Tag Archives: Norfolk Open Studios

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


Crochet Balls of all Sizes!

Oh my goodness it’s been difficult not using my sore elbow!  I’ve got so excited about the crochet balls I’ve been making.  They started off as Christmas baubles but they are so pretty I think I want to have them on display all year round!   I’ve been doing a little bit here and a little bit there and ended up with a bowlful…

a bowlful of crochet balls

and then had a happy time with needle, thread and beads giving them hanging loops.

crochet balls on branch

Having discovered  a little dish of small crochet balls lurking on the back of a shelf I had a brainwave and  threaded them in random sequence onto white cotton yarn…

crochet balls on string

…and then made a long crochet chain, working the crochet balls and beads in as I went.

crochet balls on chain

crochet ball chain on tree

Add the original bigger crochet balls and you can see why I am now having to rest my poor elbow yet again!

branch of crochet ballsThis pattern really suits the Planet Penny Cotton colours.  There are so many combinations to put together, it’s great fun.  Would you be interested in a pattern?   I’m currently working on it and it’s always time consuming but hopefully  it will be available by next weekend.

(Ed to add:  The pattern is available here!)

It’s been a busy week in other ways.  There’s been a lot of weather about,  hasn’t there?   I do hope you haven’t been caught up with any of the aftermath of the strong winds blowing us about for the past few days.  I’m currently waiting by the phone to see if my dear OH is going to have a helicopter to fly him home today which will only happen if the wind drops sufficiently.

The middle of the week was glorious in Norfolk and I called in at the Craft Fair at the How Hill Open Day.   My Open Studios partner and all round best buddy Kit was there with her  prints and cards, and several other members of our Two Rivers Trail group.  We’ll be getting together later this month for our own Craft Fair and Exhibition so if you are in the area do come along to say hello.  You can find out all about the event and the artists taking part on the Two Rivers Trail website.

I also met the lovely Sue of The Mercerie who had a stall at How Hill and drooled over her beautiful wool and colours…

The Mercerie

The Mercerie stallAnd had a word with the alpacas from Burnt Fen

Burnt Fen Alpacas..before heading back to the car via this amazing view over the Broads…

View from How Hill NorfolkBefore I go I’ve just time to tell you that I have a fabulous giveaway coming up in the next post, an early Christmas present!  So don’t forget to call back or hit the ‘Follow’  button to make sure you don’t miss it.

I’ll be back in the next few days, so see you soon …x

The Great Escape!

Hello…  It seems AGES since I was here!  I keep thinking I’ve got things sussed and then it all goes pear shaped again.  I’m still getting kind messages hoping I’m feeling better, and I am, thank you so much.  But it’s always the way, just as you think you ought to escape and lift your foot off the pedal several things happen all at once. So much for pacing myself!

Firstly, we’ve been decorating.


I’ve still got most of the contents of downstairs, upstairs but at least the dust sheets have gone.  Fortunately it was while the weather was still warm so we could have the doors open and Higgins was happy to have his bed out in the garden during the day.  Henry, however, was determined to sleep where he always sleeps come what may… Did you spot him?


I now find I am on the committee of our Village Community shop (not quite sure how that happened but there are some smooth talkers in our village!) doing window display, website and social media stuff.  We got off to a good start with a recipe card scheme for the shop.  I devised a Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding recipe which is delicious (though I say it myself!) nothing like those dreadful B & B puds we used to be served at school.  I’ve put this on the shop website so if you click here you can try it for yourself…

Croissant Bread and Butter PuddingIt’s not exactly helping my healthy eating regime though…

Our  Open Studios Two Rivers Trail group has decided to get together for a Christmas Fair and Art Exhibition next month so organisation is gathering pace.  You can find out all about it on the Two Rivers Trail website.  Do go and look at the artists work on the website, there are some beautiful things and a real variety.

This will be the only fair I go to as Planet Penny for the forseeable future, so if you are in the area it would be lovely to see you.  I’ve started making a few things but I’m afraid creativity time has been limited lately.  I’m quite excited about my crochet Christmas baubles though…

crochet Christmas baubles… and look forward to adding new colour combinations.  No two alike as usual!

Tomorrow I’m off with my chum Kit for a day out.  We’re off to Alexander Palace and the Knitting and Stitching Show which I’m really looking forward to.  It’s a long day but it will be worth it.

And then, I’m running away!  Look,I even have a running away App on my phone!

escape app

I’m leaving Tim to look after Higgins and Henry – or possibly the other way round? packing my bag and and heading off to spend some time with two of my favourite little boys.   I’m not taking the laptop, and although I shall have my phone I am determined not to look at it more than twice a day.  What I thought would be fun though would be to make use of Instagram to keep a picture diary of my holiday, so if you want to keep up to date you can follow my escapades right here!

Obviously the Etsy shop will be closed until 18th October when I get back, but I hope to be bright eyed and bushy tailed after my little break.

I’m off now, see you later…x

The great escape



Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios 2013

It’s hard to believe this is the third year we have taken part in Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios, but then it’s always hard to get one’s head round how quickly time flies.   This weekend will be the last for this year so we’re really hoping the weather stays kind and encourages lots of people to drive out into our beautiful Norfolk countryside to visit us.

Norfo0lk and Norwich Open Studios PosterIf you are a regular visitor to Planet Penny you will know I share my studio with my good friend Kit,  a printer, for the purposes of Open Studios.  It makes it more fun and more manageable when several people arrive at once and we both know enough about each others work to be able to talk about it.  (Although I wouldn’t recommend anyone goes away and attempts etching after an explanation from me!)

I know only a handful of people reading this will be able to visit so this is virtual invitation to our studio so you can see what’s been going on over the past couple of weeks.

This is the studio, through the archway.

Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios
It looks so much better when the sun shines!
Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios - garden

The Japanese Maple which last year formed part of the wedding decorations (which you can see in this post) is now a great place to display the felted  ‘River Rocks’ which were first exhibited as part of the Bergh Apton Sculpture Trail several years ago…

Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios 2013Inside, it’s so tidy! It’s lovely, I wish it would last!

studio inside

Can you see the tell tale streak across the mat?  Well, for once it wasn’t Higgins.  The very first day, dead on 10 o’clock when we were officially open, the little oil filled radiator which we had been huddling round because it was so ridiculously cold went POP and leaked hot oil all over the floor!   Several teatowels were sacrificed in the frantic mopping up and that trail was created as we dragged the darn thing outside where it dribbled over the gravel.

Not a good start and I’ve had to dispose of the mat which I rather liked.  Never mind, next week I’m having vinyl laid which will withstand tidal waves of hot oil as well as muddy little paws!

interior studio NNOS 2013

Oh gosh, have you noticed Higgins has crept in yet again?  Not what I intended but since he’s here I’ll just say he’s well rested now and is all geared up to greet his public should they feel inclined to visit him over the coming weekend.  You’ll find general details of Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios on the website, and our Art Trail in particular on the Two Rivers Trail website.

miniature dachshund


After this weekend I hope to get back to a more normal blogging routine.  Coming up next time is another book review.  A gorgeous new publication and the chance to win your very own copy. If you haven’t signed up to follow  Planet Penny yet now might be a good time so you don’t miss out on a prize!

I’ll be back very soon…x

A Quick Update…

Hellooo….have you been wondering where I’ve been?  It feels all wrong when I don’t fit a blog post in, but life has been sooo hectic over the past few days!

There’s been a lot celebrating going on, three big birthdays no less, and my elder grandson’s First Communion.  This involved a trip to the South coast of England via South Wales, a round trip of 730 miles over three days.  But it was lovely to catch up with friends and relatives we’ve not seen for years and it’s always good to have an excuse to enjoy cake and champagne!


Now we’re home, and in the run up to the first weekend of the Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios so we’ve hit the ground running with preparations.  My gardener son did sterling work with pots and tubs in the studio courtyard while we were away.  I just hope we get enough sun to make all the buds pop open, there’s so much colourful potential just waiting to be enjoyed.

I’ve been to have a chat with Kay, of Arts Desire in Norwich, and we now have dates for two needlefelting workshops in June which is very exciting…

Needlefelt Workshops, Arts Desire, Norwich

It’s great to have a venue in the city because a morning’s needlefelting could be so easily fitted in to a Norfolk weekend break  that you don’t have to be a local to take part.  And Art’s Desire is such a great venue, do you remember this post?  I can’t help but treat myself or my nearest and dearest every time I pay a visit!

I hope to get to meet some of you over Open Studios if you are in the area.  We’ve got a great Art Trail this year,  there are eight of us taking part and we are a really diverse bunch.  You’ll find out all about us on the website, The Two Rivers Trail and I can promise you sheep, alpacas and gorillas as well as painting, printing, painting and textiles!

(By the way, if you are thinking a visit would be a good way of buying some yarn and avoiding the postal charges it would be as well to contact me in advance.)

So don’t worry if it’s a little quiet on the blog, it’s all happening in the real world!  And for those of you who are too far away to join in with what’s going on, not to worry.  There’s a new book review in the pipeline, and a very exciting Planet Penny project bubbling away which I’m hoping to bring together in the near future.  Plus, if you remember  my trip to London to meet the Pinterest team, well that’s all coming together next week as well!

I’ll be back, very soon…x


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