Category Archives: Life in General

Habits…and Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That!

I’ve got to admit to lots of bad habits and trying to conquer them is a WIP, but the one habit I don’t want to lose is the Blogging one and things have slipped badly just lately.  I’ve dived in with one or two on a set subject, but when I look back to when I first started writing here I realise I miss just turning up for a chat!

The main reason for my absence has been the ongoing concern about my mum.  The problems started back in August and look set to continue for a while yet.  She is now in the local rehabilitation hospital and her ankle has healed, but physio is set to be long and slow as she’s been in bed for so long.  Added to this, there have been various administration errors which have added to her distress which I have now taken up with our MP so this has been quite time consuming.

And coming up, we have our Two Rivers Trail Festive Fair.  It’s in less than two weeks…eek!  It’s the only fair I do these days.  I usually sell as I make rather than having a stall full of wares, so preparation takes a bit of time.

Two Rivers Trail Festive Fair

You can find out about the fair and the other artists taking part on the Two Rivers Trail website.  Last year’s fair, our first, was a huge success and took us quite by surprise!  This year we have a special guest  the well known author, TV presenter and explorer, Nick Crane from BBC’s ‘Coast’ opening the Fair, so if you happen to be in the area do come along.  It’s promising to be a great day out.

And Higgins!  I know there are some of you who like to find out about Higgins, and he is on fine form.

A bit fed up with the weather…

mini dachshund in red coat

…so he has decided that all watchdog activites should be conducted from the comfort of his own armchair…


…when he’s not on bed testing duties…

2014-10-29 14.10.42

Planet Penny was always meant to be my happy place, and right now a happy place is where I need to be so I intend to be here more often.  I’ll certainly be along  with my fair preparations, the felting needle is red hot already!

I’ll see you very soon…x


Just Coasting…

Goodness, it seems an age since I was here!  How are you all?  It does feel rather that the blog and I are coasting at the moment, what with my preoccupation with my mum.  Also, some weeks ago, thinking that this month would be fairly quiet and calm (!) I booked myself on the Photocraft Course which is now in full swing.

I must say it’s very interesting, and the embryonic skills I will have aquired by the end of the course are going to be so useful as I build on them and use them in the future.  More of this to come.

But in the meantime,  I used the week long break in the middle of the course to have a break myself.  With my mum recovering slowly in hospital and with various family members keeping up with the visiting I decided to take myself off to the North Norfolk Coast for a couple of days in a B & B and have a little camera practice.

Now I would say, going on my present record, don’t whatever you do book a holiday at the same time as me if you want good weather!

Because of all the drama around my last trip away I didn’t get to share the photos I took then, but a lot of the time it was like this…

Bexhill-on-Sea…wet and windy.

And then this time, heading off to an entirely different part of the coast, it was like this…

Blakeney in the mist

…and this.

Blakeney QuayI went to Holkham Hall

Lake at Holkham HallSo you sort of get the picture, don’t you?  Not really the weather to lift the spirits.

To add insult to injury, the very same bank of fog casting it’s gloom over Blakeney, Wells and the surrounding area was also keeping poor Tim stuck on the gas platform where no helicopters could fly instead of joining me at the bed and breakfast!

All was not lost though and Tim eventually arrived, along with a burst of sunshine and warmth at lunchtime on the day before we were due to return home!  We took ourselves off to Holt for the afternoon which is always worth a visit, especially when there is tea and cake on offer!

And having been starved of light and colour for a few days I was so pleased to rediscover Ruth and her relocated shop ‘Glory Days’.  The original shop was in Norwich; I loved it and wrote about it here.  It sadly closed, but the new location in Holt is perfect, and in such a pretty little flint and brick cottage.

Glory Days in Holt glorydays 2 glorydays 3 glorydays 4And it’s just so pretty and colourful!  If you are in the area, do call in to say hello and get a colour fix!

So on that happier note I will sign off, and hope to be back before long…x

A Tale of the Unexpected

Great Dixter Gate

Hello!  I didn’t intend to be away for so long…in fact most of my intentions have flown out of the window this month and keeping up with the blog is one of them.

When I was last here, I was off to the South Coast for a few days with the family.  Any time away from home is fraught with complication because of having to make sure that everything is in place for someone to take over my role in caring for my mum, so I don’t actually go away very often at all, and never for more than a few days.

To be fair, my mum really appreciates this fact, and is always very keen to reassure me that she will be fine, nothing will go wrong, and to have a lovely time.

So the last Friday in August saw us wandering around the gardens at Great Dixter, me with my camera in hand, enjoying some peace and relaxation.  And then my phone buzzed with my sister’s ringtone and there was a message…’Where is mum?  The house is all locked up and we can’t see her’

(To put you in the picture, my mum is very disabled, can only just walk round the house and has to have a lot of assistance to get out through the door.)

Of course the phone signal was poor, my battery low and it took a panicky gallop back to the car to plug in before I could respond, which I did by phoning my mum, because it couldn’t be true could it?  It was all a mistake and she’d be sitting in her chair like always.  But her neighbour answered, and yes it was true, they were in the house, the bed was made, the washing up done and there was no sign of mum…

And I was miles away in Sussex…

Several phone calls later we had established that she had been taken to hospital and had a broken ankle after slipping off her bed in the night, thank goodness for the alarm button she was wearing round her neck, and the help of the people who turned out in the night to help her and call the ambulance. (Which arrived so quietly that the neighbours didn’t hear a thing!)

And the one thing in her mind was ‘Don’t tell Penny, it will spoil her holiday!’  I can’t believe that I had been out of the county for less than 24 hours when it happened.

She apparently thought she had sent a text to my sister from the ambulance but a combination of shock and a bumpy ride meant that it disappeared into the ether, rather than getting delivered.  Her first response to me when I sent her a message at the hospital was a text to say ‘I’m really cross you found out!’

I didn’t rush home( I would have been told off!)  she was safe and cared for at the hospital and we returned as planned on the Sunday having had our lovely family time, albeit a little subdued.

But now I’m spending a lot of time behind the wheel, visiting her in hospital which is about 3/4 of an hour away.  All things considered she is doing well, it was a clean break and while there were a few bruises they have nearly gone.  There is a huge question mark hanging over the future now because her ability to cope living at home was getting increasingly problematic even before the fall…

While I usually try to keep Planet Penny an upbeat place trying to pretend that big things  aren’t happening in the real world would make things fake, and that isn’t what I want just here so that is why I’m posting about it.

Now you know I hope you will bear with me if things are a little erratic.  This was the quiet (ish) slot in the year for which I had booked in my Photocraft Course, which is great, but very intense.

I have this stuck up on my wall…

If Plan A doesn' work, the alphabet has 25 other letters!

It seems like it’s the only way to keep going sometimes…

Off to the Seaside!

This is a very quick little post as I’m running around getting ready for a couple of days away.  I had hoped to email all the lovely people who had kindly volunteered to be pattern testers, but time is galloping away as ever, so thank you so much for getting in touch, you know who you are!

I will get back to you after the weekend with a plan, (she says optimistically)

We are having a family get-together, which never happens often enough, down on the South Coast.  Also we are planning another trip to the beautiful gardens at Great Dixter which I’ve wanted to revisit for ages.  I’ve just looked at my post about it and it was five years ago…FIVE!  where does the time go?    Long border - Great Dixter

I shall be taking my new camera and getting a bit more familiar with it ahead of my Photocraft Course, but hopefully I will have some reasonable photos to share with you despite being an SLR novice right now!

See you soon…x

Writing and Testing a Crochet Pattern

One of the aspects of writing a crochet pattern is the constant niggle in the background of accuracy.

I don’t know about you, but I rely heavily on my spell checker when I’m using a keyboard, my spelling is much worse when I’m typing (and it can be a bit erratic when I’m using a pen, I must confess!)  However, that’s no help at all for typing crochet abbreviations so it’s quite a slow process.  And that’s after dreaming up the idea to begin with and then making it a second time so the pattern can be recorded.

By the time you get to the point where you make the item again from what you have written down it’s hard to judge whether you have explained yourself properly. By then you know the pattern inside out!

My latest make is a granny square cushion cover using the Planet Penny Cotton Colours with Snowdrop yarn which I backed with one of the PP fat quarters - jolly red and white spottiness.

Granny Square cushion - Planet Penny Cotton Colours

Granny square cushion - crochet pattern

cushion back for crochet pattern

I’m very happy with it, but now there is the question of the crochet pattern, and the making up instructions, and making sure it all makes sense.

What I need are some testers, and I’m trying to work out the best way to make it work.


…if you are a Planet Penny customer with a Rainbow pack of yarn who would like to make a cushion, I’ll provide the pattern, the fat quarter and a ball of Snowdrop yarn in return for trying out the pattern, giving constructive criticism, and sending photos of the finished article.  How does that sound?

If you could help test the Granny Square Cushion crochet pattern I’d love to hear from you. You would need to have some crochet experience, be used to working from a pattern, have basic sewing machine skills, and be able to produce a clear photo of the finished article.

You can leave a comment, or get in touch via the contacts form with some details which will help me choose.  I need 2 or 3 people to get a good cross section.

I’m really looking forward to hearing from you and hearing about your crochet pattern skills!


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)

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