Happy New Year!
I hope that 2019 is a very happy, healthy and peaceful year for all.
I always seem to wish the same things each New Year - happiness, health and peace.
Three precious things that I believe should never be taken for granted.
I'm not a great one for new year's resolutions, it's always an ongoing work in progress for me. I see each day is a new gift and a new chance to learn and grow. At this time of year there always seems to be lots of pressure to set goals and strive to be this, that or the other. When you think about it, really it all boils down to this..
We have all collectively completed another journey around the sun, together,
on this bit of rock floating in space - the third rock from our nearest star.
A beautiful, fascinating, awe inspiring rock, filled with stunning flora, fauna
and oceans teeming with life yet to be explored.
When viewed from space, there are no borders,
we are seen as one on our one and only life supporting planet.
What an amazing thing that truly is!
Maybe that's worth pausing to contemplate and appreciate at the start of a New Year.
I know I feel blessed to part of this whole phenomenon.
The beauty of our natural world is where I will continue to find my greatest source of inspiration for my creative work and I look forward to spending the coming year drawing lots more flora and fauna...
Talking of flora and fauna, let's start the year off with a bit of nature inspired design.
I'm happy to say, all be it a bit delayed, I have set up January's free desktop calendar wallpaper for everyone on my email list, which will be going out today so please check those inboxes, as this month's email will also have a little exclusive Etsy offer code for 15% off across my entire Etsy shop.
This month's desktop wallpaper has been inspired by two things. Firstly, the Pantone colour of the year for 2019 'Living Coral'. This gorgeous, vivid coral reminds me of some of the hues that can be found in the stunning sunsets we get around Somerset at this time of year. So, I've set my sunset in a scene with a hare on the Somerset Levels looking across to Glastonbury Tor (which is not far from here).
If you would like to get the FREE desktop wallpaper and the exclusive January offer code for my Etsy shop, then here's a link to where to join my mailing list:
JOIN MY MAILING LIST HERE
Today's post is illustrated with images I created on the lead up to Christmas.
Once again, I took part in an advent countdown challenge over on Instagram. These are the 24 images I shared throughout the challenge....
Most importantly, I want to say some big thank you's for 2018...
To everyone who purchased items from my online shops, or bought items with my designs on in bricks and mortar shops across the UK - a massive heartfelt THANK YOU!
I can't do this without you, each purchase you make means everything to me!
Also THANK YOU to those of you who left fantastic reviews on my Etsy and Folksy shops after your purchase. You have no idea how much those words mean to me, I am so grateful that you took the time and trouble. Each good review helps lift me up and carry me forward on the not so great days!
To all my amazing clients (you all know who you are if you are reading this):
THANK YOU so, so much!
I am very lucky to get to work with such lovely people who bring me great projects to work on. I love how each project tests my skills and ability and helps me see things in different ways. With no two days the same, I love our collaborative work as it gives me my much needed human contact and gives my brain a good old work out!
You are all so important to me and my little business,
I'm looking forward to lots more team work this year!
To everyone who has followed and supported my social media efforts this year:
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
The struggle is REAL with social media and me at the moment.
Some days it takes so much effort for me to actually post something at all.
Every single like and comment you have given me this year has been deeply appreciated.
In a noisy online world, it feels harder and harder to cut through and be seen, so to find that someone has seen and liked something means so much more now!
Lastly, Thank you to all everyone on my email list - especially during a year that saw GDPR thrown in the mix! Thank you so much for sticking with me. I hope you enjoy your free desktop wallpapers each month, I intend to continue to do these this year and look forward to sharing those with you.
I wish you all a wonderful January,
If the winter blues start to creep in, try and look for the signs of spring,
they are never far away as our world keeps turning on our next journey around the sun together!
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:
JOIN MY MAILING LIST
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!
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