Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Using strong colour

I love playing with paints and pastels to make pieces for collage
Blue flowers from the garden in a blue vase
Bee Mellor made this interesting brooch

Strong colour can exert a powerful influence over us. Today a customer said she wished she had a shed in the garden filled with things from Handmade Happiness. What a lovely compliment!

I remember how I used to believe that wearing red at a show made me sell more. This really worked but I expect it was more because wearing red made me feel more confident, not because red was a particularly lucky colour.

I once painted my sitting-room sunflower yellow thinking that strong colour would make me feel happy all the time, In fact it quickly irritated me. I admire other people who can live with strong colours in their homes but for me the novelty quickly wears off and I prefer relaxing neutrals on my walls now.

It's fun to experiment with puting lots of colours together and sometimes deliberately puting clashing colours together. But for me, less is definitely more.
Colourful cushions and colourful artwork but for me to be able to relax,the walls have to be pale.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

New in the shop now

Japanese style bags made by Pam Dew against Japanese style  patchwork throw made by Niloo.
New cards made by Kate Box
New knitted bunting made by Kate Box

Two of Handmade Happiness' favourite makers have just brought in new work. 

Pam Dew has been sewing bags using thick linen and fine cottons all in shades of indigo.
Kate Box, who makes popular wrist warmers, knitted throws and neck warmers has introduced some cards and some bunting into her range.

May saw the largest number of visitors to this blog ever. Most readers live in France. Then nearly the same number live in the USA and then come readers from Great Britain. 
As this isn't a selling blog and readers from abroad are unlikely to ever visit Handmade Happiness  the shop, I wonder what people find appealing about it?

 When I started writing this blog 8 years ago nearly all its readers lived in Great Britain but back then I probably knew my readers personally as there were so few of them. Now this is just a small part of the huge cyber world out there that I still don't fully understand.
But if you want to see many more pictures than I put on this blog check out my Instagram posts. If you aren't familiar with Instagram it's a free app on your phone. Find me as jenny_handmade_happiness 

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Bee Mellor's Birds

Three birds made by Bee Mellor to sell in the shop.
Bee Mellor's glorious birds available in the shop from today

Yesterday these colourful, irrestistible birds came to roost in Handmade Happiness. I absolutely love them.

Some of you might remember Bee making some birds as Christmas decorations last year. They sold out very quickly. But there's no reason why these birds shouldn't be enjoyed all the year round.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

My dolls

Doll three by Jenny Stacy. Love the way she blends into my knitting!
Doll two by Jenny Stacy. Like a jester. She's the most colourful
The first doll by Jenny Stacy. She's also pictured below but now she has a new bonnet.

These are the first dolls I've made in quite a while. Earlier examples are pictured in the right hand side bar of this blog. It's given me such satisfaction to make these, mostly while in the shop between customers. They are just the right size to snuggle like a baby in the crook of your arm.

While I was making them I was thinking about my mother and wishing I could give her one. I was also strongly reminded of my mother yesterday when I visited the Balenciaga exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum.

I took loads of photographs but I don't think I can publish them on social media... Anyway there were lots of examples of clothes made in the 50s and 60s similar to designs my mother wore. She was always very clothes conscious and as her mother was a tailoress, she could point out any style she particularly liked in Vogue magazine and my grandmother could make a pattern from the photograph and set to work.

My mother often talked of going to the market in Nottingham to choose material with her mother for the latest fashionable ensemble! What she didn't appreciate quite so much is the fact that my grandmother insisted on also creating her school uniform so she never felt she quite fitted in... I am sure that my grandmother's interpretation of a school uniform was considerably more stylish than the original but, as children, we just want to blend into the crowd where it's safer...  

Thursday, 25 May 2017

New this week

Reversible patchwork throw made by Niloo.
Doll  designed and made by Jenny Stacy lying on hats knitted by Pam Dew
Peonies are in full bloom in my garden right now. Love them.

This week I am enjoying making dolls again.
I have four on the table and the one pictured is the first to be finished.
On Saturday Niloo bought in three new reversible throws she has made. They are all beautiful. The others are pale in colour so more difficult to photograph but I'll try today.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

What I liked at Pulse

Love these ceramic buttons handmade in Cornwall, ordered today 
Meri Meri's confetti balloons
Studio Kimono's patchwork bags made from vintage kimonos.
Handmade buttons by Stockwell Ceramics for sale in Handmade Happiness now.

Globe Home gift wrap paper.

Monday saw me at the Pulse trade fair at Kensington Olympia. So much to see, most of it off-limits for me. Handmade Happiness only stocks items made from scratch in the UK and most of its stock is made locally in and around Petersfield.

I am looking forward to stocking ceramic buttons like the ones pictured. I was tempted by the pretty hats handmade by Gil Fox and I'm also thinking about handmade dog collars and leads which I think would sell well locally.

Some companies with large minimum orders and long waiting times, like the girls who told me there was a £400 minimum order and nothing would be released before October dampened initial interest but other companies were friendly and accomodating. I fell for some delicate lights like dandelions which I look forward to having in the shop in the run up to Christmas this year. 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

In the window

In the window now. See details below.
Also in the window. Details below
Close up of above shelves middle left. Dragonfly brooch made by Annie Sherburne and llittle bird brooch made by Carol Smith. 

Different things are displayed in the window every week.

Right now in the top picture, left to right, is a ceramic pot by Niloo, a cashmere baby bonnet knitted by Patricia and a mug made by Justine Jenner.

Next row: Sheila Barrow's small embroidery; Justine's tall mug with yellow inside and Elizabeth Eveleigh's birthday cake candle made of pure beeswax.

Just below: Justine's sugar bowl; Brenda Tilbury's patchwork lavender pillow using vintage fabrics and Sue Inglis' sheep brooch.

Bottom row: Two of Sue's knitted brooches, one of Justine's larger mugs with orange inside and a pair of Kate Box's wristwarmers.

In the second box are two pretty flower mugs made by ceramicist Kate Hackett and a hand sewn bear by Lindsey Agostinelli.

Next row: See larger picture plus two ceramic brooches made by Samantha Robertson and two gift boxes decorated by Sue Inglis.

Samantha Robertson also made the little jug below and Sue Inglis made the popular cat keyrings. Brenda Tilbury made the Liberty fabric lavender bag.

Yesterday Justine Jenner brought in more grey large size mugs.

I started making notes about Christmas stock and new ideas for Christmas decorations. It may be May but I need to think ahead!!

Friday, 12 May 2017

New in the shop now

These beautiful, larger size bowls made by Justine Jenner were delivered yesterday.
Love this fish cushion with velvet made by Tanya Williamson.
New cushions made by Tanya Williamson in Handmade Happiness now.

I feel so lucky and honored to sell such special, desirable things in Handmade Happiness. Tanya and Justine are two of the very talented makers stocked by the shop. Another is Kate Box who makes colourful, soft knitwear. We had a meeting yesterday for me to see the prototypes of new designs she has made. New colourways, new shapes but maintaining her excellent standard and I'm sure customers are going to love her new range.

If anyone reading this is also on Instagram you may have seen pictures I put on my blog also on Instagram. I try to post new pictures every day on that app so, if you want to see more (and read less!) check out jenny_handmade_happiness

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

New! Knitted brooches by Sue Inglis.

These cute, fun brooches by Sue Inglis are £7.50 each.

Apologies for not having written lately. I'll try to do better this week. The truth is I've got a chest infection which is a nuisance as I don't feel I've achieved much lately. But with the help of antibiotics it's going. I've not had to take time off from the shop but probably I've been a bit lacklustre lately!

Today I'm looking forward to seeing more cushions from the talented Tanya Williamson and I have just emailled Bee Mellor who has made some beautiful birds for the shop.

The sun is shining and I have a feeling it's going to be a good day. Enjoy your day too!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Fabric design

Fabrics designed by Vanessa Bell,one of the Bloomsbury set.
New fabric called Avelli from Designers Guild
This week I visited the Vanessa Bell exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London. Vanessa Bell, sister of Virginia Woolf and the lover of artist Duncan Grant, who divided her time between Bloomsbury and Charleston, was multi-talented. She painted portraits and interiors and designed fabrics. I particularly like these dresses showing two of her designs which were for sale in the gallery shop. 

(Note to self - do not expect a two year old to be as enthusiastic about visiting a gallery as you are! My grandaughter just wanted to get out to go to the park. Fair enough!) 

Also this week I was happy to be called into neighbour Tara's Interior Design shop to see new designs by Designers Guild brought in by their rep. I fell for this cotton fabric, shown above, a mix of painterly flowers and digitally printed real flowers. So pretty!

Friday, 21 April 2017

In the shop now

In the window. See credits below.
Hand sewn bears by Lindsey Agostinelli with pottery by Samantha Robertson
Patricia knitted this little girl's cardigan and baby bootees.
Jenny Drant knitted this FairIsle tank top for a two year old.

In the window today are, left to right above, pot by Niloo, wool/cashmere baby bonnet by Patricia, and sugar bowl made by Justine Jenner.

Second row: heart felted brooch by Bee Mellor and Jenny Stacy; dimple jug by Justine Jenner and two pure beeswax candles by Elizabeth Eveleigh.

Third row: cup by Justine Jenner; embroidered picture by Sheila Barrow and bird jug made by Kate Hackett.

Fourth row: Sparkly string 30p a metre; ceramic hearts by Kate Hackett and cashmere bunny by Jenny Stacy.

I hope all of you with school age children are enjoying the Easter holidays.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Birthday choices

The amazing ceiling at a Laduree cafe in Paris
Ornate embroidery at Alberta Ferreti in Paris
Luxury art fabrics seen in Paris
A view from The Hangers at Steep near Petersfield.

As it's my birthday I decided to choose pictures taken during the last year that I particularly like. 

Yesterday I walked up The Hangers for the first time. It's spectacular and I'll be doing it again soon. My son in law took this impressive picture. You can see for miles....

In the last year I went with a friend to Paris for a couple of nights. We walked our feet off and I took lots of pictures including the ones above that inspired me then and still inspire me now. I would love to go again, even if only for a few hours. It always amazes me how two capital cities that are so close geographically are so totally different from one another.  I love London and I love Paris and I've lived in both places but I find walking in Paris more exciting.