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

Meet The Maker

Hey guys,

Well, the lurgy has struck the Lily Pad and it’s a ‘Froggy down’ situation but I think I have enough energy to put this together for Blog Post Thursday. Forgive me if it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, I didn’t get much sleep last night.

Today I’m offering up something a little different; a Meet The Maker post where I’ll disclose ten Froggy facts about me; a fun change to my usual posts. So, first off, for those that don’t know, this is me…

Meet the Maker blog post, image of Frog & Pencil

Image credit: The lovely Rose & Spear Photography

FACT 1

One question I’m often asked is, why did I choose the name Frog & Pencil? Well, it’s from a loving nickname my hubby gave me. Apparently, from a certain angle, I look like a Frog. Having created a Frog and a Bear character for our wedding, it naturally progressed to Frog & Pencil for my business. I love the name, it’s certainly memorable but I don’t quite see the Froggy resemblance.

FACT 2

I have dual nationality and was born across the pond in Austin, Texas; I’m officially a cowgirl…best get me some boots and a Stetson!

FACT 3

I love what I do but if I wasn’t an illustrator, I think I’d want to be a florist. I have found a new love of flowers after being in this industry and I’m in awe at how creative people can be with blooms. Their workshops also smell incredible…not sure how I’d deal with the cold though…I’d have to find a fab hat! My Mum kept the most amazing gardens, so I’m hoping I’ve inherited some of those green fingered genes for my own little plot.

FACT 4

I adore Children’s books. When I’m in a bookstore I always make a pit stop at the kids section and you’ll most likely find me giggling away and drooling over the beautiful and playful illustrations. My hero was Roald Dahl and I remember how deliciously lost I found myself within his words and Quentin Blake’s drawings. A dream of mine is to illustrate my own Children’s book one day and to create something that fires off kids imaginations.

FACT 5

At some point, during all my commissions and illustrations, there will be a moment where I utterly hate what I’ve made and I think it’s a pile of poop. I’ve learnt to try to not give in to those feelings and to simply carry on. The magic happens right at the very end when the last brush mark has been made, it just requires a dash of patience and a lot of belief.

FACT 6

I have a phone phobia! I’m fine when it’s friends and family but if my phone rings I get super anxious and tense. And making a call, well that’s the worst! I have to psyche myself up and make sure I have everything ready. For example, sorting out the car insurance. I have to sit in the quiet, have a glass of water and a pad and pen ready. I’ll write down my own details, address, phone number, etc, just incase I blank when they ask for them. I even write down reference numbers even though they’re right there on the letter…they have a funny way of hiding when prompted. Holy moly I just hate it and I feel so relieved when it’s over! Silly right!?! Anyone else feel this way about phones? If so, any tips on how to manage those feelings would be greatly appreciated.

How I survived in a call centre, on the phone selling mortgages for 3 years, I don’t know, I already feel a cold sweat coming on just thinking about it!

FACT 7

I fell out of love with illustration. I was a mature student at University and after an amazing year at foundation level, I was so excited about Uni. It was mostly a horrid three years where I just didn’t fit in and never found my groove. In hindsight, I think I should have seen a doctor as I was terribly depressed and I became a crazy person. I made it to the end though and somehow passed. I graduated in 2011 and still to this day when I’m in that part of Norwich I get very uncomfortable. I’m a believer in things happening for a reason though and I discovered tenacity. It also opened some sideways and upside down doors which inevitably led me to where I am today. I’m happy to say, for the majority of the time, my illustrations and I are friends. 🙂

FACT 8

I ADORE earrings and hats. They make me so happy.

FACT 9

I’m a big fan of cheese but it makes my face tingle…I could be allergic but the stuff is too damn tasty. Nom!

FACT 10

A lovely friend recently asked what inspires my work. Some of the biggies would include, nature and the awesome colour play you can see right outside your window. Couples stories inspire my work, if they have a cute anecdote that can be captured I like to include it. Instagram is a big inspiration, the creative community on there is incredible and spurs me on to make good work too. Lastly, the local wedding supplier community fuels my passion. There are so many talented people in this industry, photographers, stylists, cake makers, designers and florists to name a few and they’re always pushing the boundaries. Their way of thinking encourages me to step out of my comfort zone. I’m honoured that I can call a lot of these guys my friends.

There you have it, some Froggy insight which I hope you enjoyed and could also relate to. The Bear and I will be having a two week break as of this coming Monday, so look out for a new post when I return, there’s always plenty to share. In the meantime, I’m off to battle this lurg!

Adios amigos,

Cx

The Personal Touch – Nicky & James’ Save Our Date.

Hello you lovely bunch!

Another Thursday has rolled around which means another Froggy post (not gonna lie, pretty proud that I’ve stuck to my ‘every other Thursday’ schedule so far!).

Today I want to chat about those personal touches I bang on about when it comes to wedding stationery. When I speak to couples about what they’d like their design to feature, I always try to eek out something special and unique to them as a couple. Everyone has their ‘thing’, be it little quirks, a beloved pet or cute stories that could be expressed through their invitations. Quite often, my couples aren’t too sure, so we work with details that will match the wedding day such as colours and flowers, and that’s brilliant.

However, I do adore it when a Bride & Groom want to inject more of a narrative about their journey into the designs and a fantastic example of this comes from Nicky & James.

I began this commission at the start of the summer and when I rang lovely Nicky, she was full of ideas. They’re getting married at The Norfolk Mead but she felt strongly about making a point of where it all began and wanted to express this somehow through their Save Our Date. Nicky recounted her and James’ first date over at gorgeous Sea Palling (for those who don’t know, it’s a fabulous Norfolk Beach) and how it’s now a special and significant place for the two of them. It was to become the spot he chose to pop the question. (I do love a good proposal story!)

I sketched a variety of ideas, including a map of the location with a tiny doodle of a seagull (who we named Sammy). This little ring bearer stole our hearts and he became the main focus of the design. On the reverse they wrote a little ‘ditty’ to share their story:

We shared our first date at Sea Palling,
And were engaged at that special spot,
Now we’re getting married,
We’d love you there as we tie the knot!

It became a much simpler way to tell their tale compared to the map but I feel it’s a much sweeter way to express it.

I have a coffee date with Nicky (and their gorgeous new addition) in a few weeks to discuss the next phase of their stationery and I can’t wait to see what we create! I’m positive that it will continue to feature more lovely little personal touches about her and James’ life together.

This was a blast to make; enjoy a few snaps of Nicky & James’ Save Our Date with that cutie, Sammy the Seagull.

Watercolour Illustration ready for a Save our Date card.Save our Date with a personal touch!Save our Date card with personal touches, including the couples story.

So, as you can see, when it comes to the stationery for your big day, you can do anything you want and this is just one way of making it more personal. If you’re looking for wedding stationery that’s bespoke and a little out of the ordinary, then get in touch. I’d love to chat about your adventure so far, the wedding plans and we can discuss how I can help create designs that reveal your story with those personal touches.

Until next time,

Cx

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

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

Assembling Your Bride Tribe?

Hello all.

Wowzers, this January is flying by; a happy new year to you all and I hope your 2017 has started brilliantly.

New year also means that many of you lovelies might be sporting a sparkly new rock, a huge congratulations to all you recently engaged couples. It’s an exciting moment when you start the wedding planning and for a lot of you it’s time to assemble your Bride Tribe!

If you’re thinking of a fun way to ask your favourite gal pals to be a part of your special day, why not ask them with a quirky Frog & Pencil postcard; it’ll be something your girls will always cherish.

With three whimsical designs to choose from, the postcards are £2.50 each and come with envelopes. For all enquiries and orders drop me an email at hello@frogandpencil.com.

These postcards will soon include ‘Will You Be My Maid Of Honour?’.

Will you be my bridesmaid? postcard collection.

©Frog & Pencil: Will You Be My Bridesmaid? postcard collection

Bride-zilla taming postcard.

©Frog & Pencil: Bride-Zilla Taming Bridesmaid Postcard.

Will you be a part of my bride tribe? postcard

©Frog & Pencil: Will You Be A Part Of My Bride Tribe? postcard

Will you be my bridesmaid? postcard.

©Frog & Pencil: Will You Be My Bridesmaid? postcard.

 

Keep your eyes peeled for new Bridal Party stock which will include postcards for your Groomsmen, Best Man, Witness’ and one for that special person (or people) walking you down the aisle.

The Frog & Pencil Website is being updated with new images and content, so be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for the latest Frog & Pencil products/shenanigans.

Excited to hear from you new Brides-to-be and have the BEST time assembling your beautiful Bride Tribe!

Until next time,

Cx