Saturday, 16 February 2019

More knitted dolls and the most unromantic card ever!

I've enjoyed knitting these little dolls ...
Imagine receiving this on Valentine's Day!!

This week I have been using leftover yarn to knit little men. I was intending to knit three little women so each man could have a partner but two of the ladies turned into little boys. And actually I like the little boys best.

I feel desperately sorry for anyone who received an unromantic card on Valentines Day! I spotted this one and hid it behind lots of nicer ones, hoping no-one bought it! It takes the prize along with another one I saw with just a picture of a sloth on it.

I agree with people who are reminding us that Valentines Day is a chance to think of all the people we love - partners of course, but also children, our parents, grandchildren and good friends. And to tell them that!

Friday, 8 February 2019

New in the shop and creative happenings

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 jennystacy6@gmail.com

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Workshop news

Decorative heart I've just made, hopefully the first of many.The smoothly turned wood bowls are made by Harry Butler.


Exceptionally the shop will be closed this Thursday and Friday (January 31st and February 1st)  At this time of year the shop is quiet anyway what with it being January and the freezing cold weather...But I would hate for anyone to travel to the shop and then find it closed so I'm hoping that doesn't happen.

The shop is open as normal next week and I will be there tomorrow (Wednesday) and on Saturday. 

Is anyone else out there in the midst of tax calculations? It's always such a good feeling when it's done for another year! I've completed my tax return this morning. Hurray! 

Next month will see the first in-shop workshop of 2019. I will send out details at the weekend to all those who've expressed an interest.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Making Valentines cards

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!! 

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Half price Sale starts today

Jenny Stacy dolls now half price
Bead necklaces made by me are also in the sale

For the first time ever Handmade Happiness is having a sale which starts today.
 Only my own makes and some things I've bought from makers are included in the sale:
Dolls reduced from £29 to £15; Necklaces reduced from £29 to £15; half price baby knitwear and jewellery. Anything on the central table is in the sale.



Thursday, 17 January 2019

Making days

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

Get Cosy!

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
When it's cold and dark flowers are needed!

 January should be an exciting time!. New opportunities, new ideas. lots of plans for a bright, bright future. But I admit I've lost my way a bit lately. This country is depressed and confused about Brexit. People, sensibly, are choosing to hang on to their money and not spend it  because who knows what the future has in store for us? There isn't any confidence that things will be better without Europe that's for sure and that lone pioneer spirit eludes me!!

All around me shops are closing down. Tallulah Fox, next door but one is checking out and so is a High Street jeweller. We've recently lost Clarke's shoe shop, Morrisons, Petersfield Electrical and New Look. Other retaillers will close down soon. Charity shops move in to empty premises and charity shops and online shopping is what people seem to prefer.

On the plus side I have notebooks full of new ideas to make. I want to travel and find exciting new makers. And I want to do something with plastics - the non-recyclable soft kind like polythene and cling film. Some authorities re-cycle food packaging but not East Hampshire I regret to say. 

Don't you feel bad every time you put plastic into the bin? I do and instead I'm stuffing it into a plastic bottle which my daughter says can be used in building although in building what I'm not quite sure... But I think there is a prettier use for all this unwanted plastic ...I have an idea I just need to devote a few hours to experimenting now.

Meanwhile the shop is getting an early spring clean and I'm making at my worktable.  After the Christmas rush, January opening hours are back to:
 Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9.30am to 4.30pm