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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


I was so blessed to have the lovely SUE WHITNEY of JUNKMARKET STYLE stop by my booth at the Spring 2011 show at MARBURGER FARMS to film a segment on garden style. I just saw it on the MARBURGER site.

Go HERE to watch SUE and I chat about garden charm. I was so NERVOUS! I hope I don't look like a total dork.

Be patient, it's at the end of the segment.

Oh my goodness...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


We love visiting the Museum of East Anglian Life, there's so much to see and always something to learn about the fantastic part of the country that we are lucky enough to live in!

The annual Steam and Craft fair is a brilliant event with so many steam engines and crafts people from far and wide...Jen (pictured above) is a dedicated volunteer, fund raiser and a (quite brilliant!) Wednesday knitter!

We set up our stall in the pole barn and it was clear to everyone as we donned our aprons and got the pots warming on the stove that this was no ordinairy craft fair...

There were the brilliant colours achieved through the microwave technique - a little bit quicker than the natural dyeing that we do...

...and the chance to see the famous Needham Market fire engine a recent acquisition for the museum!

So, happy that all the pretty bias bindings, ribbons, ric racs and knitting needles were displayed at there best for the day we got busy with the woad!

We had a lot of fun doing the woad dyeing section in A Green Guide to Country Crafts and all think back fondly to Gavin Kingcome's fascination with the whisking!

Woad creates a rich blue dye by reacting with oxygen so although the surface bubbles here are a gorgeous shade of blue if you part the foam you can see the very yellow dye bath below!

The colour starts to develop as soon as the items are removed from the bath! You need a lot of people around to help 'air' the skeins of yarn and silk scarves so each 'dip' ended with the shout of 'WOAD' and the ringing of a great big handbell that Lisa Museum lent to us for the day!

Here they are drying on our line and yes that is a skein of green yarn there - it's what you get when you 'over dye' yarn that has previously been dyed with Dyer's Greenweed - it's Lincoln Green!

Now it's time for a little bit of an apology - the reasons for the LONG gap between this post and the previous one, my trusty old laptop gave up! It had worked hard and written many a blogpost and luckily as it was coming up to my 40th birthday my very lovely and brilliantly supportive parents bought me a new one! How lucky am I?

It was definitely party time at HH HQ last week and Wednesday was also the day that BBC Radio Suffolk came to visit the knitters and as it was also Wednesday Wendy's birthday we had a little party. Tina made these amazing cakes and as you can see they didn't even hang around long enough to get a snap of all the letters!

They were amazing, thank you Tina!

Jo Lea, knitting moss for an ornamental hanging basket and quite determined to teach Jon from BBC Radio Suffolk to knit!

Just one of the very brilliant birthday presents - a marvelous book by a brilliant knitter! This is my bed time reading...

The lovely birthday gifts will get a proper blogpost all of their own after I've written my thank you notes...but this one deserves a special mention as it was tracked down by Mike the Glassman and it's a beauty!

I LOVE glass as much as I love yarn and there had been much plotting, texting and consultation with The Good Wives of Sew and Crow to find a piece of glass that would make me go giddy and I know that Mike is particularly pleased with himself for finding this Martini jug by Holmegaard glass...

...he takes his glass seriously and being charged with this task made it tricky for me to pin him down in order to pick a winner for Country Buntkin bunting giveaway!

BUT, I finally got him - comment 7 is the winner! Congratulations Cath, send me some details and the bunting bits and bobs will be flapping their way over to you!

And proud were Jacqui and I to see a good friend of Halfpenny Home, Polly's Textiles featured in Oh Comely magazine?!

Well done Danielle, your 'Beautifully Purposeful' hand screen-printed fabrics are gorgeous and your aprons are definitely a favourite of ours and featured in one of our favourite magazines too!

Phew! Think that's about everything...Nic x

Battling Distractedness

We live in a time where it is easy to be distracted. Technology beckons, with another gadget to purchase, another blog to read, another show to follow... the problem in all of this (for me) comes in that my real life requires my attention. Increasingly so.

Precious children, with bright eyes, come with stories that they want heard,
pictures carefully colored (and sometimes not-so-carefully colored) that they want admired,
questions that need answers,
requests for a book to be read,
hurt fingers needing a kiss and sometimes some neosporin & a bandaid;
they have needs for snuggles on the couch,
math lessons that require an explanation,
and wrestling on the floor.

And I have a wonderful husband who I want to spend time with, cook well for, and be able to exchange ideas with.

The temptation becomes to only enter into these significant things halfway because of time spent online, or checking e-mail, or mentally mulling what I've just read on a blog or online news agency. Even right now, I'm watching "North and South" (Elizabeth Gaskell's; bliss!), with the kids, while typing out these thoughts.

About 10 days ago, my husband bought me a Kindle, and I love it! One of the things I love about it is (as a piece of technology) that when I sit down to use it, I don't get distracted by additional features (a.k.a windows/apps). I can't check e-mail on it; I can't get distracted by blogs on my rss feedreader; Facebook can't draw me in. When I intend to read, I don't get unintentionally, thoughtlessly drawn into other things.

Today I've been wondering, what would happen if I only concentrated on one thing at a time. What would change about my life if I only focused on one thing at a time, rather than falling into the habit of regularly spinning 17 mental "plates"?

Thoughts? Comments? Experience? Tips you want to share? I welcome your input on this topic that affects so many.

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Blackberry Harvest

We enjoyed our first blackberries from the berry garden this past weekend. 
To say that I was ecstatic would be an understatement.

My sweet Graham joined me for this festive occasion, although we only picked a few berries together before he started grabbing fistfuls of vines and leaves (with a readied open mouth).

His fingers touched their first blackberry and it was a marvelous wonder to watch. xo

There were enough ripe berries that morning to serve with our breakfast -
mmm mmm, so sweet.

I also picked the very last of our blueberries. 

A colander of sweet summer berries made my heart sing.

We enjoyed our fresh picked berries over whole wheat pancakes. It has become our weekend tradition for Mike to make us pancakes on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. 

He makes them mostly for me, I'll admit it. Although I do know that he enjoys them, it is mostly I who think it's perfectly acceptable to have them two mornings in a row... 

Although sometimes, I go out on a limb and request french toast...I know, I'm unpredictable

Pure organic maple syrup completes our weekend breakfast tradition.



Another peek at some of the goods I will be offering for sale at the one and only...


Who doesn't love a fabulous shaving mirror?

I'm bringing a collection of them! Yours for the taking at MARBURGER FARMS ANTIQUE SHOW~TENT H BOOTH 15!



Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blissfully Ever After- Guest Blogger

Good morning!  I hope that you are enjoying my guest blogger’s week!  I had fun sharing new blogs with you.  Today’s guest is a friend of mine named Jennifer!  She is a sweet mom-to-be who loves taking care of her home, her body and her hubby!  She is so excited to meet her little guy this fall!
Meet Jennifer…
Hey there!! My name is Jennifer and I am the author behind {Blissfully Ever After}.
Blissfully Ever After
Bonnie has been sweet enough to allow me to be a guest blogger today and I am so excited to share my bathroom remodel with you! Thanks, Bonnie!!
Our Bathroom Renovation
To kick the New Year off to a great start, my Hubby and I decided to tackle our main bath redo that we had been wanting to complete since we moved into our house 3 years ago. This was no easy task….so don’t be fooled by these pics =)
{p.s. we had no clue at this point that I was pregnant, and we are so happy that we were able to get this bathroom done before the baby arrives. He will like the bath tub, don’t ya think?!}
This redo costs us under $1,000 for a completely gutted {well almost} and remodeled bathroom. Take a look at how we completed our project on a budget:
Here is our bathroom after it had been gutted….
Sorry, for some reason I didn’t take any true BEFORE pictures {now, I’m mad}!
Here my Hubby is removing the drywall to install cement board above the shower
Cement board installed
Starting to tile….
Shower tile complete! We chose subway style tiles with a decorative border. What do you think?
Here is a pic of the cabinet base painted black {using BEHR paint/primer in one in semi-gloss}, granite countertop installed {we used a remnant piece from a local  installer and this only costs us $500 for the granite and installation!!}, under mount sink, and tile bask splash. We also removed our large builder mirror and took it down to a local glass cutting store to have them cut it a little and clean up the edges. This costs us only $20 and was well worth it!
The Hubbs installed a new energy efficient vent fan w/ light. Costs was around $60. We went with a very quite model because out last fan was so loud it sounded like a jet airplane every time we turned it on.
Here is out tile floor installed. My Hubby laid cement board over the existing laminate flooring before laying down the tile. We used a Microban mortar for all  areas we tiled to prevent mold and moisture intrusion. We also used an epoxy grout which is the best you can use to keep out moisture, mold, etc.
Here are the walls spackled and ready for  some primer/paint. DO you like how the last family didn’t paint behind the toilet? Hot, right?! Oh, I almost forgot to share that we installed a new window for the bathroom as well. Our old window was an octagon shape and didn’t open. My Hubby framed out the window and installed the new one which now opens and has a built in design so people cannot see in.
Showing some love
Ok, are you ready to see some AFTER photos?
Here they are….
Bathroom AFTER Bathroom AFTER2
We made custom moldings for the mirror using trim from Home Depot that I painted black using the same paint as I did on the cabinets.
Bye bye builder mirror!
Bathroom AFTER3
We used existing lighting for our master bath and painted the frame black and then  installed new energy efficient bulbs. Love the new look!
Cost= $0
Bathroom AFTER4
Bathroom AFTER5
Bathroom AFTER6
Cabinets painted black and new knobs/pulls installed. Knobs are from Hobby Lobby using 40% off coupons and pulls are from Lowe’s. Don’t you love the beaded accent!
Bathroom AFTER7
New faucet I found online from Amazon for  $50!!! Can you believe it! Similar designs at Lowe’s and Home Depot were around $200. Score! Plus, all of the inner piping for this faucet is copper…not plastic, which makes a big difference in quality. Make sure to check Amazon for reputable sellers/dealers to find a great deal!
Bathroom AFTER8
Countertops….ahhhhhhh love!
Bathroom AFTER9
Custom/homemade Damask {fabric is from Joann’s using a 50% coupon} curtains on a Fleur De Lis rod and small ring clips I found at Hobby Lobby using 40% off coupons.
Bathroom AFTER10
Love these cute square picture frames I found at Michael’s {again using my coupons}! I took some photos my husband has taken, printed them in black and white, and put them in the frames. Total cost $15
Bathroom AFTER11
Here is our shower faucet I found at Lowe’s  and we got it on clearance before this model went out of stock. I love the faucet…seems so spa like! Wait, why is this faucet is my soon-to-be baby boy’s bathroom and not mine?? haha! Oh well, he deserves the best!
Bathroom AFTER12
Still on the lookout for a plain white shower curtain to add the Damask print at the bottom to match the curtains. Found the brushed bronze curtain rod at Lowe’s…under $10. I already had the ring clips.
Bathroom AFTER13
We kept our existing toilet that was new and low flow {which saves money/water}. We purchased the brushed bronze toilet handle for a little under $20 from Lowes.
Bathroom AFTER14
I found these beaded towel hooks at Ace Hardware and we actually were able to use some of our Ace Rewards to get two of them for FREE. It was awesome! I love how the beaded accent matches the cabinet pulls.
Bathroom AFTER15
OK, this is one of my favorite decor items….it is a cute little topiary bush I found at an antique store for only $5. It fits this space perfectly =)
One last look
Bathroom AFTER
ahhhhhhhh, refreshing!
Wow, it feels good to have this space completed…especially before the baby arrives! This was one of our most challenging projects yet, but so worth it! By doing all of the work ourselves {beside the installation of the granite countertops and under mount sink}, we were able to save A LOT of money!!! I know this project came in under $1,000 including $500 for the countertops. So, if you ask me…that is a pretty good deal. Don’t ya think?!?

Breakdown of what we did:

  • Gutted bathroom
  • Installed new vent fan
  • Installed new window
  • Installed new shower tile
  • Installed new granite countertops w/ under mount sink
  • Installed new tile backsplash
  • Painted cabinets black and installed new hardware {including black hinges}
  • Installed new tile flooring
  • Painted bathroom using BEHR paint/primer in one {two coats in Winter’s Day}
  • Put back existing toilet but installed a new toilet handle
  • Put back existing mirror {that had been cut} and added chunky trim
  • Installed an existing light from another bathroom that we painted black
  • Installed new sink and shower faucets
  • RE-installed window, floor, and door trim
  • Put up towel hooks, curtain rod, and custom/homemade curtains
  • Put up inexpensive picture frames with self taken  photography
There you have it! Our Bathroom redo!
I hope you have enjoyed the tour. Are you working on any bigger home remodeling projects? If so, please share!

Check out how I Clean & Disinfect my bathroom naturally here!
Thanks Jennifer!  You did an awesome job on your bathroom!  Thanks os much for sharing it with us today.  For more transformations, organizing posts, schedules and more, check out and follow her blog now!
Have a great day!
Bonnie :)

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