{a NEW mini-series: “How I live a creative life,” featuring Sarah Jane Studios}

This week we’ve focused on a NEW mini-series built around the question, “How do I live a creative life?” I’ve shared with you unique perspectives from a variety of my blogger friends all week. Each of these ladies has a defined style, career focus + family life, and creativity plays a key role in their everyday. In case you missed it, here are this week’s past posts: Kyla, Heather, Lisa + Hayley.

I’m wrapping up this week’s focus with a post from Sarah Jane Studios. It’s the last post focusing on outside perspectives with the goal that YOU leave here feeling inspired ~ I want to encourage you to take a fresh new look at the creative life you already live ♥. On Monday we’ll dig a little deeper, so I hope you’ll be back for week #2 :)

Let’s get started, shall we?

This week the question is, “How do you live a creative life?”

* * *

Hello! Love Gussy…love this blog! So happy to step in today and say hello. I’m Sarah Jane (you can just call me Sarah) and I’m the Mama behind Sarah Jane Studios: the place where I illustrate art prints, paper play things and gifts for children, design fabric, illustrate books, design stitching patterns…and in a nutshell “illustrate childhood.”

I love it. I love my work! But, while it’s a creative business, believe it or not, it can actually be challenging for me to find the time I crave to be creative!

But wait a minute….what does living a creative life mean? Walking on the beach, painting for hours and writing novels by night? I used to think that. But being the mother of 3 children, running a household and a business, I’ve come to realize that living a creative life is a choice, and not something that falls upon you. The two things that block my creativity are 1) fatigue and 2) stress. Oh gee. What young mother doesn’t feel that 24/7?? When I’m overwhelmed and tired, I’m a useless artist. So, I try and keep that in check. So since being a young mother and running a business means that those two things happen more often than not, I have to choose creativity. Once I choose to live creatively, I’ve made the jump. Just like happiness is a choice, living creatively is a choice as well.

Finding the hours on end to let loose into projects isn’t my reality at all during my busy days. And while I do block out time for big projects as I need to, I find that living creatively doesn’t require blocked out time… but rather it’s how you choose to use your time. No matter what your love or where you are.

Because I illustrate for children, I’ve let my busy life as a mom be my resource for finding beauty every day. While the tasks of motherhood can be challenging, exhausting and at times draining, choosing to see the miracles and simple beauties that children see spins me into my creativity. And in fact, because I illustrate for children, it’s been a blessing for me because it reminds me to watch my children more closely, and pay attention to how they think and see the world. Children see everything as new and full of possibility. To live a creative life, you must see the ordinary as new. Find ways to turn a routine task into something fresh. Take a problem and turn it into a solution. Look at something you see every day in an entirely new way.

But it’s not easy, and I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I get into a rut, and wonder where my creative spark went!! That’s the way things are in a family… the ebbs and flows are unpredictable. But I take those days, toss them behind me, and find a way to shake things up! Sometimes it’s as easy as dancing in the kitchen at breakfast, having lunch on the grass instead of the table, going to a new shop or taking the long way home. What ever it is, as long as you make the effort to see the world fresh, creativity will come. And isn’t it fun? Much more than the alternative. So I try and choose it. Everyday!

* * *

LET’S DISCUSS: What two things block your creativity? What is a realistic solution for this problem? How could you spend your time {differently?} so you live a more creative life? xo

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  1. 1


    This is something that I definitely struggle with. My husband, son, our two kitties and I live with my parents and their two kitties. We’re all in a small house and my little family shares the bedroom I grew up in – not much room for a whole family. (By family, here, I mean my husband, son, our two kitties and I. Though our kitties go wherever they want in the house and we can, too, of course, we like staying in here, regardless of how tiny it is.) So our son’s toys get strewn everywhere and it makes me feel like 1. I have to constantly clean up after him and 2. I have to feel guilty if I don’t. Especially with my hubs working two jobs. And I feel that if I don’t have the perfect space and energy (mental and physical), that I am useless creatively. I need to learn to get out of that mindset because I feel it will be a long time until I’m able to find that ‘perfect’ space.
    Thank you for sharing this post – I definitely needed it! :)

    • 2


      a couple of thoughts:
      * how long will you be living with your parents? would it be possible to either dedicate a small corner of the house for creativity OR dedicate time each week where you leave to work on your creative ideas? regardless of what you’re doing in your free time (aka: being creative) it’s important you’re actually ABLE to have free time :)

      * can you have a family meeting with your folks to talk about toy clean-up, expectations, etc.?

      * is someone making you feel guilty for not picking up, or are you making yourself feel that way? remember, toys are meant to be played with, a kitchen is meant to be used, laundry is going to pile up. it sounds like you’re trying to be extra considerate of this shared home life but maybe you’re being too hard on yourself?


      • 3


        Thanks for replying. And so quickly! :)
        It could potentially be the beginning of next year or maybe even 2014. I actually have a little area of our room that I lovingly call my Mama Haven. It’s only a small little square, but it’s comfy. It just is usually messy with toys from my son’s area. (Our room is set up in basically four sections. One is our bed, one is our son’s area, one is my area and one is everything else. i.e. Trash can, hamper, coat rack, etc. They aren’t exactly even sections but they are pretty distinctly their own areas… If that makes sense. Sorry.) I could take my son’s naps as free time but I hate bothering to get out all of the supplies that I would have to potentially run and pick up quickly before he would get into them… or before the cats would spill them. But I always feel that I should probably be cleaning up instead. Like… if my conditions, emotions and schedule aren’t absolutely perfect it means I can’t do anything creative. It’s not true, I even know that. But I don’t know how to get over that.
        While my parents feel a bit like that (because our room could stand to be more well-kept), it’s mostly me. My husband, as I said, works two jobs so I feel bad for not picking up the slack. But I do as much as I can, reasonably. I don’t like taking my son out of the room much if it’s just us home. It’s just a fear I’ve had since I was little – I hate being home alone. Or being the ‘adult’ figure, if that makes sense. And we don’t really have anyone else watch him, including my parents, so I don’t really get a chance to do any of the work unless hubs is home. And if he’s home, we want to be together, understandably. *sigh* Man, that sounds confusing!
        We could have a little meeting of sorts. But my son wouldn’t really understand – he’s two. He’s actually great at cleaning up after himself with, well… everything. He even usually puts things back in the correct place. He’s anal about that, apparently, like I am.
        You’re right, though. One thing we enjoy doing is going to parks and taking drives. (Free / cheap fun for us as a family.) And that means we’re not always here. And I feel bad coming home and almost feeling bad for having gone out considering we need to clean.

        Sorry for my little novel, haha! Thanks for talking to me! :D It actually means a lot. I need to figure out how I can have some -me- time. (And on that note, I feel bad that my hubs doesn’t really have time to himself. But he doesn’t mind. He likes time with just us three (or us two) together. And I do, too, but I feel bad if all my attention isn’t on them if we’re together.)


  2. 4


    these last two day’s posts really resonated with me…both seemed to echo the sentiment of finding beauty, creativity and inspiration in the “regular”, ordinary things that surround us. I’m going to focus on this as I work on being a great mama/business owner this upcoming week!
    Two blockers of my creativity would be 1. Time and 2. Energy Levels.
    Working on that, though!


  3. 6


    Thanks for sharing. i find it so hard to get anything creative done with my smallest boy. it almost makes my sad. I’m going to try to take some of your tips and dance more and eat in the grass. :)

    • 7


      ;D i’m seriously smiling here for you!!!! this is sooooooo great! does your little boy nap? or, do you have set “quiet time” in the afternoons? perhaps during those times you could devote a little time for creativity. emily of anderson family crew {blog} wrote a post on this and i’ve been searching for a few minutes not… but i can’t find it! basically, every day they have nap time. the kids go to their rooms for about 2 hours and they can either nap or play quietly. and, they have 6 kids :) so it’s kinda a must for their sanity, haha!

      you’ll figure it out… not to use this word again, but try and think creatively on this issue. what would work best for your family? then follow through :)

  4. 8


    What a great series! I completely agree with her two creativity blocks – fatigue and stress! I work a full time job in marketing, which while creative, is very demanding and draining. So, by the time I get home in the evenings to focus on my business of sewing/making things, I am so drained and overwhelmed, I am literally frozen and unable to get things done. I’ve also found that its really easy to get into a rut of just fulfilling orders and not leaving much time for creating something new or feeding your soul with a project that is “just because.” That is how I get out of a creative rut – choose a new project or craft or take time to design a new product, to get the juices flowing again!

  5. 9


    Loving Sarah Jane’s pictures–gorgeous. This interview was good for me today; I also need the reminder (often) to stop and look around. To embrace the beauty around me and to look at it sideways to see it curiously.

    Two of my blocks are poor time management and clutter. When I don’t manage my time well, I don’t MAKE time for creativity. And when I have excess clutter, I can’t find what I need to create. Two small steps that would help me overcome this: checking my calendar at night (so I can have a scope of the day ahead and make wise time decisions) and clearing out clutter 15 minutes each day to move out what doesn’t belong and arrange my studio to welcome me.

  6. 11


    I love this! Love, love, love this! Children are great inspirations for our creativity because like you said, they see everything as new and full of possibility. I know this may sound like it goes against being creativity, spontaneous, and fresh, but I think that the more organized and planned I am with time, the more creative I am and can be. If my week is going to be crazy, I plan it so that I can still have my time to myself and be creative. It’s sounds like a very un-artsy thing to do but it has worked very well for me. Thanks again doll!

  7. 12


    I loved every word of this. And I can relate exactly as a young mother. I find when I just step back, breathe, and allow myself to relax inatead of stressing out I find my creativity.

  8. 13


    Choosing to be creative, as well as happy, is something that I have been trying to embrace in recent months. My husband and I are spending our newlywed years living on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Due to legalities and linguistic realities, I have been unable to work for the first time in nearly a decade. Morphing our studio apartment into a comfortable home has breathed new life in my artistic endeavors, sending me on a journey of trying to sell my art for the first time in my life. It has been a struggle, especially in a foreign country, but I am loving the results. I love that I now look at a skirt that might have worn out and think, “I could use that fabric for a pillow.” Being creative is definitely a choice. For me these past few months, it has been just as vital as being happy.

  9. 14

    Thea says

    Hi! My name is Thea and I “accidentally” stumbled upon Kayla Roma’s blog while in such a rut borderlining with depression. I googled “nice pink things”.
    Let me share what you have done for me half way around the world…
    I am 27, finishing college, working, living with my boyfriend (2 years now) and our cat and assisting various projects in the culture department. I live in Croatia, right by the sea, I write and read, Love kids and I wish (very very much) to be a mum.
    One might think there is no room for ruts and depressiveness, but I somehow managed to invent some… am I ashamed now!
    I had two problems… well, I still have them but I don’t call them “problems” anymore…
    First, there was not having the time I enjoyed when I lived with my parents (till I was 25!): I could get everything done and… Well, it was all really like a princess in a fairy tale! Now it’s just work, work, sleep, work, work – or at least I imagined so. It isn’t. It doesn’t have to be.
    Second, my boyfriend is 25 and specifically refuses to make me a mum, he finds himself too young or so he says. I used (and still sometimes am) so sad because of this and lately, I have been depressed because I couldn’t see who I’m doing all the work for anymore. I don’t want horseback riding, don’t want concerts, several hour hangouts tire me and I’ve never enjoyed hiking to begin with.
    Reading your blogs (cause I have read so many of them in the past 48 hours) I realized I’m working for me, for us. And this thing I forgot about for the past year – I love my work! I love my studies! I love Marko although he doesn’t want to be a dad!
    (Marko hasn’t got a job, he has 2 more years of college and jobs are scarce here anyway… But I work! I can make a life for us! I thought he doesn’t see me as the mother of his child and that made me depressed the most.)
    And, I’ll tell you what – last night was the first time I asked him to really tell me why and promised to listen (before I used to just be sad and I didn’t want to talk of a baby anymore). I listened for the first time and it unfolded.
    He told me he would give me as much children as I want if only he could know he (!) can provide for us. He said he would do it tomorrow! He cried… because he thought his (!) inability to find work is making me sad.
    Wow. I would not have gone out of my head if it weren’t for you, girls, I know I wouldn’t… or at least not so easy. Thank You.
    So, since last night I have no more problems. I have a challenge with over-working and being creative and I have this little dream…
    Thank You for being there for one another. And for me. All the way over here.

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