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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Saying 'goodbye' to Station Yard and why I don't feel blue...

 The natural dyeing sessions at HH HQ have become legendary with a mixture of science and a little bit of magic creating delight and joy in everyone who has ever 'waved' their yarn/fleece/silk out of the back door and watched on as the colour has changed in front of their eyes!
We are a little restricted to dyeing during the spring and summer as sometimes the present HH HQ is too chilly, not just for the dyers but also the dyes...however Lynne and I do have not so secret dyeing sessions at home and we do this to ensure that no-one ever gets a disappointing shade, a sacrifice we are prepared to make!
 When Joanne Scrace first mentioned on twitter that she would love to learn more about natural dyes it was just before the last official dye days and unfortunately she couldn't make it so was expecting to have to wait until next spring to experience the wonderful and weird world of plant dyes...however, after a few interesting emails I suggested she join Lynne and I in a dyeing day, I had some dried Weld leftover, some spare mordant and an Indigo vat on the go and Lynne has been hoarding elderberries since the summer, we got out the dye pots!
I managed to remember (in my excitement!) to ask Joanne to soak her yarns the night before and you can see her blogpost and brilliant photos here! She also cooked an amazing lunch and chocolate clementine cake which we devoured whilst chatting about knitting, food and our love of the Suffolk countryside.
We didn't just produce some beautiful shades that day but also agreed some workshop dates for next spring which is as exciting as hearing the clink of a dyeing pan being dragged out of the cupboard, I can't wait!
Joanne will be teaching a beginner's crochet class on Saturday 29th March 10-1 £35 followed by crochet Spring Flowers 2-5 £35 all materials are supplied as well as plenty of cake and tea!
My treasured work box contains two pretty collars which belonged to my nana, one crocheted by her and one by her mother. They are so delicate and pretty, I love the look a lacey edge gives a garment or even a cushion or bag so I am very excited about the class Joanne has planned to do on Vintage Style Edgings  Saturday 12th April 2-5 £35 and again everything you need will be supplied and you can take your hook and yarn away with you so there will be no stopping you hooking some spectacular edgings!
Places will go fast so if you want to book don't leave it too late!
More workshops will be listed next week including some BRILLIANT ones from Jenny Tidman and news of a regular Needle Felting group...
 People keep asking me if I'll miss the old place when we move but although I have had some brilliant times here, like making bunting with Kate and her mum on what turned out to be a mother and daughter day and my mum made her first ever bunting!
 I've met so many brilliant people through the shop and hope to meet many more! I certainly wouldn't have met such talented artists such as Jane Southgate, Jenny Tidman and Joanne Scrace were it not for this funny old building and all the fun it has witnessed...but it does get chilly and no-one can find it the first time, I'm never open, it gets a bit dark and sometimes the pipes freeze!
We are saying 'goodbye' to the shop this Saturday and there will be mulled cider (bring your own mug as all mine are packed!) and mince pies from noon onwards and then that is that until Saturday 1st February when we open at the Mill at Alder Carr Farm 10-4 six days a week, Tuesday to Sunday!

Not so blue, Nic x

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Moving on!

 With packing going on at HH HQ and workshops at both the Needham Market Internet Cafe and at home it's definitely a very busy time for me! Last Container Candle workshop is on Thursday 28th November 6-9 pm £35 and as it's coming up to THAT TIME OF YEAR we also make some Festive Firelighters which make amazingly impressive gifts! Scented with aromatics such as bergamot, cinammon and rosemary, wrapped in some hessian with a pretty ribbon and maybe a decorated gift tag...

 ...tada! A reindeer adorned gift tag!
 Ahem! We also make a fair bit of mess...
 Another great gift is handmade soap, using the cold process method. Make beautiful soaps such as our new recipe which has a high olive oil content and green clay and is particularly good for gardeners. Much more delicate but just as lovely is the calendula and chamomile - we make four soaps and after setting divide them up and they must then be left for a period of curing which takes approximately four weeks. Last soap day for this year is Saturday 30th November1.30-5 £50 limited spaces so don't leave it too late!
 Dried marigolds from the allotment (above) and industrial sized containers of essential oil (below) we use both in the gorgeous soaps!
 Another 'last chance to make' before Christmas and the big move is the Vintage style frame bag - I did one of these with a brilliant group of ladies last week and have just realised that I didn't get a photo of Claire's bag! It was amazing with lace just about everywhere! You'll just have to make do with the other four below...

 ...and apart from having to go back to HH HQ for an iron the Internet Cafe was the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon! Last bagmaking workshop is Saturday 14th December 1.30-5 £40!

We seem to be getting a lot of dull days lately after a glorious summer so I wasn't unhappy to spend another brilliant day with Christina making hearts and decorating them with her quirky and unique ideas...
 I LOVE the bunny on this one!

 And this is Lynne's finished Christmas Garland!
 She brought it in to HH HQ to show it off, I LOVE it!

 Gorgeous robin...
 I'm packing and unpacking all at the same time! These parcel tags are ready and waiting to go on all those handmade gifts and the rather wonderful wool felt arrived yesterday to join my favourite felt bundles...
...and more amazing ribbons!

 Eeeek! The two on the right are soooo pretty, easily my favourites! Check out the scissor and button ribbon though, how lovely?!
 And pompomtastic! Red bobble trim in two sizes...
 ...and the delicate black and gold print ribbon, bees?
So I hope you have enjoyed the photos of the recent additions to HH HQ and maybe I have tempted you to come and have a great time at a workshop one day...

Nic x

Friday, 1 November 2013

News, moves and an exciting New Year!

 If you look closely you can just make out Helen painting her famous ceramic tiles through the window of her pottery where she and her partner Paddy create some amazing work - I have been friends with them since moving to Suffolk in 1985. 
Their Old Piggery Pottery is at Alder Carr Farm in Creeting St Mary and as I like to keep things as local as possible before I had the allotment I used to pick fruit there for my jams!
When I opened HH HQ in Station Yard I had to have Old Piggery Pottery mugs as there is nothing quite like a hand-thrown, handpainted mug for your cuppa and with their wide bases they appeal to a practical Virgo like myself...observant visitors to HH HQ will notice however that the designs are a little different and that is because they have flowers in HH colours, red and blue in place of the usual green leaves - Helen designed them especially for me and I love them!
 I'm extremely fond of the farm and indeed used to make curtains and cushions in the same building that now houses the pottery! I even picked fruit for money there but clearly was not as good at it as I had been as a child growing up in Tiptree, Essex as I'm pretty sure Nick sacked me...luckily that was a very long time ago!
 We included this photograph of the pumpkin harvest in a blogpost back in 2010 and it remains one of my favourites to this day - Jacui and I had called in to the farm to grab something lovely to have for lunch whilst doing the final edits to A Green Guide to Country Crafts and couldn't believe how beautiful the squashes looked in the autumn sunshine!
I was reminded of the picture the other day when I spotted this years harvest so thought I would dig it out and post it again, hope you like it!

Anyway...I thought it was time to share some exciting news with everyone at last!
The old mill building in the photo below is soon to become HH HQ, isn't it pretty?! I'm so excited to be making the move to Alder Carr Farm, and hope that all my customers who have managed to find me in Station Yard will enjoy coming to visit me there!
The mill is currently home to The Suffolk Garden Mill but at Christmas Andrea and Andy are closing the physical shop and only selling their gorgeous gardening gifts and plants online.
I have been extremely happy at Station Yard but it IS the coldest place on earth and so Christmas Eve is the last day the old shop will be open and when it re-opens in the New Year it's surroundings will look a little different!

A few other exciting changes will be taking place and I'll reveal them as they happen, the first of which is that instead of only being open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings I will be open Tuesday through to Sunday!

Thank you to everyone who has ever followed my funny little hand-drawn map to find me down the alley, right at the bins and behind the kebab shop, I hope you'll like HH HQ #2 as much as the original!

I've already started packing...

Nic x

Monday, 14 October 2013

Christmas gift ideas...

 We did so enjoy making these Padded, Heart Garlands when Christina came and held a workshop for me! We over ran slightly but as we scuttled around the shop gathering notions and cutting up manuscripts the time didn't seem to matter so much!
 There will be more pictures as more garlands are completed, so different but with one thing in common...they are all GORGEOUS!
One more 'normal' session on Thursday 24th October 11-3 and then a Christmas version on Thursday 7th November 11-3 £35
 Everyone knows how much I adore Free Motion Machine Embroidery! It's a brilliant technique that I never tire of and I think it's a useful tool in helping people conquer fears involving *whispers* sewing machines...the apliqued piece pictured below will soon become a cushion!
 An ideal Christmas giftmaking opportunity for me and I find the more I do the more I want to do...

 ...a little bit more on the Christmas Stocking! We're making these on Saturday 2nd November 1.30-5 and Friday 13th December 11-3 £35
 The other craft I can never, ever get bored of is Needle Felting! I reckon it's one of those things that you are always learning new tips and tricks...Jenny Tidman holds these workshops and I'm a tea girl!
 Three sessions coming up and places go FAST! 
18th October
8th November
6th December
We always have fun, we always have a nice lunch and everyone gets addicted to this fleecy fun...
11-3 £30
 Another ideal gift are scented container candles and with Festive Firelighters scented with Christmassy smells it's a popular workshop and one that people come to time and time again!
 Saturday 19th October 1.30-5 and Thursday 28th November 6-9pm are the last two sessions this year! £35 and it's possible to make up to 6 candles and 6 firelighters, you are welcome to bring along favourite cups, jars etc.

 Soap making is fun to do and makes a brilliant gift at any time of year but especially so at Christmas and as cold process soap need time to 'cure' you need to plan ahead! Last two soap sessions are on Friday 1st November 11-3  and Saturday 30th November 1.30-5 and cost £50 due to the cost of the ingredients but you will make a good selection of soaps!
This beautiful soap is one of our new recipes and smells amazing, I used some at the weekend and it is a good foamer!
Some new workshops to HH HQ are the Bombs and Balms - our test run wet well and reports are of good fizzing fun...
Lip Balms, Healing Balm and half a dozen Bath Bomb Buns on Friday 25th October 11-3, Saturday 9th November 1.30-5 and Sunday15th December 11-3 £35

As always cake and plenty of tea are provided!

Book in the usual way, drop by HH HQ, text me on 07887511081 or email halfpennyhome at googlemail dot com
Nic x

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Christmas Gift Workshops!

 Getting very excited as we get nearer and nearer to Christmas and this week we have the first 'Heart Garland' workshop which was inspired by this beautiful one made by Christina! Embellished with trinkets, sparkles and buttons it would make an ideal wedding, Christmas or christening gift with a personal handmade touch! Christina has a couple of spaces free on Thursday 3rd October 11-3 £35 and I can honestly say it would be an ideal, no pressure class for absolute beginners! I'm even getting the precious tin of gorgeous Mother of Pearl buttons out...
 After a *first* a *last* as it's the last upholstery day at HH HQ for this year on Friday 4th October 10.30-4 £35 and one of the keen upholsterers is also a BRILLIANT needle felter and has already booked THREE sessions with Jenny Tidman! Fridays 18th October, 8th November and 6th December 11-3 and £30 which also includes a lunch and splendid cake! BEWARE though that needle felting is horribly addictive and episodes of cuteness like this (see below) happen frequently!
 As we are all still crazy about giving handmade gifts it's no surprise that the Container Candles and Festive Firelighter workshop is often requested at the moment and thanks to a friend of Halfpenny Home we are also making the firelighters with teasles which are SOOO spikily pretty! Two more sessions this year on Saturday 19th October 1.30-5 and Thursday 28th November 6-9 £35 we usually end up making about 4-6 container candles and half a dozen firelighters!
 I've wrapped mine in rustic hessian and used one of the new 'naturals' ribbons that have just come in!
 Finished off with a gift tag...
 We've been making soap here for years and indeed HH HQ was once a soap factory! All this time we've loved the coconut oil and cocoa butter that goes into the cold process soap, it makes our hands so the jump from soap to balms isn't that huge at all!
 Balms with healing infusions and essential oils and bathbombs with dried flowers...the list is endless!
 My favourites include a minty foot cream and a coconut and hempwax lip balm, I also now have a use for all those empty jars of Tiger and Oriental Balm at last!
 Three sessions of Bombs and Balms on Friday 25th October 11-3, Saturday 9th November 1.30-5, Sunday 15th December 11-3 £35
 AND did somebody say 'soap'? 
Two more sessions this year Friday 1st November 11-3 and Saturday 30th November 1.30-5 £50 space for 4 persons only and we make 4 soaps which are then divided between the 4. Cold process soap is made with caustic soda in the traditional way and needs 4 weeks to 'cure' so the November workshops will be the last held before Christmas.
 A new workshop this year inspired by the gorgeous new Christmas ribbons! Make a stocking using techniques including applique, embroidery and using bias binding! I love the pompom snowflakes and the turquoise linen is a lovely vintage cloth which is a joy to use! Two sessions on Saturday 2nd November 1.30-5 and Friday 13th December 11-3 £35
 Using the '42 Hands' keepsake quilt as inspiration we have a couple of sewing sessions called hands and feet in which we capture the cuteness of our favourite little people's hands and feet in faded floral fabrics and vintage linens. Learn how to applique, piece quilt and patchwork a work of art! Saturday 5th October 1.30-5 and Friday 11th October 11-3 £35

 The quilt in all it's glory!
Carrot cake for today's workshop and we'll go from this... this in just over three hours!
I have a couple of private sessions for groups of four ladies booked in to make the bag and stocking, indeed any of the above workshops can be booked in this way and I can even bring them to you!
I am also available for one-to-one tuition in all aspects of stitchery, knitting and crafting. 

Crafting parties are a fun way to spend time with friends and I can provide a wide variety of these with prices starting at just £10 per person. Most are also easily adapted to suit children who have an interest in craft!

Book any of the sessions above by either dropping by HH HQ, texting me on 07887511081 or message me via twitter @halfpennyhome

Have a splendid weekend! Nx