#MarchMeetTheMaker free planner

As a person who likes to be organised, I designed a little planner to help me to plan ahead for my #MarchMeetTheMaker Instagram Challenge. A number of people also mentioned that they too may like to think ahead for some of the prompts that they may get a little stuck on, so, I've decided to offer it to everyone as a free download!

To download this free planner, simply click here and then download or save for later. I've printed mine off and have already started scribbling on it. I hope it helps!

#MarchMeetTheMaker Instagram Challenge

After getting a little frustrated that I couldn't find an Instagram Challenge that I wanted to take part in, I decided to make my own instead! This is how #MarchMeetTheMaker was born.

This challenge is to help small businesses such as myself to tell the story behind the brand. It also aims to give an insight into the face, process and hard work that goes into creating all of the beautiful products we have to offer.

The challenge kicks off on Tuesday 1st March 2016 and absolutely anyone can join in, in fact, the more the merrier! All you have to do is post a daily photo to Instagram relating to the prompt of that day and tag it with #MarchMeetTheMaker to take part. It’s that simple! I can’t wait to see what you post and learn a little more about you. Have fun!

If you would like to see my posts be sure to follow @joannehawker on Instagram!

The Christening Range

I have now added a range of Christening cards to my collection and I'm really happy to say they are doing quite well. I've made two different versions, one is a standard illustrated card (see below) and the other is a surprise scratchcard (see above).

Both cards feature my hand drawn florals, and come in 3 different colourways. They are also available as Godmother, Godfather and Godparents. However, I think the best bit is probably the hand drawn lettering! I love that I can make something that no one else has right down to the text on the card. I also think that it makes the cards feel a little more friendly and personal.

Both sets of cards are already available in my shop and will be ready for wholesale soon!

Colour Saturday

Recently, I took part in Notonthehighstreet.com's Colour Saturday, where small businesses were celebrated for the colour they bring to Christmas across the UK and Ireland. We were invited to take part and were all sent a box of goodies. Inside this box was lots of blue shredded paper (which I may have kept, even though I don't need it), some chocolate pills, some party hats, a colour saturday cookie and the best of all, a confetti pop!

Needless to say I had some great fun with the confetti pop and created plenty of colourful photos.

I wouldn't be Joanne if I didn't add an animal of some kind to one of the out takes either...

Those polar bears seem to be popping up all over the place lately. Anyway, a couple days later I thought that was the end of the it, a lovely little bit of community fun over on social media, but oh no, the excitement started all over again! My face and the cheeky bear only popped up not once, but twice in the Metro newspaper!

If you want to see what others got up to just use the hashtag #coloursaturday over on instagram to search and take a look.

There is something I've been meaning to ask you...

I am so excited about these as they have been a long time in the making as I wanted to get them just right and I wasn't really sure if they would do very well. I have gone ahead and released my first batch of question scratchcards! 4 different options have been released into the wild so far. These are, will you be my bridesmaid, will you be my maid of honour and will you be my flower girl. The fourth, is a personalised option where you can write your own question, be it something simple (but nerve wracking) will you move in with me, right down to the wonderfully life changing, will you marry me?

Everything on the card was drawn by hand and then scanned, and redrawn digitally (all but the actual question as I need to edit that quickly). As you may already know, I love drawing flowers so jumped at the chance to add a few more to my collection. The 'there is something' text was also previously hand drawn from my original wedding cards. So you can be rest assured that no one else has any of the elements from these cards. The image below was a quick snap that I made to show my Facebook likers how close my artwork was to the original drawing and to share a little bit of my design process.

I wanted to make sure that I didn't use EXACTLY the same colour palette as my previous bridesmaid style cards and in doing so, I created 5 new ones! These cards are available in grey & pink, mint green & pink, baby blue & pink, purple & pink and orange & pink! Personally the grey and mint are my current favourites!

If you would like to know a bit more about these or have a look at the other colours and options on offer then feel free to have a browse of my Etsy store. These can easily be located in the 'cards' section should you want super quick access. I hope you like them!

Polar Bear Wrapping Paper

After a lot of umming and aaahing and fund raising through a market night on Facebook, this finally arrived. My polar bear wrapping paper. It is something that I have always wanted to do, but never had the means to do it. So this year, I finally took the scary plunge and ordered some in for Christmas.

It all began as an idea I had whilst sitting in a little Austrian cafe at the base of a mountain we were skiing on. It started as one bear, but then I couldn't just have one because he would be lonely, then he ended up with a whole heap of friends. Some were wearing hats, some bow ties and some even had flowers in their fur.

A few weeks later I decided to start my preparation for Christmas 2015 and decided that they all needed winter hats and scarves instead. I couldn't have cold polar bears now could I? I do love creating repeat patterns and this one in particular is probably one of my favourites to date.

I couldn't be happier with the quality of the smooth matt paper and the lovely grosgrain ribbon. I've listed it in my shop with a variety of pack sizes just in time for you to plaster all your gifts in polar bears. I know that's what I'll be doing!

You & Your Wedding

This year I started to make something that I've always wanted to do and that was to make cards. I had sketchbooks with design after design in them and I've started to pull them out and turn them into actual products.

A few months ago I designed some that I've been wanting to do for so long. Obviously they involved flowers and a spot of hand lettering. These cards are of course wedding cards. I made them for bridesmaids, flower girls, maids of honour and the occasional bridesman and chief bridesmaid. They came in two versions, 'will you be' and 'thank you for being' and come in a choice of 3 colours. I think that it's fair to say these are my most favourite cards to date.

Here is an example of the cards and the original drawing that they came from. It's always really handy to have the original drawing on the computer too, so that you can use it for reference, or, like me, use it to draw over.

It would seem that all that hard work is beginning to pay off because something super exciting has happened. A lovely lady contacted me to let me know that my bridesmaid card had been featured in You & Your Wedding magazine. As you can imagine I was absolutely over the moon. Not only was it nice to be seen in print next some amazing people that I am huge fans, but it gave me a much needed confidence boost for the end of the week. I am now going to put that boost to good use and finish off some other card designs lying around on my desktop waiting for their time to shine. So there we are, there's the long winded way of telling you all about my little bit of happy for today.