Tuesday 31 July 2012

Come to London part 1 - Hennes I salute you!

We found the H&M Home range in their Oxford Street East branch. I am so impressed. These cushion covers above are 100% linen and sooo cheap.
Velvet cushions plain or ruffled.
These linen cushions above would look good on my oatmeal cotton sofas.
My daughter bought the green cushion above. Great colour!
Again all the above are pure linen.
 Perhaps best of all is the bed linen. I bought this white linen pillowcase. I'd  like to also get a ruffled little bag and the pure linen sheets and duvet covers one day.

Yesterday I had the best time in London. I took loads of photos so I'll show others over this next week. To get right away on a day off is really refreshing.
The capital is buzzing because of the Olympics. I stood next to a young soldier from Portsmouth  on the train back. He's there on security watch.
I met one of my daughters and we went to Hennes first. This Dutch company, I think you'll agree with me, have got it right when it comes to a basic but desirable home range. Natural fabrics, simple styling, good colours and low prices. The cushion covers range from  £3.99 to £12.99. Cushion pad is £6.99 extra. My pillowcase was £12.99 and I guess you'd pay a lot more elsewhere for something very similar.
More follows...

Monday 30 July 2012

Vouchers for Handmade Happiness

I love doing collage. I start off with painting on paper then tearing it up. I mix these pieces with bits from magazines, torn bits of printed or plain tissue, even torn fabrics. In this case I have also coloured in then used illustrations from an old, out of copyright, book of flower illustrations.

This post should please my daughters who don't like it when I write about supermarkets and what they stock. Neither handmade nor happy as they so rightly point out!

Sunday 29 July 2012

Habadashery bits and pieces

Just experimenting with a new way of uploading pictures. 

Voucher designs coming

After nearly three hours of trying to mend the picasa to blog link I have to admit defeat and publish again without today's pictures. 

These four pictures which I hope to show tomorrow are of my new Handmade Happiness vouchers which I enjoyed making yesterday.

Tomorrow I plan to go to London and look forward to taking loads of photos there. Just hope I can share them with you very soon...

Saturday 28 July 2012

Happy Weekend!

Hello and welcome to Handmade Happiness!  
Today I can't make photos publish so for once this will have to be unillustrated. I am determined to put a post on every day despite technical difficulties. The picture I would have shared is of a small display unit I bought at Wild Damson yesterday. With nine wood cubby holes it is ideal for showing off small things in HH. If you haven't yet visited Wild Damson in Dragon Street, Petersfield, I urge you to do so. It is full of nice pieces of furniture and accessories for the home at reasonable prices.

Are you looking forward to watching the Olympic Games? I feel quite excited about seeing who wins the medals. There was such a good community feeling about the opening ceremony last night wasn't there. I managed to stay awake for most of it. Up until midnight. Shame that team GB was at the very end of the procession of athletes... I hope that none of them has to compete first thing this morning.

Friday 27 July 2012


 Sheep are one of the most popular buys at Handmade Happiness. They are made by Michelle and Bob Green. £2.50 each.

Thursday 26 July 2012

Food thoughts

I was in the supermarket yesterday buying fruit and veg and noticed that nearly everything is imported.This makes me cross. 
At this time of year it should be easy to eat local produce. Why are supermarkets not supporting local farmers? How can it be cheaper to ship food than to eat what's on our doorstep? And if it's just about money why should supermarkets expect to raise their profits year on year? 

What good public relations it would be for a supermarket chain to say - we prefer to buy from UK farmers even if we have to sacrifice some of our shareholders' profits to do so?

It makes sense to eat with the seasons - we don't need fresh strawberries at Christmas - it's cheaper and healthier to eat freshly picked produce from nearby. And if the UK is to get out of recession and back on it's feet surely we have to buy British. 

Let's keep it simple. We need to spend the money we have to spend 
as locally as possible. Otherwise many British farmers, small holders and manufacturers won't survive.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Pretty tissue paper coming this week

 I got the new business grant! I told the council that I needed it for supplies for the shop which I do. So yesterday I ordered in new tissue papers. This one pictured proved the most popular so I've got plenty coming both to wrap purchases in and to sell. 

Second most popular was the Liberty print flower design so that's coming too, along with a pretty leaf print I've not had before and some Christmas wrapping paper because this year I intend to offer a gift wrapping service for  people who want it.

Also coming this week are more cards and I've started making those Handmade Happiness gift vouchers I've talked about.

Isn't the weather blissful? I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy being outside in the sun this week.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Granny in fancy dress?

 I'd never seen this picture before my mother showed it to me on Sunday. It's of her mother in what looks like fancy dress. It was the 1920s so it might not have been fancy dress but why is there a word stitched across her middle?
Elsie, my granny, who I only have a few vague memories of, was apparently always knitting. 
She trained as a tailoress and made mens' suits as well as all her own clothes.

 When her only child, my mother arrived, in her late thirties, she made all my mothers' clothes as well. Including all her school uniform to my mother's constant embarrassment. My mother's uniform was always different from everyone else's, the materials having been bought at the market.
 But this early frustration evidently gave my mother her  lifelong love of nice clothes, and her habit of turning clothes inside out when shopping to check the seams are properly finished... 

Monday 23 July 2012

Walk this way

Opposite Handmade Happiness is The Avenue and this is the view at the end of The Avenue.
Walk down the steps to get to the loveliness that is the Lake.
 Every time I see this I vow I will walk round the Lake every day. It takes just 20 minutes to walk the footpath round the Lake. There are fishermen and swans but best of all are these beautiful views. 

Sunday 22 July 2012

College Street

The prettiest cottage.
The oldest house in Petersfield.
 This house looks very old too.

There are various ways I can walk home from the shop. One route is up College Street which has a selection of old houses either side of the road.
For a long while my favourite has been the perfect little cottage in the first photo. These houses look so interesting I expect their owners are equally interesting too. 

It is quite possible that some of the occupants have been in my shop. I wouldn't know it.That's the thing, you meet people and exchange various words and may never get the opportunity to find out whether or not they live in College Street. 

Saturday 21 July 2012

Collecting and using /2

My friend Clare gave me this patchwork (mostly Liberty) and now clever Linda Innes, who makes for Handmade Happiness under the name of Betty Button has created this dress from it.
It's an apron dress, the same style as the childrens' dresses she made earlier (see previous post dated June 24th).  There are three buttons (one hidden inside to secure it); she's fully lined it;  it's tunic length and womens' size 12-14. You could wear it alone or over jeans and a top. 
If you wanted to you could carry one of the simple bags that Linda made earlier from the same patchwork. Now that would be a great look. Dress price £38

Friday 20 July 2012

Collecting and using fabric

I love this old fabric. But the other day I gave it away. It's time to stop collecting and start using! (Actually I hope to see it again because I gave it to a maker to use in her creations for Handmade Happiness.)

Do you have stacks of fabrics, ribbons and old lace that you've collected over the years? I've got dresses my children wore and the fabric is too nice not to re-use it. 
As I get older and the piles grow higher I'm thinking that I am never going to use all this. Much better to give it to people who can turn it into something beautiful to sell in the shop. People with better needlework skills than mine.
I rarely buy anything to add to my stash now although  I am tempted at the Save the Children sale in Petersfield. I find some wonderful quality things there. Luckily it's only an annual event.
Another event I like to go to is the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace in October. You see women there laden with carrier bags of craft materials they have bought. I just wonder what percentage of the things they buy actually get used. I suspect that most things get added to their growing stack of fabrics that one day they have every intention of making beautiful things with...

Thursday 19 July 2012

Re-cycled bracelet

You know those big rolls of parcel tape? I was absent mindedly trying on an empty cardboard roll as a bracelet when I wondered if it would look good covered in crocheted.
The result is a winter bracelet good enough to sell in the shop or give to a friend.
I wonder how many other things we normally put in the re-cycling bin can be given new life using our craft skills?

And if we think of enough things, would there be any interest in a workshop called 'Making Christmas presents out of the things we'd normally throw away?' Might have to work on a snappier title!

Wednesday 18 July 2012

New in the shop

 Peter Skrzypczak bought in his beautiful turned wood pieces on Saturday. 
The oak toadstools pictured above are designed to stand elegantly in the lawn. 
 Peter, who lives in Petersfield, makes stools, kitchen towel holders and these oak peg rails with the neatest little screw hole covers. It's lovely to see the natural grain of the wood. I think this wood echoes peoples' need to get back to simple, honest basics. Peter's work is not expensive and would make good gifts.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Olympic torch excitement

I cheated. The torch passed me in a flash so this picture is off the tv screen!
Before the event. 'Three pounds a flag.' So many flag and whistle sellers. Did they realise the bloke outside Marks and Spencer was giving them away for nothing?
Coca Cola, one of the sponsors, was giving out bottles of coke to the crowd.
I think this bus carried the torch bearers.
This man had the best view from the flat above.
 All respect to Wild Damson, my shop neighbour, who not only had this sign outside but also provided a tv screen in the window which showed the torch's progress.

Have you seen the Olympic torch? I love the way everyone comes together to line the streets, wave the flag and feel excited. The actual torch went by in the blink of an eye but the razzamatazz thanks to loud music from the Coke lorry put everyone in the party mood.
All eyes were on the road so I can't say it was good for business! But  by passing out plates of croissants and tiny glasses of orange juice 'from Handmade Happiness' to the crowds of people walking home after the event I think some of them will be back...

Monday 16 July 2012

Cool childrens' shop

 I saw this shop on my last visit to Brighton. It looks a good place to shop for a new family member ie. little Ted born on Friday. Imagine giving a little boy the silver car in the window. Wouldn't that be an excellent present? www.tobytiger.com

It's an early start for me this morning as I'm opening the shop for 8am. The Olympic torch is due to pass the door sometime after 8.30am. Pictures later!

Sunday 15 July 2012

Fiery colour quilt

 Pam Dew brought in the new quilt she has made yesterday. Suitable for use as a tablecloth or throw it's giving the shop a fiery whack of colour hung on the wall behind the counter. I love the mix of colours and I love the subtle way Pam has covered it in stitched shapes that quilt the layers together.It costs £80

Saturday 14 July 2012

Let me tell you a story

You could make up a childrens' story about these characters in Handmade Happiness's window couldn't you? 

Starting from the right let me introduce Scrap Sally (made by Pixie). She keeps herself to herself and is a bit shocked at the antics of her flamboyant friend Maisie (made by me) who is engaged to Teddy (made by Lindsey Agostinelli) who Scrap Sally is secretly in love with. 

Maisie is a good time girl who loves parties. She is always hosting parties and going to parties in other childrens' nurseries with lots of colourful cupcakes.
Scrap Sally doesn't like parties ('too noisy') and she doesn't eat cakes because she's watching her figure. She'd rather be left alone in the nursery with Teddy. 

Teddy is a quiet and faithful bear. He feels he must stick by his promise to Maisie although she tries his patience to the limit and he knows (secretly) that he would be happier married to Scrap Sally.  Meanwhile the birds (made by Michelle Green) gossip together about Maisie, Scrap Sally and Teddy and peck up all the cupcake crumbs after Maisie's many parties. 

Congratulations to my niece Lucy and her husband Craig on the birth of their son, Ted, yesterday afternoon. Can't wait to see you all!

Friday 13 July 2012

New little flowers jewellery

 I've made some easy to wear jewellery for summer. 
It's comfortable with its button and loop fastening, comes in all different sizes and colours and is just £5 for a necklace, £3.50 for a bracelet, and £3 for earrings. The other fabric bracelets in the picture are £10 each.

Tara, my shop neighbour actually ordered Christmas trees for her shop yesterday. July 12th! 
I must admit I'm thinking a lot about Christmas at the moment and wondering what it will be like this year. Lots of women buy for Christmas throughout the year to spread the cost so I must keep Handmade Happiness well stocked with lots of tempting goodies

Thursday 12 July 2012

Bag or cushion?

Yesterday in the shop I crocheted a few more Granny squares. I'm no expert at doing crochet, I taught myself from a library book and if you look closely you'll see these 'squares' are not really square at all! However using crochet produces quicker results than knitting. And it's fun choosing what colours to use.

Now I have to decide what fabric would go well with them. A heavyweight linen in that greeny-yellow shade might look good for a bag but I haven't got any of that. What I have got is a felted pinky-lilac cardigan. That might work.

On Monday the Olympic torch is passing through Dragon Street at 8.30 in the morning.  We shops will be open especially early. If you haven't yet visited Handmade Happiness you could 'kill two birds with one stone'. See the shop plus witness an historical event!

Wednesday 11 July 2012


 I saw this in Guildford on Monday.

Yesterday's meeting went quite well I think.  Having to answer lots of business questions reminds me that being business- like is a stretch for me. You know how they say we have two sides to our brain, the practical, logical side and the creative, imaginative side? I think most of the time I think in that second side. 
I'm quite good at lateral thought and have a tendency to over-complicate things. When you think through a problem, immediately decide on a simple course of action and then think all round the problem before finally deciding that actually the simplest way you thought of first is correct.  Am I boring you or do you relate to this?

Anyway after a conversation about the profitability of each item in the shop when I tried to explain there are certain things I want in the shop because they are beautiful and will earn the shop a reputation for quality and a high standard of craftmanship...I think I may be getting some free one-to-one business advice.. which  will be interesting and much appreciated.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Colour in knitting and crochet

I started these Granny squares yesterday on the train to Guildford.
I started making this vintage style throw ages ago.
Above, knitting by Luise Roberts on the cover of her book How to Knit and Crochet Blocks, Blankets and Throws. No I haven't got it but I'd like to own it.

Colour inspiration from garden flowers. 

I have two very important visitors at the shop this morning. Two people from the council who will interview me to see if I qualify for a 'new business' grant. I was under the impression (wrongly as it turns out) that new shops automatically got this £500 grant from East Hampshire council. So I'm going in early to make sure Handmade Happiness looks its very best...!

Monday 9 July 2012

Poppy tip

 Right now my garden is full of poppies. They don't like being picked and collapse and shed their petals the moment you put them in a vase. Which is a shame because they're very beautiful. 
The other day I had some droopy ones on my desk at work and a kind customer gave me this tip: As soon as you cut them put the ends of the stems in boiling water for less than a minute. It works! This lot were still looking perky on their second day and two people asked if they were artificial.
They are pictured in one of Kate Hackett's jugs with needlefelted animals by Michelle Green.

Does anyone else out there wish they could Link Out? I get fed up with getting Linked In emails. I'm not interested in belonging to this organisation (only joined because I didn't want to offend the friend who asked me) and although I've repeatedly emailed them to stop sending emails it has made no difference.To try to disuade them I now forward back to them anything they send to me. Anyone know how to make make them go away? 

Sunday 8 July 2012

Sandra Izard, artist

As promised I'm showing you paintings by Sandra Izard that she brought in to Handmade Happiness on Thursday.
 These aren't the originals, these are giclee prints (pronounced jee-clay). They look just right displayed in the shop and are not too expensive.
I so admire Sandra's work.  She paints her garden and her chickens and the landscape around her home. And she's exceptionally good!
Handmade Happiness sells Sandra's framed and unframed art and greetings cards. 

Am I alone in getting a bit bored with all this rain? Yesterday in Petersfield in rained for most of the day and evening. Last night I suddenly heard the slow drip of a leak where the water had found a way in. There's only so much water an old house can take I guess... I'm reminded of that old nursery song...'Out came the sun and dried up all the rain. Incy wincy spider climbed the spout again...' Come back sun we need you!

Saturday 7 July 2012

Karen Boller's jewellery

Stitched brooches, necklace and cuff bracelets all designed and made by Karen Boller.
 When Karen came into the shop the other day I was delighted to see such individual looking jewellery. Each piece is unique, stitched by Karen using scraps of ancient fabric.  I've not seen anything like it before.

Handmade Happiness is getting so full of good things.
 Yesterday a friend dropped in and we talked about gift vouchers. I will make collaged gift vouchers - each one different in values of £10, £20, £30 etc which the lucky recipient will enjoy taking their time over deciding what to spend it on in Handmade Happiness.

Friday 6 July 2012

New dolls

 These beautiful little dolls are the work of Pixie who has a blog called The Craft Nook. They arrived in a parcel at Handmade Happiness yesterday and look quite comfortable sitting on their shelves. 
Come in and take a closer look!

The lino cut cards above are by Jill Martin and the cards below show the embroideries of Ann Hutchins. 
Talking of cards, artist Sandra Izard visited yesterday with her wonderful watercolours. Handmade Happiness now stocks her cards and many of her limited edition prints. They are special... I'll post some photos of her work in the next day or two.