Category Archives: Life in General

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

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

Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew….

Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub…the Trumpton Firemen.  I’ve got very fond memories of watching Trumpton year after year as my children were growing up and this was my favourite moment.  There was never a fire in Trumpton, just cats up trees and things floating down the river.

Anyway, Pugh, Pugh et al came round to my house last night, and this time there was a fire!

Just after 9 last night I became aware of a roaring noise, which wasn’t the wind, and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the wooden beam over the fireplace was ablaze.

And how silly was the thought, ‘Oh, I can’t call 999, that’s for emergencies’ ?!  Well if having your house on fire isn’t an emergency…

Anyway I did call, and by the time I’d finished talking they assured me a team was on the way and to get out of the room.  Higgins and I stood out in the back garden listening for the approaching siren and soon the lane was filled with a big appliance and blue flashing lights.

Six burly firefighters strode in and quickly and efficiently emptied the stove, hauled out the burning debris from above and squirted water up the chimney.  And hung around to make sure that everything was cooling off and not going to start up again.

2014-03-19 21.32.28It was really not how I envisaged spending the evening!

(And for all my female friends who got terribly excited about the whole hunky firefighter thing, in a situation like this hunkiness pales into insignificance alongside handiness with a stirrup pump and a bucket of water….Thank goodness they didn’t bring the hose in!)

Higgins thought that having an influx of nice people who like dogs was a great idea however…

2014-03-19 21.51.15By eleven o’clock they had left, satisfied all was safe, leaving a wet sooty mess which I decided I would tackle in the morning.

2014-03-19 22.44.03You can see the knothole in the beam where the fire started to come through from the back, and it’s only today, after not a lot of sleep and so feeling very tired, that I started on the ‘what ifs’.  I know that’s not a good idea but so hard not to think that it could have happened after I’d gone to bed.  And in the normal way of things I would have been at a meeting last night, at just the time I spotted the blaze…

I’m NOT going to think about it…

Higgins rarely sleeps in our bed as he likes to get under the covers and lick knees (yuck) but last night after his pre-bedtime visit to the garden he rushed straight to the bottom of the stairs to be carried up.  Obviously determined not to be left downstairs in the soot and chaos.  And this is how I was greeted this morning…IMG_20140320_070402

Maybe worth having wet knees after all!

Hopefully the next post will be cheerier, with prettier pictures. Don’t forget this weekend someone will win the Box of Delights!

See you soon…x

500 Blog Posts…?

Goodness Gracious me!  It doesn’t seem possible that it was 2007 that I wrote my first tentative post, and followed up with my first recorded finished project…

sampler crochet blanket

I’ve spent the last couple of days scrolling through all the posts and collecting images from each year.  (And saying to myself…’was it THAT long ago?…how time flies…sigh’)  It’s been quite a good indicator of my changing interests and how things have developed.  My first year was quite transitional.  I started our local Knit and Stitch group,  Higgins arrived, I made my first forays into dyeing and discovered the delights of a good compact digital camera with lots of photos of the garden, flowers and nature.



The following year I discovered the rainbow loveliness to found at a budget price with Stylecraft yarn.  Got my felting needles out again after a bit of a lull after graduating and my new studio was built.



There was a lot needlefelting in 2011.  I had a stall at the Pickn’Mix Makers Market and took part in Open Studios for the first time…

2011montage copy


Big things happened in 2012.  We had a lovely family wedding, Open Studios again and I discovered the Planet Penny cotton and opened my little online shop. I wrote my first patterns and got invited to few exciting events.

2012montage copy


2013 was more of the same, with some needlefelting workshops to run into the bargain, and a new Art Trail for Open Studios…



And this year, with a new member of family and lots of other plans, is shaping up quite nicely too!


2014 – the story so far!

But what has made it all so special is you.  All you out there who visit, and comment and sign up to follow.  Who leave comforting messages when things are difficult and encouraging remarks .

Writing this blog has meant I’ve met up with like minded people, and also been in touch with people from the other end of of the country and the other side of the world.  It’s an amazing privilege, and a lot of fun!

So I’m planning a very special thank you.

I’m going to create a  Box of Delights and fill it with the essence of what Planet Penny is all about. Little bits and pieces of everything I do.  So there will be some yarn and fabric, ribbons and bindings, beads and buttons, ooh, all sorts of small bits of loveliness!

I’m going to be putting the box together over the next couple of weeks and sharing it so you can see what will be inside.  I’m really looking forward to it!

And then?  I’m going to give it away…to one of you.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to take part.  Maybe say something about yourself, about what you do, why you visit Planet Penny (maybe you come to play with Higgins!) The only stipulation is that it’s a)non-offensive and b)it’s not of the ‘me,me, pick me’ variety (you have to do a little work!)

I’ll do the draw when I’ve filled the box, and no, I don’t know how big the box is yet!  And it’s open to everyone.  If you have a standard postal service in your country I will send it there if your name come out of the hat!

I’m off to the studio now to start looking through all the goodies I have stored in boxes, tins and baskets, and hopefully a by-product of the Box of Delights will be a tidy studio.  (Well, I can dream!)

See you soon…x

It’s oh, so Quiet….

…here in the cyberspace version of Planet Penny.  But in the real world it’s oh, SO hectic!

I have a full house.  All the family are here for the weekend, all planned so that they could meet the latest family member who was due on Valentines Day.

Trouble was, the family  punctually arrived on Thursday, and the little one was far too warm and comfy where he was to put in an appearance. There might even have been an element of hiding away from this mob of new aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents!

However yesterday, after a long night, day and evening for his poor mum and anxious dad, baby Arthur arrived safe and well.  This meant cracking open the champagne at 11 o’clock last night (and feeling a little worse for wear this morning) Well you have to, don’t you?

So if I’m not around here on Planet Penny for a few days, you’ll understand why,   I’ll be back very soon.

I’ll leave you with the story so far on my Green Man project.  There a way to go yet but I’m pleased to find that my efforts to match him to the cherry trees in the garden have worked well. I don’t think I’d like to come across him in a misty woodland at dusk, do you?

Needlefelt Green Man for NNOS 2014See you soon…x