Tuesday, May 29, 2012

05:29:12 [142/365] - simplicity

I've been reading this book, Simplicity Parenting since I saw it on Joanna's blog... and I am really loving it! I was already in the midst of de-cluttering Roo's room and it has become a perfect fuel!

It is so true that today's society tends to keep us very busy... busier than our body and mind can actually keep up with. If it is this difficult for grown-ups, how challenging it might be for our little ones?

So whenever time allows, I am letting Roo take her time and space to accomplish a task in her hands. No... it does not always make sense to me (why would she need to buckle her car seat by herself before she even sits down?) but she needs to orient herself in the world before I consistently intervene with what makes sense to a grown-up. If I need to be at a certain place at a specific time, I simply start getting ready little earlier so nobody has to fuss about extra time it takes for her to be on the same page with us.

We also put away a lot of toys (and keep reducing general "stuff" from our house) and added two special ones - a little ukelele for her and a loan guitar from my dad for me. I have no idea how to play a guitar but I wanted to play it with Roo. My dad got this guitar when he was in college... 40 years ago... so it is a very special one and it took some convincing for him to lend it to me. Now whenever we have a little moment at home, we pretend as if we know how to play them and sing our favorites. (It's a good thing that you don't hear how we sound from the photo:)

I am looking forward to reading rest of the book... and see how our parenting approach will continue to evolve. So far it not only has reduced amount of melt down she has had in a day but also given me more space and time to flow through the day... It feels like an win-win for everyone:)


Monday, May 28, 2012

05:28:12 [141/365] - Welcome to Roo's room:)

I hope you had a nice extended weekend! Ours was filled with family, friend, California sunshine... and much anticipated new shop website!!! (more to come on this one:)

Tonight... I would love to share a few photos from our little Roo's special room. 

Her bedroom is as big as our bedroom... so it always has felt little too big for a small crib. Especially the eye-level was strange. We had the grown-up size bookshelf and diaper station for standing... then we sat on the floor all the time to play. We were also little tired of the foam mat.

It was time for a change!

I am really glad we waited this long to start investing in her room. She is two week away from turning TWO and we really got to know her personality over time. When FB and I were talking about the direction we wanted to take with her room, we quickly came to the idea that it should feel like a little dessert safari with lots of animals and dry dessert color!

We were anxiously waiting for this rug to come back from cleaning and repairing... then I came across two animal hooks at a local Anthropology store (giraffe and elephant)! I knew that the color and look/feel would be so perfect... I didn't hesitate a bit to get them for her! We didn't notice this right away... but we discovered that the elephant and giraffe hooks matched perfectly to Norm's animal drawings that are so dear to our heart. So now she has a very special art work from our friend Jessie and Norm. A bird mobile from auntie Susan and Turtle Turtle seat from our Art Center colleague... and a few other animal friends here and there in the room!

Eventually... we will upholster the small Japanese couch we have "borrowed" from my parents' house (you know... it will be a long-term lease) and have her transition to a toddler bed... then maybe get a tipi!

For now... it's an awesome comfortable place to hang out for three of us:)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

05:24:12 [140/365] - like Christmas!

Roo and I were away for one night... and guess what was waiting for when we came home!!!

A box full of goodies we shipped from Kyoto two months ago!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

05:22:12 [139/365] - day off... (well...sort of)

FB and I take alternate days for our Roo care... so few days a week, I shut down much of my internet connection and spend all day with her till she goes to bed. I resume my work around 8pm after dinner and work until I finish packing following day's shipment.

Sometimes it requires little bit of juggling but it's an arrangement that works for now.

Today was one of those days. We woke up at 5:45am (yep... that early... not voluntary for all of us involved), and Roo and I spent all day together till 8pm when she went to bed. Between watering the garden while Roo playing in her kiddy pool, grocery shopping, afternoon nap, playground date, meal prepping..., the day seems to flow with its own rhythm.

I love it when I stumble upon a moment that feels "just right" not to be connected... It usually happens when she is busy doing what she is doing... and I am watching her but the situation is not requiring me to be on the "alert" mode. Time seems to freeze for a few seconds in these moments and I feel like we are living somewhere totally different in a different era... like somewhere in Europe. Then I take a mental note how life would had been before we got email, twitter, facebook...

p.s. we do have usual 2 years old meltdowns especially towards the end of the night around 7pm... which usually only ends with me holding her on the couch.

And moms who are out there who spend 7 days/week... 24/7 with little ones (including my mom 30 years ago)... you are truly amazing. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

05:21:12 [138/365] - we love you... Shep!!

Shep and Roo are best friends... Every time she has her meltdown moment, we take her to Shep. They play catch... and Roo tries to feed stick to Shep. Shep is bigger than her but she is not afraid of him. She knows that he is a part of our family.

photos taken by my talented sister... last weekend in our garden.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

05:20:12 [137/365] - make it nice... at home

We were inspired by how nice my new office felt... so this weekend was all about "making it nice" at home. We did a lot of gardening in the morning, tidied up roo's room and my old office area, sipped our morning coffee in the backyard, enjoyed slow easy meals as a family... and spent a lot of time working on the new website.

More spring/summer cleaning to come... (we might be addicted to living as few objects as possible around us...)

Friday, May 18, 2012

05:18:12 [136/365] - my white space...

Today... I did the "unthinkable".

I moved my work desk into the bedroom.

With the new online shop building, I have been needing to use a larger screen to connect from my 13" laptop. Where my desk was set up before was facing a big window and I just couldn't keep staring at my screen during the day.

Little while ago, we were talking the possibility of adding an extra room... or building a small shack out in the backyard... but it all seemed little far from the immediate reality so we are putting those ideas to rest. The truth is... that I don't think it is good idea to make any big decision when the smallest family member is growing so much... Often... how we do things in our daily routine changes overnight because little Roo discovers something new and we need to quickly adopt our process... So minor changes that have very little permanent commitment has been sort of our way to accommodate everyone.

Our bedroom has been by far the whitest and simplest room in our house and I LOVED about it. It always felt so fresh, airy and restful... so I always thought I would NEVER bring any work related stuff in this room... but all the sudden this morning... it felt like a brilliant idea.

And it turned out to be a pretty great one.

The added (and probably the best) benefit is that I can close my door when I am working and I am setting it up so that this little corner where I work is just as crispy white, serene and calm as rest of the room.

Please stay tuned... some great productivity will be happening from this spot:)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

05:16:12 [135/365] - obsessively keep reinventing...

When I woke up yesterday morning, something (or someone in the air) told me that I needed to rethink my online store... so now I am working every awake moment (when I am not with Roo) to construct the Baum-Kuchen shop 2.0!

When I get in this kind of creative zone, I become absolutely obsessed... until task is complete. (sorry FB... I might not able to sit with you on the couch to watch movie for a while...) I suppose that is simply how I get things done between being a mom and business owner.

Actually the thought of doing something about my online shop has been in my mind for a while. When I opened the shop almost two years ago (wow...!), I wasn't sure where the path would take us so I looked for the simplest and most affordable option. Big Cartel combined with some iWeb pages has been a fantastic way to get my feet wet in the e-commerce business. Now that we are little bigger and carry so many more products from different makers, the platform which is supported by Big Cartel has become quite limiting.

The Baum-Kuchen 2.0 will have much more robust front and back end support both for us and for our customers. I am working on the aesthetics that is as crisp, clean and minimalistic as the current shop is (which I get a lot of positive feedback from customers:). AND I should be able to launch the shop 2.0 with a few new collections from Japan!

So here I am... obsessed. 

I have this card on my desk... my sweet friend Susan sent it to me a while ago. (thank you Susan!!!) It's such a positive encouragement that I feel like I could do anything I want if I work hard. We have to continuously reinvent ourselves, right?

Monday, May 14, 2012

05:14:12 [134/365] - Turning old into BEAUTIFUL

Yesterday while we had our pop-up shop at Rose Bowl Flea Market, I did a quick look around in the neighboring booth!  I mean... we are there all day from 6am - 3pm... we have to do "some" treasure hunting, right?

... and look what I found!

We have been looking for a perfect rug for our Roo's room which is leaning towards the desert safari look and feel. We like the adventurous feeling of the safari (Roo is more into risk taking jumps, running under water and riding a bicycle than playing with princess) and the dry climate in Los Angeles feels perfect for it!

We are not in the rush of completing her room but we are slowly adding few items here and there as we comes across. We like having some soft landing spot on the floor in her room instead of the hardwood floor so we have been using foam tiles but have been so ready to switch things up.

I had only 5 minutes or so to scope things in the market so I peeked into the nearby rug booth and there were some cool rugs amongst heavy duty oriental rugs...  I saw few that I liked but this one fit the most to what FB and I were imagining and was the cheapest! With some negotiation, we settled for $120 for this awesomely patterned 6x8 rug.

I have absolutely no idea/education about rugs but I knew it needed some cleaning and dusting off. So without even looking at the entire rug, I took it to the nearest oriental rug cleaning/repair shop. The moment the owner saw the rug, he told me that this rug is from Turkey and it is handwoven... called Kilim rug... and it would cost $1700 or so if I bought new. I suppose it could be true and I feel pretty good about the deal I made at the market:)

The whole cleaning/repairing of the rug is going to cost AWAY more than what I actually paid for the rug itself but we are excited to have a new {old} heirloom in our household. There are few furniture that is starting to become 'ours' like this vintage Japanese tansu. It's a good feeling that we don't have to purchase anything brand new to make it special.

because we can turn old into beautiful:)

05:14:12 [133/365] - our darling...

I hope you had a lovely Mother's day weekend... Ours was filled with 2 pop-up shops at local markets. Lots of loading/unloading, ray of Southern California sun (especially on Sunday)... and great customers!

I was so exhausted last night... that I was in bed by 8pm.

We woke up this morning feeling pretty fantastic so we decided to have a small belated mother's day breakfast together. (photo from Julienne, our favorite breakfast place in South Pasadena). 

Our roo is becoming much more independent... and we are growing to become great companion for each other. We play "silly" and giggle with each other, sing songs together and take care of the garden... Lunch is nicer with two of us and so as afternoon reading time.

The truth is... that being a mama is so awesomely amazing... that I would love to thank you, my little roo, for everything you have given me.

Friday, May 11, 2012

05:11:12 [132/365] - Ready... set go!

Happy Friday:) I hope you have a nice weekend coming up! I will be showcasing Baum-Kuchen items at two markets this weekend. Saturday at The Venice Meet... then Sunday at the Rose Bowl Flea Market!

Our VW Golf is totally loaded to the max and my little sister is here to help me for the first time. Right now... we are enjoying the quietness before the total chaos which will probably last for 48 hours or so. I know I will be loading, unloading, carrying and more loading and unloading... a lot. But these market has totally become a part of our life now:)

We are especially excited to share some of our newest shop items in person... telling stories about our inspiration from Japan!

If you are in Los Angeles, I hope I will see you there!

Wish us luck:)


Scent from the Yakushima Camphor

I am excited to share the last (but not least) new collection from Yakushima island - Yakushima Camphor Powder and Essential Oil.

We came across these amazing scent when we visited Issou Coffee on Yakushima island in February. The owner of this special island coffee shop/roaster was also operating the Camphor Powder Factory next door which we also got to visit while we were on the island!

First sight... I loved its packaging... then I smelled the essential oil... and it was an instant winner. The scent simply transformed me to mystical forests of Yakushima. (You can check out our hike in Yakushima forest here and here). Both Camphor Powder and Essential Oil are great natural ways to keep moss and other bugs away from your dwell. It is much healthier alternative to an artificial bug repellent that can be full of chemicals.

You can keep the Camphor Powder pouch in your closet and your bookshelf or place a few drops of Camphor Oil on a cotton clothes and carry it in your purse.

I personally like infusing my ceramic business card stand with a few drops of Camphor Essential Oil and have it next to my work station. It not only reminds me of an amazing Yakushima landscape but keeps my mind fresh and awake!

I hope you enjoy:)

p.s. If you would like to see our adventure through Yakushima, please browse through our blog here!

Purchasing Information:
Camphor Powder 5pk & 10pk
Camphor Essential Oil

Thursday, May 10, 2012

05:09:12 [131/365] - today...

Sunny day... and it was a play date day... so we spent most of the time outside playing.
Tomorrow... I am switching a gear!

Shipment, new inventory pick up and weekend market prep! 

Traveler's Notebook with Amaya!

Roo and I had a spontaneous ice cream date with our friend Amaya. She was recently featured on Core 77 with her furniture design! A total rock star, right?? She is also one of my Traveler's Notebook customer so... of course a conversation went to the "show and tell" of the Traveler's Notebook.

I was super happy to see her 5th Anniversary Notebook all worn in! It looked like it had a little lighter color compared to a new camel leather and very raw in the most sophisticated way. Love it!

I also liked her customized neon elastic band!

How are you using your Traveler's Notebook???

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

05:08:12 [130/365] - less is more...

I LOVE Cup of Jo and the author Joanna! She has a little boy who is few weeks older than our little Roo... so every time she writes about parenthood, I am totally engaged!

The other day, she wrote about a book called Simplicity Parenting and I had an aha! moment. We have been reducing amount of Roo's toys since we came back from our trip but I liked that I could take it to the next level!

We are super strict about what we bring to our living room, bedroom and kitchen... why shouldn't we practice the same rule to Roo's room? So this morning I put away big chunk of her toys in the closet where she can not reach nor see... and only left numbers of toys that felt visually appealing to me.

Less books, less cars, less options... = better focus.

Today with a very few toys/books around us, Roo spent more time with each book, went through toys that she have not touched for the longest time (and actually enjoyed it) and had moment when we just hang out without needing to feel occupied.

... and I love room without stuff...

where it gives me a space of void and mental clarity...

Monday, May 7, 2012

05:07:12 [129/365] - work hard... to enjoy life

We have a favorite beach! It's a baby beach nearby Dana Point Harbor in Orange County and it's full of family with kids! We will probably never go there if not for Roo... but it's perfect for us as of today!

We are extremely busy right now between preparation for a new semester (this is for FB since I will no longer be teaching...) and 2 consecutive pop-up shop this weekend, a series of new items that need to be updated at the shop, etc. etc... But somehow we are squeezing bits and pieces of summer here and there... and I am thankful for that.

Having a little one in life does indeed slow us down and sometimes it is difficult to feel that we just don't have enough time to work... but then maybe it's better for us. We definitely never want to get our priority in life mixed up. We work hard... to enjoy life.


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