Friday 30 November 2012

The versatility of clay...

Eileen Brown's ceramic shoes. A-maz-ing!
Vessels the colour of the sea by Roly Phillips; dragonfly by Eileen Brown; sea glass by Molly Smith and scarf by Rita Stamp.
Yesterday Eileen brought in more of her incredible ceramic shoes. So clever. (The one in the middle is scarlet, not the pinky colour of the photograph.)
When you compare the texture of the shoes with the ultra mat look of Roly's pots you can see the versatility of clay.
With people bringing in fresh work nearly every day at the moment there is much to wonder at in Handmade Happiness. 
I woke too early today and wrote an advent plan. If I manage to make what I plan to make in the shop today you'll see Day One tomorrow!!

Thursday 29 November 2012

Window decorating

Looking in to Handmade Happiness at night.
A less blurry picture taken before the white tree was installed.
 The shop's mobile radiator was going at full blast yesterday. What a cold day! It looks like I was shivering when I took the top picture! 
Keep warm and enjoy your day!

Wednesday 28 November 2012

London shop windows

A Christian Laboutin shoe in Harrods window.
More eye candy for you.
Is this the kind of thing you like to see on a blog? 

When I look at other peoples' blogs I hope to see something inspiring in either the text or the picture. Something that makes me think. Something to make me go, 'Wow!' On a blog that doesn't receive comments it is hard to ascertain what people want to read and see. 

Looking at the history of this blog I can see that pictures of the clothes that Tricot Too used to sell are frequently looked at as are pictures of Fortnum and Mason's Christmas shop windows. Anything to do with hand made felt is massively popular. Nature shots not at all popular. How tos are quite popular perhaps I should do more of those. Then again perhaps I should stop wondering and have a blogging break. I might come back refreshed after a week off...

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Advent calendar

Advent calendar made  by Pam Dew in Handmade Happiness.
 Yesterday on my day off I did some of the jobs that accumulate when you can't get to them during the week.

 I chose photos for and ordered 400 new little business cards. I enjoyed a visit to the library where I found 'Art in Felt and Stitch'  by Moy Mackay which looks wonderfully inspiring and 'Vogue on Alexander McQueen'. Both are brand new books. Also 'Don't let's go to the dogs tonight' memories of a childhood in Africa by Alexandra Fuller. A fascinating read.
I shopped, that is I did the charity run but found nothing. I did find a really good gold felt tip in the art shop which will be useful for Christmas card making and some heavenly gold tissue paper with red,pink and orange flowers on by Caspari.

And I looked at a website which promotes Welsh handmade beautifully. Damson and Slate is a bricks and mortar shop owned by Hilary Lowe, an interiors stylist. I am full of admiration and feel a bit small in comparison.

I think 'jobs' is the wrong word. A good 'job' on my day off would have been to spring clean the house. It needs it. The 'jobs' I chose were a lot more fun!

Monday 26 November 2012

Kate Hackett ceramics

Ceramics by Kate Hackett in Handmade Happiness
 Robin tree decorations, seasonal toast racks, owl mugs for children and ballerinas are among the delectable new stock Kate brought in to Handmade Happiness last week.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Seen at Fenwicks

What a nice new baby gift. I like the cushion behind them too.
My first fairy?
The softest little slippers, mittens and hats by Samantha Holmes.
When in London I like to look for nice gift wrapping paper. I rarely find anything I like and this year the selection of Christmas gift wrap has been particularly dull I think. So while looking at stationery (behind the escalator in the picture above) we happened upon the gorgeous baby things in the pictures above.

When I am a granny I will want the adored baby to have lovely things. I kidded my daughter that when that time happens I may have to re-mortgage my house as I will love choosing and  buying gifts like these!!  For handknit inspiration for babies do look at the pictures on the blog Posie gets cosy.Such nice baby clothes! 

Congratulations to Ruby and family on the birth of baby Mickey.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Selling fast...

Penny Baker's vintage scrap pack. £4.50
Pretty 'scraps' packaged by Penny Baker.
 This is the time of year when things sell out fast. Last night all of my Santa's hat decorations were bought, Kate Hackett's ceramic little decorations are fast disappearing and I have very few of the vintage scrap packs pictured above left. 
Yesterday I re-did the window display vertically. I was fed up with my horizontal 'washing line' approach and think it looks fresher and better now.
Today I plan to be at the shop early to sort out the carnage I left last night and to make carrier bags ready for the day ahead.
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday 23 November 2012

Spotted in London..

Beautiful packaging for earrings in Fenwicks
Giant bottles of perfume also in Fenwicks
The prettiest display  inside a glass case at Fortnum and Masons
An irresistible pack of paper dolls in Fenwicks toy department.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Jacqui Watkins cards

Atmospheric lino cut Christmas cards by Jacqui Watkins.
Two more card designs by Jacqui Watkins. 
 Handmade Happiness is pleased to stock these cards. They are made with thick card stock giving a luxury feel; blank inside. Lots of other designs and colourways available in store. £2.50 each.

Today I want to share these cards with you. In later posts I'll continue showing the many photos I took in London. 

Will you be sending out Christmas cards this year? Is it a generational thing? My kids don't send cards whereas my mother receives literally hundreds. I love hearing the plop of a hand-written card through the letter box. It's personal and heart-warming and beats greetings received by  text/email/face-book hands down. Agree or disagree or maybe no comment?!!  

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Decorations inside the stores

Stars in Selfridges
Christmas decorations for sale inside Fortnum and Masons
Looking down the staircase inside Fortnums. (I didn't notice the fork at the time!)
The ceiling roses at Fortnums. Just beautiful.
Tins of biscuits at Fortnum and Mason.
 This is the time of year when you have permission to look, to really look at things. When you're out Christmas shopping you get tempted to buy things for yourself. I see this in Handmade Happiness a lot. 'I don't know if my sister would like it but I'd really like it for myself!' It's fun to take time to look and appreciate all the cornucopia of nice gifts out there.

I feel so lucky to have London just an hour's train ride away.  To wander the shops and just absorb all the loveliness to take back to Handmade Happiness to help it get better and better!

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Fortnum and Mason windows 2012

This year it's about food and pantomime.
Dick Whittington.

Jousting tents and flags and revolving displays.
I had a brilliant day off in London yesterday. I met elder daughter in Selfridges (Bond Street tube) walked through St Christopher's Place to Fenwicks  where we shared a plate of vegetable antipasto at their Carluccio's restaurant before walking via South Molton Street to the tube. I took loads of photos, can't wait to share more, but for today here are pictures of Fortnum and Mason's (Green Park tube station) Christmas shop windows. The inside of the shop is even better! More pictures tomorrow. 

Monday 19 November 2012

Wild Damson

An arresting sight in Wild Damson's Christmas window.
This mirror provides a stunning backdrop to the new Christmas decorations  room.
Christmas berries and dried fruit.
Isn't the red cable throw the perfect Christmas colour?
A big reason I opened Handmade Happiness in Dragon Street is the fact that  Wild Damson is next door. The shop sells furniture painted with Little Green paints, which it also sells and there are always new pieces to see and marvel at.  Right now their window display stops you in your tracks and the newly opened up back room offers very reasonably priced Christmas decorations. is their new website.

Sunday 18 November 2012

Inside Handmade Happiness

Looking across the central table to the corner.
A wonderful quilt made by Pam Dew. Ceramic tree decorations by Kate Hackett.
 I am bowled over by the loveliness of Pam Dew's latest quilt. It radiates colour and cheer on everything else in Handmade Happiness. Pam's cushions piled up next to it pick up on all the pattern and colour.
Tomorrow I'm going up to London and hope to bring you photos of Christmas shop windows and anything glorious I see there.
Have a nice Sunday.

Saturday 17 November 2012

Making paper bags

 Mandy who owns Wild Damson just gave me a large pile of old magazines. I use these to make bags which all smallish purchases are put into. It's easy to make the bags and I've shown many people since HH opened a year ago. 

You tear out an attractive page, I prefer one with little or no text on. You fold in the torn edge by about a centimetre and then overlap the left and right edges of the page by a couple of centimetres. Press it flat with your hands then fold up the bottom edge by about 2 centimetres. Then sellotape the two joins and catch the top join with a bit of sello too. Done. It only takes a minute. And it recycles a lot of magazines if you run a shop. Thanks Mandy.

Friday 16 November 2012

Bits and pieces

Fairy, royalty, fashion model. You decide.

Stocking knitted by me with Natasha Rothschild  reindeer .
Lindsey Agostinelli bear in one of my stockings.
Fab socks knitted by Rita Stamp.
Yesterday Jenny Shutler brought in lots more lovely cutlery jewellery which will delight all those customers who have been waiting... This morning Kate Hackett is popping over with more of her popular ceramics - plates, jugs, mugs and lots of Christmas decorations.

The shop is fuller than ever. So much to admire. I've bought snacks for tonight and bottles of non-alcoholic punch  thinking that then children can have some too.

 This time last year my lovely daughter joined me and she went into the square, verbally lasso-ing  dozens of people who followed her back to the shop! Tonight, as every night this month she's appearing in a play. Which is probably a much better use of her talents but I'll be thinking of her...
Don't forget, Petersfield readers: 6-8 at Handmade Happiness tonight!
 Wild Damson - must take a picture of their window it's spectacular and well worth the walk round to Dragon Street - and Tara Interiors, my shop neighbours, will also be offering their customers refreshments and a warm welcome tonight.  

Thursday 15 November 2012

Little robins

Needlefelted robins and a wren by Michelle Green
I love these little robins. They are so like the real thing.

I am late writing my blog today because I've been writing plans - 5 sheets of A4 - for re-vamping Handmade Happiness to make it as cheery and Christmassy as possible in time for late night opening tomorrow night.

Exceptionally I'll be open from 6-8 and offering warm punch and snacks. With so much to do before then your hostess will probably have the appeal of a wrung out dishcloth but do come if you can. No other invitations are being issued. This is it!! 
Seriously, it would be lovely to see you.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Ron Caddy's pens

 Ron Caddy brought his handmade pens to the shop at about the time I was wondering what gifts Handmade Happiness stocked for men. I think these are a perfect answer.

Crafted from English woods like Yew, Sycamore and Walnut they all come with a velvet bag. One the left are fountain pens (£45) with draw up ink well inside and free cartridge if this is not convenient. In the middle are 'Wave' biros (£25) and on the right roller ball pens (£45).

Takes me back to school days when we all wrote with fountain pens. And yes, my desk at boarding school had a white china inkwell let into the desk for re-filling. In fact wasn't there an 'ink monitor' whose job was to keep these topped up with ink? Then later there were bottles of Quink ink. I wonder if you can still buy Quink?

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Knitted reindeer

Knitted reindeer by Natasha Rothschild
Reindeer have migrated into Handmade Happiness. I love these creatures designed and made by Natasha. I can imagine one being a treasured friend of a small boy at boarding school. They've got an old-fashioned, charming nostalgic look about them. And every one is different.

A while back I considered having advertising on this blog. Lots of blogs do and it brings in a small income. However I notice now that sometimes what I've researched comes up in advertisement form on the blogs I look at, which is irritating. Is it just a coincidence? Also some of these ads on blogs flash and jump about which distracts you from looking at the blog content.
Talking about other blogs I realise that I am rare in trying to put something new on my blog every day - of varying quality I realise!! Others who blog once a week or once a month still get hits from people like me checking in to see if they're written a new post yet. 

Monday 12 November 2012

Cosy for winter

Seen in M&Co these soft fake fur throws and cushions. Throw £40; cushion £22.
(I don't get paid for writing about anything. I write about what I genuinely like.)

Are you thinking about winter and how you'll keep warm and cosy in the months ahead? I am.
Do you lie awake in the middle of the night, as I do, and plan how to change, re-arrange and generally improve everything? I find it takes me ages to get body clock working normally again after the clocks go back. Just have to accept waking at 4am and after long think/read/cup of tea, trying to go back to sleep for a bit.
I'm not daft enough to believe all of my optimistic plans will take effect.
That plan to shed two stone by Christmas for example by eating nothing but homemade vegetable soup taken to work in a thermos. That one probably won't happen.  But I will organise my paper work better soon. I will use my shop as my workshop after Christmas (I remember how very quiet it is in January.) And I will not keep buying magazines that promise to change and improve my life only to get them home to find their 'solution' involves buying a whole heap of new storage furniture, nick-nacks and possibly paying for a personal trainer. Nooooo!

Sunday 11 November 2012

Holding on and letting go...

Beads painted by Jenny Stacy
 Yesterday, Saturday, I drove to Colchester in Essex and back to see elder daughter perform in a play. I would not have missed it for the world and yet it meant leaving Handmade Happiness on what is usually the busiest day in the week. But yesterday's matinee was when other daughter, son and their father all were going so I had to be there too.

Sometimes you wish you could be in two places at once. Although HH was open and I knew customers were being cared for I still missed out on seeing them and I apologise to those who assumed I would be there and I was not.

Don't forget to come in to the shop if you can on Friday November 16th when the Christmas lights are switched on in the little town of Petersfield. We three shops will have our Christmas windows ready and offer festive eats and drinks to anyone Christmas shopping on that day.
Handmade Happiness will be open from 10am to 8pm.

Saturday 10 November 2012

Snow scenes by Sheila

This little picture by Sheila Barrow sits on one of the popular vintage scrap packs by Penny Baker. 
This covered notebook by Sheila Barrow is about as perfect as it gets! £26
 Handmade Happiness currently has four covered notebooks by Sheila Barrow and I love them! The paper inside is thick and could be painted on or glued on or just journaled(is there such a word?) on.

Isn't finding nice presents for men difficult? I think so. I mean how many pairs of socks/shirts/ties does a man want? So with this in mind I'm selling some rather nice fountain pens and biros encased in various English woods made by Ron Caddy from Andover. They arrived yesterday as did several pairs of great socks knitted by Rita Stamp who is a most excellent knitter. Rita's going to knit some fingerless gloves and woolly hats now. Can't wait to see them! Pics will follow!
Enjoy your weekend. 

Friday 9 November 2012

Seen at the Country Living Fair

Gillian Gladrag. Extraordinary felt making.
Another glimpse of the Gillian Gladrag stand.
Welsh blankets on the Calon stand
It's all white at Chloe Antiques.
 See more by clicking the links under each picture. And more pictures and opinion on the show can be seen on the Yvestown blog.

Next Friday (a week from today) Handmade Happiness, Tara Interiors and
 Wild Damson are having a late night opening from 6pm til 8pm. Do come if you can. Festive refreshments and good cheer are promised. And it's the night the mayor switches on Petersfield's Christmas lights in the square. The signal for all things Christmas to begin...!