Thursday, February 25, 2016

Staying in the East side of Los Angeles? / airbnb in Highland Park

Our friend Susan was staying in Highland Park for last 2 weeks and we were so thrilled that she found the cutest airbnb to call home. We loved how conveniently located it was to the heart of Highland Park (walking distance to coffee shop, restaurants and bars!) as well as our BK studio in Glassell park. The owners were always so lovely to run into when I visited Susan there before and after our outings. 

I would imagine... this lovely downstairs in-low style apartment can accommodate one person, a couple or a family with a young child who sleeps in a portable crib? 

I wanted to share it here because I know finding the "right place" to stay with airbnb is one of the biggest task when travel as a family and having some insights into the place is always so helpful! Now I know where to recommend when our out-of-town friends are looking for a place to stay.

Highland Park Dream Apartment! 

on airbnb listing here

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Our adventure with "the journey is the destination" Tote Cushion

If you have visited our studio/shop or seen some pictures of our space, you probably have noticed a big banner on our wall with "the journey is the destination" quote. This quote really resonates with us at Baum-kuchen because it encompasses the beauty of two things we love so much. The process of all things analogue... and traveling. Using the quote as an inspiration, Frido went through a pretty extensive design process in 2014 to come up with the way we framed the quote visually. We shared his design using stickers as a medium. These stickers became quite popular and I am excited that we will soon be carrying them as ongoing artifact at our shop.

Then... some people really liked the quote and they wanted to incorporate the banner in their house. We heard from many people... "can we buy the banner on the wall for my room??" Since the banner was one of the kind Frido made for the studio, we have been thinking and looking around to find another way to bring the quote to the interior space.

Of course... everything happens for a reason. While we were searching for some ideas, I saw one of the IG image Diana and Wes of 1.61 Soft Goods posted about their prototype pillow with a leather handle... and I was totally sold! The quote should totally go with this canvas pillow with a leather handle! We went through few months of prototyping the details and finding the awesome pillow insert that will match the superb quality of canvas pillow cover designed and made by 1.61 Soft Goods.

And so the Tote Cushion with "the journey is the destination" was born:)

I love how much these cushions have become a part of our everyday in the house. They make great lumber support on a deep couch (which helps my back ache so much after working on my laptop). It's a pillow I use in girls' bedroom when they need me to lay next to them (between them) at night. And both Satchi and Coco LOVE playing with them. These pillows are the boat, airplane, bed for their dolls, purse... anything they could imagine them to be.

Some people thought it will make a great house warming, a graduation, baby shower and birthday gift! I can totally see that any of the big milestones in life can be celebrated with the attitude of "the journey is the destination".

If you are interested in taking a look at the pillow little more closely, you can find them here at our shop!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Celebrating the amazing adventure of Traveler's Notebook!

Tokyo/2008 - I first stumbled upon Traveler's Notebook.

When Frido and I spontaneously entered a stationery store in Ginza area and truly by lack... I saw Traveler's Notebook in display. Something about the notebook instantly pulled me into it and before I knew it, my suitcase was filled with 2 Traveler's Notebook (one for me and one for Frido), more than enough refills and TN binders because I knew I would not be able to find them once I am back in Los Angeles.

The rest is history. I eventually left my job at the a design company and opened our online shop Baum-kuchen in 2010 with a hope that we can someday bring Traveler's Notebook to Los Angeles. It took me a while to figure out how to bring them... But eventually stars aligned and we started carrying the line up of Traveler's Notebook as well as assortment of MIDORI items. When we first started selling TN, nobody really knew about them. We had a lot of fun figuring out how to communicate how amazingly versatile, practical and beautiful Traveler's Notebook was through our stories and pop-up shops at local markets. Slowly and surely... the community has grown and so as the volume of amazing artists' work you can now browse on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. I love that Traveler's Notebook team continues to grow, evolve and inspire us. Traveler's Factory is always such a treat to visit and their limited edition items are always exciting to hold in my hands. And still to this day... everyday... I use my Traveler's Notebook and truly honestly I can't imagine my life without it.

I can't help to feel emotional when I reflect back on our journey with Traveler's Notebook since it really coincides with the growing up process of Baum-kuchen.

We are excited to celebrate Traveler's Notebook 10th Anniversary and share their adorable TN Mini that comes in original tin cans (I can totally see these tin cans holding my special TN charms!). TN Mini comes in 3 leather colors (brown, black and camel) and they are truly limited edition.

Simultaneously Traveler's Notebook is bringing back the beloved TN Camel in regular size and passport size! These items will be added to TN permanent collection so we will continue to carry them at our shop.

Some logistic details here reg. ordering these items from our shop:

  • Both TN 10th anniversary items and TN Camel will be released in Japan in March. Our shop is expecting to receive these items in April. 
  • We are currently waiting to find out quantity we will be receiving when first shipment arrives. 
  • In order to inform our customers as quickly as possible, we are creating a wait list for both items. So if you are interested in getting information in a timely manner, please send an email to "" 
  • Once we confirm the inventory quantity, we will start taking PRE-ORDER. 
Cheers to your ever evolving Travelers' Notebook adventure! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

BK Field Trip: The Los Angeles International Pen Show

This past weekend wee were thrilled to visit The Los Angeles International Pen Show in Manhattan Beach. I have been hearing about this pen show from our customers for many years and now I know why! It was like a pen heaven. Tables after tables with fountain pens... Old and new. Extreme premium to everyday use. They had everything! 

At Baum-kuchen we are starting to carry our first collection of fountain pens with LAMY so this field trip was timely. I personally really loved seeing and hearing stories about second and third hand fountain pens. It resonates with me that these pens are not throw-aways. They are artifacts that should be used, loved and passed on for more than one generation. I was glad that I went with Susan and Eunice. Susan helped me listen many stories about fountain pens from people behind the tables... and Eunice gave me all the pointers to look into reg. the fountain pen brands and details. 

I was excited to try some of the vintage fountain pens as well as beautiful Nakaya fountain pens. Writing with a Nakaya fountain pen felt like spreading butter on a bread. So smooth. I just wanted to keep writing. Maybe someday... as something I can use everyday and pass on to our girls.

I would love to hear which pens/fountain pens you love using. It feels like the world of fountain pens are bottomless. So much to learn and exciting to be learning:) 


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

BK communal analogue table!

Since we re-organized the studio space for our Inspiration Lab, we decided to keep the table open for a communal use in the studio! Our BK team meets at this table to brainstorm on what's next and work on analogue stories. Now we can play with analogue goodies while we have meetings;)

If you have time during your next visit to Baum-kucuen shop (our shop opening hours can be found here), please feel free to add few details on your notebook at the table!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hello Fountain Pen!

We are extremely excited that we get to continue sharing our love for analogue in many different layers. If you have seen our BK Instagram feed, you probably have noticed that I am pretty obsessed with my fountain pens including Lamy and Kaweco for everyday adventures. (their fountain pens coming soon to Baum-kuchen shop!) 

There are still SO MUCH MORE for me to learn about fountain pens so I asked Eunice if she could give me some fountain pen tips from her perspectives. (and above image from the day when I learned that we should clean the pen every time we change our ink cartridge!)

p.s who will be heading out to The Los Angeles International Pen Show this weekend?? I have heard so much about this event over many years and so thrilled to check it out in person for the first time:)


+Cartridges vs. Converters/.There are two types of ink filling mechanisms that are convenient to use with fountain pens, which are cartridges and converters. 
  1. Cartridges are easy because once the ink has been used up; you can just pop out the old one and insert a new one. 
  2. Converters may seem intimidating but are quite easy to use. Converters allow you to utilize an unlimited color variety of fountain pen inks whereas standard cartridges usually have a limited color palette. 
  3. Each fountain pen brand usually carries their own cartridges, but some brands are interchangeable. i.e. Diamine cartridges can also be used with the Kaweco Sport fountain pens. When purchasing cartridges read the description and reviews. It will contain useful information on which cartridges can be used with specific fountain pens. 

+Filling your fountain pen with a converter /.
  1. Converters are just like regular ink cartridge with one extra special feature. It has either a twist style or a pumping mechanism, which draws the ink into the reservoir. 
  2. Simply attach your convertor into the section of your pen and carefully dip your pen so that the feed is all the way inside of the ink bottle. Draw up the ink by either twisting or pumping the handle of the converter. You can also dip the converter in an ink bottle to draw ink. 
  3. Should this method be difficult for you, a blunt ended syringe can be used to draw up ink and fill the convertor. Some find that this method is also a better alternative when they have a white or delicate pen that they don’t want to risk the chance of staining as a result of submerging the pen into an ink bottle.
  4. The syringe method may also be used to refill an empty and clean cartridge with different colored inks should you prefer not to use a converter. 

+Fountain Pen Maintenance/.Fountain pen maintenance is critical in how your fountain pen performs in addition to the longevity of your beloved pen. 
  1. When you have used up the ink in your cartridge or converter, even if you are going to use the same color; the nib, feed, and inside of the section should be thoroughly flushed and rinsed out until the water runs clear. Try a wipe test on a lint free paper towel; there shouldn’t be any ink residue left.  
  2. Flushing out the pen with tap water is acceptable, however I recommend that once the water starts to run clear use distilled water to flush the nib out a few times through the section to ensure that there aren’t any unwanted minerals or debris inside the nib or feed. 
  3. If you have stubborn ink that just won’t rinse out, it is recommended to use a “pen flush” to aid the process. I recommend the pen flush from Goulet Pens

Even if it is not required, I use the pen flush to soak and flush my nib when cleaning my fountain pens each time. I can tell a big difference on how smooth my nib feels vs. when I skip this step. 

Reflecting on Inspiration Lab 003: Mail more love (2/7/16)

We had so much fun at Inspiration Lab on last Sunday. This time around, we focused on facilitating the Baum-kuchen experience of writing, crafting and sending a letter. I love working with Eunice. She sprinkled so much details in everything we prepared... from a special gift to each guest to letter crafting ingredient stations! ... And we had mini work stations for everything. Paper/envelope station, wax seal station, typewriter station, envelope making station... you name it!

Once we launched the Lab, the whole room got very very quiet. Everyone was putting a lot of thoughts into what they were crafting... for someone special. The analogue energy in the space was incredible. Some guests finished the entire letter including the final touch with vintage postage and putting address labels and dropped off their letters into our BK mail box (aka vintage milk box from Japan). I so so appreciate everyone bringing such a positive energy into the group... making the time we spent so much more. Writing a letter is a very personal activity. I am hoping that mixing the private letter writing process that is so close to our heart and being at the communal table brought much creativity and inspiration to everyone who was present!

We are hoping to facilitate and host more unique gatherings at Baum-kuchen in the future so please stay tuned! Send us an email ( if you are interested in putting your contact info on our Inspiration Lab list. You will be the first ones to receive the announcement via email. We then usually announce our studio events on our BK (email) love letter and Instagram

Happy analogue adventure:) 


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