Category Archives: Shopping

A Trip to the South…

Flagpole at Bexhill South England

Well, the south of England anyway!

I’ve just had very much needed mini break by the sea, courtesy of my lovely son and daughter-in-law who live a stone’s throw from the sea front.  I’ve just been going through my photos, and I’m wondering just how many pictures of the sea you actually want to see, I’ve taken so many!

I know I must have sea water in my blood because my family on both sides go back hundreds of years as merchant seamen, Master Mariners and very probably, pirates!  Both my father and my paternal grandfather became Bristol Channel pilots after years in command of their own ships, so I’m really not surprised that when I want to relax my mind and body, my thoughts turn seawards.

After all the stresses and strains of the last few months, worrying about my dear mama, and battling with my M.E., no exotic holiday destination anywhere would have been more relaxing than sitting in the little seafront cafe, Hughies with a big cappuccino and a bacon sandwich on a bright and sunny morning! (Hence my last Happy Friday image)

We had a little potter around Bexhill-on-Sea and found an exceedingly PINK shop, I do love the radio…pink radio

…and a bargain lampshade for which I have a cunning plan!

lampshade(because brown/beige is so not my colour!)

Lunch in the Little British Tea Shop which was delicious in more ways than one.

Little British Tea ShopThe next day was misty and murky so we headed inland to Lewes.  Last time we tried to go there,  the queues for the car parks seemed to start two miles out of town, so we reckoned on a damp Tuesday in February we stood more of a chance.  Lewes is very pretty, and full of interesting little shops and it was lovely to just womble about with no real plan in mind.

River at Lewes, E Sussex

Lewes

There were an awful lot of extremely tempting things in this shop window…

Leadbetter&Good…but if you ever find yourself in Lewes, do make a point of visiting Abigail’s Drapery

AbigailsDrapery…and don’t be like me and only discover it ten minutes before closing time!   These beauties fill the back wall…

sewingmachines

..and the shop’s just filled with all manner of beautiful craft materials, sewing sundries, yarn and handmade goodies.AbigailsDraperyInt

The next day it poured!  St Leonards

So we went to St Leonards to do some mountaineering in the rain…

St Leonards steps…up to Norman Road, the home of what is described as the most extraordinary haberdashery, probably in the UK where you will find…

“…vintage lace, antique buttons, espadrille canvas and more. There is an old iron tub full of random vintage buttons, sold by the cup. A fantastic and unmissable shop with a core of devotees, Wayward has slightly eccentric opening hours. Even for Norman Road.”

So worth getting wet for (and it was open!)!

The next day was glorious…

Bexhill sea

…but sadly, we were going home.

Bexhill Beach

But we’ll be heading south again before too long.beachBexhill

And I’ll be back here on Planet Penny very soon…x

 

 

Just Coasting…

Goodness, it seems an age since I was here!  How are you all?  It does feel rather that the blog and I are coasting at the moment, what with my preoccupation with my mum.  Also, some weeks ago, thinking that this month would be fairly quiet and calm (!) I booked myself on the Photocraft Course which is now in full swing.

I must say it’s very interesting, and the embryonic skills I will have aquired by the end of the course are going to be so useful as I build on them and use them in the future.  More of this to come.

But in the meantime,  I used the week long break in the middle of the course to have a break myself.  With my mum recovering slowly in hospital and with various family members keeping up with the visiting I decided to take myself off to the North Norfolk Coast for a couple of days in a B & B and have a little camera practice.

Now I would say, going on my present record, don’t whatever you do book a holiday at the same time as me if you want good weather!

Because of all the drama around my last trip away I didn’t get to share the photos I took then, but a lot of the time it was like this…

Bexhill-on-Sea…wet and windy.

And then this time, heading off to an entirely different part of the coast, it was like this…

Blakeney in the mist

…and this.

Blakeney QuayI went to Holkham Hall

Lake at Holkham HallSo you sort of get the picture, don’t you?  Not really the weather to lift the spirits.

To add insult to injury, the very same bank of fog casting it’s gloom over Blakeney, Wells and the surrounding area was also keeping poor Tim stuck on the gas platform where no helicopters could fly instead of joining me at the bed and breakfast!

All was not lost though and Tim eventually arrived, along with a burst of sunshine and warmth at lunchtime on the day before we were due to return home!  We took ourselves off to Holt for the afternoon which is always worth a visit, especially when there is tea and cake on offer!

And having been starved of light and colour for a few days I was so pleased to rediscover Ruth and her relocated shop ‘Glory Days’.  The original shop was in Norwich; I loved it and wrote about it here.  It sadly closed, but the new location in Holt is perfect, and in such a pretty little flint and brick cottage.

Glory Days in Holt glorydays 2 glorydays 3 glorydays 4And it’s just so pretty and colourful!  If you are in the area, do call in to say hello and get a colour fix!

So on that happier note I will sign off, and hope to be back before long…x

Needlefelt Workshops and a Present for Higgins

Feather and Needlefelt birds

You’ll remember I’m sure, that last year I went to Art’s Desire in Norwich to teach some Needlefelt Workshops. I fell in love with the shop then, and the whole idea of the Craft Lounge being a venue for people to come to learn to knit, crochet, felt and more.

The exciting news is that it’s re-locating in a lovely old cobblers shop just out of Norwich City Centre and will be opening in a few weeks.  I love a renovation project and when I called in a few weeks ago it was just at the point when you see what a great space it will be for the shop, it’s tempting goodies and the crafting area.

Kay, the owner, came to tea last week for a catch up and planning session and being a dog lover arrived with a special present for Higgins.  (Tongue firmly in cheek, I may say!)

This is it, in the ‘bosses’ chair…2014-04-03 10.37.36And this is what happened…

Mini Dachsund fights cushion It didn’t work…

daschund fights cushion and winsHowever, we had more success sorting out a workshop date, thank goodness!

And it is on…

June 14th 2014, from 10.30 – 1pm and price is £25.00 which will include materials,

and the venue is 82, Park Lane, Norwich, NR2 3EL

Arts Desire NorwichPlease contact Kay via the Arts Desire website or me via the Planet Penny contact page if you are interested, it would be lovely to see you.

And talking of needlefelt, I am finishing off the Green Man, just in time. He goes off to the Forum next week for the Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios Taster Exhibition.  I can’t believe it’s come round so quickly!  I’ll post a picture when I’ve added the finishing touches.

Be back soon…x

Come to the Christmas Fair!

There’s a lot scurrying around going on in this part of the world this week, and it’s not just the mice!  We have our very first Christmas Fair this coming weekend, which is exciting and scary in equal measures.

Two Rivers Trail Christmas FairSo who is this ‘we’ I hear you ask…

Well, if you’ve been visiting Planet Penny for a while you will know that for the last few years I, along with my print maker pal, Kit, have taken part of Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios.  It turned out to be a wonderful way of meeting up with kindred spirits living very close by, so this year we got together as the Two Rivers Trail to create an Art Trail for Open Studios in May of this year.

It all worked so well we decided a year was too long to wait to get together again and so the idea of a Christmas Fair and Exhibition was born.  It’s been a great excuse for meeting up over coffee and/or wine for planning meetings!

For various reasons this year the Planet Penny Etsy shop has been my only selling point so it’s going to be fun to step out of cyberspace and into reality and meet real people.  I hope that any Planet Penny readers who live in the area will come to say hello.  My fellow ‘Trailers’ are varied and very talented, so we’ve got a great mix of things to see, and to buy.  If you call over to the Two Rivers Trail website you can find out more about us all.

It’s hard to decide what to sell alongside the pieces I will be exhibiting, as needlefelting is such a time consuming craft and it’s hard to fit it in alongside the pattern writing, crochet, yarn processing, blog writing, knitting and everything else.  This is why it makes more sense to teach it so that others have the fun of making their own creations.  Nevertheless, I decided to make a collection of ‘One Off’ creations, totally exclusive, no two the same.  Collectors items for the Christmas tree!

I started with a basket of hearts, needlefelted with  fleece from my massive bag of colours, another rainbow collection…

needlefelt hearts for Christmas Fair

I was quite tempted just to leave them just as they are, and heap them up on my dresser but no, that is not the plan.

I sat in the corner of my studio with the hearts and gradually disappeared beneath a heap of ribbons and trimmings, buttons, beads and threads while I had a happy few hours making tree decorations…

tree decorations for Christmas Fair

And they do look really pretty on the Christmas tree…

needlefelt baubles for Christmas Fair

Now I’ve just got to persuade myself to part with them!

I’ll be back soon with more pretty things, but for now I’d better get back to the preparations.  I have a red tablecloth to hem!

If you are in the area, put the date in the diary and come and see us, we’d love to meet you, and there will be CAKE!

See you soon…x

 

The Magic of Serendipity

Serendipity,  a ‘happy accident’ ..it’s one of my favourite words.  The older I get, the more aware I am of the opportunities created by the serendipitous nature of the every day.  And this week’s happy accident all started with carrot cake!

I had an overdue hair appointment with my usual hairdresser, but in a different place because he is waiting to open his new salon.  The appointment was long, so I took my Kindle and by the time my hair was deemed ready for the basin, the main character in the book had visited several coffee shops and eaten quite a lot of carrot cake.  I found myself yearning for carrot cake.   Having mentioned my craving, Jon, my hairdresser had the answer.  The best carrot cake in Norwich he assured me, just up the road from where I was sitting.

Trips into Norwich these days are usually fraught with the need to get home to make my Mum’s lunch or walk Higgins, but today unusually my Mum was cared for, and Tim was on Higgins duty so I decided that lunch was going to be a slice of carrot cake and a cappuccino.  Very decadent!

It was very nice carrot cake (and if you are a fan and find yourself in the Norwich Lanes visit the House Cafe and tell me if I’m right!) and, suitably replete I wandered back down the road doing a spot of window shopping.   I ground to halt out side a shop full of the gorgeous fabric.  So I just had to go in.

The shop is Arts Desire, and the Serendipity Fairy had just waved her magic wand…

Arts Desire , St Benedicts St, Norwich

…and it’s one of those shops you just want to move into.  I would so love a wall like this…

Arts Desire Pip china…and all that pretty china.  Here’s some of the gorgeous fabric…

Arts Desire Interior..and there are kits…

Arts Desire felt kits…and ribbons…

Arts Desire ribbons…and more ribbons…

Arts Desire and more ribbons…it was all absolutely…

cushion embroidered with Wonderful - SerendipityI do rather think I need that cushion!

Arts desire interior the Norwich LanesAnd there was a dachshund!

Fabric dachshunds - serendipity

Behind all this gorgeousness I found a Craft Lounge offering workshops in Lampshade Making, Knitting, Crochet, wet Felt making, Sewing, Quilting and Silver jewellery making.  It’s Norwich’s answer to the Makery in Bath!

I had just established that there were no Needlefelting classes on offer when the owner returned from lunch and after ten minutes of nattering and comparing notes we had a cunning plan.

I regularly get emails asking if I teach Needlefelting  Classes, and mostly I just teach private groups.  Finding a good venue that people can get to easily has been the main drawback and Norwich has good routes from most places these days.  So the Craft Lounge at Arts Desire, just off the centre of the city will be the perfect place to hold Needlefelt Workshops.

There are no dates as yet but it will be after Open Studios is over from the middle of June onwards.  If you are interested please follow this link and leave your contact details (mentioning Planet Penny/needlefelt) in your message  and we will keep you up to date.

Don’t despair if you are tempted by all this loveliness and live too far away because there is also an online shop and a Facebook Page so there are lots more goodies to drool over!

I will be back on Sunday with the results of the draw for  the Ruth Cross book ‘The Knitted Home’.  There’s still time to enter if you haven’t already, just leave your knitting story in the comments on the post here.

I will also have details of yet another great prize which I have been given to offer to you, so don’t forget to call back to take part.

See you soon…x

 

Community Spirit

I’m straying from my usual crafty ramblings  to share a little bit of the real life and community outside Planet Penny for once.  If you’ve been following this blog for a while you will know that I live in quite a rural part of Norfolk in the UK.  A corner of a muddy field as I frequently say!

Our ‘patch’ is a virtual island, with the river and Broads to one side of us, and the main Norwich to Great Yarmouth road creating a boundary on the other side, and in the middle three parishes which, while each having fiercely protected individual characters of their own, operate together very effectively.

Over the years things have changed, as is true in rural areas all over the UK, and gradually the local industry which kept the communities thriving has died away.  It takes a real effort of will to keep the community spirit thriving, and I’m so proud of where I live and what has been achieved.

In 2009 our wonderful eco built Village Hall was opened after many years of fundraising and diligent application for grants and this is now a thriving hub for the community.  We have a vibrant amateur dramatics company who keep us entertained two or three times a year, a Farmers Market, a Community Gym, WI, a choir, a band, Gardening club, well, I could go and on!

But last year we were all despair when we lost our last remaining village shop.  It had been in decline for sometime after the enterprising couple who had been running it very successfully moved on to pastures new, and things started to fall apart after that.   Less than a year ago the building was in the hands of the receivers, an undiscovered water leak had led to mould and rot throughout and it seemed all hope of having a shop was lost.

White House Stores Community Shop

But that was before a small group of enterprising and determined people got together.   Within a matter of weeks they had formed the The Three Villages Community Association Limited, come up with a business plan, got the local housing association on board, the Plunkett Foundation and the Lottery Fund and got the village together to put forward the proposal that we, as a community, would buy the premises and run it as a shop.

In order to qualify for the grants on offer the village had to come up with a certain proportion of the money, a not inconsiderable sum. Thanks to the hard work of the committee in working out a system whereby everyone could buy shares in affordable amounts we raised the amount just in time to qualify for the grants.

White House Store Community Shop

Unbelievable that was in July last year and with work starting in the depths of winter, and a huge amount of commitment being put in by volunteers, and donations from local businesses the shop opened today!

We had the most appalling weather for the Grand Opening.  The rain came down in buckets, the main street in the village had a virtual river running down it, but still dozens of people donned wellies, put up their colourful brollies and turned up to celebrate.

White House Store Community Shop Opening

Our MP, Norman Lamb came hotfoot from making waves in Westminster to make a speech and cut the ribbon. Everyone cheered and the visiting dog barked in all the right places!  It was all terribly British, especially the rain!

Tr Hon Norman Lamb MP opening shop

It’s run by volunteers, so the community spirit doesn’t stop here, but carries on.  I’m still trying to pluck up courage to man the till, I have a bad track record with tills, and am convinced I’ll either bankrupt the place in a week, or blow it up… I’m the window dresser though, and running the Facebook page and Twitter, and doing my shopping there, which is the most important thing!! Eat your heart out Mr Tesco…

White House Stores Community Shop Window

I wanted to share this with you because it just shows what can be achieved with the right community spirit.  Who knows, it might even make someone else think, yes, we can do this too and put the heart back into another village.  And last, but not least, anyone on holiday on the Norfolk Broads and finds themselves on Barton Broad can make a short trip down the dyke, walk a few hundred yards down the road, and find out for themselves just what a community shop is all about.

I might even see you there!

And now? Well the pub is up for sale….. any takers?

P.S.  If you would like to find out more, and see photos of the work and progress over the weeks visit the White House Stores Facebook Page and or follow us on Twitter @whitehousestore

 

 

 

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