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

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‘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

Kim & Jody’s Spanish Castle

Hola you lovely lot!

Wowzers we’re having some amazing weather! Frog & Pencil HQ is certainly hotting up and this heat has reminded me of a wedding invitation commission I finished a few months ago and it’s about time I shared it.

Lovely Kim contacted me at the end of December wanting to buy a few Bridesmaid Cards and I was delighted when she came back to commission me for their personal wedding invitations. Next year, Kim & Jody are jetting off to sunny Spain to say ‘I do’ in a beautiful Spanish Castle. Being a destination wedding there’s plenty of organising to do and tonnes of information that their guests will require. To keep things simple, these guys have chosen to set up a wedding website which will hold all the details that their friends and families are going to need to know. However, they still really liked the idea of having a physical invite to pop in the post and it also makes for a cute little keepsake from their day.

When it came to their main illustration, Kim & Jody opted out of a portrait and instead asked if I could paint their beautiful wedding venue, Castillo de Conesa. I jumped at the chance! We personalised it further by incorporating dusky purple tones within the garland to match their flowers on the day; aside from that we let the Castle take centre stage.

It was an absolute joy creating this invitation and it made a nice change to illustrate a building. Additionally, it was a pleasure getting to know Kim, I really do have the best Brides!

Enjoy Kim & Jody’s mini gallery…with an ice cool tipple in hand and browsing these photos, it’s almost like we could be in Spain!

Wishing Kim & Jody a wonderful wedding next year and I hope the sun’s shining just as brightly as it is here today for your Spanish Castle wedding.

If you love my style and like the idea of capturing your special venue on your wedding stationery, send me an e-mail to hello@frogandpencil.com, I’d love to hear from you!

I think this Froggy is about to melt so I’m hopping off for an ice cream!

Until next time,

Adios!

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

Frog, Pencil & Camera…A Collaboration!

Hello there!

Things have been ticking along nicely over the past few weeks for Frog & Pencil and I’ve been working on a commission that I simply can’t share with you just yet…but soon it will be revealed!

Alongside that little nugget, I’ve been involved in my first collaboration project which I’m delighted to share with you all today.

My awesome Niece Niki is currently in her second year at NUA studying photography. This term they were asked to collaborate with a fellow photography student and one other person; so naturally I was rather chuffed when Niki and Sam asked me to hop on board. I don’t know if it was a part of their brief to work with someone outside of the University but hats off to them as this is valuable and relevant experience to working with other designers throughout the creative industry. Perhaps this should be considered for future briefs.

By creating a wedding themed shoot, Niki and Sam felt that this idea would compliment both their photography styles and this is also where my designs came into play. The original plan sounded beautiful being a boho woodland photo shoot with lots of warm festoon lighting, furniture, fabrics and my artwork hanging from branches. So gorgeous! Sadly, they were let down at the last minute and were unable to make it to Thetford Forest. I do feel for Niki & Sam as they had been planning this for months but these things happen in life and will certainly happen in the working world. Credit to the gals for thinking on their feet and finding a simpler and lovely solution in the studio.

I wasn’t able to make it to the shoot, though I would have loved to have popped my head in to see the set up. Thanks to Sam, she created a fab behind the scenes video which is ace and you can watch it in all it’s glory here…

I spent a fun morning with Niki, coffee & pastries editing her photographs and it was a great experience for me to see and be a part of the final process. Overall I think the images look great. I really like Sam’s compositions of the frames and flowers hanging from the bamboo at different heights. I particularly love Niki’s warm tonal quality she’s captured, I think it naturally compliments my work and the colours within my illustrations.

I’ll certainly be adding some of these photographs to my website gallery but in the meantime you can enjoy a select few here…

I loved being a third collaborator on this project and I hope my designs gave them both enough to work with and they managed to snap what they needed.

I’d certainly recommend you give these guys a look and follow, so here’s my Croak Out to Niki & Sam…

Niki Antell: N.J Photography

Samantha Cameron: Samantha Cameron Photography

There is another Frog & Pencil collaboration in the pipeline which I’m rather excited about…it’s going to be colourful and wonderfully bonkers; watch this space!

Good luck with the rest of the second year guys and thanks for asking me to be a part of this project.

Toodles,

Cx

Stay Curious!

Hello there!

You cannot imagine the little squeak of excitement that escaped me when I opened up an e-mail last Wednesday from A Most Curious Wedding Fair (AMCWF). There had been a last minute cancellation and they wanted to know if I was free to exhibit…OH HELL YES!

I had been in touch shortly after launching Frog & Pencil to see if they had any spaces but of course, they were full. I spoke with Gem (the lovely gal organising the fair) and she mentioned that I could still promote myself via their directory list and I happily signed up…but holy moly I was over the moon to have the chance to exhibit!

I attended the fair last year, as a Bride, and I took my gorgeous Maid of Honour with me. It was exactly the kind of fair I had been looking for, something a little more quirky and personal – a refreshing alternative to the more traditional fairs I had been to. So, when Frog & Pencil hopped into the world, I knew that this was my kind of event!

AMCWF describes themselves as a fair for the ‘style savvy couple’ but I think it’s so much more that that. The suppliers are cool, unique, chic, individual, whimsical, eclectic and offer couples something fresh within the wedding industry. I believe that weddings are changing, they’re becoming so much more personal and couples can do whatever they want…if they so desire. You don’t have to have a ‘cookie cutter’ kind of day and I love that AMCWF embraces this idea.

The Fair is held in St Andrew’s Hall in the centre of Norwich and it is a stunning venue. My hairy, glamorous assistant and I arrived early to set up, which thankfully didn’t take much time at all – we’re becoming pro’s now! I had seen the list of exhibitors prior to the day and I genuinely felt honoured to be one of the suppliers among them; there were some amazing people showing off their wares! Seriously, Norfolk is overflowing in creative talent; you lucky, lucky Brides!

Doors opened at 11am and there was a queue to get in for most of the day. With a friendly atmosphere and a steady flow of people, it had all the ingredients for a great day. I spoke to many lovely couples and I really enjoyed hearing about their plans. Frog & Pencil received so much love from the public and fellow exhibitors, I was smiling all day with pride…I still am! In the last hour it quietened down and I took that moment to explore the show, peruse the stands and chat to the wonderful faces stood alongside them.

Here’s my Most Curious Wedding Fair gallery – I meant to take more photographs but I was just simply enjoying being in the moment. Sadly, I later discovered that a bunch of my photos were super blurry…I need to invest in improving my camera skills, but here’s a taste of the day.

As I’ve mentioned, AMCWF was jam packed with amazing suppliers and like last week at Wensum Valley, I’d like to share with you a handful of them.

A SPECIAL CROAK OUT TO…

A Most Curious Wedding Fair: A HUGE thank you to Gem and the team for having me last minute, I truly appreciate the opportunity. You were so welcoming and I loved being a part of the day. Go check out their website to see all of the awesome people who exhibit in the London & Norwich shows…and don’t forget to click on the Most Curious Directory to find suppliers who are equally brilliant but were unable to make a show.

The Little Lending Company: Here you can find fabulous decor accessories and props to hire out for your wedding day, or you can choose from the ‘styled station’ range. Penny is so friendly and super creative; she’ll have whatever you need to make your day unique.

The Swaffham & Fakenham Florist: These gals will make your wedding blooms look spectacular! They teamed up with The Little Lending Company and created an incredible stand at the show, so you won’t be disappointed; go check them out!

Flower30: Another very talented florist who had a gorgeous stall. I spoke with Sharon for a while and she’s so lovely! An artist with a bunch of flowers!

Beth Moseley Photography: Beth creates the most beautiful, natural and relaxed photographs! She’s also lovely, just what you need on your big day – give her a bell if you’re in the market for a photographer!

Buns of Fun: I had a great time meeting Emma and she gave me lots of advice about starting out. Her cakes are incredible and each time I went over to introduce myself there were always people chatting to her. Get in quick I say!

Dust with Cocoa: Debbie is another delectable cake maker, they are just gorgeous! She also won ‘Best Stand’ on the day and it did look marvellous. Check out her website for more cakey delights!

Doughnut Lab: Hold on to your hats as these are by far the BEST doughnuts around! We’ve been a big fan of these guys since they launched; we even had a batch delivered for my birthday. They pack all their doughnuts full of flavour, you’ll just want more and more! We certainly had a happy doughnut lab face at the end of AMCWF; yum!

Grace & Fortune: Beth creates delightful, delicate accessories for your hair and I fell in love with her designs. One of these would finish off your Bridal look perfectly…I wish I had known about her last year.

Botanical & Bloom: I’m a sucker for geometric shapes and succulents, so naturally I fell in love with Hannah’s stall. She creates geometric concrete planters which are so chic and contemporary! They’re on my wish list as a home for my new little succulent, Derek.

So, to all you couples out there, click away and absorb all this wedding inspiration and create a day that reflects who you both are.

Till next time, stay curious!

Cx