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Thursday, 27 January 2011

Art and Craft (and cake!)

The good wives of Sew and Crow don't usually need much of an excuse to plonk a cake on a cakestand! We did, however have a very valid reason indeed - Lisa Museum's Birthday! Sam made her a wonderful cheesecake ala Nigel Slater and as Lisa is a stitcher and crochet queen we all partook in a little embroidery for the evening.
So armed with hoops, linen, silks and disappearing marker pens we were ready for what proved to be a very, tranquil evening.

Jeanetta approached this make-along with a little trepidation but inspired by the Made in France book by Agnes Delage-Calvet and Annie Sohier-Fournel and Doodles by Aimee Ray she was soon well and truly hooked! Last seen hotfooting from Halfpenny HQ clutching some embroidery hoops...

Miss Pat tackled these pretty intials for her daughter.

Lisa stitched these lovely little birds!

Michelle tackled this mother bird feeding a worm to her chick, and all the way through Wellington, Sam's cat snoozed gently...

Back at Halfpenny Home the following morning I was met by the postman bearing a parcel from the USA, it was from Amy at Knit Collage and contained yarns from her new collection!

They are fab, Amy had sent them over for one of our online customers.

Amy had suggested the yarn Rolling Stone in the colourway Shooting Star as a substitute for Stardust Garland which is sadly out of stock at the moment. Knit Collage produce handspun yarns with trimmings added during the spinning process, they are so special it's no wonder they were so popular at the recent TNNA trade show in the US.

This is Candy Cane in Cotton Candy (above) and Blueberry Marshmallow (below) YUM!

All wrapped up and ready to go off to the lucky recipient...

Meanwhile, I had been given a job to do - some moss for Jane Southgate's art exhibit Rural Collusions.

We've been getting some of HH's enthusiastic knitters to make musrooms and we have gathered together quite a herd which will accompany the ones that Jane has made herself - each one has been lovingly made and returned to HH HQ and a slip of paper with the craftsperson's name written on has been placed inside.

Even though the pattern was the same the differences in yarns, needle size and the tension of the knitter means that they are all so different!

The Wednesday morning knitting group is currently held at The Rampant Horse Inn which is just over the yard from Halfpenny Home. Jane and Robert have made us feel very welcome and Robert brings us coffe, tea and cakes. Jane and I were particularly pleased to see Battenburg making an appearance this week.
Jane was showing off her latest non-fungi related knitting projects, the peaked cap and her socks which I'll do a post about with mine shortly!

I've been wearing my Colinette scarf almost non-stop since I made it as it's been so very cold and that means that I haven't had the chance to show off the button jewellery that Jane made me for Christmas!
But last night I was invited to have dinner with friends and took the opportunity to show it off!

I love it! Nic x

Monday, 24 January 2011

Crafty Weekend

I was spurred into action this weekend and got a few crafty makes finished!
Firstly, these two wooden hearts. The large one is painted in Farrow & Ball's London Stone, the medium one is Nutmeg by Laura Ashley. These are for a Halfpenny Home customer who'd bought two similar hearts before Christmas and wanted some more for a gift. It's really special doing something you know someone values enough to give as a gift. Hopefully, she'll be pleased.
Then it was onto cards. So out came my stash of ribbons and lace! This is just a small fraction of my hoard!

I used a punch from Stampin Up, a lovely bird on a branch design, which is one of my favourites at the moment. They are really nice punches to use and the ink pads are very good quality too! Of course, I had to finish off with a button too!

Within a week we've had two invites, one to a Golden Wedding and the other to a Wedding. So, two acceptances were required! The wedding theme is blue and silver so the colour scheme was easy for that one! On the other acceptance I made two little quilled hearts from quilling paper.

Finally, and continuing the heart theme, I got around to framing one of the little pieces I made at Anita's last glass workshop. It's so simple but effective and is made by fusing little fragments of recycled glass together in a kiln. The box frames from The Range are ideal for framing art work. They come in loads of different sizes and you can paint them whatever colour you choose. This is another Farrow & Ball colour, which is one of my favourites, slipper satin. Just as a final flourish I used a Stampin Up stamp, to stamp underneath the heart. It reads "life happens, love helps". Such a simple saying but oh so true.

Nic and I are doing one of Anita's workshops next month ( so hopefully we'll have a few more creations to share with you then.
Hope you had a crafty weekend too!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Pixie Hat!

Inspired by Jacqui's cowl knitted up in the wonderful Knit Collage I've knitted my neice a hat in the colourway Raspberry Sunset - I love this one as it has bright lime green flowers as well as red sequins all through it. I very loosely followed the pattern for a hat on Purlbee but after casting off had a little of the yarn left over and not liking to waste any of this amazing yarn decided to keep on knitting and make a very pixie like knotted hat!

She loved it as much as I enjoyed knitting it and the knot bounces along with her - she really loves buttons so I had to add a few!

As you can see pink is her favourite colour so the hat suits her perfectly - she's ALMOST the perfect model you just have to be very quick with the camera!

We all need woolly hats and scarves with this chilly weather which gives me the perfect excuse to keep on knitting between opening Halfpenny HQ and making sure my chickens are all ok, here's a lovely picture of Button with Bing the cockeral and Zsa Zsa, she's settled in very well after a bumpy start which meant that she had to come to work with me for quite a while...

She's even been laying eggs, little ones! Here one is next to one of Betty's big brown ones!

I'm just finishing off my second pair of stirrup socks and then I'll summon up the courage to show them to everyone! Nic x

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

With the launch of our lovely new website we were pleased to see that along with the people who walk through the blue doors of Halfpenny HQ creative people from further afield seemed like the same things as we do!
We had an order for some of the Stardust Garland yarn by Knit Collage which is sadly out of stock at the moment but we offered up this lovely handspun Wensleygdale with silk from our friends at the Gedgrave Flock and the customer was tempted but the skeins are rather large, this one was 190g. No problem!
Weighed out, re-skeined and label ammended it was soon on it's way to the lucky recipient!

Meanwhile I had a present to make - Jane look away!
Jane Southgate loves blues and turquoises so this was an easy choice - Point Five from Colinette is lovely to knit with and this shade doesn't hang around long. Turquoise with flashes of purple, yum! Many of our regulars reckon that they enjoy winding the balls almost as much as knitting with it....look at how the colours sing in the sunlight!
I had in mind the cozy neck wrap from Purlbee but I was a bit worried that I would run out of yarn before getting to the tip of the triangle - so I turned it upside down and instead of decreasing I increased. The Purlbee pattern has a buttonhole that the end of the triangle slots through but Jane loves buttons...
To increase you just knit into the front and back of the same stitch before moving the stitch from one needle to the other.

By increasing on only one side it was quickly taking shape!

If you are worry about running out of yarn before you can cast off then lay the yarn along the line of stitches and you need to have about two and a half times the length in yarn to be sure to have enough!

Glazed coconut button in place and ready for wrapping - hope she likes it! Nic x

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Pop The Corks!

and yes, it really did hit the ceiling!

It may have been a rainy January day in Suffolk however, it's been a day of celebration at Halfpenny Home!

Today was the day when the first order from our website left Halfpenny Home! We recieved an order for some lovely handmade ceramic Injabulo heart buttons, a bit of a favourite of ours!

We've learnt such a lot in this last year, and we're still learning! It's no exaggeration to say that we've taken thousands of photos and met some very clever people who have been very patient with us! We are now proud to officially announce that our website is well and truly launched!

Sending our first order out today meant such a lot to us. Knowing that an enthusiastic crafter liked what we had to offer on our website made us very happy bunnies indeed!
Thank you everyone for your help and for being so patient with us, Nic and Jacqui x

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Double Knit!

After the third attempt I've finished! My Knit Collage cowl is finally done! And now there are two! I originally followed a pattern which required 4 skeins of Knit Collage, but when knitted up it just felt too thick and cumbersome, so I started again, this time leaving out the cabling, making it half the width and adding very easy buttonholes and button fastening.
The buttons are gorgeous coconut shell buttons which, of course, came care of Halfpenny Home!
Here it is on!

And perfect, because I now only needed two skeins for my cowl, I could knit one for my lovely sis in law whose birthday is later this month. She'd admired the yarn before Christmas so fingers crossed she'll be pleased! It's wrapped and ready to go!

Hope she doesn't read this before her birthday!!!

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Year!

A very Happy New Year!
We couldn't let too much of 2011 pass before our first blog of the year! It's one of our New Year resolutions to blog more!
We hope you had a fab festive period? Halfpenny Home may have shut its doors for the holidays but Nic and I have both been busy!

Lots of knitting has been done - Nic will be sporting some stirrup socks, which will be appearing on a post very soon, I've no doubt! A mere novice when compared to Nic, I have managed to complete a cotton facecloth....

And, the saga of my Knit Collage cowl goes on.....I knitted it all up, even made a lovely button brooch to pin it with (thank you to Maria B who gave me the idea).....then decided it was too wide and I would prefer it a little thinner, so promptly unravelled it to start again! I am working on the new version - fingers crossed!

The end of 2010 was tinged with a good deal of sadness for me, with the loss of my beloved westie. He did have a fantastic long life but it doesn't make it any easier. He is irreplaceable and will always have a very special place in my heart. After convincing myself that I was not being disloyal by having another westie, we went to see some 11 day old puppies over the Christmas period. This is just one of the litter - how cute! Like minitiare polar bears. We visit again this month and, fingers crossed, one of the puppies will choose us!!!

With a birthday also over the festive period, we undertook the annual birthday pilgrimage to Southwold! I love it in Winter though I have to say the weather was not particularly great! It was a job to even see the sea! Southwold is home to Adnams and no visit is complete without a trip to the Adnams shop. I'd read that Adnams were producing their own gin (a favourite tipple) and so a small bottle was purchased for sampling on arrival home!

With all the traditional festive fare consumed at this time of year, the lure of a meal out just wasn't there! So, we had fish finger ciabatta sarnies - and gorgeous they were too!

As part of my birthday gift, Nic brought me some home made millionaires shortbread. It is to die for! It arrived appropriately beribboned on a lovely Piggery Pottery plate - just in time for dessert! What a fab birthday tea.

Halfpenny Home will be opening it's doors again on Saturday January 8th and we're both looking forward to a busy and exciting year. We wish you peace, happiness and lots of crafting joy for 2011.
Jacqui x