How life has changed since my last blog post only one month ago.
I hope you are well and coping with our new collective situation. Regular followers of my emails will know that every month I offer up a bright and cheery desktop wallpaper to brighten your screens with.
This month it feels more important than ever to give you something colourful and uplifting. Which is why I have adapted one of my existing designs to create a hopeful 'stay home' rainbow illustration, packed with all the bright blooms of springtime.
If you would like to get the FREE desktop wallpaper,
then here's a link to where to join my mailing list:
JOIN MY MAILING LIST HERE
Along with the free desktop wallpaper, I've also created a colour-in sheet version of the design. You will be able to download it along with the April desktop wallpaper.
It is also available from the new 'Freebies' page on this website.
One of the things I have been doing to help adjust to our new 'normal' has been to create some colour-in freebies to help make this situation better in some small way, by providing plenty of resources to help calm anxious minds. This new 'Freebies' page is where you can find all these new resources I create, along with free creative resources I discover from other artists and small businesses....
I wanted to create somewhere that's a one-stop place to find lots of useful things to do, to
keep minds busy and focussed on creative activities. I also want the page to direct you to free tools I've found other businesses offer, that help to calm and relax stressed and anxious minds.
Which is why, on this new Freebies page you will find lots of offers that caught my eye and I thought you may find useful. My plan is to continue to add to this page with things I spot as I go along.
It is my little way of showing some support to help make things a bit better....
Many artists and creatives are doing similar things at this time. Please know that as a creative community, we are here for you!
Many of us will struggle because of what is happening to our businesses right now,
so all we ask is you please remember to support our little businesses if you can,
whilst our online shops remain open...
Talking of online shops.
Over at my Etsy shop I have added some new sets of printable colour-in sheets,
should you wish to take the colouring-in that little bit further. These printable files can also be used for personal card-making or scrapbooking projects.
So there's plenty of scope to get creative and busy at this time.
My Etsy shop is currently still open and stocked with lots of occasions cards.
I am able to use Royal Mail's Click & Drop service to send cards out via the post box opposite our home. Please be assured that I always ensure my hands and desk area are very clean before packing orders (grubbiness and paper goods just do not mix and it has always been my routine). During UK lockdown, deliveries will be weekly and please expect some delays. To find out more about Royal Mail's service updates, here is a link to their site:
One last thing...
This past week I have struggled a little with whether to keep the online shops going.
However, also last week your online orders made it clear to me, that there is still a need to be able to choose and send birthday and anniversary cards, for example, to grandparents in isolation, or thinking of you cards to family and friends.
It has been quite emotional to think what those cards now mean for the people they are intended for and I want to do all I can to ensure those cards get to them.
So it is for those reasons I will try and keep those items available as long as possible. If you need to send a card with a message directly to someone, please drop me a note with your order and ensure I have the correct delivery address and I will make that happen for you.
The card I would most like to send right now is a massive THANK YOU card
to all the NHS and key workers for putting others before themselves,
saving lives and keeping our country going.
They are heroes, every single one of them.
I hope that you all have a lovely April and make the most of spring
by staying creative,
staying safe, staying at home
With the autumn equinox last week, this month's desktop wallpaper for my email subscribers has all the autumn feels.
This sweet little Jack Russell and his friend Jenny Wren are enjoying the rich and fruitful autumn harvest. This illustration is very much inspired by the Somerset countryside.
If you would like to get the FREE desktop wallpaper, then here's a link to where to join my mailing list:
JOIN MY MAILING LIST HERE
September was a busy, inspiring and reflective month for me.
I was very lucky to get to a couple of fantastic and much needed networking events.
It can be very isolating and lonely running a small business from home and even though we all know the importance of meeting up with other likeminded souls, it's often easier said than done when there are lots of responsibilities in your life. Like many others in their 40s, we're caught between two generations as ours is a family coping with children and older relatives who also need some of our care and attention. So to get to two networking events in one month feels like a massive result for me and it has been immensely worth while...
The first event was my first ever Somerset Etsy Team meet up. I've been wanting to get to one of their meet ups for at least a year now, but the timing never seemed to work out for me. I am so glad that I was able to attend this meet up. It was wonderful to get to know so many other designer makers who live so close to me. This event was on the back of the recent Etsy summit, so our team representative who attended it fed back all the details about the changes and updates that Etsy has made. Also, Becka Griffin, one of the UK's top Etsy sellers and Etsy Liverpool Team Leader, came and gave us a very helpful and insightful talk to help bust the myths that fly around about Etsy and help us know how to get the most out of our Etsy shop. Becka's talk was fantastic and I learnt so much from it. It was a day that seemed to fly by and my head was buzzing by the end of it. The next day, I was raring to go and feeling all empowered by what I'd learnt and started to implement it, confident that it would be time well spent.
Thanks has to go to Joanne Hawker, our Etsy Team Leader, for organising such a great event and also to Company in Taunton for providing the perfect venue...
The second event I escaped to, was one I've been excited about going to since the last one, last autumn. Creatival is an annual networking event for Creative Businesses. This year there were two events in Sept, one in Manchester and one in Exeter to ensure both ends of the country are covered. The Exeter one was based at Powderham Castle - a glorious and grand setting for a glorious and grand event!
I road tripped down to the event in great company with Quantock Makes and The Crafty Cabin, two lovely creative business owners from my town. The day out really began from the moment we all set off together, with plenty to chat about on the way there.
The agenda for the day was packed, we were greeted with lots of inspiring talks and break out sessions with opportunities to learn about aspects of running a creative business we felt most relevant to us. I did break out sessions on planning and legal. The day was filled with energy, enthusiasm, warmth, friendship, ideas and creativity. All made perfect by the setting and the sunshine. It was a day to remember for all the right reasons and I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who worked so hard to deliver such a great event. Especially my friend Helen from The Creative Business Network, who organised and hosts the events and puts her all into each one - she did us all proud! Credit where it's due - a couple of the images above are from The Creative Business Network and were taken by the very talented Georgia De Lotz.
For me there was a particular talk at Creatival that really helped install a new sense of motivation and determination - that was a talk by Sas Petherick. It's one of those that arrives at the right time with the right message. The message being don't stand in your own way by allowing self doubt to thwart you, there are ways to quieten that nagging voice and move forward with growing confidence. During her talk she did a quick exercise with us all on how to turn negative self doubt thoughts into realistic, positive thoughts to help move past them. It was a definite 'a ha!' moment for me and a strategy I can carry forward from now on. Working on your own throws up lots of those negative doubtful thoughts. However, in my experience, none have ever been helpful and have often turned out to be untrue in the long run. Yet those thoughts have sapped so much time and energy from me over the years. To have something I can do to help move past those thoughts is gold dust for me and my business.
Here's a link to the Sas Petherick website, after hearing her talk, I think it's definitely worth a bookmark:
Alongside all the event attending, I also had a new collection of paper craft kits launch with Create and Craft TV!
"Whimsical Woodland' is a collection to follow on from my first one a couple of months ago 'Summer In Bloom'. This one has a far more autumnal feel with plenty of woodland animals, toadstools and foliage to play with. And play with them I did! The image above was from when my artist's sample packs arrived with me. Here's a link to view the new collection:
Whimsical Woodland, Create & Craft, Paper Craft Kit Collection
Thank you for getting this far on this long blog post.
My last piece of news is that my 2020 calendar has arrived and is now listed over at my Etsy and Folksy shops. It's 26 pages, each page is A4 sized with the top page being a full page image and the bottom page being a full page for the months dates. That gives you 12 full page illustrations that can be recycled into framed wall art at the end of the year, making it a gift that just keeps giving. Also, like last year, £1 from every sale will be going to a local wildlife rescue charity.
Here's a link to the Etsy listing so you can take a closer look at the illustrations for each month:
2020 Wall Calendar
I hope you have a wonderful October!
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