Wednesday 30 November 2011

Penny's Vintage Scrap Packs

My friend Penny makes up these 'Vintage Scrap packs' for Handmade Happiness.
The heart is an example of what you can make with the contents. People buy them for making for dolls' houses; making wedding favours or just adding to their fabric stash (is that an American expression - stash?) They cost £4.50 and are very popular.

Tuesday 29 November 2011

A treasured Fairy Mouse

Photo by Henry Ascoli
This mouse belongs to a lovely customer. It reminds me of those tiny dressed mice - in Liberty prints?- I vaguely remember from childhood. Her son sent me this picture and I hope they don't mind me posting it on my blog. The mouse is old and 'falling apart' but still very special.

I spent Sunday with the oldest member of our family(80) and the youngest (nearly one). Baby Sofia is a delight to watch. Crawling at a terrific speed, like a baby bullet, through furniture legs and over peoples' feet with a happy, relaxed nature and a ready smile.

 'Granny' must have been like that once. But now she is trying to come to terms with the loss of her life-long partner. A man she thinks the world of. Her family visit often  but they can't bring him back to her. Right now baby and Granny need about the same amount of care. Life seems to take you on a circular path. 

Monday 28 November 2011

Look at this!

If you love colour and want to see crochet in a brand new light look at
I've added it to my 'Nice to Look at' section titled crochet colour.Wouldn't it be great to have clothes like this for sale in Handmade Happiness?

Sunday 27 November 2011

Ceramics and cards

Inside the shop Kate Hackett's bowls, toast racks, hearts and stand up decorations are displayed with Willemien Steven's popular cards.

Kate is making Christmas mugs with robins on, small mugs with hearts on each side and lots of robin ceramic decorations for the tree that will all be in the shop shortly.

 Meanwhile I've had another delivery of Willemien's special cards that, before having the shop I always used to buy from her and I'm delighted to be her only stockist in the area.

Yesterday the round table was delivered, as promised. And very good it looks too! Today I'll email all those who put their names down for workshop details. And the week after next workshops will start.

Saturday 26 November 2011

Presents for men?

These chopping boards and bread boards make great presents for men. I always find it hard to find presents a man will appreciate. It just seems so much easier to buy for women - you buy something you would like to receive! So I'm really pleased to sell Christine Burgess's handmade boards in the shop.  Christine lives in West Sussex and all the wood she uses is local. Oak, sycamore, beech - the label on each board says: 'Beech from Goodwood' or 'Sycamore from Stanstead Park' or 'Oak from Andover, Hampshire'. It's a nice touch and tells you that nothing about this board has travelled far. Solid local wood and solid local workmanship.

Friday 25 November 2011

Knitting and Crochet weather

Michelle's spun and dyed wool, Victoria's spun and dyed mohair (from her goats); Valerie's 'seaweed' scarves and one of my hats.
I took these pictures in the shop. It was cold though bright. Just the weather for knitting or crocheting.
A lovely lady called Jan offered me a round table for the shop yesterday. So kind and generous. Her daughter has a round pine table, 4 ft across on a central pedestal. It sounds just the job for having in the centre of the shop with chairs round it for workshops. When we're not workshopping it can be used for shop display.
Jan's husband is bringing it to the shop on Saturday. Thanks to Jan and her family.

The first workshops will be, appropriately enough, Beginner's Knitting and Beginner's Crochet.
After that a 'Free style knitting and crochet' where the two skills are combined to produce really textural pieces.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Felted knitting by Natasha Rothschild

New in the shop are these pretty hair accessories and reindeer decorations by Natasha who lives in Petersfield. The flowers are £6.50 and the reindeers are £9.50.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Eating Well

 This picture was taken at Sussex Produce in Steyning High Street.

We are all so busy that it is easy to get into bad eating habits. I find that I snack in the shop on junk to keep myself going rather than eating proper nutritious meals.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a cook/housekeeper to provide bowls of nourishing soup and colourful chopped fruit at intervals, not to mention keeping the house clean and tidy for us to come back to at the end of a long working day?

It's this juggling act of trying to achieve in all areas that sometimes ties us up in knots. From the moment we wake up there's the house wanting to be cleaned and tidied; maybe some excercise; replying to emails; taking  phone calls. Then work proper starts. I find that my ideal early morning includes a boiled egg for breakfast - with marmite and a brisk walk for half an hour with a friend. Both generate lots of energy for getting everything else done.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Piccadilly, Times Square and Petersfield

Yes, we have lights in Petersfield and very nice they are too! In these days of austerity when shops don't want to spend money on Christmas lights it is very nice to walk home at night and see those same familiar lights cheering the town centre. 

Monday 21 November 2011

Bears by Lindsay Agnostelli

I'm now on a quest to find special items for the Handmade Happiness shop. These handmade bears that came into the shop on Saturday, are special. I've known Lindsay, who lives in Sidlesham, West Sussex, for years. She's a member of the Wessex Guild of Craftsmen who visited Petersfield with their work at the weekend.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Dragon Street gets Christmassy!

Wild Damson sells desirable furniture at reasonable prices, much of it painted in fashionable colours in house.
Tara Interior Design next to Wild Damson for luxurious gifts and the best selection of fabrics and wallpapers for your home.
Handmade Happiness for handcrafted gifts, everything made in England. From outside...
and from the inside...

Saturday 19 November 2011

Embellished clothing

I'm late this morning after the late night shopping last night. Apologies.
This photo is of an Anthropologie shop window in US and I love the jacket in the foreground.  Felting, beads, giant buttons it's all here. Regular readers will know that I want, one day, to have a rail of handmade/ upcycled clothes in the shop. You're creative - show it by what you wear! 

Friday 18 November 2011

Window dressing

Tonight is the childrens' Christmas trail. One strange and unexpected thing will be hidden in each shop window. Mine is easy to spot...

I'll finish decorating the window today. Small things to be hung on the white tree and its base covered in knitted gloves and socks; some real greenery somewhere would be nice; fairy lights and garlands.

Tonight is late night opening - until around 8pm. The how to keep mulled wine warm question has been resolved, I think, with a couple of giant thermoses. I feel quite excited!
By the way my neighbours - Tara Interior Design and Wild Damson have done beautiful Christmas windows. Definetely worth a look. Wild Damson has even had lots of outside lights specially installed. Pictures later!

Thursday 17 November 2011

What's inside these Christmas boxes?

Today I must do the Christmas Window. Shopkeepers take this very seriously.

Because Christmas is the important money-making time of the year and money taken at Christmas has to support us through the mean, lean times of January and February, the Christmas window must attract shoppers in to your shop to spend their money with you. And it's not just about spending money on Christmas presents.

 I found while working at Tricot Too that Christmas provides many women with the excuse to treat themselves in a way they wouldn't do the rest of the year. Yes, they may say the scarf they love is for their sister-in-law but they know and you know that they'll find something else for sister-in-law nearer the Day!

And as well as buying presents there are cards to buy, and decorations for home and tree. But no-one wants to focus on any of this too early. That's why my Christmas window (and I'm hoping it doesn't look like a dog's dinner but I can't be sure until it's done!)is waiting for tomorrow, the start of Petersfield Christmas Festivities, when the town's Christmas lights are switched on by the Mayor.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Through the Shop window

Needlefelted robin by Michelle Green, screen printed purse by Gayle Bicknell.
Reindeer by Michelle, cards by Willhemein.
Heart by Kate Hackett.

This Friday the shop will be open late and customers will be offered mulled wine and mince pies. My lovely shop neighbours, Tara Interior Design and Wild Damson will also be opening late. We are all looking forward to a bit of a party!

There seem a ton of things to do before then. Fairy lights to rig up, Christmas shop window to design and install, means of warming and keeping warm mulled wine and mince pies to sort out plus today I am determined to get angels made.  But with the fantastic help of daughter one who manned the shop yesterday and will do again today, we will get there.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Petal Anderson's rabbit

This is the other thing I bought at the fair. I find him irresistible and I want more handmade rabbits by Petal to sell in the shop. She also does 'tweedy birds'!
There is one more thing I will be ordering from a made in England maker I met there. But more of that later.

Monday 14 November 2011

Caroline Zoob designs

At the Christmas Country Living show on Friday I bought these cheerful gift tags and 4 sheets of this wrapping paper.  She also does a nice paper bunting with similar designs.

Sunday 13 November 2011

Kaffe's fabric designs

I came across this picture on a while ago. Quilted squares using Kaffe Fassett fabrics. Sorry I can't identify the maker.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Glimpses at the Country Living Christmas Show

As usual the Islington show was packed with shoppers making it hard to move in the aisles and almost impossible to get close enough to look at the most popular stands. It is heartening to see so many people willing to be tempted to spend their money on Christmas this year in spite of all the doom and gloom on the news.
The cushions at the top are designed by Jan Constantine; I like the old fashioned garlands by Nicky Snow; and, above, this is as close as I could get for a while to my friend Kate's stand. I'm looking forward to having some of her lovely things in the shop soon.
And what, you may be asking yourselves, did Jenny buy? Well I did buy a couple of things and I spoke to a few handmade in England stallholders about having their things in the HH shop. More of that and pictures later.

Friday 11 November 2011

Have wool - can knit

These lovely yarns have just arrived. The top one is 100% wool which means it's ideal for felting if you want to felt your work. The alpaca/silk is just extremely soft. Good for babies' things and scarves.

I'd like to get a round table for workshops. Lots of people want to learn knitting or crochet and I want to host making for Christmas workshops too. My daughter is visiting so I might get her help in carrying my (not round) kitchen table down to the shop so we'd have that to sit around then I can start emailing out workshop invitations. She is pleasantly surprised with how full of stock the shop has become. People come in daily with nice things they have made. Particularly super are the wood chopping boards/ bread  boards that Chris Burgess makes from local trees. I like the way each piece is labelled with where the wood is from eg. Stanstead Park or Goodwood.

Today I'm going up to the Country Living Christmas Show - daughter one will be taking care of the shop. Hope to take lots of pics of nice things!

Thursday 10 November 2011

Gayle Bicknell's cushions

Gayle visited the shop yesterday with these screen printed fabric cushions she'd made, three large screen printed notebooks and two more purses. It's all so colourful. Love Gayle's work. And the incredible thing about these cushions is that you can wash the covers in the washing machine. Gayle is head of textiles at Alton College. See her blog

Wednesday 9 November 2011

New Orla Kiely bag design for Tesco

Spotted this when in Tesco on Sunday. I think they're £4 each.
I realise now I've got the shop, how hard it is to fit in ordinary food shopping. It's tempting to pick up groceries on a daily basis from whatever supermarket's nearest which is mostly what I've been doing. But this is an expensive way of buying food.
Friends do all their shopping on line but I like to choose which bananas etc. So Sunday becomes the only shopping day or I could just get up earlier and do the weekly shop before work starts.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Melanie's paper stars

Melanie brought this cleverly made Christmas decoration into the shop on Saturday. I am intrigued with how she made it. I wonder if she'd be interested in giving a workshop?
Melanie, who is Canadian,  also makes soft yet practical baby's bibs and lavender filled sachets 'for childrens' drawers'. Examples are for sale in the shop.
The sheep are by Michelle. £2.50 each.

My neighbour Wanda will be in the shop today (Tuesday) as  I have to go to London. The family have an appointment at Lords cricket ground to scatter my father's ashes. It's just what he would have wanted.

Monday 7 November 2011

Singing and recording

I love to sing. Yesterday  the choir company's Farnham and Petersfield members drove out to a concrete bunker on a farm which houses this recording studio.Above is the big space where we sang 'Something Inside So Strong'; 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' a song from Les Miserables, 'Rhythmn of Life' and 'I'm Walking on Sunshine.' Our choir master, Gerard Butler, who sings professionally and coaches other professional singers is brilliant at getting the best out of us. He says 'I don't care if you get it wrong, just get it wrong loudly.' So we all let rip and raised the roof.
The microphone pictured above is for individuals or small groups. When three women from Farnham and me from Petersfield gathered round  to sing our add on I felt like one of the Supremes. For two pins I would have burst into one of their hits. But no, only three words were required. Well ... it's a start isn't it?!!

Sunday 6 November 2011

Cats in cardigans

Here is one of my 'cats in cardigans' next to some 1950s silk roses (£3 each) and some special old glass buttons.
Today, Sunday, is my day off and I'm doing something completely different. My choir are visiting a recording studio to make a CD and DVD. It will be an interesting experience. I'll take some photos and share it with you tomorrow.

Saturday 5 November 2011

Christmas stockings

My large stockings in Handmade Happiness. The bag is also made by me. Stockings are £45 each and the bag is £29. 
These ones are good for boys and some people prefer the simpler design. The blue mohair/silk  is sold but I have the same yarn in shades of pink. It is from Victoria who keeps goats.
I've been making these stockings for five years now and I used to make a small fairy to go on the top of the embroidered tree. I must make some more fairies as they also sell well in decorated matchboxes. 

Friday 4 November 2011

Who is this?

The new guy from the block is 'James' the carousel rocking horse. Made by Petersfield craftsman Bryan Osborn, James is bound to attract attention in Handmade Happiness. He is suitable for 3 to 8 year olds and built to be passed down the generations.
Here is James in all his glory. His maker, Bryan Osborn also makes traditional rocking horses with real horse hair manes and tails and proper saddle and tack. The price? James costs £750 and a  traditional rocking horse sells for £1,000. Full details and photographs available in the shop. 

Thursday 3 November 2011

Changing and growing

After two and a half weeks I can see my shop changing and growing. Growing because every day people are bringing in their handmade pieces to add to the ever increasing number of things to admire and buy.
 I thought it was a tiny shop but it's surprising how much stock it takes to fill it. And changing because I keep re-arranging and changing things round. The big change will be the working table in the centre of the room. I need a big table for the workshops and I find that when I make at the counter it rapidly gets messy and unbusinesslike with all my bits.
I also want to change the sign above the shop to different lettering and have wording all along the space pictured above. But all this is minor. The big joy is the conversations with the customers. I am meeting some really special people and most of them seem to like the shop and the way it's developing!