Sunday 29 November 2015

Being Yourself

Needlefelted brooch by Jenny Stacy
Bits of needlefelting done recently
As you get older you stop worrying about what people think. You realise that your time is limited and if you can't be yourself now you never will be. 

So forget what is 'cool' or fashionable. Forget what your friends like or dislike and how they live their lives. Your moment is now and you need to grab it and truly be yourself. Live your life the way you really deep down need to live it.

If you come to this confidence early in life you are one of the lucky ones. Most of us have to shake off some repression and guilt caught at an early age. We play it safe because therein lies our security. But maybe in always taking a back seat we are preventing ourselves from enjoying a full life with all the risk and excitement that may mean.

Live in full colour and stop choosing neutral shades.

(I intended to write about using traditional crafts in a contemporary way. Ho hum. All the above just wanted to be written more!!) 
By the way I do love getting comments. It's easy. Click on Anonymous, click on I am not a robot and after writing your comment click on publish. Done.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Decorating Handmade Happiness for Christmas

Handmade Happiness today with new white trees and garland across the top of the window.
Handmade Happiness tonight.
Today Brenda Tilbury installed a living garland of greenery and berries across the top of the window and silver birch branches outside and inside.  Brenda also supplied the Christmas tree branches wired to the sides of the window. She has done a great job and I'm really pleased with the shop's new look. Thanks too to Christine Burgess who brought in the two silver birch branches now wired together in the centre of the window.

The Christmas window is not quite ready yet. I still have to wrap boxes with gift wrap and place suggested gifts on them in the window from the many items stocked by Handmade Happiness. I'll do that tomorrow.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Glitter and Sparkle

Christmas lights from a balcony in Bath
Intriguing giant mercury baubles filled with tiny lights
Nothing conveys the excitement of Christmas like glitter and sparkle. I love to see cascades of tiny silver or golden lights in department stores and shop windows lit up with hundreds of fairy lights.

On Sunday I did a Christmas fair at a local hotel to promote the shop. A friend had given me two large silver birch branches and in a heavy glass vase bedecked with two lots of fairy lights and lots of my tiny fairies and Carol's bird decorations it looked magical. Isn't it great that fairy lights of the LED kind are so portable. Battery operated so you don't have to depend on there being plug sockets and extension wires. And cheap. I got some in Sainsburys for just £3 a box, batteries included.

Just a line of glitter or a few dots can bring a card or a decoration alive. I wouldn't recommend powder glitter that you add to a coating of glue. It tends to shower off as soon as you touch it. Though it can look fabulous... I use fine glitter glue which you can write with or make patterns with if you want to. It comes in every colour but I like a nice flat gold at Christmas. Not yellow gold, I think that looks tacky, but an 'antique' gold with a touch of grey in it.

So with lots of tiny lights and artful touches of glitter glue we're all set for a magical, sparkling Christmas. What makes you feel excited about Christmas?

Friday 20 November 2015

Inside Handmade Happiness

Tiny gift boxes by Jenny Stacy
Robin garland £4.95 made by Christine Burgess
Mugs and jugs by Justine Jenner
Vessels by Niloo
Beeswax candles made by Elizabeth Eveleigh £4.50 each
At this time of year I save stamps from letters and cards. Christmas stamps are tiny works of art and it is nice to re-use them. On these matchboxes the stamps are the focal point along with painted paper etc. I imagine these used to hold money or a pair of earrings or even a couple of chocolates as a table present.

Justine Jenner's mugs and jugs, pictured, have a subtle decoration that reminds me of feathers. Niloo's spotty bowls and vases show great patience.Imagine adding all those tiny black points...

I love the smell of Elizabeth's candles. They are pure beeswax. An excellent little gift I think.

I am finding it hard to make carrier bags right now because I don't have any old magazines. Please can I ask anyone who lives in the town and reads this to drop off magazines they would otherwise put in the re-cycling bin. Or, even better, to tear off the front and back covers from old magazines and deliver those. I have plenty of inside pages to make my little bags with but no covers for the carrier bags. Thanks a lot.

Thursday 19 November 2015

Cushions, paintings and porcelain

Tanya Williamson's popular cushions in Handmade Happiness
In the window Tanya Williamson's stag cushion and goose cushion
Kate Box's soft wool cushions, zipped bags and snoods with Jenny Stacy's dolls
New painting by Christine Burgess. 'Largo' £129
Jenny Stacy's large birds in the window
Niloo's porcelain trees. £4 each.
Last night I took these pictures in Handmade Happiness. 
The shop is lucky to have some exceptionally talented craftspeople. 

I love this new painting by Christine Burgess which came in yesterday. This multi-skilled lady also brought in more of her lino cut cards and some jolly robin banners she has made.

Kate Box's so-soft knitwear is always appreciated and a popular present buy.

Tanya Williamson just came in with lots more cushions. Tanya uses best quality fabrics in her own designs. She is obviously good at drawing and her cushions are popular and at £48 each, not too expensive.

Niloo also came in with these porcelain decorations. I love the way she covers her work with spots and patterns. White porcelain and grey-washed tree decorations all £4. The shop also has more of Niloo's popular black spot vessels from £9.50 to £18.

The lashing rain and strong winds have meant fewer visitors to Handmade Happiness this week. So I've been making. New are fairy boxes, Liberty fabric tree decorations, fairy bracelets for little girls and this morning I'm hoping to make some necklaces before setting off for the shop.

It's so good to be able to use my camera again. I'll take some more pictures of new stock today so watch this space!

Sunday 15 November 2015

Bird decorations

Large bird in the window by Jenny Stacy. £25.  Photo by Carol Smith

Looking back .. and forwards

Lindsey Agostinelli's handmade bears
Jenny Stacy buttons - time I made some more
Reminding me how faded the shop sign has got
Decorated matchboxes by Jenny Stacy
I love these little bears made by Lindsey Agostinelli. I hope the shop will have some more in the future.

 Making buttons is something I always intend to do but never seem to find time for nowadays. 

The Open sign needs replacing as it has grown so faded over the years and these little matchboxes - such fun to do but it seems like too indulgent to make some more right now.

Yesterday I made three more tiny fairies and I've made a batch of clay fairies - some for tree decorations and some to go in fairy matchboxes. At this time of year there is so much to do to make the most of the run up to Christmas.

Once my camera is working again I want to share pictures of all the lovely new decorations and gifts in Handmade Happiness. On Monday I  will get a new battery charger as the old one still hasn't turned up. 

Then I can show you the lovely porcelain decorations Niloo brought in yesterday, Samantha Robertson's new ceramics, Sue Inglis' new Xmas gift wrap and new cards and decorations and a picture of the Christmas window.

 First I must find a real tree to put in the middle of the window. That's one of the things I intend to do today... Enjoy your Sunday.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

New! Bird brooches

Bird brooches made by Bee Mellor
More bird brooches by Bee Mellor. Needlefelting by Jenny Stacy
New bird brooches by Bee Mellor and Jenny Stacy
Today these lovely brooches arrived in the post.

 Bee Mellor, long time friend and a great artist, has made them using needlefelted and felted fabrics I've made. It's kind of a joint project but this time the bird designs are all Bee's own work. I love them. There are 11 in all and the cost is £20 per brooch.

Come into Handmade Happiness to see the whole flock! You may even want to buy one for yourself as an early Christmas present!

ps. I've been making bigger birds as Christmas decorations to put in the window.Once they are finished (one more of four to go) I'll do smaller versions for the tree. Pics to come.

Saturday 7 November 2015

It's the Season

Mosaic tiles outside a shop in Havant
I love finding unnecessary decorative details on buildings and this wall and floor of multi-coloured tiny tiles is a joy. When it was made there was perhaps more time and money to pay attention to details and please the eye when adding the final touches.

This week Handmade Happiness has had a delivery of new ceramics from Justine Jenner and the shop window has been transformed with greenery by Brenda Tilbury. On my day off I bought fairy lights. My only regret is that I didn't check them and the white flex shows up against the green foliage. Never mind the look is still pretty and the window is gradually transforming into a seasonal Christmas window. 

Today I'm hoping for a parcel from my friend Bee Mellor who has created some lovely bird brooches for the shop. I've been working away on bird decorations which will soon be appearing in the window along with all the lovely handmade Christmas decorations created by Sue Inglis, Kate Hackett and Doreen Arnold.Decorations will combine with gift ideas from all the makers to make this year's window hopefully the best ever!

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Dolls and information

Three of the seven dollies made by Jenny Stacy for Handmade Happiness

I took this picture on my phone. The colours are much more intense in real life. The dolls cost £29 each.

Please be aware, if you are thinking of visiting the shop tomorrow I won't be there in the afternoon and the shop will be closed from 3.30pm onwards. Exceptionally I'm having to close early in order to go to an appointment very sorry.

I also need to tell you that I've stopped doing evening workshops for the time being. Maybe next year I'll do some workshops in the shop but working full time and then doing an evening workshop proved too tiring.