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CHRISTMAS IS A SEASON One of my favourite films to watch at Christmas is Miracle on 34th Street, it provokes your emotions, entices you into a world you never knew you needed to be a part of and asks you the question “Do you believe?” I find Christmas to be one of the most joyous times of my year, and it has been made more so with the addition of my children. My husband quite rightly said whilst working that “My wife is already thinking about Christmas” and this was in September - but he’s right. Christmas to me is a season not just one day. Christmas is a time of celebration but also a time to reflect and remember. Christmas is a time to gather, to have fun and to eat lots of not so good for you food. Christmas is a time of laughter, of reunion and friendship. It’s also a time where you swap out all the CD’s in your car and bring in the Christmas tunes, you get out the Christmas DVD’s or maybe watch Christmas 24....all the time! Christmas is about preparing; whether that be gifts, food, plans to gather, and also preparing for the new year and thinking about what that might bring. But above all I find that the season of Christmas has a little bit of magic, not the airy fairy, Harry Potter kind, but a true inner, deep down magic that brings joy, hope, love and peace into people lives & homes. Random acts of kindness are more frequent, people slow down and we reflect on what we see around us more. Perhaps for you, Christmas isn’t all these things and all these feelings; so you Christmas might be a reminder of great loss, stress, strain and fear. I can’t say that I understand, but what I want you to know is that I believe in the magic of Christmas and that I can share it with you. Perhaps you know someone who needs a little gift, a little kindness, a little visit or a little bit of love this Christmas? Can you go and share this magical season with them? And to all who have read this far; I hope you enjoy the second edition of Created . Believe in the Magic of Christmas!

Photo source; Unsplash by Bridget Bartos

THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE BECOMING A DESIGNER As time goes on I tend to spend a few days, sometimes weeks, looking back on the year around September time. September is my birthday month and the start of the school year and it always felt like a reset time; and still does. This year I have been looking back on my business and making a few changes to how I do stuff in the future, including value/worth, working practices and client vs designer relationship. So let’s talk about worth first… After being challenged to up my prices at the start of the year, I set to with doing research as to what the average hourly rate was for a graphic designer with my experience and expertise. I was surprised by the cohesion across the most popular 1st world nations that most people said between £25-£45 an hour and an average corporate employee wage of £24k. And then I dug a little deeper and looked

into fellow designers who work for some of the largest companies in the world; people like Apple, Disney, Netflix and Nike; on average they pay their freelance & consulting designers between £150£300 per hour and an average wage of £45k+ – in fact some designers were walking away with £10£20 k PER PROJECT! Having worked at a measly £10-£15 per hour for almost 10 years, I immediately re-evaluated my worth and put my hourly rate up. And whereas in the past I would negotiate down, this hourly rate is now fixed. Part of my worth journey this year has not just been about numbers but also about overcoming the imposter syndrome by being brave, bold, courageous and most of all, being a flippin’ good designer! How I changed my working practices One of the biggest changes this year is making retainers a priority and sealing deals with a fixed term contract deal. This wasn’t something I would lean on heavily in the past but I made a decision that this is where I wanted to take Peanut. I have also decided on my ideal target market and am building up strategies and services to cater to those people rather than being a jack of all trades and a master of none. I have honed my skill set to who I can help, guide and coach the most efficiently and have the biggest impact on. The last change in working practice has come in recent weeks, where I have applied two new payment strategies. 1) An upfront payment will always be required to secure work and 2) Late payment charges will be applied. Maybe one day I will give specifics on these but for now I will leave it to your imagination to figure out why. Client & Designer relationship This has probably been the hardest part of the whole year; I have plenty of experience working for people who I see face to face on a regular basis, lots of meetings or conversations in person, but this past 2 years has thrown that into a bit of a spin and more and more client relationships have been via email; I have had some via video calling and I will come to that later

Here’s a shocking thought; no design is right for every project! And sometimes walking away from a project is better for everyone. There are also times you complete a project and you just know that isn’t going anywhere near your portfolio and sometimes you want to shout it out from the rooftops but the client drops your whole project. This can leave you feeling pretty rubbish and a bit despondent. But these are the times I have learnt that making sure you and your client are on the same wavelength throughout the whole project or retainer is VITAL to a good working relationship; even if it means you have to have hard discussions about money, excessive time usage, late responses, half finishes projects that need completing or paying for….so many things. So Let’s chat…This is so important. I find talking with clients about who they are, their business, how it started, what and why they are passionate about something and even finding out their favourite colour and favourite hobby means I understand them more and we build a strong foundation to work with. Sometimes just knowing what colour a clients likes means you will avoid certain colours in your design process, which knocks on the head a possible stumbling block. Knowing a clients favourite hobby tells you about their personality; are they quiet, shy, or extroverted and social. It all plays a role in the client and designer relationship. Unrealistic expectations As a designer I have the knowledge to understand the design process for each of my services and I have a good idea of how long it will take, the process and conversations needed to get it done; my client does not. Honest communication is key when establishing a new relationship. There have been times where I have agreed a price and then worked triple its value. Or when I have offered a lower price to help someone out and the project takes far too many twists and turns and takes four times as long as you had imagined.

This is because unrealistic expectations from the client and from the designer clash and cause chaos in the middle. Setting out a play by play for a client who needs to understand the process, the cost involved and the time it takes and what the extra costs will be for stepping out of those expectations are vital to having a successful outcome. Design isn’t a one way street Becoming a graphic designer these days is a tough old market to get into. There are times when I see job descriptions and think “You need 3 people to fulfil that role”. Knowing your strengths and learning to swim in your lane is key to your success. It will not be easy, you will get rejection, push backs and heartache, but it will come good in the end because you will become and expert in that field and your value will be immense. Define your purpose as a designer There have been times over the past decade plus that I have lost my purpose, lost who I am as a designer and been dictated to by circumstance, desperation, need for experience and made bad choices. Here it ends. I know the designer I am, I know my strengths and I am going to work to those strengths. I believe in what I am doing and defining who I am isn’t limiting me, it’s liberating me! If you are a designer just starting out, make sure you stick to your guns, make clear and realistic goals but then also have dreams, big ones, and keep reaching for those too. At the end of the day there is only ONE you! So be you…everyone else is taken! ~ Laura Murray @ Peanut Designs

Photo source; Unsplash by Ben White

For over 30 years the AlphaOmega Corporation has guided its citizens into the best of the future. With our leading personal assistant we’ve been able to diagnose illnesses earlier; solve murders faster and identify emotional instability more accurately than any other government or social guardianship in the world. That means AlphaOmega citizens are the healthiest, safest and most cared for people. But that’s only a fraction of what we do. Today I introduce you to our new bio-enhanced artificial intelligence. It’s a personal assistant unlike anything you’ve seen before. Creating sentient AI is the dream of every tech firm and corporation. To be the first to design an artificial intelligence that can feel, perceive and care about its human master is a dream I’ve held my whole career. But, for a long time we all believed it was impossible. I stand on this stage to tell you It. Is. Possible. All thanks to a missing ingredient no-one had considered before. The human soul. And I’m going to show you how. When the ai is attached to your Synthmark it becomes bio-enhanced. That means the ai uses your being and biology to enhance its programming and processing. Everything from your DNA to the rhythm of your heart beat. The way you smell, the hormones in your blood. The way you think. The things you feel, not just physically but also emotionally. The data from your whole essence of life is fed into our artificial intelligence core and that drives the sentience of your personal ai. This gives each AI its own quirks and personality. You can modify the personality of your ai to an extent but the baselines are set by your physiology and psychology. In order to store your personal assistant each person must have a liquid memory core installed in their blood. Our latest versions come with atomic node processing which allows for local storage and processing of your AI. Cloud options are available for users without a liquid core and for out of body backup. AlphaOmega continues to lead our citizens into the light. Welcome to the future.

“At the beginning of 2021 I launched Synthmark which is a collection of short stories I’ve written and I’m continuing to write. I’m doing it for fun and because I need a focused creative outlet” ~ Nathan Smith

Photo source; Unsplash by Jonathan Meyer


“People who do a job that claims to be creative have to be alone to recharge their batteries. You can’t live 24 hours a day in the spotlight and remain creative. For people like me, solitude is a victory.” ~ Karl Lagerfeld It’s no secret to anyone that we live in a fast paced and driven world. A world where everything is instant. Major retailers have developed the ability to deliver within 24 hours of the order being placed, food outlets can have your meal on your doorstep within an hour and it’s possible to get your coffee delivered in minutes! I really believe it’s the biggest inhibitor and would even go so far as to say a killer of creativity. It takes great discipline to come away from the craziness of “life” to sit and reflect. Yet before we can create art we must create space, because space creates rest and rest can create space. Part of my business is to help people to create space for themselves but the stories I hear about the guilt they feel because they take time out for themselves are all too common. Why is that? Our mental health is suffering because we’ve forgotten how to “breathe” Around 80% of us are shallow chest breathers. This means we never get the rich oxygen to the deeper parts of our lungs which in turn can lead to stress and anxiety. A simple 5 minute break of quietness and really focussing on our breathing can combat tiredness, and will help to ease overworked tense neck and shoulder muscles that compensate to get the oxygen deeper into our lungs.

But what of creative breathing? Have you ever been for a walk in a city and looked up? I remember when a former place of work moved into an old part of our city in Hull. It was steeped in history and I remember looking up one day and being blown away by the architecture that I’d never noticed before, simply because I’d always been rushing and had my head down. Creative breathing gives us the opportunity to soak in what’s around us in order to release what’s within us. Michelangelo the famous sculpture and artist said of his art “: Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free” He took the time to look and saw what he needed to do. In order for us to see, we have to take time away from distractions. Take a walk, read a book, watch. a film, sit in a church, listen to a different genre of music to what you write. I love classical music and it inspires me and I “see” creatively when I listen to it. Go to the beach, walk by a river, sit by a lake and observe people. These moments of space will develop and deepen your creativity. Self care is imperative. It’s not all about baths, massages and spa days as lovely as those things are. Self care is an attitude that leads to healthy actions and decisions. It’s not selfish. We can’t give away what we don’t have. So if you’re feeling the creative burn out and you’ve lost the joy perhaps it’s time to set your own “angel” free by calving out some time to reset and refresh and fall in love with creation and the simplicity of life again! What will you do today to make that happen? ~ Angie Lendon

Photo source; Unsplash by Matthias Cooper

This morning as I stood by the car getting fuel (what a relief) I definitely felt a chill in the air. Autumn has finally arrived. This is one of my favourite times of year, watching the summer fade, with a few sunny days in between the rainy days, and seeing the leaves begin to fall and the colours change. With each day I can see things changing into the spectacular that autumn always brings with its sunshine through the sunburst colours in the trees and the cooler air - I always look forward to the day I feel I need a scarf! It’s also the time of year to sort the garden out. After the summer blooms have faded

and everything is looking a big long and leggy it’s time to get the garden winter ready. I spent some time today getting the weeds out of the borders and putting in some nice

autumnal looking pansies. I have also spent some time this week cutting back a couple of

the bushes in the front garden. It is quite a satisfying feeling when you step back and can see where you’ve been working.

Psalm 34 v 8 says Taste and see that the Lord is good. We are encouraged to take stock, to taste, to see and in doing so we WILL see God’s goodness.There are three things that I have spent time doing over these last few days that I felt were also essential for us in daily life and in our faith life.

Pruning - sometimes we have to cut things back in order to see the goodness that is

within or beneath. It can be like this in our relationship with God; we have to allow him to prune us and cut things back in order to reveal the goodness in our lives. We can become overgrown with how heavy life can be that we don’t take time to see the goodness of God that is in our lives.

Pulling out - as I was clearing out the border I wasn’t only pulling out weeds but also pulled out some old and weary plants that have lived their best lives and need

replacing. Maybe you feel like this is something you need to do in your life - maybe in the natural and the spiritual. There is something really satisfying about having a good clear out! Seeing empty boxes that you’ve cleared out and bags full of things to get rid off.

Planting -

when we have cut things back and pulled out the old it’s time to plant

new! We have made room for something new to grow, flourish and thrive. As I planted the new pansies I can see them from my kitchen window and I am reminded of the changes that have been made.

In the coming days and weeks take some time to prune; take stock, cut back and see the

goodness of God in your life, maybe you need to pull some things out and have a good clear out; allow God to help you clear out spiritually, and then when you’ve done that there will be room for something new and exciting from God. Then you will be able to truly taste and see the goodness of God.

~ Sarah Lee


Photo source; Unsplash by Brigitte Tohm


Calling all dreamers. All fantasy lovers. Calling the ones who sit and doodle; The ones who write. Calling all who build their own worlds; Who imagine stories, And the ones who picture a multiverse of opportunity. This is your time. Not only now, But also in the years to come. So don’t stress. Don’t fret if life doesn’t happen as you imagine, Or the story feels too big and hides from the page you’re writing.

~ Nathan Smith

Photo source; Unsplash by JR Korpa

It’ll come. There is a time for everything. It’ll come. Keep dreaming. Keep doodling. Keep writing. Be the master of your own world. Create races. Plan cities. Draw maps. Build a place you don’t just belong; You rule.

peanut merch

Photo source; Unsplash by Annie Spratt

WAYS TO PROMOTE YOUR CHURCH THIS CHRISTMAS HERE’S A FEW IDEAS TO PROMOTE YOUR CHURCH THIS CHRISTMAS USING THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA. • Social Media is your biggest platform for promotion. Make sure you have a Facebook page & Instagram account. These are the main platforms. And if you want to push the boat out a bit, get a Twitter account too – most of your church congregation will connect with you through these platforms so it’s a quick and easy way to get your information to your people. • Create a Facebook Event – by creating a Facebook Event, you can find out a rough idea of how many people are interested in coming to your event, it’s not a full commitment but it will help you. You can also update interested parties in any changes or additional information they need without Photo source; Canva

posting all over your normal social media

accounts. And then make sure you share the event on your main Facebook Page.

• Lights outside your building – Got a fence? Windows facing the streets? Try addition twinkle lights or shaped light displays like a Star – it

• Ask your congregation to share your event or social media posts on their accounts – helps

shows your are alive and kicking and attracts people to look inside.

to get the word out. They will become your Virtual Street Team.

• Pull Up Banners – using the same designs for social media and/or printed promotion, get some

• Make sure you post daily – yes daily – about

professionally design pull up banners with your

the event. The more you promote the

theme graphics to put up in your Welcome area

more people see. Don’t be nervous about

and/or on the stage area in your main hall.

“overkill” – there’s no such thing! • Ask local papers to run an advert for your event, put posters up in local shops, do a flyer drop in houses around your church building and the area.

TECHNOLOGY IDEAS Whatever projection you use for song words, why not have have Themed Graphics as high resolution screen designs. Include: Welcome, Thanks for coming, Time for Giving and maybe a blank one you

PREPARING YOUR CHURCH FOR CHRISTMAS When thinking about what you need inside your Church building for Christmas, there is the aesthetics to think about but also the technology side. Aesthetics Ideas • A Christmas tree – think about how you can put up a small or large Christmas Tree somewhere in your main hall. It creates a warming and welcoming atmosphere. • Wreaths or Garlands – these are simple and effective additions to add around your space. One on your welcome area perhaps, just adds a little festivities. • A Nativity Scene – these can be really creative, so think outside the box. Try not to go traditional, see what’s around and go rogue.

can use to add Bible verses and song lyrics. Keeps everything looking professional. Using the idea of the Theme Graphics, if you are doing a sermon series, use the screens and add titles so people can follow along with your series. Spread the themed graphics across all your online platforms, videos and podcast graphics. What next? Peanut Designs can help you achieve your Christmas promotion goals this year. Why not check out the Christmas Church Package I have on offer, there’s something for everyone. From a simple conversation, to coaching, to designing everything for you.


Photo source; Unsplash by Tijana Drndarski

“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, Courage for the present & hope for the future.” ~ AGNES M. PAHRO

Photo source; Unsplash by Eugenivy


With the Christmas season now upon us and Christmas lights already up in shopping centres, market places, towns and homes, I am reminded of the amazing light that is around us, within us, and that we share with one another. Light is all around us. We have lights in our homes, lights on the streets, lights in our cars, even our phones have lights sometimes. Without light we would be unable to see. The same truth can be said about Jesus. He is the Light of the World. He came as a babe, the word made flesh, and on that night, when darkness gripped the world, the brightest star in the sky brought forth the Morning Star whose purpose was to shine brighter than the shadows that linger, and to force the darkness that stirred to be banished, reflecting the words spoken in the beginning; ‘Let there be light’. This season of thankfulness, joy, love, peace, gratitude, remembering, smiling, meditating, tears, reflection and hope, should be a season of the greatest light. This light should not come from a fuse box or a match box, but it should be brought forth by each of us. When the star that shone and brought the lowest and the highest to kneel before a King yet unknown, it released hope and peace into the hearts of those that bowed down and worshipped this gift of glorious light. We are here, celebrating our Saviour’s coming, but with all the hustle and bustle that awaits us, when work goes on, life’s rapid pace continues and Christmas Day itself seems to get shorter and shorter, just remember that this babe, born into a dark world, then died to bring forth an even greater light, a light that would never go out, that no switch could turn off. Jesus proclaimed that ‘You are the light of the world’ Do not hide your light under a bushel, do not see your self as insignificant, do not see your life as meaningless or worthless, for within you is the light of the Lord of lords, whom no darkness can overtake. Within you is the light that causes fear to diminish, the light that causes the lost to be found, the light that brings hope, joy, life, love and warmth. There Is A Light…you are that light…. but WILL YOU SHINE? ~ Spoken Word - The Ant Lee Band Facebook | Twitter | Instagram @peanut_designs #CreatedMag Be featured:

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