All photos courtesy of Christa Kimble Photography.

All photos courtesy of Christa Kimble Photography.

Hello there!

Today I am introducing our NEW napkin collection, and let me tell you, I am so proud of how these beauties turned out! You can see all of our new products here. This is a collection that I've been thinking and talking about for over a year... I really wanted to continue expanding in home-decor, and adding dining textiles seemed like the natural next step after tea towels. It was also a great opportunity (and the best excuse!) to throw myself into a few weeks of just designing surface patterns again. Designing patterns taps into a very different part of my creative brain and can be a breath of fresh air from designing layouts and composed artworks!

Now a little bit about the making of these napkins...
As with every other category of our products, the designs always start with me painting through tons of the ideas/ colors/ pattern motifs that have been swimming around in my mind. With so many paintings laid out on the floor, and I really mean this, it's like a tornado went through my painting desk! I will then pick the ones that jump out or speak to me the most. However, there are also always a few patterns that I never really thought about using until the last minute, and Funfetti is actually one of those! In hindsight, it's now one of my favorite designs in this collection. Funny how collections come together... Anyway, once I select the ones that I think will work together, I bring them into the computer and create repeats and color way options. This part of the design phase is usually pretty grueling, but it is completely necessary to scrutinize every detail, scale and color to make sure that they all complement each other. Especially for this collection, I wanted you to be able to mix and match to your heart's content, so each design had to have its own voice but also be able to work well with the other ones. For example, I created a mini-series of indigo designs with Navy Grid, Honeyberry, Maritime and Indigo Hash. These four can be paired with each other without feeling redundant but still be in the same color family. They can create more variety for your dining table and also, if you are like me, you can switch between patterns in case you don't want to look at the same pattern everyday!

Our napkins are printed with the same process as the rest of our textiles using fiber-reactive dye. You can read more about it here! I love this printing method because it provides beautiful color ranges as well as makes it possible for our customers to actually use the products in their homes! They can be laundered like normal household textiles and will actually become softer with each wash. Once they are printed, our amazing seamstress sews and finishes every napkin by hand. Tags are placed on, and ribbons are tied. That last part of this process is, I think, the most rewarding! It's definitely a challenge to keep so much of our production process in-house, but for me it's worth all of the hard work to be able to oversee as much as possible to ensure that the product reflects our brand. 


What I love about these napkins is that they are so versatile. You can mix and match across color ranges, in different scales or throw in a few of our wash designs for color emphasis! Our wash napkins are very unique to watercolor, although they do echo tie-dyed fabrics. I wanted to re-interpret this dyeing method using watercolor washes and blends. So go ahead, check out our napkins collection, and if you are not sure which designs will go well together, we've created a few color stories here in lemon, mint, raspberry and indigo. If you would like to select your own napkin set of 4 patterns, email us and we can create a custom set for you! 





Photography // Yao Cheng Design

Photography // Yao Cheng Design

Happy Friday you guys!

Ok, so this is a super exciting announcement. We are having our BIGGEST flash sale this weekend in celebration of our 3 year birthday anniversary this month! Enjoy 35% off your entire purchase over $20, this weekend only, so hurry and get your holiday shopping done! Simply use code "35BDAY" at checkout. The flash sale will end this Sunday, 10/11. 

Photography // Christa Kimble

Photography // Christa Kimble

I cannot believe how quickly these past 3 years have flown by. Allow me to rehash for a minute how crazy starting your own business is when you don't have financial backers, a studio space, or more than 2 sets of hands to do everything from accounting to taxes to designing and shipping products! It is the most amazing/crazy/difficult job I have ever had, but that's old news, right? That's what everyone says, especially in an age where so many of us entrepreneurs are leaving comfortable, corporate jobs for our own businesses. However, every word of that is so true. The first year was pretty challenging, as there was a lot of fear of failure and uncertainty from myself that this wouldn't work out. I am really lucky to have a close group of family members and friends who always lent an ear when I was frustrated or just needed a good cry. But it truly is the most rewarding job when you know you have earned every penny and that what you work so hard at makes people smile! 

I often get asked how I started my business or how I knew this was what I wanted to do. The answer I always give is that I just always knew this was where my career would take me. As soon as I decided an art career was meant for me in high school, I knew this is where I would eventually be. I like being in control of my work, and it just seemed natural to assume that one day, I will be able to oversee what kind of designs I will create and how I will go about shaping my career. I did not wake up one morning and decide to embark on my own career by myself, however. It was a very calculated decision that took about 2 years to prepare for emotionally and 1 year to save up for. Even then, it still felt like I was diving into something that I didn't know much about, although I actually preferred to approach it this way. After all, knowing too much was probably going to scare me out of making any steps towards this, so I just went for it.

Saying goodbye to a very cushy corporate job was pretty difficult, but totally liberating! As soon as that happened, I was off to embark on this new career. I felt I was learning something new just about every day for the first few months. Art school did not prepare me for how to budget my finances, file my expenses for taxes, write agreements for myself that would protect my work, or choose what equipment to invest in for selling my own art prints. There were lots of emotional ups and downs thrown in there, too. But, I figured it all out, one at a time... I learned that it is more important to always create great, quality work that I believed in, than to take on projects that paid more money. I stuck to that philosophy and I'm so glad I did. Quality and authenticity are still at the bedrocks of what our studio is growing into today! I also learned that it is really important to build great relationships between my clients, customers, followers and colleagues. Every interaction is one worth taking care of, especially in my line of work where I'm sharing something very personal with others!

The second and third (this current year) flew by much faster than that first one. Even though I am still learning so many things and putting on a lot of different hats everyday, I have become more comfortable with task management so that I can juggle the different industries that I work in (designing for larger companies at the same time as working on our home-decor line and fulfilling bridal needs). Money took on a new meaning for me too, from first feeling all too precious to waste even a single penny to recognizing that it means I can reinvest it back into my business.

I have met so many of you guys at craft shows and local events. It meant so much to me to hear and see how my work has inspired you all! I even did a whole series of online tutorials with Creativebug, which has helped me reach even more of my audience. And most recently, I was able to invest in a full-time employee to help me accomplish and grow some areas of my business that I no longer have the time for! We are currently looking for a new studio space, so I foresee this coming year to be filled with a lot of new firsts for us.

All of the hard work has really been paying off, and I feel as though it's been a very organic- though carefully planned- transformation into what it is today. I learned that it is smarter to take my time in expanding our product categories and make sure every one of our new products are made well and exactly right than to just hit certain benchmarks. I hope to continue growing this business and that you guys will continue following along with us. Who knows where we will be in another 5 years? I definitely can't wait to see what new products we will have (I have so many ideas still floating around in my head!) and what new opportunities and collaborations we will make! 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone and happy shopping!


©2015 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved.

©2015 Yao Cheng Design, all rights reserved.

Happy Friday, folks!

Don't forget to sign up for our last giveaway prize with Creativebug. Today will be the last day to enter to win a free set of our tea towels! The Intermediate series contains 2+ hours of wonderful and fun tips for how I like to paint with watercolor. And if you have already taken both of my available series on Creativebug's site, don't worry. There will be 2 brand new series that will be released in early 2016 (but more on that announcement later...)!

In other news, I will be taking over Creativebug's Facebook page tonight, October 9, from 8-9pm, EST to answer any questions you guys may have as you are following along and learning my painting techniques. This is a great time to ask about any additional tips you might want to learn about, so be sure to join in for that conversation! I'll try to cover common questions like my favorite brands of art supplies, where you can purchase them,  how I compose interesting color schemes, etc... There is always way more that I want to say about watercolor than I can write in a single blog entry or Instagram post, so I'm really looking forward to having a whole hour with you guys to talk about my work!

Both the first + second giveaway winners will be announced here on our blog on Wednesday, October 14th, so be sure to check back next week or follow us on Instagram and Facebook for that announcement!


CONGRATS to Bonny Chang for winning a beginner's watercolor kit in our Week 1 giveaway! And HIGH-FIVE to Diana Alvarez for getting a set of printed tea towels in our Week 2 giveaway! Thanks to everyone who signed up for these giveaways and watched our Beginner's & Intermediate tutorials. Stay tuned for new classes that will release in early 2016.

I hope you guys will all be enjoying your fall weekend,




Photography courtesy of Creativebug

Photography courtesy of Creativebug

Hey everyone!

The response to my watercolor tutorials with Creativebug over the course of this year has been so great! Three years into building this design studio, I could not have imagined how many people I would be able to reach and share my love for watercolor with. Hopefully through these videos, you guys will be able to see just how relaxing and fun working with this medium can be. The fluidity, the drama of expressive strokes, the translucent layers that can create so much depth...there really is no other medium quite like it!

Even though I could paint abstract shapes and watch colors blend together for hours on end like in the Beginning Watercolor classes, painting more complex subjects like flowers will definitely add more interest to your artwork. In the first part of the Intermediate Watercolor classes, I talk extensively about how to paint flowers in both bouquets and as an all-over pattern. Truth be told, I actually started my watercolor journey with painting flowers. I studied traditional Chinese floral painting for a semester abroad in college, and while that was a very different style of floral painting, I learned how to approach  floral painting in a new way. In conjunction with learning Chinese calligraphy, I was taught how to capture the ethereal feelings in my work. My teachers pushed me to imagine flowers blooming as I painted master copies. That level of imagination allowed me to bring life into my work, it really was a game-changer after that! It's all about incorporating your own creative imagination into your work to make it yours. Understanding the anatomy and natural growth of plants is also really important when painting in this way. Knowing how flowers grow, where the stem is in relation to the budding petals and how leaves extend themselves...these are important to keep in mind as you begin.

In the second part of the Intermediate classes, I introduce ways to paint with translucent layers. One of the greatest features of watercolor is transparency. The more water you add, the lighter the color becomes. As long as you allow each layer to dry completely before adding new layers, the result is really neat. You can start with very simple shapes, like this Hexagon in Green & Blue or this Colorful Falling Dots, and create something that has a lot of depth and color complexity! Layering with watercolor allows you to continue adding shapes and strokes on top of each other without losing what you painted before. But, because layering in this way often require areas to be rewetted multiple times, a quality paper (the 140lb Arches Cold-Press is my go-to!) is essential for great results. The last thing you want to worry about while painting is the paper warping or for it not to be absorbing all of those beautiful colors!


Photography by Yao Cheng Design

Photography by Yao Cheng Design

For the second week giveaway, we have included a set of 2 tea towels! The one titled "Meadow" is one of our newest tea towel (we will launch our new collection of tea towels + napkins by end of October). Our Dots in Pink & Coral is one our best sellers and compliments the floral one wonderfully! Both tea towels are digitally printed using dyes and hand-sewn, so you can use these lovely guys without worrying about color fades. Just launder them in the washing machine and dryer as normal! You can read more info about our textile products here. Enter this giveaway by October 9th, both winners to this week and last week's giveaways will be announced on October 14th! 

And don't forget, I will be taking over Creativebug's Facebook page on October 9th from 8-9pm, EST to answer any questions or thoughts that you might have. You can always follow us on Instagram and our Facebook for that announcement, hope to see you guys there!

Have a wonderful weekend,