Archive for the ‘PERSONAL & FAMILY’ Category
I love the start of a new school year. Something about it. The cooler air setting in. A routine after a completely playful and unstructured summer. New Ideas. A new start.
This year is a big change….like they all are. I have THREE kids in school (albeit 1/2 day Kindergarten) with one baby monkey at home. I’ll have more quiet time, but more messes. Funny how that works.
(the studio before)
A big change we just made was to move my art studio up to the master bedroom. I’ve had my art studio in a small basement bedroom for 4 years. One room is for shipping and packing, and the other was my studio. But with very little natural light, and no space to put my feet up or make messes was starting to cramp my workflow. My husband suggested we just swap rooms! I was very hesitiant at first…but after realizing how much more we’d function as a family (me being able to work along side my kids if I needed to, more space to get projects done behind a closed door and not in the living room…etc. It was a no-brainer.
I’ll show you more pictures once we get everything set up. It’s still coming together. But it’s been oh so nice!
And as always, I’m always considering growth, how I’m growing and how that works with my growing family. It’s been a year of tremendous opportunites and growth for me, and I’m constantly balancing that out with my kids and family time, and motherhood. It’s a balancing act that is constant. And this year I’m starting to feel the flow. There are so many great things ahead!
Another change is I’ll be showing up here more! With the summer as it’s been, I just haven’t been able to sit down and get on a computer for long enough. I’m sure you understand! But blogging is something that I really love, and I’ve taken it slower lately. I’m excited to come back to it, and share more here. I have a lot to share! Some changes you’ll notice is that I currently am no longer taking sponsors on this blog. I’ve decided to go back to my roots of keeping this blog a bit more of a business journal than a promotional space, so I won’t be taking any more sponsors or doing giveaways of other products, etc. I’m feeling the need to make this blog a bit more of how it started, which was completely and totally me…and my work…and my thoughts and a space that we can really have a conversation, engage in beautiful things and journey together.
So come over and say hello. We’ll go on this new adventure together!
PS: And thanks for the tremendous response to the sale this weekend! (It’s still going on….30% off today, 20% off tomorrow…it’s been crazy! We need extra elves in the shop to keep up…thank you!) I hope you all enjoy your new goodies! xoxo
Not really sure how blogging has taken a back seat. It might have to do with the month of May always being as full as it always is…mixed with my grandmother’s passing, a Print Show, A little trip to NYC and a Book to wrap up.
So we actually pulled the kids out of everything, knowing how extra busy it would be for our family, so we could spend more time together. It’s been just right. They love being home more, and I love having them home! I can’t wait till summer!
The Print Show at BYU Women’s Conference was a success! Thanks for coming out!
I tooke a quickie two day trip to NYC to visit Surtex and the National Stationery Show. So much inspiration! I love this town.
So great to see so many friends! It was awesome to see so many familiar faces!
There is a lot of great stuff I can’t wait to show you…give me a bit to put it all together for you. Come back tomorrow for a Holiday Sale and I hope you have a Lovely Memorial Day Weekend! Love to you all!
I was able to head “home” for the weekend for a quick visit with my husband and all my siblings and their spouses to surprise my Dad for his birthday. It was so precious to be all together without our kids, and to reminise being kids ourselves…something that I don’t think has ever happened with all my siblings being adults.
Funny how we as adults can just go back to being kids again when we are all together. My mom bought cold cereal and ice cream like she would have while we were under her roof. It was adorable.
Reflecting on what it felt like to be a child, with all those floods of memories and funny stories, reminded me that kids are kids. And meant to be kids. Not adults-in-training. I grew up in a house full of play….and looking back…hard work and education felt like play to us. Learning how to create an awesome history project was play. Music lessons were play. Learning French was play. Even math practice was play (up to a certain point:). And our creative free time was just as much learning as play.
Being home reminded me that education and learning was such a vital part of my parents’ parenting style.. But it was hidden in a family culture of expecting excellence as well as creative play. I grew up with parents who are truly children at heart and were so curious about the world in a playful way, yet my father has degrees from Cambridge, Oxford, among others. It’s something that I want to achieve as a parent….to let them play. And to not forget that children are children and through playing and fostering curiosity, they will learn and absorb the entire world around them.
Whoever wants to understand much must play much.
- Gottfried Benn
It’s also important for me to let go of that tendency I have to feel those pressures of adult life, and remember to play myself. The mind is full of expansion when we are open and curious, always learning. The world is still my playground, and I hope to never….not ever….loose that sense of wonder.
The past several weeks seem like a blur, as I’ve been attempting to catch up on about every project that got left behind in the swarm of new baby-land. I’m the kind of person that expects a lot of myself (this has it’s pro’s and con’s) and I tend to live in a constant state of possibility. Like, “Oh sure! I can totally whip out that book cover in a week!” Haha. Maybe when I was 25 and childless. I still think I can just create on demand, and I forget that a tired body (this baby still thinks 5:30 am is a great time to start the day!) really limits my creative “on” buttons. I have to laugh at it, really.
Couple that with a body that’s still trying to figure out how to heal from a challenging 16 months of baby making and keeping up with 4 soul-filled children, and I am playing catch-up big time.
I’m learning how to balance my own whimsy and the reality of mothering and I always veer to the side of mothering. Which makes me happy and content. But then there is the work that piles up, and sometimes I think I must look like a really bad circus juggler. It’s all good things….art making, home making, peace making. But it’s knowing for myself when to turn out the lights and just go to SLEEP when I really should be doing this and that and this, that’s hard for me.
Here’s a few clips from Instagram lately. I’m working on some really fun projects that I can’t wait to share (books, new fabric, new products….)
Life is good, oh so sweet, and full to the brim! I long to find that place where I can slow down and still find myself being productive in all the right ways. I’ve been practicing mental gratitude and mental meditation which has been incredibly healing to an overworked mind. Because my passion is my work, and my work is my passion, I’m learning to be more kind to myself, filled with more forgiveness as I strive to be the best mother and still share my creative gifts with others. I’ve always known that God’s gifts to me are for me to share, and that has been so beautiful as I have always strived to put myself in a place of giving. But we all know that the bucket can get empty without constantly filling it. Mothering alone can do that. I’ve been on a journey of learning how to be in a constant place of being filled. It’s a beautiful place to be in, but requires such openness, and rawness which makes it hard to articulate sometimes.
But as I’ve expressed these thoughts in one form or another, I realized that there are many of of creative mothers that just KEEP GOING and feel a relentless need to DO MORE. And to you, I say, “Stop, breathe, follow your bliss and slow down without guilt.” This world is getting more demanding, faster and harder to keep up by the minute. And it’s very easy to fall into that rat race. Simplifying life down to it’s core needs and letting the other pressures go will only make for better joy.
I’m just honestly so grateful that my work, when approached from a place of joy, can be so fulfilling to me. I’m constantly grateful that I have a place to go to that fills my soul.
It’s just so ironic, that when I’m overworked, that very same place can drain me.
Maybe you can relate!
I’m in a place of internal change, as an artist and a creator, and I really look forward to seeing where that change takes me. I know that as we are true to ourselves, and no one else, that we will truly do our life’s best work.
Thanks for listening, and hope someone out there benefits from these possibly random Monday thoughts.
Love to you all, and have a lovely week!
So, I hit rock bottom the other day, and I needed to illustrate it. Can you relate?
I’m trying some new art. And I want to know what you think. Could you use some art for YOU? I think you’ve earned it.
I’m constantly making art for these awesome kids of ours. But sometimes us Mama’s (rockstar Mama’s at that!) need some inspiration too.
Prettier Dishes. Forget about the tidy kitchen. No more need to apologize when guests come.
To purchase before your mother-in-law comes over, click here.
Now, go be a Mom.
The interesting thing about drawing is that it requires a lot of what I don’t seem to have a lot of right now:
1. Two hands. You only need to draw with one, but the other hand steadies your paper. Something I’d never thought of before I had children.
2. A pencil. Preferably one that doesn’t get stolen from the child you are sitting with.
3. Creativity. Well, yes folks. It takes a wandering mind to go places that create magic. The places where I can put feelings onto paper. My mind wanders plenty….but lately it’s because I’m drifting off to sleep while making pancakes. Not exactly productive.
4. Time. As much as I like to draw stick figures, I just don’t get a thrill out of it. Sketching something doesn’t take hours, but it does take longer than 2 minutes…and if I had that in my day I’d take a shower instead:)
But, all that being said, I don’t feel human without putting to paper how I feel about my children, childhood and what I see in my head. It’s amazing that with all the sleep deprivation right now (yes he’s almost 6 months and yes he’s still making a zombie out of me!) There are still hints of life in my right brain. It’s not where I want it to be, and that’s OK because baby making is #1 on my list of my best creations. But I’ve decided to try and sketch as much as I can. Make myself even. It’s like exercise (which I’m lousy at)…it requires blocking out bits of time and making it happen. At least with 4 kids at home.
And with being in the middle of creative deadlines right now, sketching keeps my brain from thinking there isn’t anything in there. When you are only getting 4-5 hours of sleep in 2-3 intervals, there really isn’t much in there:) It helps me realize that maybe I actually do think about more than just what I’m making (or not making) for dinner.
So, 365 Drawings…I’m ready for you. It might take me 3 years, but I’m determined to put pencil to paper more. It’s my magic time.
PS: You can keep up with my INSTAGRAM drawings here.
I’ve been thinking about what my Word of the Year will be. It’s taken me a while, because last year was a challenging one for me, and I’ve felt such a fresh start to this one, and there are so many thing I’m wrapping my head around.
Life with 4 (very intensely alive and soulful) children and all that brings, striving to build my little business and see it bless my family more as well as more of the world, keeping creatively sharp and passionate despite the fullness of life, staying a good friend and staying aware of and serving the people around me, and learning to over come personal challenges all with the beauty of no sleep.
My husband found some old home videos on Christmas, and one night we pulled out the tape (yes a tape) of me and Kenneth backpacking through Europe in 2004. We’d been infertile for 3 years, and I was at my end of all the emotions that go along with that. I was tired and scared of turning into a worrisome twenty-something. I had stopped really “living.”
We had saved money for an infertility surgery that we weren’t sure if insurance would cover. And we wouldn’t find out until after the surgery. That took all my faith. And that’s another story. But in the end, insurance paid for it!
So, what did we do? Did we put it in savings? Did we put it aside?
We grabbed plane tickets and back packed through Europe for 5 weeks. We had a plan, but we left so much to chance. We had to release and relive, and that’s just what we did.
We stayed with an old Italian man we met at the train station on the Italian Coast who couldn’t speak english, but had a great view; We wandered through the sheep filled countryside in Wales and got lost until we found a bed and breakfast we could afford. We landed in a small town outside of Venice at midnight in the rain, and knocked on doors until we found an open room (that one was a little scary). We took a 3 hour train that we didn’t have tickets for (we got on the wrong train) and played cards in the dining car to avoid the ticket master (thanks Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby for that one).
All in all, I was fearless. I’d been so beaten down and disheartened from not being able to get pregnant, and I felt like I could handle anything.
Then the kids came. And we were witnessing miracles.
But something happened to my mother-heart.
I loved so much, that I started to worry just as much. I started watching every step. I would put on the alerts that only a mother can have. I would sleep with one eye and one ear open. I was always on the watch it seemed. And slowly, but surely, I’ve become just that. I’ve forgotten how to let go, and be BRAVE.
I’m not talking about the kind of BRAVE that you put on to mother children. That’s the BRAVEST of all the BRAVES!
I’m talking about the kind of BRAVE that it takes to break free from habits, try new ways, leave your comfort zone, and trust.
The kind BRAVE that makes you fearless. Willing to let go and soar.
I’ve grown up since those careless summer days in France, but I’ve also forgotten how to let go.
And that’s hard to do when you are responsible for little people.
But it’s my new goal. It’s my new road.
Sara Bareilles’ song BRAVE has been on repeat, and I’ve been pumped up ready for this new year. 2014 is my year. I feel it.
You are welcome to download this and use it for your personal use. It’s my motto this year.
I hope you all have had a LOVELY break. We did, regardless of the fact that we all had the FLU (it’s going around…did you get it? Fevers, coughs, no fun. Especially with sick baby. Boo.)
But we had a quiet holiday planned anyways, and with added sleep and rest needed, that’s just what we got. Kids are all at school today, and it’s back to the grindstone! I’m never ready:) I am really excited about 2014. I always get excited about a new year, and this one is feeling good. Last year had a lot of bumps for me, and they taught me, formed me and shaped me. I’m ready to give 2014 my best shot.
So much is happening behind the scenes here at Sarah Jane. I need to get my thoughts (and studio!) organized before I start sharing, but good things are coming!
Happy New Year! From our crazy house to yours!!