asking for trouble

Goodbye 2023

I’m generally a positive person but I’m very glad that this year is over. I feel like it was a year of endless challenges and setbacks where I did very little and achieved nothing of note but let’s look back and remember that there were some good times too.

January 2023


January started off the year in the usual way with a Christmas Recap and a look back at My Year in Books and My Year in Crafts, plus I set some 2023 Plans & Goals. In creative work, I shared a tutorial for a version of the Snow Bunny New Year Cards I sent to friends & family and also turned it into a brooch and a design and pattern for Print-on-Demand. Less happily, a cyber attack on Royal Mail stopped all international mail for weeks and my web hosting company being taken over by GoDaddy began what was to be a nightmare few months of major tech issues.

February 2023


February began with another old illustration added to my POD shops – I Lava You Volcano! I also made some Jammie Dodger wallpapers for my mailing list and finished the Creative Kawaii Craft Box I got for Christmas. But otherwise it was it was a horribly frustrating month, with international mail still paused and my websites unavailable for the entire UK workday multiple days a week while tech support tried to convince me this was a normal and acceptable amount of downtime.

March 2023


March is my birthday month but I was so defeated by the tech stuff that I only went to Glasgow overnight with my family to celebrate. We did have pancakes and I got some lovely gifts. Crafting kept me sane and I shared some Recent Crafts with embroidery and cross stitch. I also created a brand new pattern, Cupcakes & Cherries. Thankfully both Royal Mail and my websites returned to some form of normality and I hoped the worst of the year was over.

April 2023


April brought warmer weather, cherry blossoms and a visit from my mum. There was good and bad news for my shop with the discontinuation of my mini stamps as Mint Maker Studio was closing (still plenty left though!) and my usual printers making such a mess of my order that I had to find a new printer, leading to some new improved seasonal food magnets. I also shared some more Recent Crafts with a biscornu pincushion I made for my mum and some Easter window decorations we don’t talk about (I eventually managed to scrape the remains off in September).

May 2023


May was a quiet month but at least there was lots of good weather. The new Zelda game, Tears of the Kingdom, took up a lot of my time but I also worked on my long-abandoned Zelda tapestry, along with another kit from the craft pile, and created a new Kawaii Fried Eggs pattern. It was a good month for mail too as I got to review an adorable Tasty Peach Studios Meowchi package and a TokyoTreat Sakura Subscription Box.

June 2023


June continued much the same with more Zelda gaming and stitching, but I did manage to create a new Kawaii Bread Slice pattern and make all my recent patterns available as fabric at Spoonflower. I also had a Summer Holiday up north with my family and lots of good weather and fun outings.

Link's Awakening Zelda tapestry


July brought my main achievement of the year as I finished my Zelda Tapestry, 8 years after abandoning it! I still haven’t framed it but I really should. I also grew a Pop Up Cress Garden, in competition with Nicolette. Honestly though, I spent most of the month glued to the TV for the Tour de France and have nothing else to share.

August 2023


August meant half the year was already over and I had a look at how my 2023 Plans & Goals were going (not great!). There was another Recent Crafts update with a needlepoint vending machine and some more cross stitch. I made it along to the local Flower & Vegetable Show for the first time since the pandemic and was super excited to have the Cycling World Championships in my backyard. I got to see all my fave guys rocketing up a hill next to my old flat and zooming past in the time trial at Stirling, and then bask in the overwhelming star power of the Dutch Women’s team at the road race start nearby in Balloch. Mostly though, August was full of extreme stress as my Etsy shop was suspended for 3 weeks due to being sued (along with 800 other people) for using a single dictionary word in our shop listings. Thankfully the case eventually got dismissed but it was a horrible experience. Here’s one of the other sellers involved talking about just how stupid and ridiculous the whole thing was.

September 2023


September was a bit more cheerful as I got a bright yellow iPhone and did some cute stitching for a Cute Kawaii Cross Stitch Book Review. We also went on a really fun family trip to Mull & Iona, which was full of beautiful scenery, tasty food and a lot of dolphins.

2024 calendars


October is a bit late to be designing my 2024 Calendar but none of my initial ideas worked out and I ended up reusing an older design that still turned out pretty cute. Mostly though, I was busy with sponsored content for Super Cute Kawaii, taking lots of photos and videos for TokyoTreat & Sakuraco.

November 2023


November was another boring month where nothing much happened, except the news that my rent would be going up massively in January – joy! I did have some fun, thanks to a work meeting in Glasgow, more Sakuraco treats, and a rather late but amazing Halloween Pusheen Box. There was also disappointing news from Society6 with their weirdly triumphant announcement of Artist Plans that just meant charging artists to sell more than 10 designs, which forced me to delete 155 designs that I’d been adding over the last ten years. And 11 months into the year, I finally added some actual new products to my shop with Gingerbread Man stickers and 2024 calendar postcards.

instagram marcelinesmith


December finished off the year without anything much to share, though at least all my orders seemed to get there before Christmas for once! I got out a bit with day trips to Edinburgh & Glasgow and had a lot of fun working through a DIY Projects Advent Calendar. I did get into the Christmas spirit eventually, putting my decorations up, enjoying the festive Pusheen Box and having a lovely holiday up north, including the most incredible rainbow skies. We even got a nice lot of snow when I got home.

art vs artist 2023

Overall, this was really not the best year but I did create some new patterns and do a lot of crafting. My Art vs Artist isn’t very impressive but at least there are 9 new-ish things. Thanks for your support this year, especially if you bought something! Let’s hope 2024 is a bit kinder to everyone.


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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