Saturday, November 30, 2013

Making conscious decisions...

I hope you are enjoying your long weekend!

We decided to close our studio/shop all weekend for Thanksgiving. I have gotten surprise looks here and there when I mentioned this news but it was really a conscious decision we made to spend some quality time as a family since we will be really busy next two weeks.

We spent last few days with my parents and sisters in Orange County and now we're back in our house... looking forward to spending the last day of the weekend as four of us. Taking some time off from day-to-day operation has been really good to me. It's amazing to realize how much energy it requires to be constant on online channels... whether reading emails, posting Instagram updates or checking online shop status.

It gave us a chance to realign the path as a family and an opportunity to find focus instead of moving too fast without thinking through all the details. It's definitely fueling my energy to reopen the shop on Monday and get ready for Remodelista holiday market on next Saturday!

p.s. Coco started her solid food this weekend. She can't get enough of it... Also she learned to smile to the camera. She ALWAYS smiles to the shutter sounds now and this mama can not get enough pictures of her!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Inspiration Lab 001: The Art of Gift Giving

I still remember the day when we posted our very first workshop on our website. Even though we had years of teaching experiences as well as hosting design related workshop..., creating and executing the Baum-kuchen original event was really new to me. I felt pretty nervous.... probably more nervous than the time when I signed our lease for our studio/shop. That day, I prepared myself to write a blog post about "what to learn from failing..." on November 24th in case we would not get enough attendees.

Fast forward 1.5 month..., I am happy to report that we did fill up the space for the workshop... and had tons of fun. A lot of work went in to make the afternoon as special as we could for our guests and I loved the creative challenges we encountered along the way. I guess we keep trying new things to keep ourselves "uncomfortable" so we can evolve and grow...

I hope you enjoy seeing the glimpse from the afternoon!
We transformed our shop into a workshop environment the day. I love how flexible our space is!
Each guest received a little gift. All wrapped in the Baum-kuchen style:)
I used Brass Label Plate as a seat assignment. Of course... names were typewritten using a vintage typewriter.
Christine (aka clau) kindly created these gorgeous leather coffee sleeves. We left a hidden message inside of the sleeve and it brought a sweet surprise when we unveiled it. I loved that everyone kept the tag Christine made even when they were using the cup and the sleeve for their coffee/tea!

You can probably tell... I had a lot of fun setting up the table scape. I kept it natural with a hint of colors here and there as accent.
mt masking tapes and colorful paper twine which was used as materials for wrapping demo really brighten up the table!

We used the little corner nook for a food table. Mini biscuits were delivered by Lemon Poppy Kitchen. (one of my favorite from their pastry menu:)

Susan of The (other) Kennedy Compound shared her delicious goodies. Bacon Jam and Cranberry/Cherry Sauce. I swear that everyone got excited when they heard the word "bacon jam"!

We kicked off the workshop with a discussion about the art of gift giving.
Then broke into small groups to brainstorm on gift ideas for mothers! Moms are the hardest people to give gifts, right? It was fun to hear everyone's ideas.
Then I did a small demo on paper folding technique I use for Baum-kuchen packaging.
It was great spending time with lovely ladies and share such a special topic. I can't wait to hear what their holiday gift looks and feels like after this workshop.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Getting ready for our very first Inspiration Lab!

I can't believe it will be tomorrow! Our very first Inspiration Lab on "the Art of Gift Giving". It has been TON of fun getting ready for the day... including brainstorming and creating the contents for discussion, styling the space... and of course little goodies to share with our lovely guests. Today I spent most of the day in our studio working diligently... tidying up all the loose ends. I still have bit more to do tomorrow morning... mainly organizing the overall space in our studio and styling the table top (fun part!!!) and hunting for white paper cups for coffee (surprisingly had to find!! crazy, right?)

This feels very much like a milestone to me because I have told Frido million times that he and I should create a special workshop together... combining our design and teaching expertise. I also once thought I might want to become an event stylist... Of course I chose the path of Baum-kuchen instead of pursuing event styling... but I always loved making a scene and vignette special with a touch of design. It feels that this opportunity is bringing a lot of things I have dreamt of doing/being together in one place.

I am so thankful for our lovely workshop participants who have decided to invest their time and resources to be with us tomorrow.Thank you Jessie, Sara (and Jack), Christine, Brigitte, Minh, Erin, Deb, Tamara Georgia and Gloria!!! I can't wait to spend the afternoon with you.

Also very very special thank you to Susan of The (other) Kennedy Compound and Christine of clau for providing amazing goodies to share with our guests.

I am looking forward to sharing more about the event and all the details tomorrow (or Monday:)!!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

last week...

Highlight from last week probably was Coco moving into Roo's room... making the room officially "the kid's room"! It amazing to see how much it changes the dynamic of our bedtime routine (and nighttime routine) now that they are in the same room. To my surprise... everyone is sleeping better!

Also LOVED picking up flowers from our garden. I brought bunch to the shop and it instantly brought fresh air to the whole room!

crisp air, rain, leaf pile... and wonder of changing season

Even with a very monotonous weather in LA... we are starting to see some changes in the air. It rained here yesterday and today. Leafs are turning colors. Morning is filled with brisk air. All these bring so much for little ones to explore. I love it! Time spent with Coco and Roo in last couple days has brought me some much needed moment to breathe in fresh air! 

Hope your weekend will be filled with wonderful autumn moments.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Working with... and embracing my worst enemy: myself

As I get older, I am getting to know myself better and am starting to see patterns in what and how I do things in life... and who I am as a person.

When it comes to my work..., I am workaholic, obsessive compulsive and perfectionist kind.

Here I said it.

The attribute described above is my strength and weakness... I have always been this way and that probably was one of the reasons why I left 9-5 job. It runs in my family... I love "work"; thus, it inhales me. And I knew I needed to create a place where "work" could inhale me without leaving me completely drained... instead inspired.

It's my strength because I get stuff done. It's my weakness because I don't see anything else in sight when I get zoned in... to the point I forget to eat, sleep and do other things to take care of myself. It was border line okay when I was on my own but this extreme attitude can be challenging to bring home where I am actually responsible for more than myself.

I have gotten better working with my little demon but it still peeks out when I get under pressure. We are hosting our very first workshop on this Sunday and it has been so much fun preparing for the event. I love it... so much that I can feel my heart itch for wanting to spend infinite amount of time getting it perfect even at 3am.

Of course... it's not realistic for me to stay up at 3am working on projects when I know that I need to take care of our girls next day. Sleep deprived, tired person does not make a good mother...

So I am working with it. Embracing my little demon who is obsessive compulsive and perfectionist. I let her loose when I am at our studio/shop and I try my best to leave her there when I head home. It's not 100% figured out but I am aware of it and I am working with it.

One day at a time.

Baum-kuchen will be at Remodelista Holiday Market!

This year Baum-kuchen will be participating TWO Remodelista Holiday Market! One in Los Angeles... and a week later in San Francisco. Talk about expanding the comfort zone! 

I know it will be a lot of work for us to prepare for the event but I am excited to be able to share our Baum-kuchen goodies with audience who are searching for something meaningful for holiday seasons.

I just got some of the details from Remodelista team today... including other participating designers/shop/artisans from Los Angeles. If you are in the west side of Los Angeles, this will be a perfect place to look for inspiration! The venue, Big Daddy's Antiques is also worth checking it out. It's an amazing warehouse style shop full of vintage! 

Saturday, December 7 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Big Daddy’s Antiques 3334 South La Cienega Place Los Angeles, CA

Monday, November 18, 2013

Welcoming back someone special... with a personal tag in the mail.

A little while ago, one of my Baum-kuchen customer asked me which stamping pad is good to use to get the most out of Traveler's Notebook Star Ferry Company stamp. Even though I love working with analogue tools, I was not very familiar with the world of stamp... so I asked our friend Susan Kennedy who is amazingly immersed in the creative stamping culture to share one of her project as well as some useful stamping techniques. 

She is also at this very exciting point in her career life to start something creative, thoughtful and yummy using her special talents. You can follow her adventure through her blog The (other) Kennedy Compound.

So here is Susan!

I like the process of sitting in my studio and creating “just a little something” to send to someone.  It’s probably not their birthday, or a holiday, or any specific time that they might expect to receive something. It’s usually just when I’m thinking about them and I want to let them know. Email, Facebook or a texts don’t send the same message.

My sister Ann is a traveler. Her latest adventure took her to Israel, where she had the opportunity to experience some amazing things. I thought it would be nice if she had a little something in her mailbox, other than bills and junk, to welcome her home. I wanted to share something that wouldn't get lost in her over flowing email inbox. Having something to physically open and touch has so much more appeal. I made a small, personalized note card that captured the spirit of her travels. I'm hoping it brightens her return to the "real world". 

Here is some of the techniques and materials I used to make the tag card. 
I enjoy creating palettes with “ingredients” from my studio. Paper, ribbons, embellishments, watercolors, pens, ink pads. I gather together things that match and sit down to create.  Even when I use the same ingredients, very rarely are two creations the same. I design each piece specifically for the person that I am sending it to.

Background stamps are my favorite and often the stamp that people don’t know how to use. Almost anything you do can be jazzed up with stamps, especially background stamps.  They create depth and can totally change the look of something. An otherwise boring, clean sheet of paper becomes antiqued or distressed giving it character with a simple background stamp.

Different inks have different purposes. This website about stamping explains each type it in great detail. I like Versafine (crisp images) and Stampin’ Up (so many colors!).  I always test stamp a few different times/kinds to get my image just right.

Here you can see the difference in the stamp quality of Traveler's Notebook Star Edition Stamp depending on stamping pads used. 

I’ve learned to appreciate and strive for beauty + function from Baum-kuchen. It’s inspired me in so many ways, like using my stamps (functional) as d├ęcor in my studio (beauty). This way my favorites are always at hand, visible reminding me that it’s easy to just grab one and add a little extra something to any envelope or note.

General stamping tips:
  •  Tap, tap, tap (on stamp pad) then tap (and hold for 3 seconds) on item
  •  Don’t rock! It’s best not to rock the stamp back and forth on the stamp pad when inking OR when stamping image on item. Rocking will blur image &/or create “lines” from the rubber edges.
  • “Huffing” with your breath will re-moisturize ink on a stamp. Good to know/use if your ink pad is dry or you don’t use the stamp right away.
  •  You can buy ink refills (little bottles) for your ink pads instead of buying all new ink pads. 
  • If using a large (background) stamp, ink the stamp, place it upside down on a surface, put paper on top and gently rub with your hands or a brayer to transfer the image.


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