Friday 27 March 2020

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Art class 1

My daughter asked me to give grandaughters aged 4 and 5 an art class via Face Time. I thought about something easy that anyone can do using things found in most homes:

Salt, coins, tissue paper, flour, some watercolour paints (any childrens' paints are fine, white A4 copy paper ie ordinary paper you print on to;
pencil, glue stick, paint brush, water and optional wax crayons.

Once my daughter had put all these things into little bowls for each girl (only a very little salt and a very little flour ( half a teaspoon) is needed per child) we were ready to begin.

First you get some tissue paper (the sort you would wrap something precious in or interleave clothing with in a smart store, not toilet roll tissue) bigger than your piece of paper. Scrunch it up in your hands into a ball.  Use the glue stick to cover your paper with glue. Then open up your tissue paper ball and make it flat, then lay it onto the glued paper and smooth it down so it sticks all over.
Put it to one side to dry and get your coins.

With a new piece of paper put the coin under the paper and use wax crayon ideally but a pencil or wood crayon will do and draw back and forth over the top so that the imprint shows on your paper. My girls used their wax crayons and different coins, one at a time. We also thought about what else they could use. An old credit card worked well. 

Now let's try the salt. Paint onto a new piece of paper, lots of colour, and as you paint scatter pinches of salt over your wet paint. Scattering the salt is the most fun. (The end result isn't great, that's why there's no picture!!) 

Back to your now dry tissue covered piece of paper. Paint over it using lots of different colours. See pictures one and two above. 

Last of all the flour. Flour can gunge up your brushes so do leave this til last and wash out brushes straight away.
Drip some water into your flour from your paint brush. Don't touch the flour with your paint brush yet. Now with more water on your brush load brush with paint and mix the colour into your flour to make a paste. Use this paste (blue or red or green are best).  Let it dry. See picture 3 for an example of what it looks like.

Next Wednesday I'll do something different with them. This session lasted about an hour. Feel free to use it for your own children. 

Wednesday 18 March 2020


On the river bank
Love these double tulips
Nature does it best. Photos by Jenny Stacy

Sad to announce that our Handmade Happiness Spring Event cannot go ahead.
I got a call from the Physic Garden to say it was closing its exhibition room until the end of April at least. 

Hopefully the Summer Event on Saturday June 27th can still go ahead.
It seems that China is just about over the crisis now therefore three months could be  the time it takes for a country to be declared safe again.

In the meantime we just have to look after each other and follow simple precautions. In a nutshell this is washing hands more frequently and for longer than usual, allowing 2 metres between yourself and others, and self isolating if you have a high temperature and/or a new persistent cough or if anyone you live with develops these symptoms.

On the plus side I find I am making and receiving more phone calls than usual. Catching up with old friends and checking everyone is ok. My children are phoning regularly expressing concern even though I am not old nor do I have any symptoms. But this crisis brings out the best in people, all caring for each other.

Sunday 15 March 2020


Cheerful beads made and painted by Jenny Stacy for the Spring event

What strange and, sometimes, fearful times we are living through. With constantly updating news on the radio it is hard to plan how to react to this 'crisis'.

I admit I didn't take the threat of the Corona virus seriously until very recently. But the media is united in confirming that this is really happening. I don't hear a reassuring alternative view. So my old theory that this might be a smoke screen to deflect our attention from the huge problems of climate change, poverty and homelessness has been shot down.

Now I'm thinking about how we can help each other. Did you see the Italian response when they flung open their windows to join in the singing? What a great attitude!
Let's take the Italians as our role models! No panicking, no stock piling food and goods just a genuine concern for our neighbours, family and friends.

We makers have the advantage of enjoying being at home where we can be extra productive! We are happy to be confined to some extent. I'm tempted to write a list of fun things to do if isolated. For example to improve my piano playing in a more disciplined way; to get on with writing the book; to spring clean and count my blessings.

However we must take personal responsibility by not spreading the virus or exposing ourselves to unnecessary risk. Keeping a metre apart from people if possible, washing our hands more frequently than usual and catching our coughs and sneezes are good precautions. And if you are reading this and fear you have got the virus or know you have got it I send love and the hope that you'll be over it really soon. X 

Thursday 12 March 2020

Our Spring Event

In this week's local paper

I am really pleased that the Petersfield Post newspaper has published this. Excellent publicity for the first Handmade Happiness event at the Physic Garden on Saturday March 28th.

Sunday 8 March 2020

Empty shelves in supermarkets

No toilet rolls for sale in Waitrose yesterday afternoon
Very little pasta left either

People are stocking up in case the Corona Virus affects them and they have to stay indoors. This kind of panic buying means that if you do your weekly shop and just want one toilet roll you can't have it because someone has cleared the shelves of toilet rolls and there are none left.

I heard of one Tesco customer who ordered £500 worth of goods online and that was their second order. The first order was for £600. And people have been walking around supermarkets with trolleys full of toilet rolls and extra food. 

While I was in Waitrose I saw the shelves being re-stocked but only with packs of 16 toilet rolls. That was all they had, forcing some people to grab for those, perhaps worried about when they'd ever find the normal four packs...

Hand sanitisers and anti-bacterial wipes and liquid soaps are also being stock piled even though this is a virus, not an infection.
Where are people stock piling all these extras? And what about the millions of people who live on a budget and can't stock pile anyway?

We are living through strange times.
As someone put it,comparing deaths from Corona virus to the thousands of deaths per day from starvation that are rarely if ever mentioned in the media..."Corona virus could affect the rich. Famine doesn't" 

Just as Brexit once filled the radio air waves, now it's Corona virus. In more cynical moments, I wonder if this is partly a smoke screen to distract attention from the fact that little is being done about climate change, poverty and homelessness in this country and these, to my mind, are far more urgent priorities.
I'd like to know what you think .

Monday 2 March 2020

Thinking and Making

I've painted some beads
I've found some old glass buttons
Violets spotted while walking
I have never before spent so long thinking about making before actually getting down to it. Is it the weather? Is it the doom and gloom news? I don't know. Maybe, to be honest, is the fact I want the next things I make to be more special and it's the fear that they won't be that holds me back. So a confidence issue. All I know is that today I want to finally produce something worth talking about and taking pictures of!!