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Covered in Grey Hares

WOW, six months since my last blog and haven't things changed! I have been so busy

landscaping the garden, decorating the cottage (photo of new but unfinished kitchen) and creating new ranges. Etsy has been very busy which has been amazing. I have been sending out a lot of gift wrapped things whilst families have been separated and spent a month retaking all of my Etsy listings photographs.

At the start of the year I investing in these metal pins of my logo. I made lots of lavender filled robins and attached them to their tails. I wanted to send out a free gifty that was worth keeping, and I thought that a gift worth keeping needed my name on it, a little like the Steiff bears! It was a spectacular decision as the robins have been very well received. I never pay for advertising as I cannot stand adverts being forced on me, but to create such joy by sending out these robins with their posh little tags has been really great. I am sooo pleased I took the plunge with the pins!

With so much of my Stuff being sent out to forever homes I found I needed to increase my stock.

I have so many new creative ideas there just isn't the time to make everything. I was very excited when I found some new wool that changed texture and colour along it's length, and so I created a whole new range of birdies. The new wool is very expensive so I decided to use it just on the birdies chest where the full effect of it's uniqueness can be appreciated. My local wool shop also had some new wool of outstanding colours and again, even though the wool was very expensive the birdies are quite exquisite with a whole new colour depth I have been trying to create for years.

This particular birdie (on the left) is the listing I have entered in the Etsy Design Awards this month. I could not believe it but after spending two months completely revamping and perfecting my Etsy shop to compliment the classy new ranges I was developing, this competition was announced. I couldn't believe my luck as I submitted my entry on just the 3rd day of a month long window, showing that my shop needed no adjustment to be competition ready. At the time I entered the competition my shop had never been so active, with lots and lots of beautiful 5* reviews (thank you to all the kind folk who took time to write one), several returning customers (again, thank you so much) and many gift wrapped orders and commissions that are wonderful creative outlets.

As we head into July the daunting task of harvesting lavender is upon me. These lavender sceptre's have been really popular and I had to use the last of my lavender from last summer to make another batch. They are amazing to make, really simple now I have mastered the stems so the string stays straight. Creatively, I think these are one of the most unique things I might ever make. They are so strong and very long filled with about 100 long stemmed lavenders. The craftsmanship is really neat as I kept the construction process really simple. A classic example of less is more!

As these have a potential to be in great demand, I have taken on another garden this year. Three years ago I noticed all the lavender bushes being hacked away and dumped on the compost. I ran a Facebook page asking if anyone in the local villages would like their lavender hand pruned and weeded in exchange for the flowers. I also make gifts to say thanks using the lavender.

I had a great response and each summer I get in touch with my Lavender Guardians to see how the flowers are doing. In an ideal summer I harvest at a crucial time just as the bees start to loose interest and before the flowers start to dry and fall off. The bushes have to be dry or the stems will rot. Just as last summer was a collection of constant rain showers, this year is proving to be just as awkward. The lavender is nearly ready, but the weather is too damp to harvest. The perfect time to cut is first thing on a warm, dry day which was never a problem when I had just one garden (2 mornings work). This year I have an extra 3 mornings of harvesting and so I am really concerned right now as to whether we'll get 8 dry days on the trot! If I get the harvest wrong I jeopardize most of my Stuff! Tense times!

I have increased my card listings by creating a whole new 'love from bunny' range, to include 'Hoppy Christmas and a binkie zoomies New Year', Hoppy Doe Day and Hoppy Buck Day (all still in production). I also have a plan for 'from the Easter Bunny 'card! The tree designs below have been specifically designed for those who don't celebrate Christmas but have friends or family who do. It's my pagan tree design sneakily hidden within traditional stars and snowflakes!

Below are three cards designed with alternative weddings in mind. They are Spring, Summer and Autumn wedding cards that come with a choice of classic wedding colour bows. They are blank inside so perfect for any pretty occasion.

It has been a busy, exciting, creative year so far, totally unaffected by the lockdown fiasco, mainly because I haven't watched a single news item, heard the radio or seen a newspaper, as is the norm. The garden is stunning, the house is nearly decorated and my Etsy shop is steaming ahead as quick as my giant sunflowers are growing (2 inches a day when it's sunny. They grew 14ft last year!). It has been nice to write this blog, recapping the successes of the last six months. Believe it or not, it is time to start making Christmas cards. I know it is only July but they sell quicker than I can make them from October to December. Here's a thought...8 weeks and mince pies will be back in the shops....if the shops are open!

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