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March 2020

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Sweet Spring

March 7, 2020

“sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love.”– e e cummings

I've been a little absent around here of late, mostly because I now have a newsletter, which seems to take the place of the blog.  My plan is to share some of the same content from my newsletters here, as and when I write them (only when I have something new to say or share!), but if you'd like to receive the newsletter into the comfort of your inbox and be first to hear my news, you can subscribe to receive it right here.
 
We took a week off for my birthday at the end of February and despite some rather drear weather, I was delighted that we made it out to my three favourite places for getting close to birds: Lackford Lakes, Warley Place and Hanningfield Reservoir.  The former has a little area where all the birds have been ‘trained’ to pose by many photographers who bring them food in exchange for close ups!  It’s amazing how close you can get to them too – they almost pop onto your hand as you put the food down for them:

Mark takes all the photos he wants while clouds of small birds fly about in the low branches, just feet away from me – total heaven!  This time, I took along some hazelnuts just in case there were any squirrels and we did see them too, as well as a little Bank vole who I’ve named Bernie:

We were told about this little chap by a guy we met in a bird watching hide at Warley Place.  He let me know where to find him, so I made a beeline for his fallen log and sprinkled it liberally with bird food.  We didn’t have to wait long to meet him and he certainly wasn’t as shy as a Bank Vole might normally be – he was as used to visiting photographers as the birds were!

At Hanningfield Reservoir, the water was very high – probably the highest we’ve ever seen it, which isn’t surprising given all the rain we’ve had lately.  There’s a little picnic area here where you can feed the local woodland birds and squirrels and shiver over your sandwiches!

Mark got me some rather splendid binoculars for my birthday so that I can always get close to the birds, plus a wonderful skein of Whistlebare’s Cuthbert Sock yarn in a gorgeous blue.  I can’t recommend this yarn enough for cold weather socks – I knit my first pair with it last year and they are SO warm and cosy!  https://whistlebare.com/yarns/cuthberts-sock/

Back to work this week and I’m very sorry to say that my relationship with Etsy will be coming to an end very soon.  If you sell with them yourself, you will have seen that they’ve issued another one of their dictates this month that involves paying for mandated advertising, whether you want / need it or not.

I see this most recent change as yet another sign that Etsy is no longer the right home for small handmade shops like mine who can't, or don't want to be "scaleable" – they really want aggressively growing businesses who want to focus on earnings that Etsy can share.  I understand that they have to deliver for their shareholders and the writing was really on the wall when they went public, but I waited and hoped to be able to stay in my little burrow there, which I’ve loved and built up over the last seven years.

Sadly, it really no longer works for me so I’ve bitten the bullet and am making the move to the Folksy platform, which will happen gradually over the next three months.  I will keep my Etsy shop for now with a very limited range, but my main focus will be Folksy going forward.  You can find my shop here: https://folksy.com/shops/thecrimsonrabbit and it would be great if you wanted to register there and bookmark / favourite it!  I’ll also add a link to my Instagram profile and here on my web site, as soon as it’s up and running.

In the meantime, I'm pottering about there discovering my fellow makers and sharing my best finds with everyone on Instagram – I've already discovered a number of new to me artists whose work I admire and created my first Folksy Friday post on Instagram, which you can see here.

I will hopefully be telling you about a couple of new designs very soon, which are almost ready to share!  One is a storage solution for circular knitting needles and the other is a sock knitter’s storage case.  These have both been in the works for such a long time and gone through several versions, which some of you have very kindly been helping me with.  I now need to finish making up my samples and once I’ve got some photos of them, I'll be showing them to my newsletter subscribers first and then sharing them here.
 
Finally about the newsletter, I’ve decided that I’ll be having a prize draw at the beginning of every season, which anyone who subscribes will be entered into automatically.  I have to admit that I have shamelessly copied this idea from Hannah Longmuir, whose newsletter I really enjoy and whose creations I cannot resist!  If you don’t already know her work, you can find her here: https://hannahlongmuir.co.uk/ 

Animal photography by Mark Seton