World Environment and Oceans Days - Beat Plastic Pollution
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This week it is World Environment and World Oceans Day. Each year they pick a theme to focus on and this year they have both picked "Plastic Pollution." World Oceans Day provides a unique opportunity to honour, help protect and conserve our world's shared ocean. Whereas the UN's World Environment Day encourages worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.

The ocean is important as it generates more than half of the oxygen we breathe and absorbs the most carbon from it, it helps feed us, regulates our climate, cleans the water we drink, offers a variety of medicines and contains a whole ecosystem of marine life.

However, there is an estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic that end up in our oceans each year. This ranges from plastic bottles and plastic bags to microbeads. Due to the plastic travelling on ocean currents, it is ending up all over the world, even trapped in Arctic ice. The impacts this is having on marine life is devastating. Most of us will remember the harrowing scenes from Davd Attenborough's Blue Planet series of the Albatross dead with plastic inside their stomachs or the Whale carrying her dead calf around with her after it died from drinking her pollution contaminated milk.

Although the majority of plastic bottles are technically "recyclable", most of them don't actually make it to the recycling plant. However, plastic doesn't actually biodegrade, it photodegrades, which means that the plastic breaks down into smaller, more toxic fragments which then pollutes the land and ocean. This then leads to them being ingested by animals, which can then be eaten by humans, or it can kill them.

                          THINGS WE CAN DO TO HELP - PLASTIC ALTERNATIVES

-Use tote/canvas bags instead of plastic ones
-Invest in a glass/steel straw and say no to plastic ones in bars
-Invest in reusable coffee cups and water bottles and take them with you to coffee shops.
-Shop in bulk food stores - bring your own containers, household cleaners, pasta, lentils etc.
-Buy fresh bread in bags
-Buy fresh fruit and veg loose and bring your own bags
-Buy bar soaps instead of bottles - lush do some great packaging free products.
-Stop using cling-film and use reuseable tupperware.

There are obviously many more ways we can help reduce our own plastic consumption and I have shared some of these links below.

Greenpeace
Mother Nature Network
Friends Of The Earth
WWF

Also I don't claim to do all of these methods, but I am slowly working towards reducing my plastic consumption as much as possible, which is all anyone can reasonably do.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post and you are leaving feeling inspired to ditch the plastic!

Elle x

Vegan Inspired Etsy Finds

Hello!
Many of you may know that I have been Vegan since March 2017 and it is something that is very important to me. I myself have been designing and working on some Vegan inspired products for you all but until they are ready I thought I would gather together some of my favourites from other Etsy sellers.

World's Okayest Vegan Jumper - Warya Tshirts - £17.10

This jumper is a perfect statement piece. I love the slogan for those days where you feel less like buddha bowls and more like Oreo's and vegan ice cream.

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Not your Mum, Not Your Milk Tee - The Goose and Rabbit - £18.19

This wonderfully illustrated design shows the exploitation of the dairy industry in a striking and artistic way. It's cute, yet informative and is simply gorgeous.

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Vegan Tattoo Mug - All Glamour No Guts -  £10.00

I do not have enough mugs. This is one I definitely NEED. This Vegan tattoo style heart design is perfect on this mug. Simple, straight to the point and stylish, this mug is a win.

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Avocado Boob Tee - Cactus and Spoon Prints £14.50
This screen printed t-shirt design is made using a hand-printed lino cut design. This cheeky t-shirt is sure to be a fun and casual way to show off your Vegan pride, or just your love of Avocados.
 

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Vegan Badge Pack - Hello Treacle £5
These 38mm Vegan pin badges are designed, printed and handmade by Hello Treacle. The illustrated designs are perfect for popping onto bags, clothes and accessories. Plus the products and packaging are made from recycled materials where possible. Check the listings for further information.

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Vote With Your Fork Print - The Creative Toucan £12
I love the Vegan prints by The Creative Toucan so much that it was hard to choose between them. My favourite design is the Keep Calm and Become Vegan print. Although this design is perfect for your kitchen walls. These prints are beautifully designed and illustrated and make the perfect vegan statement.

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Plants are Friends Jumper - Tme Printing £13.29
This screen printed jumper design is wonderfully illustrated and quirky. The company also operate a "Tees for Trees" initiative in that for every item they sell, they will plant a tree on your behalf. This is carried out with their partners at "Trees for the Future." So not only are you getting a great piece of clothing, you're also helping the environment in the process. Win Win!

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Those are my first 7 picks! I really enjoyed coming up with this list and I still have SO many items saved in my Etsy favourites, so let me know in the comments if you would like to see another one in the future! I hope you go and check out these wonderful Etsy sellers and their great Vegan inspired items.

Elle x

Deaf Awareness Week
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Hey everyone!
Some of you may know that this week is Deaf Awareness Week, so I thought I would take the time to tell you all about my own personal experience with hearing loss in order to raise awareness.

I have mild hearing loss in both of my ears. I was born with it and it was passed on to me through my paternal grandfather. Apparently it's degenerative but my hearing has stayed the same since I was 18 so that's a good sign! 

It was noticed when I was a child as my mum would call my name or make loud noises around me and I wouldn't respond or react to the sound. It's also the reason I am so incredibly clumsy - due to my balance being affected. I was meant to wear two hearing aids as a child but due to being stubborn and the fear of the other children noticing, I rarely wore both of them. This then meant that I was able to learn how to lip read pretty well. My audiologist actually says that I am able to lip read people without looking directly at their lips, which is normally a big giveaway. Somehow I am able to do it whilst looking at their eyes! I went through most of secondary school wearing them in dribs and drabs. I finally decided I needed to wear them at college due to missing things in lessons, so I went to get new moulds fitted. Again I only wore one instead of two because it would be less noticeable and I could tuck one side of my hair behind the ear without the hearing aid and no one would know. After years of rarely wearing them and at most only wearing one, two hearing aids was just too much noise. My audiologist says that I must be getting all the sound I need from one as that's the way I've conditioned my brain to receive the sound.

That's the thing. Despite the fact that wearing hearing aids isn't something to be embarrassed about, I spent my whole childhood and teenage years feeling exactly that. I used to be terrified that the other children would see and make fun of me for it. I used to always wear my hair down so that there was less chance of someone seeing it. A lot of my friends that I went to school with never knew that I had them because I never told them. I appreciate that my hearing loss is mild in comparison to others and so there's no way you can tell from my voice. It's taken me a long time to be able to get to the point where I am writing and publishing this public blog post about my hearing. I was bullied during junior and the start of secondary school, so keeping my hearing loss a secret seemed the best way to avoid extra attention. I always felt that people would then treat me differently after knowing or then may use that against me in some way. Growing up there was never a large number of role models that were public about wearing hearing aids and were my age.  No one really talked about it and the only adverts you would see of it on television were for the elderly. 

However, through my confidence growing so much, my amazing friends, family, boyfriend and I think just general ageing, I felt it was important to address it. There may be other children, teens, young adults, adults or anyone else that are feeling the same things that I felt up until very recently that this may help. I'm not pretending that I am 100% confident about my hearing all of the time, but I have generally reached the point where I don't care what people think anymore. People have hearing aids just as they have glasses. Hearing aids are mostly associated with older people, which is why I guess people are ashamed of them. The more we spread awareness of deafness, the more it becomes normalised and accepted as part of everyday life. Some people wear glasses, some people wear hearing aids, some people have tattoos, some people wear skinny jeans. 

It definitely gets easier to deal with when you put it into perspective. Everyone has something about them that makes them unique and different. When I was at school, the environment was one of which "if you're different and stand out, people notice" and that's not always a good thing. As a child, I took that to mean that standing out was wrong, which I realise now is inherently untrue. Standing out is what we should try and aim for. I think the largest factor that contributed to the school environment, is that people were not aware. If everyone in my school knew about hearing loss, they were educated on it, had role models in popular culture of all ages with it, it wouldn't be so much of an issue. This would have definitely reduced the stigma and curiosity that then turned to negativity whilst I was growing up.

With the World Health Organisation predicting that noise-induced hearing loss is a potential health crisis, with 1.1 billion young people across the world at risk, it is an increasingly important topic. Hearing loss can be linked depression and anxiety so it is SO important that together we break the stigma associated with hearing loss, deafness and hearing aids. Our hearing doesn't define us, but it is a part of what makes us. The hearing aids are an essential life-changing improvement in sound-quality, allowing us to be confident and lead as normal of lives as possible.

I hope this post has been informative and useful to as many of you as possible.
If you wish to find out some more information on hearing loss and how to deal with it, I've left some links below. I am going to take more steps to work with deaf charities to support and encourage education in schools right from a young age, in anyway that I can in order to spread awareness and knowledge about something that is more common than we all think and share.

If anyone reading this is from a deaf/hearing loss charity and you want to work together, please email elle@dotsandinkpots.com and I would love to hear from you.

www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk
www.scope.org.uk
www.hearinglink.org

Elle x

National Stationery Week - Indie Business Finds!

Hello, it is National Stationery Week in the UK this week and so I thought I would use this occasion to gather some wonderful stationery together from some indie businesses!
I love stationery but I go through phases of buying it. Mostly because I spend the majority of my money on food...  However, these pieces have been on my lust list for ever.

1. Scrabble Inspired Fun Plans Stationery Set - Claireabellemakes -£10
With this wonderful little stationery set you get:
 -Fun Plans Notepad (A6 size, 50 sheets, 80 gsm) 105 x 148mm
- Slogan Pencil (Make Some Fun Plans)
- Fun Plans glossy sticker
- Gold glittery heart paper clip

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2. Bunny Ears Cactus A6 Notebook - BertIllustration - £4
This little A6 Kraft notebook design is handrawn by the lovely Ashleigh. The blank pages inside are perfect for jotting down notes and ideas as well as sketches. Perfect for any plant obsessed pals out there!

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3. Pug A5 Notepad - Hello DODO - £4.50
I am a sucker for anything with a dog on! If you love dogs as much as I do, then you'll love this notepad! 48 blank pages made from 100% recycled paper means that you can doodle away guilt free!

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4. Big Ideas Notepad - OHNORachio - £8.50
I LOVE a good list. I would write an endless amount of lists when I was in my teens. Even lists of lists that I wanted to write! This A4 notepad would have been perfect! It's gorgeous colour scheme and hand-lettering is a 10/10 from me. 50 pages at 80gsm.

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5. Wizard Class A5 Pack of 3 Notebooks - Fairy Cakes - £12.00

As much as I loved lists when I was in my teens, I also loved Harry Potter. Yes, that's right. So, these lovely designed wizard class notebooks are perfect for pretending you're off to potions class or they can be used to contain your muggle notes. 40 pages of 80gsm recycled lined paper in a square stapled spine.

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There you have it! I hope you liked checking out some of my fave stationery items for National Stationery Week and if you like them, the links are in each listing so click them and head over to the site! 

Elle x

1 Year Vegan Anniversary

1st of April marks my year anniversary of becoming Vegan! Yay! Go me!

So I thought I would write a (probably rather long) blog post on why I decided to go Vegan, what food I eat, how I'm finding it so far and what I'm looking at doing in the future.
As a little bit of context, I was vegetarian/pescatarian since I was 13 and I used to cook most of my own food. I was vegetarian up until the age of 21 and I really enjoyed it. I think it started as a bet to do it for two weeks and then I enjoyed it so much that I just carried on! I never really used to like the taste of meat anyway and I rarely used to eat it that much. 

I briefly started eating meat again not long after I met my boyfriend as he was a big meat eater and for convenience and money, it was just easier. I wasn't earning a lot of money at the time, as I was on a zero hour contract, so it made sense to just cook one big meal instead of having to buy and cook different things. I'm not proud of this little relapse but at this point I hadn't really researched Veganism and so I wasn't fully aware of the implications of eating meat.

My boyfriend and I moved in together two years ago and from then I would say that my receptiveness to Veganism slowly started to increase. I think not long after we moved in together, I went back vegetarian again. I noticed the impact that eating a diet of meat and dairy had been having on my health, as I was feeling constantly tired, lethargic and just crappy most of the time. I would also say that I noticed having more spots when I was eating this diet.

We had planned a holiday to Spain in May 2017 and in the year prior to that I had slowly started noticing and reading the odd article here and watching the odd video there. These articles and videos had detailed to me the unnecessary and barbaric slaughter of innocent animals, the incredible health benefits of a wholefoods plant-based diet and the positive implications on the environment. 

I had planned to go Vegan after our holiday so that I could enjoy the holiday without being limited to what I could eat in a foreign country. It's hard to say what actually made me go Vegan as I think it was a build up of things but the main catalyst was a documentary called Carnage by Simon Amstell. My boyfriend had really wanted to watch it as he thought it looked like a spoof parody documentary set in the future where everyone is Vegan and past meat eaters repent in "AA" style meetings. We got half way in and suddenly there were graphic scenes of scared animals being slaughtered, tortured and shot. I immediately ran into the bathroom and sobbed for 10 minutes straight. I decided then and there that there was NO WAY I could possibly eat meat, dairy or eggs ever again.

I must preface this with the fact that I used to be a MASSIVE cheese lover. I loved it. The best part of Christmas for me was the massive cheese board. Everyone I told that I was going Vegan immediately said "but you love cheese so much?" And it's true, I did love it and I think the main reason I didn't go Vegan sooner was because of this reason. But honestly, I don't miss it. At all. Once you see the brutality and the suffering that these poor animals go through for meat and cheese, it really changes you. Once that association is made, it is really hard to go back.

So, I started my Vegan lifestyle in April 2017 and I haven't looked back since. I would say that it is snowballing massively and I'm very happy about that. It started with food and I have loved researching and educating myself on the wonders of plant-based food and the tremendous health benefits of eating certain foods. I have always loved food and so it makes me very happy to be able to try new foods and explore new combinations through my cooking instead of relying on meat. This lifestyle has seen changes in my shopping as I'm replacing my cosmetics and household products with Vegan and cruelty-free alternatives once they run out. I'm trying to be more environmentally friendly, increasing my recycling habits and trying to buy less packaging and plastic. This is also extending to my business, as my cellophane bags are used up, I'm replacing them with bio-degradable alternatives from Eco-Craft and using recycled materials where possible.

After discovering Earthling Ed on Youtube, I am trying to increase my activism slowly. I've joined various Facebook groups (Anonymous for the Voiceless and some outreach groups) and I'm hoping to join some local demos soon. I'm making strides to include my Veganism in my business, with Vegan themed products and prints in the works! Stay tuned! I've also influenced my mum to become Vegan as well and she's been Vegan since the start of the year. Woo!

So! That's a wrap on my Vegan journey so far, I've already waffled on quite a bit!
If you are interested in Veganism and what it can do for you, the environment and the animals, I'm going to leave links to videos, information and books you can check out if you wish!
I hope you found this interesting and can understand a bit more about my Vegan journey!
Let me know what you think!
Elle x

Earthling Ed Youtube Channel - Vegan activist, calm and informative.
Land of Hope and Glory - "UK Earthlings" - showcasing footage from UK farms.
Veganuary Website - 30 day Vegan Challenge - free, lots of information, starter kits, recipes, advice.
Forks Over Knives - Website as well as a Documentary - mostly focusing on health and food
What The Health - Documentary - focusing on health and food
Challenge 22 - 22 day Vegan Challenge - free, vegan mentor, recipes, advice
Cowspiracy - Documentary - slightly graphic, focusing on the impacts of animal agriculture on the environment.
Earthlings - Very graphic documentary exploring the exploitative relationships we have with animals.
 

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Hello!
Many of you may know that today is Random Acts of Kindness Day. This year I am all about spreading happiness and being kinder, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to share with you all 5 Random Acts of Kindness.

1.  Send A Card
Sending someone a card can be a great way to be kind. It can be someone you've not spoken to in a while or someone just because! I recently sent a card to a friend because of "Send a Friend a Card Day" this month and they loved it. It surprised them, made them feel happy and overwhelmed by the gesture. Doing this simple act can really brighten someone's day and besides, writing is a lost communication method with texts and social media now, so it's nice to go back to the roots!

2. Buy a Pay It Forward coffee or meal
When I was in Brighton last summer, we stopped in a food place called Bagelman, partly to shelter from the rain and also because we were hungry. As I was paying, I noticed a sign up on the counter that said I could buy either a coffee or a coffee and a sandwich bagel for someone who needed it in the future. I thought it was a great initiative, meaning that a homeless person would be able to have a hot drink and some food because I had already paid for it for them. 
This is something I encourage any food businesses to do and any person that comes across an initiative like this to partake in. 

3. Acknowledge a Homeless person
In the same vein as the post above, simply acknowledging a homeless person can make a world of difference. Often people choose to ignore them sat on the street and I imagine that would be one of the hardest parts - not even being recognised as a human being. I recently asked a homeless guy sat outside my local shop if he wanted anything from the shop. He seemed genuinely surprised that I had started talking to him and he seemed confused as he tried to think of what he needed. He settled on a packet of crisps but when I asked him what flavour he wanted, he was again confused as he hadn't had the luxury of choice for a while. He eventually settled on chicken crisps. Inside the shop, I bought a 6 pack of meat flavoured crisps, some chocolate chip cookies and a drink. He seemed so happy at this and the fact that I had bothered to actually talk to him, that he was very grateful.
Regardless of whether you buy them something or not, just acknowledging them and perhaps even taking the time to talk to them and find out a bit about who they are and what led them to be homeless can really help them feel worthy.

4.  Volunteer time at an animal shelter
This is something I am going to do when I start university as I love animals and it makes perfect sense. Most animal shelters are run on donations or limited income, where they rely on the kindness of strangers and volunteers. Being able to commit to a couple of hours a week can really help out, plus you get to spend time with animals and help get them ready for their forever homes. Also you will be able to use the experience and skills you have learnt on your CV too.

5. Genuinely Compliment Someone
Finally, giving someone a genuine compliment can really make them feel great and it will make you feel great too. Seeing the smile on someone's face can really help brighten both of your days and help increase someone's confidence.

There you have it! 5 simple ways to spread a little bit of kindness and make everyone's day a little bit brighter.

Elle x

Space Valentines Card Range

Hello everyone!

Many of you will know that until now my Etsy shop has been filled with a variety of just prints of my pointillism pieces. Well, I can now reveal to you all my first range of pointillism cards!! (Fanfare, fireworks and confetti cannons fire)

Space is my main theme for this year, so I thought it would be perfect to release a range of space themed valentines cards. There will be more added to the range as the year goes on, but for now there are five wonderful love-filled designs for you to get your hands on. The text for all of the cards was hand-lettered by myself and I absolutely adore how they've turned out!

Home Is Wherever I'm With You Card

You Are My Greatest Adventure Card

Look How They Shine For You Card

I Love You More Than There Are Stars In The Sky Card

I Thank My Lucky Stars To Have Found You Card

Click on the pictures above to be taken to my Etsy shop, if you want to check them out further or buy them!

I really hope you like them too. It's spurred me on to make more exciting things and I'm having so much fun exploring new products and designs. 

Let me know what you think of them in the comments below!

Elle x

My Small Business Goals For 2018

Ello again! I hope you all enjoyed my past post on my small business round up. I thought I would continue on with that theme and document some of my small business goals and ambitions for 2018. I like to be as open as I can on my blog, but for obvious reasons I won't be telling you them all! Most but not ones I feel embarrassed to say!

2017 has been a great year for me in terms of my business. I launched in August after spending months and months planning and researching absolutely everything possible. I have made 7 sales since August and have accepted my first commission with another one planned shortly after I finish this one. I have reached 500 followers on Instagram, which although a small number for most, I am extremely proud of. It still baffles me that 500 people want to watch my journey and see my artwork. God knows what I'm going to be like when I hit 1000!!

I know I've made the first leap into the world of small business now and I'm incredibly excited to keep on going. So without further ado, here are my small business goals and ambitions for 2018!

1. Reach 1500 followers on Instagram
I did think about reducing that number slightly so it's easier and if I exceed it then everything will be amazing. However, I'm going in to this year with so much new found confidence and better planning. To be honest, you've got to listen to the laws of attraction. If you're going to be negative and diminish your potential, you're only going to get negative results back. So i'm hoping if I go into 2018 with a positive mind and attitude, that I will get positive result back if i work for them. 

2. Add new products
I have SO many new ideas for products and I know realistically that they can't all be made and not just yet anyway. I have narrowed my list down to two maybe three new product releases this year. This doesn't mean only two new things though! I'm going to be branching into new product areas generally this year, aside from prints. However, I have many plans for different designs within those areas. I'm incredibly excited to add more products to my shop and to take on different challenges, so stay tuned for those!

3. Make 50-75 sales.
I'm currently at 7 sales since August 2017, which I don't think is too bad! Especially considering my only products are £15 and £25 a pop! I'm hopeful that with the addition of some new, slightly lower in price products, my sales will go up! I think 50 sales is a good target for 2018 and I am determined and more organised with a solid plan in order to make that happen. 

4. Do more creative networking.
Starting my Instagram page in March 2017 was a wonderful opportunity to grow my creative network and to get better at tons of things. Product photography, selling myself, marketing etc. Over the past year I have been able to meet so many lovely people through Instagram that I never would have been able to become friends with otherwise. People that have proven invaluable to me already, either through advice, support or just pure loveliness. I have bought my ticket to Blogtacular this year and I'm looking forward to attending my first one and getting to meet lots of lovely people!

5. Sell at my first market
I really want to sell at some markets this year even if they're small, local ones. With my new products in the pipeline, I feel like I will have enough stock and variety to be able to sell at some markets and have the potential to at least make my money back. I feel that markets are a great way to put yourself out there and I just want to feel the buzz of selling something in person and seeing people's reactions to my work.

6. SELF CARE
As well as being really ambitious and motivated to grow my business and do so much creatively, I need to be better at taking time to relax and do things for myself. I'm terrible at sitting and doing nothing i.e. watching a film or something on TV longer than half an hour, without having a pen and paper in my hand. It's physically a struggle for me to not be doing my artwork for long periods. Quite often things that I need to do like take long baths or exercise or read, get pushed to the side to make time for my art. This I plan to do less of this year. This is the year for me. Both career wise and personally.

That's it! Let me know if you have any goals for 2018 and what they are. I'd love to see what you plan to get up to this year!

Elle

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Dots And Ink Pots Round Up

Now that Christmas has been and gone, the end of the year is right upon us! So I thought it would be fitting to write a little re-cap of my personal and business events that have happened so far. I only opened my business on the 1st August this year, so not quite a year review, more like a 5 month one. However, I thought it would be nice to look back on in a couple of years time as my business grows.

First Sale
In August, one of my moon prints made my first ever sale, something which I didn't even think was possible. It's always daunting to start big ventures like this, let alone put your previously private work out in the open for people to look at and buy. I'm sure that I will have down days at some point, where I feel that my work is not good enough and that I should just give it all up. This is when I'm hoping I can look back at this blog post and show myself the things I've achieved. Someone does think that my work is worth purchasing and I am worthy of doing the things that I love.

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7 sales and 15 prints.
By the end of 2017, I increased my stock of prints to 15, from starting at 5. This may only seem like a small jump up, but I get my artwork professionally printed and so stocking up with 20 copies per piece can be fairly costly. Then you have to have actually finished all the pieces, which for a pointillism artist can be quite time consuming! Not that I'm complaining or asking for sympathy,  but I am simply proving to myself that I have actually done a lot of work this past half a year. It's easy to constantly pressure yourself into working and feeling as though you could have always done more. This is something that I am particularly bad at and I always begrudge having time off, so this is me telling myself that I actually did a great job this year.

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Two pieces auctioned for charity
I created two original Alice In Wonderland themed pointillism pieces that were to be auctioned off in a charity fundraising night for The Beau Halo Trust. I personally didn't expect them to raise too much, however I later found out that they raised almost £300! I was flabbergasted and as well as being thrilled that this wonderful charity had received a generous donation for my work, it was also a personal victory to me.  I took it as a sign that what I am doing and the style and path I am taking is the right one.

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First Creatives Meet
Back in September, I attended my first creatives meet up in Cambridge as part of the Cambridge Creatives Photowalk organised by ClaireAbelleMakes and Sunshine Jo. I did blog about the experience if you want to read about in more detail; the blog is a couple of posts back. Despite being incredibly nervous, I had the most wonderful time and really enjoyed meeting other creatives and taking in the beautiful sights of Cambridge. I also got to finally meet Claire and Jo after being friends on Instagram for a good while. Being accepted by other established creatives also really helped improve my confidence in my self and my work. 

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First Commission
Just this month, I have taken on my first commission! Yay! I am hoping to take on more commissions next year so this is an exciting time for Dots HQ! This first commission is of a family cat, with another commission in the works to follow it! Commissioned work is hard to price for pointillism pieces, as the time taken depends on colourings of the piece etc. I am hoping with these first commissions to be able to work out time and pricing relatively quickly, so stay tuned for updates on commission availability!

Ticked off three countries, three counties and one state
Lastly, I have been able to tick off 3 countries (England, Wales, USA), 3 UK counties (Kent, Norfolk, Hampshire) and 1 state (Texas). I got bought a scratch map for Christmas which I am going to use to scratch off each country I send a piece of my work to. I am excited to start ticking off some more countries in 2018 and see how far I can go!


Thank you for supporting my business in any way, shape or form this year.
I am so excited to see what 2018 brings for me and my business.

See you in 2018!
Elle x
 

 

 

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Indie Christmas Challenge 2017
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Hello everyone!
Christmas is just around the corner! Yes, I said it! 
Now, I don't know about you but I love thinking of presents for people WAY in advance. I guess I'm a big present giver. I just love thinking of and finding the perfect presents for people, something that they may not have seen or thought of before and seeing their face light up when they open it. 

I always try to shop small where I can as I think the gifts are more unique and personal than those you find in high street stores. So this year, I am making it my goal to shop ENTIRELY from small independent businesses. Whether they are from the business' own websites or sites like NOTHS or Etsy, I am aiming to source everything from presents to wrapping paper to cards and decorative extras from them.

This will be the first time I have done something like this and to this extent before and I am quite excited. I am confident that I will be able to source wonderful and unique gifts that will help to fund small independent businesses and their owners. Being a small business owner myself, I now understand the importance of valuing a person's work and how much those sales actually mean to them. This is why I am encouraging as many people as possible to do the same as I am and shop small this Christmas. After Christmas, I will make a follow up blog post showing you everything I bought, where I bought it from, pricing and the reactions and comments from the recipients of the gifts. I will also be sharing my own put together gift guides for the prompts which I am about to share! In order to encourage other people to shop small this Christmas, I have created a social media photo prompt challenge to spread festive cheer and inspiration.

The Challenge:
Every Friday from the 17th November to the 15th December will be prompt day!
On each Friday, write a blog post or share an Instagram, Facebook or Twitter post or story, that highlights your #FestiveFridayFinds for that day's prompt.

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Friday 17th November: Personalised Gifts
Friday 24th November: Wrapping and Cards
Friday 1st December: Gifts for the Home
Friday 8th December: Unusual Gifts
Friday 15th December: Last Minute Stocking Fillers

You can either share your own products that fit the prompt or choose to share other indie business owners and their products, or both! It's entirely up to you. Don't just post for these prompts, it's important to go through the hashtag and find new businesses and get your own inspo for Christmas shopping. Like posts, leave comments on new found gifts you love and even get tagging friends and family members in the comments for not so subtle present hints!

I am hoping that this challenge will encourage people who don't think that they'll be able to find good handmade gifts for their friends and family or that it'll be more expensive to shop small, to actually explore the depths of handmade websites and shop small this Christmas. I hope that it will also allow small businesses to see what other small businesses have to offer and to bring their products to a wider range of people this Christmas.

If you want to join the challenge too, use the hashtags #FestiveFridayFinds and #IndieChristmas2017 share about it on social media and see how much variety there is available to freshen up and personalise your gifts this festive season. If you want to tag me, please do as I would love to see what treasures you all find and how the challenge goes for you all! I am @dotsandinkpots on all social media.

Elle x