My name is Mariko. Kittenette is an account of my life in San Francisco, running a business from my apartment, my interest in film and media, cooking and crafting, and how I got adopted by a stray 5 month old kitten.   Read More

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Neruda Paper Cut

Another paper cut, this time a personal project.

I was watching Jane Campion’s In the Cut when I noticed a reference to a line from Pablo Neruda’s “Love Poem XIV” (from the sublime collection The Captain’s Verses):

I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

In Spanish:

Quiero hacer contigo
lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos.

Something about this line stuck out to me, and I realized that it reminds me of the preoccupation with cherry/plum trees in classic Japanese poetry. I decided to make a paper cut of a cherry tree celebrating hanami season (the Japanese custom of sitting under and enjoying cherry trees in the spring) also including the line of Neruda’s poem. It could also be seen as a reference to the blending of poetry and images in traditional Japanese art.

Neruda Paper Cut

This happened to coincide with the plum tree blossoming in front of my window.

Framed Neruda Paper Cut

Framed, I put a piece of metallic gold paper under it.

I also made a version of it in Spanish (not pictured). Not available for sale in my shop, but I can make you one as a custom order if you contact me.

Custom Ring Box & A Busy Christmas Season

I’ve been asked to make some fun custom orders! One customer asked me to make my polaroid locket into an engagement ring box, which was perfect since I’d already designed some prototypes for jewelry boxes. The top for this box is held in tightly by the friction of the felt lining on the lid.




Also, the busy Christmas retail season is already in swing at Iluxo this year! Which means I’m fulfilling more wholesale requests, ordering lots of supplies, counting inventory, and playing with Excel spreadsheets. It also means my usually very orderly bedroom, which has recently been rearranged, sometimes looks like this:


I can’t wait for it to be next year.

City Skyline Clock Designs

My city skyline clocks were inspired by international time displays. Most international time displays with multiple clocks use the same clock but with a text label indicating the city the time corresponds to. I decided to innovate on this concept by integrating the city into the clock itself. I now carry the following cities: Paris, Tokyo, New York, London, Sydney, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Berlin, and Seattle.

Here’s how they look, all on the wall, together:

iluxo clock display

Individual clocks: Sydney, Tokyo, Berlin, Seattle


I’m always designing new cities. If you have a recommendation for a city, let me know in the comments along with some famous landmarks from that city that you’d want to see in the clock.

2012, Year of the Crazy Dress

Much has happened since the last entry, which was posted almost half a year ago. For 2012 I’m going to be restarting this blog with more regular updates about my projects, and maybe some observations about my personal life, too. I’ll be bringing some new topics to the table, such as my adventures in self employment and life in San Francisco.

So, the updates. In October I moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco and fell madly in love with the city. It’s been almost three months and the honeymoon isn’t over yet. I don’t think it will ever be. In November/December I braved a super busy but successful holiday season on Iluxo … and recently exceeded 1000 sales.

In the past few years I converted my entire wardrobe to consist almost exclusively of dresses. I sometimes wear jeans to go hiking, but otherwise I only wear pants when a random mood strikes me or if it’s really too cold. The too-cold situation hasn’t happened here in SF yet. My new (amazing) life has inspired a sudden urge to own a few dresses that are a little out of the box, or shall we say, crazy. I’ve had my eyes peeled for a dress with a huge non repeating pattern of a galaxy, unicorn, kitten, rainbows, etc. etc. on it. Basically I want a dress that looks like the internet threw up on it. Photographic prints have been a fashion trend in recent seasons but I have such specific desires that I haven’t been able to find what I want.

My yet unrealized plan is to design/make the print myself with stock photos, have it printed by Spoonflower, and then sew it into the dress. I’m still weighing the feasibility of this. One concern is being able to find stock photography with a high enough resolution for the large details of the print. The other problem is the fact that I can’t do test swatches of the print, so I’ll have to buy a minimum of a yard from Spoonflower each time the print fails.

To fill the void, though, I’ve kept my eyes peeled for the other crazy dresses I want to have in my life. Enter the Hippie dress, aka LSDress, which I found at Buffalo Exchange. Here I am wearing it in my room. Photographs compliments of my very patient roommate Sandra.

dress portrait full



As you can see, it’s an Amish hippie wedding dress that looks a bit like the cover of Disraeli Gears.

The options:

1. Leave it as-is. I’m trying to work myself up to lounging around at Dolores Park in it. Can I dodge the inevitable stares that I will get from people if I wear it in public? I’d like to be the kind of person who wouldn’t care. I’d like to know the kind of people who wouldn’t. If you’d walk around with me wearing this in public, you’re my new best friend. But this isn’t Harajuku …

2. You can’t really tell in the photos, but the bust is actually fitted very well. I could hem it to the knee or slightly below the knee. This will slightly offset the crazy, but I’m ambivalent about this option because I feel like it’s all or nothing.

3. Cut off the puffy sleeves and hem it super short. This looks the most likely. But I might feel like I was butchering it.

4. Use it as a hippie costume. A sad fate.

I’m getting varying responses. Some people like it. Others think I’m committing a fashion crime (which is kind of the point). I just want it to be rocking the right kind of crazy.

So, internet, what is the right kind of crazy? What should I do? What would you do?

Laser cutting + iluxo

I’ve been in the process of starting a laser cut jewelry line on etsy. I called it iluxo. So this is what my desk looks like these days. I’m using some silicone baking cups I bought from Franc Franc to organize the little pieces.


One of the first things I designed is called a “Treasure locket.” Basically it’s just a wooden box with a slide-out lid that hangs on a necklace. They’re made interesting by laser cutting designs on the faces of the box. The first one I designed was based on a Japanese pattern that I see everywhere, including on some silks I have, someone’s photo of a manhole cover, on origami, product packaging, etc.


You can see how the lid slides out here:


One of my favorites so far was based on the front view of my Polaroid SX-70 camera.


This one is is based on some sketches I made of lace patterns. I decided to incorporate shapes from the suit of cards: hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds. You might have to look a while to find them all, though.


I made little “ilu xo” hearts to fill in the empty spaces on my laser cut sheets. Not sure what I’ll do with these, yet. They can be glued onto other pieces or I may make them into earrings to give as free gifts to customers.


computer cat