• Grateful

    Posted on November 11, 2014 by in Life of HRO

    This Remembrance Day is a quiet one for me. I’m home for the day, trying to make use of some of my last free hours before my one-and-only craft sale of the season on Friday.

    I will try to get to our youngest daughter’s assembly at school this morning (she’s singing in the choir for the first time, and was very proud to wear her red Canada shirt and black pants, to suit the red and black theme requested).

    All of this feels so far removed from the true reality of today, and sometimes our attempts to pay our respects can feel so feeble.

    I’ve been to some of the battlefields in France, seen the cemeteries in Holland and Belgium. I’ve visited the site of the wall in Berlin. I’ve spent hours in the museums and read the books. I studied for 4 years at University earning a European Studies degree. I *know*. And yet, the scope of the wars that our soldiers fought still escapes me. It’s so hard to fathom.

    So many. SO MANY.

    I’m truly grateful for their sacrifice. I think often about how lucky we are to have been born here, in beautiful, peaceful Canada, with the families we have and the opportunities that have come our way. It could so easily have been very different, were it not for the brave soldiers who gave everything.

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  • You can find me here…

    Posted on November 6, 2014 by in Friends and Fans, Life of HRO

    It’s been a busy few weeks around HRO – I moved part of my physical workspace, and I’ve made a couple of new virtual workspaces, too!

    I’ve recently created a Facebook page for Hidden Room Originals, and will be sharing my love of Canadian handmade artisans there, as well as sneak peeks and updates on what’s going on in the crafting world. If you’d like to join me there, you can find me by searching for Hidden Room Originals!

    You can also now find me sharing more sneak peeks of new works and snapshots of life in Centre Wellington, Ontario over on Instagram. Of course, I’m often found on Twitter (@sarahjanesroom) talking about all sorts of life and news.

    So, grab a coffee (and some chocolate. Always chocolate.) and let’s chat!

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  • Oh, the light!

    Posted on November 2, 2014 by in Life of HRO

    Friends, I have a new workspace and it is extraordinarily lovely. I’m still using our “hidden room” as a shipping and display area, but my work table and supplies have been moved into our guestroom. The natural light in this room has been calling to me since I repainted it a couple of years ago and I’m so excited to come here on my work days. I have every intention of painting our hidden room and fixing up the lighting in there so I can move back to that much larger space, but until that happens (hopefully in the spring), I will be working here:

    P.S. It’s not nearly that tidy anymore, but I’m in show prep mode, so that’s to be expected I suppose!

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  • Valentine’s Day – quick DIY

    Posted on February 14, 2014 by in DIY Projects

    Ealier this week, I was inspired by both Marisa at Omiyage and Alison Fowler of AliCat Art to whip up a little Valentine’s Day DIY artwork for our master bedroom.

    Taking inspiration from Marisa’s origami heart card and Alison’s Wall of H’arts, I created this little gallery.

    All in all, it took about 15 minutes to fold 3 hearts and attach them to 4×4 canvasses that I had in my studio. Since the canvasses are so small and light, I just used push-pins to hang them on a small wall in our purple and grey master bedroom. If you’re looking to do this yourself, Marisa has a nice tutorial on making the hearts and lots of pretty origami paper in her shop. The small canvasses can be found in most craft stores and I’ve even seen them at my local dollar store!

    I love them, and I hope my husband does, too!

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  • Hidden Room is in an Etsy treasury!

    Posted on February 1, 2014 by in Friends and Fans

    I was so happy to get a message via Etsy the other day that a fellow maker had included one of my items in a treasury! Thanks, Marsha! For anyone new to the Etsy world, a treasury is a collection of items that an Etsy user puts together – usually along a theme. This one was all bright pink and green items, and my butterfly piece fit right int!

    ‘Pink Passion ‘ by bagsbyhags45

    Pink with a taste of lime. ~Enjoy

    Whimsical Wall Art, Pink and…


    Hot Pink and Lime Green Mink…


    photo album, photobook, phot…


    SALE Hot Pink and Lime Vinta…


    hot pink bandana, scarf


    Kids- Wooden-Waldorf- Toy-Na…


    Girls or Toddlers Dress East…


    Hot Pink Flower Napkin Rings…


    Hand Woven Headband: one in…


    Set of 6 Hand Painted Drawer…


    Baby Shower Hostess Gifts, 2…


    8×10 Butterfly – hot pink an…


    snack bag clips with Hot pin…


    50 Glossy Hot Pink and Neon …


    Personalized Luggage Tag HOT…


    Hot Pink and Lime Green Chil…


    Sponsored by send bulk email from excel.

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  • Alabama wins the prize!

    Posted on October 3, 2013 by in Life of HRO, Uncategorized

    Barry from Alabama made my day this morning!

    I woke to find that overnight I had made my first “stranger” Etsy sale! Someone found my shop, all by themselves, and liked my artwork enough to buy a piece for their home. I have a bit of a silly grin on my face right now, I admit it.

    It has been wonderful having so much support and encouragement from friends and family buying my artwork over the past 4 years, and I love them all dearly for it. They gave me the chance to practice and try new techniques and learn what works so that the product in my shop now is so much better than the first pieces years ago. They helped get me to here, when Barry from Alabama (who has NEVER MET ME!) is going to receive Hidden Room Originals package in the mail very soon.

    Fingers crossed that Barry from Alabama likes the finished product as much as I do! Off to the post office I go…

    All packaged up and ready to go!

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  • The Crocodile Party

    Posted on September 20, 2013 by in Life of HRO

    As far as I’m concerned, one of the best perks about being a Mom is the chance to plan birthday parties a couple of times a year! It’s a challenge to me to prepare a fun theme for my girls – one that they’ve helped choose – and to do it on a minimal budget. There are no caterers involved, no posh venue and no letterpress invitations with RSVP cards but we DO have a lot of fun and some creative touches that make their day special.

    In the spring, it was our youngest daughter’s birthday. When I first asked Emily what kind of birthday party she wanted, she immediately shouted “a crocodile party, Mom!” Quite frankly, I was a little confused, until I remembered that she has a little figurine of a croc that she’s named Gummy, who comes along on car rides with us occasionally (most often riding in her lunch bag). So, a crocodile party it was!

    I had so much fun designing these invations – love the colours!

    We invited 6 of her friends, and they gathered on a rainy Saturday. She loves to jump and climb, so we rented a bouncy castle from a friend. The kids got to bounce and run for about 15 minutes outside before it started to rain. Bummer. Just meant more time for indoor crocodile fun, though! We got started with our craft first. The great thing about the 4 year old age is that most of the them could write their own names (or something close, at least!), they knew how to wield a glue stick semi-effectively and all had creative ideas for decorating their croc puppets.

    Crocodile craft

    Playing with their crocodile craft

    Our games were easy, simple concepts but the kids had a blast! We played freeze-dance to a playlist of crocodile themed music that I sourced on iTunes. Who knew there were so many kids songs about crocs? So fun! They giggled their way through our version of Hot Potato – Pass the Croc, in this case, as Emily’s Gummy The Crocodile figure was passed around the circle. Also: Croc Croc ALLIGATOR (Duck Duck Goose is very versatile!)

    They played “Pass the Croc”, our reptiliean version of hot potato!

    Loot bags filled with a little Robert Munsch book, a homemade bookmark and a super-bouncy ball!

    I’ve just realized that I didn’t take a photo of the decorations – the pillars in our open living/dining area were wrapped with orange and green crepe streamers, and the house was filled with orange and green balloons. The cake, made my my wonderful mother in law, matched the invitation which Emily thought was fantastic!

    It was a fun day for a really fun little girl, and she was so thrilled to have family friends, preschool friends and dayhome friends all together at her house. I’m glad I didn’t try to steer her away from the crocodile theme, because it was all her, and she loved it! Can’t wait to see what next year’s theme will be!



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  • Father’s Day printable

    Posted on June 16, 2013 by in Printables

    I put together this cute little Father’s Day questionnaire today and had my girls fill out for their Dad. The answers are adorable, and I love the pictures they drew of him!

    I thought I’d share it here today, so that you could try it too, if you’d like! It would be fun to do this each year and see how their answers change over time.All about my Dad printable by hiddenroomoriginals.com


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  • Spring Artisan Showcase

    Posted on May 2, 2013 by in Life of HRO

    So, I took a big step last weekend. I set up a table at my very first craft show! It meant that I spent the last couple of weeks making product and making sure that all the little details were looked after. I dug out the display racks I had bought years ago and found totes to fit the larger canvasses, ordered my new business cards and was really looking forward to it.

    I wasn’t nervous because I purposely kept my expectations very realistic. For a small town show that was only 3 hours on a Friday evening, traffic was good. It was wonderful to see so many friends and acquaintances drop by to see my product – some for the first time. I really appreciated their feedback, and I learned a few things about how to make my display work a little better next time.

    That’s me! At a craft show! Wheeeee!

    When it comes to dollars and cents, it wasn’t a great success. And yet, I’m not discouraged. I think that the more people see the work that I do, the more they will appreciate it. My love of custom and personalized works doesn’t necessarily lend itself too easily to craft show sales, either. In the end, I’m so happy that I did it, even though the sales weren’t there. Signing up for my first craft show forced me to think beyond the personalized work that I’ve been doing and to come up with new ideas and for that, I am grateful. It also means that I actually have stock in my Etsy shop for the first time! I am still working on adding more items (like all of the adorable barrette holders that I made!) and I’ll get those posted this week.


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  • In the beginning…

    Posted on March 9, 2013 by in Life of HRO

    Welcome to the Hidden Room Originals story. This little corner of the internet has been a long time in the making… not in the actual construction of the site, but in the twists and turns that I’ve taken over the last few years that have led me, finally, to this point.

    If I’m being truthful, I grew up not feeling very artistic. Sure, I was in the high school band and I passed art class, but the French Horn section in the band was a bit of a laughing stock (we knew we weren’t good, because really – no offense to French Hornists’ in fabulous orchestras around the world BUT – who wants to drag a French Horn home on the bus to practice at home? I should have picked flute.) Remind me to tell you the story about my stint in the percussion section because that’s a good one! Despite my inability to accurately portray “perspective” in Gr.10 art or to sing a solo in the school choir, I always felt like there was a creative soul inside struggling to get out. I valiantly attempted to make Christmas gifts for years (sometimes they even turned out looking sort of like what I had envisioned!) and I had a tendency to put together elaborate gift baskets for birthday and wedding gifts.

    In my early-20′s, I discovered craft fairs. Not the kind where your elderly neighbour sells her crocheted tea cozies in the church basement, but the ones where people actually make their living selling their handmade wares. What a revelation! I remember going to the One of a Kind Show in Toronto and then later to a gallery show when I was living in Grenoble, France and I was amazed. Those shows changed what “art” meant to me, and started my love affair with supporting handmade artisans. I am constantly inspired by the work that I see when I wander the aisles of a show – and I remember thinking back then that if all those people had found a niche, maybe there was one for me, too.

    When I got home from my study year in France, it was the start of the scrapbooking craze in Canada and I fell hard. I had always had a fondness for pretty paper, notebooks and calligraphy (I gladly joined the legions of French students using fountain pens! How gorgeous and decadent!). Not to mention the fact that I loved taking photos and took pride in those little 4×6 prints (even though, looking back, they weren’t very good.) Really, it made perfect sense that I would fall in love with scrapbooking. There’s a certain structure to paper and a particular geometry to a page layout that resonated with me. I had spent so many years believing that I wasn’t “good at art”, that I surprised myself with the pages I put together. Finally, I had a creative outlet that made sense to me and suited both my esthetic and my talents. At some point, those pages became as much about the paper and the design as they did about the photos… and that’s when the tidal wave of inspiration hit.

    It was 2009. Our second child was about to be born, and we still hadn’t found any artwork that we loved for the baby’s room. I was sitting at my desk one day, and realized suddenly that I had all the tools to make some art pieces myself. Paper, 8×10 canvasses left over from another project, buttons and ribbon. Within a few hours I had 3 sweet little safari animal canvasses to hang. The wheels started spinning, but I had a newborn. Time wasn’t on my side. Fast forward to 2010 when our family welcomed a new niece and I knew I wanted to make her something for her room, like I had for our own little girl. This time, I added her name and her birth details. In essence, that’s when Hidden Room was born. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head – how to make the canvasses better, how to finish the backs, how to get new artwork and what embellishments would work best. It’s been ever so much fun figuring it out as I go along!

    I am so grateful to all of my friends and family, and even a few strangers, who have purchased canvasses for their loved ones over the last 3 years while I worked out the kinks. With 2 little girls at home, there wasn’t always a lot of time to dedicate to my own projects, but I’m so thankful that I’ve found this spark that has allowed me an outlet to finally let that struggling creative energy out. It was in there, I just had to find the right path. Thanks for walking with me, it’s going to be a fun trip!


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