avocado dye

months keep passing between my blog posts while life keeps going at light speed. like my previous post months ago, i’m playing catch up! it’s better late than never, right? >.<


during 2020, the year of COVID-19 quarantining, i had gotten so many projects done! this is one of them 🙂


“Botanical Colour at your Fingertips” by Rebecca Desnos

for the longest time, i was curious about avocado dye.  i came across some posts and accounts that talked about natural dyes, which led me to finding this book, Botanical Colour at your Fingertips, by Rebecca Desnos.  it’s such a beautiful book with lots of pictures and step-by-step instructions.  i’m pretty much a beginner dyer (i did a little in fashion college), and the dye turned out very satisfactory.  before purchasing her book, i had read her blog post, when researching how to store avocado pits and skins, and to mordant (a method of prepping) the fabric.


overall, the process took a couple of months to complete: from mordant (a way to prep fabric to take dyes better), which is recommended to let sit for at least 1 week; extracting the dye, which takes a few hours on the stove and another 24 hours to let sit; and finally, dyeing the fabric, which you let sit another week after drying the dyed fabric.  every step of the way was so exciting to see the outcome and smelled delicious along the way (the soy milk i use has a very sweet and fresh scent).


  1. setting the fabric in the soy milk mordant.  i believe the fabric is 100% cotton (but it was so long ago that i purchased it…), if not cotton, i’m pretty sure it is a natural fibre with the lighter test to prove.
  2. after setting the fabric overnight in the refrigerator (to prevent the milk from spoiling in the summer heat).  then let dry.
    repeat the soak and dry process 2 more times.
    i let the fabric sit in a paper bag (closed well) for about 1 month.  the paper bag kept the fabric dry, but prevented bugs (the soy milk smelled delicious, and if i could smell it…).
  3. to store the avocado pits and skins, i washed the flesh off really well and stored them in the freezer.
  4. adding water!  i bought an aluminum pot specifically to dye in, as the book recommends.  apparently, the aluminum helps as a mordant as well, without having to include aluminum in the dye itself.
  5. simmer and stir, simmer and stir, simmer and stir.  then, cool.
    じっくり煮込んで、混ぜ、煮込んで、混ぜ、そして冷ます。[AVOCADO DYE] SIMMERING
  6. after breaking apart the softened pits and skins, simmer and stir more.  then, cool again.
    その後、また煮込んでは混ぜ混ぜを続ける。そしてまた、冷ます。[AVOCADO DYE] SIMMERING
  7. the pits and skins have softened quite a bit and mash really well.
  8. i simmered and stirred one more time.  after cooling, i strained them through a muslin cloth layered on top of a sieve.
    こし器にシーチングをかけ、染料をこす。[AVOCADO DYE] STRAIN
  9. look at that mush!  the avocado pits contain lots of tannins which help to fix the dye.
  10. after letting the dye sit in the pot for 24 hours, the dye is complete.  then, in goes the fabric!

ta-da!  for a first time, i was looking forward to having a perfectly imperfect, organic finish.



aside from this scarf, i have one more batch of dyed fabric to hopefully sew a sundress in the future!




M & G is UnMe

last november, i had the honor of being a part of one of my best friends’ wedding; not only as a bridesmaid, but also to design their wedding stationery.



the destination wedding was held in okinawa, at a gorgeous restaurant (il gastro sara) that features organic local ingredients and a breathtaking sunset.

沖縄で行ったデスティネーション・ウェディングのロケーションがまた素敵なレストラン (皿の上の自然)で、沖縄産の食材を使った絶品メニューと美しい夕焼けが最高でした。


the wedding colors were baby pink and baby blue. now, maya (the bride) is one of the most stylish people i know—her style is one that only she can pull off. so, it was super exciting to help execute the ideas she had in her mind.


some key words to get the creative juices flowing were: sunset, ocean, “love & peace”, and the logo for their husband & wife hip-hop/r&b duo, UnMe. i started off with painting a watercolor background to use for print. i personally love using this method of scanning textured paintings or fabrics in high resolution to use for the background of a printed product. although i am a fan of uber simple, modern and minimalistic design, filling a background can instantly portray vibes, mood, and/or personality.

夕陽、海、彼女のモットー 『love & peace』、そして、二人が夫婦で組んでいるヒップホップ r&b コンビ UnMe のロゴを元にデザインスタート。テクスチャーのあるマーメイド紙に水彩画でいくつかのピンクと青のグラデーション背景を作り、スキャンして取り込みました。無地でミニマルなデザインも好きですが、このように高画質でテクスチャーのある紙や生地を背景にするのも一つの工夫です。



these paintings became the backgrounds for the food and drink menus, programs, mother and father of the bride and groom seating cards, and the thank you tags. for the font, we went with a soft gray to match the pink and blue. the logo seen on the program is the UnMe logo.


aside from the stationery, i designed their welcome board. i had made one once before for my cousin, and it truly is a lasting piece of the couple’s wedding to have in their home together. since i don’t have the machinery to do the engraving myself, i go to a tokyu hands in tokyo, which has a wood shop and laser engraving service (they only engrave products purchased in store). first, i choose the slab of wood—organic edges give it a more natural feel—which i then take home to create a design within the board’s size (i double check with the engraving counter to make sure that they will allow me to take it home and bring back on a later day with a receipt). it does get pricey since the engraving fee depends on the total square area of the design (including the blank spaces). honestly, though, the finished board is just so beautiful for price to matter.



2018 winter holiday handmade greeting cards

after a whirlwind of a year, christmas night is almost through, and the new year just ahead. this year’s holiday season greeting cards were a simple dedication to my tokyo life.


m a r u n o u c h i ,  t o k y  o  |  j a n u a r y  2 0 1 8

the inspiration came from this photo i took in marunouchi, this past january. which reminds me of when i lived in wall street, nyc.

. . . . .

handcut tree window

gold and white spray paint

…from tokyo…

H A P P Y  H O L I D A Y S ! !

handmade greeting cards for 2017 holiday season!

december is already halfway through! the past couple months has flown by faster than light years! exaggerating? yes, but really… i still had to squeeze in this batch of handmade holiday cards for friends and fam. once an idea comes to mind, i just must. do. it. here, i share the process!


. . . . .

i started off by creating the layout on adobe illustrator

handcut letters

these transparent origami sheets are from daiso.  i’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use them! instead of using traditional christmas colors, i wanted to go with a “holiday neutral” color scheme. a bit of 90’s and a bit of neon and every bit pop!

after covering the backside of the transparent sheets, i wrote in the “holidays”. i’ve been practicing my lettering, and these are the perfect opportunities to put them to use!
friends and family won’t judge 😉
おりがみの裏面をカバーし、手書きで 『holidays』 を入れました。最近レタリングに力を入れていて、家族や友人に贈るカードであれば、プレッシャーなく実践できます ^_^;

i switched the string to this glitter thread i found at another 100yen shop!

v o i l a !

H A P P Y  H O L I D A Y S ! !

handmade denim sleeve

i’ve been spending the past couple of months going through my stock of fabrics and materials, and boy do i have lots of them that have accumulated over the years since fashion school. i had been putting off tons of projects that i bought fabric for and never got through to realizing. some projects i have finished, some have become things of my mind’s past, and in their place new ideas have formed–one of them being this denim sleeve.

この数ヶ月間、服飾学校時代から溜めてきたたくさんの生地や材料を整理していました。その量も半端ではありません。。。^_^;; やっと完成したアイデアもあれば、もう作らないであろう物もあったり、代わりになる新しいアイデアもたくさん考えています!完成した物の中で、今日はこのデニムのスリーヴを紹介しま〜す。

having been raised in seattle, i have a soft spot for starbucks and tully’s coffee, which are both found in tokyo. unlike in the states, most people use public transportation in this country. thus, our love for bags that are just big enough to cram all of our essentials in (representing people like moi). granted, there are many a cool, stylish girl that can seem to leave the house with a compact clutch holding just a smartphone (in a smart case that carries their train passes and credit cards all-in-one, or even better–apple pay), a tiny wallet, and lip tint. i mean, what about 3 packs of tissue, water bottle, makeup bag, notepad, pen, handkerchief, ipod, extra smartphone charger, etc….?? my point being: having to carry a personal tumbler or mug to my local caffeine joint, is way too much luggage than i already have to carry–especially for that unplanned stop-in to kill time.


although it’s not as green as having a personal tumbler at hand, i decided to make this fabric sleeve to replace the brown cardboard sleeves made of recycled material. yes, they are eco-friendly, however, not so much if they’re going straight back to waste after a couple hours of usage. there was a time where i would hold onto the sleeves for next time, but starbucks and tully’s have differently shaped cups, and i order anywhere between a short and grande, which would result in carrying around 4 sleeves at a time (at least starbucks uses the same size for tall & grande #marketresearch). they all started cluttering my bag again and became inspiration to make an all-inclusive sleeve for 3 different sizes at two different cafe chains.


the result, i patched together some of my favorite leftover denim scraps (these are
another story on their own!) to sew up a denim sleeve that works for all three sizes at both stores (yay velcro!)! even more, i used quilting to function as insulation, working better than the cardboard.


it’s pretty cool to say, “no sleeve please!” and the barista goes, “umm… please be careful, it’s very hot” and BAM! i flash my swanky chic denim sleeve (brush that dirt off my shoulder, uh huh). before it all goes to my head, i understand that my next step is to create a portable, collapsable cup that i can carry around (or someone else can do the work for me? kickstarter?)… in the meantime, i’ll happily flash my washable sleeve that will be reusable for years. =)

レジで、「スリーヴはいらないです」と伝えると、「ええ、とても熱いので気をつけてくださいね。。」とキョトンとされたり戸惑われたりされます。そういう時に、ランプの下でドリンクの受け取りを待って、自信たっぷりにスリーヴを広げるのが気持ち良いんです!笑 こんな小さな事で快感を得るような私ですが、確かに手持ちタンブラーを超すエコフレンドリーな事はないですよね。いつか、もっとコンパクトに手持ちできる入れ物ができるまでは、このスリーヴを自信満々持ち歩きます!

have a great cup of caffeine!

p.s. please do let me know your thoughts about this sleeve and if i should sell it on either or both of my shops!

handwritten spice jar labels

this past month has been quite a hassle! i had some sort of stomach flu combined with a cold, that led to sinusitis… after 3 weeks in bed, i’ve slowly tried to come back to my daily routine. rolling around in bed so long had me restless and got me into an organization frenzy! which brings me to today’s topic: handwritten spice jar labels.

この1ヶ月間、大変でしたー  風邪と感染性腸炎のダブルパンチで3週間も寝込んでしまい、やっといつもの生活習慣を取り戻しつつありそうです。そんな何もできずにゴロゴロしてる日々が続き、治ってきたら家のいたるところを整理整頓したくなってしまいました。そこで、今日の本題に入りまーす:手書きラベルのスパイス入れ。


during my visit to santorini, i had bought some wonderful herb and spice mixes, which i had been wanting to find the perfect spice jars for. after much brainstorming and contemplation (of whether to buy a label printer or which jars to buy), i decided to go analog and handwrite labels to put on these jars from the 100 yen shop (seria probably has the bestest trendiest selection!).


i had A4 size printable adhesive label sheets (the kind that isn’t pre-cut) leftover from a past wedding project. these are great for handwriting or printing any size stickers up to A4, and you have the freedom to create any shape (as long as you’re willing to cut them yourself!). not to mention, the grid lines show through a little bit, helping out with measuring out multiple labels.



handletter. cut. stick. / 作って、切って、貼って。


i felt SO accomplished afterward!! WOOHOOO!


[d.i.y.] super easy name placements

you’ve hit wedding crunch time and your guest list is finally finalizing. of course, this has to be at the last minute. if you can find a calligrapher at the last minute, that’s great, but you just don’t want to think about it and want to use the ol’ computer and printer for name placements. however, you still want your name placements to look great! here’s a d.i.y. for you!! (if your guest list is mostly finalized and you want to check this off your list earlier on, it doesn’t hurt to make some name placements for the “maybe”‘s and a few blank ones for last minute “i can make it!”‘s.)

LET’S START! / 始めよう!

the goods

what you need / 材料:
card stock (optional: 2 types for front and back) / 厚紙または画用紙 (オプションとして表と裏で別々の紙を2種類)
printed names / 印刷されたネーム
cutting board / カッティングボード
cutter / カッター
(if available, a paper cutter will speed things up! pre-cut the names and card stock to size before hand (see below steps for sizes. front and back are the same size). / ペーパーカッターがあれば早いです!前もってネームと厚紙を人数分切り出しておくと、なお効率いいです。下記ステップに各サイズを表記しています。厚紙は、表裏共に同じサイズです。)
ruler / 定規
(i used a transparent sewing/patterning ruler (see step 1) to measure and cut simultaneously. / 透明のパターン用定規(ステップ1をご参照ください)を使うと測りながら切ることが出来て、スピードアップ出来ます。)
double stick tape / 両面テープ

cut out  names
1. cut out the names to 8.7cm x 4.7cm/3 1/2in x 1 3/4in (i cut 5mm/1/8in around the rectangle using my patterning ruler). / 印刷されたネームを8.7cm×4.7cmに切る。(透明の定規を使って長方形の周り5mmでカットしました。)

double stick names
2. apply double stick tape to the backs of the names and apply to the center of the front card. / 両面テープをネームの裏に貼り、表になる厚紙の中心に貼る。

cut out card
3. cut out the front card to 10cm x 6cm/4in x 2 3/8in (here i cut 7mm/1/4in around the name paper using the patterning ruler). / 表カードを10cm×6cmに切る。(透明定規を使用してネームの周囲7mmでカットしました。)

cut out backing
4. match the front card to a corner of the back card, and cut to the same size. / 裏紙の角に表カードを合わせ、表カードのサイズに合わせて切る。

score backing
5. with a cutter, lightly score the back card 2cm/3/4in inside one of the longer sides. / カッターを使用して、裏カードを長い辺から2cm内側に軽〜く切り込みを入れる。

close up of score
here’s a close up of the score. / 切り込みのアップ。これくらい軽くでいいのです!

fold score
6. LIGHTLY fold score, with the cut side on the inside. / 優しく折り目を作る。切った面が内側の谷面になります。

double stick backing
7. apply double stick tape to the thinner side of the score, again with the cut side facing down. / 山面になる側の細い部分に両面テープを貼る。

attach backing to card
8. attach the backing to the front card, making sure that the name card is facing right-side up, and aligning the taped end to the top back side of the name card. / 裏カードを表カードと合体する。その際に、表カードのネーム面を手前に向け、裏カードのテープ面が表カードの裏の上端に合わさるように貼ります。

FINISHED! / 出来上がり!

it's flat!
this name card is great because it is easily flattened to lessen the load to take to your wedding reception! / この席札は、平にしやすい上、最低限の場所をとるので披露宴の荷物を詰めやすくします!

[side note / ちなみに]
regarding my printer & paper for d.i.y. wedding paper items

printer & paper
| my printerプリンター |

an amazing purchase!! it prints both fine or fast, adjusts to many paper types, can print via wifi and from smart phones, and the quality is just great! for weddings, it’s best to print with a “fine printing” setting. it will look absolutely professional! / 重宝しています!ファインとスピーディで印刷設定を変えられ、様々な紙面に印刷できる上、wifiでスマホからも印刷できます。そして、何よりもクオリティが最高です!結婚式のためでしたら、ファイン設定がオススメです。

| aravealアラベール |
MY FAVORITE. i recommend it to all my customers for it’s supple texture and matte look. since i take orders for making name placements, i have my own batch that i order from this online shop and my computer prints perfectly on it. / お客様にいつもオススメしている紙です。表面の凹凸がさりげなく、なめらかでマットに仕上がります。席札のご注文をいただいているので、takeopaperさんから発注して常備しています。自宅のプリンターでも綺麗に印刷されます。

thank you