Flowers and Needlefelt

What a soggy weekend this has been!  We seem to be alternating between having so much rain that the water butt overflows and the road floods, and then having to run around watering the vegetable garden because it’s so hot and sunny.

My garden is now in it’s July slump, all the prettiness of the Spring flowers are just a distant memory and I’m confronted with all the things which should have been thinned out or consigned to the compost heap back at the end of the Winter.  Does anyone like Golden Rod?  I find it sad and funereal.

The roadsides however have been a delight.  This is a typical sight as you travel round the lanes in Norfolk…

PennygatePoppies020714 copy

I’ll just have to sow more poppies in my garden!

But talking of flowers, I’ve been working on a new needlefelt project having had a request for a different kind of workshop, making covered notebooks.

As you know, I like to use needlefelt as a sculptural medium as I love working in 3D, so flat needlefelt is a new departure for me.  However I have really enjoyed creating a woolly garden of flowers to make up for the ones I am lacking outside!

I started off by just using the fibres like paint…

Needlefelt Flowers…but found that adding in simple embroidery stitches gave it more detail and interest. And it was really fun to do!Needlefelt with embroidery

I’ve been using lovely 100% wool felt squares from Blooming Felt to practice on, I’ve got a gorgeous selection of colours. These are the next two in the collection…

Needlefelt flowers with embroideryEmbroidered needlefelt flowersBut the challenge now is finding sheets large enough to cover a notebook.  In an ideal world of course I would wet felt each piece individually but alas, M.E. has rather put paid to something as energetic as that.

But while that particular project is coming together, the workshops I have had for Beginners Needlefelting have gone really well, both the group session at Arts Desire, and a one-to-one session in my studio.  If you live in the area and would like to know more, follow this link.

The next Needlefelt Workshop at Arts Desire is next weekend, and there’s a place or two left, it would be lovely to see you.

And in case you are wondering whether my crochet hooks are rusting in the corner, no, they’re not!  I’ve just completed a commission, and I’ll be back soon to show you just what else I have been making, so watch this space…

See you soon…x

Midsummer! and a Festival…

It’s hard to believe we’re now halfway through the year and in this little patch of Norfolk we were blessed with a warm sunny weekend in which to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

We are just back from a Midsummer Festival which took place just down the road from us at How Hill, a beautiful spot on the Norfolk Broads.  You might just remember me taking part in a craft fair there a couple of years ago.

How HillThe aim of the Festival was to celebrate the success of the Truly Local shop in the small town nearby, so of course all the stalls, producers and businesses were truly local too.

Truly Local Midsummer FestivalThere was such a lovely atmosphere, we bumped into family and friends, and a great time was had by all, including Higgins!

He was particularly helpful when it came to testing the deliciousness of the beefburgers…

mini dachshund2014-06-21 19.54.542014-06-21 19.55.24What a look of sheer bliss…

Then of course he had to sort out the washing up after icecream…

Vanilla…

2014-06-21 20.05.59Mint Choc Chip…

2014-06-21 20.06.01…and that icecream cornet, surely the pointy bit would go to waste otherwise…?

2014-06-21 20.16.42There were more stalls than I can mention individually, but these are the ones I know you would like to hear about…

It was great to meet Rachael of Foxglove and Gingersnap with her snazzy stitching.  I only knew her through Facebook, I love meeting up with my cyber friends in reality!

Foxglove and Gingersnap

… and Sue Maton of The Mercerie We only ever meet when we haven’t got time to talk properly! She has so many gorgeous things to tempt knitters and crocheters alike…

The Mercerie

The Mercerie Crochet BlanketPaul Williams, one of our Two Rivers Trail-ers was there with his wonderful wooden creations…

Woods World Wide(I now have a dinky little board made from a local fallen tree, exclusively for me to slice lemons on! G & T, anyone?)

And a  brilliant, serendipitous find, Ros Arrowsmith who makes beautiful ceramics with which I have completely fallen in love…

Ros Arrowsmith Ceramics

Ceramics by Ros Arrowsmith

Ceramics by Ros ArrowsmithI particularly love her quirky lettering style and giant handles.  It’s good to find something so fresh and different.

We finished with a walk round the Secret Garden, where my camera started complaining about it’s dying battery.  You can get a little flavour of it here… so peaceful and calm.Secret Garden How Hill, Norfolk

The visit concluded with tea and cake, what could be better?

Back home I’ve a new project on the go, a spin off from last week’s Needlefelt Workshop, and a commission to complete, so I’ll be back soon with photos.

I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend too, see you soon…x

(now where’s that gin and tonic…?)

Needlefelting in Norwich

Well, Open Studios may be over for another year, but the needlefelting goes on… Last Saturday I packed my big spotty bag with a rainbow of fluffy fleece and went off to the Craft Lounge at the new Arts Desire premises.  It’s all looking very lovely there now, and I especially appreciated the posh new coffee machine, and Kay’s newly acquired skills as a barista. I function so much better after a shot of caffeine!

We had a lovely group of people on the Needlefelt workshop who were very creative and soon got into the swing of needlefelting, with only the odd squeak as someone missed the work and pricked a finger (with no swearing, I was impressed)

Needlefelt workshop at Arts Desire, NorwicgAt the end we had an eclectic mix of creations, several birds, a cuddly mouse, a French bulldog, a scary monster and a rainbow hedgehog…

Art's Desire, Needlefelt workshop

beginners_needleflet, Arts Desire, NorwichI’ve now had a request for a workshop for making needlefelt notebook covers so if you are interested, do let me know.

Back home, I’m trying to get to grips with the garden which seems to have gone mad while my back was turned.  I’ve made lots of moments to just stand and stare at the Albertine Rose though…

Albertine RoseFor 48 weeks of the year it’s a complete thug.  It’s rampaged over the fence into next door and is swarming up their house too, fortunately they really like it.  It sends out long, long branches covered in large thorns which grab at unsuspecting callers and it takes our son, Will, who is also our gardener most of an afternoon to trim it, tame it and train up the wires he’s put on the house.  But at this time of the year it completely redeems itself, smothering the front of the house with fondant pink.  I love lying in bed and viewing the world through rose petals!

It’s all too brief though, and already the North wind of the past couple of days has made the doorstep look as if we’ve hosted a wedding reception…

rose petalsSuch a fleeting moment…

Going back to the needlefelting again, one or two sharp-eyed people spotted the little old man in the tree when they came to visit for Open Studios…

Needlefelt man in the tree NNOSI’m going to leave him there and see what happens.  Will he rot? Will he be eaten by slugs or moths?  Will he be dismantled by birds for nesting material?  Or will he still be there for next year’s Open Studios…?

We shall see!

See you soon…x

 

The Joy of Open Studios

Norfolk & Norwich Open StudiosCould there been a better day taking part in Open Studios?  I don’t really think so.  The sunshine has been glorious and the sky blue…

decorated for Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios…the butterflies discovered the flowers on the courtyard and kept us entertained all day…butterfly on flower…and Higgins had a bath, specially!

mini dachshund after a bath

The Studio is still looking astonishingly tidy…Planet Penny Studio

…and we’ve had so many lovely visitors.

A lady from Yorkshire demonstrated tatting…

tatting

My best friend from Art School came with her husband and friends (and there was soon as much noisy laughter as there ever was when we were studying together!) Lots of local friends arrived to find out what we get up to and old pals from way back arrived to surprise us.

We got rather too excited when we discovered that two of our visitors ran a circus!  And that he was the clown and she was the Ringmaster!circus Ferrel

The clown really loved Higgins and I think the feeling was mutual so for a short while Higgins running away to join the circus was definitely on the cards.

And Emma from Silver Pebble came with her family and stayed and did crochet and finger knitting which was lovely…

Emma -  Silver PeppleWhen eventually every left to go home we sat on the verandah and ate strawberries, clotted cream and chocolate cake and agreed it had been a splendid day all round.

If you’ve ever wondered about taking part in Open Studios yourself, and it happens all over the UK,we would both thoroughly recommend it.  Yes, we make sales but its much more than that.  People are so interested in what we do and how we do it and it’s great when they go away enthused to try something creative themselves.

And there is still next weekend, so if you are in the area and would like to visit you can find out all about us and the rest of the Two Rivers Trail of which we are a part right here.

Hope to see you then…x

 

It’s Raining…It’s Pouring!

After a mostly bright and sunny three days for the first weekend of Open Studios, today we have a deluge!  The water butts are overflowing…

Raining

… the back yard is flooded…

flooded yard

…and the few steps from the back door to the studio are enough to get soaked through.

srudio

I tried to work out there but the rain on the roof is deafening so I’ve decamped to the dining table with the laptop where I am typing with one hand because I have a very worried little dog trembling in my other arm. Higgins hates the rain, hates the wet, the noise and the possibility of thunder too, one supposes.  Anyway he’s stuck to me like a limpet all morning and just wants to sit on my lap ’till it’s all over.mini dachshundAs you can imagine, the last week or so has been really busy, first getting prepared for Open Studios, and then opening the doors and welcoming people in.  So I haven’t managed to personally thank everyone who left such lovely comments on my last post, but I do thank everyone for such supportive messages.

The studio is now a display area and you can imagine just how much stuff I’ve got squirrelled away all over the house to make enough space!  As usual Kit is sharing the space with her beautiful prints…

Kit Calladine Prints…and we have lots of other things to look at and hopefully to inspire people…

Planet Penny Studio

…with of course our little Meeter and Greeter at the ready!

Planet Penny StudioHiggins is quite convinced that Open Studios is actually the annual convening of the Higgins the Miniature Dachshund Appreciation Society.  He greets every visitor with complete rapture, and by the end of the first day was utterly exhausted…

Miniature Dachshund asleepWe now have a few days to catch up before it all happens again next weekend.  If you are local, it would be lovely to see you. There’s a lot else to see on the Two Rivers Trail, (you can find out more on the website) Printmaking, textiles, painting, woodcarving, feltmaking, spinning, beautiful alpacas…

Alpaca in his wedding hat - Burnt Fen Alpacas…and of course, Higgins…

miniature dachshundSee you soon…!

 

From the Heart

hearts - Planet Penny Cotton

Here I am, at last.  This is the longest gap in posting for years, and it’s been playing on my mind.

When I started writing this blog it was just for me, and I had no real expectations that anyone else would even notice I was I was here, let alone actually read it.  And then come back and read some more.

What writing regularly did for me was to make me do stuff, and this fed my creativity and became a creative spiral.  The fact that you out there dropped in to encourage me was a lovely bonus, thank you!

But it’s all so much easier when you can trundle along in blissful ignorance just doing your thing. The rot set in when I started thinking there’s more to all this world wide web stuff than I first realise, maybe I’d better find out about it.  And then I started a business and suddenly there was all this big stuff which people were telling me I have to use, like SEO,…keywords …categories… And the little thing which was fun and interesting and created interaction with nice people suddenly became fraught with rules and regulations.

I worry about getting things right.  And so rather than get things wrong I’ve ended up sacrificing the spontaneity with which I first started the blog, feeling overwhelmed by what I should be doing, rather than what I want to do.  And I’m guilty of letting that happen in life at the moment too.

This is a busy time of year, next weekend Open Studios starts and there’s lots to do.  It would be so easy to put off writing until it’s all over.  But it’s like when you owe a letter to a friend, and for various reasons you don’t get round to replying and then time goes on and it gets harder and harder to justify why you’re such a bad friend that you can’t even put pen to paper to say hi.  And you end up sending Christmas cards every year saying, ‘Will be in touch in the New Year’.  And you don’t.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you will know I am a great believer in serendipity, the happy accident.  It’s stood me in good stead over the years.  By happy accident this morning I came across an amazing post this morning which really made me think about what I am doing. This is a quote …

10350535_10152148071065745_5232667406941192688_n…but if you want to be inspired as I was, click on the quote and read the whole post.  It really makes you think.

So let spontaneity rule all round!  I might just arrive here with a photo, or a short post, or I might write lots and fling in a tutorial, who knows!  But I won’t let WordPress or All in One SEO bully me by pointing out I’ve only written 250 words and the recommended length is at least 400 words or whatever.  It’s my blog and I’m not writing a dissertation!

This isn’t my usual kind of post, so thanks for bearing with me and I hope you’ll stick around, I wouldn’t be here without you …x