Category Archives: Gardens

When not in textile mode my other passion is gardening and my garden

Midsummer! and a Festival…

It’s hard to believe we’re now halfway through the year and in this little patch of Norfolk we were blessed with a warm sunny weekend in which to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

We are just back from a Midsummer Festival which took place just down the road from us at How Hill, a beautiful spot on the Norfolk Broads.  You might just remember me taking part in a craft fair there a couple of years ago.

How HillThe aim of the Festival was to celebrate the success of the Truly Local shop in the small town nearby, so of course all the stalls, producers and businesses were truly local too.

Truly Local Midsummer FestivalThere was such a lovely atmosphere, we bumped into family and friends, and a great time was had by all, including Higgins!

He was particularly helpful when it came to testing the deliciousness of the beefburgers…

mini dachshund2014-06-21 19.54.542014-06-21 19.55.24What a look of sheer bliss…

Then of course he had to sort out the washing up after icecream…

Vanilla…

2014-06-21 20.05.59Mint Choc Chip…

2014-06-21 20.06.01…and that icecream cornet, surely the pointy bit would go to waste otherwise…?

2014-06-21 20.16.42There were more stalls than I can mention individually, but these are the ones I know you would like to hear about…

It was great to meet Rachael of Foxglove and Gingersnap with her snazzy stitching.  I only knew her through Facebook, I love meeting up with my cyber friends in reality!

Foxglove and Gingersnap

… and Sue Maton of The Mercerie We only ever meet when we haven’t got time to talk properly! She has so many gorgeous things to tempt knitters and crocheters alike…

The Mercerie

The Mercerie Crochet BlanketPaul Williams, one of our Two Rivers Trail-ers was there with his wonderful wooden creations…

Woods World Wide(I now have a dinky little board made from a local fallen tree, exclusively for me to slice lemons on! G & T, anyone?)

And a  brilliant, serendipitous find, Ros Arrowsmith who makes beautiful ceramics with which I have completely fallen in love…

Ros Arrowsmith Ceramics

Ceramics by Ros Arrowsmith

Ceramics by Ros ArrowsmithI particularly love her quirky lettering style and giant handles.  It’s good to find something so fresh and different.

We finished with a walk round the Secret Garden, where my camera started complaining about it’s dying battery.  You can get a little flavour of it here… so peaceful and calm.Secret Garden How Hill, Norfolk

The visit concluded with tea and cake, what could be better?

Back home I’ve a new project on the go, a spin off from last week’s Needlefelt Workshop, and a commission to complete, so I’ll be back soon with photos.

I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend too, see you soon…x

(now where’s that gin and tonic…?)

Hooray for the Little Red Hen!

Little Red Hen Ladybird Book

click for the story

This is the version of the Little Red Hen story I remember from way back in primary school, how we loved our Ladybird books!

We got to talking about it the other day because my friend Kit was reminiscing about her mum, sadly long gone, who used to quote the Little Red Hen when she had failed to get anyone else to do the necessary thing, whatever it was.

‘ ”Then I’ll do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And so she did.’

I have been chuntering for ages about the overgrown state of my vegetable patch.  It always needs the most attention when I’m tied up with the run up to Open Studios and it’s got more and more overgrown, weedy and wild every season.  However, over the past two weeks I have channelled my inner Little Red Hen and I DID IT MYSELF!

It looks great….I’m exhausted!  I’ve filled a skip bag with rubbish, the beds are topped up with fresh compost and my little mini cold frame cum green house is crammed full of seed trays and seedlings.

Higgins has tried very hard to help.

Miniature Dachshund

Taking the little fences away from the raised beds has meant he could do lots in the way of turning over the soil, and then firming it down afterwards.dachshund in raised bed

He’s carried the trowel about helpfully (and put it away tidily where it couldn’t be lost)veg patch

More little fences have turned into a priority if any of the seedlings are going to make it to maturity once they have been planted out.  Higgins has history, remember the Mixed Greens?

Did you spot the laburnum tree?  This year it’s being completely wonderful – it alternates – and it’s very special as it was a seedling from the one in my parents’ garden.laburnum

And the bees LOVE it! For the last week or so, ever since the very first buds opened the air around the tree has been throbbing with the sound of very happy little bees…listen to this…

So this is why it’s been a little quiet here over the past week, and now there’s a lot of catching up to do.

While all this was going on the Green Man went off to the Forum in Norwich for the Open Studios Taster Exhibition – you can just see him dangling next to the patchwork…

Forum, Norwich NNOS taster exhibition

Taster Exhibition – setting up

Now it’s all systems go for the main event, which starts on May 24th.

You might like to see a glimpse of the other exhibition which was running at the same time, the most amazing knitted and crochet pergola which was made to raise funds for a local charity…

knitted pergola - John Grooms Court

knitted pergola detail

Just amazing, isn’t it?  There’s an interesting post on The Mercerie blog which will tell you more about it.

My next challenge is turning the studio into an exhibition space…eek!  I’ve just got so much STUFF.

And I haven’t forgotten about those extra little Boxes of Delight.…  2014-04-28 21.37.50

The challenge now is seeing just what I can squeeze inside, so watch this space, I’ll be back soon…x

Box of Delights – The Results

Good Morning! I hope your morning is as beautiful as ours is today…
hyacinths in Spring ukVery frosty first thing, but gorgeously bright and sparkly.

So it’s a good day to be awarding prizes.  Firstly I have to say thank you again for the wonderful comments, it really has been heart lifting, and makes me feel another 500 posts may well be possible.  I wish I could write to each and every one of you but there were 100 entries!

And I always feel bad when I do a giveaway because I can’t give something to everyone so I decided to add in four extra runners up to spread the delight a little further.  In the past I have used my trusty helper to draw a winning name.  We used a basket once…

mini dachshund drawing winning ticket…and of course the hat…

Mini Dachsie & winning ticket…but it involved a lot chasing around to find out who’s name actually came out of the hat…

mini dachsie winning ticket…and it’s awfully damp and spitty.  Also, there were so many this time…

list for Box of Delights…that I used the Random Number Generator which involves no chasing, and no chewed paper. So without further ado, and a big drum roll I am very pleased to announce that the winning number was 96 and the Box of Delights goes to Pennie, in East Sussex.  The four runners up are number 14 – Sue Cambell in Alabama, number 15 – Cindy Wilson in Canada, Number 46 – Toffeeapple of Buckinghamshire and 48 – Linda Thorpe of Norfolk.

I shall share the runners-up prizes as I create them, it’s sparked another idea!  Thank you all again for taking part.

And thank you too for all the supportive and concerned comments regarding our adventure with the fire last week.  Everything is tidy and soot free in the room now and I’ve pinned a dust sheet over the fireplace as we await builders’ estimates.  It’s not going to be a quick job, alas, Higgins and I are both snuggled under blankies in the evening now!

dachsie in a blanketSee you soon…!

 

 

A Pain in the Neck!

If it’s been a bit quiet on Planet Penny the last few days it’s because its all been a bit of a pain in the neck…quite literally!  I don’t know how it’s possible to lock one’s neck up completely just turning on the pillow to look at the alarm clock  but that’s what I did, very effectively.   So my midweek post got delayed, and now I’m back in the chair with strict instructions from Lara, my amazing chiropractor, to set an alarm and step away from the computer every 20 minutes….

Which is quite tricky…

Feather and Needlefelt birds

I was mobile enough to take the second Needlefelt Workshop yesterday at Arts Desire and like the first one it was great fun.

Needlefelt Workshop, Arts DesireIt’s always fun to see the different interpretations of the same basic skill when we all get together, last week we had these little chaps (spot the bumble bee!)…

needlefelt bird workshop

…and yesterday these little feathered friends were born…

needlefelt birds29June

The Craft Lounge at Arts Desire is proving a great venue for these workshops and I’m looking forward to the 27th July and the Planet Penny Bakery when we will be needlefelting lots of low calorie high fibre treats!  If you are interested in joining us you can find out more right here

Meanwhile, I have been responding to many requests for a Rainbow Mouse knitting pattern for all those who don’t crochet and I’ve come up with this little fellow…

Knitted Rainbow Mouse

and introduced him to his crochet chums…

Knitted and Crochet Rainbow Mice

What do you think?  As soon as I feel happy with the design it will be available  alongside the crochet Mouse pattern via the Etsy shop

Knitted Rainbow Mouse

He seems to be looking very much at home..

And the sun is shining!  The creaky neck has put paid to much gardening, but my lovely son has been over and planted my Sarah Raven Sweet Peas. It’s a super scented collection of white, blue and deep pink …

Sarah Raven Sweet Peas…and I just can’t wait to pick my first bunch and fill the house with their scent.

I don’t think I’ve shown you my Planet Penny Cotton garden project!  It seems a bit mad, but so far has withstood the weather really well…

flowers in tins

Planet Penny Cotton Covered Tins

A possible tutorial?  Let me know what you think…

And now, because the sun is still shining and it’s heading towards being the hottest day of the year so far, I shall take my basket of yarn and the embryo mouse pattern into the garden and enjoy the rest of my Sunday, knitting under the cherry trees.

I hope you enjoy your Sunday too!

See you soon…x

 

 

Turf, Surf and Needlefelt Birds

A mixed bag post today, I’ve been lurking inside a lot consoling myself with needlefelt because of the unseasonably cold weather, but then rejoicing in sunshine and warmth when at last we get a brief indication that it’s actually summertime!  I’m only wearing TWO layers today, and no thermal fleece!

The wind seems to have blown constantly for months in this part of the UK and we live in the windiest corner of the village, near the remains of the old mill.  Wind always seems to make everything worse, doesn’t it?  Colder, and so noisy with it whistling around the chimney.  Yesterday’s walk was a bit scary, with small branches being blown off the trees.  I wasn’t sorry to see some rain for the garden though, and Higgins was relieved that the thunderstorm which hit Norwich skirted around us.  Despite all this Mother Nature is flourishing in the hedgerows…

dog rose

green lane

pink campion

white flowerThe grass is long enough now to ripple in the wind like water, and is such a lush green…

grassy meadow

Norfolk field miniature dachshund

But, in true English fashion today the weather is completely different.  The sunshine in the garden brought the bees to the chive flowers…

chive flower and beeI know you are supposed to snip the flowers off if you want nice chives for kitchen use, but how can I deprive the poor bees?

bee on chive flowers

chives with bee

Such a beautiful morning was too good to waste, so Higgins and I headed to the beach before breakfast.  What could be better than a deserted Norfolk beach in the sunshine?

Norfolk beach

The sand is gradually returning after being scoured by the winter gales.  Only a couple of weeks ago this stretch was down to red clay.

Norfolk beach and sunHiggins was very happy..

Norfolk beach and miniature dachshundAnd quite intrepid too in the shallows…

miniature dachshund at the beach

Miniature dachshund paddling…and the pools…

Miniature dachshund in pool

Back home I’m getting ready for the first Needlefelt Workshop next weekend at Art’s Desire Craft Lounge in Norwich.  The first one is all booked up and the second one is filling but fear not, further dates have been added to the calendar!  The   Birds on a Branch piece I created for Open Studios last year is in the shop window because we’ll be making birds, of all descriptions…

needlefelt birds on a branchThis is my latest flight of fancy….

Needlefelt birds

Needlefelt and feather birds

Feather and Needlefelt birds Happy, not Angry Birds!

And, in case you were wondering, there is a winner for last week’s  giveaway of a copy of Caroline Zoob’s gorgeous book, The Hand-Stitched Home.  Thank you, to everyone who entered  with wonderful stitching memories, I really enjoyed reading them.  It seems for every school day horror there was also a wonderful teacher or relative who passed on their own love of the subject.

It  was so hard to choose, I wanted everyone to win, but there’s only one copy of the book!

Please imagine the drum roll, or the pregnant pause beloved of TV Games shows so that I can announce…the winner is… Nikki Pierce who writes her own blog Tales from Swallow Barn.

Congratulations Nikki, I hope you enjoy your copy of the book and that we see some of your creations on your blog before too long (No pressure or anything!)

I’m off now to put the kettle on.  I hope you’ve got your feet up with a cuppa too!

Have a great week and I’ll be back soon…

Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios 2013

It’s hard to believe this is the third year we have taken part in Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios, but then it’s always hard to get one’s head round how quickly time flies.   This weekend will be the last for this year so we’re really hoping the weather stays kind and encourages lots of people to drive out into our beautiful Norfolk countryside to visit us.

Norfo0lk and Norwich Open Studios PosterIf you are a regular visitor to Planet Penny you will know I share my studio with my good friend Kit,  a printer, for the purposes of Open Studios.  It makes it more fun and more manageable when several people arrive at once and we both know enough about each others work to be able to talk about it.  (Although I wouldn’t recommend anyone goes away and attempts etching after an explanation from me!)

I know only a handful of people reading this will be able to visit so this is virtual invitation to our studio so you can see what’s been going on over the past couple of weeks.

This is the studio, through the archway.

Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios
It looks so much better when the sun shines!
Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios - garden

The Japanese Maple which last year formed part of the wedding decorations (which you can see in this post) is now a great place to display the felted  ’River Rocks’ which were first exhibited as part of the Bergh Apton Sculpture Trail several years ago…

Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios 2013Inside, it’s so tidy! It’s lovely, I wish it would last!

studio inside

Can you see the tell tale streak across the mat?  Well, for once it wasn’t Higgins.  The very first day, dead on 10 o’clock when we were officially open, the little oil filled radiator which we had been huddling round because it was so ridiculously cold went POP and leaked hot oil all over the floor!   Several teatowels were sacrificed in the frantic mopping up and that trail was created as we dragged the darn thing outside where it dribbled over the gravel.

Not a good start and I’ve had to dispose of the mat which I rather liked.  Never mind, next week I’m having vinyl laid which will withstand tidal waves of hot oil as well as muddy little paws!

interior studio NNOS 2013

Oh gosh, have you noticed Higgins has crept in yet again?  Not what I intended but since he’s here I’ll just say he’s well rested now and is all geared up to greet his public should they feel inclined to visit him over the coming weekend.  You’ll find general details of Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios on the website, and our Art Trail in particular on the Two Rivers Trail website.

miniature dachshund

 

After this weekend I hope to get back to a more normal blogging routine.  Coming up next time is another book review.  A gorgeous new publication and the chance to win your very own copy. If you haven’t signed up to follow  Planet Penny yet now might be a good time so you don’t miss out on a prize!

I’ll be back very soon…x