Pennyroyal Magazine

  • Where We Stand.

    Today I learned the phrase Optical Allyship. Latham Thomas defines optical allyship as “allyship that only serves at the surface level to platform the 'ally,' it makes a statement but doesn’t go beneath the surface and is not aimed at breaking away from the systems of power that oppress.”  It is akin to performative activism. This perfectly describes my hesitancy about using this platform to express my outrage and sorrow. 

    I am witnessing a lot of re-posting without thought or direction. I am trying to discern where my voice fits in appropriately so that I do not add to the cacophony. I would like to share where we stand as a company and where I stand as a person. 

    My fear is that this wave of white outrage will blow over again, as we have witnessed in the past when Black men and women are murdered by the state. To me, this moment isn’t about making ourselves feel better or promoting our brands. The time has passed of doing the bare minimum or what feels easiest in order to relieve some guilt. What has become obvious with the horrific murder of George Floyd and the others who have preceded him, is that we aren’t doing the work we need to do. By we, I mean my fellow White community. This is not me trying to make you feel shame or guilt, it is a call to action. 

    I believe that the antidote to feeling helpless or guilty is to make some anti-racism commitments to which you know you can adhere. Everyone’s threshold is different here, but I urge you to push yourself a little farther out of your comfort zone while still being realistic about what you can uphold. I have taken the time to read, to donate, but most importantly to LISTEN.

    I believe silence is violence. I am a white woman of privilege. I am aware that I can drive down the street - at any hour of the night - and have two broken tail lights and an expired registration, and not get pulled over. Yet, I frequently see POC pulled over and sitting on the curb in handcuffs while their cars are searched. Moving forward, one of the commitments I’ve made is to pull over and record with my phone anytime I see a POC pulled over by the police. This is one small way in which White bodied folks can hold the police more accountable. And to take that a few step further, to speak up loudly if necessary, and as @sonyareneetay says when White folks ask how they can help "you need to throw your White body on that officer and save that Black man's life." 

    Here are some resources which have struck a chord with me personally and I would like to share with you. This is an incomprehensive list and I encourage you to continue to research, read, and seek out other opinions and strategies. 

    Some of us are more versed in the realm of white privilege than others, if you are new to this conversation, welcome! Here are some excellent resources to get your gears turning on how you might participate in and benefit from white privilege: “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh. 

    This opinion piece by Johnathan Capehart in the Washington Post - Dear White People, Please Read “White Fragility.”

    And the book White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

    A poignant essay written by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. George Floyd’s Murder Shows Once More That We Cannot Wait For White America to End Racism 

    The very difficult required read Between The World and Me by To-Nehisi Coates. I did not make it through this book the first time but can no longer allow myself the privilege of looking away. 

    I encourage you to contact your local bookstore for book purchases.

    Are you having a hard time talking to loved ones about the protests? This guide by Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) calls in white folks around the violence and property destruction narratives. We found it to be detailed and focused on a compassionate exchange of ideas. 

    Thank you all very much for taking the time to read our letter. Stay strong. 

    Jennifer & the team at Pennyroyal

  • Pom pom & Tassel Making with Lily Reid

    Pom pom & Tassel Making with Lily Reid

    I am tickled to begin our new magazine series where we discover and learn from some of the wonderful women and men I have the pleasure of knowing. Our first collection will be introductions and tutorials for projects you can do at home for free - or pretty darn close to it. So let's dive right in...

    Pompom & Tassel Making with Lily Reid

    I first me Lily when she was very young - maybe 6 years old. We were neighbors when my children were very small. I have had the absolute pleasure of watching Lily grow up into one of the most kind and accomplished human beings I know. And I am even happier to say, we have become dear friends. Our shops are right around the corner from each other and before the shutdown, we would visit on a regular basis, so it is nice to be able to collaborate in some way again.

    Lily is the owner of three - that's correct! - successful businesses - Apprentice Studio, an elevated knitwear line made entirely by Lily, co-owner of Good Gray, one of the prettiest practical stores in all the land, and her latest baby, Judith & Lily. Judith & Lily is a wonderful little yarn shop that filled an empty niche in Petaluma. They carry a curated selection of yarns as well as supplies and patterns. They also offer classes for everyone from the beginner to the advanced knitter and crocheter. It is a must visit for any knitting or crochet lover! 

    In the following tutorials, Lily will be teaching us how to make pompoms and tassels as well as giving us some inspiration for how to use them. As you all know, I am a huge fan of pom poms and tassels as adornments for our bags. Our bags are all fairly neutral in color and I love the addition of a pop of color! Try making these with thin strips of colored fabric as well!

    I hope you all have fun with this new series! 

    Take it away, Lily!!

    Pom poms and tassels are so easy to make with things you have around your home and have endless uses. I like to use them for wrapping packages, making garlands, tying a little posey together for a friend, you can stitch them on ribbon to make a bookmark, or even hair ties for fun. The list really goes on forever, so have fun with it. 

    Materials you will need:

    Yarn, a fork (or if you want to be fancy a Pom Pom maker), scissors, strong thread - I like to use button thread, and a business card. 


    How to make a Pom Pom

    1. Wrap your yarn around the tines of a fork approximately 30-40 times and cut the end. 
    2. Taking your strong thread tie all the loops tightly through the middle tine of the fork. 
    3. Slide off of the fork, cut all the loops, and trim! Don’t be scared, they take a good amount of squishing and trimming. 

    How to make a tassel

    1. Wrap your yarn around the business card length wise about 25 times and cut your yarn. 
    2. Cut a 10 inch piece of yarn and thread it under wrapped yarn and pull it all the way to the top and tie it tightly with a knot.
    3. Remove wrapped yarn from card and using another 10” piece of yarn and about 1/4 of the way down wrap the yarn tightly around all loops about 10 times and tie a knot. 
    4. Cut all the loops at the bottom and trim. 

    Be sure to look at the photos below for some inspiration on fun ways to use your pom poms and tassels!

    Thank you very much, Lily! I look forward to a coffee walk together! Hopefully sooner, rather than later.

    I hope you all enjoyed this first tutorial and are looking forward to more. Until then...


  • "Curiouser & curiouser."

    Alice, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

    The photo below is proof positive that Alice In Wonderland was based on reality.

    Photo by Igor Siwanowicz.

    Thanks to the beautiful Charlotte Bird for always finding the most interesting goodies down the rabbit hole. Pun intended.

    And I will end with this quote by the ever clever Alice:

    ”It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”



  • Mum's photo of the day.

    Every year, men in the Belgian town of Aalst dress up as women and participate in an annual carnival, calling themselves "Voll Jeanetten" (Dirty Jennies). Funny because my name is Jennifer. They wear corsets, old fur coats and lampshades on their heads. I don’t normally dress like that, but you never know. They also push an old stroller with beer in it and a bird cage on its side. When in Rome - or Aalst.

    I honestly don’t know where she finds this stuff, but thank you, Mum, for sending it my way. xo