Friday, 18 October 2019

New in the shop

This beautiful indoor wreath is made by Brenda Tilbury
Love this lavender bag by Hambledon Rose
Another pretty lavender bag made with vintage fabrics by Hambledon Rose
Two pairs of legwarmers knitted by me and a colourful necklace made by Rosemary Roberts

Hambledon Rose makes pretty cushions, lavender bags, purses and fridge magnets from linen and small pieces of vintage fabrics. The effect is delicate and pretty and I am so pleased to stock her work.

Brenda Tilbury, as regular readers will know, is Queen of Wreaths and at this time of year I generally have wreaths made by her. Now she is producing lots of knitwear too and new in the shop are scarves, gloves, a wrap and crocheted neckwarmers all in nice colour combinations.

Rosemary Roberts makes colourful necklaces out of fabric and beads. What customers also love about them is that they have a magnet clasp so they are very easy to put on and take off. One lady regularly buys several at a time!

I am knitting a third pair of leg warmers in shades of brown and blue and very cosy they are too made in 100% wool. I've just received some natural 100% alpaca yarn which I'm using for newborn clothing. So so soft ...Hats first as I hate to see a new baby with head uncovered in the cold. Now I'm sounding like a fussing old Granny. Hang on... that's exactly what I am !!!

Tuesday, 15 October 2019


Paintings and collage laid out to be made into a carrier bag

Today is the Handmade Happiness shop's 8th birthday. I feel it is quite an achievement to have a small independent business for eight years and I am glad that Handmade Happiness has been successful.

However I have to announce today that the shop will close down after Christmas. With a heavy heart I have decided it is no longer viable. With the political situation being what it is, everyone is uncertain, even fearful of what the future might hold. The result has been a real downturn in spending and this shop, along with many, many others has suffered. It's a tough world for small shops and I am sure you have noticed others in your area closing down.

I will continue to write this blog (hello America!) about all things handmade and the name Handmade Happiness will live on through Handmade Happiness events next year. More on that later. But for the moment, thank you for reading and for supporting the shop over the years. It continues to promote and contain the very best of handmade that I can find...

As the comment thing is so hard to manage, if you feel like commenting do drop me an email at  Thank you.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019


Collage for front of carrier bag for Handmade Happiness
One of the new collaged carrier bags for Handmade Happiness made by Jenny Stacy
Freshly made bag front
Another just made collage  piece by Jenny Stacy
I love painting and this will be part of a bag too. Jenny Stacy

For as long as I can remember I've made collages. I can't remember what my parents thought when I glued collage to my bedroom walls.

 Carrier bags for Handmade Happiness are a good way of using all the paintings I do and the collages too. I'll continue to make carrier bags from magazine covers which are free to customers but I'll have to charge for these as each represents a lot of painting and making time. Re-cycling, upcycling and plastic free. These tick all the boxes!

The shop is closed this Wednesday (October 9th) for a family committment. I'm there this morning but just for two hours 10-12. My good neighbour Tara  and her assistant, Amy, will look after anyone who has travelled any distance or wants to buy something immediately. Just ask for their help if I'm not there.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Knitted decorations and bags

Sue Inglis knits these decorations @eggandspoonstudio
Now in the shop. Sue Inglis' of eggandspoonstudio designs and knits these.
Very special Christmas card by Sue Inglis
I just made some 'Arty' carrier bags
The first Christmas decorations are in the shop! Sue's designs are very popular and every year she comes up with a new twist! My favourite so far is this white fluffy cat with cosy scarf.
I've waited until the beginning of October to offer Christmas goods because I hate to see Christmas cards, advent calendars and gift wrap for sale in September or even August in some cases.

I wonder if other families, like mine are having a re-think about Christmas this year. One of my daughters has suggested we make presents for each other. My other daughter doesn't want us to give presents at all. We all want to avoid anything plastic, so no plastic toys for the children from now onwards.

All the busy,hard working people out there who love the idea of making presents but haven't got the time to do so can buy something lovingly handmade by an artistic individual from Handmade Happiness. 

This year I'm aiming to have more choice and the best quality ever! I think after 8 years of trading the shop has a reputation for very special, always well-received presents. And this year, with all the political turmoil and unrest the little shop offers a safe haven for people to rest and dream and be inspired.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

This week

New jewellery made by Annie Sherburne including this large dragonfly brooch
I've knitted these leg warmers. Knitting shades of blue ones now.
More of these appealing cards from beach glass originals came in yesterday.
Macho keyrings and cuff links made from spent bullets gathered on walks in the Scottish Highlands.

This is the first week when people have been trying to find Christmas presents in the shop. It makes sense to buy the perfect gift when you see it. People who say they'll come back nearer the day itself are often disappointed when the thing they've fallen in love with has sold.

That's the thing about handmade. Everything is designed and made by the maker him or her self and it is a one-off - unique. 
Another thing about handmade is that it takes time.  For example I was asked for a special handmade card for a 30th birthday. I said No because I'm aware of how long this takes. Planning the design takes longer than actually making the card as you want it to perfectly suit the recipient and obviously you can't charge the customer for all that thinking/ sketching time... And at this time of year there are so many other things to be made!

I'm making lots of fairies in different styles at the moment and this is what you will see me doing in the shop. I knit in the evening. My next project is cushions using needlefelted fabric I've made combined with richly coloured velvets. Wondering whether to include some knitting in the patchwork cushions too.

Handmade gifts for men are few and far between so I was pleased to find these leather and spent cartridge pieces pictured above. The maker scours his local Scottish landscape for the metal litter left by hunters and shooting parties which he puts to good use in these attractive gifts.

By the way the smooth English ash wood bowl pictured is made by Harry Butler whose work is also for sale in Handmade Happiness.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Gold paper

Gold paper after washing
Pencil pots on my desk I bought ages ago

This week I was excited to get an email from the Eternal Maker in Chichester saying they are now stocking this unusual gold paper.

A while ago I bought a couple of bags I use to store glue sticks and pens from a shop in Midhurst. I really like them and have also bought them as presents. But I didn't think it was possible to buy sheets of the actual material.

So late afternoon Tuesday after being in the shop I went to the Eternal Maker  on Terminus Road and guess what? They had sold out. They are expecting new supplies next week but I wanted some now!  Luckily they found me a roll of it behind the counter and I went home happy!

The paper looks flat and shiny like gift wrap. It comes in three colours, gold, silver and rose gold. Eternal Maker found rose gold the most popular. The magic happens when you wash it when it becomes softer and wrinkled, looking like old leather.

I cut it in half and washed both pieces in the kitchen sink and hung them out to dry. In the shop I experimented on a small piece to test it out. You can paint the reverse which is like a thick brown kraft paper and you can hand sew it. You can cut it and glue it and if your machine needle is strong enough (mine isn't) you can machine sew it.
There are so many possibilities with this stuff. All I've done with it so far is to cut out oak leaf shapes and dangle them in the shop window in honour of Autumn. But I can imagine using it for a host of other makes.

So before my local readers go dashing off to the Eternal Maker, ring them first otherwise you may find they have sold out again.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

11 years old today!

First ever blog post 11 years ago today!!
Tiny fairies I made this week
Six hats I just knitted.
Jenny Stacy made this tiny fairy
New gorgeous pottery from Niloo that came into the shop yesterday
New cards that came into the shop yesterday
I like painting faces. Even on wooden teaspoons! Now to dress them!


I wonder if anyone reading this has actually accompanied me from the very beginning in 2008?
Then I was busy making stock for the Country Living magazine show in Islington which I used to do regularly. I frequently day dreamed of having a shop of my own. But that's all it was, a dream. 

I made jewellery and cards for various shops then and shared trips to London and sometimes abroad with my readers who were all in the UK. 
Then in 2011 I saw a small shop in Petersfield with a sign in the window saying To Let. What excitement as that shop took the name Handmade Happiness and became the fulfillment of my dream!

 This blog has become the shop blog ever since. 

Apart from a brief break when I visited India and wrote another blog called  I have consistently posted on this blog once a week, twice a week, sometimes every day. I occasionally think about stopping but then something wonderful appears in the shop or I see something inspiring in London and I have to share it!

Monday, 16 September 2019

This week

Making felt
Three pieces of finished felt
Made jewellery gift boxes from matchboxes
You know those wood teaspoons you get free?
New in Handmade Happiness. Jewellery made by Pat Gude. 
My dolls on display in the shop
Genius idea for grandson's birthday cake! He loves trucks!

It's been a week of bits and pieces. Pieces of felt I've not made into anything. Pretty gift boxes that will be given away free. A mad use for wood teaspoons (that I'll be charging next to nothing for). And all in the week I swore I'd make loads of Christmas stock! 

I was pleased to meet Pat Gude who makes necklaces and earrings from pearls and semi-precious stones. Great Christmas gifts at very reasonable prices. Pictured above.
 I look forward to having more sparkly colourful jewellery from Annie Sherburne soon. Her jewellery always sells well at Christmas.

Yesterday I went to a large family gathering to celebrate young grandson's second birthday. We had a picnic in Bushy Park where the deer are only feet away from you. Such glorious weather. Such nice people. Cyclists and runners that I fancied might live in one of the large detached houses in Park Road. Games of hide and seek with the little ones. Laughter and conversation and renewing friendships. What more could you wish for?

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...