Tuesday, July 13, 2010

one mom's world...meet jacqui miyabayashi and a WIN on Wednesday!

i am so excited to introduce you to jacqui, a mom of 2 boys and the designer of mee a bee. come and take a peek at her world. you are lucky just to meet her but, even more so because she is offering up the FIRST giveaway on my blog. read all about her and go enter at the bottom!

I'm Jacqui Miyabayashi, a New Zealander by birth but living in Japan for the past fourteen years. We've just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. We have two boys aged eight and four. I am a stay at home mum and run my own children’s accessory business, Mee a Bee.

What kind of house do you live in, are you and the kids happy here?

Five years ago we were given the incredible opportunity to build a new house out of the city. Our new home is spacious and bright and we are fortunate to have a large outdoor space. We love living here.

What's it like to raise a child in your town?
What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?

We live in a great area for raising children. We have plenty of space, fresh air and greenery. We're just a short drive from a small mountain range and we are a short bicycle ride from the sea. Weather permitting we go everywhere by bicycle. Since we've only lived here for four years we are still having a lot of fun exploring. A perfect day involves discovering something new like a shortcut. Or stumbling upon a cool old building or finding an exciting park or playground. I love days where the kids don't fight and nobody feels tired or cross (that's often me). Getting out on our bikes helps soothe the day's worries. We often end up at the beach.

rice paddy view out window

What places in your new neighborhood do you like to go to for shopping?

Our small city was traditionally a farming area. There is still a lot of produce grown locally so we are lucky to have access to fresh vegetables at our local farmer's market. I also love the fresh flowers.

My youngest son and I visit our local second-hand shop at least once a month. We recently bought a huge coffee table which is perfect for the kid's Lego creations. I love it because when it's time to tidy up any loose pieces are scooped into plastic bins that just slide under the table. My boys spend hours there everyday.

What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?

Our latest fascination is with gardening. We have an amazing garden center located nearby that's run by an incredibly kind and helpful elderly man. At home we're trying to grow a few fruit trees. The weather makes any kind of gardening difficult as it's either extremely hot in summer or absolutely freezing in winter but we have fun trying.

Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?

Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs?

I do enjoy decorating. My style is minimalist in that I don't like a lot of clutter around. Our home is white and fairly neutral throughout though I do like bright colors. Comfort, functionality and practicality are the things I consider first and foremost. My kids are very energetic and quite messy so it doesn't make sense to have precious things in the house. Ikea is a trusty standby. I love reading design blogs. Right now my favorite is Creature Comforts. I also love Australia's Real Living magazine.  I see ideas all the time for decorating but I don't really have the time or money to put into it.
 How do you prefer to spend your leisure time?
a little corner of her living room. prints from thesearethings.com and www.patapri.com/  cushion cover made using helenrawlinson.com/ fabric.  ikea stockholm sofa. butler's tray was handmade by my cousin as a wedding gift. 

I think it's important for mothers to take time out for themselves. I take aqaurobics and swimming classes three times a week which gives me energy and keeps me sane. Any other free time I get is spent sewing and working on my business. Of course being a mum there is not much free time in between housework, cooking and running the kids to karate and other hobbies.

Are you a crafter or DIY person?

I'm both a crafter and a DIY person. Although probably more a DIYer than crafter I guess. I'm not very patient when it comes to intricate and fiddly crafts although I love the outcome. I guess that's why I love making bags. They're simple in design. I have fun matching the materials but in the end it's the fabric that shines on the bag. I am a perfectionist though so straight seams are essential for my state of mind.

StickyTiki (on Etsy) - my amazing pals from New Zealand made these wall decals. Aren't they gorgeous?

Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?

In terms of crafting when you have small children at home it's essential to be organized. I keep my fabrics in plastic bins and baskets separated according to gender and/or color. I keep all of my tools safely away especially sharp scissors and cutting tools. Basically my kids do not go into my crafting room (it's really the laundry) and when my baby was younger I locked the door with a child-proof gate. I don't sew much when the kids are around as I find it hard to concentrate. Most of my sewing is done late at night when they are asleep or on Sundays when my husband is home.

 Even though I am an expatriate living in a foreign land our lives are very normal. My son attends the local primary school and next year my youngest will start kindergarten. Our day to day lives are much the same as they would be if we lived in New Zealand except the kids are bilingual and we do eat Japanese food quite a bit. If we were living in NZ then I may not have had the entrepreneurial spark to start my business and I certainly wouldn't be aware of the wonderful Japanese fabrics that I use in my work. Right now I honestly wouldn't change a thing except I am still hoping that international air travel will get cheaper and faster as I miss my family and home country terribly.
jacqui's info….

blog http://bloomingnihon.blogspot.com/
website http://www.meeabee.com/
etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/meeabee
facebook http://www.facebook.com/meeabee

jacqui is so graciously offering up a giveaway from her shop. please follow my blog and comment below with your favorite pick from her shop ($35 usd value). gain an extra entry by liking her on facebook and let me know below. good luck. i am already jealous! giveaway will end july 20th at 11:59pm.


  1. I adore the Ladybug messenger bag, so cute

    Atoxim at gmail dot com

  2. I'm a fan of Mee a Bee on Facebook too

    Atoxim at gmail dot com

  3. Road Trip - Little Boys Messenger Bag

    I am a FB Fan.

  4. Absolutely Love Jacqui's bags.
    My favorite at this moment is the ladybug bag.


  5. Great read! I love Mee a bee. I an a liker on FB as well

  6. I would lurve the Road map messenger bag for my monster and I'm already facebook 'liker' of Meeabee
    Fingers crossed!
    Emma x
    qotfu72 at yahoo dot com dot au

  7. I'm already a Mee a Bee Facebook fan :-)
    (Sara Mason)

  8. I Love Mee a Bee, my favourite bag is the Little Village - Little Girls Messenger Bag in soft green and teal

  9. Hiya, Thansk so much for this interview! I have been a follower/fan of mee a bee on Facebook for ages so it was awesome to get a glimpse of "a day in the life of Jacqui! her bags are super cute! Her fabrics are soooooo cool, its really hard to pick favourites I really do love the princess and the frog one though! I look forward to following your blog!!!!

  10. I'm a new follower! aehopper (at) gmail (dot) com

    What a cool Mom story! My daughter would flip for the Dog Lovers Messenger bag. Sooooo cute.


  11. Thanks so much Sarah, you've done a wonderful job making my life look very exciting. I'm just a mother like everyone else :)
    and thank you everyone who has taken a look.

    Mee a Bee
    in Japan

  12. Hearted on Etsy, favorite item is Pretty Pirates Little Kids Messenger Bag :) Adorable!

  13. I follow your blog and my favorite item from her shop has to be the princess and her frog messenger bag:
    So cute!
    Tricia - handmadewhimzy.etsy.com

  14. What a great write up! I've admired her shop for awhile! I love the hedgehog messenger bag. So so cute!
    twirlaway at yahoo dot com

  15. What a gorgeous post! I love the babushka stickers above the shoes!
    I'm a Meeabee fan already, just love the range!
    I think my pick for my little man would be the Train Messenger - too cute!

  16. Mee a Bee bags are just too cute!

  17. Lovely blog. I am a new follower. Love the ballerina bag with the pink strap.

  18. I follow your blog and absolutely love the ladybug toddler book bag!


  19. i follow meeabee on facebook

  20. i like the construction and flags of the world bags, thanks

  21. I love these! Especially love the Lilacs and Apples messenger bag. Thanks for introducing us to such a cool artist.

  22. So interesing to know your story! I love japaneese food and would like to learn japaneese as well! Lucky of you living there! :)
    And your boys are so cute! :))
    I like your shop- simple lines, funny fabric, very good for children!
    Difficult to choose, but I think my fav is http://www.etsy.com/listing/46568204/beetle-cars-boys-messenger-bag

  23. I love the Ballerina Messenger bag! Oh, my goodness, I can see my toddler carrying it now ...

  24. Hi there! I am following your blog! My favorite pick from Jacqi's shop is 'The Road Trip Little Boys Messenger Bag'. Thank you Jacqi for mentioning the Sticky Tiki as well and sharing your other tips. :)

  25. I am a new 'liker' of Mee Bee on Facebook and look forward to learning more from Jacqi! :D

  26. Road map messenger - loving that there's cute bags for boys!

  27. absolutely love the ballerinas messanger bag with the polka dots.

  28. Yay we love Meeabee!!! Great article, thanks for the insight and of course the Stickytiki mention:)))


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