Saturday 31 August 2013

Making flowers

Pink flower from old linen shirt
 The bride likes this one but is less keen on the red velvet roses (too wintery) and the pale pink flowery linen roses (too girly) so after some discussion and re-manipulation of fabrics I'm back to making white crepe paper flowers (see previous post) for long garlands which the bride really likes and I think will look great hanging from the beams of various outbuildings at the farm where the wedding will be held.

Making flowers has been a good learning experience for me.  Basically they've got to be fairly flat or they stick out unnaturally from the lapel. Adding two or three individual hand-sewn petals works well and use your fabric double. 

You should be seeing fabric roses as brooches in the shop fairly soon! And I think the rich red velvet ones will look fab on coats this winter. But if you come into the shop today you'll see me glueing white paper petals together for flower garlands... it's the final countdown - just two weeks til the wedding now.

Friday 30 August 2013

Little things in the window this week

A selection of small things for sale in Handmade Happiness now
Pictured above are: silver bracelet by Paul Drake; key rings by Sue Inglis £6-50 each and ceramic dove by Eileen Brown £6-00; decorated hair grips by me £3-50 each; sheep by Michelle Green £2-50 each; knitted cup cake by Sue Inglis £4-95; sugar tong bracelet by Jenny Shutler £30-00; owl and bracelet by Glen Wellstead £6-00 each; hedgehogs by Sue Inglis £7-50; cat toast rack and strawberry mug at £18-00 by Kate Hackett; set of slate coasters by Eve Deary £16-00. 

Also in the window this week are Samantha Robertson's green and blue bowls and mugs and Ann Hutchins embroidered scenes with sheep.

Thursday 29 August 2013

Interested in selling your beautiful work?

Girl brooches painted by Jenny Stacy
What do you make? Handmade Happiness stocks well-made original craft pieces and is looking for more beautiful things to sell in the run up to Christmas. 
If you think your work has the 'wow' factor please email me with images and I'll get back to you straight away*.   

I'm loving the look of Japanese 'Boro' fabric and would love to stock little bags/purses inspired by this technique - see  Little boats/ houses made with drift wood; baby/childrens' clothes knitted or sewn though no man made fibres/ acrylic yarn please; blown glass. Just a few ideas but you've got your own ideas and I'd love to see them! 

Yesterday I had a delivery of some utterly soft cashmere cardigans in pretty colours. Come and have a look.
Meanwhile I'm still working on mens' corsages. I'd like to show you but the camera still hasn't turned up. Bear with me!!
*sorry but I can't sell work made outside the UK.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Button fun

Handmade buttons by Jenny Stacy. £1 each. Machine washable.
 I have been making buttons like these for over 20 years and I still love to make them. It feels like playing. People who make things are lucky. They get absorbed into what they are doing and time stands still for them. It's a bit like being able to step into something else if that doesn't sound too weird. 

I suppose it's a bit like a man and his shed. He can go there for a bit of 'me time' to focus on things outside of his job and his family. Hopefully nowadays a woman is as likely to have her own 'shed' as a man is. Only she might call it her 'studio' and think about pretty ways to decorate it!

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Walk round Petersfield lake

Petersfield's lake at twilight.
  We walked round the lake late afternoon. Families were picnic-ing; dogs running into the water after sticks; boys paddling canoes and couples  rowed boats. I noticed that the modest little shed which sold ice-creams and soft drinks has been turned into 'The Plump Duck', a far grander business offering paninis and filled baguettes, even jacket potatoes.

 You can walk the path round the lake in 20 minutes, some people run round, children ride on shoulders round or scoot their scooters round. It's a nice little excercise which I always intend to do daily but never do... The views across the lake and the swans beside the lake always make me wish I'd brought my camera. But I can't find it at the moment. Hopefully it's on the shop desk.

There'll be no drop-in craft session tonight. I'm too busy with wedding stuff. Let's take a break and start again at the end of September when we'll start making for Christmas. 

Monday 26 August 2013

Chanel wedding inspiration

White paper flowers on the catwalk at Chanel
 This picture is inspirational. To make big paper flowers like this you need to be courageous! I love the look though as a wedding backdrop!

Sunday 25 August 2013

Why do shops not stock wedding colours?

Wedding style mood board by Jenny Stacy. Made and sold a while back.
I looked locally and I looked in London for pale pink crepe paper. I don't want salmon pink or Barbie pink or hot pink I want pale pink. I can order online but I am thinking that with so many people wanting soft, vintage colours - pale peach, cream, tea-stained for example for wedding decor why have the shops not cottoned on? I had the same problem finding nice colour glitter. Lots of red, blue, green and yellow gold glitter but no pale gold or white glitter.

Is it just me or do you go in shops and find the colours are too hard? I'm talking about clothes in hard electric blues, turquoises and neon pink. Or black. So much black in the shops and ok some women like to wear black for work but what about the rest of us? Where are soft pale blues, hydrangea colours, pansy colours, rose colours? 

The mens' wedding corsages are underway now. Hurray! 15 to make but at least I know what I'm doing now. Amy also wants giant flowers. Hence the search for pale pink crepe paper. I've found it on Amazon but I am thinking that maybe I should stock some of those softer coloured crepes/tissues/glitters in the soon-to-be-up-and-running Handmade Happiness 'To make with' section.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Crochet lace - uses for

Assorted crochet lace bundles for sale
 This morning I've been ironing the crochet lace I washed yesterday.  Originally used as pelmet lengths or to go round bedding and shelf trims now it will go into Handmade Happiness as part of the 'To Make with' section.

Thinking about what can be made with this lovely stuff my first thought is bunting - layered on other fabric and used as edging. Also it would look really romantic sewn just above the inside edge of a jacket so you had a lace layer showing. Pillowcase trim and part of a tote bag. Coiled into lace roses. It's uses are endless.

I'm wondering about dyeing some bits of it. What do you think? In the past I've dyed crochet lace pale blue and it's looked really pretty. You could also paint over it in art works or collage...

Friday 23 August 2013

To make with

There is a shop in Arundel that used to sell hand made things and now sells vintage clothes. I heard on the grapevine that another shop in Chichester which sells handmade is closing at the end of this month. This is telling me that to survive in the present economic climate you have to be willing to change. 

I might have said before that my shop has two types of customers. Firstly and mostly the customer who is looking to buy something highly individual and handmade as a present or for themselves. Secondly the person who likes to make things for themselves and is looking for new ideas. It is this second type of customer that I want to appeal to more. 

This week I am, as usual, going through my treasures, collected over the years which I use for making things with. Ancient bits of gold braid, antique buttons, old lace, bits of vintage fabric and colourful beads. I love this stuff and so do many other women. Witness the Knitting and Stitching show where I see the carrier bags full of lovely and inspiring bits and pieces that women find there to make things with.  So, in short my idea is to have an area in the shop 'To make with' where my finds and collections can be bought. Now I have to find or make just the right sort of packaging!! 

Thursday 22 August 2013

Glitter jars

Done. 70 jars and bottles glittered. I ended up using silver glitter for some of them because I ran out of  nice gold glitter and the gold glitter I found in the shops was too yellow. I mixed gold with white glitter for some of them to achieve the right pale gold. The bottles and some of the jars are for flowers and the rest of the jars are for night light candles. I think they'll look pretty.

Today I'm making jewellery for the shop with some time to be spent on making the mens' buttonhole flowers. Sophie's in the shop today and I'm at home. 

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Bits and pieces

Attempt two on fabric peony flowers - better but not good enough
Orange dahlias in a neighbourhood garden
 Cute bunny lamp seen in Fenwicks yesterday
A wall of Prestat chocolate in Selfridges
 Yesterday we found my 'mother of the bride' dress. Hurray! Another job crossed off the list and I'm pleased with it and it cost far less than I was fearing! What was weird was seeing that very dress in the Evening Standard's Stylist magazine on the journey home in a fashion feature on florals for autumn. No-one would normally accuse me of being a 'fashionista'!!

As usual we walked our feet off in London. But this time we were on a mission. No time for Liberty or John Lewis. It was great to be with Amy who can be relied on to give me an honest opinion of what suits and what doesn't suit!

Today I have some making time to make up. Sophie is in the shop again and it's my chance to get cracking. I'll report back to you tomorrow! Enjoy your day.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Arundel Gallery Trail

A wicker bunny perched on a house in Tarrant Street
 The trail is open daily until August 26th. Weekdays from 2-5pm and weekend from 12 - 5.30pm. If you live near Arundel go round. It's an experience to see the lovely houses the art work is as well as for the artwork itself. 

Mostly paintings - I like the work of  Karin Moorhouse, Andy Waite,Emma Rimer and Frances Knight in particular. Some craft: Vanda Zebrak is brilliant with her embroideries and glass pieces mostly depicting light through trees; I also like Fanny Peppercorn's white porcelain and Jacqui Watkins' lino cuts. (Jacqui's cards are very popular with Handmade Happiness customers.)

It was nice to go round accompanied by my younger daughter. Her real appreciation made it even more of a pleasure. Sometimes I think it would be nice if I could sell more paintings but it's a price thing. Most items in Handmade Happiness are priced at well under £100. These paintings are priced in the hundreds or in the thousands. I would have to evolve into a very different type of gallery to accomodate paintings and at the moment I'm going down a different path.

Monday 19 August 2013

Sussex views and making time

Heavy clouds just before it rained.
 I took these pictures yesterday when my mum and I went on a drive through the countryside. She likes being driven but she doesn't like getting out of the car. Luckily you can see most of these views from the car park.

This week is my making week. Before I had my shop I made in a much more disciplined way.
Had to make £60 worth (or more) of stock per day, especially in the months before a big show. So thanks to my daughter manning the shop for a few days I'll start that up again and be able to get on with wedding making as well. Pictures to follow!

This afternoon I'm off to Arundel for the gallery trail - it's each afternoon this week from 2pm to 5.30pm. So I'd better start the new making schedule right now!

Sunday 18 August 2013

London, Paris, Petersfield

Beautiful painted and collaged walls at Sketch, London. Photo from their website
 My friend Bee and her husband are in Paris this week and I must admit to being envious. Walking the streets of Paris and coming across all sorts of unexpected wonders is an exciting thing to do ...maybe next year. Meanwhile I am lucky enough to visit London where two of my children live, quite regularly.

When I lived in Chichester I used to hop on a train and visit Brighton for that injection of city excitement. Brighton shops and the colourful individuals in the street. It's like a wake up from the everyday. And it's inspiring. To visit an exhibition or a handful of shops in London now is to bring back a camera full of pictures and hopefully, a few new ideas triggered by things seen. But isn't it good to get back home? Back to, in my case, Petersfield, which I love. 

Saturday 17 August 2013

Dream-like afternoon at Sketch, Mayfair

The memorable high tea at Sketch
We walked through Mayfair, past all the beautiful expensive shop windows and into the club called Sketch. (Members only in the evenings.)  

We sat in 'The Glade' a room painted and collaged by Carolyn Quartermaine and Didier Mahieu to look and feel like a woodland glade at twilight. The sky painted turquoise and layered leaf trees on the walls making a dream-like setting.

Pictured is what we ate. Not pictured are the scones, clotted cream and jam which we didn't have room for. This was the first part of Amy's hen do. It carries on through today and tonight but I am back to normality at Handmade Happiness. But before I get ready for work I must just mention the incredible loos at Sketch. Imagine a large, white shiny room in which white shiny upright pods stand (as if about to hatch space monsters). Each pod is a cubicle and in there you really feel you are on board a space craft in another reality.

I love London. To see places and people and do things which are so far removed from
everyday life gives a glimpse into what is 'normal' for other people. But to me it sometimes feels like a dream. A pleasant memorable dream but not really real if you know what I mean.  

Friday 16 August 2013

Covered hangers

Hangers - some crocheted and some covered in vintage fabric.
 Can you remember those vintage fabrics I bought from Penny Baker a few months back? This is what happened to a little of it.

Today is the start of Amy's hen do. I'm off up to London and Tara will be looking after the shop for me. So if you need to see me personally don't visit today! Back to normal tomorrow.

Thursday 15 August 2013

Getting organised

Lovely roses
 Yesterday Sue Inglis, knitter extraordinaire, came in to Handmade Happiness to re-stock and we talked Christmas plans. Sue is already knitting Christmas decorations to build up a good stock. And I am planning what the shop should sell and how it should be decorated to make 2013 the best, most magical Christmas ever.

Next week I have a window of opportunity to get organised for the Christmas run up. Younger daughter is keen to work in the shop for the week, giving me a chance to make from home, finish off making things for the wedding and get my house and shop organised for the busiest time of the year!

It's a good thing there is nothing worth watching on the tv, only 'Top of the Lake' on Saturday night. Nothing to distract me from making. Last night it was bunting which I must finish off now before getting ready for the shop.

On Tuesday night we had a successful and very enjoyable felt making session at the night drop-in. Please note there will be no craft session next Tuesday night. See this blog for details of the next one.  

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Handmade Quilt by Pam Dew for Handmade Happiness customer

The finished quilt held by Liz Dore and Pam Dew
The inspiration was this picture of an Amish quilt

Liz Dore wanted a quilt to celebrate her newborn grandson. She showed Pam Dew a picture in a calendar of Amish quilts but she wanted it a whole lot bigger, to cover a single bed. Pam has fantastic quilt making skills and has interpreted the customer's wishes by inventing and calculating measurements for a much larger piece while staying faithful to the original design.

Pam makes cushions, wall hangings and quilts which are regularly sold in Handmade Happiness. She also runs classes on patchwork quilting and applique here in Petersfield.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Dyeing with avocado and attempting a peony

Tattered white lace after dyeing
Tattered lace with white lace so you can see how subtle the dyed colour is
First attempt at a peony (with shell button). Maybe 4 out of 10?!
I read somewhere that you can achieve a dusky pink with avocado skins. I boiled up one torn skin in water and when I could see colour added the lace and some calico. The effect was subtle - a bit like tea dyeing but prettier and the calico has turned a good skin colour for dolls.

Less successful is the attempt at a peony. It lacks fullness. To make it I tore a strip of fabric about 40 inches long and three inches wide. Then I folded the strip in half, in half again, in half again length ways until there was a bundle about four inches wide. Then the top corners were snipped off and the top edge cut into to suggest ruffly petals.  The whole length was then stitched and pulled to gather it up to about a quarter of its length. Then I wrapped it round my finger, stitching the bottom edges together.

Next time I'll tear a longer strip or stitch two strips together to make a longer length to start off with and then achieve a fuller, more even flower. Hope it looks better. You be the judge!

This morning at the shop Eve Deary who cuts slate boards and hearts is coming in to re-stock and this afternoon Pam Dew is coming in to show us a special quilt she has been making for a customer.
This evening we're making felt bracelets/ buttons / beads.

Monday 12 August 2013

Real flowers and handmade flowers

A real white peony in the garden
 There is now a carrier bag full of white crepe paper flowers for wedding decoration. Today I want to wire them into a garland or two and cover the wire in green florist's tape. Looking at this real flower with its jaggedy edges which are so un-uniform makes me realise that we can only do poor imitations of nature. It's just lucky if one or two of the things we make come out anything like the real thing.

I was thinking of going to London today but the trip has been postponed to next week when younger daughter will be working in the shop for me.

Instead I'll get going on the mens' buttonhole flowers which will be made of fabric. And looking at this peony there will be a more jaggedy edge than I first envisaged.

Sunday 11 August 2013

Balloon weather

Right over our heads!
Gaining height.
Big balloon, small plane
 Last night, after a very busy day in the shop, my son and his girlfriend came to visit.  As we walked (yes, we saw the deer again) this balloon passed over us. Imagine floating peacefully in a balloon when a small plane passes underneath you. Must be a weird feeling. 

We ate at Fez Petersfield's Turkish restaurant. We all agreed that the food was perfect. I like communal eating when you all take from the same large plate. Hummous, aubergine in a tasty ratatouille, feta and halloumi cheeses, taboulleh, vine leaf parcels, with flat bread. All delicious. There are lots of meat options too but Fez is an ideal place for vegetarians to eat.
In the shop I often get asked to recommend a local cafe or restaurant. Natural Apothecary I recommend as the best cafe.

This morning and late last night saw me glittering more bottles and jars. I'm meeting Amy and her partner this morning where my mum lives to pass across wedding stuff. But I still haven't cracked the problem of how to transport those things without the glitter falling off. Perhaps I just have to accept that some glitter will fall off. Hopefully they'll still look pretty!

Saturday 10 August 2013

In the Handmade Happiness window now

A selection of local makers' work at Handmade Happiness, Peterfield.
I change the window once a week to show some of the things you will find in the shop.

Pictured above are cards and hearts with Michelle Green's needlefelted birds. A knitted heart and two bags of painted, threading beads by me;  Ali Cooper's pretty pink porcelain bowl; Eve Deary's slate coasters; Samantha Robertson's mug and white night-light holder; Lindsey Agostinelli's handmade bear;  Rosamund Fowler's wood cut card, showing a wren; and Kate Hackett's chicken toast rack.

Yesterday I managed a quick charity run while younger daughter manned the shop for an hour. I was lucky enough to find a Day, Birger, Mikkelsen silk dress for £12 in a marbled neutrals print and a rough silk scarf in silver and brown for £3. Not sure yet whether the scarf will be worn or cut up for that joint making project with Bee Mellor I mentioned earlier!!

Now I must get on with glittering jars before getting ready for work. Have a great weekend won't you!

Friday 9 August 2013

Nice necklace!

Necklace in the window of Feather and Flint in Petersfield a year ago.
 Sorry I can't tell you who made this necklace. I like it because it's on a ribbon and has a mother of pearl button in it. Also the glass chandelier drop at the bottom looks like it has wallpaper on the back showing through the glass. I've recently seen clear glass/plastic buttons with painted or magazine paper glued to the back and this is an interesting idea for collage or jewellery. And the necklace is a good length with a plain dress.

Yesterday I finished making my daughter's lace hair decoration for her wedding and I'm glad to say she is very pleased with it. Picture after the wedding !  

Thursday 8 August 2013

Sarah Lugg 'The Handcrafted Wedding'

A page from Sarah Lugg's book The Handcrafted Wedding
Sarah Lugg's hearts collage.
This book is full of pretty ideas for a handmade wedding. Published by Sterling/Chapelle it is now sadly out of print but old copies can be found on Amazon.

Both my daughters are staying at the moment and today the list is: wedding signs - to be painted by Amy; bride's headband to be sewn by me; more paper flowers to be made by both and more jars to be glittered by me. I also want to find some fabrics for the mens' buttonholes and start confetti cones. (Younger daughter will man the shop!)

Last night on our walk we were lucky enough to see a deer. Previously we've seen two very small deer together and I'm wondering if other locals see them and what kind of deer they are?

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Shop colour

A carrier bag from an old Vogue, two vouchers made by me and peg rail from Wild Damson
Brightly coloured scarves by Alison Dupernex (left) and Sheila Barrow.
Stocks given by Bee with kaleidoscopes by Frank Higgins and bird pictures (just seen) by Vicky Hunt
It was nice to have maker Karen Boller with us last night. Karen makes textile jewellery from vintage fabrics and she's very good at making paper flowers too! Next Tuesday night will be felt making (bracelets/ beads).

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Playing with ideas

Seeing what happens with different fabrics and the embellisher 
Yesterday it was good to 'talk creative' with my friend Bee Mellor and our mutual friend Ann Hutchins. Both of them are artists and embroiderers and I love their work.
 I would love to have more of what they make in Handmade Happiness. I'm still hung up on the handmade clothes idea or upcycling/ piecing old clothes to make new. I would also like bags and purses and more pictures.

Yesterday as we talked about the possibility of a joint project Bee searched through my box of felted scraps for what she called 'starting points'. While she's in England we're hoping to have time to get this joint project idea off the ground. It's exciting and today, in the shop I hope to make some kind of experimental prototype. 

The shop is a space with nice things to buy in it. It is also a space where things get made and talking about making:

Tonight we're making paper flowers at the drop in craft session. 7.30pm to 9.00pm

Monday 5 August 2013


Roses in the garden
 Today my good friend Bee Mellor is visiting. Bee, known locally for her art and embroidery, emigrated to Australia eight years ago. Although we exchange emails it's not the same as sitting together to put the world to rights. With old friends isn't it wonderful how you just pick up where you left off? You know you can say whatever is in your head and speak about anything and everything and the friendship will hold strong.

Some of Bee's work is on the noticeboards at Handmade Happiness. I'll show you some pictures of things she makes when I have more time. But I must get ready - she's arriving early this morning.

Sunday 4 August 2013

Handmade Kaleidoscope re-stock

The Dreamscope by Frank and Janet Higgins
The smaller wheelscope by Frank and Janet Higgins
A Teleidoscope by Frank and Janet Higgins
An unusual design by Frank and Janet Higgins
The larger wheelscope by Frank and Janet Higgins
A larger Teleidoscope with beautifully patterned glass by Frank and Janet Higgins
 Frank Higgins has delivered more of his magical kaleidoscopes to Handmade Happiness. You can imagine them in the hands of Harry Potter and his friends they are so unusual and special. I love to see peoples' faces light up as they look through them. What a great present one of them makes.

I should explain that a Teleidoscope has no colours in it. It enables you to look through and see a multiplied, fragmented world. I've noticed that artistic friends love it.
Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday 3 August 2013

Glittering jars and bottles

Yesterday younger daughter manned the shop (she did an excellent job!) so I could get on with making wedding stuff at home.
I've done 23 of these so far but lots more are needed. If you have any jam jars that would otherwise go in the re-cycling bin - bring them in to Handmade Happiness!! 
If you want to do some yourself this is what I did:

Start on the draining board with a couple of plates to catch spilled glitter. Apply masking tape round the jar and optionally another strip round the base if you want a band of glitter rather than to cover half the jar with it.

Next apply 'Mod Podge' (an American glue you can get at Hobbycraft etc. My daughter tried with pva but it wasn't successful) to the lower half of the jar. Holding the jar at a tilt over your plate shake on glitter until glued area is covered. Put excess glitter back in tube with aid of cone of paper. Leave to dry. Then carefully pull off masking tape.

Re: the colour of your glitter. These are a mix of gold and white glitter. Amy likes pale gold and the gold glitter by itself looks a bit brassy. I just shook approx a quarter white glitter with three quarters gold glitter to achieve this colour.

At the wedding the bottles (these are clear beer bottles) will be used for flowers and the jars for night lights. The problem is how to transport them without most of the glitter coming off! I think the best idea is those squared off glasses holding boxes.
Carol suggested spraying with aerosol glue to seal the glitter which seems a brilliant idea but I'm worried about the glue being flammable. So any ideas from you, reader, would be welcome.