Christmas: A Political Issue?

It certainly feels like it with the lockdown, health and economic headlines scaring us all senseless this year.

But maybe it always was a political issue…

According to history, the first pope (Constantine) declared the 25th of December to be the day we should celebrate the birth of Christ.

Now, there are a couple of issues here..

The declaration was made in the year 336 AD – that’s AD – AFTER Christ. In the years 0-335, the birth of Christ wasn’t celebrated, as far as we know, at all. So how did he know? He didn’t, he just picked a date…

Why the 25th December? History points to this being a political act to steer people away from the pagan tradition of acknowledging the winter solstice, when the harvest was in and gratitude was placed firmly in the hands of nature, humanity included.

Was this the beginning of a certain lack of gratitude for nature’s bounty?

There are billions of humans on this planet and I’m pretty sure there are a whole lot of them who either don’t celebrate Christmas because of their religious beliefs or they are just totally fed up with spending too much money on plastic bits and pieces and general craziness of it all.

So, how about this for a contraversial idea. This year – 2020, the year when the world went mad – what if we ‘postponed’ Christmas until March 21st.

We could celebrate on the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere;

*New life budding from the very earth we stand on.
*A promise of better weather to come

And on the first day of Autumn in the southern hemisphere;

*Getting in the harvest
*Preparing for a cozy winter

And why shouldn’t we call it Christmas – the Bible is very vague as to the time of year and exact date that Christ was born. Surely with the pandemic and economic collapse of many sectors of society, as a species we should be preserving our lives and nature as a whole, rather than being overly concerned about the political views of a pope who lived over 1600 years ago.

And as for the plastic bits and pieces..

However hard we try, a plastic-free lifestyle atm is virtually impossible unless you are mega rich and don’t possess any electric or electronique devices… hmm … perhaps the answer is to grow plants specifically for plant-based plastics – maybe we could start them all off on 21st March next year – when the Universe, God or whichever higher power you feel close to can spring forth and bring us all together under a non-political umbrella that hasn’t really existed since before the year 336AD.

Worth a thought anyway 🙂

Stay safe

Linda x

Crowdfunding

For a long time, I’ve put off attempting a crowdfunding campaign – mostly because I’m camera shy and couldn’t face the whole talking to camera thing.. I know! .. must be a touch of vanity creeping in there – not particularly proud of that, but working on it 🙂

Rather than miss out on launching a new product which I created and love, I did some research and found a very successful campaign on crowdfunder where the artist portrayed her work via nature walks and her own workshop with a voice-over commentary…. wow I could do that!

So, then I put the whole package together and my lovely daughter is going to help me with the camera work – along with her 11 year old son who is a techno wizard. He doesn’t know yet but he’s gonna get a whole load of granny hugs – bless him 🙂

We’re heading out to the moors on Wednesday, weather permitting, for a video shoot and I can’t wait.

I have no idea if this will be a successful campaign but crowdfunder is there and I’m determined to give it my best shot.

Although I’m only looking for a relatively small amount of money to launch my new idea – a crochet kit with extras – this year has been financially difficult (for so many of us,) I just can’t fund it myself right now. But with my portfolio of books and the membership site I’m starting, I’ll be able to offer some great rewards – even for small donations.

Hopefully, I’ll be crowdfunding in a week from now. 31st Oct or 1st November would be great. I’ll keep you posted!

Stay safe

Linda x

P.S. In the meantime, I’m still working on the Etsy shop and would be so grateful for any ideas or suggestions. Ekokids UK

Drowning in Etsy

Before I start moaning, Etsy is a great platform, probably the first of its kind – please don’t quote me on that- I have no idea if they were the first or not, but they definitely are a big presence online and a great platform for arts and crafts suppliers.

My take on it though is that they’re kind of TOO big now and many of us small crafters are drowning in the sheer volume of products available.

Rather than give up entirely on ever getting more than one sale per month, I’ve been reading, watching videos, attending online workshops and generally trying to float my boat in the Etsy ocean. And there must be a general problem with getting seen, judging by the sheer volume of ‘selling on etsy’ workshops, courses, books and webinars out there.

So, sources say – among other things:

*keep tweaking; change keywords, title and description
*create staged photos – rather than just a bowl, put something in it to show it being used
*promote like crazy on social media and everywhere else.

These are all great tips and, I assume, they work. However, when you have other stuff going on, or you’re like me and are already figuring out the next project before you finish the one you’re working on, it can be hard to get motivated within the social media world.

And almost everyone says social media is the key to a successful small business. Ouch.

My other gripe with Etsy is that whenever I look at a product I like, or even one of my own products, I am instantly diverted to Etsy US which is so frustrating when you live in another country. I don’t understand their algorithms with this particular issue. Other big sites don’t zap you off around the world! – Amazon and Ebay certainly don’t.

Having said all that, I am always open to ideas and suggestions so if you have any sure tips to get seen on Etsy, I would be so grateful.

But for now, there’s a new platform coming very soon in the UK which will support small businesses and have a handpicked selection of sellers therefore avoiding this drowning scenario…I’m going to apply for sure! Maybe this will be a pioneering approach to bring local businesses more support and, perhaps, the sea will be calmer when we are in a smaller boat.

Take away: Etsy sellers, look out for these types of platforms in your country/region and it may be we can all scale up our small businesses while scaling down on the headaches!

But in the meantime, keep tweaking – you never know, that one small tweak could be a big step for your business.

….My crochet hook is calling… have a wonderful day 🙂

Stay safe
Linda x

P.S. Any (family-friendly!) feedback very much appreciated..

Ekokids UK Etsy Shop

Number 3

You know those days when a certain number seems significant and you decide to run with it. Not lottery numbers, they’re a bit too random for my peace of mind. I’m just talking simple everyday numbers which we tend to take as a sign of something auspicious about to happen:

*A ‘feeling’ for a certain number which, although a good reason may lurk somewhere in your memory, the incident never really comes to mind – and it probably doesn’t matter anyway. This number could be anything, usually between 1 and 200 with a few exceptions such as 333, 444 etc;

*A ‘scientific’ approach to numerology. Which number corresponds to your birthdate or your name perhaps. My birthdate is 9 and I tend to take 3’s, 6’s and 9’s as all being auspicious numbers. This may sound somewhat greedy, but there are no rules here and numbers are infinite after all!

Although I feel my approach is more about ‘Numerology’, the feelings are just as significant and recently a ‘3’ moment arrived when everything I seemed to do was divisible by 3 – and I ended up with 3 projects that all had ‘3s’ in mind!

1. I tidied up all 3 wix websites that I’d kind of forgotten about. They’re all up and running now. The gardening site is the biggest with some great gardening tips, the chocolate site is the sweetest with some delicious recipes and the writing site is the beginning of my quest to help writers get their writing out in the world.

Garden Ideas
Simply Chocolate
Writing

2. I had a lightbulb moment with my crochet creations – to make a family gift that goes on forever called a … wait for it … a Forever Bonbon! I’ve already made 6 designs and put them in my Etsy shop. My goal is, of course, to make 9!

They’re handmade gift bags that are designed to be kept by the receiver of the gift inside until the next celebration, when they can either give it back or pass it on, again with a gift inside.

Happy with them so far :-).

3. Hat Trix! Well, three goals is a hat trick and this third project really does what it says on the box. Still going with the handmade and eco-friendly ideas, I’ve designed a product for young children that’s 3 games in one.

No batteries, chargers or plugs needed and lots of soft play fun intended!

I’m not sure how to get this on the market yet.

I’ve made a mock up to help me get the sizes right, but still in the early research stages.

It has a lot of educational value; learning colours, numbers, eye-hand co-ordination etc;

Well, that seems to wrap up my 3 moment nicely. I’d better get on to the next steps. I may make a numbered to-do list and tackle all the items divisible by 3 – or perhaps not 🙂

Stay Safe

Linda x

Roller Coaster

Wow it’s been a roller coaster year so far and many of us are struggling to keep up with goals, plans and general wants and wishes.

Personally I’ve had a challenge with health issues – not virus related – during recent months and to ease my mind, I’ve been switching into creative mode as much as possible.

I learned to crochet a few weeks ago. Goodness knows why its taken me an age to get around to it. I’m enjoying every minute and I’ve even opened a new etsy shop with some of my handmade gift ideas. I don’t think this will be a ‘business’ but it’s a nice sideline – if it works! Haven’t actually had any orders yet 🙂

I’ve also collected, polished up and edited all my digital books and they’ve gone into the shop too. There are 59 products now and I’m patting myself on the back – metaphorically speaking… I’ve been writing for years and love to share ideas and tips with whoever wants to listen and if you have a moment, I would love to hear from you.

You may have a book idea in mind or a question about the knitting patterns or handmade gifts. Or you may be looking to form a craft/writing related relationship? Please get in touch here or via the Etsy shop and I’ll get back to you asap.

Stay safe
Linda x

P.S. I’m not attached to my devices all the time so it may take 24 hours for me to find your message. I’ll be crocheting or knitting like a crazy woman no doubt!

Crochet Crazy

Well, writing and blogging has taken a bit of a back seat lately. My fingers have been otherwise engaged in creating all sorts of gift ideas for my new Etsy shop.

It’s been raining a lot as well.

Last night I was binge-listening on Netflix. Listening mostly, because half the time, I was focused on crocheting butterflies.

I need glasses to watch a screen but not for craft or close work. So my glasses were up and down on my head for hours!

I’ve been knitting since I was a child but never really tried or understood crochet. But now, in my sixties, I’m discovering a new skill. I taught myself, with the awesome help of a few youtube videos and now I can’t believe I’ve never done this before. It’s a great hobby.

I’ve created nine products so far that compete well on Etsy and coming up with new ideas all the time. Some of the ideas are a bit ‘out there’ – my imagination gets the better of me sometimes – but so far I’m getting some lovely oohs and aahs!

There’s even going to be an instagram account especially for the Etsy shop – at some point – because although Etsy is a great platform, it’s easy to drown in the sheer volume of wonderful products they showcase and I’ll need to promote the shop if I want to survive.

There’s a new platform coming soon for crafters in the UK – I’ve had a sneak preview behind the scenes. My lovely daughter is co-owner of Home of the Mall and I can’t wait to be one of the early birds when they launch at the beginning of November. So exciting!

So, with butterflies and unicorns floating around my universe, I hope you are safe and well and are rushing to buy a crochet hook right now 🙂

Love and Peace

Linda x

Getting Ahead of Myself

..but in a good way this time!

knitateenagedoll-cover

I had hoped to get all the patterns done by the end of August, but a few – more than a few- rainy days in Cornwall had me chained to my laptop and I got them all finished. So happy. 🙂 Now I have to work out a way of getting the word out to knitters round the world!

The Ekokids were first created when my youngest daughter had a birthday coming up and we had a zero bank balance. They’ve been shared and played with for over 25 years now, and the new updated versions of the knitting patterns are pretty much perfect –
I guess they should be after twenty five years of tweaking!

 

They’re designed for beginner knitters and have simple step by step instructions with knitting tips and variation ideas dotted around. So if you aspire to practising a new life skill or would love to create non-plastic dolls that are cute, cuddly and very entertaining, check out the patterns here … and Happy Knitting.

Speaking of life skills, I taught myself to crochet last week… thank you Youtube …. and just finished my first creation.

hat

Not perfect but with practise I hope to get better. Although knitting will probably always be my first love in needlecrafts, I am finding crochet very quick and lots of fun!

 

 

Learning life skills is a passion of mine (I’m doing two language courses at the moment as well!) and I’ve always found in times of financial difficulties – which happen far more often than I’d like – I can always come up with something to do, make or simply pass the time designing and working out ways of creating practical stuff.

Anyway, my crochet hook is calling me, so I’d better go but don’t forget to try out the Ekokid dolls – they make great gifts.

Stay Safe

Linda

My 25 Year Old Baby

my25yearoldbaby-pin

Over 25 years ago, I gave birth to a new project that has been growing and improving over the years. When we lived off the land money was tight and I created a gift for my youngest daughter that became so popular it exploded quietly into an ongoing hobby business.

The Ekokids are teenage eco-friendly ‘Barbie-type’ dolls that are cuddly, fun and easy to dress in all sorts of wonderful designer clothes – they cost pennies to make, they’re non-plastic toys and have been developed for beginner knitters to enjoy making.

I’ve been writing books and doing other stuff over the past few years and my 25 year old babies have been hidden away in a box for some time. But recently, after an unexpected spell in hospital and a couple of unscheduled surgical operations, I had to spend some time recovering and who better to recover with than my Ekokids!

So, they’ve had a complete makeover and I’m in the process of setting out all the new and improved patterns, making them even easier and quicker to make. It’s a bit of a slog because knitting patterns have to be precise but the math, the designs, the knitting and the photography are all underway and should be ready to launch in a couple of weeks…. I may be a little optimistic on the timeline but I’m giving it a go.

Watch this space for further developments!

Stay safe everyone

Linda x

 

 

Feeling Grateful

Since my living off the land days I’ve had many years without a garden. Last year I moved into a lovely house in Cornwall with a smallish but beautiful garden. And over the past few months, my son and I have transformed it into an even more beautiful space 🙂 – we’re growing food …

growing-fb

 

dragonfly-fb

 

and finding all sorts of wildlife in our inherited pond. This dragonfly visited today

 

 

 

and we found a pond salamander laying eggs – too slow grabbing my phone for a photo but such an awesome experience. Loving nature! After a tidy up yesterday, the pond is looking even better.

pond-fb

I am so sooooo grateful for my garden.

During the last couple of weeks I’ve shared my time between giving the website a makeover and tending plants (and pond) so haven’t written much – haven’t done much housework either but that’s not so unusual for me!

I hope the sun’s shining in your world today.

Stay safe.

Linda x

 

Who Would You Be?

monalisa-pin

Someone once asked me who I would like to be if I could be someone famous. They were dreaming of being rich and famous themselves.

While I wouldn’t say no to being rich, I’ve never really aspired to being famous. It just seems to be too much trouble – having the media constantly watching you and not able to pop down to the shop without a bodyguard has an air of the ridiculous about it – in my world anyway!

The question itself is hypothetical and anyway, shouldn’t we all be happy with our own lives? … hmm

But my subconscious must have been secretly evaluating the question because just recently I realised that there is one person I would like to be. And, strangely it doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that she’s a billionaire – although that would be very nice of course – but more to do with who she is and what she represents.

I’m talking about JK Rowling.

Her creativity, imagination and writing expertise is phenominal and on those days when inspiration has vanished in a haze of everyday worries and uncertainty, her books have helped me find that nugget of self-worth and confidence that I need to develop my own writing skills.

So thank you for all the wonderful stories you have shared with the world JK!

Who would you like to be? And Why?

Linda x