Wednesday 31 July 2013

Seasalt and Susie Watson in Chichester

Interesting 'plants' in Seasalt window
'Plants' in Seasalt window
Pretty trimmings at Susie Watson
Pom pom trimming displayed at Susie Watson
 A garden-themed window at Seasalt shows plants made from knitting and paper and string, straws and tissue. I like the tied-on bits of green string. I can see mini Christmas trees made like this or Christmas wreaths. (Sorry to mention the 'C' word.)
I love the soft colours of these pom-poms at Susie Watson. A bit special. Wouldn't they look good round a plain linen cushion?

So a rainy day meant it was a bit quiet in Handmade Happiness yesterday. My daughter says I must use these quiet moments to email my customers with regular newsletters updating them on new things in the shop. Personally I'd like nothing better than to compose a regular newsletter but I'm not sure that people would want to receive it. No point making that effort if it goes straight to 'junk'. I told her that is what the blog is for but she thinks customers like the personal contact of receiving an email. What do you think?

Today I must decide whether to renew the shop's broadband contract. I can get by without it and save money or if I produce newsletters and do that other thing I haven't yet got round to - having things made by me on etsy it would be worth continuing to pay out. 

Tuesday 30 July 2013

What's new in Chichester?

Chichester Cathedral (with mysterious pink light!)
Seasalt sells clothes and opened in Chichester yesterday. 
Susie Watson in North Street. An impressive homewares shop.
Newly-open in North Street, the French beauty shop.
Set into the pavement - a reminder that this was a Roman city.
 I had a proper day off in Chichester yesterday. I took lots more photographs, you'll see others later.

Seasalt had some interesting craft-y plants in the window- more on that later; Susie Watson, on two floors has a range of pretty pom-pom trimmings I really like. A big, impressive shop to look around. L'Occitane smells divine and thoughtfully has tester scents on a table outside for passers-by to try.

What I actually bought were two charity shop bargains: A too-heavy-to-carry book called Quilts and a Brora linen flowery skirt. Also some Vilene from C&H fabrics for bag/purse making and some manilla luggage labels I use for pricing from Office Supplies in Crane Street.

Today both my daughters are visiting Handmade Happiness and before that I'm looking forward to receiving more kaleidoscopes from Frank Higgins, who together with his wife Janet, designs and makes them. And tonight we're focussing on making invitations at the drop-in session. One daughter will have gone home by then but I'm hoping the other daughter will join us.

Monday 29 July 2013

In the window at Handmade Happiness

The Handmade Happiness window this week.
Alison Dupernex scarf and Samantha Robertson's ceramics.
Sue Inglis' bunny and Lindsey Agostinelli teddy.  Jugs by Ali Cooper; sugar tongs bracelet by Jenny Shutler; birds by Michelle Green; heart tea light holder by Samantha Robertson; cat toast rack and cockerel by Kate Hackett and decorated notebook by Jacqui Watkins.
 As usual I can't take a picture of my shop without also taking a good picture of the reflection of buildings opposite!
Saturday was the day of the 100 km walk for Oxfam. How I admire everyone that got themselves sponsored to walk 100 km. And it was hot and humid. I guess if you complete that you must feel invincible!

I get a lot of foreign visitors in my shop. It is great to meet them and talk to them. They are walking all round the town, really exploring it, not just Waitrose and the High Street which is how they stumble across Handmade Happiness in Dragon Street. After nearly two years I still get Petersfield residents coming in and saying,'Well I never. How did I not know you were here?'
Can I just give a thumbs up to Disking the computer shop next to me? On Saturday I couldn't get my lap top to work at all. I took it next door and after a brief look I was told how to sort it and that helpful, clever assistant wouldn't take any money! So they deserve a recommendation from me. 

Sunday 28 July 2013

Purple, blue and green

Fresh sweetpeas with Alison  Dupernex's scarf in the Handmade Happiness window
Peacock velvet anyone? Beautiful fabric from Tara Interiors next door.
Like many other women I find this colour combination almost irresistible.
I like to use these colours in jewellery.

Some colours are cheerful, even exciting - red and yellow and orange; some are soothing and peaceful - pale blue and pale green; I think anything extreme - using neons for instance might jar after a time. 

Do you notice what colours people have been wearing in hot weather?
Crisp white linen always looks cool and comfortable I think, but white trousers and skirts can be a bit see-through. Blue and white and pale pink look good in the heat. Corals, oranges and browns not so great in high temperatures. I suppose those are the colour of fire...
Sweet peas and hollyhocks are in gardens right now - good cool colours for clothes in the heat, and, as usual nature shows us the way. 

Saturday 27 July 2013

Hollyhocks at Sheet

The variety of colours
Growing along the side of an old stone wall
Tall flowers in the hot sun
 Every year these self-seeded hollyhocks grow against a tall, long wall by the side of the road in the village of Sheet. This traditional English country cottage plant must be hardy, there's no visible soil here, nor have they had any rain for months. I don't think they look quite as tall and strong this year as in previous years but they still give a lovely view to the houses opposite them.

I took these pictures on the way home from Handmade Happiness after another day when the electric fan ran all day. Heat yes please. Humidity no thank you. Enjoy your weekend!

Friday 26 July 2013

Bluebell Gray inspiration

Bluebell Grey cushions available at Tara Interiors next door to Handmade Happiness
 I love these cushions. The Bluebell Grey artist is Fi Campbell who paints her designs which are then printed on to linen. These colours would be good the year round.

Vicki Hunt, whose bird pictures I showed you the other day paints directly onto fabric and the results are great.

 So I've had the idea of painting onto linen and turning the painted fabric into little things for the shop. Purses for instance. The shop lacks purses and handbags. But any purses and handbags I sell must be very individual and have the right amount of quirkiness. So painted linen, maybe further embellished with the odd button or snip of Liberty fabric. It could work...

Thursday 25 July 2013

Kaleidoscope magic

What you might see when looking through one of Frank and Janet Higgins' kaleidoscopes
You will never see the same thing twice. Another picture through one of Frank and Janet Higgins' kaleidoscopes.
Every visitor to Handmade Happiness is invited to look through one of the incredible kaleidoscopes handmade by Frank Higgins and his wife Janet, here in Hampshire. As one little girl kept saying as her mother encouraged her to look through it,' This is awesome. This is awesome.'  
To lose yourself in the myriad patterns and colours is extremely relaxing. On another level creative types can see inspiration for quilts; fabric patterns (digital prints?); and ways of combining colours and shapes they may never have thought of.
I think every home should have one! But then I am biased and very proud to have Frank and Janet's kaleidoscopes in my shop!

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Tearing and glueing

Pictures from an old Country Living magazine on the back of a sketch book. The dolls are by Magpie and the Wardrobe.

Last night at Handmade Happiness we decorated black notebooks with embroidery stitches; reminding ourselves of herringbone, detached chain and French knots. Pictured is the back of my notebook, which I did in a quiet moment during shop hours. I'll show you the front - embroidery themed - when it's finished. As usual too much chat made me the least productive!
Next week we'll be making cards with a dress theme. Join us?

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Thinking /dreaming /doing

One of the houses behind Chichester cathedral. Love the colour of the front door
 When I lived in Chichester I used to dream of one day living in this house. I suspect most of the houses behind the cathedral are occupied by cathedral staff and never come on to the open market... The builder I spoke to the other day said old houses stay cool in this hot weather. New houses can get very hot.

 I found it was cooler by the sea yesterday. I went to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth in search of a dress. And stepping off the train that lovely cool sea air is so refreshing.

This morning I have been trying to make a lace hair decoration for my bride-to-be daughter. I say trying because, for once, I am frozen by indecision. Because it is so important that this ornament is perfect I am dithering and anxious about getting it wrong. I've cut up an antique lace handkerchief, now I'm going to brush on a pva type glue to stiffen the lace pieces. I can't decide between a thin velvet ribbon and a wider gold transparent ribbon to sew the lace on to and then I'll sew a row of diamantes (accent needed!) on to that. And how shall it be fastened? Shall the ribbon be tied into a  bow or shall I sew on a jewelled clip fastening? I even thought about using old pearls like a short run of necklace each end to fasten in the hair. I have to keep reminding myself of the KISS principle - Keep it Simple Stupid. That always turns out best in the end.

By the way it's Tuesday so it's drop in making night at Handmade Happiness. 7.30 to 9.00pm. Notebook covers with a bit of embroidery is what I'm thinking of ...

Monday 22 July 2013

Christopher Robin country

The shop called Pooh Corner at Hartfield
A Disney Pooh and Disney Eeyore sit outside the shop

Pretty buildings in the village of Hartfield
Houses in Hartfield
 When my grandmother lived with us in East Grinstead and I was a young teenager, my mother used to take her on afternoon drives. Now it is me taking my mother on those same country roads...
Hartfield is where young Christopher Robin used to live and have adventures with his friends Pooh bear, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. My dad read those stories (and poems) to me and my children had them read to them. Nowadays children might know Christopher Robin and Pooh through the films Disney made about them.

The shop 'Pooh Corner' has all the original books and every sort of Winnie the Pooh themed gift you could imagine - most inspired by the Disney pictures not the E.H. Shepard ones. I would like to know more about where locally Christopher Robin lived and played. I'll check online and get back to you!

The answer is Cotchford Farm, Cotchford Lane, Hartfield. Coincidentally it looks like it is currently for sale with Savills for £2 million. Set in 9.5 acres of land the property was bought in 1925 by Christopher's dad, A.A. Milne who was inspired to write about his son and his toys in this lovely setting. 

Sunday 21 July 2013

Rosamund Fowler's hand printed cards

'Mother duck' wood engraving print card by Rosamund Fowler
Leaping hare. Hand printed card from a wood engraving by Rosamund Fowler
Mother hen. Hand printed card from a wood engraving by Rosamund Fowler.
Spring rabbits. Hand printed card from wood engraving by Rosamund Fowler.
 Handmade Happiness now stocks Rosamund Fowler's cards.

Rosamund is inspired by the countryside of the South Downs. After drawing her design on a specially prepared wood block she engraves it using traditional tools. Each card is then individually printed by hand using an antique Farley Press to produce a work of art signed by the artist. See more of her work at 

Handmade Happiness currently stocks nine different designs. 

Saturday 20 July 2013

Bird paintings by Vicky Hunt

Bluetit in paint and stitch  by Vicky Hunt
Green finch painted and stitched by Vicky Hunt
Chaffinch painted and stitched by Vicky Hunt
 I love it when people bring beautiful things they have made into Handmade Happiness. These birds are delicately painted onto natural denim fabric and have a stitch outline. Vicky Hunt's work is exquisite. Come in and see. 

Remember Handmade Happiness is closed on Mondays and Sundays. Every other day 10 to 5, although at present I am opening earlier, at 9.30am due to the hot weather. I find people come in during the morning, not so much during the hot afternoon. 

Friday 19 July 2013

Lamp shades at Standen

This pretty lampshade caught my eye
Another blousier 1920s style
At Standen last Sunday I noticed these gathered lampshades. They look quite easy to make. Nowadays we'd perhaps prefer to have something like this in the bedroom rather than the sitting-room. Love the colour of the top one.

Handmade lampshades, handbags, purses - these are things Handmade Happiness hasn't got that I'd like to stock. Mind you I don't think lampshades like those pictured would fit with the look of the shop...

Yesterday Vicky Hunt came in with her bird paintings on denim. These are really special. Come and have a look. Pictures to come.

For the first and I hope only time Handmade Happiness closed an hour early yesterday. I do hope nobody was inconvenienced by this. I had a builder visiting my house to quote for sorting out a few things. He was wonderfully positive and I feel a weight has been lifted!

Thursday 18 July 2013

Paper flowers and beauty clinics

Crepe paper flowers made on Tuesday night at Handmade Happiness
Carol made most of these. She was the only one of us able to produce quantities of flowers while talking. If the Apprentice final had happened on Monday night instead of last night I dare say we'd have been talking about that.

Dr Leah won The Apprentice with her chain of 'beauty' clinics idea where people could get Botox, 'facial fillers' (edited re: comment below) or a skin peel locally to them. So Alan Sugar is to put £250,000 of his own money and his and his staff's expertise into the pursuit of 'beauty'.

This makes me sad. Are women today so insecure about their looks that they are willing to spend thousands on having their faces smoothed out and their lips puffed up in the hopes that they will then look like their favourite celebrities? Whatever happened to natural beauty?

 Is the only beauty people recognise today a medically- enhanced thing? Or rather do older women feel the only way they will be appreciated is to pay to look young again?

And what sort of message is this giving to teenage girls and boys? That you can't be happy with what you are born with because it's not good enough? That they must save up for a 'boob job' or a puffy mouth to appear sexy? What rot.

 Let's instead praise them for their own unique and individual beauty so they feel as good as anyone they see on the television or in a magazine. We are all special and valued and the media should be giving us that message.  Not encouraging the setting up of clinics where people can be manufactured to conform to one stereotypical idea of beauty - a baby smooth face and puffy lips - in other words, beauty blandness.
Unhelpful and unhealthy. Shame on you BBC. 

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Kate Hackett's ceramics

Kate Hackett's work
New cake stand by Kate Hackett
The pretty new cake stand by Kate Hackett
 Kate Hackett visited on Saturday bringing more of her popular pieces including this cake stand and the new cat toast rack pictured. 

Last night we made crepe paper flowers at the drop in craft night at Handmade Happiness. I'll take a picture today. The shop's electric fan was on to cool us. What's different about this heat wave is that the temperature doesn't noticeably drop at night.  How are you coping with the heat? People seem to either love it or hate it.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

Fragrant roses

Roses from Michelle Green's garden
I think she said the tightly packed roses are called 'noisettes'
 Yesterday I did some house things in the morning and then drove to Liss on a charity run. There is one called Liss Trust where I found an American sheet with  blue flowers £2.00; two Italian storage jars with red lids 70p each; a blue cotton shirt with pretty blue mother of pearl buttons ?£2-50; and an old white jug (Paddock) for 50p. 

I then went to 'The Works' at the garden centre in Rake and was lucky enough to find the 'Dottie Angel blogger book called Granny Chic (£5-99). I also got three packs of vellum sheets (a sort of tracing paper) for wedding making.  
I'll take the book along to the drop in craft session at Handmade Happiness tonight - 7.30pm to 9.00pm 

Monday 15 July 2013

Standen, East Grinstead

The drawing room as it would have been in 1920. All fabric designs by William Morris.
The front door to Standen, built in 1894 and now owned by the National Trust
The kitchen range
Portrait of a member of the household against the dark fir green walls of the dining-room
The ornate fireplace in the dining room with shelves to warm the plates.
I remember a clock like this at my grandmother's. Note the William Morris design wallpaper.
I took my mother to Standen yesterday, an interesting Arts and Crafts house just outside East Grinstead. On such a hot day the house was pleasantly cool and even outside there were mature trees giving shade.

Are you managing to stay cool in this extreme-for-Britain weather?

Sunday 14 July 2013

The sheep are back in town

Michelle Green's handmade sheep
 Yesterday Michelle Green brought in more of her needlefelted bluetits and two dozen sheep.Both very popular in Handmade Happiness. Don't worry these new sheep don't have coats on like the ones pictured. I only amuse myself giving them coats when it's cold outside.

Michelle and her husband have a garden full of old-fashioned roses. Michelle also brought in some wonderfully scented pot pourri made to a Tudor recipe from the rose petals from her garden. I would like to sell this in Handmade Happiness soon. 

Saturday 13 July 2013

In the window now

In the Handmade Happiness window now.
From the top down you can see Dave Tull's little cards £1-20 each and Sheila Barrow's embroidered landscape £38. 

Kate Hackett's strawberry mug £18; Samantha Robertson's tea light holder £10 and Lindsey Agostinelli's bear £35.

 Fabric dog by Karen Boller £9-50, knitted baby hat by June Knight £9-50 and cat by Sue Inglis £19-50.

 String necklace by me £10-00; salt pot by Ali Cooper £16-00 and mug by Samantha Robertson £18-00 

Three kaleidoscopes sold yesterday and there is a lot of interest in them. Today I am looking forward to seeing Kate Hackett who is bringing in more of her lovely ceramic mugs and Michelle Green with more needle-felted birds.
Have a good weekend!