Sunday 30 August 2015

Jenny Drant knits...

The scarf that bounced. Jenny Drant's knitted scarf in the window of Handmade Happiness
Primrose tiny baby cardi knitted by Jenny Drant in pure alpaca
Another look at the super soft baby cardigan knitted by Jenny Drant £39.50
Yesterday Jenny Drant bought four items she has knitted into Handmade Happiness. Not pictured is a purple silk cobweb scarf with tiny beads knitted in - perfect for a special evening out and a hooded green bigger baby jacket in a cotton/wool mix yarn. 

The scarf pictured above bounced in that as soon as I put it in the window it sold. And it really was a very special scarf - double thickness in that it was knitted in the round - both sides the same. Only to be attempted by a very expert knitter like Jenny. 

I am thrilled to be able to offer Jenny's knitting in the shop and look forward to seeing what she next knits. She mentioned lined slippers and another tiny baby cardigan. I can't wait to see them - and share them with you.

Saturday 29 August 2015

Monoprinting with Carol Smith

The three monoprint pictures below are the work of Carol Smith, known in Handmade Happiness for her stitched nude brooches and velvet backed stitched purses.

 Carol has offered to give a workshop on monoprinting in September and I am really looking forward to it. 

Yesterday Carol showed me how to do a monoprint in the shop. I've never seen this done before and I found the effects you can get really exciting. I drew an angel and now I'm thinking Christmas cards - sorted. If you want to do the workshop either ring the shop during opening hours or preferably call in. 

Friday 28 August 2015

Workshop thoughts

Sue Inglis' pretty knitted bunting - in the shop £20
Why do I want to hold workshops? Is it about sharing enthusiasm for making things and the satisfaction of witnessing other peoples' joy when they make something lovely? Not entirely.

My idea in starting the workshops in June was simply as a means of promoting the shop, Handmade Happiness. I thought that giving people a good time at the workshops would result in increased footfall to the shop. 

But then I made an important discovery. The people who attend the workshops are, mostly not people who are interested in going to the shop. They want to make things for themselves. Shop customers want to buy beautiful things made by other people. They are not necessarily interested in making anything themselves.

So I am not sure whether holding 8 workshops has publicised Handmade Happiness in the way I intended.
However people have had great fun at the workshops - stand outs for me were Felting a Flower with Karen Head and my own 'Make a Fairy' and Collage and Make a Bracelet workshops. 

I've just jotted down four more ideas for Christmas themed workshops so yes, we're continuing. Email me or ring the shop with your email address if you want to be told about future workshops.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Learn hand sewing techniques with Pam Dew

Cushion by Pam Dew inspired by one of her bike rides
Another applique cushion made by Pam Dew
Pam Dew is known for her colourful quilts for sale in  Handmade Happiness. The shop also sells bags, hairbands, buttons, dresses, tops, cushions and pictures made by Pam. She is an expert in all things needlework!

Tomorrow night, August 27th Pam will be teaching applique - the technique of sewing shapes to a fabric background to build a picture - at Winton House, Petersfield from 7-9pm. If you would like to benefit from Pam's teaching please ring or call in to the shop - there are still some places left. £10 to include materials and a free glass of wine.

We had a similar applique workshop with Pam held in the shop and I learnt such a lot. 
ps. Pam's other interest is cycling and it is while on her epic cycle rides that she is inspired by the view to make cushions like these.

Friday 21 August 2015


Willow pattern china has inspired these Dr Marten boots
 It's a Eureka moment when catching sight of one object triggers an inspiration for using something about it, hopefully in a completely original way, on something you  make. The excitement of having an idea, which you hope and believe no-one else has ever had generates a new design for your work. But is inspiration that clear? Or do some people use the word 'inspiration' when what they actually mean is copying?

People will say,' I was inspired by something I saw online.' Do they mean that seeing something online triggered a different idea that yielded a design unique to them or do they mean they saw something online and thought: 'That's a good idea, I think I'll copy it'? 

Running a shop I am aware that things I'm shown may not be entirely the original idea of the maker. Some would say that nothing is new, it's all been done before but I don't believe that.
I think that just as we are all different as individuals so our ideas will be different and personal if we have the courage to follow them through. 

I've said before that it's like being a big sieve. Our brains absorb everything we see. It all goes into the sieve and when we start to design something to make hopefully the way our individual brains work on all the images and ideas we absorb produces something really interesting that doesn't remind us of someone else's work.

When teaching it is always great when someone does things their way. They don't want to copy they want to use the techniques to develop their own style.  Teaching is sharing your knowledge which probably includes sharing your designs. 

I hear that there are inspectors on the look out for makers using knitting patterns to produce items to sell. But if the designer is selling  patterns they've invented how can he or she guarantee it will only be made 'for personal use.' It's a grey area. 

I want to have items in the shop which are different, sometimes a bit quirky and hopefully entirely the idea of the maker but I can't guarantee that. All I can do is encourage makers to bravely follow their own paths. To make things they are truly proud of. Things that are recognisably them - to develop their own unique style without looking over their shoulder at what other people are doing or allowing themselves to be influenced by them.

Wednesday 19 August 2015


Stitched picture by Jenny Stacy
Stitched flower border by Jenny Stacy
'Five decorative embroidery stitches.' That's the name of the workshop tomorrow night. 

Admittedly it's been many years since I did any embroidery and I was a bit nervous to pick up a needle and thread again. First thought was that we would make needle cases from felt folded into books. But it was hard to get the needle through the felt so that was abandoned.

 Then a friend thought we should do a sampler. Specifically draw round our own hands and 
use various different stitches to decorate it - a bit like a henna party maybe...

Then I found an old linen sheet in the airing cupboard and discovered this makes a much better base for embroidery than felt. You can see lines in it to guide where the embroidery goes. So I sewed these two samples in the shop and I'm particularly pleased with the washing line idea. Very quick to do, so highly suitable for a two hour workshop. 

We'll learn those 'Five Decorative embroidery stitches' first and then everyone will be let loose on a piece of old linen sheet and the mountain of embroidery silks. People can choose what to stitch. Maybe a hand, maybe a washing line or they may prefer to sew their own designs.

Monday 17 August 2015

Liberty flowers

Decorative flowers made with thin card printed with Liberty designs
Close up of floral display at Liberty
Fabric roses bouquet at Liberty
Dangling Liberty print card flowers on the walls
Love these Japanese gift wrap papers with gold and silver decoration
Today I spent a long time looking round at Liberty. So many lovely fabrics. And did you know they sell pieces of old Liberty 'washed' fabrics in packs for£49 each? I didn't buy one but I did spend ages choosing a fabric I bought half a metre of. 

  I was also interested to see packs of 'salvaged papers' on sale, pictures from old books presumably meant for collage. I wish they did Liberty prints as gift wrap or packs of printed Liberty papers like origami squares.  

After Liberty I went to John Lewis and Selfridges. More photos tomorrow.

New cards from Rosamund Fowler

Rosamund Fowler's cards in the window at Handmade Happiness

Rosamund Fowler's cards showing her exquisite wood engravings are always appreciated. Handmade Happiness just received a large parcel of cards from her, including this new design, above of an owl. I always wonder how many of the cards bought get put into frames, because a row of her cards in thin black frames would be lovely in, say, a hall passage.

Today I'm planning to visit Libertys in London and I'll take my camera. On the train I'll be doing embroidery samples for Thursday night's workshop called 'Five decorative embroidery stitches'. 'Make a Bracelet' last week was thoroughly enjoyed with people whipping up two, three or even four bracelets in the time to take home with them.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Make a Bracelet tomorrow!

Fancy bracelets by Jenny Stacy
Plain bracelets by Jenny Stacy 
Plain or fancy or a mixture. You choose. Bracelets made as samples for tomorrow's workshop by Jenny Stacy
Thursday August 13th is Make a Bracelet time from 7-9pm at Winton House opposite Marks and Spencer in Petersfield High Street. 

I've put all my beads in shallow, colour-sorted trays for people to help themselves to and the workshop promises to be fun.

Today I'll take some photos in the shop. Sorry for all the workshop posts lately.

Love these two!

Green tiny fairy by Jenny Stacy £10
Tiny blue fairy by Jenny Stacy £10
These two tiny fairies are dangling in the window of Handmade Happiness along with lots of others waiting for new homes! I've made larger fairies. Those are £20 but these little ones I'd quite like to keep. 

Fairy workshop pictures

Friday 7 August 2015

Successful Fairy Workshop!

Four very individual fairies made at the fairy workshop
Four more pretty fairies made by participants at the fairy workshop last night
I love the way they all turned out so different
Ryan, aged 10 was determined to make a man. You can't see his shorn mohican hair - but he did a good job didn't he?
Here's some fairies I made earlier. They dangled from a branch during the workshop.

Last night 14 people came to make a fairy, and as you can see from the pictures they went home with a fairy they can be proud of!  I love the way everyone has different ideas on how their fairy should look. I didn't think we'd be able to completely finish a fairy in two hours but everyone did and went home with the makings of another one. 

(Apologies for my awful photos I'll try to publish some better ones soon!)

The fairies I've made will be for sale in the shop and I plan to make a lot more. Also I think a fairy kit would make a lovely present so I'll do some of those soon.

I plan to repeat the fairy workshop so let me know if you want to take part. This time I deliberately held back on taking gold and jewel fabrics thinking they will be good for winter fairies (note how I'm avoiding the 'C' word!) 

Next week it's Make a Bracelet. I have a ridiculous amount of beads, collected over the years, and it will be a good chance to say goodbye to a lot of them.

 I'll make various bracelets over the next few days and hope to give takers a choice on whether to make a conventional bead bracelet or something altogether more quirky involving fabric plus beads. Tell me if you want to take part. 

Thursday night 7-9pm at Winton House opposite Marks and Spencer.

Saturday 1 August 2015

Fairies, honey bears and stitched purses

Fairy by Jenny Stacy enjoying the scent of sweetpeas
Sparkly fairy made by Jenny Stacy on pure beeswax candles made by Elizabeth Eveleigh
Little fairy by Jenny Stacy with beeswax candles by Elizabeth Eveleigh
Love these new purses made by Carol Smith for Handmade Happiness
Elizabeth Eveleigh makes these candles from pure beeswax. I love the smell. Not seen are the hive candles with tiny bees on. Both these and the bear candles are £4.50; the beeswax blocks are £2 and the dinner party candles are £6 each.

I've been making fairies for the workshop next Thursday as you can see. Any fairy I make will afterwards be for sale in the shop and I'm hoping to get a lot made for the run up to Christmas. (Sorry to mention the 'C' word!)

I love these new stitched, lined purses Carol Smith made and brought in to the shop this week. The smaller one is £12.50 and the larger one is £14.50.

Enjoy your weekend!