December 27, 2014

Wishing you a very happy New Year!

I hope you had a great couple of days! We spent Christmas over at my in-laws, and we had a wonderful time opening presents and eating good food.

Here are a few of my favorite Christmas presents from this year. The oven mitt my 6-year-old handmade for me (he decided I'm a pink, purple, orange type of person - love him! :)). The sugar pot from Anthropologie my mother-in-law searched all over for me. The super comfy mittens my sister- and brother-in-law gave me.

Those are my favorites because I know I'm loved every time I look at them. They took their time to make, search, choose what I would really like, and just thinking about that puts a big smile on my face. I'm so lucky to have such a loving family. 

We didn't have a white Christmas this year. But the sky's been blue and our grass is still green, so I can't be complaining. This reminds me of the mild winter weather I grew up in Japan and that makes me feel a little sentimental. I remember the days I used to fly kites with my brother on New Year's Day.

It's been unseasonably warm around here and my son just asked me if the spring has already come. "We're not quite there yet, honey," I whispered it. "We need to go through winter before flowers blossom and trees bear fruit."

And this is also how the seasons of life unfolds.

It's been a wonderful year with many exciting things happening in our lives. Our boys thrived at school and I started my own creative business, and I couldn't be happier with both. 

But we've also had a set of challenges that kept us up at night. I'm grateful for those challenges, too, because they helped us learn and grow. But if I'm honest, it hasn't been easy. I feel as if we've been through a long stretch of winter and now finally started to make baby steps towards spring. It's a slow progress and our path is filled with uncertainty, but there is one thing I know for sure: We're moving towards our goals and dreams. And that's all we need to know in order to keep going.

Our heart is now filled with hopes and dreams for the new year, and it's a great feeling. I know this is going to be an exciting year! 

I'm going to take some time off from the internet, including this blog, for a couple of weeks (my Etsy shop will be open). I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with my family, reading good books, cleaning and organizing our home, and setting my goals for the new year. The boys are going back to school on January 5th, so I'll probably come back a few days after that. But we'll see how it goes. 

These are the books I'll be reading if you're curious ...

Growing Up Social: Lovely Linda at Creekside Ministries gave me this book a while ago, and now I finally have the time to read it. Thank you, Linda! I know I'll be learning a lot from this book :)

And this...

Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?: When I took the Blogging Your Way class back in November, one of the teachers, Fiona Humberstone, recommended this book, and I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Meanwhile, if you're new here or you're in the blog reading mood, you're more than welcome to check out the archives.

Here are the sample of my favorite posts.

Stories of becoming:
- Now Let's Talk About Fear
- There's something about giving
- Let your ordinary gift shine
- The Sweetest Fig 
- The Taste of Happiness
- At Summer's End
- One in a Million 

DIY projects:
- Trumeau Mirror Makeover
- Brick Fireplace Makeover
- Resin Bust Makeover

Decorating {in progress}:
- Our Dining Room Today
- Guest Bedroom Updates (here and here)
- How I chose the perfect paint color

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit this blog this year. I'm looking forward to sharing my journey with you in the new year. Wishing you a happy New Year!!! 



December 19, 2014

Getting Ready for Christmas - Decorating with Nature

Welcome to our home! I'm so glad you're here.

I almost didn't decorate our home for Christmas this year.

But I'm glad I did.  

Decorating for the season gives me the chance to pause and think what really matters. So, I gathered all the pretty things I could find around our home and went on a mission to cozy up this place. 

This is our family room, where we spend most of our time together as a family. 

Do you see the library card catalog turned into a coffee table up there? I just brought it into the room hoping that could stay, but our boys have already bumped their heads twice while wrestling. I might have to send it back to the basement...

I used baby's breath for the first time last year, and I'm using it again this year. It's so delicate and it looks as if fresh snow has fallen all over the room. 

It's been over a year since I painted the brick fireplace, and it's held up great. And if I ever need to do a touch up, I just need to pull out two cans of ASCP and a piece of paper towel. It'll be a very quick and easy fix.

I feel most comfortable when surrounded by natural elements. I used grape wood, pine cones, feathers, eucalyptus and winter berries to create this nature inspired vignette. I still like the DIY bubble art in the gallery display, but I might change them up for something different in the new year. 

I covered the low bookshelf filled with the boys' toys and books with a table cloth. I already took the cloth off the shelf, but this is something I can quickly throw back on when we have guests over. 

And this reminds me of something I often forget. We don't always show all of our messes to other people.  

Some days I wonder why I can't even manage my own kitchen sink while everyone else's life seems so perfect. You can't compare your inside to someone else's outside. I have to remember that this holiday season. 

An assortment of eucalyptus and winter berry arrangement in an antique ginger jar. I went to Trader Joe's and spent $14 for the entire arrangement. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg to create a statement piece.

I smell the Eucalyptus and cinnamon scented pine cones every time I walk by this corner.

Our TV gallery wall today. 

I sold a few of my original artwork that was part of the display, including the pineapple art (this one is a print). After staring at the blank frames for a few weeks, I decided to fill them with the art prints from the shop

I also did quick calligraphy art with watered down charcoal ink and added to the collection. You can see what the gallery wall used to look like here. 

A simple winter berry arrangement in a white creamer. 

Our Christmas tree is decorated with white branches, baby's breath, and our usual Christmas ornaments. We're going to add our personal ornaments to the tree and bake some cookies this weekend. It's going to be fun! 

There's an angel at the top of the tree, but I couldn't have it fit into the photo without having the sofa getting in my way (my husband just gave me an eye roll).

The decorated deer antlers paired with my favorite art print and nativity scene. I only took a few pieces out of the entire nativity set this year. I wanted to keep it simple.

And a few pictures from our entryway. 

I kept the white pumpkins from our fall decoration.

A simple evergreen wreath decorated with brown feathers and baby's breath, and the DIY painted resin bust. This is what you see when you first walk into our house from the front door. 

More decorated deer antlers with DIY modern art.

Decorating our home for Christmas helped me put things in perspective and focus on what I can be grateful for instead of what I don't have.

No matter where you live and where you are in life, may you find the light of hope shining through the darkness of night. May you find some slow and quiet moments to unwrap the gift of love this season offers. 

Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you a happy and relaxing holiday season! 


December 13, 2014

And The Winner is...

Congratulations, B'More Bungalow!

B'More, I will email you shortly, so be sure to check your inbox! 

And if you didn't win or missed the giveaway, you can still use the coupon code GRANDOPENING at our shop to get 15% off of your purchase until Christmas. 

* * *
Today we went to Christmas tree shopping at a local tree farm. It was so snowy that our 3-year-old could barely walk across the field! We just got a snow storm a couple of days ago, and the snow was still fresh and fluffy. It's so cold up here in the north right now!

To be honest with you, I don't care much for snow and I don't go outside during winter unless I absolutely have to. But the boys had a great time today and it was nice to get some fresh air. 

I'll be decorating and baking cookies tomorrow, so it'll be fun! What's your plan for the rest of the weekend?

December 8, 2014

New in the Shop + Embroidery Hoops for Decorating

Happy Monday, everyone! 

I'm finally done uploading all the original artwork and art prints to my Etsy shop. It took me forever to do it, but I'm happy how my shop looks like now!

I put the art prints that resonates with my shop image the most in the first two rows (you'll see I'm a persimmon orange type of girl), and my other favorites come below. I'm selling most of my originals too, except the ones I've gifted to others. 

My latest additions are the two of my very favorite original drawings.
Captivating no. 2
Captivating no.1

It's sad to see them go (well, I guess they're not gone until someone buys them!), but it's also a great feeling to let them go and move forward. That's exactly why I wanted to start my own shop to begin with, so I think I'm doing a good job accomplishing my goal :) 

They are priced higher than other originals, but you can use the 15% off coupon code for these originals too (now that's a big discount! no?)

* * *
Now my shop is all set up, it's time for me to take care of our home. My house turned into complete chaos over the past two weeks while I was a busy bee preparing to open my shop. I'm finally ready to do some deep cleaning and decorate for Christmas! 

Michele at My Notting Hill just posted lots of inspiration photos for Christmas decor, and reading her post got my wheels turning! 

This year, I'm thinking about using some embroidery hoops. I think they'll add the right amount of whimsy and fun to my holiday decor. My Instagram friend and super talented Kim offers some lovely pieces at her Etsy shop that are perfect for Christmas, or any time of year.

Here are a few of my favorites:

All the images from KimArt on Etsy
Kim's work is absolutely beautiful and her pricing is very reasonable. The question is, which one should I get? I like so many of them! You can see the rest of her collection Here.

Have you started decorating yet?

December 5, 2014

Studio Yuko Jones Grand Opening TODAY & Giveaway!

This day has come! Our Etsy shop, Studio Yuko Jones is officially open today!

What can I say, it's been A LOT of work, and I'm honestly sleep deprived and on caffeine overload, but I'm so happy that we've made it! Yay! 

This background appears light blue here, but it's actually white when printed. FYI

My friends and family have given me tremendous amount of support and encouragement throughout the process, and I can't be grateful enough. My husband, Steve, has worked side by side with me the entire time and I couldn't have done it without him. My mother-in-law, Linda, has generously offered to watch my little one while we tried to prepare for the opening. If you're reading this Mom - thank you!

* * *
I've also learned a lot of things while trying to start a new business. Let me share the round up of what I've learned over the past month, since I missed my usual "what I learned" post :)

1. I'm so blessed to have such amazing friends and family, who encourage me to pursue my dreams.

2. Taking action is where the real magic happens. You can plan and dream all you want, but taking action is what ties your dream into reality.

3. When you start something new, you really don't have to know much about it. You'll learn what you need to know along the way.

4. The more you do, less scary it becomes. 

5. Every time I start something new, I make new friends. I made a few really good friends from the barn event a year ago, and I've met some amazing people through blogging. Now I started to connect with some entrepreneurs in the creative field through Instagram, and they inspire me. I'm so looking forward to meeting more amazing people through running our Etsy shop!

* * *
Today, we're celebrating our grand opening with a giveaway.

One lucky winner will receive $100 gift card to the Studio Yuko Jones Etsy shop. You can use this gift card towards anything in the shop, from art prints to originals.

How to enter the Giveaway: 
Go to and find a print or an original artwork that you'd love to have in your home, and let us know which one you like in the comment section below. (If you use Anonymous, please leave a comment with your email address so that I can contact you if you win).

This Giveaway will end 11:59pm EST Friday, December 12. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced Saturday, December 13. 

We also offer 15% off of your entire purchase at the shop until Christmas. All you need to do is use the coupon code GRANDOPENING when you check out. This offer ends at 11:59pm EST on Friday, December 26.  

We have all the prints up for sale right now, and I will be adding some of my original artwork to the shop over the weekend. So please check back often! 

I'm so thrilled our shop is finally up and running! I'm hoping everything will go smoothly without any hiccups. If you come across any problem shopping with us, please let us know. We will do our best to resolve the issue immediately. 

Hope you like what we offer at our shop!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends.

*Today I'm sharing with Emily at chatting at the sky.

December 2, 2014

One Year Blog-versary and Shop Announcement!

One year ago today, I started this blog.  

(Well, it was technically yesterday, because it's already passed midnight here - zoinks!) 

I titled this blog, northfield gate (the name of our street), as a place for me to share my creative pursuits.

I was so lost in the midst of wonderful yet messy motherhood at the time, and this blog became the catalyst for finding my true self again through creativity. Along the way, I rediscovered my passion for art and storytelling, and I also found joy in decorating our home.

It all started here At the Barn event hosted by Emily Freeman and her family a little over a year ago. 

At the Barn in NC

You want to know how exactly I started this blog? While at the barn event, I was talking with Emily's sister, Myquillyn, the nester and she asked me if I had a blog. I told her that I had a blogger account but it had been sitting there for almost a year because I couldn't get up my nerve to start a blog. Then we both burst into laughter, because if you really think about it, it sounds absolutely ridiculous.

It was the moment I realized that my fear was keeping me from doing something I'd really wanted to do. A few days later and after much thinking and strong coffee, I wrote my first blog post ever and pressed the publish button with my trembling hand. 

And a year flew by so quickly, and I've enjoyed every moment of it. I've met some amazing people online and I've learned so many new things.

After a year of much creating and learning, I could not be more thrilled to announce the opening of our online shop, Studio Yuko Jones!

My husband, Steve, and I have put countless hours into it, and I can't get over that it's really happening. I'm so excited and anxious at the same time!!

We will have over 10 different art prints and several originals to start the shop, and we're going to expand along the way.

Here is a sneak peek of some of the prints we've prepared. This is exactly how they would look like when printed, minus the watermark, of course.

I had so much fun creating the "illustration" type of art. Aren't these pieces so sweet? I feel like I'm moving one stop closer to my dream of writing and illustrating children's books. Life is good!

We're going to have a giveaway on the opening day, so stay tuned!

This year has brought me so much joy and I've learned so much. I can't wait to see what the next year will bring.

November 27, 2014

Have a lovely Thanksgiving weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning, we woke up to this...

Winter has come a little early this year! 

My 3-year-old made this Thanksgiving craft at preschool. Isn't this adorable? I couldn't help but show it off :)

I have to admit, this is as far as I went with decorating for Thanksgiving this year. I've been super busy preparing to open my online shop! 

Coffee (and lots of it) and those mini pumpkin chocolate chip muffins from Wegmans helped me get through this crazy week.

This year, I'm grateful for all the lovely things I have in my life, as well as some of the challenges we've been through.

Wishing you a weekend full of warm hugs and sweet treats!

I'm going to make a big announcement on Monday, so please check back then!


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