A Froggy Catch up…

Hello you lovelies.

Holy sprouts there’s only a few days left until Christmas, I don’t know about you guys but I can’t quite believe we’re in December let alone Chrimbo. The past six weeks have been pretty wonderful and I’ve been busy and working hard at Frog & Pencil HQ and doing the odd bit of work for SeaChange Arts. There are so many posts swirling around in my head and just not enough time to write them, hence the serious lack of content recently.

So, I’ve decided to write a catch up post to give you a brief overview of what’s been happening recently and we can start afresh in January. Bust out your mince pies, your favourite festive tipple and enjoy.

Where we left off….

Following from my last post I was preparing for The Most Unusual Wedding Fair at Godwick Great Barn. This is a brilliant wedding fair for the type of couple who’s looking for something a little different, a little boho, a little festival and a little unusual; this kinda fair is my bag. This years theme was ‘Wild Bohemia’ and I had so much fun getting my stall ready. I chose a colour palette of greens, grey, rich jewel tones and metallics with the idea of creating the feeling of an autumnal forest floor.

This involved buying reindeer moss, spraying pumpkins and munchkins (how adorable is a munchkin!) in copper, gold and cream and making tiny mushrooms out of clay. I also wanted to incorporate perspex into my signage seeing as this is a trend for 2017 and my hubby and I spent an evening making wooden holders to sit the signs in. (He loves it when he comes home and I mention that I’ve had an idea!) To top it off I recycled my newly acquired paper flower skills to make a new batch to fit my colour scheme. I think it looked pretty damn special, I loved it.

On the day the weather was TERRIBLE but that didn’t stop all our lovely couples from flooding over. Godwick was packed full of excellent suppliers and it was a great experience for me. I look forward to taking part again in the new year.

Frog & Pencil's Wedding Stationery stand at TMUWF

Frog & Pencil’s stand at The Most Unusual Wedding Fair 2016 at Godwick Great Barn

I took a week off in the middle of November to recharge after the wedding fair season and I was strict when it came to work. I unplugged, enjoyed time with Lewie in York and truly relaxed. It was just what I needed and I came back feeling energised.

During the wedding fairs I ran a competition for people to win a couples watercolour portrait. This was super popular and having chosen two lovely winners I created their illustrations. It felt so good to draw and paint again after so much prep for the fairs and I was happy with the final results…so were Holly and Chloe, phew!

At this time I picked up a brilliant commission for wedding invitations (woohooo!). L&R are getting married early spring next year and wanted something quickly. I remember chatting to them at the Oxnead Wedding Show and was very excited that they got in touch. They asked to have a family portrait with a personalised garland as their main illustration and an RSVP card. I love this illustration, I think it’s such a sweet idea to include their children on the invites too. These are still to be posted to guests so no sneak peeks for now…keep your eyes peeled.

I met the fabulous Lou from Lou Lou Loves Vintage at Oxnead too and she has commissioned me to create her a new business logo. It was great visiting her home and seeing her creative space and super helpful to generate ideas. This is a work in progress but in the new year it will be ready to unveil.

Networking has been wonderful for Frog & Pencil this year and I’ve met so many amazing, like-minded suppliers who inspire me. A brief chat on Instagram led to a tasty meeting with Philippa from The Little Party Company. She makes adorable and yummy favours, treats and styling for celebrations and she wants to collaborate with me. We have talked through some ideas but I’m raring to get stuck into this properly in the new year. I have a feeling this is going to be a cracking collaboration.

Speaking of collaboration I also created a card for Victoria at The Bottom Drawer Bridal (looking for your wedding dress gals, make an appointment; you’ll love it). She wanted to give her brides thank you cards at an upcoming event and instead of buying from a generic card store asked if I could make something. Time was pretty short, so I recycled an old illustration which was perfect and made for a cute card. I hope to work with Victoria again in the future, I adore her dresses.

This deserves its own post but my bridesmaid cards have also proven really popular and I’ve been delivering them all over the place. It’s encouraging because I want to make more pieces like these; small purchases which are easily printed and restocked. The new year will see the birth of a Frog & Pencil online shop, I can’t wait!

If you’re looking for a fun way to ask your favourite gal pals to be in your bride tribe, give them one of my postcards. £2.50 each and they come with an envelope, just email hello@frogandpencil.com to enquire.

Will your be my bridesmaid cards by Frog & Pencil

Frog & Pencil’s Will You Be My Bridesmaid? postcard selection.

I’ve been saving the BEST news till last…

After umming and urring over the EDP Bride Wedding Awards I decided to enter Frog & Pencil for Best Newcomer. Having been given an encouraging little nudge, I also put myself forward for Best Stationer. I had zero expectations but thought why not just give it a go and see, what do I have to lose?

To my delight I was shortlisted in both categories! This meant a judges visit for one award and I had to send a package for the other with example of my work. Then came the big news that floored me…I made it as a finalist for Best Wedding Stationery Provider.

I literally cried for about twenty minutes in front of my laptop re-reading the e-mail. I am over the moon and still in shock to be in the running. I’m also bloody proud of what I’ve achieved in these ten short months. The competition is tight but I’m just exited to be there and to experience the big event in January. There’s a fancy awards dinner where the winners will be announced. For me, it’s a night to enjoy seeing my hubby in a tux and to celebrate the wonderful talent that’s in this county.

The icing on the cake…

Yesterday I had a call from the EDP Bride Awards Team who were happy to inform me that Frog & Pencil has been shortlisted for a judges visit for the Wedding Innovation Award. Wow! This award is for businesses or individuals who bring new and innovative ideas to the industry that benefit and move the Norfolk wedding community forward. I’m simply honoured to be considered as I’ve worked so hard to develop and create alternative wedding stationery products for couples. For all those tough moments, it now truly feels like I did the right thing and I’m on the right path.

Keep those fingers crossed :).

This brings me to the end of my catch up post and as you can see it’s been a bit of a whirlwind…scrap that, this whole year has been a whirlwind. Starting out in February the year ahead of me was a blank sheet of paper waiting for an adventure to begin. It’s been difficult and it’s been glorious and those moments by far outshine the down days.

I’ve loved every commission I’ve worked on and thoroughly enjoyed meeting my awesome couples. Thank you for putting your wedding stationery trust in my hands. Business has been a slow burner but I’ve grabbed all the opportunities thrown at me to network and I have met incredibly talented people in this industry. There is an abundance of creativity in this beautiful county so thank you to those who inspire me to be better.

There’s still a few months to go until Frog & Pencil’s first birthday so I’ll save my highlights for then. I just want to say that it feels like everything is falling into place and I couldn’t have imagined to be ending 2016 on such a high. So, this is me signing off for the year. It’s been a pleasure blogging (when I get the chance) and I hope you still enjoy the content. Lots of ideas in the 2017 pipeline, so I hope you stick around.

Wishing you all a blooming fabulous Christmas and a bright new year. Here’s to a fresh sheet of paper and I can’t wait for Frog & Pencil’s 2017 adventure!

Lots of love,

Cx

Frog & Bear celebrating at Frog & Pencil's first christmas party,

Frog & Bear celebrating at Frog & Pencil’s first christmas party and wishing you all a very merry christmas! x

 

Facing Fears…

Hello all!

Woah, time has flown by since my last post and how is it now December?! A big slap on the wrist goes to me for taking my time and leaving it so long. My general aim is to publish something of interest at least once a week, however the last few weeks have disappeared on me (I did have a week off with my hubby too), but it’s lovely to be back.

So what’s been happening on the Frog & Pencil lily pad?

In a nutshell, the past few weeks have been a little tough. I can have some super productive days and then I struggle to make anything. I’ve developed a post-it note wall to schedule out my weeks so that I have a purpose every morning and that helps me to keep working towards the end goal.

I am the type of creature who needs people around so it can be lonely working at home, but I’m learning to like my own company. I just need to remember to get out in the air every now and then as cabin fever is becoming a bad habit. With all this horrible weather on top, I do find it extra hard to motivate myself somedays but it’s a work in progress and I usually pull myself out of a slump.

Overall though, I’m a positive person and search for ways to help me be more productive. Music is so good for the soul and it lifts my spirits. I’m often found asking people on Facebook for new suggestions for something to listen too. I find most things can be accomplished with a short, sharp, power dance to get the blood pumping and I’m good to sketch! How about you, what helps motivate you when you’re having ‘one of those days’?

In between all that, there has been more progress on the website and I’m starting to finalise my branding. Originally I was thinking to launch F&P officially by the end of the year, but I do feel that with Christmas coming up it may be swept aside. Therefore, I’d like to go live in January; a new year and a new start.

I have been sketching and painting most days though and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Around a month ago I was thinking about my invitations and what I’ll be providing. I decided that some lovely folk may not want to be interpreted as an animal, like Bear and Frog; they may want a portrait. Now, for some reason this instilled in me a fear...right to the gut! I’ve struggled in the past with drawing people but I thought I’d confront the faces fear and give it a shot in my own style. I’m so happy that I did.

I began by drawing Lewie and I along with some friends of ours. It frustrated me at first that they’re not highly detailed but it dawned on me that they don’t have to be and that was incredibly liberating. I’m delighted with how they’re turning out and when put into a composition, I think they’re quite lovely. These can be used on a Save the Date, on an Invitation or I could also create personalised portraits to sell separately as gifts.

Here’s a few examples in the gallery below, click on an image to expand it & enjoy.

So, whaddya think? I’d love to have some feedback.

With the website nearly built and having more examples of content, the next big decision is pricing up my work. I’m making a plan to visit local printers soon to get a good idea of their costs and also quality. I don’t want to sell myself short so I’ve researched other illustrators to get an idea of what they offer which is a great base to begin. I also purchased ‘Craft A Creative Business’ by Fiona Pullen, which is all about making and marketing a successful creative business which is packed to the brim with useful knowledge and in turn should help me figure out these important details.

As a curious side note, if you were to buy an illustrated couple’s portrait as a gift, what would you be willing to pay?

That’s about it for now but I’ll have more for you by the end of the week. I’m hopping off to the big smoke on Thursday to take part in a beginners modern calligraphy course with Quill London and I’m rather excited! A post on my time there coming very soon!

Cx

Frog & Bear’s wedding stationery

Hello there!

Whilst I’m creating new work, I want to give you an idea of what it is I’ll be making. So, I have decided to write a couple of posts on the stationery and other lovely detailed bits and bobs I created for our wedding earlier this year.

First up, wedding stationery!

Now, to me, the wedding stationery was quite important, as I feel that it gives your guests a taste of what the big day is going to look and feel like. We wanted it to be personal, represent who we are and to also be whimsical; so I was super excited to be creating these. The stationery could simply be the invite itself, but I liked the idea of a ‘stationery suite’. This includes the Save Our Date, The Invitation and a Thank You card. Ours also branched out into the Table Plan and Table & Name cards.

Here’s a little flavour of what I created for our happy day.

There you have it!  I LOVED making all of these elements and I’m really proud of how they all turned out; especially the invitation.  It was a labour of love…a little book, jam-packed with all the information our guests needed to know, and more! The ‘book’ style invite is the direction I’d like Frog & Pencil to take, and I’m planning a separate post on all the goodies the different pages contained; so please do hop on over again soon.

Cx

How do you eat an elephant?

Hello there and welcome to my Frog & Pencil Blog!  I’m certainly feeling the ‘first post’ pressure here but let’s give this blog malarkey a whirl!

I’m at the start of an exciting, shiny new venture where I am setting up my own business.  Having worked in various fields over the past years, I’ve always had a niggling feeling that I should put my illustration skills to good use, but I never truly found the right direction to follow.

Cue marriage and ‘HUZZAH’ I saw the light! I already had the intention to make many of our wedding details and this was reinforced by visiting several wedding fairs; there wasn’t much that caught my eye. I was looking for the more quirky, whimsical and personal bits and bobs, nothing too traditional. For me, it’s all about the details and after lots of lovely comments and feedback about my wedding stationery, I knew I had something unique.

So here I am, about to build a business on bespoke wedding stationery and other handcrafted loveliness.  I’m not going to lie, I’m super excited but I’m bloomin’ scared; remembering to write stationery correctly is tough enough! Sometimes though, the thought of it all is so daunting I get a bit dizzy and just don’t know where to begin.

I talked this over with a gorgeous friend of mine and she simply said, “Claire, when I find a situation overwhelming, I think to myself, how do you eat an elephant?” And this little phrase has stuck with me, I simply need to tackle each obstacle bit by bit. With this in mind, along with the incredible support from my husband, family and friends I can’t wait to get started.

This blog will document my new, creative journey, including all the highs and all the lows. I’ll be posting my work, ideas, the admin challenges I’ll face with starting a business and will keep you updated on all things Frog & Pencil.

My goal is to be up and running by the end of the year…it’s early days but I have nothing to lose. I hope you’ll stick around and join me on my elephant adventure.

C x