Monthly Archives: September 2013

Thank you…

I’ve got to start this with a great BIG THANK YOU!  I’ve been overwhelmed by the the lovely messages, kind thoughts and helpful suggestions after my last post.  I’m working my way through a list of things to investigate!  I’m feeling much better now I’ve come to the end of the course of antibiotics.  I struggle to keep my brain functioning rationally at the best of times, and adding fogginess and gloomy spirits to the mix was not not helpful.  However, I’m much brighter now, I’ve just got to keep a tight rein of myself and not go galloping off after the next exciting thing, wear myself out and go SPLAT again.

It’s heart warming to know there is a big supportive network of kind people who really want to help one another, even though we are very often half a world apart.  There are plenty of negative things to say about the internet but this can only be a big plus.

We’ve been really lucky here in Norfolk to have had some beautiful weather over the past week or so.  It’s very uplifting for the spirits and I’ve tried as much as possible to get outside.  Higgins has helped of course although he gets a bit impatient with the pace, and my inclination to stop with the camera or pick blackberries.

higgins on the footpth

walking Higgins

acrossfield

Autumn is a lovely time of year, but it’s overlaid with sadness that everything is coming to an end, which is why I prefer the optimism of Spring.  But the autumn light is fantastic, misty in the mornings but golden later in the day and the night sky is spectacular.  And I never tire of photographing the richness of the hedgerows, and the warm glowing colours of the berries…

hedgerow berries

yellowflowers

red berries

blackberries

seedheadsIt’s been pretty noisy in the early mornings here.  Not traffic, although there’s been quite a bit of farm machinery on the move, but Greylag  Geese.  It’s lovely to see (and hear) them fly overhead, but I’ve never managed to get a reasonable photo with my little camera. The past few days however, they’ve been congregating in the neighbouring field…

morning fieldAnd despite the limitations of a compact camera the zoom didn’t let me down…

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greylag geese grazing

Worth hanging out of the bedroom window for!

Planet Penny hasn’t been completely neglected through all this though, I’ve had the crochet hook on the go on and off, and a two very large boxes arrived the other day full of yarn so I’m very well stocked.  It’s just as well the nice young man with a van is happy to carry them into the studio because I would never lift them myself.  They will sit there now until I’ve found places to stow all the yarn packs and I will treat them like a roundabout!

Planet PEnny Yarn

I’ve added half size packs to the Planet Penny shop, seven balls of either the Sunshine or Shadows shades suitable for smaller projects…

Planet PEnny Sunshine and Shadows yarn

And, and I have a question to ask…Would you like White?   Last year I tried a small quantity of white yarn, Snowdrop, which I sold as a Christmas pack with patterns, do you remember?

Christmas CrochetI tried to buy more because white is such a good background for the rainbow colours…

crochet circles crochet balls…but the dye batch was wrong and I wasn’t happy with it.

Now a new batch is available but if it’s the right bright white I will have to buy a whole case of it.  Before I completely fill my little cottage with yarn and move into the garden shed I thought I’d better see whether there’s a potential market for it!  So do let me know so I can do some forward planning.

And that, for  now, is it.  I’m off to put my feet up and peruse the weekend papers with a cup of tea, while Higgins and Henry fight over my lap (Henry always wins too, poor Higgins!)

I’m linking up this week with Handmade Harbour for Handmade Monday, do call over to see all the crafty makes there and I’ll be back soon I’ll be back soon…x

 

 

An Aside…

themist1

It’s hard to know just how much to share when writing a blog.  Planet Penny is meant to be a happy place, and who wants to visit Blogland for a spot of light relief and be confronted by a lot of moaning?

So I usually stick with the highlights, the colourful and the jolly alongside fun things to share, and from all your lovely comments over the years it seems to be a mix which works.

But I’m not super woman, and sometimes it’s a toss up between being less than upbeat and not writing at all.  And not writing really bothers me, so for better or worse, here I am.

Occasionally I mention I have M.E. . I’ve had it a long time and I’m one heck of a lot better now than I was in the beginning.  Managing it is the key, I’m pretty rubbish at that.  If I’m feeling reasonably well and upbeat I’m liable to rush off after the next exciting ‘thing’ and then go SPLAT.   Life doesn’t arrive in handy bite sized chunks, and I’m damned if I’m going to turn down any ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities because of it.

I’m a bit ‘SPLAT’ at the moment I’m afraid.  M.E. messes with the immune system so I’ve got various niggly things going on, and topping it  off with rather a lot of an antibiotic which hasn’t agreed with me has meant I’ve been very wimpy and snivelly for the past week or so.  (Tim is very lucky to be in the middle of the North Sea and missing all this!)

But I’m still here!  And that’s good… I’ve got lots of ideas, they’re just going to arrive a bit more slowly for the moment.  The shop’s still running and I’ve just taken delivery of 2 enormous boxes of yarn and I can doing the packing sitting down.

So please bear with me!

If anyone out there ‘in the know’ has any tried and trusted recommendations for vitamins or supplements for boosting the immune system it would be great to hear about it.  Preferably not of the ‘Eye of Newt and Toe of Frog’ variety though…

Thanks for listening, it’s nice to know you’re out there…x

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Planet Penny Cotton – FABRIC!

Fabric? yes..  now there’s a change!  This is something which has been simmering on the back boiler for a while and now I’m taking the plunge and telling you all about it.

I’ve made a couple of cushions over the last few months using the Planet Penny Cotton yarn to make the fronts and then finding a suitably brightly coloured fabric for the back.  I find it works really well, looks striking and makes a really simple opening on the cover so it’s easy to remove for washing.

this is the Granny Square crochet cushion

Planet Penny Cotton crochet cushion

…and for the back I used a much loved piece of Provençal print from my stash…

Provençal print fabric backThe Log Cabin Moss Stitch cushion which I later knitted…

Planet Penny Cotton moss stitch Log Cabin cushion…I backed with another treasured piece of Alexander Henry print fabric…

Alexander Henry Print fabric cushion back

…although this time I didn’t have quite enough material to make the envelope back.

But I’ve been thinking for a while it would be good to find a range of fabric which complemented the Planet Penny Rainbow colours and over the last months I have been working on it.  It still needs a little tweaking but I think I found some really pretty bright and more subtle colours and prints which I hope you like too.

The fabric has a lovely smooth finish, it’s gorgeous quality and I threw my sample pieces in the washing machine with a white towel to test them, with no colour loss and no shrinkage so I’m happy to recommend it to you.

I have in mind not only cushion backs, but linings for crochet and knitted bags, cheerful bunting, soft toys and accessories which will tie in with the blankets, throws and of course mice and  garlands made from the Planet Penny Cotton Yarn.

I found a great little pattern to share with you whilst trawling through Pinterest which shows of the fabric a treat, and have made a whole flock of birds!

And here they are…

pink fabric birds

blue green fabric birds

multi Fabric birdsI had a lot of fun getting them to roost in my little tree…

blue fabric birds in tree

pink Fabric birds in tree

multi fabric birds in tree

The fabrics will be available in packs of 4 assorted fat quarters from the Planet Penny Etsy shop and I will be listing them gradually over the next week or so, no two alike, so keep your eye out to see what’s on offer!  This is just a sample….

planet Penny Fabric and miceIf you like the birds, you can find the pattern here, they are easy and lots of fun.

This is a bit of a leap of faith so I’d really like to know what you think, and I’ll be back soon…x

 

 

Postcards from the Past

One of my dear OH’s pastimes is an interest in history, which mainly keeps him out of mischief, and when he’s home from offshore the television seems to be mainly tuned to ‘Yesterday‘ and Time Team.  He also has an Ebay habit, and when he’s not buying shirts (don’t get me started on the shirts!) he’s looking at  photos and postcards, military badges and bugles.  The photos and postcards are a great resource for interesting stuff about uniforms apparently and on the whole I’ve paid just a passing interest in the odd things which turn up in the post to be squirrelled away in his ‘office’.

But yesterday I was called in to help open a well taped little packet which required the use of fingernails and small sharp things which a crafter would have to hand.

When I eventually got through the wrapping I was confronted by this…
Postcard for Mother c.1914…which stopped me short.  These days everything is documented, photographed, passed around, tagged.  And yet within living memory one photograph maybe the only record that a mother may have of her not quite grown up son as he is sent off to fight for his country.

And this is the photograph.  Regimental cooks with their ladles and pots, striking a pose and some of them looking so young…  How many survived?  And if they survived what injuries, both mental and physical, did they carry with them?  We don’t even know who wrote the words on the back.  Was it the young man at the back, hand on hip looking defiantly at the camera, or the slightly nervous lad on his right who looks barely old enough to shave?

Regimental Cooks c.1914

And  this one….

postcards c1914

…sent. I presume to a sweetheart. from B. E. F. France on Monday 12th November 1917…

postcards - Miss G Rogers…which says:

My Dear G,

….as promised it is a photo of a group of  Signallers we had taken here.  I hope you will survive the shock of looking at it.  Many thanks for your letter here received quite safely today.  I am pleased you are well as I am in the pink at present.  Kindest regards to Eileen, with love from your (I think) Frank xxx

I hope Frank returned to Miss G Rogers and they had a long and happy life together, ‘in the pink’…

But who knows?

Planet Penny isn’t usually a sad place, but sometimes we need to stop and think.

I can’t imagine how it must have felt to wave goodbye to a son, a husband, a sweetheart, a brother and send them off to war.  For a short while yesterday, looking at those photos from nearly 100 years ago, it seemed very real and I wanted to share them with you.

I hope these postcards from the past move you too….x

 

Almond Macaroons

Tea and Almond Macaroons Sometimes there just has to be a sweet treat with the afternoon cuppa, don’t you think?   It’s a time when a piece of fruit doesn’t quite hit the spot.  So I’m going to share this recipe for Almond Macaroons  from my notebook, which you can nearly imagine is a healthy choice.  It’s certainly vegetarian and gluten and dairy free. No added fat, no flour, and lovely healthy almonds. Sugar, well… sssssh… look the other way!  It is a treat after all…

And we need it today, what a change in the weather!  The temperature has dropped, the rain is hammering on the roof and a spot of baking in a cosy kitchen is just thing to cheer us up!

So, start off with a couple of baking sheets lined with baking parchment, you’ll need to give the macaroons room to spread as they cook.  Preheat the oven to 180 deg C (160 deg C – fan oven)

Ingredients

2 medium eggs,whites only

125g (4oz) caster sugar

125g (4oz) ground Almonds

1/4 tsp almond extract

blanched almonds

Put the egg whites in a large grease free bowl and whisk  into stiff peaks.  Add the caster sugar a little at a time, whisking after each addition until the mixture is stiff and glossy.  Gently stir in the almond essence and ground almonds so it’s well mixed, taking care not to knock out all that air you’ve just beaten in!

Spoon teaspoons of the mixture on to the prepared baking sheets spacing them slightly apart.  top each one with a blanched almond, pressing in lightly, and bake in the centre of the oven for 12 – 15 minutes until lightly golden and firm to the touch.

Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes or so before moving to a wire cooling tray.  When they are completely cold transfer to an airtight tin or jar.

Almond Macaroons in jar

They will keep for about a week (if they last that long!) Lovely with that cuppa, but also adds a delicious crunch to good vanilla icecream…

Almond Macaroons - Montage

The End of the Summer – A New Term…

seedheads - New Term

The sun might be shining, the sky might be blue, but there is a definite ‘end of the summer’ feel as soon as the long school holidays are over, even when you are not actively involved in the school run any more.  And even though its ever so many years since I was last at school, the ‘new term’ feeling has far more resonance for me than New Year for fresh starts, new ideas and new leaves turned over.

I still get a thrill from an unsullied notebook, and a new pen to write in it with, and possibly even a pencil case!  It isn’t just me, is it?

But before we get down to business, there’s the ‘What I Did in the Holidays’ essay to write, and Higgins is just getting over the excitement of having his ‘boys’ to stay.

There was the beach…

beach - New Term

…and swimming…

mini dachshund paddling - new term

…camping…

teepee

…tennis…

swingball

… more swimming…

mini dachshund in paddling pool

…and birthday celebrations…

birthday cake

So all in all it’s been a pretty active summer!

mini dachshund pink ball

But now it’s time to get to grips with some new projects.  I’ve already tantalised you a little with my last post, I’ve had the sewing machine on the go in between the fun, and I’ve a Rainbow Ripple on the crochet hook for when I’m on the sofa in the evenings…

rainbow ripple

Now I’m looking forward to getting back into my blog routine with the new projects, I hope you’ll come along with me!

I’ll be back very soon….x

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