The Kuro Clan “Hisashiburi/Long Time No See”

Hi again! Man oh man, what a year 2015 was. Just a quick recap! We moved from Japan to the United States after being in Japan for almost 7 years. From Tokyo to Alabama…hello reverse culture shock, haha! Our son immigrated into the U.S. and now has duel citizenship…pretty awesome, but an incredibly grueling and frustrating process. My husband started a new job, well, I should say, “we started a new job” since we truly strive to approach life as a team. And in fall 2015,  we closed on a house and Kaipher started preschool on the SAME DAY! Needless to say, I’m thankful to finally feel settled after a very busy year.
Our little man’s first day of school. Can you tell he’s excited?? haha:)
The teachers asked that each child bring in a project sharing their favorite color, food, book, interests, and toys. Kaipher’s project was covered in the color blue, corn and onigiri, Obake Densha (Ghost Train), space and astronauts, and space-themed Legos. My heart beams with pride!
Our sweet, little home! It’s a work in progress…built in 1945, it is quaint, cozy, and an all around classic with a white picket fence(?!) Geez…feeling blessed! (Interior pictures to come!). Every one of our rentals in Japan was even smaller, so we don’t mind the size at all. And OH MY GOSH, central heat and air! (Can I get a hallelujah!?) My fellow Japan dwellers understand how lovely central heat and air is, especially during these winter months. Plus, having the ability to walk to Kaipher’s school, shops, restaurants, the library, and the park make the location perfect for us!
Ok, just a few “holiday photos”!
Kaipher trying to copy his cousin Karys at the Black family thanksgiving event. ❤
My little space lover’s ornament this year, marking his love for space and his move to the U.S. 🙂
Sibling love! Our first Thanksgiving & Christmas back in America since 2010. It was pretty special. haha:)

Ok, moving on! I had the pleasure of creating a commissioned piece for a local business here in Birmingham. After visiting the Wheelhouse Salon, I was happy to create a piece to honor the establishment’s 2 year old birthday. Such a cool place! If you’re a “Bham local” I highly recommend visiting the Wheelhouse Salon!
Wheelhouse Tools of Trade 5x7
And now, a skip, leap, and a jump on to Valentine’s Day!
Our living room on the morning of Valentine’s Day. 🙂 Lots of love to hand out!
Sushi take-out on Valentine’s Day for me and my boys. And now, some new goodies in our shop!
Introducing our “Always Hungry for More” enamel pin!
Available with a silver metal finish
And a black metal finish

Hope this year is treating you well so far! (^_^)/


Credits ~ Photography by: Denise Schepper & Taren S. Black

O&A Everyday! – “Trick or,…… TREAT Yo-Self, 2015!”

It is now officially my favorite time of year! Well, now until that New Year’s Eve countdown, haha! I find myself in a whirlwind of creative ideas and constantly watching for magical moments. I want to take it all in, as I treasure being stateside for the first time in 4 years during the holiday season. I plan to be my usual “grossly festive” self, and that means lots of seasonal decor and fall fashion! Add a dash of cheer to your autumnal celebrations with some of our Halloweeny goodies!
Our new, “Trick or Treat” paper garland/ornaments. Click to shop!
We have our seasonal favorite, “The Festive Fall Button Set”
Blog 03
Festive Fall 03
Bare walls or shelves? Below are some of our festive art prints!
“Trick or Treat the Comic Book Cover”
Let's Make a Home Autumn 5x7 etsy
“Let’s Make a Home, Autumn”
Star Dust 5x7 S6 print
My Vintage Halloween 01
“My Vintage Halloween”
We also have some cute little badges available this year, check them out in the shop! Another product we introduced this year is the “My Vintage Halloween” paper garland/ornaments.
Scroll down to see details on our “Free Print Party”. Purchases over $15 receive a free retired print now thru October 15th! So, happy haunting, and happy Halloween shopping!!!


Credits ~ Photography by: Nathan Black & Taren S. Black

O&A Everyday – “Fall 2015, Free Print Party!!!”

Due to my absolute obsession with this lovely time of year, I’m GIVING PRINTS AWAY!!! I’m retiring another batch of “oldies but goodies”, and working on new autumny things. Now thru October 15th, get a FREE retired print of your choice (while supplies last) with any purchase of fifteen dollars or more. I have a limited supply of these guys, and I won’t be printing additional ones, so if there’s one you’d love to have, please let me know! Shop Here!
IMG_5098 2
This time we are saying “goodbye” to the following prints.
Autumn in New York etsy listing
“Autumn in New York”
“Trick or Treat”
and, “The Bat Stache”
IMG_5140 2
The Bat Stache etsy listing
When placing an order, leave a message at check-out letting me know which print you’d like to have. Like I said, there’s a limited supply, so if you have your eye on a particular one, please let me know soon!
This sale is available ONLY through my etsy shop.

Happy Halloweeny Shopping!!!

Credits ~ Photography by: Taren S. Black

A Look Back – “May Moments & June Joys”

I think the most fleeting time of year for me is fall. Perhaps it’s because I’m mildly obsessed with it, and this year, I’m extra excited to be stateside for the season after almost 7 years of being in Japan. Summertime is a wonderful, slower time of year for me. I LOVE that it passes by more like a bullet train, whereas fall’s timeline is analogous to a rocket launch or Dumbledore using Fawkes for a quick escape. Poof! It’s gone! So, to sum it up, they both go by way too quick, but summer feels a little slower, and I treasure the pace! Here are some “moments and joys” from our 2015 spring/summer.
collage 2
Photo shoot for one of our new Little Kuro Cloths in “Miami Circa 1982” with my beautiful sister, Evangeline. Now in our shop!
We received the sweetest box of goodies from our dear friends in Japan! Including Kaipher’s yukata in the photos below! He was so thrilled to have it for the summer festivities!
The night before Father’s Day, we took Nathan to the Birmingham Zoo’s “Zoo Brew” event. The zoo stayed open later than usual, and a local brewing company along with a local BBQ company were present providing delicious food and chilled adult beverages. We rode the carousel, checked out the animal “night life”, and while waiting in line for the zoo’s train ride we watched fireflies dance around the creek that runs through the zoo’s estate.  It was a pretty magical night!
As always, I get “grossly festive” for most holidays. Here are some creations I made for The 4th of July.
We’ve spent chunks of our spring and summer visiting friends and family in Florida. Kaipher will start preschool the end of August, so we took full advantage of having very few commitments in Birmingham and really maximized the amount of time we were able to see our family. I’m still missing a few dear ones, people I haven’t had a chance to catch up with, but I know being in Alabama greatly increases the likelihood of seeing everyone at some point. Anyways, here’s a little snippet of some Florida fun!
Florida Days
We wrapped up the month of June with Nathan’s birthday. I had Kaipher help me bake an Amazing Raisin birthday cake for him. I put on some Miles Davis, prepared myself for a total mess, and it was not stressful at all for this OCD mom, haha!
Oh! and he didn’t turn “29”, but Kaipher had used our “4” back in February so “34” wasn’t an option, and I wasn’t about to do “35”! 🙂
Along with baking the Amazing Raisin cake, we also tried a yummy new cocktail recipe.  You can find the recipe on one of my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess (click link for ingredients & directions).

Ok, now back to work on Oslo & Alfred’s Halloween 2015 goodies!


Credits ~ Photography by: Taren S. Black, and Nathan Black

O&A Everyday – “Working from Florida”

Hello!!! Kaipher and I have spent the past 3 weeks with our family in Florida. It has been such a wonderful time to catch up with everyone here, and not have to worry about a long, exhausting flight back to Japan. Knowing that our departure consists of only a 4 hour drive has made our stay much more relaxing and flexible. Below are some pictures from our time at my childhood home.
Kaipher and I spent a day with our friends that live downtown Pensacola in “The Fisher House”. It was built sometime before 1901, then moved away from the shore of the beach in 1906. It has 6 coal fireplaces, a ginormous butler’s pantry, a magical attic with a mapping station to watch incoming ships, and just an overall epically beautiful set up! It survived years of tropical storms and hurricanes. In 2004 it sustained severe damage from Hurricane Ivan and underwent major renovations in June 2014. The interior is gorgeous, and I will photograph it soon. At the time I was busy watching some very active young lads play outside.
I absolutely LOVED getting to see my sweet niece and nephews after 4 long years of not visiting home.

Somehow I found some time for work during my visit and I updated my etsy shop. With my bevy of baby sitters down here, I think anything might be possible! You can now find 4 new Oslo and Alfred art prints in my etsy shop!
We All Scream 4
“We All Scream” – Click to shop
“Sweet Dreams” – Click to shop
“You Look Fabulous, Darling” – Click to shop
“Kuro Soot Gremlins” – Click to shop

Credits ~ Photography by: Taren S. Black & Triana Ernde

O&A Everyday – “Free Print Party!”

It’s that time again! I’m retiring another batch of art prints. After our huge international move, it feels like the right time to have a “fresh start”, so I’m saying goodbye to some older designs. Now through March 30th, 2015! See details below!Mar BP 2 02
For this Free Print Party, I’m offering BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE!!! When you purchase one retired print, you can choose a second retired print for FREE! Plus, I’ve discounted the retired prints from $15 to $12, so this is quite an epic sale we’re having. 🙂 Check out the prints below to see if there’s something you just have to have! P.S. there’s a little something special for customers who have purchased one of these prints in the past, and would like to make a purchase now!
Mar BP 2 03
“Balloons in Paris” ~ $12 (Only 5 Available) Click title to purchase and choose your free retired print!
Mar BP 2 01
“The Book Tree” ~ $12 (Only 2 Available) Click title to purchase and select your free retired print!
Mar BP 2 07
“A Rainy Day at Sea” ~ $12 (Only 4 Available) Click title to buy and pick out your free retired print!
Mar BP 2 05
“Take Me To Paris” ~ $12 (Only 5 Available) Click title to purchase and choose your free retired print!
And if you just LOVE that adorable, little, strawberry cake box, check out my friend’s etsy shop here: Yecco
Mar BP 2 06
“Yokohama Skyline” ~ $12 (Only 5 Available) Click title to purchase and choose your free retired print!
That little cherry blossom box is another design by my very talented friend, Etsuko. Here’s a link to her super cute online shop: Yecco

Terms & Conditions for the BOGO FREE Print Party:

*Please leave the name or description of the free retired print you’d like with your purchase in the comments box at check-out!

*1 free print per a retired print sale while supplies last. *No limitations per a customer, purchase as many retired prints as you’d like. For example, purchase two retired prints and receive two free retired prints, while supplies last. *The number of available prints is listed under each photo and in each etsy listing. *All retired print sales are final (you’re gonna wanna hold onto it, anyway:-) ).

*If you have purchased one of the retired prints featured in this post in the past at full price, and you’d like to make a purchase during this sale (March 13th – March 30th) we have a special free gift especially for you with any purchase! Please leave a note in the comments box during check-out letting us know that you have purchased a retired print at full price in the past!
Mar BP 2 Ad

Happy Shopping!!!

Credits ~ Photography by: Taren S. Black

A Look Back – “January Jiblets & February Frolics”

This “look back” is just a glimpse of what January and February 2015 held for us as a family, and our little business.
Mar 2015 BP 11
January 18th – Kaipher waiting patiently in our hotel lobby for our ride to Haneda airport. After months of cutting massive amounts of “immigration-red-tape”, we had our embassy interview on January 15th, and my baby boy became a U.S. Citizen upon entry, and of all places, that was in Toronto, Canada!
Soot Gremlins Society 6
We watched “My Neighbor Totoro” countless times while living in the hotel, and Kaipher requested a “soot gremlin” drawing. I was able to keep my Society 6 shop up and running during our huge transition, and this print is available there now! Click here: “Soot Gremlins”
After arriving in Birmingham, AL, we spent two days unpacking and settling in, then we had to get out. Our first outing was to the Birmingham Zoo. Kaipher was obviously thrilled after days of packing, traveling, and unpacking. And big surprise, the flamingos were my favorite.
Mar 2015 BP 09
Mar 2015 BP 08
Mar 2015 BP 10
Mar 2015 BP 07
Settling into our new home and enjoying our obligatory “seasonal tree”, along with a cozy fire, adult beverages, and some mind stimulating board games.
Mar 2015 BP 06
Happy Place Society 6
Here’s another new print in my Society 6 shop!
IMG_2265 with filters
The nature trails in Mountain Brook are beautiful! We are loving our new neighborhood!
We also celebrated Kaipher’s 4th birthday in February! While we are missing Japan so very much, we are thrilled by this new chapter/adventure.
Mar 2015 BP 04
Mar 2015 BP 03
Mar 2015 BP 02
Mar 2015 BP 01
Happy Birthday to my heart, my love, my baby boy, my little man!!!

Credits ~ Photography by: Nathan Black, and Taren S. Black