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Cute Penguin Rainbow note card - Illustrated Card

Shop news | New Penguin Cards, 2019 Calendars, sneak peeks and 10% off

Good Morning, how is your week going so far? For a while now, I’ve been trying to make a plan for this blog. I’ve read many an article saying “you must have a blog for your business,” “if you want to succeed on the internet, you must write a blog” and “blogging is back” (in my book, it never really went away!) and I’ve written for my own blog for a little under ten years now, with a few breaks here or there. I’ve written about my research at University whilst I studied for my Graphic Design degree, then later about working in London, my life as a graduate and creativity, with a little phase where I loved creating scrapbooks.

Recently however, I’ve been trying to figure out how I want this space to work and considered all different types of blog. I want it to be a useful, helpful space for you, whether you are a regular customer of my Etsy shop, a potential client or an engaged couple, considering asking me to design your wedding stationery. It took me a while longer to figure out what that looks like and so I think I have a little plan.

I plan on posting three times a month (roughly!) with a mixture of posts, featuring:

  • a freebie post at the beginning of the month, like a free desktop wallpaper,
  • a shop update around the middle of the month, with all the new things in my shop and any new goings on, which may or may not let you know about offers or sale events in my shop (that’s what this one is,)
  • a useful post towards the end of the month, some ideas I’ve had so far for this are about my process and what I’m doing to help the environment. I think of this as an extended version of an FAQ section, so if there’s anything you want to know, just give me a shout in the contact form.

Enough chatting about it and more getting on with it!

New super cute card designs in the shop

I have been dreaming up a few new card designs for a while now and finally got round to getting them printed. There are now three new Penguin note cards available to send to a friend to cheer them up, to say hello or just-because. I’ve also added a few colour variations of my floral birthday cards.Cute Penguin Rainbow note card - Illustrated Card

Back to School wall planners and an offer!

If you’ve gone back-to-school or back-to-college/university this month, or just want to get organised for the academic year, I have added two new wall planners to the shop. There is a minimal version and a version with cute penguins on it, if that’s your thing! These are instant download wall planners and available in A3, A4 and US Letter sizes. To celebrate back-to-school, I’ve created a little offer in my Etsy Shop until the end of September, you can get 10% off those new wall planners, penguin stickers and notepad & pencil sets when you use the code BACKTOSCHOOL (or click on the code to add the code to your basket straight away).

Penguin academic wall planner

 

2019 Calendars (a little sneak peek!)

Now for the exciting bit, I have had quite a few messages asking if and when the Penguin Calendars will be back for 2019 and the good news is that I have been working hard on some new designs for the 2019 Calendars. I have expanded from just a Penguin version this time. There will be two other versions and I have exciting new stands that they’ll sit on this time as well. I hope that these will be available next month ready for my 2nd business birthday!

On the subject of calendars, the 2018 version is now available at the ridiculous price of 50p (+postage) and these won’t be available from October 1st to avoid confusion, so if you’d like one make sure you order one before the end of the month. I made the mistake of printing a few too many and so I’m pretty much giving these away. A few people have said that they’re cutting off the calendar part and using them as bookmarks, as postcards, sticking them on the wall or even as gift tags. I’m sure there are endless possibilities!

2019 Calendars sneak peek

 

No. 7 Cherry Tree Lane

On a non-related note, I have set up a new Instagram account for my dollhouse. I had considered documenting the progress here as I had started to write about it on the blog, or setting up a new blog for it, but I struggle to keep up with this one. So, I thought an Instagram account would be perfect. Updates are slow, and I’m still catching up with posting the progress so far but I’m excited to post more about it in the future.

7 Cherry Tree Lane, Dollhouse Instagram Account

 

So, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the first of my shop updates. There might be some months with more to update and others where there isn’t much at all. Let me know what you think, and just give me a shout if there’s anything you want me to write about that might make ordering from the shop or working with me easier.

September Free Penguin Desktop Wallpaper

September 2018 Free Penguin Desktop Wallpaper

September Free Penguin Desktop Wallpaper

September already and I fear time is moving incredibly fast, please slow down world! I must start off with an apology, I seem to have neglected this little blog for the last few months and for that I’m very sorry! I will put together a little round-up of the previous few months wallpapers so that you don’t miss out and I’ve decided to make them undated because I’ve had the May calendar on my desktop for the last 4 months!

In truth, I have been extremely busy in the background with design work, finalising my Kickstarter campaign, designing new products for the shop and I even went on a little holiday in between. I have also taken a step back from the blog to decide what I wanted this little space to be and I think I have a plan now, all will become clear soon.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful Summer, it certainly has been beautiful here in the UK. I’m looking forward to all that the last third of the year has in store for my little shop and I look forward to sharing it with you. Below you’ll find the long awaited for desktop wallpapers especially for September and back to school. Simply click on the relevant link below, save the image and make it your wallpaper.

iPhone 6/7 Plus & Android | iPhone 6/6s

iPad | Laptop | Desktop

All Design and Illustration by Sian Shrimpton and strictly for personal use only

May Free Penguin Desktop Wallpaper

May 2018 Free Penguin Desktop Wallpaper

May Free Penguin Desktop Wallpaper

…and just like that, it is May already! I can’t quite believe it. April was a seriously busy month for me, which was absolutely fantastic. It was full of new couples approaching me about wedding stationery, a whole heap of freelance work and towards the end of the month I celebrated World Penguin Day with the launch of an exciting Kickstarter Campaign.

I will write more about the kickstarter campaign next week, including the story behind it all. But for now, you can take a peek over on kickstarter itself. I launched it just over a week ago and because I’ve been super busy with previously mentioned freelance work and wedding commissions, I haven’t had too much time to promote it or tell you all about it on the blog. As you’ll probably see, it is well on it’s way to smashing the stretch goals that I’ve set for it in just the first week!

I hope you have a lovely May Day bank holiday weekend, what ever it is you do. I’ve heard rumours that the weather is going to be gorgeous here in the UK, so I hope you manage to get outside and enjoy it.

As always with these little monthly updates, below you’ll find the links to this month’s free desktop wallpaper. Penguin is waving to his friend in a hot air balloon, which is ironic because I saw a hot air balloon up in the sky when I was out on my walk yesterday! Simply click on the relevant link below, save the image and make it your wallpaper.

iPhone 6/7 Plus & Android | iPhone 6/6s

iPad | Laptop | Desktop

All Design and Illustration by Sian Shrimpton and strictly for personal use only.

Sian Shrimpton Penguin April Desktop

April 2018 Free Penguin Desktop Wallpaper

Sian Shrimpton Penguin April Desktop

Last month I was complaining about the snow and it feels like it has only just melted, it has certainly been a strange start to spring! I can’t believe we’re celebrating Easter and that it’s April already. I was reviewing my Dream Plan Do planner just a few days ago and wrote down everything that I’d achieved in the first three months of the year, it was surprising to see how much can be achieved in a short amount of time. What have you been up to this month?

Throughout March, I have been taking part in #MarchMeetTheMaker over on Instagram which has been great fun! I’ve tried to take part in the past but have lost momentum a few days in or have dipped in and out of the prompts, not this year however! I’ve met some great new makers and if you’ve found me through the challenge, please do pop me a message to say hi, I’m always up for a chat!

I have been sprucing up this space a little recently too, there’s still a little way to go but I hope you like the new homepage. I hope to add more projects to the portfolio section and eventually add a shop section so that you can purchase directly from me, so that’s exciting! I also have a brand new secret project planned for April, so keep you eyes peeled for that on the blog and instagram, it’s super exciting and a little scary for me so I hope you like it! I’ll be posting a few sneak peeks of my progress over on Instagram so be sure to follow along.

Whilst we’re on the subject of little updates, there are just 6 penguin pins left in my Etsy Shop at the moment, there won’t be any more available for a little while, after these 6 are sold so get in quick if you’d like one!

Without further ado, here is April’s free desktop wallpaper. Penguin is looking super cute in his bunny ears and is searching for Easter Eggs. Simply click on the relevant link below, save the image and make it your wallpaper.

iPhone 6/7 Plus & Android | iPhone 6/6s

iPad | Laptop | Desktop

I wish you a Joyful Easter Xx

All Design and Illustration by Sian Shrimpton and strictly for personal use only.

April 2018 Free Penguin Desktop Wallpaper
Penguin in the springtime for the March 2018 desktop download

March 2018 Penguin Desktop Wallpaper

Penguin in the springtime for the March 2018 desktop download

This month’s calendar page and desktop background feels like some sort of silly, non-funny joke at the moment considering the weather that we’re having in the UK at the moment. Up until last week, it had been fairly mild and my daffodils had started to grow, but now, those poor daffodils are under a few inches of snow and it’s bitterly cold outside. We’ve been quite lucky in this part of Hertfordshire so far, but I know that a lot of the country have had it a lot worse! I hope you’re keeping safe and warm. You have my permission however to use the January calendar for these first few days of March (and I really hope these conditions only last a few days, I would very much like some Spring-like weather soon, please!)

iPhone 6/7 Plus & Android | iPhone 6/6s

iPad | Laptop | Desktop

As a little update, I have been working hard on updating the wedding stationery section of my shop, all photography has been updated and I’ve updated the prices and how you order wedding stationery from me. You can find all of my wedding stationery on my Etsy Store or on Love & Lilah.  I have also been designing some new greeting cards for all sorts of occasions, so I hope to share those with you very soon.

I hope you have a happy and successful March, please stay safe in the snow and let’s hope it doesn’t last too long!

All Design and Illustration by Sian Shrimpton and strictly for personal use only.

March 2018 Free Penguin Desktop Wallpaper
Sian Shrimpton February Penguin Desktop

February 2018 Penguin Desktop Wallpaper

Sian Shrimpton February Penguin Desktop

Hello and Happy February to you! A lot of people have said how long January felt but I’m glad that it was a long month, I managed to get a lot done. Including my new card designs, which if you missed it, I shared on the blog earlier this week.

Without further ado, here is the February desktop wallpaper, a bit later than I planned but I shared January’s desktop wallpaper on 15th January so the 1st February is a great improvement! Just click on the relevant link below, save the image and make it your wallpaper.

iPhone 6/7 Plus & Android | iPhone 6/6s

iPad | Laptop | Desktop

I will be taking a proper week off for my birthday this month as I’m going away to Edinburgh for a few days in a couple of weeks time, I’ll extend the shipping times on my shop so that you can still order but there will be a slight delay. If you’d like the usual speedy delivery, make sure you order before the 16th February to avoid disappointment.

All Design and Illustration by Sian Shrimpton and strictly for personal use only.

Sian Shrimpton Beautiful floral Valentine's Card - Illustrated & Hand-lettered Card

New Greeting Cards in the shop

Sian Shrimpton Beautiful floral Valentine's Card - Illustrated & Hand-lettered Card

Today I’m pleased to share my new greeting card designs with you. A lot of you have requested birthday cards when I’ve been at craft fairs over Christmas and earlier last year, so you requested and here they are!

First up, we have Penguin having a bit of a birthday party with cake, candles, party hats and you can’t forget the presents! He’s even having a little dance too, to celebrate! I know that I’m biased but it’s just the cutest!

This card is printed on a beautifully smooth card stock and comes with a textured kraft envelope.

A FEW SPECIFICS

  • 148 x 148mm square Birthday card
  • Printed on a quality 300gsm TruCard stock
  • Blank inside for your message
  • Printed at a local printer in London
  • Kraft envelope is included
  • Packaged in a pretty paper bag and sent in a board backed envelope to ensure safe delivery

Available to buy on my Etsy Store

Sian Shrimpton Cute Penguin Birthday Card - Illustrated Birthday Card

Next up, especially for Valentine’s Day but could be used for any occasion where you need to send a little love into the world, to cheer up a friend or just because. We have Penguin holding a heart garland that he’s made. It matches my Penguin enamel pin perfectly (so ideal to be bought together!) and also matches the February Calendar page and desktop wallpaper that will be coming later this week (Sorry for the spoiler!)

A FEW SPECIFICS

  • 148 x 148mm square Valentine’s card
  • Printed on a quality 300gsm TruCard stock
  • Blank inside for your message
  • Printed at a local printer in London
  • Kraft envelope is included
  • Packaged in a pretty paper bag and sent in a board backed envelope to ensure safe delivery.

Available to buy on my Etsy Store

Sian Shrimpton Cute Penguin Valentine's Card - Illustrated Valentine's or Love Card

Then to start off a different collection of designs that I’ve been working on, I’ve created this floral beauty with hand-lettered “love” in the centre. Again, this can be for Valentine’s Day or for any other time of year when you need to send a little love into the world. I’ve chosen a beautifully textured gesso card stock for these cards, which give them a gorgeous watercolour paper style feel, they’re quite luxurious.

A FEW SPECIFICS

  • 148 x 148mm square Valentine’s card
  • Printed on a quality 250gsm gesso stock (which has a gorgeous watercolour paper style texture!)
  • Blank inside for your message
  • Printed at a local printer in London
  • Kraft envelope is included
  • Packaged in a pretty paper bag and sent in a board backed envelope to ensure safe delivery.

Now available in my Etsy Store

Sian Shrimpton Beautiful floral Valentine's Card - Illustrated & Hand-lettered Card

Last but not least is a 30th Birthday card. Someone around here is turning the big 3-0 this year (hint: she’s the one typing this right now!) and so are a lot of my friends and so I thought it was a good place to start with a collection of birthday card designs to celebrate the occasion. I’ve introduced this sunflower design into the mix and I absolutely love this colour scheme! This card also uses the same gesso card stock, which gives it a watercolour paper style feel and gives it a totally luxurious feel.

A FEW SPECIFICS
– 148 x 148mm square Birthday card
– Printed on a quality 250gsm gesso stock (which has a gorgeous watercolour paper style texture!)
– Blank inside for your message
– Printed at a local printer in London
– Kraft envelope is included
– Packaged in a pretty paper bag and sent in a board backed envelope to ensure safe delivery.

Now available in my Etsy Store

Sian Shrimpton Beautiful Sunflower floral 30th Birthday Card - Illustrated & Hand-lettered Birthday Card

So that concludes my four new designs that I’ve recently added to my Etsy shop. I’ve decided to print my new designs in small batches like this because I have a long long list of design ideas that I would love to launch into the world, but I think printing and launching them at a slower and steady pace is probably better than printing a huge bulk of designs and feeling overwhelmed as a result.

So, what do you think? What should I work on next? Do you have any requests or special occasions that I could design for next?

Remember that I have a 10% off sale happening in my Etsy Shop at the moment, it ends midnight GMT on Wednesday 31st January so make sure you get in quick. I’m afraid that the sale isn’t on the new card designs but on Penguin Calendars, Christmas Cards, Pins, Gift Sets and Notecards. You don’t even need a code, the discount will be applied to your basket automatically. Just go to SianShrimpton.Etsy.com

I also have plenty of spaces for any Design, Illustration or Wedding Stationery work starting in February or March, so please get in touch if you’d like to work together on something lovely. Just head over to my Contact Page, and your message will go straight to my email inbox.

January 2018 Penguin Desktop Wallpaper

January 2018 Penguin Desktop Wallpaper

January 2018 Penguin Desktop Wallpaper

Good Afternoon! How is your January going so far? I’m pleased to introduce to you my new selection of Penguin desktop wallpapers for January. It is better late than never but I hope these will cheer up the second half of January for you. Just click on the relevant link below, save the image and make it your wallpaper.

iPhone 6/7 Plus & Android | iPhone 6/6s

iPad | Laptop | Desktop

If you’d like a matching desk calendar to cheer up your workspace even more, please head on over to my Etsy shop where I have 10% off everything except custom portraits until 31st January 2018.

All Design and Illustration by Sian Shrimpton and strictly for personal use only.

Sian Shrimpton Design Colourful Note Card

Things I’ve learned from my first year being self-employed

After celebrating my business birthday on 3rd October, I thought it would be great to evaluate my first year of working for myself and write about all that I’ve learned. It has been a testing, challenging, exciting and mostly fun learning curve and I’m not sure I would have realised any of the following things if someone had told me at the very beginning. Some things you have to learn on your own but if this helps someone, then I’m glad.

You can’t do absolutely everything
I look at other creatives who are self-employed or running businesses online and a lot of them are on facebook, twitter, have a large Instagram following, they keep up with Instagram stories, have a youtube channel, they’re on Patreon, hold in-person classes and workshops, they run a blog, promote their blog, they are pinning on Pinterest, they’re on Etsy and not on the high street as well as having a selection of amazing clients and are magically able to eat and sleep!

In reality, no one person is actually able to do all of the above and if they are, how? The internet is truly amazing in allowing us to do all of these things. I’ve just got to carefully choose which things I want to do as I can’t do it all.

This also applies to design work that I do, I can’t be everything to everyone. I can easily think that I’m a failure because I can’t design or illustrate like insert artist’s name here but I’m not them, and they’re not me. So I’ll carry on doing my thing. In fact, one could say that I’d be more of a failure if I didn’t do my thing and simply copied someone else.

Keep it simple
This almost ties in with the previous point but I have a tendency to over complicate things. I want to do all the things, and always have big plans but I’ve found recently that the key is to keep it simple. Right at the beginning of this year, I spent a lot of time thinking about my skills, what I could offer, what I’m good at and what I enjoy. There are a lot of things that I enjoy, for example, painting, hand lettering and I have a background in graphic design, I wondered how I could strike a balance where all of these things could feature in my shop. I found that I was fighting to keep all of these things together all at once and it meant that I just got confused and nothing seemed to work or make sense. Equally, I had plans for Wedding Stationery but how does that fit in with the Penguin Calendars? How does it all fit together? I panicked a lot about my shop and business being a little bit of a mix n match of different things but I learned that that was ok. The thing that ties it all together is me and my style. I aim to be a helpful and approachable designer and offer colourful, cute and personal design and illustration to you lovely people. As soon as I realised that, I’m a lot happier with my shop.

Do what you’re good at…at all times
Short story: Earlier on in the year, I started work on what was a small project. A Groom asked me to design some envelope liners and source some gorgeous envelopes for his Save the Dates. This was a project that I absolutely loved, starting work by looking at all the lovely paper samples was my idea of a perfect day! I went back and forth a couple of times with different paper and envelope samples. Every time I would send a paper sample in the post, I included a small hand-written note to explain what kind of paper sample I was sending. After a while, the Groom asked if I would hand write the addresses on his envelopes as he liked my handwriting so much. I have had a few comments on my handwriting before and make sure I put a little effort in whenever I write a note to someone, making sure it’s neat but I hadn’t considered offering handwritten envelopes as something I do. If you have something that you’re good at, keep doing it because someone will notice and one day you’ll be addressing 70 envelopes. I will be adding envelope addressing to my Etsy shop really soon.

Everything takes time
Drawing takes times. Improving takes time. Editing, printing, photographing all takes time. Healing takes time. I’d get frustrated earlier on in the year that I wasn’t growing as a business as fast as I’d like but these things all take time. I’m actually glad for the slow and steady growth because all this is a huge learning curve and there is a lot to learn. The slow and steady growth has helped me learn along the way.

Momentum
This brings me to momentum. I’m glad that things have taken time but at times I could have got things done a lot quicker. A lot of the time I’ve felt like I’m catching up with myself. I’ll write down ideas, finish what I’m doing (fret about that project, delay actually finishing it for a little while) work on the next priority and over time the enthusiasm fades for that idea or I never get round to even giving it a try. The experts would say that if I lose the enthusiasm for that idea, it wasn’t meant to be anyway but I’ve learned the importance of keeping up momentum and creating when the idea is fresh and it seems to be working at the moment.

Photography & Lightroom
As I said in my year roundup, I’ve learned so much about photography. I took the product photos of the Wedding Stationery samples about 3-4 times before I was happy with them, get the right background, getting the layout right, then learning all about lighting, exposure, white balance, and focus. Product photography is still the most difficult part of running my shop for me but I definitely see an improvement. It’s a lot quicker to create a photo that I like now and I no longer have to battle with my camera to get the right effect.

My photography life also changed the day that I downloaded Lightroom, a photo editing software from Adobe. It is seriously amazing for quick edits and I highly recommend it. I even have the app on my phone which has changed my Instagram life too!

Drawing & Layers
My drawing style has definitely changed (improved?) over the last year. I have done a lot more drawing than ever before, which has given me more confidence in my style. Over the last year, or even the last few months, I’ve started to use layers of paper to create the illustrations that I work on. I do this by using thin paper (not quite tracing or layout paper but cheaper pads of paper that I’ve found in a local stationery shop) sketching out the main shape of the illustration, then laying other piece of paper on top so that I can see the original illustration through and add the details, if it doesn’t work it’s fine because I haven’t had to erase the whole thing losing the original illustration! This has become especially useful in the Christmas card and Calendar designs that I’ve worked on recently. I layer up the drawings so that I don’t ruin the original pencil drawing by trying different details that may or may not work.

I carry this through to my work on illustrator and put the scanned pencil drawing on the first layer, roughly draw out the initial shapes on the second, add shapes of colour on the next, brush strokes to outline and add details on the following layer, then finally add a background behind it all and hide the original scan and rough shape layers. This may sound like such a simple thing but it’s a simple part of my workflow that keeps me organised and means it’s a lot easier to create and edit afterward.

I’m not dreadful at what I do
I was really struggling with my work before I was made redundant a year ago. I became so unsure of everything I worked on. I thought I had been progressing over the 6 years that I worked in the job but was still referred to as a Junior Designer, which knocked my confidence. I had worked so hard but was still seen as a Junior. Then over the last year, I have worked on some relatively small projects with clients who have been over the moon with the work that I’ve done and have been really complimentary of my work, which has been really great to hear. Not only that, I’ve had the chance to work on the projects that I’ve wanted to work on, in the style that I’ve wanted to use, through my Etsy shop and it hasn’t been dreadful.

Calm
I underlined the word calm on my list of things that I learned. All of these things are a complete work in progress and none more so than to keep calm. I remember many a day of fretting over my style, worrying about my ability, am I doing enough? Am I trying to do too much? Am I even cut out for all this? But I’m slowly learning not to worry about all this and to breathe, go for a walk, hide my phone and just get on with it.

So that was quite a lengthy list! I probably could go on for a while with everything I’ve learned in the last year! It has been a great year and I’m so thankful for the opportunity. Is there anything you would add to this list that may help others?

My first year of self-employment

Wow! 3rd October marked one year since I officially became self-employed and I can’t believe how fast that time has gone. This time last year, I had just been made redundant from a job I had worked at since University, I spent a few days processing the news but knew deep down what needed to be done. I had wanted to set up on my own for a while, I knew I wasn’t ready but I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try. I thought, I’ll give it 3 months but haven’t turned back.

When I was made redundant, my confidence was dashed quite considerably. I had very little confidence in myself as a person and even less confidence in my work and my ability to do just about anything. Designing a Penguin Calendar was something I really wanted to do, however, so I did it. I used drawings that I’d worked on, two years before and within 2 weeks, I had vectorised those drawings (drawn them again on the computer) and they looked great. I sat on those designs for a little while, doubting whether they were any good, wondering whether I should add anything to them. I had been painting a little for my mental health so I tried adding some painted details to them but that didn’t quite work. I think I forgot about them for a few days and then revisited the illustrations to find they weren’t dreadful, so after a few tweaks, I sent them to print alongside a typographic design that I had worked on and fretted about in equal measure.

In the beginning, I got just 40 printed and the Penguin Calendar sold out pretty quickly. My sister-in-law snapped up quite a few and I thought she was just buying them to help me out, she gifted them to her colleagues, however, who all loved them! I went on to reprint the penguin design quite a few times as they sold out quite a few times and I worked out that I’d sold about 200 of those Calendars over the Christmas period. I learned so much at that time.

I hand cut out each and every page of the first 80 Calendars that sold! I struggled to find a printer who printed that small, so printed on flat SRA3 sheets and cut each one out. Thankfully, I found out that the same printer would print A7 “leaflets” which was exactly what I needed.

Christmas was then over and all of the Calendars had sold, what now? How do I follow that? I also had quite an upsetting and stressful Christmas time that it took me a little while to get back into creating confidently in the new year. I had big plans for designing Wedding Invitations and Wedding Stationery so set out in designing those. It took a while to settle on a style for those and in the end, I had 7 House Collections of Wedding Stationery, which I really love. Since then I have designed for a couple of lovely Weddings. I hope to do a lot more in the new year.

I’ve learned so much about photography whilst trying to photograph these collections. I’ve taken the photographs 3 or 4 times over, thankfully they get marginally better each time.

The early summer was quite stressful for me, I had quite a lot of things going on, alongside my shop going quiet. I worked on a few great branding and design projects which were lovely. I continued to paint for my mental health again, which resulted in a bright and colourful selection of notecards for all different occasions, which look really great and I’m so pleased with them.

Throughout the year I’ve also faced a horrible habit of comparing myself to others. I would get into a trap of scrolling and scrolling, then wonder why 1. My work wasn’t as good as theirs’ 2. Why my Instagram feed didn’t look amazing and 3. Why I hadn’t done all that I needed to that day through scrolling all day. It’s really silly thinking about it now. But at one point, in July or August, I made a plan, to create furiously and to just keep going regardless of how I felt, about my work, regardless of what someone else had posted online and how good it was. I decided to lock myself in a little bubble and to do my thing and keep going.

Since then, I feel like my focus, momentum, and attitude towards my work has really changed, which has been great. I feel like I’ve found my groove. It has helped that I’ve started working on the Penguin Calendars again which I really love. So that brings me to now. I hope I manage to stay in this groove for a while and continue to create furiously.

Now, this post started off as a “things I’ve learned..” post for my first year of being self-employed but it ended as a pouring out of honesty about how things have gone. I am so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to work for myself for the last year and I’m incredibly grateful for the work that I’ve been able to do this year. It has been testing and challenging at times. I have faith and hope that my second year will be even better.

My second year starts with preparing for Christmas again, which is exciting. I have designed two versions of the Penguin Calendar this time, with all new illustrations. I have a Penguin Pin badge which is so unbelievably cute! I’ve also been busy designing a selection of Christmas cards which I’m so pleased with and are now available in the shop.

I have a few Christmas fairs lined up, I share a table with my sister-in-law, who sells candles and we make a great team. I’m also excited to have been accepted for my first ever solo fair (a table all to myself) for the Hertfordshire Etsy Made Local in Ware, I’m sure this won’t be the last you’ll hear about that! I’m excited to meet all of the other members of the Herts Etsy Team and to sell at a local Etsy event.

I have some big plans for the new year, including offering custom portraits, prints, designing a range of birthday and thank you cards, and to take my Wedding Stationery Collections to at least one Wedding Fair. I would also like to take on a few more freelance clients and commissions (so if you’d like to work with me, please get in touch. 😉 ) I also celebrate my 30th birthday next year and what better than to make it the best year yet!

So here’s to the first year and all that it has taught me, let’s hope for a successful second year!