Sunday, 15 July 2018

Bits and Pieces

Made lots of carrier bags this week 
The shop is selling Drops Cotton Merino and these handmade velvet buttons
Pretty flowers in a Justine Jenner vase
 
Pictured above: I'm embroidering a t-shirt in quiet moments in the shop. 
Above: Kate Box's gorgeously soft baby blankets for sale in Handmade Happiness.


I made a dozen carrier bags from old Harpers Bazaar magazines this week that a lovely customer gave me. For some reason the more bags I make the more stock I sell. 

For nearly 7 years I've been making all the packaging materials for Handmade Happiness, carriers from the covers of magazines and paper bags from the inside pages. 

This year I've also stopped buying bubble wrap which up until recently I used for pottery sales and to wrap pictures. I don't want to have to buy anything plastic and again a customer has stepped in and is giving me thick packaging paper for wrapping fragile stock.

I enjoyed making the velvet buttons and have a stock of them for colder months. Now I'm embroidering a t-shirt - I want to cover the front with embroidery. I also made a necklace for the dress I wore for the Petersfield awards night on Friday. Handmade Happiness was shortlisted for Best Shop.I had decided in advance that it was unlikely that Handmade Happiness would win and I was right. It didn't win but as they say, it's the taking part that counts!

I am always so proud that the shop has so many talented makers. Kate Box, who lives in Petersfield is one of them. Pictured above - what a wonderful present for a newborn one of these soft baby blankets would be... 

By the way, if you want to see more photographs as soon as I take them, why not follow the shop on Instagram? I try to put up a picture every day. jenny_handmade_happiness

Monday, 9 July 2018

In the shop now

Finger dolls and cashmere bunnies
Tanya Williamson's cushions
Tanya Williamson's textile pictures
An irridescent pigeon feather against the grain of a bowl by Harry Butler

 Justine Jenner has just delivered examples of her latest pottery designs to Handmade Happiness. Justine's experimental work with matt glazes is truly special and her work is colourful and 'of the moment'.

Pictured above are just two of Tanya Williamson's many textile pictures in the shop now. These make ideal little presents.

Some months ago I told you that Handmade Happiness has been shortlisted for Best Shop Award. On Friday night the actual winner will be announced.  I will let you know who wins. But picture me at the awards ceremony with a stiff smile on my face - like a Petersfield version of the Oscars when nominees have to put on a brave face on hearing that someone else has won - and then heartily congratulate them!!! 

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Outside in the heat wave

Raspberries discovered under the weeds in the garden
Love the colour of this hollyhock
Pleased to find this in a charity shop this week
Fancy brickwork on some old houses in Petersfield

We're having a heat wave - a friend just got back from Turkey and the temperature was the same! My garden is overgrown - it's too hot to tackle it...

On my day off I walked round Midhurst and if I closed my eyes I could imagine being in a desert with the sun beating down on my head! I found the pretty embroidery book in Midhurst and a useful set of drawers for shop display.

The shop has been busy lately and it's good to have some new stock like these monoprint cards with pastel that local artist Carol Smith has just brought in.


Sunday, 1 July 2018

What I bought

Heart from Harriet's Attic, wood bunny from Trunk and linen thread from The Old Habadashery

These pretty tea towels were being sold to benefit a charity.

This is what I bought at the Country Brocante Fair at Midhurst on Friday. I love the tea towels and I'm wondering if Ikea sell something I could frame them in. For my house, not for the shop.

Pictured above, the little heart from Harriet's Attic is beautifully made and I love the vintage French (?) fabric chosen. The bunny from Trunk is just the right shade of pink and I plan to have similar items from those makers in the shop soon.

I also discovered a stand called The Old Habadashery and bought the Swedish linen threads from there. This company has a shop in Ticehurst, East Sussex which I'd like to visit theoldhaberdashery.com 

Something else I'd like to have in the shop are Rosehip's calligraphy tags. These are beautifully written words on watercolour paper with a vintage fabric tie. Watch this space.

I could have happily returned to this Fair yesterday. So much to see that after two full marquees I knew I wasn't giving my full attention to the stands that came after. But I am always happy to be in the Handmade Happiness shop, talking to the lovely visitors that come through the door and yesterday it was very busy.

When not serving customers I am embroidering a white t-shirt. It's slow progress but I hope to be able to put it in the window soon!



Saturday, 30 June 2018

Country Brocante Fair

A heaped table of  old French fabrics and trims
Handmade perfection by Ayers and Grace
Pretty handmade jewellery by Snow Jewels
Heart and Daisy makes cushions, bags and hearts.
Poster advertising the Country Brocante Fair at Midhurst
Handmade, individual childrens' clothes
More of my pictures taken at the Fair yesterday

The Summer Country Brocante Fair is on today, Saturday 30th June, in the grounds of Cowdray Park, Midhurst.

I went yesterday morning and thoroughly enjoyed looking at dozens of stalls. Rachel Ashwell, of Shabby Chic fame was there, signing her latest book, and Cabbages and Roses were there selling their pretty clothes and fabrics.

I went looking for handmade and I am hoping that some of the makers I found will soon have work in Handmade Happiness. Meanwhile I will show you what I was tempted to buy in tomorrow's post!

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Pretty Buriton etc

Some Liberty bits I'll use this week
Driftwood balls
Water feature
Driftwood horse
Pretty thatched roof cottage in Buriton

Today I went round the Buriton Art Trail. Just a few miles from Petersfield, Buriton is a little village built around a church and a duck pond and it's full of the sort of cottages you would love to live in! 

Friday, 22 June 2018

For sale

38mm coral velvet button on  painted paper background £3.50
Soft brown 38mm velvet button on collaged background £3.50
Rich rust 38mm velvet button on painted papers background £3.50
Red wine velvet 38mm button on painted paper £3.50
Yellow-green velvet 38mm button on collage background £3.50

One of the nicest things to do is to sit down with a pile of white paper and layer paint onto it and see what results. I thought it would be fun to use some of these painted papers together with the odd torn paper from a magazine, like the background to the yellow-green button above, as background to the buttons.

These buttons are the largest I covered. See more colours and sizes by scrolling down to a recent post where I pictured lots of them.

I made these yesterday afternoon when the shop was quiet. Today I'm planning to make some textile necklaces and if they get finished I'll sew some smaller buttons onto collaged painted papers. Now the question is: Will anybody buy them?

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Dolls and old buttons

I've made more finger dolls. Dont know if I prefer short curly hair or long pony tails...
Old red buttons found yesterday
More old buttons bought yesterday. The blue ones are made of glass.

Regular readers will know that finding an old 'finger doll' from a few years back made me want to make some more. These ones are a bit fatter than the original. I just drew round my longest finger for the pattern. Also these are new, improved because there are four different Liberty fabrics on each and because I like the back as much as the front I decided to embroider faces on both sides! 

I love to use old buttons in my makes. Whether it's to do up a necklace or bracelet or to decorate a doll or a collage, old buttons have far more visual impact than new buttons. Agree?

Monday, 18 June 2018

Liberty and Anthropology

Gorgeous art fabrics at Liberty
Kaffe Fassett fabrics at Liberty
Love this Liberty velvet covered chair
A message in push pins at Anthropologie - always so innovative! 
I bought this plate in the Anthropology sale. Love their paper bags as much as the plate!


London on a Sunday...I haven't done that for a while.

 I met one of my lovely daughters in Fenwicks and we had a good look round Liberty. If I could make clothes I would love to make her a dress from one of the 'art' fabrics pictured above. And I could have happily taken home that velvet covered chair.

Talking to my daughter always re-inspires me. So does going to nice London shops to 'get my eye in' as my mother would have called it! I rarely buy anything but just seeing good displays of desirable merchandise encourages me to try harder with my own shop!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Making, making, making

Bunny slippers for a grandaughter from a pattern by Fiona Goble. The jumper is knitted by Patricia and in the shop.
I've been making cashmere bunnies for ages but I found the 'finger doll' when tidying and I'll make more of her
Velvet on velvet. Making lots of velvet buttons both to sell and to use in jewellery making

Since having the shop I've made lots of small things to sell at a reasonable price. This week I've been sitting at my worktable making. 

It was a nice surprise to come across the finger doll pictured above.  Years ago I made lots of these and they must have sold well because she's the only one I have left. I drew round my longest finger for the pattern. Last night I soaked a piece of calico in tea to achieve a more flesh like colour and ironed Liberty scraps for the bodies. Hopefully I'll have the sewing machine out and get some made in the shop today.

I love velvet, especially soft silk velvet and even better, silk velvet that has been hand dyed in colours that blend into one another. Years ago I was lucky enough to get my hands on a quantity of velvet expertly dyed by my friend Alison Crosthwaite. We swapped because she liked my handmade buttons - not velvet ones, the ones I used to do with patterns on them. I've tried dyeing velvet myself but wasn't happy with the results. Woman - know your limits!

Happy weekend everyone! 

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Beads to bust Brexit slump

SOLD but more are available at Handmade Happiness
Roses on the shop counter

Some makers always say their sales are 'fine'. I can only be honest. Life is hard at the moment. People aren't spending. If proof were needed that retail is in the doldrums, House of Fraser has just announced it is closing down half of its department stores. And you already know that Marks and Spencer is closing 100 of its stores.

One idea to bust the Brexit slump is to have something so cheap in the window it is irresistible. That was my idea this week. So I have painted dozens of 'friendship beads' and put them on a dyed silk tie. They can be worn as a bracelet or anklet where the silk is longer. Just £1 each. I wonder how many will sell today, Saturday? I'll let you know.

Meanwhile I have another 30 beads on the table in front of me to paint before work!


Thursday, 7 June 2018

Making bits and pieces

More painted beads by Jenny Stacy
Painted beads and a twist of silk
Playing with velet . Buttons and Suffolk puffs made by Jenny

I want to have more of my own jewellery in Handmade Happiness but, as usual, I want it to be as original as possible so I am at the trying out ideas stage.

I have painted beads for jewellery before and I have used velvet in neckpieces but it's funny how a conversation can spark a whole new train of thought...

Yesterday a lovely lady was telling me about a fascinating one year course on Oriental Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. She glanced at what I was doing and said,'Ah, I see you are making buttons'and in my imagination I could see a long plain velvet coat with the puffs with button on top ranged down the centre as 'buttons'. The buttons don't have to do up, they could each have a large popper under them. I'd like to wear a coat like that in the winter.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Making necklaces and the Brexit effect

Necklaces by Jenny Stacy for Handmade Happiness
I painted these to include in necklaces
It's peony time in the garden. Love them!

This week I have been making necklaces and painting beads for them and making buttons and velvet beads to be made into necklaces.

Hearing recently that Marks and Spencer were closing 100 stores was a comfort to me... the down turn in spending is wide spread. 

With the uncertainty of what lies ahead for Britain and the lack of confidence in our politicians to negotiate a good deal for us, people are holding back from spending money unnecessarily. Who knows what the future holds? 

The question is, will there be any more money around in two years time and can retailers like me, who still need to pay the same rent and bills regardless of what money is spent in the store, be able to hold out until the time we are officially 'out' of the EU?

I'm seeing many shops going under at this time. 
But I am determined to ride this out. Handmade Happiness has been around for nearly 7 years and I'm not caving in yet!!

Interestingly I spoke to someone who had a shop for 14 years and recently retired. The first 7 were Heaven she said and the other 7 were much more difficult. It seems to me that we have been in a 'recession' for a long, long time.