Tuesday 31 January 2012

Like it - who made it?

I am breaking one of my own rules this morning by posting a picture without attributing it.
 I hate to see pictures in magazines or on blogs of something handmade where the person who made it is not mentioned. However I've looked through pinterest where I must have found this originally and no joy. If you know you made this felted wool bag let me know and I'll put their name by it.

I like the soft colours. It looks well made and is a good size. The construction is simple and the interest is from the great batch of knitwear and boiled wool the maker has found. In short I'd like to have some of these in the shop!

Now back to the tax page. Why do I make such heavy weather of it??!

Monday 30 January 2012

All change for Spring

Kate Hackett's work is now against green instead of cream.

Typical of our changeable British weather that as soon as I finish changing the look of the shop for Spring the coldest winter weather of the year arrives and apparently is going to be with us for four weeks!
Longer post tomorrow. Afraid I overslept today and in 5 minutes I still have to go power walking!!

Sunday 29 January 2012

Notice board

This is the first thing you see when you step inside Handmade Happiness. I had planned to have a community noticeboard advertising local art and craft events but it's become more of a Things I Like board. I've just realised I could also pin on scraps of ribbon, fabric and lace that I want to display.
I must take photos of some lovely new work brought in yesterday to show you plus photos of the new ribbons I've just put out on sale.

Saturday 28 January 2012

Buttons and rug

My buttons on the table above Glen Wellstead's rug.

This is the quiet time in the shop at the moment. I was warned that January, February and even March tend to be the slowest months of the year business wise.  
Now is the time to write that book, make the merchandise and improve displays.

Yesterday I had a ribbon and DIY metal button delivery and it will be good to see the reaction to those things. And one of the shop visitors showed me the most exquisitely made dressed mouse. I'm hoping she'll make more for the shop as her work is special!

 Today Becky is coming in with her fab makes and hopefully my son and one of the daughters will drop in. Meantime if you notice me frowning at a load of papers on the desk you'll know that I still haven't finished the dreaded tax return!!

Friday 27 January 2012

New! Cushions and Jewellery boards

Cushions by Penny Baker; jewellery boards by Linda Chivers; collage by me.

I changed around everything in the shop yesterday. More pictures tomorrow.

Thursday 26 January 2012

To Move or Improve?

Blankets by Avoca. Photo taken at the shop Gorgeous in Chichester.

Now I'm working next door to an interior designer I am constantly being reminded of how beautiful a home can be! Tara has the most lush embroidered silks, soft velvets, wool throws and textured silk wallpapers. All of which send my imagination spinning into overdrive.

My home feels and looks rough around the edges. It needs time spending on it. Time to focus on making it better. Re-arranging the furniture, organising the storage areas, painting the inside of cupboards and puting up hooks and picture hooks. Generally using what I've got to best effect.

When I first moved in an estate agent knocked at my door. He'd just sold the house attached to mine. We talked about what sold houses - a subject that always interests me. His advice was to keep it simple. He said don't spend money on a new kitchen or a new bathroom chances are the next people won't like it and will rip it out anyway.
So maybe I've taken his advice a bit too literally.Six and a half years down the line I'm still living with the blue worktops in the kitchen which I dislike and the front door that I vowed to change immediately. I have ripped out the horrid pink carpets which makes the house look much better but there's still work to be done.

No I'm afraid I'm still a few years away from silk wallpaper...! My home needs time and energy - and that has to come from me.

What are your thoughts on 'To Move or Improve'? I'd love to hear about your experiences. Please try the comment thing. Some blogs get hundreds of comments. This one doesn't and that's ok. I can't comment on a friend's blog - the process is impossible for me to understand - if that's the case with this blog let me know and I'll change the settings.

Wednesday 25 January 2012

Doing the sums

At this time of year I am forced to focus on income in and income out to do the tax return. One of my most unfavourite tasks!

 In checking through old notebooks I am reminded that life is about so much more than making money. More fun and more important (as long as you have enough coming in to pay the bills and buy food) -are ideas and plans and conversations and education.

Now I have the shop I want it to be profitable (otherwise it will have to close); but more important to me right now is that everyone walking in to the shop enjoys the experience and wants to come back - whether they choose to spend any money in the shop or not.

Tuesday 24 January 2012

This is what I bought

These are my treasures from Midhurst monthly market on Saturday. It was worth an early start - do you agree? - and I'll try to be there every month from now on.

The only trouble with starting the day really early is that by the time proper work starts you feel you've put in half a day's work already which, of course, you have.

The one that got away was a battered up shopping basket for £5. As I stretched for it so did someone else, faster. At that time in the morning there were some very smartly dressed ladies, who I'm guessing were buying for shops in London and they are quick off the mark. So next time I must stop dithering and grab!

Monday 23 January 2012

Rag rug colour

Rug made by Glen Wellstead for Handmade Happiness.

Sunday 22 January 2012

New for Handmade Happiness!

Kate Hackett's new collection of mugs, plates and jugs.

I am delighted to have Kate's new pieces for sale in the shop. Grouped together it all looks so fresh and spring-like.
Long time friend Kate is not only a potter who makes each piece from scratch, she is also an artist who hand paints each piece before puting it in the kiln again.
Yesterday Kate brought in these pieces plus an assortment of 'kitchen fairies' and decorated hearts. I am especially grateful to her as Kate is very busy right now making stock for her stand at the Country Living magazine spring fair in March.

Saturday 21 January 2012

Scents of Spring

I love the strong perfume of hyacinths. These are an unusual colour and I remember being given them at this time of year and how lovely it was to smell them in the hall going out and coming in.

I looked at the hyacinths in Marks and Spencer - half price - do they ever sell any at full price I wonder? -  but they're either blue or pink. I like white ones, or pale lilac or dark lilac like these. I want some in the shop.

People really appreciate a nice smell. Most of the time our sense of smell doesn't bother us. Supermarkets don't smell of anything except when you approach the bread area. In a clean town like Petersfield I think you could go the whole day without consciously smelling anything at all.

 I've been  burning an Avoca roses candle in the shop that I got for Christmas. People comment on the nice smell and now it's used up I'll get some white hyacinths to provide that nice, relaxing smell.

Now I'm off to Midhurst - yes, I know it's only 6.30am but apparently you have to be there early to get the best stuff at the monthly market. A friend who has a stall there says the dealers arrive at 6.30 ish so if I'm there at about 7.30am I'll avoid the scrum and hopefully still pick up some pretty 'vintage' fabrics. I'll let you know what I buy...  

Friday 20 January 2012


 While in a 'What shall I make next' mood I came across this photo of cats from January two years ago.  The wool they are holding is the wool I knitted or crocheted their cardigans from. Cats in Cardigans sold well at the Country Living magazine shows.

Now I do more with felt and lately I am also thinking about re-visiting large bead necklaces and even large bead earrings. But with Valentine's Day on the horizon my time is best spent making Valentine's cards right now. And there's also that pesky tax return to sort out before the end of the month... 

Thursday 19 January 2012

Changing shop displays

Yesterday I freshened up the shop ready for spring. Armed with the new issue of Vogue I banished winter's rich reds and replaced them with soft, pretty colours. The temperature went up a few notches too.
In the pictures are Michelle Green's handspun, hand dyed wools and my jewellery.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

Most popular blog post ever!

Lauren Vidal clothes in the window of Tricot Too March 22th  2011. Lamp shade by Deryn Relph.

Titled 'Lauren Vidal loveliness' this is the blog post that is way the most popular on this blog.
The clothes are so unusual aren't they? I remember the way the full skirt of the dress on the left could be pulled round to the front or back and tied in place. Tricot Too in Petersfield closed down last August but the clothes it stocked still inspire people like me. 

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Collage cards

Yesterday while it was quiet (and cold) in the shop I made half a dozen new collage cards.The top card centres on a Rodarte dress with my painted papers around it. I make the envelopes and include a large sticker to close the envelope with.

The first thing I did yesterday was to buy a heater. The temperature in the shop has been bearable up until now! As I had someone coming to learn to knit yesterday the shop needed to be warmer. And the new oil filled radiator takes the chill off allowing me to make things without my hands getting too cold!

I hope you are keeping warm. I wonder if it will snow? 

Monday 16 January 2012

Needlefelted by Michelle

Dog by Michelle Green in Follit's window, Petworth, Sussex.

Poodles are not my favourite dogs I have to admit. But I think this one is very cleverly created.
Michelle spins and dyes yarn and makes the sheep and reindeer sold by Handmade Happiness. She also needlefelts robins which sold very quickly in the run up to Christmas.

Since most people who pass the shop in Petersfield have a dog with them I would love to have some of Michelle's dogs in the window. But not necessarily poodles. I think Petersfield suits labradors, jack russels, and maybe a golden retriever? 

Sunday 15 January 2012

Climbing the hill

Michelle Green's sheep with cummerbunds by me climbing the hill.

Life can seem a bit hilly sometimes can't it? But the challenges all teach us something.
I've been thinking about moving recently and the grass can seem greener elsewhere. But actually when you really think about making changes - big ones and little ones - you can end up feeling grateful for what you've got and determined to make the best of that, not to go seeking another batch of challenges elsewhere.

Despite the extreme cold the atmosphere in Handmade Happiness is warm and friendly. Come on in!

Saturday 14 January 2012

I heart wood!

Chopping boards, bread boards, serving boards. All handmade by Christine Burgess. www.christineburgess.co.uk

New boards were delivered to the shop yesterday afternoon. Christine works with local wood from Hampshire and West Sussex to make boards of all shapes and sizes. Those pictured above are available in the shop now priced from £8 to £35.

Friday 13 January 2012

How's the Diet going?

Photo taken at Maison Blanc, Guildford.

Has your response to this picture altered since January 1st?
I always resolve to get slim again in the New Year. But you'd have to have known me for quite a long time to remember what I was like slim!
Is it all about re-training your response to calorie laden food? Loving the veg - especially the green veg. and trying to convince yourself that croissants are very very bad! 

I think it's about reward and punishment. As children many of us were brought up to think of chocolate or sweets as rewards for being good. They weren't freely available as they are now, they were definetely treats.

As adults we must re-train ourselves to think that being kind to ourselves (having treats) is to actually put healthy foods into our bodies - fruit, veg, pulses, nuts (and/or meat and fish). The five star fuel!
In some sense we punish ourselves  by eating food that gives nil nourishment in return for a whole load of calories. It just tastes nicer... Hmmm.. training is ongoing.
A friend who is enviably slim says brussel sprouts are her favourite food. See? She deserves to be slim!

Thursday 12 January 2012


These tulips have been on the shop counter for a few days. They look too beautiful to throw away.

Workshops at Handmade Happiness, Petersfield, begin this Sunday, January 15th. If you are interested in learning to knit or crochet or in taking part in 'Free Knitting' on Monday nights (experienced knitters only) email me and I'll forward you the details. jennystacy@tiscali.co.uk

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Felt slippers

Page from Martha Stewart Living magazine December issue.

A friend who went to New York recently gave me this magazine yesterday. Yes it's American. I used to be able to get it from Borders bookstores until that company went under. There are many good American/French/ Australian magazines. I wish that WHSmith would stock them.

Anyway I was delighted to find this how to for making felt slippers designed by Stephanie Hung.

As I write I can hear a pot of soup bubbling on the stove. Since Monday I have  been on a diet or as I prefer to think of it 'change of life style'! I take a thermos of home made soup to the shop with me and have it at lunchtime. By about 3 in the afternoon I am ravenously hungry and have to go out and buy a sandwich but I give myself an 'A' for effort!!!

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Sheeps' clothing

Sheep in cummerbunds £2.50 each

Michelle Green and her husband make these popular little sheep. I stitched on their cummerbunds for a bit of spring colour. 
Some of you will be pleased to know that I am emailling invites to workshops today. As the majority want workshops in the evening or at the weekend that is what is going to happen. More details soon.  

Monday 9 January 2012

Love this!

Avoca hot water bottle at John Lewis £35

Yesterday I went to Southampton and had a really good look round John Lewis there. I spotted the gorgeous hot water bottle cover above and had to take a picture of it. So darn pretty but so darn expensive!

In the habadashery department I could only find plain satin or velvet ribbons. When did they cut back? I guess to find something a bit out of the ordinary you have to go to London.
I like the fact that John Lewis has everything under one roof and its design is such that it never feels crowded. I had a lovely day mooching around and buying nothing. I must be a shopkeepers nightmare! I met up with my lovely younger daughter and her boyfriend for a sandwich in pret a manger. I didn't get home til nearly 7pm. It felt like a proper day off which was just what I needed!

Sunday 8 January 2012

Hand spun, hand dyed, British wool

Michelle Green buys a fleece from the farmer and cleans, dyes and spins it.She often uses natural dyes like onion skins or dock leaves gathered from the hedgerows which produce an olive green. But natural dyed wools aren't as popular as synthetic dyed wools which produce stronger, brighter colours.

This week Michelle took back from the shop all the natural dyed yarns which have been sitting relatively unnoticed and replaced them with these singing dancing colours pictured above, which sell better. An exception is this naturally coloured wool pictured above from Jacobs and Shetland sheep.

I like to have this British wool in the shop.  It looks so decorative hanging from pegs in all the myriad of colours. You have to think outside the box as to what to knit with it but why not just buy it to hang - like a work of art?

Saturday 7 January 2012

Wild Damson - 2012

Useful pieces include this hall bench seat (background) with trough under for shoes and boots.
These original glass drawer knobs give the finishing touch to a pretty bedroom chest of drawers.

If you are thinking about making changes to your home in 2012, Wild Damson in Dragon Street, Petersfield  is a great place to find useful, practical pieces of furniture at reasonable prices.

Tempting me at the moment is a  long table with drawers. The top is stripped, the rest painted a restful pale green/blue. There is a long shelf underneath, ideal for pots and pans. I'm day dreaming about stripping out my kitchen and having some free standing pieces. This would be a good start...

Friday 6 January 2012

Making bracelets

Bracelets £4-50 each by Jenny Stacy.

The advantage of this quiet time in the shop is that I can sit making. These bracelets are inspired by that indigo Ralph Lauren throw which I wrote about a while back. The throw was a patched, darned and textured affair which looked thoroughly beautiful. It cost over £1,000 but I still carry the image of it in my head. 

Thursday 5 January 2012

Fabrics for making with

Vintage scrap packs £4-50; vintage furnishing fabrics wad £10 by Penny Baker for Handmade Happiness.

My friend Penny Baker brought in lots of lovely vintage fabric packs yesterday. New to the shop are these wads of old furnishings fabrics from the 30s,40s and 50s. Ten pieces to a pack, all different; I particularly like the yellow fabric shown above.

When I used to sell at the Country Living magazine shows on a regular basis I found that these vintage fabric packs by Penny sold brilliantly. To people who make cushions, or for patchwork, or small sewing projects. Once a bride-to-be bought my entire stock because she wanted to make a heart to tie onto each of her guests chairs with them.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Book Sale

Having just said that Handmade Happiness doesn't do Sales I've changed my mind slightly and I'm having a mini sale of books. I have so many craft/cookery books that I need to prune my collection. All books pictured plus more that I'll take in to the shop today are offered at just £3.50 each.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Seeing the light

I really like this light fitting which shoots rays across the whole ceiling. Photographed at Watergardens self catering bungalow, near Trowbridge (see previous post.)

Did the strong winds disturb your night? Having woken at 3am I could not get back to sleep so as usual I got to thinking. First I re-designed the bedroom on paper, coming up with a much more spare look I like.

 Then I was thinking about the nature of friendship. All the people you work with and get along brilliantly with in your work situation. Then you move jobs and somehow the friendships you thought you'd made don't survive the transition. They were work based friendships and rely on having work in common. I guess if you want those work friendships to survive you have to really work on them.

On the same theme I think if you put yourself out to help someone or someone really helps you it is not necessarily an equal exchange of favours. Instead there are chains of kindness when those people help or listen to others that cross their paths. We're all links in chains. We're just not always aware that we are.

Monday 2 January 2012

Shop corners

Shoppers screen printed by hand by Gayle Bicknell in the lobby.
Ann Hutchins' stitched pictures, right; my doll and Gayle Bicknell's silk scarf on the left.

I'm in the mood for change. Are you? A New Year always feels like a fresh start. Today I will lose weight, re-decorate my house; make a billion things for the shop and throw a wonderful party for all my friends and family. And all by lunchtime!!

I resolve to do all those things in 2012 and make an online shop for Handmade Happiness and visit Paris and create the best shop I can in Dragon Street. I feel so fortunate to have at last got a shop and I love being in it and talking to all the lovely customers. Bless you and thank you  for all your support and friendship in 2011.

Sunday 1 January 2012

Embellisher - Day Three

 I made this spectacles holder yesterday. Just the one. In attempting to sew round it with the embellisher through double thickness I broke a needle. Now I must pluck up my courage to actually handle the needles to replace it with a fresh one. They are very sharp and barbed and I am a wimp.

I have now learned not to attempt seams with the embellisher. I sewed round this one by hand and it is fine.

Happy New Year!
Shall we put off talking about resolutions until tomorrow?
May 2012 be your best year yet!