Tag Archives: Giveaway

Crochet Christmas Baubles – The Pattern

Crochet Christmas BaublesOh the joys of pattern writing!  I seem to have spent most of the last week fiddling around with these Crochet Christmas Baubles.

crochet Christmas bauble - closeup

I know a lot of you out there do the most wonderful tutorials and patterns on your blogs, but for those  who have never tried  I’ll give you a little flavour of it.

First, as you sit playing around with yarn and hook you have an idea and you make a ‘thing’ that you quite like.  So, after a bit more fiddling it turns into a ‘thing’ that you really like….Hooray!

Then,  trying to remember what happened the first time round, you make it again, this time jotting down the process as you go.

And then you make it again, this time from the pattern, scribbled on  the back of an envelope, correcting the mistakes.

To the computer to type it out…

Print it…

Make it again, to pick up typos.

Back to the computer for corrections.  Then go through with a fine tooth comb trying to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has never seen the pattern before.  Is it explained it simply enough?

Decide some bits need pictures.  Make it again, taking pictures.

Photoshop next, cropping and balancing to make the pics as good as possible.

Put the pattern together on screen.  How does it look?

Print it.

Panic… Have I  looked at it for so long that I’ve missed some howling error?

Have some down time on the Facebook Page and discover that someone has left a comment on a picture shared of a beautiful original piece of work with a link to the Ravelry pattern and find someone has said, and I quote,  

It is BEAUTIFUL! but $5 is too much for a pattern!”

Aaaaaah!

Crochet Christmas  BaublesAnd so this pattern was sent out to some lovely volunteers to try out, and having been thoroughly tested by a textile artist, a crochet newbie and an old hand at crochet, the  Crochet Christmas Baubles pattern is now available to buy on Etsy.  Find it here! 

November 2014 UPDATE:

You will also find it as one of Attic24 Lucy’s picks in the Christmas 2014 edition of  Simply Crochet Magazine just here…

crochet Christmas baublesHave fun…!

Seeing the Light….

After the unrelenting gloom of the Winter which went on and on and depressed everyone’s spirits, I’m still finding the light, bright days we are enjoying a novelty, aren’t you?  I don’t think it’s been quite as hot here in Norfolk as some other places but the warmth and sunshine is glorious, and I refuse to complain about being too hot!  With my fair English skin I’m not one to sit or lie in the sun but give me a umbrella or a shady tree where I can sit and look out at the bright sun light and I’m very happy.  Throw in a good book and a long cold drink and I’m in heaven!

Over last Winter in particular I  struggled with a) having good enough light to work by and b) and this was even more frustrating, having light which was good enough to take photographs.  I kept coming across other bloggers complaining about the same thing and it’s so essential to have great pictures on your blog.

In view of all this I was really pleased to be asked to try out and review a  Lamp from the Daylight Company.  They have a great choice of different lamps but the one which suited me best was the Swan Table lamp.  It’s  portable enough to move  to various locations, the studio, the sofa, the dining table etc. but has a sturdy weighted base  making it really stable and secure.

Daylight Lamp - Light

Swan Table Lamp

Until I sat it alongside the standard lamp that I usually stitch by I hadn’t realised how yellow the light it gave was, and how it distorted the colours I was using.  This probably explains why I very often go to bed with gritty eyes and a niggling headache, because I am very bad at sitting without making, in common with all my creative friends out there, I’m sure!

ordinary light for photo

standard electric light

But what I hadn’t even though of was the fact that I could actually use the light from the Daylight Lamp to take reasonable photographs which don’t require tweaking in Photoshop with levels and filters to make them halfway acceptable to post online, a huge benefit.

Daylight Lamp

Daylight lamp light

So it’s great to not only have the chance to thoroughly recommend the Daylight Lamps but, also…be able to offer one lucky person the chance to win their own lamp! As the end of the summer approaches and the days get shorter they will be all set up for crafting into the winter.

I’m really excited about being able to offer this fantastic prize, the most valuable ever on Planet Penny!

All you have to do is to leave a comment to be in with a chance.  How would a Daylight Lamp make life easier for you?  If you want more chances then signing up to follow the blog or follow Planet Penny on Facebook or Pinterest and letting me know in that comment will put your name in the draw more times but it’s really up to you.  I don’t want to make it complicated, I just want one of you to be lucky!

The draw will remain open until 31st August and then I’ll use the Random Number Generator to pick the winner.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

See you soon …x

Ed. to add 31st July 2013 : DRAW NOW CLOSED

Turf, Surf and Needlefelt Birds

A mixed bag post today, I’ve been lurking inside a lot consoling myself with needlefelt because of the unseasonably cold weather, but then rejoicing in sunshine and warmth when at last we get a brief indication that it’s actually summertime!  I’m only wearing TWO layers today, and no thermal fleece!

The wind seems to have blown constantly for months in this part of the UK and we live in the windiest corner of the village, near the remains of the old mill.  Wind always seems to make everything worse, doesn’t it?  Colder, and so noisy with it whistling around the chimney.  Yesterday’s walk was a bit scary, with small branches being blown off the trees.  I wasn’t sorry to see some rain for the garden though, and Higgins was relieved that the thunderstorm which hit Norwich skirted around us.  Despite all this Mother Nature is flourishing in the hedgerows…

dog rose

green lane

pink campion

white flowerThe grass is long enough now to ripple in the wind like water, and is such a lush green…

grassy meadow

Norfolk field miniature dachshund

But, in true English fashion today the weather is completely different.  The sunshine in the garden brought the bees to the chive flowers…

chive flower and beeI know you are supposed to snip the flowers off if you want nice chives for kitchen use, but how can I deprive the poor bees?

bee on chive flowers

chives with bee

Such a beautiful morning was too good to waste, so Higgins and I headed to the beach before breakfast.  What could be better than a deserted Norfolk beach in the sunshine?

Norfolk beach

The sand is gradually returning after being scoured by the winter gales.  Only a couple of weeks ago this stretch was down to red clay.

Norfolk beach and sunHiggins was very happy..

Norfolk beach and miniature dachshundAnd quite intrepid too in the shallows…

miniature dachshund at the beach

Miniature dachshund paddling…and the pools…

Miniature dachshund in pool

Back home I’m getting ready for the first Needlefelt Workshop next weekend at Art’s Desire Craft Lounge in Norwich.  The first one is all booked up and the second one is filling but fear not, further dates have been added to the calendar!  The   Birds on a Branch piece I created for Open Studios last year is in the shop window because we’ll be making birds, of all descriptions…

needlefelt birds on a branchThis is my latest flight of fancy….

Needlefelt birds

Needlefelt and feather birds

Feather and Needlefelt birds Happy, not Angry Birds!

And, in case you were wondering, there is a winner for last week’s  giveaway of a copy of Caroline Zoob’s gorgeous book, The Hand-Stitched Home.  Thank you, to everyone who entered  with wonderful stitching memories, I really enjoyed reading them.  It seems for every school day horror there was also a wonderful teacher or relative who passed on their own love of the subject.

It  was so hard to choose, I wanted everyone to win, but there’s only one copy of the book!

Please imagine the drum roll, or the pregnant pause beloved of TV Games shows so that I can announce…the winner is… Nikki Pierce who writes her own blog Tales from Swallow Barn.

Congratulations Nikki, I hope you enjoy your copy of the book and that we see some of your creations on your blog before too long (No pressure or anything!)

I’m off now to put the kettle on.  I hope you’ve got your feet up with a cuppa too!

Have a great week and I’ll be back soon…

Daisy, Daisy….

Daisy

I promised a daisy post and while they are still shining vibrantly in the lane I’m fitting in this little post.

I love daisies, don’t you?  They are the simplest flower, their shape is the one we first learn to draw, the one we doodle while we are on the phone.  They are a link to childhood… did you sit on the school playing field in the sun making daisy chains with friends as I did?  And they have become very much linked with the Open Studios season, as each year the edge of the lane leading to the studio is lined with a mass of Ox Eye Daisies…

ox eye daisy down the lane

Daisy and dog

Last year Kit, my Open Studios partner-in-crime, was inspired by the daisies as you can see from this post  and turned her sketches into a beautiful little etching.   I treated myself to a pack of cards as they are perfect for personalised letters…

Daisy Card

And that would have been all, but for the new book which I reviewed last weekend.  Caroline Zoob, writing in the The Hand-Stitched Home featured a beautiful curtain, patchworked from vintage lawn and lace.

The Hand-Stitched Home curtain

 It would take ages to amass such a wonderful collection but, nothing daunted, I called into our local charity shop just in case someone had been clearing out Miss Haversham’s attic!

Well, they hadn’t..but in a pile of textile odds and end I found a little crumpled treasure which, carefully washed, starched and ironed revealed…daisies!  It’s a wonderful piece of hand stitched cut work on fine lawn, a little frayed in places but this, I think, adds to the charm…

daisy cutwork

Unfortunately my name isn’t Susan…

cut work Susanbut for 25 pence – 25 PENCE! – that’s a minor detail…

cutwork cloth

I have been debating for a week or two what to put in the little window in the new door into my office.  I’m not a fan of nets, I didn’t want to lose the light but I just wanted to hide the interior from prying eyes if anyone called while I was out.  This small piece is perfect and with the help of some  pins I covered with vintage fabric a while ago I have my own little bright white curtain…

lace and pin

lace and pins

pin and lace

window with cutwork cloth

And 25p was well spent, I think you’ll agree!

If you’ve been inspired, there’s still a chance for you to win a copy of The Vintage Home.  Visit the post and leave a comment, what’s your sewing story?

 

The Hand-Stitched Home – Book Review

The Hand-Stitched Home - Cover

I promised you a lovely book to coo over and The Hand-Stitched Home by Caroline Zoob ticks all the boxes.

I’ve had very little time to exercise my sewing muscles lately and had rather forgotten how much I enjoy it so leafing through Caroline Arber’s beautiful photographs discovering the projects within was a real pleasure.

Do you hand sew?  Is it something you love or do out of necessity?  Sometimes it’s so easy just to get the sewing machine out and wizz around a few seams, or as I did over half term to piece together a spectacular tear on some nearly new tracksuit bottoms which had come off worse in a tree climbing related incident!

I had a very mixed introduction to the craft of stitching.  Being left handed my school experience was almost entirely negative.  Whole lessons miserably stitching a ‘blind’ hem with a length of thread grubby and grey from countless pulling out.  And, being made to wear a thimble on my right hand because that was where they were worn!  (I was nearly an adult before I found out what they were actually for!)  However, during the school holidays I stayed with my left-handed grandmother, Bam-mum (who never used a thimble)  and she introduced me to a love of stitching which has never gone away despite school’s best efforts.

Caroline Zoob’s book is all for pleasure, little hand-stitched treasures giving a new lease of life to vintage fabrics which then become part of the fabric of the home.  From tiny projects such as this Heart Key Fob…

Heart Key Fob - The Hand-Stitched Home…delicately stitched shelf edging…

Shelf edging - The Hand-Stitched Home..and pretty egg-cosy made from felted wool blanket fabric…

egg-cosy - The Hand-Stitched Home

..to larger pieces such as cushions, curtains and table runners there are plenty of ideas which you can use to inspire you to use and recycle pretty fabrics, trimmings, buttons and precious scraps of fabric.

Be aware that the instructions for some of the more complicated pieces do presume a fairly sound knowledge of basic sewing skills. However, this is book about hand stitching and embroidery and there is a lot of help and inspiration  for even a novice at decorative stitching.  And of course the joy of a book like this is that it is positive encouragement to go off and brush up on or learn new skills!

Vintage scraps - The Hand-Stitched Home

And what was my inspiration?  Well, it was daisies.  I’m planning to feature daisies in the next blog post for reasons which will be explained, but this was the image in the book which inspired me…

Daisy tree - The Hand-Stitched Home

It’s so pretty and simple.  I had a frame which I bought months ago in a closing down sale, and a remnant of linen so I spent a happy evening with my box of embroidery threads and this was the result…

Daisy tree 2 - Then Hand-Made Home

So, I’m sure you would love to get your hands on a copy of this book.  And you can because the lovely people at the Aurum Publishing Group have a copy to send to one lucky person.  It could be you!  I’d love to hear your sewing story, what got you stitching?   Was it love at first stitch, or a gradual blossoming?  Simply share your story in the comments, and next weekend you could be the winner!

This week I’m linking up again with Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour so follow the links there to discover lots more creative people and ideas.

I’m off to the studio now to get ready for the last day of Open Studios.  If you are in the area we’d love to see you, but if not I’ll be back here soon…x

 

MOO Giveaway – Lucky Winners

MOO! Ermintrude the Cow makes a guest appearance to announce the lucky winners of the Moo Business Card Giveaway
Needlefelt Cow And the winners are…

Jo, at Pickle-Lily

Pip, at The Sock Yarn Shop

and Melissa at Story Book Felts

it was really hard to pick winners from all the great comments you made and I’m sorry I couldn’t pick you all.  I hope Jo, Pip and Melissa will share what they did with their Business cards or Mini cards, I’d love to see.  If you are intrigued about MOO and want to know more, you’ll find them here, just click the link…

MOO logo

Back soon…x

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