Monday, 9 September 2019

London Inspiration

In a window behind Oxford Street
Gorgeous glass
Cake counter at Selfridges
Beautiful flower display
A stunning bit  of floor tiling
Ho Ho Ho? Oh No No No! Bit too early?

It was my daughter's birthday so my other daughter and I met her in Argyll street off Oxford Street. It was 9.45am and we hadn't realised that the shops don't actually open now until 12pm.  So we wandered and put the world to rights over a coffee or two.

Lots of homeless asleep in sleeping bags on the pavement. It's probably safer for them to sleep during the day than at night. But what really distressed me was a young girl, clearly out of her head on drugs, sitting slumped forward. Clearly in need of help. Back here in Petersfield the Salvation Army give practical help to so many people and hopefully one of those kind souls will get her back on her feet again.

It is quite mind blowing to go from crowded pavements into that bastion of all things luxurious that is Selfridges!! I bought a magazine because I think Selfridges stock virtually any magazine you could possibly think of! Nearby the Christmas packaging caught my eye and would you believe it, people were already buying it! I can't think of red and green while the sun is still shining!
I'm sorry I can't tell you who made the glass plates pictured. I'll try to find out and then let you know.

Our favourite place to share some food is Carluccio's but its Fenwicks branch was closed for re-furbishment and will re-open in about a month. So we walked back to the original cafe. I noticed that hemp seems to be the food of the day. More seeds anyone?

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Seen in Guildford

It's cold at night and this fluffy display at Zara Home looked very appealing 
Very comfortable soft leather shoes for little ones at Cos
Love the painted leaves backdrop in Anthopologie
Papier mache flamingoes in the Anthropologie window
An interesting assortment of door and drawer knobs at Anthropologie

I appreciate nice things. Guildford has some great shops and I went up for a wander. Anthropologie, home of unusual gifts, is hosting a Kaffe Fassett exhibition in it's King's Road, London store until the middle of next week. I'd love to see it. I still think of him as the 'King of Colour'!
Inspiration can be found everywhere. You don't have to travel. I'm noticing the beautiful turning colours of hydrangeas in neighbours' garden at the moment. I'll post photos of those next time. 
Enjoy your Sunday!

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Who can we believe?

 'Poor air quality'  posters . Fake news?
The poster that alarmed me . Who put these up?
The stink across town together with those posters made people like me worried
Vague poster that must be upsetting if you live along Southern Rail routes.

When I spotted the poster telling me to take an alternative route because of high levels of pollution I believed it. For a couple of days there had been an unpleasant smell hanging over the town and I linked the two things together. I had to carry on breathing of course but I took my photo of the poster to the tourist information office as we have no police station in Petersfield.
No one knew anything about it and I felt like I was in a science fiction zone.

Now the Petersfield Post is telling me that the town council did not put out that poster. Someone has done a clever cut and paste job with their logos. But whom? Who would want to alarm the population with lies? 

Also this week I noticed the poster above. If I lived in Chichester or worked in Chichester I would be upset by that poster. It's too vague. When exactly will I be unable to travel? 
It reminds me of the old questions journalists are taught to answer : What? Who? Where? When? Why? How? (Not necessarily in that order.) In these days of pre-emptive text on our computers have we forgotten to ask ourselves some basic questions?

With the government appearing completely chaotic right now. Who can we believe? If we have another election right now, who can we trust to be earnestly trying to make this country a better place to live in? 
I am reminded of the old saying and wonder if it is correct:
'Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'

But I still believe that the vast majority of people are good and can be trusted, it's just a matter of picking out which ones we can believe and which ones we shouldn't believe...

Sunday, 1 September 2019

This week

NEW!  Shibori indigo dyed cushions and pieces of fabric by Penny Munro
Night time moth picture embroidered by Ann Hutchings
'Day' embroidery by Ann Hutchings
Continuing to dress my painted peg dolls this week. I'm also selling them without clothes if you want to dress them yourself.

I feel privileged to have two of Ann Hutchings lovely embroideries in the shop this week. She is so clever.
Penny Munro who uses dyeing techniques with indigo dye also brought in her work this week and I am pleased to be able to offer her cushions and pieces for patchwork for sale. The cushion seen behind my dolls is also from Penny.  Just a warning. Although these pieces have been washed the dye keeps on bleeding so do not put indigo dyed fabric into the washing machine. Wash it separately by hand.
Penny gave a very successful indigo dyeing workshop to members of Phoenix Stitchers recently. Phoenix Stitchers are running a coach up to the Knitting and Stitching show on Sunday October 13th. If anyone wants to join us it's £30 each to include entrance to the show, with cheques made payable to Phoenix Stitchers you can hand in to me at the shop from now onwards to book yourself a place on the coach.
Next week sees the start of the Sewing Group at the library. It's on Friday night September 6th from 5pm to 6.30pm. Maximum of 12 people. If you want to join in email me in advance please so I can keep an eye on numbers. This friendly group is completely free of charge for people to sew in good company. I felt that women who work and can't attend creative sessions during daytime may be able to come to this.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Art exhibition - last day today!

Eileen Higham's watercolour of bottles 
Ann Hutchings' embroidery
David Lawrence watercolour 'To the Mountains'
Eileen Riddiford's ice-dyed silk scarves.

Today is the last day to see the PACS show at the Festival Hall, Petersfield. I visited again yesterday and pictured above are some art I like. But there are hundreds of paintings and craft items to look at. I really think that this year is a particularly good year and if you can, get along before it closes at 5pm.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Fidget dolls

I just finished these dolls with their tactile velvet, bobbles and knitted tassels. Jenny Stacy design

If you are one of those people who has a relative with Dementia I think one of these dolls would be a good gift for them. I was thinking of my mother as I made them. I wish I could give her one now. The bobble braid and dangly knitted strands and especially the velvet pieces (some on the backs of the dolls) would be great to fiddle with. I've also seen that sufferers sometimes love to have a 'baby' to hold. 

We don't talk about dementia much in my country (UK) just as we rarely talk about death. I think it would be better for us if we did discuss these things more openly.But it seems to me that with advancing age dementia is a trap that more and more people are falling into. Just as allergies and 'special needs' seem to be increasing among the young...

 This arguably could be the result of things like more air-borne pollution, the chemicals we put on our fields to make them fertile enough and stuff that gets  into the water supply. I'd love to know exactly what is the root cause of all our problems... From personal experience, I know that the black specks and black dust that I wipe from the outside of my shop windows every day from car exhaust pollution can't be doing us any good at all!

 But life is what it is at this moment in time and we have to make the best of it. At the same time we can join together to try to ensure a healthier planet for our children and our childrens' children.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

PACS Art Exhibition on now

Exquisite moths made by Ann Hutchings
Love the soft hues of this painting by Wendy Larken
Another lovely Wendy Larken piece with handmade paper and gold leaf
Meditative painting by Niloo Wickramasinge
Niloo's pots won an award
Statement furniture made by Martin Romanowicz

Petersfield's artists annual exhibition preview was packed last night. As I've mentioned before, this area  boasts a large population of artistic people and the work at the exhibition is as varied and individual as ever. I couldn't resist taking photographs of some of the pieces. And I'll visit again before it closes on Sunday to take some more photographs.

Long time readers of this blog will recognise the name Ann Hutchings. I've showed her embroidery before. She works with just one thread of silk and her work is amazing. Why isn't she famous?

Niloo Wickramasinge is another very talented lady. She makes things for the shop and is multi-talented, excelling at painting,  pottery and needlecraft. Again, in my humble opinion, she should be famous.

Wendy Larken's paintings are so special. These convey a serenity and would be lovely to have at home. Another very talented lady!

Martin Romanowicz is exhibiting his furniture for the first time at this exhibition at the Festival Hall. His work is so tactile it was all I could do to restrain myself from smoothing it and opening those drawers!! This piece is made from maple and walnut. Terence Conran would love this I think!!

I recommend visiting this exhibition if you don't live too far away. Your favourites might be very different from mine...

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Dressed peg dolls

Made by Jenny Stacy - varied clothes, not sure which I like the best!

I love playing with wool and bits of fabrics to dress the little peg dolls painted earlier this week. I'll sell some naked for people to dress themselves...

I made the clothes for the one on the right first. The knitted top (soft Alpaca yarn) took too long to make so I won't be doing many of those. I like the flowery skirt but to be honest it's a bit too long. Then I crocheted a dress for the doll on the left. Again it took a bit long to make it regularly and I prefer to see the feet. The middle one was the quickest to make and I think that's the one I'll be making more of. She's a subtle fairy as the bow to her skirt forms wings!

None of these have hanging loops as I'm imagining them propped on a shelf or even in a dolls' house. I think I'll sew in loops from now on so they can, if you want, be hung on the Christmas tree.
Talking of Christmas, I don't like seeing Christmas cards in charity shops during August. It feels too early. But when is the earliest people will be happy to see Christmas decorations and cards? This year I want to start Christmas early in the shop. Not in August but by the end of September. So look out for a slow infiltration of Christmas items in the shop from the end of September onwards.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Peg dolls

41 peg dolls painted by me, Jenny Stacy! Now to dress them!!
Some old lace and  pretty fabrics.
Now what shall we wear?
I had all these pegs in a drawer so I thought I'd get ahead by painting and varnishing them. My dilemma is how to dress them? Should most of them be fairies (wings always a problem) or should they be women or girls with different clothes on each one?
Then I thought that some people might prefer to dress them themselves. I don't like kits but I could offer some naked dolls for people to enjoy dressing them themselves?
I dressed one for the shop window yesterday. She has a knitted top and flowery skirt with a band of lace sewn around it. The knitting bit takes longer than I would like but she does look pretty. 
I'm inspired by Queen Victoria's little dolls on Pinterest. She dressed them herself and they are very decorative in their silk dresses with lace overlays.

 I thought that with sleeves my dolls could have pipe cleaner arms as well but that makes them unsafe for little ones. Best to keep things simple. The trick is to find simple, quick ways of making that still look effective and expensive.

I'll use the pipe cleaners I've just tea dyed for my tiny fairies. I didn't have enough of those to sell last Christmas and they are very popular.
Meanwhile I've woken up with a stiff arm after knitting for too long last night. I'm trying out a hat pattern. Hats will hopefully be in the shop next month knitted by the wonderful Jenny Drant. I am such an amateur in comparison to her!! 
The reason I am making lots at the moment is because the shop is so quiet. I love it when people come in and browse and admire all the clever handmade things made by clever local people. Come in and say hello if you can. Thank you.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

This week

Bags from my painted papers
Having fun with paint
Two scarves I'm knitting
I made more painted flower hair clips as the last lot sold out.
Painting on handmade paper. It looks so different.

I like to start my day with painting on a sheet or two of paper.
Therefore I have lots of painted papers. I made the latest lot into bags for the shop. I know people appreciate recycled paper bags. Some people even save the little bags I make from magazine pages. The carrier bags I make from magazine covers are used again as storage bags or gift bags.

A bigger project I have in mind is to sew my sheets of needlefelting (one is seen under the flower hair clips) into cushions. Ideally they'd have a velvet back and hand embroidery on the front. That could be something to do in the shop next week. Lots of people are away on holiday right now so it's a quiet time for the shop. But as long as I have something to make at my work table I am happy. After all it's only three months until that busy time of the year when I always wish I'd made more during these quieter times!

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Bits and bobs

Niloo's ornamental pots and vases in Handmade Happiness
Having fun with a painting a day 
New bunting for the top of the window
Pretty mohair for making scarves
These paper lightshades from Ikea look like an art installation!

It's been a week of bits and bobs. I've cut out more bunting, started on two scarves, sewn bits on to dementia dolls (which are now called fidget dolls after my daughters objected to the name!) and I've managed to do some speedy painting before work.
 I'd like to do a lot more painting but other things get in the way. I need to do housework today (Sunday) and I'm always pleased once I've done it. ... I find it helps if there is something interesting to listen to on the radio while I'm cleaning. Cleaning is pretty much a mindless task isn't it and at least with something else to concentrate on you can work on automatic pilot!! 
I often think we are too well educated these days to do housework. But apart from necessary daily tasks Sunday is the day I can have a really good run at getting the house the way I want it.
I'm pleased with these giant light shades from Ikea. I bought them a while ago and have at last put them up.  They add interest to a high ceiling. My mother used to say never have a central light in a room. Only lamps. She would have hated these light shades...But if your house comes with central lights that's what you've got. You can add lamps and only have the central lights on occasionally can't you?

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Dementia dolls and eco-bricks

Dementia doll by Jenny Stacy
I love sweetpeas. This year the garden  is still giving me flowers after 3 weeks.

Regular readers will remember me making lots of very simple dolls with different colourful fabrics front and back, like the one above. Some sold but I still have lots left so I thought I'd turn them into dementia dolls.

With this one I sewed on pompom braid and a length of wide velvet ribbon. Then I knitted a piece with tails and loops and sewed that on too.  Now there are three areas that invite fiddling with. Four if you include the dolls' dreadlocks! And the doll is also the right size to be a 'baby' to be cuddled.

It is stuffed with toy stuffing but I am wondering if I could use soft plastic packaging instead. Up until now I have been putting this into large plastic bottles as 'eco bricks.'

My local authority East Hampshire District Council doesn't recycle food packaging which is really annoying. So for some time I have been puting all that soft plastic packaging into large empty water bottles. The problem is that lots of people are doing the same thing but there are very few places in the country that can actually use these eco-bricks.

 A local school used to take them to build an allotment but they have enough now. So where to put all these eco-bricks? The bloke I asked at the recycling centre hadn't heard of eco-bricks but he did tell me to bring them along so he could see what they looked like...

Everyone wants to do their bit to save the planet right now but sometimes it is not obvious what to do for the best.
Some people pick up litter whenever they see it.
When I visited my daughter in London this week I noticed a sign which said that people who leave their rubbish on the pavement or 'fly tippers' can be fined up to £50,000 !!! Can you imagine that actually being enforceable?

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Here Thursday not Friday

In case you are thinking of visiting Handmade Happiness please note that I will be in the shop today but not tomorrow. Tomorrow Friday 26th July I have family responsibilities. You can still look round but if you are travelling hoping to see me personally I won't be there.
Hope you are loving this heat wave!!

Saturday, 20 July 2019


Knitting with similar colours on my worktable.
So I put these in the window and the sun dried them
Peonies close up

The weather in this country (UK) is so changeable. I can hardly believe that these peonies which I left in water in the window during my days off early this week dried out from the heat and yet for the past three days we have had continuous rain.
I used to think the weather affected trade at the shop but I don't think that any more. It just takes one person to come in and the day is turned around and I love it when someone is truly happy with the choices (and purchases) she or he has made.
Whatever the weather I am happy making. The stitch on this scarf is called 'crest of the wave'. I've also made bunting this week and painted a couple of experimental pictures.
By the way I'm sorry about the black borders on these pictures. My phone does that when I try to get a close up. 
Enjoy your weekend everybody!