Hello and Happy November!
A brand new month means a brand new desktop wallpaper for all the lovely people on my mailing list.
This month, as the nights become longer, we have a late autumn night sky with owls swooping under a shimmering, bright crescent moon.
If you would like this free wallpaper, here is a link to subscribe to my mailing list:
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Now that Halloween has passed, I think it's about time to reveal my brand new collection for this Christmas!
The new collection has been inspired in part by some of the imagery I created when I took part in last year's advent countdown over on Instagram.
For the first few weeks of October I took part in Inktober over on Instagram. It's always a struggle to do these daily challenges, and I often find it tricky to keep them going, but I always have a go. I learnt early on, how great these sorts of online creative community art challenges are, for helping to stay inspired and to help build a collection of work that can then be used to build your portfolio for art licensing, or to create a brand new range of products - like this new one for Christmas...
This year I have created two new Christmas wrapping paper designs.
'Nutcracker' and 'Poinsettia'.
Both designs are now available from both my Etsy and Folksy shops....
On the subject of gift wrapping. A couple of days ago, I posted some useful information on my social media in response to something I saw doing the rounds on Facebook about wrapping paper. It was giving inaccurate information that's potentially damaging to the livelihoods of the thousands of people working in the gifts and greetings sector. It could also encourage people to not bother recycling things that can easily be recycled, which would be totally shameful. So at the risk of repeating myself if you follow me on Facebook...
It was all about a post I saw, urging people to use brown paper instead of wrapping paper this Christmas claiming that ALL wrapping paper was non recyclable.
"That's NOT entirely true!" I yelled at my screen.
It's an admirable thought, as we all want to be kinder to our planet, but it's a HALF TRUTH. As a designer of gift wrap who has been working with eco friendly producers of paper goods for a few years now, please allow me to clear this one up for you all....
Wrapping paper with shiny finishes, foil, glitter, laminated, coated finishes are generally the ones that CAN NOT be recycled....
However, ones that are not given this treatment, simply printed with a pattern or design (such as the ones I sell, pictured here) CAN BE recycled.
If in any doubt, you can scrunch the paper up into a ball in your hand and if it stays scrunched up then it's good to recycle.
I found out about the 'scrunch test' on the WRAP UK website (Waste Recycling Action Programme). Here is a link to the relevant details on that site for more useful information. It's a great source of facts on all things to do with waste management and recycling:
So if a brown paper festive season is not your thing,
you can have a colourful Christmas after all!....
Along with the new Christmas wraps, I have also created a set of 6, A6 sized
Christmas cards, to complement both the new gift wrap designs...
I hope you enjoyed the first look at my new collection for this Christmas.
I also hope that you find the information about the 'scrunch test' to find out whether gift wrap is recyclable very helpful too.
Have a great November!
Hello and Happy October!
First up as always, may I introduce this month’s free monthly desktop wallpaper.
This month we have a little kitten in a pumpkin - because that definitely says ‘October’ to me. Hopefully those rusty orange colours will help provide a warm glow to desktops as the weather gets chillier as the days grow shorter.
If you would like this free wallpaper, here is a link to subscribe to my mailing list:
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What can I tell you about September?...well...
I’d been looking forward to working in September. I enjoy the feel of a new term, fresh start and chance to get back to routine. Most of all this year, I had something wonderful to look forward to - on Thursday 20th Sept, I went to Creatival at Escot House in Devon, a day of inspiration, fun, friendship and learning for independent creative businesses, organised by Helen Bottrill from The Creative Business Network. It was a great chance to meet up with some of my creative friends and make new ones with a healthy dose of inspiration to set me up for the new term. Also, my youngest daughter was away at school camp that week, so there was a bit of a deafening quietness in our home and a day out in creative company was exactly what I needed....
Having kindly been asked by Helen at The Creative Business Network to help with the branding for the event, as I discovered more and more about the details, the more excited I was about going to it.
It was a very early start for me - I’d planned to meet up on route with the fantastic Sheena Spacey Ceramic Art to hitch a lift and to then meet with Carla Taylor from The Mousehole Woolery and Lynne Raddall, crochet queen, to car share the rest of the way. As we were coming from all corners of the Somerset Levels and Dorset, it was a little bit of an adventure to get to our meeting point (if you are not familiar with the back roads of the Somerset, they do feel like they go on forever, twisty, windy, leafy lanes!). All worth it though, there was much excitement and anticipation in the car and it felt good to be going in together - the safety in numbers helped ease some my nerves. Not that there was any need to be nervous, the welcome to the event could not have been any warmer!...
We were treated to a day filled with inspiring talks and informative workshops. I learnt that it’s OK to make it up as you go along, and if you don’t feel the love for it - it’s best not to do it ...and that’s OK too, from Leona at Indie Roller and The Lucky Dip Club. She shared her rollercoaster of a business story going into detail about the downs as well as the ups, which not only inspired us but also reminded us all that there is no such thing as an over night success and that sheer hard work, persistence and a bit of gut instinct goes a heck of a long way....
I was also extremely inspired by the talk given by Lucy and Chris from Lucy and Yak.
They shared their story and the thing I learnt most from them was their business ethics and how it is possible to have a successful business that does the right thing at every part of the process. Like many others, recent information about the impact our consumer society is having on our planet has made me question some of my buying habits and lifestyle choices. Having worked in advertising on brands before going freelance, I’ve grown very cynical of brands as I’ve grown older. Especially seeing how my children are susceptible to the glossy ad agency messages pumped at them from the big brands, making them want to pay extra for a brand name that means very little when you look in to it and discover the goods are manufactured in the same places, using the same conditions as the cheaper ones. Lucy and Yak’s talk made me feel very hopeful that there are new brands on the block that actually stand for something, whilst offering very desirable products. To aspire to a Lucy and Yak label is to aspire to fair trade working conditions and ethically sourced materials because they are a company that strives to do the right thing in all areas of their business. We all need more of this - quality, desirable, sustainable, slow fashion where a brand label shows you have a large heart rather than a very large debt on your credit card!
Lucy and Yak, I applaud you for all that you do, thank you for coming to speak to us all!
There were a choice of workshops on the day, I did the photography one with Georgia De Lotz and the Folksy one with Camilla Westergaard. Both workshops flew by as they were packed full of information that I can now take away and apply to my business. There is always something new to learn, and here I learnt loads, my head was full when I came away from the event.
Someone I had met online early on in my business was Emily Fox from Skull and Crossbuns and it was so good to meet Emily for the first time in person that day. She was there representing the Naked Cards campaign - cutting down on plastic one card at a time. I’d been aware of the campaign before the event, but wanted to find out more. My cards have always come in eco friendly packaging and I have a large stock of compostable cellos for my cards, so I was concerned whether I could take part in this campaign. Emily reassured me that was fine, others are in a similar situation with stocks to use up, so I bought a Naked Cards stamp and have pledged to ensure that once my cello stock has gone, I will replace them with paper wrappers when posting out card orders.
To find out more about the Naked Card campaign here’s the link:
I was also delighted to finally meet Joanne Hawker for the first time after having followed each other on social media since the early days of our businesses, long before for her amazing March Meet The Maker challenge came to be. It was through Joanne, I also got to meet a more members of the Somerset Etsy Team that day because she is our team captain. That has encouraged me to try and get to some of the Somerset Etsy Team meet ups soon. Creatival has proved to me, it feels far less lonely knowing there are lots of other lovely creatives within a short distance from me doing similar things, working from home. I really wanted to bottle the feeling I had coming away from this event so I could have more of it...
The cherry on the cake of the day was a fun photo booth by Beautiful South Photography, to dress up and take pics with your friends, which was so much fun…AND we had goody bags filled to the brim! What is not to love?!
I can’t wait until next year.
This was the first one and I have it on good authority that there will definitely be one in 2019. If this sounds interesting to you, you can find out more about it here:
Pictured with me below is the amazing Helen Bottrill from
The Creative Business Network - our host for the day!
(I am the one feeling a bit too comfortable in flamingo glasses)
One last thing to tell you about September before I sign off.
I only went and finished my 2019 Wall Calendars! They are now all printed and in stock over at my Etsy and Folksy shops. This year I will be donating £1 from the sale of this calendar to Secret World Wildlife Rescue. www.secretworld.org
They are a local charity to me in Somerset who rescue, rehabilitate and release British wildlife, while inspiring an understanding and love of wildlife and the countryside.
I know each donation will be put to great use and I believe they are the perfect fit with the theme of this calendar...
Have a wonderful October &
enjoy the rich colours in the hedgerows and falling leaves!