Puppets on a String

Any of you who read my Facebook Page will see how annoyed I am at Etsy’s recent “business tests”. Etsy is an online marketplace which consists of a large collection of artisan owned stores mainly selling unique handcrafted items. Etsy’s growth has been phenomenal over the last few years and a lot of their sellers have grown their businesses successfully under the Etsy umbrella.
I too have a tiny shop front on Etsy selling my little animal tea cosies and I’ve had quite a few sales there but I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that my sales are very much subject to the whims of the Etsy management. In one moment they could close down your shop  and wipe out any income stream. Indeed some shops have been closed down because their owners have been a bit too honest and vocal on the Etsy forums.
craft fair
I think that having your own domain name and separate online shop would be a very good back up plan and if you can plug it as much as possible you could in the future move away from Etsy’s not terribly altruistic grasp. I’ve done this already with Crystalmooncat.com (this is my shameless plug!)

This got me thinking on other ways we relinquish control to others. At the moment the energy companies have us by the short and curlies here in the UK. Because we depend on them for our heating and power they can up the prices whenever they want, usually when there’s an R in the month.   Same with petrol companies. I can drive past my local petrol station and see unleaded petrol at 128p per litre and an hour later I can drive back again and see it’s gone up to 129p per litre. (This usually happens right before a Bank Holiday).

sola -panels on roofs
car charge

Supermarkets can increase the price of your weekly shop at the push of a button. I remember once after years of shopping for my cat food at Tesco, I switched supermarket and started to buy it from Asda. After just a few weeks of this I got a load of money off vouchers for cat food through the post from Tesco. Coincidence or what? Of course they were able to track my buying habits through my use of their Clubcard.

Litter piling up in your street? Council street cleaning services not as thorough or as regular as they used to be. Your local MP developing selective deafness and or spending all their time cosying up to local bigwigs? OK we voted them into power and a certain degree of government control is necessary to run our Health Service, Foreign Trade, Police Force etc. But I would like to see our MPs a bit more accountable, a little more fearful of their constituents and that maybe cozying up to and actually listening to a homeless person without a film crew present would go a long way to giving a bit more control back to the ordinary man or woman.
In the meantime I think we could all be a little more self-sufficient. Granted installing solar panels or a water filtration plant in your garden is not cheap. But learning a bit of basic plumbing, carpentry, cooking from scratch can all help. Also insulating your home as well as you can afford to and maybe start saving up for a couple of solar panels. Has to be better for you than the latest 100 inch wide, 3d time travel, olfactory sensory tv screen that serves 3 course meals during the ads. As for litter in your street just go grab it and bin it! My lovely Bloggy friend Ilona from Life After Money just rolls up her sleeves and gets picking up. She describes one of her litter picking events here. Maybe if more of us did that we could take control of our streets again and restore a bit of civic pride.
Financial Independence has to be the key. To have enough money to cushion you from redundancies, interest rate cuts, burgeoning transport costs has to be the Holy Grail in terms of cutting your puppet strings. I have to recommend Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin & Joe Dominguez
Read this and you’ll be reaching for the scissors!


Linda xxx

Bye Bye to Buy! Buy!


I’ve thought long and hard about committing to this. Basically for all of 2014 I will not be buying stuff, at all, nothing, nada – gulp!




I’ll be afflicted with empty trolley syndrome. There’ll be repercussions though,  Amazon’s profits will drop drastically, Ikea will have to lay off some of their lorry drivers and Appliances Online will be sending me a get well card. On the other hand my postie’s bad back should improve loads and I look forward to seeing him happily skipping down our road with a virtually empty bag.


minimalist room
Painting by Karen Hollingsworth


There are rules and exceptions to them –

Food and drink for me and pussycats and local wildlife – allowed.

Petrol and cut price rail travel – allowed.

The odd cup of coffee when I’m writing in internet cafe – allowed

I’m allowed to buy craft supplies for my business and if my laptop blows up I can get a replacement as it’s needed for my writing.

I’m not allowed to buy craft supplies for personal use though and if I want to make something I have to delve into my sizeable stash. The exception to this is my crochet flower afghan, I’m using up odds and ends of wool for the flowers part but I need white DK wool for the background so that’s on my permitted list.


bolts fabric

All books will be borrowed from the library in person (no paying 60p a time in online reservation fees).

No clothes buying either as I have loads in my wardrobe and if I get a little bit more exercise in 2014 I can drag out the ‘one day I’ll fit into this’ clothes box from under the bed for even more choice!

Definitely no more buying of vintage sewing patterns – this is going to be a hard one to keep and there may be tears (lots). I’ll just have to make stuff from the patterns I already have.


Marian Martin pattern


No sweets, packets of biscuits or great big door step sized scones oozing thick melting butter and fruity jams. No I will simply turn my back on them (who am I kidding?).

A bit of a stern year ahead, but I do plan to have fun on the cheap in my own weird and wonderful way. And the reason for this adopted frugal lifestyle? I’m building my own beautiful little eco house, off the grid and as self sufficient as I can humanly make it!!




Linda xx