Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Making flowers - and staying sane

The lower one is made by me
Not realistic but still fun to do

Daffodils from crepe paper

I'm trying not to leave the house and the challenge of making something different is keeping me happy! I'll try to make more roses today.  For the rose above I've painted crepe paper and glued cut out petals around a round bead.

My tips for staying sane and happy when you have to be indoors:
1)   I find getting dressed as soon as I wake up makes me feel positive about the day ahead. I've tried staying in a dressing gown half the morning and I found the day drifts a bit aimlessly. Being dressed, washed and ready puts you in the right frame of mind to enjoy your day.

2)  Exercise first thing. This is for my mental and physical health.  During this period of isolation I have found 10 minutes with Joe Wicks in the sitting room really beneficial. Check out utube Body Coach to find one of his sessions that looks like your level.

3) Try to shop just once a week.
 People seem to be getting creative with what is in their cupboards and fridge now that we can't just pop out for one thing. Being at home so much is a great opportunity to get creative with what we cook.
 I make a basic soup with onion, carrots and potatoes regularly. That's a base soup, you can add whatever you can spare to it. I can't do without Marigold stock powder. A heaped teaspoon of that in hot water added to soup, stews etc makes it taste great! 
Being a vegetarian I also make risottos, pasta and pasta sauces, lentil stew and ratatouille regularly too. Spice I'd find it hard to live without? CUMIN

Keep spare milk and bread in the freezer.

4) Have a routine. My very simple routine is just Exercise, Housework and Making. That works for me. What works for you?

I find housework very very boring. But yesterday I enjoyed it. I imagined the house was going to be photographed for a magazine and I was the stylist!!
I only got one room done to my satisfaction but I'll do another room today. That works for me. Would it work for you?

5) Walk somewhere you can avoid other people.  Not sure what the restrictions are like in the USA but I hope that wherever you are you are allowed to go out for a walk once a day.
 I've found quite a good time is between 1pm and 2pm. It breaks up the day and most people are having lunch at that time.  I went later yesterday and I was constantly having to detour round others. 

I hope you enjoy your day however you spend it.
Now back to that rose challenge. X

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Art class 1

My daughter asked me to give grandaughters aged 4 and 5 an art class via Face Time. I thought about something easy that anyone can do using things found in most homes:

Salt, coins, tissue paper, flour, some watercolour paints (any childrens' paints are fine, white A4 copy paper ie ordinary paper you print on to;
pencil, glue stick, paint brush, water and optional wax crayons.

Once my daughter had put all these things into little bowls for each girl (only a very little salt and a very little flour ( half a teaspoon) is needed per child) we were ready to begin.

First you get some tissue paper (the sort you would wrap something precious in or interleave clothing with in a smart store, not toilet roll tissue) bigger than your piece of paper. Scrunch it up in your hands into a ball.  Use the glue stick to cover your paper with glue. Then open up your tissue paper ball and make it flat, then lay it onto the glued paper and smooth it down so it sticks all over.
Put it to one side to dry and get your coins.

With a new piece of paper put the coin under the paper and use wax crayon ideally but a pencil or wood crayon will do and draw back and forth over the top so that the imprint shows on your paper. My girls used their wax crayons and different coins, one at a time. We also thought about what else they could use. An old credit card worked well. 

Now let's try the salt. Paint onto a new piece of paper, lots of colour, and as you paint scatter pinches of salt over your wet paint. Scattering the salt is the most fun. (The end result isn't great, that's why there's no picture!!) 

Back to your now dry tissue covered piece of paper. Paint over it using lots of different colours. See pictures one and two above. 

Last of all the flour. Flour can gunge up your brushes so do leave this til last and wash out brushes straight away.
Drip some water into your flour from your paint brush. Don't touch the flour with your paint brush yet. Now with more water on your brush load brush with paint and mix the colour into your flour to make a paste. Use this paste (blue or red or green are best).  Let it dry. See picture 3 for an example of what it looks like.

Next Wednesday I'll do something different with them. This session lasted about an hour. Feel free to use it for your own children. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2020


On the river bank
Love these double tulips
Nature does it best. Photos by Jenny Stacy

Sad to announce that our Handmade Happiness Spring Event cannot go ahead.
I got a call from the Physic Garden to say it was closing its exhibition room until the end of April at least. 

Hopefully the Summer Event on Saturday June 27th can still go ahead.
It seems that China is just about over the crisis now therefore three months could be  the time it takes for a country to be declared safe again.

In the meantime we just have to look after each other and follow simple precautions. In a nutshell this is washing hands more frequently and for longer than usual, allowing 2 metres between yourself and others, and self isolating if you have a high temperature and/or a new persistent cough or if anyone you live with develops these symptoms.

On the plus side I find I am making and receiving more phone calls than usual. Catching up with old friends and checking everyone is ok. My children are phoning regularly expressing concern even though I am not old nor do I have any symptoms. But this crisis brings out the best in people, all caring for each other.

Sunday, 15 March 2020


Cheerful beads made and painted by Jenny Stacy for the Spring event

What strange and, sometimes, fearful times we are living through. With constantly updating news on the radio it is hard to plan how to react to this 'crisis'.

I admit I didn't take the threat of the Corona virus seriously until very recently. But the media is united in confirming that this is really happening. I don't hear a reassuring alternative view. So my old theory that this might be a smoke screen to deflect our attention from the huge problems of climate change, poverty and homelessness has been shot down.

Now I'm thinking about how we can help each other. Did you see the Italian response when they flung open their windows to join in the singing? What a great attitude!
Let's take the Italians as our role models! No panicking, no stock piling food and goods just a genuine concern for our neighbours, family and friends.

We makers have the advantage of enjoying being at home where we can be extra productive! We are happy to be confined to some extent. I'm tempted to write a list of fun things to do if isolated. For example to improve my piano playing in a more disciplined way; to get on with writing the book; to spring clean and count my blessings.

However we must take personal responsibility by not spreading the virus or exposing ourselves to unnecessary risk. Keeping a metre apart from people if possible, washing our hands more frequently than usual and catching our coughs and sneezes are good precautions. And if you are reading this and fear you have got the virus or know you have got it I send love and the hope that you'll be over it really soon. X 

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Our Spring Event

In this week's local paper

I am really pleased that the Petersfield Post newspaper has published this. Excellent publicity for the first Handmade Happiness event at the Physic Garden on Saturday March 28th.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Empty shelves in supermarkets

No toilet rolls for sale in Waitrose yesterday afternoon
Very little pasta left either

People are stocking up in case the Corona Virus affects them and they have to stay indoors. This kind of panic buying means that if you do your weekly shop and just want one toilet roll you can't have it because someone has cleared the shelves of toilet rolls and there are none left.

I heard of one Tesco customer who ordered £500 worth of goods online and that was their second order. The first order was for £600. And people have been walking around supermarkets with trolleys full of toilet rolls and extra food. 

While I was in Waitrose I saw the shelves being re-stocked but only with packs of 16 toilet rolls. That was all they had, forcing some people to grab for those, perhaps worried about when they'd ever find the normal four packs...

Hand sanitisers and anti-bacterial wipes and liquid soaps are also being stock piled even though this is a virus, not an infection.
Where are people stock piling all these extras? And what about the millions of people who live on a budget and can't stock pile anyway?

We are living through strange times.
As someone put it,comparing deaths from Corona virus to the thousands of deaths per day from starvation that are rarely if ever mentioned in the media..."Corona virus could affect the rich. Famine doesn't" 

Just as Brexit once filled the radio air waves, now it's Corona virus. In more cynical moments, I wonder if this is partly a smoke screen to distract attention from the fact that little is being done about climate change, poverty and homelessness in this country and these, to my mind, are far more urgent priorities.
I'd like to know what you think .

Monday, 2 March 2020

Thinking and Making

I've painted some beads
I've found some old glass buttons
Violets spotted while walking
I have never before spent so long thinking about making before actually getting down to it. Is it the weather? Is it the doom and gloom news? I don't know. Maybe, to be honest, is the fact I want the next things I make to be more special and it's the fear that they won't be that holds me back. So a confidence issue. All I know is that today I want to finally produce something worth talking about and taking pictures of!!

Monday, 24 February 2020


If you didn't know this is real you could see it as bead jewellery!
Bits and bobs I've made in the past that still inspire me now.
Spring colours in these raggy headed dahlias. Good for spring inspiration

I am thinking jewellery. I want to make big statement necklaces and I haven't made any for a while. Many years ago (long before I had the shop) I made lots of jewellery for various shops and galleries but I am a bit out of practice now.
I want cheerful colours and a bit of humour in my pieces and the components made by hand from scratch. Next time I write I should have some new necklaces to show you. 
I don't know about you but I don't feel as productive when the weather is damp and overcast. I long for Spring but we will just have to think Spring as we paint and make. To make with joy!!

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Handmade Happiness Events

Spring flowers in my window. Pottery by Niloo Wickramasinghe

If you miss the Handmade Happiness shop or you wish you'd visited before it closed down here's your chance:

Meet the makers and see their lovely handmade things at the Physic Garden rooms off Petersfield High Street, GU32 3JJ on the following dates:


Spring Event:   March 28th 

Sumnmer Event:  June 27th 

Autumn Event:  September 26th

Christmas Event:  November 14th

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Trying and failing

This is a failure but by trying you learn what you are good at and what you are not good at.

Blank canvas and acrylic paints. I just thought I'd give it a go. Not at all happy with the result but in painting this I have learned that I must stick to what I am vaguely good at - flowers.
It's like writing. If you just do it you feel good. It's the fear of failure that holds us back from discovering what we are truly capable of.
When looking at the blank white canvas or the blank white paper it's hard to start in case it doesn't work out in the way we want it to. But action is the only way forward.
So just go for it. Paint your picture. Write your novel. You may well surprise yourself!!

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Colour inspiration

Rose head picked up from the pavement
Apple peel colours
Love these marbled pattern carrier bags in Carluccio's
Pattern inspiration . The grating at Crystal Palace station
This bag is one of the prettiest I've seen
Walked into a church in Southsea and was blown away by the beauty of the interior

Inspiration for creating is all around us. It's so good to get out and explore. And the bonus is more exercise! My goal is 10,000 steps a day although most days I do far less.
I am sorting out shop stuff. Two lots of tax figures this month. I hope that by the end of January all loose (shop) ends will be neatly tied up and I will be able to concentrate on actually making instead of just taking pretty pictures to inspire the making!

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Seen when walking

On the Gruffalo trail in Wendover Woods. I wonder if author Julia Donaldson lives nearby?
Oil on the pavement
On a tree trunk. Apparently this is called Rainbow Bracket fungus.
The pretty stream you can follow in Petersfield
My son saw these yesterday when walking in London
Bargain waterproof coat I wear for walking. Just £12.95 reduced from £44.95 in the Joules sale

I intend to get out early every day and get the exercise bit out of the way so I can do other, more creative things. But often the time slips by and I don't get out til nearly lunchtime. The main thing is to stick to a goal - in my case it's 10,000 steps a day ie nearly 3 miles. Of course I rarely manage it but it remains a goal.
There are still parcels to send off and boxes to sort and put away from the shop. I've just realised that I've not yet told Google or changed the details on this blog to say that the shop is now closed. Better get on with that now.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Goodbye shop

SOLD: My top of the tree angel, now with arms!
Love this luxury fabric skirt. SOLD
Goodbye shop. Ready for a new tenant now!
A New Year and a new start!
Since Christmas Eve (the last day of trading) and Christmas Day itself I've been busy clearing, cleaning, sorting, bagging, boxing and painting helped by two amazing friends, Anne and Chris ready for handing the keys back to the landlady on December 31st.

Right now it feels strange to have all this time during the day when normally I would be in the shop. I want to focus for a while on getting fitter having spent a lot of the last 8 years sitting in the shop. Walking, planning, writing and looking forward to painting and making again.

The transition from working to 'retirement'. It's quite an adjustment. So many people say I must be enjoying 'a nice rest' but that is the last thing I want.
So much more to come! 
Sorry I was too busy to write for a while but I'll try to post more regularly from now on. HAPPY NEW YEAR !!

Tuesday, 17 December 2019


SOLD My pink rose top of the tree angel
Using an old wallpaper sample book as gift wrapping
Outside the shop looking in
Tiny angels I made this year.

The Handmade Happiness shop is open for just one more week before closing forever. I am there every day except Sunday.

 The Handmade Happiness name will live on through this blog, my Instagram account jenny_handmade_happiness and the pop up events booked for next year at Petersfield's Physic Garden.

Meanwhile I have booked a man and his van to move the shop furniture to my house and makers are collecting their makes. It's a winding down process but the shop is full of unique, quality handmade gifts and well worth a visit up to and including Christmas Eve.

I have just one more thing to make. A lovely customer wants the bigger of the two top of the tree dolls(see previous picture) but she'd like her to have lace gloves, so that is what I'll be sewing today. 

I have no special sewing skill but my grandmother was a trained tailoress, working from home to support her child after her husband died. I often think of her and of how she could make any of the clothes in Vogue magazine, which my mother loved, just by examining the photograph. 
Maybe next year I'll focus on making more clothes or the upcycling and embellishing of old clothes. Does that appeal to you? 

Friday, 13 December 2019


Just a reminder to make more mice !!
Hope for this country was dashed this morning.  I honestly felt we had a chance at a fairer future for everyone - not just the richest few -but voters chose to believe the right wing tabloids and voted for five more years of austerity and an ever widening gap between rich and poor.

Disappointing does not even cover it.
I can only compare this shock news to waking up to hear that Trump was President and to hearing that we had voted to leave the EU. 

I am trying to think of a silver lining but I can't. This is a dark day for Britain. Sorry. My next post will focus on Handmade and Happiness.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

News from the shop

Textile designer Sheila Barrow has made several of these beautiful table decorations
New fridge magnets from beach glass originals £4-95 each
Fun with gift wrapping

With only two weeks until the shop closes 
forever I could have done without illness this week!
On Wednesday I kept falling asleep on my work table!
The doc said high temperature and chest infection so 
Thursday and Friday were at home mostly sleeping while 
kind Tara kept an eye on my shop.

The shop is open every day except Sundays in the Christmas
run up so plenty of time to pop in, Hope to see you!

Thursday, 28 November 2019


Assorted stockings for sale in Handmade Happiness
Baby's first Christmas?
Stockings of all sizes. The knitted stocking is made by Rubecula Threads.
Cosy sheepskin slippers at Caroline Bloomfield
Sheepskin hot water bottle covers at Caroline Bloomfield.

On the worktable are a lot of stockings that need loops or tops or just making from scratch. At this time of year there are lots of different things that need attention. More fairies to make. Tree topper angels (see below) that I still haven't finished. Cashmere bunnies stuffed with lavender I need to make for an order. Not to mention getting the whole shop in perfect condition for the next tenant by the end of December.

On Sunday I'll see the family, and it's a chance to drop off presents. They need to be gift wrapped and tagged and checked to see that everyone has been treated fairly!

Caroline Bloomfield is the name of a shop in Midhurst. A shop I admire. Imagine puting your feet into the slippers pictured above on one of these cold, wet winter evenings! 
I'm off to wrap presents.
Happy Christmas preparations everyone!!