Sunday, 23 October 2016

Facebook and new opening hours

Jacqui Watkins lino-cut cards available in Handmade Happiness 2.50 each
 Love these cards by Jacqui at Linen Prints.  There are lots of designs to choose from in Handmade Happiness, including Christmas cards.

Please note I'm trying out new opening hours from now on. Opening an hour earlier - 9am and closing an hour earlier 4pm as listed on the right.

Battling with Facebook at the moment. Everyone tells me I have to have a Facebook page for HH and I am making one. 

Actually my daughter set me up with a Handmade Happiness page linked to her years ago and I tend to forget it exists. Just now I posted on it and Facebook provided the post with lots of pictures taken from the blog (helpful) which I can't see how to caption with a credit. (not helpful). 

I feel very strongly that any photo of someone's work must be attributed to them so Help! How do I edit uninvited photos?

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Making Christmas cards and other new things

Colourful tree cards by Jenny Stacy
Christmas tree collage cards by Jenny Stacy
A new product - chalk paint in a spray!
New shop furniture - an 18 drawer chest from Roost
This week I am making Christmas cards, using the scraps I collect throughout the year. 

Yesterday a rep for a local company showed me chalk paint spray which seems like a good idea for painting small objects, especially awkward-to-paint things like baskets. To find out more see their website

Also yesterday I took delivery of this useful set of drawers from new Petersfield shop Roost which sells solid wood furniture made in Wiltshire. I like a lot of things in this shop - the furniture is robust and looks like it would last a lifetime.

My daughter is urging me to make statement necklaces. I used to love making these but now there doesn't seem to be the stretches of time needed to develop my own making. However she's set me on a path now and I am determined to get at least a few made before Christmas. It's easy enough to make Christmas cards which are relatively quick but a whole other level to come up with some original textile necklaces. Happy making!

Monday, 17 October 2016

New Fairies to Sell

Fairy by Jenny Stacy
Blurry fairy (in flight) by Jenny Stacy
Older fairy by Jenny Stacy
I enjoyed making these fairies in the shop on Saturday and plan to make more this week.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Shop - You Are 5 Today!

In the week it opened the shop only had 5 makers' work
Hard to believe the shop ever looked like this!
To start with the space under the stairs was for a cup of tea with a book!
5 years ago there were noticeboards of inspiration!
I used to paint these little wooden badges.
Before Handmade Happiness the shop was this shade of green. We painted everything white

Five years ago today - October 15th 2011 Handmade Happiness opened for the first time. The blog (8 years old) became the shop. My daughter Amy helped me set it up. There were just 5 makers including myself.

For many years I had a dream. I often looked at empty shop premises in Chichester where I lived but everything was too expensive, Then I moved to Petersfield and suddenly the dream could become a reality - if I was brave enough.

As Tricot Too closed - where Duet clothes shop is now- this shop became available. I had worked for Tricot Too and made many items to sell there so it all seemed logical.I opened my own shop just across the road.

I wanted to sell things to make with and things already made to a high standard. La Droguerie in Paris was my inspiration.

Now Handmade Happiness is an outlet for 45 makers. It is full of good gifts and should do well in the run up to Christmas. I am proud of the shop. People love it!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Textile packages

Inside the parcel - Bag One of colourful, luxury fabrics
Inside the parcel - Bag Two
I sent a flat package of textile bits including sheets of needlefelting to my friend in Australia. It took four and a half weeks to reach her.  When she sends me a package from Australia it only take half that time. I don't know why...

When I was in Paris we wished the fabric shops did packs of bits like this. Just scraps of lots of fabrics you could enjoy making with. Clear packs of unusual, luxe bits look so inviting, even if all you ever do is stare at them in the bag!!

I intend to assemble some bags like this for Handmade Happiness customers to buy. I'll post pictures when they're ready to sell.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Knitting and Stitching Show - Inspiration

This stall says Christmas decorations!
Sophie Digard's scarf design
Love this stylish black and white outfit!
The Maker's Atelier - one of my favourite stalls
Self-portrait by Sue Stone
I talked to two inspiring women at the Knitting and Stitching Show and both had made their living in the fashion industry before setting up on their own.

The Maker's Atelier sells clothes patterns designed with the benefit of many years experience of designing clothes and advising fashion businesses here and abroad. I love the way Frances Tobin uses only the best fabrics for her samples and kits, everything says quality and simplicity.White wool, pale grey silk, greyed pink or navy. It's a smart look. And I admire the way she has not compromised in any aspect of her 'look'. The patterns feel nice, the website ( is stylish - everything reflects her own impeccable taste.

Sue Stone also worked in the fashion industry for many years designing clothes for other people. She had studied at Goldsmiths where she enjoyed embroidery but did not see how she could make her living with just embroidery. Being asked to submit a self portrait for an exhibition started her mission to produce a self-portrait reflecting every year of her life so far. The result is stunning. Not only has she produced 63 self-portraits but also embroidered pictures of all her family and extended family - with layers of embroidery depicting the tweed or knitwear they are wearing. Look at

Monday, 10 October 2016

Knitting and Stitching Show 2016

sari silk ribbons for making with
lush colour in dyed felt and cotton chenille from 21st century yarns
Drops yarn to knit with from Blackbird Yarns
Truly impressive embroidery - 'Petworth Estate Wall' by Heather Collins
Giant Game of Thrones character!
Love these skirts from fabric strips!
Yesterday I was at Alexandra Palace for the always inspiring Knitting and Stitching Show. The first three pictures show what I bought, followed by three pictures to give a flavour of what I saw.

There is so much I want to make right now for the shop.It seems impossible to focus on just one thing.

 Yesterday I spoke to some lovely, creative people who have managed to focus on one thing to create wonderful work. More about them tomorrow.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Decorated shoe tree decoration

Shoe tree decoration designed and made by Jenny Stacy
Cinderella shall go to the ball!

I've been wanting to make a shoe along these lines for ages but I couldn't figure out how to attach the top bit to the sole. I didn't want to use card but I didn't know how else to achieve the stiffness needed.

Then last week Jill Haines came in with some lovely Christmas decorations she has made and mentioned the word 'buckram' which is something she uses.
Buckram is the answer. It acts like card but it is a fabric. Thank you Jill.

I'm looking forward to making more of these shoes... pictures to come.
Today I've written two posts. See below.

The Golden wish list book

Write your Christmas present list in here
 This book is to help men who hate shopping. 

Their partner writes down what she loves in Handmade Happiness. He looks in the book and buys it. Bing, bang, bosh. Done.

So far women have requested one of Kate Box's lovely wraps, a painting by Sheila Barrow and some of Justine Jenner's ceramics. What good taste we women have!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Sheila Barrow's new pictures

Sheila Barrow's embroidery on painted fabric.
'Cockling' by Sheila Barrow
Mussel shells on rag paper by Sheila Barrow
Small picture of the South Downs by Sheila Barrow SOLD
Another of Sheila Barrow's small landscapes. SOLD
I'm very pleased to report that Sheila Barrow delivered a large selection of her work to Handmade Happiness this week. Sheila's exquisitely made pictures are always popular. I love her landscapes - usually showing the South Downs and her little pictures at £29 each make very affordable presents.

I've also had a delivery of lots more dolls' clothes made by Lindy Groom and some beautifully made Christmas decorations by Jill Haines - more about that later...

Can you believe that this blog was 8 years old on September 22nd. I completely forgot to celebrate!!

Friday, 30 September 2016

Paris - food, drink and flowers

Aubergines - not sure I've seen white ones before.
A constant mist of water over the bunches of herbs to keep them in peak condition
The pretty flower shop near the hotel
Perfect pink roses
Desserts in well-designed boxes
Chocolate anyone?
 Not far from the hotel New Orient where we stayed was a greengrocers with the most perfect fruit and vegetables. I think Parisian housewives demand (and expect) perfection in a way that we British do not.( Years ago I witnessed the shouting outrage of one French woman complaining when she saw something that was not quite perfect.)

In this greengrocers the fruit and vegetables were at their very best. We got a mango, an avocado, two perfect peaches, big, juicy tomatoes and a purple lettuce. Then round the corner for a hunk of cheese from the cheese shop and a baguette at another shop. A wonderful picnic.

That first day we had a drink and a croissant for breakfast at a patisserie on high bar stools. On day two (Monday) the patisseries were closed and we had a 'petit dejeuner' at Bar Dome which consisted of freshly squeezed orange juice, coffee and croissant for 7 euros. Considering we'd been paying 4.50 euros for just a cup of tea elsewhere this seemed like good value.

We noticed that you could have a hot drink/ glass of wine or soft drink all for the same price - 5 euros at some places. At our rate of exchange the pound was almost the same value as the euro so next time - a thermos!

We were surprised that our rooms at the hotel didn't have drink making facilities. French people obviously don't crave a cup of tea on waking the way we British do! I would recommend the New Orient Hotel in rue du Constantinople - just take a travel kettle with you and a plug adaptor.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Paris visit - Day Two

 Beautiful ceiling in the Laduree tea room
An unexpected bear

Can you believe it? This shop just sells meringues.
Printed satins
I really like these...
...and this one! All in Tissus Reine
Monday - first stop Monoprix which has good value stylish baby clothes. Then the metro to Barbes-Rochouart for the rue d'Orsel. I cannot recommend this road too highly. If you like fabric you will LOVE the rue d'Orsel in Montmartre.

Shop after shop of keenly priced fabrics. Some had a speciality for example leathers, suedes and furs - faux and real -in one of the first shops we went in. I would never eat meat but I did like seeing the myriad of colours you can buy pieces of leather in - from palest pink, turquoise, purple. And the faux fur throws - tiger, chinchilla rabbit were impressive if you like that sort of thing.

Another shop seemed to specialise in fabrics for 'Strictly Come Dancing' and fancy dress.

We bought a piece of beautiful lime velvet to halve, Pam found great shot cottons for her quilts and I got a piece of navy dotted white cotton jersey for baby clothes in the more general fabric stores.

My favourite shop is Tissus Reine - also the most expensive one we found. I loved the pictured printed satins. They also had a very good range of Liberty fabrics (but not cut price.)
After a quick cup of tea at the Librairie at the top of the road (which also houses a Museum of Naif Art) we were on the metro again to Les Halles.

For so long La Droguerie has been my favourite shop. It's in rue du Jour. I loved it when living in Paris decades ago and it hasn't changed. If you love habadashery - buttons, ribbons, yarns etc or beads you will love this shop. But there is a drawback. You have to wait to be served and we nearly gave up waiting and left with nothing. It is not self service and it would be much better if it were. Because you have to wait for an assistant to get you what you want to buy you queue. Too few assistants for too many would-be buyers.
I still recommend a visit - even if it's just to look and not buy.

Tomorrow more pictures of Paris. I can't wait to go back now!