Thursday 28 February 2013

Applique picture by Pam Dew

Pam Dew's Little Red Hen applique picture. 
 This wall hanging is for sale in Handmade Happiness. Pam brought it in to illustrate what she'll be teaching during her workshop this Wednesday. There are still three places left if you want to join us. £10 for two hours of teaching. I am looking forward to learning more about applique because I want to make a fabric baby book. 

I am now reading 'A Year in the Village of Eternity' by Tracey Lawson. It's recipes and stories from Campodimele, Italy where the villagers live extremely long and healthy lives. Makes you want to learn to speak Italian and go and live there for a bit...

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Winding wool

On Tuesday nights there is absolutely nothing I want to see on the tv. Yet on some nights all  unmissable programmes happen at 9pm so you are forced to decide between them. As someone who has never mastered the art of recording programmes it's either feast or famine. So last night I tore out magazine pages and made a zillion bags for the shop. But tonight, Wednesday I am looking forward to catching up with 'A Child of Our Time'. Have you seen that? Twenty-five children representing a cross section of the population are regularly filmed since their births in the year 2000 by the BBC. It's fascinating to follow their lives.

I love to read and having just finished Starter for Ten (it's so funny) by David Nicholls for the second time I am looking round for a new book. What do you recommend?

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Exercising the Ikea way

Ikea fabrics sewn as wall cover.
Bike as work of art - hung on the wall
I like the trees wallpaper and the flower light.
Nice spotty bedding.
I went to Ikea, Southampton to buy two things. I found neither of them but somehow I've come back with eight other things which I didn't realise I can't live without!

I bought a lime green brush and dustpan £1. A pack of those net laundary bags £1-90. A set of cute glass jars that look like miniature sweet jars for holding threaded needles; paper clips; erasers and jewellery findings £1-90. Two paper light shades £2-25 each. Four white card storage boxes with chrome trimmings £1-90 for two. A collapsible laundary bag on white metal legs which I'll use for storing wool £3-00 and a pack of lilac plastic zip bags, 25 for £3 oh yes, and a nifty re-cycled plastic tote bag for puting the lot in £2-00.

I staggered with my haul to John Lewis opposite for a life-giving cup of tea, found and bought a strip of hessian to play at rag rugging with and then caught the train home. How was your day?

Monday 25 February 2013

New ceramics from Kate Hackett

Lovely new things made by Kate  Hackett for sale in Handmade Happiness now.

As well as everything in the picture there are new Kate Hackett decorations for Easter and lots of decorated hearts for sale. Experience says that Kate's work sells quickly so if you want something come to Handmade Happiness soon!

But today Handmade Happiness is closed as it's a Monday. As I spent last Monday doing house stuff I feel a trip to Ikea would be fun today.  Just fancy a really good look round. I'd also like some exercise, and a walk is good for you whether it's striding off across the Downs or striding off round the whole surface area of Ikea don't you think?!
I'll take some pictures.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Talking about dolls

Handmade dolls by Jenny Stacy
I like making dolls. I like the fact that each one turns out differently. And most of all I like painting on the faces which again turn out so individually. That's the joy of handmade I guess that we humans aren't programmed to repeat ourselves and it's fun to experiment.
I'm thinking of dolls because I'm doing a doll making workshop in April and I've not done a workshop on dolls before.

Yesterday Kate Hackett drove over with lots more mugs, plates, jugs and Easter decorations in her lovely country style.  I am soooo pleased to have these in the shop. Picture to come.

And Sue Flux brought in some more hand spun yarn - thanks to her I was able to label her yarns with the breed of sheep they are from. The alpaca handspun is fantastically soft... Sue has also made some useful little bags of spun sari silks decorated with my handmade buttons.   These are just the job for carrying vital cash/ passport/ rail ticket on you without the weight of a handbag. Again picture to come.

That reminds me of a warning I had when I first lived in France. A French friend cautioned me to wear my handbag across my body on the other side of me from the kerb. She said otherwise someone could grab it from a moving car. Not sure how often this happened... but I've worn my handbag across my body ever since.

Saturday 23 February 2013

Looking up

Inside Guildford's Museum on the High Street
 'What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stop and stare.' (Can't remember who wrote that.)
These days there doesn't seem to be time to decorate fancy ceilings. I love ornament for ornament's sake like this. When ladies had little else to do but sit and embroider and receive the occasional guest in the parlour they would have appreciated resting their eyes on a pretty ceiling.
What do you think of the pictures? Not the pictures themselves but the way they are hung? If they could be pulled up a little to be framed by the panelling it would be better. I guess they were not chosen to go with the room. Do you think they would look better hung together in a block within the frames of the panelling or am I just now having a bit too much time to stop and stare?!

Friday 22 February 2013

New from Jacqui Watkins

Smart lined notebooks £8 each by Jacqui Watkins
Popular cards by Jacqui Watkins
More cards by Jacqui Watkins
 The first time I saw Jacqui's work was on the Arundel Gallery Trail. Her cards and printed linen tea towels are very popular and now she is decorating notebooks (two sizes) and mugs. All stocked by Handmade Happiness.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Anna Hepworth spins, dyes and weaves

Woven scarf by Anna Hepworth. Wrist warmers by  Hume Sweet Hume
This scarf - actually it's more the size of a wrap or lap blanket or throw is a beautiful object.
It is made from Jacobs sheep wool, carded, dyed, spun and woven by Anna Hepworth. She has dyed some of the wool using onion skins and cochineal.

Anna brought her work into Handmade Happiness on Saturday and I think this scarf is something very special. I can picture it somewhere like Ralph Lauren; it has a pioneer integrity about it.

Anna also brought with her an Amish knot rug. I've not seen these before. It is blues and white and small and round. 
'What would people use it for?' I asked.
 'To stand on while doing the washing up,' she replied.
 Doesn't that make you picture the interior of a small cottage with an industrious woman or man  standing on their Amish knot rug making all clean and beautiful around them?

I am having some lovely visitors this week. Kate brought in her wonderful blankets yesterday. I am hoping to have some of these in the shop soon. I think you'll love them as much as I do!  

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Felting and shrinkage

Can you guess I am trying to felt a match for the one in the centre? The hat is a first attempt on double pointed needles. Out of the weird coloured wool I found in Guildford for £2 the other day.

I realise now I should not have said I'd make a matching felt cuff for the customer. Judging felt shrinkage can never be an exact science!

We know that wool shrinks by approximately one third when felted but wool from different breeds of sheep shrinks differently and the way you felt it affects shrinkage. The strip in the middle is a soft felt the two outer strips are hard felted. They are robust enough to be cut into the soles of slippers. Not what I was aiming for! I'm starting again.

Meanwhile the hat looks better felted. I knitted a tube on my double pointed needles then crocheted around into the crown then felted it. Shame I can't do anything about the colour!

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Cute picture

Found on Pinterest. Sorry I don't know who took the picture
 Small things are irresistible aren't they?
Last night I stayed up far too late watching a programme about a man who rescues baby kangaroos in the bush whose mothers had been killed on the roads.  It was wonderful.
Now I must make some felt cuffs. The wool is waiting for me on the draining board.
Enjoy your day.

Monday 18 February 2013

New Hume Sweet Hume brooches and wrist warmers

Hume sweet hume beautiful brooch. Other colours available.
 On Saturday I was delighted to receive a parcel from Hume Sweet Hume of wrist warmers and brooches made on Westray in the Orkneys.  Most of the things in Handmade Happiness are made in or around Petersfield but occasionally I like to have handmade from further afield. These brooches are very popular and the wrist warmers otherwise known as fingerless gloves sold out very quickly before Christmas so I am glad to have more of them.
The colours are the colours of the island, sand and stone and sea and sky and heathers. All very beautiful.

Sunday 17 February 2013

Fabrics to use in your projects

Vintage fabrics in Penny Baker's packs
 Sometimes looking at a fabric gives you an idea of what to make with it. Wouldn't it be great if as soon as you looked at that fabric you could sit down and make something at that moment?

 Because as soon as that fabric is put away to be pulled out at some unspecified time in the future somehow the energy of the idea of what you were going to do with it is lost. You've got  a whole bunch of fabrics which you love and are not quite sure how to use them to best effect. That's me anyway!!

I collect and now I want to use. Otherwise my children will one day have an awful lot of stuff to take to the charity shops. Then of course someone like me will see my lovely fabric and get an idea of what they want to make with it, buy it, put it away....and the cycle continues!!

I think Pam Dew's Applique and Quilting classes in Handmade Happiness on Wednesday March 6th and Wednesday March 20th will show me what to do with bits of fabric to good effect. I am really looking forward to them. By the way if you would like to go to one of Pam's classes but the time isn't right for you let me know and we'll see what we can do.

Saturday 16 February 2013

Fresh baked Buttons

Newly made buttons by Jenny Stacy
Here are some I made yesterday
Before I put the holes in.
 Yesterday my friend Alison Crosthwaite visited the shop. I've known Alison for many years. She is fearless with colour and makes knitted and felted bags, and spins and dyes wool and silk and now she is about to move nearer I look forward to selling her brilliant things in Handmade Happiness!

For all of you who love old fabric Penny Baker has just brought in more scrap backs and stacks of long, larger fabric pieces.

I'm feeling strangely reluctant to dismantle my Valentine's window display. There are just a couple of handmade heart cards left and I want to keep them there. After all we want to send our love all through the year, not just on that one day.
Now I'm off to make a few more buttons before I have to get ready for work! Enjoy your weekend.

Friday 15 February 2013

A day of surprises

New notebooks by Jacqui Watkins. Large £8, small £5; mushrooms by Peter; doll by Jenny Stacy; sheep by Sue Inglis .
Yesterday a lovely lady came into the shop and we got chatting. She makes soft furnishings and said how she hates to throw away the scraps of fabric left over. I cheekily mentioned the forthcoming Hand applique and quilting course and she said she'd drop in some bits. 

Imagine my surprise and delight when just a couple of hours later she came back to the shop with three sackfuls of the most beautiful fabrics! I feel overwhelmed at her generosity and wish I'd taken her telephone number to thank her again.

Last night I went to the preview of William Pullen's collage exhibition at Art Muse a new gallery in Petersfield's Chapel Street. It was buzzing and we had a great time.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Handmade card by Jenny Stacy
Handmade Happiness saw more men than usual seeking something special to buy for their love. I can testify that they try really hard to buy the right thing that they think will please their partner. It's very hard to find the perfect gift. I think you have to be able to visualise the recipient wearing it/using it and that is not easy.

Looking back on presents I've received  I remember in particular a chess set and a lamp when I was a small child and as an adult a Black and Decker drill for my big Christmas present one year.  At the risk of sounding ungrateful I sometimes think with presents, I wish you'd given me the equivalent money instead... But a better attitude is - everything is a bonus. If one has no expectations of receiving anything at all then anything that comes our way will be an unexpected surprise and gratefully received!!
I hope you have a lovely romantic day.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Knitting free-style

Free style knitting by jenny stacy
 This afternoon 2-4 is our Free Knitting session in Handmade Happiness. Since I took this photo I have been growing this piece of knitting and now I don't know whether to keep at it until it's a throw to cover an armchair; or to stop and make it into a cushion. If I had  not put in a curved edge on one corner I think it would withstand being felted and used as a wall hanging. I like the idea of completely covering a tatty old armchair and think it would look fab but I don't think I've got the patience to keep knitting it for that long. Or how about a jacket?!!

I saw Pam Dew yesterday. She is giving two courses in Handmade Happiness on Applique and Quilting. Her courses will be on March 6th 2-4 and March 20th 2-4 and I am really looking forward to learning from her. Ring the shop or email me if you want to join us on those dates.

I will give a one day workshop on Making a Doll on April 3rd. 
For this afternoon and the rest of February Wednesday workshops will be on Free Knitting. These sessions are not suitable for people who have not yet learned to knit.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

What I saw in Guildford

Fine bakers' twine in every colour at tkmax. My friend Sue told me about this.
Impressive decor  inside Jigsaw.
Nice colours and nice clothes at Toast
Fabrics by Malabar at C&H fabrics.
Voyage fabrics at C&H
 It was snowing heavily when I caught the train to Guildford yesterday. I felt anxious about getting back. But no sign of snow in Guildford itself and it was nice to walk a lot and see a lot.
After a good look at tkmax where I bought the twine above I had a cup of tea and toasted mushroom/cheese sandwich at the M&S cafe. Is there any better value I wonder than a sit down lunch for £5-50?
I admired the fabrics in C&H. Imagine the interlined tartan as heavy winter curtains... I bought a circular knitting needle and chatted to the member of staff about using it. She said just go for it. I did and now I am well in to making a bucket bag (no pattern just guessing) with a £2 ball of fat wool they were selling off. The colour is ghastly but I think felting the bag will help!
I wanted to see the craft shop at Guildford's museum shop but it is closed on Mondays. What I did find and got quite excited about was a stationery shop called Blott where they sold wire paper clips shaped like animals. The one I wanted was a bird and that was the one they had sold out of but next time...

Monday 11 February 2013

Free knitting workshops

Knitting (and a bit of crochet) by Jenny Stacy
 This Wednesday workshop will be on Free Knitting from 2pm to 4pm at Handmade Happiness. Price is £10, refreshments provided. If you can't make it maybe you can do Wednesday week which will also be on Free Knitting. 

Today after an early start and half a dozen more Valentine's cards made I've decided to have time out in Guildford today. Pictures of what I see there tomorrow.
Enjoy your day!

Sunday 10 February 2013


Making buttons always feels a bit self-indulgent to me. Because it is fun  and feels like playing I feel I should be doing something more serious and grown up like balancing the books or scrubbing the floor.
Today I'll be driving a lot of the day. Not fun. So I'm looking forward to doing a bit of button making again tomorrow. Life is not always what we'd choose it to be but having something to look forward to helps to 'balance the books.'

Friday 8 February 2013

Crochet has holes

I made this lined bag a while ago
 A bag for Spring! I'm showing it to remind myself to use the holes in crochet more.
I'm crocheting with string at the moment and think it will be a lampshade. Or it could end up being a little bag like this one - for Spring.
Crochet is so quick compared to knitting. And I like quick results don't you?

Thursday 7 February 2013

Valentine's cards handmade

Jenny Stacy handmade card
Handmade cards by Jenny Stacy
 I have now made a dozen Valentine's cards to sell at the shop. £3 each.
My photography skills get worse as these are the only pictures which aren't blurred.
 When I feel in the mood I paint papers and use these in the cards together with collected bits of pictures stored in see-through plastic envelopes.
 I could happily spend all my days collaging but today I really must make buttons...

Sorry I've plastered my name all over the place...
I heard a shocking story the other day. A shop owner claiming that the  very distinctive maker's cushions she stocked were all her own work. Credit where credit is due please! 

Wednesday 6 February 2013

The tantalising garden

The back of the Physic garden with its locked gate
The view through the bars
 Sorry this isn't the picture of Valentine's cards. I'll have to show you those tomorrow.

Don't you sometimes think that life would be just peachy if you could get beyond certain obstacles? Like this locked gate things seem to stop us getting to where we want to go.
But more than that it's our attitude to what we think is against us that makes the real difference. If we stay strong and have a positive attitude. I can do... not I can't do... We will get there.
Today is Beginners' Crochet day. If you haven't already told me you want to join ring 01730 267711.  It's from 2-4pm this afternoon. Price £10

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Spring flowers

Inside Handmade Happiness. Shaker peg rail by Peter S
Looking in the window of Handmade Happiness. Cards by Jacqui Watkins
 These little narcissi have a wonderful scent and have been going strong for more than two weeks. The daffodils are new. I can't remember where the little jug came from. Isn't it pretty?

I've had a request for a Wednesday morning workshop 10.00 to 12.00am on 'Free Knitting'. Would anyone else be interested in coming to a morning workshop?

Yesterday I made Valentine's cards. I'll post a picture of them tomorrow. 

Monday 4 February 2013

Getting Greener?

Bookmarks £5 each in Handmade Happiness
 Reading 'The Moneyless Man' by Mark Boyle is making me think about change. And specifically how Handmade Happiness can get involved.

Mark invented the term 'freeconomy' a movement designed to get people to help one another, in a mutual bid to consume less, live without using the world's depleting resources (oil) and to use our own resourcefulness, bodies and brains to live without money. Thereby creating friendships and thriving local communities.
As someone whose head is buried in sand most of my waking day (I rarely listen to the news) I am at the moment unaware of what is going on locally already.

Perhaps Handmade Happiness could run a series of workshops on re-using packaging to make beautiful objects; or creating new clothes from old ones in your wardrobe? 
Your thoughts/ info would be much appreciated.
Now I'm off to find out more about what's happening in my local community.

Sunday 3 February 2013

Ali Cooper's porcelain

 Yesterday Ali Cooper came into Handmade Happiness with her porcelain pieces. I love the purity of porcelain. Handmade Happiness also has her stamped 'Thank you' gift tags. Now I'm looking forward to seeing more of her work.

Saturday 2 February 2013

February thoughts

Add caption
I keep writing in green because I'm waiting and wishing for green shoots to appear. 
Re-growth. In winter there is always a tendency to hibernate and I don't like that.  I want the sun back to energise everyone again.  
The shop needs a complete re-arrange and I've got lots of stock to make. Maybe a multi-vitamin with iron pill will give me a boost? What gives you extra energy?
Have you read about the Fast Diet, not fast as in quick but fast as in eat nothing. To eat normally five days a week and eat very little for two days seems a sensible way to lose a few pounds. I always find I have lots more energy when I try to diet. I wonder why that is?

Friday 1 February 2013

Future workshops at Handmade Happiness

Japanese washi tape.
Future Wednesday workshops at Handmade Happiness will be on: 

Doll making (whole day workshops in March);
Applique and quilting taught by Pam Dew, a two part workshop (beginning early March)  
Drawing and painting for beginners in June taught by Sandra Izard.

  Sandwiched between these will  be the usual Wednesday afternoon crochet and knitting workshops. In the future we may also have a Tuesday evening workshop depending on demand. 

Next Wednesday's workshop from 2pm to 4pm is Beginners Crochet.

I am reading a most interesting book: The Moneyless Man by Mark Boyle. A former businessman Mark tells the story of his successful attempt to survive without spending any money at all for a year. 
Just reading the first chapter has made me think that somewhere like Handmade Happiness which sells the work of local people on their behalf is as much part of a philosophy as a shop.
Happy February to you!