The Plan and How Christmas Went

997001_546611032164849_2806534199451118964_nThis is how I’m planning to approach the New Year!  Ha ha, although I do admit that The Linen Cat is due for a very big shake up. Decisions have to be made about what I intend to make in the future and certain lines are going to be resigned to the sale section. I need my sewing to be more profitable, although the main reason my shop has been so stagnant is all the blind and curtain sewing I have been doing, and that has probably brought in a more consistent ‘salary’ so it can’t be sniffed at. Clearly I still need to get my blog mojo back, both writing and reading, or perhaps move onto Facebook? I think that Twitter has defeated me and my Instagram account has about one photo on it. I also think I should open an Etsy shop and start shipping worldwide, but I’ve said that before and not quite got on with it.

DSC_0153(Miss Bumbles little deer and rabbits came out again)

For now, I’ll quickly show my Christmas photos before it’s indecent to do so.DSC_0150I got off to a good start, with pretty much all my gifts bought and even wrapped in early December, which was good as then the kids got sick, and I mean properly sick as in days and days off school and lots of vomiting all over beds.  I then also got sick, but as always didn’t have time to be ill, so just got on with it, as you do.  Not quite as bad as the pneumonia year, but heading that way.DSC_0147 (1)Then Tuppence broke her leg, right when Buster was due in for his SECOND hip operation, so I had two cats hopping about the living room, not allowed outdoors.  Thank goodness for pet insurance or I’d have had to sell one of the children by now.DSC_0138For our tree, I was inspired by Maison Bentley Style and I pulled out all the 70’s and 80’s decorations. DSC_0144A few of these came from home, when Mum and I cleaned out the attic years ago and she put a box of ‘Christmas tat’ aside for the bin and I rescued it, because I’m a hoarder and I can’t help it!DSC_0148It mostly contained these foil baubles, from the early 90’s, I think, and some amazingly hideous but fab foil flowers things she took off some crackers one year.  DSC_0147A lot of the other things came from the mixed Ebay batches I bought years ago when I was buying true vintage (vintage to me still means the first half of the 2oth century) baubles.  I quite often bid on big lots that were very mixed with things from the 30’s to the 90’s as they tended to go very cheaply. It’s funny how things come around again, the foil things rescued from home can now be bought for a handsome price on Ebay, which did make me laugh, as a couple of years ago you couldn’t have given them away.

DSC_0140I took some time this year to go through and pack up decorations in proper storage boxes. I’ve kept one large box of modern things, (my vintage stuff is kept separately) and it was interesting to see how my taste has changed, this layer was from when I first owned my own home, I was all set to send it to the charity shop but the boys objected.

DSC_0144 (1)This is the style I’ve had for the last few years, lots of glass mushrooms and fircones etc, that I mix in with my own shop Little Birds and Christmas Mice.  It made me wonder, as we had a new style tree this year if perhaps my work designs might change too?  I can definitely feel a shift coming, but I can’t imagine ever designing totally differently, I think my work will always have a common thread and be very ‘me’.

DSC_0146I did also have a mini tree in the hallway window (as they are very deep) complete with tiny coloured lights so I could put some of my more delicate and older decorations up – sorry, I forgot to photograph it!

boys and lunchChristmas itself was fab. We had all recovered from our various sicknesses in good time and were lucky to be invited out to France again, with my Sister and other half.beth apron

I’m sorry, I didn’t really take many photos worth sharing here (they are all quite grainy, although I did take lots of the boys opening their gifts, as with secondary school looming, I think this will be the last year they believe plus I don’t actually like having my own photo taken) but my Sister snapped one of me in my ‘posh’ outfit, complete with deer apron.

charlie christmas jumperI love it that the boys also like to dress up for Christmas, Charlie spent quite a bit of time planning his outfits and was insistent that we brought along three different jumpers….for the whole three days we were going to be away!IMG_3112 copy (1)

charlie walkWe did some nice walking (no skiing this year, which was good as there was no snow anyway!).airportAnd ended our stay with the usual 2 hour delay at Geneva airport on or way back.  Oh, we flew from Southend Airport, which I didn’t even know existed and is now my top favourite.  There is easy parking and no waiting for customs etc….it’s a winner for me.

That’s it for now, really.  Most of the dodgy photos of us are for the relatives that read this blog, so sorry about the quality.  I need to go clean the house now as it’s had animals and children running around it for two weeks and looks like a pigsty, but hopefully I’ll find time to catch up on my blog reading later, it’ll be nice to read what everyone else has been up to 🙂

19 thoughts on “The Plan and How Christmas Went

  1. Awe so glad you and boys had a lovely Christmas, my goodness Beth look how big they’re getting!!
    Poor Tuppence, that looks horrendous for her, poor baby! I hope all the animals are recovered now too!
    Its lovely to try and guess the years by the Christmas decorations, I remember the foil ones well. 🙂
    Wishing you and boys a very happy 2016!
    V x
    BTW I’m here now ~
    I know we’re both wordpress but I’ve moved to another part (she says, not having a clue what she’s talking about), all down to my son!

    1. Hello V, yes, I looked back on some old blog posts the other day and was amazed at how little the boys were. Felix is really growing up, I know most people lament their children no longer being small, but I’m loving it, I enjoy having more adult style conversations with them and as a single parent, they are so much easier to deal with these days. Thanks for the tip on the new address, as you know I’ve been over and found you 🙂 Happy New Year!!! Bx

  2. Hey dear Beth,
    so glad to see you and your boys had a lovely Christmas! I love your 80’s inspired tree, its amazing! I inherited some of those foil baubles from my nan and had no idea there from the 90’s, love your collection. I’m sorry to hear you and your boys were ill before xmas and your poor cats, good to hear though that all has settled down now.
    Which ever way your Linen Cat work goes, I wish you lots of luck with it all this coming year. Your sewing has always been of beautiful quality and style so I’ve no doubt it will be wonderful and always inspiring. I understand how hard it is to keep up writing or posting pictures (I’m currently using instagram these days as I find it quicker and can fit it around work better) but its hard to fit it all in isn’t it?
    Wishing you a wonderful new years for you and all your family 🙂 love Safxxx

    1. Dear lovely Saf, I own you and email as I got your beautiful card but the one thing I dropped the ball on was sending out any cards this year, so sorry. The baubles I have were very early 90’s (93 to be exact, because they still have a large sale sticker on the box saying the date they were’ reduced’), I thought it would have been earlier. I need to look into Instagram, and FB and make my mind up as I can’t manage all three, I struggle with just the one media place. Hope you are all set for a fabulous 2016, I think of you all the time as I have your drawings on my desk and one of your early papercuts in the stairs, so I see them daily :). Bethxx

      1. Hey lovely Beth,
        It’s funny you say that cause I often think of you (still have your gorgeous sewing hanging up, lots of acorns all over the place at home!), I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed for you with it all so very glad to hear its all going well. My circumstances have changed (I’m looking for a new job at the mo) so am seriously thinking about trying to sell my art through instagram.

        I found this info:

        Which might be useful to you if you think so? It says for artwork but I reckon it could be for craft also, there very connected in my mind. Like you, I’m still relatively new to instagram so am figuring it out too, but I’ve seen some people on it sell quite a lot so am debating it like you. I think Fbook is a good idea too, (I left Fbook years ago as my account was hacked from abroad and it frecked me out!) but I’ve seen again some artists/makers do very well out of it on there promotion pages so its probably a good call too. Where ever you decide to go, let me know on here and I shall follow you, I love your work and defiantly want to stay in touch. Don’t worry about the xmas card, I was the same at xmas, everything was a rush and a bit stressful in the end and I forgot things like presents! So I reckon you did better then I did! Sending lots of love to you and your boys and wishing you all a brilliant 2016! Love Safxxx

  3. Hi Beth, glad you had a lovely Christmas.That is one serious pile of logs! It is funny to think of the foil decorations being popular now I remember having those too.Hope you got on alright with the clear up.Our house gets to the ‘I can’t stand it anymore!’ stage before I do any tidying.There just seems little time in the day. I’ll look forward to seeing your work develop in the New Year.I’m at the same stage of trying to cut out some of the pieces I make to get a more cohesive selection of work. Fliss x

    1. Hi Fliss, isn’t the log pile impressive!! It was on our daily walk, it stretches for meters and meters so what you see is only a tiny bit. I was a bit of a bah humbug and took down the tree and decorations on new year’s day, so I got stuck into the kids rooms yesterday, took me ALL day to de-fluff Felix’s as he has shelves full of figures he collects etc. I’m culling my shop today, it feels quite freeing, actually, to limit down what I might make 🙂 Good luck with your work cull. Bethxx

  4. Hello Beth, what a lovely catch up ( I do like your posh photo!) your baubles look very organised and put me to shame…all mine are mixed up and in lots of different boxes…I do have one which is as old as I am my mu gave me and that is carefully wrapped and boxed. Your poor Twopence looks like she had a chicken leg! I always think animals look strange without their fur. I to have neglected my own and others blogs, I plan to keep on top of it this year but I do use Instagram a lot….almost every day I think!
    I follow a few people that sell their crafty goodness on Instagram and as it it linked so easily to Facebook it is easy to put it on both at the same time. My Facebook page and Instagram pages are private ( you have to ask to follow me) so I guess you would need to have a business Facebook and Instagram account that way it can go public and get more coverage.
    Good luck in what ever you decide and I wish you a happy, healthy and peaceful 2016 xxx

    1. Hello Lynn. It’s the first year my baubles have been packed so well, normally they get chucked into a big plastic box, I have to say, the Americans wipe the floor with dedicated bauble storage, there is loads in lovely cardboard vintage style boxes, but here in the UK all I could get was ugly style plastic. Ha ha – the chicken leg comment made me laugh, as I think exactly the same. Reminds of a conversation with a very shy bloke I used to work with when I was in my 20’s, he was from Columbia and he used to take his break at the same time as me but rarely spoke, he tired to strike a conversation once by saying that cats, when prepped for cooking look just the same as rabbits!!!!!!!! Thanks for the FB Instagram tips, I need to look into all of that, I think. Bxx

  5. Goodness…you deserved a lovely Christmas in France after all the health dramas. Glad you’re all ok now. Hope the kitties are doing well.
    The foil baubles made me smile as we had the same ones when I was growing up. I suspect they might be a bit earlier than the 90’s as I’m positively ancient! 😉
    Hope this year brings you good things.

    1. Thanks, we always seem to have some kind of drama just before Christmas, but at least I live in Kent now and not back home, as all those poor people and the rain!! I thought the baubles would have been earlier as well, but some were in their original box with it’s sale date on and it was ’93. Happy New Year to you too, I hope you have a fabulous 2015 (will be catching up on all your new soon, hopefully, as I’m gradually catching up on my blog reading).

    1. I did think of you as we tried to bling the tree up, I was desperate to cover it in that angel hair tinsel stuff from the 80’s, but I knew the cats would only spend hours pulling it off….and probably eating it and needing yet more vet treatment so I had to settle for regular tinsel. Bxx

  6. Hi Beth, good to see a post popping up for you. Sounds like you had a terrbible time again before Christmas. What a good thing you haveinsurance for the cats – and that the boys and you are better now too!
    Those baubles are exactly the same that we used to have….in fact I bet mum has some stashed away soemwhere still!
    Good luck with all the work decisions. Not easy but I bet you’ll get something worked out that will give you the best platform and system to keep sewing and bring in some good income. Juliex

    1. Hi Julie, yes, I have been rather absent, I just find myself really busy and once I drop the ball on blogging, I find it really hard to get back into it. Sadly, one of the cats had to be put down last week (Buster, who came from Battersea Cats and we’d only had him a year, but he was old ish, and, it turns out, quite ill) but I am sooooo grateful for insurance or I’d be more broke than I already am – ha ha *sob*.

      I’ve been sewing away, so should be back more frequently this year 🙂


  7. Oh, poor you. Pre-Christmas poorliness is just the worst. Looks like you still managed a rather stylish Christmas. And that log pile! Mr R will experience wood pile envy… we have lost him to the art of Norwegian woodchopping book ever since Christmas Day. I do love your collection of baubles and feel slightly guilty about mine lovingly wrapped and just stuffed in a box today. I know what I shall be doing tomorrow-well, what I need to do, as packing away Christmas has revealed much well disguised dust.

    Good luck with crafting and work decisions… and a happy new year!

    1. The log pile is awesome, isn’t it! And it stretched for many meters, definitely a thing of beauty for many men I know. I’m having a deja vu as I write this reply…so sorry if I’ve already said ‘hello’ and I’m repeating myself. My baubles are normally just stuffed in a box, so I wouldn’t feel guilty, I figured they’d take up less space this way, but I’m not sure it was actually the case. Still it was good to have a good sort out and decide what to keep etc.

      Happy New Year to you too!!

  8. Hello dear Beth,

    Happy New Year! It seems that end of your 2015 was quite…full of everything, really? I wish both you&boys and your animal friends get well&stay well this year! Lovely pictures if your Christmas, that tree of yours is amazing, it has the feel of my childhood on it. I also share your anxiety (well not maybe quite that but close to it here) with your shops/income/style… gets me every January, this year even more so than previous ones, I just do not wish to continue same old… But this said you have very YOU-style which I love, and I am absolutely sure no matter what you’ll end up making, it will always be there.

    Bright&Happy 2016!


    1. Hello Mia

      I think it’s the forever worry for those of us trying to make a living from our crafts, especially when the New Year arrives. I suppose it’s a good thing to take stock and make plans, but I sometimes have a feeling of forever running on a treadmill that just doesn’t stop. I hope you are surviving the extreme low temperatures you’re having and that there is at least snow to bounce the light around and make it all brighter. Here’s to a fabulous 2016!!


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