visit Halfpenny Home Website

Monday, 5 November 2012

Handmade Christmas!

It's definitely going to be another handmade Christmas this year! 

Giving a gift that you have made yourself is such a wonderful feeling...prompted by a regular visitor to HH HQ we will be making these clip-frame purses from scrumptious Liberty prints and having a brilliant evening on Thursday 6th December! £25 and spaces are limited, book early!

Rachel's felting workshops are always booked up super fast! 

Using lovely soft wool top in beautiful colours is such a treat and even though her bag-making workshop on the 10th is full to bursting she has also agreed to come along on the afternoon of Saturday 1st December 2 - 5pm to show us how to make fabulous flowers, the lilies are my personal favourites! £35 per person and spaces are limited.

We are cooking up some ideas for some workshops after Christmas which will combine the current two loves I have (craft-wise) felting and free machine embroidery! More about that another time but we did both get very excited about it...we've all been having fun with making collages and playing around with hoops and threads!

 Wendy's Crooked Cottage...
 Christina's Figgy Pudding!
 Harriet took to the machine embroidery as if doing it for years! Her labels and badges were brilliant but I love the Christmas pudding, so sweet!
 Val made this brilliant collage for her grandson and was getting very excited about making an apostrophe!
Another one of Christina's creations, none of these ladies had tried this before and yet we all had a fabulous time - load of ideas for things to make and a great way to spend an afternoon! Next one is on Saturday 17th November 2 - 5 pm and costs £25, we will be making Christmas decorations!

To book workshops please call in to HH HQ or text 07887511081 (I killed my laptop,don't ask....)

There are also still places available for beginner's sewing machine workshop on Thursday 8th 6 - 9pm where we will be making a simple apron from Vintage Rowan Fat Quarters, a great way to gain confidence with all aspects of measuring, handling and cutting fabrics!

Keep warm people, it's chilly out there today! Nic x

Saturday, 6 October 2012


 As visitors to HH HQ know very well it is a lovely place but not the warmest so we have to stop the workshops around about oooooh, now! Last soap making workshop in the upstairs studio today - we have plum cake, freshly made just now!
But this year we have been invited to have some workshops at Beat The Boredom which is just up the road from HH HQ on the Lion Barn Industrial Estate! It's a fantastic place run by the rather wonderful Debbie and her fantastic team, providing workshops and fun for children and adults. 
The first workshop is one that EVERYONE has been asking about and that is cushion making...get to grips with using a sewing machine, measuring and cutting fabric with confidence! Thursday 25th October 6.30 - 9.30 pm limited to four persons £40
Then we have more soap, perfect for Christmas presents! It's another handmade Christmas this year and quite rightly so...Saturday 27th October 2 - 6 pm making four different soaps using the cold process method of soap making and using some lovely essential oils and butters.
Limited to four persons £50

 We have yet more sewing, beginners sewing making a brilliantly practical apron with BIG pockets and using some brilliant fabrics! Measuring accurately and cutting with confidence. Learn how to use a sewing machine or bring along your own. Thursday 8th November 6 -9 pm limited to four persons £35
Receiving an invitation to a double Christening of two siblings, a boy and a girl and struggling to think of a gift suitable for them both led to these fun Tooth Fairy pillows being made - I love this Pirate fabric! Come along and have a go at free machine embroidery and use it to produce some little cushions, my ma has already told me to make some for my niece and nephew...
Free machine embroidery is a lot of fun, I can't get enough of it!
Saturday 17th November 2 - 5 pm limited to six persons £25 

 Psssst! If you don't have any little people about to become friends with the Tooth Fairy then YOU could use this workshop to make some fun decorations for Christmas or some gifts....

 Another popular workshop this year has been the Container Candles, we've produced some lovely candles and the scents of Christmas have been wafting about the shop! As it's getting close to Christmas we have also been making the pine cone firelighters from A Green Guide To Country Crafts...they are so lovely and also make superb gifts! Thursday 22nd November £25

 I love felt!
It is so nice to play with and teaming it with a little embroidery floss makes for a very pleasant afternoon. I made this pretty little hair slide and plan to make one with my niece this Christmas when I give her a sewing kit and start to teach her to stitch!
Come along and have a nice afternoon of gentle stitching - make some trims for the tree or yourself!
Saturday 24th November 2 - 5 £15
Apologies for the blurry felt pic...
All workshop spaces are to be confirmed by myself and a place is secured once payment has been made. Payment can be made by card, cheque or paypal - please check for availability before making payment.
I'm so looking forward to holding workshops at Beat The Boredom and hopefully meeting a few new people and introducing them to some crafty fun!
Nic x

Friday, 24 August 2012


An extra soap-making workshop will be held on Friday 28th September 5 - 9 pm £50 per person - these are great fun and everyone gets a go at making four different soaps using luxurious ingredients! Olive, coconut, castor and jojoba oils are all combined with caustic soda solution and essential oils to make fantastic soaps, perfect for gift giving! These will be ready for Christmas....a kilo of assorted soaps, all ready to be cut, wrapped and gifted by you!

Another popular gift idea is container candles made in vintage teacups or glass sundae dishes! We're getting the wicks and oils out again on Friday 5th October 6 - 9 pm and Saturday 13th October 2 - 5 pm £25 per person - we usually make two container candles in this time but we're also going to make some Pine Cone Firelighters (as seen in A Green Guide to Country Crafts) in anticipation of those wintry evenings, these also make wonderful gifts, try wrapping in hessian for a rustic gift idea!

As one regular visitor to HH HQ said 'I want to come and do it all again! By the time you've bought all the ingredients you may as well come and do it here....and it's much more fun!' I can't argue with that...

Book by calling in to HH HQ or by emailing through the contact us link on

Thanks to Victoria at Framlingham Books for noticing that I hadn't put up the details for these....:)

Nic x

Monday, 20 August 2012

Rags, plants, dyes, stones and strawberries!

Outdoor dyeing is great fun! Messy and unpredictable but fun all the same....last weekend we were invited along to the annual Steam and Craft Fair at The Museum of East Anglian Life! I chatted up one of the volunteers and was given a bouquet containing Golden Rod and rhubarb leaves from the walled garden behind the newly restored Abbots Hall which has recently opened as a museum with fascinating exhibitions documenting rural life in this region!
 Purple feathery reed heads are in flower right now and give a stunning pistachio green colour and instead of the usual alum mordant we decided it would be good to use rhubarb leaves! Containing loads of oxalic acid the leaves (which are very toxic) make a useful mordant for the natural dyer.

While we were playing with plants a wonderful lady called Zoe visited the tent and showed us what she had made with the brilliant Hullaballoo from Colinette yarns that she had purchased on a recent visit to HH HQ...
Earrings that are miniature skeins of yarn!
AND a matching necklace.....superb! She felt that it was by far the best way to display the amazing colours of the hand dyed yarn! But Zoe also had another reason for visiting the tent, she was keen to watch some indigo dyeing! As a keen knitter, spinner, weaver and dyer she already knew how magical the process was and helped me as I managed to follow the instructions and tried to make it look like I knew what I was doing....
Fantastic colour!
Over dyeing the silk scarf dyed with Golden Rod gave us this fantastic green!
Some Gedgrave Flock Wensleydale fleece for felting...or mermaid's hair! Dyeing fleece always makes me think of felting rather than spinning (I'm not a very good spinner!) and I always get excited when Rachel holds workshops at HH HQ as she is so enthusiastic and reassuring. Her felted bag workshop is next Saturday (25th August) at 11 - 5 and it's sure to be a lovely one as they are all making this tub shaped bag!
The other workshops that have proved popular have been the natural dyeing ones! The last Madder, Mordants and Purple Feathery Reed Heeds one was so much fun and has led to a rise in demand for old, large pans and an interest in plants and the colours they give us, Lyn and I have been experimenting with lichens and pretty!
The next dyeing workshops are Thursday 30th August 6 - 9 pm and we are doing a range of colours including my new favourite indigo! There's a Woad party on Saturday 8th August at 1.30 - 5.30 - "dyeing with woad is magical" - Peg the Dyer.
Another traditional craft that has become popular once more of late is making rag rugs. Making something from nothing it's the ultimate in thrifty crafting and last Saturday's workshop was amazing! Using simple shapes as a guide and fueled by tea, cake and enthusiasm there was an awful lot of hooking going on!
and mine! Excuse the blurry pic....I love it and have been planning a mini rag rug brooch for ages! We all had a great time and making rag rugs means that you look at fabrics in a completely different way...
Another lovely afternoon was when one of my knitters came along to make lined tote bags with boxed bottoms and brought her two very talented daughters along too. We all fell in love with Emily's colour combo of choc/lime and found that the new bright webbing tape that has just landed in the shop (adding to website very soon - promise!) worked perfectly making the handles super strong! Emily's sister Hannah also made a bag but I couldn't catch her with the camera so when she comes in again I will make her show off her rather gorgeous pink number and get a pic!
I've been very impressed with the sewing skills of some younger crafters recently and these strawberry pin cushions are a lovely quick make. We've made quite a few just lately and the next workshop for these is on Saturday 25th August 2 - 5 and there are some gorgeous fabrics to choose from and our ever so fragrant dried lavender from Provence to stuff them with...!
Rocks with Frocks and felt...hmmmm! I can't stop myself making these pretty crochet covered stones inspired by Margaret Ooman but my new found love of dyeing and felt has led to yet another craft I can't wait to try out....I asked advice on twitter about the identity of a plant growing all over the allotment right now that I had a hunch we could dye with and this led to lots of really helpful advice! One of the answers came from a dyer and felter called Lisa @lilfishstudios who felts over stones! So after the next Rocks with Frocks crochet workshop on this Thursday 23rd August 6 - 9 and inspired by the brilliant colours of the new felt packs in the shop I will be having a go at making some and I cannot wait!                                                                       
Workshops can be booked in person at HH HQ, by email (follow the link from or over the phone. Payment can be made in cash, by cheque, card or Paypal. Look forward to seeing you soon, Nic x

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Creative, crafty and lots of fun...

 We get up to a lot of different things at HH HQ and this Summer's workshop list is even more packed than last year!
We have cushion making this Thursday, 26th July and there's still some spaces left! Making a simple cushion is a great way to gain confidence in measuring and cutting fabric accurately and then using a machine, you'll never look back! 11 am - 2 pm and costing £40 per person, space is limited to just four people and you will produce a brilliant, feather-filled plump cushion - choose from some amazing fabrics!

One of my favourite things to do here is the natural dyeing, we had a lot of fun with woad (blue) last year! There are a number of dyeing workshops planned and they are all £40 per person - you will take away a 100g skein of yarn and a large silk scarf. 
Mordants, madder (red/orangy brown) and weld (bright yellow or green) the Purple Feathery Reed heads are a bit late due to the weather...Thursday 2nd August 11 am - 3 pm.
Thursday 30th August 6 - 9 pm there should be purple, feathery reed heads available by then!
Saturday 8th September 1.30 - 5.30 will be Woad!

The T-shirt quilt that I made for my grown-up son was such fun to make and so effective! What a great keepsake and a good use of T-shirts that would have been turned into rags!
Three sessions on Friday 3rd August 10 am - 1 pm, 2 - 5 pm and Saturday 2 - 5 pm - £10 per session and you can come along to one, two or all three!
A hand-sewing session, bring your own shirts!  Ask for details of how to prepare your shirts....

 Rachel is our felty friend and her workshops are amazing! I was lucky enough to have a go last time and it won't be my last visit to the wonderful world of felt, a great craft and so adaptable!

The colours of the wool tops are dazzling!

 Rachel is doing a whole day workshop on Saturday 25th August 11 am - 5 pm and this time it's bags!
£55 per person and that includes all materials, refreshments but you will need to bring a light lunch as we will stop to re-fuel, there will also be spaces.

 As you will have read in the previous blog post, Jacqui recently visited the States but before she went away we had arranged for her to man(n) the stall at The Strawberry Fair held every year at Alder Carr - as it's always held on a Saturday I can never attend as I'm in charge of buttons at the shop. Jacqui did come up with the idea of making a few of these lovely strawberry shaped pin cushions (inspired by the rather wonderful @scrapiana - clever twitter friend) for the event though and they were so much fun to make and went down well with the visitors too!

The next Strawberry pin cushion afternoon will be on Saturday 25th August 2 - 5 pm and will cost £20 per person, all materials and refreshments provided and as the pin cushions are filled with a mixture of lavender from Provence and sand we will all be calm, cool and collected as we make as many of these beautiful and very useful little works of art as we can! 

You may recognise the fella in the background of the picture above...

 It is Alphonso! He's a bounder and a cad, breaking hearts all over the shop....he's even started to receive fan emails from smitten ladies who have happened upon him during a visit to HH HQ!
The next two Ragdoll workshops are this Saturday 2 - 5 pm and Thursday 18th August 6 - 9 pm. £10 per session and there are old, French linen sheets, vintage fabrics and notions with which to embellish your damsel, gigolo or even a (as one lady decided to do) very dapper hare!
This is an hand-sewing project and it is possible to complete a doll in one session...

 Mmmmmm! You should smell the 'ready to be collected' soap as it sits on the HH HQ table - made using the cold process method of soap-making and using ingredients that include essential oils, coconut oil and cocoa butter. 
The next two sessions are on Friday 31st August 5 - 9 pm and Saturday 29th September 1.30 - 5.30 pm.
Places are limited to four persons and the cost is £50 per person. You will make four different soaps and take away approximately a kilo of assorted soaps. The soaps will need to cure for four weeks before using.
Perfect for Christmas gift giving....

We had a really great time in May when upstairs at HH HQ was turned from being the upstairs studio and became Vintage Notions! Kitchenalia, vintage knitting and sewing patterns, fabrics and old linens and lace...Lady Galula brought along her gluten-free wares and a fine time was had by all!
We're doing it all again but this time bigger and better! Friday 14th September 2 - 5 pm and Saturday 15th September 2 - 5 pm.

 Ah....vintage loveliness! Candle making in containers such as these pretty teacups and pressed glass sundae dishes is very satisfying and they make great gifts too, if you can bear to give them away!
The next session will be geared towards the festive season and will include the pine cone firelighters that are featured in A Green Guide to Country Crafts. £25 per person on Saturday 22nd September 2 - 5 pm. Spaces are limited to four persons.

We will also be running a container candle workshop on our stall at The Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket on the 11th and 12th August!
 It's the big Steam and Craft Fair and last year (with a lot of help from Peg!) we did a fantastic demonstration of dyeing with woad, this year we thought it would be nice to get everyone involved and make some citronella scented flowerpot candles!

Phew! With 'Crochet for beginners' on Thursday 6th September 6 - 9 pm and 'Knitting for beginners' on Thursday 20th September 6 - 9 pm - £20 per person all materials and refreshments provided, you even take your hooks and needles away with you! See just how much fun you can have with sticks and string....spaces are limited to six persons on each session.

Oh....and there's the Suffolk Dog Day at Helmingham Hall this Sunday - we will be flashing off our buttons there too! If you are going there too do drop past and say 'hi!' it would be great to put a face to a blog.....:)

Time for tea I think....Nic x