Thursday 30 July 2015

Crochet tonight!

Crochet by Michelle Green
 It's the crochet workshop tonight when anyone can learn the basic crochet stitches.

It may take a bit of practice before we can produce something like the wonderfully colourful examples pictured above but I've put Michelle's work on the blog for inspiration!

Tricot Too used to stock a crochet squares coat by Odd Molly. It cost hundreds of pounds but it was my inspiration to try to crochet. I won't ever give enough time to make a coat out of my 'Granny squares' but a bag is achievable...!

Next Thursday is the Make a Fairy workshop which I'm really excited about. Yesterday I was making fairies in the shop and refining ways to get everything made within our two hour workshop time slot. It is possible. I can visualise lots of fairies suspended in the window at Handmade Happiness. 

This time I must remember to photograph peoples' work at the end of each session. My big regret from the first three workshops is that I forgot to take photographs. Please can someone remind me!

Yesterday a friend told me about 'Buy a Card Week.' Apparently if everyone who visited a little individual shop like mine bought a card they would be contributing to keeping it open.
Lots of people are kind to compliment Handmade Happiness but they aren't necessarily aware that whether or not they buy anything the rent still has to be paid and if everyone just says 'What a nice shop' but doesn't think to buy anything then maybe the next time they visit the shop will have gone.

I hope to keep the shop going until I drop unconscious over my desk but... just in case you were wondering, most of the cards in Handmade Happiness are £2-50 - ie less than the price of most supermarket or High Street cards! And they show the work of local artists.

Sunday 26 July 2015

Embroidery Inspiration

Nichola Gotel's embroidered skirt visiting Handmade Happiness yesterday
Embroidery with felt and leather discs by Nichola
Neil's patched jeans visiting Handmade Happiness yesterday
Jeans patched and embroidered by Carol Smith
I love it when people improve their clothes with a bit of embroidery! It gives things that designer look for very little extra cost and must be so satisfying to do.

Yesterday I was excited to see two examples of decorative embroidery visiting the shop, so inspiring for my workshop in August called Five Decorative Embroidery Stitches! 

The white skirt which Nichola Gotel made herself has lazy daisy (sometimes called chain) stitches on it interspersed with sewn on discs of felt or leather with tiny rocaille beads scattered throughout. She made it to wear at a wedding, the clever thing!

Carol Smith, who embroiders the nude and semi-nude brooches for Handmade Happiness is responsible for the patches on her husband's jeans. The close sewn running stitches are called Sashiko I think and are used to heavily patch clothes in the Japanese Boro tradition when nothing was wasted and fabric overlaid fabric to decorative and practical effect.

I saw a picture on Pinterest of a toddler wearing overalls (ie. dungarees without braces but just round neck all in one) made from a pair of adult jeans. These would look great with a couple of patches on them in child-friendly soft cotton. I can just see Juno being the coolest kid on the block wearing them!!

Today I made good progress on the fairy wing front and I now know how we're going to make those in the fairy workshop. This morning I've been going through my fabric to find fabrics suitable for fairies. Hard to believe how much glittery, sparkly stuff I've hoarded over the years! 

Wednesday 22 July 2015

August Craft Workshops

Delicate papier mache bowls I made
Waiting for those papier mache bowls to dry out.
Firstly here is the list of Handmade Happiness craft workshops for August: 

Thursday August 6th:  Make a Fairy
Thursday August 13th: Make a Bracelet
Thursday August 20th: Five decorative embroidery stitches
Thursday August 27th: Sew an Applique picture with Pam Dew

The cost is £10 per person to include a glass of wine, tea/coffee and snacks and materials.
Venue is Winton House, Petersfield from 7pm to 9pm. Please book and pay at the shop.

I was planning a papier mache bowl making session as well. I tried out some bowls as you can see and found they took at least 24 hours to dry out. Not much good for a two hour craft session especially as they are difficult to take home when sticky and soggy!

So we'll do embroidery instead. I love the Japanese 'Boro' stitching so that will be one of the inspirations for that session.

In case you are interested I used torn pieces of white tissue paper (the gift wrapping kind) and diluted half and half PVA glue to make the bowls above. I still have to paint them and add some Dutch gold leaf to the inside of one so they aren't ready yet. But they were easy to do. Just remember to cover the mould object with cling film before you lay on the soaked tissue so you can peel the bowl off easily. And then wait .... and keep waiting until at last they are dry!

By the way if you want to learn how to crochet there are still some places left on our crochet workshop on Thursday July 30th same time, same place.  Pam Dew will be tutoring the class and I'll be there to help.

Thursday 16 July 2015

Thinking Fairies

'My Fairy Box' by Jenny Stacy
Velvet flowers at Liberty
Maybe fairy clothes should be made entirely from flower petals, leaves and acorn cups, and their wings from dead dragon flies or butterflies. But we've got two hours on a Thursday night to make a fairy and our ingredients will be: netting, lace, calico (for the bodies), sequins and sparkly bits.

Yesterday in the shop I drew a tiny little person and cut two from calico and then it took me all day to hand sew round it with tiny stitches and turning it inside out to stuff it - well you can imagine how difficult that was. Now it is stuffed and ready for clothes and hair and face and wings but no way could we make that fairy in two hours. 

I hand sewed this fairy because we won't have sewing machines at Winton House.  What I can, and probably will do is to hand out the fairy pattern to people who come and also make a load of little nude fairies on the sewing machine which people can dress and give hair and a face and wings to. 

It's the arms and legs that are so hard to turn inside out and stuff. You can get round this by giving fairies pipe cleaner limbs or wire wrapped in embroidery silk threads. Flesh coloured pipe cleaners would be useful but I don't think they exist. Or you could wrap glue soaked paper strips round wire or drinking straws.

I've given the wings a lot of thought. When I regularly made fairies my friend Bee made the wings with water soluble fabric, machine embroidered with irridescent threads. They were great. Now I'm thinking that we'll stiffen pre-cut fabric and sew the wings on. I've got lots of see-through glittery 'fairy' fabrics already and will get netting or tulle as it's known for the dresses and full tutu skirts.
Faces can be drawn on or embroidered with embroidery silk strands for hair held in place with a crown of tiny flowers perhaps.

I can imagine a 'Make your own fairy' kit for the shop now. Thanks for bearing with me while I was thinking fairies.  

Monday 13 July 2015

Making bunting

Lots of bunting for baby's room made by Jenny Stacy
Big flags each with a pom pom at the tip. Bunting by Jenny Stacy
 I've just made a long line of super-size bunting for my grandaughter's nursery. I had been saving the different fabrics over the years and it was fun to put them all together. 

I like double-sided bunting. Usually I put different fabric on each side. Sew them up on both sides, inside out and then turn right side facing and stitch cotton tape over the top edge to hide the raw edges. Easy but surprisingly time-consuming!

The painting and collage workshop last week was very successful I am happy to say. Everyone got lost in the creativity of painting papers and glueing down their choice bits to make their pictures from. Just wish I'd thought to take a photograph of the finished pieces. 
We may well repeat the collage workshop later in the year.

Meanwhile there is the crochet workshop on Thursday July 30th and in August I'm planning to hold: Make a Bracelet; Make a fairy doll; Make a brooch and Applique a picture. Maybe I'll meet you there?!

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Collage talk

Wedding invitation for a ballerina bride by Jenny Stacy
Same bride and another invitation by Jenny Stacy. I made them all different.
Love the colours in this one. This is the size we'll do our collages on Thursday. Postcard collage by Jenny Stacy
Card for Handmade Happiness by Jenny Stacy
Autumn card for Handmade Happiness by Jenny Stacy
A more abstract collage for Handmade Happiness by Jenny Stacy
Thursday night is collage night. I've got bits spread over the kitchen table. I've painted lots of sheets of paper and torn them up and I've selected pictures from magazines to use for sample collages. 

There are still places if you want to join us at Winton House 7.9pm on July 9th. Just swing by the shop to book or ring 01730 267711. Exceptionally the shop will be open today, Tuesday.

On Thursday night it's you who will be painting the papers, tearing up appealing pictures from magazines and embellishing your collages. I've bought loads of blank postcards which could be framed or posted to your nearest and dearest when you are happy with your collage on the front!

Saturday 4 July 2015

Nuno felted wraps by Karen Head

Soft wraps in  soft colours by Karen Head
Shades of blue wrap by Karen Head in the window with duck cushions by Tanya Williamson
New in the shop are wraps in shades of blue and one perfectly white wrap - lightweight yet warm if need be - ideal for a summer wedding from day into night.

Friday 3 July 2015

Collage workshop

Collage by Jenny Stacy - post card sized
Collage by Jenny Stacy
Collage card by Jenny Stacy
Lots of collage postcards by Jenny Stacy

Regular readers will know I like nothing better than making collages. And next Thursday July 9th I'll give a workshop on making them at Winton House in Petersfield. 7-9pm £10 to include materials and a glass of wine.

We'll start off painting papers, maybe adding a bit of gold wax or glitter or the odd button or bit of embroidery. Then we'll tear out any pictures from old magazines that particularly appeal to us. I'll bring along old stamps and bits of fabric people might like to use. If you want to join the fun drop into Handmade Happiness to book your place.

Last night Karen Head, felt maker gave us an excellent workshop on Making a Felt Flower. Everyone made a pieces of felt with silk fibres in and then cut it and shaped it into a flower. Most people achieved two or three flowers in the two hours and everyone had a good time. Thank you Karen. Handmade Happiness sells Karen's nuno felt wraps - I'll photograph them in the shop today so you can see how clever she is.