Category Archives: Books

Art Therapy Colouring Books – Review and Giveaway

When I was approached the other day to review a couple of Art Therapy books I wondered if someone had been peeking in my office, because I have this picture pinned on the wall beside the monitor…

If anyone needs me I will be in my blanket fort - colouring in…and I have had a wonderful excuse to do just that with the two books which arrived a week or so back from Jacqui Small Publishing, Art Therapy Stained Glass and Art Therapy Mandalas.

Stained glass colouring book, art therapy

Art Therapy Mandala Colouring BookThere is something very relaxing about letting someone else worry about the lines and the shapes: when all you’ve got to do is think about what colour crayon to pick up next, or washing your paint brush ready to mix another shade.  And now it’s official, we’re not wasting time, we are relaxing, it’s therapy!Art Therapy Press ReleaseI’ve been scribbling away happily over the past few days and after all the worries about my mum it’s been lovely to switch off that part of my brain.  This was my favourite from the Stained Glass book…

Art Therapy Stained Glass Colouring bookI’d rather like this next design as wallpaper, wouldn’t you?…

Art Therapy book MandalasWith this one I went to town with the paints.  I may get round to finishing them but I actually rather like the colours set against the black and white.Mandala Flowers Art TherapyHaving shared my adventures on Facebook and Instagram I was not surprised to have lots of positive comments about the whole idea of colouring in.  Such positive comments in fact from both my daughter and daughter-in-law that I shall restrain myself from further scribbling so I can pass the books over to them.  As my daughter is soon to embark on Teacher Training and my D-in-L is a new mum I think they need all the relaxation they can get!

And I’m pleased to say if you feel in a need of a little Art Therapy and relaxation there is a Giveaway!  I have two more copies of these lovely books lined up to give away to the even lovelier Planet Penny readers!

All you have to do is to leave a comment telling us about your favourite place to relax and get away from it all, and which of the two books you would like to take with you.

The winners will be picked on Friday 8th August, I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

(Thank you to all who took part.  The Giveaway now closed, winners to be announced very soon)

The Year in Books – January

I’m scraping in pretending it’s still January and that I’m not a bit late with my January reading choice….please bear with me!

If you missed it, I’m joining in with the reading project on ‘Circle of Pine Trees’ which I wrote about here and my first book choice was The Red House by Mark Haddon.

Mark Haddon - The Red House - A Year in BooksAs it says on the cover, Mark Haddon is the author of the best seller, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’, and I was curious too, to find out if he could follow up such a distinctive book.

I wasn’t disappointed.  My abiding memory of that first book was the way the author got inside the head of the main character, and with ‘The Red House’ Mark Haddon takes on a whole cast of characters, gives them all a voice and weaves the narrative without ever losing the thread of the individual perception of each person.

The book is a small slice of family life, it’s relationships and complications.  Seven days of a shared holiday with a brother and sister, their respective families, the ghosts of the past and the uncertainties of the future.

Having planned to make this my book for the month, I found myself devouring it over a couple of evenings, and becoming so involved with the characters I didn’t want it to end.

But apart from the strong characters Mark Haddon creates a wonderful sense of place, and his descriptive passages are very evocative.

I’m always nervous of accidental ‘spoilers’ when talking about books so I won’t say any more, but I do thoroughly recommend it as an inclusion on your reading list!

My February read is ‘Elegance’ by Kathleen Tessaro.

Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro - A Year in BooksI’m looking forward to a wander through everyone else’s January books to find a few more recommendations for later in the year, I hope you do too!

I’ll be back soon, when I will admit to it being February!

Baby Knits with Debbie Bliss

The rest of the world may think February 14th is St Valentine’s Day, everybody in the Planet Penny orbit knows it better as the due date for our latest family baby!  Babies, I know, have a mind of their own when it comes to their arrival time, but it’s going to happen sooner or later, so I’ve been wielding my knitting needles this week.

The Ultimate Book of Baby Knits - Debbie Bliss

I bought this Debbie Bliss pattern book at the Knit and Stitch show last autumn, but it was only last week that I headed into Norwich for some yarn shopping.  I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t done any ‘nice’ shopping for ages, and in the spirit of catching up with people in the real world rather than cyber space I was also able to combine the trip with coffee and a catch up with Lisa, whom many of you will know from her blog, Bobobun.

It’s nice that that after losing just about every yarn shop from the High Street not that many years ago, there are now more and more springing up, but it’s impossible for them to stock every yarn available so I think I shall be looking on line for some of the Debbie Bliss yarn I need for my baby knits,  However, despite not being able to get exactly the right wool for these little socks I was very pleased with the results after using this Sublime cashmere/merino/silk blend.

Debbie Bliss baby knits

baby knits Debbie Bliss

There are lots of things in this pattern book I would love to knit given the time, Debbie Bliss always comes up trumps with her patterns, and there’s a good selection for boys as well as girls which is sometimes a problem.  I love this simple little tank top…

Baby Knits Debbie Bliss tank top

And the back button opening makes it so much simple to get on and off a wriggly baby.

baby knits - tanktop Debbie Bliss

This simple tee shape looks cute in soft coloured stripes…

striped jumper Debbie Bliss Baby knitsAnd this little Wee Willie Winkie cap is just adorable, isn’t it…

striped cap Debbie Bliss Baby Knits

striped hat Debbie Bliss baby knits

And I’d quite like this teddy…

Debbie Bliss - teddy…and these coathangers for myself!

Debbie Bliss - Baby knits- coathangers

And, still in the book theme, remember I signed up for The Year in Books with A Circle of Pine Trees?   Laura’s January book is from Persephone a small publishing house I’ve long admired.  Waterstone’s quote…

 ‘Persephone is a wonderful publisher specialising in discovering criminally neglected books by wonderful female authors. Stylish and timeless – they make perfect gifts.’ 

…is very apt as nearly all the books I’ve bought from them have been gifts.  I’ve just received the Persephone Catalogue and magazine and this year I will treat myself to the occasional book (and drop large hints around my birthday!) as part of my reading project.

persephone books

Oh…whoops!

I’m sitting at the keyboard and have just become aware of a pair of brown eyes staring at me accusingly – it’s Higgins’ dinner-time!

I will dash off as required before he starts getting vocal about his hunger!

See you soon…x

 

The Year in Books

I mentioned serendipity in my last post, as that is what led me to a blog I hadn’t visited before, and a project ‘A Year in Books’ which is just what I need to rejuvenate my flagging spirits.

I’ve written before about my book habit, but over the years I’ve bought more and more books to feed the creative side of things, practical stuff, craft books, cookery books. My fiction reading has dwindled to 10 or 15 minutes a night in bed. Dozing off after a few minutes means that I end up rereading the same paragraph over and over trying to remember what is going on.

One of my decisions about slowing down and living in the real world a bit more was to put down the smart phone and pick up a book.  This was why when I visited Penelope by the Sea on her lovely blog,  L is for Love, I found she had discovered the perfect incentive on ‘A Circle of Pine Trees’.

Laura has created a reading project, nothing unattainable, of reading and sharing a book a month over the year.  It can be shared on her blog via a linky button, on Instagram or Pinterest, a great way to find recommendations for new authors and books.   All the details are in Laura’s post here, if you are interested in joining in.

My book for January is the latest Mark Haddon, which I bought on Liverpool Street Station on my way back from Aimee’s graduation a month ago (and hadn’t looked at since!) …

Mark Haddon - The Rewd House - A Year in Books

I made a start this morning in a packed hospital waiting room. Much better to get stuck into a book than fuming about my appointment being an hour overdue!  So thank you to Laura for devising the idea, and for Penny for pointing me in the right direction…

Meanwhile, unlike so many other places in the UK, we had a glorious start to the day so I wandered round the garden with Higgins to see what was going on.

The snowdrops are nearly up!

snowdrop buds

There are primroses…

January Primroses…and tiny miniature cyclamen…

cyclamen…and still at the end of the garden, a rose is blooming…

January RoseHiggins, meanwhile still dives into his bed to hide when his coat is put on and he knows he has to go for a walk, however bright the sunshine!

miniature dachshund in bedThank you for all the encouraging comments on my last post.  It seems I’m not alone in feeling a little jaded, I think a lot of us are experiencing post Christmas burnout!

Onwards and upwards….see you soon…x

 

Christmas Countdown – Day Twenty

Oooh, not long now! Day Twenty of the Christmas Countdown and there’s something else to hang on the tree, a paper songbird.

If you click on the image below you will find a link to the pattern for this little fellow, and of course, you can make him any colour you like!

Christmas tree decoration | bird | paper | music |

Planet Penny Advent Calendar 2012

This is an even simpler shape.  No pattern, but it shows that it would be very easy to make your own individual pattern and then make a whole flock of little birds.  Great fun for the children to decorate.

paper birds Christmas Countdown

ebabee likes

These fringed and cut paper birds are effective.  It would be nice to curl some of those feathers for an exotic effect.

cut out bird Christmas Countdown

Karin Lidbeck

I love this little birdy from Miss Clara, so many pretty things on her blog…

handmade bird Christmas Countdown

The Notebooks of Miss Clara

And finally… book art.  Isn’t this stunning?  I’m not suggesting you should try and knock up a table centre like this before the big day.  Just make a cuppa, there’s another beautiful blog to look at!

bird book art Christmas Countdown

My Modern Met

So I shall flutter off just now, and look forward to seeing you tomorrow…x

Norfolk November Skies and a Rosy Glow…

Hello!  I can’t believe it’s taken so long to get back here for a catch up.  I must say the new look for the blog is really growing on me now, and it seems to sit much better on a phone or tablet.

Last weekend Two Rivers Trail Christmas Fair was AMAZING!  We couldn’t believe how many people came, there were cars parked all over the village, with people having to walk for half a mile to get to us!  The Planet Penny Stall looked like this…

craft stall Two Rivers Trail..although I don’t think many people managed to stand back to have a look at anything!  If you would like to see more, all the photos I took of the day are over on the Two Rivers Trail website where you can see some of the beautiful things from other members of the Trail.

I actually thought I would have a quiet week catching up with things, but it’s been anything but, and so busy I’ve struggled to find time to even get out for a walk with poor little Higgins…

He’s not impressed!

miniature dachshund

So in the spirit of a breath of fresh air, here’s yesterday’s walk which took place when the sun came out after a miserable gloomy start, and the wonderful Norfolk November skies came into their own.

Norfolk Sky November

Higgins Miniature dachshund

Ivy on treeseedhead and Norfolk SkyAutumn leavesgrasses and Norfolk Skypine conerose hipsYou don’t get long after lunch for walk at this time of the year, do you?  It does mean being treated to a wonderful view of the sunset as we head back home.  Note the mud! Glorious isn’t it?

Norfolk Sky sunsetsunset Norfolk skysunsetEnding just after we arrived back in a wonderful rosy glow.

pink sunsetAnd talking of a ‘Rosy Glow’  I’m going into boastful mother mode again,  Last night elder son Thomas won a second award for one of his children’s books, The Pets you Get at the Brilliant Book Awards!  Proud?  You bet I am!

TYhe Pets you Get - Thomas TayloAdrian Reynolds, the illustrator, you may well have met before with the Harry and the Dinosaurs stories, which have been made into a popular TV series.

Since I often turn up here with a book review I have no compunction at all in recommending ‘The Pets you Get’ as an excellent buy for Christmas!

And now, I have a ‘cunning plan’ for December on the blog so I’m off to see if I can make it work!  And it’s December tomorrow so I better get going…

see you then…x

 

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