Tammis Keefe

For the short 2 days I was at Quilt Market, I got to spend a few hours on the floor helping Michael Miller set up their massive booth. The booth had this MadMen Vintage theme, complete with 1960's runway of manakins. It was seriously awesome. As I rolled up my sleeves to get my hands dirty, I noticed these retro panels off to the side, waiting to be assembled. As I got closer, I realized they were Tammis Keefe Hankerchief's with a complete tribute to her life and story. Do you know Tammis Keefe? She was legendary in textile design for hankerchief's in the 1950's. Her eye for color and design is still recognizable, and she has inspired hundreds of artists and designers. She has a rather sad and mysterious life, which you can read more about here. But she died young, and her images were basically just sitting there, not being reproduced or used. But now, Michael Miller is reproducing her artwork in yardage now, and I am so incredibly excited!

Don't you just love her work? I am really fascinated by trends, and what they bring out in artists of the times. I think trends are so telling of all aspects of the culture that an artist is a part of, and I love thinking about why certain things are popular and why. So I love seeing her original work, and sensing why it was so popular then, and why it is so popular now.

Here's the fabric yardage that Michael Miller has made from her hankies. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

It was really cool to see the original hankies, with individual designs on them, and then how Michael Miller put them together to make awesome fabric.

(Photos from True Up)

And here is a video clip of the set up of the Michael Miller booth. It's really so awesome that I get to actually work with these crazy and fun people. I love this industry! You can see Sandi Henderson show off her red wig and me struggling to put up the Tammis Keefe panel with glue and string at about 1:15 into it.

So do you know Tammis Keefe's work? To learn more, you can go here,here and here. I'm just loving it.

Please support handmade.

I got an email from Mahar Dry goods last week with very sad news. They are closing their doors after 5 wonderful years in business.  And I am very, very depressed.

Mahar Dry Goods was one of the first online shops that actually got me excited about opening my ETSY shop. Robert has stocked exclusively handmade, unique, modern yet vintage children's goods. It always made me so happy to go browse through his shop, and just this year, Mahar Dry Goods picked up some of our family trees and paper dolls. But, as I very well know, keeping a shop up is a lot of work. It looks all clean and neat on the screen, but there are a lot of things that go into the business of keeping up a business. Especially when you are a one-person start-up.  And so I am so sad to see Robert's shop close it's doors. It makes me think of all the handmade-make-it-happen-with-your-boot-straps-businesses out there, and all the love and heart that goes into starting something like this. There are rough times for sure! And though I am shocked and very sad to see his shop close down, I also know that it makes me want to support handmade even more.  So many of us are making it happen with little or no outside help, and yet have wonderful, amazing, inspired products that need to be out there.

So, I have to mention at least a positive that is happening with all this: Mahar Dry Goods will be open through the holiday season, and with the closeout, there is plenty, plenty on sale that you'll want to get your hands on for Christmas.

So, this is my "support handmade" cheer. Go check out his shop. Do shop handmade this season. Do click on my sponsor column to the right. Go and browse ETSY before hitting the mall. Think of how you can be supporting a young mother who wants to stay at home with her children, and  so opened a shop selling personalized paper dolls. Shop handmade, please.   Right now, I am wearing a cowl from Tickled Pink Knits, and it makes me so happy to be wearing something I know someone made with their own hands...and that I'm helping them keep their love of knitting alive. So, are you shopping handmade this Season? I am.

I'm  getting off my soap box now. But I'm off to Christmas shop here.

Making an Art Gallery in Chicago.

Do you remember this post from way back when? Gosh, it was like two years ago...so Addie and Ian were only 2 and 3 years old. I had all this art that my babies had made (finger painting art to be exact) and I didn't know what to do with it. I'd read blog post after blog post on how to store your kids art, digitize it, etc. But I wanted to USE their art, but didn't know how. SO I came up with this ART GALLERY idea. I drew up stencils and traced them onto their finger painting art, and cut them out. Then we framed them, hung them on the wall, and had an instant art gallery of my kids work. Every time people came to visit, they always commented on our Gallery wall. It was so fun to look at! And since then, it's become the most downloaded post on my blog (maybe cause I don't have that much to download....working on that!)

But, I bring this up, because Chicago's local news station did a demo of how to make your own ART GALLERY with your children's art, and they used my blog post and templates for the demo! (Sorry folks...I couldn't figure out how to embed the video, but you can watch the clip if you click here. The demo is the second half of the program at the 2:31 mark).

It was kinda surreal to watch someone half way across the country share with local Chicago viewers, something that I came up with with on a whim while two toddlers crawled all over me on a normal wednesday morning....and I just thought, "Hey, this would be fun to blog about." It just made me realize that the normal things that we do each day can help inspire someone else to find more enjoyment in their daily living. That's what I love about blogging. To me, cutting out animals onto finger-painted paper was just another thing to do on a quiet wednesday morning. And it was! Not that spectacular. But to someone else, that's an idea that they might not have ever had if they didn't go read about it. And so I guess it makes me happy to think that somewhere in Chicago there's another mother cutting out finger-painted paper, while her toddlers climb lovingly all over her, to create a little art gallery from her own children's precious fingers. It really made me think about how far reaching the little things we do each day can be.  I love how this world turns. And I love sharing in the turning.

To find the templates to make your own, click here.

Happy Monday friends!

Giveaway: Dotty by Julia Denos

Do you remember the Picture Book post I did a while back about Dotty? It was I think the most popular post of that  month, and I had so many of you email me thanking me for the review, as well as people who mentioned that they loved it just as much and went out and bought it. Horray! I love that. Especially as an illustrator myself, I love sharing wonderful experiences that picture books offer!

So I thought to myself, I am just going to contact Julia (the illustrator) and see if I can't do a giveaway? What the heck...the internet is a nice and friendly world right?...and it doesn't hurt to ask.

Well, a few days after asking about it,  I got this sweet package in the mail with TWO autographed books complete with sketch of Dotty and set of 4 stickers. AH! I need to tell you that if I wasn't an honest person, I would be keeping them for myself!!! These are so precious! Really...this is one of my new favorite pictures books.

Dotty is the story of Ida who goes to first day of school with her imaginary friend Dotty. But it's just as well, since the rest of her class has imaginary friends too. As the year wears on, Ida realizes that the rest of the kids have "grown up" and think imaginary friends are for babies, and Ida is put in a tough spot because she still has Dotty. This picture book explores the emotions and playfulness of children with big imaginations, and has a VERY satisfying ending. You can read  more of my review here.

Julia is a darling person. I've follwed her blog for a while, and I think you'll just fall in love with her work! She's working on some really great books right now, and I can't wait to get hands on all of them.

Here's a little about her:

Julia is a recently married illustrator living in Quincy, Massachusetts just outside of Boston where she graduated with a B.F.A. in illustration from the Art institute of Boston at Lesley. She worked in a flower shop, followed by a children's bookstore where she was working when she landed her first job in 2007. Since then, she's illustrated 8 books for children, with several more on the way. Her 8th book, coming out in Janury looks delightful: what a dream to illustrate a Picture book on Audrey Hepburn!! So jealous.

She has a darling studio apt in Quincy which is gorgeous, with plenty of natural light!

She is just a darling person, and I've been so happy to get to know the person behind the books that my children love so much. You can get to know her a lot better here on this wonderfully thorough interview. Thanks so much Julia for this great giveaway!

Giveaway instructions:

  • leave a comment making sure to enter your name and email where it asks you to
  • comments will be closed on Sunday Nov. 7th at Midnight EST
  • TWO winners will be chosen to receive an autographed copy of DOTTY
  • Winners will be contacted via email

Best of luck!



If you've been following along on the blog, you know that this is the second print in the Children Around the World Series. (You can read about how I started the idea here)  But I have to say that I've had such a great time creating the Tokyo print. Though I've never been to Japan, I have a strong tie to the people there.

I think I've mentioned before, that my Mother's side of the family comes from Hawaii. Oh gosh...I can't remember dates, but somewhere like 1915 my Great-grandparents went to Japan to serve a mission for our church. They had a baby there, and when it was time to leave (and go back to Idaho of all places!) they decided to not go back to the mainland when they stopped over in Hawaii en route. They loved the Japanese culture and people so much that they stayed as close as they could while remaining in American Territory, and stayed in Hawaii after that.  And my family has been there since. Well, kind of. They all went back to the states eventually, but if you've been raised in Hawaii, you never leave. I'm the first generation born in the states then I guess.

This picture is my Great Grandmother with I have no idea who, but I have to say that until I was a young adult, I always thought my Great Grandmother had adopted herself as Japanese or something because her hair was always done just so (and it was naturally jet black) and she dressed in the Japanese fashion of the times...at least in pictures.

My Grandmother would tell stories of her mother (pictured here) speaking (and cursing) in Japanese, and since that time, our family has been tied to that country in a wonderful way. I'm going to go sometime.

This print as well as the London print are in the shop! Wanna know the next stop? Paris. Coming Dec. 1

I love this kind of travel. No sleepy kids. No jet lag. Enjoy!

PS: This print will be offered without the text and without the tower for those of you who would like it to represent Asia in general.

P.P.S: Come by tomorrow for the best giveaway yet. I can't wait!


This is the view out of my back Kitchen window. We live in a little fixer-upper bungalow, but we bought this place for the views. Seeing trees and sky and mountains first thing every day makes me so happy!

Since this is the first fall, we didn't know what color the trees would be out back. And the color is....Yellow!

I've been on a yellow kick lately, and so this is making me so happy. Lovely yellow locust trees. And can you see the snow on the mountain?

Autumn around here is always coupled with snow. But I love it.

Quilt Market.

Hello! I am back and full of inspiration. I was at Quilt Market, and wow. It was amazing. I don't even know how to start....

First of all, I have to apologize for junk photography.  I am a self-professed bad photographer in artificial lighting.

Second of all, I recognize that some of you are saying, "Quilt Market? What is it and what does Sarah Jane  have to do with quilting?" Lemmee essplain:

Quilt market is basically the trade show for quilting and soft crafts (clothing, home decor, etc.) where designers present their new designs (fabric design as well as pattern design) for buyers and distributers to purchase.

It's huge, and big and quite inspiring. Since I am going to be designing fabric (insert squeal here), and because I am so new to the fabric industry, I wanted to go and see what it was all about! So, Sandi Henderson (remember when she stayed at my house last month?) and I traveled up together (that's another story in and of itself!) and she gave me the grand tour, and introduced me to so many of the people I have admired for years. It was amazing!

And can I just tell you? Getting to meet and talk with Amy Butler, Anna Maria Horner, Liesl from Oliver & S, Patty Young, Pillow & Maxfield, Betz White, Marisa Hedike, Melissa Averinos....the list goes on and on....was so great! Admiring people from afar via blog land is nothing compared to meeting and connecting in person. I have such a new found respect and love for these women who follow their creative passions without reservation, and have the family support to do it.  Going to Quilt Market was kind of like being inducted into a new family. It was wonderful!

I didn't manage to get pictures of me with people...the lighting in the convention center is so tricky to manage. But I did get a few shots of some of my favorite booths to give you a taste.

Tula Pink blew me away with her Mysterious/Vintage Sea Faring booth.

I got to watch Anna Maria present her (incredible!) new line of Fabric at School House. I even got to meet her mom who was helping out since she brought all 5 of her children with her to Houston. Such a wonderful family...and warm loving people!

Patty Young also designs with Michael Miller and was presenting her new stuff. Such a clean open booth...loved it.

Amy Butler blew me out of the water with her booth. It was honestly such a treat to meet her in person. She has talent whizzing out of her ears and yet is the most dear, sweet person. It was such a treat to pick up her new book too!

And meeting Liesl of Oliver & S was such a treat. Honestly, she is one of my new favorite people. Her children's clothing makes me so happy!

So really, My 48 hours of "get myelf emersed in the designer fabric industry" was just that. It was heavenly to be surrounded by so many amazingly talented people, yet who's lives are lived day to day, doing what they love. And, many of them with families at home and little ones too. So with being in illustration and loving the children's book industry that I feel so comfortable in, I was so happy to know that the fabric industry is just as welcoming and warm and full of amazing potential.

Being an artist is so thrilling. I love being a part of  world where possibilities are endless. Never an end to creative ideas. And I am so honored to be a part of it!

But with all the new inspiration, it got me inspired to finish working on my new line for May! So back to work....art might be endless, but deadlines arn't! Back to the drawing table...I can't wait to show you what I have up my sleeve!



Support Handmade Giveaway

**Each weekend through Christmas, I’ll be offering giveaway’s from artists and artisans with a simple wish that we can all support handmade this holiday season! Enjoy!

Today's giveaway is combined! Launi and Lyndi are Mother and Daughter (respectively) and quite the creative duo. Here's a little about them:

Launi is the creator behind Greenwinkle. Here's a little about her shop in her own words:

Greenwinkle: Reduce. ReVamp. Recycle. Fashion forward.

All of our BagBags are hand crocheted from repurposed grocery and shopping bags--saving 50-300 sacks each--from littering our landfills. How's that for earth-friendly? Every bag responds differently to stitching so no two will ever be exactly the same.

Our greenWinkle hats, headbands and slippers are made from 100% warm, breathable cotton--easy on your skin, easy on the planet.

She also blogs and has blog full of great tutorials and recipes at Gracious Rain.


Greenwinkle would like to offer a $25 gift certificate good on anything in our shop.

********    **********   **********

Lyndi is the creator behind Somebody's Stuff. Here's a bit about her in her own words:

Somebody's Stuff carries Frames, Magnets, Paper Chains, Stuff'd Bags (party favors) and anything else I fall in love with creating. It's all about :Anticipate. Celebrate. Decorate. Remember. I also blog at www.somebodys-stuff.com/blog. I love entertaining and I'm always looking forward to the next big holiday or event. I'm fun, goofy and random, so my shop is too. I got started with much encouragement from my friends and family. I realized that I wanted to help everyone anticipate, celebrate, decorate and remember the very best parts of life!


The lucky winner will receive a *Really Can't Wait Christmas Countdown Chain* and a CUSTOM 4x6 Frame and complimenting magnet.

Giveaway instructions:

  • leave a comment making sure to enter your name and email where it asks you to
  • comments will be closed on Sunday Oct. 31st at Midnight EST
  • ONE winner will be chosen to receive EACH giveaway offer
  • Winners will be contacted via email

Best of luck to you!