Monday 25 July 2016

It's Flower week!

Small flowers from the garden
...and big flowers from Lidl and foliage from a customer's garden
Aren't the roses and alstromeria lovely?
It's Monday night and the countdown to my daughter's wedding is on!

I'm doing the flowers. I've ordered some big, blousy roses for the bouquets and buttonholes. These flowers are the start of what I need to fill 80 jam jars on the tables. I'm aiming at a mix of flowers and leaves that looks informal and pretty.

Tomorrow a friend and I will gather leaves from the hedgerows and on Wednesday a truly generous shop customer is allowing me to pick what I want from her garden. Other friends are contributing from their gardens and I'll start making up jars of flowers and leaves on Wednesday. 

I want everything to look it's best for the wedding and all last week I've been testing to see how long things last in water. I'm glad it's not as hot right now because very hot weather definitely shortens the life of cut flowers... 

Wednesday 20 July 2016

New! Animal cushions by Tanya Williamson

Terrier by Tanya Williamson £48
Two bee cushions by Tanya Williamson £28 each
Young goat cushion by Tanya Williamson £48
Bulldog cushion by Tanya Williamson £48
Indian runner duck by Tanya Williamson £48
Jack Russell dog by Tanya Williamson £38
Tanya Williamson makes these great applique cushions and today she brought in eight new ones. I can't show you her new blue tit design as it literally flew out of Handmade Happiness soon after being delivered. However Tanya has promised to make some more.

These cushions make great gifts for animal lovers. I'm curious to find out more about this talented artist and so I am planning to interview Tanya for a future issue of Life in Petersfield magazine.

Do you love this hot weather? They say it's going to be a bit cooler after today and I won't mind if it is. No-one wants to browse in shops when it's this hot...

Sunday 17 July 2016

Look at this!

Brenda Tilbury made this perfect card!
Close up of perfect card made by Brenda Tilbury
Pale pink tissue paper birds I've been making for Sophie's wedding
Close up of one of the wedding birds
Pretty lace bunting also made by Brenda Tilbury pictured against Pam Dew's beautiful quilt
I just had to share with you an example of Brenda Tilbury's latest cards. It reminds me of ancient illuminated manuscripts with gold and the rich, intense colour.
Meanwhile Sophie's wedding is looming and Brenda has kindly shown me how to make buttonholes for the men and bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids.

 My worry now is that the flowers on the tables - from mine and friends' gardens will look their absolute perfect best on the day after a long journey in the car. 

Over the two wedding days the shop will be closed but my lovely neighbour, Tara will help anyone who wants to look round or buy anything during that time.

Sunday 10 July 2016

Thoughts in the garden

Love these double pale pink poppies, still coming up each year from seed brought from my last garden, 10 years ago.
A David Austin rose called Queen of Sweden 
A new delphinium I am trying to protect 
 Sophie's wedding is this month and I realise that even if my garden was bursting at the seams with flowers it still could not provide enough to fill 80 jam jars, make 10 buttonholes and bouquets for bride and bridesmaids. I have to buy some of the flowers and find greenery and the occasional wild flower in the local hedgerows. It's fun as well as challenging!

Last night, armed with my torch and thickest rubber gardening gloves I looked for slugs. Shop customers tell me they cut them in half but I couldn't do that. Dozens of them had congregated on one poor daisy plant, and I put them all into my lidded pot. I found the odd slug on other plants but luckily the delphiniums were slug free (so far). I put wool pellets around my prized plants because slugs don't like to slither over wool apparently but it doesn't kill them. That seemed a humane deterrent. However puting them in a pot with the lid on wasn't humane and if slugs had any sort of a brain they might have preferred the quicker fate of being cut across the middle...

Today I was watching the birds in the garden taking food from a neighbour's bird tray and flying down to eat it in peace in my garden. I notice that lots of shops sell 'fat balls' to feed the birds all the way through the year.

 I remember when feeding the birds was something you did in cold winters to get the birds through when natural food was in short supply. But natural food is plentiful right now. Slugs and snails are ideal food for larger birds like thrushes and blackbirds and the soil is full of worms and insects. Perhaps we have so many slugs in the garden right now partly because birds have got used to having most of their food laid out on bird tables for them and it seems like too much effort to search soil and plants for more 'natural' food...

Tuesday 5 July 2016

Handmade Happiness makers featured in magazine

Justine Jenner is featured in the new issue of Life in Petersfield
The first feature about Handmade Happiness appeared earlier in the year.
 This week the third Handmade Happiness article is in the Life in Petersfield magazine. Previously there was a feature on Kate Box who makes the wonderful, soft knitwear and also a feature about why I started the shop and support local makers.
Over the coming months I hope to write more features on makers whose work is sold in Handmade Happiness. They are an interesting and very talented bunch!

In response to the people who have asked for workshops, this Friday morning from 10.30 to 11.30 there will be a free workshop on making and painting paper birds. It's easy, it's fun and it's sociable.  

Friday 1 July 2016

Time to Play

A box for a medal
A medal for the box made by Jenny Stacy
A felted crochet button, bit of ribbon, a flower button I like, in a medal by Jenny Stacy
Bits of bling created this medal by Jenny Stacy
Do you find time to play in your busy life?

One of the most blissful things I can think of is to sit at a table and 'play' with the bits I've hoarded over the years and a needle and thread, paints, scissors, sellotape, paper,glue and bits of fabric. Even more fun to 'play' with a friend or friends who enjoy experimenting with puting things together as much as you do. 

It's interesting how suddenly there are all these colouring books in the shops, encouraging people to switch off and 'play'. Who would have imagined that colouring books for adults would be so popular?

Visitors to Handmade Happiness often express their frustration that there is no time in their lives to create things. With children to look after and jobs to go to, any time for themselves feels like self indulgence. I know, I've been there, but we all feel better for a bit of 'me' time, even if it's only fifteen minutes. Just enough time to splodge some paint on to paper, draw a quick sketch,or make a collage with pictures from a favourite magazine, all of which can be done with children once they get past the stage of puting everything in their mouths.

One of my earliest memories is of 'sorting' my granny's button box. I really enjoyed that. My mum used to let her grandchildren do 'mixing' with wooden spoons and big bowls and the contents of her kitchen cupboards. They loved that. So what sort of Granny will my generation be? I hope we'll be successful at inspiring children to enjoy activities that don't involve looking at a screen...
jigsaw puzzles, card games, but above all, playing with bits and pieces and making things from them...!