Two Things

Hey guys!

Today I am celebrating Frog & Pencil turning 2. Life has been brilliantly busy with commissions, etsy creations and wedding fair prep that this birthday really snuck up on me; I didn’t have anything prepared to mark it as a milestone. The Bear and I won’t actually be celebrating it until after a big wedding fair in a few weeks time. However, it’s kind of a big deal for me and I’m really proud to have reached this point that I wanted to dedicate some time to reflect on my journey so far.

hoppy 2 birthday

So, as F&P turns 2, here are a two things I’d like to share on a variety of topics; enjoy!

TWO THINGS I’M MOST PROUD OF

The first one is kind of obvious. I’m SO proud to have made it to my second year of being a self-employed creative. If I’ve learnt one thing in my lifetime it’s how to be tenacious and this skill has often been my life raft. There have been plenty of moments where I doubt it all but that niggle to keep on going gets me back on board.

Looking back to when I first started, I’m really proud of how I’ve evolved over the last 2 years. From my drawings and designs to my styling, I feel it’s all just getting better. I guess I’m becoming more comfortable with who I am as an illustrator and what it is I create and for me, having that understanding is huge.

TWO THINGS I’VE LEARNT

Network, network, network, network and network some more; and I don’t mean in a schmoozey way. Perhaps we just need a friendlier word for network. Community. Find your community and embrace it. Being self-employed and working from home can be a really lonely place. Get to know like-minded people in your industry, make friends, collaborate, support each other, inspire one another and create something beautiful together. Your mental health and the work you make will be richer for it.

Just Do Something. I’m rolling into 2018 with this new motto. I was inspired after reading ‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck’ by Mark Manson at the end of 2017 and one quote has stuck with me, “just do something”. It can be quite easy to procrastinate when you’re working from home but you need to find a good routine. When I have to pull my finger out and I don’t quite want to, I tell myself to ‘just do something’. One thing be it big or small. When I start that task I usually find my groove and then productivity breeds productivity. Remember the power of ‘just do something’.

TWO THINGS I’M ANXIOUS ABOUT

This is a biggie. Having just finished my tax return (definitely just as stressful as the first time!) it left me feeling pretty down. I pour my heart, energy and most of my time into this business and sometimes I can’t help but feel like ‘what is it all for?’ After 2 years, I’m now starting to return to the conversation about pricing. I know my worth and the value of my work but I have this fear that if I start to increase my prices NO ONE will come near me. I’ll be like a plagued Frog with a sh*tty pencil. I don’t know if I can continue if I leave things as they are. The ultimate question is how do I show others the value of Frog & Pencil?

In just under 2 weeks I’ll be exhibiting at the EDP 2 day wedding fair at the Showground. I’ve never participated in this one before and it’s a whole new ball game. Since the start of the year I’ve been stressing about what to do with my space and I think I’ve finally got a rough plan in place but that pesky anxiety lingers. The sunny side though is that I’ll have Lew and a lot of my community exhibiting there too, so I know it’s going to be ok…wish me luck folks!

TWO THINGS I’M EXCITED ABOUT

This one’s been on the ‘to do’ list for ages and I’m also anxious about it as I’m still to figure out the nitty-gritty but I have 3 awesome collections that I’m about to launch. I’m still not set on a ‘name’ but they’re semi-bespoke/ready to buy pieces that couples can purchase. The design remains the same but I tailor the text to match their big day. I’m really proud of the designs and I’m hoping they’ll be a hit and perhaps help anxiety number 1. It’s exciting none the less; keep your eyes peeled for these beauties to be released into the world!

I started the year with 4 gorgeous wedding invite commissions and 2 are nearly finished so I can’t wait to see how they all develop. But, I’m also really excited about my etsy shop. It did pretty well over Christmas and has been ticking along nicely with bridal party cards and love cards this year. The potential here is incredible and I can’t wait to start working on new ideas and products to sell on this space. So much so, I’m hoping to set time aside each week purely dedicated to etsy creations!

TWO THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN WHEN I FIRST STARTED FROG AND PENCIL

Frog & Pencil is my baby and when you have your own business you will live and breathe it, it’ll ALWAYS be on your mind. You will always be checking your social media. You will always be looking at your e-mails. You will always be working late. You will work most of your weekends. You will always worry about how to bring in the next client. You will underestimate the amount of time you spend working to develop your business. However, it’s my world and I wouldn’t change a thing.

This links nicely to the point above. I put all my love and energy into Frog & Pencil, so much so, when I do take a break I often feel guilty. I think that others might be judging me if I have a random Tuesday afternoon off and it makes me feel bad. I wish someone would have told me it’s ok to take time out. We all need to recharge. We all need to reconnect with the other parts of our world. Getting away from my business gives me clarity and that has a positive impact on all areas of my personal and work life. So if you need a breather don’t give yourself a hard time, put the pencil down, turn off your e-mails and enjoy the moment.

TWO THINGS THAT KEEP ME GOING

Self belief is super powerful…and ice cream helps too.

Create a kick-ass playlist to lift you out of the funk. Music and dancing have saved me many times and will continue to do so. My two current upbeat tracks of choice are these lovelies: HalfNoise, French Class & Sigrid, Strangers – they make me feel awesome.

TWO THINGS I’M GRATEFUL FOR

My gorgeous couples of course! It feels incredible when you get that e-mail to say ‘you’re hired!’ but it doesn’t compare to when you’ve made the wedding stationery and you see the smiles on their beautiful faces. I did that. Little ole me. It truly makes it all worth it. Thank you to all my couples and clients for trusting me to make something wonderful for your special day. I honestly have the BEST couples.

My hubby Lew. Frog & Pencil wouldn’t be here without his support. He is the most gorgeous person I know and I love him to the moon and back. Thank you Bear for everything you do.

Ok, ok, enough of that soppy stuff! I think it’s time to indulge in a big G&T and gorge on choccy cake. Here’s to the next 2 years, thanks for sticking around!

Cx

Oh yes! Before I go, to celebrate this birthday, I’m offering you guys 20% OFF EVERYTHING on my etsy store. Simply add the code: HOPPYBIRTHDAY2 at the checkout. Hop to Shop here. The deal runs for 2 days and ends on 8th Feb 2018 x

A Hoppy Update…

Hello!

Was my last post really at the end of June!?! That is pretty terrible however things have been rather busy around here so I thought it was about time I gave you guys and update.

The big news is that the Bear and I bought our very first home! Yep, as of the end of July we became homeowners to the lovely little Lily Pad and we’re so delighted. We had to move out of my beloved Norwich but it’s only a 20 minute drive away, so it’s not too far, yay! Our new home even comes with a conservatory which is ideal for my studio and I even have a view of our cute garden.

With so much change going on, it’s naturally spread into other parts of our lives, especially Frog & Pencil. I have A LOT of plans for this little business however over the past several weeks they have become overwhelming and it makes my brain foggy. With autumn on our heels, it always signals a difficult time of the year for me personally which adds to the fuzziness. However, I’m keeping a check on how I’m feeling, making to do lists to keep proactive and organised and basically taking it one hop at a time. Does anyone else suffer from idea overload that kinda puts a spanner in the works? I’d love to know how you handle it, so please do comment below with any tried and tested tips, I’d really appreciate it.

One of my aims is to blog more frequently as there’s so much I want to share with you all; from commissions and styled photo shoots to tip-top wedding stationery advice and the odd personal post because it’s all about my Frog & Pencil journey after all. I’m going to set a particular day once or twice a month to upload posts full of exciting content and I’m hoping you’ll help me stick to a schedule.

In the meantime, I’ll keep you updated with how the Lily Pad progresses as we put our Frog & Bear stamp on the place.

Until next time lovelies,

Cx

lily-pad-keylily-pad-studio

The Little Horse Box

Hey there!

It’s a bit of a stormy one here in Norwich today so while the sky rumbles I thought I’d write a new post and share my recent commission with you beauties.

Lovely Liddy is the proud owner of The Little Horse Box (TLHB), where she has lovingly restored an old horse box and transformed it into a luxury bar you can hire for weddings and special events. It’s such a gorgeous local business and I feel that this bar is ideal for all kinds of weddings, especially those with an alternative, vintage, boho or festival vibe. You can tailor the bar too, with bespoke drinks packages, coloured lighting and by dressing it with your wedding flowers. My personal favourite package is the ‘Pimp Your Prosecco’, I could really get into that!

Look, isn’t it adorable (swoon)!

the-little-horse-box

Liddy got in touch as she was looking to have a bespoke card made which she could then give to her couples and fellow suppliers. I was delighted to be asked and couldn’t wait to get cracking! We chatted about a few ideas but it was clear the focus of the illustration should be on the TLHB itself. The garland was also important and she wanted it to be full of pretty flowers and pastel colours, a little like a country garden. With a few extra tweaks and finished off with welly boots bursting with flowers, a ladybug and juicy strawbs, we created a design which I think is just smashing! What do you guys think?

I loved making this for Liddy and I hope all her fab couples and the suppliers she meets along the way on her TLHB journey enjoy the cards too. If you’re a fellow supplier and are looking for a unique card (or something similar) that echoes your brand, then drop me a message, I’d love to hear from you.

Please do check out The Little Horse Box’s website and if you’re in the market for a bar or know someone who is, give her a shout. Liddy is so friendly and passionate, you’ll be in safe hands when it comes to catering your drinks for a big event (Psst, I’d Pimp your Prosecco if I were you!).

Thanks for commissioning me The Little Horse Box, it was a pleasure!

Until next time y’all,

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

Flock To It!

Hello there,

I feel like I say this every time I write a blog post but it’s been such a long time since I last wrote a piece and I apologise. I’m finding that as my business grows, windows of time to write posts are getting smaller. I just don’t know how people do it! It’s such a shame too as I have so much to share and chat about.

The last 6 to 8 weeks have been a whirlwind at Frog & Pencil HQ and my time has been filled with lovely commissions, wedding fair prep, creating work for a two-day photo shoot, an open weekend and we’re about to take a big step in our personal life too (to be revealed soon). I do enjoy writing these posts though, so I will try harder to create content for you, even if that means making them more bite-sized.

I have a post up my sleeve that I hope to send out into the world a little later today but if you are craving some Frog & Pencil goodness then you can follow me on my social media channels. Here you can find most of my recent work and discover what’s going on behind the scenes – Instagram is particularly good for that.

Hop on over to my social media pages below and while you’re there, why not give me a follow.

Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

Enjoy exploring and in the meantime I best flock to it!

Cx

Flock to it! Flamingo postcard.

 

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