A Froggy First!

Hello there!

Last week was a wonderful whirlwind while I prepared for Frog & Pencil’s very first Wedding Fair.

Having only launched in February, I couldn’t believe my luck to have found a stand available at a Spring event…I genuinely thought I may have missed the boat and would have to wait for the Autumn fairs. Lovely Norfolk Brides offered me a spot at the Wensum Valley Hotel Wedding Show on Sunday 13th March and I snapped up the opportunity!

My week was spent designing flyers, making sure I had enough samples, thinking of creative ways to arrange my stand and to have everything printed in time. I even invested in a roller banner…this was particularly exciting for me as in my previous marketing jobs I’ve spent many an hour running around beautiful Norwich delivering and setting up roller banners. It felt quite poignant when my very own was delivered and I LOVE it.

Sunday came around in a flash and it was an early, misty start for my hubby and I as set up started from 7am.  We were welcomed by the team and made our way to the Frog & Pencil table and wowzers, we had a great spot (with a beautiful outlook too)! It also turns out that we were fortuitous with our brilliant exhibitor neighbours, Lesley from Short Cakes and Aurora Wedding and Events Hire, both were so friendly, helpful and gave me loads of advice about the Wedding Fair scene, a big heartfelt thank you to you guys.

At 10am the doors opened and I was raring to go! A bride approached my table, looked at my designs, shook her head and said to her friend ‘No!’…a good start hey! It did make us chuckle and thankfully, throughout the day I was given many lovely compliments. There was a steady stream of people and the five hours flew by. It also helped that we were sat by popular stands such as Adnams, Short Cakes and Aurora as they brought welcomed footfall to Frog & Pencil.

I spoke to so many awesome couples about their wedding day plans and it was also a pleasure to be able to give some tips having lived through this adventure last year. It felt amazing to hear that people enjoyed my work and to see their big smiles appear as they clocked my stall. There were a bunch of comments on how ‘different’ my illustrations are and I’m incredibly proud of the fact that Frog & Pencil is unique.

Overall it was an excellent and positive experience. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to other exhibitors and networking, they all gave some great guidance. Even more so, it was interesting to see how my target audience felt about my work; however the proof is in the bookings. As of yet, nothing’s pinged through but it’s still early days and I’m hopeful.

Being by a window on a beautiful sunny day was just perfect albeit a little challenging when taking photos but thankfully they’ve turned out pretty good with a little editing…so here we are, enjoy clicking through my Wensum Valley Wedding Fair Gallery.

We were honoured to be amongst some brilliant exhibitors and I hope they all had a successful show. I wanted to take the opportunity to give a handful of those a mention and share their details.

A SPECIAL CROAK OUT TO…

Norfolk Brides: Dalia and Tim were brilliant hosts and I’m very appreciative of all their help and knowledge in the run up to this event. Check out their website to see what’s coming up next!

A Most Curious Wedding Fair: Sat in front of us was the lovely Hannah from A Most Curious Wedding Fair. On Sunday 20th March they will be hosting their unique Wedding Fair in St Andrews Hall in Norwich from 11am – 4pm. I visited last year and it was ace, certainly worth having a look around. You’ll also find a familiar froggy face in their Most Curious Directory as a cool, recommended supplier…which is very exciting for me!

Short Cakes: Our super wonderful neighbour Lesley who creates the most beautiful, delicate wedding cakes. We were lucky enough to have a sample of the chocolate cake and it was delicious, so if you’re in the market for a celebratory sponge then get in touch…be quick though, people were flocking to her stand looking to speak to ‘The Cake Lady’!

Aurora Wedding and Events Hire: Another ace neighbour who were also popular! Providing hire items for your big day, give them a look…their sweetie cart is a must for kiddies and husbands alike!

Adnams Norwich: Dishing out tasty tipples these guys were BUSY!!! I can personally recommend the Adnams Prosecco, we served it at our wedding and it is a moreish fizz with a fabulous price tag to boot!

Joshua Patrick Photography: If you’re looking for a photographer, hop on over to Josh’s website. He’s really friendly, enthusiastic and his images are natural, relaxed and just stunning; you won’t be disappointed!

Oops! a Daisy Florist: The gals at the show were gorgeous and they had such a delightful stand full of romantic, whimsical flowers which I thought were divine. I’d pay them a visit if you’re looking for an excellent and creative florist.

There we have it, my first show done and dusted; I LOVED it. Thanks for having me Norfolk Brides and thanks to all the couples who took the time to check us out. Drop me a line if you have any questions or would like a quote, it would be wonderful to talk some more.

Have a tip top evening all and I’ll be back later in the week with a post all about the details from my Christening commission…I’ll warn you, it’s a cute one!

Cx

Hop Hop Hippo!!!

Hello there!

It has been BUSY up here at Frog & Pencil HQ, hence the lack of posts of late but in the coming weeks I have quite a few exciting things to write about, so you should see a rise in my blogging.

A few days after we launched the Frog & Pencil website a lovely little gem of an e-mail pinged its way into my inbox. My first, official web enquiry for a commission. Both Lewie and I were ecstatic…I was hopping around the lounge with excitement because a real live human being wanted me to make something for them and Lew was jumping around, proud that the web contact form works and was successful! Needless to say, we were rather happy.

The very wonderful S is pregnant with her first child and wanted to announce their joyous news with a card to send to family and friends. She had seen my work on Facebook and liked my style, so after checking out my website she got in touch. S was looking for an illustration that had a pink mummy hippo, a grey daddy hippo and a baby hippo popping out behind them, with the line ‘We would like to introduce you to someone’ alongside them. And on the back she envisioned ‘Delivery expected August 2016’. I instantly thought this sounded ADORABLE and such a sweet idea; a nice alternative to sharing the news on social media. This commission was just my cup of tea and I was delighted to create a card for S and her Husband.

We chatted a while about any additional embellishment such as a garland, however, it was decided to keep the design pretty simple with a little decoration to compliment the hippos.

I absolutely loved working on this commission, it was a really fun project and it also helped me to figure out what my packaging style would become too. It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted all the goodies to S and her Husband, which thankfully arrived safe and sound. Along with the final cards, I included envelopes, a thank you card, my business card and the original painting which I believe will be perfect hung up in the nursery. I’m proud to say that they’re thrilled with their hippo card and I was very chuffed to receive some brilliant feedback.

Commission Feedback

Here you have it folks, Frog & Pencil’s first commission…enjoy the hippo gallery!

Walking my first parcel to the Post Office, I was overcome with pride and I can’t wait to create more designs to make future clients smile.

As you can see, I don’t just illustrate loveliness for weddings; I’ve actually just finished a Christening Invitation (which will be posted on here next week). If you, like S, enjoy what I do and have a special announcement or want to mark a particular occasion, get in touch, I’d love to chat to you! E-mail me here… hello@frogandpencil.com

Wishing S and her Husband all the best for the future with their mini hippo of joy. A massive thank you for asking me to make your card and also for supporting an independent small business.

I hope you’re all having a marvellous Wednesday and not getting too soggy, I’m off to get ready for my first Wedding Fair…more on that later!

Cx

It’s All Hotting Up…

Hello there!

Things have been getting rather busy over here at Frog & Pencil HQ which is why I haven’t had a chance to publish anything recently. I’ve bitten the bullet and set an official date to launch this little business and go live with the website…and it’s only a couple of weeks away, eeek! My saint of a husband and I have been getting our hustle on to make sure we have everything we need for the website (between you and I, it’s looking really good!).

It’s been an exciting, albeit sometimes frustrating process and I love that we can work together on it. Now, I have zero coding knowledge, that’s Lew’s department but I can bring my design eye to the table and it’s a dandy collaboration. As I said before, he’s a saint and has patiently listened, applied all the changes and minute pixel tweaks that I want to make, there have been plenty! He’s also learnt that when I say ‘I don’t hate it’ to a particular element, that means we need to modify it. I’m in complete awe of his skills! Lew’s never said ‘No, we can’t do that’, he will always find a solution and I adore him even more for it.

The website is starting to come together and I’m hyped to be popping on all the final content shortly. Watch this space…it’ll be up and running in no time!

Alongside all those shenanigans, I’ve been finalising the designs that I want to display on the site. Everything has now been sent to the printers and I’m excited to see the final results. Once these are through, I will attempt to take some kick ass ‘I want to hire her’ photographs ready to use on the website. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some good weather so that I have lovely light to work with. It could result in me busting out an epic sunshine dance or two.

This week I completed my Lovebirds Wedding Invitation. This is the first design that will be a part of my Ready to Write collection. Ready to Write’s are a budget friendly option for couples who like my style but funds are tight. These will be a simple invite with a lovely image on the front and you write on the back, filling in the blank spaces. I created a pair of Lovebirds and I’m thrilled with how they’ve turned out…I think they are my best illustrations to date and I hope that others will love them too.

 

The future plan for Ready to Write Invitations is to extend the collection with other designs and to include a Save the Date, RSVP and a Thank You card. But to kick things off with, I think these guys are pretty damn delightful.

In the pipeline for the upcoming week I’ll be writing website content, planning the Frog & Pencil launch party (gotta celebrate this moment!), making an appointment with the bank and hopefully start photographing my work.

Not long now; it’s feeling so real I could burst!

Have a brilliant weekend.

Love what you do.

Cx

Portrait Gifts

Hello there!

I hope that you all had a fantastic new years and are finding a way to combat the January blues.

A super quick post for you lovely bunch today. In the run up to Christmas I made a few gifts for my friends. I shared a handful of sneak peeks on my Instagram and Twitter feeds, but now, since they’ve all been unwrapped, I can finally reveal the illustrations; hurrah!

So here you have it, three custom portraits. Apologies about the lighting in the photographs…I’m working towards improving this. Enjoy!

I relished creating these images and I’m happy to report that all the recipients loved their gift!

If you’re interested in commissioning a bespoke portrait for yourself or as a present to a loved one, please do get in touch via: hello@frogandpencil.com

I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Cx

Yippeee, Business Cards!

Hello all!

I can’t quite believe that Christmas is this week!!! We’re almost ready for the festive season here at Frog & Pencil HQ but I wanted to squeeze in one last quick post before I settle down with some mulled wine and a mince pie.

Last week was rather exciting for me. Having met with a local printer, Eco Colour Print (who are brilliant by the way!), I now have my first batch of business cards and I’m over the moon with how they’ve turned out. Having these sitting on my table, ready to dish out to people in the new year, it’s feeling rather official…I’m a tad giddy.

Designing a business card isn’t as simple as it looks and my process certainly evolved. Originally, I had a fun and colourful idea which needed some tweaking and I liked the concept. However, taking a step back and really looking at my images, a niggling feeling was bothering me. I asked myself these two questions:

“What does this business card tell a potential client about me and what I do?”

“Does this say wedding?”

No, is the simple answer.

Back to the drawing board and this time it needed to be clearer, I had to consider my brand and also maintain some kind of cohesion with my blog and soon to be ready website.

So here you have it, the initial and revised versions. I’m truly pleased that I took the time to reconsider my choices and these are the type of questions I’ll need to keep asking for future designs. I’m delighted with the outcome; I believe it to be the best representation of my brand and they also give couples a glimpse into what I can provide.

As I say adieu, I wish you all merry little Christmas and I hope you have a happy and lovely festive season…now, where’s that mince pie?

Cx

Quill London Workshop

Hello all!

I absolutely love Instagram and have spent many an hour scanning it for inspiration. During our wedding planning stage, my account was full of wedding suggestions…but since then it’s all illustrators, makers and puppies (super adorable pups)!

I started to notice images of lovely calligraphy and upon further investigation I discovered these were mainly pictures from workshops. It looked like fun and I thought that this could be a pretty useful skill to have in my Frog & Pencil arsenal, so I decided to give it a whirl!

Way back in early October I found a Beginners Modern Calligraphy Workshop with Quill London. Having zero experience but a love for typography this was the right choice for me, however there are other options for those who have a little skill already. It costs £49 for a 2.5 hour session with refreshments and you get to keep all the equipment you use which I think’s a pretty good price. Now, these guys are popular! I signed up in October for a date in early December, but you’ll be happy to know that they’re always adding new sessions.

Thursday 3rd finally came around and it felt good to get out of Norwich and head to London for the day. Our workshop was being held at West Elm, which is a store that sells gorgeous home wares. I was under the assumption that Quill were based in the shop. After wandering around a little confused trying to find their department, I stumbled upon people setting up the workshop in West Elm’s cosy coffee shop and we were ready to begin.

Set up

Set up and ready to start…it all looks so inviting!

There were around fourteen of us and the bunch of girls I sat with were really friendly, chatty and all first timers like me; I instantly felt comfortable. It was pretty funny when the first thing we all did before sitting down was take pictures of the table…I wonder how many blog posts are up from this session?

Megan Riera led the workshop and began by telling us a little bit about her background. She then went on to explain that this workshop would be split into three parts. Part one: learning how to use the pen to create different strokes. Part two: copying the alphabet. Part three: writing our chosen word or short phrase. Megan also mentioned that calligraphy is actually pretty difficult when you first start…and she was right, it’s a tricky mistress!

Part one:

It was a bit like Christmas having this lovely bundle of goodies to open and we were all given ink, the pen, a nib, paper and instructions for each section of the workshop.

For the first part we learnt how to use the pen correctly and how to adjust pressure to create different strokes. Key point being, apply pressure on the downstrokes and release pressure on the upstrokes. An additional important tidbit is to keep the nib pointing to the top of the paper as you move your hand up, down & across. Mine kept veering to the left, as if on auto pilot to write; my brain just could not get it.

I  enjoyed this part but the curly-wurly symbols were problematic and I certainly had vortex envy to those who could make these look beautiful…but I was getting there.

Part two:

Symbols and pressures ‘conquered’ we moved on to the alphabet. Watching Megan whip out letters effortlessly was pretty impressive…I’m still trying to master the squiggle!

We all cracked on with copying the alphabet and I loved some of those letters, like C, C is a breeze. However, B became my nemesis…damn it, that’s one tough cookie!

Part three:

We came to the part of the session where we would start putting letters together to make a word or a short phrase. The night before I was thinking about short phrases to use and considered my tag line ‘creating bespoke stationery & other handmade loveliness’. Ha! Well that would have been hilarious and ridiculously long. I just about got to completing ‘Frog & Pencil’…but it’s good to be ambitious, right?

This was probably the most difficult section, stringing letters together. It’s how to join them and deciding which way to write the letter that was hard. To help with this, we were encouraged not to look at the alphabet we had previously been copying as that would hinder the flow and to try to scribe everything organically.

Megan helped me out by writing a few examples of ‘Frog’ to copy (I wonder if you can find which lovely ‘Frog’s’ are hers?) that I found extremely beneficial. I liked the concept of playing with spacing and the letters sitting at different heights alongside varying the lines weight, and I feel this will come after some practice.

The time just flew past and I thoroughly relished my workshop with Quill. The atmosphere was relaxed, everyone was lovely and Megan was supportive; I’d certainly recommend this session to anyone who is thinking about trying calligraphy.

I feel that this would be such a great skill for me to learn, especially for the future of Frog & Pencil. Once I feel confident, I can write pleasingly addressed envelopes for invitations or simply use my own crafted words in my designs; there is plenty of potential.

So with that, I’m going to practice little and often and hopefully it will start to feel more natural in the coming months. Thanks to Megan and Quill London, I had a lovely afternoon learning a new creative skill and I hope to sign up for the next stage soon!

Blog stamp

I’m off to get inky fingers, have a wonderful Sunday.

Cx

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