Chiaki Creates

Vintage fashion, old films, literature, cats, the human mind, art, design and crafts. Oh, and writing.


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Birthday wish list

Chiaki Creates - Birthday Wish List chiakicreates.comSilk chiffon maxi dress // Issa
Stockholm bedside table // Ikea
My Simple Figures art prints by Anton Marrast // Society6
Kremla tumblers // Ikea
Kansha: Celebrating Japan’s Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions by Elizabeth Andoh
Rosemary’s Baby tannis root necklace // sirenasirena on Etsy

I’m turning 30 in two weeks. It’s a major event, right? Well, for me it’s not the Birthday itself that’s important, but being older and wiser. Over the last 8 months I’ve been doing some proper soul-searching and I feel like I’m going to enter my thirties as a new, improved me. I feel calm and confident and content. Things are falling into place. I can’t wait to leave my twenties behind and to find out what adventures my thirties have in store!


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How to write the perfect to-do list

Chiaki Creates - How To Write The Perfect To-Do List chiakicreates.comLet’s start with a couple of reasons why you should write to-do lists in the first place. When we write something down, we send a signal to our brain that it no longer has to remember the thing that we wrote down. This means that we’re free to focus on more productive things than ‘remembering to pick up a loaf of bread from the shops’. Crossing things off a list makes us feel good and our mind loves the rush of completing all our tasks.

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that I have very strict rules when it comes to my daily to-do lists. The reason I’m strict is that I want to eliminate as much stress as possible from my daily life. I’m a very organised woman but I’m also emotionally driven so if I don’t fancy doing something, it just won’t get done. Even though I know that things one dread are rarely as bad as one imagines that they will be, sometimes I still can’t bring myself to do something that I really don’t want to do. I tend to give myself a treat, e.g. a matinée screening or a new book when I’ve done something that I was particularly dreading. I highly recommend it.

Creating routines is important because it makes us feel safe. The first thing on my list is always yoga. I get up around 7.30am every day and do my yoga first thing. Then I write and read for a bit, and have breakfast before I get on with my day. When it comes to writing my to-do list, here are the things that I’ve found work for me.

Write next day’s to-do list in the evening
That way you won’t have all of next day’s tasks in your head, stressing you out when you’re trying to sleep.

Only write things down that have to be done the next day
Don’t write anything down that you ‘should’ be doing but can do another day. This may sound like procrastination but it’s not. You want to be as productive as possible and therefore you want less things on your to-do list so that you will be able to complete all of them.

Highlight things that need to be prioritised
Things that are the most important should be done first with exception of things that fall into the category below.

If something on your list takes less than 10 minutes to do, do it straight away
For example telephone calls and emails. Get them over and done with. Crossing multiple things off the list quickly will motivate you to carry on.

Use specific terms and break tasks down into smaller ones
Again, this motivates you to get things done so don’t be vague.

Never put more than 3 big tasks on your list
You can put smaller parts of a big task on the list if you really need to, but be careful not to put too many big tasks on the list.

Don’t put more than 10 things on your list
A long to-do list overwhelms you and puts you in a state of paralysis. Our mind fixates on the uncompleted tasks and causes us distress. There’s even a name for this; the Zeigarnik effect.

Estimate how long each task will take and make sure to give yourself extra time
It’s far too easy to misjudge time only to end up with loads of things that you didn’t have time to do. Things go wrong, things turn up and things change, so allow extra time.

When possible, delegate
Can someone else do any of the tasks?

If you’re really not in the mood, put the list aside and do something fun for a while
Take a whole day off if you need to.

Focus on doing one thing at a time and take regular breaks
In reality, trying to multitask takes longer than doing one thing at a time. We can’t focus on things for too long and we do really need breaks, and lots of them.

If you still have tasks left on your to-do list by 8pm, scratch it and write next day’s list
Set a time limit that suits you but it shouldn’t be any later than 8pm. Your mind needs rest so you can be productive the next day.


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What I see in the mirror

Chiaki Creates - What I See In the Mirror chiakicreates.comThe Guardian does this wonderful series where they ask famous people what they see in the mirror. I find it very interesting to hear how people perceive themselves so I figured I’d write one myself.

When I look in the mirror, I see a woman who simply refuses to give up; a woman who has fought hard for everything she’s got. I never used to think that I look particularly Scandinavian but now I’m embracing my Viking blood.

Like most Swedes my natural hair colour is dark blonde, but I’ve been dyeing it different colours for almost 18 years now. I’ve always wanted naturally red hair.

I get my green eyes from my mum (my brother has them as well) and my pale, transparent skin from my dad. From my dad I also get my long legs and arms. No one in my family knows where my nose comes from and I’ve never met anyone with a nose quite like mine.

I have a bump on my nose from when my first boyfriend broke it when I was 13. It was my first encounter with a psychopath, and having studied psychology I don’t use that term lightly. On my face, I also see scars from a lip piercing and a vertical earl piercing as well as a scar by the corner of my left eye and on the bridge of my nose from two childhood accidents. Mind you, none of these bother me, they remind me of the fact that I’m alive.

I like my crooked smile. I’m always smiling more on one side of my face. I used to avoid smiling when I was younger because I was horrifically self-concious about my less than straight teeth, but with age I’ve found that I care less and less about it. Same thing with wearing makeup. I used to hate what I looked like without makeup to the point where I wouldn’t let people take photos of me au natural, but I just cannot be bothered to put it on every day anymore. I have grown to like my face without makeup.

With age I’ve become quite comfortable in my own skin. I love my hourglass figure; my defined waist. I’m 170 cm (5′ 7″) and I wouldn’t change it if I could. I like my body. It looks good and it works well, especially considering that walking, practising yoga and dancing is the most strenuous exercise that it gets.

Now I’m challenging you to do the same. Write down what you see in the mirror. It’s a good exercise. Do let me know if you write one as I would love to read yours!


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August goals

Chiaki Creates - August Goals chiakicreates.com○ Have business cards printed.

○ Plan my 30th Birthday celebrations.

○ Go to more music gigs and Cave Club. Dance more.

○ Visit a couple of exhibitions.

○ Start watching more films again.

○ Go through all my belongings and sell everything that I don’t use.

○ Re-read a couple of Jeeves and Wooster books.

○ Go swimming in the ponds on Hampstead Heath with my dear friend Rika.

○ Make more bento.


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Lately, according to my phone

Chiaki Creates - Instagram 76 chiakicreates.comReading and snacking on ume & shiso rice crackers with peanuts and soy milk amazake.
My new tunic dress makes me very happy.Chiaki Creates - Instagram 77 chiakicreates.comThe most gorgeous retro flower dress which has now been turned into a skirt.
Got a lovely surprise from Bridgeen in the post and it put a huge smile on my face.Chiaki Creates - Instagram 78 chiakicreates.comStarted my new part-time job at Family Tree in Exmouth Market.
Late lunch/early dinner at the café down the road. They put The Doors on when I walked in!Chiaki Creates - Instagram 79 chiakicreates.comSorted out the mess that the hairdresser made & went to a picnic in my new maxi dress.
A reminder from my mum and a marvellous book that I’ve been spending a lot of time with.


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Delightful little things

Chiaki Creates - Sneak Peek of Secret Project chiakicreates.com­­A list to celebrate the delightful little things in my life.

Over the last week and a half, I’ve been feeling like I’ve lost my mojo. I had my trademark bob ruined by a hairdresser and I just haven’t been feeling it since. I figured that this is the perfect time to write a list that will help me regain focus on the good things in my life.

○ Looking forward to my weekend getaway with my dear friend Bridgeen.

○ Working on my new line of products (partly inspired by Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon).

○ Deciding that I’m a woman who wears psychedelic and floral maxi dresses.

○ Stumbling across a Sistema salad lunch box in the cornershop for less than half of the RRP.

○ Loving my part-time job in Family Tree.

○ Reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt on my bed for hours and hours.

○ Working on a couple of very exciting secret projects with lovely people.

○ Buying a ticket to the National Theatre Live’s encore broadcast of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the creature in October.

○ Having quiche with three different salads for late lunch/early dinner in the local café.

○ Ordering Japanese literature late at night.

○ Re-watching A Bit of Fry and Laurie for the kazillionth time.

○ Seeing my beloved Conor Oberst live again with my dear friend Laura.

○ Cooking super yummy Ottolenghi recipes.

○ Spending a lot of time with Jim Morrison’s poems.

○ Receiving a card that says “DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY” from my mum.

○ Going to a matinée of Venus in Fur in the local cinema.

What delightful little things have happened in your life lately?


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Currently creating: Psychedelic vintage fabric bag with circular handles

Groovy Psychedelic Vintage Fabric Bag by Chiaki Creates chiakicreates.comA long time ago I bought a psychedelic vintage 60s shift dress on Etsy. Sadly, it was a bit on the snug side but I love the fabric so much that I decided to sew a bag out of it. You might remember the rising sun bag and the Scandinavian apple bag that I made last year. This time I made the bag a lot bigger so that it can easily fit a folder, sketchpad or magazine. I’m so pleased with how it turned out that I’ve been using it every day since I made it 2 weeks ago.

I used lightweight sew-in interfacing as I was out of medium weight and I lined it with bright green cotton fabric. Like my other bags, it has a mobile pocket inside it.

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