Friday 31 August 2012

Goodbye August

 I'm going to have a change around in the shop today. It has got so much more stock than when I started 10 months ago. I'll take lots of pictures today so you can see what it's like now.

Thursday 30 August 2012

Pretty finds

 At the moment there's not enough time for stopping and staring. I used to stop and stare in charity shops and at car boot sales a lot. If I was very lucky I'd find something like this for a pound or two. The cup is too small and delicate to be useful but I often use the pretty side plate.
Over the years I've gathered a real mish- mash of crockery. Very little matches but I like it that way. My parents had a best dinner service, an everyday set of plates, bowls, cups etc. and a tea service. Do other people still have matching sets? What do you have?

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Changing seasons

 There's a cool bite to the air this morning. I don't mind letting summer go and I love the colours of autumn. It's winter that, in this country, seems to outstay its welcome by one month. That last month before daffodils and March hares, always seems a long one to get through. 

Knowing now what I did not know last year, that January and February are the most brutal in a shop's calendar as no-one wants to buy anything after Christmas, these next  four months are the most important. As a friend mentioned yesterday, department stores reckon to take around 80% of their money in the quarter before Christmas...

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Arundel Gallery Trail

'The Hungry Gulls' by Geoffrey Stinton 
Eye catching decoration at the artist Andy Waite's house
 Disappointment at the Rob Ryan venue. Apparently the house owner was called for jury service over the time of the trail.

I love walking the Arundel gallery trail each August.
This year there were 62 venues for artists and makers. It's interesting to see the huge variety of paintings and craft but the added appeal is to see the wonderful houses of Arundel.

For instance in one large house I saw the most beautiful kitchen painted palest grey with wood units painted that greyish greenish pale blue. Large table covered with the thickest white cloth and high backed dining chairs all with thick white linen covers.

I hoped to find some new makers for Handmade Happiness
There was some amazing white paper sculpture by Amy Fathers. (sorry no website) Picture a patch of grass including dandelions and clover all cut from layers of white paper in a white frame. And I liked Josse Davis ceramics.

The wire birds by Geoffrey Stinton (link below picture) were stunning especially considering Geoffrey's main work is making aeolian wind harps. I was sorry not to see Rob Ryans cut paper but thrilled to discover a sculptor whose work I'm hoping to have in the shop soon. 
I always visit Andy Waite's house first. Each room is painted in sympathy with his work. His work has become more abstract, larger. The colour is wonderful.
I enjoyed paintings by Frances Knight. If I had a gallery instead of a makers' shop I would  want to sell her pictures . And I love paintings by Gilly McCadden too.
More later...

Monday 27 August 2012

Sending out love

Cards made by me. Hope I'll have time to make some more soon.
I love making cards like these. But life crowds in:
Things we have to do but don't choose to do. 
Decisions that have to be made when we'd rather not face them. 
No time for making at the moment. I'll enjoy making cards all the more when there is time for them. 
I hope you are finding the time to do what you love to do best.

Sunday 26 August 2012

It will look very different...

 Because of demand for the big square throw I thought I'd make something along the same lines. Actually they will look nothing like each other! 

The small 'mitred' squares are knitted in blocks of four and not sewn up yet. I have a long way to go.

 As it's so labour intensive I'm even wondering whether the four blocks couldn't be turned into some attractive Christmas tree decoration. Perhaps ribbon loop at top corner, gold bells on either side and wool tassel from bottom corner...?

Saturday 25 August 2012

Delphiniums and art

 Yesterday someone was selling delphiniums from their nursery gardens in the town square. Two bunches for £4. Irresistible. 
Early mornings on Fridays I usually just manage to buy the last bunch of sweet peas sold by the Petersfield Plants ladies in St Peter's Road on my way in to work.

Last night I went to the preview of Petersfield Artists annual show in the Town Hall. 
Of the craft I particularly like the woven scarves and beautifully knitted socks by Carole Keats.  And there are some great paintings.

 Look out for pictures by Susan Colyer, Wendy Larken, Elizabeth Robinson, PA Langmead, Caroline Hawkey, John Robinson, George Hatton, Jean Mallows, Stephanie Morgan, GW Gascoigne, Carol Ellen and Pete Johnstone.

Why do we prefer some pictures to others? To some extent we think what would I be happy to live with in my house? And it's frustrating when a great picture is spoiled by a not so great frame.  So partly it's a matter of personal taste. But don't we also recognise when a painting is so perfectly executed it just looks 'right'.

Friday 24 August 2012

Making carrier bags

A nice customer gave me lots of Marimekko catalogues on thick newsprint.
 The bags I made are pegged up in a corner of the shop. And I think they look even nicer than the ones made from Marks and Spencer catalogues. Plus the writing's all in Finnish which gives them the cool factor!

Thursday 23 August 2012

More shop glimpses

Ann Hutchins beautiful embroideries top. Two of her cards either side of a Hinton Ampner embroidery and on the bottom shelf a popular lino print card by Jill Martin and needlefelted bluetit by Michelle Green.
 Above, a needlefelted robin by Michelle Green against a patchwork cushion by Pam Dew. Just visible on the left are a cushion by Penny Baker and piece of vintage cutlery jewellery by Jenny Shutler.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Fairy challenging

 I often think about fairies or more specifically fairy wings. My little finger people could translate into fairies with the right wings on and some silver thread for hanging through their bodies.  Maybe a bit more hair and some flowers in some cases. 

It's getting the wings right that presents the problem. You want them stiff but  not wired. Nearly transparent but not plastic. I'll experiment with coating glittery fabric with pva I think. If it turns out right I'll show you later. 

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Lovely fabrics

 More pieces of fabrics from the 40s and 50s for sale in Handmade Happiness care of Penny Baker. Can't you just imagine the left hand one gathered on a wire hiding what's under the kitchen sink? And the fabric on the right might have made up into a glorious small waisted, full skirted dress once.

Monday 20 August 2012

Night walking by the lake

 At the risk of sounding like a tourist information poster about Petersfield (again!): Isn't the lake beautiful?  My youngest and I went for a stroll at sunset last night. The water is silvery. The ducks and swans are peaceful. We could have been  anywhere on holiday but this is home. And I feel very lucky to live here.

Sunday 19 August 2012

Shop glimpses

Apron dress by Linda Innes. Size 12-14. £38. Spun, dyed yarns by Michelle Green and my felt brooches on the left.
Turned wood dibbers, doorstops and light pulls by Dennis Gamble; solid oak peg rail and kitchen towel holder by Peter Skrzypczak; framed watercolour print by Sandra Izard. Just visible are new 30s,40s and 50s fabrics collected by Penny Baker.
 Sandra Izard unframed limited edition prints with bears by Lindsey Agostinelli; small embroidery by Ann Hutchins; sheep by Bob and Michelle Green; small boards by Christine Burgess and ceramics (left) by Pam Dew and right by Roly Phillips. Knitted ted by Joyce Holland Hill(in training gear for the next Olympics) just wanted his photo taken. He doesn't normally stand there.

Saturday 18 August 2012

Displaying sheep

 Display unit from Wild Damson (next door but one) and sheep by Michelle and Bob Green with cosy wraps by me.
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday 17 August 2012

Decisions and workshops

 I saw these signs in Midhurst. Where shall we go? To the bowling green or to the vicarage?

In Handmade Happiness I am frequently asked about workshops. I know that many people would like to do a workshop or even regular workshops. I would be happy to host workshops in Handmade Happiness. 
I'd like to encourage a Handmade Christmas this year. Writing this has helped me to arrive at a decision:

Wednesday afternoons 2pm until 5pm will be drop in workshop time. 
Make your own Christmas.
 Different projects will be offered every week.
 Anyone can come but no unaccompanied children. Bring your own refreshments. £5 per person per session. 

Thursday 16 August 2012

Lucky find

Shirley Trevena is one of my favourite artists. 
This week I was lucky to find not one but two of her framed prints in a charity shop for just £3.99 each.

Yesterday afternoon Ann and I had a papier mache session. Ann was the teacher (she makes the lovely embroidered pictures in Handmade Happiness).

 My job was to find Hula Hoops! I enquired at the sports shops. They offered me ones with weights in them for £19.99.  I finally tracked down just the thing at the new toy shop in  Lavant Street for £1.99 each.

We tore newspaper into strips, dipped it in wallpaper paste and wrapped the hula hoops all the way round. Then another layer of newspaper, a layer of white paper and finally bronze tissue paper to turn them to 'gold.' It felt like making the Olympic rings, especially as they are so big. They are now drying in the window. Eventually they'll be used for shop display to be wrapped in ivy maybe and have things for sale tied on all the way round.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Something blue

 Agapanthus are a lovely cut flower. My mother picked these from her garden for me to have in the shop. They have a strong tall stem with a myriad of star flowers. Heavenly.

Today in the shop a friend and I are doing a bit of papier mache. I haven't really attempted making things from papier mache before(sorry can't  add accents!) I remember making paper and adding flower petals to it but this time we're using newspapers and wallpaper paste and have Christmas in mind. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Starting a new project

 In Handmade Happiness is a colourful throw that lots of people want to buy. Unfortunately it is the one thing that is not for sale. So I thought I'd have a go at making something along the same lines. Lots of coloured squares. Using the mitred square method you can pick up and knit along the row of the square you've just done avoiding the need for lots of sewing up later. I knitted these squares last night and it's fun to do.

The trouble is I have so many projects on the go. As a woman I'm excellent at multi-tasking just not very good at multi finishing off!!  I'm hoping that as I get older I'll get more disciplined at focussing on one thing before moving on to the next!

Monday 13 August 2012

Remembering...and rejoicing

This time last year I took this picture of a certain shop I hoped to rent.
 This time last year I took the last picture of clothes in Tricot Too I would ever take. It closed last August. Not my shop, I just worked there and made things for it, like the jewellery above.

Did you see the Closing Ceremony of the Olympics?
 The world feels a friendlier place after all that warmth and excitement as we willed the fastest, the strongest and the fittest on to greater feats of endurance. 

And what about Ray Davies of the Kinks and Roger Daltry of the Who? Still rocking with the best after all these years. Muse and Elbow were absolutely brilliant too. My favourite bit was the dustbin bashers in Stomp. In fact Stomp dancers are atheletes themselves aren't they?
What was your favourite bit?

Sunday 12 August 2012


When you buy something in Handmade Happiness it will probably be wrapped in the bird tissue on the left. Depending on how large it is it will then be placed in a paper bag made from the page of a magazine or in a carrier bag made from five pages of a catalogue.

Have you seen the film Love Actually? Sometimes I feel like Mr Bean (Rowan Atkinson) when he takes forever to wrap up a piece of jewellery using numerous bags and adding dried rose petals and bows to the impatience of the man waiting for it.

But I do like a nicely wrapped gift. When we lived in Paris it really impressed me that sometimes just asking for a croissant could mean getting it in a white box with a froth of white ribbon on the top. Now that's personal service.

By the way the tissues are all available to buy in Handmade Happiness. £2.20 a pack.

Saturday 11 August 2012

Making Buttons

I've been making buttons for many years. I know they are unaffected by going through the washing machine at 30 or 40 degrees. Here are ones I made this week.
 Hearts are usually the first ones to sell. £1 each.

I feel this has been a funny week. I've sorted out a new bank account. I'm trying to write my blog quickly every morning because there is so much new software on this computer  that I don't trust it any more. Thank you those of you who have stayed with me and thanks a million to those of you who have taken the trouble to write a comment. This is not a blog that gets many comments as you know. But right now I would especially appreciate a comment.
Have a great weekend!

Friday 10 August 2012

Getting ready...

 Peter Skrzypczak has made this display tree for the shop.
 It's about three feet tall and will be useful at all times of the year for holding things for sale, but especially at Christmas when I am picturing its arms holding hundreds of different tree decorations.
 It will stand in the middle of my central table and is a welcome addition to Handmade Happiness.

Thursday 9 August 2012

Feather and Flint

 This dress and necklace are in the window of a new Petersfield shop.
 Feather and Flint in Chapel Street opened last Saturday. It stocks gifts downstairs and clothes upstairs.
 The premises is one I looked at seriously before finding my lovely shop in Dragon Street. It has solid wood floors, is all white and has a good upstairs area with plenty of head room.
My only regret is that Feather and Flint's opening hours are exactly the same as mine so I won't be able to visit very often. 

Wednesday 8 August 2012

New business cards

 Yesterday the post brought me 400 new mini cards. Some old photos, some new. All these pictures have appeared in this blog at some time or another.
It was a particularly busy, buzzy day in the shop yesterday with lots of visitors to the town. I hoped that August would be like this. 
Today an art teacher is bringing in papier mache work and sewing. I'm excited to see it.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

A hot day in Chichester

 This man must have felt hot in his gold paint. What a hard way to make a living! 

I was lucky enough to find The Liberty Book of Home Sewing at The Works in Chichester. A shop where all books are a fraction of their normal price. I also found some old monogrammed napkins at a charity shop to use in a project. Just 25p each. 
I visited Chichester Library and was surprised to find that it's all Do It Yourself now. With machines instead of humans to return your books to. I feel sorry for the librarians whose jobs are disappearing. A machine can't give you a smile and a friendly welcome or take you to where the books on artificial intelligence are stored!

Monday 6 August 2012

Who can you trust?

On Friday night I had a phone call from a man claiming to be part of the Windows technical support team. He said they were aware of lots of viruses on my computer and offered to remove them. Trustingly I gave him info from the computer and he 'worked on' erradicating the problems for an hour and a half. He then called back and as my software was out of guarantee asked for £20. So I gave him my card details. 
My kids say I have been scammed. In fact, worse than that my son who is an IT consultant says I mustn't now use my computer. In future I'll post to my blog from another computer but just want to know if any of you have heard of this happening and is it a scam or is it genuine?

Sunday 5 August 2012

Knitting small wooly animals

Between serving customers yesterday I was busy knitting small animals which I think will make interesting tree decorations at Christmas. I know you don't want to see that word yet but to shops it really is the most important time of the year.
I have a technical problem today that's why I can't put up a picture. Hopefully all will be back to normal tomorrow when I'm off to Chichester where I plan to take lots of lovely pictures to share with you. Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday 4 August 2012

More vintage fabrics in shop

My friend Penny just brought in some more lovely vintage fabrics. 
Ten assorted pieces from the 1930s,1940s and 1950s for £10
This one above is so pretty. But actually all of them are ideal for patchwork or dolls' clothes or embellishing.
The pieces measure about 12" by 6". If you just want little bits, Penny also assembles 'vintage scrap packs' which sell in Handmade Happiness for just £4.50 each.
 I think any of these packs would make an ideal present for anyone who sews.  
For the record Penny only rescues pieces of eiderdowns or dresses etc. which are beyond repair in their original state. Anything whole and serviceable she would sell as a dress or an eiderdown!

Friday 3 August 2012

Throw for sale

 The cotton crochet throw I've been working on for months is finally finished and up for sale in Handmade Happiness. The picture shows it about two thirds done. It's bigger now. I like the soft colours and if it doesn't sell I'd be very happy to keep it. Deciding on a price for something like this is difficult. I've settled on the price of £40.
Prices have got to be fair to the maker but not so high that no-one will buy it.

Someone who works in a local charity shop said yesterday that since getting an antiques expert in to value bric a brac  shop prices are much higher and things aren't selling.When things don't sell they get passed to other shops in other towns and are sold off very cheaply. So pricing right is important.
The joy of buying bric a brac in charity shops is finding a bargain. Otherwise you might as well buy from antiques shops not charity shops.

Whoops my opinion is creeping in to my Handmade Happiness blog again. Maybe I should start another blog called 'And another thing...'

Thursday 2 August 2012

Pretty fabrics in John Lewis

Whenever I go to London I visit the John Lewis habadashery department. Talking of fabrics Penny Baker dropped off more of her popular reclaimed cotton fabric packs from the 30s, 40s and 50s.£10 a pack.I'll take photos of them today.
 Here are what Londoners call 'Boris bikes'. Anyone can use them. Not sure if they're free or not.
I wanted to visit the Spanish shop Pull and Bear on Oxford Street that I've recommended to lots of people for reasonably priced, fashionable clothes in cotton and denim. I bought some great trousers there last time I was in London... but this time I found more clothes to suit in Uniqlo. 

We also looked in Kew and Dorothy Perkins which had hundreds of dresses in the sale. Although I had intended to visit Cabbages and Roses in Langton Street time ran out. And it was so pleasant being in Oxford Street with few people on the pavements - reckon everyone was on the east side of the city watching the games. 

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Come to London part 2 - Carluccio's and Fenwicks

My daughter and I shared this amazing and delicious antipasta verdure at Carluccio's for lunch.
In Fenwicks there was this Starwars Lego fest and a toy elephant nearly as tall as me! 
 In the stationery department we noticed these Lisa Stickley gift wrap papers. We bought cards by  Papaya   that were in a sell off box of cards at just 50p each.

I can't believe that August is here already! Are you going on holiday anywhere? Everyone tells me that August is a bad month for shops. We'll see. As from tomorrow I'm planning to do a join in if you want to creative session most afternoons from 2pm in the shop. Informal, free and fun.

Thank you to everyone (3,896) who looked at this blog in July. Now if it were possible for you to come into the shop as well wouldn't that be brilliant!!