One of the big reason for our recent Japan trip was to visit the headquarter of The Superior Labor in Okayama prefecture.
I so vividly remember the day when I stumbled upon their Engineer Shoulder Bag in a little shop in Harajyuku and having the overwhelming feeling of how much I loved the bag I had in my hand instantly. Ever since then I have been their huge fan for last 4 years. I love artifacts they produce, the concept behind the brand and just everything about them.
When we opened our studio/shop location 3 years ago I started bringing my beloved Engineer Shoulder Bag into the studio as my everything bag. I usually hang my bag on the wall in the studio and many customers who walked in noticed and asked where I got it from... and that's when I knew that I have to reach out to them with all my gut and intent and write a huge love letter to inquire if we could possibly carry their artifacts at our shop.
I can't count how many times I have said "visiting the Superior Labor in Okayama is my dream" in last 4 years... and I am so glad to be sharing a collection of their items at our studio/shop!
When I started planning this trip, my plan was to say hi, visit their cafe and feel the amazing Superior Labor vibe... But I am glad that 2 days with them became so much more. On the first day when we got to Okayama airport, we were so excited to meet the owner Makoto-san and hear his stories behind The Superior Labor, being invited into their headquarter and making place (which was filled with wonderful leather fragrance and the very special kind of "maker's place" air), meet some of the team members who are behind crafting their beautiful artifacts... Our meeting continued to a very special BBQ in front of the observatory house we rented on top of the meadow, the following day to discuss possible future collaboration and more...
Frido and I were most inspired by their strong philosophy, core of what they believe and how it manifests into everything they do. I am incredibly thankful and humbled for our most memorable meeting(s) with them... and am officially screaming (virtually and physically) to the world that I am their biggest fan:)
** Definitely click the title to see more images from our visit to The Superior Labor!
The embrace of a new beginning is beautiful.
New beginnings are an experiment where each of us chooses to re-imagine our lives— beyond societal rules, norms, expectations, etc.— a concentrated effort to start a new phase of life that forces us to make choices and be courageous. Though phases of life can come in all shapes, sizes and forms (such as getting married, buying a house, having kids, etc.), it is also instigated by a deep inner need for change and growth.
As I begin to transition into a new chapter of my life, I find myself grieving for the old one, as I slowly detach myself from old routines and old feelings to recover and reinvest in my new life. Although I am not leaving everything behind, I feel the need to give myself permission and space for the new experiences to come.
**click the title to read more with a cup of coffee:)
“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up in your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter, and lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” — Jack London
Quite often, I have been asked why I am always so upbeat, as if being happy is wrong or a strange thing to be. Friends are well aware of the challenges that I deal with on a daily basis. My personal life is a bit of strain these days, and this isn’t the first time it has been tough. But, my default mode is positive. As to how I stay this way, the answer is always the same. I credit my notebook. When I give this response, most often I get a sideways glance. People think I’m either quirky or just obsessed with stationery. The truth of the matter is that personal writing is the means by which I process the world around me, try to make sense of my relationships, collect my memories, and make observations about the world that allow me to be amazed by just how glorious the simplest things are. Personal writing taps into my very soul. My notebook is a tool.
Grab your notebook and read more by clicking the title!
It's hard to imagine that one whole week has already passed since our Inspiration Lab with 1.61 Soft Goods happened in this studio last Saturday. Today the space is really quiet... I finally had a chance to go through some images from the event so I wanted to take a moment to share it with you!
It's hard to believe we have crossed 1/2 mark of the year! How is your analogue system going??? Is your system still holding up to your hopes and dreams you set out at the beginning of this year?? At the end of last year, I wanted to simplify the system. (link here about the story) and it feels like the idea of "simplicity" is still very present in my life. What changed??? I have it even more simplified. Having gone through spring with a loss in our circle of friends and few other "life" staff, I really needed a fresh start. My metaphor is... that some people go out and buy a brand new sport car when they feel stuck in life..., I change up my analogue system instead!
I am pretty happy with the current set up. It feeds both my soul and productivity in a balanced way!
So here is the details.
Traveler's Notebook (regular size) as my planner & wallet.
MD leather cover with A5 notebook for everything else.
Pretty simple, right?
**click the title to read more and see more pics:)
"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us." ----
We’ve always been on the move.
Since we were hunters and gatherers in search of food.
Since we began to build roads that allowed us to travel and caravan through continents.
We moved and travelled for the purpose of trade, commerce and religious convictions that took people like Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo to foreign parts of the world to encounter new strange lands where they were confronted by people who spoke different languages and believed in other types of deities. Our movement spread stories, expanded minds and changed the way we view others and ourselves.
- Angie Park
**click the title to read more!
I’ve kept a notebook of one kind or another, since I was a young girl of around nine years old. My first was a black marbled composition book, like the kind you could pick up in the stationery aisle of most supermarkets. Nothing fancy. Later I’d discover that Jean-Michel Basquiat used the same kind of notebooks, and he was genius, brilliant albeit haunted by ghosts. Mine will not end up in art museums like his, but they served their purpose and housed a few ghosts as well.
Over the years, my notebooks have served all sorts of purposes. They have been repositories for my creative writing and poetry. They have been organizers. They have been places where I plan and dream and celebrate the magic of life. Ah, there is so much magic! They have been places where I process my thoughts and come to better understand the world around me. And in times of deep sorrow, they have been places where I’ve grieved. On the organizational side, they are extensions of my brain. On the personal writing side, they are keepers of my heart and soul. I don’t find them to be particularly artistic, but more about maintaining order in my life and making sense of the world around me. Yet, there is a certain artistry to examining and observing life. Perhaps, that is art.
- Trina O'Gorman
** click the title to read more of her analogue system!
May 19th was a very memorable day for us at Baum-kuchen! We had an amazing honor to host Traveler's Notebook meet-up with Patrick Ng. I had to pinch myself few times the day because it was really a dream come true to have such a passionate Traveler's Notebook community in Los Angeles to gather and listen to Patrick's point of view in analogue lifestyle, his role as a stationery buyer in Hong Kong, as well as stories behind Traveler's Notebook.
**click the title to read more!
"One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. "Which road do I take?" she asked. "Where do you want to go?" was his response. "I don't know," Alice answered. "Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter." - Lewis Carroll
As young adolescents, we grow up hearing…
What do you want to do?
Who do you want to be?
What do you want to accomplish?
We think that the answers to these questions will lead us towards a clear path and some sort of ‘final destination.’ But, as we grow older, and gain new understandings, you realize these answer are not set in stone, but it shifts, adapts, and changes with time. These questions continue to pop up again and again over the course of our lives (sometimes, in different formats), and it allows us to reflect and re-calibrate. Sometimes, we come across a fork in the road— a chance for us to make adjustments, and re-set our path. These opportunities require us to make decisions.
- Angie Park
Few weekend ago, we hosted our 4th Inspiration Lab at Baum-kuchen. We love that we continue to explore different aspects of analogue lifestyle through these intimate gatherings. This time, we shared our love for all things fountain pens.
**click the title to read more!
Few weeks ago, I reached the epic goal in the most beautifully anti-climatic way. I completed my "100 day" project.
I first came across the idea of #The100DayProject when I attended and spoke at the recent "The Beyond Inspiration" gathering. There, Sarah Ehlinger (check out her Instagram @verysarie) shared her story about The 100 Days Project she was just finishing and how it shifted her creative career. At the end of the gathering, I left the room promising myself that I would love to shift something in my life by challenging myself with The 100Day Project.
Knowing myself and everyday juggle we have at home and the studio, I knew that whatever I decided to tackle as a part of The 100Day Project needed to be simple and straight forward... Around the same time I started to practice morning meditation using Headspace app. So combining these two ideas came together somewhat natually.
My objective for 100Day Project:
To write a thought, feeling, a word... that came to my mind during and/or after my meditation using pen and paper.
So the journey began on 11/8/2015.
**click the title to read more
As we dig deeper into what "love for analogue" means to us at Baum-kuchen, we are discovering that idea of sending a letter via snail mail really resonates with us.
Early February, I headed to Singapore for work. One of the things I wanted to investigate during my travels were the transformations that occur when we set aside time to write a letter to someone we love from afar.
What changes in you?
What changes in the relationship between you and the person who receives it?
What makes this mode of communication so special?
**read more from Angie by clicking the title
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:)
**click the title to read more about fountain pen tips!
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 (email@example.com) 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:)
I'm a strong believer in the "Laws of Attraction" — sometimes, people magically enter your life in meaningful synchronicity. Yuri and I grew up together in the suburbs of California, but it's only till recently that we re-connected, under such strange circumstances. Her courage, relentless dedication to her work and her gusto for life inspires me everyday. Yuri's story emboldens me and encourages me to evolve, adapt, and continue to become a more authentic version of myself. I hope she inspires the same to you— to shine brightly even during a storm.
**click the title to read more
We recently had a wax seal party at our studio! Well... it was Nerine and me learning about wax seal from Eunice and getting totally psyched about using wax seal on everything everywhere!
**continue reading by clicking the title!
A lot of our Baum-kuchen friends have told us that they have a pretty extensive collection of washi tapes that are waiting to be utilized. But they tend to sit on the table for a long (looooong) time... so I asked Eunice what are some fun ways of using these tapes.
**click the title to read more and see project pictures!
I am excited to share my (close to) final thoughts on how I will be arranging my analogue system for 2016. (you can check out my last iteration of the system here.) I am passionate (aka. obsessed) about this topic because the process of thinking about it always feels very reflective of the current life state. Just like how people contemplate about the interior space and home they aspire living in... I imagine and dream about my analogue system.
**read the entire story by clicking the title
I hope you are embracing the holiday spirit! I will be wrapping special gifts for Satchi and Coco this week and was wondering what would be creative ways to add a personal touch to the gifts... so we asked Eunice if she could share some thoughts on how to craft festive and personal gift tags. I loved that she started it with simple tags that can be found at any office supply stores... and added layers of accents using masking tapes and few of our favorite analogue goodies.
How awesome would it be to have personal tags like this on your gift this year?? I know for sure that our girls will feel extra excited to see these happy tags (and their wrapped gifts) for next 10 days... under our Christmas tree.
**click the title to read more!
As we slowly approach the end of year..., it's so easy to get lost in holiday shopping, dinner parties, deep cleaning of the house (we do this... in a Japanese way), and more things that need to be crossed off from our list. (oh and kids are off from school too!)
So we would LOVE to take a moment to share an idea of maybe doing totally the opposite. What if we take one quiet afternoon and instead of trying to juggle what are on our plates, slow down to write and send something special to a friend? Adding and sharing words and artifacts that inspire you at this moment.
**read more by clicking the title! (don't forget to get a cup of tea to accompany you:)
As Fall comes to a close with the Winter season at bay, I'm excited to share my Autumn adventures and inspirations with the Baum-kuchen family. When the air becomes crisp and the leaves begin to change its color—the direct visual and sensorial changes move me in a deeply visceral way. It's a yearly reminder that time is moving forward, and I swallow its implications with tender, loving bittersweetness. For me, it's often a time of reflection and I love to spend time traveling during these months because it coincides so well with my inner yearnings.
** Got a cup of tea?? Sit back and read the rest of Angie's story by clicking the title.
I'm excited to introduce Liz Song as a guest writer for this season's Love Letter! She is an old friend from my hometown, and although we've lived far apart for the the past decade, I have admired her love and zest for life, and her deep enthusiasm for the wilderness. Her energy is contagious and she's someone who puts her 100% into her passions. It brings me joy to have Liz share her experience in the Sierras, and the 'layers of time' encountered in the wilderness. I hope she inspires you to explore, set out on new adventures, and take a leap of faith...
Every year between October-December... I spend a lot of time thinking and imagining what my next year's analogue system look and feel like. I LOVE this process every year as it gives me a chance to look back, reflect and dream how it could be... and it always ends up becoming a diagram so I can make sense out of the system. So this is what I am thinking about... for 2016!!
**click the title to read more!
I think there is something really magical about Traveler's Notebook. It almost feels like it carries its own soul once it is used and loved.
I was excited to hear from our BK friend Kaori-san who resides in New York. To witness her visual narrative of how her Traveler's Notebook adventure is evolving! There are a lot of inspiring elements in her everyday TN and I think you will love taking a peek into her analogue world too:)
THANK YOU Kaori-san!
**click the title to read the entire TN story by Kaori-san!
This fall... Angie and I are exploring the idea "Layers of time" at Baum-kuchen. The concept is fitting to Baum-kuchen in so many ways since we are constantly refining our collection with artifacts that are meant to grow with us over time and are trying be mindful about how powerful "time" can be in our everyday.
I am thrilled to share the first "Layers of time" story written by Angie. About her journey. I know her previous video about her father has brought a lot of big feelings to our Baum-kuchen friends near and far. I admire her for continuing her journey even small step at a time. And I appreciate her for sharing her voice.
**Grab a cup of coffee/tea and click the title to read Angie's story.
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.
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.
** click the title to see more pictures!
As we get ready to welcome Satchi's 1st day of Kindergarden (next Monday!!!), I can't help to feel slightly nostalgic about the end of our summer approaching. For me Stephanie's story came just in time to immerse myself in the joyful and carefully days summer brings to our life.
I am hoping that we will have more beach and pool days with our girls ahead before Los Angeles summer "actually" ends sometime between September to October... To have a chance to encapsulate the feeling of summer using our senses..., by being present and mindful of our moments today.
I hope your summer days also continue and you get to use Stephanie's advise to savor each moment!
** grab a cup of coffee (or tee or beer) and enjoy Stephanie's story by clicking the title!
Few months ago, I noticed that my brown Traveler's Notebook leather cover no longer held my refill notebooks in a place properly so I figured it was time for a hardware update! We have been carrying TN repair kit for a long time at our shop but this was really my first time fixing my Traveler's Notebook after using it for over 6 years.
The whole process only took about 15 minutes but it was a big deal for me to update my Traveler's Notebook since I have carried it around for so long.
Here is the photo documentation of before and after.
**click the title to see more pictures!
I love carrying a dedicated travel journal whenever we take a big trip. When we were visiting Yakushima in May, I took a MIDORI Kangaroo Notebook to collect artifacts from our travel. I recently had a chance to capture some of the pages from the notebook and was reminded how meaningful it is to have a travel journal. To be able to visit and revisit the experienced we shared through the collected artifacts as well as little details on the pages.
**click the text to see more images
It is my (humble) belief that so much of our happiness derive from honesty, truth, clarity, simplicity and also acceptance of imperfections. Sometimes, we come across things that really captures these qualities in a tangible way. Today, we're excited to introduce Arbor and Brian-Christopher, an artisan behind Arbor's beautiful collection. He creates simple, handmade artifacts and furniture that allow the natural beauty of the wood to speak for itself. We were captured by his beautiful work, but also the evolution of his journey that led him to Arbor.
I had the pleasure of asking Brian-Christopher about his shop Arbor (www.arborshop.us), his inspirations, his process, etc. I hope you are inspired, just like we are!
*Got a cup of tea/ coffee? Click the title the immerse into the interview story
One of the things that bring me joy is the unique beauty of California wildflowers— colorful, vibrant and untamable. I stumbled across California based floral designer, Alice Goldsmith of Wild Vase (www.wildvase.com) several months ago, and was immediately captured by the cinematic quality of her pieces and the way she captured the landscape of California through her work— the arrangements feel untamed, wild and free. I love the way memories, stories, and the idea of "home" is infused in her pieces. Flowers are ephemeral and transient, but there's an everlasting quality to them— the smells that bring back memories, the colors that remind you of someone, the feeling of being gifted a large bouquet of beautiful roses. All those reminders that you carry within that brings bountiful happiness.
*Got a cup of tea/ coffee? Click the title the immerse into the interview story
This post might feel little different from our past stories we have shared. As we approach the season of summer... we asked our friend Angie Park to dig deeper into what the phrase "happiness comes from within" meant to her. Neither of us knew exactly what was going to come out of this process (much like many creative projects that happen within Baum-kuchen) but we trusted that the process will take us to where we needed to be.
The result is a truly personal story of Angie's recent life experience of saying farewell to her father and what came after. The part of "life" that doesn't get shared often openly. I hope you will have five minutes to hear her story... wherever you are... because immersing myself in her voice made me see "everyday" differently.
Thank you Angie for your courage to speak and share a story that is so close to your heart.
Story and Footage: Angie Park
Music: Lake Yarina by Josh Garrels from marmosetmusic.com