Thursday 31 January 2013

Pretty packaging

Tokyo Milk soaps and mirrors  in their special packaging
 Today I hope to finishing stuffing two big dolls and I need to make some buttons and beads and replace handmade carrier bags which I ran out of yesterday. All in the comfortable place that is the Handmade Happiness shop.
Yesterday at the Improvers knitting workshop we learned to increase, and how to make bobbles. Next week the Wednesday workshop will be Beginners Crochet.

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Sue Inglis designs

Pigs and sheep designed and knitted by Sue Inglis £4-50 each; larger sheep £6-50. All in Handmade Happiness now.
Easter hens and chicks by Sue Inglis. £4 each
Bunny decorations by Sue Inglis. £4.  For Easter or baby girl's nursery decoration.
 I need to find a branch of pussy willow or yellow forsythia to display these pretty decorations on. I guess I'll have to wait a couple more weeks before I can find something suitable in the garden. Did you know that Easter falls early this year? Sunday March 31st.

This afternoon is Improvers Knitting at Handmade Happiness from 2pm to 4pm. £10 for the session. 

Tuesday 29 January 2013

The cat sat on the mat

In Handmade Happiness now.  Robin by Michelle Green £20; cat doorstop by Sue Inglis £26.
Rag rug by Ruth Ellacott, £45
I like the expression on this cat's face...! His maker, Sue Inglis has been busy knitting lots of Easter decorations to her own patterns to sell in Handmade Happiness. Pictures of those tomorrow.

Monday 28 January 2013

One day, some day, now

I bought these bits and pieces a year ago. I like them just as much now as I did then. But I've not got round to making anything with them - yet.
Are you like me? I honestly believe that I will wake up one morning and suddenly become a whirlwind of action and organisation and achieve all I want to achieve. That is what being an optimist is all about. It will all happen but maybe not today. Tomorrow for sure!

Sunday 27 January 2013

Collecting buttons

Two handmade buttons here, the ceramic cat and the painted wood doll. Sorry I don't know the name of the makers.
I collect buttons. I have also sold a lot of them in Handmade Happiness. I have a jar labelled 'Art buttons' where I've kept my very favourites. A special button gives the finishing touch to a piece of clothing, a bag or sometimes an art work. 

Years ago I used to make earrings, bracelets and necklaces out of special buttons. I would prefer now to use just one as a fastening or a decoration. 
I know that enamel buttons are sometimes valuable, and I would not sell on a carved mother of pearl button, those are too special to sell. Instead of making a button hole or loop it is easier and sometimes as effective to sew a button over a popper (press stud) fastening. 

Saturday 26 January 2013

Make buttons!

Handmade buttons
This post is a reminder to self to get on and make more buttons as there aren't many left in Handmade Happiness. These particular buttons went to the States.

Has the snow all gone where you are? Although it is still icy cold here the snow has disappeared. Daffodils in the window of HH, pale pink hyacinths on the counter, spring is inching its way towards us. Hurray!

ps. Don't forget, if you want to join the workshop on Improvers' Knitting on Wednesday, get in touch.
Have a good weekend.

Friday 25 January 2013

A Favourite Bag

Bag with flower knitted by Jenny Stacy
I sold this a while back. I remember how pleased I was with the way the lining went in. Not as difficult as I thought it would be. It's a one off and I sold it at the Country Living magazine show.
I'm making a couple of big dolls at the moment for an order. They've got to be poseable so I'm wrapping pipe cleaners with stuffing and puting them inside. (Don't worry they're for adults not children). I wonder if you  know a trick to make it easy to stuff thin arms and legs, I always struggle.
If you love inspiring craft magazines did I mention that the shop now has lots of back issues of Crafts, Embroidery and Fiberarts for sale. From £1 each.

Thursday 24 January 2013

Inspiring Anthropologie

Anthropologie display in one of their USA stores.
I find this picture inspiring.
Yesterday, workshop two was all about teaching left-handers to knit. It was great fun and we all learned a lot! Next Wednesday, if anyone wants to join us will be an Improvers Knitting Workshop. Same time (2-4pm) same place (Handmade Happiness.)

Going through paperwork preparing for the tax return has reminded me of lots of ideas for the shop I wrote down. I've now got a list ...

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Doll dressing

I enjoyed knitting the jumper. The trousers are held in place pyjama style.
A close up of the jumper for cold weather. Doll by Jenny Stacy
 Yesterday I knitted this jumper for one of my new dolls. I was quite pleased with it. Crocheting on sleeves is quick and gives her style credit. Tara, my neighbour has asked me to make an adult version. Now that could take some time...

Beginners' Knitting is today 2-4pm. The weather being what it is I don't know how many will make it. If you want to join in give me a ring 01730 267711 from 10am at the shop.
Cost is £10 refreshments provided.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Karen Boller's special jewellery pieces

Karen Boller's embellished cuffs and dog decoration with Judith Needham's reindeer
Karen Boller's embroidered brooches and vintage fabric necklace
Karen Boller has such an individual style and I am delighted that she lets Handmade Happiness sell her pieces. Have a close look at her work. It is beautifully made.

I had lovely words of encouragement today from Judith who reads this blog in Germany. Her email has made my day. 
I had been getting a bit negative. Sorry. I intend to behave like Judith today and give compliments and cheer to anyone coming in to the shop. Thank you Judith.

Monday 21 January 2013

Snow fun

The third picture was taken on Day One when snow first begun to fall making everything smoother and prettier. The pictures above it were taken on the drive home from Horsham yesterday. Like a Christmas card.
I parked my car at work last night as I couldn't negotiate the thick ice down my road confidently.  As I feared I did skid on a narrow country road near my mother's house. For those moments when the car is veering around the road out of control you think: My fate is in the lap of the gods. But luckily there were no other cars about and I didn't land up in the ditch, I re-gained control and kept driving.
I feel for those countries where snow is around for months on end every winter. I guess you get used to it and learn to love it. But for me after four days the novelty has most definitely worn off. So keep warm and enjoy the weather if you can. Roll on springtime!

Sunday 20 January 2013

Making Bookmarks

Bookmarks by Jenny Stacy
A dozen bookmarks by Jenny Stacy
 A customer asked for bookmarks so while the snow outside kept people from coming inside to Handmade Happiness I enjoyed making these.

I used some flat suedette. The vegetarian answer to suede this won't break as real suede/leather can be prone to do. I used bits and pieces I've collected and put pieces on each end, each bookmark different.  They are £5 each.

Have you been affected by the snow? Yesterday I stayed all day in the shop but I only had five visitors. 

My daughter was one of the thousands of teachers whose school was closed on Friday. 
I wish we could get organised so that snow is something we expect and are prepared for and then it would not be a fearful experience for us.
I'm driving to my mother's today and I must admit I'm nervous about the little country roads near where she lives. Wish me luck!

Saturday 19 January 2013

Stock up on cards!

Cards by Willemien Stevens
More cards by Willemien Stevens

Handmade Happiness has fresh supplies of my favourite cards by Willemien. 
I may have mentioned  before that when I did the Country Living magazine shows in London my stand was often near Willemien's and I used to say to her: 'One day, if I ever have a shop please may I stock your cards?'
Willemien sews applique pictures which she puts in white painted frames and her stand at Country Living was one of my favourites. All white with all the colour coming from her pictures and cards plus a tastefully selected little antique babies' dress or two and ancient quilt. So inspiring!
I love the cards and right now in Handmade Happiness there is a bigger selection of them to choose from than ever! 

Did you get into work yesterday in the snow? I opened Handmade Happiness until 2.20pm when I gave up waiting for a customer and went home! Apart from children pulling sledges and intrepid dog walkers there were few people about.
I intend being in Handmade Happiness all day today. It's Saturday! I'll let you know tomorrow how many visitors I get!

Friday 18 January 2013

Wednesday Knitting Workshops

A sample of 'free knitting' by me which one day could grow into a throw!
 Next Wednesday, January 23rd I'm holding a Beginners Knitting Class from 2 to 4pm at the shop. It costs £10 for the session which includes refreshments and if you want to join us ring me or email me (see right hand column) or call in to the shop.

This follows last Wednesday's Free Knitting workshop for experienced knitters when we sorted the world out over knitting and tea and biscuits.

I would like to open the shop on Tuesday nights for a free drop in and bring your own project (embroidery/ knitting/crochet/ hand sewing/ whatever) to work on session from 7 to 9pm but need to know there's a demand for this ... let me know.

Yesterday the man on the check out at Waitrose told me we would have four and a half inches of snow at 9am this morning here in Petersfield.  I wonder if he's right?
Keep warm and drive carefully won't you?

Thursday 17 January 2013

Scented flowers

Hyacinths and a Christmas rose in my porch at home.
 Isn't it nice when you pass someone in the street and they smell nice? If someone or some place smells nice we want to linger and enjoy the moment. I like natural smells - fresh flowers and sea breezes. 
We are constantly being urged to use our other senses - look at this! taste this! feel this! hear this! but most of the time we're not really aware of our sense of smell. Towns smell neutral.
Yet some smells linger in the memory. I remember my mother's Madame Rochas perfume from when I was a little girl.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

NEW! Eve Deary's slate pieces

Yesterday Eve Deary brought in her work which ranges from little hearts (pictured) for £3 to big slate cheese boards and message boards priced at up to £28. The heart shaped big slates would make great wedding presents. And the little hearts will be great for little Valentine's Day gifts.

Tuesday 15 January 2013

I like painting the faces best

Doll by Jenny Stacy
Doll by Jenny Stacy
Doll by Jenny Stacy
Is there a law that says everything will take far longer than you think it will?

 Painting doll faces is quick; dressing the dolls is slow. Usually I knit them a dress then crochet them some socks. That's it. This time I decided to use Liberty prints to make them clothes and because I have no confidence that this will turn out ok I'm dithering and not making a good job of it.

  I tried making trousers. They just don't suit these dolls. So back to a dress with a gathered skirt and little jersey or cardi over the top. Hopefully I'll actually finish the clothes today but I won't count on it!

Monday 14 January 2013

Waking up to the white stuff

I took this picture in my street two years ago. Not as much snow as this right now.
 You know there's snow even before you open your eyes. The light is whiter.
Well I was planning a trip today but maybe I should be sensible and make a start on my tax self assessment instead. 
I am hoping that snow doesn't affect people getting to Wednesday's free knitting workshop. If it does I shall just have to knit alone! Perhaps it will all be gone by Wednesday.
Enjoy your Monday with or without snow and tomorrow I hope I'll have some finished dolls to show you.

Sunday 13 January 2013

wow clothes

Clothes by Akihiko Izukura. Image from Fiberarts magazine (US) 
 Japanese master dyer Akihiko Izukura produced these beautiful garments. The coat on the left is silk dyed with walnut; the jacket on the right is dyed with cloves.I love these designs. The simplicity of the coat with just the right amount of detail on collar and cuffs and the flattering pulled up lines of the jacket. 
Apologies for not being able to name the artist. I thought I'd find him online but the magazine finished in 2011 and it's not possible to research individual pictures. I'll check the magazine and put his name in tomorrow.
And yes please. I would like to stock clothes like these in Handmade Happiness!

Saturday 12 January 2013

hume sweet hume scarves

Displayed on my apple picking ladder I love the colours of these hume sweet hume scarves and bags.
Until just before Christmas I was able to say that Handmade Happiness was stocked with local peoples' work. It still is, it's just with the arrival of knitted accessories from Westray in the Orkneys, Scotland, local has had to become 'designed and made by individuals in the UK.'
Most items in HH are made in Petersfield, then some in the surrounding area like Alton, Farnham, Waterlooville etc. Two of the makers are from further west - Bristol and Somerset.

 I love it when someone comes through the door with well made, individual pieces. And I don't mind where they live really as long as what they make is original. I'm looking for the 'wow' factor and the pieces made by the lovely sisters from Westray have got that.  More things from them will be in the shop by the beginning of February. If you want to see more of what they do look at

Friday 11 January 2013

Free knitting workshops

Free knitting sample by Jenny Stacy
This is the kind of thing we'll be doing on Wednesday afternoon (16th). I call it free knitting - a  patchwork of different yarns and stitches aiming at a knubbly interesting whole. I did this piece a while ago and have taught a few workshop using it as a sample. Now I would add in bits of crochet. One of these days I'd like to have cushions (imagine a bean bag) covered in this form of knitting. It's great fun to do, especially in a group sat round a table.

The central table in Handmade Happiness will seat 5 comfortably so that's the size of the workshop. Wednesday January 16th, 2-4pm. Ring 01730 267711 if you want to join in or pop in to the shop. Oh yes and sorry it's not a free knitting workshop. It costs £10.

A friend delivered a great big pile of Fiberarts magazines yesterday for me to sell on. This American magazine showing textile artists' work is a bit special. Come and have a look.

Thursday 10 January 2013

Crochet, embroidery or Cartonnage?

All these books are £2-50 each in Handmade Happiness right now.
The annual book sort has yielded these and I expect I'll add to them. 
By the way in case you haven't heard of it 'cartonnage' is making boxes out of fabric and card.
Yesterday a visitor came in coughing. When I sympathised she said yes, it's the 100 day cold.  Well I know a lot of people have got colds at the moment but 100 days? We've got to think positive here. Surely a week is long enough for any cold to linger?

Wednesday 9 January 2013


I store ribbons in glass jars with domed lids to make finding the right one easier.
These pictured are my favourites. Some were given by friends, some were inherited, most of them I bought at some time or another. 
I've got them out re: dressing dolls.  Do you remember making clothes for your dolls when you were little? A polo knit jersey for Barbie stands out in my mind. And a little friend showing me how to cut pants from fabric which didn't look like pants at all because the seam was in the middle. Wish I could do that confidently now!
Having consulted Vogue, current trends to choose from seem to be layers of white some of them transparent (broderie anglaise?); shiny plastic/neon/pastels/black. Pass me the broderie anglaise please.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Monday charity run

Softest pale grey/duck egg velvet cushions and woven picnic blanket.
Silver* and coral necklace surrounding marcasite butterfly hairclip, red scarab bracelet and  'Joan' identity bracelet.
I stayed close to home yesterday as I've got a cold. I hadn't intended to buy anything, honest! But when I saw the velvet cushions in the window of Age UK at £3.99 each I could not resist them. I'm thinking boudoir; comfy cushions on small armchair. No, I haven't got a boudoir or a small armchair but one day maybe..! The picnic blanket is excellent quality £4.99. 
The best thing I found has to be the red scarab bracelet (49p)I've never seen anything like it, coral and unlike the big necklace, real silver*. The other bits were the same price and the big necklace £2-49.

Announcement: The first £10 workshop on Free-Knitting will take place on Wednesday January 16th 2pm to 4pm. If you want to take part email me/ ring or call in at the shop. Max. 5 people.
Would anyone be interested in an evening session? Tuesday January 15th 7pm to 9pm. 

Monday 7 January 2013

Fairy boxes - improving the product

Flicking through last year's photos I notice how I've added tutus to recent fairies. They've all sold so I guess they are liked with or without tutus. Sometimes you think, yes, I like it but is it worth the extra effort if they sell any way. The most recent fairy boxes are not so richly collaged and I still have a couple left after Christmas so that's a lesson for me. And I do love making a bit of rich collage!!

Sunday 6 January 2013

Pretty find
Seeing this picture on pinterest led me to the blog Sesame and Lilly. If you like vintage pretty you'll love it. 

Saturday 5 January 2013

Rag rugs

Rag rug made by Glen Wellstead £80. Three bears by Lindsey Agostinelli.
 Handmade Happiness has four rag rugs at the moment. This one is particularly pretty. Of all the handmade items in the shop the rag rugs provoke the most conversation. Seeing them brings back memories for many people of either their granny or sometimes themselves making rugs from the family's worn out clothing.

This idea of make-do-and-mend is appealing. People want to save money and to re-cycle. The difference between then and now is that people had to re-use items that we would perhaps now throw away and give to charity shops, especially during the war. So Dad's old suits and laddered stockings would be used in rag rugs. Now people want to make something more colourful and will go out of their way to find cotton waste like old t-shirts which give a more pleasing to the eye effect. I suppose you could argue that the modern approach is a bit more contrived.

A friend is doing a 'crazy patchwork' course today. When telling her that I love the jewel colours from bits of velvet and silk in traditional crazy patchwork as well as the contrasting embroidery I realise that this again would be contrived today. Was Victorian crazy patchwork a way of using up the bits of left over fabrics from having their clothes made for them? Or did ladies deliberately choose new fabrics they thought would look nice and buy new? And which result is the more appealing? 

Friday 4 January 2013

Embroidery - red on white

I spotted these in a Midhurst charity shop. 
I think they would have been used as finger napkins to dry your fingers on when you had dipped them in your finger bowl at table. French? (Correct me if I'm wrong.) They are delicately embroidered, all six different and were priced at just £1.50.

 I love red on white linen embroidery. These need to be seen. What would you do with them? I'm thinking they could be sewn on to a white linen little curtain, dotted on, not in rows or together or maybe sewn to a white roller blind for the kitchen. They could be individual lavender bags but I don't want them to be hidden away in a drawer. Actually framing them individually in those white Ikea box frames would be fab yes, I think I may do that...

Thursday 3 January 2013

Tea for two

 This picture brings back happy memories of visiting my daughter when she lived in Oxford. She lives in London now as does my son and the youngest is about to move to Winchester near to where she teaches English at a secondary school. This blog is not about my children, it's about the happiness in making things. But for the record I think they are all brilliant and I am very lucky.

Did you guess I left my camera at work and had to trawl the archives again?  The shop was quiet yesterday as I knew it would be after Christmas. Time to make stock and take stock.

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Creating layers

Soft, springy moss has a velvet look to it.
 This year I want to do more with layers.
 Felt/silk/wool felted together to make textural fabric.
 Layers of polymer clay in new colour combinations to make interesting buttons and maybe beads.
Layers of painted papers, lace, fabric and torn pictures to make good collages. 
More dolls though they won't be layered.
It would be fun to experiment more with papier mache and above all re-cycle, re-cycle, re-cycle. 
No new materials  just using what's around in new, creative ways.  

Tuesday 1 January 2013

New Year and a Clean Start

A present from my son and his girlfriend
How luxurious to now have these next to the sink!
Aren't we lucky that every year we have the chance to start all over again?! I guess it's having been to a convent school that makes me find the idea of being forgiven for sins and then starting afresh so appealing.
Have you made any New Year's  Resolutions yet? 

My big one this year is to give up SUGAR. I don't mean to just stop eating sugar but to stop eating all the things that contain sugar. Many years ago there was a book out called 'Pure, white and deadly'; I wouldn't go that far but I think giving it up is A Good Thing.
I mentioned previously that another resolution is to stop procrastinating. Let's do it today not tomorrow.
Lastly and this is a big one: Don't get old before you die!  You know what I mean.