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Spring has Sprung

It has been ages since I wrote a blog because to be honest there hasn't been much going on of any interest. [EDIT: having finished writing this blog, I think there has been so much going on I've not had time to think of blog topics!] Now that the clocks have gone forward and the nights are longer and warmer the pace in the garden has kicked up a notch. Last year I did major landscaping and moved so many plants about, its going to be a mystery and surprise as stuff starts to flower. It could go either way, it may look a mess or absolutely fabulous!

The must awaited hyacinths that I pains takingly planted in Autumn have been well worth the effort. It turned out I was very allergic to them as they are very toxic and remember getting a feeling on my skin like I'd been rolling in nettles. Anyway, all that is forgotten now and their colours have filled the garden and the scent is fabulous. Paul's bees have been busy collecting pollen and have already got honey stores in their hive. The bees were the main reason for planting so many spring bulbs, and we have seen them going crazy on the Pussy Willow, their little bodies covered in yellow pollen.

Great news, our pheasant is back! This is the third Spring he has called by and is so tame now Paul hand feeds him. He walks about as we garden and knows where the mealworms are stored in the brown wheelie bin. You know when he's happy as he makes little grunting noises. The baby Blackbird from last summer has come back and made her nest really close to the house. She still comes when she hears the mealworm tub and often sits on the bird table outside the kitchen window staring into the house. If we see her, it means she'll meet us at the back door for a raison or two.

I had a big plan for this year and so far it has turned out just right. I had decided to have two full months off this summer to work on the garden. By the end of January I had finished decorating the lounge and bathroom, though there are lots of wooden floor and wall tiles to make to finish the rooms. These jobs will have to wait till Autumn now as we enter 'The Outdoor Season'. Now that the cottage is painted and wallpapered it is really starting to feel like an old, rural, working home. When Michelangelo worked on projects he lived in a corner of the studio he was working in and it's not so different here. Every work surface seems to have a 'work in progress' on it and don't be surprised to find a paintbrush in the cutlery jar!

For every rainbow need, these come in white, light grey or milky coffee for a vintage feel

In order to spend the summer in the garden, I knew I would have to ensure I had fully restocked my Etsy shop. I spent all of February stripping dried lavender to make Herby Birdie bodies. I had real difficulty getting some wool supplies so the colour range wasn't too varied. I eventually sourced another wool supplier with a huge range of exciting colours, and I ended up making another huge batch of birdies. Finding the new wool shop online is a total god-send as their range is quite phenomenal. I have even had to start a sample board so I can reorder repeat colours. With a room full of brand new, fabulous coloured wool I spent all of March making Drafties.

My pom pom draft excluders sold like crazy last Christmas:

If you are thinking of purchasing something from Cat... just do it! I bought this draft excluder as a housewarming present for my new house mate. I didn't even need to wrap it because it was presented so beautifully! It also came with lots of other surprises which was very heart warming. The excluder is so fun and suits my housemate wonderfully, and of course is a great draft excluder. Thank you Cat for a wonderful gift and I definitely will be purchasing from your shop again. * * * * *

Etsy review

My Drafties take 7 hours to make and so I knew I would have to have plenty made in advance of the coming Winter. If last year was anything to go by, there simply wouldn't be enough time to make Drafties. what with all the pom pom commissions and parcel packing to do. Although it is only March, it is the only time in the year I have to make the Drafties. After June and July in the garden and August hand-harvesting lavender. my first making job in September would be to stock up all the Festive cards and before you know it, we would be in the peak of the Festive Chaos.

After two days of glorious Mediterranean sunshine at the very end of March, it is now turning nippy again. I have been flat out sowing seeds, potting on seedlings and weeding the garden. The greenhouse is full as is the it's going to be a challenge to find somewhere to plant everything!! All the rainy days in April will be spent making more drafties and then May is all about drawing.

When I do my card designs and hand-drawn stones, I have to do them all at the same time. It usually takes me a week of doodling before my creative juices are flowing and my hand has got used to drawing. I had water coloured a load of card backgrounds on Winter Solstice back in December and they now need the overlay of drawn ink to make them into this seasons card designs. I am really excited as I have a new 'rune' font which I'm hoping will be spectacular for my cards.

I also found some fabulous fonts that perfectly matched my brand and so all of February was spent re-writing all of my little tags, revamped compliment slips and other stationery. I designed little cards that get sent out with an order:

  • 'Thank you for your Ebay order'- directs folks to my Etsy shop for a bigger range and various extras

  • 'Helpful pom pom hints'- suggests ways to fluff up unpacked various pom Stuff

  • 'About the Lavender'- details how, where and when I hand harvest the lavender

  • 'Helpful hints for wax seals'- explains in detail the best way to use the wax seal stamped envelopes.

It may only be the start of April, but the year has been very busy and looking ahead there isn't much time unallocated to a task. I have learnt that being very well prepared, planning the year meticulously and sticking to tight deadlines and schedules means all I have to do is follow my plan and all should run smoothly. I feel most fortunate that the garden is busiest in late Spring and Etsy is busiest in early Winter. I could never live in the southern hemisphere where Spring and Etsy would clash. The anguish of the lavender harvest in September is a concern all year long as all sorts can go wrong. I think the fact I am relying on new people to let me know when their lavender is ready this year means the whole thing is out of my control and I can only relax once it is all hanging in the drying shed. Due to the demand of my lavender wands I have had to find as much long stem lavender that I can find and will be shadowing a local gardener who will give me a call when he has lavender to trim. It is all starting to become quite a big operation, but as I said at the very beginning, Cat's Punky Stuff will only ever be a small cottage business as I do everything myself. Paul is a great hand doing little jobs and runs the post every day. I would like to think by this time next year Cat's Punky Stuff will be as big as it can be!

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