Archive for September, 2010

Support Handmade and other ramblings

Thanks all for the lovely comments about the new Children Around the World series…I am just as excited. I’m spreading it out over the year, but only because there are things like books, fabric lines and children to love and feed. You know…details. But I think you’ll love it! As I mentioned, LONDON will be first, and I’ll be updating the shop by this weekend. I’ll keep you posted. By the way, could you see this cute reaction to the very distracting kiss? I’ve always wanted to do that! You know what happens if he responds back, right? Off with his head! :)

After posting “The Sarah Jane Story: Part 1″ I got so many emails from you sharing your encouraged feelings to start or build your creative businesses. I was so inspired by so many of your stories! I have been contemplating this next move for the blog for a very long time now, and feel like this holiday season is the perfect time to support those of you that have creative businesses. I’m going to be adding a “Support Handmade” sponsorship column just over to the left hand side here, and will be offering low cost ad spots for you to feature your creative business. I know how hard it is to get a creative business off the ground, and I’d love to offer my support to you, my readers! Plus, it will give all of us here a chance to buy handmade this Holiday Season. I’m making the Handmade pledge, are you?

If you are interested in being a sponsor, I’d love to hear from you! You can click here for more details.

October is coming soon….and though these aren’t new, I am updating the shop with all things festive right now. Remember these? We’ll be decorating for Halloween this weekend, and I’m already getting these prints out.


We have some new offers in the shop as well…customization on prints, larger print sizes and folded cards with any design from the shop. Hooray!

And forgive the mess for a while….the blog will be getting some tweaks and facelifts over the next bit. But we’re still here and doing fine!

O.K. I’m done rambling….Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone!

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Children Around the World.

A few things changed when Ken and I started bringing babies into the world. O.K….a lot of things changed! But one of the obvious changes was that we just didn’t travel any more. Or just not as much. We have managed a few really great getaways, but over all…those plans to visit Japan and Russia were put into the “Keep Dreamin'” category. And that’s OK: children are worth it. But I have a really strong love for traveling, and get the travel itch more often than not. In fact, most of my dreams (and I am a very vivid dreamer) are about traveling to new or favorite over-seas locations. The other night for instance, I traveled to Copenhagen. It’s fair trade, I guess.

But it got me thinking of what I wanted to introduce to the shop next. I have honestly so much that I do want to introduce, but I’ve had this idea for a while now, and I’m finally getting around to it:

Children around the world. Travel posters. Multi-cultural prints. A chance to expose children to various places around the world….in the privacy and the comfort of their own rooms and playrooms.

We bought Ian an illustrated road map of London this summer, and pinned it right next to his bed. And because he is familiar with Sherlock Holmes, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan and Paddington Bear, this map brought a certain reality to these fictitious stories. Since I have been there many times, it only seemed natural for me to share my love for this great city. But it dawned on me….he has never been to London! He only knows what he learns from books and pictures.

And then it hit me. I want to illustrate childhood in cities all around the world.

So every month, for the next 12 months, I’ll be illustrating a print from a major city around the world.

Here’s the list:

London

Paris

Amsterdam

Tokyo

Beijing

Sydney

Buenos Ares

New Delhi

Cairo

St. Petersburg

Honolulu

New York City

Coming up with this list was rather challenging…I mean, where do you stop? But I factored in quite a bit: Places I know and love, places I know other people know and love, and places that I actually wanted to illustrate. It’s always subject to change. But I think it’s a pretty good list. And just FYI: these aren’t meant to be cultural representations of each city and culture: just children interacting with the essence of that city in mind. Essence being the key word.

So, folks: there will be a shop update in the next few days. I’ll keep you posted. But in the mean time, I’m thinking of seriously sweet vignettes of children from all around the globe!

Stay tuned!

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In which Sarah reveals a really big secret:

Hello, Hello!

Ok. Some really exciting news here. It’s what I’ve been hinting at the past week or so.

And maybe some of you guessed it! But you have to watch the video to find out. I’m secretly squealing in delight! But I don’t squeal in the video. Sorry. My babies were sleeping.

And if for some reason, you can’t view the short 43 second film, just know that what this means is there will be lots for you to sew and make with come May 2011!!!!!!

OK! I’m off to speak at TOUCHPOINT….but I honestly can’t wait to tell more. I promise I’ll share when I can!

And really, thank YOU for all your wonderful support. I couldn’t have done this without this blog. You are the best!

xoxo
sarah

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Writing letters.

Hi Folks,

Kinda boring post this morning. Sorry. I promise I’ll make it up…I’ve got some great news coming soon. But real quick:

I have a new link over on the side bar that looks like this:

This means you can sign up to have lovely letters sent to your inbox from me every so often. They aren’t from spammers, or from crazy people. Just a letter every once in a while from Sarah Jane with special discounts, important updates, special news and pretty pictures that will make you smile. I know lots of you have signed up already, but i’ve decided to restructure some things and so if you could kindly sign up again, that would make me so happy!

*EDIT: if you have already signed up on past months, no need to do it again!*

And so that means if you are reading this in a Reader, click over and take a second to put in your email. Thanks!

I really love keeping in touch with you all. Count me in as a pen-pal. But I promise…I don’t send junk mail. Just pretty mail maybe once every 2 months. That kinda thing.

And really. Sign up. I have some really awesome news coming soon!


Have a good one…and speaking of letters, I’m off to write a love note to this hot boy of mine. It’s his birthday. And yes. That is really him. Isn’t he darling?

xo

sarah

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Monday Morning.

On my to-do list:

  • Kiss those cheeks.
  • Kiss those cheeks.
  • Kiss those cheeks.

I can think of a few other things, but honestly….she’s a bit distracting. Ah, well.

And thanks for all the lovely comments on MY STORY. I’ll be writing more this week. But only after I eat me some good Ella. Have a good one!

xo

sarah

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The Sarah Jane Story: Part 1

Photo by Katherine Le Cheminant

Next month is Sarah Jane Studios‘ 3 year anniversary! Now through the end of the month, I will be sharing my personal story of how a simple idea turned into a stay-at-home career in illustration & design

THREE YEARS AGO was an interesting time in my life. I had 2 children,  2 1/2 years old and 1 and 1/2 years old. I was finally sleeping through the night after 2 solid years of nursing and having babies. We were living in a tiny, middle story condo and my husband was in graduate school. Part of me was really tired, and the other part of me was just getting out of the slump of having my babies 12 months apart and I was finding  a new energy. I had this incredible urge to start a business from the paintings and the drawings I had been working on that summer. I had recently graduated with a BFA in Musical Theater, and was ready to put my stage life behind. I have always been an artist, and knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life in my art. I had big ideas, big energy and big hopes, but no money, tactics or direction.

But beyond my burning creative energy, I had a strong motivation to start working with my art to support my husband through school. He is a school teacher, and had just recently decided he wanted to get his master’s degree. It left him with absolutely no time to get a second job, and left me even more convinced that I needed to step in and help out.

Me and by babies the month I opened the shop.

My faith is a huge part of my life. I can’t tell you how many times you’ll find me praying in a day. This art journey of mine is no exception and during this time 3 years ago, I was very prayerful about how to start a business at home without it getting in the way of my two infants. I barely had any time! Addie’s naps were very short and Ian’s were long. They went to bed early so I had some time in the evening, but they were very early risers so it was hard to stay up late. I told God that I needed to start a business to help support my husband through graduate school, but I didn’t want to leave my babies. I also had a dream about making a mark in the children’s industry, but I told him I didn’t know how to even get started. But I started working in that direction, and prayed for a way to make it happen.

One of the first items in my shop 3 years ago

My husband came home from work one night with a clipping from a newspaper he had read that day. He never reads the paper. He prefers the computer.  But that day he had read the paper, and saw a clipping about an event specifically for women entrepreneurs who want to start a business. It was the following night and it was only a few miles away. I had no idea in that moment how much I would learn about how to get from the “dream” stage to the “make it happen and really have a business” stage. I was about to embark on a really awesome journey.

The event was perfect. Was it a coincidence that Nancy Cajun spoke on the very topic of “Turning an Idea into a Business?” Was it a coincidence that she was a published author and she spoke about the lifestyle and ropes being an author and illustrator?  Was it a coincidence that she talked about protecting your art and holding to copyrights? It was almost too perfect. It was just what I needed to really have the motivation and tools to move forward. But even more than that, I met people that night who could help mentor me, brainstorm, and give me ideas and support.

Goodnight friend: My very first sale.

But from here, I learned things like:”Know where you fit in the market, but don’t try to fit in.” “Your business needs to fill a need in the market. Identify it, and fill it.” “Do your homework and know your competition.” Simple business tips like this that allowed me to think beyond my own sketchbook and gave me the motivation to move forward. Someone like me, who had no business training, art education or professional experience in this market, needed to hear these things, and I was so grateful.

I will stop there with my story. There is a lot more to tell. But it’s long, and it’s not fair to ask you to read it all in one sitting. But what I did want to express this morning is how grateful I am this month for the mentors and support I found 3 years ago which ultimately gave me the boost I needed and the contacts I needed to get Sarah Jane Studios from my head into an LLC. I realized how guided I was then, but I see it even more now as I look back. It’s just amazing…all the people and events a long the way that took me, step by step, in the right direction.

Kelly King Anderson, founder of Startup Princess has provided a fantastic network of support, and if you are feeling the need to start a business from your hobby, or if you have already started but need some extra support or inspiration, there is an event next week that will really help you. Sept 23& 24 I’m going to be speaking about building online sales, specifically on ETSY. I’m feeling rather sentimental and hope there are “Sarah Jane’s” out there like I was 3 years ago….driven but needing help and ideas. I know how much these events can help, and I hope to see you there! Register here: www.startupprincess.com/touchpoint and enter in ‘princess’ for $50 off.

I’m going to be writing parts of my story over the next few weeks. It’s a special one to me, and I love looking back to see how I have been so led and guided the whole way.

Happy weekend everyone! And thanks for all your support. It’s been an amazing journey!

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Guess who came to dinner?

Sandi Henderson is a long time favorite person of mine. Not that I had ever met her…but you know how blogging connects people and you feel like you know them even though you really don’t? Well, Sandi has always been one of those people. And when I heard she needed a place to stay while she attended the local creative event, SPARK, it only seemed natural that she should hang out with our crazy family for the weekend.  As soon as I offered, and marked it on my calendar, I realized I just invited a celebrity and a stranger to my house for 4 days. Am I crazy? Basically.

Her first line of fabric, Ginger Blossom

If you don’t know Sandi, here’s what you need to know. Creative. Seamstress. Fabric Designer. Artist. Mother. Vintage lover. Maker. Doer of good things. Crazy amazing. If you haven’t seen her work, you might have seen it on your daughter’s skirt. Or on your neighbor’s quilt. Or at your local up-scale fabric store. She is one of those people with a really great story too:  Mother of 2 starts a business selling her children’s clothing line and patterns, and naturally segways into fabric design (teaching herself all through her first line of designs) and now is making quite the name for herself in fabric and design.

See her new book? Loving it.

And besides all that great stuff…she is a really nice person. Don’t you love nice people? She’s a fun loving, great mama, beautiful person, and it was so great to spend time with Sandi in person.

Sandi's booth at Quilt Market

We all feel like we know each other from blogging, ya know?  We’re all just behind a lot of screens, admiring each other’s lives from behind a lot of computer monitors…supporting each other and rooting for each other from afar. But to connect in person…that’s the ultimate.

Her latest fabric line, Meadowsweet

It was so great to have her in our kitchen while we cooked, shared recipes, chatted and ate yummy food.  To find out our families are really similar…from the kinds of food we crave and make to our children’s quirky tendancies…was really fun to discover too. We had also had lots to talk about in terms of art and fabric too…but I can’t talk about that just yet…more on that later…and soon, very soon (wink, wink).

Images and tutorials from her new book

So this is what I’m thinking…all of this blogging love…just needs to happen in person more often. We (my husband that is) will be making a cinnamon apple tart with apricot glaze this weekend, wanna come over?

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Studio News.

This weekend, I had the lovely time of having the lovely Katherine photograph my studio. I’m going to be on KSL this morning (11:10 am on KSL news), and I needed to send in some pictures of my work space.  And though I haven’t finished decorating and designing it, it was fun to shoot anyhow. I’ve had an array of work spaces over the years, and it’s fun to look and see how they have evolved…I’ve had everything from corner of the dining room table to shared computer desk to bedroom. But if I have learned one thing about what I need in a work space, it’s two words: “comfortable” and “inspiring.” So that is what I am working on. I’ll be sure to show more pictures soon! Like when I put up my half wall bulletin surface, and paint the other wall with chalkboard paint. Stay tuned.

But really, if you are local, tune in. I think it will be a really great panel. I’ll be speaking with 2 other women and we’ll be sharing tips and realities of starting a business at home. (I could say a lot on this topic!!)  And thanks for all your wonderful comments about that topic. I got some really good ideas, and I hope to be addressing those! I’ll post the link to the web clip below as soon as I get it.

Thanks so much! See you on T.V.

P.S. I’ll be the one who’s trying really hard not to look nervous. I haven’t been on T.V. since 5th grade morning announcements. This should be about the same thing, right?

EDIT: Here’s the link to the video clip. It was fun to do…and not long enough…but I did it. Whew.

13/09.
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