asking for trouble

Asking For Trouble is 9 Years Old!

Can you believe it? I started Asking For Trouble back in the summer of 2007 and it’s still the most fun part of my life. If you weren’t around for the whole thing, here’s the most memorable product from each year.

First batch

2007 – Japanese fabric purses
I hand-stitched every one including piping around the edges. I loved making them but it was not sustainable as a full time business. Some were on display at the National Museum of Scotland one Christmas as part of the Gifted exhibition!

I Love Buttons bag

2008 – I Love Buttons bag
An early iconic design of my brand. I drew my favourite vintage buttons and used my Japanese gocco printer to make these bags. It was hard to drop all the buttons stuff but it doesn’t fit my kawaii brand any more.

Book Hearts

2009 – Book Hearts
These were little metal bookmarks that I decorated with washi paper. People went mad for these. I sold kits and everything.

The Sew Cute wellies I designed for Plueys are back! They were so popular they made a new batch. Get them from

2010 – Sew Cute rain boots
Still the most surreal part of my career – being asked to design some signature rain boots! Like literally, they have my name all over the lining. It was an interesting experience for my first time working with another company and wearing my own design of wellies was pretty awesome. You can still get these from Plueys.

5 Year Diaries

2011 – 5 Year Diary
Standard 5 year diaries are really boring so I designed my own. I’ve been filling mine in for just over 5 years now and it’s so fun seeing what I was doing on the same day years ago. 2017 edition coming soon!

Cute Coin Purses

2012 – Look Around
Not a product but a set of characters. These guys changed my business and gave me a recognisable style that I’ve carried on using for all my characters. Simplifying things into circles and simple shapes is so fun to do and there seems to be endless possibilities.

All my Little Ghost brooches

2013 – Little Ghost brooch
I made these on a whim with no inkling that they’d become one of my best sellers. I’ve made a few seasonal variations including glitter, cotton candy and glow in the dark. How many do you have?

Sent out a lot of these today!

2014 – Meal Planner & Shopping List
These are my bread and butter at the moment with regular sales and return buyers. The shopping list is one of my own most used products – I have a stack of wonky ones that I use every week. It’s funny thinking of all the fridges they’re decorating around the world.

wrapping paper

2015 – Gift Wrap
You have no idea how much space wrapping paper takes up, or how heavy it is! Designing repeat patterns is one of my very favourite things to do and wrap is a great product for that.

Mt Fuji enamel pin

2016 – Mt Fuji enamel pin
I finally jumped on the bandwagon this month and joined 2016’s biggest craze with my first enamel pin. It was so fun I may have already ordered another design. Getting my characters to work in new formats keeps things interesting.

I’m so glad I’ve been blogging the entire time so I can look back on it all. Here’s my first terrible web shop! I also uploaded photos to Flickr regularly from 2008 so you can see my entire product history in one album.

If you wish me a happy anniversary in the checkout notes on any order this month I’ll draw you a picture and send you a free gift.

Now I need to think of something exciting to do for my tenth anniversary…


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!


All opinions are my own and I am not compensated or sponsored for writing about any products or services featured unless stated in the post. Links to shops and websites may be affiliate links – I receive a small commission from your orders at no cost to you, which helps me fund this site. I do not accept advertising.