Sunday 30 September 2012

Twig hooks

 I must admit that when Christine Burgess first showed me these 'twiggy hooks' she  made I laughed. But she had the last laugh when they were not only featured in Country Living magazine but also sold really well!
And for a country cottage what could be nicer for hanging up coats, scarves and hats?
So twiggy hooks - all shapes and sizes for £5 each- are for sale in Handmade Happiness.

Saturday 29 September 2012

Achieve a small thing every day

That's what I wrote in one of my design books.
If we achieve a small thing every day we are one step nearer our goal. Tiny steps forward.  Rather than beating ourselves up about not doing all we want to do/feel we have to do in one day we need to be kind to ourselves. By achieving just one small thing every day we are reaching our goal faster than if we gave up and achieved nothing because it felt too hard.

So yesterday I re-did the noticeboards. A small step forward.

Some of these pictures have been on the blog before and are attributed there. 
The blue purse is by Hannah Lamb, tiny embroideries are by my friend Bee Mellor, card below by Jane Owens. One or two from Pinterest (link on right of blog).Colourful woman card is by Madeline Millington.

I'd achieve more if I didn't like talking with customers so much! One lady was telling me about her talented friend. She is given scraps of 16th century tapestry and with the help of diligent research repairs and re-makes them into whole pictures again. This is for a company that sells in America. I am fascinated.

Friday 28 September 2012

No, I just like the colours...

 I haven't suddenly started stocking nail polishes in HH. I took this picture a while ago and I'm sorry but I can't remember which shop I took it in.
Imagine having the time to paint your nails to match your outfit. Perhaps a different shade each day.
Life seems so very busy at the moment. The shop is like a cuckoo in the nest demanding time and attention all the time. My daughter had to remind me yesterday that THIS IS THE DREAM I have waited for so long! Don't worry 90% of the time I love it!

This weekend (weather permitting) we are having THE BIG FAMILY PICNIC . As we only seem to all get together at funerals we thought we'd celebrate the summer with an outdoor bash. We all live so far apart (about 35 are coming)and I totally respect those who are driving a considerable way to be with their kith and kin. Just have to keep our fingers crossed for a sunny, dry day.

Thursday 27 September 2012

Strong orange

Hand coiled pots by Alison Hemmings. Sheep by Michelle Green.
Alison Hemmings has made these hand coiled pots. Their strong colour looks great in the window for autumn. 
Hand coiled pot by Alison Hemmings
Alison's pots would also look great in a black and white room setting don't you think? The colour glows out of them. £18 each.

Sally-Anne Dunn visited the shop yesterday. Sally is a brilliant hand smocker.I am hoping to have some of her traditional little girls' smocked dresses in the shop before Christmas. 

Actually I am beginning to think I could do with a bigger shop...

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Kate's hearts

 As promised here are Kate Hackett's new mugs and jugs pictured in the shop yesterday. 
The new range has a heart on each side and any piece would make a nice present for a loved one. They are £16 each.
Today I have a meeting at the shop with someone who makes beauty products at her kitchen table. Should be interesting.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Knitting with 'Neighbours'

I have a confession: I am totally addicted to the Australian soap, Neighbours. To the extent that if the phone rings I wait til the break and dial 1471 and then ring the person back later. I don't watch any other soap. Only Neighbours. And while I watch I knit.

Currently I'm enjoying this scarf. 30 stitches across if you're interested. The pattern (feather stitch) has just the right level of complexity to keep my interest but not to get boring. I bought the wool at the Knitting and Stitching show a couple of years back. Two balls but can I find the other one? No. I will find it otherwise the scarf won't get finished.

Yesterday was Monday so after a morning making phone calls I headed for Chichester and C&H fabrics where I bought the disolveable film pictured and the bits of ribbon for autumnal display.
I went to the library there and got out three books: Clean Sweep - giving your home more than a once over by Alison Haynes. This is part of my personal campaign to make housework fun. So far the campaign has totally failed.
Simple Knits for little cherubs by Erika Knight.I think Erika's knitting and crochet books are the best.And:
Jottings by Liz Smith. The actress, who came to acting late in life, wrote down her observations on people and life. These short stories show her wry humour. V.enjoyable.

Oh yes, and probably of far more interest to my shop customers, I stopped by at Kate Hackett's house and picked up lots of her mugs, jugs and plates to replenish her display in Handmade Happiness. Pictures to follow.

Monday 24 September 2012

A year ago...

Sorry this picture's a bit blurry. When Handmade Happiness first opened this is what I sold. 
As well as my dolls and Gayle Bicknell's purses and birds there are Michelle Green's natural dyed yarns and jars and props all of which I'd sell.
 This reading nook under the stairs soon went. As the amount of stock grew I needed it as storage space. It's now blocked off by display furniture.
Looking at photos of the shop when it first opened it seems quite empty. I put so little in the window then and the shop looks clearer. I think this week will be de-clutter week!

Sunday 23 September 2012

Fairy boxes

Fairy boxes by Jenny Stacy
 I used to make lots of these for the Country Living magazine shows.  I covered the boxes with painted papers. This week I've used collaged papers.  To my eye there's something missing. I also used to glue on a pretty flower or button and that's what I'll do with these to make them more special.They cost £5 each.

Yesterday was really busy in the shop. Zoe brought in her excellent crochet work to show me. Zoe has a really good eye for combining colours as you'll see. And later I enjoyed the company of designer Chrissy. I hope they both look in again soon.

Saturday 22 September 2012

Making necklaces

Necklaces by Jenny Stacy
 I made a couple of necklaces in the shop yesterday. And Midge Hemingway came in with oodles of jerseys and scarves she has knitted, mostly in Rowan yarn for colder days ahead. I spoke to several new-to-the-shop makers on the phone and look forward to seeing their work. I'm designing a 10% off voucher to celebrate Handmade Happiness's first birthday next month.Hard to believe the shop has been open for nearly a year now...

Friday 21 September 2012

Inspiring customers

Collage card by Jenny Stacy with bird  by Cavallini.

As the shop approaches its first birthday I'm thinking about what I've learned.

 First I think I'm very lucky to have found a shop with parking outside with lots of passing traffic. Not too many people walking past but lots of people driving past. People say 'I've been driving past your shop for weeks and keep meaning to come in.' When they do come in they usually love it.
 Secondly I have a nice landlady who used to run an art gallery in Petersfield and therefore understands retail. And I couldn't have better shop neighbours than Tara Interiors and Wild Damson.
Handmade Happiness now represents around 35 makers, giving the shop a huge variety of work to inspire others.
This inspiration thing is a bit of a two edged sword. It's lovely when visitors come in and rave about how wonderful everything is. Sometimes they say they're going to go home and make something. 
But it's slightly annoying when people take pictures without asking. And some  lookers  come in just to find ideas for themselves. They don't buy anything at all. And if they want shops like HH to continue being a source of inspiration for them they have to occasionally buy something - even if it's only a card. Fair enough?

The shop also has lovely regular customers who say HH will be their 'one stop Christmas shop'. Music to my ears!
I want the shop to be truly magical this Christmas. The theme is Christmas through a child's eyes. Wonder and awe and colour and sparkle.
So if any of you 35 makers (and the number grows each week) are reading this can you make with that thought in mind? Come into the shop and talk. It would be nice to see you.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Vintage style tea cosies

 Mrs Alcock brought in this fabulous tea cosy she has knitted. There is another in blue stripes, slightly smaller. They are £20 each.

If you can't get in to the shop but would like anything featured on these blog pages you can always ring me.  The shop number (Tuesday to Saturday 10-5) is 01730 267711. If you have your payment card on you when you phone I can take a payment and then send you the item through the post. Or cheques are also acceptable. Sorry this offer only applies to UK customers. 

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Re-creating cloth cats

Sheila Barrow made the iris picture in the background. Foreground  cat by Lin  Harley, background cat  by me.

Many years ago I bought the green ribbon cat from my friend Lin.
 I've always liked it but now it is very faded. So last night I made another two. (I can't do the string until I get to work as my big sewing needles are on the desk there.) 
I guess if I went back to Hobbycraft I might find some of those small wood spools as well.
The attractive winter print fabric I think I got from Ben Franklin (?) in the States again a long time ago. It's a soft brushed cotton and this is a good use for it.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Felt making time again

 I'm posting this picture of felt on the wash board to remind me to start felt making again this week. Now there's a nip in the air it feels right to be making felt again.

Yesterday, I had a good look at what Hobbycraft in Havant is offering and came out empty handed.  That is a first for me. They've got quite a lot of Christmas stuff but none of it seemed quite right. I think this year my Christmas inspiration will come from nature. Because people are spending less I feel that keeping it simple and keeping prices down is the way to go from now on.

Monday 17 September 2012

But how do you cook them?

Collage card by jenny stacy
My neighbour has kindly given me a big round green squash from his allotment.
 I want to cook it but I don't know how. I found a recipe calling for it to be cut up and roasted in its skin with maple syrup and olive oil drizzled over. But do you know how much maple syrup costs? Nearly £6 a bottle. So I won't be doing that. I wonder if soft brown sugar could be substituted for maple syrup? I don't think I've ever eaten squash before...

Yesterday I collected new wooden boards of every size and shape from Christine Burgess's house. They are beautiful and will be for sale in Handmade Happiness from Tuesday. Today I'm talking fabrics with recently-moved-down-from-London Rosie. Then Monday wouldn't be Monday without a trip somewhere...

Sunday 16 September 2012

New soft scarves

Lindsey Agostinelli's  bears are very comfortable on these new mohair and silk scarves knitted by Heather Shearing.
 And yesterday Michelle Green brought in two colourful crocheted scarves also in mohair.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Basia Zarzycka's window

When I'm in London I like to look at this shop window off Sloane Square.
It's so twinkly and magical. Like Christmas all year round.
 I store ribbons and fake flowers in glass pots like these. Do you?
A friend emailed to say she had been unable to leave a comment because the letters they ask you to decipher were unreadable. If anyone else has had a problem could you please email me? Thanks.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Selfridges goes dotty

Outside the store - it's Yayoi Kusama.
Inside the store - it's Yayoi Kusama again.
In Selfridges windows the lady multiplies.
 I must admit I don't know an awful lot about this Japanese artist. But it's clear she has invented the dot judging by these pictures. And she has produced a range of clothes and handbags for Louis Vuitton all with lots of dots.

By the way this is my 1,000th blog post. 
To mark the occasion could I invite you to leave a comment? I would love to hear from you.
Otherwise writing a commentless blog is like throwing small stones down a bottomless well.

Tomorrow I'll show you the cards I've been making this week.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Anthropologie /2

An old shop within a shop.
The waterfall within the shop.
Another giant tassels installation (see yesterday's post).
 The Anthropologie effect, above.

On Monday I also went to Selfridges in Oxford Street. I was surprised by what I found there. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Creativity at Anthropologie

Love this giant papier mache wall object. It snakes round made of ripped up cardboard boxes painted and gilded in places. 

Big tassels strung up like giant necklaces.

Yesterday I walked up Kings Road from Sloane Square to Worlds End and back again taking umpteen pictures as I went. 
The best shop for me is Anthropologie. I got permission to take photos - you'll see more tomorrow. I love the extravagant way they do their displays. All using recycled materials. 
I like the arty lampshades in the middle picture, especially the dyed one on the left. Handmade lampshades, preferably with handmade bases too, are something I'd like to have in Handmade Happiness soon.

So good to be in London again. And the highlight was meeting  my son for a coffee and catch up at The Bluebird cafe. Feel I've had the best day off. Now back to work re-inspired!

Monday 10 September 2012

Autumn tags

 I made these a while ago but they look right for now.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Looking forward to the Knitting and Stitching show

Above and below, examples of nuno felting.
Above, art filled clothes. Sorry I can't credit these to their maker.
 A fun display at The Knitting Hut.

I'm looking forward to my annual visit to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace in London.
 It's over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of October this year.

It's a big show in two halves. In one giant hall are the trade stalls selling every kind of material you could need for knitting and stitching and in another giant hall are the companies and individual makers selling their wares. To me the most interesting section is the area where textile graduates and professional makers show their ideas, often funky, often totally impractical but always interesting.
Tomorrow I'm planning a trip to London to see what's new with the changing season.

Saturday 8 September 2012

Handmade Happiness - the new look

In the lobby above are Peter Skrzypczak's mushrooms, Roly Phillips' vessels, Midge Hemingway's wrap and Penny Baker's fabrics.
Also in the lobby, Pam Dew's cushions and the inspiration board.
 A glimpse inside the new look shop: Jewellery by Jenny Shutler, Scrap Sally doll by Pixie, sea glass by Molly Smith and birds by Michelle Green.

Friday 7 September 2012

Buttons for sale

 Handmade Happiness is now selling packs of mother of pearl buttons at £3 a pack. These come from my friend Penny Baker who also supplies the shop with delicious vintage fabrics.

Yesterday one of my lovely daughters spent her birthday helping me in the shop. Maybe not much of a birthday treat but she was extremely helpful! With her experience of working for London shops like Ralph Lauren and Matches (designer clothes) she understands shops in a way that I do not. Come in to HH soon and I think you'll see what a difference she's made! Pics follow!

Thursday 6 September 2012

Jewellery organise

 Yesterday I had a bit of a re-organise on the jewellery front.

 Silver is selling well at the moment. Leaves dipped in silver have sold out and I bought a silver word on a chain ('Inspire') for daughter's birthday which is today. The leaves are by Susannah Smith and silver words on chains are by Emily Watson.

The copper and pearl jewellery on the left is also by Susannah. Textile jewellery is by me and this picture will remind me that I need to make new styles now! 

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Felt wonderful

Ulrieke Benner's 'wonderland' wrap. Nuno collage.
Anne Kyyro Quinn's 'Round Tulip Acoustic Wall Panel' of hand cut felt.
 Morna Crites-Moore's 'Pieces of dreams'

As I approach my 1,000th post to this blog I can see that pictures like these, from the book 500 Felt Objects are the most popular. This wonderful book published by Lark Crafts is beautifully inspirational!

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Calm shattered...

 This is my bathroom window. It happened late on bank holiday Monday. Someone either threw a stone or fired an air gun at it. I told the police the following morning but I don't suppose I'll hear anything more. I know it isn't Handmade Happiness. It's just life. And don't you feel sorry for anyone that randomly throws stones or fires a gun at houses?