asking for trouble

Goodbye 2021

Big thanks to 2021 for somehow being even worse than 2020! I really lost all my motivation and focus in the second half of the year, which made it a bad one for creativity and new work, but on the other hand I got to spend a lot of time with family – and my Nintendo Switch. Let’s look back.



January started off hopefully, with my usual 2021 Plans & Goals, plus a look at Recent Craft Projects & 2021 Plans and My 2020 in Books. I’ll be checking in to see how I got on with these soon! I shared some of my Christmas Gifts & Purchases and added my first new product of the year, the happy face stickers from my own Christmas mail. Over on SCK, I showed off the Daiso Snowman Paper-Band Craft Kit I finished and reviewed the Winter 2020 Pusheen Box with an anniversary theme.



February was a busy month with new products, patterns and projects. I overhauled my pricing and shipping and added new vinyl stickers and a Lots Of Cute New Cards. My first pattern of the year was added to my print-on-demand stores and all the Kawaii Pastel Candy Hearts variations have been really popular, but especially the black pastel goth. Less successful was my new Ko-Fi Shop for Pay What You Can Printables. I’m happy to have somewhere to share freebies but wow is it depressing when people download everything with no donation. I hope to push past that feeling and add more things next year. But my biggest achievement of the month (and possibly the year!) was My Kawaii Dollhouse Bedroom, which I customised hugely from a kit. I’m still so proud of it.



March is my birthday month and also a quiet one as we were in lockdown again. Some of you kindly joined in my Birthday Mail Swap and made the day less lonely (and then I took 9 months to reply, SORRY). The end of the tax year was also upon me and I was busy restocking products and sharing sneak peeks of new ones. One of my plans this year was to turn all my piled up Patreon designs and ideas into finished work and I started with my Kawaii Bunny Rabbits for Easter time. I also spent some time Organising My Kawaii Plush Display and shared the results, and some tips, on SCK.



April brought some spring flowers and warmer weather. I shared my Birthday Gifts & Purchases and other birthday things including a new iPad and my first Animal Crossing birthday party. I was quite productive too with New Sticker Sheets & Wooden Pins and turning my Kawaii Teru Teru Bozu into a repeat pattern for print-on-demand. I even started Drawing For Fun, with no purpose or profit, like Japanese manhole covers and more Terrarium Ghosts. Best of all, I got vaccinated!



May was a busy month on the blog as I was moving over content from my Patreon before I closed it. That included How I Designed My Spring Flowers Repeat Patterns, My Desks 2003-2021 and How We Made Our Cross Stitch Patterns, plus a monthly series of Recent Favourites with a wish list and links. I also turned my Patreon updates from my 2018 Japan trip into 2 new Japan Zines and made my older Japan guides free to download. New work included turning my Snail Mail illustration into a repeat pattern and some Cute Crafts, plus I was having a terrible time with printer mishaps on my new notebooks. I had started a Habit Tracker in the new year and shared an update on how it’s going (I’m due another update on this too).



June finally brought a perfect print run of Ghost & Bunny Foil Notebooks (and lots of seconds). I also made some Snail Mail Stickers and updated my Sunny Days Pattern for print-on-demand. Patreon re-runs continued with How I Get Things Done and I also shared some Recent Purchases and Recent Favourites. Most excitingly, I was sent lots of Sanrio Loungefly Bags to review on SCK! It was also a sad month personally, as my Granny passed away, but that also meant a short trip up north where we got to see family again for the first time since the pandemic started. I ended up taking some time off and finally started playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which would become a major obsession for the rest of the year.



July was summer holiday month and I finally closed up my Patreon and took a break from blogging to go away to Galloway with my family. I did do a bit of crafting too, including cross stitch, paper crafts and some Kawaii Heart Hugs cards that I later turned into an illustration and pattern for print-on-demand. Otherwise, it was just my Recent Favourites and and old Patreon post about Kawaii Stationery Gachapon.



August means half the year is gone and it was time to check in on my 2021 Plans & Goals and run a Summer Sale, plus my usual Recent Favourites. I shared 10 Photos From My Summer Holiday in Galloway, which was blessed with the nicest weather – and lots of Beltie cows. Back home, I tackled some Home Improvements, making changes to my hallway, studio and bedroom. Over at SCK, I got to review some Phomemo Label Printers and the Summer 2021 Pusheen Box.



September was a busy month for print-on-demand as I pulled out my Kawaii Teddy Bear and Kawaii Crepe & Dango into their own products, plus there were lots of New Print-On-Demand Products to add my designs to. I also shared some Recent Purchases and Recent Favourites, and spent some time working on Cute Projects With Phomemo Label Printers for SCK, which made me want to label everything in my house! And we spent a week in Aberfoyle with my mum for a last holiday before autumn arrived.



October was a fun month, with Halloween and finishing my 2022 calendars. First I looked back with 10 Photos From My Aberfoyle Holiday including lots of lochs and forest walks. I created some new characters – Halloween Pumpkin Bear for Halloween print-on-demand, and then lots of cats for my Cute Cats 2022 Calendar. My Shop Update turned out to be the last one of the year within calendar postcards, a new monthly postcard set and some Cookie Cat stickers. I also shared some Recent Favourites and over on SCK I was making some fun Japan Centre DIY Food Kits and reviewing the spooky cute Fall 2021 Pusheen Box. We got news of a huge Animal Crossing update and I started playing again to enjoy Halloween and get my island ready.


November is usually a crazy busy month but my shops were quieter than usual and I decided to enjoy it instead of getting stressed out. I refreshed some process posts from my Patreon including How I Made My Ghost Snow Globe Christmas Cards, How To Make A Cut & Sew Tea Towel Calendar From Spoonflower and How To Use Colouring Pages On Your Tablet for SCK. I was Updating My Calendars For 2022 and added them to my print-on-demand stores, along with a Gingerbread Cookie Cat. I had ordered a Redbubble Desk Mat with my Snail Mail design and shared a review of how it was working out in my studio. There was my usual Recent Favourites post too, plus I looked back at My Pusheen Box Favourites on SCK.



December was exhausting! I had to juggle shop orders, annoying home stuff, Christmas planning and my part time job, and then the booster vaccine wiped out all my energy. I did manage to design my annual personal Christmas Card and a new A Year Of Cats Pattern with all my calendar illustrations, and shared the process of How I Designed My Christmas Stocking Cards from 2019. But mostly I played a LOT of Animal Crossing, and reviewed the new Happy Home Paradise Review DLC for SCK, along with some great Dr. Moku Japanese Flash Cards. And then we finished up the year at SCK with The Cutest Things We Bought in 2021 and Our Kawaii Favourites of 2021 before I took a break. I had a nice quiet Christmas with my sister with lots of family FaceTime and cute presents and a little bit of crafting – more on that in January.

art vs artist 2021

Overall, it was a weird and difficult year, but looking at my Art vs Artist collage, I still managed to create a lot of things I’m proud of. I’m hopeful for 2022 and looking forward to making some plans. Thanks for all your support this year, especially if you bought something, sent me surprise mail or just read these blog posts!


Hello! I’m Marceline Smith, the designer and owner of Asking For Trouble. I create illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts using my cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii. This is my business and personal blog where I write about my creative doings, inspirations, travels, Japan trips and daily life. Read more »

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All text, photos and illustrations are © Marceline Smith 2007-2024 unless credited otherwise. You may repost my images with full credit and link. However, do not reproduce full posts without my permission or use my images or writing for commercial purposes. Thank you!


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