Sunday 26 April 2015

Cushions by Tanya Williamson

Bassett dog cushion and fish cushion by Tanya Williamson. Knitted bunny by Sue Inglis.
Golden retriever cushion by Tanya Williamson with teapot by Justine Jenner
 Handmade Happiness has lots more cushions after a visit from Tanya Williamson. These clever applique cushions are always popular and make a great present.

I am thinking wedding thoughts again. My youngest has just announced her engagement. Congratulations to Sophie and Owain! Her taste is different to her sister's so decorations will be different. 

I'd also like to shed a few pounds before those wedding photos! A daily walk round the lake is helping as is an awareness of what I'm eating. A friend pointed out a very good article about weight loss saying basically we all know the theory. You just have to decide to lose a pound a week and when that doesn't happen try much harder the next week until you reach your goal. No fads, no do's and don'ts just do it! Easy eh?! 

Wednesday 22 April 2015

First doll for baby

Doll made by Jenny Stacy for her grandaughter
I gave Juno this doll yesterday and she promptly threw it over her shoulder. Throwing is the new game. She hasn't time for her doll right now. But I like to think she'll enjoy discovering it later.

 Her mother liked smoothing a piece of satin so this doll has a satin ribbon loop. There are pompoms to twiddle and velvet armbands to feel. The doll has a hand-knitted top with suffolk puff sewn on for more texture and her skirt is made of soft brushed cotton. I enjoyed making her and I might make a few more 'comfort dolls' for the shop.

Friday 17 April 2015

It's my birthday....!

Aren't I lucky to have been born in April? The sun is shining, the blossom is on the trees and the cygnets on the lake are losing their grey plumage and becoming beautiful swans.
I took these pictures when out on a walk on Monday.

I have been looking at old diaries and thinking about how I nearly moved to Horsham or Emsworth. I put offers on houses in both those places but fate eventually brought me here to Petersfield. And I love this place. 

I am also very lucky to have found my shop when I did. It became available just when I was told that the shop I worked for, Tricot Too in Dragon Street was closing.

My daughters and baby grandaughter are visiting the shop today. I am in the middle of making a big rag doll for baby Juno. It won't be finished today but when it is I'll make sure I show you pictures of it on this blog. 

Saturday 11 April 2015

Justine Jenner, ceramics

Love the marks of the potter's hands on these jugs and mugs by Justine Jenner
Justine Jenner's jugs and mugs on display with paintings by Christine Burgess and engraved cutlery by Kirstie Turner

Local potter, Justine Jenner makes teapots, cups and saucers, mugs, jugs and plates all in shades of white and grey. The glazes are subtly speckled. The design is strong, simple, good taste.

I try not to buy from Handmade Happiness, wanting the maximum range to be seen by the customer, but I have bought two of Justine's mugs (£15 each) and (for Christmas presents) two of Christine Burgess' paintings. I can imagine being unable to resist one of these jugs (£18) for long.

Yesterday a customer 'fell in love with' two of Christine Burgess' paintings and unable to decide between them she bought both.  That was in the morning before the film crew for 'The Best British Potter' arrived.

This new programme, scheduled to go out in the autumn, is being made by the team responsible for The Great British Bake Off and The Great British Sewing Bee.

One of the contestants, who lives in London, is an interior designer. Her hobby is making pots for friends and family. She was filmed in Tara's shop next door talking fabrics. I can't wait to see the programme. 

As the crew were packing up I approached them with a Handmade Happiness business card. If the programme has a second series I think they may well be interested in some of the potters whose work can be seen in Handmade Happiness!

Thursday 9 April 2015

Back to my roots

When you're creative you make rather than buy. A friend is re-upholstering her settee and I know the result will look professional. My daughter has just made cushions to sit in some old dining chairs. Another friend who visits the shop regularly often says,'When I see something I really like, I tell myself, if I really want it I'll make it.' Know the feeling?

I've just finished reading Patrick Gale's new book,'A Place called Winter'.  It's about some of those hardy souls that left Britain to break new ground (literally) in Canada. All their powers of ingenuity and creativity were put to the test as they built their own homes, grew crops and faced the challenge of cooking something edible with very few ingredients. You traded with your neighbours. People helped one another. You were a long way from a shop and when you did make the journey to the nearest town you bought the very basics needed for survival. You toiled all day in the field and collapsed exhausted into bed at night.

We've come a long way since then. And so much is done for us by other people.But I think many of us feel a pull to be more self-reliant. To grow food, to make things instead of buy them. To try to make our lives more simple and satisfying.

Politicians don't seem to understand that. To win my vote they would have to operate the KISS principal - Keep It Simple Stupid !! Your past achievements don't impress me and your fancy words don't either. Just lay out an achievable plan - not too idealistic - that we can all understand and believe is possible. And don't forget your pioneer roots.

Saturday 4 April 2015

Happy Easter!

Handmade Happiness - part of the Easter window
The knitting is growing...
 Happy Easter holidays! The leaves on the twisted hazel in the window are unfurling and the daffodil buds are opening. Sue Inglis, who makes the knitted decorations seen above has made some Easter gift wrap. Also pictured are one of Kate Hackett's colourful plates, a duck cushion by Tanya Williamson and Christine Burgess' atmospheric painting.

When in London I did actually buy some Rowan's denim yarn I spoke about earlier. The yarn is designed to fade, like denim, when washed. The two knitted sections on the left are knitted with this yarn. Maybe the navy is too much of a contrast. But once this thin bit of knitting becomes a throw(!) and the navy pieces are dotted around I think it will look ok.

I intended to take pictures when in London but stupidly left my camera battery charging at home. Then worried all day that the house might catch fire. Such is my vague grasp of the risks of modern technology. 

Handmade Happiness was very busy yesterday and I expect it will be today. Younger daughter is staying tonight so I must go and make up a bed for her before going to the shop.