Thursday, 11 July 2013

Happy Blogiversary - My Blog and Website are 3 Today!

Hello! As you can see, today is a special day for Artwork By Angie.
Today is the anniversary of the launch of the website with my very first blog post on here.  What a wonderful and enriching 3 years it has been.  I would never have dared to dream about how much I would gain from making that very first blog post and stepping into the world of online social networking to grow my little business.   Not only has it enabled me to work on some great creative projects and stretch my imagination and skills.  It has had a huge positive impact on me personally and my home life.  

It has enabled me to discover and become friends with so many wonderful like minded people.  My home and my wardrobe are steadily transforming thanks to the power of facebook, Folksy and Etsy as I find and collect more and more beautiful handcrafted things - each with a very personal story to tell.

In the past couple of years when this blog reached anniversary day I rambled on about how the business has developed and changed.   This time I want to show and tell about the people I've met and the wonderful way that has enriched me and my home.  To me, this is more than a 'job' and means to pay the bills, this is also a way of life, without wanting to sound corny it's a continuing quest for a happy creative life.

So, I'll take you on a quick guided tour of some of the loveliness that adorns my home.  I've picked out a few choice items that remind me of the great people I've met or have inspired me on this journey over the past 3 years...

See that dangley bird up there?..that's a Muddy Puddle Crafts hand painted wooden bird.  It hangs proudly in our lounge.  It has a prominent position because I owe a huge debt of thanks to it's maker, my good friend Jo Williams.  Jo and I were at college together more years ago than we'd like to confess to.  We've stayed in touch over the years, then one Christmas Jo mentioned in her Christmas card that she had started a blog.  It was around the time I was looking at Illustration Friday and wanting to have a go at getting back into illustrating in a serious effort to make a go of it.  I needed to have a blog to take part in Illustration Friday, so I had a look at Jo's blog and really enjoyed reading her updates.  A few months later I got an invite to follow Muddy Puddle Crafts facebook page and watched with joy as I saw how my friend's work was gaining popularity and reaching a wider audience....and quite right too, her work is fab.  Check out her website, it's a gloriously happy world of colour:

Watching Jo's business grow steadily and confidently gave me the courage to take my first step and set up my blog, shortly followed by a facebook page - for that I am eternally grateful to my friend :) ...

On the opposite side of the mirror in the lounge that the Muddy Puddle bird hangs on is a London star by Little A Designs.  Marna at Little A Designs was someone I met fairly early on.  I'd only done a few branding packages for crafters when she approached me to design a logo for Little A Designs.  Since then we've worked together on many things, but more importantly we've grown a good friendship and shared many giggles that have certainly helped me keep going with my business.  Anyone who works for themselves needs to have people to giggle with who understand the ups and downs of running a business from your home - I truly believe that sharing a laugh should form an important part of any business plan! ...

One of the main benefits of using online social networking to promote your business aside from meeting other like-minded souls is that you discover so much talent.  It makes it very easy to find something a little bit different, unique and to suit your personal taste.  Here are a couple of items from two designers/bloggers I've discovered in the past 3 years who are particular favourites of mine.  

Above is a screen-printed cushion by Jane Foster.  I have a few Jane Foster cushions scattered around my home, they never fail to raise a smile with me and the colours brighten up each room. Jane keeps a very inspiring blog which is well worth a follow:

Below are some prints by Gracie's Garden Bazaar and these add a very pretty touch to my daughter's bedroom.  Every piece Cassandra makes with her combination of painting and embroidery takes my breath away, her work is simply stunning and she has a great Etsy shop: ...

 It's not just my home that has seen the positive effects of being in the online craft community.  I do like a bit of dressing up so my wardrobe has had a boost too.  The brooches below are the ones I am wearing right now as I type this.  The dinky apple brooch is by the very wonderful Andrea at Polka.  The little yellow crochet daisy is by Rose from Victoria Rose Crochet.  Rose was my first ever branding customer.   I'd never even considered doing branding for crafting businesses before she asked if I could design her a logo and I said 'OK, I'll have a go!'.  It's fair to say, I have done A LOT of branding work since!  
Thank you for that first order Rose :)...

I had to show you this one - look at these lovely cherries in the pic below, they are by Jo at Elf Designs.  I get plenty of complements when I wear this brooch and my kids love this particular brooch too as they like giving the cherries a bit of a squidge - tactile accessories are always the best!....

And Finally!!...talking of meeting lovely people on this creative journey, last weekend I did exactly that.  

I went on a bit of a road trip to Stratford where the River Festival was in full swing to spend a glorious weekend in the excellent company of some of the lovely ladies I have been very fortunate to meet from my blogging and facebooking efforts.  It was 24 hours of fun, laughter, inspiration and talking...lots of talking.  It was a weekend I'll always remember with a happy smile!

The group pic below is a blend of 2 photos (as we didn't have a pic with all of us in it) so I used my photoshop knowledge to tweak..  
From left to right, please allow me to introduce (click the names for links to their websites or blogs):
Roslyn Mitchell (Roslyn Mitchell Designs), Julia Crossland (Artist), Kate Brazier (Kate Creates), Marna Lunt (Artist/ Little A Designs), Helen Bottrill (Kindred Rose), Me, Kirsty Elson (Kirsty Elson Designs) 

It's been an amazing 3 years and my only hope that things continue as they are.

If anyone is reading this and considering getting started on their own little creative blog I'd say go for it and see where it takes you.  I hope you discover as many joys as I have from sharing and taking part in this amazing creative community.

Happy Anniversary Blog!