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Monday, 8 December 2014

Workshops at Halfpenny Home 2015

 HH HQ has had a little makeover recently and the website is next in line for a spruce up! Moving the shop and producing 30 beautiful projects for Indigo: dye it, make it has taken up a lot of 2014 and anyone who knows me will be aware that I will use any excuse to get into wellies and onto the allotment...deadlines suffer as a result!
 2014 has seen milliner Scarlett Valentine join us for some really exciting workshops including the 'Upcycle an old hat' workshop which was pretty amazing! We have her 'Paper Stars and Flowers' workshop this Friday (12th December) to look forward to! She's coming back in 2015 to share more of her millinery experience and knowledge with us, list is below...
 The rather lovely Kat Shave makes stuff with her crafty mate Dawn and they sell it to raise money for charities - Kat kindly made a load of textiley, felty, buttony Christmas cards for us to sell in aid of National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, the charity I fund raise for and also raise awareness of this invisible, chronic illness which can have devastating, life changing effects. The NRAS supports people going through diagnosis and treatment, the money raised helps to fund a free telephone advice and helpline. Thank you very much Kat I love the felty lights!

 Christmas is almost here and with the help of Pauline from The Sugarcraft Studio (my neighbor at Alder Carr Farm) the tree for the Christchurch Tree Festival in Needham market got it's bling on and looked lovely with a nice representation of all the things that go on at the farm, we even got the Alder Tree ice-cream and the Suffolk Cycle Breaks on!
 Luckily we chose a lovely day for the Christmas Fair and with Father Christmas waiting in his festive grotto, his little helper waiting outside and a bevy of creative types selling their rather gorgeous wares in the courtyard we were really getting in the Christmas spirit...or was that just the mulled wine?
 Ella's lovely linocut prints...
 Tracy Ranger's Gedgrave Flock's wooly lovelies!
 Jackie Daly's amazing jewellery...Jackie has been to many workshops at both HH HQs and I have fallen in love with her polymer clay work!
If you fancy getting to grips with a new craft in 2015 and being part of the messiness below then take a look through the workshop list as it stands so far, there will be more - booking in person at the shop, via phone 07887511081 or email - I will be listing some on our shop halfpennyhome2 at so that you can book online.
A deposit of £15 holds your space but we need full payment two weeks before the workshop date - if you have to cancel we will try hard to fill your space (and we usually do!) in which case you will get a full refund - in some cases we can transfer deposits to another workshop. 
Unless stated you need bring nothing along, there are no unexpected extras as everything is included except for your lunch! Fortunately there is an excellent cafe here and a great farm shop with a deli...we stop at around 1pm for something to eat. Most workshops start at 11am and finish at 3pm, we always have cake and it's always gluten free, yummy and made with eggs from my happy chickens! Oh, and the cost per session is usually £35, in some instances material costs mean that it will be higher but this isn't too often :-)
Saturday 31st and Sunday 1st January - Getting to know your sewing machine a little bit better, for beginners, improvers and and anyone who needs to get that dusty machine out of the cupboard under the stairs!
Thursday 5th and Thursday 12th February - Catherine is teaching beginners dressmaking and to start you off it's an A-line skirt! *please note this is a two day session so £35x2=£70* you will also need to buy/supply your own pre-washed dress fabric for this workshop, everything else is supplied.

Saturday 7th February - Milliner Scarlett Valentine fashioning flowers for hats, corsages and decoration!
Sunday 8th February - Needle Felted Garlands with Jenny Tidman and as it's nearly Valentine's Day it has to be hearts...
Saturday 14th February - It may be Valentine's Day but all one really needs in life is to be shown by a  professional how to make a decent box cushion with a zip and piping! Over two decades of experience to call on and we'll make a cushion to fit a small kitchen chair.
Sunday 15th February -Fabric Printing with rollers from The Painted House, we also print paper!
Saturday 21st February - Girls popover dress, a lovely beginners dressmaking including using an overlocker!
Friday 27th February - Vintage style collar with Scarlett Valentine. A gorgeous collar which will set off any dress and makes good use of all those vintage notions...
Saturday 28th February - Crochet for beginners with Jenny Tidman.
Sock Sundays! 1st, 8th, 15th March - there's homework in between and it's £60 for the whole course, you will have a pair of hand knitted socks at the end! Must be able to knit and purl.
Saturday 7th March - Indigo Batik, techniques from Indigo: dye it, make it. Messy workshop so wear old clothes...
Saturday 14th March - Needle Felted Flowers with Jenny Tidman, felty, floral FUN!
Saturday 21st March - Styling feathers with milliner Scarlett Valentine!
Sunday 22nd March - Weaving and Rag Rugs, learn to use a peg loom and some rag rugging techniques...
Saturday 28th March - Fleece prep, raw fleece to useable tops with Jenny Tidman, HH HQ's own Fleeceologist! A messy workshop with up to an hour of outside work so bring warm clothes!
Sunday 29th March - Free Motion Machine Embroidery with Nicola Gouldsmith, a lovely workshop full of fun, creativity and sometimes we remember to stop for lunch...
Saturday 4th April - Vintage Style Clasp Bag. Suitable for beginners and improvers using gorgeous vintage fabrics - eeek!
Fridays 10th and 17th April - Teepee featured in Indigo: dye it, make it *please not this is a two day workshop* £70
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th *as above*
Saturday 18th April - An introduction to wet felting with Jenny Tidman.
Sunday 19th April - Learn to knit! Struggling with your increases or your SSKs this is the day for you!
Friday 24th April - Silver Clay Jewellery with Melanie Blaikie. Alchemy before your very eyes! Clay turning to pure solid silver...10am -4pm, light lunch included as well as cake! £95- 10am -4pm

Saturday 2nd May - Drum Carding Day with Jenny Tidman. A whole day making batts with Jenny, ready for spinning up into beautiful're welcome!

3rd May to 19th December to follow...
 Love Nic x

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Freebies at the Fayre!

 Ever wondered what a workshop at HH HQ is like? Fancied a go at something but not quite sure if it will be something you would enjoy...if so the FREE taster sessions we're holding on Saturday 6th December are right up your street!
 It's the bumper Christmas Fayre at Alder Carr Farm and there's a rumour that a jolly gentleman clad in red will also be there...
All sessions must be pre-booked and the schedule of the day runs (approximately) like this!

10-12 Fabric printing with paint and patterned rollers, print some paper and a piece of fabric!
12-1 Fibre fun with our needle felter (and fleeceologist) Jenny Tidman if commitments allow! 
1-2 Open studios, bring along your hooking, knitting etc. there will be cake!
2-4 Natural Dyeing with an Indigo dip at around 3pm - bring along something to dye or we'll find you something to dunk in!
Should be a fun day and I look forward to hearing from you all - usual way, via email, shop or Facebook on the Halfpenny Home page...

Have a lovely autumnal day, the sun is absolutely beautiful!
Nic x

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Hats off!

 There's been a burble of excitement here at HH HQ, not just because the workshops have been so successful since moving to Alder Carr Farm but because we have the talented Sarah Valentine joining us to teach us some of her amazing millinery skills!
 Sarah runs Scarlett Valentine Millinery, the hats and headpieces she produces are stunning with a contemporary feel along with the traditional hats she produces using a variety of different materials. Trained both in Suffolk, the London College of Fashion and Central St Martins London Sarah is now generously sharing some of her skills with us!
 Sarah is teaching us how to use sinamay to make flowers and abstract shapes which can be made into headpieces, corsages and brooches on Saturday 20th September, we currently have 5 spaces left. Call in or contact Nic for details and availability.
 With Christmas marching towards us, I feel guilty mentioning it on such a sunny day but we have Sarah teaching us how to use paper to make pointy stars and flowers which would be perfect for giftwrapping or decorating your home. There are only a couple of spaces left on this workshop so please don't leave it too late to book! Paper stars and flowers is running on Friday 12th December.

 Got an old favourite hat in need of a retrim?
An unloved hat in need of a complete makeover?
We also have hats here at HH HQ which can be bought on the day of the workshop, Saturday 15th November - using vintage trimmings, machine embroidery and the expertise of Sarah Valentine to make that unloved hat the star of the show once again! Chop and change for a fun new look and turn heads this winter...
 One of MY favourite workshops to teach is the indigo dyeing and batik is the fun way to add patterns to fabric - there are just two places left on the Batik workshop running on Sunday 26th October. It's magical to watch indigo work and even more so as you watch your designs appear!
Find us on where there is now a HalfpennyHome2 - there you can also find some of our most popular notions as well as some of our workshops which you will be able to book online
Saturday 15th November Upcycling hats with Sarah Valentine £35 2 spaces
Saturday 22nd November Knitting Clinic £10
Sunday 29th November Appliqued Christmas Stocking £35 3 spaces
Sunday 30th November Crochet - beginners 10-1 and amigurumi Santa 1-4 with Jenny Tidman £35 FULL
Sunday 7th December Festive Needle Felting with Jenny Tidman £35
Friday 12th December Paper stars and flowers with Sarah Valentine £35
Saturday 13th December Needle Felted robins, snowmen and Christmas puddings £35
Sunday 14th December Mystery Make Christmas Tea Party in aid of NRAS 12-4 £35 all profits go to National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, includes a raffle and a slap up tea! £35

Phew...long list - book in the usual way by phoning 01449 721123 Tuesday-Sunday or email or alternatively keep an eye on

Hope that there is something here that gets your excitement levels climbing!
Nic x

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Summer of FUN at HH HQ

 It's been a hectic six months at the shop, moving and keeping up with everything that's going on has been hard work but so much fun...we've had hen parties like the one Aimee threw for her friends and family to get to know each other - they had great fun sipping bubbly as personal and touching works of art were produced which Aimee is to make into a quilt for her home.
We then had our long planned charity tea party in aid of National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, a charity dear to our hearts - I will post more photos and details about it on my own blog soon.
 A massive thank you to all at Sweetpea and Vintage for allowing us to invade their home and lovely garden and making so many cakes! Loads of people crafted items for the raffle and we raised £430 on the day with even more donations still coming in! We also aimed to raise awareness of some of the difficulties faced by people with this painful and incurable condition.
 Thank you too to all who came along or donated raffle prizes, cake ingredients and money!
 Hot on the heels of the tea party we had the Strawberry Fair at Alder Carr Farm, a brilliant event with loads of new visitors to the farm and excited people stumbling across Halfpenny Home for the first time...we crocheted strawberries, made strawberry pom poms and pincushions!
 We're almost back to normal this week with workshops resuming and even though it's summer we're still knitting and LOVING the West Yorkshire Spinners yarns - excellent value British wool, reared, sheared and spun here!
 We're using them in the sock knitting workshops which start this Sunday, three Sundays of sock knitting and at the end of the three weeks you'll have a pair of socks! Sundays 6th, 13th and 20th July £60 and everything is included, theraputic cake is applied regularly...*two spaces are left*
 One of my favourite workshops is the Free Motion Machine Embroidery, we have two more planned at present - Sunday 3rd August and Saturday 30th August, unleash your inner artist!
 There are spaces on each of these dates but they are strictly limited to four spaces for each date!
 I know that you can buy nice knitting bags and rolls for your evergrowing collection of needles but surrounded by gorgeous fabrics and ribbons takes it's toll on the willpower and lo, a workshop is born!
Knitting Needle Roll, a stitchery workshop suitable for absolute beginners! Sunday 27th July £35 11-3 make one for yourself or the knitter in your life?

 Seasonal Dyeing with PLANTS...not the wishy washy colours you would expect! As well as indigo we love to dye with the reeds that grow here on the farm and if we time it right the colour we get is a rich pistachio green...two dyeing dates in August where the effect mordants have on the finished result and how to dye safely - Sundays 17th and 31st August 11-3 £35 and you can dye a skein of yarn and a piece of fabric or a silk scarf. Spaces go fast for this one each year so don't leave it too late to book!
Full List

Socks! Sundays 6th, 13th and 20th July
Fleece cleaning and preparation. Friday 11th July
Bunting! Saturday12th July
Advanced Needle Felting, The Green Man Friday 18th July
Quilted Patchwork Mat, learn to piece, quilt and bind! Saturday 26th July
Knitting Needle Roll. Sunday 27th July

Crochet an Amigurumi Gnome! Saturday 2nd August
Free Motion Machine Embroidery. Sunday 3rd August
Fleece cleaning and preparation. Sunday 3rd August
Vintage Style Clasp Frame Bag! Saturday 9th August
Natural Dyeing with Plants! Sundays 17th and 31st August
Print your own fabric make an apron! Saturday 23rd August
Print your own fabric make a cushion! Sunday 24th August
Free Motion Machine Embroidery! Saturday 30th August

Tunisian Crochet. Sunday 7th September
Indigo Batik! Sunday 14th September
Tablet/notebook cover Sunday 21st September
Ragdolls! Sunday 28th September

Needle Felting, squashes, pumpkins and acorns! Saturday 4th October
Carding and spinning with fleece! Saturday 25th October

Book as usual by either dropping by HH HQ, text 07887511081 or email
A deposit will hold your confirmed space with full payment due two weeks before the workshop commences. More dates to be added soon...Nic x

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Keef and Dolores!

 There's been a lot going on at the new HH HQ and as usual it involves some clever creative people, wool and generally making a mess...I was dragged away to the Country Living Spring Fair and then spent most of the day cuddling a sheep, talking to a lovely lady called Pam who (amongst other stuff) runs natural dyeing workshops in Wales!
Dyeing being one of my favourite things to do imagine how excited I was to find that you can dye with chalk paints - the pretty yarns that appeared before our eyes were perfect for the spring flowers workshop with Joanne.
 Crochet is one of those things that people seem to fall in love with and you can't blame them when you see some of the cutest creations being formed and as Jenny thinks the toadstools need some gnomes guess what has just been added to the list below...
 Keen eyed visitors to HH HQ will have noticed the pretty prints on the white curtains - the printed fabric workshops have caused more than a ripple of excitement! There's another one added to the list for the end of this month - book swiftly to avoid disappointment! We also now have the rollers in stock for you to buy so you can fill your world with pattern...

 Sunglasses are optional...
 Jenny and I had a lot of fun making up the samples for Joanne's next set of crochet classes, Keef on the left and Dolores on the right! They came out on the bike with me yesterday and Jenny really missed having them keep her company in the shop...they're back now and advertising the Bears and Bunnies Crochet Workshop on Saturday 14th June 2-5 the yarn we're using is from West Yorkshire Spinners and it is British wool spun in Keighly!
Beginners crochet session on the morning of June 14th is a Granny Square Pin Cushion 10-1 - get hooking!
Friday 23rd May - Needle Felted Bunny 
Saturday 31st May - Fabric Printing
Sunday 8th June - Natural Dyeing
Saturday 14th June - Crochet with Joanne Scrace, beginners 10-1 and Amigurami (the cheeky creatures above...) 2-5
Sunday 15th June - Needle Felted Beach Huts
Friday 27th June - Free Motion Machine Embroidery
Sunday 29th June - Beginners Knitting
Sunday 6th, 13th, 21st July - Socks! £60 for all three sessions, there is homework inbetween dates, you will make a pair of socks.
Saturday 12th July - Bunting!
Friday 18th July - Advanced Needle Felting, a class on faces you will make a Green Man
Saturday 26th July - Quilted Patchwork Mat
Sunday 27th July - A Knitting Needle Roll
Saturday 2nd August - Crochet, make a gnome with Jenny!
Saturday 3rd August - Free Motion Machine Embroidery
Saturday 9th August - Make a Vintage Style Clasp Bag
Sunday 17th and 31st - Seasonal Natural Dyeing with Plants!
Saturday 23rd August - Print Fabric and Make an Apron
Sunday 24th August - Print Fabric and Make a Cushion

All the workshops cost £35 per person with all materials and refreshments included and except the crochet one on 14th June they run 11-3 with a short break for lunch which you can bring along or get something delicious from the cafe or shop! There's always plenty of tea, coffee and cake which is always Gluten Free.
Book by calling in to HH HQ at Alder Carr Farm or by calling the shop 01449 721123, alternatively FB request me Nicola Gouldsmith or if you tweet follow @halfpennyhome
A deposit will hold a workshop place for you with the balance payable two weeks prior to the date of the workshop.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


 The crocheted spring flowers workshop was a brilliant way to wave goodbye to winter and welcome the longer days and warmer weather to Alder Carr Farm! We put the clocks forward Saturday night and when I came to work at the shop on Sunday this cheery floral garland greeted me, thank you Joanne!
 As we tidied up after the workshops Joanne told me that this flower pattern was the first one she had written, it looks beautiful hanging outside HH HQ! Joanne is back on the afternoon of Saturday 12th April to do some Vintage Style Lacy Edgings, she talks a bit about vintage lace here on her blog Not So Granny...if there is enough call for it she will also do a beginners class that morning - crochet is a lovely way to add detail to handmade and ready made items!

We used the gorgeous hand dyed yarns below with the shades coming from both plant dyes and chalk paint! Chalk paint dyeing is a bit of a new venture as usually we pick seasonal plants like the reeds and use those to dye both silk and yarn but my friend Julie of Sweetpea and Vintagen Needham Market High Street uses these paints on furniture and recently dyed a tablecloth with some so...intrigued I had to give it a try!
 I will be doing some more as the colours are so pretty, it's not messy at all and colour fast - you don't even need much paint! Watch out for additions to the natural dyeing workshops later in the year!
Much more messy but soooo satisfying was the Bathbombs and Balms Workshop - again plants from the allotment played their part with dried cornflowers, marigold petals and lavender buds adorning the fragrant concoctions!
 We're still sock knitting even as the weather gets better, even Jenny now that we've tempted her with the new in stock West Yorkshire Spinners yarns! With great names like Wood Pigeon and Butterscotch and 75% British wool content they are FAB to knit with and will feature in our sock knitting course on three Sundays in June 6th, 13th and 20th 11-3 and £60 for the three sessions, yarn and needles included along with the needles!
 Nothing is wasted...Joanne suggested I hang the waste scraps of yarn amongst the trees so that the birds can make good use of them - watch out for some colourfiul nests around!
 When life gets stupid busy and I struggle to deal with the effects of either Rheumatoid/Psoriatic Arthritis and/or the side effects of the treatment for the disease (today I'm deaf and yesterday I was sick and dog tired...) I find that the twice daily visits to the allotment help and this year the winter has been so mild that everything is blooming already!

 Plants will grow anywhere...even with my random planting, weeding and watering manner the Woad plants have survived the Cabbage White invasion of last year and are now in flower - looking good for harvesting some seeds! Looking forward to to doing some dyeing workshops with these this year...
 I met a lovely lady recently whilst wandering around the Country Living Spring Fair, Pam is in Wales and uses plants in her artwork - dyeing with them, spinning yarn from nettles, making cakes and finding inspiration from nature, her work is beautiful and I may just have had to purchase some fleece from her....*ahem* as if there isn't enough round here already!

While we're on fleece...

Some of the creations from Jenny's Needle Felting Workshop - another one is on this Saturday, let's see what we come up with there!

Up to date workshop list.

Saturday 5th April Needle Felting 11-3 £35 - three spaces left

Saturday 12th April Crochet Vintage Style Lacy edgings 11-3 £35 - four spaces left

Sunday 13th April Indigo Dyeing including Batik 11-3 £35 - four spaces left

Easter Sunday Free Motion Machine Embroidery 11-3 £35 - two spaces left

Saturday 26th April Needle Felted Garland 11-3 £35 - four spaces left

Sunday 4th May 11-3 £35 Indigo, Batik £35 - three spaces left

Saturday 3rd May Knitting in the round with double pointed needles 11-3 £35 - three spaces left

Friday 16th May as above

Sunday 18th May Fabric printing 11-3 £35 three spaces left

Friday 23rd May Needle Felting - Bunny 11-3 £35

Sunday 25th May Invitation/memo boards 11-3 £35

Sunday 8th June Natural Dyeing, all about mordants 11-3 £35

Sunday 15th Needle Felting - Beach huts 11-3 £35

Friday 18th July Needle Felting Advanced Level - The Green Man 11-3 £35

More to come soon and please do book in the usual ways, check availability on 01449 721123, 07887511081 or drop by HH HQ Tuesday-Sunday 10-4 - we look forward to seeing you!