Archive for July, 2011

Doodling in color.

I think about color a lot. As an illustrator who takes drawing very seriously, color is something that has always taken second place. As I’ve grown as an artist, and forged my path for where my art wants to go, I’ve learned to apply design and color in balance with my drawing, and it’s been so enlightening. Rather than thinking of the subject of the piece I’m working on, I’ve learned to think about color just as early on in the doodle stage. And because of the handy-dandy computer, I can play with color a lot faster and it’s not as intimidating when trying to come up with color palettes.

This is a color palette I’m seriously in love with at the moment (well, for the past few months) and I can’t get it out of my head. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

{Bottom images: here, here and here. Also collectively found here.}

  • Share:

Forgotten books of poetry: Granfa Grig

I have so many books that have influenced myself as an illustrator, as well as influenced my mothering. I have been wanting to share them for a while, and I was SO happy when I found this favorite of mine at a used bookstore in Downtown Salt Lake City. Granfa Grig Had a Pig is a collection of mostly forgotten nursery rhymes, mixed with a few favorites, and illustrated by the amazing Wallace Tripp, who won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Picture Books for this book. And rightly so! It’s full of illustration after illustration that completely take you right into the poems. My children can’t take their eyes off the pictures, and it’s sweet to see…because I would study this for hours as a child. I can really see how  this book has influenced my art as an illustrator. It’s really fun to see that now as I look back.

In addition to the illustrations being completely gorgeous, there is a lot of humor in this compilation too. Even adult humor, which I appreciate since adults are ultimately the ones reading it! The choice of nursery rhymes are just wonderful (a good 80% of them I can’t say I’ve seen in any other compilation) and my children have loved memorizing them.

It  makes for an increased vocabulary too, especially when they are so easy to memorize:

Peter White will ne’er go right

Would you like to know the reason why?

He follows his nose wherever he goes

And that stands all awry.

Memorization. Is it just me, or is that a lost art? Memorizing poetry? I think I have a blog post on just that.

My kids have shown trememdous growth in their reading and speaking skills since I’ve been offering them more poetry this summer. I could talk for hours on that subject…but ’tis summer and I must get outside!

If you haven’t seen this book, you really need to. Ask your local library, or search through used and new listings here. It’s out of print, and so far Amazon is the only online place I could find copies here.

I will be reviewing more of my favorite illustrated books (it’s been a while!) and for more reviews, visit here.

{Winners from the Giveaway gave been announced and are at the bottom of the giveaway post. Thank you so much…this was so fun!}


  • Share:

Small and big.

I’ve been thinking of small things lately. Small little people. Small acts of kindness. Small carrots and other not-so-ready-to-be-picked items from our garden occasionally make it inside the house. All with the “Oops! Sorry, Mom” look on my kids faces.

Giveaway entries however were NOT so small! Thanks so much for spreading the word about the new things in the shop….really. It means so much! And since there are so many facebookers and tweets to collect, I’ll be posting winners tomorrow.

Love to you all! Happy Monday!


  • Share:

New Products, Sale & Huge Giveaway!

Wow! I have been working on this update for weeks and weeks. After the survey you filled out a couple months ago, I’ve taken to heart a lot of your suggestions. Poster size prints and framed prints were a #1 request. And they are now in the shop!

These poster sizes are amazing. See the shop for specifics, but now you can get giclee prints in larger sizes, as well as matt poster size prints. Do you remember this nursery that featured my art over the crib?  I’m pretty thrilled to think of full size art in rooms all over the globe. I’m smiling pretty big.

Folded cards are back…and now that’s all I’m offering as far as cards go. I’m slashing the prices of my postcards to get rid of them! No more flat cards…all folded cards. Yummy.

I am most excited for this update. Framed prints!! Horray! No more buying prints and letting them sit around for months because you never get to finding a frame.

This also means that the calendar set that has been #1 best seller for nearly 4 years now can be mounted easy-peasy. Because it’s a square image, you don’t have to worry about searching high and low for a frame that fits!

I designed these frames specifically for the style of my art work…simple and fresh. You can also buy the frame empty if you still have unframed prints laying around. Eh-hem.

And the calendar card packs are back! They’ve been a #1 seller too, but have been out of stock while we’ve been rearranging a lot of things in the shop. 24 cards – 2 for each month.

And dun…dun…dun….

They’re here! Finally. These have been a LABOR OF LOVE! While PDF’s are great and easy to use, Iron-on transfers take the fuss out of harder to trace line work: like little eyes on faces and the sway of a dress. Since many of my images include figures, I’ve found that transfers are so much better for getting the lines “just right.” These iron on super easy, and you can use the transfer up to 7 times!


As part of this huge update, I’m also including some free stuff, some sales, and a GIVEAWAY!

Yes. Overkill. I know.


  • All blank journals, bookplates and postcards are on clearance. Once they are gone, they are gone.  No more. They are priced to sell out, so get them fast!


  • All orders that come in this week (July 19th-24th) will receive a free folded card of my choice. Think of it as a thank you card from me:)


  • All orders that come in this week (July 19th-24th) will automatically be entered into the HUGEST giveaway I’ve ever had, when you use the code: #winsarahjane



3 WINNERS will receive:

4 yards of Children at Play Fabric

1 framed 8×10 print of your choice

3 packs of greeting cards

1 blank journal

1 pack of bookplates

And other little random surprises from the shop that I’ll throw in for fun.



  • Leave a comment below


  • Make a purchase in the shop and enter the code #winsarahjane in the “note to seller” box at the time of check out. One order will equal one giveaway entry.


  • Follow me on Twitter and Tweet about all these new items in the shop as well as the giveaway with the hash tag: #winsarahjane


  • Like me on Facebook and post about the new items or giveaway to your wall. Then leave a comment on my facebook post mentioning your post.


  • Giveaway closes on Sunday July 24th, at 10 pm Eastern Standard time

So, the more you do, the more chances you have! To enter, you must comment. Everything after that just increases your chances!

Best of luck to you, and thank you so much for all your support! To offer my illustrations and designs to the world is really so fulfilling to me, and appreciate all your support! Your support is what helps me keep doing this, and allows me to stay at home with my kids.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!


sarah jane

{COMMENTS CLOSED! Winners will be announced on Tuesday!}

EDIT: Winners have been released! Stephanie, Tracey and craftymom2princessC are the lucky winners!

How I chose the winners: I compiled all the comments, tweets facebook entries and purchases with the code #winsarahjane, and numbered them all 1-829 taking great care to make sure everyone’s entry was accounted for. I then used to generate 3 random numbers. Congrats to the winners, and thanks to you all for showing such awesome support.



  • Share:

shop till you drop.


Thanks for all the birthday wishes it was a fantastic weekend. Wasn’t Harry Potter so satisfying? I love thinking that in 20 years I can remember how cool it was to see the  final  film’s opening night on my birthday. I’m sentimental like that.

So, there’s lots I want to say…. and if you know me, you’ll know that if I have lots to say, it takes forever and get all jumbled. So, I’m resorting to bullet points! (This might be better for all of us.)


  • Fabric. Fabric. Fabric. I have mentioned on Facebook and twitter that Children at Play sold out of its first wave before it even shipped from the factories, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here. What that means is lots and lots of stores are getting it, but lots and lots of stores are still waiting. It also means that I’m getting email after email that certain stores even sold out of a lot of their stock within 24 hours of listing it this weekend! While that is really cool for me to hear, it’s also really aggravating since I know what it’s like when you are trying to get your hands on something, especially when deadlines are involved (like fun sewing dates with yourself:)


  • Since I have decided NOT to sell my own fabric (that’s a conversation we’ll have later…it has a lot to wanting to keep other wonderfully dedicated store owners in business) I stayed up until the very wee hours of the night (eh-hem…morning) last night slaving over a super-giganto list  of stores that have currently purchased Children at Play. You can search by state, but there are also two lists that allow you to search online: both web exclusive stores as well as brick and mortar stores that offer online shopping as well. But here’s where I’d love to hear from you: I’m rather new to the community of fabric, and I think that a lot of stores were a little shocked with how fast they’ve been selling it. If you find a store that carries the fabric, but hasn’t posted it online, feel free to encourage them to post it so that we all can get our hands on it! You can also encourage your local store to carry it as well!


  • I also need your help in the international community. The list that I made includes all the distributors that have been selling it, but not the actual stores. If you know of a particular store internationally that is carrying Children at Play, can you PLEASE let me know? I want so badly to help my friends over seas get their hands on it, and I wish that I could do more! But, if you call your favorite and local stores and inquire about it, it will help us all!


  • Also, if you aren’t already following me on twitter or facebook, do. I’ll be sure to post and re-post any info I have about which stores are carrying it, and when.


  • And speaking of things you’ve been waiting for: I have embroidery iron-on transfer patterns ready to ship! I’ll be showing them to you tomorrow. So come by!


  • Oh. And you’ll want to come by every day this week actually. I know. Overkill. But there’s lots of stuff I want to show you!


  • But I’ll give you a hint. It has a lot to do with the requests you all made during the survey I offered a while back. Stay tuned!


  • And that picture above does fit into this post. Lot’s of changes have been going on in the studio (you’ll be getting bits and pieces in the next several days) and lots of changes have been happening on a personal level too. I’m officially gluten & lactose intolerant. And I have been for a while now…I just never knew it. If you saw me at quilt market, I was swollen and puffy and well, I am not usually swollen and puffy looking. It was all from being sick, and everyone around here is happy to know the reason.  And one way I am still clean inside is because I have a marvelous baker husband who hasn’t minded switching ingredients. You’d never guess that this gorgeous tart was made from rice flour. Life can be beautiful even when living without.


Well, I don’t know if bullet points helped keep all this straight, but just remember this:



  • CONTACT ME if you know of international stores that will be carrying it.



  • COME BACK the next day to see more fun and wonderful things that I’ve been waiting years to show you!



  • WISH you were gluten intolerant so you could get tarts like this :) OK. Just kidding.


  • HARRY POTTER has officially made for a great 14 year experience.


Love to you all!





  • Share:

Getting older.


Today is a special day. A day I share with Harry Potter’s Final Film (!!!) and one of my favorite Dutch artists, Rembrant. I’m feeling rather old fashioned to be honest. Old, being the key word.

Like the other day when my kids asked me about pens.

THEM: “What did people draw with  in the olden days if they didn’t have pens?”

ME: “Pencils.”

THEM: “What about before pencils? Like in the really olden days, Mom?”

ME:”Paint brushes.” I’m thinking that you can’t really go beyond that unless you start talking about rocks, right?

THEM: “Mom! In the really olden days, they used chicken feathers!”

Oh. Of course. I forgot that one.

We have chickens. And chickens shed feathers. And they are collected by my children in droves. And they make fantastic Quills. But…only if you tell them at in the Olden Days, everyone had to be patient. I mean, you couldn’t exactly send off a note in 10 seconds, because you had to redip your feather. Again, and again, and again. This might be the first time my children actually became a little impatient and quit their art projects rather early. It was rather comical.

“Wow, the people that used chicken feathers to draw must be really, really old now, Mom.”

Well, I guess so. And I am joining in the old club. At least I get breakfast in bed, sushi dinner and a trip to the movies. Go Harry!

But Pssst….I’m hosting a lot of birthday celebrations next week. All week. You won’t want to miss out, so came back bright and early on Monday morning, and share the love!


sarah jane

  • Share:

Quilt Story.

Wonderfully handmade loveliness is just starting to come in on the handmade front with Children at Play.

Quilt Story designed this quilt pattern around the Playhouse and  Meadow line of Children at Play, and they turned out so darling! When I designed this line, I wanted to have the images useable for applique and fussy cuts too…so this was so fun to see!

You can get the pattern from their site here.

Do you have pictures you want to share? Hop on over to my Flickr Group here and here. I know it’s early on…but I can’t wait to see what you design! And send me a note too…I’d love to see them!



  • Share:

Collaborations and Discussions

Since I’ve started Sarah Jane Studios, and really from the very beginning, I’ve been surrounded by inspiring and tenacious friends who want to start a business from their hobby or passion. It’s been so great to surround myself with such enthusiasm! And from early on, I’ve been asked to speak or be a panelist at events where business, creativity, or design has been a key topic. What a treat this has been! Even though I prepare a lot of information myself, I always come away with questions that I never would have asked myself.

I also love being around the creative energy of people like you who love what they do and either do it just for the love, or to put a little aside in their pocket book too. This generation of DIY, bad economy, Mother’s having to work more than ever, etc. …has really generated a HUGE wave of women who are so darn determined to work from home doing what they love (instead of behind a counter in a cubicle with no windows).  And it’s empowering to be around these people. So I do it a lot. And I make a lot of friends, and it’s wonderful.

But now it’s your turn to ask me some questions that I want to start discussing!

I’m going to be speaking at a few events coming up, and want your feedback. The first up, is Creative Collaborative is having another meeting tomorrow night at 7pm, and we’ll be discussing:

Alma Loveland- Pricing, choosing how to charge your fees

Mike Loveland- Balancing work with family/social demands

Justin Hackworth- Networking with other artists/businesses/bloggers….

Sarah Jane- Using Social Media to grow your business

Susan Petersen- setting up shop online, and getting your art out!

Melanie Burk- Building clients, building a website, online presence


Also, in September I’m going to be a panelist at The Creative Connection!

{I am really excited about this. I’ve never been before, but I hear it’s amazing. Key notes include Decor 8, members of the Oprah team and Blogher. Heather Bailey, Patty Young, Betz White and other fabric friends will be joining the scene, as well as other AMAZING representatives from all over: Magazines, Publishing, Media, Product Licensing, etc. You can learn everything from how to knit to how to pitch to an agent; How to host an event to getting a licensing deal. Classes include cooking, crafting, writing, business learning, and so much more! It’s going to be amazing. There is a link over on my side bar and you can click right over. }

I’m on a panel that will be discussing e-commerce and having an online shop. And, I know, there are A LOT of you that have online shops, or have always wanted to get your art/creativity out there. I know there are a lot of us that are in this, and we all want to learn more!

So…. I want to hear from YOU!

What questions do YOU have about running an online business with your art? What are the biggest concerns you have, or issues that you want more information/support on?

Leave a comment below, and we can discuss them here on the blog, at Creative Collaborative, etc. I don’t have all the answers, but I think this will be a good discussion.

Ask Away!

  • Share: