‘When Should We Post Our Wedding Invites?’ – A Froggy Guide.

Hey guys!

Ok, how is it October already!?!

With autumn arriving in all her glorious colours it’s had me thinking about you wonderful couples getting married next year and I felt this post could be of some use. If you haven’t already done so, this is the ideal time of year to start thinking about your stationery. So snuggle up, grab a cuppa and enjoy…

A question I’m frequently asked from couples is ‘When should we post out our wedding save the dates and invites?’. Well, no two weddings are the same, so my general thoughts on this are to send them whenever you feel ready. However, with so much to think about and hundreds of decisions waiting to be made while you’re planning the wedding, I thought I’d share my stationery timeline guide to help make your process that little bit easier.

First things first! You’ve discovered your ultimate venue and have secured that all important date, the wedding game is officially afoot! With this in place you can begin to envisage how the day will look and feel; be it boho, rustic, modern, romantic or vintage, etc. These ‘themes’ can all be expressed through your wedding stationery choices too. From commissioning someone like me or going down the DIY route, you’re now ready to get cracking with creating stationery loveliness, so let’s hop to it!

THE BRIDE TRIBE

If you’ve not yet exploded with excitement after the engagement and blurted out who you want in your bridal party, a really sweet way to ask them is to give your chosen I Do Crew a ‘will you be my bridesmaid/groomsman/best man/ maid of honour? postcard. Alongside your written words, it makes for a great little memento they get to cherish. Deliver postcards whenever you’re ready to ask and these beauties are just the start of the wedding stationery fun!

Frog & Pencil Bridal Party Postcards available on Etsy

 

SAVE THE DATES

Eeek, posting your Save the Dates certainly starts to make it all feel real. It’s also the first glimpse of your wedding day that guests will see, so make it playful…be a tease! Your lovely Save the Dates are typically sent 6 to 12 months before the wedding day, however, once you have your theme in mind, I suggest posting them sooner rather than later. This ensures your guests can pop it in their diaries and start making plans; especially if you’re having a destination wedding.

Save our Date example for Stationery Timeline Post

WEDDING INVITATIONS

Traditionally these are posted 3 – 6 months before the big date. I’m inclined to deliver them with plenty of time to spare, especially if you’re including accommodation recommendations; everyone will need the information to make those bookings. Alongside your invites, you might want to include other key pieces, such as a map and extra information about the day. Have a good think about what your guests are going to need to know as these can all go together in one fabulous package. Remember, the more you include, the more time will be needed to create them.

Boho-Tipi wedding stationery collection.invite

Boho-Tipi Wedding Collection Map

RSVP

The last thing you want to do in the run up to your wedding is chase rsvp’s and scramble together the seating plan. Discuss with your caterer and venue when they require final numbers and allow for some extra breathing room. I suggest 6 weeks before your wedding is a manageable date for your friends and family to reply by. Having these numbers sooner not only keeps the stress levels down but will also help when it comes to preparing the ‘on the day details’ below.

Boho-Tipi Wedding Stationery Collection RSVP

ON THE DAY STATIONERY

I LOVE On The Day Stationery and it’s certainly something you should ponder over. These details range from an Order of Service, Schedule of the Day, a Bridal Party Who’s Who Board to a Table Plan, Menu, Table Numbers (remember, they don’t have to be numbers, they can be more personal to you; places you’ve visited together, your favourite gins, animals, anything goes…we had different cakes!) and Name Place Cards. These little details can absolutely add character to the wedding decor and are another brilliant way to express your personalities. Allow at least 4 to 6 weeks for these last-minute pieces to be made and printed.

Boho-Tipi Wedding Collection Name CardBoho-Tipi Wedding Collection Hoop Table PlanBoho-Tipi Wedding Collection Menu

THANK YOU CARDS

Who doesn’t love a Thank You Card? After all the excitement of the wedding day and a blissful honeymoon to look forward to, these can easily be put on the back burner. It’s a kind gesture to thank your guests for attending and for any gifts you may have luckily received, so please don’t forget these. My advice is to send them no later than 3 months after your wedding has passed.

Boho-Tipi Wedding Stationery Collection Thank You Card

FINAL FROGGY THOUGHTS

If you decide to commission your wedding stationery have a good think about the whole package.  If you want to keep it cohesive from Save the Date through to Thank You Card, it may be cheaper to bundle it all together in one order. One thing I know for certain is that these pieces take time to make, potentially up to 6 weeks, especially so if they’re bespoke. Get in touch early on, be sure to ask about current work schedules and time estimates, then you’ll be able to figure out your wedding stationery postal timings accordingly.

And there you have it, I hope you found my Froggy guide helpful. If you have any questions or would like a quote for your wedding stationery then get in touch with any ideas you have in mind, I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time lovelies, happy wedding planning!

Cx

P.S – here’s a little timeline I made for a wedding fair. Save the image as a handy record to add to your wedding file.

Frog & Pencil's wedding stationery timeline

 

Katherine & Peter’s Wedding Invites

Afternoon all,

Lovely Katherine & Peter spotted that I’d been a finalist at the EDP Wedding Awards and contacted me asking about my stationery for their upcoming wedding. After a good chat over e-mail they invited me to their home to see some examples and discuss ideas further…I even met their cat Watson.

They decided on a portrait for their main illustration and as they’re tying the knot in October, they wanted the designs to have an autumnal vibe with warm and rich jewel tones. Katherine shared a Pinterest link with me which was super helpful; it was full of inspiration and from here I was able to pick out certain tones and flowers to recreate.

To go with their wedding invitation, they wanted to include a details page which outlined all the ‘extra bits’ guests would need to know and a page for their tasty menu. One other key detail P&K asked for was to include Watson, chasing a mouse somewhere on the stationery.

I love the final pieces, there’s such a gorgeous cohesion and flow between them. They’re clean, fresh and I am really enjoying the main invite layout with the text detail. Overall, I’m very happy and I think those colours are just luscious.

I’m delighted to report that Peter & Katherine were pleased too and they left me this lovely review on my Facebook Page; reviews like this make everything worth it.

“Just wanted to thank Claire again for producing such beautiful and unique invitations for our wedding. We have had lots of compliments from friends and family with one friend yesterday saying they were her favourite invite of the year, which reminded me that I must leave this review! We really enjoyed working with Claire and thoroughly recommend! x”

Ok, less of me nattering, how about some visual goodies? Here’s Peter & Katherine’s Wedding Stationery, enjoy!

I had a great time creating these designs and I wish Katherine and Peter all the best with the rest of their wedding plans. Here’s to a fabulous wedding day come October and a very happy future as a married couple.

If these bespoke designs have caught your eye and you’re in the market for some personal wedding stationery, then get in touch via hello@frogandpencil.com, I’d love to hear from you and chat weddings!

Until next time you beauties,

Cx

Hales Hall Styled Photo Shoot

Hey guys,

Here it goes, my attempt to provide you with regular content on the blog (self-five!) and as I mentioned before, there’s plenty that I want to share with you, so I will try to at least schedule a post every other Thursday. So, let’s start by going back to the beginning of summer…

As May came along, I drove up to the most beautiful Norfolk wedding venue, Hales Hall & The Great Barn, ready for a whopping 2 day styled photo shoot. Having gone to town on the stationery and knowing many of the other talented suppliers (including a bunch of my favourites!), I knew this was going to be an amazing shoot…all we needed was some better weather!

The brief wasn’t the norm for Frog & Pencil but I do love a challenge and more importantly, I embrace where these creative opportunities take my work. The shoot was the brain child of Amanda Steed, our talented Make Up Artist who transformed our gorgeous models. Her vision for these couple of days was to be natural, romantic, with a soft, nude & pinky pallet with fresh greenery and large blooms; you may be getting the sense that a stripped back Frog & Pencil design was needed.

I wanted to keep the stationery clean and by working around geometric shapes, it also offered a contemporary vibe (I’m loving all the geometric shapes that are everywhere right now, I certainly think this is a trend that’s going to stick around for 2018 weddings). I was also conscious that I wanted it to look like it was made by me, so without a quirky character or couple, this would have to shine through from the flowers. When I start a new project, I love to speak with the florist that’s involved to see what they may be using and I’ll incorporate some of those elements within my work to offer a lovely cohesion on the day. Here I’d like to introduce Kat from Ivy Floral Events. I found her awesome to work with because she’s so passionate and boy oh boy is this gal creative. Her brilliant van was packed with flowery goodness and it was so much fun watching her whip up a flower crown or a bouquet within a matter of minutes. We’re kinda spoilt in Norfolk for excellent florists and Kat is certainly one of them. Go check her out!

In the end, I created a whole collection for this shoot with the aim of being able to sell it to you lovely people. I’ll be turning it into a Semi-Bespoke Collection for couples and they can either choose from a few pieces or the whole lot. Keep an eye out on my Etsy shop for the launch of this new range. Pieces include:

Save our Date, Wedding Invite, Map, Details Page, RSVP, Table Plans, Schedule of the Day Board, Menu, Table Names, Table Numbers & Thank You Card.

Albeit windy (I now hate the wind…it doesn’t mix well with paper!), it was a gorgeous couple of days and we were able to create a couple of different looks to snap indoors and out. The models looked cracking, the dresses were beautiful, the styling was gorgeous, the cake was a beaut, the food was divine and Hales Hall offers a smorgasbord of locations to take photos. All geared up to be a cracker!

Before I unleash all the images, a little croak out to the other amazing suppliers I haven’t yet mentioned.

Oh how I love Janie & David from Bigphatphotos. These guys were the photographers and also a secondary creative driving force for the shoot. Such a pleasure to work with and I always learn something new. A firm Froggy favourite, so if you’re looking for a photographer for your big day, give these guys a bell.

Another Froggy pal, Lou from Lou Lou Loves Hire & Styling. This was the first time I’d worked on a shoot with Lou and it was great fun! She, like Kat, had a van load full of goodies (I’m getting van envy!) to spruce up the various locations. I’ve admitted before that I think styling is pretty hard, so I relish any chance to pick up some tips…I was even able to join in! What I really enjoyed from this was seeing how the little details echoed alongside my stationery, with the blooms and the geo lanterns, it really all came together beautifully. Lou is just lovely and very talented, so if you’re looking for someone to tart up your venue, she’s your gal! Not forgetting Grice & Foster who hired out a few pieces to us on the day to co-ordinate with the styling.

The queen of cakes was also with us and of course I’m talking about Emma from Buns of Fun Bakery. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Buns blows me away with her creations and styling. Uber creative and airs on the quirkier side, what’s not to love. This lady is one of my inspirations and her cakes are delicious to boot, so if you’re looking for sponges to wow your guests and delight your taste buds, then get in touch pronto.

A highlight from working on these shoots is being able to sample the food that’s created and it was such a treat to try dishes made by Lee Havers from 42 King Street. His food was so tasty and I can’t wait to book into his restaurant to try some more!

I mentioned Amanda above and working alongside her on the day was fellow Makeup Artist Kirsty Barton Grimley. Together they created natural, stunning looks so if you need someone to help you out on your big day, give them both a call.

The bridal dressed were provided by Serendipity Bridal & Pure Brides (love those gals!) and Willow & Pearl brought the lovely heather bridesmaid gowns. Each dress was so beautiful and worked perfectly with the styling. Check them all out if you’re hunting for that special dress.

A little mention to the hair stylists, Michelle Hoskins & Nicola Playford…I’m always envious of someone who can create natural gorgeous waves, everyone looked so pretty.

Finally a nod to the awesome models, Emma, Holly, Annabel, Charlotte, Emily, Florence, Chloe, Thomas & Jakey.

Oh, and not forgetting the venue itself. Hales Hall and The Great Barn is breathtaking. With so many locations to choose from, you’re really spoilt for choice. The barn is magnificent, the endless grounds are breathtaking and the Hall is a stunner. There’s certainly something for everyone and with helpful and friendly staff, I’d certainly recommend a visit if you’re searching out your wedding venue.

Below are some of my favourites from the shoot credited to Bigphatphotos, enjoy!

…and a few behind the scenes snaps lifted from my phone.

I just want to say a huge thank you to Amanda & Janie for having me on board, I loved being involved and a part of the team! It was also fab to meet all the other suppliers and collaborate with you guys. Thanks for the fun!

I’m hoping to have the stationery collection live on my Etsy shop for October but if you’d like to chat about this range for your wedding day then drop me a message at hello@frogandpencil.com, I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Cx

Hop to my Etsy Shop!

Hello you beauties,

I’ve taken another big leap over at Frog & Pencil HQ and have opened an Etsy shop. I’ve been thinking about it for months now and it’s taken a while to finally come to fruition. I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s taken so long. I think a mixture of trying to find the time to work on it, building up stock and probably a good dose of being hesitant. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and the unknown is a little scary for me. However, I woke up one morning last week with a new-found motivation to jump this hurdle and after wrapping my brain around various postage rates (seriously headache inducing!), it’s good to go.

It may not be quite perfect and I may not know every details about how it works but I’m not going to learn one iota until it’s live and I have some orders. It’s silly to have this stock sitting around the Lily Pad, so why not just give it a whirl!

So, here it is, my little shop selling papery loveliness. At the moment you can find my Bridal Party Postcards, Lovebird Ready-to-Write Wedding Invites and Watercolour Portraits

My products will evolve in the near future and the plan is to introduce Semi-Bespoke Wedding Stationery, other Ready-to-Write options and to branch out into non wedding specific merchandise, such as greeting cards for all occasions, prints and perhaps some home ware goodies.

For now though, do hop on over to give it a look and a share.

Have a cracking weekend!

Cx

Abi & Rob Little Bespoke Books

Abi & Rob’s Little Bespoke Book Wedding Invitation

“Finding a mate in the giant world is challenging, and it’s somewhat hazardous when you can get run over by a millipede.”
Sir David Attenborough.

Hello you lovely lot.

I’ve been excited to share this commission for a long time now and with these beauties out in the world I’m delighted to introduce to you, Abi & Rob’s wedding invitations.

I met the brilliant Abi & Rob way back when Frog & Pencil was basically a tadpole. They came to A Most Curious Wedding Fair in 2016, spotted my stall and a few days later got in touch. They had seen my Little Bespoke Book Wedding Invitation and thought it was so original and wanted something just like it. I clicked straight away with these guys as they completely understood my work and its quirky nature. They are also getting married where we said ‘I do’, at the beautiful Chaucer Barn, so we had a lot to chat about.

When it came to choosing their bespoke illustration they decided against a portrait and wanted weird and wonderful characters (yaaaay!) and settled on Chameleons. They had been watching a Sir David Attenborough documentary on Madagascar and found a kinship with these adorable Pygmy Chameleons, it was perfect. They even used Sir David’s commentary from the clip as their quote for the Little Bespoke Book and it’s actually a rather sweet analogy for finding love. They sent me the YouTube snippet and work began.

The Chameleons were a joy to paint and I wanted to capture the male stood upon the females back like the clip explains. I’m not going to lie though…I ended up with a bunch of compositions where it looked like they were humping! You really don’t want to send that to your guests!

It has been SO hard keeping this illustration under wraps. I finished it in April 2016 and it’s probably my favourite painting to date. However, Abi & Rob aren’t tying the knot until this September, so obviously the invites had to wait a little while.

In the meantime…

Abi & Rob asked for some Save our Dates which I was more than happy to create for them. They wanted to keep these quite simple featuring their names inside a garland, the date and the venue. However, they had a cracking idea for the reverse, something to tease their guests and a little ‘nod’ to the invitations. I loved it! The tails are uncomplicated, but the colours are just luscious. I would have liked to be a fly on their friends and families walls to witness the reactions!

Abi & Rob Save our Date

As the new year drew closer I was champing at the bit to resume work on their Little Bespoke Book. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s essentially a 12 page wedding invitation made into a book. Couples can fill it full of details their guests are going to need to know about the big day and it’s all in one place; there’s also an opportunity to add in personal information too. What does it include I hear you holla, well, let me tell you:

The Front & Back Covers feature bespoke illustrations.
Page 2: A quote about the relationship
Page 3: The couples Love Story
Page 4: The Wedding Invitation
Page 5: A bespoke Wedding Map tied onto the page
Page 6: Local Accommodation
Page 7: RSVP which you can remove
Page 8: Important Details – such as ‘The Bar is CASH ONLY’
Page 9: Honeymoon List
Page 10: Contact Details
Page 11: A Photograph of the couple

These are details Abi & Rob chose for each page but you can include anything you like, it doesn’t have to follow this format.

When the guys sent me their word doc after Christmas, I started work on the pages, embellishing each one with elements from their main illustration as finishing touches. I was chuffed they wanted to include a Wedding Map with directions too, I love creating these and it was a good excuse to look through lots of gorgeous images of Chaucer Barn to paint from, it certainly brought back many happy memories.

When I picked the proof up from my printer I let out an audible squeak! Seeing one of my pieces come to fruition after being in my mind for almost a year was amazing. I’m particularly proud of this wedding invitation. I met with Abi, Rob & Jones for a drink to hand deliver their package and felt even prouder when I saw their faces. I’m happy to say they love them. It’s that very moment which warms my heart and reinforces why I made the leap to being self-employed, it truly is worth it.

Now these little books have happy homes, I’ll stop yapping so you can see the invites in all their glory. Enjoy.

There’s still more to come for the lovely Abi & Rob as they’ll be commissioning me to create some ‘on the day’ stationery too, so watch this space to see how the collection grows come September.

If you’re looking for an original wedding invitation that holds everything you need to share with your guests alongside giving them that ‘wow’ feeling (it also makes an awesome keepsake!) then a Little Bespoke Book Wedding Invitation might be what you’re looking for. Drop me an e-mail at hello@frogandpencil.com for all enquiries, I’d love to chat to you and hear about your wedding day.

Until next time, have a wonderful week!

Cx

Top Ten Wedding Stationery Tips – A Blog Takeover!

Afternoon you lovely bunch!

I was recently asked by the fab folks over at Vintage Partyware if I could write a guest post for their blog. Naturally it would be based on all the glorious thing that are wedding stationery.

So why not grab yourselves a nice hot beverage, a couple of biscuits and hop on over to their blog page to read all about my top ten Froggy tips for wedding stationery.

Thanks for the blog takeover Vintage Partyware, I had a blast!

Enjoy,

Cx

Lucy & Rory’s Wedding Invitations.

Hello all,

Yippeee, I’m very excited to share one of my latest commissions with you all today; Lucy and Rory’s Wedding Invitations.

I met these two at the fab Oxnead Wedding Show and I remember us all having quite a good natter about their stationery. They contacted me a few weeks later looking for some personal invitations but with quite a quick turn around.

Lucy told me how much they both loved my portraits and asked if the illustration could feature their children too, rather than just her and Rory. I thought this was such a delightful idea to include them, it’s a whole family affair after all. They wished to personalise it further by incorporating their children’s names within the garland along with the words ‘love’ and ‘family’. It makes me so happy when couples put their own spin on a design, it truly makes it unique to them.

Overall, I created an invite for both day and evening guests and a cute RSVP card where they included a quirkily worded ‘yes’ or ‘no’ option for attending, certainly up Frog & Pencil’s street! Their package of wedding stationery goodness (including the original watercolour painting) was shipped over to them just before Christmas (what a lovely early chrimbo gift!) and it’s not too long now until their big day.

I thoroughly enjoyed creating these invitations and I get a kick out of all their personal details. I want to wish Lucy & Rory a wonderful wedding day with all their loved ones and here’s to a happy future together as Mr & Mrs.

If you would like something similar to Lucy & Rory for your lovely wedding day then hop of over to frogandpencil.com to discover more.  For all enquiries, e-mail me at hello@frogandpencil.com for a little chat about any of your papery needs; I look forward to hearing from you.

There’s a couple more post’s in the pipeline, so keep your eyes peeled for those. Until then, have a hoppin’ brilliant week.

Ciao for now,

Cx

Hoptastic Highlights: Year 1

Hello all,

As promised, here’s a wee post outlining a bunch of key moments that stand out for me from my first year of running Frog & Pencil.

HIGHLIGHT 1: WEBSITE & PESKY SEO

Ooooh boy, the website was a labour of love! I’ve spoken about it previously and I’m so proud of what Lewie & I achieved with our site; I still think it looks great today. Completing frogandpencil.com really meant that I could officially launch this little business of mine. With a year under my belt now, I have a better understanding of what I offer and create and in turn this shines a light on what my website now needs to provide. This means that there are some changes in the pipeline to make it clearer and more accessible for me to update; a big challenge for my tech guy as he’ll be putting together a swish CMS (content management system).

Hand in hand with the website is Frog & Pencil’s SEO ranking. This area is such a minefield for us, not to mention a proper headache! We read up A LOT on how to improve it and after dedicating so much time and energy into this beast, we’re seeing results. From being non-existent on google for months, we’re now on the first page for a bunch of key words. The one we’re delighted with right now is ‘ Wedding Stationery Norwich’ as we’re third in the list, wooohooo! A big ole thank you to Lew for his persistence on this one and as importantly, thank you to my Froggy Friends who link to me from their sites as a recommended supplier, it genuinely helps and I appreciate it.

The evolution of Frog & Pencil's website.

The evolution of Frog & Pencil’s website.

HIGHLIGHT 2: HELLO HIPPO COMMISSION

My first ever commission pinged into my inbox a few days after I launched. I still remember vividly jumping up and down in the lounge, exhilarated that someone wanted MY designs (and the fact that the contact form worked on the site)! It was a gem of a commission and right up my street. This couple were looking for a sweet way to announce their first pregnancy to friends and family and thought that a Frog & Pencil card featuring a Hippo Family would be a great way to do it. I loved creating this cute design and super proud that it was my first real commission. Baby was due in August, so congratulations on your new bundle and I hope you’re all enjoying family life.

hippo-family-setup

HIGHLIGHT 3: ABI & ROB

Another jump around the lounge and do a hoppy dance moment was inspired by the brilliant Abi & Rob. I met these two at A Most Curious Wedding Fair and they wanted me to create all their wedding stationery. Now, I can’t say too much at the moment as I’m still working on this commission…I promise you though, it’s going to be a cracker!

This is such a highlight for me not only because they’re my first wedding invite couple but more so in that these guys really understand what Frog & Pencil is about. This shows that there are people out there who want more quirky and personal choices, there is a place for Frog & Pencil.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these guys. What I really like about Abi & Rob is that they truly want to support small local businesses where they can when it comes to their big day and I praise that. It’s been a pleasure creating their wedding stationery and I can’t wait to show off their final invitation, it’s a beaut! For now you’ll have to make do with their awesome Save the Date.

Abi & Rob's Wedding Save our Date

Abi & Rob’s Wedding Save our Date

HIGHLIGHT 4: MEXICANA MADNESS

I simply cannot write a highlights post without mentioning the ‘phabulous’ collaboration I was a part of back in June. The Mexicana inspired photo shoot was such a wonderful day where I met awesome people and I’m thrilled that friendships have grown from it. I learnt a lot on that shoot, it was a real eye opener.

It was a brilliant experience to work with like-minded suppliers who have embraced the Frog & Pencil vibe. I can still remember this bundle of energy (Bigphatphotos Janie) coming towards me at the Wensum Valley Wedding Fair exclaiming how she’d seen my work online and thought I’d be perfect for this idea of hers. From that little meeting, Diego & Frida were born.

I’m all for encouraging collaborations between suppliers. It’s a fantastic way for work to develop, to push traditions and to make ace contacts in the industry. I’m always pointing couples in the direction of these guys. I know they produce creative and amazing work and most importantly, you can trust them to deliver on your special day. I look forward to more bonkers photo shoots in the future.

Mexicana Photo shoot - image credit:Bigphatphotos

Mexicana Photo shoot – image credit:Bigphatphotos

HIGHLIGHT 5: THE INDUSTRY

This ties in nicely with the collaboration highlight. I wrote in my last post how I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the Wedding Industry and how accepting it has been. I never expected to know so many wonderful local businesses after a year, the networking is starting to flourish. I honestly feel like a part of the gang and not such a newbie anymore and that means so much to me; I feel accepted. We simply didn’t know how Frog & Pencil would be perceived in the industry, it was a huge grey area but we’ve been welcomed, supported and encouraged. It feels amazing to know that in Norfolk there’s a change in the air, it’s not all about tradition.

 

HIGHLIGHT 6: OXNEAD WEDDING SHOW

I believe that exhibiting at Oxnead was a turning point for Frog & Pencil. It may have been the fact that we had some experience under our belts, or that we’d evaluated and made a new plan or that we had a whole new wedding fair set up but somewhere in that beautiful venue I found a new confidence. Perhaps it’s a combination of all the above and starting to feel accepted but I came away from that show buzzing and super positive about the future. Off the back of it I’ve had enquiries, a wedding invitation commission (to be unveiled soon!) and a handful of bridesmaid card orders. From this point, it started to feel like we’d landed on the right lily pad.

Final Frog & Pencil set up for the Oxnead Wedding Show.

Frog & Pencil’s stall at the Oxnead Wedding Show is ready to go!

HIGHLIGHT 7: EDP BRIDE WEDDING AWARDS

Holy guacamole, what a year! And the ‘water lily’ on the top was discovering that I’d made it as a finalist in the EDP Bride Wedding Awards. I was over the moon to be in this position and the pride that I felt was overwhelming. A finalist for Best Wedding Stationery Provider isn’t too shabby after being in the business just under a year. I might not have come home with an award but I am very honoured to have even been considered. And just think, I almost chickened out…it’s amazing what you can achieve when you believe and love what you do.

Frog & Pencil celebrating at the EDP Bride Wedding Awards.

Frog & Pencil celebrating at the EDP Bride Wedding Awards. Finalist for Best Wedding Stationery Provider.

HIGHLIGHT 8: SIMPLY BELIEVE

When I think back over the last 365 or so days of living and breathing Frog & Pencil, the main thing that strikes me is how I’ve evolved. I studied Illustration at University and after three pretty awful years I came away not knowing my style, who I was as an artist and I didn’t want anything to do with it. I can safely say, it left me at an all time low. I don’t know how I managed to graduate and I still get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I walk past the Art School…and I left six years ago.

Today, I’ve fallen in love with what I do. I’m passionate about what I create and I believe in what I do. I believe in me. It’s taken a while, I’m almost 33 but I’m so lucky to have found my inner Frog. I’m growing in confidence every day and I can see it evolve in my work. I feel privileged and I’m delighted that I can create work that makes people smile. How could that not be a highlight!?!

believe

Simply believe.

This year has been wonderful and after a week of being poorly/injured, tonight we’re finally going to celebrate this milestone.

Wishing you all a great weekend and I’ll be posting more Frog & Pencil goodness in the coming week.

‘Til then lovelies, chin chin!

Cx

The Oxnead Wedding Show

Hello folks!

Holy guacamole it’s been a while since I last posted! Apologies for the white noise.

With glorious autumn in full swing, wedding show season returns and last Sunday saw Frog & Pencil exhibiting at our penultimate fair of the year, the Oxnead Wedding Show hosted by Norfolk Brides.

Even though I’ve truly enjoyed my previous fair experiences, I’ll be honest, up to this point, being a part of these hasn’t been as successful as we would have liked. In fact, it became a little disheartening. However, I knew that I was invested in two more before the end of the year and I really wanted to make the most of them. This began with the hubby and I having a really forthright chat about the fairs. We typed up a big list of what works well, what to scrap and what we can develop.

The first big issue we both sensed is that on a whole most people who visit my stand just don’t get it. Something isn’t connecting with them and that’s a huge problem. For example, at a previous fair, someone thought I hired out exotic birds…zilch to do with stationery. To rectify this, it was decided that we needed clear signage pointing out what I create and what’s on the table.

The second problem, which relates with the first, is the stand itself. Having been a part of three fairs with a similar set up it was time for a change. I wanted to bring in height, lots and lots of lovely height! With more work displayed around your eye line, it is much harder to walk past while trying to figure out why some Frog is there hiring out exotic birds! 😉 After a little bit of research, I settled on buying these gorgeous wooden crates to elevate my stand to the next level. They required the Frog & Pencil touch and with some sanding, priming, a lick of paint and a bit of love, they were perfect.

The third obstacle is me. I want to be more engaged with couples but I’m not a pushy person and I’ve always led by watching others body language. If they don’t look interested I don’t interrupt but if they do, then I’ll hop in. It’s extremely difficult for me to initiate the conversation and for it to be natural but I’m working on it. Thankfully that’s something Lewie is pretty damn brilliant at! This resulted in a new tactic, to be a more ‘persuasive’ and to have a few handy openers up my sleeve to experiment with.

Further to engaging with couples, I thought it would be beneficial to run a cracker of a competition. A chance to win an original Frog & Pencil watercolour couples portrait. Not only would this enable me with a talking point but additionally be a great way to capture some contacts for a mailing list.

Armed with new luscious props, a fresh approach and most importantly, fabulous designs, we were ready to tackle Oxnead!

Luckily we had the option to set up the day before which was certainly a life saver and helped keep those pesky nerves at bay. Especially so with a new set up, I was able to take my time to place each piece. The boxes were doing their job and height was achieved. My signs were clear and easy to read. The stationery looked fab taking centre stage (through this new set up phase I kept reminding myself that it’s all about how best to show off my work and make that shine) and the paper flowers I created were the cherry on the top. That afternoon I left as one happy frog, it was looking ace!

Sunday morning I was feeling great! With little left to do apart from the odd tweak, I could relax, have a coffee and get settled in my positive head space. I was determined to not be shy…and the whole day was AMAZING!

From 10am Oxnead Hall was buzzing. There was a great atmosphere and so many wonderful couples to talk to, in fact, it felt like I never stopped chatting. To me, something clicked, I found my fair swagger and enjoyed every moment. We received a lot of attention and my new bridesmaid cards were a hit with Brides. The competition was a winner too, I was delighted when I had my first sign up! The moment we had two the game was afoot, we had ourselves a legit competition! It finished with forty sign ups and I am over the moon.

I don’t know if the shift is down to a little more experience but I am positive that taking time to reflect and making some key changes gave us such a boost. It’s so important to look back and analyse and I’ll continue to do so with the whole of my business.

Oxnead was great for us and I even came home to some e-mails…that’s my first! I’m keeping everything crossed that we carry on moving in this wonderfully productive direction.

Norfolk Brides managed to pack Oxnead Hall to the rafters with amazing suppliers, including two of my favourites, Bigphatphotos & Buns of Fun – I’ve mentioned these guys in posts before, they’re awesomely talented & creative, so check them out! Here are a few new businesses that stood out for me on the day.

A SPECIAL CROAK OUT TO…

Lou Lou Loves Vintage Hire: Lou Lou Loves offers a unique wedding hire and styling service and I loved all of her items on the day. If you’re looking for rustic, vintage, boho, festival or retro goodies to adorn your wedding then contact Lou, she’s got loads of brilliant stuff and she’s lovely to boot!

Bottom Drawer Bridal: Brides to be, check out Bottom Drawer Bridal and prepare to swoon! I’ve been a big admirer of this business for a while and I was chuffed to finally meet Victoria. Her gowns are stunning (check out that floral number, LOVE it!) but what I like is that she offers something a little different too. Make an appointment and hop on over to her adorable shop to enjoy a beautiful bridal experience.

Little Horse Box: I’ve followed this company on social media as they transformed their Little Horse Box into a luxury mobile wine bar. It’s just gorgeous and perfect for weddings and special occasions…I especially would like to take part in their ‘pimp your prosecco’ offer! Liddy is super lovely and I have a feeling this is going to be popular! Give her a call to snag your date.

La Belle Flowers: These florals were just delightful and smelt amazing! I loved her little touches to detail, such as the blooms in the welly boot and the shotgun cartridge button-hole. If you’re looking for some gorgeous flowers, get in touch.

MS Provision: Mike creates beautiful storytelling films of your wedding day that are just wonderful. He’s also really friendly which makes you feel instantly at ease. If you’re looking to capture your day on film, give him a call.

La Belle Amour: This company offers a wedding styling and design service for couples and they also hire out props too. Kelly’s stand was beautiful. I loved the simplicity, natural and chic sophistication it offered. If this sounds like your big day, give her site a look.

Thanks for having us Norfolk Brides and I truly enjoyed chatting to all you lovely couples. Competition winner to be announced soon, so keep an eye out on my social media pages!

My final wedding fair of the year is coming up next weekend and it’s going to be a goodun’. Keep your eyes peeled for The Most Unusual Wedding Fair at Godwick Great Barn.

Until then you beauties!

Cx

Mr & Mrs Piggy Ready-to-Write Wedding Invitation

A Froggy Process

Hello there!

I hope you all had a wonderful bank holiday weekend and were able to grab a chance to enjoy the sunshine. I’m back at Frog & Pencil HQ after some time away and I’m feeling refreshed and ready to hop to it.

I’ve had this post stored in the depths of my brain for a while now and I finally have some current work to use to help illustrate my points and generally pretty the page up a bit. Occasionally I meet and speak with people who don’t quite realise how much time and effort goes into creating a new design and exactly what that entails. So, I’d like to share with you how I work, from initial idea through to final product; my Froggy process.

For the purpose of this post I’m going to use my new Mr & Mrs Piggy Design.

CONCEPT

Inspiration can strike at any point and I’m influenced by nature and the gorgeous colour combinations you can find all around us. I love hearing people’s stories and more often than not these turn on my creative lightbulb. If I’m working with a client, I listen to what they are envisaging, include personal touches and then sketch up some potential ideas for them to look through.

Lovely Kate contacted me via Facebook as she was looking for a wedding card for her brother-in-law and she desperately wanted something featuring pigs but couldn’t find one anywhere. I don’t usually create one-off cards however after talking with her for a while I started to picture what it could look like and I was getting quite excited about the prospect of it. I concluded that it would be a brilliant design for my next Ready-to-Write wedding invitation which I could then transform into a card for Kate (and others); a win win situation.

SKETCHING

Now, my sketches are really not the most beautiful drawings in the world but they do enable me to have what I like to call, a ‘brain dump’. I can splurge all my thoughts onto paper and tweak certain ideas before refining the good ones. It’s all about working up the right composition (including a garland with bespoke detailing), and some days are easier and quicker than others. It can either take me an hour or up to a day to get this right.

Thankfully with the pigs I already had quite a clear vision and it only required a few scribbles. With a final composition completed, I use my light box to reproduce this design onto good quality watercolour paper.

PAINTING WITH WATERCOLOUR

I love this bit…it is where I see my illustrations come to life! This is also usually the part where within a few brush strokes I decide I hate it! In almost every case I get this overwhelming feeling that it’s now utter rubbish. However, I have learnt to trust in my ability and believe that it will all come together.

When I begin to paint I already have in mind a rough sense of the colours I’ll be using for the main characters. Throughout my creative years and experimentation with style, I’ve had one constant, I’m a colourist. I love playing with different tones and making them pop.

Working with watercolour I find that you have to be patient and allow time for the paint to dry. I’m quite precise with my colours and I don’t want any unnecessary bleeds. So, with that in mind and depending on the level of detail within the design, painting my illustrations take at least six hours.

At this point, if I’m making something for a client, I will e-mail over a scanned image of the final piece so they can see how it’s progressing.

PHOTOSHOP

Ahh, my good friend Photoshop, how I have sworn at thee a million times. If we were a Facebook item our relationship status would read ‘it’s complicated’. I think it’s pretty amazing what you can do with this programme however my skills are limited but I manage fine and can navigate it with what I need to know…and youtube helps A LOT!

Additionally, I never ever want to lose the handmade touch in my work as that’s me, so I really only use Photoshop for a few things. Mainly, as a tool to tidy up my work once it’s scanned in. I always create a ‘clean’ file where I erase any pesky pixels and make sure the illustration edges are smooth; then the image can be transferred to any project with ease. Once I’ve created a Ready-to-Write wedding invitation for example, I can experiment with background colours, introduce text and brighten the illustration a smidge so that it’s print ready. This can be a bloomin’ lengthy process. To clean the image so it looks excellent digitally can take me around three hours…even more if there are lots of fiddly elements which makes me super cross-eyed. I’m sure there is a simpler option, drop me a line if you know one.

And let’s not forget my other pal InDesign, oh we do have fun! This is more of a publishing programme which is ideal for aligning and producing more text heavy design, such as the reverse of my Ready-to-Write wedding invitations. This can take me a while to work with, but I currently have a nice template in place where I can simply edit the typography; hurrah! As you can probably tell, I much prefer making the work over the digital delights.

This final design would then be sent over to my client to get their approval before it heads to my printer.

Clean file of Mr & Mrs Piggy Illustration

Clean digital file of Mr & Mrs Piggy illustration ready to be transformed into a Ready-to-Write Wedding Invitation.

PRINTING

Once I’ve had the nod from my lovely client, we are ready to print. I’ve been quite lucky and have found a local printer who’s reliable, quick and his prices are reasonable too…oh and of course the final result looks glorious! I always ask for a proof so that I can review the colours. If they’re a bit off, it’s back to my favourite friend Photoshop for a bit of tweaking. I will never send anything to a client or sell a product that I’m not 100% happy with, so this is a crucial part of the process. This too takes time. Thankfully we have a nice relationship and usually I can see a proof by the end of the day. After that, it’s around a 24 to 48 hour wait for the final prints depending on their work load.

PACKAGING & POSTAGE

With the invites hot off the press, it’s time to package and post. I like to include a handwritten thank you note and it’s finished off with a Frog & Pencil sticker before making a trip to the post office.

BUT IT DOESN’T END THERE…

Nope, the process continues on after a client has received their goodies. As a small business I need to keep up with my social media accounts and promote myself. Showing off recent work is key to drumming up new commissions. This includes taking good photographs of my illustrations and the final pieces in eye-catching and interesting compositions. We then revisit Photoshop for some more editing, cropping, resizing and brightening so they’re primed for the web. Be it for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, my Frog & Pencil Website or this blog, it’s all important work that takes up more of your time then you’d think.

And there you have it, my Froggy process. I regularly need to remind myself of this structure for when it comes to pricing up quotes as all of these fundamental parts need to be considered so that I don’t undersell myself. It’s tricky, but I love it and I’m getting there.

On a final note, if you’re interested in purchasing my new Mr & Mrs Piggy Ready-to-Write Wedding Invitations or Congratulations Wedding Card, get in touch and say hello, I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Cx