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 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.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 in pictures

Everything made by Kate Box sold out before Christmas
A clothes line of dolls' clothes made by Lindy Groom
Some ideas - like selling these ribbons - failed
This jewellery made by Annie Sherburne was a hit
One of several dozen fairies I made in the Christmas run up
Bee Mellor's beautiful work with silks and velvet  is always admired and her bird decorations sold out.
Niloo's porcelain decorations were a hit were Kate Hackett's ceramics
Eleven bears made by Sarah Pinney also sold out.

2016 in more pictures

Brenda Tilbury (Queen of Wreaths) made this to celebrate Valentine's Day
Notebook cover by Carol Smith
Niloo's pure white porcelain bowls on wood stand.
Collage Easter card by Jenny Stacy
Family wedding, so paper flowers to make
One of  Sheila Barrow's  exquisite little pictures 
Tanya Williamson's popular cushions
Award yourself a medal - made by Jenny Stacy
Justine Jenner's ceramics appeal to customers
Lovely traditional style bears hand sewn by Lindsey Agostinelli
 Happy New Year!!
I have a strong feeling that 2017 will be a particularly good year. I always feel optimistic and upbeat on January 1st. The new year holds such promise and such potential, giving everyone an opportunity to reflect on the past and to try to improve the present and the future.
This blog is 8 years old and attracting more readers than ever before and recently I've enjoyed puting more photos on Instagram.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Bright thoughts on a misty morning

Low mist over Petersfield Lake. Picture taken yesterday at lunchtime.
One of my New Year's Resolutions is to aim for 10,000 steps a day ie. to fit in more excercise. So yesterday I walked round Petersfield Lake and I aim to do that every day. Just walking in the fresh air is uplifting.

This is one of my favourite times of the year. In spite of the cold and damp, everyone gets the chance of a fresh start as the page of one year is turned onto the page of a new year. 

Although I'm not opening the shop again until Saturday January 7th I'll be popping in and out and if you want to visit before then just text or email me and we'll arrange it.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Bee Mellor's bird decorations

Fun needlefelted and machine embroidered birds made by Bee Mellor
Great for any time of the year but right now Bee Mellor's birds can be hung on the tree.
Sometimes handmade items come into the shop that I have a strong feeling about. I love these birds. They are highly collectable and the sort of thing that will be treasured for a long, long time. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Let's talk about it

Flowers from my mother's funeral 
 Today I went to the funeral of a close friend. She had a big personality and very definite views on life.  We could talk on the telephone for hours and she never bored me. She was one of those 'seekers after truth' always curious, always willing to discuss and share what she had found out.

Today I saw that the church was full. She had lots of friends.... and a taste for Macedonian folk music (played at her funeral) that I had never suspected. Although she could be blunt, she was extremely generous. Like my mother, she expressed her love through the gifts she gave.

I appreciate her more now that she's gone. She collected beautiful things and her house was magazine perfect. Her taste inspires mine. I'd like to talk to her again on the telephone but I can't. She's gone.

We've all got to go one day. I wish we could talk about death more.It's one of those subjects like 'sex, religion and politics' that is never discussed. We pretend it's not going to happen to us, but it is. I've listened to a very good programme called 'Let's talk about death' led by Joan Bakewell on Radio 4. She takes an unflinching look at exactly what happens to us in the lead up to our deaths and listening to doctors, district nurses and the bereaved talk about it is not half as depressing as you may think.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Lots of fairies

I bought this fine material in France. The trim belonged to a friend's mother. Fairy made by Jenny Stacy 
This one makes me think of The Nutcracker. Fairy by Jenny Stacy
An over-dressed fairy with a generous mouth! Fairy by Jenny Stacy
A big hair Madame Pompadour fairy by Jenny Stacy
Twirling fairy by Jenny Stacy
Fairies on the sparkly tree in Handmade Happiness
Ceramic robin by Kate Hackett and embroidered decoration by Bee Mellor
I had a big change around in the shop yesterday and now it looks simplified.

I'm showing you fairies today as that's what I've been making (and will continue making) this week. 

It's funny how attached you get to the things you make. Yesterday someone was considering using one of my dolls as a doorstop and I felt quite worried that poor Bessie was going to spend years being bashed every time someone opened that door. We talked about alternatives and luckily Bessie is still waiting to go to a good home!!

By the way I've put some pictures on Instagram but failed to install the widget on the blog. If you want to look anyway it's jenny_handmade_happiness

As there's no history on my new phone could anyone that regularly texts please text to say Hi from (name here) so I have their details? Thanks.

Hello and welcome to Russian readers! This week the blog has many visitors from there.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

All these things cost between £5 and £10

Baby bootees by Patricia £9.50; Fairy by Jenny £9.50 and lavender bag by Brenda Tilbury £4.95
Three felt brooches made by Karen Boller £9.50 each
Doll's dress £6 and matching pants £6 made by Lindy Groom
Trousers for teddy made by Lindy Groom £6
Vases and porcelain small bowl all made by Niloo £9.50 each
Using old fabrics, tree by Sarah Pinney £9.50 and lavender filled heart by Jenny £6.50
Just a few of the things you can buy at Handmade Happiness this Christmas for under £10. There are also cats, mice, penguins, and sheep in Santa hats made by Sue Inglis and all the things featured in the previous post. 

Next time I'll show you what Handmade Happiness has for a budget of between £10 and £20. A lot, is the answer to that!

I have recently caved in to family pressure and upgraded my phone. I can now do Instagram which seems like fun. I'll add a link to the blog when I've put on some photos.