loved about my grandfather

Yesterday morning I woke up with a news of my grandfather's sudden passing...

He was a special one. The one I have always called "Jiji". He lived on Yakushima island in Japan all by himself for last 25 years. I remember being very scared of him when I was little...

Hubby and I had an opportunity to visit him two winters ago. It was a very memorable trip for us. He was turning 80 years old back then but still very active and agile. His genuine curiosity surprised us. He wanted to eat something hubby cooked. Something German... which was hard to come by on the island. He watched hubby cook his German food (or whatever that came to the closest) in his very functional industrial style kitchen.

On top of the cliff, he built this amazing dome house (3rd picture) several years ago all by himself so that he can have his family over more often. This house was like a little space ship... He had everything he needed to survive... everything from a big industrial freezer which could freeze his catch for many years to heavy weight machines to use for the work around his house.

He was a tool person. He had the best of the best tools in the kitchen and he took care of them well. Along with my mother-in-law in Germany, he was one of the person who inspired me to start the shop that carries quality products. 

It's not easy to see family member go from this world to the next... but I know he was deliberate in the way he spent his life and he did not suffer from the moment of his departure...

so all I wish is for him to have a very restful journey to the next life.

We love you Jiji...
yakushima_1 yakushima_3yakushima_4 
yakushima_0 yakushima_5

Friday, October 15, 2010

Little roo Friday {exploring the world}

We have been somewhat protective parents so until recently we spent most of our time at home. But this week I have been so thrilled to see the maturity that little roo is showing. She totally thrived being exposed to different people and places... with a lot of new noise!

We visited our favorite twins during the week. You should have seen them together. They were so cute... very interested in each other. It's so good for little roo to see older babies... learning all the new tricks!

Next day we were out to our favorite spots in Silver Lake! More to come on that but here are some little roo pics from the day.

Doesn't she look like she is just absorbing everything? Little sponge roo:)
out at silverlakeout at silverlake

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Inspired by... {my kitchen - heart of home}

Happy week everyone:)
I want to thank you for all the lovely comments/emails I have received on my shop relaunch. It's very very exciting:)

In order to get things done for the shop, I have spent many many hours in my little kitchen where I cooked both our meals and my shop... (it's the brightest and most secluded part of my house) so I thought it would be fun to share a little inspiration from my kitchen today.

I love love love that we're starting to collect very international cookwares. I got a picture of Tagine here but we also have a Japanese nabe (we do shabu shabu in this pot), Römertopf (German clay pot), Scandinavian cast-iron casserole (our kind friend gave this as our wedding gift but wow... just realized you could buy one at MoMA store), and German pressure cooker by Silit all on the same shelf.

I believe kitchen is the heart of our home... we cook, eat, celebrate, work, share...  In this tiny space we live and breathe our life!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

baum-kuchen shop {relaunch}

I have a very very exciting news to share with you.
Last night I celebrated my baum-kuchen shop relaunch.  Now the shop is stocked with all new products from Japan and Germany!

I am so thrilled and relieved at the same time. At one point, executing the relaunch seemed like a huge hurdle to climb... between diaper change and baby carrier. But with the sweet support from hubby, I powered through the weekend to finish up everything I wanted to... for this round.

So if you have a moment..., please take a look:) 

In the shop you will see gems I have collected with the help of my lovely my mother-in-law Heide (check out "inspired by Heide" collection) as well as colorful Japanese masking tapes that can brighten up your day! I also think you will love love love the quality of handmade leather products from Michael Sans Berlin and SAWA, the Japanese paper accessories designed by Naoto Fukasawa.

I am so happy to finally share all these goodies with you:)

I hope you like them...
and if you are so kind, please help me to spread this happy news with rest of the world:)


shop update (10/11/10)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Little roo Friday {curiosity}

Little roo Friday Saturday!

I was totally pooped last night so this post got pushed out one day...

I think it's a combination of roo not wanting to sleep much... (thus we get very little sleep at night) and bit of mileage I am banking up on my running shoes. I was so exhausted yesterday... I finally got myself to the nearby Wholefoods to get iron supplements as well as fish oil and vitamins. Hopefully I will get my energy back today!

Speaking of energy, little roo is no short of baby energy... she is like a little diesel engine from a moment she wakes up. She is so happy in the morning with giggles and smiles... it's a joy to hang out with her.

Also she has been so so curious these days. Loves to grab things and (almost) put them in her mouth for a toy tasting. Few days ago I spotted her staring intensely at the bedroom window... there was a beautiful shadow effect created by the tree behind the window.

In her eyes... world must be so amazing... full of beautiful shapes and colors... and papa and mama. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Inspired by... {crisp air & warm cuddle}

I don't know what happened... but the temperature in LA has dropped almost 40F° in last 7 days... crazy. Now we have rainy days, cold air and darker evenings...

Time to cuddle in the big bathrobes during the morning hours, sip warm hot chocolate in the mid-afternoon and take brisk walks every time sun peeks out.

Happy October:)
Inspired by... 1006_1

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Japanese vintage

My sister brought me some great goodies from Japan! Aside from cute baby toys for little roo, there are these Japanese vintage housewares she found at flea market!

We were trying to figure out how old this tiny milk jar could be... it only has 3 digits for the phone number! And the food container is a miniature compared to today's Tupperware lunch box! (did our stomach grow twice in size in last 3 decades??)

I love vintage artifacts. It takes me to the imaginary place where I picture the world that was maybe so different from today...  I wonder how life was like back then.

simpler... slower... richer...?

I should ask my parents about that...
japanese vintage
japanese vintagejapanese vintagejapanese vintagejapanese vintage


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