Sunday 30 September 2018

This week

I decided to add  crochet pockets to some of my new dolls.
I love working with dyed silk velvets. This necklace will look great against a black top or dress
I have been wondering which I would choose jewellery or dolls if I was only allowed to focus on one thing. I seem to find it impossible to choose. I like trying out different ideas - the only common denominator is that it usually involves textiles, but that covers a very broad field.

The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace next week - October 11th to 14th features knitted, woven and stitched textiles and has lots of examples of innovative pieces made by young arts graduates as well as famous names. I love to visit and just to give you prior warning I've decided to close the shop for the afternoon on Thursday October 11th so I can go up and have a look around.

Friday 28 September 2018

Making for Handmade Happiness

Suddenly Kate Box's wrist warmers sold out so she's just brought in more
Jenny Stacy (me) made 15 more dolls
Justine Jenner has brought in more of her popular mugs and jugs
A necklace celebrating the sunshine this week.
Cashmere bunnies sold out so I'm making more right now

This week people have started looking round for Christmas presents!
I know it's early and I have no Christmas stock out and won't have until mid-October. I deplore shops trying to sell Christmas cards in August and I hate seeing the Christmassy tins of biscuits and sweets that are in the shops right now. 

However I can see the sense in trying to spread the cost of Christmas by starting to look for presents now. And when buying one-off handmade items, if customers don't buy it when they see it chances are it won't be there when they come back to actually buy it!

An example of this is Kate Box's wonderful knitted wrist warmers. Last Christmas there was such a strong demand for them that Handmade Happiness kept selling out, disappointing customers who had seen them earlier. Right now there are plenty to choose from but if demand is as strong as last year there may not be such a lot to choose from nearer Christmas.

I am in making mode and, having agreed to have a stall at Blackmoor in October this year selling just my own things, the pressure is on to produce as much as I can.

Saturday 22 September 2018

Happy 10th Birthday Blog!!

Ten years ago on September 22nd 2008 I started writing this blog. I wrote about my dream of having a shop. I also wrote in detail about making thousands of pounds worth of stock for the Country Living Magazine show in London which, in those days, I did regularly. I wrote about making for shops and tried to give some insight into the struggles of being a designer/maker.
I now write about the struggles and rewards of running that long-dreamed for shop.  I still make but not as much as I used to. My three children all now have children of their own and I love being a Granny. 
My readers are mostly in the USA which I am thrilled about but UK readers are a close second and occasionally, for no apparent reason I get a burst of interest from Russia!
I feel another change is coming. I want to re-vamp this blog but more about change next time.
Thank you to any reader who has followed this blog from the very tentative start ten years ago. You deserve a medal!

Tuesday 18 September 2018

New this week

Love this sparkly jewellery made by Annier Sherburne
More Annie Sherburne jewellery available in the shop this week
This week I'm painting faces and cutting out fabric for new dolls designed and made by Jenny Stacy

I'm pleased to have new jewellery by Annie Sherburne in the shop now just as people are starting to buy Christmas presents when they see special things.

I love making dolls, painting the faces, selecting the fabric. These latest ones will be an enlarged version of the little finger dolls in the picture above. They won't have embroidered hair and I have agonised over what hair they will have, if any. At first I thought rabbit ears but that didn't look right, then I wondered about a knitted or crocheted hat but soon rejected that idea. I have now decided they will have dreads or thick wool hair like my former dolls had.

I also plan to make two other styles of doll and we've sold out of the cashmere rabbits I make so more of those. At the same time I am looking forward to getting into some serious jewellery making.

With so many small shops being forced to close down and even big department stores teetering on the brink you must be wondering how Handmade Happiness can keep going.  I am lucky in that the shop has many loyal, regular customers that come in whenever they need a card and a present and many more people who say they will come back to do their Christmas shopping at HH. And they will.

Saturday 8 September 2018

Shop Closed Today Saturday September 8th

I've cut out and painted leaves for Autumn garlands
More carrier bags from wallpaper sample books
I love this zinnia in my garden!
Pure beeswax candles made by Elizabeth Eveleigh for the shop
I hate to close the shop on a Saturday but just this once my daughter needs me for babysitting. No more days off before Christmas I promise! 

Sunday 2 September 2018

What I’ve been doing and not doing recently

A 'princess' necklace for 4 year old grandaughter
Necklaces on elastic so 2 year old grandaughter has something she can wear too!
Also knitting a pretty scarf
Bits and bobs I've made that I'll be making more of...
Fabric scraps from the Eternal Maker, Chichester
Love this quilted fabric for littlies but it had sold out...

Long, long ago I made jewellery for shops. All sorts of jewellery. Conventional pearl and semi-precious stone jewellery; jewellery entirely from beads I'd made myself; jewellery from wooden beads I'd painted; jewellery from a mixture of beads I'd made from cloth, wood or clay...

I didn't photograph all this jewellery which seems a bit of an oversight now...

Since having the shop I've got out of the habit of making jewellery but for the past few weeks I've felt the need to get back into the habit, especially because I'd like to have a good stock of all kinds of jewellery built up in time for Christmas shoppers. I've sorted out my beads and I've experimented with papier mache for a different sort of bead but I've lost my motivation. Has anyone seen it? 

 I've got to tell you about a shop that a friend and I have visited twice in a week! It's The Eternal Maker in Chichester's Terminus Road. This is a shop that stocks unusual fabrics from around the world. Unusual in the sense that, as far as I know, no other shop stocks such a diverse selection. It also has wool and a cafe which serves homemade cakes including excellent cheese scones.