Category Archives: Food

Christmas Countdown – Day Eighteen

Good Morning!  This is going to be quite a quick Christmas Countdown post because  DH and I have recovered enough to tackle a trip to Norwich for the last of the Christmas shopping.  Aftere that I can concentrate on the food aspect of the festivities…

Last year I made these little Spice Biscuits which were a great success and looked really pretty on the tree and wrapped up as gifts…

Spice biscuit - Christmas Countdown

Spice Biscuit – Planet Penny Advent Calendar – Day Eighteen

If you are feeling very ambitious, how about some iced decorations?

iced biscuits Christmas Countdown

Stina Saem

decorated biscuits Christmas Countdown

Buttercream and Chantilly Factory

Aren’t they gorgeous?  Don’t think that’ll be happing on Planet Penny this year!

And finally, with no provenance, no recipe, just a fabulous picture on Pinterest…

Christmas Countdown - iced biscuits


I hope this has been inspiring…

See you tomorrow…x

The Great Escape!

Hello…  It seems AGES since I was here!  I keep thinking I’ve got things sussed and then it all goes pear shaped again.  I’m still getting kind messages hoping I’m feeling better, and I am, thank you so much.  But it’s always the way, just as you think you ought to escape and lift your foot off the pedal several things happen all at once. So much for pacing myself!

Firstly, we’ve been decorating.


I’ve still got most of the contents of downstairs, upstairs but at least the dust sheets have gone.  Fortunately it was while the weather was still warm so we could have the doors open and Higgins was happy to have his bed out in the garden during the day.  Henry, however, was determined to sleep where he always sleeps come what may… Did you spot him?


I now find I am on the committee of our Village Community shop (not quite sure how that happened but there are some smooth talkers in our village!) doing window display, website and social media stuff.  We got off to a good start with a recipe card scheme for the shop.  I devised a Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding recipe which is delicious (though I say it myself!) nothing like those dreadful B & B puds we used to be served at school.  I’ve put this on the shop website so if you click here you can try it for yourself…

Croissant Bread and Butter PuddingIt’s not exactly helping my healthy eating regime though…

Our  Open Studios Two Rivers Trail group has decided to get together for a Christmas Fair and Art Exhibition next month so organisation is gathering pace.  You can find out all about it on the Two Rivers Trail website.  Do go and look at the artists work on the website, there are some beautiful things and a real variety.

This will be the only fair I go to as Planet Penny for the forseeable future, so if you are in the area it would be lovely to see you.  I’ve started making a few things but I’m afraid creativity time has been limited lately.  I’m quite excited about my crochet Christmas baubles though…

crochet Christmas baubles… and look forward to adding new colour combinations.  No two alike as usual!

Tomorrow I’m off with my chum Kit for a day out.  We’re off to Alexander Palace and the Knitting and Stitching Show which I’m really looking forward to.  It’s a long day but it will be worth it.

And then, I’m running away!  Look,I even have a running away App on my phone!

escape app

I’m leaving Tim to look after Higgins and Henry – or possibly the other way round? packing my bag and and heading off to spend some time with two of my favourite little boys.   I’m not taking the laptop, and although I shall have my phone I am determined not to look at it more than twice a day.  What I thought would be fun though would be to make use of Instagram to keep a picture diary of my holiday, so if you want to keep up to date you can follow my escapades right here!

Obviously the Etsy shop will be closed until 18th October when I get back, but I hope to be bright eyed and bushy tailed after my little break.

I’m off now, see you later…x

The great escape



Advent Calendar – Day Fifteen

This is not the post I planned!  There have been some people who have pointed out that I must be mad to take on an Advent Calendar with so much else going on, but the thing is, when else do I do it?  It some how loses something in January!

Anyway, I’ve just skidded into the office having spent the morning at the Christmas Fair, made my mum’s lunch, gone shopping (I bought mistletoe and it must be nearly Christmas ‘cos I now have my stalk of sprouts!) walked Higgins and now it’s getting dark so no photography.  But never  mind, I’m going to remind you of another of my favourite recipes which is particularly suited to the Christmas season, the Damp Orange Cake.

Oranges in bowl Advent Calendar Day Fifteen

This is a lovely cake to have tucked in a tin at this time of year when there’s more chance visitors will drop by.  It’s very moist so keeps well, there’s no flour involved so is suitable for those with allergies and is very, very easy to make.  Not quick because you have to boil the oranges for two hours first, but they smell heavenly.

In fact I would recommend boiling oranges even if you never make the cake…

Measuring Cups Advent Calendar Day Fifteen

To make them even more Christmassy you could use clementines or satumas and a mixture of oranges and lemons could be nice too.  Just use the equivalent weight of fruit.

Damp Orange Cake  Advent Calendar - Day Fifteen

This is delicious just on it’s own with a cup of tea, and makes a gorgeous pudding served with thick cream or icecream.  Definitely a family favourite in our house and you’ll find the recipe here.

Don’t forget, you’ve still got a chance to bid for the little Christmas Jumpers which I wrote about in my last post.  Whatever you would like to bid, every penny will go to Save the Children and I’ll make sure they are in the post to you for Christmas, Royal Mail permitting!  The bidding is open until tomorrow afternoon.

I’ll be back tomorrow, so see you soon…!


The Merry Month of May….

Everything seems to be happening in the merry month of May 2012!   In the spirit of chasing along so as not to get left behind…

…and before I run out of time…

I know…sorry!

I’m squeezing in an extra post so I don’t get completely overwhelmed with things to say, photos to show and no time.

So, May….first of all, there are three birthdays.  Poor Tim drew the short straw having to go back to work on his birthday.  The Carrot Cake recipe must come out in time for his return home I feel!   Then of course there was the wedding… I do have some more photos to share, don’t worry, but they won’t be of the Mother-of-the-Groom.  A line must be drawn!   And, my own big news, Planet Penny is now officially a business.  Not perfect timing but things were running away from me, and I needed it all to be official.

The Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios event is fast approaching, in fact it’s the weekend after next.  There is still loads to do, but we’ll get there, and if anyone is in the Norfolk area it would be SO lovely to see you.  You can find out all about it here.

The next big exciting thing though is next week, and it’s the launch of my son Thomas’ debut novel in Heffer’s bookshop in Cambridge.  Obviously I’m a proud mum, but I’m not alone in thinking he’s pretty special and you can read a bit about the launch here.   And of course if you are in the Cambridge area you could join in too, and come and say hello, I’ll be the one with a proud grin from ear to ear!

Thomas is going to write the very first Guest Post for Planet Penny in the next few days, too, so do look out for that.

But back to the wedding, and the decorations.  We had Wedding Trees!  It had started in the back of my mind as painted branches on which to hang little pretties, but with the help of St Serendipity again, we found two beautifully shaped Japanese Maples in pots.  At the time they were completely bare, but just in time they put out the most beautiful red leaves which were still small enough for an overall lacy effect, and I draped them with little white lights, tiny white calico hearts and paper doves…

But the thing which occupied most of my time in the run up to the wedding was the cake topper.  I’d had a particular idea in mind from the moment  I heard it was going to be a cheese cake.  and I don’t mean a cheesecake, I mean a cake made of CHEESE!  Wallace and Gromit would be proud!

It had to be mice, didn’t it?  And I didn’t let the fact that there weren’t actually any bridesmaids, or even a pageboy put me off…

And the chef made an amazing job of putting the whole construction together…

Mouse Wedding Cake Toppers

I have to say it was delicious too, and very much appreciated by all the family, complete cheese fanatics every one!

Finally, a Planet Penny Cotton Club update.  I have just moved the yarn packs, Rainbow Mouse Kits and patterns on to the Folksy shop.  I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the administration involved selling them directly, I need time to be creative or I just don’t function!  It all seems to be working well but let me know if you have a problem.

See you soon…x

2011 – A Year in Pictures

It’s the end of the year, so I thought I’d do a recap. It’s been very interesting trawling through the archives and seeing how things have developed over the months and I thought I would share the experience…













It’s already giving me lots of new ideas for the next twelve months, so I hope you’ll drop in again to see how it’s going!  In the meantime, I wish you all a very Happy New Year, where ever you are….see you in 2012! xxx

Dolly Peg Angels for Handmade Monday

Hello, and welcome to another Handmade Monday. I hope you’ve  had a lovely weekend as we all rev up towards the Christmas festivities.  I was very excited to find that I was able to control the weather on Planet Penny and arrange for some seasonal snow to fall!

I’ve just about reached the point of RSI on the needlefelting front now, and I’m longing to spend an evening with the hexipuffs or some crochet.  I can’t believe how popular the needlefelted robin baubles have been, I think it’s the Kirsty effect!  I’ve just posted the very last ones for this year on Folksy, the result of an experiment, but I really like it.

One of my fellow stall holders at the Pick’n’Mix Makers Market is Fiona Henderson of High Fibre yarns and she makes the most unusual yarns, a bit like french knitting, from lambswool, and I bought a few skeins to try out.  So this is what I’ve used to make a little creamy wreath on which two teeny tiny robins can perch….

…they’ve still got the little feet that make everyone go ‘aaaah!’…

Looking at then here they look huge and a bit hairy, but in fact they’re only 2″/5cm long from beak to tail.

I also  have a rather gorgeous raspberry pink yarn from High Fibre destined to be a mug hug soon, another reason to get at the knitting needles!

By way of a change, I’ve revisited the Dolly Pegs, and made a little Choir of Angels who are also listed on Folksy

…and then decided the Dolly Peg Dolls would make a great tutorial to share, and you can find it here!  I hope you enjoy it, I’d love to see your versions.

I’m off to do some baking now.  We have the Christmas meeting of our Knit and Stitch group this week, and I’m using that as an excuse to get out the Frangipane Mince Pie recipe.  I’ll have to get them into the freezer the minute they’ve cooled down though, they are SO more-ish I doubt there would be any left if I don’t!

Finally, thank you so much for the congratulations and nice comments about Planet Penny being on the Ch4 Favourite Craft Blogs list.  I hadn’t realised before how many links there on the 4Homes website for makers and crafters, well worth a look.  And of course the other place to visit today for handmade inspiration  is Wendy’s Handmade Monday Linky over on 1st Unique Gifts.

I’ll leave you browse…

Have a lovely week! x

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