Crafting Blitz Vacation

devoncraftsI have just returned from a full week at my favourite crafting hotel. My mother is on her bi-annual trip from Australia and we went to Devon together. We worked mostly on items for the store. I have come back with 4 engraved glass items, 4 painted glass items, 5 painted bisque Christmas decorations, 2 other painted bisque items, 2 Christmas cards, 3 other cards, 5 painted porcelain items and 2 silk painted items, which I will list on the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy store over the coming weeks.

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We also had fun, making a few craft items for our own personal enjoyment. We also spent time in the spa, which was nice. The photos here are just a sample of what we made for Didi Lou Crafts during the week and were “snaps” done on the camera on the phone. A proper photography session is definitely planned for some time this week. Some of the new items (like the male cards) will be added this week, others (such as the Christmas items) will not appear for a few months.

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The good news is Christmas is still 229 days away, but UK Father’s Day is less than 6 weeks away. You can check the Father’s Day items in stock by going directly to the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy store Father’s Day Section here.

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A week away crafting

manorhouse

I went to my favourite crafting hotel, The Manor House and Ashbury Hotels, a few weeks ago for 4 nights. In that time I painted 5 bisqueware items, 3 silk cards and glass engraved 6 new items, all for Didi Lou Crafts to sell. I have already listed 7 of these items on Etsy and have 7 more to list over the coming weeks.

They are 3 star hotels, so don’t expect the greatest decor, but it is the activities that make the place, with their sports, crafts and spa treatments. They offer 7 18 hole golf courses, over 60 sport and fitness activities a week, a large variety of other sports facilities, 17 different crafts where you only pay for the base materials, 2 hydro spas and over 20 health and beauty treatments at an extra cost. Fully catered and not expensive, these hotels are popular with families and groups too.

All the items below are now available at the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy shop

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Autumn

greenbookmaroonbook

Autumn is definitely here. I drove down the motorway yesterday with the wind tossing the autumn leaves around. Whilst I planted some bulbs a week ago, I have a few more to put in, but it is raining, so I will have to leave that till another day. Our clocks change tonight, so it really does feel like it is heading for winter. At least the craft fairs now are all indoors, which is less work, no putting up the gazebo, but the weather can have an effect on the numbers that attend.

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This time in two months, it will be Christmas Eve. I have completed most of the Christmas items for Didi Lou Crafts, with a few in reserve just in case. Last fair Didi Lou Crafts had close to 300 items of stock, although many of those are small items that are not suitable for selling on Etsy. I do want to list a few more items on Etsy over the coming weeks. I have some new secret stash books to list and I will also add some wooden wreaths. Keep an eye out for these on the Didi Lou Crafts Etsy store at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DidiLouCrafts

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Bucket Lists

When I moved back to the UK, I had a bucket lists of sorts, of places around Europe I have always wanted to visit. I’ve managed to do a few of them, for example:

  • See the Book of Kells
  • Visit Rome and see the Colosseum, the Vatican and the Trevi Fountain
  • Visit Greece and see Delphi, Olympia and the Acropolis
  • Visit Pompeii

Book of Kells
But I still have many I want to do:

  • Eat black forest cake in the Black Forest
  • Cruise down the Rhine to see the Bavarian Castles
  • See the Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • See the famous balcony of Romeo and Juliet fame
  • See heather in bloom
  • Visit the Statue of the Little Mermaid
  • Visit tulip fields
  • Visit Loch Lomond
  • Have a romantic break in Paris
  • See the Great Pyramids

I also find myself making mini bucket lists, like a few weekends ago I went to London, so I took the opportunity to visit the Tate Modern, seeing some artwork by some very famous artists, such as Picasso, Klee, Warhol, etc, or I’ve locally walked Moor Copse, Calleva Atrebatum and Dinton Pastures, but I want to do Fobney Island. A bucket list gives me things to look forward to, even if at the moment I am too busy with getting Didi Lou Crafts up and running to be able to do another longer overseas trip.

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Some of the crafts available at Didi Lou Crafts are influenced by my interest in history, culture and nature, for example, the tulips and the celtic influence can be found on the items shown above. These and many other items are available at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DidiLouCrafts.

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Crafting Holidays

It is that time of year, when the schools are closed and people are jetting off to different (mostly sunnier) climes. My holidays are usually one of the following: visiting family, visiting historic places on my bucket list or activity holidays, where said activities are mostly craft. My regular favourite is the Manor House Hotel in Okehampton.

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I made the Mass Effect inspired glasses for my husband at one of the activity holidays. Unfortunately items like these could break copyright rules even though I drew them freehand from a picture, so I wouldn’t sell them, but as a gift for my husband, they were very well received. I don’t have my own sandblaster at home, or I would make a lot more sandblasted glass items for sale. Currently Didi Lou Crafts have one available on the Etsy website, the abstract floral square vase. I will probably book another crafting trip for next May and make new items for sale for next summer.

Don’t forget to get any orders in early for the holiday period so they arrive in plenty of time as crafters take holidays too.

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Sun Care

shelterAs people start to head off for their summer holidays, can I remind people to stay out of the sun in the middle of the day, to find some shade, drink plenty of water, cover up when possible, to use sunscreen as needed and wear a hat and sunglasses.

I grew up in Australia. I have fair skin and red hair. As you may guess, I had problems in the sun. Our primary school uniform was a sleeveless dress, but my mother made one with sleeves to protect the tops of my arms. Every time I wore that dress there were comments made about it and my parents were called into the school several times about the issue, but they insisted I wear that dress on the sunniest days. It wasn’t until my secondary school days that the “Slip, Slop, Slap” campaign started about sun protection. In full, it was “Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunblock and Slap on a hat”. I am glad to report that the primary school uniform was eventually changed to include short sleeves and a hat.

Please take care this summer, sun protectionnot just for yourself, but for those around you who need your help to understand the risks of the sun and the need to cover up, whether with clothes, a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses or a shaded area.

Didi Lou Crafts does not have any items that will help with protecting your skin in the sun, but this is an issue I feel strongly about, so forgive the lack of product recommendation today.

A handmade craft item can be a wonderful gift for a summer birthday, but don’t forget to order well in advance to allow for your vacation time. Our range of products can be found at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DidiLouCrafts.

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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.

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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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