Warm felt slippers for cold winter feet

felt_cow_slippers-1

In 2009 I visited Nepal for the first time. I had decided to take a few months to travel and volunteer, and instantly fell in love with the place – it became home for a while, and I have gone back every year since.

During one of my visits, I met Ramji, a local business man, who makes felt slippers from his home workshop in the Kathmandu Valley.  I was just about to open Little Beach Boutique and thought the slippers he made were the cutest thing I had ever seen and would be a perfect addition to the shop.  Each pair is made with natural wool, made by hand from start to finish and dried naturally in the sun.

I soon put in an order for some slippers – sheep, tigers and mice, and on recent visits, we have been coming up with ideas together.  In January, I returned to go trekking, and we came up with some new designs – donkeys, cows, dogs and cats.

They took a while to arrive this time, as it has been a long, cold winter in Nepal and there haven’t been many warm sunny days.  But last friday, after going home from the shop early, feeling frozen by our relentless winter, they had arrived – so I put on a pair instantly! Happy feet…

Felt_dog_slippers-2
So now I don’t really mind if the cold continues for a while, as I have these to choose from…
donkey_felt_slippers-3
cat_felt_slippers-4
Blogging from her gift shop, Little Beach Boutique, Suzanne writes about art, craft and making glass, running a small business and living by the sea.
Advertisements

Making Waves with Glass

Making-Waves-with-Glass-image1

I’ve always loved making things.  When I was younger, my best friend and I used to get the train to Brighton to scour flea markets for discarded necklaces and solitary earrings that we could break up and re-form, and scan each tiny wooden tray in the bead shop on Sydney Street with a basket to fill with charms, wires and findings.  We’d sell our eclectic creations to the people on our road and give the money we made to various good causes.  I’ve still got the letters from local charities thanking us for the ‘generous’ sums of up to about £7.00 which raised on their behalf!

I first tried my hand at fusing glass a few years ago after doing a weekend workshop at the Open Studios on Brighton Beach.  After renting a studio space for a few months, I bought myself a kiln and turned my spare room into a space in which I could tinker to my heart’s content.  I’d put different items in the kiln to see what happened.  I’m certainly no scientist, but I can appreciate whatever alchemy occurs when the lid is closed and the heat is turned up. When glass melts and re-forms, something entirely new happens.  Colours transform and merge, shapes soften and bubbles appear, rusty coppers turn a sheer blue.

Quite naturally, the glass I started making seemed to be a reflection of my surroundings -frothy blue waves, though, in reality they are often a lot more grey in Brighton!

Making-Waves-with-Glass-image2

The piece above is made with two sheets of 3 mm Clear Base , 2mm Bullseye Turquoise Glass, White Opal Stringers, White Opalescent Medium Frit, Copper Leaf and Bicarbonate of Soda.

Lay 2-3 sheets of copper foil onto a sheet of clear base glass, overlapping if you want darker blue in some places.  Scatter small amounts of bicarbonate of soda on to the foil -use no more than a couple of pen-tip sizes in any one place, or the bubble could burst!  Lay the second piece of clear glass on top,  making sure the edges meet.

Cut waves & arcs into Turquoise Glass and lay on top on the clear glass in your chosen arrangement.  Then scatter generously with Frit and Stringers.  Fire to a maximum of 780*C.  Bullseye have a great firing schedule on their website http://www.bullseyeglass.com.

Enjoy!

Blogging from her gift shop, Little Beach Boutique, Suzanne writes about art, craft and making glass, running a small business and living by the sea.

First Post from Little Beach Boutique

first-post-from-little-beach-boutique-image1

I thought it was a good time to start a blog today. Spring is in the air and crisp sun shines on Brighton Beach. The first school groups of the year are pacing the pebbles with ice cream, teasing the seagulls with their discarded cones and packed sandwiches and are daring each other to dip a toe in the sea. The carousel has just been reassembled after a winter of attentive maintenance. It always signifies the start of summer and it always seems to rain when they do it.

I’m sitting in my shop in the Artist’s Quarter on Brighton Beach. It’s a former fisherman’s arch that I opened as a shop with my friend Alice nearly two years ago. I am a crafter- a glass maker mainly. It happened quite accidentally. For years I worked as a support worker for women fleeing domestic violence and abuse. Glass was a lovely distraction and suddenly it seemed an option to turn my hand to it full time.

So for nearly a year now, I have been self-employed as a shop-keeper and glass maker. I had my doubts at first about the sanity of the decision to walk away from a reliable income to pursue a career based on a hobby, almost totally reliant one the the most unpredictable of forces – the weather – to bring footfall, during a period of seemingly endless economic gloom. But a year later I am sitting here looking out from my shop onto the beach on this spring day thinking it was exactly the right thing to do.

The shop is called Little Beach Boutique. I’ll be writing all about it in this blog, alongside all the things I love about living in Brighton and being by the sea.

View our gorgeous range of products and buy online at our website

www.littlebeachboutique.com