Archive for August, 2011

Upstate NY Library needs our help!

I was totally engrossed in the Hurricane Irene play by play, even though I wasn’t even in it. My parents were actually visiting me and completely missed the earthquake and the hurricane, but I found myself being so concerned for the people and places I love so much. Our family has lived in DC and Boston, and I’ve had many favorite memories from North Carolina to Maine. Happy that the hurricane didn’t turn out to be as bad as predicted, but the losses are still awful.

One in particular post that I saw on Facebook was this sweet little library, that lost it’s entire children’s book collection due to the flooding. The water in Upper Jay, NY came in at more 6 feet high, and damaged so much of the town.  So many homes and businesses are having to start all over. The Wells Memorial Library (such a charming library!)  lost so many books, but mostly the children’s books because they were all on the lower level shelves. Can you imagine? No more picture books to check out. This little library, and the community it serves, could use your help!

They have tried to save what they could, but the only picture books untouched were the 5 books on the re-shelving cart.

I’m going to be sending them some, but I wanted to give a shout out to all my friends, knowing that if everyone just sent one book…they would be in a place to start really offering hope (especially for the children!)  to their now devistated community.

And if you know of any other libraries that need our help, comment below! I’d love to see these little libraries stand up again fast! Kate Messner is a children’s book illustrator, and she was able to photograph and blog about this library yesterday, and I’m so glad she did! This town hasn’t had much news coverage, and I would love to see some hope restored.


UPDATE: West Hartford Public Library in Vermont also lost it’s children’s book section. I’ll update information as I get it, but I am sure they would appreciate donations:

The West Hartford Public Library

5133 Route 14 West Hartford, VT05084

(802) 295-7992


Here’s how you can help:

1. Send a donation. Checks may be made payable to the Wells Memorial Library.

2. Send a new, hardcover children’s book. Picture books are needed most. They were all destroyed except the five waiting to be re-shelved and those that were signed out to homes that didn’t get flooded. I hear that they might be getting an AMAZON wishlist started, But in hopes to support small bookstores, they’d ask that you purchase from an indie bookstore if at all possible! And if you know of any other libraries that need our help, comment below! I’d love to see these little libraries stand up again fast!

Here’s the postal address for donations:

Wells Memorial Library
P.O. Box 57
Upper Jay, NY 12987
If you are sending via UPS, use this address:
Wells Memorial Library
12230 State Route 9N


Upper Jay, NY 12987


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Just Stay Little

I’ve seen some pretty darn cute birthday Parties out there on pinterest, and blogs and the online land of endless ideas. But I have yet to see a Birthday party inspired by a print of Fabric.

I saw this post this morning, and I just had to share!


Maggie of Smashed Peas and Carrots designed her littler girl’s birthday party around the “Just Stay Little” print of fabric, complete with cutting out all the little dresses and making the cutest decorations! You can see more pictures here.

Just stay little…please? Just last night I noticed how big my babies are in their beds. Oh dear. Does it really happen? Do they really grow up? Don’t answer that question.

Sorry if you are bored with seeing other people’s creations with this fabric. To be honest, it  has become a wonderful fulfillment of a dream of mine. As a designer and illustrator, I’ve had many opportunities to choose where I contract my work. And as i’ve contemplated the products and the people I work with, my vision has always been to let the end product inspire more creativity out of the consumer. Seeing photos like this make me feel like it’s all worth it. Art on the wall is nice, but I love seeing pictures of your puppet theaters, fabric creations and so many other things you’ve shown me.


Thanks for inspiring me!!

And also, are you going to The Creative Connection? Can’t wait to see you there!



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Oh, So Snuggly

Did you know that Children at Play has a flannel line?

When I made this Racer Stripe fabric, I was thinking “pajamas” all the way. Good old “Leave it to Beaver” button up PJ’s. Aren’t they perfect? My husband say’s he’s next in line for some.

I wasn’t exactly sure when the flannels would be ready for sale, so getting a package in the mail a couple weeks ago was quite the treat!

The Flannels are in the Over the Fence colorway…so lots of orange, blue and cream.

We’ve been getting ready for school to start (so many mixed feelings!) and since Addie and Ian will both be going full day (in contrast to last year, when they were only gone from me some days and for 1/2 day, this is a big transition!) Right now, their school clothes are laid out of their first day tomorrow, I have made my VERY FIRST set of school lunches (I feel like  real mom now!) and I even had some new pajamas made for them to celebrate. These two were both for Ian, but Addie’s nightgown isn’t done yet, and she likes them just as much!

EDIT: This pattern is a ‘New Look’ Pattern (subcompany of Simplicity) #6746

But did you see? Oliver & S just came out with a great PJ pattern for their fall release in Sept.

We are ready for school to start! Although, I really do wish we had more lazy mornings!

And in case you think my children pose for me perfectly every time, here’s proof that photoshoots take all morning.

Happy Monday!

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Living life on purpose & other inspiration

Good morning all!

Thanks so much for the great response to A Christmas Goodnight:) It’s always a bit nerve wracking to share even a little bit of something that I’ve been keeping a secret for so long. I have so much more I want to fill you in on, but until then enjoy these last few weeks of summer…I promise I won’t bug you about Christmas for at least another month:)

I wanted to share a few posts with you that are floating around the www today.

Ashley of Ashely Ann Photography (LOVE her blog and photography!) posted this great post of how she turned this free downloadable quote of mine into a canvas print which she embellished with hand stitching. Doesn’t it look amazing?

{All Photos, Ashley Ann Photography}

I have my print behind glass in my kitchen…always such a lovely reminder to wake up every day full of love and purpose.

I made this print several weeks ago, but it has meant even more to me the past 2 days after recovering from a could-have-been-fatal car wreck. I’ll spare you the horrific details, but let’s just say it involved a bouncing metal pipe coming towards me on the freeway while going 65 mph in morning rush hour traffic. My car was totaled, 3 other cars were involved, and after spinning across 3 lanes of traffic, I walked away unharmed. Needless to say, I’ve been recovering on all levels, as you never expect to go through something like that. But if ever there was a shake in my soul to live my life with no regrets, it’s been these past 48 hours. I can honestly say that I love my children every day like it will be my last, simply because I have always been so aware how fragile this life can be. But until you go through something like what I did Tuesday morning, am I shaken into living my life for God and my family with even more love than ever. The kind of purpose I didn’t even know was in me. But now I do.

So…ok…onto happier things, Ashely is hosting a giveaway to get one 16×20 canvas print which you can use to print out that same quote. Isn’t that great??

And other lovely things going on in blog land, We Love French Knots hosted this great interview with me on Tuesday. Interviews are fun, because I get to share things I don’t normally talk about here. Enjoy!

(Sorry I didn’t link to it earlier…I was rather busy tuesday!) Bari J, a fantastic fabric designer and embroidery designer, started this fantastic Stitching Blog and has been relentless in filling us all in on all things stitching. Check it out!

{Overall Baby}

And guess what else you are making? I had to share these gorgeous photos of more wonderful projects you are making with Children at Play from my Flickr Group. You are all so talented and inspiring!

{Girl. Inspired}

{Picolli Piselli}

{Overall Baby}

{Overall Baby}

{Stolen Moments Blog}

{Skirt as Top}

{Little Toot Creations}

{Overall Baby}


Love to you all! Hug your babies. Live your life on purpose. Make your home beautiful. Inspire someone else. Be creative. Thank God every day for all his mercy. And laugh a lot. Amen.

Oh, and don’t forget about the great giveaway over at Ashley Ann!




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Christmas in August….for reals!

The Mailman is a pretty popular guy at our house. Small white and blue trucks, and big brown trucks usually bring my kids screaming to the front door with high hopes they will get something. Usually it’s not for them, but this time it was.

And guess what he brought?

A Christmas Goodnight just came in the mail! The first sample copy was wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper by my editor (how she got some in August I have no idea) and looky-looky!

It’s always a bit surreal, these moments. Children at Play fabric was such a whirlwind…it was created fast and produced fast to make it in time for Spring Market. This book on the other hand, I started 2 years ago, exactly. I finished it a year ago, so getting my fingers on this is rather sweet. But honestly, seeing my children’s reactions for the first time is precious.

This is a OH SO VERY candid moment of me reading it the first time. Precious. Not exactly promo material, but maybe this will give you an idea how little eyes see the book.

It was so magical and hilarious to witness their reactions. This lasted for like 12 minutes, but I love you all, and am only showing you 1 minute:) So sorry about the quality. I need to hire a movie-techie-elf. Someday.

But really you guys…I love this. I love illustrating. I LOVE the world of books, and I really, really hope to keep my hand in it. Working on this book was an amazing experience, one where I knew I was where I belonged!

But to keep illustrating books, I need your help:)

To give you a little scoop on the world of publishing, authors and illustrators get to publish more books based on how well their previous books have sold. Meaning, you could have a really awesome book, but if just your mom and your cousin purchase it, the chances of you getting another contract are really slim. Sad, but true. It’s just how the publishing world works.

I’m not asking you to go buy millions of copies (although, that would be really cool, and I’d mail you some of the to-die-for Swiss chocolate my brother just brought home from a trip to Geneva). But, you can help your local libraries, bookstores and communities be aware of it so that they can buy it. I have a little PDF download here that my amazingly wonderful editor put together, and if you print it off and hand it to your librarian or local bookstore, you can make sure that your favorite local book places will be carrying it.

And if you DO want to get your hands on a copy, you can pre-order it here, here and here. Did you know that by pre-ordering it, it tells the Harper Collins Publishing elves that they need to get more out by Christmas? (And shhhhhh…secret: It’s a steal of a price to pre-order online!)


So, print off this info sheet and make sure your library will have it, or local bookstore, etc. (I’d especially love to see us all supporting our local bookstores this Christmas!)


I’ll be posting more about the making of the book, and other really fun facts as we get closer to the holidays. Although, right now, it’s really feeling like Christmas!


To print A Christmas Goodnight info sheet for your local bookstore or library click here

To Pre-order on Amazon click here

To Pre-order on B&N click here

To pre-order at a local bookstore in the USA click here

Merry Christmas!







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Taking the leap.

What a week. What a day, really. Well, what a year! Ok, make that nearly 4 years.

Let me back up.

It all started in my little apartment. Kenneth and I were trying to figure out how to make ends meet. Things were looking pretty tight, and I had 2 babies in diapers. I had to do something, and to put a really long story in a nutshell, I got on my knees and prayed, then got to work. In 3 months time I had taught myself how to use photoshop, scan art into a printer and create digital prints. I even overnighted myself a fine art printer, and 2 days later I opened an ETSY shop. That was 1417 days ago. Last night, I sold my 10,000th sale on ETSY (to this lovely lady no less) and I find myself so incredibly sentimental. I’m just speechless. Really? I remember being so overwhelmed with the thought of leaving my babies to go work, when instead I was able to create this at home business where I have been able to stay at home. It’s such an incredible blessing. Thank you!

But with that blessing, has come many curses. Curse is a strong word. Let’s call them set backs. There are set backs to having work in your home, especially the management of orders, shipments, supplies, boxes (Oh! The boxes!) deadlines, no vacation time and just a lot of work to manage. I’d be lying if I said it was easy. I’ve had the most loyal help and most wonderful team through the years, all of which have turned out to be some of my dearest friends! But even with help, Sarah Jane Studios has grown to more than I can really handle at home: both in the physical sense and the emotional. So, why not just get more help? I tried going in that direction, and right now, getting more help = more people in my home to manage, oversee and think about. When really, I struggle with having enough space in my brain to get the trash on the curb on the right night (oh ya…Kenneth does that). I’ve played the game of Tetris all summer, with knowing where to put the least amount of effort for the maximum amount of reward: a business (and life!) philosophy I strongly believe in. And the answer is,  to hand all of my products over to companies who can handle things better than I can, and thus free up my time for more mothering, housekeeping and illustrating.

I’m starting to feel free just writing this!

Wow. But after some long, long weeks and months of trying to figure out how to move forward with what I started, and what I want for my family, I have decided to use 2 incredible small companies to fulfill, print and ship all our products. That may not seem like a big deal to you. And maybe you don’t really care, cause you will most likely not even notice a difference…well, except that my cute little hand written address label will be replaced with a digital one. Sorry. But it’s a big deal to me, because I’m handing over a baby really. Something that I started in the middle of a crisis that has grown too big for my arms to carry.

And to answer any questions, Ann and myself are still who you will hear from just as normal. All will be the same. The products the same, the only difference is that my basement and garage will be a lot less full, and my brain will be a lot less cluttered! Which ultimately means more fabric, books and art for you, and more REAL living for me!

Wow. Big load off my shoulders. Something inside of women, well at least me, thinks that we can just do it all. Well, we can’t. We should really be striving to do a few things really well. The important things. And managing a shop from home has come to the point of me not being able to be the kind of mom (or artist for that matter!) that I want to be. And while outsourcing isn’t for everyone (It’s not the best financial solution, that’s for sure!) it is the best for us. And I thought you should know, since you’ve been the fire behind the machine.

So. Back to where I was. Are you still reading this? Hi there, if you are. Last night I made my 10,000th sale, and I made the final decisions to send my inventory far away (in the USA by the way!) and I’ll be shipping it all off tomorrow!

So, what does that mean for the shop? By the end of the day today (August 11, 2011), all embroidery patterns and stationery will be unavailable for a week. Prints, posters and frames will run as normal.  So, if you need something before August 18th, today is your day.

I’m off to pack up my stuff! And I hope you know how awesome it’s been to share this journey with you. It’s a wonderful story, really. Lots of ups and downs, trial and error. Learning as I go. And this new transition is feeling great.

I’m off!




PS: This picture is a favorite view of mine from where we live. I get the “big picture” reminder every day. So lucky!


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Want some paper goodness?

So, today while I was browsing around the web, I hopped on to my favorite quilting blog, and found this darling idea of a friend I met at Quilt Market, who used the Children at Play catalog to make some darling sewn cards! What a great idea!


The catalog is super great quality, matte finish cardstock to be specific, eight pages of color images…and if I do say so myself, rather pretty:) My friend Melanie helped me lay them out in really nice, easy to cut out shapes! And while I loved how well it turned out, I never thought of selling them until I’ve been bombarded with emails asking about it. Well, I have about 250 left over. And I don’t really need then any more. And according to Pamela, this catalog is much more useful in your hands than in my garage. Yes?

So, I’ve added it to my shop at an even $3. Have as many as you want! First come first serve.

Have fun with these!

In the shop here.


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What you all are making

I’m starting to get the facebook posts and flickr photos with you sharing all your lovely creations with Children at Play! I’m having so much fun watching you create!

Left Column:

1) On Parade Dress

2) On Parade Pillow

3) Just Stay Little Aqua Blouse

Right Column:

1) Rockets Blue pants

2) Racer Stripe Green pants

3) On Parade, Playing Dolls, Just Stay Little & Dot to Dot outfit

4) On the Go Cream pants


Remember to post your images to the Sarah Jane: Children at Play Flickr Group. It’s just getting started! I’d love to post more of what you are creating. I’ll make a sidebar button one of these days…haven’t figured out how to make one though. It’s on the list!

I especially want to see more of your Boy creations. The boy collections were actually the top selling, and I’d love to see what you’ve created! Have fun!



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