Saturday, November 30

Feria de Canastas - Part 2 {Tokyo}

Let's continue the discovery of our Feria de Canastas event throughout the pictures that I took yesterday at the opening. My guess is that I will have even more pictures to share tomorrow, so you can expect a Part 3 coming your way soon!

Even though the event focuses on baskets of all shapes, colours and styles, there are many other gorgeous items to browse and buy - for yourself or loved ones. The doll below is on my wishlist, and so are the small baskets. There are silver jewellery pieces for sale as well, I will share pictures tomorrow. And how unique and beautiful are the candles?

Happy weekend to all of you!

Feria de Canastas
Gallery Aqui
from November 29th (Fri) until December 3rd (Tue)
10am - 6pm (4pm on Tuesday)

Friday, November 29

Feria de Canastas - Part 1 {Tokyo}

Hello friends,

Today was the first day of the Feria de Canastas event I am participating to in Tokyo. I was in charge of decorating the two windows facing the outside, and I also created a few accessories using Mexican materials. I loved working on the event, as it allowed me to do the two things I like most: decoration and creating accessories. I was very inspired by the Mexican handicrafts - it's very colourful and flowers are very well represented in the patterns, and I enjoyed coming up with unique ideas, embroidering simple hand-woven baskets, creating pouches using vintage re-purposed pieces of fabrics and bunting banners from embroidered table clothes.

I have many photos to share, so I have divided them into two posts. Here below is a glimpse at what you will discover if you come visit us this weekend... My friend Yuko Anderson, founder and owner of trensa, and the initiator of this project, has done a wonderful job curating all the objects on sale during the event and displaying them. 

Feria de Canastas is taking place at Gallery Aqui, a new space located in front of Komazawa koen, one of the loveliest park I know in Tokyo. The 1964 Olympic Games took place there so there are a lot of infrastructures left from that time and three fantastic playgrounds for kids to play (the pig-, horse- and squirrel-themed playgrounds). As you can see in my pics below, the atmosphere in the gallery is very mediterranean, warm and welcoming. 

I will publish the rest of my photos tomorrow morning, and I hope to see you over the weekend at the gallery - if you are based in Tokyo of course! I have added the access map (in Japanese) below, and you can also check the event page here (in English) and here (in Japanese).

Edit: Check out Part 2 here.

Feria de Canastas
Gallery Aqui
from November 29th (Fri) until December 3rd (Tue)
10am - 6pm (4pm on Tuesday)

Access map:

Wednesday, November 27

GIVEAWAY! with Bonbon Paper

Dear Friends,

I am happy to be back with a good news for you all! I have partnered with Bonbon Paper, a sweet online stationery shop based in the USA and run by two lovely ladies, Starlet and Lena. You may remember Starlet from my {Interview with} post about her accessory line called Meridian 110. Read about the story behind the label and enter our giveaway by using the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post: you can win a set of 4 gorgeous die-cut cards (valued at US$24) + 30% off your next purchase and a matching coupon to share with a friend. 

Who is behind Bonbon Paper?
Bonbon paper is the result of an out-of-control obsession for paper and the creative collaboration between Starlet and Lena. We've known each other since College days, but lost track of each other after graduating. Luckily, we were able to reconnect years later via social media.

We had both racked up an extensive (online and offline) product development and marketing background. While Starlet spends most of her time in web usability & online marketing, Lena gained her experience in behind-the-scenes product development & design.

We can both spend excessive amounts of time finding cool greeting cards at local fairs, stores or online. Our behaviour in store like Paper Source is probably best described as kids in a candy store (minus the tantrum - well, mostly!).

What is the story behind your partnership, and why starting a stationery?
Our business idea sparked over cupcakes - most definitely a result of an intense sugar rush! We discovered our mutual love for beautiful paper, and paper designs, and the rest is pretty much history. We felt that despite the saturation of the greeting card market, there was opportunity for growth. Next to our unique design approach (with a heavy focus on die/ laser-cut designs), we have a couple of other ideas up our sleeves. Stay tuned for updates!

How did you pick the name of your business (I love it!)
Thank you! My goodness - what a tough adventure that was! It was the first real test of our business partnership! For about a week we were both brainstorming for something that would work for both of us. Our framework was, that it needed to include the word "paper", hint towards the significance of sending a handwritten note (hence our mantra: Deliver the Sweetness), and have an available domain. The domain was by far the most challenging hurdle to overcome.

This is a quote by Lena, which essentially sums up this challenging week:
"My mind is going crazy with domain names! If I was walking down the street, people would think I had issues because I am constantly mumbling under my breath..."

Between the thesaurus, lots of determination, and learning many new ways of saying NO to each other politely , we finally found We consider ourselves pretty lucky, that the domain was still available, and we hadn't killed each other yet :-)


Are you crafting the cards all by yourself?
At the moment, yes. From design to cutting, assembly and packaging - we do it all. As we grow and expand, we are going to mindfully delegate the production process, so we can focus on the design aspect and growing our business.

Please tell us more about the custom order option!
The underlying goal of Bonbon Paper is to keep the personal connection between people alive. We want to make sure that we live up to this ourselves as well, and offer our customers that personal connection with us.

We love custom projects - it's always a lot of fun! There's nothing better than giving a customer exactly what their want and feeling their gratitude for a custom design. You can see an example of our custom design process here.

To all the Etincelle readers: we would love your input, comments and feedback. Hit us with your questions, discoveries or product ideas. Connect via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or email - OR - send us a personal note and be featured on our blog. Check our website for contact info.

Now that you know more about Bonbon Paper and have fell under the spell of their delightful designs, make sure to participate to our giveaway, and stand a chance to win a set of 4 handmade cards (total value US$24) + 30% off you next purchase and a matching coupon to share with a friend. 
This giveaway will end next Wednesday, December 4th at 12am (midnight - PT) and the winner will be announced by Friday, December 6th on the blog and social media.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Edit: Giveaway now closed. Thank you!

Thursday, November 21

An Autumn day in Japan...

We went sweet potato picking today in Okamoto Minkaen (Setagaya-ku, Tokyo) with the kids (it was organised by my son's school). It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I welcomed this break,  spending the whole day outdoor in the beautiful sun was energising! (although to be honest, it's only 10pm and I am about to go to sleep...tired!)

We picked sweet potatoes, giant daikons (pictured below with my kids) and leeks and I was also able to purchase fresh cauliflower and broccoli. We got home dirty but HAPPY!

The light was ideal to take outdoor pictures, I took all of them with the camera of my phone! What were you up to today in your part of the world?

Monday, November 18

DEUZ {bright toys for imaginative kids}

Let's start the week with the bright, fun and eco-friendly French label DEUZ, dedicated to creating graphic toys for imaginative kids aged 0 to 10Y. Since 2010, sisters Marie & Charlotte (with the help of Elsa) are brainstorming constantly to come up with the most original graphics and reinvent children's classics, such as Jeu de l'Oie. I have fond childhood memories playing this board game with my sisters (at that time there was no iPad!), and I personally love that the DEUZ version is washable and easy to bring everywhere - it certainly won't add up any weight to your luggage :-)

I have asked what is the story behind the label's name: childhood memories are, of course, involved. Stories of races with their cousins, counting (in French kids language) "prems, deuz, troiz..." in order of arrival - the "prems" being the #1, "deuz" the #2 etc...  
DEUZ is also a significant number, since the two sisters are working together as a pair, and also collaborate with artisans, retailers, bloggers... 

I have shown every products on the site to my kids, and the ones below were our favorites - in no particular order, we love them all!! 

Christmas is coming up, so I thought it was the perfect timing to introduce you to this collection of fun and interactive toys by DEUZ, a great alternative to mainstream toys. And maybe best, your kids will love playing with you - is there anything else they enjoy more than having your full attention?

DEUZ :: Website :: Facebook :: Retailers*

* Since I am living in Japan, I would like to specify that DEUZ is distributed here by BCBasics.

All photographs DEUZ©2013 - Used with permission

Friday, November 15

Studio Update...

Friday! The week went by pretty fast and it's the (good) sign that I kept busy - I won't lie, I am very much looking forward to the weekend ~
I thought I would sum up what's currently going on over here, the studio is bubbling with a few different projects and two collaboration. I wish I could delegate some of the workload :-)

I am happily working on the decoration of the gallery where the Feria de Canastas event will take place at the end of the month [more details here]. Among the items I am creating are a couple of bunting banners made of hand-embroidered pieces of clothes from Mexico, embroidered totes (handwoven in Mexico) and embroidered pouches using Mexican traditional dresses. I am in charge of decorating the windows of the gallery as well as the walls. Here below are pictures of the items I have worked on this week - some have been completed while others still need some additional work...

The second set of projects I have been working on is two workshops launched in collaboration with Niki's Kitchen. The story behind this collaboration needs to be told and I will write a post over the weekend... In the meantime, here below is a picture of what we will make in December, in a very festive atmosphere, at my home. Both workshops sold out within a couple of hours, but if you want to  have a look at all the details, it's here (in Japanese). I am looking forward to it!

Last but not least, I have to work on the Christmas decoration theme for this year. I have tried my hand at creating a traditional Filipino piece, the parol. Made of bamboo sticks, cellophane and tissu paper and lit in the night, you can find them everywhere in The Philippines during Christmas. They are beautiful, and fairly easy to make. I have yet to finish mine though... 
If you are interested in making one, I recommend this very nice DIY post found on Jun-blog: neat! 

I haven't shopped much yet for Christmas decoration, but I managed to check out the Ikea collection last weekend. I was a little bit disappointed and I only bought the crochet stars that you see below. The gold and red garlands come from Natural Kitchen in Jiyugaoka (Tokyo) and I am planning to make them into window decoration for my kids room. If there is one thing I wish to learn and master soon, it is crochet. I can't get enough of all things crochet!

What have you been up to this week? and when do you plan to start decorating your house for Christmas? Happy weekend to all!

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