I Pledge To Shop Small, Will You?

Hey guys.

Being away having a little time off has put my blog schedule out of whack but it’s a Thursday and I’d like to chat about something that I’m actually starting to get quite passionate about.

Christmas is just around the corner, so I’m pledging to shop small this year and I’m asking you to also consider it; let me tell you why. Having recently opened my Etsy shop and having barely dipped my toe into the retail market ocean, this is what shopping small means to me. When I see that order e-mail in my inbox the pure joy of it lights up my day and warms my soul. It’s also the cause of many a happy dance. Even the smallest purchase, like a card, means the world to me.

That card, on average costs £2.50 and that to me is fruit for the week. Or perhaps, it’s a ‘pat on the back’ coffee from my favourite indie cafe. Last week, I was able to treat Lewie to lunch and that hasn’t happened for a very long time. It was a simple meal of a toastie and a hot chocolate but I felt amazing and proud that I could do that for him.

These purchases fuel small businesses dreams, and your support helps them to feed their families, pay their bills and most of all it means they can keep making and creating.

Now, I’m not an idiot and I know that people want to get as much as they can for their money, especially at this time of year. I too buy from high street suppliers and from the likes of Amazon simply because it’s cheaper and convenient. You choose where you spend your hard-earned money and all I’m asking is that this year you support some small, independent businesses too. That could result in buying a handful of illustrated cards for your nearest and dearest or deciding to purchase one gift this year from a maker. Put your money back into the local economy and buy your turkey from your favourite butcher down the road or whilst out christmas shopping, stop by an independent cafe for lunch and coffee to recharge instead.

Small businesses can’t compete with the conglomerates but by shopping small and rather than getting something machine-made, you’ll be buying a product that has been handmade with love, passion, time and born from years of experience. There is an abundance of places that’s full of amazing people online. Sites that spring to mind are Etsy, Folksy, Ohh Deer and Not On The High Street but stop by the indie stores in your towns and cities too, you might find some unexpected beautiful items. Norwich is full of them, especially around The Lanes and Jarrolds has a lovely card section that supports locals too. You could also hop over to a nearby Christmas Craft Fair, that’ll be full of indie makers.

Who knows, you might find a seller you adore and would buy from again for all sorts of occasions, not just Christmas. Support them further and share the love by liking their social media channels, like what they post and even share some posts too. Oh and don’t forget a review, they’re incredibly insightful and helpful.

It may take a little more time and effort but your support is truly worth it. Be the reason someone has a happy dance moment and fill their hearts with festive glee.

I’m taking the pledge to support small, who’s with me?

I pledge to shop small badge

Cx

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Just Keep Tweeting!

Hello there!

It’s been a bit of a slow ole week here at Frog & Pencil HQ. My lovely hubby has been poorly for most of it (he’s now on the mend) and in turn, I feel a little out of sync. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to produce much work aside from a few sketches, and I’ve also come to realise that not having a place to make work is frustrating me. I have bits and pieces all over our apartment, which doesn’t help when it comes to having some focus. I’ve eyed up a comfy spot in our lounge where I can set up shop and I’m on the hunt for a new desk to create my mini studio…I’ll keep you posted!

On the flip side I’ve been getting to grips with Twitter. I’ve worked with it for previous jobs but I never quite knew what to do with it personally, I’ve always been more of a Facebook kinda girl. However, I understand how Twitter can benefit Frog & Pencil so I’ve been trying to get involved where I can and have been pleasantly surprised. I started by following lots of people, particularly in the wedding and craft industry which led me to Folksy. This is an online shop where you can buy and sell lovely handcrafted work from UK designers and the Folksy community is very prominent on Twitter.

On Tuesday, I stumbled across #folksyhour and between 8pm – 9pm, like-minded people get together on Folksy’s Twitter feed for a live chat on a particular topic; this week was all about product photography. I thought this would be super helpful for me and I tweeted that I’d be checking in for handy tips. 8pm came, I was at my computer excited and raring to go, albeit a little clueless at how to find the #folksyhour discussion! Once there, it took me a while to fully follow the live stream conversation but it was worth it. Plenty of people were participating who were friendly, knowledgable and helpful, and I picked up some great advice on how to photograph my work, the main key is having LIGHT! The best nugget I took away from Tuesday’s #folksyhour was to recognise that marketing and editing work takes time and that time should be paid for. So, when it comes to pricing up my work, I must remember to take into consideration the whole process.

The hour flew by and thankfully useful links to further reading materials on the topic were posted. I also discovered that Folksy have a blog and forums which is excellent news for me and I’ll certainly be dipping into this resource for future information. Not only did I gain advice, I also picked up some lovely followers by taking part. It feels like they have built an engaging community with a wealth of knowledge and I look forward to being involved in future #folksyhour’s.

Norfolk is known for its arts and I do hope to find a fellow local community to meet like-minded people, it would be incredibly beneficial. There are always plenty of craft fairs taking place around Norwich & Norfolk, in fact I’m planning on visiting one tomorrow. Made In Norfolk is being held at the fabulous Norwich Castle from 10am – 4pm, and I’m looking forward to seeing what delightful creations are to be found. I’m also hoping to chat with some of the crafters and designers to see if they have any advice for starting up a craft business…perhaps this will be the beginning of finding a community that I can belong to; I’ll let you know how it goes.

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