Saturday 31 March 2012

Things that go bump

 Window of Smug in Camden Passage

I was watching Neighbours when there was this thud from the kitchen, a little bell sound and a scuttling. With a lot of banging about I bravely (?) opened the kitchen door. The window was open but I could see nothing suspicious.
I guess that the pesky black and white cat that likes to use my garden as his personal toilet had leapt through the open window and then scuttled back the way he had come.
Last night daughter two stayed over. She is not happy with this explanation and when there was another bump in the night, (and I maintain that all old houses make noises in the night but she lives in a newly built flat) she felt too frightened to sleep. That is why I am late writing this blog this morning. Talking in the early hours of the morning for too long with daughter two.
Have I said before that I think all cats should wear bells round their necks? A friend was distressed to find her intrepid hunter tucking into a meal of robin the other morning. Yes, all cats should definitely wear bells.

Friday 30 March 2012

New bears

 These four mohair bears by Lindsey Agnostelli have just arrived in Handmade Happiness. They measure six and a half inches tall. Lindsey has also made a larger bear of 12" not pictured.
My favourite is the white bear with the softest alpaca felt pads.
My brothers will remember a teddy called 'Whitey' that belonged to each of us in turn. And then one day Whitey accidentally got thrown into the open fire. A parent quickly flicked him out but he didn't look as pretty after that. Yet he continued to be well loved... 

Thursday 29 March 2012

Needle felted bluetits

Michelle Green's bluetit

In Handmade Happiness you can see the work of many gifted local people.
To my mind, one of the cleverest is Michelle Green. This lady spins, dyes, paints on silk, makes authentic historical costumes, felts, knits, crochets, sews and draws. Her current passion is for needle felting.
The shop is also selling a badger, a woodpecker and some chickens needle felted by Michelle.

Does anyone know where I can get card racks from or those free standing card holders, preferably second-hand? I want them for the lobby area of the shop. 

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Walking and Thinking

In Petersfield's Physic Garden in the sun
I am thinking a lot about the shop at the moment. 
Someone said to me,'Make the most of every square inch' and this is what I have not being doing.
  I think I need to take everything out and put it all back in again differently. I have two rooms and I'm inclined to forget about one of them! As you go in you are in a lobby area which cannot be seen from the other main shop area. At the moment the big wall in the lobby is covered by an inspiration board and a community notice board with some art works to the left. Apart from a bookcase of books for sale that is all there is in the lobby area. To make the most of every inch I must convert this space to selling space. 

I'm reminded of the Petersfield Book Shop. It has a large open area to the left of the shop full of books. This is the part of the shop that never closes. There is an honesty box and people may buy from there 24 hours a day. That is the kind of town Petersfield is where people are assumed to behave well and they do...

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Myrine and Me and Lauren Vidal at Willow

Myrine and Me top as stocked by Tricot Too.
Myrine and Me dress photographed at Tricot.

Willow, the new clothes shop in Petersfield High Street stocks two labels that were very popular at Tricot Too. Willow stocks other  makes as well. There is more Myrine and Me than Lauren Vidal but to anyone reading this who is missing Tricot Too I'd recommend they take a look upstairs and in the back room of Willow.
By the way I am trying out a new background template. Do you like it?

Monday 26 March 2012

Wedding papercrafts

These photos are from a book titled Wedding Papercrafts by Jane Cassini and Ann Brownfield I borrowed from the library.

Pretty ideas for wedding decoration from the authors of another lovely book called 'Vintage Inspirations' published by Ryland Peters and Small that I have in my bookcase.
Another excellent wedding diy book. now sadly out of print is Sarah Lugg's book The Handcrafted Wedding.
When the woods round here start flooding with bluebells I always think of weddings. Outdoor weddings in natural clearings surrounded by old trees.
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Sunday 25 March 2012

Remembering bead shops

Many years ago there was a bead catalogue called Janet Coles. Have you ever seen it?  
This lady collected together beautiful beads, had them made into necklaces, bracelets and earrings then photographed them for a wonderful glossy magazine catalogue that reminded me of Vogue. 
You could buy the beads individually or in kit form to make the necklaces etc. in the pictures. It was extremely successful and I loved to receive the catalogue and spent hours selecting which beads to order.

There were then bead shops  in most towns but I don't see them any more. Maybe I don't travel far enough or maybe people aren't as interested in making jewellery as they once were.  Yet earrings are back in fashion and after a long period when only the most modest silver chain style jewellery was commonly worn statement necklaces and bracelets are back in again.

Yesterday my friend Penny told me about 'brooch bouquets' which involve wiring up old brooches to put among silk flowers as wedding bouquets.
Maybe it's time to dig out those Janet Coles catalogues again...!
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Saturday 24 March 2012

New and in the window

These new needlefelted chickens by Michelle Green are £16 each. Egg cups by Kate Hackett are £10 each.
Michelle's badger is £20 and woodpecker £36. I'll show you her garden birds tomorrow. Or you could come and see them in the shop today ...! Lindsey Agostinelli's little handmade bear is £30 and Kate Hackett's plate and mug are both £15 each.

I changed the shop window yesterday. 
After my London visit I feel full of fresh energy and determination. It does you good to see what's out there and try to absorb the best of the best. 

Friday 23 March 2012

Loop, London

Susan Cropper's shop Loop in Camden Passage.Outside and...
Loop, which is almost opposite the Business Design centre where I went to the Country Living show on Wednesday, is a special wool shop. Walking inside feels like stepping into someone's house. The whole shop has a cosy, homely feel. And the staff are open and friendly in a non-city way. I find it inspiring.  

Thursday 22 March 2012

Shall we visit Country Living?

You could smell this stand long before you got there. Just lavender and rosebuds.
This looks pretty. What are they selling?
Rustique. Nice ideas.
I particularly like this Rustique lampshade on its painted, spotty base.
Many years ago myself and four friends used to visit this show regularly. And every year we'd say to each other wouldn't it be great to have a stand here. Then one year we applied, that is potter Kate Hackett and I applied. The selection was rigorous. We had to send in photographs of what we made which went before a committee. The rule was you had to make everything on your stand and you had to sell it in person.And of course, it had to fit in with the look of the magazine.

 That first year we shared a stand at the top of the building. So exciting and we took more money than we'd ever seen before! Every year after that we took a stand and eventually took separate stands, gradually moving down the building to, in my opinion the best selling area which is on the ground floor...
Yesterday I searched for the Kate and Jennys with their handmade at home things. But in truth the show has changed. Fair to say it's mostly business companies now with a dwindling number of makers. 

Some stands lured me in - check out the tiles at (all made in the UK) and the very pretty things at 
But my favourite spot was in another place completely. I'll write about that tomorrow! 

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Shadows and sun dials

 Imagine inventing the sun dial! 
The idea of an object casting a shadow which, if positioned correctly, showed the viewer the time. Imagine then working out that the object would have to go along the line of 12 instead of say, 3o'clock for the thing to work. The whole thing would have to be in the sunniest spot. 
This one is in Petersfield's Physic Garden and even has a table for adding or subtracting so many minutes depending on the month to give you Greenwich Mean Time which is what we in the UK live by.
By the way it was lunchtime when I visited but you know that don't you?!

Thanks to Jane I have just added two more blogs to my Nice to look at list. Hens Teeth is fabric collage and embroidery and Gentle work is stitching into soft colours. Makes you feel peaceful just to look at it...

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Felt bunny pencil toppers

I made these after seeing something similar in the purlny blog (see 'Nice at look at' in the right column). They are a simple to make project - children could do them with a little help on the eye and nose. Thinking ahead to Easter and all those chocolate eggs children receive; One of these with its drawing pencil might be a nice alternative or addition to chocolate for them. They cost £3.50 each.

Monday 19 March 2012

Julia Kirby's necklaces

Posted by PicasaI love how the colours of felt glow. Julia Kirby just brought in her handmade necklaces for the shop. £16 each.
Michelle Green brought in needlefelted creatures - a badger, chickens, some garden birds. I'll show pictures of these soon.

This is rent week at the shop and it's wonderful how money focusses the mind! Over the weekend I have been thinking and planning. There will be changes, especially in the lobby area which I'm not making the most of at the moment. I'm looking for one of those rotating  greetings cards/postcards holders. Any ideas?
I also plan to have lots of items for sale online as well as in the shop either on the blog or on a site linked to the blog. And press releases. And creative workshops. A high energy week ahead! Hope your week is the best too! 

Sunday 18 March 2012

Raw materials for wedding jewellery

I've been asked to make some hair decorations for brides and bridesmaids. I've got some ideas. These are the raw materials I'll be working with.

Saturday 17 March 2012

The souk window

The current window reminds me of the souk with its drapey long lines. 
Posted by PicasaSince taking this picture the shop has received lots of new stock. More glowingly colourful patchwork cushions  from Pam Dew. More smooth wooden boards in every shape and size from Christine Burgess. More postcards of local views from Henry Ascoli. Necklaces with handmade beads and felt phone covers from me and handmade notebooks by Chloe Hoare. And if you wonder what I'm busy sewing at my desk it's little felt bunnies as pencil toppers or finger puppets for children as an alternative to Easter eggs for £3.50 each.

Friday 16 March 2012

Caron Ascoli's sketches

Posted by PicasaI thought you'd like to see two more of Caron Ascoli's bird sketches. Imagine being able to draw like that. Sorry but the coal tit has sold, and the wren shown earlier. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Caron comes to the shop with more of her lovely work today or tomorrow.

By the way if you like the photos on this blog, some of them have been made into postcards and are available at the shop.
 I'm opening earlier from this week onwards to celebrate the warmer(?) weather. Tuesday to Saturday 9.30am to 5.00pm. Most days I'm still open until 5.30pm or later but I'd better not commit to that. 

Thursday 15 March 2012

Lulu and Archie

Posted by PicasaLulu the golden retriever belongs to Tara who has the shop next door to mine.Lulu has picked up an awful lot about interior design and is one of that shop's star attractions! Normally Lulu quietly dozes on the shop floor only jumping to attention at the sight of the postman. When bouncy little Archie visited (just 14 weeks old) it was wonderful to watch them communicating.After being thoroughly climbed over and jumped on Lulu quietly put the young pup in his place - just like she would with one of her own puppies. Hope you like the photos!

Wednesday 14 March 2012

And then there were two...

Yesterday the post brought a parcel of bears from their maker Lindsey Agostinelli.
The three bears sat together on their picnic rug in the window surrounded by Rebecca Snelling's cupcakes - a little large for their appetites they thought. And suddenly larger bear Elmo disappeared. He roared off in a sports car with a very nice lady.
Well, their expressions tell you better than I could how they felt about that. Pretty devastated...!
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Tuesday 13 March 2012

I heart cleaning (not)

Whenever Monday comes around and the shop is closed I think I'll clean the house. Correction I think I ought to clean the house. I'm not sure there is anything in the world I find more boring than cleaning.

When the kids were small I had a good routine. I would clean all I could between 7.30am and 8am and what didn't get done then could wait til the next day. Somehow I kept on top of things even with three children and a job.
Nowadays I  whizz round like a ' white tornado' when someone is coming round (music helps with speed cleaning!) 

 Otherwise it's amazing the number of people I think must have a phone call, the emails that need to be answered, magazines looked through and books read that somehow get in the way of that thorough spring clean! I'd rather make some felt or sort through beads or knitting wool for some project or write. In fact writing about spring cleaning is sooo much nicer than actually doing it!
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Monday 12 March 2012

HH window displays

 Apologies for all the reflections in the window.
 I change the display once a week. At the moment it's geared to Mothers' Day.

 As well as including a sample of anything new that's come into the shop I try to be practical. Not for me, yet, are the big bold statements which just attract attention. I'm thinking of Anthropologie's curtain of fruit tea bags and giant plastic cup chandelier. Maybe it will evolve that way. A giant newspaper dress and washing line of knitted bras for instance -  but at the moment I play it safe. Maybe I'll get more adventurous as my confidence grows. Watch this space!  
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Sunday 11 March 2012

Felt fish

Julia Kirby makes these felt fish (£35) and Heidi Robinson's blue glass panels are £25 each.
Yesterday was a busy day in the shop. One of the joys for me is the creative people who come through the door and the conversations we have. I think I am sometimes guilty of distracting them from looking at the merchandise!
Caron brought in another bird sketch (the first two have sold), Mary, an expert dyer and textile artist, came by with ideas for workshops and another Julia had loads of ideas for what I can make with my embellished felt panels.
Have I mentioned lately how glad I am that I opened Handmade Happiness?
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Saturday 10 March 2012

The wonderful drawings of Caron Ascoli

Yesterday Caron Ascoli brought two of her bird sketches into the shop. This one of a wren and another (equally proficient) of a coal tit. Both pictures are priced at £15. She loves her garden and says the hedges are filled with little birds. I think these particular little birds will fly off the wall of my shop early this morning!! 
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