Summer Solstice

stonehenge solsticeWhen I first came back to England in summer as an adult, I was surprised (almost shocked) at how late it stayed light here. 33.8 latitude to 51.5 latitude is a much bigger difference to the daylight hours than I had realised, even if I had been aware of how short the winter days were from childhood visits here at Christmas time. The equinoxes and solstices are not necessarily something one notices and only a small number of people actually observe them, but the gradual changes are certainly noticed.

newgrange solsticeThe pictures here are Stonehenge (top) and Newgrange (above) at Summer Solstice time. I have been lucky enough to visit both in person (although not at solstice time). To have walked where people have walked for thousands of years fills me with a sense of awe when I think about it. I admire that despite their lack of technology at the time, they had the ability to create buildings that have stood the test of time.

It is the longest day for us here in the northern hemisphere. Happy Litha to those who observe it.

How about capturing the sun, with one of these suncatcher pets for your plant pots, available from Didi Lou Crafts, at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DidiLouCrafts.

realistic bugs_tnfantasy bugs_tn

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Goal Setting

When I started Didi Lou Crafts I set a number of targets to reach, but I have found the timings of these things harder to predict and feel like I am running 3-6 months behind original estimates. I’ve achieved some goals already, Didi Lou Crafts has launched on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DidiLouCrafts and now has enough stock in hand (I hit 100 items this week!!!) and all the equipment needed to start doing craft fairs, so am looking at booking those. I visited a friend at her stall at a local fair yesterday to get a feel for the atmosphere. Thanks Diddy Things https://www.facebook.com/DiddyThings for the great welcome and advice.

The website is up and active with weekly general blog posts as well as news posts when there is news to share and Didi Lou Crafts is now posting on Facebook and pinning ideas on Pinterest. New targets include posting 5 new items to Etsy per week and building up some stock of smaller items suitable for fairs only, think stocking filler and party bag style items. Doing regular craft fairs should start to increase the sales, which is definitely a goal. Didi Lou Crafts will start to expand onto other social media sites where appropriate over the next 6 months. Didi Lou Crafts will also focus less on decorated boxes over the coming months, branching out into other products like hair clips and some sewn items. I also need to start thinking about halloween and christmas stock already.
christmas

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Outdoors

I have mixed feelings about outdoors. With my fair skin I need to be careful in the sun, but the British weather can be very unpredictable. Trampling in the rain, cold and wet and muddy or icy underfoot isn’t necessarily my idea of fun, but then neither is blistering heat, so I am very unlikely to be found on a beach in Spain in the middle of summer getting a tan, because I burn to a frizzle and then peel rather than take on a nice colour. I camped a lot in the past, but am less inclined to do so nowadays. My idea of a holiday abroad, if not visiting family, is to see historic sights and I have a list I am slowly working through, a bucket lists of sorts. I am far more likely to be found holidaying on our soil, with my mother, when she comes to visit and spending time with her crafting.

four_seasonsWalking in the countryside is good and I am slowly exploring places nearby, and revisiting ones I like. Some of the photos on my blog come from those trips out. I am not keen on being bitten by insects, but I do like being outside in the fresh air, particularly in non crowded spaces, like parks. Even just driving through the countryside is nice and I like to observe the contrasts of the seasons as I visit the same places again and again.

bulbsHaving grown up overseas, in a place where the vegetation was mostly evergreen, I still marvel at the change of seasons here. I like the crisp winter mornings with the mist enveloping the skeletons of trees, branches bare, and in some cases, the dense mass perched in the branches marking where birds nested the previous spring to raise and fledge their young. The first hints of spring come with the blooming of the snowdrops and then the slow transition of colours, one after another as time travels through crocuses, daffodils, tulips and bluebells, before the blossoms on fruit trees add patches of white and pink to the landscape. Now the leaves start to appear and not long afterwards the pollen. Stopping recently at a motorway services on a windy day, that pollen was very obvious, dancing in the breeze. Summer and the nights are longer, and more flowers bloom, now in a riot of colours. We have a buddleia bush in our garden and it is certainly earns its nickname, the butterfly bush, so many flittering over it. One of my favourites is to see the later summer poppies on the roadside. And then, almost suddenly, it creeps up on you, the green of the leaves fades into yellows, oranges and browns before dropping to create an autumnal carpet. For me, I notice it mostly as the now dead and brown flowers of the buddleia drop onto the car. The night closes in, wrapping each day in a dark blanket earlier and earlier and all seems almost bleak, although Christmas and the New Year give reason to celebrate, and those trees which are skeletons once more can play host to twinkling fairy lights. We wrap ourselves up in scarves, hats and gloves and wear thick coats, and create our own little clouds as we breathe out, our warm humid breath hitting the cold air. Then just when one starts to despair that the cold will never end, those first hints of snowdrops come again.

plantersVisit Didi Lou Crafts at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DidiLouCrafts to see these pots and many other items inspired by nature.

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Crafting for Men

Men are difficult. No, really, hear me out. blacksmithMen are difficult to craft for. There is definitely less of a range of items that are available to make for men and looking through craft books that is only proved, men seem to be harder to make items for. Some ideas that can be made for men are keyrings, coasters, wallets, cuff links, ties, belts, shoe bags, mugs, pen organisers and glasses cases. Think about their hobbies: football, fishing, model making, extreme sports, the gym, running, darts, gardening, quizzes, cars, diy, music, even gaming; whatever their interest, those can basketryhelp with themes for such gifts and cards.

Male crafters are out there, although I suspect there are a lot less males who craft than females. Men are more likely to be associated with heavier, hotter and dirtier crafts, such as blacksmithing and metal work, wood working and carpentry, stone working, model making, basketry, leatherwork, glass blowing, pottery and pyrography.

 

I am not going to campaign for more males to pottercraft, although I would happily welcome it, nor am I going to campaign for more male oriented craft kits, papers and card toppers, but I definitely keep an eye out for good ideas for males when I can find them and pin some on my Pinterest account.

Father’s Day is coming up on June 21st in many countries. Happy Father’s Day to all those fathers out there. Didi Lou Crafts has a small range of items that would suit the males in your life, which you can find at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DidiLouCrafts.

autumnal silk tie_tn

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Preparing for fairs

gazeboDidi Lou Crafts now owns a gazebo and two tables, which are currently somewhere on the road for delivery here, ready for craft fairs. I have a short shopping list of other items required in preparation for face to face sales which I will order or pick up this week. I have been working on display stands and planning out the design for a banner too. Seems Didi Lou Crafts will go to a fair, now it is just a case of finding the right first one, as I work on more stock in preparation. I have made 6 more small boxes, 3 sets of shelves, 4 decorated hearts, 2 more cake tea light holders and 2 more sets of drawers in the last week.

There are still plenty of items for sale on the Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DidiLouCrafts, even if I have been concentrating more on building up stock for the craft fairs this last week or so.

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