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Monday, 25 July 2011

A Taste of Summer!

I love Lavender, it just screams "summer" and I thought it was time to do a spot of baking with some I picked from my mum's garden - she has absolutely loads so I think the bees will forgive me for cutting just a small amount for my recipe, plus a bit extra for a vase too!

These biscuits are super easy to make and so I thought I'd share the recipe with you...

300g / 10oz butter

180g / 7oz caster sugar

450g / 1lb plain flour

2 egg yolks

about 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped lavender leaves

about 1 tablespoon of lavender flowers

drop of milk (if required)

You could always halve the quantity - as you can see, this makes quite a lot - depending on what size cutters you use! I couldn't resist making heart shaped biscuits!
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add your lavender leaves, most of the flowers and your flour and egg yolks and mix well. Knead your mixture into a soft dough and, if necessary, add a drop of milk to get a nice smooth ball. I then popped it in the fridge for half an hour before rolling out to my desired biscuit thickness, about 1/2 cm. Cut your biscuits out using your biscuit cutters and place on a greased baking tray. You can press extra lavender flowers into the top of each biscuit if you like. Bake in the oven at 160 o centrigrade / 320F for about 15-20 mins, or until firm.
Leave to cool in the trays for a few minutes to firm up before using a palette knife to remove and place on wire cooling trays.

Then settle down with a nice cuppa to enjoy a little taste of summer!
The biscuits keep really well but if you make enough, why not share them with friends -they look really pretty presented in a clear cellophane bag and tied with ribbon and a parcel tag.

Jacqui x

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Take Note!

The lovely (and very talented and patient) Lisa (Museum) had the brilliant idea of getting us all making fabric covered notebooks at Sew n Crow. It's a fab way of using up small pieces of fabric and so much nicer to use than a boring old plain notebook. The results were fantastic and all so individual.

I loved Amy's gorgeous gingham design - she used the same fabric to make her bias binding and I think it works brilliantly. Check out the beautiful wooden button too!

And Sam's gorgeous fabric with contrasting interior! She found just the right colour ribbon at HH to use as a tie!

And here's my own (not quite finished attempt). Unsurprisingly with a scandi feel. A leftover piece of fabric from my bathroom blind! There's plans for a ribbon tie - but I need to find just the right colour, and of course, a button. A nice mother of pearl button I am thinking!

Pat's gorgeous farmyard fabric with gingham bias binding - lovely. I allowed to say this? My favourite of all, Michelle's carefully thought out and beautifully executed design, made as a present for her God-daughter.

Michelle even added a tinkly bell and ribbon bookmark and one of HH's motif's. Just beautiful. If the conversations are anything to go by, there will be lots more of these being made over the coming months for presents.

It was a fab way to spend an evening - productive, creative and not forgetting the icing on the cake - literally - coffee and walnut cake and raspberry and white chocolate brownies - mmmmm. Washed down with liberal helpings of tea.


PS. Don't forget to enter our giveaway for the fabric bunting kit as seen in A Green Guide! Scroll down for the details.....

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Road trip!

What's Tammy the HH 'Twinfit' dress form doing in a hall full of lovely artwork then eh?
Keep scrolling down and all will be revealed...

I get a lot of comments about all the stuff that I manage to cram into my lovely little basket with the green and orange handle. But yesterday we were grateful for all the odd bit's and pieces that lurk amongst the crochet-covered fruit, mp3 player and pliers...
We were heading over to Burnham Overy Staithe where the Norfolk Arts Exhibition 2011 was being held.
Look at all the lovely bunting!

Helen Brown and Paddy Peters along with some other great artists organise this event every year and this year the committee invited Halfpenny Home to showcase A Green Guide to Country Crafts!
Helen and Paddy are great friends of both Jacqui and I and their 'Old Piggery Pottery' is one of our favourite places, Helen makes the fab mugs that we use at HH HQ! We are also allotment neighbours but I won't bore you with seed talk right now...

Another great friend of Halfpenny Home is Danielle Wade of Polly's Textiles and her 'Dutifully Purposeful' items are wonderful so it's no wonder that the committee had also invited her along too!
We sell Danielle's hand-dyed and screen printed fabric at HH HQ and so we decided to make the long journey up to North Norfolk together!

We had a lot of fun displaying the lovely items that Danielle makes from her fabrics...

The suitcase that is usually at the bottom of the stairs crammed full of beautiful cushions!

Country Crafts open on the page showing Samantha Hayes wearing a Polly's Textiles Apron!

One of the beanbags that Danielle has just to started to produce sits alongside a Roman Blind that I made for another exhibition, we had this on display in HH HQ for a while and everyone loved it, the pleats show off the print perfectly!

Let's hope the visitors to Burnham Overy Staithe Village Hall, North Norfolk PE31 8JD between today - Saturday 16th July and Sunday 21st August like our crafty wares...Nic x
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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Country Buntkin...The Country Living Bunting Giveaway Competition thing...y

We've been waiting for this issue of Country Living to hit the shelves (or for subscribers their doormats...) with slightly higher excitement levels than usual!
We're in it - or rather, the things that we've made are in it and my (Nic's) hands are just visible...

Some of the 35 beautiful step-by-step projects from A Green Guide to Country Crafts are featured and amongst them is the gorgeous bunting made from old shirts, we LOVE this photo and have very fond memories of the day it was taken by the very lovely and rather brilliant photographer and cake expert (!) Gavin Kingcome.
We couldn't resist decorating this barn wall with it over at Green Lodge Farm owned by our good friend Val Beeson.

How gorgeous do the fabrics look against the black boards??!!

It was fun to make this bunting as we got to include the shirt details like this button tab...

How could we celebrate Halfpenny Home's first appearance in Country Living and getting our 100th blog follower?

Jacqui had a fabulous idea!
A blog giveaway - a bunting kit with all you would need to make some bunting just like the one featured in Country Crafts and Country Living!

We've prepared some flags from the very same shirts that we used on our 'Bunting made from old shirts' which along with the old, red seam binding will mean that you can recreate your very own 'Country Living' moment (gate not included)!
You've got until Monday 15th August 2011 to enter and to be entered into the draw you need to be a follower and leave a comment and to get an extra go tweet Nic @halfpennyhome
We'll get Mike the Glassman to draw the winner out of a really lovely Czech glass bowl...
Good Luck!
Nic x

Monday, 4 July 2011

Chocolate Pears!

Look what a lovely surprise I got in the post? All the way from Spain!

These gorgeous, non calorific, crocheted chocolate pears - so beautifully wrapped in an organza bag tied with ribbons with little brown dragonflies on it - all of which will of course be saved for future crafting possibilities!
They are so pretty I couldn't help but share them with you!

I spotted them in the latest Mollie Makes which we looooove! (Thank you MM) And, well, I just had to have some. It's a good feeling too, being able to support fellow crafters - after all, we know only too well how much love and care goes into creating handmade goodies!

I love it when something so pretty also has such a useful purpose.

They came courtesy of Mari Martin - you can check out her work at Enjoyment of my G&T has just gone up a notch!!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

On the make....Tales from the New Forest!

I took my leave of HH last week for a week away in our motorhome. A visit to the New Forest, planned some months ago, was upon us! And what a beautiful area it is! Ponies of course, rule the roost, and roam freely along with the cows and the donkeys. They have the right of way over traffic and caused their own special brand of roadblock!

Apparently, as decreed by William the Conqueror, the animals are owned by those who live in the forest confines, "commoners" as they are called! Each person still has the right, upon payment of a certain levy, to graze animals, collect wood and, if they wish, dig for clay!
We were very close to Lymington and so the lure of a short ferry trip across to the Isle of Wight was too much to resist! Beautiful weather and beautiful views!

I always have to take along a crafting project when I go away and this trip was no exception. I'd carried on the weaving started when we were at Waterstones last month and had the idea that I would make a little cushion, similar to that featured in our book.

However, by the time it came off the frame, I decided that a textural 'vessel' was more the order of the day!!

So, using the same technique as the little Knit Collage 'nest' in our book, I set about making a fleecy bottom - over a glass of wine, of course! Nic had given me a sample of a new yarn that will shortly be arriving at HH, to try out.

It's called 'Baba'. Aren't the colours just fab?

In between the crafting we ventured out on some beautiful walks.

The views were enormously varied from countryside to coast in one walk - how cute are these newly shawn llamas? They were a little wary of young Rory!

I took this photo of the dandelion flower and seconds after Rory showed his appreciation by demolishing the subject matter!

A funghi shot especially for 'mushroom' Jane!

We stopped for a picnic en route!

Before reaching the shoreline......

This reminded me so much of our day spent on the Nacton shoreline when we were doing our candle style shots this time last year! The only thing missing is the candles!

On the final day of our hols, I managed to finish my project! I think it will be perfect for my overspill of odds and ends of ribbon that currently need a home! Despite the glorious colours and textures I can't help feeling that the addition of a button would add a certain know me!

And, just to finish, a very contented and pooped Rory after another long walk, just before we made our journey home!

A fab time was had by all!

Who needs to go abroad?