Jennifer Velasquez Designs Artful Affirmations that Remind us to Check-in with Our Hearts

Photo by Carolina Adame

By Jillian Mitchell

Through The Salvaged Sawhorse, Jennifer inspires intentional living and self-care. Her hand-painted affirmation cards, self-care activities, planners, and home decor beautify spaces while igniting confidence, meaning, connection, and all-around good vibes. 

Learn how she transformed her creative approach to coping with migraines into a thriving, 5 star- rated shop:

What inspired you to create The Salvaged Sawhorse?

The Salvaged Sawhorse has gone through several iterations. It started as wood signs with inspiring messages, but that medium felt limiting. There was so much more I wanted to say and share, that I couldn’t do it through a sign. At the time, I was deep in my chronic migraine days, doing everything I could to crawl out with my worthiness and self-love intact. I noticed a change in myself when I repeated affirmations and set intentions. It was working! The pain and frequency of my migraines were the same, but my perception of them changed. So, I decided to create my first deck, and it’s taken off from there. I guess my physical pain inspired my business!

What are some ways you suggest people use your cards?

Even if we aren’t aware, we all have rituals, and they form an essential part of our lives. What they look like is so personal! My Feed the Soul deck, is an opportunity to reevaluate daily unconscious habits to align with goals and values better. Mornings are a great time to read an empowering affirmation before you get inundated with information. Breakfast time can be a bonding opportunity to read from the kid’s affirmation deck and go through the dialogue starters. Make them part of your routine, and leave the ones you need the most where you’ll regularly see them. Carry inspiring ones with you, share them with friends, and remember to repeat them aloud!

Photo by Kara McCurdy

What do your own daily rituals look like?

Meditation and movement are two big constants that have contributed to my happiness. I don’t have a set time or duration, but at least three times a week, I meditate on my own or with the Headspace app. I also move my body through dance and home workouts via a streaming service. During my morning coffee, I pull an affirmation card before I jump into work. I also make it a point to “savor” my day. That might look like stepping back and admiring how the light shines in my apartment at 2 pm on sunny days or sending a photo of my lunch to my husband. It’s little moments of appreciation and mindfulness. There’s so much beauty and good around us when we look for it. 

“There’s so much beauty and good around us when we look for it.”

Photo by Kara McCurdy

Where does your inspiration come from?

I create what I need most. For example, I made the Self-care Weekly Planner because self-care doesn’t come naturally to me – it’s actually the opposite! I focus so much on pushing through my to-do list that I’ll play little games like, “I won’t get up to get water until I finish these three emails!” I can easily neglect my basic needs, so I created a planner to prioritize wholeness over productivity. When my migraines were bad, my self-talk centered on low confidence, brokenness, and not being enough for my partner or family, so I created an affirmation deck to change that self-talk. My work is usually inspired by something I feel is lacking in my life, or an area I want to work on.

What tools do you use to create your artwork?

A sketchbook, pencil, iPad, and stylus. 

Are there any tips you have for creatives who want to turn their passion into a small business? 

In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert advises that creatives shouldn’t demand so much from their passion, especially in the beginning. Don’t ask it to pay your rent, buy your food and cover all the bills. That resonated with me, so when I started my business, I worked a full-time job. I transitioned to part-time and eventually started freelancing and working from home. Then I had the flexibility to try out new products, take risks, and learn what my customers wanted while maintaining financial stability. 

Another tip is to get out there and start gathering feedback from potential customers. It feels safe to stay in the research phase, build a website, take perfect pictures, but our fear can keep us stuck there. Chances are, the business will change as we get user feedback. In the beginning, don’t invest too much time and money into that. 

What affirmation would you offer to the creative hearts reading this?

I’ll share one that I’ve had on repeat, “I trust my instincts and make decisions with confidence.”

Follow along with Jennifer on Instagram at @thesalvagedsawhorse, and check out her amazing Etsy shop.

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