Tag Archives: Gardens

I love country gardens

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

 

Hooray for the Little Red Hen!

Little Red Hen Ladybird Book

click for the story

This is the version of the Little Red Hen story I remember from way back in primary school, how we loved our Ladybird books!

We got to talking about it the other day because my friend Kit was reminiscing about her mum, sadly long gone, who used to quote the Little Red Hen when she had failed to get anyone else to do the necessary thing, whatever it was.

‘ ”Then I’ll do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And so she did.’

I have been chuntering for ages about the overgrown state of my vegetable patch.  It always needs the most attention when I’m tied up with the run up to Open Studios and it’s got more and more overgrown, weedy and wild every season.  However, over the past two weeks I have channelled my inner Little Red Hen and I DID IT MYSELF!

It looks great….I’m exhausted!  I’ve filled a skip bag with rubbish, the beds are topped up with fresh compost and my little mini cold frame cum green house is crammed full of seed trays and seedlings.

Higgins has tried very hard to help.

Miniature Dachshund

Taking the little fences away from the raised beds has meant he could do lots in the way of turning over the soil, and then firming it down afterwards.dachshund in raised bed

He’s carried the trowel about helpfully (and put it away tidily where it couldn’t be lost)veg patch

More little fences have turned into a priority if any of the seedlings are going to make it to maturity once they have been planted out.  Higgins has history, remember the Mixed Greens?

Did you spot the laburnum tree?  This year it’s being completely wonderful – it alternates – and it’s very special as it was a seedling from the one in my parents’ garden.laburnum

And the bees LOVE it! For the last week or so, ever since the very first buds opened the air around the tree has been throbbing with the sound of very happy little bees…listen to this…

So this is why it’s been a little quiet here over the past week, and now there’s a lot of catching up to do.

While all this was going on the Green Man went off to the Forum in Norwich for the Open Studios Taster Exhibition – you can just see him dangling next to the patchwork…

Forum, Norwich NNOS taster exhibition

Taster Exhibition – setting up

Now it’s all systems go for the main event, which starts on May 24th.

You might like to see a glimpse of the other exhibition which was running at the same time, the most amazing knitted and crochet pergola which was made to raise funds for a local charity…

knitted pergola - John Grooms Court

knitted pergola detail

Just amazing, isn’t it?  There’s an interesting post on The Mercerie blog which will tell you more about it.

My next challenge is turning the studio into an exhibition space…eek!  I’ve just got so much STUFF.

And I haven’t forgotten about those extra little Boxes of Delight.…  2014-04-28 21.37.50

The challenge now is seeing just what I can squeeze inside, so watch this space, I’ll be back soon…x

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