Archive for January, 2012

It’s good to get out: ALT recap.

Hello! I feel like I’ve been away for so long!

Alt Design Summit was wonderful as always. I can’t tell you how much I love speaking at conferences. It’s the kick in the pants I need to get in front of people and articulate what I’ve learned, and  it shapes my own growth so much! We had a really great panel, and I’m so lucky to have gained 3 new sisters!Kathryn Storke Grady (Snippet & Ink) Brooke Reynolds (Inchmark) and Chrysula Winegar are not only so incredibly talented, but they are just so so lovely in the way they see and use their lives. Such dear ladies. We’d never met, but we’re like sisters now! What a treat to speak with them!

I only ended up staying for one full day as it’s really hard to be away from my darling monkeys at home. But this year at ALT I was able to visit with my fellow textile and fabric peeps! I am never good at taking pics at these kinds of events cause I’m always so busy gabbing! Most of us are all probably working in our PJ’s most of the time (ahem….that’s me!) so dressing up and hanging out together was extra fun. Dinner with Arianne of Aeolidia (the master mind behind my new websiteJenean Morrison and Amy Butler (fabric buddies) and Brooke Reynolds (Book & brand designer) was just a blast. Love these ladies!

There was so much to talk about and hear: discussions about publishing, old and new media, community building, design chat….so much to all take in. I just loved being in a room full of 500+ people who are all outside the box thinkers, making things happen and putting their own beautiful stamp on the world. So inspiring.  I absolutely loved hearing from Maxwell (founder of Apartment Therapy), Deborah Needleman (Editor in Chief of the Wall Street Journal), and Pilar Guzmán (Editor in Chief of  Martha Stewart Living). As well as Julia Rotham, Grace Bonney (Design Sponge), Amy Butler and Kate Woodrow (Chronicle Books) and So many others!

I’ll be recapping the panel I was a part of next time on Work/Life Balance. It was a real boost to be a part of. And I ended up learning a lot myself!


I”ll be back with more words of wisdom shared at ALT. But to end: Another whimsy from the inside pages of my sketch book. Take care!

xoxo, sarah

PS: Visiting so many virtual friends in person after only knowing them from behind a screen is just so awesome. Makes me want to have like some kind of little tea party picnic thing with all of you. Game? I just honestly love keeping in touch with so many of you via Flickr Groups, Facebooktwitter, your comments here, email….anyways….just feeling particularly grateful today for how women really do reach out and support each other. Isn’t is awesome? I’m just in love with you all!


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Saying I Love You.

Oh dear me! How is it we’re thinking of Valentines day already! Wow! Time just flies you guys!

I’m heading off to ALT Design Summit tonight and really look forward to getting dressed up and chatting with the ladies. There are just so many people I’m looking forward to hearing from! This amazing woman…and this one….and her and her….Ack! Where do I stop? The list goes on. If you are going, please say hello!

I just wanted to let you know I have some valentine’s appropriate goodies in the shop right now! Most are new from last year’s valentine’s collections as I have folded cards and book plates, necklaces and prints that might just do the trick for that special someone.

I’m having memories of my dad bringing me home a gift when he would come home from work on the night of Valentine’s Day. He’s kiss my mom, and then hand me a little something. Being in a family of all boys when I was a little girl, made that extra special.

Ok! Off to downtown…I’ll be sure to post about the great discussions at our panel.

Ta ta!



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Delicate Art of Balance.

You know when you have one of “those” weeks? It still seems ironic that I’m speaking on the balance of home life and work life this next week at ALT.

Maybe this week came as a reminder at how precious that balance can be!

This week:

Ella had the croup (including major breathing scare), stomach flu and head cold

Ian: head cold and stomach flu

Addie: Head cold

Me: Stomach flu and head cold

Kenneth: miraculously steered clear, but was designated laundry doer

All while…

I finished a fabric line due this week (oooh! It’s cute!!) and managed to pull 2 all nighters and several other rather intensive nights of work

I finished a chapter book illustrations due this week

I spoke in Relief Society (my church’s women’s organization) on entrepreneurship

My trusty $$$ printer of 5 years died  on me right in the middle of a very long and important job

Prepped for speaking at ALT this week (boy…do I have a lot to say on family balance!)

And managed to really start my sugar free living. It’s awesome by the way.

* * * * *

Let’s just say I’m pretty pooped. And in very good spirits because we have a 3 day weekend.

But in thinking about this MYTH of work life balance, I really do have a lot to say.

I’ve had some really awesome discussions with my fellow speakers, Brooke from INCHMARK, Kathryn from SNIPPET AND INK, CHRYSULA from Chrysula Winegar …… and they all have such wonderful insights. But I think we’ve all come to agree that “balance” doesn’t mean do all things well all the time, on time and in time. Rather, it means that you shift from section to section in your life, in good communication with those who support you (your spouse, etc.) and that you are realistic about what you need to do and when.

This week was one of those exception weeks when it all comes to a head and all energy is focused forward.

There are other weeks when the home is the main project. And then maybe work deadlines fall into the next week’s focus. There really isn’t such thing as doing it “all.” And that I guess is a big part of what I’m speaking of on Thursday.

When I am working really intensely on designing, my laundry piles up. High. And then when I’m getting house projects done, I get a little behind on work. But it’s an ebb and flow, and that’s called balance.

I think for a very long time I was plagued by this false notion that to be a good mom and to keep a good house, I’d have to be all things for all people. Ha! That idea didn’t last long.

Now, my family is just as much a part of my work as my work is a part of my family. It’s a dance that is hard to really outline, but it’s worked out so far due to a fantastic husband who comes home from work and cooks dinner, and my kids who are so incredibly supportive of their artist mom.

Just yesterday Addie proudly came out of her room wearing all her Sarah Jane attire. She hugged me and said “I love wearing all your art, Mommy.”


I’m still in game of learning how to swing less dramatically from project to project, and I’m pressed on capturing those “still” moments and holding onto them as long as possible. Being still, taking time to enjoy each moment for what it is, is so vital to balanced living. My home will never be Martha Steward ready but my home can be happy and filled with laughter (even when one of the family members…I won’t say who….dropped all the fresh eggs from the day on the floor yesterday) which to me is a perfectly balanced home.

I won’t say it’s easy. There is a rhythm that is so personal to our home and to Kenneth and I. He’s out in the garage designing a trade show booth with the kids, while I have Addie on my studio floor drawing while I work on a deadline.  But that’s the way we roll. Most days my work is done when the kids come home from school, and I won’t touch it again until they are in bed. But work still creeps into family living, and it’s been a learning curve these past couple years. But it’s all beautiful!

I’ll be sharing more of what we discuss at ALT during our panel. If you are attending, be sure to come! It’s going to be powerhouse. Lot’s of ideas for sure!

And, because I can’t post without a sketch of the day:

Slow and steady wins the race.



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I’ve always wished I looked good in Wayfarer glasses.

* To keep my promise for 2011 I’m including artwork/doodles of mine in every post

I’m getting ready for ALT Design Summit next week, and I am really looking forward to it! It’s always so wonderful to meet and visit with creative movers and shakers…I always come away so inspired!

This year I’m speaking on a panel on Work : Life : Balance. Ha! As if I have it all figured out! I laughed out loud when they asked me to be on that panel.It’s the quest of my life.

But maybe that’s why I’m on the panel. It’s ALWAYS a work in progress. That’s the point. There is encouragement to be had in the mean time.

I’m wondering if any of you have any questions for me that I could bring up on the panel, address and write up here on the blog.

We’re all in this together. We’re all busy people trying to live beautiful lives. And though we are all at different stages, I think there are some great discussions to be had.

Like yesterday how I couldn’t participate in the long awaited planned for weeks conference call with my fellow panelists because I had a feverish flu bound 5 year old on my lap. Some things can just wait. Not the 5 year old, of course!


Anyways, If any of you have thoughts on work : life : creative: family balance that you want to open up here, I’d love to hear your thoughts, insights, questions, and advice!

And yes. It’s true. I have always wished I could pull off the wayfarer glasses look. It’s not flattering on everyone. Darn it all.




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7 years of motherhood.

Addie’s birthday was this last week.  I’ll never be able to celebrate her birthday without thinking of my own entrance into the wonderful world of Life with Children. Are you the same way?

This years cake? A Flower Bouquet Candelabra, which is what Addie wanted.

I think. I can’t exactly remember how the idea came about.

It’s pretty to look at, fun to put together…. and never leaves leftovers (which I prefer:)

And because I know you’ll ask:


The cup is filled with chocolate truffle, or fudge would work too (it needs to be a heavy substance to hold the weight of the skewers) which is made ahead of time, poured into the cup and chilled.


are nothing more than donut holes, dipped in the same chocolate, dipped in sprinkles and poked with skewers. Eclairs would be lighter weight and pretty too!


This week I’m celebrating 7 years of being a mom in my robe, slippers, and washing bedding and towels. We’ve been hit with the flu, and some how it all feels very similar to my entrance into motherhood seven years ago! Now there just more children who are even more fun to snuggle and be flat out exhausted with!

Have a great week to you all!



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Bandit Chicken

* To keep my promise for 2011 I’m including artwork/doodles of mine in every post!

We have bandit chickens at our house. 19 of them.

I’m drowning in deadlines at the moment ( the catchup after the holiday was a bit stark! Yes?) and the only thing that is keeping me from insanity (I get a little mad-scientist-ish when I’m working tight deadlines) is hearing that BAHK-BAHK-B-B-B-BAHK-ing from the chickens. They are the funniest creatures on the planet.

This afternoon, Ella and I had an afternoon nap on the front yard (the place the chickens aren’t supposed to get to when we let them roam…ahem) and I hear that familiar crinkling sound of the dried leaves (oh ya…did I mention that we live in Utah and it still hasn’t snowed? I don’t get it.)


Chickens: “Rustle, Rustle, click, clack. B-BAHK!”  Right in my face.

Translation: “Hi. I just jumped the fence and escaped and broke all the chicken laws. And now I’m going to tell you about it.”

Yes, escape. We have bandit chickens.

Have you ever seen a chicken jump? Aside from an awkward teenager doing the Mackarana, I can’t really give you a better idea of how histerically funny looking they are. We let the chickens have free reign in the yard, and while our fences are enclosed, there is one particular chicken, Snowflake (the only chicken that looks different than the rest) makes it a point to go as far as she can every time.  It’s become a game now. And besides the fact that she dug up our tulip bulbs in the front yard, it’s really pretty funny.

But we have pretty awesome chicken catchers. Yep. We start ‘em young.

It’s as close to sports as we get in our house.

If you need a good laugh this weekend, I recommend chasing a chicken. Or at least imagining yourself chase a chicken.

See? Gotcha.

Have an awesome friday.


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dancing upon 2012

I came across a poem in October that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind.

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

~ W.B. Yeats

Do you know that one? I found it while watching videos of this brilliant man, and he referred to it in regards to eductation and what we are offering our children.

It makes me think about what children offer to the world, and how we, in the name of responsibility, sense, reason or just plan ignorance, often sweep it underfoot. Or, worse, step on it.  Sometimes twice. It makes me pause to think.

I am still a dreamer. And yet I am responsible for 3 little dreamers. I take that very seriously. Very.

I watched the Muppet Movie over Christmas holiday. I cried. Twice. And not just because I am a Muppet Fan. But because I believe in dreams. The basic good in people. The power of seeing something that doesn’t yet exist, but could. That’s what life is about really. Chasing the things that really matter, but might seem silly in the eyes of an ever changing world.

So this year, I’m resolving to do more than just lose weight, get our little home more organized,  journal our family’s life better, and be healthier (which was last year’s list. And the year before…oh dear.)

This year, I’m resolving to lose the stress and let the harsh world stay away a little bit more.

Laugh more

Dream more

Pay attention to silly ideas

Color my world brighter

Listen to those tiny whispers of an idea

Get on the floor and play more

You’d think that because I’m an artist for children that I spend my days in la-la land with pencils and crayons, creating mermaids and rockets with my kids all day. Ha! I wish.  On the contrary, I’m constantly in a battle between the stresses of motherhood and my own creativity.  It’s a balancing act that I fight for every day. Truly.

Like today, when I had a fantastic idea I wanted to illustrate on even just scrap paper or a napkin even…but we ended up doing dental work on one child, a spontaneous new school visit for another child, a no nap day for the other child….and pretty soon my mind is in a “can we afford this?…My kitchen is a mess!…how can we rearrange our schedule to make this work?…Ack! the library books are due….Ooops…I forgot to call so-and-so….Don’t forget to go sign the kid’s school papers….Turn around…you missed the exit….” and so on and so on.  Not to mention the hours and hours of work I do daily.

The Mommy Brain I call it. And while that is all part of being a parent, it challenges the space I have in my heart for the things that make life beautiful, or are too whimsical to make it to the top of the list. And oooooooh that list gets long. The stress of a parent is my biggest enemy.  I confess that I’ve become a worrier. Something a parent can only really understand.  You know what I mean?

Silly, really.

So this year….2012

I’m waking up more lighthearted. I’m believing in what’s in my gut. I’m listening to my children’s unfinished and messy ideas. I’m offering my heart and not my head. I’m letting go of the worry.

What about you? Are you re-evaluating the way you are seeing this year?

Me too.




Oh! PS:


I almost forgot to tell you! I don’t think that I mentioned that the 2012 Calendar is 50% off now! There’s a limit on these ones…just so you are aware. And I while I made these last year, it sure seems to fit my feelings as of late:)

Available here and here.

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warm & oh so snuggly.

Hello! I’m back home, barely unpacked, and SO ready for 2012. This is going to be a GREAT year, yes? I’m feeling it.

But before I dive into 2012, I wanted to post some things that made me smile this year for Christmas.

Click picture for link

So many of you have sent me pictures, or posted to the FLICKR group your luscious Christmas gifts you’ve slaved away on. And I wanted to share some here, but had to wait till after Christmas…(I didn’t want to spoil any surprises!). This is my first experience with seeing my work under other people’s Christmas Trees….well, YOUR work! Your creativity with my fabric. And I was just so humbled to be be a small part of those moments. I know this must be normal for some people. But it’s not for me. I feel like in some way that I get to travel to each one of you and give you a hug…in some e-hug sort of way. I hope to never get over that actually. It really does delight me to think of little children all over the world being connected somehow. I think a lot about those things.

OK. But really. So many of you went to awesome lengths. Like ABOVE: 6 pairs of Pajamas for 6 kids on Christmas Eve. These things tickle me!

And hello? That quilt? Another Christmas gift I would have died to get myself.

Click picture for link

But this one is my fav. These Oliver & S pajamas  pattern made it to the Polar Express…the North Pole and back…ahem….which makes me warm all over.

Can you get over the look on that little boy? Pure joy.

Click picture for link

I hope your Christmas was just that. Pure Magic. Joy. Delight and warm all over.

And I did I ever show you this nightgown made for Addie? It’s from an old McCall’s pattern from the 1970’s. She wears it every night.

{Did you know Children at Play had flannels? Yep.}

So. I’m back….getting back…in gear. I completely unplugged for 2 weeks, and wow. It felt good. I even went a few days there not really knowing where phone was. I kinda liked it. A lot. Trick is re-learning how to get on a schedule again:)

Happy New Year everyone!!





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