Category Archives: Life in General

That September Term Feeling…

The start of the September Term… (Higgins…who chewed my pencil case?)

September Term - back to school for Higgins the dachshund!That September term feeling.  It never goes away really.  By the time you’ve done umpteen years at school yourself, and then however many with children buying shoes and sewing on name tapes then it’s sort of ingrained in one’s psyche.  (I DO need a new pencil case!)

So it’s a good time to start something new and inspiring, to make something happen.

To that end I have signed up to the Business Bakery’s 100 Day Goal which started on 1st September.   If you’ve not heard of it, the 100 day Goal is a fantastic way of giving procrastinators like me some much needed oomph and focus instead of just drifting along.  I’ve been adrift for sometime!

So, my goal is to give Planet Penny a bit of spit and polish, and possibly a sprinkle of glitter.  I’ve been blogging since 2007, definitely time for a spring clean.  You might find my 100 days of actions just a teensy bit tedious if I list them, but I hope as the weeks go by you will notice some differences, and spot a few sparkles!  And of course, any feedback will be gratefully received.

Do you get that September term feeling?  It’s much easier to make new plans at this time of year whilst you’re still shaking sand out of your shoes.  Not during the dank days of January when you are trying to eat the remains of the Christmas cake and left over toffees in the Quality Street tin!  (or maybe that’s just me!)

See you soon…x

An office in the sun!

Well, this is a rare occurrence,  Higgins and I have moved outside.  We’re on the veranda outside the studio, there’s blue sky, sunshine, flowers, birdsong…What could be better?office_in_the_sun

Only last week we were huddled under a blanket (in Higgins case, three blankets) watching the rain lash down so I’m making the most of every minute now.

There is just one weekend left of Open Studios here in Norfolk and it’s been good, as usual.  Really nice to meet the people who come to visit who are really interested in what we do, and in who, in turn, have interesting stories to tell.  Higgins has been working well with the meeting and greeting, he even had an assistant!Higgins&CocoIt did get very tiring in the end though…tired Higgins

I have been been diligent in my decluttering efforts.  So many things which I have made in order to create patterns, but eventually I have to reluctantly part with them in order to make room in the studio, and in my head, for new ideas.

It’s not easy! The knitting mobile has been sold…Knitters Mobile from Planet Penny

it’s off to Germany as a present.

And the Hearts and Flowers Mobile is off to grace a little ones bedroom which is lovely.  It’s nice to know it will have a good home.

Hearts and Flowerts Mobile from Planet PennyQuite a few little needlefelted pieces have been sold too, although I’m not going to part with Clover the sheep!

Flock of needlefelt sheep - Planet Penny

Clover is the one in the middle!

So if you are in the area next weekend do call in.  There’s bunting and baubles and fairy lights and books too!  I’m never going to rival decluttering queen Marie Kondo, but I’m trying!

Back soon…x

Sourdough – science in the kitchen

In my last post I touched on my latest cookery book, ‘Perfecting Sourdough’, by Jane Mason.  I’m finding it all so amazing (I know, I’m very easily amazed!) I really had to tell you about it.

Perfecting SourdoughI’ve tried to get a sourdough starter going before but just got a nasty, smelly, watery mess in a jam jar but an article in one of the Sunday papers recently set me off again.  I followed the instructions to the letter and got… another nasty, smelly, watery mess.  (One of the reasons for a failed starter, apparently is a too clean house…)

Once I’d picked myself up off the floor and wiped my eyes I headed off to the internet, where I found Breadtopia, where Eric had the answer to my problems.   Eric uses unsweetened pineapple juice in the starter and it worked perfectly.  I love the whole science lab experiment thing of creating a new life form on the kitchen worktop (rather than the back of the fridge where they usually happen) 

Once you have a happy, healthy starter you use a portion of it to make a loaf and the rest sits in a jar in the fridge for next time.  Once it gets a bit small you refresh it with a meal of flour and water and it just keeps going.  There are reports of some starters being over one hundred years old!

Making sourdough bread is long process, but not an intensive one.  Apart from the kneading stage, which takes ten minutes and is a good anti ‘bingo wing’ activity, the rest of the time it just sits about rising and requires a bit of poking now and then.  The result is DEE-licious.  Much more flavour than ordinary bread, the slow rise makes it more digestible, and its just wholemeal flour, water and salt.


I was horrified to learn that one of the 17 ingredients of a standard sliced loaf was actually palm oil.

So that’s why I splashed out on this book.  Lots of lovely recipes for different breads, cakes, pancakes and waffles using a sourdough starter which I’m looking forward to trying out.

Have I whetted your appetite?  I’d love to know if you decide have a go at making your own starter, or if you are a seasoned baker and have some tips to share.

See you soon…x


Hello June!

Rubbish, aren’t I?  It’s been a whole month…

My excuse, however is the run up to Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios, which started last weekend.  I now have a few days grace before we open again on Saturday so here I am with a little round up of the last month.

I sorted out my vegetable patch.  Here it is, showcasing the Anti-Dachshund Preventative Flag SystemRaised BedThis is how well it worked…HigginsIn RaisedBedHmm…back to the drawing board on that I think.

In the rest of the garden the flowers have been wonderful. Under the Laburnum tree the air just vibrates with the buzzing of bees.  It’s such a shame that the whole wonderful display barely lasts a week…LaburnumThere have been poppies…Poppyand Granny Bonnets (although the best ones have self seeded in the verge outside the fence)…Granny BonnetsCherry blossom…Cherry BlossomRhododendron… rhododendronI love the ‘rhubarb and custard’ colours, don’t you?

And my favourite ‘Dog Daisies…Dog Daisy

I bought a super new book…Perfecting Sourdoughabout which, more later…

And had a spotty manicure!ManicureBut my big decision of the month is for a Planet Penny clear out.  As I have said in previous posts, I am gradually trying to whittle away the ‘stuff’ which bogs me down.  As much as I have been happy with my ‘makes’, I need to move things on to clear space not just in the studio, but in my head.

So I’m having a Planet Penny Silly Sale during Open Studios, and selling off all sorts of items, materials and end of line yarn at bargain prices.IMG_20160528_204927If you live in the Norfolk area and would like to snap something up, pay a visit to our Two Rivers Trail come and see me, and make me an offer I can’t refuse!

See you soon…x


It’s May Day…

May Day morning

Can it really be May already?  I can’t believe how the year is rushing by…

The Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios is looming up once more which is why I haven’t been around for a while.  I did my usual thing of thinking – a lot – about my piece for the Taster Exhibition for Open Studios at the Forum in Norwich, and then realising I hadn’t actually made it!

So here it is, and you’ll see that it came very much from the place I’ve been over the past months…

Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios 2016 'Knitting as Therapy' Knitting as Therapy 2In fact the long scarf was made when I really couldn’t do anything else and it all fell into place in the end.

I’m glad I can look at it now as from a distance, making it it was definitely good therapy.  My next piece is a return to normal Planet Penny jollity,  a special needlefelt project for my god daughter.  It’s a bespoke cake topper for her wedding cake so I can’t possibly share it until after the big day I’m afraid.  However, I will be popping back in the build up to opening the studio to let you know the details because it would be great if you can visit.

So, see you soon…x

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