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 youaretrulybeautiful@yahoo.com 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 youaretrulybeautiful@yahoo.com.

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, cont.by 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



Breakfast: Heart Shaped Waffles

I can’t help it, I’m going to waffle on about waffles!

We’ve been celebrating this weekend, can you believe it’s actually SIX years since Higgins came into our lives…SIX!  Life hasn’t been the same since! Mini Dachshund 2009-09-23 07.19.48So a celebratory breakfast was called for, and excuse to test the super duper waffle maker kindly sent by Cakemart for me try out.  I’ve never made waffles before, simply because I didn’t think I could manage one of those traditional heavy waffle irons, but this one is really easy.

It’s very Planet Penny don’t you think? Pink AND heart shaped…heart shape waffle makerThe only thing to note is the waffle maker is supplied with a European plug and so will need an adaptor if you are in the UK.

The waffle maker comes with it’s own recipe leaflet, but I used the Cherry Poppy Seed Waffle recipe from my new favourite cook book, A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones and it was completely yummy.  The recipe uses oats ground to a flour, something I’ve not tried before, but it makes for a lovely light consistency and you need about 3 tablespoons of batter at a time to make the perfect size. (I had a few wonky waffles to eat while I worked that out!)

Bestron waffle makerServed with the warm cherries and a drizzle of yoghurt these waffles are an absolute treat, and warm up well in the toaster too if you have any leftovers (there weren’t many!)cherry & poppy seed wafflesThe waffle maker is non stick so just needs a wipe with kitchen paper after you’ve finished, no washing up, hooray!

So if you’ve never made waffles before it’s worth giving this a try, and if you are already a convert, what’s your favourite recipe and topping?  It would be great to share in the comments, don’t you think?

I’ll be back soon…x

p.s. before you ask, Higgins had his waffle naked…he didn’t mind!

The Crochet Butterfly & Flower Mobile – Ta-DAH!

At last I can share with you the project I have been beavering away to finish, the crochet Butterfly & Flower Mobile,  made using the new pastel selection of Planet Penny yarn.Planet Penny Cotton Yarn - New Pastel Shades for Crochet Butterfly & Flower Mobile

I’m really happy with this pastel version of the rainbow shades and hope you like it too.  I’ve got lots of ideas for pretty pastel blankets and cushions, but for now I’ve been having fun surrounding myself with loads of butterflies and flowers.  We may not have had much sunshine this year, but it’s definitely been summer on Planet Penny!

Crochet Butterfly & Flower Mobile - pattern & cotton yarn from Planet PennyCrochet Butterfly & Flower Mobile - pattern & cotton yarn from Planet PennyI made lots of butterflies in different colour combinations, used the Lemon Sherbet to make the flower centres and saved the Peppermint Cream for the leaves (and then had a happy half hour arranging them for the photos!) Crochet Butterfly & Flower Mobile - pattern & cotton yarn from Planet PennyCrochet Butterfly & Flower Mobile - pattern & yarn from Planet PennyBut the ultimate goal was to make a mobile.  I used a wooden hoop as the base and crocheted round to cover it (but actually it would be fine left ‘au naturel’ or painted)…covered hoop for Crochet Butterfly & Flower mobile…and added three crochet chains for hanging.

After arranging and pinning the flowers to cover the hoop…crochet flowers for mobile PDF pattern - Planet Penny…I used my trusty hot glue gun to fix them securely.Crochet Butterfly and Flower Mobile - PDF pattern - Planet Penny(and then got very excited about the idea of a coronet bed head with filmy drapes over a little girls bed, or a bridesmaid headdress, or framing a mirror…or…or… shhh…calm down dear!) 

Anyway, for now it’s butterfly time and I added these with nylon thread which is nearly invisible, hanging each butterfly at different lengths and… da-DAA…! The finished Crochet Butterfly & Flower MobileCrochet Butterfly & Flower Mobile - PDF pattern - Planet PennyAnd then the sun came out so I was able to let those butterflies loose to flutter in the breeze…Crochet Butterfly & Flower Mobile made in Planet Penny Cotton Pastels _PDF pattern & yarn - Planet Penny You can find a downloadable PDF of the instructions here:  Crochet Butterfly & Flower Mobile and the yarn is available in the Etsy shop.

I’ll be back 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


Getting back that blogging habit…

Why is a bad habit so much easier to hang on to than a good one? stopping the nail biting habit

It took me years to stop biting my nails, but it’s been horribly easy for life to get in the way of something I’ve enjoyed doing since, I can scarcely believe it, 2007!  So I’m going to try to get back into the old routine and I hope you will join me on the way.

I have a question though, and I hope you can help.  There is SO much stuff out there written about the best way to blog, and I know that it’s recommended that you should find your target audience, and a subject and keep focused.  And I find that really difficult…me…focused?

I’m too much of a butterfly brain, and that’s a habit I won’t ever lose!

I will admit to hiding behind the old ‘Lifestyle’ label which is rather frowned upon these days, but that’s so that I can ramble on about an eclectic mix of stuff. So…can you tell me, what you’d like more of, or less of come to that?

I’ve got a real back log of things to catch up on after the last months and I’ve been sent some great stuff to review.  I have a new crochet project in the making with the second new Planet Penny Colour collection and the sun came out today and Higgins and I went for a lovely walk. That’s another habit I mustn’t lose…

I rather suspect that one of the things some people would like to see more of is Higgins, who has been conspicuous by his absence lately…

Miniature Dachshund the dog walking habit…but as you can see he is in fine form!

So if you have some feedback I’d love to hear it (and if you got a habit you would like to share – a good one or a bad one) please do share!

See you soon …x

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