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Thursday, 30 September 2010

Fungi Fun!

The dye pots have been out again and this time we have a perfect excuse (not that we need one!) as we have been dyeing all sorts of textiles for Jane Southgate to use in her artwork.
Sam whose alter ego is Peg the Dyer at Kentwell Hall has been leading the dyeing and working with Jane to get the correct colours. We love to dye with plants at HH and are particularly fond of the purple feather reed heads that grow around here. They are ready to use in the summer but the season is so short that we have been experimenting with drying and freezing the heads so that we can dye with them all through the winter too!
The dyebath made from the reed heads looks just like Ribena!
We are extremely proud to be sponsoring Jane's latest projects at Thornham Walks and Lackford Lakes in Suffolk but we made it clear from the start that we would expect her to join in when we came to dye the yarns and fabrics...
Here she is supervising the madder dye bath, that fleece hanging on the line behind her is from the Gedgrave Flock a lovely curly fleece!
Even though the reed head dye bath is the colour of Ribena the shade you get at the end is this - actually my camera struggles with this and it's much greener in real life!

As well as the fleece and yarns from the Gedgrave sheep Jane is also making good use of the Colinette 'Point 5' yarn that we sell at Halfpenny Home and this is the shade 'Turquoise'. I'm pretty sure that it's not what the Colinette designers would have expected their gorgeous hand dyed yarn to be used for...
Jane is planning to make a hundred of these...can you imagine them all swaying in the breeze? The star of the show (so far) for me has to be this bracket fungus, the bottom part has been dyed with woad and the curly lid is the fleece that we dyed with madder. Everyone who meets it wants to hug it!
Jane is using natural fibres only as the artworks will stay in situ for a year while nature does it's own recycling...
The moss which is knitted in moss stitch!

Add ImageThe mushrooms knitted with Colinette 'Skye' in the colourway 'Star Anise', lovely! Jane wants us all to knit a mushroom for this and has written a pattern for them, so if you would like to knit one let us know and we'll send the pattern, yarn (and if you need them, some double pointed needles!) to you.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

While the cat's away.....

I was really sad to have missed the inaugural Humble Jumble, due to a pre-planned "glamping" expedition to North Norfolk, more of which to follow another day! Our lovely friend Beth had taken on role of chief Humble Jumble organiser and what a fab job she did! Here is her account (accompanied by lots of lovely pictorial evidence) of the first ever Humble Jumble....
"We knew as soon as we saw it that the Ark would be the perfect spot for Humble Jumble. Seeing it full of beautifully laid out tables and decked in bunting was pretty exciting come Saturday morning.
We hosted six stall holders, who between them offered a wonderful mix of old, new and handmade goodies. Sam was there with her brilliant pic n mix bunting and traditionally felted accessories.

Claire was there with her beautiful hand made jewellery and Marion had a table full of lovingly crafted bits from toys to gorgeous pincushions and delicious preserves and brownies. The Scoffin ladies were as popular as ever with their amazing baked goods, cheese scones and mini carrot loaf cakes in particular flying out the hatch!

Everybody had some jumble too, from lovely toys and clothes, to vintage plates and homeware from the brilliantly named "Rumble in the Jumble"!

The first visitor came through the doors at 11am and we had a steady stream of visitors for the rest of the day....although we took advantage of the lunchtime lull to keep up our energy levels with some tea and Scoffin for ourselves!

Nicola brought Halfpenny Home to us at 2pm, with a bowlful of lovely pastel balls of wool in order to teach a granny square crochet class in the lounge. The sight of everyone getting crafty whilst sat in the afternoon sunshine was definitely a high-point, and a lovely, lovely way to round off the day.
Everyone seemed to have a good time, and the good news is that the stalls are already filling up for the next one, which I for one, am already getting excited about".

Roll on 16th October when Humble Jumble rumbles into Needham Market again!
This time I shall not be missing out!
Jacqui x

Friday, 17 September 2010

Humble Jumble preparations...

I've been busy making bunting for the Humble Jumble tomorrow, I thought that polka dots in red and blue would suit the Ark perfectly!
Humble Jumble is a lively mix of jumble, craft and cakes!
We are so pleased to be holding them at the Ark which is the Church Hall for St. John's Church in Needham Market and are looking forward to seeing some Halfpenny Home regulars there tomorrow.
Scoffin' will be there with their very lovely cakes, entry is a pound but that includes a cuppa!
Sam will be there with her pick'n'mix bunting, she will also have some of the felt goodies from Ericka Eckles on her stall...
These little nests arrived today, Lisa from Ericka Eckles has made Autumn versions with Autumnal coloured leaves! The little nests are for her gorgeous bird brooches, they can nestle in them when they are not busy adorning your coat.
The birds are so sweet and they are all handsewn and made from wool felt in beautiful colours.
Hope you like them as much as I do, Nic x

Thursday, 16 September 2010

A day of pleasant presents!

I finished the new bunting for my bike, it flaps around quite happily!
The new skull and crossbones fabric is irresistable, I had to make something with it and the black and white gingham is just the thing to go with it.
Poor old bike has to stand outside Halfpenny Home in all weathers and he's looking his age - 84!
I had a visit from our next door neighbour who is never far from her preserving pan at this time of year, she's used one of our new Christmas fabrics to top her jars of mincemeat. The other preserves Jo makes get to wear gingham...
Non-crafty people may find it hard to get excited about a delivery of ragrug hooks but we did! We've not had any of these in for ages and now more than ever people are eager to learn this most thrifty of crafts, ragrugs are made with old rags that are of no further use and these are transformed into pieces of textile art using very simple techniques and tools!
The best surprise today was the parcel that arrived from these beautiful earrings! They are so lovely and made from old chandelier drops - nice recycling!
Thank you so much, what a treat. The box is a beautiful colour too! Nic x

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Old friends - new fabrics!

Jacqui has wanted to make a bag like my vintage rose bag with the bamboo handles for as long as I can remember! So when I found this version of the fabric in her colours we decided it was time to make one. It was also a good excuse to get Liz and Kay to join in, Liz chose this gorgeous vintage linen curtain...
It was the first time we had seen Liz since her wedding, we made her a cherry bakewell tea cosy as a wedding present, she is rather partial to them!
Of course we always have cake, usually homemade by Scoffin' but this time it had to be...

Here's Kay's bag in a 1979 Sanderson and lined in one of our new cotton poplin prints!

We've been looking forward to these polka dot fabrics for a while, aren't they fun!
There are loads of things I want to make with these two, the tiny flower print is so pretty.
Boys seem to get left out when the girls get to hang up their bunting and we've been searching for some nice non-girly fabrics to make bunting for them - I love the skull and cross bones and I'm just finishing off some bunting in it for my trade bike, he needs smartening up!
Hope you like them as much as we do, Nic x

Saturday, 4 September 2010

A Day at the Beach!

It's been a hectic few days! We've been out on location with Gavin, taking shots for our book at a beautiful location just outside Ipswich. We were privileged to have been given access to this idyllic spot on the river by Sam's relations. And to top it all, the weather was just perfect.
Of course, we had to take a picnic! Nic made her famous homemade scotch eggs and also brought grapes from her allotment no less! There was Scoffin's lemon drizzle cake, which was very lemony indeed and Sam's relations kept us topped up with mugs of tea too!

We were dyeing woad on the beach and in between taking shots for the book, Sam even had Gavin help her skein some yarn for the next shot!

It was a beautiful evening with the light changing constantly. Here's Nic having a quiet moment of contemplation!
The sunset was absolutely stunning - we didn't leave the beach until dark, making the absolute most of our time in such a wonderful location. We can't wait to see the images Gavin has taken for the book!
Jacqui x

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Humble Jumble!

We've decided at Halfpenny Home that it's high time the humble jumble sale was revived! Who doesn't love a good old rummage in the hope of spotting a real bargain? Inspired by a piece we heard on Radio 4's Woman's Hour, we've come up with the Halfpenny Home version with tea and cake (of course). The events are going to be held monthly at the Ark, Needham Market and the first one is on Saturday 18th September between 11am and 4pm. There'll be an afternoon craft session - come along and learn how to crochet granny squares this month. There'll also be a good mix of handmade crafts and good quality jumble for sale! So, if you're fed up with ebay, and want an alternative and fun way to clear your clutter, why not book a stall! Get in touch if you'd like to book a stall, or if you'd like more information.

To get you in the mood, I thought I'd show you a few of my own recent bargain finds. This lovely cream Spode 'Chelsea Wicker' cream jug and sugar bowl was just £2.50.
This pretty cup, saucer and tea plate trio in very fine bone china is so pretty. Even the strawberries were a bargain, and are destined for a pavlova. Hubby makes a mean meringue which will be filled with the strawberries, some fresh mint from the garden and Rachel's Greek style coconut yoghurt -a great alternative to cream.

I've also today been lucky enough to find a beautiful Pringle wool picnic blanket for just £1 as well as a couple of hand made crochet blankets - perfect for snuggling up in the cooler autumnal evenings.

This pretty little wooden peg rail too, was only £1. I already have somewhere in mind for this, once I've given it a couple of coats of paint.

There. That's my retail therapy exposed - and all for a tenner! And I can even justify it as recycling! I hope it inspires you too.
Jacqui x