Archive for the ‘PERSONAL & FAMILY’ Category

The whole gang and thoughts on Post-Partum

family pic 2014.2

I don’t seem to get my whole family in one picture very easily. Maybe it’s because there are 6 of us, or because I’m always the one behind the camera, or maybe it’s because life is always so full and someone is always scurrying off somewhere too fast! Probably All three:)

It was so wonderful to get family pictures with Tara B Photography! She and I went to BYU together studying musical theater, and now we each have our own creative businesses at home. I love watching women do what they love from home. It’s the harest thing…but so rewarding. Thanks Tara!

family picture 2014

Lately at home, things have been full. Very full. And I’m once again learning to find the balance of work and life with a new baby in the family. Motherhood is #1 in my book, but so is my illustration and design work. It’s all so integral to me, as so much of what I’m learning as a mother influences what I want to say as an artist. I’m truly blessed.
family pictures 2014.4

This past year, I’ve had struggles with post-partum depression on and off. And it’s something I have taken very seriously. The stress of young children and babies on your body, mind and spirit is very real. No matter how much you LOVE being a mom, and love your kids. Believe me. When it hit me that I was struggling…I mean..I love my kids! I prayed for each one of them! I struggled with infertility…so how could I possibly be suffering from this?

Turns out, stress…good and bad…messes with your body. And the reality of business and work and motherhood and no sleep and 4 very needy and tiny people to care for took it’s toll on me.

I don’t say this to complain as much as I just want to share the “real” part of what I do and how I do it. I really believe that none of us do what we do professionally with out some kind of personal set back. Or set backs. This one for me, has been very challenging. Albeit not SERIOUS, it’s been a challenge that has required a lot of thought, diligence and perserverance.

My Post Partum Depression was kind of mixed with a bit of anxiety and adrenal fatigue too. Hard to say what exactly was what. But they all have similar symptoms, and so I’m just going to call it Post Partum.

How I’ve managed it so far:

1) Medical Help. First thing I did was to see my Dr and get my hormones checked. I was able to take care of a big bulk of it from managing my hormones, and I’m so grateful for that. I was also able to see that I was low in Vitamin B12 and D3, which are vital in maintaining positive moods and energy.

2) Sleep.  It was so important that I take more off my plate so that I could rest. Naps were key. My body needed to heal and regulate, and sleep was paramount to that.

3) Home Help. One of the hardest things I did was get a nanny a few months after Anders was born. I felt like I was giving up! But sleep was SO important, and I needed someone to watch Ella so I could sleep when my baby slept. So important in those early months. Now that Anders is older, I have help at home so that I can work within a schedule, which has helped tremendously.

4) Diet. I’m not in any way consistent here, but eating a whole foods diet was huge in healing my mind, body and spirit. Cutting the sugar and processed foods…of any kind…worked wonders. Not the easiest for me to maintain, but every effort made a difference. I’ve been following Deliciously Ella and Sarah Wilson for some time now, and they are my heros.

5) Slow Down. This was a hard one. I am a workaholic (in a lot of ways) and it was really hard for me to admit I needed more time to get illustration and design work done. Allowing myself to be abit slower, put things aside and actually say no to some projects was key.

6) Love Yourself. In all the whirlwind of a first year with new baby and recovering from a bed ridden pregnancy, I realized that some of my depression was from how long it was taking to heal and get back to normal. I was comapring myself to other women, who of course weren’t having the same life I was, and was feeling like I was falling short. Bad Form!! Treating myself with love and respect for all that I was doing well took a while to learn. But so key in healing from PPD.

7) Massage Therapy. I found an amazing massouse who I went to in order to help me with all those pent up emiotions that I knew were still inside even after I had “healed.” I could just “feel” that things were still stuck in there, and I needed help getting it out. It was amazing! Your body is such an amazing machine, and after a month of getting massages, so many of my symptoms were improving.

family pic 2014.3

8) Support. I’m super lucky that I have a rock-star husband who “gets it” and is my partner in crime in every way. We pick up eachother’s slack. He’s never made me feel ashamed for the times I wasn’t able to do as much as I usually do. He’s the one that’s been my therapist through the really dark times and my cheerleader throught the bumpy ones.

9) Simplifying. You don’t have to have 4 young children and run a demanding business from home to get yourself out of balance. Life is full for all of us, and is unfortunatly becoming the norm for many of us. Reading ESSENTIALISM was a turning point for me (I’ll talk more on this later) and learning how to focus on what’s most important,and letting everything else fall to the wayside.

10. Unplug. One of the best things I did this summer was spend it mostly away from technology and out in the great outdoors. (One of the main reasons I blogged less this summer!) It sounds so simple, but really, getting out in the elements and just being surrounded by God’s beautiful creations, did wonders. We went back to my home town in Maryland and did a family camp in the forest and I couldn’t have been happier. Since then, taking walks, watching the sunset, and being in the sunshine have been wonderful.

Now, I’m going to be really clear and say that I never had PPD to the point where professional help was needed. I’m just mentioning these things in the case that there is someone else out there that needs to read this and can find help through some simple and basic help!

I’m still learning how to make sure that I’m taking care of ME through all this (I tend to be the give-give-give type). And all that takes sensitivity, hard work, and a lot of listening, prayer and love. But it’s vital to being successful in all aspects of our lives, and I’m so happy to report that I’ve made it through the hardest parts, and am now determined to thrive through this next phase as I keep up my quest for happiness and wellness in all areas of my life. I have a few more things that I know will help me more that I haven’t done consitently enough to mention like exercize, herbal supplements, and meditation…all of which have helped So much! I just need to make them a more daily part of what I do. I’ll report back when I have more of success story there:)

Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share? I know this is a topic that is complicated yet so far reaching. It’s not easy for me to share, but so important to! I’d love to hear your experiences as well.
Love to you all!!

xoxox

Sarah

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Studio Blitzing

life is wonderful1

This week marks 7 years of being my own business. 7 years? Crazy. More on that later. I have lots to share!

But it seems like after all this time, with more and more work to do, I’m finding it harder and harder to share here in this space! With the loads of work that goes on behind the scenes here in the studio, it’s just not happening as much as it used to at the moment. When you are illustrating books, designing fabric, writing books, finishing up custom work, and designing new collections there seems to be little room for anything else at the moment:) It might be time to hire some interns for that. Something to think about!

But there is still time to doodle! Here’s a little doodle that makes me happy today.

I’ll be sharing more about my 7 year journing this month! And I’ll be celebrating with you! Yay!

xo
Sarah

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Less, but better.

One of the reasons I’ve taken a bit of time off blogging, is simply because life is SO full. All it took was traveling during the summer months where I didn’t have my good access to wifi and a computer as much, and my routine of showing up here was broken. No regrets really, except that I realized in those months, how MUCH time was being deticated in my life to things I felt I SHOULD be doing, rather than what REALLY mattered to me in my family and in my career.

Case in point: I often feel I don’t have time to truly get down and dirty in my creative process because of the contant distractions of kids and family life, yet if I were to add up the total minutes and hours spent on my phone or doing completely unessential things in my day, it would total up to just the amount of time I need in my day to make progress in my art! How is that? It’s more than just “priorities” it’s about proactively protecting your time, and allowing space in your day to deticate to the things that matter. Much easier said than done!

But as I’ve been studying this principle of LESS, BUT BETTER in my own life, I’ve felt the need to document my journey a bit more and share what I’m learning along they way.

In May, when my sleep deprived from the newborn stage, busy and full life came to a head, I started realizing that I was having mini panick attacks from all that there was to DO. I have always known that I can’t do it ALL…but I am such a driven, passionate person, it’s really hard to convince myself of just that!

Enter in Greg Mckeweon with his new book Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less (instant New York Times Best Seller, and an instant following of 2.5 million readers on his blog). I ran into his wife, who was a fellow musical theater student with me in my BYU days, and she told me about the book that just came out. I instantly bought it, and devoured it, and knowing that Greg was a brilliant mind, but also a father of 4 yound children living in the Sillicon Valley, I found his book extrememly relevant.

Since that point, I’ve actively been making changes in my habits and life that allow for more productivity to happen, while doing LESS in a given day. Something that I’ve actually been striving to find over the past few years, but never could find the resources to really make it relevant to my daily life.

I’m going to be sharing my journey here, in hopes that there are other women who can improve their level of happiness and satisfaction in their lives by disciplining our lives to truly get out of it what we want. I’m convinced that successful family life and successful creative business building doesn’t have to be synonomous with overwhelmed, overtired and crazy living. It’s something that I’ve felt I’ve managed well, but needs to be better for me to really feel like all that I have been pursuing is truly successful to me.

As I document my journey to maintain a level of happiness, wellness and productivity that allows me to keep my priorities of being a happy mother, happer person and successful creative, I hope you’ll join me and add your experiences! This is a conversation that REALLY needs to be had…espeicially when we are sucked into the culture of information overload, idea overload, and just overload in general. We can’t do it all. Yet, we are subconciosuly sold the idea that doing more will get us more. I’ve been seeking the proof that doing less is actually better, but hadn’t found the documented proof until I found this book.

How to weed out the trivial many and focus on the essential few…while still being present…and successful…in your creative industry, your home and your personal life. This has been my quest this past year, and I want to take you with me.

Are you in?

xo

Sarah

Image: {Greg McKeweon and his wife Anna with me and my husband after Greg’s Keynote address}

 

 

 

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Starting Now.

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!

Happy weekend!

xo

Sarah

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

 

 

 

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Life Lately…

anders

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.

mom and kids

bedtime This month, we actually canceled all of the kids’ extra curricular activities. May is always so buzy! Concerts, final school projects, recitals, end of school activities, graduations…..

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!

Well, here’s life lately according to Instagram.
anders gingham The cutest baby.

book cover A book that I illustrated coming out in August! More soon!

IMG_5824 1 Vintage babies.

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prints The Print Show at BYU Women’s Conference was a success! Thanks for coming out!

nyc cab I tooke a quickie two day trip to NYC to visit Surtex and the National Stationery Show. So much inspiration! I love this town.

surtex

sycamore

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!

xo

sarah

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let them play.

summer flag.blog

 

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.

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Life lately.

march 2014 ig

 

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!

 

Sarah

 

 

 

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Message to the Mamas.

NOTE TO SELF Dirty dishes web

 

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.

Love ya,

Sarah

 

 

 

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