Monday, 10 August 2020

Let’s paint

Painting flowers with watercolour
A first attempt at watercolour flowers
Spotted - a Red Admiral butterfly
Sweet peas for sale

England is not used to this heat. 35 degrees and too hot to go for walks. So today I've been painting. Just experimenting with watercolour pencils and paints. I do enjoy it but feel guilty about not getting enough exercise. Perhaps tomorrow will be cooler...

This heat is a reminder that global warming is with us now. Our governments need to act to bring down our carbon footprint to stop the planet getting hotter and hotter each year.

i hope you are managing to stay cool.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Sights

Heron flying. Photograph taken by my daughter as we walked along the canal near her home.
Spotted in Wendover
Beautiful red apples in someone's garden

The upside of lockdown for me is discovering how much I enjoy walking. Walking alone or walking with a friend or members of my family - it's always just so nice to be outside and to be able to appreciate Nature.

I've been staying with one daughter and, as we walked we saw a heron camoflauged on the opposite bank. As we approached it flew and my daughter took this beautiful picture. I don't think I've ever seen a heron in flight before.

My other daughter and her children have been staying this week and they love Petersfield. We discovered a playground with a zip wire. We saw a box of black French beans outside someone's house with a note to Please Help Yourself. We did and they were delicious for supper that night. Plus we bought cottage garden flowers that my daughter chose from my favourite place to walk to -The Harrow Inn at Steep.

I hope you have good 'Sights' to walk to near you and that you enjoy your week.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Printing with leaves etc.

This bold robin perched really close to me
Beautiful, bold dahlia
Close to me bee
Leaf prints lesson

This week we printed with leaves. It's really easy and produces great results.
The trick is to find thicker leaves and paint the underside of them then press down onto any sort of paper. These were done on white copy paper. 
I got the girls to draw a tree trunk and then print leaves in three different shapes onto it. I think it worked well.
All these photos appeared on my Instagram feed @jenny_handmade_happiness
I post often on Instagram but not so often here. If you are already on Instagram please follow me. I say this because most of you reading this don't live in the UK. Most of you live in the USA.
Wishing you a good week.X

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Teaching and inspiration. Make paper beads.

Making  paper beads with family
Favourite flower and collage
Spotted a white tailed bumblebee
Making more masks with Kaffe Fassett fabrics. These are drying outside
A huge dahlia in a bunch of flowers from the Harrow Inn at Steep


Even my children who reckon I always take blurry pictures think my photography is better lately! Funny how the colours of the flowers I love are echoed in whatever I am making. See above.

This week my 'art' session with my four year old grandaughter was making paper beads. It's quick and easy as long as your child can use scissors. She used felt tips to cover a piece of A4 copy paper with colourful patterns, then we cut it into triangles and rolled them tightly round a felt tip and glued the pointed end with pva.
  I used paints (see above) and coated each bead with sealer. I also found that you can use plain white paper to quickly make beads and then paint the finished article. Much quicker. I am thinking celebration garlands with these beads or perhaps part of a Christmas decoration for the tree.
I notice now how the colours of the beads are similar to the colours of sweetpeas, 

Fingers crossed one of the Handmade Happiness events at the Physic Garden in Petersfield will be allowed. It's a wait and see time. I am hoping that at least the November 14th event will happen. Watch this space.
I am making these colourful masks to sell at the next HH event. The picture above shows the latest batch washed and drying on the line before being ironed and having the elastic attached.

I walk to the Harrow Inn near Petersfield every week for fresh flowers. The Harrow has a big garden full of colourful flowers and vegetables which are used in the pub and sold to fundraise for Macmillan Nurses and the Rosemary Foundation (hospice at home) with all proceeds going to charity. That huge dahlia called out to me yesterday. I had to have it!

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Colourful masks and colourful flowers

Zinnias
Masks I made with Kaffe Fassett designed fabrics
Cherries seen when out walking
The Chilterns

I feel a  bit confused at the moment. I heard on the radio that hundreds of scientists now believe the virus is airborne. If this is true there's no point social distancing. It's thrown me a bit. I wonder when we'll ever feel completely safe?

Meanwhile my joy of the week has been buying flowers from this pub near me called The Harrow at Steep. I've walked there twice recently and returned home with bunches of beautiful garden flowers which they sell in aid of local charities.  I love the colours in these zinnias. I've also bought sweetpeas and dahlias and now my house is full of flowers in vases in all the colours of the rainbow. It's been so long since I bought anything other than food that I don't feel guilty about spending money on flowers at all!

Nature has healing powers. I'm sure everyone feels happy to be outside. I often wish I knew more so I could correctly identify trees, birds and plants. So this week the local library re-opened (hurray!) and I got out three books with photographs of trees, birds and plants. Hopefully I'll soon be able to put a name to what I see on my walks.

I hope you are finding joy too now that things are slowly returning to normal.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

The latest

Making more masks
Found these when sorting
Beautiful wall of hollyhocks in Sheet
Met these sheep on a walk yesterday
Walking down a disused railway track
Spotted these wild cherries

Being out in nature is the best thing when life and the future seem uncertain.
Sorry I'm repeating myself. But everything feels more positive when we are outside and it's safer too.
I have made many more masks since the picture above was taken including some in Kaffe Fassett fabrics which are very colourful. Here in the UK it is compulsory to wear masks on public transport and personally I feel better wearing a mask in a shop too although you don't have to.

Yesterday I went on a long walk with a friend. It rained all day but we sheltered in a wooden bus shelter for a picnic lunch and kept on walking. Exploring new places to walk has been one of the joys of lockdown for me. I feel lucky to be able to do that.
I hope there are some hidden upsides to being restricted for you to. 
Take care and I hope you stay well too.X

Monday, 22 June 2020

Inspiration

From a card I made
And another card  I made I now find inspiring
Giant flower seen on my walk
Hollyhock time. How do they grow in the dirt next to walls?
The Chiltern hills where one of my daughters lives

I went to stay with my daughter who has just had a baby. That is why I haven't blogged for ages.  As you may have gathered from my last post I was going a bit stir crazy after 12 weeks on my own. It was lovely to be in Hertfordshire walking in beautiful countryside with baby, two year old and my daughter and son-in-law. 

I've come home inspired to start making again and to sort out my craft materials ready for my next project which, hopefully will be jewellery!

I saw the giant flower on my walk yesterday and immediately was reminded of Georgia O'Keefe's paintings of flowers. It was honestly the size of a dinner plate. 

When I looked through old photos of things I made in the past these two scraps from my cards caught my eye. I want to do more combining embroidery with papers. But first I have housework to catch up on after time away.

I hope you are staying well and feeling reasonably optimistic. It's hard when things feel vague and we don't know what the future holds for any of us. I find it helps to talk to friends and family and to get outside into the fresh air as much as possible. Take care. X

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Butterfly brain

Butterfly mobile designed and made by Jenny Stacy
Sun hats for tiny babies made by me
Playing with colour and a streak of gold ink
Petersfield has these magical places

This week I've flitted from one thing to another, never concentrating on anything for any length of time. It's week 12 of lockdown here in the UK and I am going a bit stir crazy.  It's great to walk in the countryside and I am grateful for that but I long for the library to be open again and/or the Oxfam book shop. 

I made the butterfly mobile after an art session with my four and five year old grandaughters. They drew round butterfly and butterfly people templates I sent them and added patterns and colour while I watched and encouraged on Face Time.

 The older one is back at school now and doing well with the 'social distancing'. Each child is marooned on their own desk and when they move they are told to walk like zombies with their arms stretched out in front of them. Genius, whoever thought of that. Although she'd like to give her friends a hug she is coping well with the restrictions. 

I made the little sunhats for my baby grandaughters, born this year. Two of the three in the picture are reversible. Most of the fabrics are Liberty tana lawn which is a joy to sew.

As you know I like playing with paint and I was pleased with the effect of adding a bit of gold ink. Encouraged by this I've just done two canvasses using watercolour and gold ink. I've got two more canvasses I could use, so maybe next time I write I'll have 4 new paintings to share with you...

Keep safe and keep well. Above all try to focus on the positive in these very difficult times for all of us. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Life in lockdown

June is roses month in the garden. Bowl by Ali Cooper ceramics.
I love this Drops fine wool and I found these buttons when sorting 
I've made enough masks now
Discovered this wonderful spot when walking

I try to focus on the positive but I have to say something about the disgusting way George Floyd was murdered. It shocked the world. Every right thinking person is disgusted and shocked. All men are born equal and should be shown equal respect. Why do some people still not know this?

 At the risk of sounding incredibly corny: Let's radiate love and be brave enough to speak out about injustice whenever we see it or experience it.

Sometimes it is hard to see how this world can change for the better. But the eternal optimists among us have to believe it will. The lockdown experience has given us pause to think about the kind of future we want. More than ever we have to take the world view and act on what is best for the planet as a whole. The weather is extreme, giving us daily reminders that climate change is happening right now. It we are to slow it down we all have to act now.

To walk in a park or by a river or in the woods is so good for us. Daily walks are the upside of having to stay at home most of the time.

I've been making masks as you know and those pictured are the last ones I intend making. I offered them on Instagram for free and most of them have gone to new homes. I want to focus on making something else now. Today I'm making a butterfly mobile and some sun hats. The tiny cardigan is for the newest member of our family, born just last week!

Friday, 29 May 2020

How to dry peonies

 Dried peonies at home
Peonies growing in the garden
Peonies drying on my clothes airer and peony close up

Drying peonies is easy. Once they are fully dried out they seem to last forever.
I think of peonies as a wedding flower and I would love to see these made into a wreath for a wedding or a pretty ring for a bride or bridesmaid's head.

The trick is to hang a peony up to dry when it is at the right stage. If the petals fall when you touch it, it is too late. You want to dry a peony with no brown edges. Only perfect peonies will do! When a peony first starts to look a bit sorry for itself and droop a bit on the stem this is the time it needs to be hung up.

Thread a needle with cotton. Cut the stalk about four to six inches below the flower. Push the needle and cotton through the stalk about three inches below the flower. Tie your cotton so you have a loop.  Hang your flower by the loop on a clothes airer like mine or from anything where you can have the flower floating free with nothing in it's way. If you are drying several peonies make sure they are well spaced from each other. A lamp shade or light shade might be a good thing to hang from.

Peonies take a few weeks to dry out depending on the weather. Dry or fresh they are certainly my favourite flower.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Mask making

Assorted masks in silk and cotton. Made by Jenny Stacy
I love Liberty. Masks made by Jenny Stacy

I've made about 20 masks in two sizes recently. Originally I thought I'd just make them for the family but when I put a picture on Instagram orders followed. 

I've never had any confidence in my dressmaking skills so I feel uncomfortable about charging for masks. They are well made and I'm confident they are well-liked, it's just that in this time of national crisis this is something I can do for other people especially anyone who is afraid to leave their house without the protection of a mask. So it doesn't feel right to charge for them.

I am very lucky because I have a lot of fabric. People used to give me fabric when I had the shop and although lots of it was given to fellow makers I kept what I loved.
And best of all I love Liberty tana lawns. This is a very fine cotton and I've collected any little bits of it for years. Now is a good time to use them.

The most important considerations when making masks is :
Does it fit well over your nose, mouth and chin and can you breathe through it?
The first ones I made had a double layer of cotton fabric. This was difficult to breathe through so I tried using plain silk as a lining with cotton and you can breathe through that. However I've nearly run out of silk so yesterday I made masks with a white gauze cotton lining which again is easy to breathe through.
Since taking these pictures I've also made mens' masks using fine linens in shades of grey/green and pale blue with the fine gauze cotton lining and these look good and again are easy to breathe through.

These masks wouldn't offer enough protection to anyone working in a hospital or working in a care home but I wear mine if I have to visit a supermarket and it seems possible that one day it may become compulsory to wear a mask anywhere indoors where there are lots of people gathered.

The good thing about wearing a mask is that you feel safer and that other people steer clear of you because seeing the mask  reminds them to social distance.





Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Are you ok?

The first peony has bloomed in my garden
I cleaned and tidied the dresser in my kitchen
Painting flowers in a vase
How are you?
Are you ok? Have you got enough food? Are you able to communicate with friends and family online? Is there a strict lockdown in your area? Are you working from home or outside of the home? Are you able to keep yourself busy if you are not working? Can you do some art at home?

These are questions that I cannot know the answer to as the comment box under each post is mostly unused. But if you do want to have any dialogue with me you can use my email address. If I don't hear from you I will assume you are ok!

Strange times with no obvious end to them. It's not good for our mental health not to know what is happening and what is going to happen in the future. Chatting to friends and family online and doing a bit of 'art' keeps me sane. What about you?

The peony picture reminds me that this time last year I posted another peony picture. In May 2019 I had the shop and I made things to sell in my shop. Medal brooches and colourful felt this time last year. I was also experimenting with making paper flowers and gold wax seals. 

This time last year one of my daughters kindly invited me to share a villa on a Greek island with her family. Even though it meant leaving the shop closed for a week it was a wonderful opportunity for me and a lovely break. Hot sun, beach, swimming pool and cool white villa. I can't imagine ever doing anything like that again. We can't travel abroad and airlines are rapidly going broke. Governments are keen to get the economy going again but until people feel safe they will be reluctant to leave the relative safety of being at home.

Make something. Making a face mask for example or making something for a friend or member of your family is a nice thing to do. I am half way through the canvas I mentioned in my last post. I'll get on with that now but whether or not it will end up good enough to share with you is anyone's guess !!
Take care of yourself. X

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Drawing etc

Self portrait from a photograph taken a while ago.
Watercolour of iris seen on my walk
First page of new notebook with ideas for a new collage on canvas
Inspired by Grayson Perry I did a quick sketch of myself straight after his programme last week. The jaw is all wrong but according to him that doesn't matter! The main thing is to just draw, every day and you know what they say about practice making perfect! Or at least making me improve!

On my walk I saw some richly coloured velvety iris and couldn't resist having a go at painting ,them.

I like Grayson's attitude that it doesn't matter if it's no good it is just so satisfying to have a go. After all anything you are not happy with you can throw away or put it in a drawer and not show anybody! But the chances are you will surprise yourself !! At the moment when we are restricted it is good to challenge ourselves with something different.

I play around with drawing and paints but I've now decided to use the pile of canvasses I've ignored and try a big collage. Watch this space. And please have a go yourself. You'll be so pleased you did!