Our Creative Customers – Personalised Glass Tile Frames

Recently, we’ve had a little run of inspiring and thoughtful messages conjured up by our creative customers to personalise the framed glass tiles which we make here in Little Beach Boutique – and I wanted to share some with you…

It was Father’s Day this weekend, and as a present for her father, one customer chose the Brighton and Hove Peace Statue tile, which is a beautiful angel, screen printed as a silhouette onto a fused glass tile.  In the frame we have written the words “I’ll be your angel because you have always been mine”.  Such a lovely personal touch…

Brighton and Hove peace Statue Handmade Glass Tile
“I’ll be your angel because you have always been mine” We make all our glass tiles here in Little Beach Boutique and mount them in white box frames. You can personalise your chosen tile with your own message, which we write by hand on the border.

Another customer chose our Hove Beach Hut tile for her friend’s birthday because the area holds special significance for them as a place they grew up together.  The message reads “Hove is home…We didn’t know we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun”.  So beautiful, I would love someone to give that to me!

hove is home, glass beach hut tile
“We didn’t realise we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun” Hove Beach Hut tile made from copper leaf and glass. We make these to order in Little Beach Boutique and write your own words in the frame for that personal touch.

 

For a child’s christening, the Peace Statue was chosen by another customer.  This time, they opted for the glass tile to be made with copper foil, which forms the infused blue bubbles within the glass.  It is a beautiful turquoise blue and really stands out.  As a godmother to her niece, she chose words that reflected love and protection, personalising her tile with the words “I promise to help you and lead you, to encourage you, to care for you, to always love you”.

Peace Statue Brighton and Hove, glass tile from Little beach Boutique
Handmade Fused Glass tile mounted in a white box frame and personalised with the words “I promise to help you and lead you, to encourage you, to care for you, to always love you”.

I was feeling inspired by a sunny Brighton myself, this week, and made some new glass tiles reflecting the boats on the calm blue sea.  I chose the words “There’s something beautiful on the horizon” to write underneath the tile.  This piece is made with crushed glass, called frit, and fired on quite a cool temperature so that the glass doesn’t go fully liquid in the kiln.  The result is a lovely texture that reminds me of the sea.

Of course, you could choose any message you like to write underneath and I could also make a similar tile with the boat in a different colour, to make it really individual!

Glass boat tile, Little Beach Boutique
Handmade and unique, this textured glass boat tile is made in Little Beach Boutique and comes mounted in a white box frame, personalised with your own message. It can be made to order in other colours and alternate sizes – we love doing commissions!

You can see more of our range on http://www.littlebeachboutique.com or pop in to see us in our Brighton shop one day.

DID YOU KNOW? We also run glass making workshops, so you can even make a unique glass tile yourself!  Visit our page for more information here.

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It’s our first birthday in our North Laine shop!

Little Beach Boutique has just celebrated our first birthday in our North Laine shop and we would like to thank everybody for their support and custom over the last 12 months.

Little Beach Boutique in the North Laine, Brighton
Little Beach Boutique on North Road in Brighton’s North Laine – celebrating our first birthday in our lovely new premises

Moving from a small seafront arch to a larger space in Central Brighton was a big challenge (and an even bigger leap of faith!) but  this year has been amazing and we haven’t looked back.

Now a team of three – Suzanne, Claire and Jennie, we feel fully part of the North Laine Community of independent shops, cafes and venues. We have met lots of lovely local characters as well as talented and inspiring designer/makers from Brighton and further afield.  Since opening our new shop in 2014, we have expanded our handmade collections of homeware, jewellery, accessories and thoughtful gifts –  proudly showcasing new designers and emerging talent alongside our collection of glass which we individually design and make on site.

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We love this illustrated lighting by A Northern Light, made from parchment paper.
Cassette Cufflinks
Cassette cufflinks by Brighton and Hove based jewellery maker, Maria Allen
Hummingbird Earrings by Mica Peet
Our favourite earrings – we love these patterned hummingbird studs by Mica Peet

We have had our first workshops – including our “Introduction to Fused Glass” alongside our “Natural Skincare” and Aromatherapy courses, and during the May festival, we had a daily puppet show based on Mermaids and Sea Shanties which was a great success in our downstairs space.

This year we have started running our first workshops in our downstairs space.  Suzanne ran 'An Introduction to Fused Glass' and everyone made beautiful coasters, dishes and wall hangings.
This year we have started running our first workshops in our downstairs space. Suzanne ran ‘An Introduction to Fused Glass’ and everyone made beautiful coasters, dishes and wall hangings.
We continues to design and make our unique range of handmade fused glass in house and have done some lovely commissions for homes and hotels.
Suzanne continues to design and make our unique range of handmade fused glass in house and have done some lovely commissions for homes and hotels.

Now looking forward to the year ahead, we will be bringing you lots of new products for the coming months, creating new glass designs, and running more workshops for your crafting pleasure!

Dylan the dog enjoys his new home and gets spoiled rotten by customers with treats and cuddles!
Dylan the dog enjoys his new home and gets spoiled rotten by customers with treats and cuddles!

We would like to thank all our customers and suppliers for their support, enthusiasm, kind words and encouragement over the last year.

Pop in to see us at 74 North Road, Brighton – we are open 7 days a week – we’d love to see you!

Or visit our website – http://www.littlebeachboutique.com

Bye for now!

Suzanne x

The sun has got it’s hat on

Hip hip hip hooray!  So I thought it was a good time to take a photo of Little Beach Boutique in the sunshine (and show off our new sign).  You can also see some of our gorgeous wedding gifts, such as our Mr & Mrs Garland and our handmade personalised children’s room signs, made in Brighton.

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And this is Dylan the dog sun bathing. He comes down to the shop with me every day and loves to greet each customer.  He also likes chasing the seagulls when there’s a discarded bag of fish and chips on the beach.

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Let’s hope the sun lasts this time!

Suzanne x

Suzanne blogs from her shop and workspace, Little Beach Boutique, in the Artist’s Quarter on Brighton Seafront.  You can see more of her handmade gifts from Brighton and beyond here:

http://www.littlebeachboutique.com

Brighton Festival is in Full Swing…

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Brighton festival is in full swing this month, and the city is bursting with activity;  from dancing in the glorious Spielgeltent to browsing brilliant local art and chomping on cake in one of the Open Houses, there are street performances,  art installations and pop-up venues  every weekend in May, with the weird and wonderful (and everything in between) filling each corner of the city,  and something to do from the moment you wake until well after the sun goes down.

The highlights for me this weekend started with the Swing Ninjas playing at the Warren on Friday.   The Warren was a surprise treat – tucked behind West Street, but feeling a world away from it, the atmosphere seemed to be more like a country fair, complete with tepee , hay bails and barbecue,  than a city-centre festival venue.

The Swing Ninjas were amazing as always.  Regulars at the awesome Mesmerist, the ‘Quintessential Gentlemen of Swing’ played their set of New Orleans Swing and Parisien Jazz in front of a blissful crowd of toe-tappers and swing dancers (nobody stood still),  with a strong contingent from Brighton Lindyhoppers doing some dazzling dancing.

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 Yesterday I went on a trail of Open Houses, walking in the wind around the Beyond the Level and Fiveways exhibits.  I was so inspired by the  art and craft on show, showcasing Brighton as an incredible city for creativity.  My favourites were 8 Rosehill Terrace, showing some stunning canvasses by Tina Davies (www.tinadavies.eu), and the Dragonfly House, where I bought a beautiful vase by Alison Milner (www.spellermilnerdesign.co.uk)

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There was plenty of time to sit in the garden and eat cake before it started raining completely, but I also left lots more to see next weekend!

If you get the chance, try to squeeze in a  few open houses before the festival is over.   I’d also really recommend New England House, Glass in Fusion, David Williams and Guests, A Family of Artists and Friends for their atmosphere as well as their collection – but there are so many more!

You can also visit here for more information visit www.aoh.org.ukwww.aoh.org.uk

For further info on the Brighton Lindyhoppers, visit – http://www.brightonlindyhoppers.co.uk/

And to find out more about the Swing Ninjas, go to – www.theswingninjas.co.uk

Bye for now x

Suzanne blogs from Little Beach Boutique, a shop and workshop on Brighton Beach, specialising in handmade glass, craft and personalised gifts –   www.littlebeachboutique.com

A Hen Party Beside the Seaside

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Back in January, I was honoured and terrified in equal measures to be asked to organise my friend’s hen party in Brighton.  Brighton is fast becoming the capital city of hen parties and I was slightly dreading becoming one of the groups  that I have spent several soggy Saturdays in Little Beach Boutique slightly smirking at- groups walking past in the rain with banners, inflatable penises and learner plates flapping around in the Brighton Breeze.

 Brighton Sign low

I was spoiled for choice over what to plan for Kim – I could have taken my pick of the numerous burlesque lessons, ‘Beyonce’ boot camps, buff butlers and craft mornings to choose from – and that’s not to the exclusion of the kayaking that floated through my mind, or a morning learning to wind-surf in Hove lagoon.

But, mindfully aware of people’s budgets, and under a strict brief of no strippers or dance lessons, much to my relief, I decided to make the most of what we have to offer in our amazing city and show off what I love about this place.

So, we hired a house in the gorgeous Clifton Hill area, with plenty of space for a party on Friday night and views of the sea as soon as we walked outside.  We made cocktails, played games, danced and gossiped for the first night, then made our way to Hove the next day for a morning of pampering at Real Beauty with Allie – a new salon on First Avenue.
Allie was amazing –  we all had fabulous massages and some had their nails done- perfect for the ‘morning after’ and, as the weather let us down, we had our intended picnic of coffee and pastries in the relaxing surrounds of her salon instead.  We had a gorgeous lunch in the Bandstand Cafe – really good value and tasty snacks in what is, to me, the most beautiful building in Brighton.

Obviously we had a bracing walk on the beach  – no hen party would be complete without being ill-equipped and under-dressed for the weather – despite it being May Bank Holiday.

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We had drinks, told stories about Kim and wrote ‘wishes and words of wisdom’ in a a jar of pebbles from the beach before going to her favourite restaurant in Brighton – Oki-Nami. She loves Japanese food and it didn’t disappoint; as always, it was so friendly – and delicious.  They’ve got a contained conservatory area there which was perfect for a big group like our’s.

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And the master stroke for the evening was taking a gamble of one of Brighton’s newest clubs – The Funfair Club,  decked out in all that is nostalgic, eccentric and fabulous about Brighton.  We were able to book a booth for free entry before we arrived and had the mirrored room – a perfect size for our group to spread out and relax in, but near enough to the dance floor so we could make the most of the music, which, I might add, was a triumph!  A mixture of anything from Amy Winehouse to the Strokes, from Whitney Houston to Pulp,  I think it’s a testament to how much a danced, laughed and sang along that I have lost my voice for the last few days!

On Sunday, we had our day on the beach, as the sun came out and so did the rest of Brighton.  It was the first weekend of the Brighton Festival, and festival fever was in full force, with the seafront bursting with people eating, drinking, dancing and sunbathing.  Brighton at it’s best!

Of course, I should have known better, as while the others went home, I decided to go to the Mesmerist for some live music and dancing…no Brighton weekend would be complete without it!

As a lover of craft – the hen party wouldn’t have been complete without a few personal touches, so here are a few ideas…

  • Personalised Tea-light holders; stamped with the names of all the hens – something for everybody to take home. You could do this for photo frames or keyrings as well.

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  • A jar of pebbles of ‘Wisdom and Wishes’ for their life together, labelled with the initials of the couple – a perfect Brighton keepsake – people loved writing down their pearls of wisdom on these!

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  • I also bought a Polaroid camera – there are no re-takes with one of these! And a memory book so that we could stick them in and make an instant keepsake for Kim, with personal messages from each hen written underneath.

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  • Personalised Party Bags for each hen as they arrived, complete with pick and mix and a hen-do survival kit!

And of course-the groom’s head on a stick…why should he miss out?…

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Treatments: Real Beauty with Allie – www.facebook.com/Realbeautywithallie
Restaurant: www.okinami.com
Dancing: www.funfairclub.com
Gifts:  www.littlebeachboutique.com

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.

Making images in glass using silkscreens – a little tutorial

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I’ve been asked by lots of visitors to Little Beach Boutique how I make the glass silk screen coasters that have been new to the shop this year, so I thought I would show you here, with the aid of a few photos, which I hope will help.

Using silk-screens is a great way to add a personal touch to your fused glass – you can create a silk-screens from your own drawings and have a completely unique range.  All you need is a bit of inspiration – and living by the sea gives me plenty of that.

So, for my recent range of Brighton-inspired coasters, I have made silk-screens from my favourite landmarks, first taking images of Brighton Pier, the Royal Pavilion and the West Pier and drawing them onto acetate paper.

 Making images in glass using silkscreens - a little tutorial-2

I bought some blank silk screens from a local supplier which I found online. To transfer the image onto the stretched silk, you need a dark-room to expose them, which, like most people, I don’t have.  So, my hand-drawn images were sent with the screens to a local screen-printing workshop who do it for between £12-14.  Much cheaper than building a dark room.

After a few days I had my silk-screens with the images that can be used again and again…

 Making images in glass using silkscreens - a little tutorial-3

Ready for printing,  the next step is to choose and cut the piece of glass you require, depending on what you are making, and lay it under the screen.  I usually choose 2mm enamel glass for the base.

TOP TIP – smooth down the edges and corners of each piece of glass or it will slice the silk immediately!  I have bought a grinder for this purpose – they are frequently used by stained-glass artists and can be bought via a stained-glass supplier online.  It was a bit of an outgoing to start with (£80-£100) but definitely worth it, as it saved me the pain of destroying my silk-screens every time I went near them!

So – mix the enamel powder of your choice with an oil-based medium.  It needs to be a treacle-consistency.  Spoon it over the top of your image, before pressing over the full image with a ‘squeegy’, which is tool not dissimilar to what you use for wall-papering.  This squeezes the enamel through the holes in the screen and transfers the image onto the glass below.

Repeat this process 2-3 times to ensure an even coverage, like this …

 Making images in glass using silkscreens - a little tutorial-4

Make sure the whole of your image has been evenly transferred with enamel, lift the screen carefully…

Et voila!

…A piece of glass with Brighton Pier on it…

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Let the enamel dry before dusting with a layer of fine crystal clear glass powder and cover with a layer of clear sheet glass.  The layer of powder prevents bubbles from surfacing, which can happen frequently when fusing two pieces of glass. I have chosen to use a 2mm piece of ‘driftwood grey’ enamel glass under a 3mm piece of clear base tekta glass.

I fire my coasters to 773*C – that seems like enough for a lovely smooth edge and soft corners, while maintaining the shape.

Open the kiln, take them out and fire up the kettle as you now have some fabulous coasters!

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So, your shopping list:

2mm opalescent glass

3mm tekta base glass

Fine Crystal Clear powder

Enamel

Oil Based mixing medium

A squeegy

A silk-screen

and some of your favourite images…

I hope this has been helpful.  You can find the whole range of glass coasters and dishes here http://littlebeachboutique.com/collections/handmade-glass

Do contact me if you would like to know more, at littlebeachboutique@googlemail.com

Enjoy!

 Suzanne x

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.

Making Waves with Glass

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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!

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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

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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