Category Archives: Nature

A Postcard from Wales

Hello, my lovelies!  I hope you’ve had a wonderful Easter break and didn’t eat too much chocolate. We did…I feel a spot of dieting will be in order after our hols.

As my iPad is on hand, and the Wifi isn’t too bad, I’m writing my latest post in sunny Wales and share some of my holiday snaps. It’s so beautiful here.  This is the view from the conservatory of the cottage we are staying in.With the door open, all you can hear is the sound of birdsong, interspersed with chickens, the cockerel, geese and ducks and occasionally, Dylan the sheepdog. Over the hill there are sheep……and lambs!  I’m afraid I’m just a bit soppy about lambs but I don’t think Higgins would be too impressed if I took one home.The hills been rather a strain on my poor flatlander legs but we’ve found some beautiful places to walk and my head is filled with the colours of Spring.  This time of year there are so so many shades of green as the new leaves start to open, and Wales is particularly blessed with spring flowers.  The fields are golden with the bees’ favourite, dandelions and the woods are carpeted with bluebells.  I’ve never seen so many wood anenomes which spring up along the roadside… …and the gardens are full of blossom.Having decided that my latest crochet project was too big to bring, it was absolutely necessary for me to find a yarn shop (or two) for supplies to keep me busy in the evenings.  So, I started with some super chunky and a pair of e-NOR-mous needles which was super fast to knit…Which meant an expedition to find another wool shop (I have a long suffering husband!) Abergavenny came up trumps with The Wool Croft, and an irresistible half price offer on this gorgeous Louisa Harding wool/silk blend…There are so many different hues in this yarn, every row has a different flavour!

I’ll be home next week, feeling refreshed and full of ideas so I’m looking forward to being back here with you.

 

 

 

Landlust – A New Magazine

Landlust CoverIf you love the countryside, then the magazine, Landlust, which dropped through my letterbox a week or so ago will be right up your street.

It’s full of  all the things which just click with me, living a creative life close to nature; and with the sun shine and the birds song of the past few days has been the perfect antidote after the grey winter months.

There is stitching, and gardening, cooking, baking, wildlife and interiors and I’m feeling very inspired…Montage of photos from Landlust Magazine

The photography is beautiful, and has encouraged me to get back outside with my camera…Forget me not and bee - LandlustWith a spot of sniffing on the way…Hyacinth - Landlust

By the way…Higgins has taken up ornithology!  We have magpies nesting in the garden and they they have been throwing down the sticks which don’t fit their building plan for Higgins to play with…Higgins

He’s even had a friend round to help!Higgins So the gardening features in Landlust have got me back outside making plans… and I also have a hankering to make a few of those little drawstring bags. (Well I can’t simplify my life without finding somewhere to store everything can I?)drawstring bags from Landlust magazineand there is a recipe for Black Forest Gateau…oh dear, that’s the healthy eating out of the window then.

Thank you for joining me back here on Planet Penny, I do love to hear from you.

I’m gradually getting back into the swing of things, and with Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios coming up there is a lot going on.  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

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Box of Delights – The Results

Good Morning! I hope your morning is as beautiful as ours is today…
hyacinths in Spring ukVery frosty first thing, but gorgeously bright and sparkly.

So it’s a good day to be awarding prizes.  Firstly I have to say thank you again for the wonderful comments, it really has been heart lifting, and makes me feel another 500 posts may well be possible.  I wish I could write to each and every one of you but there were 100 entries!

And I always feel bad when I do a giveaway because I can’t give something to everyone so I decided to add in four extra runners up to spread the delight a little further.  In the past I have used my trusty helper to draw a winning name.  We used a basket once…

mini dachshund drawing winning ticket…and of course the hat…

Mini Dachsie & winning ticket…but it involved a lot chasing around to find out who’s name actually came out of the hat…

mini dachsie winning ticket…and it’s awfully damp and spitty.  Also, there were so many this time…

list for Box of Delights…that I used the Random Number Generator which involves no chasing, and no chewed paper. So without further ado, and a big drum roll I am very pleased to announce that the winning number was 96 and the Box of Delights goes to Pennie, in East Sussex.  The four runners up are number 14 – Sue Cambell in Alabama, number 15 – Cindy Wilson in Canada, Number 46 – Toffeeapple of Buckinghamshire and 48 – Linda Thorpe of Norfolk.

I shall share the runners-up prizes as I create them, it’s sparked another idea!  Thank you all again for taking part.

And thank you too for all the supportive and concerned comments regarding our adventure with the fire last week.  Everything is tidy and soot free in the room now and I’ve pinned a dust sheet over the fireplace as we await builders’ estimates.  It’s not going to be a quick job, alas, Higgins and I are both snuggled under blankies in the evening now!

dachsie in a blanketSee you soon…!

 

 

Missing Mojo – Found!

You might remember me bemoaning the loss of my Mojo in this post, the debilitating feeling when inspiration disappears out of the window.

Well, I’m happy to relate that it’s back and I’m beavering away being creative and even the wind and rain whipping past the window and howling down the chimney hasn’t dampened my spirits today!

I realise that I’ve become bogged down, especially with Social Media.  When I started writing this blog I had no idea about SEO, I didn’t have a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, a featured board on Pinterest, an Instagram account, Flickr.  I wasn’t helping other people with their Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, websites….

Add that to the Etsy shop, packing yarn, writing patterns, answering queries as well as family commitments and actually having a life… the part of me which I discovered and which grew when I was at Art School only a few years ago was in danger of withering away altogether.

Being part of Open Studios over the past few years has kept me hanging on by my fingernails though, and I’ve loved making the exhibition pieces…

BirdsonaBranch

Wool Gathering 2012

'How to Knit a Sheep' NNOS 2013

How to Knit a Sheep 2013

That time of year is coming round again (so quickly!) and I’ve been rummaging around in my mind for the perfect inspiration.  For ages after making the sheep’s head, I toyed with the idea of a stag’s head complete with antlers.  The perfect place to hang crochet garlands and pompoms!  But then I realised that every time I opened a catalogue or magazine, or watched a design programme on television there seemed to be some sort of variation of a stag’s head, a rhino, a zebra or similar and I knew the moment had passed.

There are also restrictions for the exhibition too.  I work in three dimensions but making something which needs a plinth, and finding the plinth too is an added complication, so the hanging format I’ve used so far works best.

Inspiration struck a couple of weeks ago because of our local pantomime.  The Am-Dram group in the village is full of creative people and we’re lucky to have someone to devise something beyond the usual Sleeping Beauty/Aladdin/Puss in Boots offerings.  This year it was The Green Man.

Green Man Panto

Aha! the Green Man! And with some research I find this quote

His name means the Green One or Verdant One, he is the voice of inspiration to the aspirant and committed artist.

He can come as a white light or the gleam on a blade of grass, but more often as an inner mood.

The sign of his presence is the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one’s normal capacities. In this there may be a link across cultures,… one reason for the enthusiasm of the medieval sculptors for the Green Man may be that he was the source of inspiration.”

Perfect!

I’ve sorted through my stash of fleece and yarns, filled a bag with natural colours and ordered some more from Wingham Wool Work.  I also bought a sample pack of dyes and that’s what I’ve been doing most of today, dying natural fleece and yarn, and over-dyeing some bright shades to bring them into the right colour spectrum.

Landscape Dyes Wingham Wool Works

I’ve had such FUN! I’ve looked back in the archives and it was January 2011 when I last dyed yarn and I loved the results then.  This is a very different palette, but I’m so enjoying throwing caution to the winds, and mixing up different dyes, and different strengths and dribbling them over the wool to get soft natural effects.

Landscape Dyes

My Green Man has been inspired by the cherry trees in the garden with their grey trunks.  His face is bark coloured using natural Cheviot fleece, rougher and hairier than my usual Merino, and lovely to needlefelt.  This is the story so far…

The Green Man - work in progressJust waiting for the greenery to grow!

The greenery is too damp to use tonight so I will put my crochet ‘Hat’ on as I want to finally finish the bunting pattern which I’ve been editing.  It’s looking very pretty…Crochet Beaded Bunting - Planet Penny Yarn

 I’m off to clean up the dye splatters in the utility room, but I’ll be back soon!

 

 

Perfecting the Art of Procrastination…

…or  indecisiveness…

Which is it?  I can’t make up my mind!

So here’s the problem.  I have done quite a few things over the past few weeks, have LOADS of photos and I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days being completely unable to write a blog post about anything because there’s TOO MUCH STUFF…

Which means I either never write another post, or I just metaphorically throw everything in the air, grab some bits here and there and see what happens.

We went to the Knitting and Stitching show a couple of weeks ago.  So much to see, and some amazing exhibitions.  I hope to follow up on some of the interesting stalls at a later date but in the meantime, well, I did treat myself.  Last time I went, a couple of years ago I fell in love with the wonderful Throw kits on the Colinette stand but there was such a huge choice I just couldn’t make up my mind, and have been kicking myself ever since.  I don’t know when I’m going to get time to make it, but this time I did buy one at the special show price  I wish you could feel how wonderfully soft and warm the yarn is, and the colours are fabulous…

perugino skylark throw Colinette

 My other great buy was a pinnie from Alison Hulme Textiles

Alison Hulme Pinnie

Hand printed by Alison on denim, it’s almost a dress!  It’s a good extra layer, will fit over a woolly jumper and has two big deep pockets so it’s a perfect work uniform for me when I’m in the studio.

And then I went off to the seaside…

Just a few days on the South Coast and it was lovely.  There was lots of weather…

Bright and breezy…

sea

IMG_2310Wild and windy…

IMG_2281Rainy…

IMG_2308

…and peaceful.

IMG_2354

IMG_2356

A teachers strike meant I had a precious day with my grandsons, a trip to the Observatory Science Centre which I enjoyed as much as they did!  I was allowed to have ago on all the scientific apparatus and no one told me I was too tall, or old to join in, and a tour of one of the telescopes.  A great way to entertain a granny!

IMG_2329

Now I’m home I’m gradually unpacking all the things put away to make way for the decorator and seeing them in a fresh light.  It’s so easy to stop actually ‘seeing’ things, isn’t it. when you’ve had them a long time in the same place.  I’ve got shelves in a redundant fireplace which is ideal for china and other small and fragile pieces.  It spent several years with a perspex sheet screwed to the front when the boys were small, so with another little one coming along in the New Year, I need to make the most of it before we have to replace the perspex!

IMG_2434

IMG_2433

It’s all been a bit slow on the making front, alas.  I’ve been suffering from RSI in my elbow and operating the mouse and the crochet hook seems to be the culprit, which is so frustrating.  I really want to write a pattern for the Christmas balls I’ve been making with the Planet Penny Cotton which requires lots of crochet experiments and ‘mouse work’ for the photos, and rest is really the only answer for RSI.

I’ve been good though and have only done a bit here and a bit there so I hope it won’t be too long before I’m back up to speed.

crochet Christmas balls Planet Penny Cotton

 Christmas crochet  balls Planet Penny Cotton

crochet Christmas balls -  Planet Penny CottonGetting my rainbow colour fix is always good for the spirits!

Well, I have both Henry and Higgins telling me it’s teatime and although they are an hour too early I won’t get much peace right now!

If you are in the UK and are watching out for the weather warnings for tomorrow’s predicted storm as we are here, keep safe and warm.

See you soon…x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...