Sunday, 19 May 2019

Garden and shop

It's May so peony time in my garden. So beautiful. My favourite flower.
New in the shop. Pure cotton knitted wash cloths
New Aran knitwear for children up to 10
Camilla Flint's lovely dancer drawings.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Shop flyers and textile jewellery

Received more shop flyers with updated information
Sewing felted elements together
Added a bit more - on the way to becoming a necklace. The colours look different against blue.

While this country waits to see what is going to happen in the future and the feeling of uncertainty and unrest persists little shops like mine are struggling. I am determined to keep Handmade Happiness going and in between customers I am making items to sell.

This necklace is similar to necklaces that Bee Mellor and I made a while ago and, once it is complete I'll do some felt flower brooches. I used to make a lot of felt flower brooches and they did sell well. It's funny the things you make and then forget for a few years while you focus on making other things. 

Textile jewellery and dolls and buttons have always been what I make. And although I'm not planning to make buttons again it is good to come back to felt again after forgetting it for a while. 

Happy making everyone!

Monday, 13 May 2019

New at Handmade Happiness

I've made some medals out of all that felt. These are just waiting for dangly bits to be sewn on.
New leg warmers from Kate Box and more of her popular wrist warmers!
New felt brooches from Karen Boller. £9.50 each.

Handmade Happiness is lucky to be supplied by some really talented local makers. I think this is why it has kept going for so long when other independent shops in the town have folded. People know that they will find something unique and beautiful at HH so they come here for gifts and for nice things for themselves. 

There is also an excellent range of cards mostly showing the printed works of local artists. Jill Poole who does lovely mixed media art of birds and flowers has just re-stocked with lots of new card designs. 

Isn't it funny how you find out things by chance sometimes? I was lucky enough to see a poster showing a local business networking group meeting up the following morning. I went along and it was brilliant. Women supporting each other and men too of course although in fairness it was mostly women who showed up. I am so pleased to find this group. It meets monthly and although I had to leave early to open the shop, just to see all those bright, enthusiastic people made my day!

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Colourful felt and What is this?

Made some reversable felt this morning
The iris are out in the garden
I dug this up while gardening but what is it?

I dug up this glass object and I'd love to know what it is. It says Empire Made on it  so could be over 100  years old, and has an opening at one end. It's only two and a half inches long (6 cms) so it's not a baby's bottle as has been suggested. I reckon it once held a medicine or vaccine. What do you think?
I must clean out the dirt with a pipe cleaner. Sorry but you are seeing it freshly dug up !!

I love these iris. A friend gave me one and they've spread.

I made the felt this morning;  Experimenting with lots of different colours to see if it could be completely different on the reverse. I used to make flower brooches and/ or wrist warmers out of these pieces of felt but it feels like the wrong time of year for that so perhaps I'll just save it for colder weather.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Making paper flowers and trying to make wax seals

Painted crepe paper flowers by Jenny Stacy
Handmade paper roses by Jenny Stacy
Experimenting with wax and stamper

Some craft experiments are more successful than others!
I was pleased with the way these painted crepe paper roses turned out this morning and I've painted more crepe paper to make more.

However the other day I wanted to make some wax seals. The local art shop had the wax but not those metal stamps to press into the hot wax. I decided to try with a wooden stamper with a rubber image and it didn't really work as you can see above... I will have another go.

I don't know if you have ever tried stamping into gold wax. You light the end and drip it onto (in this case wax proof ) paper so you can remove them afterwards. I became a bit over-confident after the first few seals and managed to drip the hot gold wax over both hands. Luckily I had a sink of water nearby and plunged my hands into it. The strange thing is that the wax stays on the skin for a while. Anyway no lasting damage I'll just be more careful next time and hopefully next time I'll produce some better seals I can actually use!!

Monday, 29 April 2019

Making cards

Painted papers and embroidered bits I used for the cards below.
Three of the finished cards by Jenny Stacy
Three more card designs by Jenny Stacy

I've used some of those 'A painting a day' papers for cards. When cut into pieces and combined with the bits of embroidery I did in the shop this week the result is unusual and highly original greetings cards!
I've made a dozen and they'll be on sale in the shop on Dragon Street from Wednesday onwards.

I love making things like this and each card is different and takes time. A friend of mine took some handmade cards to a shop and the owner said he needed 6 identical ones in each design. 

This absolutely defeats the object of a handmade card. You can never exactly copy a card unless you get it printed when it ceases to be a handmade card. My friend's cards are very special and I am pleased to say she is now approaching art galleries, not gift shops where her cards will fit right in.

Unfortunately I can't use those 'cellophane' bags for cards any more because the stuff they now use to make 'cellophane' is not biodegradeable. But they won't get dirty. And without a clear wrapper you can feel the embroidery and paint!

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Felt like felting

Felt drying on the line. I dead headed the hydrangea when I saw this picture!!
Here's one I made earlier!
Some failures but all pieces can be used as a base for flat needlefelting
Thank you to the lady who gave me three bags of old Vogue magazines. Now I've plenty for carrier bags (seen here before handles were attached. The little bags are mostly pages from gardening magazines,

While the shop is relatively quiet I can make stock and this week I've made cloth bags, felt, needlefelted with some of the felt and yesterday I embroidered little pieces to use in cards. I have plans for Handmade Happiness and it is slowly evolving into something a little different. More like my original dream of a shop before I actually had a shop!
Watch this space!!

On another subject: I hate having to put plastic food trays and plastic food pots into the general rubbish bin because our council doesn't recycle these things as getting the necessary equipment to do so is 'expensive.' 
Yesterday I wrote to the local paper about this. I do hope my letter gets published.
Anyone local to Petersfield may be interested in an evening about climate change hosted by a member of the Green Party, It's on Tuesday April 30th at the United Reform Church at 7pm

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Happy Easter!

Cashmere bunnies and new hair clips in the window
Hair clips I made yesterday with my painted flower petals
Ann Hutchings embroidered butterfly and paper rose
I'm making cloth bags for visitors so they don't have to use plastic ones

People are talking about global warming and trying to make changes to their lifestyle right now. David Attenborough's Our Planet series on Sky Atlantic and this week his BBC1  programme Climate Change: The Facts have powerfully spelled out the consequences on people and animals if we carry on doing nothing.
It's depressing to see great piles of plastic carrier bags still in our supermarkets. Time they changed to paper bags. But actually that comes under the heading of Pollution, not Global Warming. 

 What we, as individuals can do to help is to stop buying anything that is air freighted like exotic fruit and veg; eat less meat and less dairy - ideally switch to a plant-based diet; buy second hand, not new; avoid flying and save energy where possible ie cycle don't drive. There are dozens of other ideas for a greener lifestyle but maybe that's for a different blog!

One of my highlights this week was a visit from embroiderer Ann Hutchings who made the brooch above.  We sat at the table making in the shop and it is so nice to have company. She showed me how to make quick roses from tissue paper. She once covered a whole marquee in roses like this and they literally take less than 5 minutes each to make. Great for a future shop window display. Maybe in June when roses are in bloom in the garden.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Game of Thrones embroidery

Michele Carragher's fantastic embroidery
Bird made by Michele Carragher for Game of Thrones
Michele Carragher made this insect for Game of Thrones
Principal embroider for Game of Thrones Michele Carragher's work

Last night I was lucky enough to see Michele Carragher, principal embroiderer of the Game of Thrones costumes give a talk.
Michele has done many films and TV programmes and her ability with needle and thread was truly mind-blowing! 
She told us that after attending The London College of Fashion she worked as a textile conservationist, repairing and re-making ancient, threadbare cloth. This experience proved a good grounding for her current work on Games of Thrones and, before that on the Helen Mirren version of Elizabeth I.

After 20 years of creating intricate embellishments for beautiful costumes Michele Carragher is surely the Queen of Embroidery! 

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Spring flower garlands for the window

I've painted these white fake flowers for spring window garlands
The paper they're painted on looks interesting too!
Sewn petals threaded onto fine green silk ribbon ready for the window
Close up of Jenny Stacy's painted flowers
I also enjoyed crocheting this rabbit container for the spring window.

There are now two painted flower garlands decorating the shop window and the white bunny is hooked high up for children to spot. I love sharing what I do and what is in my little shop, Handmade Happiness in Petersfield, England. But I am wondering whether or not to continue with this blog. After all I have been writing it for over 10 years now. Maybe that is some kind of record??? 

It would encourage me to continue writing if occasionally one of the many hundreds of people reading this would supply a comment...I don't know who you are because this is a blog that doesn't get comments and I don't know why. I can see from the Statistics that two thirds of my readers live in the United States and one third live in the UK.  And sometimes there is a huge influx of readers from Russia or China depending, I suppose, on what is being written about. Posts about London with lots of photographs get a big response which is good because I'm going there again next week and will make sure to take nice photos!!

Maybe it's too difficult to supply a comment and you've tried but given up. But please say hello and introduce yourself. I would love to meet you!!
Ps. I've tried leaving comments with my Google Account - it works and Anonymously - it doesn't work. I've checked the settings and the comments is set to welcome everyone but for some reason it is not doing so. Therefore I will just have to accept that this a Blog with no comments. If you want to say anything you can always email me!

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Visiting Midhurst yesterday afternoon.

The new Cabbages and Roses shop in West Street
In the window. I love this soft velvet faded flowers fabric
The new book by Lucy Haywood, owner of the Country Brocante Store and Country Brocante Meeting House

If you like Vintage style, Midhurst has become the place to go to see lots of it.
Faded pinks, off whites and chipped paint furniture is a look that is very popular.Rachel Ashwell, an Englishwoman in America started the look over 20 years ago and I love her pretty books promoting all that is 'Shabby Chic' which she took as her brand name.

In West Street, Midhurst, Lucy Haywood who runs the Country Brocante Fairs has got two shops which are a joy to look round. The new shop called the Country Brocante Meeting House has a Cabbages and Roses shop within it. I fell for a long white velvet coat with dark pink roses on it. I guessed it would be around £300 and I was right. But this was the sale price. It was reduced from £600! I could imagine a Winter bride wearing it at a registry office wedding. Do you remember when Jigsaw had an area of Cabbages and Roses clothes? Always nice to look at.

In the original Country Brocante shop you can find zipped bags, cushions and lampshades made from Cabbages and Roses fabrics.  I particularly like the exquisite packaging created by Emma Gurmin whose company Velvet Ribbon sells through the shop.  She has packaged vintage fabrics in handmade envelopes from vellum and rag paper and the result is frameable!

If you want to get inspired by this look, get your hands on a copy of Lucy Haywood's new book Country Brocante Style.

Also worth going in is Stuff in West Street. I love this shop. Such a good place to find an unusual present. The merchandising and selection of gifts you don't see elsewhere is a treat.

And for me, 'Champagne tastes, beer money!' the Macmillan charity shop in the High Street, Midhurst is the best charity shop I know!

Monday, 8 April 2019

Easter gifts in Handmade Happiness

Kate Hackett makes these ceramic decorations.
Knitted chicks to hold a Lindt egg. Just £1 each.
My cashmere bunnies. These ones with pockets for  a  little chocolate egg. £4.50 each.
Painted Easter cards, blank inside by Jenny Stacy. £3.50 each.

Thinking of Easter and family don't always want to give children just chocolate, especially knowing they'll have plenty of chocolate from other people. Handmade Happiness offers lots of non-chocolate choices or some items to tie onto an egg or put a little chocolate egg into.

I am hoping that lots of people will come in to Handmade Happiness in the run up to Easter because frankly if the shop is going to survive the Brexit retail downturn things will have to improve a lot! There I've said it.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Painted Flowers Brooch

Had to make a name badge so used painted petals and embroidery
Painting petals with brooches in mind

I had to make a name badge for Monday. It's a bit big but it will do. I recently re-joined what was the Embroiderer's Guild but is now known as Phoenix Stitchers in Petersfield. There is a speaker and workshop once a month. All members have to make a badge to identify themselves.

I painted flower petals in the shop thinking of using them in brooches or hair clips, perhaps layered together. It's blossom time here and the trees are heavy with it. The right time to be thinking of using some fake blossoms in our making projects. 

If I paint more petals I want to be more adventurous with colour and use some rich purples and reds. Still to resemble nature... because what I hate to see is real flowers for sale that have been made to drink dye in shades of blue or bright pink. That just feels wrong.

There is beautiful ballet video on Instagram at the moment of Christian Dior clothes with made flowers stitched under and over transparent fabrics. Check out bazaaruk the Harper's Bazaar magazine posts to find it. I love INstagram (I'm jenny_handmade_happiness by the way) because it is so easy to operate. I've never really got to grips with Facebook because I don't find it easy to operate so I ignore it although everyone tells me it is the best way to promote your business... 

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

In Handmade Happiness

New pots and a new throw from talented maker Niloo Wickramasinghe
One of Annie Sherburne's brooches on my coat

The shop is so lucky to stock Niloo Wickramasinghe's pottery and throws.
The throw, using Kate Forman fabrics, is entirely sewn by hand which makes it very special indeed.
Annie Sherburne's colourful jewellery is something else very special stocked by Handmade Happines. I love wearing this little brooch. The colours are so eye-catching.
If you haven't visited for a while, you'll notice the shop has new stock from several different people. It is currently undergoing a spring clean but still very much open to visitors.
This time last year I was writing another blog called 'Seeing India with Jenny'.
I was writing it after coming home so read it from the first post onward. The first post was written on Saturday March 3rd and called 'Have Yellow Hat Can Travel'. I've just looked at it again and the pictures are surprisingly good!  It's a shame it reads from last day to first but by clicking on newer posts at the bottom of each page it can be read chronologically. The weak post is about Gandhi which I remember copying from Wikipedia. Note to self - keep it personal!!

Friday, 29 March 2019

Making Painted Cards

Jenny Stacy designed and made this card
Keeping it simple! Card by Jenny Stacy
Love purples! Card by Jenny Stacy

I've just made 12 cards and I'm beginning to feel that all that practice of 'A Painting a Day' is finally paying off! I actually like these cards and from today they will be on sale in Handmade Happiness at £3.50 each.