Archive for the ‘PERSONAL & FAMILY’ Category

365 Sketches




play for me.web


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. 9eefc6387ecd11e39e3c1216422729ed_8 a725f68a826d11e3b0fe1213113368a2_8 3e28d3727ed111e39b8a125d06582ab4_8  

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.

  • Share:


I wanna see you be brave web


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.







  • Share:

Welcome 2014


Happy 2014!!!

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:)  IMG_9947-1 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!

And thanks again for your “CHRISTMAS CARDS FOR A CAUSE” donations this holiday. We were able to donate $801 for the Teemant Family. God bless you all!IMG_9899-1


Happy New Year! From our crazy house to yours!!



  • Share:

Christmas Cards for a Cause

teemant 1 3cards  

**UPDATE January 2, 2014: We have been able to raise $801 for this sweet family from just these cards. Thank you SO much for all who contributed! God bless!

For many of us, this Christmas Season is full of so much love, tradition and laughter.

And for the Teemant family, that’s always been the case. But this Christmas has brought new challenges and heartache as Leo, the father of 3 sweet children (8, 6 and 3) passed away Monday the 9th of December, just 2 weeks before Christmas.

Maya, the oldest, is in my son Ian’s school class, and I’m wanting to bring some joy to their incredibly sweet family.


Leo was diagnosed with melanoma right before his wedding day 11 years ago. It was treated, and he was cancer free for over 8 years. After a successful 10 year career at Novell, he decided to finish his bachelor’s degree and took 2 years off work to do so. Living off of savings, he graduated and was ready to take on new successes. But only a few days after graduation, he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, with no warning signs or preparation. Unable to get work because of treatments and his prognosis, their family has struggled but stayed so positive through it all. Leo was a volunteer at my son’s elementary school and their family has served so many people.

But a few weeks ago after much medical intervention, his situation took a turn for the worse, was too advanced, and he lost his battle with cancer last monday.

Needless to say, losing a father  and husband is anyone’s worst nightmare. But added to that the financial burden of not having employment the past 2+ years, and depleting their savings to achieve his life long dream of getting his degree, their family could definitely use holiday cheer.   5k_17 5k_24 1leo

teemant 2

teemant funeral


In these situations, you just want to do everything you can to help. And since I’ve been so late getting my holiday PDF cards out to you, I thought, this is the perfect thing to help out their family.

I’ve created 6 new cards for you to print and use for gift giving (or even framing!) this Christmas.

wintercards4 wintercards6 wintercards5    wintercards3 wintercards2   winter cards1

100% of the proceeds will go to the Teemant Family this Christmas.

I’ll report on the amount at the New Year.


Last year, if you remember, we raised  $800 for the Sandy Hook foundation in Newton. This year I’d like to raise as much as we possibly can for this sweet family.

teemant 4

Tell your friends and spread the word. I hope we can make the ache a little less deep and bring a bit of cheer.

You can read more about the family and see the memorial fund set up in their name here. 

  • Share:

it’s not summer any more

red headed pond

Christmas is in 33 days and I feel like  it should still be summer.

I put away my kids summer clothes last week. I felt strangely sad. I bet a lot of it has to do with the fact that I didn’t spend much time playing outdoors this summer.

We had summer pool passes. I didn’t ever put on a suit. We had perfect days for hiking. I stayed in bed.

I’m so happy I have a healthy baby. And that he stayed inside me. But bedrest stinks.

I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated my body and it’s ability to move and play and explore as much as I did this past summer.

It snowed yesterday.

And I am christmas shopping today, and all I can think about is how it feels all too sudden.

Anybody else not ready?

It just feels like it should be summer again.

A girl can dream.

New holiday stuff coming to the shop this week. Stay tuned!

  • Share:

3 months


It’s hard to believe that I was in the hospital giving birth 3 months ago. Meeting him for the first time was so magical, and it honestly surprises me EVERY single time with how fast time flies by.

I’m just barely getting my Thank You cards out, I got my first hair trim in months  2 weeks ago, and started my list of unfinished projects from before my pregnancy. Those first 3 months are buckle-down-baby mode for me. I’ve always had rather needy newborns, and I’m kinda grateful. It forces me to slow down and really take the time and focus I need to introduce ourselves. We’re buddies for life now:)



He’s really starting to get socially aware, and this is always a favorite stage….especially for the kids. It makes it so much easier to put him down and make dinner, and put the kids in charge of making him laugh for 20 minutes. It’s completely adorable.


We are back from Quilt Market now, and man! He was AMAZING! I’m just downloading pictures now from Market, as well as for my newest fabric line to show you!! This week I’ll be trickling in lots of eye candy. I can’t wait to show you:)

But he’s just as much eye candy as anything, right? My best and most creative creation. Everything else takes a back seat.

See you tomorrow for more!



  • Share:

Balance = Priorities


Hi there stranger! How are you?


(Side blurb: Do you love that blanket? Thanks Sew Sara for making it! It’s our favorite!)

Not really sure how 2 weeks have gone by since my last post.

Oh, wait. Yes I do. It’s called 4 kids, a newborn and Quilt Market Prep:)

It’s also called real life.

IMG_8900-2 IMG_8888

I’ve been thinking about the word BALANCE lately….in terms of WORK-LIFE-BALANCE…..and I feel like there has been a lot of talk about what that really is. Some say, It’s bogus. It doesn’t exist. Other’s say it’s all about hiring out what you can’t handle well. It’s so many things.

I’m here to say that it’s none of those. It’s not even about Balance.

Let’s just scrap that word, shall we? 


It’s called PRIORITIES. 

I started working from home when I had 2 toddlers. Gosh. That sounds like a dream now. It was so nuts at the time, but I laugh at how hard I thought it was, now that I’m juggling 4 and twice as much work. Funny how you look back and realize how much stronger you’ve become, right?

I felt like I had BALANCE written on my forehead. It was my quest. I worked during naptime, and bedtime. I tried to find that daily dance we are all trying to get just right.

I worked myself to the ground.

But the fact of the matter is, there isn’t any “Just Right” rhythm. Because it changes too frequently. You find a play date schedule to give yourself work time, and then the stomach flu hits the family, and you are out of commission for a week. You finally get the bedtime routine down, but one child starts teething. You set up a space to work with the kids playing at your feet, only to realize that they prefer to be in a different spot in the house.

Any of this sound familiar?

I don’t know about you, but I feel like the world seems to demand some sort of superwoman these days.

Like that work-life-balance means able to do it all, and if we just try harder, those balls will stop dropping.

I’m here to redefine the status quo a little here.

I have often spoken to groups of women about my tree pose analogy.

balance = Priorities

Any yogis here? When you are in tree pose, you are balancing on one foot. For a long time. You can stay here forever it seems….IF you keep your foot moving.

Have you ever paid attention to your foot when you are balancing? Is it rigid and stiff? Or is it constantly shifting? Your foot is constantly shifting around it’s CENTER to maintain harmony.

They way you achieve balance, is by constantly  moving from one thing to the next, but always rotating around your center core of beliefs.

When you have your priorities in line, when you are focused on what are THE most important things in your life, you are free to shift from this thing to that, because you ALWAYS rotating around your center.



And these are my center:)

I have a very cute center, don’t you think? :)

Sometimes those shifts move minute by minute, and they look like my day was today….going from this task to that task, getting it all done.

Sometimes those shifts come in seasons. With babies demanding more of one side of me, and slowly shifting back to more of a work routine.

That’s the point though. That you are constantly cycling and making things work based on the needs of what’s most central to your being.

So really, there is no need to keep up with any kind of “expectation” or “outside pressures.” The guide is there…already inside you…and it’s your job to find out how to keep swinging…but never shifting your core. Your center. Your purpose.

It might seem so simple…to straight forward. But once I realized that there wasn’t a magic pill or a step-by-step guide to achieving balance in my life, it dawned on me that it’s really not even about that at all.

No schedule will give you balance.

Rather, you set what’s most important, and you work in the rest by shifting as you go.

When I was in junior high, my sunday school teacher brought a bunch of rocks to church. Some were pebbles, and the rest were large. We had to fit them all in a mason jar. And he promised us that they would all fit.

We all tried, and failed.

Then, he showed us how.

He put the large rocks in first, and then sprinkled in the pebbles, and they all fell into place around the large rocks. And it all fit.

When you have your priorities set, all the other things fall into place.

None of this frantically trying to get it all done. Trust that it will all fit. Trust that all the “busy” will settle around the “core.”

This is a shift in thinking maybe, from the “get it all done, and perfectly, and you’ll be balanced” mentality. But it works.

My quest, is just to never have any regrets. Game on.



  • Share:

Do your Thing.


Right around this time of year, I get one part sentimental, and another part thoughtful. 6 years ago next month, I launched my little ETSY shop in hopes of “finding” my career in design. It’s a journey I talk about here. Like in this post, this post or this post. But before you go post surfing (sounds like a sport?) stick with me. I am often asked in interviews about what led to what, and how I began designing fabric, or how I broke into book illustration without an agent, etc. etc. etc. And there is, yes, a journey.

But I saw this quote yesterday on the www and it sums up pretty much what I believe in in terms of going where you need to go, and landing what it is you are meant to land. I really can’t say it any better, unless God and divinity was mentioned somewhere in there.

I look back to the timid, shy but naively excited Sarah Jane 6 years ago, who needed to find a way to pay the bills, and I look today at her and see that she still sometimes wonders how it’s all going to work out. With 4 kids now, and with even more of a desire to keep the train going, I often sit there and think “Should I be working harder in this area? Or this area?” or thoughts like “Maybe I should be trying harder to reach out to this contact person, or that contact person.” And often, like anyone who runs a business, it can be at the expense of just making beautiful art!

But I am reminded, like I was at the very beginning, that when you have a calling to make beautiful things, keep making them. Don’t stop so that you can chase up the wrong ladder. Instead, build the ladder, and those opportunities will climb up to you.

Doors will open naturally when you are truly doing your thing.

And that’s what’s happened to me. I’ve had my fair share of blood sweat and tears (literally) and I truly believe that when you keep moving in the direction that you were born to move in, those things in your life that you need to support you, will come.

Have you experienced that?

It’s pretty awesome.

And right now in my life, with that sweet baby taking up most of everything I’ve got, I sometimes feel like time is standing still….or rushing past me fast…I can’t tell. I’ve said no to opportunities that have come that just didn’t work out because I wasn’t ready, and I’ve felt ready for opportunities that just don’t seem to be coming. The answer really lies in naming your priorities and staying true to them. And the right things just work out.

It’s all rather wonderful. Everyone has their own unique story of becoming. I’m glad I get to share mine with you in a little small way.

I’ll be sharing more posts about my journey, and my business this week and next, as I enter into 6 years of being Sarah Jane Studios! Wow. What a trip.

If you have any questions, or topics you’ve always wanted to talk about or find out, comment below and I’ll do my best to integrate it into the conversation. With so many people, especially women, crafting out a career from their art and their motherhood, it’s such an important conversation to be a part of.






  • Share: