Tag Archives: Gardens

I love country gardens

The Year in Books

I mentioned serendipity in my last post, as that is what led me to a blog I hadn’t visited before, and a project ‘A Year in Books’ which is just what I need to rejuvenate my flagging spirits.

I’ve written before about my book habit, but over the years I’ve bought more and more books to feed the creative side of things, practical stuff, craft books, cookery books. My fiction reading has dwindled to 10 or 15 minutes a night in bed. Dozing off after a few minutes means that I end up rereading the same paragraph over and over trying to remember what is going on.

One of my decisions about slowing down and living in the real world a bit more was to put down the smart phone and pick up a book.  This was why when I visited Penelope by the Sea on her lovely blog,  L is for Love, I found she had discovered the perfect incentive on ‘A Circle of Pine Trees’.

Laura has created a reading project, nothing unattainable, of reading and sharing a book a month over the year.  It can be shared on her blog via a linky button, on Instagram or Pinterest, a great way to find recommendations for new authors and books.   All the details are in Laura’s post here, if you are interested in joining in.

My book for January is the latest Mark Haddon, which I bought on Liverpool Street Station on my way back from Aimee’s graduation a month ago (and hadn’t looked at since!) …

Mark Haddon - The Rewd House - A Year in Books

I made a start this morning in a packed hospital waiting room. Much better to get stuck into a book than fuming about my appointment being an hour overdue!  So thank you to Laura for devising the idea, and for Penny for pointing me in the right direction…

Meanwhile, unlike so many other places in the UK, we had a glorious start to the day so I wandered round the garden with Higgins to see what was going on.

The snowdrops are nearly up!

snowdrop buds

There are primroses…

January Primroses…and tiny miniature cyclamen…

cyclamen…and still at the end of the garden, a rose is blooming…

January RoseHiggins, meanwhile still dives into his bed to hide when his coat is put on and he knows he has to go for a walk, however bright the sunshine!

miniature dachshund in bedThank you for all the encouraging comments on my last post.  It seems I’m not alone in feeling a little jaded, I think a lot of us are experiencing post Christmas burnout!

Onwards and upwards….see you soon…x


Beautiful Blues

I’m suffering from the Blues a bit here after last weekend.   No lounging in the garden for me this time, but it’s all full on for Open Studios in 10 days time, and anyway the weather has gone back to it’s default setting – Rubbish!   I can’t believe it’s nearly mid May and I’m back to lighting a fire in the evening.  Not that the four legged members of the family are complaining, they can’t believe their luck!

I  didn’t even find time to write a blog post either, and I’ve been collecting lots of photos over the week.  Mother Nature is a lot more robust about the weather than I am, she’s in ‘I’ve started, so I’ll finish’ mode and the garden is filling up nicely, and the hedgerows and verges too.

I love the way Spring has a sequence of colours, it’s reminds me of the little mantra of names I run through when I’m packing the Planet Penny Cottons…Aubretia, Delphinium, Cornflower, Eggshell, Aqua, Jade, Apple, Lime,  Buttercup, Marigold, Peach, Petal, Gerbera and Rose Red.  Spring starts white, with Snowdrops, but almost immediately there are yellow Aconites…

Aconites and snowdrops

photo: Van Muewen

…and then the Daffodils and Primroses arrive.

Not long after, pink is added to the mix, with Primulas, Tulips and all manner of blossoming trees.  But get to May, and it’s blue…the  Beautiful Blues and probably my favourite time of year.  I’ve tried and failed so often to capture that mysterious ethereal blue of the Bluebells but it always defeats my little camera…

bluebell wood - Beautiful Blues

Bluebells - Beautiful Blues…and anyway I can’t catch that glorious smell and save it in a file on the computer, can I?  It’s an experience, and all the more exquisite because it’s impossible to completely capture it.

In the garden, there are Forget-me-nots.

forget-me-nots - Beautiful Blues….Periwinkles…

Periwinkle - Beautiful Blue

and Cornflowers, and quite a few of the ‘Wrong sort of Bluebell’ , a European interloper, very prolific but not quite achieving deep glow of our native species.  Still, it looks pretty good as a flower arrangement…

blue flowers Beautiful Blues

There are also Irises, but I can never bring myself to pick those…

Blue Iris…aren’t they amazing?

IrisBack in the studio the challenge is to turn the working space of one incredibly messy worker (Moi!)  into an exhibition space for two, and it’s a  l-o-n-g  job.  I can always think of so many things I would rather do than tidy up!  T’was ever thus.  My dear Mamma, listening to me moaning said, ‘Well, you always used to stuff things under your bed…’  Too late….full!

I’ve tried hard to keep the creative vibe going though.  I mentioned the on going white cotton theme in this post, and I’ve at last found time to complete the project which required it.  I found this gorgeous pattern…

circles crochet pattern…with a tutorial here which was just perfect for the Planet Penny colours.   One day I might have time to make a throw, but in the meantime, there is this…

crochet circles and flowers

crochet circles crochet balls

crochet circles

2013-05-08 16.41.28It looks perfect on the dresser.

If you are looking for white cotton, there are still a couple of packs left from this post and of course all the other colours can be found in the Etsy shop.

I might be a little random in my appearances over the next week or so, there are a couple of family birthdays, a confirmation and much travelling round the country coming up, but I’ll be back, like the proverbial ‘Bad Penny’!

See you soon …x

Craft Fairs and Family Fun

It’s been a busy half term week here on Planet Penny what with the How Hill Craft Fair and family fun with a special visit by two little boys over half term.  Not that they were always recognisable as little boys…

Halloween Family fun…slightly troubling for a granny!

The craft fair went well, such a lovely venue

How Hill Craft Fair

with beautiful views over the gardens and the Norfolk Broads…

How Hill Gardens and View

How Hill

The robins proved very popular and quite a few flew off to new homes…

wire tree with needlefelt robins

So the felting needle will be red hot again next week to refill my little tree!

Higgins has had a lovely week with his favourite boys, and even had his moment as an artists model for Thomas, their dad…

miniature dachshund being drawn

…but didn’t quite get the hang of posing!

He was invited along with the rest of us for a wonderful lunch with my second son, and my talented daughter-in-law produced a fabulous cake worthy of the ‘Great British Bake Off‘, and Higgins even managed to get in on the act with this too!

Fraisiere Cake with chocolate dachshund - family gathering

It was all most enjoyable…

Miniature dachshund takes a nap

So creating has been a little low key this week,  I actually have something on knitting needles for a change, but I’ll save that for the next visit.

I’m sending my continued thoughts good wishes over the ‘Pond’ to everyone who has been affected by the horrendous weather.  I hope you have all the help you need to get back to some sort of normality as quickly as possible.

I would also like to send a big, BIG thank you for all your visits, and lovely comments and the support you give me here on Planet Penny.  Today I reached the huge milestone of having 200,000 hits on my blog since its very tentative beginnings in December 2007.  100,00 of those visits have been in the last 7 months!  I have my thinking cap on for a celebratory Giveaway so watch this space…

I’m leaving you for now though with the Handmade Monday link and I’ll be back soon…x

English Country Gardens

Hello from a bright and breezy Norfolk!  Having spent the week creatively working towards a Handmade Monday post featuring more crochet creations I am changing tack  with a completely different post altogether!
Today the neighbouring parish hosted an Open Gardens day along with a Scarecrow Competition and I came home with so many beautiful photos I had to share them.
Old garden shed with climbing rose
I love this garden shed, beautifully aged with not one straight line left and apparently held up inside by innumerable posts, but terribly picturesque!  And a wonderful mixture of old fashioned roses and honeysuckle scrambling all over it…
For some reason all the lupins in my garden have given up the ghost this year, so I shall be looking out for one this colour at the garden centre…

 ..and you can never have too many delphiniums, can you?

But it was the scarecrows which stole the show in the end.   The competition theme was a royal one, which gave some wonderful scope for creativity ….

The very last one caused a great stir when he suddenly sat up and said hello!

But the two I liked the best  were, coincidently, both dog themed.  It was certainly a great bonus for the makers to have so many of the Royal family Jubilee masks around to use in their creations, but what struck us with this one was the way the Queen’s shape and body language had been so beautifully captured…

And the corgis look full of mischief!

But then there’s Bill’s corgi!  I’ve mentioned Bill before, he is my crafty buddy Kit’s husband.  He just happens to be an amazing artist who can build cars, and made me a winder for wool and now can add Corgi creator to his CV, and it’s got nothing to do with plumbing!

He’s looking a little startled, but look what’s heading his way…!

So that’s what I did today, I hope you enjoyed it too!  I shall have to fit in an extra post or two to catch up, and as next week is birthday week for the four legged members of the family I’m sure there will be more photos to share.   And I have more to say about what I’ve been up to over the week…

I’m linking up as usual to Handmade Harbour for Handmade Monday where you’ll find lots of lovely creative blogs to follow.

I’ll be back very, very soon…x

P.S.Before I took all the latest photos, I had been puzzling over all the flower pictures I had already taken over June, and put them together as a little film.  Sit back with a cuppa, and relax in the Norfolk sunshine…