Friday, June 26, 2015

Introducing my Etsy Shop & a Giveaway!

It's time, y'all.
The wait is OVER and it has been almost one full week of my brand new Etsy shop, Sarah Cason Designs, being open! This has been in the works for a while, and it feels wonderful to be able to share my passion for art with others in a way that is encouraging and inspiring! 

In my shop you'll find lots of whimiscal, inspirational and motivational hand lettered pieces made by yours truly! While I enjoy a wide variety of art forms (my next favorite are portraits!), this shop is right now dedicated to my hand lettering art! 

Over the next few weeks, I will also be adding some new "sections" and series, so be sure to keep checking back in. To get a sneak peak of what's to come, think wedding series (cards for your wedding party, or the bride and groom), wedding decor, and a party series as well! Know that I also love doing custom work, so please do not hesitate to reach out and contact me about a custom piece!

The next exciting piece of news is that there is a really fantastic giveaway happening this weekend in honor of the first week of being open as Sarah Cason Designs! 

Here are the DETAILS! 
Who can enter: Anyone!
What is the PRIZE: Two CUSTOM 5X7s. That's right, you get to pick which 5x7s you want! I am so excited for this, y'all.
How do you enter the giveaway:
Your name can be entered MULTIPLE times for this drawing, based on certain easy things you can do! Here is the breakdown of how you can be entered into the drawing. You can do whichever ones you like, as few or as many as you want! 

1 entry ... Enter your email here (if you haven't already. I don't spam so no worries!)
1 entry ... Favorite 5 of your favorite pieces in my Etsy shop 
2 entries ... Favorite 10 of your favorite pieces in my Etsy shop 
2 entries ... Favorite the Etsy shop 
3 entries ... Make any purchase
3 entries ... Share your favorite piece on Facebook or Instagram (please tag me so I know and can put your entries in!)
3 entries ... Share/pin your favorite piece on Pinterest (you can message me that you did this)
3 entries ... Share my Etsy shop on Facebook (again please tag me so I can give you entries)
4 entries ... Write a review on Etsy (this is only for those who purchase or have purchased) 

Winner will be announced on SUNDAY NIGHT, so stay tuned! 

I also just want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all of the love and support that you have shown me during this launch of my Etsy shop. It means the world to me to be able to share the God given passion he has given me with you. Know that it is a piece of my heart, and I treasure being able to encourage and bless you in turn through this! 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Marriage Tip #20

"You always do that!"

"You never do this for me."

"Why do you always have to do that?"

I'm sure that we have heard and said any number of these phrases in our lifetime. I know that I have caught myself with these words rolling of my tongue before. In marriage, they can be extremely damaging. Unfortunately, I have said these words in other relationships, and found them trying to escape off my tongue a few times in marriage too.

A while back I was taking a class that talked about how to conflict well. There were certain rules that they laid out on how to "fight fair" and one thing that has stuck with me since then is that you need to remove the words "always" and "never" completely from your vocabulary in conflict and when confronting others with issues.

That is for very good reason, and because of that, it is my tip to you today as well. Whether you are married or not, we are all in relationships with other people. Our parents, peers, co-workers, spouses, we are surrounded by relationships. And it is inevitable that we will experience conflict in these relationships. How we handle it and what we say is huge, and in marriage, it is so crucial to pay attention to what we are saying.

Zach and I agreed early on that we wanted to keep "always" and "never" from our vocabulary when in conflict and when approaching each other about an issue. Zach does an amazing job of staying true to this, and I know that I am sorry to say that I have found these words escaping from my mouth a few times. Nothing ever detrimentally damaging, but I knew the instant I said it that I shouldn't have.

For one, always and never are strong words. And using them to address an issue paints a picture that just isn't true. For example "oh you ALWAYS do this and it's so annoying!" Well, be honest with yourself. Do they ALWAYS do it? No. Another example "you NEVER do this anymore." Really? NEVER? I think you get the picture that we exaggerate a little bit in our frustrations and emotions and pull out the "big guns" with these words.

In the class that I first learned about these "rules" they gave suggestions for what to do so that you do not use "always" and "never." First was to use the specific example. Explain your heart and how a particular situation made you feel. Don't group everything together. Give the specific situation so that you can both work through it together.

Some other suggestions that I have found to be helpful? Think before you speak. Much easier said than done, but it is vital. Slow down, take a breath. Take stock. Ask yourself what is really happening and what you are really feeling. What is the real issue? Chances are it's not the measly little thing that happened, but a deeper root. Be willing to be vulnerable and truly share your heart in a non threatening way.

In marriage, we are both imperfect people coming together. The Lord gives us so much grace, and we need to extend that to one another. Myself included in this! I have so much work to do on this area. Have patience for one another and be willing to be honest. Share your heart.

And another huge suggestion? Pray together. So many flaming arrows from the enemy can be extinguished when you come together and pray. Lay it all down before the Lord and come together in unity with him. Marriage is such a scared and special covenant, and the Enemy would like nothing more than to tear that apart. So, we must be watchful, and pray continuously!

What is your experience with the words "always" and "never?" Do you ever struggle with this too? What are ways that you try to conflict well with your spouse so you can resolve an issue and love each other the best you can?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Creative Roots

Brush strokes gently glide over a white canvas. Pens sweeping across a blank piece of paper. A clean plate sits ready for a delicious meal to be presented. A story is waiting to be written and told. Creativity is like air to my life. Its been a part of me as long as I can remember. When I was younger, I always loved drawing, creating scrapbooks, and doing anything creative that came my way.

Today I wanted to give you an insight to my heart as an artist. Its a part of me that has always been there, but has ebbed and flowed over the seasons on how it presents itself in my life. I've done a lot of different art pieces and projects over the years, and dabbled in a lot of different areas of creativity. Take a step into my mind and heart as I share some insights into my passion as an artist!

What are your current favorite mediums (aka favorite ways to get creative lately)? Hand lettering pieces currently tops the charts! I love getting to do word art because I am a very visual person, so if I can create something that reminds me of great quotes, and inspirational verses and sayings, it means that much more! Some other mediums that I really enjoy right now are: chalkboard designs, charcoal drawings, painting, cooking (Zach really loves that!), and  blogging.

What are other creative ventures that I have dabbled in in the past and enjoy? When I was younger, I was a die hard scrapbooker! I have several albums scattered around of pictures from when I was a kid (also a whole page in my scrapbook dedicated to stickers...I mean, seriously, there are some cool stickers out there!) Card making was another venture that I branched out into. I still do love making my own cards! I also played around with designing and making my own jewelry, and still have some of those pieces! I also love event planning (we planned our own wedding with lots of fun DIY projects), novel writing, and home decorating.

Favorite series of art pieces that I have done? That's a hard one to pick! But, I was extremely blessed with the opportunity to travel around the world from 2011-2012, and I was able to paint eight different murals around the world: two in the Philippines, two in Cambodia, one in Malaysia, two in China, and one in Moldova. It meant a lot to be able to come in and bless another country with my artwork and leave a piece of encouragement with the precious people we met there!

Future artistic and creative adventures I would love to learn? One big one is that I have always wanted to learn how to oil paint! I generally use acrylic for my painting pieces, but I would love ot branch out into oil one day! I also plan on creating a series of children's illustrated books, and it's a dream of mine to get into letter pressing.

Who do I get my artistic talent from? Did I take any formal art classes? My mom is who I get my artistic side from. She is an amazing artist and I am so blessed and thankful to have inherited that creative gene and artistic bent in my life. Growing up I had art class in school in elementary and middle school, and had one or two painting classes. Regrettably, I only took one art class in high school (I think in my mind I was like, oh, well I can already draw so I don't need to take a class..oops!), and just a few art classes in college to continue practicing. But the majority of what I have done is self taught and the result of practice!

(Acrylic painting I did in 8th grade after the tragedy of 9/11)

Why I am passionate about creativity? Y'all. I could go on FOREVER about this. But creativity is just that deeply rooted in my heart. I am passionate about it because we are all so unique, and we all express our creativity in different ways. I love seeing how other people express their creativity! Art and creativity is one thing that can transcend across cultures and break through language barriers quickly. Seeing other people's creativity is a small window into their heart, and what is important to them. I absolutely love getting to share my heart through my art and creativity, and I love inviting others into figuring out what they love to do creatively!

What inspires me? Wow, short list or long list? I could probably write a book about this as well. So many things inspire me. It's probably a much shorter list to describe what doesn't inspire me. My top inspiration is creation around me. Nature and fresh air and sunshine just liven up my soul! A good cup of coffee and a lovely meal prepared by loving hands is also incredibly inspiring. Books, music, sayings, the Bible, and other media sources provide great inspiration! Being around other creative people also is inspiring. Creating in a clean and organized space is also inspiring to me! My experiences in life, the stories of others and the things that I observe are great points of inspiration as well.

How long does it take me to create different artistic pieces? Honestly that just depends on the piece and project. A large painting will take several hours, or over a series of days. Smaller pieces can be completed in a day, etc. So it really depends on the size, medium and detail of each piece! My creative process varies piece to piece. For some paintings, I pencil an outline in first, and other times I just go for it! Same with drawing as well.

What is my favorite work that I've ever done? Too hard to pick one! I have a special place in my heart for each piece that I do. I love doing portraits of people that I know or have met, I love the murals I did around the world, and each saying that I write has a special place in my heart as well! It's impossible to pick just one right now.

Do I sell my artwork or do commissioned custom pieces? Yes and yes! I have an Etsy shop , but currently I do not have my listings up yet. Keep it saved and check back though for when my pieces go up! Right now as I am preparing my listings for Etsy, I do custom pieces and also sell the ones I currently have and share on social media. You are always welcome to reach out and ask for custom pieces, too! I love making a special piece just for one person.

Do I sell original pieces or prints of my work? Right now I only sell my original hand made pieces, and not any prints. I may make multiples of certain pieces (a certain quote, etc), but each piece is hand drawn and made by me! I think it's that much more personal, and I love that you get an original piece straight from me!

There you have it, just a small look into my artist heart and my passion for creativity in my life, and what it means to me! I hope you have enjoyed hearing about my creativity, and I hope that you are digging into creativity in your own life! Be confident and find inspiration in the things around you, then share that with others!