Category Archives: Life in General

Happy Friday for International Day of Happiness!

This Happy Friday is the big one, because co-incidentally, it’s also International Day of Happiness.  Who knew?  But what a fabulous idea!

You can join in here…International Day of Happiness

And if you want to join in with a happy dance click here!

I did a little happy dance the other day when I received an email asking if I would like to be a contributor to a new website all about crochet. I can’t say more at the moment because it’s all a bit in the air, but even so, I was asked….squeee…!

It’s been a bit cold and grey here in Norfolk this week, but spring is still in the air, and is very uplifting to the spirits…

Hawthorn buds - Spring on the way for International Day of Happiness(I’m so hoping the cloud breaks tomorrow for the eclipse, otherwise I’ll have to watch it on television!)


hellebore - spreading the love on International Happiness Day…and it’s lovely to have flowers in the garden to pick (although I think the hellebore was the victim of a small rampaging dog!)


Great Dream - International Day of HappinessYou can take part in International Day of Happiness in lots of ways if you visit the website and use #InternationalDayOfHappiness on Twitter or Instagram.  You are such a positive lot,  I’m sure you’ll want to!                                                                                                                                 Joining in with Happy Friday on the Linky is as usual, please remember to link to this post from your own as well as adding your link.  We want to spread the happiness!

Have a lovely weekend…x

Happy Friday Number 10

This is a ‘skin-of-the-teeth’ Happy Friday post!  I’ve been so worried I wouldn’t get here at all this afternoon…

If I say internet problems I’m sure you’ll know where I’m coming from.  At the moment BT Openreach are digging holes all over the place in our area and we can only hope that eventually faster broadband will reach our corner of a muddy field.  I don’t know anyone else who’s internet stops every time the phone rings!

Anyway, that’s not cheerful, is it?  What has made me very happy this week was an amazing donation of one hundred dollars to Comic Relief Red Nose Day made for Miranda Mouse, whom you might remember from this post.

Miranda is off to the US, and left today with her suitcase.  I’m rather sad to see her go, but really pleased with the fantastic donation…

Miranda Mouse for Red Nose Day - Happy Friday

I’m looking forward to reading your Happy Friday post, the link is below and you can also join in via Instagram, with #PlanetPennyHappyFriday.  Please remember to link from your post back here to Planet Penny so that more people find the Linky party,

EU VAT Regulations – a Tax on Creativity

What’s this? I hear you cry… Penny writing about VAT?  EU VAT regulations?  I don’t come to Planet Penny for that!

EU VAT regulations

Well, please bear with me because this is something which has had a big impact on me as a business, and for thousands of small and micro businesses, many of them deciding to stop trading as a result of this new regulation.  And also on you as a customer.

I’m not going to try and explain the details of this, there are others who have done it much more clearly than I can.  The basic problem is that anyone selling digital goods on line to someone purchasing from an EU country is liable to pay VAT on the sale to the country in question (VAT rates differ across Europe) The threshold is zero, so if you only sell ONE item, you are liable.

The VAT threshold in the UK is £81,000, so I was never going to exceed that with my little business, but this has thrown a massive cat among the pigeons.  HM Revenue and Customs completely underestimated the number of us out there who run our own small creative businesses, who are affected by this and who didn’t know anything about it until it hit social media in the run to Christmas, spoiling Christmas for many people.

HMRC’s stance is that if you sell through an online marketplace such as Amazon or Etsy, then they should take responsibility for the tax, but Etsy has stated that they will not be doing this.

There’s an awful lot going on behind the scenes at the moment, lots of alternatives to Etsy, petitions to sign (and I hope you will) but for the time being I am staying with Etsy.  Because, and I hope I’ve got this right, if there is human interaction during the transaction then the regulation doesn’t apply, after purchase I will email the patterns within 24 hours.  This seems like a huge step backwards, and it inconveniences everyone, including people who live in places where none of this is of any relevance, but for now it’s the only option and I needed to explain.

The following link explains everything about the EU VAT changes with a little animation.  Please watch, and if you would like to support me and all my fellow small creative businesses, please sign the petition!

2015 – Looking Back, and Moving Forward… to a Happy New Year

The last year hasn’t been easy in lots of ways and now is the time to look back, take stock and move into 2015, hopefully a Happy New Year.

2014 was the year we lost a very dear friend.  Bill was the husband of my partner-in-crime-and-Open-Studios, Kit.  Bill Calladine was an amazing artist, engineer, inventor, teacher with a quick wit, a lover of life.  After a life threatening condition was diagnosed at the beginning of the year he bravely coped with surgery, with paraplegia and infections until he lost his battle last autumn.  We still can’t believe he has gone and he’s left a big hole in so many lives.

This little picture is a treasure from Bill which I thought I would share with you.  I bought a tiny canvas from an art shop, only a couple of inches in size, and gave it to Bill joking that if I ever bought a William Calladine painting, this was the only size I could afford.  A few weeks later the canvas came back, beautifully framed and signed on the back.  A perfect little miniature!

Miniature painting by William Calladine

Life has been difficult for my mum, too. She is still not home after her fall at the end of August.  Her ankle has healed, but she’s very wobbly on her feet and is currently in in respite care in a care home about 4 miles away.  It’s such a difficult situation as she just wants to be in her own home, of course, but she also needs able bodied carers to be at the end of a buzzer.  I dread the thought of her being alone at home.

So of course, I feel so guilty because the care I’ve given her over the last few years is not going to be enough, and the the last few years have taken such a toll on me both physically and mentally.

Anyway, that’s the sad aspect of 2014. The big happy news was the arrival of our third adorable grandson last February. It’s hard to believe that this time last year we were all waiting expectantly for his arrival, and  already we are having to move low lying ornaments and cover the electric sockets and wires!

And that’s what I want to take into 2015, Happy.  I’ve noticed other blogs picking on a word to work with for the new year, Fun was one, I like that too.  But Planet Penny is meant to be cheerful place for me to be, and for you to visit.

Sometimes life is grim and it’s hard to find the positives, (especially in January!) but looking for that little moment, clear blue sky on a frosty morning, a bunch of daffodils, a baby’s giggle or a dog’s waggy tail and holding on to it will help get us through.

So I’d like to invite you to join me in holding on to your happy moments.  Starting next week there will be a Happy Friday link up. If you have a blog put your image from the week in a post with some words (or not) and link it here. If you don’t have a blog you can leave your happy moment in the comments.  I’ll be running it on Instagram too so you can join in there.  There will be full details of how to take part with the first Happy Friday post.

I’ll be back soon with crafty stuff and news and my usual ramblings but I’ll leave you with my favourite happy image from the last week, my ‘big’ grandsons with their Christmas scooters!

Scooters at Bexhill - Happy

photo: ©Thomas Taylor 2015

In the meantime I’d love to know if you are joining in with Happy Friday… and what brings happiness to you…!

See you soon…

Do You Mind if I Knit – Vanessa Cabban

Vanessa Cabban

Many of you will have read my tribute to Vanessa Cabban in this post, and I was not surprised by the depth of feeling expressed by so many people on reading about her tragic death.

Fellow blogger and friend, Lisa of Bobobun has had a similar reaction after her own tribute on Instagram and we felt there must be a way for Vanessa’s online friends to mark the day of her funeral.  Lisa has made the following suggestion to everyone who would like to remember Vanessa on this sad day…

Vanessa’s funeral will be at 11am on the 30th of December. As a mark of our online friendship and out of respect for her memory I will be posting a photo at 11am that day under the heading Do You Mind if I Knit? #vanessacabban. It would be wonderful if as many of you who knew or were inspired by her joined in too. Post a picture of something you’re making, it doesn’t matter if you can’t knit. Vanessa also crocheted, made clothes, created papier-mâché sculptures, brooches, painted and illustrated books. What she did do though was make sure she had time to knit a few rows every day to set the day right. Penny @planetpenny will also be hosting the same via her blog Planet Penny.

So I hope you will join us tomorrow at 11o’clock to remember Vanessa, with a picture of something you are making.  If you are on Instagram you will find me @planetpenny and Lisa @bobobun68 and when you post a picture don’t forget the heading and hashtag.  If you are not on Instagram you can send your photo to me at and I will add them to this post.

Please feel free to share this blog post to spread the word as far as you can, it would be lovely to send this tribute across cyberspace to mark the life of a talented and inspirational lady, Vanessa Cabban.

In memory of Vanessa, her family have set up a Just Giving page where you can make a donation to the Mental Health Foundation.

Photos added in tribute to Vanessa…

Celia Hart

Celia Hart


Dotty Cookie



Judith Crossley

Judith Crossley

Susan Greenhow

Susan Greenhow

Koko Okamuru

Koko Okamuru

…and many more on Instagram…

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