Category Archives: Cat Tales

Challenges, and the Easter Bunny

daffodils in snow: no weather for the Easter Bunny

I think we’ve all been a bit challenged in the UK this week, by the weather!  What’s it been like with you?  We haven’t had huge amounts of snow here in Norfolk, but we are very exposed to the biting wind heading our way across the North Sea: it seems to have been howling down the chimney for days.  It’s hard to believe it’s Easter next weekend,  the poor old Easter Bunny is going to have to wear his thermals to do his chocolate egg deliveries!

My main challenge over the week was a talk I had promised to give, months ago.  You know how you agree to these things and they seem so far away in the distance and then suddenly, it’s here and you are wondering why on earth you agreed to it!   I headed off to Beccles, which is just over the border into Suffolk to give a talk to the Spinners and Weavers Guild about Needlefelting.   I sort of had a feeling I might be teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, as the saying goes.  Then I found out there might well be over 30 people there and…ooo-er…!

As it was, it was fine.  After I got over my initial dry mouthed panic as I was introduced and stood there with no notes, no script but lots of props it went very well.

needlefelt demo

They were a lovely audience and very keen to set to with needles and fleece to have a go themselves after I’d finished the talk.

needlefelt class

As they were all textile practitioners they were happy to be experimental rather than being given a project and although there wasn’t a huge amount of time – and needlefelt is very time consuming – they came up with some jolly pieces and all seemed to have fun.

beginners needlefelt

However, I also had another challenge, and that was definitely down to the Easter Bunny!  I’ve been feeling so bad because I have been promising to write up the pattern for the bunny I made last Easter and my goodness, haven’t I got myself in a pickle with it!  And all of a sudden, there’s only a week to go!  I am sorry, aren’t I rubbish?  I think I’ve just been over thinking what I was doing, and seemed to spend ages ripping out and redoing the same piece.  Then suddenly, it all fell into place and the pattern is finished.

I’m on the way to having a complete Bunny Brigade…

crochet bunny backs

colourful crochet bunnies

As you can see, they each have their own personality, right down to a challenger for Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer’s title! (Percy, the Pink Nosed Bunny?)

So I’m thinking of an Easter present for you.  From now until after Easter the pattern will be available FREE as a downloadable PDF right HERE! (This offer has expired, but the bunny will be available soon via the Etsy Shop)   There is a Planet Penny Bunny Brigade group board on Pinterest so if you would like to add your version of the bunny just let me know and I can invite you.  You obviously have to be on Pinterest yourself and I have to be following at least one of your boards (but that can easily be arranged!)  Although I’ve made the Bunnies using the Planet Penny Cotton, they can be made using any yarn oddments, just match your hook to the yarn.  You can find out more about that in this post.

This is a limited offer, but I’d like to give my followers and customers a head start.  Although there’s only a week till Easter, they only take an hour or two to make so I’m sure we could have a wonderful board full of bunnies on Pinterest very soon, let me know what you think.

Finally, for those of you who read last week’s post about delivering Clovis, the Mad French Cat to his home by the sea you might be interested in a follow up tale (tail?) from his new home.  Visit Thomas’s blog to find out how he’s settling in, and have a chortle.  Tom seems to think there’s not a lot of call for cat stories, so if you disagree do leave a comment with him.  I need more pictures like that!

I’m joining in again with Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour so do pay a visit to see what’s going on…

Back soon…x

To the seaside…with cat…

Hellooo and Happy Sunday!  I’m here to tell you all about our adventures returning the Mad French Cat to his family, and also fitting in a couple of relaxing days out of the Planet Penny orbit (mostly!)  I think you all know from past posts that I do love to be beside the seaside but the South coast is very different from our wild windswept beaches here in Norfolk.  Very genteel and civilised, no need for wellies or anything…

Except, except…

Except the day we decided to travel.

There isn’t a lot of scope for spontaneity round here because as well as having to fit around Tim’s work patterns, Higgins has to be booked in with a family for a holiday (ensuring the continuation of all home comforts) and I have to arrange cover for my Mum’s care.  Also we had all been bolstering ourselves up for weeks for relocating Clovis.  Although he was not a suitable pet for a old and disabled lady ( think Kato in the Pink Panther!) he’s beautiful and affectionate and we knew he’d be much missed.

So a little bit of snow wasn’t going to stop us.  Clovis was actually very good in the car, after mewing piteously for half the journey he gave up and slept.  We drove in and out of snow showers all the way until the last 15 to 20 miles when it was really snowing in earnest. If we’d left home even half an hour later it would not have been nice.

Having unloaded Clovis into a quiet bedroom with a bowl of food and litter tray to settle down we ventured out to experience snow at the seaside.  I’ve never seen snow on the beach before, have you?

It was getting dark, and snowing heavily but the snow reflected an eerie light.  The tide was out, and the sea was foaming away at the edge of a bank of cloud and snow just beyond the rocks…

seaside in the snow

snowy rocks at seaside

starfish at seaside

snow at seaside Bexhill

By the morning the snow had stopped, but two small boys were delighted that their schools were closed and we ventured out once again in the freezing wind.  Quite the wrong snow for a snowman alas, but perfect for snowballs!


By the third day the sun was out, the snow was melting and it was perfect weather for a stroll along the front.

sun at the seaside

wood and pebbles

boats and snow at the seaside

And Clovis?  Well even though he’s been away from his proper family for a couple of years he slotted straight back in as though he’d never been away.  Despite the new house he seemed to remember the furnishings (especially the soft furnishings, in particular the hand knitted wool bedspread!) He had a little problem with the stairs – my mum lives in a bungalow – but was soon thundering up and down with his mouse.

cat on stairs

….and he found the bannisters a particular source of delight.

tabby cat montage

Back in Norfolk I’m missing the family, the cat and the seaside but it’s great to be able to pop to our new shop for milk and a Sunday paper.  Thanks so much for all the lovely comments about our new community Shop last week.  I will announce here that despite my reservations I have volunteered for staff training and I will try very hard not to destroy the till!

I’ve rambled on for quite long enough so I shall save the crafty bits for the next post but if you need reminding about Kato and the Pink Panther I will leave you with a little clip…

See you soon…x

Edited to add, if you want the other side of the story, check out Thomas’s blog right here

Rain, Rain…

…go away.

Planet Penny Studio in the Rain

As you can guess from this photo, I’m not in the studio this afternoon.  I can’t hear myself think for the rain hammering on the roof, and I’m having to be inside to make soothing noises to a little dog who does not like thunder.  It’s been the pattern for days, glorious sunshine in the morning and torrential rain and thunder in the afternoon.  Unfortunately the mornings are when I’m busiest, and as I come to a breathing space, the thunder and lightening sets in.

Not to worry, I’m still managing to potter along creatively, if a trifle damply.  If you remember last week, I was planning to make more of the Lovebirds in hearts.  I tried trying out a slightly different style using a little wicker heart rather than the wool ones and I was very pleased with the effect…

Blue and White Needlefelt  Love Bird in a heat

I was pleasantly surprised to find it sold within hours of putting it in the Etsy shop, but rather annoyed that when I found these hearts to buy I only bought one as a sample, so it’s back to Norwich next week to for some more!

The Planet Penny Cotton selection has been selling well, and I’ve had to make a slight change in the range as the ‘Buttercup’ yellow was out of stock.  I’ve replaced it for now with a really pretty ‘Sunshine’ (always pays to be optimistic!) yellow which is almost the same cheerful colour with a slight variegated effect…

I also spent some time rephotographing the Christmas Crochet Bunting from this tutorial.  I have never been happy with the white on black image as although it show the Bunting off well, it looks stark, and not very Christmassy.  So when I was contacted by Future Publishing Craft Division  with a view to featuring it in a forthcoming magazine I knew I had to make it look more festive in the photos.  I finally tracked down the perfect background for it in our local sewing store…

I’ll let you know more about it nearer the time, so watch this space!

Are you wondering how the Mad French Cat is faring after his recent disaster? Well, after the last check up with our lovely vet, he was given permission to come out of the crate, something Clovis has been working on for weeks…

Tabby cat

He’s still on twice daily antibiotics for the next few weeks, and we don’t have a date for the pins to come out so we’re not out of the woods yet, but he’s able to prowl around my mum’s bungalow…loudly…ker-plunk….ker-plunk..

Ironically, his favourite place to sleep?  In the crate!  Ho-hum…

I’ve been meaning to share some shopping I’ve indulged in over the past few weeks, I don’t wan’t to be the only one led astray! The first was bought as birthday present for a close friend, but I’m soo tempted to go back and get one for me.  Can you guess why?

basket of lavender dachshunds

You’ll find lots of other pretty things in their Etsy shop, Farrell & Holmes.  My other impulse buy was by the power of Twitter!  I was intending to do a little Twittering myself, but clicked on a photo and couldn’t resist this…

..could you?  You’ll find more in the Etsy shop Miss Winnie Makes.

Well I’d better leave the laptop now and do something far more important, consoling Higgins.  The thunder is still rumbling around, and he’s in a little shivery heap.  He’s doesn’t want to be held, I suppose he feels out of control, so all I can do is make soothing noises.  I hope it won’t be long before he’s back on form, working on the cuteness factor…

minature black and tan dachsund in bed

I’ll leave you with the usual link to Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour.

Hope you’re keeping dry, see you soon…x

Making it in Making Magazine!

Well, almost.  It’s not a full page double spread or anything, but hey! Making Magazine noticed me!

Well, Planet Penny anyway and Higgins, who is terribly excited.  He’s very aware that he might be recognised and so has taken to going around incognito!

Things have been a little tricky on the Clovis front.  The circulation in his foot was compromised as the bandage slipped (too much jumping on to beds etc) and after a night at the vets he was allowed home without the dressing.  However infection has set in, which was always a possibility given the seriousness of the break and so we are on the long haul with twice daily antibiotics.  He is now confined to the crate…

Tabby cat in a crate

and being very good about it all things considered, only mewing piteously when I arrive on nurse duty!

Tabby cat in a crate

Let me Owwt!

Fortunately my mum lives less than a mile away as I now have to visit three times a day.  Once in my carer’s capacity to make mum’s lunch etc, and twice  as veterinary nurse!

As you may have guessed from my Silent Sunday post, I had a birthday this week, with a lovely lunch at the Marsham Arms near Norwich, which is where we had such a wonderful time at our son and daughter-in-laws wedding reception.  I really didn’t need sticky toffee pudding, but it was soooo delicious!  Kit made me a beautiful matching gift bag and card using vintage Laura Ashley wallpaper.

card and gift bag made with vintage Laura Ashley wallpaper hearts

I wish Laura Ashley would revive the original woodcuts that they started out with as they are so simple and pretty. Years ago I had blue wallpaper with white swans on it, I loved it and not a scrap survives…

In the midst of all that’s been going on I finally completed the Heart and Flower Garland Pattern so it’s now available as a PDF via the Etsy shop, along with some Mini Mice hairslides, crocheted with embroidery silk.  They really are weeny and cute!

I’m now revisiting the owls from this post as I’ve had several requests for a pattern, I’ve just got to refine it, and make some decisions about the different formats.

So, plenty to be going on with, as well as a visit from the grandsons this week, which will make Higgins very happy.  He does love his boys!  (And I’ve just found this post that Higgins wrote all about his boy, which I had forgotten about which did make me smile, do have a look!)

I’m linking up again with Handmade Harbour for Handmade Monday again so you can follow the link and find lots crafty blogs to visit.  Have a great week…

Back soon…x

Crochet, Cats and Crochet Mice….

Welcome back to Planet Penny and another Handmade Monday post.  It’s also a catch up post, because last week I didn’t feel able to bring you up to date with the ‘Clovis the Cat Saga’ because I was dreading the outcome.  But I’m back now, with more crochet, more mice, and even more cats!

If you’ve not visited before, Clovis is my ‘foster’ cat, living with my mum and who suffered a nasty accident 10 days ago, you can find out more in this post.  Last weekend he was safely ensconced in his crate, and I thought I had the after-care sussed.  That was before the Break Out, when he hefted his 8 kilos plus frame out of the crate just as I was juggling with a used earth tray (YUK!) and got out outside!!

To cut a very long story and traumatic story short, he got out, panicked, ran under the neighbour’s car, got up inside the car while we searched elsewhere.  Reappeared several hours later when the neighbour started the car and belted down the garden on three legs and vanished into the undergrowth.  Hours of fruitless searching and calling later I gave up for the night, hoping he would creep in via the catflap under cover of darkness.  The next morning my mum went to look for him inside…no sign… By now it was raining, and I went back to search, dressed in waterproofs and wellies…convinced that he had displaced the pins, caused an infection, had soggy bandages,  was lying somewhere in pain and unable to move and it was all my fault

The neighbour came out and suggested starting his car again, just to make sure he hadn’t gone back underneath, and, just on the off chance before he did, I went back inside  just to check Clovis wasn’t inside.  And there he was, on the bed in the spare room!!!  I couldn’t get near enough to check him over, so I shut him in with food, water and a tray and left him alone over night to recover his nerves, as the following day I had to catch him again and take him to the vet.

Against all the odds he was absolutely fine, I meanwhile have aged 10 years….

Tabby cat on a patchwork quilt with a purple bandage

Tomorrow of course, I have to catch him again for the next vet visit, please wish me luck!

However, I have still fitted in some creativity, the first being a little ‘Granny’ project with the Planet Penny Cotton.  It’s fun making all the little bits and bobs with the rainbow colours, but I wanted to make something pretty for the home…

Crochet 'Granny' squares on Provencal Print

This small remnant of beautiful vintage Provençal Print was crying out to be a cushion back…

Provençal Print cushion back

…and I was pretty pleased with the front too!

Planet Penny Cotton Cushion detail with button

Planet Penny Cotton Cushion detail with orange button

Planet Penny Cotton Cushion on polka dots

Planet Penny Cotton Cushion on school chair

I can’t get away from pussy cats though, while my back was turned Henry decided to give it a quality control check!

Tabby Cat on Crochet cushion

…it passed!

And the crochet mice?

Well, after my last post about using different yarns and hooks to change the size of the mice on the Mouse Patterns, I had lots of comments via the Planet Penny Facebook Page about the cuteness of the teeny tiny mice made from Coton Perlé using the Planet Penny Mini Mice pattern.  I’ve raided my embroidery basket to make some pretty little crochet mouse hair slides…

crochet mice hair ornaments

a handful of crochet mice hair ornaments

crochet mice hair ornaments

blue/green crochet mice hair slides

and have now bought a mini rainbow selection to have a play with using this much finer crochet hook…

Very happy colours!

a rainbow of embroidery threads

I hope you’ve had a slightly less exciting time where ever you have been over the last week.  I know I’ve given the impression with my photos lately that Norfolk has been having the summer no one else has had, but we’ve had our share of wet days too.  It’s St Swithin’s Day today, and this is supposed to happen…

‘St. Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.’

So far around here it’s been dry, so fingers crossed!

I’ll leave you with the usual link to Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour where you can find lots of lovely blogs to visit…

See you soon …x

Life is What Happens To You…

…while you’re busy making other plans, as John Lennon famously said.   This week life has not turned out as planned.

If you’ve been visiting Planet Penny for a while you’ll know about Clovis, the French Cat.  He belongs to my son Thomas, and has staying with my mum while his own family have been settling after transferring from France.

Clovis is quite a character, and has led an eventful life.  As a tiny kitten he chose his family by climbing into the car in a remote place where no unattended kitten should have been, and after unsuccessful attempts to locate the owner,  he was welcomed into the family.   I’ve always been a bit of favourite of his, as the only person mad enough  to arrive to stay with a large and exciting bag, full of balls of wool and knitting.   On one visit it took less than 10 minutes with an unattended knitting bag for him to create a wonderful art installation. Yarn was wrapped round the legs of every chair in the room and up a flight of stairs where there were more chairs, and out of the cat flap and all around the garden furniture!

He’s madly affectionate, but won’t be held or picked up, just trampling madly over your lap purring furiously.  He’s frightened of everything in the garden, hurling himself through the catflap to avoid marauding butterflies and vicious baby rabbits.

He lived for a while in Rouen, France, pretty near the city centre and close to one of the main arterial route through the city and came though unscathed.  So why was it that now, living in a sleepy little cul-de-sac in rural Norfolk, he gets hit by a car?  Well, not hit exactly, one back leg run over, and horribly broken.

So the last few days have been all about visiting the vet, and xrays and a big operation.

He is now back with my mum, in a large crate…

and wearing a fetching blue bandage.

I’ve been my mother’s carer for a while, but now I’m Clovis’s too, spending a lot of time sitting on the floor with my arm through the door of the crate tickling his ears and making soothing noises.  Fortunately so far he hasn’t been too frustrated by his incarceration, but he must be very bored.  I’ve suggested a film this afternoon.  He does watch television a lot when it’s something he’s interested in,  ‘Kung-Fu Panda’ being a particular favourite! (I just hope he’s not taking notes!)

So that’s why this hasn’t been the week I’d planned, or the blog post I’d intended, but I hope you’ll bear with me.

I’ll be back soon x


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