|I've enjoyed knitting these little dolls ...|
Saturday, 16 February 2019
Friday, 8 February 2019
|Little knitted men.|
|Niloo Wickramasinghe's beautiful ceramic pots|
|Rubecula Thread's new purses. Knitted and lined with velvet backs.|
|Spring flowers for a dark and rainy winter's day!|
It's official! I've been talking about doing workshops and free 'creative sessions' in the shop for ages and yesterday I sent out an email to all those who have come in to the shop asking about workshops.
A couple of years ago I rented Winton House at night and we had a series of successful Handmade Happiness workshops there but now I want to do something in the shop during the day because frankly it's too darn quiet at this time of year and it would be great to have the company of like minded people sitting round the table making something gorgeous while enjoying a good chat!
These 'creative sessions' will be free of charge. And there will also be once a month workshops to learn something and use materials provided. These will cost £20 and will be bookable in advance as there is only room for 6 people at a time. The first one on Experimental Knitting will take place on Wednesday February 20th. Email for more info at email@example.com
Tuesday, 29 January 2019
Thursday, 24 January 2019
|Painted papers collage Valentines card by Jenny Stacy|
|Painted papers Valentines card by Jenny Stacy|
|Embroidered 'love' Valentines card by Jenny Stacy|
Yesterday I made Valentine's cards. I started off embroidering the word 'love' but this took too long so I then stitched a heart button to a piece of collage cut out in a small heart shape and I think this looks just as nice.
I did the same with the dolls I made most recently. The first one has an entirely embroidered face and actually I like it the best. But it takes a long time to do this level of detail on something you want to sell for a reasonable price so the rest of the dolls have painted faces with just a little bit of embroidery for definition.
This balancing of price and maker's time is interesting. Some makers don't even take their time into the equation. That quilt may have taken them three years to make but they know they can't charge for their time or no-one could afford to buy it. And other makers are happy if they just make back the price of their stand when selling at a craft show.
But makers who are relying on the money earned from their efforts have to carefully weigh up whether something is even worth making based on the time it takes, cost of materials and, most importantly the highest price anyone is prepared to pay for that item....
Therefore there have to be some short cuts....that is why even though I'd prefer to spend the time embroidering the word 'love' on each card I can't let myself do that.
By the way there was another card with 'love' embroidered on it but it sold while still wet from my making table to a man who said he'd tell his wife he made it himself!!
Sunday, 20 January 2019
Saturday, 19 January 2019
|Jenny Stacy dolls now half price|
Thursday, 17 January 2019
|My knit bracelets with charm or button. Jenny Stacy|
I sit in my little shop and make stuff. I also do my taxes - due on the last day of this month. I tidy, clean and sort. But mostly I wait for someone to come through the door.
It's January, the quietest month. The rain is soaking and the temperature has plummeted. So it's not surprising that no-one is out and about. The news is not encouraging with Marks and Spencer closing down more stores - they are gradually losing 100 of their shops ... and more small independent shops are closing locally. Nearly everyone prefers to buy online.
Yesterday just one person came in to the shop. It is quite tempting to give it up and close down too. Only my pride and stubborn determination keeps me going. When I go (if I go) it will be with a 'bang and not a whimper' as TS Elliot says.
But seriously, think about your local shops. If you never go in there, not even for a card, they will disappear. Are you happy about that?
Sunday, 13 January 2019
|Handmade Happiness window|
|Handmade Happiness window detail|
|Kate Box's cosy knitwear and Jenny Stacy's cashmere bunnies|
|Nice old buttons from a customer's collection|
Saturday, 29 December 2018
|Vintage textile emporium|
|Typical street view. Cheese shop on left|
|Inside a stylish Bath shop|
|This massive tree dominates a town square|
Early on Christmas Eve I drove to Bath to join family in a house we rented near the city centre. If you haven't been to Bath I urge you to go and if you've been before I'm sure you'll want to go again. The locally-quarried yellow stone buildings look so solid and imposing. I imagine they are unchanged since Jane Austen visited The Pump Room in Bath.
A lot of the shops were closed and I really wanted to see inside Susannah's pictured top. This shop houses handmade items from genuine antique French vintage fabrics and you can even buy packs of old fabrics for a reasonable price to make things with yourself. See more on their website cloudsandangels.com
Just opposite Susannah's was a shop with room sets straight off the pages of House and Garden. Wish I'd taken note of the name. Sorry.
So good to be with my three children, their partners and my four grandchildren. Highlights for me were playing with the little ones and once they were in bed, Articulate, Bananagrams and quizzes with the adults!
Now I'm home again cleaning and organising home and shop and doing a bit of re-decorating before the shop re-opens on Tuesday January 8th.
Sunday, 23 December 2018
|An old fairy I made hanging on this year's tree|
|Niloo just brought in more pots she has made. I love these.|
|New! Artist Gemma Bedford's wool and silk large wrap|
|Another gorgeous art scarf wrap by Gemma Bedford|
Today Sunday Handmade Happiness is open from 10 am to 4pm.
The shop will be closed tomorrow on Christmas Eve and will not officially re-open until Tuesday January 8th.
So today is your last chance to get that special, well-designed handmade gift you've had your eye on!!
Today I'm showing a couple of things I'd like as gifts! The silk/wool scarves from Gemma Bedford's paintings are really big and a lovely soft wrap around for cold days ahead.
Niloo Wickramasinge has just brought in her latest pots. I love the arty look of these white vases and they are very popular with customers. Niloo, who now lives locally, lived in Japan for 5 years and is influenced by Japanese design and culture.
The fairy is a throwback. I intended to make more fairies this year but somehow got sidetracked into making different things.
I'll post again after Christmas but from tomorrow it's family time. I wish you a very happy 'family time'. Enjoy your days off and we'll meet again in the New Year.
Thursday, 20 December 2018
|Lots of unusual handmade things to buy in Handmade Happiness|
|Carol Smith brought in more of her popular bird brooches. £6.50 each|
|Just in. A new wreath from Brenda Tilbury|
|Baby mice in walnut shell beds. I've used vintage fabrics on these.|
|New stitched paintings by Sheila Barrow|
So near Christmas and the shop is really busy but every day new stock is dropped off. I am looking forward to doing my 'sales analysis' to see what has done really well this year...
It's all about Christmas because that is when, in common with most shops, Handmade Happiness makes most of its money. That is why it worries me to see so many shops with half price sales on right now in Christmas week. It's a sign of the hard times for retail that shops have to reduce prices at the one time of year when usually they can be guaranteed to sell at normal prices.
If the situation is that desperate I think we'll see a lot of shops close down in the New Year. After all no-one makes any money in January. January used to be the month when sales were on. But right now it seems that sales really are on all the year round.
I'm taking a break after Christmas and the shop will re-open on January 8th.
Next year plans for Handmade Happiness include a monthly workshop and free 'art therapy' sessions. When the shop is quiet it's the ideal time for people to just sit and paint and make and lose themselves in the creative process.
By the way. I still need magazine covers. Just tear off the front and back of any 'glossy' magazine you would otherwise drop into the recycling bin and drop them off. I will be grateful!
Sunday, 16 December 2018
|My carrier bags and paper bags|
I don't need inside pages just the covers. And I prefer thick, glossy covers from magazines like Vogue, Harpers, House and Garden, Homes and Gardens, World of Interiors and Town and Country.
I've always made little bags from inside pages of magazines and carriers from magazine covers and although it takes time, it must have saved me money...But not if I deliberately buy a magazine just to have its cover and pretty photographs!
I now feel a big pang of guilt every time I put something plastic into the rubbish and I'd like to live plastic free but I think it is next to impossible. In the shop I tried for a while to live without bubble wrap. I used to use bubble wrap for ceramics. Now I feel slightly better about using donated bubble wrap but I'd still prefer not to use it at all.... It's just occurred to me that I could use pages from magazines to wrap pots. I think I'll do that from now on!
Despite the rotten weather yesterday the shop was busy.
Apologies to anyone who visits the shop today, Sunday, expecting it to be open. Last week I looked at my opening times and realised I had no day off between now and Christmas so I crossed out Sunday December 16th. I will be open tomorrow, Monday from 9.30 to 4.30 and then every day not including Christmas Eve when the shop will be closed.
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
|Handmade Happiness, 9a Dragon Street, Petersfield, Hants. GU31 4JN|
|Feeling so lucky to rent this shop. It's 400 years old you know!|
|Note earlier opening of 9.30am, open every day in the week before Christmas and NOT opening on Christmas Eve|
There were times on Saturday when I longed for an assistant to help me with sales it was sooo busy. I ran out of my handmade paper bags and was sellotaping them together as I served people.
To make the most of the Christmas season I am opening more often in the run up to Christmas. Just in case you can't read the tiny writing under the sign:
Earlier opening of 9.30am; Open every day including Sunday and Monday in the week before Christmas and this year, HH will not be open on Monday Dec 24th, Christmas Eve.
After Christmas HH is having a make-over and will re-open in January, date to be decided.
Happy Christmas shopping everybody!
I often put pictures on Instagram before I put them on my blog if you want to follow it's jenny_handmade_happiness
And if you've stumbled on this blog by chance it's jennystacy.co.uk
Friday, 7 December 2018
|I love making cards like this. 'Christmas hug' by Jenny Stacy|
|Different colours but still a Christmas hug by Jenny Stacy|
|Giant Catherine Wheel wreath made by Brenda Tilbury|
|All natural gold sprayed wreath by Brenda Tilbury|
|Smaller, lightweight wreath with feathers by Brenda Tilbury|
I am loving the process of making Christmas cards this year. With all the rain, the depressing Brexit news etc. hunkering down to paint, tear papers and draw has felt especially therapeutic. I made a dozen and in a minute I'll finish off a dozen more so I can hopefully take more into work today. I'm also enjoying making more mice in walnut shell cradles. The current batch I'm making at work have really old fabric bed covers ie. old eiderdown fabric.
This week Brenda has brought in more of her popular wreaths. Brenda walks in all weathers and picks up all the cones, leaves, twigs and berries she uses as she walks along. She can even twiddle a bunch of twigs into a wreath shape as she walks. Huge respect to this woman!
Yesterday I was happy to get another stock delivery from Kate Box. Her wrist warmers and neckwarmers are so popular at this time of year, both for keeping customers warm and for giving away as well-received Christmas presents.
Sunday, 2 December 2018
|The latest creations by Niloo Wickramasinge have a delicate appeal|
|I made some mice in walnut shell beds|
And suddenly fairy lights are sparkling and all those little Christmas bits and pieces are out on display! It's the seventh Christmas for Handmade Happiness and I am determined to make it the best ever!
Thursday, 29 November 2018
|Charlotte Brightwell's dog portrait Christmas cards are in the shop now|
|Kate Box's colourful knitwear in the shop now.|
|Enormous Christmas tree and the Spinacker Tower at Portsmouth's Gunwharf Quays|
|New shop at Gunwharf Quays|
It's a very wet week. That means people aren't out and about shopping. This time last year I was making the best money of the year. But this year what with the rain and b___ Brexit not to mention internet shoppping, Handmade Happiness along with every other shop in the UK is struggling to survive.
2018 has been the toughest year so far!
Every day visitors tell me HH is a beautiful shop. Every day people say they wish they could buy everything in the shop and every day people say they'll come back when they have more time. Oh yes and every day people say they are cutting back on Christmas spending this year. And the weather forecast says rain next week as well! Ok enough moaning! Today could turn out to be the best day of the year in HH and if I didn't always think optimistically I would have closed down long ago!!
On Monday afternoon I went to Gunwharf Quays and really enjoyed looking round the outlet stores there among the sparkly Christmas lights! Years ago when I worked at a Petersfield shop called Tricot Too it stocked a clothes brand called American Vintage. Soft cotton clothes I always admired in timeless styles. So I was pleased to see they've now opened an outlet store there.
Although, before you get too excited, the prices are quite a bit higher than prices at the nearby Marks and Spencer outlet store!!
If you want to see more of Charlotte Brightwell's brilliant artwork (she also does child and pet portrait commissions) go to studio85.uk
Handmade Happiness has lots of her Christmas cards, each showing a different breed of dog.
Kate Box's lovely knitwear always makes well-received presents. Right now HH has a good selection so come in and have a look.
Tuesday, 20 November 2018
|Made by Diane Higgins, I fell in love with these embroidered felt baby shoes!|
|Diane Higgins makes felt which she then embroiders.|
|And the other foot! Such beautiful work by Diane Higgins|
Just occasionally I am utterly blown away by someone's talent!
I call it the Wow factor.
Diane Higgins works all year to produce enough of her exquisite designs for Sparkle at Teddington. Having taught textiles all her life, she now makes felt scarves, and embroidered Christmas decorations and baby shoes for this annual sale.
I had a hard job choosing what to buy! My daughter urged me to buy a Christmas decoration but I couldn't resist these baby shoes. As Diane said I could always fill them with chocolate coins and hang them from the Christmas tree. But today I will run a gold thread through each shoe and hang them in the window at Handmade Happiness for everyone to admire and say 'Wow! What a talent!'