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Mother Nature and Father Time

There has been a noticeable change in the weather this week, with a nip in the air when I am out first thing feeding the birds. The house sparrows have disappeared, as they sometimes do and the tree sparrows have taken their place. House sparrows shout and fight with each other, spending most of their day being angry, whereas the tree sparrows are a little community where it's all for one and one for all! It's fascinating to notice their different habits. Our baby robin now has a bright, rusty orange breast, readying himself to star in classic wintry scenes.

I plant to encourage bees and butterflies and I noticed this old butterfly basking in probably his last sun rays, battered and damaged and of a faded colour. It bought home the realisation that the year was starting to close down for winter which for a crafter, as with many folk, means we are heading towards the mayhem that is the festive period. I have a passionate dislike for Christmas in the normal sense and so ensure the primary ethos of all my festive stuff is to be alternative and aesthetic as possible.

This festive season's handmade pom pom baubles are all inspired by the height of summer; rich, clover filled, unmown grass, the inside of our beehive and the lack of blue skies this summer inspired the frosty blue bauble. Whilst these colours stretch the tradition of Christmas it is still easy to see snowy pine forests, Christmas puddings and the chill of a snowy, frosty day. These baubles are exclusive to the craft shop, Fairy Crafters in Woodhall Spa and my Facebook page and I wonder who will see a summer lawn and who will see a snowy pine tree! Just a little note: the brown baubles are the most beautiful things I have ever made, the colours are quite exquisite, so rich and earthly. There will be a whole range of Stuff in these colours in the following few weeks!

If there was a colour palette to best describe Cat's Punky Stuff this is it. These luxurious rustic shades represent the earthly tones of deep winter, archaic brick fireplaces radiating warmth whilst roasting chestnuts and the vibrancy of the surrounding, resting Fens. To many, the Fens just seem grey and dank in winter, but when you get up close and personal to them, you'll notice a full colour palette of berries, evergreens and winter crops. Traditional Saturnalia Pagan home decorations would have been those very same berries and evergreens which I think is the main reason I got so excited about these wools.

I know it is only September and still four months until the winter holidays, but as I have discussed before, crafters who are well prepared will have started thinking about the Christmas shopping frenzy back in July! Whilst I was studying butterflies, planting to attract hoverflies and admiring my 14 ft sunflowers, (you can see Paul stood in amongst them!), I was also making cinnamon scented robins. In October I will be drawing and designing next years Valentines whilst eating mince pies and on Winter Solstice I will design the following year's festive designs, which just last year became an essential tradition.

These two designs were drawn and coloured on Winter Solstice last year. Digitally, the true colours are lost, but in the flesh they are coloured with every shade of grey there is! To say these two designs have captured the hues of the moon is an understatement. It may have been the power of the moon, or my excited expectation of the outcome, or even the Law of Attraction, 'ask and it's given', but whatever the influence, these two designs have colours as if plucked from the stars themselves. For a long time I have researched the power of the moon. Knowing that this satellite influences the tides it is natural that the moon would have an influence on us monkeys. Humans are made up of 60% water and current research has shown plants and animals do react differently during a full moon. Gardening by a lunar calendar is something I have dabbled in this year, but it has been tricky doing set tasks on certain days with such a big garden and so much to do. Next year I am going to do an experiment with two seedlings. One I will tend to according to the moon's cycle and the other I will do the opposite of the first. If however the non-lunar plant starts to look sick, I will have to stop the experiment.

Cream rose watercolour

Gardening and crafting are very similar in regards to advanced planning needed for success. Unpredictable failures, surplus to requirements and knowledge not yet learnt can mean an idea may have to wait for the following year, or hours of preparation and effort may not produce even a seedling. My garden and my crafts do go hand in hand and I do spend 80% of my woken time on either. When I have a dry spell of creative ideas, a walk around the garden soon gets the arty, crafty juices flowing. Likewise I may come across something inspirational in the garden which will be incorporated into a crafted piece. Just like I am ready for Christmas, my spring bulbs are on their way

and next years summer plants have been ordered. When you are always thinking four months ahead of time the passing year is only noticeable with autumnal changing colour of leaves, Wintry dark afternoons, warming Spring sunshine on bare skin and hot, sultry nights of Midsummer.

It sometimes feels like time passing has no real meaning. Whilst Father Time can really mess with your mind, Mother Nature makes sure she tickles all our senses so in one way or another we notice the passing of time with an effortless, flowing ease. Mother Nature has such power she dexterously controls Father Time. He has to work to her clock, after all, Mother is always right!

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