Category Archives: Handmade Monday

Mollie Makes and a Little Down Time

This was the week that I finally decided I wasn’t going to beat the bugs on my own and headed off to the doctor.  So, with a large box of antibiotics and some concern from the doc that I’ve been overdoing things I’ve tried very hard to keep myself confined to the sofa.  This was helped by Higgins’ favourite Post Lady arriving with my copy of Mollie Makes with a crochet project which looked right up my street.

Mollie Makes - Issue 24

I’ve been very focused lately on creating my own original ideas so  it was  nice to relax and enjoy someone else’s pattern!  This garland has been devised exclusively for Mollie Makes by Emma Lamb and is very easy, and oh so pretty.  I love Emma’s colour palette, very delicate and pretty and very much in the Mollie Makes style.

Mollie Makes - issue 24

But I have lots of odds and ends of Planet Penny cotton in the Planet Penny palette so I’ve made my own interpretation of Emma’s garland…

Mollie Makes issue 24 with garlandNothing delicate about this colour palette!

Mollie Makes Garland

Mollie Makes crochet GarlandI thought it might be fun to try a little Mollie Makes styling for the photos…

Mollie Makes garland & china

Mollie Makes crochet garlandI don’t know whether all that was strictly restful, but I am definitely on the mend now!

This is a perfect  project for using up yarn from other projects, and I found the Planet Penny Cotton ideal.  I’ve just been looking on line for approximate yarn prices and found that Debbie Bliss Cotton, 50g /84m is around £3.30 a ball and Rowan Cotton Glace 50g/115m is around £4.95 per ball. The Planet Penny Cotton packs are £36.50 per pack of 14 50g/125m balls making them just £2.60 per ball.  I like it more than ever!

Spring is trying hard to arrive here in Norfolk,  it was very nearly mild yesterday, and taking my camera out when Higgins and I go walking is essential.  Otherwise I’d miss recording little sights like this…

roadside snowdrops…and yesterday’s evening sky…

Norfolk Sunset

And finally, I know some of you feel deprived if you don’t get your Higgins fix and he has been working very hard at being cute this week. (He needs to, he’s eaten the corners off yet another cushion!)

Miniature dachshund in a chair

miniature dachshund


I’m joining in as usual with Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour which starts on this evening.  I’m off to walk Higgins while the sun shines and I’ll be back soon….x

Keeping Mobile!

Crochet Heart Key Ring

If last week’s post was all about the Hearts and Flowers Mobile, this week has just been about keeping mobile, full stop!   Last Monday morning I was proceeding blamelessly down the road in my little car, an old faithful which has been in the family for years, and an elderly man pulled out of a side road straight into me.  He confessed that he just didn’t see me.  Neither of us was hurt, just shaken, and I thought I had got off lightly with a damaged bumper.  Alas, an inspection at the garage discovered that all sorts of things had happened under the bonnet (you can tell I’m not terribly sure what happens under the bonnet!) and my car was deemed beyond economical repair.

I’ve forgotten which insurance company used to trumpet that they don’t make a drama out of a crisis, but it certainly wasn’t ours!  I won’t bore you with the tale of how many hoops they produced for us to leap through, even when it was established I was completely blameless.  I’ll gloss over the gibbering frustration and cut to the happy ending which was that the lovely man in our local garage (we went to primary school together) produced an ideal replacement which ticks all the boxes, particularly of transporting my mum and her wheelchair.  And in the nick of time as Tim has just headed off in his car which is about to spend a week in the car park at Luton Airport. (Not Tim you understand, just his car!)   So I’m mobile again, and I’ve got a much better use for hoops than jumping through, as you will see…

We’re about to plunged back into Winter apparently.  I saw a newspaper headline yesterday which screamed  “48 HOURS OF SNOW HELL!!”  some people can expect “UP TO 10CM!!!”  That’s around 4 inches if you are reading this in the US, where by all accounts some of you are sitting under 4 FEET and more of the stuff.  If you are, I’m thinking of you.  I’m sure you are coping better than the UK where the default position seems to be of ‘making a drama out of a crisis’ again.  SO embarrassing!

So that’s why I’m going back to earlier in the week when the sun shone and Higgins and I went out into the garden to spot signs of spring.  The primroses are still looking good…

Min Dachshund and primroses


There was just the one violet…

violet…a solitary crocus..

yellow crocus..and of course, my favourite snowdrops…

snowdropsI brought this piece of Spring indoors too…

Snowdrops planted in a cupA good use for a favourite cup which has been glued back together after an unfortunate incident with a tabby cat!

And those hoops we were jumping through ?  Well, I’ve made another mobile, for the knitters this time.  Remember the Christmas ornaments from Day Two of the Advent Calendar?  I just loved the mini yarn balls and needles so much I wanted to use them again…mini balls in Planet Penny yarns for Advent day 2

A mobile for knitters It would be perfect for hanging in a craft corner…

A mobile of mini yarn balls and needles

…and a great way of using yarn scraps.  (It reminds me of the story of the old lady who had a box in her dresser labelled ‘Pieces of String To Short to be Useful’, I have bags of yarn like that!)

Tomorrow I am back to needlefelting, neglected for too long.  I have a group of 14 ladies from or local W.I.S.E. group (Women In Search of Entertainment) I just hope I can entertain them with a needlefelting class…we are making hearts and  I hope to have some pictures for my next post.

I’m linking up with Handmade Monday later today which you’ll find hosted by Wendy over on Handmade Harbour and…

I’ll be back soon,  have a lovely week …x


Hearts and Flowers Mobile – The Reveal!

I can’t believe it’s taken me all week to get to the ‘big reveal’ for the Hearts and Flowers Mobile project I was working on last weekend.  I’ve spent a lot of time keeping metaphorical plates spinning and I’m so glad I’ve got the routine  of Handmade Monday to keep me ‘regular’, once a week at least!   I think if I was asked to pick just one piece of advice to give to someone trying to get their head around blogging it would be make a routine, and stick to it.  I know when I started out it was so easy to put off a post and then have so many photos, so many ideas that it would take a huge effort of will to sit down and turn it all into something potentially interesting to someone else.  Right now the mid week post keeps getting put off because of ‘stuff’ getting in the way, but I’m hanging on the the weekend post for dear life until everything settles down a bit.

We’ve had all sorts of weather thrown at us in the UK  over the past days, but I made the most of a brief mild spell to nip into the garden to see what was going on and found these…

snowdrops…with a little help from my friend!

mini dachshund &snowdrops


I love snowdrops.  They look so delicate and yet brave the elements every year to let us know that Springtime will arrive, eventually…

There is an old rhyme which says…

The snowdrop, in purest white array,

First rears it’s head on Candlemas Day.

Candlemas Day falls on the 2nd February, so it must be true!

Back indoors though it was rather a struggle to photograph my Hearts and Flowers Mobile.  Ideally I need a large blank space, a white corner of a room with no distracting background stuff going on.  But I live in a very small cottage, my studio is packed with things and the mobile is just under a metre or 3 feet long so I hope you’ll bear with me…

Hearts and Flowers Crc0het mobile blue


hearts and flowers mobile citrus

Hearts and Flowers mobile top

Hearts and Flowers mobile all 1

Hearts and Flowers Mobile in studio

I’ve used the garland pattern to make the hearts and flowers using the Planet Penny Cotton colours (the pattern and yarns are  available from the Etsy shop).  I’m very happy that it worked out exactly as I had pictured it, and that doesn’t happen very often!

It’s triggered another idea, so I hope I get time to make a start this week.  My other ongoing project is building a website for our entry in this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios.  This will be the third year that I and my friend Kit Calladine the printmaker will be taking part, but this time we are part of an art trail with six other local artists which is very exciting.   Before long I will put a link to the website so you can find out all about us, and hopefully some of you may even pay us a visit!

And this also means I must return to the felting needle.  I have a plan for a piece for the Taster Exhibition but it is very easy to have the image in your head for so long that you forget you haven’t actually made it yet!

So altogether I have quite a bit to keep me out of mischief , and I promise I won’t forget to call back here to tell you all about it!

Meanwhile, I shall leave you with a link to Handmade Harbour where after 6pm this evening (UK time) you will find lots of other busy crafters and makers taking part in Handmade Monday.

I’ll be back soon…x


Crochet Hearts and Snowy Weather

Four pm and the first flakes of a promised band of snow have started to fall as the light fades.  Higgins hasn’t been beyond the garden today because there’s so much ice about and I’m paranoid about slipping over, damaging myself and not being able to walk, drive and generally take care of my immediate responsibilities, namely my Mum, Henry and Higgins.  Snowy roads I can cope with, ice? No!

So I’ve been going a little stir crazy this week what with treacherous conditions and antisocial germs. I can’t imagine what it would be like without being able to reach outside my own little orbit and communicate in cyberspace.  It’s not like I haven’t been busy, it’s just a bit solitary round here.

Yesterday’s walk was very bracing.  Higgins has a new coat, just the same as the last one – red is definitely his colour – but a size larger.  You may have noticed the one he’s been wearing is rather Pooh Bearish, snug and a little too short.  I’ve been saving this one for the snowy weather, and it was perfect, reaching all the way down to keep his rump cosy!  I think he liked it too because he ran all the way out…

miniature dachshund in a snowy field

…all the way around the fields…

dachshund running in snow…and back home again!

small dog red coat

Not the most attractive angle, but you try getting in front of him!

It’s been extremely busy in the garden.  I’ve put an assortment bird feeders just outside the glazed garden door and it’s been fascinating to watch the birds flocking to feed.  The house sparrows who live in the roof, the robin, a colourful assortment of finches, several blackbirds, blue tits, a thrush and a fieldfare.  I had suspended a wrinkly apple in the bush out of reach of a greedy dog, and there was quite a lot of kerfuffle as the fieldfare wrestled it to the ground, and then proceeded to demolish it whilst beating off any other bird that dared to come within pecking distance.  It was mainly the blackbird!

fieldfare and apple on a snowy day


fieldfare in garden

This morning the blackbird had decided to fight back and had eaten quite a bit of apple before the field fare turned up with a couple of chums.  The area round the garden door is a mass of bird prints and scuffles now, and I’m nearly out of apples!

I’ve had to abandon the studio this week alas, the snow on the skylights made it too dark, and it seemed silly to heat it as well as the house, what with all the to-ing and fro-ing and opening doors and letting in cold air so I’ve been crocheting in front of the fire quite a bit.

It might be  snowy outside but February and St Valentines Day is just around the corner so I’ve been revisiting my Hearts and Flowers Garland Pattern which is one of my favourites.

Hearts and Flowers Crochet Garland

It’s quite versatile, the little hearts are pretty on their own…

rainbow crochet hearts

…and the flowers are simple to make, are a great way to use up short lengths of yarn and make a simple but beautiful decoration on a polystyrene ring…

ring of crochet flowers

I’ve attached clasps on individual hearts too, they look pretty on a key ring or as a bag charm…

Crochet Hearts and flowers on clip

crochet hearts on clip

If you like the look of these you might be interested in the current Giveaway on the Planet Penny Face Book Page which is a sample pack of all the Planet Penny Cotton yarns with a crochet hook and the Hearts and Flowers Garland Pattern.  It’s running until tomorrow morning so you still have  time to join in!

I’ll leave you with the usual link to Handmade Harbour where there is a special Handmade Monday Linky running to celebrate the 100th Handmade Monday post.  There will be lots of goodies to win during the week too, so do pay a visit and find out all about it.

Wherever you are, have a lovely week, and I’ll be back soon…x

Another Milestone

Hello again…and how have the first few days of January been for you?  It’s been very strange not to be on here every day, although I can’t say I’m not glad of the rest! And it’s another milestone.  My first post of 2013 and it’s my 400th… This is extraordinary when I think about my bloggy beginnings when I kept thinking ‘I’ve got nothing to say! ‘

Higgins and I went off to the beach this morning for some exercise out of the mud.  It was beautiful…

Norfolk Beach - Milestone

and very quiet…

Norfolk Beach - Milstone

I don’t know who drew the line in the sand, but Higgins didn’t have any problem crossing it!


Dachshund at the beach

I’ve been doing quite a bit of reorganising in the studio after nearly a month of daily making.  Creating chaos is one of my specialities and I couldn’t move by Christmas Day.  Thank goodness I was able to shut the door on it and have Christmas indoors where there was a space to sit down!  Anyway, it’s all right now…

Planet Penny Studio…for a brief moment at least.

I have a new project on the horizon because we are anticipating a new arrival in the family next month.  My nephew and his wife are expecting a baby, which is very exciting. (Isn’t it strange how being a Granny is fine, but being a Great Aunt somehow sounds incredibly ancient?  Or is that just me?) I have it on good authority (from my sister who was wielding a paintbrush) that the nursery has been decorated in yellow so I’m planning a little baby blanket.

It just so happens that I have the ‘Sunshine’ yarn which replaced the Planet Penny ‘Buttercup’ when it was out of stock.  It’s really pretty, but slightly different from the rest of the range because of the variagated shades of yellow and lemon.  I’m combining it with some of the Planet Penny ‘Snowdrop’ which I had as a limited amount for the Christmas Crochet Kits to make a ripple blanket with a twist…

ripple blanket wip for Milestone postThis it so far, but you can’t see the twist yet!

I’ve also been playing with the rest of the Planet Penny Cottons because I’ve had enquiries about buying the all the colours, but a smaller amount of each.  This still gives plenty of scope for making little toys and bunting etc, any of the patterns on here or for sale on Etsy but less expensively and crucially lighter to post overseas.   It’s a bit of a fiddle to weigh and wind but I have two to go on Etsy next week…

Planet Penny Crafty Cotton

Approximately 25gms/62m per ball, 14 balls plus a crochet hook for £20.00.  I’d be interested to know what you think.  And if you’d like to buy them and can’t find them in the shop, please let me know.  Create a demand!

I’m rather missing the snow on the blog now we’ve had to take the decorations down for Twelve Night so I’m having a play with the background  I think this one is suitably wintry for January, but I have other plans so watch this space.  However, as an eternal optimist and being well into the Spring yellow vibe with my crochet I’d just like to share this photo, taken at the end of my garden this very morning…


…and that’s not wintry at all!

I’ll leave you with a link to the first Handmade Monday of 2013 over on Handmade Harbour where the links will start at 6pm, and I shall get back to my crocheting!

See you soon….x


Advent Calendar – Day Sixteen

Today’s make for the Advent Calendar comes with a puzzle.  Anyone who has visited Planet Penny for Open Studios will know that we’re in a very rural location.  Passing traffic tends to be dogs and their walkers, horses and their riders, tractors and assorted farm vehicles and the odd car.  (Invariably being driven far too fast given the narrowness of the road!)

We have our bins near the road to save the morning panic of remembering it’s bin day and having to scurry around in a dressing gown towing it to the road.  But I never imagined this would mean that someone would stop off and deposit something in the bin whilst passing by.  So I was very surprised one day a few months back to go out with the recycling, open the bin and find lying on top of the cereal boxes and newspapers, two music books…

Old Music Books for Advent Calendar Day Sixteen

They were perfectly clean and dry and came straight in to the studio go on the shelf as ‘Something-which-will-come-in-handy-sometime’.  But it continues to baffle me.  They’re are not dated, but the music, the look and the prices mentioned makes me think they could be anything up to 70 years old, and I just can’t imagine the scenario of riding past on your horse or tractor, or walking past with your dog and having an urgent need to dispose of the music books you just happened to be carrying on your person!

Anyway, they have come in handy for todays piece of Christmas Crafting.

I know quite few people make beautiful things with upcycled books, but I really struggle  with cutting up or dismantling them.  So I made a scan of one the pages of music and printed it on each side of a sheet of paper and used my big paper punch to make a collection of paper circles…

paper punch and paper discs for Advent Calendar Day Sixteen

(I like the fact it comes from ‘The Sleeping Princess’ in this Pantomime season!)

Then I just stitched them together on the sewing machiune leaving a little gap of stitches in between to make a simple paper garland…

Stitched Paper Disc Garland for Advent Calendar Day Sixteen

Stitched Paper Discs for Advent Calendar

That’s a really simple idea, but by putting three discs together,  stitching through them all and fanning them out you have a really pretty and stylish tree decoration…

Music Tree Decoration for Advent Calendar Day Sixteen

…and as we put our own tree up this afternoon I was able to put it straight to good effect…

Music Bauble for Advent Calendar

Music Bauble for Advent Calendar

A number of these hung together on a twiggy branch against a white wall would look simply stunning…

The bidding has closed on the mini Christmas Jumper Auction and the little green jumper will be wizzing off to the lovely Joan who made an extremely generous donation of £20 towards the Save the Children charity.  Thank you so much, Joan, I’ll be in touch.

And I’ll be back tomorrow too…! x

Don’t forget to call over to Handmade Monday to find lots of other Christmas makes, and if you haven’t entered the Prize Draw you can find out all about it, and the fab prizes on this post



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