Category Archives: Life in General

A pause…

2ca1537e9754bd3d3b50a610c653727bHello, all you lovely people out there in Blogland, who have visited Planet Penny so often over the years commenting and generally joining in with projects and other jollities.

I’ve found it hard to keep the blog posts coming lately, and I think it’s time to admit that I’m struggling.  If I’d fallen over and broken my ankle I would be perfectly open about it, so admitting another part of my body is in need of repair shouldn’t be a problem.  It’s ingrained in us, isn’t it, to feel we have to hush up mental health issues? Certainly when I was growing up those sort of problems were talked about in whispers.

So I’m letting you know that I have been diagnosed with severe depression.  With medication and counselling, I’m confident I will beat it.  I know that many of you out there will be similarly affected so I don’t want to pussyfoot around and be coy, it’s nothing to be ashamed about.

A break from Planet Penny will mean I can put all my energies into regaining my equilibrium and spirit which I need to do for my nearest and dearest. My goal for the blog is to come back in good form in the Spring, and I really hope you will be around when I do!

Meanwhile, thank you all for just being out there, wherever you are.  I wish you a joyful and peaceful Christmas and New Year and I hope to back here again before very long.





Pondering on Autumn days…

Autumn Days in Norfolk

Autumn in the UK is a constant source of surprise.

One day it feels like the sun hasn’t even risen, the gloom and rain is unrelenting and all you want to do is to snuggle up inside by the with a hot drink, a good book and a little woolly project. Oh, and in my case, a warm dachshund!)

And then another day will dawn and all you want to do is to dash of to the beach – again with small dog in tow – and breath in some fresh air and listen to the waves shooshing on the sand.

So this has been the week on Planet Penny.  The wet days and the gloomy days have made persuading Higgins out of the door quite a challenge and I don’t think he appreciates the delights of the autumn hedgerows AT ALL, but I do…

Autumn hedgerow - Nightshade berriesAutumn leavesMin dachshund in coatBut then the sun came out, and after a couple of hours battling with a large overgrown honeysuckle in the garden, Higgins and I headed off to the seaside to catch the last of the Autumn light…Autumn on the Norfolk coastWaxham 6It’s amazing to get there when it’s completely deserted, just me and a little dog, who just runs and runs and runs, and get a bit frustrated when I don’t join in!

miniature dachshundI spend a lot of the time with my head down looking for treasures, sea glass which is a rare find here…sea glassBrightly coloured seaweed…seaweed on the autumn beachjust appreciating the colours of the sea…Waxham 4The clocks go back this weekend, I hate losing the evening light, don’t you, so these Autumn excursions will become even more precious.

And talking of the dark evenings, have you entered the giveaway for the Dayight Lamp yet?  I’ve really enjoyed reading your comments about what you love best about Winter but there’s still some time left to join in, just enter HERE for a chance to win.

Here’s sending you sun filled Autumn days, and cosy crafty Autumn nights by the fire!

See you soon…x

The Complete Beginners Guide to Knitting

If you’ve always wanted to knit but don’t know where to start, or if you have a friend or family member begging to be taught, this handy infographic sent to me by Clippers Ireland, The Complete Beginners Guide to Knitting might just be what you are looking for!

(And it’s pink!)

beginners-guide-to-knitting-clippers-ireland-infographic6inchYou might have to zoom in a bit, but I hope you find it useful.

I’m away for a few days now, off to the seaside, (hooray!) so I’ll be packing my crochet and my knitting to keep me busy.

I’ll be back soon…x

Spring cleaning…in September!

September sunshine - Norfolk UKThat September ‘new term’ feeling never goes away really, does it?  All those years of seeing the ‘Back to School’ displays in the shop windows, the new school sandals (yuk!) and the new pencil case.

So it always seems a good time to start something new, or give something established a freshen up and that’s what I’m working on with the blog at the moment.  I’ve been blogging now for seven years, I can hardly believe it… there are 569 posts!  Because the whole thing has grown up a bit piecemeal over time I need to have a tidy up.

But it’s a bit like deciding to sort out the box of photos under the bed.  I’ve got right back to the beginning re-reading every post, it’s a lovely trip down memory lane!  I’ve gone back to past holidays, the arrival of Higgins and all the cute baby pics, the building of my studio, the passing seasons…It’s such a lovely record of my life and I’d never have done it without the blog.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the new Planet Penny header.  There’s so much going on here that than just wool so although I’m very fond of my sheep, I hope the new look encompasses the fact there’s a lot going on, and it’s all colourful!

But as well as beavering away at the computer I’m trying to make the most of any September sun which comes our way, (which, alas, has been a bit elusive.  I’m listening to the rain as I type!) I’ve been in charge of dog walking this past week so my camera has gone with me, and also a little friend of Higgins called Coco.  I’ve had my hands full.

mini dachshunds in September sunNorfolk UK - SeptemberThe hedgerows are full of berries this year, I don’t know when I’ve seen so many.  It’s a sign of bad weather to come so they say… memo to self: Knit more socks!hawthorn berries - Norfolk UK - SeptemberJust such a fabulous colour, aren’t they?  I always think the Nightshade berries look like necklaces the way they twine through the hedgerows…

Nightshade berries - September - Norfolk UKHaving a supply of poo bags when out for a walk is jolly handy if you want to do a spot of spontaneous blackberry picking…blackberries - SeptemberBut there are still summer flowers…scabious2015-09-19 16.26And bees…

2015-09-19 16.09and a fairy ring…Fairy ring - September - Norfolk, UK toadstools toadstools2But the fairy dogs weren’t interested…Mini dachshunds Higgins&Coco3…until I mentioned the word T-R-E-A-T-S…mINI DACHSHUNDS Higgins&CocoHiggins gets quite bossy about treats!Mini dachshunds - September -Norfolk UKMeanwhile, back home and I’m crocheting up a big warm sweater with cold days in the studio in mind.  After my lovely weekend at the Crochet Retreat with Frank & Olive I was inspired by Ruby’s big chunky crochet creations and so I was delighted to find that the issue of Simply Crochet magazine I bought last year (because I’m in it too!) had Ruby’s jumper on the front.Crochet Entrepreneur in Simply CrochetI’ve customised it (because I’m not a sylph-like twenty year old) and I think it’s going to be very cosy.  It’s a brilliantly simple pattern, no shaping and only the one stitch all through.  What can go wrong? Picking up the wrong hook and doing half a sleeve with it before noticing, that’s what went wrong!  2015-09-20 10.11

So, not quite finished yet.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my September ramblings, do you spring clean in September too?

I’ll be back soon…x

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Crochet Hearts forThe Peyton Heart Project

I came across the Peyton Heart Project on social media this week quite by accident , and it touched me so much I felt I wanted to take part and to share it with like minded people.  I believe that’s all of you who visit Planet Penny…

This, from their Facebook Page, will explain the inspiration behind the project:

We have officially launched the #PeytonHeartProject. This project is one that is very important to us. Our project is named after Peyton James, a 13 year old teen who, in the fall of 2014, died by suicide after years of being bullied. We know far too well what the negative effects of bullying are on a child and how difficult it can be to believe that it will ever get better. Far too often bullying leads to depression, self-harm and even suicide. So, we would like to take these delicate yarn hearts, each one made by hand and each one perhaps representing the delicate heart of a life lost to suicide, and attach inspiring quotes to them. We plan to leave them in public places for people to find during their everyday lives. We hope the hearts cause people to stop for a moment and reflect on a young life lost to suicide, on bullying and on the fact that everyone’s life matters. We want to leave people with a feeling that there is still good out there in the world and we would like to inspire others to join us on our mission of kindness. If you would like to help us spread the Peyton Heart Project and its message in your town please email us at and let us know.

We would like to thank Peyton’s parents, David James and Jacki James, for allowing us to use Peyton’s name for this project.

If you find one of our hearts in your travels please post a photo on our Facebook page or post it to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #PeytonHeartProject. Let us know where you found it.

Taking part in the Peyton Heart Project is so simple, and yet this small, simple act can raise awareness of young people suffering from the effects of bullying, which can lead to depression, self harm or even suicide. A little token to raise the spirits and spread kindness in the world.

All you have to do is to knit or crochet a little heart with an oddment of yarn and attach a small tag with an uplifting quote and the hashtag #PeytonHeartProject.  Then leave it in a public place where it can be found…Peyton Heart Project

There are lots of links to knit and crochet heart patterns available on the Peyton Heart Project Facebook Page and I’ve also written a crochet especially for this post.  If you don’t knit or crochet there are ideas for making a yarn wrapped heart which you can find here.  A file of quotes and tags is available by emailing

Crochet Heart Pattern for #PeytonHeartProject

Planet Penny Heart Pattern

I used Planet Penny Cotton Colours and a 3mm hook. The pattern is written using UK crochet terms

The heart measures  the required 2.5″ x 2″ 

Work 6 dc into a magic circle, join with a ss and pull up the tail to close the hole.

Round 1: 1ch, 2dc into each st (12 st) join with ss.

Round 2: 1 ch, 5tr into next st, ss into next st, 5tr into next st, dc into next 4 st. Make point by working 2tr, 1ch, ss into top of tr, 1tr, all into 1 st. Work dc into next 5st. Join with ss into 1st tr.

Round 3: 2ch, 2tr into next 3 st, working 1htr, 1dc, ss into centre top of heart, 1dc, 1htr, 2tr into next 3tr, 3htr, dc to point working 2dc into picot dc along 2nd side to last 3 st, work 3htr and join with a ss.  Fasten off and darn in end.

Add an 8″ length of yarn at the top to attach the tag and make a hanging loop.

Do let me know if you decide to join in.  This an ideal project for knit and crochet groups, and if you are not able to distribute the hearts yourselves, there is an address on the Peyton Heart Project Facebook Page to which you can send them.

See you soon…x



Just a little post…

…to say thank you!

Thank you for all the positive comments on my last post.  It’s lovely to hear you are happy to read my ramblings, and Higgins is positively swollen headed at the thought that you want a bit more ‘Dachshund Action’…  He’ll do his best to provide it!

A lot of the things which have been keeping me away from the day to day Planet Penny stuff have been related to getting to grips with sorting out my parents home, my mum’s stuff and all sorts of things I had stored at her house and forgotten about.  It’s an unwritten law, isn’t it, that you always have something left in your parents’ attic, even when you have a home of your own? I know we still have all sorts of odd boxes full of our off-springs’ stuff and they’ve long left home.  I’m being hopeless at parting with things too, even things I actually don’t like, like this Toby jug which has scowled at me from a shelf for as long as I can remember…Toby jug

He’s been banished to a cupboard now, but we haven’t parted company even though he obviously disapproves of everything I do!

And then there are clothes, especially things my mum knitted.  How fabulous is this Patricia Roberts cardigan she made me in the eighties?  I thought I had lost in in one of my many moves, but no it was safely in the attic.  Quite a good incentive to diet, but probably not to have another perm!Patricia Roberts CardiganSitting out here in the studio listening to the rain on the roof it’s hard to believe how hot we were over the weekend.  Higgins is very fed up right now because he hates the rain and would prefer to stand around with his little cabriole legs crossed rather than got out into the garden.   It was a different story on Saturday when it was 28°C, a steamy hot August afternoon… A little post - Norfolk in AugustHe really was a hot little sausage!dog_walk hot_dogSo for now I’m indoors and working on a crochet project with the new Planet Penny yarn. Here’s a sneaky peek…Planet Penny Yarn PastelsI’ve also finished a bag that I started on the Crochet Retreat when I decided to go outside my comfort zone with chunky yarn and a size 12mm hook. I love the bright shades of this DMC XL Cotton…

DMC XL cotton yarnIt turned out to be a little more XL than I had planned.  Just as well I’m 5’9″ or it would drag on the floor but it’ll be great place for a yarn stash!crochet bag DMC XL yarnI’ll be back with a new post to share those pastel butterflies, see you soon…x


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