Sunday, 21 April 2019

Happy Easter!

Cashmere bunnies and new hair clips in the window
Hair clips I made yesterday with my painted flower petals
Ann Hutchings embroidered butterfly and paper rose
I'm making cloth bags for visitors so they don't have to use plastic ones

People are talking about global warming and trying to make changes to their lifestyle right now. David Attenborough's Our Planet series on Sky Atlantic and this week his BBC1  programme Climate Change: The Facts have powerfully spelled out the consequences on people and animals if we carry on doing nothing.
It's depressing to see great piles of plastic carrier bags still in our supermarkets. Time they changed to paper bags. But actually that comes under the heading of Pollution, not Global Warming. 

 What we, as individuals can do to help is to stop buying anything that is air freighted like exotic fruit and veg; eat less meat and less dairy - ideally switch to a plant-based diet; buy second hand, not new; avoid flying and save energy where possible ie cycle don't drive. There are dozens of other ideas for a greener lifestyle but maybe that's for a different blog!

One of my highlights this week was a visit from embroiderer Ann Hutchings who made the brooch above.  We sat at the table making in the shop and it is so nice to have company. She showed me how to make quick roses from tissue paper. She once covered a whole marquee in roses like this and they literally take less than 5 minutes each to make. Great for a future shop window display. Maybe in June when roses are in bloom in the garden.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Game of Thrones embroidery

Michele Carragher's fantastic embroidery
Bird made by Michele Carragher for Game of Thrones
Michele Carragher made this insect for Game of Thrones
Principal embroider for Game of Thrones Michele Carragher's work

Last night I was lucky enough to see Michele Carragher, principal embroiderer of the Game of Thrones costumes give a talk.
Michele has done many films and TV programmes and her ability with needle and thread was truly mind-blowing! 
She told us that after attending The London College of Fashion she worked as a textile conservationist, repairing and re-making ancient, threadbare cloth. This experience proved a good grounding for her current work on Games of Thrones and, before that on the Helen Mirren version of Elizabeth I.

After 20 years of creating intricate embellishments for beautiful costumes Michele Carragher is surely the Queen of Embroidery! 

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Spring flower garlands for the window

I've painted these white fake flowers for spring window garlands
The paper they're painted on looks interesting too!
Sewn petals threaded onto fine green silk ribbon ready for the window
Close up of Jenny Stacy's painted flowers
I also enjoyed crocheting this rabbit container for the spring window.

There are now two painted flower garlands decorating the shop window and the white bunny is hooked high up for children to spot. I love sharing what I do and what is in my little shop, Handmade Happiness in Petersfield, England. But I am wondering whether or not to continue with this blog. After all I have been writing it for over 10 years now. Maybe that is some kind of record??? 

It would encourage me to continue writing if occasionally one of the many hundreds of people reading this would supply a comment...I don't know who you are because this is a blog that doesn't get comments and I don't know why. I can see from the Statistics that two thirds of my readers live in the United States and one third live in the UK.  And sometimes there is a huge influx of readers from Russia or China depending, I suppose, on what is being written about. Posts about London with lots of photographs get a big response which is good because I'm going there again next week and will make sure to take nice photos!!

Maybe it's too difficult to supply a comment and you've tried but given up. But please say hello and introduce yourself. I would love to meet you!!
Ps. I've tried leaving comments with my Google Account - it works and Anonymously - it doesn't work. I've checked the settings and the comments is set to welcome everyone but for some reason it is not doing so. Therefore I will just have to accept that this a Blog with no comments. If you want to say anything you can always email me!

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Visiting Midhurst yesterday afternoon.

The new Cabbages and Roses shop in West Street
In the window. I love this soft velvet faded flowers fabric
The new book by Lucy Haywood, owner of the Country Brocante Store and Country Brocante Meeting House

If you like Vintage style, Midhurst has become the place to go to see lots of it.
Faded pinks, off whites and chipped paint furniture is a look that is very popular.Rachel Ashwell, an Englishwoman in America started the look over 20 years ago and I love her pretty books promoting all that is 'Shabby Chic' which she took as her brand name.

In West Street, Midhurst, Lucy Haywood who runs the Country Brocante Fairs has got two shops which are a joy to look round. The new shop called the Country Brocante Meeting House has a Cabbages and Roses shop within it. I fell for a long white velvet coat with dark pink roses on it. I guessed it would be around £300 and I was right. But this was the sale price. It was reduced from £600! I could imagine a Winter bride wearing it at a registry office wedding. Do you remember when Jigsaw had an area of Cabbages and Roses clothes? Always nice to look at.

In the original Country Brocante shop you can find zipped bags, cushions and lampshades made from Cabbages and Roses fabrics.  I particularly like the exquisite packaging created by Emma Gurmin whose company Velvet Ribbon sells through the shop.  She has packaged vintage fabrics in handmade envelopes from vellum and rag paper and the result is frameable!

If you want to get inspired by this look, get your hands on a copy of Lucy Haywood's new book Country Brocante Style.

Also worth going in is Stuff in West Street. I love this shop. Such a good place to find an unusual present. The merchandising and selection of gifts you don't see elsewhere is a treat.

And for me, 'Champagne tastes, beer money!' the Macmillan charity shop in the High Street, Midhurst is the best charity shop I know!

Monday, 8 April 2019

Easter gifts in Handmade Happiness

Kate Hackett makes these ceramic decorations.
Knitted chicks to hold a Lindt egg. Just £1 each.
My cashmere bunnies. These ones with pockets for  a  little chocolate egg. £4.50 each.
Painted Easter cards, blank inside by Jenny Stacy. £3.50 each.

Thinking of Easter and family don't always want to give children just chocolate, especially knowing they'll have plenty of chocolate from other people. Handmade Happiness offers lots of non-chocolate choices or some items to tie onto an egg or put a little chocolate egg into.

I am hoping that lots of people will come in to Handmade Happiness in the run up to Easter because frankly if the shop is going to survive the Brexit retail downturn things will have to improve a lot! There I've said it.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Painted Flowers Brooch

Had to make a name badge so used painted petals and embroidery
Painting petals with brooches in mind

I had to make a name badge for Monday. It's a bit big but it will do. I recently re-joined what was the Embroiderer's Guild but is now known as Phoenix Stitchers in Petersfield. There is a speaker and workshop once a month. All members have to make a badge to identify themselves.

I painted flower petals in the shop thinking of using them in brooches or hair clips, perhaps layered together. It's blossom time here and the trees are heavy with it. The right time to be thinking of using some fake blossoms in our making projects. 

If I paint more petals I want to be more adventurous with colour and use some rich purples and reds. Still to resemble nature... because what I hate to see is real flowers for sale that have been made to drink dye in shades of blue or bright pink. That just feels wrong.

There is beautiful ballet video on Instagram at the moment of Christian Dior clothes with made flowers stitched under and over transparent fabrics. Check out bazaaruk the Harper's Bazaar magazine posts to find it. I love INstagram (I'm jenny_handmade_happiness by the way) because it is so easy to operate. I've never really got to grips with Facebook because I don't find it easy to operate so I ignore it although everyone tells me it is the best way to promote your business... 

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

In Handmade Happiness

New pots and a new throw from talented maker Niloo Wickramasinghe
One of Annie Sherburne's brooches on my coat

The shop is so lucky to stock Niloo Wickramasinghe's pottery and throws.
The throw, using Kate Forman fabrics, is entirely sewn by hand which makes it very special indeed.
Annie Sherburne's colourful jewellery is something else very special stocked by Handmade Happines. I love wearing this little brooch. The colours are so eye-catching.
If you haven't visited for a while, you'll notice the shop has new stock from several different people. It is currently undergoing a spring clean but still very much open to visitors.
This time last year I was writing another blog called 'Seeing India with Jenny'.
I was writing it after coming home so read it from the first post onward. The first post was written on Saturday March 3rd and called 'Have Yellow Hat Can Travel'. I've just looked at it again and the pictures are surprisingly good!  It's a shame it reads from last day to first but by clicking on newer posts at the bottom of each page it can be read chronologically. The weak post is about Gandhi which I remember copying from Wikipedia. Note to self - keep it personal!!

Friday, 29 March 2019

Making Painted Cards

Jenny Stacy designed and made this card
Keeping it simple! Card by Jenny Stacy
Love purples! Card by Jenny Stacy

I've just made 12 cards and I'm beginning to feel that all that practice of 'A Painting a Day' is finally paying off! I actually like these cards and from today they will be on sale in Handmade Happiness at £3.50 each.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Silk flower making with Anne Tomlin

The peony I made at Anne Tomlin's workshop yesterday in Petersfield
My peony with other students' flowers yesterday

Yesterday I was lucky enough to do a silk flower making workshop with the internationally famous Anne Tomlin. Anne makes life-like flowers for the hats she makes and also teaches at West Dean College. Her next workshop is in the Menier Factory as part of London Hat Week (April 4th to April 10th) 

Phoenix Stitchers which used to be the Petersfield Embroiderers' Guild invited Anne to give a workshop and it was such an interesting day!  To hand make one flower took all day. I never would have dreamed it is such a complicated and multi-stage process. Anne has special tools from Japan and after a life-time of studying flowers strives to imitate nature as exactly as humanly possible. Special fabrics are needed and metal tools have to be heated to exactly the right temperature. It is fascinating and a rewarding learning experience. If you get the chance to attend one of Anne's workshops -Go! You will love it!

Sunday, 24 March 2019


First framed painting by Jenny Stacy
Even rubbish paintings can be cut up and used for collage!

Painting is personal. So is making something. When it comes to sharing it with others, that takes guts. A very confident person will have no problem showing others what they have done, but for most of us it's a bit of a struggle...

I have no problem with things I make now. I've been making for so many years and some things are successful and some things less so but I always make to sell. However, painting is new to me. 

Exactly a month ago I started doing a painting a day just for the fun of it. But the last picture I did (the one above) is the first one that a respected friend suggested I should put in a frame and try to sell. So yesterday it went up in the shop, admittedly in the darkest corner of the shop but it's there and it's for sale...

By the way, if you love textile art and you live within reach of Teddington get yourself to the Landmark Arts Centre today. The Contemporary Textiles Fair is on from 10am to 5pm and there's some really interesting things for sale there.
I went to the preview evening on Friday and came home re-energised...!

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Easter bunnies

Cashmere bunnies holding Lindt eggs by Jenny Stacy
Cashmere bunnies with sewn on flowers by Jenny Stacy
100% cashmere bunnies made by Jenny Stacy. Lovely fabric was a gift from Niloo.

I can't decide if I like the ones with flowers or the ones without flowers best. These are the softest little bunnies and just right to be held by a little one or to be secretly in the pocket of an older one.And of course adults can buy them for themselves! At £4.50 each they are reasonably priced and being embroidered and stuffed with toy safe kapok totally safe.

Easter is on April 21st this year and, from today the little knitted chicks will each have a  replaceable Lindt egg inside them and be available to buy at just £1 each. Knitted Easter baskets £2.50 and Sue Inglis' imaginative knitted Easter decorations - bunnies, chicks, lambs and carrots all £6.

Time for my 'painting a day' before getting ready for work. Have a good day everyone!

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Anne Tomlin made these!

Blown away by the talent of Anne Tomlin!
Flowers made by Anne Tomlin
A daisy chain entirely created by Anne Tomlin

Yesterday I went to a talk on 'My Life in Textiles' given by the artist-maker Anne Tomlin. Anne makes hats and flowers for both jewellery and decoration. Her creations are extremely life like and she has devoted her life to studying nature to see how to copy it as accurately as possible.

If you want to find out more about her classes, her work or perhaps invite her to give a talk to the group you belong to her website is and her Instagram name is annetomlinflowers.

I feel so lucky to be attending one of her workshops in Petersfield next week. I look forward to sharing my experience with you afterwards.

Monday, 18 March 2019

In Handmade Happiness

Thank you to the person who left a pile of magazines on my doorstep for me to make into bags
Ceramic brooches made by Samantha Robertson for sale in HH
Samantha Robertson's work in Handmade Happiness

In these uncertain Brexit times it is important to take time out for yourself. Handmade Happiness is an oasis of handmade calm! Everything in it is designed and made from scratch by one individual. British craft by British craftspeople - pure and unadulterated.
It is energising and inspiring just to look around so VISIT!!

When I was younger I had the opportunity to get my designs copied abroad and this is one of the ways that craftspeople can make money in an easier way. I didn't like the idea, choosing to be poor but happy. It's like stepping from making into industry or more accurately to become the designer and not the maker. Whatever is right for you. But Handmade Happiness will continue to promote only things made in this country by one individual and that's that. I wonder if it is unique in that respect?

I'm continuing to do a painting a day and if you feel you'd like to do this do give it a try. I've also made quite a few bunnies with Easter in mind. I'll show you those next time!

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

A painting a day

Water. Jenny Stacy paints every day!
Circles 1. Jenny Stacy paints every day!
Gold splash abstract by Jenny Stacy
Flower meadow by Jenny Stacy
Gold and colour. Jenny Stacy paints.
Flowers on blue by Jenny Stacy

Every morning I paint for an hour or two before breakfast. I started this regime a fortnight ago and I really enjoy playing and experimenting with paints and water and lately, a touch of gold.

Do you make or paint every day?

I am knitting a lot at the moment but I find painting a lot more satisfying somehow.
I used to paint sheets of paper only to tear them up into little pieces for collage and no doubt some of these efforts will end up being torn up. But maybe they will be practice pieces for something better to come. I find that I am learning what works and what doesn't look good as I go.

And for someone who has never had an art lesson in her life that is valuable experience. So I'm having fun playing with paint every morning and it would be great if everyone had the same opportunity to get a bit of art therapy into their lives. 

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Knitting and Stitching Show - sights and observations

Some fine needle felting
A pretty stall selling vintage habadashery - E62 Simple Vintage Designs
These fake flower crowns were selling like hot cakes at just £1 each!

What I bought - Drops yarns from Blackbird Designs and felt pieces from 'Woolie and Feltie'

I noticed more stalls selling individual dress making patterns, more needle felt animals and a lack of textile graduates work. I normally go to the October Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace but I was pleased I visited its Spring equivalent at Olympia yesterday.

So crowded and the queue for a cup of tea almost convinced people they weren't really thirsty! But I met Sue Stratford who wrote the knitting pattern book Knit Me, Dress Me Love Me as well as lots of other pattern books and I had a good chat with her and bought her latest book on knitting garden birds which will be fun to try.

I hate to close the shop for an odd day and I do hope no-one was disappointed to find it closed yesterday. But quite honestly February and January are the quietest months shopwise and I feel it's important to visit these shows in search of new makers.

The next show I'll visit - but I can go at night after work to this one - is the Contemporary Textiles Show at Landmark Arts, Teddington. It's on the weekend of March 23rd and 24th. If you love textile art you'll love this show.