Monday, 27 February 2017

Planning what to make

I love Liberty scraps
Recent needlefelting pieces by Jenny Stacy
There are two things I feel the shop needs right now. Purses and jewellery.

 So I look at what I have - fabrics, beads, buttons and start to plan what I can make. Purses need a zip so first step will be buying some small size zips. These will determine the size of the purses. 

Then I'll experiment with some of the needlefelted pieces above to see what purses look like made with them. First I need to machine or hand embroider over the top of them to stabilise them for hard wear.

 Liberty patchwork purses would also tick the box for me and I will give that a go and see whether the finished result is saleable or not. 

I've sketched out some new jewellery ideas which involve using some of the Liberty fabric. Watch this space!
What are you planning and working on right now?

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Needle felting today

Today Jenny Stacy did a bit of sewing and a bit of needle felting. 
Love playing with colours when fusing textiles together. Current work by Jenny Stacy
The up side of having a quiet shop in February is that I can get lots of my own things made. And few things are more satisfying that puting colours and textures together and seeing what they look like. I use my own handmade felt and anything else that is to hand, especially if it's a bit glittery!

By the way the red and white fabric is what I'm wearing, not part of what I'm making in case you were wondering...I'll share some better photos soon.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Look at these cards

Lino cuts and drawings by Jacqui Watkins of Linen Prints
New card designs by Jacqui Watkins of Linen Prints.
Drawings by local artist Camilla Flint
Handmade Happiness offers a large range of cards, most of them by local artists. Prices range from £1.95 to £7 with most of them priced at £2.50.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Hearts to celebrate Spring

These pretty ceramic hearts made and hand-painted by Kate Hackett have just arrived in the shop. £3 each.
Printed velvet settee and linen cushion by Boeme in Tara Interiors, my next door shop.
Seen in Waitrose last night. Giant strawberries in February?
As someone trying to do a low-carb diet these strawberries look especially apealling! But somehow I can't buy strawberries in February. Strawberries are for June aren't they? And they are £3.60 a tub - a price that puts them out of the reach of most people, including me!

I had to share a picture of this settee that arrived at Tara Interiors yesterday.Just stunning!

Kate Hackett's ceramic hearts are always popular and the two pictured above are just perfect to celebrate the arrival of Spring.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Flowers for February

Loving pale pink right now!
Cheery daffodils with some blue glass
Same porch window with some of my favourite things and pink tulips

February is the month when flowers are most needed. I like to have them in the house and in the shop. It's amazing how flowers in a vase perk up a room. Their feel-good factor is well worth the pennies they cost right now.

We are all longing for spring sunshine and a relief from damp, cold, grey days. Flowers remind us that we haven't long to wait now. And pink and grey go rather well together don't you think?

I'm getting some of that spring energy right now and today I plan to change the shop round so it looks and feels different. More spring-like !

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Valentines cards

Close up of little Valentines cards by Jenny Stacy £2 each.
Handmade cards by Jenny Stacy
Screen printed card (top) and knitted card both made by Sue Inglis
There's a choice of handmade cards in the shop for the special person in your life. For those who want to make a big romantic gesture how about buying a heart shaped wreath? The gold one sold today. Sparkly jewellery or a hand stitched bear would also make great Valentines gifts.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Tanya Williamson's cushions

Bluetit on soft wool fabric cushion by Tanya Williamson
Pheasant on velvet cushion by Tanya Williamson
New cushions in Handmade Happiness made by Tanya Williamson
It was good to receive a delivery of ten new cushions today. I only had a handful left after selling lots in the run up to Christmas. Tanya cleverly translates her sketches into thread portraits of animals and she uses excellent quality fabrics too. Prices range from £28 to £48.

We discussed Tanya's pictures which she frames, like a smaller version of her cushions,and I look forward to being able to offer some for sale in the shop soon.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Rich colour for February making

Love these scraps of velvet and felt.
I also love mother of pearl dyed buttons. These have a matt finish.
Wood bowl of bits on my work table.
Do you find it hard to throw fabric away? I do, especially when the colours are as beautiful as this. Even tiny bits can be used in fabric and paper collage. Imagine tiny hearts for Valentine's Day in these rich velvets...

I'm going through all my materials and small makes right now because I want to make a big wall piece. Sometimes I wish there wasn't quite so much of it because pulling out what I need takes a long time. As my children always used to say, 'You could open a shop with that lot...' 
Oh yes, that's right, I did!

Happy February everyone! 

Friday, 27 January 2017

Keeping warm

The wool for these colourful mittens is dyed, spun and knitted. Also seen are leg warmers by Gill Martin and my HH carrier bags. 
Swans on the ice at Petersfield Lake this week. Picture taken by Jenny Stacy
Fun with colour. I enjoy painting on paper. 

Are you managing to keep warm in the coldest week of the year?

 In Handmade Happiness hand-knitted gloves, hats and scarves are prominently displayed but as it's so cold and January I don't expect many visitors. Traditionally the quietest month of the year, saleswise, I sometimes wonder whether I should just close the shop for the whole of January. But I have plenty to do. It's tax season, as the Americans say, and so you'll see me with my calculator and books working away in the shop, aiming to get final figures by the January 31st deadline. Always a wonderful feeling of relief when it's over at the beginning of February.

I love having flowers when it's below zero outside. Somehow the supermarkets sell daffodils at just £1 when the weather is at it's coldest and Lidl have tulips for £2. The cheerful splash of colour takes your mind off the cold and onto pleasant things, like painting summer colours on a sheet of A4!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

New! Gorgeous heart wreaths.

Gold heart wreath made by Brenda Tilbury
Pretty roses wreath made by Brenda Tilbury. What a romantic present this would make! 

Brenda Tilbury makes the most amazing wreaths... The two she brought in to Handmade Happiness today are for indoor use. Either would be stunning on the wall above a bed in a bedroom. The rose wreath is hanging in the shop window right now, a gentle reminder that Valentine's Day isn't far off! (Reminder to self - hurry up and make some cards!)

Thursday, 19 January 2017

New knitwear from Kate Box

Lambswool neckwarmers designed and made by Kate Box
Multi-striped wrist warmers by Kate Box displayed in Handmade Happiness
It was a nice surprise today when Kate Box delivered wrist warmers and neck warmers she'd just made to Handmade Happiness. The shop sold out of all of Kate's work just before Christmas.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

New for Handmade Happiness

Jewellery by Annie Sherburne - brooches, earrings and hair clips
Annie Sherburne's jewellery - earrings, brooches and heart pendant.
Gold embossed image on writing paper bought long ago in France.
On Monday I visited Top Drawer partly because I knew Annie Sherburne was going to be there (see above) and partly because I wanted to see what is currently being offered to shops across the country. 

There is a large craft section upstairs at Olympia but for once, I also checked out everything downstairs as well. I noticed more glitter and metallics. Maybe it's just my magpie instincts but glittery cards seem to be having a moment. 

I am interested in gold embossed images and writing on card fronts and a couple of stands reminded me of a little shop in Paris, many years ago where the owner had machines in a back room to stamp out gold images ( as pictured above) which he sold on notecards and writing paper etc. in the front of the shop. Gold raised lettering looks so smart on a plain card and juliebellstationery.co.uk does this.

Look out for the new jewellery made by Annie Sherburne in Handmade Happiness. I think people may like it as Valentine's Day presents. And it's just right for magpies!

The new Textile Group will now start in HH on Thursday January 26th. I've told one or two  people this coming Thursday (19th) but I now have a doctor's appointment that lunchtime which will be a problem for a 2pm start time. So officially 2pm to 4pm on January 26th. If you come on Thursday afternoon we can have a nice chat anyway!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

What is your 'craft discipline'?

Colourful sari silk
Layered piece skirts at the Knitting and Stiching show
Exotic ribbons and trims
Gorgeous painterly fabric photographed in Paris
Dainty embellished shoes by Alberta Ferretti seen in Paris
How did they do this? Pictured in a Paris shop window.
 I've just been asked what my 'craft discipline' is and I realise that my approach to craft is not 'disciplined'.

I always wonder how craftsmen and women can stick to making just one thing year after year.They have an idea and they develop it and then they stick at making that same thing and they become really good at it so they keep producing it. Don't they get bored? Or is this where the 'discipline' bit comes in. They discipline themselves to stick with it until hopefully, they are recognised for their ability in that area and get financially rewarded.

For me, one idea leads swiftly to another idea and I like to experiment with a whole range of 'craft disciplines' in a most undisciplined way. I see this as being creative. The imagination quick fires lots of ideas triggered by just one thing. For example all the things pictured above are good 'triggers' for me. But is the end result - a piece of jewellery maybe or a doll produced by someone who is a 'craftsperson' or someone who is creative? Or are they one and the same thing?

I recognise creativity in others and see it as an ability to follow one's own path and not be swayed by what other people are doing or what they might see on Pinterest. They make things from their own imagination and experiment until they are satisfied. It's a creative process.. but are creative people only happy when they keep 're-inventing the wheel'. Are they unable to settle down and explore just one craft discipline? Or is it just the word 'discipline' that I'm uncomfortable with?

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Knitting season

Yarn bought yesterday from the Knitting Habit at Alton
When it's cold and damp you want babies to be kept cosy and warm in hand knits. I like Drops yarn. This is from Norway. It is reasonably priced and comes in pure Alpaca, pure wool and a few mixtures some of which contain silk. So it's soft, just right for baby skin. 

I've chosen these colours as they are the safest when you don't yet know the sex of the baby. I know some people like bright colours or even black for their little ones but I prefer white or pale neutrals. So those are the colours for little ones you will find in Handmade Happiness. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

A colourful start to 2017

Cushion made by Pam Dew and rag rug by Ruth Ellacott both provide punches of colour
I put colour into the Handmade Happiness window yesterday. I am actively seeking colour in these cold days of winter.Red and orange for warmth. Pink and gold for cosiness. It makes me think about the way we decorate our homes. In the UK where we have definite seasons should we aim for a cosy sitting-room (sunset colours) when for half the year we'd prefer a cooler look (sea colours). Similarly, using clear blues and greens in our houses would not suit us in the winter months. I can see why most of us fall back on a neutral palette, anything else feels too risky.Yet I really admire anyone who has the guts to paint their walls teal or to choose hot pink for their furniture. Think of Tricia Guild and her strong colour palette for Designers Guild.

Are you watching the Great Interior Design Challenge currently showing on BBC2? It's interesting to see the reaction when one of the amateurs tries anything 'brave'. It's either hailed as bold and creative or slammed as tacky and tasteless. But I don't think that the concept of 'taste' is just about one person's individual preferences. I think we can all recognise good taste at some level and respond positively to it but to create a look that excites maybe we have to be prepared to break the rules sometimes.

A reminder that Handmade Happiness is open tomorrow 9.30am to 4.30pm and then January opening hours will be Wednesday,Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9.30am to 4.30pm.