Saturday 23 May 2015

Tea cosy by Kate Box

Wooly patchwork tea cosy by Kate Box
Other side of Kate Box's tea cosy
Wool blanket pieces dyed by Glen Wellstead for your own projects. £4.50 a bundle
I love this padded tea cosy with Liberty print lining by Kate Box. Kate also makes the popular wrist warmers, snoods, cushions and baby blankets for sale in Handmade Happiness.

I like to use these brightly coloured blanket pieces in my own work sometimes. They are tied up with sari silk and cost £4-50 for 8 to 10 pieces. Glen Wellstead makes rag rugs and often gives courses which are advertised in the shop.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

New in Handmade Happiness

In the window this week
Applique cushions by Tanya Williamson
Fabric storage bags £12 by Gill Martin and mohair teddy by Lindsey Agostinelli
New cards delivered today by calligrapher Cathy Stables.  Chicken design shown in previous post.
 In the top picture:  Kate Hackett's new snowdrop design jug and mug with Michelle Green's needlefelted bluetit.
Samantha Robertson's new design olive bowl; Ali Cooper's porcelain night light and Kate Hackett's heart decorations.
Rosamund Fowler's badger card; Justine Jenner's grey mug and Cathy Stables' chicken card.
Jenny Stacy bird brooch; Willemien Stevens card and Jacqui Watkins coaster.

It was a day of deliveries today. New cards from Willemien Stevens and Cathy Stables and two sacks of lovely fabrics that can be used at the new craft workshops.

I re-did the window and look forward to the sign writer coming next week to write the lettering above the length of the shop. Just got to decide whether the letters should be painted in red, grey or teal.  My favourite colour at the moment is that pale yellowy lime green if you know what I mean but I don't think that would show up enough. Friends and family are mostly voting for bright red.

Saturday 16 May 2015

Craft evenings

Stacks of colourful wool in London shop Loop
Yesterday I wrote about the new craft evenings run by Handmade Happiness starting on Thursday June 18th 7.30 to 9.00pm.  I have now booked as many Thursday evenings between now and Christmas at Winton House as were available. I have a good feeling about these craft sessions and I'm really looking forward to them. The response has been totally favourable so far.

So far the demand from customers has been to learn to knit, learn to crochet, learn to make a cushion etc. So these things will certainly be on offer. I also want to have a table or two where paints, pencils, paper, old magazines and print materials are available to use with no tuition, just to use and have fun with.

The cost per session will be £10.  I had hoped to offer a free taster session but materials still have to bought and the venue paid for so reluctantly I've agreed to a charge.

Please remember, if you want to comment below anything you write in the box will automatically delete when you press publish. Just write one word, press publish and once that word has been deleted it will print whatever you then write. Annoying but I don't know how to fix it. Just like my radiator which is leaking water into a big towel, distracting me from writing. Why do these things happen on a Saturday when offices are closed? I left my number on their 'emergency line' but I think it will be quicker to call in a plumber.

Friday 15 May 2015

New! Craft evenings with Handmade Happiness

One of three dolls made recently by Jenny Stacy
Same doll, different angle by Jenny Stacy
Back view. Doll made by Jenny Stacy for Handmade Happiness

I often get asked if Handmade Happiness runs craft workshops.  We tried in the first year the shop opened but were hampered by lack of space. 

Now I have booked Winton House, on Petersfield High Street with its big rooms and lots of tables and chairs.  The first session ta da! will be on Thursday June 18th 7.30pm to 9pm.

There will be five craft skills to try on different tables hosted by Handmade Happiness makers. The aim is a relaxed evening, practising and learning old techniques with gentle guidance when needed.

To find out more either visit the shop, email or ring me.  And I'll post more details in the next few days.

Monday 11 May 2015

Cathy Stables and Jeanette Clarke

Beautiful calligraphy by Cathy Stables
Jeanette Clarke, artist.
Local views by Jeanette Clarke. Cards available in Handmade Happiness.
 Yesterday I visited these two artists on the Chichester Arts Trail. Click on any picture to go  straight to their websites. If fame were all about talent these two names would be famous.  I love the raised gold writing and perfect script of Cathy Stables work and I'm hoping to have her cards and some of her pictures in the shop in the near future.

 Many years ago Jeanette Clarke and I spent our summers in Arundel exhibiting next to the castle entrance. It was like a commune of artists and makers all coming together each year to sell their work through August. I always admired Jeanette's work and I'm thrilled to be selling her cards in Handmade Happiness from Wednesday onwards.

Wisteria and Iris

Thursday 7 May 2015

Handmade Happiness shop tour - part one

New lettering will soon replace this panel and fill the three panels to the left as well
Stepping inside Handmade Happiness. Art by Christine Burgess, cushions by Tanya Williamson
Wood bread boards, serving boards, chopping boards.
Kate Hackett's colourful ceramics, with items by Justine Jenner above and another of Christine Burgess's paintings.
Jill Poole's delicate bird paintings, Ali Cooper's ceramics and Penny Seume's cushions and lampshades.
Pam Dew's glorious quilt in Handmade Happiness
Thanks to a recent customer's comments I have been thinking a lot about 'branding' this week. Making Handmade Happiness into a more publicised 'brand'.

 First step is to sort out the shop's 'street presence.' I've contacted a sign writer to write the name above both sides of the shop, not just the right side where it's written now.  I think I'll re-do the A board sign on the pavement myself and I'm wondering about a 'yarn bombing' look from the flag pole to attract attention.

People are always pointing out my lack of instagram, Facebook, Twitter, website.

 I feel I've got to master those things as everyone else seems to be online bigtime and I've only got this little blog (that it's really difficult, if not impossible, to post a comment on.) 
So branding online - yes, I will turn my attention to that as well.

A friend says think of a colour you love and have everything to do with Handmade Happiness in that colour. But how can I pick just one colour?

To be continued...

Friday 1 May 2015

Just thinking

Wood buttons I used to paint. 
A young woman from Finland visited the shop yesterday. She said the government there has set up a large craft school for anyone who wants to learn traditional crafts. Woodwork, weaving, sewing, knitting. You can spend as long as you like doing the workshops you choose, a week, even a year very cheaply as it's government subsidised.

I love this idea. 
Then she told me about the long dark winters they experience north of the Arctic Circle in Lapland. Eight months of cold and snow and just four short months of summer and I realised that concentrating on learning and practising a craft was not just a fun way of spending your time but an essential art therapy to counteract the dark and cold outside.

You don't have to live with extreme weather conditions to appreciate the beneficial effects of making something or painting a picture. It does everybody good. 

Whenever I travel back from London in the rush hour and can see the effects of a stressful life style I find myself thinking about play activities for adults in the shop. Just the chance to pick up craft materials and make something or just doodle in a totally unpressurised, unstructured way. To use that part of the creative brain that often gets ignored as we strive to make more money or climb the work ladder.

Most people on trains in the rush hour are staring at a screen, watching a film, playing a game, reading a book. The information is coming to them. How would they feel if they drew a picture instead or wrote their thoughts down in a notebook or knitted themselves some socks. Could they even do that in a cramped environment?

Would there be any takers for a free weekday evening session where people could just enjoy the simple pleasure of making their mark with pencil and paints,and scissors and glue?