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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fungilicious Forest Fun

I've been off for a spot of forest camping this weekend, at Rendlesham Forest, a forestry commission site near Woodbridge in Suffolk. Though it's not far from home, you could be anywhere and it has a wonderful recuperative effect - it's just so relaxing being so close to nature. The weather was really kind to us.... as you can see from the sun glinting through the woodland. I just love the changing colours of Autumn

We took bikes and went on the UFO forest trail. The picture below is quite eerie I think, but still beautiful.
My bike screeched to a halt when I saw these magnificent funghi! Aren't they gorgeous? I thought of Jane, our Artist friend when I saw these.

We saw squirrels collecting for the winter and here's some bounty for them.

Even this moss growing on an old trunk looked really pretty in the autumn sunshine.

This one looks like it is dripping! How delicate.

And then there were these gorgeous frilly edged funghi below, all huddling together.

But, I couldn't go the weekend without some crafting. Nic had given me a ball of the gorgeous Knit Collage Kinari Bazaar to experiment with some time ago, but I was so nervous of doing it justice, being a novice knitter I almost didn't feel worthy! A weekend of beautiful natural inspiration spurred me on to try.

I've decided to have a go at a cowl using a pattern on Knit Collage "be inspired" section. It seemed straight forward enough......
Until....I got to row 12 and it said to cable stitches. Damn! I hadn't done this before. I called Nic and she talked me through it but I decided I would leave it until I got home, so this one is to be continued - watch this space!

And finally, I couldn't go without including a picture of my lovely veteran westie. He just loved his weekend away, even if he is a bit slow... here he is in his winter finery admiring the view!

A good weekend was had by all.
Hope yours was good too.
Jacqui x

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Get the pots out, it's dyeing time at Halfpenny Home!

This week we thought that we would try a something new and dye with brazilwood, we were not soak the brazil wood (tied up in a little stockinette bag) overnight in water and then simmer it for an hour.
When we added the mordanted items it went this berry red!
The colour result is affected by the acidity of the dyebath and to make it more purple than red we added some soda ash.
Look at this washing line of loveliness, all natural dyes!
Did a bit of dip - dyeing

And finally, you've all seen Barney, Jacqui's dog so here's my dog Bob - a miniature pinscher. He gets jealous when we have evening meetings and once ate the ends of all my knitting needles, I still love him though!
Have a good weekend, Nic x

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Gingerbread and Transferware

One of my favorite fall breads is gingerbread. There's just something about ginger, cinnamon, cloves and rich molasses that make it so delicious.

I love to pair fall foods with my brown transferware. I'm certain it makes everything taste better.

I purchased the transferware several years ago when I came across them at Home Goods. I bought twelve bowls, salad plates, and dinner plates as I thought they would make wonderful Thanksgiving dinner ware.

This is what the pattern looks like. I love the birds with the flower adornment.

This is the mark on the back.

This monogrammed 'B' silverplate was my Grandmother's everyday ware, but I keep it tucked away for special occasions. I actually found an entire set of this pattern at a flea market, but without the monogram. I wonder where one would bring silverware these days for monogramming?

Gingerbread Recipe:

2 cups organic all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup low-fat organic buttermilk
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup organic molasses
1/4 cup organic low-fat milk
1/4 cup organic canola oil
2 large organic eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine flour through cloves in a large bowl with whisk. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk through eggs and stir with whisk. Pour into flour mixture, stirring until moist.

Bake for 45 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Enjoy.

Happy last weekend of October to you! xo

Fallen Leaves

Fallen LeavesOctober 28, 2010
A sure sign of winter approaching is the falling leaves.  We get a lot of leaves because we have 3 large maple trees in our back yard and the neighbours on both sides of us each have a large maple tree.  Across the road in front of our house there are more trees that drop leaves, neighbouring properties with lots of trees and our huge, old willow tree.  Most of our

7 Quick Takes Friday - #6

When I have time, I sure do enjoy doing the "7 Quick Takes" posts, so I can share things on my mind, or in my life (like, check out my little rolling man over here to the right ---->). And I like hearing from you, so please, comment if you have the urge. :) Don't forget to pop over to Jen's blog if you're interested in reading others' "quick takes".
  1. First, I've been a cleaning/sorting fool this week. Maybe it has something to do with sleeping all night long for more than a week, but I've had a lot of energy for organizing, editing, and pitching unnecessary stuff from our home, and it's been nice. We took 8 or 10 bags of clothes to a home where needy Central Asians will be able to take what they can use, and I got rid of a lot of clutter in our home as well (extra dining room seat cushions, unnecessary toys, ballcaps, books, magazines, and a whole lot of trash). I sorted through some of the kids' clothes we have stashed away and kept only what we'll really potentially want to use again. Having moved five times in less than five years overseas, we had quite a bit of accumulation. It feels good to tackle some of it and pare it down.

  2. I realized this week that I really like decorating with words around the home. Here are a few examples:
    (made this one last year)
    (brought this one with us overseas)
    That last one is one I've just cut and pinned (definitely not complete... I'm thinking of adding two little feet to one side); it's from Proverbs. I hope to sew it together soon... ya know, "when I find the time". I've lived this way for several years and am once again aware of how much I love to have inspiring words, visible in our home.

  3. A few things converged this week and made me think more about nighttime sleep with an infant.

    It seems like it can be easy to look at parenting or nighttime sleep issues philosophically when you still have the option of "sleeping every time the baby sleeps", or being at home in your pajamas all day without anyone little looking up to you as their example or educator, or when your kids are maybe spaced every 3-4 years or more. But those who are homeschooling older kids, or those who have several little ones in a row often need to think a lot more practically and realistically, and it becomes much more necessary to do like the stewardess says, and "put your own oxygen mask on first, before helping the people around you". In those situations, it can be essential to thoughtfully evaluate and meet your own needs in order that you might better care for the people entrusted to your care.

    Or else you can end up burned out, spent, and utterly exhausted. (Amy wrote about this recently.) Motherhood on its own (with sleep!) is tiring enough, and at the same time has been one of God's best tools for sanctification in my own life. To take responsibility for loving and meeting the needs of our kids... to love them and serve them... but in order to "love others as we love ourselves", there's an underlying assumption that we "love ourselves"... we need to take care of the body God has given to each of us.

  4. Please hear that I am not quibbling about whether or not to meet a baby's needs, but rather, that we need to think more carefully about what constitutes a "need". For my part, I'm a firm believer in regular, nighttime rest for everyone in the family (I think this is a "need"... for all of our health and particularly for mom's sanity), and so we strive for it as soon as it can be had without crying-it-out.

    And if you're a young mom who has been made to feel that being intentional about pursuing nighttime sleep is somehow negative or impossible or wrong, I just want to encourage you that it is possible to do so gently, lovingly, and fruitfully, most of the time. And that there's nothing wrong with desiring that and working towards it. Hang in there and reach up for your oxygen mask.

  5. We went to Chili's for our 10-year anniversary a couple weeks ago. :)Yes, Chili's. You see, we live overseas. Never in a million years would we go to Chili's for our 10-year anniversary if we lived in the States, but when you live abroad, strange things happen to you. Our tastebuds were up in arms, and demanded some delicious tortilla chips, salsa, honey chipotle tenders, and more. So we gave into our tastebuds, even if it doesn't sound like a very glamorous date. :)My husband spoiled me rotten- I'll spare you all the details, but he really went above and beyond and surprised me several times over. I love him so much. And we really enjoyed the chips and salsa, pared with a chance to do our anniversary examination tradition.

  6. Crocheted a new hat for Moses. It looks pretty cute on him, wouldn't you say? :)

  7. And I made an apron for Maranatha... it matches mine, but has a different edging detail so we can easily tell them apart. She was quite excited.

  8. And I re-used some old jeans and a dress with missing buttons, and turned them into bibs and baby shoes:

  9. I guess I've felt a bit crafty lately.
So that's my 7 Quick Takes for the week. Comments or thoughts to share?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bringing in Potted Plants

When frost threatens the garden, bringing in potted plants and tender plants is an ideal way to keep plants for the next spring.  There are a couple of problems with bring in plants with the main one introducing insects indoors.  I kid you not, I brought in an asparagus fern that hid a spider almost the size of a quarter!  Other common insects in potted plants are ants, earwings and pill bugs. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Super Stylish Swish!

In amongst all the activity at Halfpenny Home, I've also been involved in working with friends to organise our third, and most up-market Swish! Remember the Twiggy programme on TV where ladies got together to swap their unwanted quality clothes? Well, this is our version. This time around we're doing it in aid of EACH, the East Anglian Children's Hospice for their Treehouse Appeal and it's going to be on 11th November 2010.

It's a brilliant and fun way to recycle and get yourself a new wardrobe to boot! (yes, maybe some new boots too!!). We're organising a fashion show with some of the swap items to be compered by Rachel Sloane, from our local BBC Radio Station, Radio Suffolk. And, of course, given the thrifty nature of the event, Halfpenny Home was happy to be involved and will be having a stall, along with some other local businesses. We're hoping the lovely buttons and notions, ribbons and trims will give ladies lots of ideas of how to maybe customise their new attire!
Above is a picture of the venue for our Swish! Creeting House! You may recall it being featured on Ruth Watson's Hotel Rescue in the summer of 2009. It's a gorgeous place with lovely owners, Di and Steve, who've so generously agreed to let us use it for the Swish. Take a look at their website Highly recommended if you ever want to treat yourself to a weekend in Suffolk and a visit to Halfpenny Home, which is just a stones throw away.
There are still a few tickets left for the Swish so if any of you would like a ticket or more details, do get in touch. You can email and I'll send you further details. For those further afield I promise to take lots of pics of the event and post about it afterwards!



I got a little carried away at the pumpkin patch this year...

These fabulous warty pumpkins were originally orange, a color which is not really a fav here in the land of SWEET PEA. They got a little facelift with a can of spray paint.

This one has a blue green look which I found so pretty.

Gotta tuck some white baby boos in here and there...

I fell hard for these warty dried gourds.

This is one of my favs and is a very dark gray green.

I bought two of these large white pumpkins in Texas.

Never too many boos...

And just when I thought I had found the most delightful pumpkins at the patch...

I saw these two and my heart melted into a puddle of pumpkin soup...

Jax and Auriana, my grand~boos, at the patch.

Poor Man’s Linen

A while ago I was honored to be a guest over at Melanie’s Pretties and Posies blog.  If you’ve never visited Melanie, please do!  You’re in for a treat.   If you missed my guest post there, I decided to repost it here today.  I’m taking a bit of a bloggy break to catch up on some things, but I promise to be back!  I’ll be working on some much needed changes to our second bathroom.  Currently, it looks like something out of an episode of The Jetsons.  If you don’t believe me, stay tuned and you’ll see! 


Today’s topic is using drop cloths in decorating.  My love affair with drop cloths began when I was a young newlywed. I needed a cheap way to make our apartment into a home.  With its dingy, old linoleum tile floors and dark paneled walls, the place needed all the help it could get. 
House Beautiful magazine came to the rescue and provided the inspiration I needed.  I had saved an article about a designer lining the inside of his entire bedroom with white drop cloths.  The drop cloths even continued over the window, allowing the light to filter through the fabric.   I ended up duplicating the look for our apartment bedroom, and every night it was like sleeping inside a dreamy tent.  We loved it!

In our current home I’ve used drop cloths in several place.  Here, for the curtain under our laundry sink.  I simply topped it with a piece of old curtain trim for a little flair…


The curtain under our kitchen sink is also made with drop cloth fabric…


As well as the inside-out liner of our bedroom chandelier


I cut some of the ready-made hem from the drop cloth edge to make the ties.  Easy!


If you’ve been reading home décor blogs for long, you have probably noticed canvas drop cloths making their rounds.  There’s a good reason for their popularity. With their nubby natural texture, drop cloths give the look of linen without the hefty price tag.  That’s why I like to call it poor man’s linen.  It makes a great substitute!

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