Saturday 29 December 2018

Beautiful Bath

Vintage textile emporium
Typical street  view. Cheese shop on left
Inside a stylish Bath shop
This massive tree dominates a town square

Early on Christmas Eve I drove to Bath to join family in a house we rented near the city centre. If you haven't been to Bath I urge you to go and if you've been before I'm sure you'll want to go again. The locally-quarried yellow stone buildings look so solid and imposing. I imagine they are unchanged since Jane Austen visited The Pump Room in Bath.

A lot of the shops were closed and I really wanted to see inside Susannah's pictured top. This shop houses handmade items from genuine antique French vintage fabrics and you can even buy packs of old fabrics for a reasonable price to make things with yourself. See more on their website

Just opposite Susannah's was a shop with room sets straight off the pages of House and Garden. Wish I'd taken note of the name. Sorry.

So good to be with my three children, their partners and my four grandchildren. Highlights for me were playing with the little ones and once they were in bed, Articulate, Bananagrams and quizzes with the adults! 

Now I'm home again cleaning and organising home and shop and doing a bit of re-decorating before the shop re-opens on Tuesday January 8th.

Sunday 23 December 2018

Happy Christmas everyone !

An old fairy I made hanging on this year's tree
Niloo just brought in more pots she has made. I love these.
New! Artist Gemma Bedford's wool and silk large wrap
Another gorgeous art scarf wrap by Gemma Bedford

Today Sunday Handmade Happiness is open from 10 am to 4pm.
 The shop will be closed tomorrow on Christmas Eve and will not officially re-open until Tuesday January 8th.
So today is your last chance to get that special, well-designed handmade gift you've had your eye on!!
Today I'm showing a couple of things I'd like as gifts! The silk/wool scarves from Gemma Bedford's paintings are really big and a lovely soft wrap around for cold days ahead. 
Niloo Wickramasinge has just brought in her latest pots. I love the arty look of these white vases and they are very popular with customers. Niloo, who now lives locally, lived in Japan for 5 years and is influenced by Japanese design and culture.
The fairy is a throwback. I intended to make more fairies this year but somehow got sidetracked into making different things. 
I'll post again after Christmas but from tomorrow it's family time. I wish you a very happy 'family time'. Enjoy your days off and we'll meet again in the New Year.

Thursday 20 December 2018

Through the square window

Lots of unusual handmade things to buy in Handmade Happiness
Carol Smith brought in more of her popular  bird brooches. £6.50 each
Just in. A new wreath from Brenda Tilbury
Baby mice in walnut shell beds. I've used vintage fabrics on these.
New stitched paintings by Sheila Barrow

So near Christmas and the shop is really busy but every day new stock is dropped off. I am looking forward to doing my 'sales analysis' to see what has done really well this year...

It's all about Christmas because that is when, in common with most shops, Handmade Happiness makes most of its money. That is why it worries me to see so many shops with half price sales on right now in Christmas week. It's a sign of the hard times for retail that shops have to reduce prices at the one time of year when usually they can be guaranteed to sell at normal prices.

 If the situation is that desperate I think we'll see a lot of shops close down in the New Year. After all no-one makes any money in January. January used to be the month when sales were on. But right now it seems that sales really are on all the year round.

I'm taking a break after Christmas and the shop will re-open on January 8th.
Next year plans for Handmade Happiness include a monthly workshop and free 'art therapy' sessions. When the shop is quiet it's the ideal time for people to just sit and paint and make and lose themselves in the creative process. 

By the way. I still need magazine covers. Just tear off the front and back of any 'glossy' magazine you would otherwise drop into the recycling bin and drop them off. I will be grateful! 

Sunday 16 December 2018

Paper not plastic and appeal for magazine covers

My carrier bags and paper bags

Help! I need more magazine covers to make my carrier bags. If you are puting old magazines into the recycling bin and live near Handmade Happiness please tear off the covers and give them to me instead!
I don't need inside pages just the covers. And I prefer thick, glossy covers from magazines like Vogue, Harpers, House and Garden, Homes and Gardens, World of Interiors and Town and Country.

I've always made little bags from inside pages of magazines and carriers from magazine covers and although it takes time, it must have saved me money...But not if I deliberately buy a magazine just to have its cover and pretty photographs!

I now feel a big pang of guilt every time I put something plastic into the rubbish and I'd like to live plastic free but I think it is next to impossible. In the shop I tried for a while to live without bubble wrap. I used to use bubble wrap for ceramics. Now I feel slightly better about using donated bubble wrap but I'd still prefer not to use it at all.... It's just occurred to me that I could use pages from magazines to wrap pots. I think I'll do that from now on!

Despite the rotten weather yesterday the shop was busy.
Apologies to anyone who visits the shop today, Sunday, expecting it to be open. Last week I looked at my opening times and realised I had no day off between now and Christmas so I crossed out Sunday December 16th. I will be open tomorrow, Monday from 9.30 to 4.30 and then every day not including Christmas Eve when the shop will be closed.

Tuesday 11 December 2018

New Opening Hours until Christmas

Handmade Happiness, 9a Dragon Street, Petersfield, Hants. GU31 4JN
Feeling so lucky to rent this shop. It's 400 years old you know!
Note earlier opening of 9.30am,  open every day in the week before Christmas and NOT opening on Christmas Eve

There were times on Saturday when I longed for an assistant to help me with sales it was sooo busy. I ran out of my handmade paper bags and was sellotaping them together as I served people. 

To make the most of the Christmas season I am opening more often in the run up to Christmas. Just in case you can't read the tiny writing under the sign:

Earlier opening of 9.30am; Open every day including Sunday and Monday in the week before Christmas  and this year, HH will not be open on Monday Dec 24th, Christmas Eve.

After Christmas HH is having a make-over and will re-open in January, date to be decided.
Happy Christmas shopping everybody!

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Friday 7 December 2018

My Cards and Brenda's Christmas wreaths

I love making cards like this. 'Christmas hug' by Jenny Stacy
Different colours but still a Christmas hug by Jenny Stacy
Giant Catherine Wheel wreath  made by Brenda Tilbury
All natural gold sprayed wreath by Brenda Tilbury 
Smaller, lightweight wreath with feathers by Brenda Tilbury

I am loving the process of making Christmas cards this year. With all the rain, the depressing Brexit news etc. hunkering down to paint, tear papers and draw has felt especially therapeutic. I made a dozen and in a minute I'll finish off a dozen more so I can hopefully take more into work today. I'm also enjoying making more mice in walnut shell cradles. The current batch I'm making at work have really old fabric bed covers ie. old eiderdown fabric.

This week Brenda has brought in more of her popular wreaths. Brenda walks in all weathers and picks up all the cones, leaves, twigs and berries she uses as she walks along. She can even twiddle a bunch of twigs into a wreath shape as she walks. Huge respect to this woman!

Yesterday I was happy to get another stock delivery from Kate Box. Her wrist warmers and neckwarmers are so popular at this time of year, both for keeping customers warm and for giving away as well-received Christmas presents.

Sunday 2 December 2018

New in Handmade Happiness

The latest creations by Niloo Wickramasinge have a delicate appeal
I made some mice in walnut shell beds

It's December!
And suddenly fairy lights are sparkling and all those little Christmas bits and pieces are out on display! It's the seventh Christmas for Handmade Happiness and I am determined to make it the best ever!