Planet Penny Cotton Colours – A New Look

I mentioned recently news about the Planet Penny Cotton, it’s got a new look!

Planet Penny Cotton Colours 12 pack

I’ve been deliberating for a long time about the colour range.  I love it still, and didn’t want to change something which works so well, but from the feedback I’ve been getting it needed a slight tweak.   The pack now consists of 12 colours.  It looks more vibrant without the two pastel shades, and of course it’s now cheaper!

From the administrative point of view it solves a couple of niggles too, so I hope everyone is happy with it.  (Anyone mid-project relying on purchasing a second 14 ball pack please contact me for help)

What helped me take the final step was seeing this gorgeous blanket made by Alison, one of my customers…

Ripple Blanket - Planet Penny  Cotton - Attic 24 pattern

Attic 24 pattern - Planet Penny Cotton - Ripple BlanketThis what Alison said about her method of making the blanket:

“This was a Lucy ripple and I believe I did 196 stitches plus the extra 3.(or whatever was divisible by 3, I think I had a few more on the start chain and unpicked from the start when I had done my first row as I wanted).  I have done three rows of each of the colours  Apple, Lime, Buttercup, Marigold, Peach, RoseBud, Gerbera, Aubretia, Cornflower, Delphinium, Aqua and Jade. We have ended up with 4 sets of 12 colours, the finished blanket is about 96cm x 152cm.    I have a small amount of each ball left, so a ball did six rows.”

As Alison said, it’s an Attic 24 Ripple pattern which you will find here.

I hope that’s inspired you!  It’s always nice to have a little Rainbow colour infusion…

I’m off into the sunshine now.  I have grandsons visiting for a few days.  They’ve been off to the North Norfolk coast today but I’ve promised them a spot of Granny style crafting when they come back so I shall have a few minutes rest in the garden before they get home.

See you soon…x

Needlefelt Workshops and a Present for Higgins

Feather and Needlefelt birds

You’ll remember I’m sure, that last year I went to Art’s Desire in Norwich to teach some Needlefelt Workshops. I fell in love with the shop then, and the whole idea of the Craft Lounge being a venue for people to come to learn to knit, crochet, felt and more.

The exciting news is that it’s re-locating in a lovely old cobblers shop just out of Norwich City Centre and will be opening in a few weeks.  I love a renovation project and when I called in a few weeks ago it was just at the point when you see what a great space it will be for the shop, it’s tempting goodies and the crafting area.

Kay, the owner, came to tea last week for a catch up and planning session and being a dog lover arrived with a special present for Higgins.  (Tongue firmly in cheek, I may say!)

This is it, in the ‘bosses’ chair…2014-04-03 10.37.36And this is what happened…

Mini Dachsund fights cushion It didn’t work…

daschund fights cushion and winsHowever, we had more success sorting out a workshop date, thank goodness!

And it is on…

June 14th 2014, from 10.30 – 1pm and price is £25.00 which will include materials,

and the venue is 82, Park Lane, Norwich, NR2 3EL

Arts Desire NorwichPlease contact Kay via the Arts Desire website or me via the Planet Penny contact page if you are interested, it would be lovely to see you.

And talking of needlefelt, I am finishing off the Green Man, just in time. He goes off to the Forum next week for the Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios Taster Exhibition.  I can’t believe it’s come round so quickly!  I’ll post a picture when I’ve added the finishing touches.

Be back soon…x

Inspiration, and Going With The Flow

Inspiration tags

Anyone who has been visiting Planet Penny for a while will know I sometimes struggle with inspiration, as I’m sure we all do from time to time.  I thought I’d share some of the thought processes which have wombled through my head over the past weeks.  From my point of view it might just help to put it down in writing to come back to when I next get stuck.  Or it might just reveal to the world the scarily weird contents of my brain!  Who knows?

Anyway, I know it all began with the disaster zone which was my studio.  I was struggling to make anything because every time I needed something specific I wasted half a day looking for it and getting cross, with myself and everything else.  And while I was making excuses to myself about how I didn’t have the time to tidy the studio because there was so much else to do, I wasn’t doing any of the stuff – because the studio needed tidying!

Add starting the New Year with losing poor old Henry, and then the fun and games with the fire…need I go on?

So gradually I got to grips with the chaos.  And started looking at the sheer amount of things I have got squirrelled away which rarely if ever see the light of day.  And that’s where the idea of sharing some of this treasure via the Box of Delights came into being. Sliding off on a tangent from this we come to the stack of magazines.  I know I got bogged down by the feeling that you have to buy the magazine that everyone else is reading to keep up with what is going on but there is so much out there now and I realised that Mollie Makes just wasn’t pushing my buttons any longer.  It’s the magazine I would have loved when I was in my 20s and 30s,  but that was then. So, in the market for something completely different via a series of happy accidents (all my best things seem to arrive via a happy accident!) I discovered Flow Magazine. Now Flow is published in the Netherlands but produces an International version in English four times a year.  I loved the look of the Paper edition, such a pretty cover… Flow Magazine - Paper Edition …and was very excited when it arrived.(Ed to add: it may be out of stock but it’s worth contacting Flow via the website to see if it will be reprinted)   It’s full of postcards, envelopes, wrapping paper, gifttags, pop-up landscapes, paper bunting and lots more. It was this little project which took me off in another direction…Matchbox covers from Flow Magazine

Matchbox cover Flow MagazinePaper Edition

…covering and lining matchboxes.  The projects in the book started me off although I had to be a bit inventive as Dutch matchboxes are a slightly different size to UK ones.  Once I’d made my own template I was off.  (We have so many loose matches in our house now I think I’ve become a fire risk again but I’ve now bought a supply of blank boxes!)

I now have a tray filled with the wherewithal to create a little box whenever I have a pause in whatever else is going on, or a sticky patch in the creative flow.  And not only does it ease me through the stickiness but I have yet another little box…

covered matchmoxes

covered match boxes - Flow Magazine

…which is perfect for filling with a miniature selection of little treasures for the promised runners up prizes for the Box of Delights giveaway.

This is just a snapshot of what has been going on, very often the contents of my brain are as chaotic as the studio was, but like the studio, it pays to tidy up!

I’m very behind with my blog posts (I’m blaming our awful internet connection amongst other things) so I hope to be back very soon to catch up.  I have an important announcement about the Planet Penny Cotton Colours amongst other things, so…

See you soon…x

The Year in Books – March

Happy April 1st!  Have you been caught out yet?  I have fond memories of being told about cows in the garden and strange cats in the bathroom over the years but now the children have grown up and left I just lurk at home and wait until 12 noon has past when I am safe.  I always enjoy going through the newspaper to spot the outlandishly tall story though, although no-one will ever top the Guardian’s wonderful article about the island of San Serriffe.

So from reading the newspaper to reading books, and I’m here to tell you about my March book selection, ‘The House on Paradise Street’ by Sofka Zinovieff and what I have lined up for April.

The House on Paradise Street by Sofka ZinovieffThis book is actually a little out of my comfort zone. I tend to rather zone out of politics and war, in print as well as on film, but this is a fascinating and poignant story about the Greek Civil War.  About which, I am ashamed to say I knew absolutely nothing.

The blurb on the back says:

In 2008 Antigone Perifanis returns to her old family home in Athens after 60 years in exile. She has come to attend the funeral of her only son, Nikitas, who was born in prison, and whom she has not seen since she left him as a baby. 

Nikitas had been distressed in the days before his death and, curious to find out why, his English widow Maud starts to investigate his complicated past. In so doing, she finds herself reigniting a bitter family feud, discovering a heartbreaking story of a young mother caught up in the political tides of the Greek Civil War and forced to make a terrible decision that would blight not only her life but that of future generations…

The House on Paradise Street is an epic tale of love and loss, which takes readers from the war-torn streets of Nazi-occupied Athens through the military junta years and on into the troubled city of recent times, and shows what happens when ideology threatens to subsume our sense of humanity.”

It’s not bedtime reading.  I found some of the images too sad and disturbing to fall asleep on, but don’t be put off by that that.  It’s well written, gripping and the characters are interesting and believable.  Also for me it helped fill a gaping hole of ignorance around what has been going on in Greece in recent times.

Thoroughly recommended!

For April I have lined up this book…

Perfect by Rachel Joyce - A Year in BooksWhich is something completely different!

I know lots of people loved Rachel Joyce’s previous book ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ (which I have yet to read) so I bought this for my mum for her birthday.  My Mum’s main occupation is reading as arthritis has put a stop to the knitting and needlepoint that she loved.  It’s really hard to find her something which is that bit different, and this apparently hit the spot.  I’m looking forward to it!

P.S. I’m working away on the four runners-up prizes for the Box of Delights giveaway but I’ve not yet had a response to my email from one of the winners. CINDY WILSON in Canada, are you there? Please get in touch… if I don’t hear back in a few days I will be re-allocating the prize.  It would be a shame to waste it.

I’ll be back soon…x

Box of Delights – The Results

Good Morning! I hope your morning is as beautiful as ours is today…
hyacinths in Spring ukVery frosty first thing, but gorgeously bright and sparkly.

So it’s a good day to be awarding prizes.  Firstly I have to say thank you again for the wonderful comments, it really has been heart lifting, and makes me feel another 500 posts may well be possible.  I wish I could write to each and every one of you but there were 100 entries!

And I always feel bad when I do a giveaway because I can’t give something to everyone so I decided to add in four extra runners up to spread the delight a little further.  In the past I have used my trusty helper to draw a winning name.  We used a basket once…

mini dachshund drawing winning ticket…and of course the hat…

Mini Dachsie & winning ticket…but it involved a lot chasing around to find out who’s name actually came out of the hat…

mini dachsie winning ticket…and it’s awfully damp and spitty.  Also, there were so many this time…

list for Box of Delights…that I used the Random Number Generator which involves no chasing, and no chewed paper. So without further ado, and a big drum roll I am very pleased to announce that the winning number was 96 and the Box of Delights goes to Pennie, in East Sussex.  The four runners up are number 14 – Sue Cambell in Alabama, number 15 – Cindy Wilson in Canada, Number 46 – Toffeeapple of Buckinghamshire and 48 – Linda Thorpe of Norfolk.

I shall share the runners-up prizes as I create them, it’s sparked another idea!  Thank you all again for taking part.

And thank you too for all the supportive and concerned comments regarding our adventure with the fire last week.  Everything is tidy and soot free in the room now and I’ve pinned a dust sheet over the fireplace as we await builders’ estimates.  It’s not going to be a quick job, alas, Higgins and I are both snuggled under blankies in the evening now!

dachsie in a blanketSee you soon…!

 

 

Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew….

Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub…the Trumpton Firemen.  I’ve got very fond memories of watching Trumpton year after year as my children were growing up and this was my favourite moment.  There was never a fire in Trumpton, just cats up trees and things floating down the river.

Anyway, Pugh, Pugh et al came round to my house last night, and this time there was a fire!

Just after 9 last night I became aware of a roaring noise, which wasn’t the wind, and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the wooden beam over the fireplace was ablaze.

And how silly was the thought, ‘Oh, I can’t call 999, that’s for emergencies’ ?!  Well if having your house on fire isn’t an emergency…

Anyway I did call, and by the time I’d finished talking they assured me a team was on the way and to get out of the room.  Higgins and I stood out in the back garden listening for the approaching siren and soon the lane was filled with a big appliance and blue flashing lights.

Six burly firefighters strode in and quickly and efficiently emptied the stove, hauled out the burning debris from above and squirted water up the chimney.  And hung around to make sure that everything was cooling off and not going to start up again.

2014-03-19 21.32.28It was really not how I envisaged spending the evening!

(And for all my female friends who got terribly excited about the whole hunky firefighter thing, in a situation like this hunkiness pales into insignificance alongside handiness with a stirrup pump and a bucket of water….Thank goodness they didn’t bring the hose in!)

Higgins thought that having an influx of nice people who like dogs was a great idea however…

2014-03-19 21.51.15By eleven o’clock they had left, satisfied all was safe, leaving a wet sooty mess which I decided I would tackle in the morning.

2014-03-19 22.44.03You can see the knothole in the beam where the fire started to come through from the back, and it’s only today, after not a lot of sleep and so feeling very tired, that I started on the ‘what ifs’.  I know that’s not a good idea but so hard not to think that it could have happened after I’d gone to bed.  And in the normal way of things I would have been at a meeting last night, at just the time I spotted the blaze…

I’m NOT going to think about it…

Higgins rarely sleeps in our bed as he likes to get under the covers and lick knees (yuck) but last night after his pre-bedtime visit to the garden he rushed straight to the bottom of the stairs to be carried up.  Obviously determined not to be left downstairs in the soot and chaos.  And this is how I was greeted this morning…IMG_20140320_070402

Maybe worth having wet knees after all!

Hopefully the next post will be cheerier, with prettier pictures. Don’t forget this weekend someone will win the Box of Delights!

See you soon…x