Wednesday 3 November 2021

Making Christmas Cards

I enjoyed making this card
My favourite handmade card
A square one
The gold doesn't show up so well on this one.

Every year I make cards for friends and family. I also used to sell them in the Handmade Happiness shop. This year I wanted to use my many sheets of painted paper and to practice writing with gold ink and a dip pen. I am quite pleased with the result, learning as I go what works best colour wise and design wise.
Will you be making your own Christmas cards this year?

Saturday 30 October 2021

Four handmade angels

My first handmade angel of 2021
I love red!
Going for a more vintage look!
I added a bit of hand embroidery to this one,

I've been making angels. I would have got into production mode and made lots more if I still had my shop to sell them in but for now, I'll just make small quantities of everything for friends and family.
Maybe next year things will start to feel 'normal' again...??

Tuesday 12 October 2021

More drawings

Remembering the colours from my trip to India
Thinking about a simple card
Drawing my favourite mugs and cups
More favourite cups and mugs.

From 100 Days of Drawing by Jennifer Orkin Lewis.
Most of the illustrations are copies of items I own but top right above and top left in the photo above are my own design.
I love bright colours and was particularly pleased with the saris in the memory of India illustration.
If you are on Instagram there are more photos on @jenny_handmade_happiness

My Day in Small Drawings

Matilda Tristram's new, inspiring book
Favourite clothes
Household chores...
and more household chores

It's helpful to have a prompt to get drawings started.

Sunday 3 October 2021

Drawing every day

I'm enjoying this book
Day 1: Drawing a garland with a face in the middle
Drawing things that make me happy
Things I see when out walking

I bought two books recently and this is one of them. I find having a prompt helps me get on with drawing and painting. I'll talk about the other book in another post.
For more daily paintings you can see jenny_handmade_happiness on Instagram.
In fact since I started posting on Instagram I've neglected to write on this blog. That's a shame because at one time I wrote on this blog every day. That was years ago. I started this blog when I was very busy making things to sell for a show called the Country Living magazine's Show in London.
I used to write about hoping and dreaming to have a shop of my own one day instead of selling to other shops and direct to the public.  But shop rents where I lived were so expensive I couldn't imagine being able to turn a profit. It wasn't until I moved to Petersfield many years later that I eventually came across a shop that seemed viable.

My shop called Handmade Happiness in Dragon Street opened and 8 years later was still going. I closed down for good at the start of Covid. I couldn't imagine it continuing. But all through the shop's existence I wrote this blog.
This blog is now 13 years old. Is this a record? It's 13th birthday was on September 22nd.

Thursday 9 September 2021

Using different art materials

Gouache and ink.
Knitted some beads
Flowers in acrylics
Watercolour and pastel

I love trying out different art materials. One thing leads to another and it's fun to play. I am still not sure what I'm most comfortable with - watercolour, acrylics, ink? 

I've just found a book on Modern Calligraphy in a charity shop. So at the moment the answer would be inks. I am trying to write letters in a swirly way using a dip pen and ink. I always admire signs I see using a flowing script. The Country Brocante fairs in Midhurst have signs using modern calligraphy and they look great.
For anyone that lives locally to me you might be interested to know that these Country Brocante fairs in the square are once a month between now and Christmas. The next ones are October 1st and November 12th.

Saturday 14 August 2021

What’s On

Knitted this little cardigan for mouse 
Playing with colour
Love hydrangeas

Aside from the usual restrictions have you personally been affected by Covid? This week my daughter got it. Although she has had the two jabs she felt quite ill.
 Having been to a wedding she had to isolate because one of the guests tested positive. Then after 6 days of isolating she tested positive. So more days of not being allowed out.
All this will change after Monday when people will not have to isolate after they've been pinged as I understand it.
We will then be heading for herd immunity. Which was one of the options the government considered then rejected in the first place 18 months ago!

On a happier note it is good to see art and craft shows happening again.
I particularly enjoyed visiting Pallant House's exhibition of Ben Nicholson's paintings. Well worth a visit. The exhibition included dolls house displays of miniature well known paintings by famous artists.

Today is the last day to see Excellence by members of the Society of Designers and Craftsmen at the Oxmarket Gallery in Chichester. I loved this exhibition. Such a high standard of work  by 30 professional craftspeople from all over the country. 
More on Instagram @jenny_handmade_happiness

Saturday 24 July 2021

Painting Sweetpeas

I tried to paint sweetpeas in vases. Watercolour by Jenny Stacy
Last card showing a sweetpea I drew. Jenny Stacy card.

I've been making lots of cards lately but yesterday I decided to finish off a painting I started a few days before. I enjoyed drawing and painting sweetpeas. They look difficult to draw but I think they are at least recognisable as sweetpeas. My favourite flower. I wish they lasted longer in water. On the other hand we have had a heat wave this week which probably made them die sooner than they would in lower temperatures.
The cooler weather is welcome today. 
In normal times I would be starting to make for Christmas about now.
But these times are not normal. Maybe this year I should set up an etsy  page as a selling platform. I have been thinking today about making large tree top fairies. I enjoyed making those when I had the shop and they sold well....

Thursday 22 July 2021

Making different cards

Using paint and painted papers
Not sure whether added handwriting is a good idea or not
Moody colours in this one

More cards.
After what I said about the time it takes to make one individual card I decided to simplify the process and these are relatively quick to make.
I actually like them better that the ones shown in the previous post. What do you think?
Making cards is a great way of using the hundreds of bits of painted paper I've collected. Just tearing a piece across makes a statement and a space for the stem of the flower. Then I use a 'sticky fixer' for the flower head and glue everything else down.
Contrasting the colours of flower and background adds drama and makes the card more noticeable.

In the last post I said I'd share needlework ... maybe in the next post. My brain is taken up with what is happening in the world. So much to worry about, so much that needs to change. If you notice any happy news let me know!

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Card making

Collage card designed and made by Jenny Stacy. I like this one
Handmade card designed by Jenny Stacy
Too complex?Collage card by Jenny Stacy
A peach of a card. Designed and made by Jenny Stacy

I spent all of Sunday making cards. I made 10 in all experimenting with different combinations of colour and shapes.

 I have a lot of painted papers and it was good to use some of them to produce original cards.
As a long term designer/ maker there is a problem with cards.
You can spend a long time making just one card until it meets your own satisfaction but because it's a card and not a large picture there is a limit on how much you can charge for it.

I'd say £5 per card is the absolute highest amount I could price a card at. I did see a handmade card once for £100. It was a collaged Christmas tree and it was either in Liberty or Fortnum and Mason, I can't remember which, and I was shocked at the price. But then price is a very subjective thing and if everything around it is beautifully displayed and expensive you expect to see higher prices.

I enjoy making cards even though they are not a cost-effective way of spending my time. But designing and making things from scratch is not supposed to be commercially viable anyway. We make because we love to make.

Tuesday 29 June 2021

Painting Flowers and the real thing

I want to do more like this. Watercolour.
Peonies in someone's garden, Photo taken by my daughter Amy
Messy flowers. Watercolour. I wasn't happy with this one.

We still don't know when and if restrictions will be lifted in this country (UK). Is everyone else as confused as I am?
 I think I can invite friends round to my house now but I'm not sure. Politicians ignore the rules they made while expecting us to obediently follow them. One rule for football fans and a different rule for schools. It doesn't make sense. 
I am sure that you, like me, will be happy when and if things return to normal.
Meanwhile I shall paint flowers and do a bit of needlework (see next post for pictures.) Hope you are all ok. X

Saturday 19 June 2021

Helping to save the planet

Thinking about texture. I've used acrylics for this
An abandoned duck egg by the path
Had a play with felt tips yesterday !
Two beautiful pieces of cloth from a local charity shop. £2 each

I'm thinking about what we, as individuals, can do to help save the planet. I expect you already do all the things I'm about to list, but I'll list the small things I do which would have some impact if everyone did them too!

I don't buy new clothes apart from underwear.

 I buy everything from charity shops. Once items have been washed they are as good as, if not better than new. I prefer natural fabrics (cotton, silk, wool) not the synthetic stuff that many shops offer today. If I see something I think would look great on one of my daughters I buy things for them there too. 
I've just been visiting family near Berkhamstead. That town has GREAT charity shops and is a lot cheaper than Petersfield. 

Eat local and eat in season.

It annoys me that fruit and veg in supermarkets are often grown far, far away from here. I wish supermarkets would source food locally eg. apples. I try to buy food in season. We don't need strawberries in winter. So many nice things to eat can be grown in our gardens or window boxes. Local food saves polluting air miles and is tastier and can be cheaper. Cook from scratch if you can. 

Ditch the car

I've had to do this recently as my old car needed too much money spent on it. I haven't missed having a car yet - I am sure I will do soon but my immediate plan is to buy a bike instead. 

Use public transport - it's not pleasant to always be wearing a mask, especially on long journeys but again if everyone uses trains and buses in preference to cars it will have a good effect on the enviroment. Yesterday I had to go on the tube for the first time in ages - not recommended but do-able!

Switch to green electricity

Be as healthy as you can be, smile a lot at others and see friends.

Walk, talk and be creative. It would be great if we could have a positive effect on everyone we see, just by smiling at them. We are all going through hard times which are set to continue and there are many people having a horrendous time at the moment. The rules on what we can and cannot do keep changing and many of us are confused. Plus there is no definite end date in sight... 
What makes me happy is first and foremost talking and listening to others - strangers and friends, and secondly drawing/ painting/ experimenting on paper with what I have. I wonder what keeps you  happy in these strange times?

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Dancing into Summer

The joy of  sunny weather and flowers blooming everywhere!
Finished this Klimt inspired painting
My neighbour got these fantastic giant peonies for her birthday
Quick flower painting. (Nice as a tea towel!)

Life is busy with four extra people in the house but I have decided to paint anyway and from now on I will be more productive on the art front.    It is so important to do what we love, especially when there is a lot to worry about. Immersing ourselves in drawing or painting gives us valuable stillness which is so good for our mental health...

I hope you are managing to find the time to be creative... whether it's cooking, arranging flowers, making jewellery or painting a picture - whatever floats your boat... to be creative every day is so so good for us.

Sunday 9 May 2021

Embroidery and art

A bit of embroidery decoration on daughter's t-shirt
Klimt inspired drawing unfinished.
Just doodling

Chagall inspired flying woman
Recent stuff I've been doing as art therapy during lockdown.

Although life seems a bit easier lately here in the UK with the number of cases and deaths well down... we are constantly warned of new variants that may shut us down again.
I am really looking forward to May 17th when we can have people in our houses again, that is people outside our 'family bubble'... As I said previously, my bubble is waiting to move into their new house and staying with me right now. So I am lucky to have their company. But drawing, painting and writing are definitely on the back burner for the time being.
Are you ok?