Welcome to my blog


My name is Sophie Handa and I started Funky Olive Handmade 15 years ago now. I have a passion for all things interiors and as a lampshade maker I love textiles but also love to teach. Why not sign up for one of my drum lampshade workshops, here in the heart of the Hampshire countryside. Here you will find posts on my lampshades, my workshops, interiors as well as features on gardening, running your own business, family life and more.


Please click here for more information on my workshops.


By Sophie Handa, Sep 23 2019 12:24PM

When it comes to choosing lighting for your home it’s a bit of a minefield out there and a badly lit room can really let a beautiful interior down not to mention make a room virtually unusable if it’s task lighting you need! Here are some simple tips when it comes to choosing the right lighting for your home…

Lighting is often a bit of an afterthought when it comes to designing a room so, if you’re in the process of building your home or a new extension, ensure you think about your lighting early on in the planning stage. Really think about who will using the room and what it will be used for. If you have an architect, speak with them and let them guide you or even your builder. There are also lighting specialist companies who will also come in and give great advice (but obviously at a cost).

Perhaps you have just moved house or have a room in your home that doesn’t work because of the lighting but are unsure where to start. I would always use multiple sources of lighting, especially for rooms like kitchens, bedrooms and your living spaces as this will give you different options for different times of the day and for performing different tasks in the room. Does the room have lots of natural light flooding in, or light walls or mirrors for light to reflect off? This will also determine your choice of lighting.

Lighting doesn’t necessarily have to be big and bold to have an impact or the Wow Factor. It just has to be beautiful, made with interesting materials or cleverly designed. Lighting will almost have a split personality, how it looks when illuminated and how it looks when off. So always consider how your lighting will look once it’s dark, does it cast pretty shadows for example? Here are Funky Olive Handmade, I hand make a range of beautiful lampshades that have been lined with striking fabrics, giving a different dimension again and giving interest.

When it comes to the proportions, I would always scale-up wherever possible. Go as large as you can or dare. You’ll be amazed, for example, what a fabulous impact a large ceiling shade will have on even the smallest of rooms! Even for a small child’s room I wouldn’t put anything smaller than a 40cm diameter ceiling shade in. Alternatively, if you’re not brave enough to go large but have the ceiling height, then go deep as this will have a similar impact.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to think of the practicalities when it comes to lighting. If you want to go for the huge, complicated chandelier that’s fine but do think about how you will clean it and keep it dust free! Also consider is it easy to change a bulb when needed?

Visit for a wide range of beautiful hand made lampshades to compliment your home.

Gorgeous Oversized Floor Lamp by iconic Anglepoise
Gorgeous Oversized Floor Lamp by iconic Anglepoise
Clever Overhead Bedroom Reading Lights by Anglepoise in a Belgium Hotel
Clever Overhead Bedroom Reading Lights by Anglepoise in a Belgium Hotel
Add interest to your Lampshades by having them lined in a pretty fabric.
Add interest to your Lampshades by having them lined in a pretty fabric.

By Sophie Handa, May 1 2019 10:07AM

I had meetings up at the Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour last week and as I wasn't a million miles from the Portobello Road there was a little hidden gem of a shop that I've been wanting to visit for a very, very long time.

The Cloth Shop, at the far end of the Portobello Road, is a family-run fabric, haberdashery and homewares store. It is packed to the gills, with military precision, with THE most beautiful things. There are row and rows of neatly stacked patterned fabrics in just about every colour you can imagine, rolls of the most devine coloured French linens, dreamy velvets, beautiful hand block printed Indian cottons to die for, blankets, vintage sari kantha quilts, printed cottons and the most delicious array of braids and ribbons. There are equisite vintage Indian treasures from papier mache cow heads to chapati boards. There are beautiful hand thrown pottery pieces, vintage furniture, garden pots and much, much more. I was litterally like a child in sweet shop and thought I'd died and gone to haberdashery heaven!

The staff were incredibly welcoming, knowledgeable and just lovely. I chatted for a long time swapping stories about adventures in India and hearing all about their amazing buying trips. It was an assault on my senses, boosted my well being and renewed my somewhat lacklustre mojo. I came out of the shop buzzing with ideas for what I could make next with my lampshades, but also what I would like to do with my house and confirmed all the things I love about 'my style' of interiors and that I just need to stick to what I do love and not feel pressurized to change!

I cannot recommend a visit to The Cloth Shop highly enough. If you love textiles, vintage treasures from India and beautiful homewares then you simply must go.

Whilst they have a website, it's more of a presence, they do offer mail order. However they have such a beautiful, vast array of fabric most of it simply doesn't make it onto their website making a visit a must!

By Sophie Handa, Apr 15 2019 12:55PM

I love what I do and I particularly love to teach other people how to do what I do! I have been offering modern drum lampshade workshops for a couple of years now. I started out teaching workshops to professionals (mainly soft furnishers/interior designers) locally and then progressed to the general public and larger groups which I taught from our local village hall. I now teach workshops from my home in Hampshire and like to keep them small with just two people or one-to-one, which offers people a more tailored, personal experience and there's always homemade cake!!

I have lots of workshops dates coming up and teach throughout the year. Do check out my next workshop dates or feel free to contact me if you have a date in mind. We are extremely fortunate in that we are just a stone'sthrow from a fabulous country gastro-pub, The Anchor and many of my students have finished a workshop with me and popped up the road for a delicious lunch to finish their day out!

Coming in May, I'll be offering workshops to learn how to make a double sided drum lampshade, which are proving a popular choice. I have cupboards full of beautiful materials(which is included in the price) however students are welcome to bring their own fabric along. For a first time making a shade I'd recommend bringing a good quality cotton, cotton mix or linen, linen mix fabric. Unless you want to spend the morning pulling your hair out, I'd avoid anything silk or with a high polyester content!

Perhaps you've got a special birthday coming up and would like to be treated, or you'd like to treat a friend, sister or Mum for a well earned day out? Or perhaps you would just like to learn a new skill? Whatever the reason, do get in touch to find out more.

By Sophie Handa, Apr 14 2019 09:55AM

Here at Funky Olive Handmade I have a passion for all things interiors, especially when it comes to the little people in our lives. There is literally a whole world of possibilities with kids interiors and with social media at our fingertips these days, there is so much inspiration out there! I recently completely re-did my son's bedroom as a birthday surprise. He was, at the time, really into Star Wars so very loosely themed it around this.

Lighting was an important factor for his room, as it should be in any room in the house. His room is at the back of the house (north facing) so the light isn't always so great and I wanted to inject some warmth into the room with the orange metal Ikea light as well as all the other accessories. I'm not a huge fan of a just a central pendant, so as well as the Ikea light, I introduced some colour changing mood lighting that is under his bed! I also hand painted the mountains on the wall to inject a bit of interest to a plain wall.

There are so many beautiful children's fabrics out there today to make lampshades from and I have a growing collection of favourites. Here are just a few...

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