Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Simple Things

Who likes the simple things in life?  I might not have met many of you personally, but I’m fairly confident that if you didn’t like the simple things, you wouldn’t be following Planet Penny!   And it is the little things that give pleasure, the whole ‘Happiness is a Warm Puppy‘ thing.  (Or in my case, a warm Higgins!)   A sunny day, a small damp hand in yours, the first lick of an icecream, everyone has their own tiny moments to light up the boring bits of life.

One my personal simple pleasures is a magazine subscription.  Most post these days is pretty humdrum, but a favourite magazine plopping on to the door mat and the anticipation of opening the wrapper at coffee break is lovely.  And there are so many magazines these days and they are so expensive,  it’s hard to make the choice of just the right one and be certain of it before you sign up for a subscription.

The magazine I have been most loyal to is ‘Selvedge’, I have every issue going back to the very first one and they sit on a shelf on my studio ready to be dipped into for inspiration.  Even the advertisements are inspiring, and there are fascinating articles on textiles from all over the world, from the depths of history as well as news and interviews from textile artists and designers.  I really admire the thought and originality which has gone into the look of the magazine, distinctive and recognisable, but always original.

These are some of my favourite covers…

Selvedge Magazine covers

And then there is ‘Mollie Makes‘.  Do you remember the kerfuffle when it first came out?  So many of us were desperate to get hold of one of those first copies, Facebook seemed to be full of people discussing it!  But there was an introductory offer for the first few issues which is always a good hook,  and it has consistently delivered.  And, I think importantly it is another magazine which decided on a look, a style and colour palette which really works and makes it stand out recognisably as itself amongst the huge plethora of knitting, crochet, scrapbooking, and other crafting magazines on the news stand.

Montage of Mollie Makes covers

And out from the ‘Mollie Makes’ stable trotted ‘The Simple Things‘…

Over several weeks we were beguiled by the advertising and appealing images, and the wonderful evocative covers.  So distinctive.  Beautifully designed, the covers made the appeal of The Simple Things universal.  And inside? Well, it’s not a craft magazine,  but there’s craft to see.  Not cookery, but fabulous recipes.  Not just a travelogue, but wonderful photography from interesting cities.  Stylish but simple interiors,  beautifully written pieces about nature… And not aimed at any one small section of society, sex or age group, there’s  just something for everyone.

So I bought my subscription, and each month I would remove the wrapper and smile.  And after relishing the contents I would sit it  on a side table where it would make me happy when I passed by.

And you can see why…

The simple thing Magazine covers

But over the past few months, it hasn’t made me happy.  In fact I have been getting so grumpy on a monthly basis that I decided the best way to get it out of my system is write about it!  A few months back I unwrapped my new copy of ‘The Simple Things’ and found that they had abandoned their stylish and distinctive design for something akin to the promotional magazines handed out for free in your local supermarket.

New the Simple thing covers - horrible!

Oh dear, I can hardly bring my self to give them space on my blog!  So gone is the universal appeal, it’s all about young women now.  Oh, and slim young women with perfect teeth!  But why?  Why take something which stood out from the crowd and deliberately cause it to merge into the background?

I still love the content, but it doesn’t make me happy the way that it used to…

I know I’m not alone.  Just looking at some of the comments on ‘The Simple Things’ Facebook page every month when the new issue is published shows me that.  So I thought I’d have a little rant and find out what you think, I’d love to know.

And maybe  if enough of us express an opinion Future Publishing might just notice!

You never know….

Seeing the Light….

After the unrelenting gloom of the Winter which went on and on and depressed everyone’s spirits, I’m still finding the light, bright days we are enjoying a novelty, aren’t you?  I don’t think it’s been quite as hot here in Norfolk as some other places but the warmth and sunshine is glorious, and I refuse to complain about being too hot!  With my fair English skin I’m not one to sit or lie in the sun but give me a umbrella or a shady tree where I can sit and look out at the bright sun light and I’m very happy.  Throw in a good book and a long cold drink and I’m in heaven!

Over last Winter in particular I  struggled with a) having good enough light to work by and b) and this was even more frustrating, having light which was good enough to take photographs.  I kept coming across other bloggers complaining about the same thing and it’s so essential to have great pictures on your blog.

In view of all this I was really pleased to be asked to try out and review a  Lamp from the Daylight Company.  They have a great choice of different lamps but the one which suited me best was the Swan Table lamp.  It’s  portable enough to move  to various locations, the studio, the sofa, the dining table etc. but has a sturdy weighted base  making it really stable and secure.

Daylight Lamp - Light

Swan Table Lamp

Until I sat it alongside the standard lamp that I usually stitch by I hadn’t realised how yellow the light it gave was, and how it distorted the colours I was using.  This probably explains why I very often go to bed with gritty eyes and a niggling headache, because I am very bad at sitting without making, in common with all my creative friends out there, I’m sure!

ordinary light for photo

standard electric light

But what I hadn’t even though of was the fact that I could actually use the light from the Daylight Lamp to take reasonable photographs which don’t require tweaking in Photoshop with levels and filters to make them halfway acceptable to post online, a huge benefit.

Daylight Lamp

Daylight lamp light

So it’s great to not only have the chance to thoroughly recommend the Daylight Lamps but, also…be able to offer one lucky person the chance to win their own lamp! As the end of the summer approaches and the days get shorter they will be all set up for crafting into the winter.

I’m really excited about being able to offer this fantastic prize, the most valuable ever on Planet Penny!

All you have to do is to leave a comment to be in with a chance.  How would a Daylight Lamp make life easier for you?  If you want more chances then signing up to follow the blog or follow Planet Penny on Facebook or Pinterest and letting me know in that comment will put your name in the draw more times but it’s really up to you.  I don’t want to make it complicated, I just want one of you to be lucky!

The draw will remain open until 31st August and then I’ll use the Random Number Generator to pick the winner.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

See you soon …x

Ed. to add 31st July 2013 : DRAW NOW CLOSED

Planet Penny Bakery

Planet Penny Bakery - needlefelt cupcakesJust a little post to tell you about the Planet Penny Bakery which is happening next weekend at Arts Desire in Norwich.  The Craft Lounge at  Arts Desire is hosting a workshop next Saturday morning between 10.30 and 1pm where I will teaching how to create these low calorie, high fibre cupcakes.  A plateful of these little fancies would look so cute on a dresser full of eclectic vintage china, and they make great pincushions!

There are still a few places on the course.  It would be lovely to have you along to learn a fascinating skill which once mastered will open the door on all sorts of projects.  The only limit is your imagination!  If you don’t live near enough but have friends in the area, please spread the word…

Strawberry cupcake Planet  -Penny Bakery

Don’t forget to come back and visit very soon because I have such a great giveaway coming up!

I’ve always enjoyed finding gadgets, books, patterns etc I can recommend via the blog.  These days I get approached to write and host reviews. This is very flattering, but I value my relationship with all of you far too much to want to turn my personal space on Planet Penny into advertising space for random ‘Stuff’.  (Believe me, some of the ‘Stuff’ I’ve been approached about is extremely random! )

So I’ve got something fab to tell you about, and then I’ll be giving you a chance to win one of your very own…Can’t wait?  Well, come back tomorrow to find out…

See you then…x

 P.S. This week I’m linking up with Handmade Monday so do call over and catch up with all the crafty goings on! 


Knitted Rainbow Mouse Pattern

The Knitted Rainbow Mouse Pattern is finally finished!  What a labour of love…

Thank you so much for the get well messages after my last post, I’m definitely on the mend. However it’s been a bit like swimming through treacle what with the duff neck then dental problems, antibiotics and feeling weird – you know what penicillin can be like.  And I changed my computer and this bit wouldn’t  talk to that bit and files disappeared into the ether and then reappeared in a different format….eeeeek….my eyeballs ended up spinning in contra rotating circles while steam came out my ears.

And knitting in every available moment to make a new little mouse in every one of the Planet Penny colours too, Aubretia, Delphinium, Cornflower, Eggshell, Aqua, Jade, Apple, Lime, Buttercup, Marigold, Peach, Petal, Gerbera and Rose Red, I can recite them in my sleep!

But here they are at last…Knitted Rainbow Mouse Pattern in Planet Penny Cotton

Knitted Rainbow Mouse Pattern made with Planet Penny Cotton

The knitted Rainbow Mice work just as well on the  Rainbow Ring as the crochet ones I think…

Knitted Rainbow Mouse Pattern made into Ring

And round the clock…Knitted Rainbow Mouse Pattern - Clock

…so if you’ve been waiting patiently for a chance to knit some mice you’ll be pleased to know the pattern is now available on Etsy, right here along with the yarn.

Higgins has been feeling rather neglected, so lonely he’s joined me in the office and is being very helpful!

Higgins in the Office

He’s not impressed that ‘The Boss’ is away at work so there’s only me for entertainment.

We’ve been getting out in the garden whenever possible, you’ve got to stop to smell the roses haven’t you?  After a long wait they’ve been SO gorgeous this year.  This is ‘Albertine’, which clambers up the front wall and cascades around the bedroom window…

Albertine RoseIt’s wonderful, and would be perfect if it was a repeat flowerer,  As it is we just have to savour it for the brief weeks when it look like this…

Albertine Rose close upIt’s in memory of my granny, the closest I could get to her name, Alberta.

And this is ‘Dancing Queen’, now scrambling up the studio and always reminding me of my daughter, who was dancing before she could walk!

Dancing Queen RoseAnd this beauty is ‘Eden Rose’, very spectacular and lasts well when picked so is perfect in a flower arrangement…

Eden Rose

…and this one?  I’ve lost the label!  So annoying, but it’s got the most heavenly scent of all.

Pink Rose

It’s not all work on Planet Penny!

And finally…there’s another giveaway coming very shortly, a fantastic and valuable prize which I can’t wait to share with you!  So watch this space, sign up to follow the blog, find me on Facebook or Twitter because you really won’t want to miss it!

See you soon…x

Happy Birthday, Higgins!

Oh dear..I’m sorry to have been away so long!  I’ve been working hard on the ‘next big thing’ and there just haven’t been enough hours in the day.

But Higgins!  It was his birthday this week.  I can’t believe it’s nearly four years since we brought home this tiny bundle of black and tan trouble…

Higgins Mini dachshund in spotty blanket

Higgins on lead

(You can see more cute photos in the 2009/2010 archives)

He was calling the shots right from the start!  I tried very hard to get him in the party spirit for his birthday photo but you can tell, he really didn’t like wearing a hat, party or not!

Higgins, miniature dachshund in party hat

He’s already eaten all the squeaks out of his birthday presents too, but he had fun doing it!

And coincidently I had a Higgins related present this morning which I’d like to share with you. You’ll remember from this post I had a needlefelting workshop at the Art’s Desire Craft Lounge making little fantasy birds, and one of the participants was Willow, half of Farrell and Holmes who make beautiful things like this…

FarrellHolmes Dachshund

Will had such a good time learning to needlefelt I don’t think she’s stopped since, and this morning I received a card…

Thankyou card

and a mysterious little package…

pink package

In which I found..

Higgins Mirror..this gorgeous little mirror!

Higgins Mini dachshund  Mirror

Now while I’m pretty sure Higgins would love to sit and gaze at his own reflection I’m sorry, it’s going in my handbag!  Thank you, Will!

I’m off to do some photography now.  Remember I was working on the Knitted Mouse Pattern? Well I’m nearly there and plan to launch it this weekend.  If you are one of those frustrated non-crochet-ers who have been begging for a knitting pattern there not much longer to wait, I promise.  All fourteen of the new knitted Rainbow Mice are lining up to show off their best profiles for the camera right now.

I’ll be back soon….!

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