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Monday, 30 August 2010

More Birthday Treats!

Found on a quick visit to our local charity shop, teacups and a lovely pastel coloured stripey sheet! Then more birthday presents - a 1930's needlework magazine with some fantastic illustrations from Harriet and some beautiful vintage fabric from Janet which led us to emit textile firework noises - oooh aaarggh oh!
(Cherry said that we sound like we're watching fireworks when we're looking at fabric and yarn, the loudest day was Colinette yarn delivery day!)
Then I found this bread 'birthday cake' when I went to feed the chickens, it was from Lisa and David.
I started to make a collage using the teacup pincushion which lovely Beth illustrated for Oh Comely magazine for inspiration...
Here's the original illustration which she very kindly gave to me for my birthday accompanied by some very lovely Aspall's Cyder!
What a great way to spend the Bank Holiday! Thank you all again, Nic x

Friday, 27 August 2010

Country Crafts from the Studio of Halfpenny Home!

Visitors to Halfpenny Home have been inspired by some of the many craft titles that CICO books have produced. In particular, the Cabbages & Roses Home Made Vintage has sparked lots of creative makes at the studio in recent months.
Imagine then, how excited we were when CICO asked us to write a craft book for them! CICO are part of Ryland Peters and Small and produce beautiful craft books with lavish photography. As you can see, we've been enjoying just a small selection of these! Our book is going to be produced under CICO's Green Home series, which sits perfectly with the ethos of Halfpenny Home!
We have been asked to produce 35 projects with step by step instructions. We are very privileged to be working alongside a really great photographer, Gavin Kingcome (, who has provided the photography for a number of the River Cottage Handbooks.

It's been a really brilliant excuse to play with lots of creative supplies and we have also asked some Halfpenny Home friends to help us. Laura, who makes soap and Sam, who every summer becomes Peg the Dyer at Kentwell Hall, Long Melford (
So thank you to all our Halfpenny Home friends and followers for all your enthusiasm, inspiration and support.
Nic & Jacqui x

Birthday blog!

It was my birthday yesterday and all week everyone has been popping into Halfpenny Home to wish me a happy birthday and they have all been so kind and generous. I have met so many new people since the shop opened and as we all know they are all so clever and creative. See the lovely pictures below that Jacqui has printed onto canvas and mounted on frames and the pretty 'handbag' card, she knows how much I love an Efes (turkish beer) also!
Michelle, one of the 'Sew and Crow' ladies bought me this tiny sewing machine that has it's own little carry case. Love the fact that it is called Essex, Michelle and I are both from Essex.
This beautiful knitted necklace and cuff set were made by the wonderful Jane Southgate and I thought Lily and Cherry were going to explode waiting for me to open the parcel that they came in. They also presented me with the retro mug that has 'a balanced diet is a piece of cake in each hand' embazoned on it.
My good friend Kay who has just tackled the tricky task of shortening the sleeves on her denim jacket made us some millionaire's shortbread with rosemary and seasalt. As you can see the container is empty, it was delicious!
Here are they all are, thank you everyone for making it a really lovely day!
Maria M finally caught up with me this morning and presented me with the Aspall's and the fantastic card with balls of yarn, thank you. Nic x

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Vanknitty Fair (groan!)...

If you were wondering why Cherry is wearing a rather fetching green cuff...
it's because she went roller skating and had a little bit of an accident! She is midway through knitting a rather lovely beret in a sparkly yarn and being left suddenly one-handed has left her with a dillema - to knit or not to knit? French Knitting maybe the answer, her sister Lily has been very productive as you may have seen in an earlier post.
Knitting is a pleasant and mildly addictive pastime as illustrated nicely by the photo below. On Saturday we had our last Craft and Vintage Fair at the Halfpenny Home Studio. Sam popped in for a bit of a knit before heading off to a family barbeque, Josie had come for the Vintage and Craft Fair but I managed to get her to knit up some Knit Collage yarn for me. Kate had cycled over from Stowmarket for some special buttons - we made her stay for a cuppa and she got out her knitting!
It was great to meet Marion who makes all these lovely things including chilli jam (my favourite) vegetable stock, chocolate brownies, preserves and lovely toys from recycled fabrics.

Scoffin' did us proud again with these cupcakes, banoffee muffins, bakewell tarts
fruit and cheese scones
and a fantastic carrot cake that was ordered for a special somebody's birthday!
The next Vintage and Craft Fair will be at The Ark in King William Street (near the Co-op) on the 18th September. All the usual crowd will be there and we look forward to seeing you again, as well as, we hope, lots of new visitors! If you would like a stall at any of the forthcoming events, or want to find out more, then please do email or phone the shop.
We look forward to seeing you, Nic x

Sunday, 22 August 2010

A little something to share with you

Saturday afternoon was spent at Halfpenny Home in fine company sharing Scoffin apple and almond cake and a glass of chilled white wine. So, when Sunday came around, I felt I really should get busy! Loads to do in the garden as per usual and I was also busy with some painting projects, which I could thankfully do outside, making the most of the glorious August sunshine. But I took a little time out to make some hummus - I am ashamed to say I have always bought it before but decided that it really was time I acted more thriftily and made my own! The recipe is from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros - a beautiful book that I would highly recommend. The photography is stunning and the recipes are a delight. The strapline to the book is "a world of family recipes" and it is just that! Brilliant!

The hummus was yummy (suffice to say I will not be buying hummus anymore!) and was enjoyed even more because I was able to sit and admire my latest purchase - a vintage french metal table and chairs that I bought from Ellie, who just happened to mention that she had this for sale when I saw her last week! The perfect form of recycling. I am thinking though, a lovely tablecloth with pom pom trim might just be the perfect addition......another project to add to the list!
Hope you've had an enjoyable weekend.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Halfpenny Home people are a talented bunch...

take this fantastic coffee and walnut cake that Sheila made for our daytrip to the seaside. We had to eat it in the car as it was so rainy but we didn't mind! Another regular and fellow cake afficianado is textile artist Jane Southgate, we met and became friends over knitting, Selvedge magazine and cake! I'm very proud to say that I taught her how to do tunisian crochet. Here are some examples of her work.
The best thing about knitting at Halfpenny Home on a Wednesday morning is the way that so many different people all get on and help each other with their projects and because it's the school holidays I have been able to help Jane's daughter Lily to make knitted corsages. Here's her first one - displayed on a cakestand as usual!
Then we managed to fix it onto a hairband, fabulous!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Beware! A very floral posting...

Halfpenny Home closes at 1 pm on Saturdays - this is so we can run workshops during the afternoon. However, this weekend I closed up and dashed into Ipswich to deliver some ribbons to my friend Libby at Myrtle and Mint on St. Peter's Street. When I arrived Libby and Jenny were organizing the blooms for a photo shoot for Bride and Groom magazine. I took the opportunity to get some photographs so that you can see just how beautiful the shop is!
This bouquet was just being wrapped...
Libby uses vintage jars, vases and jugs to display the blooms - I think you can see why we get on so well...
The colours are stunning and I love this lineup of jugs with blooms. I managed to persuade Libby to let me have some of the roses in the pink and white jug, she assured me that they would survive the train journey home.
Here's the arrangement safe and sound and adorning one of the tables at Halfpenny Home, you can find Myrtle and Mint at 32 St. Peter's Street or at
It's our fair next Saturday 11 am - 4 pm, it would be lovely to see you there! Nic x

Sunday, 8 August 2010

It started on Friday....and ended with Aspalls on Sunday!

......Our busy Weekend
Halfpenny Home has a new number! On Friday the BT man came to connect us. We were just on our way out when he arrived but, plied with a nice large mug of tea, he agreed to lock up and pop the keys through the door when he'd done. When we returned, it was done! We are proud to say our new number is 01449 720468! To celebrate we bought a new phone, which complements its surroundings perfectly!

Having left the BT man in total control of Halfpenny Home, we trundled off to Val's at Vintage French We were treated to a wonderful and totally unexpected alfresco lunch of french pate, bread, lovely Suffolk cheeses and elderflower cordial. It's always a joy to visit Val - her home and garden are a feast, not only for our tummies but for all of our senses!

Everyone gets special treatment at Val's - even Ben. Just look at his beautiful bed.

And the weekend just kept getting better. The Knit Collage order arrived to lots of oooh's and aaaah's! Isn't it just fantastic?
We have also received our first order of Injabulo ceramic buttons. Here is just a small selection.
Particularly love the little cupcakes!

And finally. Da dah! The latest issue of Oh Comely arrived. Nic is featured in this issue and on Sunday, following a leisurely Sunday brunch with friends, I decided to make the most of the lovely summer sunshine and duly settled down in my deckchair with a copy of the magazine and a bottle of Aspalls!

Nic won't thank me for posting a picture of her, but here it is anyway (sorry Nic but it had to be done!!). The article was written by Beth Davis, and she also took the photographs. Beth is a photographer and illustrator. Take a look at her website

We have copies of the latest issue of Oh Comely magazine in the studio for sale. To read a bit more about the magazine see

Hope you had a great weekend too!
Jacqui x

Friday, 6 August 2010

Halfpenny Home has it's first blog giveaway!

I had to start this post with a view of the shop from upstairs in the Art Studio as it looks so pretty! Art classes are having a break now until September, please get in touch with us if you would like to join them then.
Yesterday afternoon we wrote the names of all the blog giveaway entrants onto parcel labels...
then into the lovely new cloud glass bowl...

and Gavin drew out a name!
Well done! You can look forward to recieving your parcel of goodies shortly. Nic x

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Colinette Yarn arrives at Halfpenny Home!

I spent the whole day putting it into skeins and looking at all the lovely colour combinations. Colinette yarn is hand dyed so you get a lovely variegated yarn. We've got Skye, which is an aran weight yarn in star anise, vatican pie and velvet leaf. Point five is a lumpy bumpy yarn which is popular with felters and we have it in five colourways including turquoise, raspberry, toasted macaroon, mint julep and wasabi squeeze. The names are incredible aren't they? Other treats include a shaggy cotton yarn called Fandango and a double knit washable merino which I reckon would be perfect for socks. It's going to be a lively knitting morning tomorrow!
I had to share these cake photos with you! The chocolate muffins are from Scoffin' and the cardboard cake shaped gift boxes are by mimibellatree.
We had a visit from Iris on Saturday, she came in to show us her latest Linus quilt. Linus quilts are made by volunteers for children in distress, the name comes from the Peanuts character who was never without his comfort blanket! Iris has tried out some of the fancy stitches on her new sewing machine on this one.
Not wanting to be left out of all this creative activity I thought I would show off a recent commission - a loose cover fashioned from an old linen sheet for a stately winged arm chair. I like this style of cover as it's unpiped and if made in old sheets can be washed without any fear of shrinkage.
I had to be very disciplined and get the cover finished before I unwrapped the brand new pegloom which arrived last week and I'm eager to try out! Have a good week, Nic x