Thursday, 8 December 2016

Xmas cards and crackers

Christmas cards by Ellie Mason
Painted collage card by Jenny Stacy
Painted collage card by Jenny Stacy
Painted collage card by Jenny Stacy
Painted collage card by Jenny Stacy and hand marbled gift tags £1 each
Ellie Mason design cards are now available at Handmade Happiness and yesterday Niloo delivered Christmas cards showing her porcelain Christmas decorations. Niloo's delicate porcelain trees, baubles and star decorations are selling fast.

See above how I used some of that marbled paper I made earlier in the year! I love making cards but they are the least cost effective things to make as I've found that if you charge much more than £2.50 for a card it just doesn't sell. (I did once see a painted card in Fortnum and Masons for £100 but I don't know if it actually sold or not!)

I've still got lots of marbled papers left and I'm planning to make some crackers with it. 

If you're thinking of making crackers one idea is to buy a pack of cheap crackers from the pound shop and retrieve the banger, paper hat, maybe even the joke to add to your own crackers. Then all you need do is to put a nice gift inside your cracker (eg. Lindt tiny chocolate bear?) 

As you will guess any crackers I make will be for the family, not for sale. 

Today I need to focus on making more fairies for the shop. Yesterday a lovely family over from Germany bought all five of the fairies I had made so today I'll be at my desk sewing up layers of tiny fairy skirts! 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

All these things cost less than £5 !

Porcelain decorations by Niloo.  Tree £4; round decoration £3 and star £2
Ceramic decorations by Kate Hackett. Dove £2; Angel £3 and robin £3. Robin jug £18
Decorations by Samantha Robertson all £3 and £3.50
Christmas cards and Christmas gift boxes all by Sue Inglis. All £4.50 each
100% beeswax candle bear and hive, made by Elizabeth Eveleigh £4.50 each. Bird decoration by Carol Smith £4.50

As promised, here is a wide selection of things you can buy in Handmade Happiness and still have change from £5. And there is a wide assortment of cards priced from £1.95 as well.

Next time I'll picture what you can buy for between £5 and £10.

By the way I'm opening on Monday morning from 9.30am until 12.30pm, just because it's December.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Shop windows - Fortnum and Masons

Christmas window showing all male Swan Lake
Fortnum and Mason's windows 

 To put you in the Christmas mood I thought I'd show these pictures I took about 5 years ago of Fortnum and Mason's windows. The Swan Lake theme celebrates Matthew Bourne's all male ballet production. 

The other reason you are being shown old photos is because although I took lots of photos in the shop today I stupidly left my camera on the counter...tomorrow I'll share them!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

More new things in Handmade Happiness

Sarah Pinney's charming sewn decorations
Samantha Robertson's Christmas platter £45. Decorations from £3
Christmas coaster £5 by Samantha Robertson
Stag cushion by Tanya Williamson £56
Tanya Williamson bee cushion
Goose and Indian runner duck cushions by Tanya Williamson £38 and £48
I am delighted to become a stockist for Sarah Pinney's work. Sarah trades under the name of Northfield Primitives and I've been an admirer of her work for a while.Utterly original, she uses an old treadle sewing machine to create her pieces.

This week also saw deliveries from Samantha Robertson and Tanya Williamson,both Handmade Happiness favourites. Plus a package of 24 ceramic robin decorations made by Kate Hackett sold out in a flash. Don't worry, she's sending more!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Follow the Star!

Hanging above Handmade Happiness is this large star made by Brenda Tilbury
I am really grateful that Brenda, also known as  'Queen of Wreaths', found Handmade Happiness and likes it enough to allow it to stock her lovely decorations and cards.

Now let's talk about prices.

 I am well aware that some people don't set foot in Handmade Happiness because they assume it is an expensive shop. Well - newsflash - it really isn't!

A customer yesterday managed to find quite a few things to help fill an advent calendar. Cards start at £1.95 for a handmade card, hand-printed gift wrap is the same price and tree decorations are from £2 each. Most items in the shop cost less than £10. 

I have just been looking at the website of a London shop which sells individual, handmade Christmas decorations for nearly £300 each.

 People like individual and they like handmade, as long as the quality is there. Handmade Happiness offers quality at lower prices to people who are sure enough of their own taste not to need the reassurance of a hefty price tag.

 I could put all the prices up enormously but Petersfield is not London and having the reputation of being an expensive shop would then be fully justified. But right now it really isn't!

Next week I'll put photographs on the blog of the choice of cards, decorations and gifts Handmade Happiness offers in various price brackets. In these days of austerity most of us have a price ceiling beyond which we will not, or cannot go when buying for Christmas. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

New in Handmade Happiness

Sally Pawson's silver jewellery with coloured aluminium decoration
Sally Pawson's cufflinks and earrings.
Close up of silver cufflinks with colourful aluminium decoration by Sally Pawson
New Romney sheep wool dyed and spun by Sue Flux
Alpaca wool spun and knitted by Sue Flux. Scarf £19.50. SOLD
Wool scarf spun and knitted by Sue Flux. £19.50
Sue Flux's handmade Dorset buttons on wool she has felted made into flower brooches. £14.50
 Today two makers brought their work into Handmade Happiness.
As the shop opened Sally, who lives in Petersfield, brought in her colourful jewellery and shortly afterwards Sue Flux who dyes and spins wool from sheep and Alpacas visited with her latest work.

I particularly admire the Dorset buttons Sue has made as centres for her felted flowers. These are so labour-intensive and miniature works of art in themselves.

By the way, the two teddy bears seen in one of the pictures are made by Lindsey Agostinelli.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Fairy lights and more decorations

The window today
Looking in to the window today
Smaller embroidered silk and ribbon Christmas decorations made by Bee Mellor
Week by week Handmade Happiness is looking more Christmassy.

 Today fairy lights went up. Soon, thanks to Brenda Tilbury, there will be an evergreen Christmas star hanging from the flagpole.

 It's busier, as customers, some clutching Christmas lists, search for the perfect gift for members of their families.

 Today I was given a bag of special fabrics for us to make with, Lindy Groom came in with more dolls' clothes and a Petersfield jewellery maker showed me the cufflinks, earrings and necklaces she makes in colour on silver which, hopefully will be in the shop before the end of the week.

Another maker, new to Handmade Happiness, is supplying the very special fairies, quilted Christmas trees and bear decorations she sews also at the end of this week.

 So lots of pictures of new things in Handmade Happiness are in the pipeline, although sometimes things get bought before they can be photographed. My 'Good as Gold' wish book is filling up (see previous post) and how often do I hear people say, 'I would love to buy these things for myself but I mustn't, I must buy things for other people!'

Friday, 18 November 2016

Bee Mellor's Christmas Decorations

Decorations by Bee Mellor
Bee Mellor uses vibrant silks and scraps of ribbon and trim to create these
Bee Mellor's decorations - embellished and embroidered
Sometimes I think that the things in Handmade Happiness are as good as, or even better than anything you could buy anywhere in the world. These new decorations are a good example. Each one has been made with love and care to create something unique to brighten someone's tree or you could put one inside a card as a thoughtful gift in the post. I love them. Thank you Bee!

New items by blacksmith Michael Stanton

Michael Stanton's Chestnut Roaster on rag rug by Ruth Ellacott
Michael Stanton's Boot Jack on rag rug by Ruth Ellacott
Companion set of poker and shovel by blacksmith Michael Stanton
Blacksmith Michael Stanton, who works under the name of Fraught Wrought, visited Handmade Happiness this week with these fine examples of his craft.

If I had a log fire I would love to roast chestnuts, or even (?) potatoes using his roaster or it would look great just hanging up in an old cottage.

I remember when every home had a companion set like the one above next to the fireplace. (By the way it hangs beautifully parallel, I've just put it on a sloping chair to photograph it.)

I have often struggled to remove wellies after being in the garden but this boot jack would help. Just thinking what a great man present it would be... 

Thursday, 17 November 2016

How are things with you?

Brenda Tilbury stripped down last year's tree and painted it white for the shop window
Pleased to find 'Victorian' tiles at Topps tiles
Unsettled. What with Brexit and the American election and Syria - does the future seem unsettled to you? I've long ago learned not to spend too long listening to the Today programme on Radio 4 because of its depressing effect. News headlines yes but news analysis no. 

It's quieter in the shop than it was at the same time last year and I'm assuming this is because people don't want to be tempted into spending money before they absolutely have to. Visitors love Handmade Happiness and I have to believe they'll return to Christmas shop soon!!

Meanwhile I am thinking of making a few changes to my house. Last Sunday I visited Ikea - we actually walked nearly 2 miles around that shop - I know because my son in law recorded our steps. (The one at Wembley.) I'd like a shiny white kitchen like the one in my last house and Ikea certainly represents value for money.

Then I went to Topps tiles for the first time.(Waterlooville one.) Such nice tiles and so many choices. I'd like marble-look-alike and they had some ceramic ones that seem just right.

Yesterday a blacksmith came in to Handmade Happiness with things he has made. Really nice wrought iron boot jack, chestnut roaster and companion set (poker and spade on a stand). I'll take pictures today and tell you more tomorrow.
Brenda Tilbury, who created the white tree pictured above, has delivered 5 beautiful wreaths she has made. Again, pictures tomorrow.

Friday, 11 November 2016

New fairies

Fairy by Jenny Stacy. Lots of pink candy floss hair and multi layered skirt.
Fairy by Jenny Stacy. Lace underskirt, two pairs of wings and lilac flower.
Turquoise fairy by Jenny Stacy.
Yesterday I did the first stage of 21 fairies.

Today I wrapped 6 in embroidery silk and completed just these three. They will all look so different. 

I took the most time over the centre fairy but I actually like the pink one at the top best even though it was quickest to do and the most simple!

Wonder if I'll get any more made tomorrow... Saturday is usually the busiest day in the shop. 
Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The unbelievable truth

A pretty picture of my kitchen windowsill to take your mind off the news
Today was like waking up to the news that we'd voted ourselves out of Europe.Unbelievable.

 Except today's news was even worse. Today we woke up to the news that the most powerful man in the world is now ... Donald Trump... Shock horror! I was so sure that Hilary Clinton would be the next president. The BBC seemed so sure that Hilary would win and that perhaps lulled us into a false sense of security. 

I know we should try and remain positive but I'm finding it hard to see a silver lining to this particular black cloud. I felt restless all day at work as I'm sure many of you did. What can we do? Can life carry on as normal? What changes will we see in the coming days? 

Sunday, 6 November 2016

New paintings by Christine Burgess

Christine Burgess just delivered these paintings to Handmade Happiness.
She has a rare talent and this is an opportunity to buy one of her originals before everyone else catches on and the (modest) prices soar!

Please note I'm changing the shop's opening hours. Having experimented for two weeks with an earlier opening time and found no increase in trade I'm compromising and from now until Christmas these will be the new opening hours:
             Tuesday       9.30am   to  12.30pm
             Wednesday  9.30am  to  4.30pm
             Thursday      9.30am   to  4.30pm
             Friday          9.30am   to  4.30pm
             Saturday      9.30am   to  4.30pm 

In practice I never seem to get away at closing time so if you see me in the shop, come in, the shop is still open!!