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!
Hello & Happy September!
Not just a new month, but a whole new season.
This month's FREE desktop wallpaper is on it's way to everyone on my email list today.
To say goodbye to summer, this month's design is a trip to the botanical gardens for a last look at the roses, cosmos and hydrangea. Through the flowers a proud peacock can be spotted, to add to this splendid sight in calming hues of violet and blue.
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August has been an intense juggling act, as I am sure it has been for most working parents.
This summer has been particularly lovely here in the UK with plenty of sunshine.
This past month, I've been squeezing in family days out and a very hot and sunny week in Cornwall - which has been great for inspiration and memory making.
All that combined with fitting in ongoing work and projects with the children home. It has to be said, freelancing from home during the school holidays really does test skills and patience. I am sending big love to all fellow freelancers and parents, whatever your field of expertise happens to be. Rest assured that we have nearly made it - September is here at last!
I think the key is to accept it and make the best of the situation, because they don't stay little for long and nests are soon emptied...
Of the ongoing projects I've been working on, one of those has been (and still is) developing some new occasions cards for wholesale. The aim is to fill some of the gaps in my occasion card offering. A couple of weeks ago my first samples of these cards arrived and have now been listed over at my Etsy shop....
Another new product to arrive from the printers in August are my Nature Guide A5 Notepads. These have my Wildflowers and Butterflies Guides on the front. Printed on the inside front and back covers are the matching wildflower and butterfly patterns. The colours are bright and as we say here in Somerset, they're definitely lush!
The inner pages are smooth, plain white recycled paper - the idea being they can be used for sketchbooks, notebooks, planners or bullet journals.
These are sold in packs of two for £9 over at my Etsy. I have also added them to a gift set bundle where you can get the two notebooks plus the two signed prints of these nature guides all together for £20...
It's around this time of year when people are out visiting places, that my cards get spotted. I really must say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who spotted my cards in shops
throughout the summer and took the time and trouble to let me know.
Over the past few years, some of my designs have found their way into shops at resorts, gift and book shops across the UK. It always blows me away at how kind people are to take a store snap and send it to me and let me know where they saw my designs. It's always exciting to see my work in shops, especially as I don't really know exactly where they are (because the distribution of the cards is handled by the publisher I work with).
It means a huge deal to me to be shown them in situ, so thanks again!...
In the pics above - spotted in Waterstones, Staines (left). Spotted in National Trust, St Michael's Mount, Cornwall (right).
As thoughts turn to the start of a new season and back to school, I am definitely feeling like it's the beginning of a new term. My recent doodles have began to reflect the change in seasons and I am looking forward to getting back to a more settled routine.
I wish you all a lovely September!
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