Author Archives: pennygj

An aside…

Ernest Shepherd, illustrator of Winnie-the-Pooh

Ernest Shepherd, illustrator of Winnie-the-Pooh

I’ve been conspicuous by my absence I’m afraid, trapped in the corner by the elephant in the room.  Thinking that my blog is NOT the place to discuss politics, but being completely unable to move around, over or under the situation to carry on business as usual.

I’ve been in a hole since I woke up on June 24th.  so this blog post is me digging my way out of it.  Please bear with me, or ignore me, I’m shall say this only once…

One of the great things I have discovered since starting this blog is how small the world is.  I love being in contact with people of all nationalities, different cultures in different time zones.  “We have far more in common than which divides us.”

To wake up the morning after the E.U. referendum and find that Britain had voted to leave the E.U. was a shock.  It appears no-one expected it, especially those in charge of fighting for that very thing to happen.   Since then chaos has ensued, because no one has a plan.  You don’t need me to explain it, Mr Google will supply pages and pages of information and misinformation!

But what troubles me the most is this.  In a world where we are ever more interconnected, Britain wants to cut itself off, close it’s borders.  The racism and xenophobia unleashed in a small minority of people is frightening.  Half the country is angry with the other half.   This is not the country I know and love.  The Brexiteer slogan was ‘We want our country back’  well I want mine back now, but I don’t think it will happen anytime soon.

What I’m hanging on to is that we in the global creative world can still hold together with what we have in common.  I may be naive, but I hate confrontation.  I would rather reach out and hold hands than hold a grudge.

So I’ve got to climb back out of this hole and find my creativity again.  Go out with my camera and find something beautiful.  Pick up a pencil, a crochet hook, a needle…find some joy.  Just a little thing every day.

In fact, this has just this very minute occurred to me.  I’m giving myself (and you if you would like to join me) an Instagram challenge.  To find something to be joyful about everyday, using the hashtag #justalittlejoyfulness 

daisies

I’d love to hear from you if you are joining in.

I’ll be back soon…x

Guest Post: Higgins and the Pawsome Box

Higgins miniature dachshund reviews his Pawsome BoxHello!  Higgins here.  It’s been sooo long since mum let me loose on the keyboard but I really wanted to tell you about my Pawsome Box, cos I love it when I get my very own post.

(Mum gets soo grumpy when I open hers.)

Pawsome BoxI had to give it a bit of a chew and a thump about to get in, but when I did it was PAWSOME! Pawsome box contentsThere were TREATS!  treats for Higgins the miniature dachshund from the Pawsome BoxThere were TWO bones! And some more treats, a lead, and some wiping things to make me smell cleaner (Hmmph!  I smell lovely already!)Higgins and Pawsome BoxI LOVE the stripy bone…it squeaks!Stripy bone(Well it did, until I had a little accident) but I STILL love it…Toy from the Pawsome boxAnd the other bone I can just chew…and chew… and chew…Higgins jumpingI thought this was just for me because I’m special, but mum says ALL the dogs in the WORLD can have this treat too because there is a special code from the lovely Pawsome people to get a discount.  So I thought I’d better tell you all so that my doggy chums can have some post too.

You just have click here to find out all about the Pawsome Box and use this discount code ukbtswem when you buy.  

It’s my birthday next month… I’m not hinting or anything, mum…..MUM?

An office in the sun!

Well, this is a rare occurrence,  Higgins and I have moved outside.  We’re on the veranda outside the studio, there’s blue sky, sunshine, flowers, birdsong…What could be better?office_in_the_sun

Only last week we were huddled under a blanket (in Higgins case, three blankets) watching the rain lash down so I’m making the most of every minute now.

There is just one weekend left of Open Studios here in Norfolk and it’s been good, as usual.  Really nice to meet the people who come to visit who are really interested in what we do, and in who, in turn, have interesting stories to tell.  Higgins has been working well with the meeting and greeting, he even had an assistant!Higgins&CocoIt did get very tiring in the end though…tired Higgins

I have been been diligent in my decluttering efforts.  So many things which I have made in order to create patterns, but eventually I have to reluctantly part with them in order to make room in the studio, and in my head, for new ideas.

It’s not easy! The knitting mobile has been sold…Knitters Mobile from Planet Penny

it’s off to Germany as a present.

And the Hearts and Flowers Mobile is off to grace a little ones bedroom which is lovely.  It’s nice to know it will have a good home.

Hearts and Flowerts Mobile from Planet PennyQuite a few little needlefelted pieces have been sold too, although I’m not going to part with Clover the sheep!

Flock of needlefelt sheep - Planet Penny

Clover is the one in the middle!

So if you are in the area next weekend do call in.  There’s bunting and baubles and fairy lights and books too!  I’m never going to rival decluttering queen Marie Kondo, but I’m trying!

Back soon…x

Sourdough – science in the kitchen

In my last post I touched on my latest cookery book, ‘Perfecting Sourdough’, by Jane Mason.  I’m finding it all so amazing (I know, I’m very easily amazed!) I really had to tell you about it.

Perfecting SourdoughI’ve tried to get a sourdough starter going before but just got a nasty, smelly, watery mess in a jam jar but an article in one of the Sunday papers recently set me off again.  I followed the instructions to the letter and got… another nasty, smelly, watery mess.  (One of the reasons for a failed starter, apparently is a too clean house…)

Once I’d picked myself up off the floor and wiped my eyes I headed off to the internet, where I found Breadtopia, where Eric had the answer to my problems.   Eric uses unsweetened pineapple juice in the starter and it worked perfectly.  I love the whole science lab experiment thing of creating a new life form on the kitchen worktop (rather than the back of the fridge where they usually happen) 

Once you have a happy, healthy starter you use a portion of it to make a loaf and the rest sits in a jar in the fridge for next time.  Once it gets a bit small you refresh it with a meal of flour and water and it just keeps going.  There are reports of some starters being over one hundred years old!

Making sourdough bread is long process, but not an intensive one.  Apart from the kneading stage, which takes ten minutes and is a good anti ‘bingo wing’ activity, the rest of the time it just sits about rising and requires a bit of poking now and then.  The result is DEE-licious.  Much more flavour than ordinary bread, the slow rise makes it more digestible, and its just wholemeal flour, water and salt.

Sourdough

I was horrified to learn that one of the 17 ingredients of a standard sliced loaf was actually palm oil.

So that’s why I splashed out on this book.  Lots of lovely recipes for different breads, cakes, pancakes and waffles using a sourdough starter which I’m looking forward to trying out.

Have I whetted your appetite?  I’d love to know if you decide have a go at making your own starter, or if you are a seasoned baker and have some tips to share.

See you soon…x

 

Hello June!

Rubbish, aren’t I?  It’s been a whole month…

My excuse, however is the run up to Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios, which started last weekend.  I now have a few days grace before we open again on Saturday so here I am with a little round up of the last month.

I sorted out my vegetable patch.  Here it is, showcasing the Anti-Dachshund Preventative Flag SystemRaised BedThis is how well it worked…HigginsIn RaisedBedHmm…back to the drawing board on that I think.

In the rest of the garden the flowers have been wonderful. Under the Laburnum tree the air just vibrates with the buzzing of bees.  It’s such a shame that the whole wonderful display barely lasts a week…LaburnumThere have been poppies…Poppyand Granny Bonnets (although the best ones have self seeded in the verge outside the fence)…Granny BonnetsCherry blossom…Cherry BlossomRhododendron… rhododendronI love the ‘rhubarb and custard’ colours, don’t you?

And my favourite ‘Dog Daisies…Dog Daisy

I bought a super new book…Perfecting Sourdoughabout which, more later…

And had a spotty manicure!ManicureBut my big decision of the month is for a Planet Penny clear out.  As I have said in previous posts, I am gradually trying to whittle away the ‘stuff’ which bogs me down.  As much as I have been happy with my ‘makes’, I need to move things on to clear space not just in the studio, but in my head.

So I’m having a Planet Penny Silly Sale during Open Studios, and selling off all sorts of items, materials and end of line yarn at bargain prices.IMG_20160528_204927If you live in the Norfolk area and would like to snap something up, pay a visit to our Two Rivers Trail come and see me, and make me an offer I can’t refuse!

See you soon…x

 

It’s May Day…

May Day morning

Can it really be May already?  I can’t believe how the year is rushing by…

The Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios is looming up once more which is why I haven’t been around for a while.  I did my usual thing of thinking – a lot – about my piece for the Taster Exhibition for Open Studios at the Forum in Norwich, and then realising I hadn’t actually made it!

So here it is, and you’ll see that it came very much from the place I’ve been over the past months…

Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios 2016 'Knitting as Therapy' Knitting as Therapy 2In fact the long scarf was made when I really couldn’t do anything else and it all fell into place in the end.

I’m glad I can look at it now as from a distance, making it it was definitely good therapy.  My next piece is a return to normal Planet Penny jollity,  a special needlefelt project for my god daughter.  It’s a bespoke cake topper for her wedding cake so I can’t possibly share it until after the big day I’m afraid.  However, I will be popping back in the build up to opening the studio to let you know the details because it would be great if you can visit.

So, see you soon…x

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