Monday 30 April 2012

Yay! Sunshine!

It is so good to see bright skies this morning. Energising...

No, I haven't just picked these flowers from my garden, it's an old photograph.
 I checked the sweetpeas I planted a couple of weeks ago and they've been nibbled away to virtual nothingness by slugs. 
I try not to kill anything so I have to live amicably with garden pests!
 Luckily I had so many baby sweetpeas that I only planted out half and can now put out the ones I kept indoors as replacements.

 I wonder if it is warm enough to eat breakfast in the garden? I'll try!

Sunday 29 April 2012


 Michelle Green's needle felted chickens are £12 for little ones and £16 for larger ones. They are for decorative use only like all of Michelle's work.  The 'garlic boards' behind are made by Christine Burgess and sell for £8 each.

This continuous rain is stopping people coming into town. Yesterday all the shops - even Marks and Spencer- were empty at times. I'm told that it could keep raining through May as well. Well just build me an ark someone so my shop and I can float gently off!

Talking of water I heard a really nice story about Petersfield Lake. This year a family of Chinese geese has settled on an island in the middle of the lake. The resident Canadian geese aren't happy and one fisherman saw a Chinese geese chick killed by one of the Canadian geese. Watching the chicks scrabbling to get up the bank on to the island to the safety of their Dad's protection he decided to help. The intrepid fisherman waded out to the island and built a wooden ramp for the new chicks to use to get in and out of the water easily. Once on the island Chinese goose Dad makes such a din and flap that no Canadian goose goes near them. 

Saturday 28 April 2012

How is this supported?

Here is the growing wall at Anthropologie in Regent Street, London I was talking about a few days ago. Imagine the expertise that went into planting and maintaining it!  Is there soil in the wall? Maybe there are shallow box shelves hidden with greenery dotted all over it? It appears unsupported but it must be or it could not grow. 

We people also need support in order to grow and flourish. Some days we feel supported and some days we don't. A kindly word of encouragement can set us up for the day.

 It is one of life's mysteries to me how other blogs get comments and mine doesn't.  Maybe I don't invite comments and other blogs do. So today I'm inviting comments. I would love to hear from you. Do you enjoy looking at this blog? Is there anything you particularly like or dislike about it? Is the comment proceedure more difficult than other blogs? Let me know so I can continue to grow and improve it!

Friday 27 April 2012

Kate Forman designs

'Blue Roses'. There is also a wallpaper in this design.
'Agatha' above.
If you like this picture see lots more on
Blue 'Eliza.'
Red 'Josephine.' This also comes in a lovely yellow ochre which I like just as much.

I like these linens by Kate Forman designs. They have a faded, time-worn look that is appealing. Some of the designs have matching wallpaper. The company is based quite near here. Far too expensive for my pocket (now you know I'm not being paid to advertise!) but I wouldn't mind the scraps off the cutting room floor...!

Thursday 26 April 2012

Pretty Knitting

Midge Hemingway knitted this top in Noro yarn and all the things below. 
The spun, dyed yarns behind are by Michelle Green.
 One of the nice things about having the shop is when people come in with things they have made and want to sell.
Yesterday Midge Hemingway came in with this lovely knitwear. Mostly she uses Rowan yarns and I love the colours she has chosen.
To display it properly I want to paint Penny's pink coat stand pale blue (with her permission) and put everything on nice hangers. 
What are you doing today?

Wednesday 25 April 2012

500 Felt Objects continued...

Marjolein Dallinga made 'Red Craters' pictured above.
My favourite piece in the book I think.
Christine Birkle made these 'belly bags'. 
Her clothes for Hut Up are pictured in yesterday's post.
I love these 'sofa slice' cushions by Lene Frantzen.
Photo by Thomas Gunge.

As you can see I'm so enjoying my new book 500 Felt Objects published last year by Lark Crafts in New York. Susan Brown has brought together a fantastic array of creative ideas with felt from around the globe.

I will be glad when the building work in the shop is completed today and I can feel back to normal. The builder is doing a great job - not a speck of dust anywhere!
I will also be glad when this rain stops. The garden has had enough thank you. I think we deserve some warm sunshine now, don't you?

Tuesday 24 April 2012

The Wow! Factor

Catherine O'Leary made this from merino wool and silk. Photographed in 500 Felt Objects published by Lark Crafts.
The clever 'feltrigami' bag by Agostina Zwilling pictured above is in the same book.Photo by Marco Bravi.
 On the right are felt badges by Joanne Haywood. Photo by Alan Parkinson.
I love  these merino wool and silk pieces by Christine Birkle for Hut Up. You can imagine a bride wearing them.

So yesterday it rained non-stop but I still went to Hobbycraft at Havant where I found this most amazing book. 500 Felt Objects shows you what artists can do with the versatile medium that is felt.
Usually I gather up a pile of books, flick through them and put them back on the shelf. But this is one I could not put back. It has the Wow! factor in spades. I've only looked at the first few pages. I might have to share pictures of the felt furniture and hangings when I get to those sections. Thoroughly recommended.

Lucky finds in Havant charity shops yesterday were an old linen sheet for £1.99 and a long string of knotted beads for £2 which I'm pretty sure are jade.
The builder did an excellent job yesterday. He taped himself in to the back room, knocked the plaster off the wall and created no dust in the shop area whatsoever. Impressive. He's back in this morning at 8.30am to finish off. So I'd better hurry up and get ready for work! 

Monday 23 April 2012

Needle felted Owls

 Here are the owls needle felted by Michelle Green that I mentioned yesterday. Aren't they wonderful? She also brought in needle felted garden birds and a squirrel. 

If you come into the shop this week (open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5.30pm) it may look a little different.

 A builder is coming today to deal with a damp wall at the back of the building. Although it's in the room next to the shop I'm taking no chances and will be at the shop early this morning to move everything forward and cover it with dust sheets before he arrives at 8.30am. Luckily Monday is the day I'm closed but he will still be working on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Hopefully the messy demolition bit will be completed today!
Meanwhile I'm going to enjoy a good look round Hobbycraft at Havant today for the perfect card for wedding invitations!

Sunday 22 April 2012

Poppy pictures

Two layered, embroidered pictures of poppies by Ann Hutchins.
Yesterday was an eventful, sunny day in the shop. Lots of new work came in and lovely Melissa visited  twice and thoroughly inspired me with her talk of workshops, Photoshop and making ideas.

 Looking at all the handmade items often triggers memories. One lady looked at the rag rugs and remembered how, as a child,  she had cut and woven laddered stockings into rugs for the hall. These brown rugs were never washed (no washing machines then) and eventually had to be thrown away.

Other visitors find themselves inspired to go home and make something themselves. Seeing all the cleverly made items under one roof and knowing that local people made them is inspiring. That's what Handmade Happiness is all about.
Tomorrow I'll show you the amazing needle felted owls Michelle Green has just made for the shop. 

Saturday 21 April 2012

Pretty packaging

Tokyo Milk soaps come in really pretty wrappers. I saw these in Peter Jones.

Friday 20 April 2012

Six months of Handmade Happiness

On the right is the wonderful card stand Penny found for the shop. 
A close up of Christine Burgess's wonderful wood boards.

Handmade Happiness has been open for six months.

 Every day I'm learning more about retail. For example yesterday one of the customers turned out to be the Area Manager for Cancer Research shops. Her job is to inspect the shops in her area. She taught me about positioning things to give them the best chance of selling. Yes, some of it is common sense but some things it takes years of experience to work out for yourself.  I'm grateful for her tips.

Also yesterday someone came in to 'pick my brains'. She is thinking about setting up a similar shop elsewhere. It was good to pass on to her what I have learned. Especially ways  she can save money.

I'm doing a six month review. I've got so much more stock than when I started. Every week more people come in with things they have made.  I'm changing everything round. Why not come in and see the difference?

Thursday 19 April 2012

Basia Zarzycka window

Love this shop window in Sloane Square. 
Apologies for the poor photos but you'll get an idea of what this shop is like.
I've never dared go in but I like to look in the windows whenever I'm in London. See Basia's website 
I blogged much better pictures of her window on June 5th 2011. Basia makes ornately decorated wedding dresses, shoes and jewellery. Very special things that remind me of Faberge eggs.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Anthropologie Art

Inside Anthropologie, Regent Street. Above: Bird picture and simple linen cushions.
A painted chair.
Lamps made with flattened fingers of clay.
Interesting bolster cushion against roughly (oil) painted backdrops.

This is what I like best about Anthropologie. You come upon pieces of art unexpectedly. Amidst the rails of clothes or towers of cups and plates there might be a couple of really unusual lamps. The shop occupies a big space on three floors which is why these screen dividers (pictured above) work well to compartmentalise the space.
I also like the thin masking tape they use to secure the tissue when they wrap things up. The tape is white with the word 'Anthropolgie' repeated on it. I wonder who manufactures it?

Tuesday 17 April 2012


White buttons light shade.
Lamp shades made from ripped fabric.
Love the colours in this necklace.
Tea towels.

Yesterday our first stop was Anthropologie in Regent Street. I took lots of pictures so I'll show more tomorrow. This American shop is so different from any other shop. There's a growing wall of plants in the Regent Street store and in their Kings Road shop a waterfall and little stream runs through the shop. Well worth a visit.

 Did I buy anything you are perhaps asking. Well today is my birthday so lovely daughter Amy bought me a really nice top from Anthropologie as her present to me. Yesterday was my birthday treat.
 We also found a great new Spanish clothes store called Pull and Bear in Oxford Street that daughter two recommended. Good quality clothes at very reasonable prices.

I wanted to visit one of the Cabbages and Roses shops but was disappointed that their Mayfair shop is closing down so very little there. We went in Liberty where I wanted to find nice gift wrap but  found it too expensive at £3.95 a sheet so left empty handed. More luck at Peter Jones (part of the John Lewis family) where I found real dried flower petal wedding confetti which will be ideal for including in my wedding invitation collages. We walked for many miles as usual and looked for the Peggy Porschen tea shop. I've seen it online and it looks so pretty. However this wasn't til after 6pm and we failed to find it, settling on CocoMaya instead for an enormous slice of chocolate cake to share and tea from a gold tea service. It was a brilliant day out. More pics tomorrow. Thank you darling daughter.
My other darling daughter and darling son and their partners are visiting after work tonight to take me to Ask for a meal. I am very lucky. Happy Birthday to me!!

Monday 16 April 2012

Working in the garden

Yesterday afternoon I got outside and planted out  sweetpeas and violas.The top picture shows my wedding shrub (not sure what it's proper name is). I always imagine a wedding couple standing inside it's arch. And the lowest picture shows my best raspberry cane. I have five or six but the others aren't as advanced as this one.
 Sweetpeas are my favourite flower because of the heavenly scent and pretty variations in flower colours. It's lovely to be able to have bunches in the house (and at work) throughout the summer. The variety I like best is called Jazz and pretty much all the colours are in this mix.

Talking of Jazz, did you see The Voice on BBC1 on Saturday night? The very last singer was called Jazz and he totally brought the house down with his superb singing. Do you agree that this programme where contestants are judged solely on their singing ability because the judges can't see them is superior to other talent show tv programmes which can be quite cruel to the contestants?

I'm having a day in London with daughter one today. I'm planning to take lots of photos of our favourite places and new discoveries to show you tomorrow.

Sunday 15 April 2012

In wedding mood

I'm enjoying putting together materials for wedding invitations. I've been asked to make 100 of them which is a lot of collaging... But I love to make cards as you know so it is pure pleasure for me.
The picture shows just a small section of the mood board I'm working from.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Ann Hutchins' embroideries


In the window now are these beautifully embroidered pictures by Ann Hutchins.
Handmade Happiness also stocks Ann's cards and wonderful embroideries of poppies. The middle picture also shows one of her small works of Hinton Ampner on an easel.

Friday 13 April 2012

Ten finger dolls!

 Yesterday I had fun making more little dolls! 
Ann, who brought in more of her fab embroidered pictures, had the idea that they would be a good first doll for little chubby hands. So finger dolls have become 'Clutchies' at least for the time being. 
Their faces are embroidered and no buttons now so they are safe and squidgy! I mixed some dried lavender in with the stuffing on some of them so they smell nice too.  

Thursday 12 April 2012

Judith Needham's baskets

Before Christmas Judith brought in some reindeer made from little twiddles of twig.
They were simple but pleasing and people liked them.

 Since then I have been looking forward to stocking her baskets. These have just arrived and gone straight on to my 'wish list.' I particularly like the shape of the 'coracle' pictured above. Just the sort of thing you can imagine baby Moses floating down the river in before being rescued  by the Egyptian princess!

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Finger dolls

In my quest to make as simple a doll as possible I made this 'finger doll'  in the shop yesterday.
I started by just drawing round my longest finger for a pattern and then pulled out some pretty scraps to sew together. I'm not happy with the hair. Any alternative hair suggestions? Or hat suggestions? And I won't be sewing a ribbon round the neck of future dolls.

My shop neighbour, Tara, thinks it's hilarious. I pretended to be crushed - that I'd been making one for her birthday!! Not really of course. But with friends like Tara I will never take myself too seriously. But I have faith in this doll, that's why last night I cut out eight more in different fabrics to sew up today!

Tuesday 10 April 2012

It's the little things...

I like this and thought you might too. Found on pinterest - the link is in my Nice to Look At list. Pinterest is one of those time eaters that I try not to visit unless I'm too tired to do anything more constructive!

 Another of those American advice posters I found was this:
 ' Don't marry a man unless you would be proud to have a son exactly like him.' Now that's something girls and boys eg. Don't marry a girl unless you'd be proud to have a daughter exactly like her could learn by heart at school; along with how to manage your finances/ write a great cv/ mend a leaking tap and clean a house from top to bottom in the shortest length of time. All things I would have happily traded in for Latin or Physics.

Monday 9 April 2012

Beautiful boards

I love the smoothness of these wooden boards made by Christine Burgess. Especially the sycamore one under the trolley. 
Christine uses oak, beech and sycamore from local trees, often putting on the label where the tree grew eg. Oak, Goodwood estate; or Beech, Stanstead Gardens, Rowlands Castle.
 Prices start at just £8 for a 'garlic' board and until Terence Conran snaps up her boards I am pleased that Handmade Happiness is her stockist!
Also in the picture is a lampshade by me and a felt bag by Julia Kirby.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Happy Easter!

Are you hunting for chocolate eggs today?
I like the tiny Lindt ones in different coloured foil wrappers.
I remember trying to make those little eggs really hard to find in the back garden of our previous house.
Easter is a joyful time. Have a wonderful day!

Saturday 7 April 2012

Chocolate or chickens?

In the window above are needle felted bluetit £24 and chickens £16 by Michelle Green; toast rack £25 and chicken pot £19.50 by Kate Hackett; and vibrant round cushion £29.50 by Pam Dew.
 These knitted bunnies by Natasha Rothschild are £8.50 each; and chicken cards are £2.50 each.

I am glad I opened yesterday, Good Friday, because there were lots of people out and about enjoying the sunshine on their days off.

By the way I've slightly changed my opening hours. From now onwards Handmade Happiness will be open from 10am to 5.30pm Tuesday to Saturday.
Wishing you the best Easter weekend holiday!