Friday 27 January 2017

Keeping warm

The wool for these colourful mittens is dyed, spun and knitted. Also seen are leg warmers by Gill Martin and my HH carrier bags. 
Swans on the ice at Petersfield Lake this week. Picture taken by Jenny Stacy
Fun with colour. I enjoy painting on paper. 

Are you managing to keep warm in the coldest week of the year?

 In Handmade Happiness hand-knitted gloves, hats and scarves are prominently displayed but as it's so cold and January I don't expect many visitors. Traditionally the quietest month of the year, saleswise, I sometimes wonder whether I should just close the shop for the whole of January. But I have plenty to do. It's tax season, as the Americans say, and so you'll see me with my calculator and books working away in the shop, aiming to get final figures by the January 31st deadline. Always a wonderful feeling of relief when it's over at the beginning of February.

I love having flowers when it's below zero outside. Somehow the supermarkets sell daffodils at just £1 when the weather is at it's coldest and Lidl have tulips for £2. The cheerful splash of colour takes your mind off the cold and onto pleasant things, like painting summer colours on a sheet of A4!

Saturday 21 January 2017

New! Gorgeous heart wreaths.

Gold heart wreath made by Brenda Tilbury
Pretty roses wreath made by Brenda Tilbury. What a romantic present this would make! 

Brenda Tilbury makes the most amazing wreaths... The two she brought in to Handmade Happiness today are for indoor use. Either would be stunning on the wall above a bed in a bedroom. The rose wreath is hanging in the shop window right now, a gentle reminder that Valentine's Day isn't far off! (Reminder to self - hurry up and make some cards!)

Thursday 19 January 2017

New knitwear from Kate Box

Lambswool neckwarmers designed and made by Kate Box
Multi-striped wrist warmers by Kate Box displayed in Handmade Happiness
It was a nice surprise today when Kate Box delivered wrist warmers and neck warmers she'd just made to Handmade Happiness. The shop sold out of all of Kate's work just before Christmas.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

New for Handmade Happiness

Jewellery by Annie Sherburne - brooches, earrings and hair clips
Annie Sherburne's jewellery - earrings, brooches and heart pendant.
Gold embossed image on writing paper bought long ago in France.
On Monday I visited Top Drawer partly because I knew Annie Sherburne was going to be there (see above) and partly because I wanted to see what is currently being offered to shops across the country. 

There is a large craft section upstairs at Olympia but for once, I also checked out everything downstairs as well. I noticed more glitter and metallics. Maybe it's just my magpie instincts but glittery cards seem to be having a moment. 

I am interested in gold embossed images and writing on card fronts and a couple of stands reminded me of a little shop in Paris, many years ago where the owner had machines in a back room to stamp out gold images ( as pictured above) which he sold on notecards and writing paper etc. in the front of the shop. Gold raised lettering looks so smart on a plain card and does this.

Look out for the new jewellery made by Annie Sherburne in Handmade Happiness. I think people may like it as Valentine's Day presents. And it's just right for magpies!

The new Textile Group will now start in HH on Thursday January 26th. I've told one or two  people this coming Thursday (19th) but I now have a doctor's appointment that lunchtime which will be a problem for a 2pm start time. So officially 2pm to 4pm on January 26th. If you come on Thursday afternoon we can have a nice chat anyway!

Sunday 15 January 2017

What is your 'craft discipline'?

Colourful sari silk
Layered piece skirts at the Knitting and Stiching show
Exotic ribbons and trims
Gorgeous painterly fabric photographed in Paris
Dainty embellished shoes by Alberta Ferretti seen in Paris
How did they do this? Pictured in a Paris shop window.
 I've just been asked what my 'craft discipline' is and I realise that my approach to craft is not 'disciplined'.

I always wonder how craftsmen and women can stick to making just one thing year after year.They have an idea and they develop it and then they stick at making that same thing and they become really good at it so they keep producing it. Don't they get bored? Or is this where the 'discipline' bit comes in. They discipline themselves to stick with it until hopefully, they are recognised for their ability in that area and get financially rewarded.

For me, one idea leads swiftly to another idea and I like to experiment with a whole range of 'craft disciplines' in a most undisciplined way. I see this as being creative. The imagination quick fires lots of ideas triggered by just one thing. For example all the things pictured above are good 'triggers' for me. But is the end result - a piece of jewellery maybe or a doll produced by someone who is a 'craftsperson' or someone who is creative? Or are they one and the same thing?

I recognise creativity in others and see it as an ability to follow one's own path and not be swayed by what other people are doing or what they might see on Pinterest. They make things from their own imagination and experiment until they are satisfied. It's a creative process.. but are creative people only happy when they keep 're-inventing the wheel'. Are they unable to settle down and explore just one craft discipline? Or is it just the word 'discipline' that I'm uncomfortable with?

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Knitting season

Yarn bought yesterday from the Knitting Habit at Alton
When it's cold and damp you want babies to be kept cosy and warm in hand knits. I like Drops yarn. This is from Norway. It is reasonably priced and comes in pure Alpaca, pure wool and a few mixtures some of which contain silk. So it's soft, just right for baby skin. 

I've chosen these colours as they are the safest when you don't yet know the sex of the baby. I know some people like bright colours or even black for their little ones but I prefer white or pale neutrals. So those are the colours for little ones you will find in Handmade Happiness. 

Friday 6 January 2017

A colourful start to 2017

Cushion made by Pam Dew and rag rug by Ruth Ellacott both provide punches of colour
I put colour into the Handmade Happiness window yesterday. I am actively seeking colour in these cold days of winter.Red and orange for warmth. Pink and gold for cosiness. It makes me think about the way we decorate our homes. In the UK where we have definite seasons should we aim for a cosy sitting-room (sunset colours) when for half the year we'd prefer a cooler look (sea colours). Similarly, using clear blues and greens in our houses would not suit us in the winter months. I can see why most of us fall back on a neutral palette, anything else feels too risky.Yet I really admire anyone who has the guts to paint their walls teal or to choose hot pink for their furniture. Think of Tricia Guild and her strong colour palette for Designers Guild.

Are you watching the Great Interior Design Challenge currently showing on BBC2? It's interesting to see the reaction when one of the amateurs tries anything 'brave'. It's either hailed as bold and creative or slammed as tacky and tasteless. But I don't think that the concept of 'taste' is just about one person's individual preferences. I think we can all recognise good taste at some level and respond positively to it but to create a look that excites maybe we have to be prepared to break the rules sometimes.

A reminder that Handmade Happiness is open tomorrow 9.30am to 4.30pm and then January opening hours will be Wednesday,Thursday, Friday and Saturday 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Sunday 1 January 2017

2016 in pictures

Everything made by Kate Box sold out before Christmas
A clothes line of dolls' clothes made by Lindy Groom
Some ideas - like selling these ribbons - failed
This jewellery made by Annie Sherburne was a hit
One of several dozen fairies I made in the Christmas run up
Bee Mellor's beautiful work with silks and velvet  is always admired and her bird decorations sold out.
Niloo's porcelain decorations were a hit were Kate Hackett's ceramics
Eleven bears made by Sarah Pinney also sold out.

2016 in more pictures

Brenda Tilbury (Queen of Wreaths) made this to celebrate Valentine's Day
Notebook cover by Carol Smith
Niloo's pure white porcelain bowls on wood stand.
Collage Easter card by Jenny Stacy
Family wedding, so paper flowers to make
One of  Sheila Barrow's  exquisite little pictures 
Tanya Williamson's popular cushions
Award yourself a medal - made by Jenny Stacy
Justine Jenner's ceramics appeal to customers
Lovely traditional style bears hand sewn by Lindsey Agostinelli
 Happy New Year!!
I have a strong feeling that 2017 will be a particularly good year. I always feel optimistic and upbeat on January 1st. The new year holds such promise and such potential, giving everyone an opportunity to reflect on the past and to try to improve the present and the future.
This blog is 8 years old and attracting more readers than ever before and recently I've enjoyed puting more photos on Instagram.