Thursday, August 27, 2015

Adventure continues...

This summer... we probably visited beaches and pools more than we ever did in the past. You might laugh but I had years that I didn't step on the beach nor ocean even though we have been living in LA. I guess we got comfortable living in the east side of the city and LA traffic kept us away from venturing out. (It can really be 2 hours drive even though it's only 30 miles away).

I am so glad that Satchi and Coco's love for swimming and water kept us going back for more this year. We had so many fun playdates at Annenberg Beach House. We did beach camping at Point Mugu. Last week we visited Mother's Beach at Marina Del Rey which was like a pool but ocean. Beach in a harbor really is so fun for kids and little more relaxing because there are no waves (one less variable to worry about for little ones in the water). 

Last weekend we tried something new because I wanted us to expand our beach and water activities. We headed out to Dana Point Harbor Baby Beach and did kayaking and paddle boarding! I remember kayaking long long time ago but this was truly the first time with our girls. For Kayaking Satchi and I rented 2 seaters and Coco sat with Frido on 1 seater Kayak. I have to say it was so easy to access to kayak/paddle board rental shop from Baby Beach, I couldn't believe that we never thought of doing it before. Coco was bit nervous and sleepy at first but she warmed up to it once she had a little paddle of her own. Satchi was so comfortable in our kayak... at one point that she wanted to jump in the water to swim from kayak. (which she awesomely did at a shallow area:) We rented kayaks for 1 hour exploring boats and going under piers for an adventure. After an hour of kayak, Satchi and I hopped on a paddle board together. This was my first time being on a paddle board so it made 'me' nervous. Satchi sat on a front part of the board and occasionally stood up to test the balance. She did slip off the board while she was sitting down and it gave her a good dose of surprise. 

Coco has been talking everyday now... when our next kayak ride is going to be. I think our adventure continues!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Because writing tool... matters. / Modern Fuel Mechanical Pencil

I was excited to come back to the studio to find a box full of these beauty - Modern Fuel Mechanical Pencil.

Frido funded Andrew's kickstarter project last year hoping that he will get the pencil in time for Christmas. Well... when Frido finally handed me the pencil early spring, I didn't mind the wait. I was beyond thrilled. We have both used the pencil for last six months to really feel it out as we often do with the products we decide to carry. 

I love that parts meet so seamlessly that it looks as if it is made out of one piece. I love the pencil weighs (definitely heavier than its plastic counterpart) letting you know gently that this pencil "is" different. My brass pencil surface is getting nicely patina.  

I also enjoyed back and fourth conversation I had with Andrew. I asked him "what if the pencil breaks for some reason??" and he told me that he is happy to take a look and repair it as needed. For the artifacts that are meant to last for a very long time..., it's so important that we feel that we are all in this together. 

I have been carrying it in the Essential leather zipper pouch with my Traveler's Notebook . With an ever changing schedule on my planner, I have been preferring erasable writing tool over pens these days. And nothing like a great tool to have nearby wherever I go:) 

If you are interested, you can find the pencil here at our shop. I am ordering their aluminum version as well so please feel free to send us an email if you are interested! (

Happy Sunday evening:) 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dear our global customers... / shipping & handling

We are thrilled to share that we have decided to have 2 shipping options for our international customers. This decision came after thinking a lot about how we deliver our products. 

Few months ago, we decided to stop shipping using USPS Registered Mail. Registered Mail came with a reliable tracking and secure shipment (which First-Class Mail by itself did not have)... but its delivery timing was really unpredictable. Sometime it took 1 week to ship a package to Europe... then 6 weeks another time.

We always wanted to have a reliable tracking number and ship it in the most secure way. To use the service that matched our Baum-kuchen expectation. So when Registered Mail no longer met our standard, our next option was to switch to USPS Priority Express Mail. USPS Priority Express was more expensive than Registered Mail but had 6-10 guaranteed delivery, built-in insurance and tracking number. But after a month or so... we started to receive a lot of international shipping inquiries expressing that the price was just bit much. 

We went back and fourth "IF" we want to offer an option to ship items using First-Class Mail for more reasonable price. We don't always receive tracking number using this service. We can't guarantee when the package gets delivered... and we can't file a claim using USPS customer service. I am pretty certain that most of the packages will arrive safely in a timely manner but what if it doesn't for 1 package out of 300 shipments we fulfill? It was definitely a dilemma. 

After much thinking and discussing, we decided to be up-front and honest for shipping/handling options. Now our international customers will always have 2 choices for shipping method when you check out. You can either pick First-Class for lower priced shipping/handling fee (with a little disclaimer explaining above) or pick Priority Express with 6-10 days guaranteed delivery. 

I am hoping this will help our customers to have more options!

Thank you all the lovely global customers who shared your thoughts and concerns reg. our shipping/handling fee. Our plan is to try this new set up for 2 months and reevaluate the process before holiday hits. 

If you have any questions, please always feel free to send us an email! ( I always LOVE to hear your feedback:) 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Staying in tune with my analogue system / Traveler's Notebook

2015 has been a year of analogue system try & error for me. Now that we are in mid-August... I am happy to share that I am finally feeling the planner peace in my heart with Traveler's Notebook. So I thought I would share. 

Before I dive in... the disclaimer would be that this is only a portion of my analogue system. Aside from what I am sharing here, I carry Roterfaden (my personal everyday journal) and another Traveler's Notebook (my BK idea notebook) and use MD Diary for journaling for kids. But for my everyday on-the-go, my TN Blue has been working really hard! 

So here is what's in this current system.

1. TN Blue:
I think picture does not justify how this navy blue leather cover looks and feels. I initially hesitated the blue because I am such a brown leather kind of person... but the navy blue is really starting to grow on me:) Also this leather cover being slightly larger than the other Traveler's Notebook I personally own... makes it ideal to be my dashboard (or carry it all). I adore my little airplane charm that was gifted from our friend Sandi. I decided to keep it inside of the leather cover so that it does not get lost. Thank you Sandi:) 

p.s. if you are interested in TN blue leather cover, please send us an email to karma{at}baum-kuchen{dot}net to be on our wait list. We are looking forward to our very last inventory from MIDORI sometime in October. 

I use this calendar as my planner. It's very functional. No frill. This is my master calendar that makes sure that I don't double book myself between being a mom and a business owner. I have been using Pilot Frixion erasable pen (0.38mm) because my schedule changes all the time (thank you Beth for this great pen:). I like using the dated version because I plan thing months in advance... but we do have open-dated version available at all time. (link for TN 17 here

If you are interested in pre-dated calendars, we will be taking pre-order for TN 2016 refill notebooks soon. To be on the wait list, please send us an email to karma{at}baum-kuchen{dot}net 

My leather insert is getting nicely worn in after using it for over a year. Satchi and Coco left me some pen marks and I love all of that. This is my wallet component of my Traveler's Notebook. I carry a total of 7 cards I use most frequently in the card slots and few extra cards (like AAA card and a library card that don't need everyday access) in the zipper pouch. The front pocket holds receipts that need to be filed as well as few planner stickers. I have been carrying my Pilot Frixion erasable pen and Modern Fuel Mechanical Pencil in the zipper pouch. It helped me to streamline the TN leather cover.  

Because monthly calendar is limited in space and dedicated for future planning, I do my big picture thinking every Sunday night for the following week using my Weekly Vertical Calendar. I enjoy using the open dated version instead of pre-dated one because it has more empty space to use... less noise. I add notes, thoughts and memorandum as the week develops. If I ever look back, the spread of each week helps me to reflect on the mood of the time. I don't do it as an art journal but more to organize my brain during the week. The combination of the monthly calendar and the weekly calendar has been really helpful to stay in tune with my time, resources... and myself.

Also one of our customer Judi shared the idea of color coding the edge of the page with mt masking tape so I started to play with that. Each month is coded with one type of mt tape. It adds a lot of personality to the spread and I love watching layers of time being built on the notebook... 

Also the trick for me was to let myself go from needing to bind everything into a TN leather cover. My weekly calendar is not attached to my leather cover so I can easily take it out and use it separately from my wallet component. It took a lot of agony out of my system because I can keep the weekly spread open now when I am at work. Also I go back and fourth between monthly and weekly calendar when I plan the week... so being able to separate these 2 calendars to get the simultaneous look... priceless. 

I carry this clipboard between home and studio. It's heavy so I am not sure if I recommend anyone else to do it but I LOVE using it with my weekly calendar when I am at work or at home thinking of the week. It keeps my TN refill open (and flat!) so it's always accessible on my desk. I know it's a small detail but sometimes those little things is what make the system work:)

6. TN size memo pad 
I also transferred my bullet journal component of my system into a memo pad. It's my go-to-place when I need to make a list or have some ideas that need to be captured on the go. When to-do list is done, I just tear it out... and other ideas and thoughts get transferred to final destination when I am at home or studio. Having this extra memo pad helped me to reduce the need to carry "more" notebooks in my Traveler's Notebook. I like using Roterfaden listDiagonal ring pad or MNEMOSYNE notepad for this purpose. It is alos not attached to the leather cover so I can use any brand as long as the sizing works! 

How is your analogue system looking like at this point of the year? Are you starting to think of next year?? (well... I am:)

Seeing a material transform... with Chipboard Paper Clips

Yesterday morning Coco and I had some downtime so we picked up our paintbrush and water color paint... and had some fun:) She was painting a toothbrush and a left over toilet roll and I was painting our recently added artifact Chipboard Paper Clips! The chipboard on these paper clips are pretty thick so it handled watercolor really well. I think it would be fun to paint with opaque paint too! Maybe paint a white rectangle shape to use it as a label?? Maybe add some mt masking tape? How would you transform these paper clips your way?? The simplicity of this product and its tactility really stirs imagination. 

I put few of the painted clips on my MD Diary as well as Traveler's Notebook. For the one which I added to my Traveler's Notebook, I trimmed the top little bit so it does not stick out so much. (the 2nd picture is before I trimmed it) A fun way to add extra character to the page you are looking for:) 

These downtime with no big agenda rejuvenates us so much. Both Coco and I felt really happy working with paint and paper and seeing different materials transform. That must be one of many many amazing things about analogue. Artifacts are right there in front of us and we can see and feel it change. 

Happy Tuesday:)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Baum-kuchen brick & mortar... keep evolving:)

How is your Sunday?? I hope you are staying cool... away from the crazy Los Angeles sunshine!

I got to come in the studio to work. Our front shop is nicely air conditioned (unlike our back room which gets really hot in the morning) so I spent little fun time re-organizing the shop area this morning. For the summer season, I had a collection of drift artifacts laid out on our middle table. I loved them so much... but it was time for a change. So I thought it would be fun to lay out all the Traveler's Notebook related items on the table just like the way I was arranging the drift artifacts. In an organized grid. I had so much fun... I could have spent hours organizing and re-organizing all the TN refill notebooks. I am glad that all the Traveler's Notebook items are laid out nicely for now since a lot of customers stop by the BK shop looking to purchase refill notebooks or to start their first Traveler's Notebook adventure. We are looking into a vintage postal shelf to sort all these incredible refills in the near future... but for now this arrangement works!

I also pulled all the notepad and clips in designated area. Obviously I have slight addiction to notepads and clips (I came to the conclusion after I looked around the entire shop and realized I have so many of them!)

If you are in the mood of a notepad, check out the ones from Paperways, Roterfaden, Mnemosyne, and Insatsu-Kakou-Ren.

Next few weeks as I get little more time to work in the shop/studio, I am looking forward to redesigning our packaging/fulfillment system (maybe new stickers, new invoice sheet, updated tape???) We will see what comes out of the process!

Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Processing with pen and paper

Satchi's first week of school is going well. (I hope this topic doesn't get too old yet. It is so much of our life right now...)

I am definitely exhausted from getting up earlier than I was comfortable with... and making sure that there is breakfast for her to eat and snack to take (with a special note... that she requests). She told me in the car... on her way to the school yesterday, "Mama. You will get used to a new schedule soon. Don't worry." I suppose she noticed that I didn't have a chance to sip my coffee. 

I love that she comes home before lunch so we have big chunk of afternoon to spend together. We have been mostly staying at home... Satchi and Coco playing together, eating lots of healthy snack and having some downtime to talk about things.

Yesterday we were hanging out together eating lunch on the patio. We started drawing after she asked me how "tree with eyes and mouth" looked like. I think it was just the trigger she needed. For the rest of afternoon, we drew robots and sew clothes for her stuffed animals together. During the process, she told me few things she learned from her class (after not sharing pretty much anything until then) and sweet friends she made (as well as one mean boy who kicked her under the table.)

I think that she needed time to process and tell stories in her own term without me constantly asking and hovering how the day was (even though I was sooo looking forward to hearing about anything and everything that happened at her school). 

At the beginning of the summer I decided to stay at home more in the fall so I can be at home for both girls as they start new adventure at Kindergarten and Pre-School and I am so glad I did... I am already seeing that Satchi needs the time to decompress then share. I will have to be smarter in using my time for Baum-kuchen since I won't have as much time as I did in the studio. But I know that these time with our kids go by so fast in a big picture and it is absolutely 100% priceless. 

If you are working Mama (or Papa) who juggles healthy balance between work and family, I would love love love to hear how your everyday looks and fells like! 


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