Category Archives: Life in General

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.

So…

…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)

Blog Hop – Pending…

2014-07-05 16.42.46

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Claire of Mrs Brown Makes who asked me if I’d like to join in with a Blog Hop.  This sounded like a lovely idea with plenty of time to get to grips with it.

But you know what it’s like, life got in the way.  You may know I’m my mum’s carer, and I got the dreaded summons one morning, could I come, she couldn’t get out of bed.  She’s very frail anyway after a catalogue of illnesses, and this latest thing, a combination of Labyrinthitis and a urinary infection meant I had to decamp to her house to be in full time charge.

Although medication has improved things for her a lot, she’s lost confidence with walking and so needs help on hand a lot of the time, and that’s been me.  And although a lot of the time she has been contentedly reading a book and I’ve had time on my hands, my mum has no Broadband so I’m most terribly behind with everything.

So if you’ve arrived expecting a more interesting post than this, I’m so sorry.  I will post as soon as I can, I hope it will be worth the wait!

From the Heart

hearts - Planet Penny Cotton

Here I am, at last.  This is the longest gap in posting for years, and it’s been playing on my mind.

When I started writing this blog it was just for me, and I had no real expectations that anyone else would even notice I was I was here, let alone actually read it.  And then come back and read some more.

What writing regularly did for me was to make me do stuff, and this fed my creativity and became a creative spiral.  The fact that you out there dropped in to encourage me was a lovely bonus, thank you!

But it’s all so much easier when you can trundle along in blissful ignorance just doing your thing. The rot set in when I started thinking there’s more to all this world wide web stuff than I first realise, maybe I’d better find out about it.  And then I started a business and suddenly there was all this big stuff which people were telling me I have to use, like SEO,…keywords …categories… And the little thing which was fun and interesting and created interaction with nice people suddenly became fraught with rules and regulations.

I worry about getting things right.  And so rather than get things wrong I’ve ended up sacrificing the spontaneity with which I first started the blog, feeling overwhelmed by what I should be doing, rather than what I want to do.  And I’m guilty of letting that happen in life at the moment too.

This is a busy time of year, next weekend Open Studios starts and there’s lots to do.  It would be so easy to put off writing until it’s all over.  But it’s like when you owe a letter to a friend, and for various reasons you don’t get round to replying and then time goes on and it gets harder and harder to justify why you’re such a bad friend that you can’t even put pen to paper to say hi.  And you end up sending Christmas cards every year saying, ‘Will be in touch in the New Year’.  And you don’t.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you will know I am a great believer in serendipity, the happy accident.  It’s stood me in good stead over the years.  By happy accident this morning I came across an amazing post this morning which really made me think about what I am doing. This is a quote …

10350535_10152148071065745_5232667406941192688_n…but if you want to be inspired as I was, click on the quote and read the whole post.  It really makes you think.

So let spontaneity rule all round!  I might just arrive here with a photo, or a short post, or I might write lots and fling in a tutorial, who knows!  But I won’t let WordPress or All in One SEO bully me by pointing out I’ve only written 250 words and the recommended length is at least 400 words or whatever.  It’s my blog and I’m not writing a dissertation!

This isn’t my usual kind of post, so thanks for bearing with me and I hope you’ll stick around, I wouldn’t be here without you …x