Happy Friday No. 3

Hello and welcome to Happy Friday!

This is the time of the week when we try to gloss over those tricky, sticky moments (and goodness knows there have been a few of those!) and reflect on the bright side of life.  A bunch of flowers, a little one’s milestone, a new project or in my case, a project rediscovered…

I was shamed this week by being reminded of a particular UFO* lurking in the back of a cupboard after seeing someone else’s finished version on Instagram.  I brought it out, and was embarrassed to find just how long it had been in the pending tray.  The pattern, by Jane Brocket, was in the second edition of Mollie Makes, printed in 2011! eeek!

Mollie Makes - Happy Friday

~M~ollie Makes - Happy Friday blanket

Happy Friday blanket - Mollie Makes

But the happy discovery that I had made a lot more squares than I realised which were still waiting to be added on to the work so far…

Mollie Makes and a Happy Friday blanket…and that actually I’m not so far off making something of a useful size has filled me with enthusiasm to get a grip and get it finished, and that has definitely made for a Happy Friday!

Happy Friday Jane Brocket crochet blanket

So now, over to you.  What Happy Friday moments would you like to share?  This week I would also like to welcome the Handmade Habour Linkers whom Wendy Massey has pointed this way.  I just know your handmade goodness will make people very happy!

*UFO – UnFinished Object

This is how to join in:

1. Pick one special moment that made you smile, post it on your blog, mentioning Planet Penny Happy Friday.  That way your readers will find their way to the Linky and the other posts.

2. Add your own post to the Linky below which will take readers from this blog to your own.  It’s a fun way to discover new blogs, and maybe gain some extra followers too. 

3.Add the badge which you will find here to your blog or post or wherever so people know what Happy Friday is all about. (just copy and paste the code in the little box) 

And of course you can also join on Instagram using  #PlanetPennyHappyFriday.

I’m really looking forward to finding out what has made your Happy Friday this week. here’s the Linky…x



Remembering Vanessa Cabban

So many people have been remembering Vanessa Cabban since her tragic death last month.  I am hoping to bring a positive dimension to our sadness with news of two projects which will keep Vanessa and her huge talents in our hearts and minds.

Firstly, Lisa of the blog, Bobobun is master minding the creation of a crochet blanket with a group of volunteers.  Lisa and I chose Vanessa colours and Lisa is scaling up the Little Squares scarf with granny squares…

Little Square Scarf - Vanessa Cabban

Little Square Scarf – Vanessa Cabban

…and co-ordinating the production of the squares which we then will sew together to make a blanket. This will eventually be auctioned on Ebay to raise funds for Vanessa’s family’s chosen charity, the Mental Health Foundation.  You can find out much more by visiting Lisa on Instagram, and I will have updates as things progress.

Secondly, I was contacted by Christina who runs the Ravelry group, A Knitter’s Life.  Christina is remembering Vanessa by hosting a Knit-along, creating a knitted cowl inspired by her beautiful Fair Isle scarf…

Remembering Vanessa - Fairisle scarf

Fairisle Scarf – Vanessa Cabban

Christina will be releasing the first part of the pattern on February 6th 2015 on Ravelry, and I will be joining in.  If you would like to take part, Christina has listed the yarn and colours she will be using and everything else you will need on her Ravelry page.  If you are in the UK you might find, as I have, that you can’t get all the colours specified.  The yarn looks lovely so I’m hoping that I can swap some of the colours without losing the ‘Vanessa Cabban‘ vibe!

I’d love to know if you decide to join in, we can compare notes!

I’ll be back tomorrow evening with the Happy Friday Linky.  I hope your week has been filled with happy moments so far!

See you soon…x

The Second Happy Friday

Happy Friday Button 180px

Hello, and welcome to the second Happy Friday of the year.  Thanks to all the bloggers who joined in last week, I hope there will be even more of you spreading the happiness this week!

What’s been making me very cheerful this week has been tulips.  One of the compensations of January is being able to bring spring into the house long before it’s arrived outside. And it’s also a great compensation for having to go out shopping in the cold when you can treat yourself to bunch of colourful springtime. ( And so much less calorific than chocolate!)

I love the way tulips keep on growing after you pick them, going from stiff and stately when they first arrive…

Happy Friday Tulips…and then gradually bending and twisting towards the light.

tulips for Happy FridayI don’t think I ever shared the beautiful painting by Gabriella Buckingham which was a birthday present last year…

Gabriella with her painting

Gabriella with her painting

But I couldn’t resist this photo when my own tulips decided to copy the painting…

tulips and painting for Happy FridaySo that’s what been keeping me cheery this week, how about you?

If you would like to join in this is how…

1. Pick one special moment that made you smile, post it on your blog, mentioning Planet Penny Happy Friday.  That way your readers will find their way to the Linky and the other posts.

2. Add your own post to the Linky below which will take readers from this blog to your own.  It’s a fun way to discover new blogs, and maybe gain some extra followers too. 

3.Add the badge which you will find here to your blog or post or wherever so people know what Happy Friday is all about. (just copy and paste the code in the little box) 

And of course you can also join on Instagram using  #PlanetPennyHappyFriday.

I’m really looking forward to finding out what has made your Happy Friday this week. here’s the Linky…x



Knitting as Therapy – The Joy of Socks…

socks knitting

I’ve rediscovered the joy of knitting socks…hooray!

I don’t know why I stopped, but I started again over the Christmas holiday when the seasonal cold germ dropped in, uninvited, and ground everything else to a halt.

I was rummaging pathetically around in the studio looking for something to do which required no flash of inspiration, no tracking down of supplies, no complicated instructions to follow and there in a little bag I found…the yarn…the pattern…the needles…and one completed sock just waiting for it’s mate to be knitted up – perfect!

I’m embarrassed to say that just now whilst looking through the archives to find past sock adventures I discovered when I made the first one of the pair…2011! We were taking Aimee to Uni when I made the first sock and in the time it’s taken for me not to finish the second one she’s graduated and is well on the way to being a qualified teacher! Oh dear…

Anyway, not only has this lone sock been matched with it pair, but I whizzed out for more yarn when I was feeling better and I’ve just completed a second pair.   To add to the mix my friend Kit arrived with a little cheer up bag containing…pink and green socks, so I’m well on the way to replacing all the ones which have succumbed over the years to the four legged sausage shaped ‘moth’ which makes holes in soft furnishing and garments willy nilly.

mini dachshund asleep

The Planet Penny Moth!

...and the socks he has chewed!

…and the socks he has chewed!

So what’s so good about knitting socks?

Well, the little pattern I use is probably the most basic one you can find, it came free with a ball of sock yarn a while ago.  And when you’ve used it a few times it sort of lodges in your head, and you can trundle away, following the plot of Broadchurch or The Killing (with subtitles) without getting flustered.

It’s a bit fiddly to start off with, casting on 60 stitches and dividing them between three DP needles and getting that first rib row set up, but then you are off.  Once the rib is done you’ve got rows and rows of straight knitting, and because you are in the round, every row is a knit row and you still get stocking stitch!

I like to use the self striping sock yarn because seeing what colour is coming next gives you something to aim for, ‘I’ll just finish the blue, or the pink, or the green’…

knitting socks - yarn

Turning the heel is an event, (you should have seen the first one I ever did!) but once you see the logic of where you are going it’s a little challenge in the middle of the project to keep you on your toes. and then you are off again, round and round until the toe arrives, a simple little decrease which makes an elegant seam each side.

And then…the wonder that is Kitchener Stitch!  It’s a fabby way to end your sock, weaving in and out of the stitches with your needle to make new knitting stitches so you can’t see the join.  It took me ages to get to grips with it so don’t shudder and turn away at this point, it can be done, believe me.  I can be heard muttering ‘Front – Purl off, Knit. Back – Knit off, Purl’ a little mantra to keep me on the straight and narrow.

And then, when you’ve finished, and tenderly pressed them (about the only time I like to get the ironing board out!) you’ve got something warm and delightful to enjoy yourself or to give as a very special present.  What a joy!

If you feel like joining in with a little relaxing sock knitting therapy one of my favourite online ports of call is The Sock Yarn Shop, where the most difficult thing is choosing! This what I’m hankering after at the moment…

sock yarn knittingIt’s like a spring sunrise, something to dream about just at the moment!

Are you a sock knitting fan, or have I inspired you to have a go?  I do hope so… If you are looking for some help, the Sock Yarn Shop recommends this set of tutorials.

I’ll be back soon with Happy Friday.  I’m going to try and get it posted on Thursday evening to give more people a chance to join in so look out your happy photos or jolly moments and get ready to link up…see you soon…x

 

Join in with Happy Friday!

Hello, and welcome to the very first Planet Penny Happy Friday!

As I said last week, this is our chance to lift the winter blues by sharing images which made you happy during the week just past.  It can be anything you like, any special moment you have captured and would like to share.  If you’d like to elaborate in words, that’s absolutely fine! So this is how to join in…

1. Pick one special moment that made you smile, post it on your blog, mentioning Planet Penny Happy Friday.  That way your readers will find their way to the Linky and the other posts.

2. Add your own post to the Linky below which will take readers from this blog to your own.  It’s a fun way to discover new blogs, and maybe gain some extra followers of your own. 

3.Add the badge below to your blog or post or wherever so people know what Happy Friday is all about.

planet-penny-happy-friday

 

You can also join in via Instagram with the hash tag #PlanetPennyHappyFriday.

This is my special moment of the week, spotted on the notice board at my mum’s care home.

A visit from Santa - Happy Friday

It’s not technically a great photo, but  to see my mum looking happy on Christmas Day after everything which has been going one means so much.

(She also told me, with great delight, that when Father Christmas perched on the arm of her chair, he sat on the control which makes the whole thing go up and down, tip forward etc and nearly deposited them both on the floor!) 

So I’m really looking forward to seeing your Happy Friday images…

The Linky goes live from midday on Friday 9th January…



EU VAT Regulations – a Tax on Creativity

What’s this? I hear you cry… Penny writing about VAT?  EU VAT regulations?  I don’t come to Planet Penny for that!

EU VAT regulations

Well, please bear with me because this is something which has had a big impact on me as a business, and for thousands of small and micro businesses, many of them deciding to stop trading as a result of this new regulation.  And also on you as a customer.

I’m not going to try and explain the details of this, there are others who have done it much more clearly than I can.  The basic problem is that anyone selling digital goods on line to someone purchasing from an EU country is liable to pay VAT on the sale to the country in question (VAT rates differ across Europe) The threshold is zero, so if you only sell ONE item, you are liable.

The VAT threshold in the UK is £81,000, so I was never going to exceed that with my little business, but this has thrown a massive cat among the pigeons.  HM Revenue and Customs completely underestimated the number of us out there who run our own small creative businesses, who are affected by this and who didn’t know anything about it until it hit social media in the run to Christmas, spoiling Christmas for many people.

HMRC’s stance is that if you sell through an online marketplace such as Amazon or Etsy, then they should take responsibility for the tax, but Etsy has stated that they will not be doing this.

There’s an awful lot going on behind the scenes at the moment, lots of alternatives to Etsy, petitions to sign (and I hope you will) but for the time being I am staying with Etsy.  Because, and I hope I’ve got this right, if there is human interaction during the transaction then the regulation doesn’t apply, after purchase I will email the patterns within 24 hours.  This seems like a huge step backwards, and it inconveniences everyone, including people who live in places where none of this is of any relevance, but for now it’s the only option and I needed to explain.

The following link explains everything about the EU VAT changes with a little animation.  Please watch, and if you would like to support me and all my fellow small creative businesses, please sign the petition!

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