new balance

since the beginning of summer this year i started to feel like i had too much on my plate and something needed to go. but i brushed it aside thinking, i can do this, everyone else does. i can own and run a successful business and be the mom and wife i always dreamed of. but the voice inside my head said “no jenn, you can’t. not yet … your kids are still too young”. so there i stood at a fork in the road with a huge decision to make. my family is my obviously number one priority, but design work is such a huge part of what makes me…me. i had this wonderful contract with a company in seattle that provided me steady work and nice extra income for our family. i also was trying to build my own brand so i continued to except freelance work. but by the time my obligations for my contract were filled, i was left working late into the night on everything else. which is hard in general. throw in a baby who doesn’t like to sleep and i was teetering on the edge of extreme exhaustion. so i took a step back and looked at what it was i truly wanted, and what i didn’t want. here is what i came up with :

what i wanted : to be the mom who is at all the soccer games and practices. i want to be the mom who is able to wait for her children to come home from school. the mom who does arts and crafts during the day and has tickle feasts at night and snuggles on the couch to watch a cartoon with a big bowl of popcorn.  i want to be the wife who is available to listen to her husbands day and be the woman he fell in love with. i want to design. it’s my passion and it makes me happy, its a nice release for me after a day filled with kids. overall, i want my children to grow up with a mother who shows them the importance of not loosing yourself. who shows them thats its ok … that is is healthy to take time to yourself. to have dreams and passions.

what i don’t want : is to work late into the night and not have a chance to spend quality time with my husband to get that “design/release time”. i don’t want to quickly leave the dinner table in order to do work. i don’t want to be so tied to the computer all day, rather i want to get out in my community, meet people, play, get involved in things i love. i want balance.

so i had to make a choice. this was not an easy one mind you. jehn design needed to slim down – but i wasn’t ready to say goodbye. and then the universe did something great for me, like it knew i could not make the final call. the company i held a contract with was moving everything in house. i was invited to be apart of the team, but i knew right then what my decision was. as the contract recently faded to a close, it gave me the much needed breathing room i needed. i had more time for activities with my kids. more time for freelance work, and building back up my etsy store. i have this new balance — i am working a lot less than i was 6 months ago (and making a lot less money) but it feels right. and when the time is right, maybe i will kick it back up a notch. but i will still be around, because like i said … i need this …. .for me. for now i will continue to add products to my etsy store, blog on occasion (maybe once a week, every few weeks). i will continue to take on re-branding projects and invitation design projects — but i am going to be a bit more picky on these, make sure they fit in with my family and our schedule. basically i will be saying no more than yes, so that i can more so enjoy this time with my children.

i am excited about this new chapter of jehn design. i have a feeling that this new balance is going to allow me to really give each project the creative juice it deserves, and in turn i will be able to produce some things i am really proud of.

calendars calendars and more calendars

i have a strange obsession with calendars. i still can’t remember appointments or show up anywhere on time to save my life … but you better believe i have it written down on every calendar in my house!

so in honor of all the new calendars i have up in my etsy shop — i made a december 2013 version of them that you can download here. for free! just click on the image of the one you like (or all three) to download the PDF. then print on a standard 8.5 x 11 and hang (card stock works best)!

enjoy 🙂


personal note :: surrender

yesterday i sat out on the porch at almost dark. the air was cool and still and i was struck by a quietness in the neighborhood. sometimes i think about what it means to live in a place. this is where i live. this is the building that i reside in. i eat here. i sleep here. this is where i have stuff. but somehow i can’t get past the feeling that even if i were to be the owner of this home, any home for that matter it would still feel like camping. i have this impermanence that i can’t seem to shake.

i moved to the pacific northwest five years ago. it meant a new beginning for me in many layered ways. my twenties were full of so much uprooting (my own doing) that i didn’t even consciously realize how used to being unattached to people and things i had become. wherever i was, i always knew i would be leaving soon. and unfortunately for me (and my husband) i spent my first four years here with that mentality. the impermanence was there, i allowed it to be and i was ok with that. so four years in and i had no new real, deep connections. no kindred souls. i had a wonderful group of real connections back home, but the distance didn’t allow for the deepness i needed. so in the end i was left with four years full of ache and loneliness.

when our lease was up a while back, we almost moved out of state. but then because life can throw curve balls your way … we didn’t. we stayed. and while we will most likely relocate out of state when the circumstance are right … we are here. and i have finally surrendered to that. that release has actually brought an overwhelming sense of peace to my life. i have finally opened myself up to both give and receive from our current dwelling place. i have opened myself up to allow whatever, whomever might come into my life in this season. i can’t live one foot out the door (even though my gypsy soul begs me to). its not fair to my family. its not fair to myself.

i have this sneeking suspicion that life never lined it all up for us to move, because i never fully surrendered to being here, and whatever it was i was supposed to learn from this place. so im doing that, and throwing the future to the wind. we will see what happens from here 🙂

2014 wall calendars

they are back!

last years were loved so much, i decided to make them again! kept some of the favorite pages, and updated some to a more fresh and modern look. i received my first batch from the printer last week, so they are offically up on the etsy store. they sold out last year so get your orders in now!

they come with a cute clip for easy hanging. this years i had a cardboard back added for more stability. let me know what you think!


personal note :: resisting less

i am moving much slower these days, folks. not in a lethargic kind of way. in a peaceful kind of way. after so many years of reaching, going, wanting, stretching i am finally being still. my mind finally feels quieter. still. i did not think that was possible with two children but i am trying not to question it too much.

there have been some really beautiful things happening in life, in my heart lately. the last few months with straton have probably been my favorite period so far with him. he is hilarious, smart, interesting, creative, clever and so much fun. although he has has two-year old moments of stubbornness, he is typically such a gem. obedient. sweet. and lately so affectionate. these days with the boys it seems to be less about having the right toys and more about finding the right adventures. everything seems so exciting to straton and sawyer  — i love love love seeing straton’s imagination start to grow.

maybe its because it’s fall, and i love fall. maybe its my state of mind. but i am smiling more. my chest expanding wider when i am on long slightly chilly walks with my boys. im laughing more headily. kissing my husband more deeply. resisting less and embracing more.


freebie : birthday chart

i have a hard time keeping track of birthdays.

its one of my downfalls, and i have tried writing them on my calendar every year, but that takes a lot of time. so i made this. it sits on a clip board right next to my desk so i can quickly see who’s birthday is coming up. and because i know deep down i am not the only one who struggles, im sharing it with you — enjoy! (click the image to download the PDF)


store highlight : christmas organizer kit

around these parts the holiday season can get quite chaotic. usually we travel for one or more of the holidays, and i have a lot of family spread out, so shipping gifts is always on my to do list. and i am horrible at getting them there on time.

it’s november 1st, and this year i am going to change all that. i created this christmas organizer kit to help me know where i was at on the whole gift giving scene. who do i still need to buy for? how much money have i spent so far? things like that. i have been using these forms for 2 weeks and would you believe that i am about 50 percent done with my holiday shopping!! i know, i can’t believe it either. since we know our december is going to be crazy it is my goal to get everything done and shipped by december 1st … and i really think i might do it this year!

need some holiday organization help? then you might want to check out my kit in the etsy store. it comes with four pages of planning  :

christmas gift list page : i printed like 10 of these and wrote down all the people i knew i had to buy for, this helped me not forget anyone and gave me a space to write ideas, then i just highlighted once i purchased it.

stocking stuffer list : we are not big into the whole stocking thing around here, as our kids are pretty small, but i know people who are, so here is a place to organize all that. if your like me, you buy stuff here and there and then come christmas you have a big box of things you don’t remember who you bought them for! no more, just write it down!!

don’t forget list : just an overall checklist of things that need to be done around the holiday time.

christmas gift log : this is where i record what i have bought, how much and if i have a receipt. this way i can kinda keep track of how much i have spent on people. i just use an envelope and keep all recipes with these forms for easy returns.

and then to make all this organizing a little more fun, i included two pages (16) of my christmas gift tags, just print and cut, that way you have a start on the christmas decoration front! here is a sample of the kit, head on over the to etsy store to see the whole thing!



store highlight : pottychart

we are potty training around these parts. who am i kidding, we have been “potty training” for 6 months now. we will get it eventually. i hope. in one last ditch effort to make the whole process … umm … more appealing, i created this chart. he knows the process, walks around the house saying it over and over (poop, wipe butt, flush, wash hands) – but actually doing it, well we are still working on it.

he gets a small reward for completing each row (treat, lunch at wendy’s etc), and one large one if he completes the whole chart (yet to be decided, because, well we are not there yet.) are you in the potty training boat? have any tips for a stressed out-tired of buying two boxes of diapers from costco momma?


so fresh and so clean

ok so summer is gone. like loooong gone around these parts. which brings us to fall, which means some beautiful fall crisp days, and a whole lot of wet-soggy-stay-inside kinda days. so what i do i do when we are stuck inside. i clean. i organize. i purge.

and purging and organizing is exactly what  we have been doing around here. which leads us to the new etsy shop. im one of those, erase everything and start clean kinda girls, so if you head over to the shop you will find all new products. and will continue to see more in the up and coming months. disclaimer, since i am on an organizing kick right now, they might be slightly organized related. sorry. or not.

check it out!

enjoy today

life is hard with a two year old and an baby. it just is. it’s rewarding as all get out, but it can get hard. we have gone through some serious battles over here with our sweet-fun-loving two year old. and dont get my started about our “scream at the top of your lungs” 7 month old. i have done my best to navigate through with as much calm resolve as i can muster. i re-call all of the good moments we have and try not to beat myself up over the bad days. because lets face it — each and every day with small people are a crap shoot ….not everyday can be amazing. i have to remind myself on a daily basis that it actually IS hard to be two. and 7 months. and 31. and so on. we are all growing over here. together.

so my motto for this oh-so-difficult “lots-of-growing-pains” time is enjoy today. tomorrow is going to be different and the next day and the next. and for my children’s sake, we have to make the most of every single day. because they will be gone in the blink of an eye. hence the new art print in the shop ….