Sunday 28 February 2016

Spring blossom in the shop

Spring  blossom branch made by Brenda Tilbury suspended in the shop window.
Brenda Tilbury's branch from outside the shop
New orange rose wreath by Brenda Tilbury
Please forgive the quality of these photos. Brenda's blossom branch looks stunning in real life but the windows are reflective and you'd be forgiven for thinking I was showing you how attractive the buildings opposite are... Also, note to self, do not take photos at dusk. Much better to take them at midday.

Spring feels like it's edging nearer and I hope that you, like me, feel energised and renewed. This morning I'm visiting the garden centre for flower seeds with wedding flowers in mind. This is a great time of year - enjoy your Sunday!

Wednesday 24 February 2016

The ups and downs of life as a shopkeeper

Today Wild Damson announced they would soon be closing the shop but continue the business online and at fairs.
Inside Wild Damson when they first opened.
I was working in Tricot Too then, selling clothes
More of Tricot Too's unusual clothes
And then one day I saw this shop next door but one from Wild Damson
Five years ago I worked in Tricot Too. I loved the shop and designed and made jewellery for it as well as serving the customers. When Wild Damson first opened I urged those customers to visit it. The shop sells furniture and gifts which it will continue to sell online and at fairs.

It was the fact that Wild Damson was so close by that made me so excited about taking on the shop next door to it, pictured above. So I could say that without Wild Damson there would be no Handmade Happiness.
Nowadays a lot of my customers say they love to visit Wild Damson and Handmade Happiness and I am sorry it is closing.

Recently I've been wondering whether this January and February aren't the worse months I've ever experienced in the shop. But today I checked back over the years and found that actually the takings are average, neither better than nor worse than previous years. It's just quiet because it's that time of year. It is tempting, after a particularly bad day to think that all days are like that, but they're not. Tomorrow is often much, much better and I mustn't forget that. In the meantime I am thinking about a bit of diversification...

Sunday 21 February 2016

Flowers for weddings

I can hardly believe this double hollyhock grew in my garden but it did...
Peonies in the front garden. They bloom in May 
Iris and roses from the garden- lovely for May/ June
My youngest is getting married on July 31st and I would love to grow flowers for her wedding. This is a big leap as I totally neglected my garden last year and it is bare save for rose bushes, a hydrangea, two peonies, iris and lavender. But in March seeds could be planted... 

I've written a list of possibles and I'd love to know what you think. What would you recommend? What is easiest to grow in your experience?

Sophie wants predominately pale pink flowers for table decorations. She
 has also asked me to make some giant peonies from crepe paper  (which I will enjoy doing in quiet moments in the shop.)

So, thanks to Brenda, who I showed the list to I have whittled it down to these possibles:
Antirhinums (snapdragons). There was a shop in Paris that grew giant ones that looked so impressive but I'm thinking of short ones in pinks and whites.

Anenomes (poppies) I've saved seeds from previous years. Trouble is they don't like being in water so would have to be picked at the v. last minute.

Baby's breath - white, useful.

Cornflowers. There are pink ones and white ones...

Cosmos. Brenda recommends. I've not sure what it looks like. Small daisies?

Herbs like variagated mint and rosemary and lemon balm.


Lavender -white and pink

Nigella (love in a mist) again I think comes in pink and white as well as blue.

Phlox,Ranunculi,Roses, Stocks and Sweet peas. This is taking up too much space! Isn't it nice to think of flowers blooming in our gardens soon when the weather outside is so grey and wet!

Monday 15 February 2016

New in Handmade Happiness

Circus strong man embroidered on notebook by Carol Smith 22.50
Circus dancer and dog handler embroidered on notebook by Carol Smith 22.50
Naked lady embroidered on zipped pouch made by Carol Smith 22.50
Painted birds' eggs collage by Emma Clay  
Painted birds' eggs collage by Emma Clay
Chicken mug by Kate Hackett 15.00 with golden mohair teddy by Lindsey Agostinelli 60.00
Handmade Happiness has some presents I'd really like to give to myself and my family right now! 

Carol Smith's embroidered notebooks and pouches are collectable, they are so individual.
Emma Clay's pictures look fresh and clean and would sit beautifully against white walls or Farrow and Ball painted walls.

Lindsey Agostinelli's latest little bear has got such a sweet expression. I love him. Kate Hackett just delivered her latest spring designs and Easter ornaments. I especially like these chicken mugs. There is a differently coloured chicken on the other side. An ideal gift.

Sunday 14 February 2016

Spread the love!

Collage Valentine card from Handmade Happiness
Small heart wreath in the window by Brenda Tilbury 24.50
 Happy Valentine's Day! I wish you a day full of love and happiness!

Yesterday it was cold in the shop and I must remember to take in a second heater next week but the people who visited were warm and friendly! They were determined to find a lovely card and sometimes a nice present too for their beloved. Some people bought a nice present for themselves and I totally approve of this! Let's spread the love. 

I keep hearing of men (rarely women) who don't approve of Valentine's Day seeing it as just another chance for shopkeepers to cash in. 

 I like the attitude of one young woman who bought the biggest heart wreath in the window for £100. As she paid she said to me,'I just texted my boyfriend to tell him I just got his Valentine's present to me.' 

Thursday 11 February 2016


Love these sari silk ribbons
So much of life happens purely by chance. For instance, one day I was having fun experimenting with different embroidery stitches, doing a line of garden flowers and grasses on a piece of linen. A customer saw it on my work table and asked me to do some embroidery for her business.

When in a shop you never know who you are talking to, unless you get to know people over a period of time. For instance one day a good looking couple came in and liked the shop. After they left a woman came in and said,'Did you see Kate Winslet?' Well er, no, I hadn't recognised her.

Right now I'm considering moving house. Who knows what houses will be on the market at the moment I want to find a nice new home? It will be entirely serendipitous. Or do you believe that fate takes a hand in our lives?
(By the way I'm only thinking of moving within Petersfield. I would never move away from the shop.)

I wonder what will happen in the shop today? I know I have to make some more Valentine's cards. But who comes in to the shop and the conversation we may or may not have... It could be someone famous that I don't recognise or it could be one of you. Life is serendipitous like that...

Friday 5 February 2016

Fair Isle tank top

Jenny Drant has knitted this Fair Isle tank top for a one to two year old.

This is the most beautiful piece of heirloom knitting. The yarn is Alpaca so the garment is extremely soft. It has a button up shoulder for easy dressing and undressing and will give a toddler an extra layer of warmth. 

Jenny Drant is a very capable knitter as regular readers of this blog will know. Now she is thinking of alternative colourways. Perhaps grey, pale pink and cream next to suit a baby girl. Yes, you know who I'm thinking of!

This week Jill Poole has brought in more paintings and Katrin Eagle has brought in woven scarves and bags in lovely colours. And I've started knitting another cardigan for a newborn as we look forward to another baby in the family.