Saturday 30 June 2012

New Healthy Cafe in Petersfield

 Shopkeepers and customers in Dragon Street are all talking about this new place to eat in Heath Road. 
Welcome to The Natural Apothecary- purveyor of all things healthy and delicious!
Half cafe seating area and half shop, apparently the coffee is excellent (I don't drink coffee but that's what I'm told) and I can personally vouch for the chocolate and beetroot brownie. Don't you love those cakes which are cooked with vegetables so you can tell yourself you're eating cake for the good of your health!

The Natural Apothecary does take away soups and salads and would be a good stop off place for anyone wanting to take a picnic to Heath Pond just around the corner.  

Yesterday I bought a brownie which I shared with my shop neighbour and then to my amazement a customer gave me another. I tied up the cake box with ribbon in a knot to keep my greedy hands off it until today...Remind me that Jenny does not need cake daily, not even one with beetroot in it!

Friday 29 June 2012

Flowers from the garden

Pictured against my well-used folder for choir, aren't these roses wonderful? I think the tightly petalled ones are called Queen of Sweden, a David Austin rose. The poppies seem to come up in different colours every year and the blue penstemmon is one of my favourites though the colour is more intense than it looks in these photos.

 Today, Friday is a Petersfield Plants day -plants are sold early this morning in St Peter's Road. I'll check out sweet peas if they've got any because mine haven't taken this year and sweet peas I reckon are about the best flower to grow in the garden apart from roses...

Thursday 28 June 2012

Lovely shop window

I took this picture in Amsterdam last year. Isn't it a beautiful shop window display? 

There's all sorts of textures going on from the rough white grit, the smooth bowls and interesting glass blocks on the left to the soft petals of hydrangeas in the background. It makes you stop and feast your eyes for a while.

It was brilliant to have a couple of days in Amsterdam with my daughter. Just to walk and walk and see so much. Really re-charges you. It was my birthday present from the kids and this year they've offered me a  trip to Paris which will probably take place in August. I promise you a whole bunch of gorgeous photos then! Can't wait!

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Window dressing

How do you get a picture of a shop front without also getting a picture of whatever is opposite it?
I tried taking it from every angle last night but they're still lousy pictures!
When the shop opened, 8 months ago one of the mistakes I made was having these heavy black letters for the shop sign. Immediately it was done I knew it didn't suit the shop but (big plus) it can be easily seen by passing cars. It will have to be black to suit the ancient building but I'd prefer a lighter, handwriting style font.

On the subject of window dressing I want to show off some of the lovely things for sale without blocking the light.Other shops have backdrops in the window so it can be filled with a towering display of goods and these shops rely on artificial lighting inside. I want all the natural light I can get but not such a base heavy display. Ideas welcome!

See the bunting? I made that and more for a lovely lady who came into the shop and ordered it. Stupidly I didn't take her phone number and she hasn't come in again. Ideally she'll read this and come in now ...

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Colourful new cushions

Pam Dew's patchwork cushions are fabulously colourful.
 Pam brought in three new cushions she has made to Handmade Happiness on Saturday. She calls them Beach Huts by day(top) and Beach Huts by night (middle cushion). You don't have to see them as beach huts, you could see them as the clever use of many colourful fabrics to best effect. Kaffe Fassett fans will recognise that many of the fabrics Pam uses are his designs.
The base round cushion is also newly made with a selection of batik fabrics. Wouldn't they all look wonderful on sofas in a white walled room? (see previous post !)

I am thinking about having advertisements on this blog. If anyone reading has any experience good or bad with GoogleAds perhaps they could email me? Thank you.

Monday 25 June 2012

Business Cards

 These are my latest 'mini cards' from
I like the fact that I can select as many of my photos as I like and have them made into something that hopefully the customer won't throw away.

I order 200 at a time, this time of 19 photos and it costs me 14p per card. If I ordered more it would work out a bit cheaper but if I have fewer I'm more careful with them.
They are smooth and made of thick card with the shop details on the back of them.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Best makers

Linda Innes has designed and made these two little girls' dresses with matching sunhats for Handmade Happiness.
 I am so lucky. Some of the best makers have come through the door of Handmade Happiness to talk about selling their work. Linda Innes is one of these. Linda could make you a wedding dress or a pair of curtains. For HH she has made all kinds of bags (complete with inside and outside pockets and key holders); jewellery rolls, fabric storage buckets, and aprons.

 We talked about an apron style dress for adults - just like these little girls' dresses only bigger.I'm hoping that they will be the next things she comes to the shop with! Because if the dress in the top picture was my size I would love to wear it! Wouldn't you? 

Saturday 23 June 2012

Colour torture etc.

 This massive florescent orange van was parked outside my neighbour's shop one day this week. It was like a Dyno Rod van only worse. It's colour cast an orange glow over her shop so that more than one visitor said: ' You've been tango-ed'.

  To interior designer Tara having the van there, its images reflected in mirrors around her shop, was a form of torture. Torture by colour. The van was there all morning even though there's a one hour parking limit in the layby. 

I was grateful it wasn't parked outside my shop as that colour is unbearable. Yet I have been considering painting my walls in strong colours. A lime green or a strong sky blue. Now that wallpaper is desirable again do people love their strong colour choices or does strong colour quickly outstay its welcome? 

I've experimented in the past with painting walls a rich sunflower yellow and a long time ago I loved a strong large flowered wallpaper by Sanderson called Time Was. But for now I think strong colour would jar after the novelty wore off. White works. And with a white background you can put as much colour (in small doses) against it as you like.
What do you think? I would love to hear how you feel about colour. 

Friday 22 June 2012

Summer jewellery for Handmade Happiness

Fun bracelets to make you smile. Each one is different and that's why I enjoy designing and making them. They're on elastic and cost £10 each.
 I started using Suffolk puffs in jewellery making a few years ago in response to a jewellery request from a stylist on Country Living magazine.

 The brief was denim and Liberty fabric incorporated into jewellery for a fashion shoot.
 I came up with something along these lines, sent it all up - necklaces, bracelets, fabric animal etc (the shoot was of women and children)and eagerly awaited the May issue. 

 The photos in the magazine were a bit disappointing as the shots were taken from a distance so you couldn't see the jewellery clearly - just specks of colour worn by  the models. But I did enjoy the anticipation and excitement before the event.

By the way I've changed the shop opening hours slightly. From now on I'm closing at 5pm instead of 5.30pm. Ring me at the shop 01730 267711 if you'd like to visit after 5pm and I'll stay open for you. 

Thursday 21 June 2012

Emily Watson's silver words

 On the left of the picture are little silver word pendants like Friends; Peace; Wish; Dream made by Emily Watson on silver chains.I really like these and think they make excellent gifts.She also makes the tiny silver heart earrings and worded heart necklace.
Jenny Shutler's earrings and brooches made from vintage cutlery are to the right of the picture. Note the beautiful old fish knife brooch in the middle and the tiny butter knife brooch to the right.The two bead necklaces at the top are by me.
All pictured in the shop yesterday.

Now I must paint some beads for that summer jewellery I'm busy making for the shop. I did take a picture of it but it's blurry (aren't all your pictures blurry? I hear you mutter)so I'll try to take a better one today.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Interesting Alton

A chalk house.
Was this ancient building once a water mill?
This house is called The Lodge, note the old road sign and below the French warning signs on its gate.

 Apparently the tower on this building was a watchtower during the war. Imagine how all the light from its windows must flood into the flat below. Wouldn't it be great to live in the flat and also to own the shop below?

I want to find out why someone built a house of chalk boulders. You would have thought that rain would eventually wash the chalk away.There's a retaining wall between it and the road. The museum was closed or I might have been able to find out.

Alton is an interesting mixture of a town. It's a straight line High Street of shops with a smaller shopping street intersecting where Ernest and Matilda, pictured above is.Like the Arundel layout in fact. It has more than its fair share of charity shops but also an 'Aga' shop and apparently it's getting its own Waitrose soon. 

I had a busy day in the shop yesterday. I used to think Tuesday and Wednesday were the quiet days and Thursday, Friday and Saturday were the busiest days but now I think it's completely unpredictable.
I must share with you the new summer jewellery I've been working on. Pictures soon. 

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Bottega dei sapori, Alton

This is my favourite cafe and it's in Alton, Hampshire. 
For lunch I ate a toasted panini sandwich filled with roasted peppers, courgettes and aubergine and taleggio cheese with olives. Don't like crisps so I left them.
In the shop area Franchi seeds above and beautiful pasta below.

And these Alessi storage jars and pretty jars of edible flowers.

When I first moved to Petersfield 6 years ago I was wowed by this cafe in Alton. The food is all freshly made on the premises - the cakes and tarts look really impressive. It's open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 

Yesterday I walked all round Alton finding some interesting curtains to be made into something else in a charity shop and seeing the sights (pictures of those later in the week.)I planned to visit a Textile exhibition at the Allen gallery but it's closed on a Monday.(It runs til June 30th.)
It is good to get away on my Mondays off. That way I don't just carry on doing shop stuff which I would if I stayed in Petersfield.And now I'm looking forward to getting into the shop again and seeing what today brings.
Oh yes, I found a nice purple washing up bowl in Robert Dyas, Petersfield for just £1.99!

Monday 18 June 2012

Guzzini colour punch

Displayed in Steamer Trading cook shop in Horsham. All the colours of the rainbow except blue.
I love these powerful shots of colour. Jess gave me one of their red salad bowls for Christmas and I own from way back a red box like the one pictured left. I store brown sugar in it.
This is what you see when you enter the store. Those glass bottles could be light shades. Can you get transparent plastic light shades looking like that? They would be nice in the kitchen.

Yesterday I went to Horsham to spend time with my mother. We went into this store to look for a washing up bowl. I want a round red or white washing up bowl and was expecting to spend under £5 on one.
 Steamer Trading has a choice of a folding, clear plastic washing up bowl for £20 or a cutting edge design rubber one for £59.95 
I'm going to Alton today - come rain or shine - and I expect I'll  find my washing up bowl there!

Sunday 17 June 2012

Vintage fabric bears

Lindsey Agostinelli has cleverly used 40s and 50s fabrics to create these two bears.
 Both bears are for sale in Handmade Happiness. £29 each.

The old fabrics are from Penny Baker who collects vintage fabrics and packages them for the shop.
I like it when people use old things and make something very special out of them - like these bears.

One of my customers suggested that charities should let invited designer/makers loose in their warehouses to choose whatever they wanted to make into stylish new things to sell. The charity could have a special label for these upcycled items with money shared between the charity and the maker. An excellent idea don't you think?

Saturday 16 June 2012

New teapots

Kate Hackett's ceramics including this vintage flowers design teapot and new bowls and mugs.
Here is Kate's strawberry teapot pictured with large size jug and (just visible) strawberry cake stand. All pictured in the Handmade Happiness shop in Petersfield yesterday.

Just time to finish off a few summer bracelets before heading for the shop. Saturday is usually my busiest day. Many makers visited yesterday. So good to talk with them.

Handmade Happiness seems to be getting known as a present shop. I notice that people come in and say,'I've got to get a present for my friend/sister/mother.'

 So yesterday when Yellow Pages asked me where I'd like to be listed I replied Gift Shops. Other organisations have listed me (wrongly) under art and craft supplies which leads to phone calls asking for all sorts of things I don't stock. Gifts suits the shop just fine.

Friday 15 June 2012

Rain can be fun ...

 ...if you have the right wet weather clothes... I spotted these fun Liberty style wellies in Joules in Winchester.

 I forgot to take my camera to work yesterday. A shame because I had two deliveries of delightful things to photograph!  Firstly Lindsey Agostinelli sent in two mohair teddies and two new design teddies made with vintage flowery fabrics. I think you'll like them.

 Later in the day Kate Hackett dropped by with two wonderful teapots she has made for the shop and a dozen more mugs which had sold right out.  Pictures to follow.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Rainbow Sheep

 Yesterday I made coats for some of Michelle Green's sheep. You can buy them plain (unclothed) or fancy (clothed). They cost £2.50 each.

I like making little scraps of things like this in the shop. It doesn't take up a lot of space. I just stop whenever a customer comes in. 
Jewellery making which I've also been trying to do in the shop recently seems to take up too much space and with all my beads, buttons and fabrics it all gets too messy. So jewellery is an at home task, as is collage but sewing, knitting and crochet projects can be done at work.
Don't you find that seeing sunshine makes you feel so much more creative?!

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Michelle Green's Needlefelting

 These needlefelted ponies came into the shop on Saturday. 
They are displayed with Michelle Green's wonderful owls and a couple of her sheep. In the background are Christine Burgess's small boards.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Birds and butterflies

 Another shop glimpse. Ann Hutchins embroidered butterflies and  landscapes; Jill Martin's fine linocut pheasant card and Michelle Green's needlefelted bluetit.

I went to Guildford and got soaked in the rain. Afraid it wasn't photo taking weather. I came home with a couple of rose-printed Cath Kidson dusters found in tkmax for £2.99. Hoping that having pretty tools will encourage me to do more housework!!

Monday 11 June 2012

Shop Tour -part one

Left to right above:
 Penny Baker's vintage fabric packs; my doll and handmade buttons; Michelle Green's needlefelted chickens and robin; Susannah Smith's felt purses; Ann Hutchins poppy picture and my bracelets.
Above you can see:
 Natasha Rothschild's knitted bunnies; Michelle Green's needlefelted bluetit, robin and sheep; Jenny Shutler's vintage cutlery jewellery and Penny Baker's cushion (centre) with Pam Dew's patchwork cushions to either side.
Christine Burgess's popular wood boards together with her twig hooks.

As promised here is the start of the virtual shop tour- as it looks right now. I'll put some more pictures up later this week.
Yesterday, Sunday, I found a wood turner and a silver smith. Today, Monday I'm going to have a day off in Guildford. (Shame about the rain but we in Britain are used to rain!!)  

Sunday 10 June 2012

Blooming marvellous

 My front garden is giving me lots of roses to pick for the shop at the moment.  Pictured foreground is Johnson's Blue, a type of 'real' geranium, next to it lavender in bud and next to the David Austin rose you can just see a couple of white peony bushes and the blue penstemon also in bud.

I have been in my house for six  years now and I'm thinking about moving. Although lots of people think that high ceilings are desirable I have never quite got used to mine. There must be tricks of the trade to make a high ceiling house feel more cosy but if there are I don't know about them. 

Strangely the upstairs ceilings are lower (but still high) because at some stage in the house's history an extra lower ceiling was built in upstairs. We know this because of the chimney type opening into the loft. 
Writing things down often suggests solutions and I'm thinking if the downstairs rooms were minimalist and simple with guests in mind I could cosify a bedroom with an armchair and big flowery wallpaper and a writing table for me. Then I wouldn't have to move.  
Are you moving or staying?

Saturday 9 June 2012

Summertime Blues

I took this picture recently, during the really hot weather. As we fast approach Midsummer Day this is what I hope the sky will be looking like more often. 

In rainy weather people are inclined to put their heads round the door and say,'I won't come in. I don't want to get your shop all wet.'  And while on the subject of not coming in I saw a friend pass the window twice and not come in. She thought she wouldn't disturb me because I was with a customer. 

Actually I can cope with a wet shop and lots of people visiting at once. Don't be polite. Come in!!!

Friday 8 June 2012

Pretty stained glass

 This pretty Art Noveau window is high up in a building on Lavant Street, Petersfield.

 Imagine if it were on your landing as it may originally have been. Now the building is full of offices. Petersfield is a bit random like that - can you remember the picture of the ornate bank's ceiling (Hsbc) I posted a while ago. It feels as though there is always more to discover. That's why I love living here.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Ann Hutchins embroidery

 Ann Hutchins has done this exquisite little picture of the Physic Garden in Petersfield. Her cards pictured on either side are of embroideries she has now sold.  The picture is £30; cards £2.50 each. All available at Handmade Happiness now.

Ann Hutchins used to open her house in Petersfield for the Paint art trail with our mutual friend Bee Mellor. Sadly the art trail doesn't happen any more and Bee went to live in Australia. 

In writing to Bee this morning I am reminded of how much Handmade Happiness has changed since it opened six months ago. It is so much fuller! Time for another virtual tour I think!

Wednesday 6 June 2012

500 Felt Objects - more Wow

Andrew Kline and Tricia Stackle made the felt swing above with merino fleece and bungee cords.
Tash Wesp made this 'Coat of Blues' using nuno techniques and hand dyeing. Apologies to the photographer, Thomas Osborne for my blurriness.Still absolutely beautiful though!
Anna Kristina Goransson made these 'Light Drops' from dyed merino fleece.

More inspiration from the fab book 500 Felt Objects published by Lark Crafts and brought together by Susan Brown.

Nuno felting fascinates me. This is where felting locks in other materials like chiffon, cotton and muslin to create a really interesting fabric for clothes like the coat pictured above. I'd love to have some clothes made using this technique in the shop one day. The swing above demonstrates the strength of felt and natural white light shades would be fabulous and relatively light weight.

 I'd also like warm felt slippers - looking like Ugg boots and some arty felt cushions. Later in the year I'll have these things in the shop.
Yesterday I re-arranged the shop, changed the window and the displays inside. It was open but relatively quiet. I think I might have been the only independant shop in Petersfield to open yesterday but I enjoyed it as usual.

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Jubilee Day at South Harting

"Welcome!" says the tall man.
"We are a very smart band."

"Suss-ex byyy the sea."

"This is how you do it lad."
"Just let me get this dog show over with and I can have a nice roll in the field."

British weather being what it is - variable - I was cold standing behind my stall at South Harting yesterday. But luckily the rain held off and the villagers turned out in their hundreds. 
I told an awful lot of people to come and check out my new shop and I look forward to welcoming them at Handmade Happiness! Maybe I'll see some of them today.