Tuesday 30 August 2016

A few of my favourite things...

Caspari tissue paper, Stickles drawing glitter and sparkling ribbon
I had two £10 vouchers to spend at the local art shop and this is what I bought. I love a bit of glitter, especially at Christmas and right now I'm planning for Christmas at Handmade Happiness. I also love a bit of gold, as seen in Klimt's paintings and touches of copper, those ornate gold framed portraits or mirrors and iridescence like on a dragonfly's wings or in the colours of an oily puddle.

And I love velvet. Today I saw velvet scarves in clear orange, shocking pink or lime green but best of all I liked the palest pink velvet scarf (in Duet for local readers). I love the idea of a big, puffy velvet settee. Velvet cushions are a delicious touch of luxury too. Just a small piece of velvet is a great contrast to matt fabrics in a mixed media piece or a textile brooch.

Right now I'm enjoying Galia melons, though they've got to smell when you pick them up otherwise they're not sweet enough. Avocados, chocolate, raspberries. I could definitely live off those four foods. How about you ?

I like paintings of rolling hills and clouds and sea glass and raku pots in intense purples and anything with roses on it - fabric, china and best of all real David Austin roses with their strong fragrance and generous flower heads.
Delphiniums. sweet peas and peonies and photos of my baby grandchildren.

Writing this blog is another of my favourite things and I could put off housework indefinitely by writing instead!  And I love being in the shop especially when customers are fascinating people and we have such good conversations.My television broke on Friday so now I'll have more time for writing and reading and using the things in the picture for making Christmas gifts.

Thursday 25 August 2016

Judging, flooding and Christmas plans

The work of Louise Brownlow and a Samantha Robertson cup
This Christmas I want the shop to become a glittering, magical den and I immediately thought of Louise Brownlow's lovely decorative stitchery. I bought the pictured items many years ago and Louise is currently making dragonflies and butterflies and little fairies similar to the one pictured. Look out for them in Handmade Happiness in the run up to Christmas!

On Saturday I could not believe my eyes. My shop was flooded. The water had gushed down from the flat above, leaving an inch of water on my floor below. Luckily very few items of makers' work were affected. It could have been much worse. But it's an experience I wouldn't want to go through again!

Something I wouldn't mind doing again was being a judge for the PACS (Petersfield artists) exhibition. The exhibition opens today and yesterday saw me minutely examining the submitted craftwork to decide who got the award and who got Highly Commended. 

I chose a giant concertina book which showed a long drawing of all the historic houses on one side of the town's Sheep Street. Beautifully drawn and an ambitious undertaking. A pair of shoes, made from scratch, complete with kitten heels and looking very wearable got a Highly Commended from me as did a well-made handbag showing a woven panel and robust leather handles.

I recommend a visit to this exhibition in the Festival Hall. There is no selection process and there is an interesting (and vast) array of craft work and paintings. The entrance is at the back of the building and admission is free. 

Thursday 18 August 2016

At the mercy of machines

Beautiful cushions made by Tanya Williamson and sold by Handmade Happiness

 I'm writing this on my Samsung notepad as my ancient home computer has died on me. There is so much technology to choose from I get confused (and a bit bored) with thinking about what is best to replace it with.

I'd like something that takes excellent photos, suitable for publishing in magazines, is portable and that has a decent sized keyboard for my fat fingers.

I have a phone that is not a smart phone so I can't watch videos on it or do 'Face Time' with my lovely grandchildren. So the new machine would have to be capable of that. Am I talking about a smart phone or a lap top and is there one machine that does all this? I very much look forward to your advice. (This is not something I wish to research online - too boring!) 

I like to write and I've just written an article about Tanya Williamson whose cushions are pictured. She uses a Bernina sewing machine to colour in her drawings with thread. A machine that helps her do just what she wants to do. Everyone loves her work and her cushions make great gifts. 

Friday 12 August 2016

Thoughts and colours

My hydrangeas are going over from bright pink to this more attractive bronzed pink
I  bought the painting behind from a charity shop for £10 this week
Mini craze for making Suffolk puffs/ yo yos this week. Simple necklace to wear with summer dresses.
I love the soft colours of these hydrangeas from the garden. And I enjoy selecting fabrics to make these simple necklaces with. Colour and design are so important in making something worthwhile.

How often have you seen something really well made and thought 'shame about the colours that don't look good together' or 'shame the fabric is synthetic or a harsh colour'... It's like puting a beautiful painting in the wrong frame. An awful lot of effort spoiled by the desire to economise... and turning something saleable into something unsaleable.

I notice colour when in those large, cheap clothing shops. The colours they use aren't flattering to women or children. Yes it's cheap but for the same price you can find something of good quality in a charity shop that will last as long and look good too. I'm talking about those harsh, cold colours of bright turquoise, blacky reds and fuschias, electric blues, strong bright yellows. Most people don't suit those colours so why are they chosen?

When selecting handmade items for Handmade Happiness I sometimes see items simply made for the purpose of making money for the maker. Of course this is one of the aims we have in selling our work but it is just as important to make what you love or what you would want to buy for your loved ones. To make with the heart as well as the head. When someone loves what they are making that shines through in the finished product, making it really special.

Sunday 7 August 2016

More paintings arrive

Too much reflection but if you look closely you can see a giant heart wreath in the window of HH.-----------
Lemons by Christine Burgess £28
Tomatoes by Christine Burgess £28
Pear by Christine Burgess £28
Seascape by Christine Burgess £129
 Christine Burgess popped into Handmade Happiness yesterday (Saturday) with her most recent paintings. The fruit is on small canvasses and the seascape is much, much bigger.

Friday 5 August 2016

New in the shop

Beautifully handmade dolls' clothes by Lindy Groom
Hanging from a line in Handmade Happiness. Lindy Groom's dolls' clothes
Pants, pyjamas, tops and dresses made by Lindy Groom
Solid oak lampbase by Peter Green £70 with Penny Seume shade £45
Oak lamp base £70 by Peter Green with Penny Seume lampshade £45. Penny's cushions in background. Hand painted plate by Roxana Giles.
Yesterday Lindy Groom came in with these beautifully made, fully washable dolls' clothes. She plans to give any money from them to charity. Three of the teddy bears Lindy makes are also for sale in the shop.

Peter Green has carved out oak timbers and logs to make these lamp bases which are also new to Handmade Happiness. All electrician approved, they look good with Penny Seume's collage linen lamp shades.

I want to give you, my blog readers a chance to buy things you see pictured here.So last night I had my first tutorial with a company that specialises in helping shops to get their products online. 

 Most of you live nowhere near Petersfield and it is impossible for you to visit. For example right now many reading this live in Russia, some of you live in America, others in Germany and some in Britain. It's fascinating for me to see who is reading the blog and a big 'Welcome' from me. I'll let you know as soon as the online shop goes 'live'.

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Wedding thoughts

My lovely daughter got married on Saturday. She looked beautiful, the flowers were much complimented and the weather couldn't have been better!
Promise I'll post more photos as soon as I have them but in the meantime Handmade Happiness is getting a wedding themed window this week and right now, I just want to thank all those wonderful friends who helped me.

Brenda Tilbury taught me how to make buttonholes and how to spiral stems in wedding bouquets. She made a giant heart wreath for the reception and provided flowers and leaves from her garden/ allotment and let me use all her floristry wires and tapes.Thank you Brenda.
Anna allowed me to pick what I wanted from her garden. Thank you Anna. And Carol brought in flowers and leaves, even a plant in a pot from her garden. Thank you Carol.
Anne Bennett walked into the countryside with me and together we gathered from the hedgerows for that country wedding look. Thank you Anne.

Finally, my friend Tara could have been mistaken for a florist as she deftly assembled flowers and foliage into bunches. Anyone who saw the shop on Thursday might have thought it was a florists with so many buckets of flowers and leaves on the floor. Tara also provided all the tall sage and rosemary branches which contributed to the lovely smell at the wedding reception.

I'm off to the shop now to install that wedding-themed window! Hope to see you there.

Pretty shop windows in Midhurst

Pretty window at The Country Brocante Store
I think this fabric is by Louise Loves...
Nice cushions at The Country Brocante Store 
 I discovered this shop when doing one of my charity (shop) runs on my Monday day off. The windows look so pretty, shame it closes on the same days that Handmade Happiness is closed so I couldn't go in...

Louise Loves used to have a regular stand at the Country Living (magazine) show and I remember it well. 
If you want to visit the Country Brocante Store it's next to The Spread Eagle in Midhurst and if you park at The Grange it's an easy walk from there.