Tag Archives: Norfolk

It’s where I grew up and where I live

Spring cleaning…in September!

September sunshine - Norfolk UKThat September ‘new term’ feeling never goes away really, does it?  All those years of seeing the ‘Back to School’ displays in the shop windows, the new school sandals (yuk!) and the new pencil case.

So it always seems a good time to start something new, or give something established a freshen up and that’s what I’m working on with the blog at the moment.  I’ve been blogging now for seven years, I can hardly believe it… there are 569 posts!  Because the whole thing has grown up a bit piecemeal over time I need to have a tidy up.

But it’s a bit like deciding to sort out the box of photos under the bed.  I’ve got right back to the beginning re-reading every post, it’s a lovely trip down memory lane!  I’ve gone back to past holidays, the arrival of Higgins and all the cute baby pics, the building of my studio, the passing seasons…It’s such a lovely record of my life and I’d never have done it without the blog.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the new Planet Penny header.  There’s so much going on here that than just wool so although I’m very fond of my sheep, I hope the new look encompasses the fact there’s a lot going on, and it’s all colourful!

But as well as beavering away at the computer I’m trying to make the most of any September sun which comes our way, (which, alas, has been a bit elusive.  I’m listening to the rain as I type!) I’ve been in charge of dog walking this past week so my camera has gone with me, and also a little friend of Higgins called Coco.  I’ve had my hands full.

mini dachshunds in September sunNorfolk UK - SeptemberThe hedgerows are full of berries this year, I don’t know when I’ve seen so many.  It’s a sign of bad weather to come so they say… memo to self: Knit more socks!hawthorn berries - Norfolk UK - SeptemberJust such a fabulous colour, aren’t they?  I always think the Nightshade berries look like necklaces the way they twine through the hedgerows…

Nightshade berries - September - Norfolk UKHaving a supply of poo bags when out for a walk is jolly handy if you want to do a spot of spontaneous blackberry picking…blackberries - SeptemberBut there are still summer flowers…scabious2015-09-19 16.26And bees…

2015-09-19 16.09and a fairy ring…Fairy ring - September - Norfolk, UK toadstools toadstools2But the fairy dogs weren’t interested…Mini dachshunds Higgins&Coco3…until I mentioned the word T-R-E-A-T-S…mINI DACHSHUNDS Higgins&CocoHiggins gets quite bossy about treats!Mini dachshunds - September -Norfolk UKMeanwhile, back home and I’m crocheting up a big warm sweater with cold days in the studio in mind.  After my lovely weekend at the Crochet Retreat with Frank & Olive I was inspired by Ruby’s big chunky crochet creations and so I was delighted to find that the issue of Simply Crochet magazine I bought last year (because I’m in it too!) had Ruby’s jumper on the front.Crochet Entrepreneur in Simply CrochetI’ve customised it (because I’m not a sylph-like twenty year old) and I think it’s going to be very cosy.  It’s a brilliantly simple pattern, no shaping and only the one stitch all through.  What can go wrong? Picking up the wrong hook and doing half a sleeve with it before noticing, that’s what went wrong!  2015-09-20 10.11

So, not quite finished yet.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my September ramblings, do you spring clean in September too?

I’ll be back soon…x

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Just a little post…

…to say thank you!

Thank you for all the positive comments on my last post.  It’s lovely to hear you are happy to read my ramblings, and Higgins is positively swollen headed at the thought that you want a bit more ‘Dachshund Action’…  He’ll do his best to provide it!

A lot of the things which have been keeping me away from the day to day Planet Penny stuff have been related to getting to grips with sorting out my parents home, my mum’s stuff and all sorts of things I had stored at her house and forgotten about.  It’s an unwritten law, isn’t it, that you always have something left in your parents’ attic, even when you have a home of your own? I know we still have all sorts of odd boxes full of our off-springs’ stuff and they’ve long left home.  I’m being hopeless at parting with things too, even things I actually don’t like, like this Toby jug which has scowled at me from a shelf for as long as I can remember…Toby jug

He’s been banished to a cupboard now, but we haven’t parted company even though he obviously disapproves of everything I do!

And then there are clothes, especially things my mum knitted.  How fabulous is this Patricia Roberts cardigan she made me in the eighties?  I thought I had lost in in one of my many moves, but no it was safely in the attic.  Quite a good incentive to diet, but probably not to have another perm!Patricia Roberts CardiganSitting out here in the studio listening to the rain on the roof it’s hard to believe how hot we were over the weekend.  Higgins is very fed up right now because he hates the rain and would prefer to stand around with his little cabriole legs crossed rather than got out into the garden.   It was a different story on Saturday when it was 28°C, a steamy hot August afternoon… A little post - Norfolk in AugustHe really was a hot little sausage!dog_walk hot_dogSo for now I’m indoors and working on a crochet project with the new Planet Penny yarn. Here’s a sneaky peek…Planet Penny Yarn PastelsI’ve also finished a bag that I started on the Crochet Retreat when I decided to go outside my comfort zone with chunky yarn and a size 12mm hook. I love the bright shades of this DMC XL Cotton…

DMC XL cotton yarnIt turned out to be a little more XL than I had planned.  Just as well I’m 5’9″ or it would drag on the floor but it’ll be great place for a yarn stash!crochet bag DMC XL yarnI’ll be back with a new post to share those pastel butterflies, see you soon…x


Flowers and Needlefelt

What a soggy weekend this has been!  We seem to be alternating between having so much rain that the water butt overflows and the road floods, and then having to run around watering the vegetable garden because it’s so hot and sunny.

My garden is now in it’s July slump, all the prettiness of the Spring flowers are just a distant memory and I’m confronted with all the things which should have been thinned out or consigned to the compost heap back at the end of the Winter.  Does anyone like Golden Rod?  I find it sad and funereal.

The roadsides however have been a delight.  This is a typical sight as you travel round the lanes in Norfolk…

PennygatePoppies020714 copy

I’ll just have to sow more poppies in my garden!

But talking of flowers, I’ve been working on a new needlefelt project having had a request for a different kind of workshop, making covered notebooks.

As you know, I like to use needlefelt as a sculptural medium as I love working in 3D, so flat needlefelt is a new departure for me.  However I have really enjoyed creating a woolly garden of flowers to make up for the ones I am lacking outside!

I started off by just using the fibres like paint…

Needlefelt Flowers…but found that adding in simple embroidery stitches gave it more detail and interest. And it was really fun to do!Needlefelt with embroidery

I’ve been using lovely 100% wool felt squares from Blooming Felt to practice on, I’ve got a gorgeous selection of colours. These are the next two in the collection…

Needlefelt flowers with embroideryEmbroidered needlefelt flowersBut the challenge now is finding sheets large enough to cover a notebook.  In an ideal world of course I would wet felt each piece individually but alas, M.E. has rather put paid to something as energetic as that.

But while that particular project is coming together, the workshops I have had for Beginners Needlefelting have gone really well, both the group session at Arts Desire, and a one-to-one session in my studio.  If you live in the area and would like to know more, follow this link.

The next Needlefelt Workshop at Arts Desire is next weekend, and there’s a place or two left, it would be lovely to see you.

And in case you are wondering whether my crochet hooks are rusting in the corner, no, they’re not!  I’ve just completed a commission, and I’ll be back soon to show you just what else I have been making, so watch this space…

See you soon…x

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

Norfolk November Skies and a Rosy Glow…

Hello!  I can’t believe it’s taken so long to get back here for a catch up.  I must say the new look for the blog is really growing on me now, and it seems to sit much better on a phone or tablet.

Last weekend Two Rivers Trail Christmas Fair was AMAZING!  We couldn’t believe how many people came, there were cars parked all over the village, with people having to walk for half a mile to get to us!  The Planet Penny Stall looked like this…

craft stall Two Rivers Trail..although I don’t think many people managed to stand back to have a look at anything!  If you would like to see more, all the photos I took of the day are over on the Two Rivers Trail website where you can see some of the beautiful things from other members of the Trail.

I actually thought I would have a quiet week catching up with things, but it’s been anything but, and so busy I’ve struggled to find time to even get out for a walk with poor little Higgins…

He’s not impressed!

miniature dachshund

So in the spirit of a breath of fresh air, here’s yesterday’s walk which took place when the sun came out after a miserable gloomy start, and the wonderful Norfolk November skies came into their own.

Norfolk Sky November

Higgins Miniature dachshund

Ivy on treeseedhead and Norfolk SkyAutumn leavesgrasses and Norfolk Skypine conerose hipsYou don’t get long after lunch for walk at this time of the year, do you?  It does mean being treated to a wonderful view of the sunset as we head back home.  Note the mud! Glorious isn’t it?

Norfolk Sky sunsetsunset Norfolk skysunsetEnding just after we arrived back in a wonderful rosy glow.

pink sunsetAnd talking of a ‘Rosy Glow’  I’m going into boastful mother mode again,  Last night elder son Thomas won a second award for one of his children’s books, The Pets you Get at the Brilliant Book Awards!  Proud?  You bet I am!

TYhe Pets you Get - Thomas TayloAdrian Reynolds, the illustrator, you may well have met before with the Harry and the Dinosaurs stories, which have been made into a popular TV series.

Since I often turn up here with a book review I have no compunction at all in recommending ‘The Pets you Get’ as an excellent buy for Christmas!

And now, I have a ‘cunning plan’ for December on the blog so I’m off to see if I can make it work!  And it’s December tomorrow so I better get going…

see you then…x


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