Hello everyone and welcome to your tour. ! As you can’t come to us, we thought we would bring Skye Blue House to you and share a little of our world and various Art Spaces. In the three years since we have lived here, we have transformed every inch of our little kingdom. And in Summer, the window of opportunity to be outdoors is small. So celebrate we must.
Firstly, our vintage caravan. Crammed full of shabby chic, enamel picnic wear, cosy rugs and blankets and simple magazines, perfect for inspirational ideas while you’re drinking tea under the fairy lights.
When we came here, there was just a square of garden. Now three years on, we have two apple, a pear and a cherry tree, various acers, a willow, rowan and a multitude of flowers and plants bursting through every bed and border. My impatience for planting outweighs my knowledge of each specamin, but I instinctively plant, feed and nurture them and something is working. You can clearly flourish without knowing all the rules sometimes. . This period of time we are currently living through; a timetable without limits and these few months of a little more warmth on the body, has enabled re-painting of some of the murals and colourful paths here. Most of these are done with shed paint. I favour cuprinol for its intense colours. (But other garden paint is available!) It might not last forever , but if the look you favour is slightly weathered, that’s fine! I have been fortunate to have a friend make me some sturdy bin, log holders, gate and seats. Wood is far more coast friendly than metal.
And it isn’t just humans and animals that have somewhere to live here. Parallel to our kingdom is the fairy one. In amongst the alpine plants are tiny houses, tables and chairs, a beach, a church, even a circus… And when the lights go down at night….
No paint is safe here… Odds and ends can be used in various ways, but this time, the scraps went to create a garden Art chair, out of an old bedraggled child’s armchair.
As our galleries aren’t open just now, there was a slight issue with storage and trip hazards of pictures all over the place.. my sticks, speedy 11 yr olds and ploddy dogs. Solution? Build a gallery in your shed. This space was a camp last week, but the thought there MIGHT be a spider in there was enough to prevent it ever being used as one by it’s young owner. So mum, ever ready with a plan, presents to you… The First of our galleries. This one is called Rose Cottage, Named After Mopsie (my Grandmother’s) house. Next, will be a real one hopefully!
In the larger of the beach huts, there is both space to work alongside someone else as well as a space to sleep. It is only really a summer space as it gets so cold and windy here on the cliff, and I find it harder to be outdoors after October. But here are all the beach hut donations given to us by our mysterious annual gifter. Every Summer, new arrivals appear for the Beach hut lady, by a collector of beach hut paraphernalia. And are extremely welcome and well loved.
This is our garden room hut. Memories are everywhere here, peeping through from between pages in vintage books and in drawers and print blocks. Childhood games and gifts, tiny treasures and letters. A most relaxing hidden gem. This room beckons you in and keeps you here for hours.. Anyone who has ever read an Angela Carter novel will get this space.
I did the same as a child in the dappled light of Mopsie’s garden.
Suspend your sensible mind for long enough to have some fun with your things, while you have this time . Look closer. Who knows what or who you’ll find. xxx
The first couple of weeks of lockdown were taken up with a non stop production line . Every sofa, table, inch of floor and kitchen worktop was taken up with a pile, box or bag being printed, sorted, collated and labelled. It was industrious, challenging, extremely time consuming and, because things didn’t arrive from Amazon, also entailed rummaging for art materials in my cupboards and drawers to make up a set for each of the 30 Art bags.
To give your time, a well thought out message, a piece of artwork, your time, your thoughts or your emotions.. these are all your gifts. All things which you offer up to those people you care about.
If you are alone, remember you aren’t really. Even if your clock ticks so slowly and your cat is talking back to you
Be kind anyway. To yourself, your family. Immerse yourself in an audio book or a drawing. Or buy a random wonderful thing to eat. You can guarantee no-one is looking. Oh, apparently, my neighbour’s curry was a starter for her main dinner that night.. fabulous xxx
As a postscript to this post, we are both terribly sad to let you now that Pumpkin lost his brave battle to stay with us here, a couple of days ago. He was an amazing, funny, quirky, friendly ball of fluff. He made so many people happy ,and he was my constant companion. I am certain he read my mind. Or at least absorbed my woes . He leaves a little pumpkin shaped hole in both our hearts and we know you’ll join us in saying goodbye. To the kindest little friend we knew xxxx
Dearest friends. How are you holding up? What strategies are working best?
Although not easy getting the tribe up so early, the pleasure of early sunlight and space to roam for ten minutes was lovely and worth every grumble. (actually, some of the tribe, the four legged contingency would eagerly beach walk at midnight; so ……just the humans.)
The thing to remember is that whatever you feel at the moment is normal because for a little while this is normal
A daily walk around the block with Skye’s boyfriend.
Everyone has a different coping strategy, mechanism and limit. We only have to look at a facility like Facebook to see how many different ways of communicating our ideas, ideologies, fears, thoughts, and needs pop up in constant noisy thread.
Some people post political views of the current climate, strong in belief and rightly passionate and outraged at an aspect of the world out of our control. Some use humour to cheer others on, or perhaps to mask their own worries.
Others share health ideas, creative ways of coping and managing. Practical in their approach. Within various art groups online we have been sharing a daily drawing activity. No pressure, particular style or time limit. Bringing people together in any activity seems to be helping keep spirits up and stops us all from feeling alone.
And all of the posts we scrawl through have a place. They all show the vital need to share, and are all part of the human condition. It isn’t compulsory to look at them all, or even see into the abyss every day.
But, being tolerant of one another’s belief systems, and sense of humour; whether it is a game obsession, following a style guru, following a meditation app, having a liking for role play, if your child, your family are safe in their different tastes, and there are time limits for being online, it is probably helping us all have an anchor. However. now that we are going inside our homes, our rooms, our minds, we are at risks of going inside our heads.
And this isn’t ok. When we go there the little questions, doubts and pre-existing anxieties start nibbling at our ears.
Human nature picks at the scab of anything it deems imperfect. This will be different for everyone. Unless you are truly at one with your inner self, it is very hard at times of stress to switch this little monkey off. We see people coping differently, in extreme ways which aren’t our way, and it makes us feel out of control and cross. In reality, most people are just doing their best, and we should tend our own garden first. .
We have expectations of the people around us in our home too. And in a usual pattern of time, we have the space to miss each other and come home after time away from a row, or after having experienced a day differently to one another with things to talk about. Being around these people ALL the time is like eating the same favourite dinner every night.
Sooner or later, there will be rebellion. Sooner or later, the entire world’s issues will be laid at your feet. Rage is inevitable.
Quite right. This sucks. However. reaching for the nearest object or wine bottle will only be a temporary solution. Calmly remind your child/ partner/aged relative; that you know what they must be feeling and acknowledge it. Tell them, sometimes that is what you feel as well and remind them how you are already both doing fabulously. Distract the energy as soon as possible by going into another room and doing a task they can join in with, or (if appropriate) tickling them or joking with them.!! This is just a blip. You can do this.
When we try and make ourselves feel better, some of the usual things might not work at the moment. There is a strange thing with not having structure that although we have lots of time, sometimes we get less done because the choice is too overwhelming. Humans function quite well under a small amount of stress to complete tasks, get organised and structure their days. If you think how much schoolwork a higher pupil gets done over several subjects broken down into hours, then over days, 9 months and see the result- they could never have believed at the start it was possible.
And although nobody wants a timetable for their home, it works to have a plan. Children naturally like routine, consistency and need gentle grounding. (They will of course tell you otherwise.) It might just be when they get meals, that they get a story at a particular time, or you make six o’clock movie time. This period of time will have lasting positive memories if there are things you regularly do. For a lot of our kids, their life got snatched away and like animals, will pick up on tension that things are just really really different.)
Hygge it out- Now is the time for lots of fairy lights.
And don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t work. Or things were planned get replaced with a day outside because the sun shines. Its all learning. Kids are learning much more important life skills, tolerance, patience, resilience, self motivation, self discipline… as well as having to think more creatively. And you are helping them.
Vintage jelly moulds with sparkly jelly -history and home economics in one.
And on the subject of guilt, nobody can like it all. Or be happy all the time, or understand the outpourings of others with sympathy every day. Suddenly the world is in your living room. You are allowed to switch it off. And if a type of post or programme is upsetting or creates disharmony, understand why. My two least favourite things are being asked to re -post round robin messages. (And this is tricky, because it will be dear friends who think of each other and are essentially saying a nice thing. But I find them a bit impersonal and I feel guilty if I haven’t done it. And my bug bear is if two lots of music play too loud at once. A vertigo condition makes it the world go wobbly. We all have our limits.
So, you send your troupe somewhere else to cavort about..
For me on a personal level, seven years of being on crutches after several operations and even now only just starting to manoeuvre with normal sticks, the world hasn’t been open and available for a long time.
The conditions of widespread arthritis and fibromyalgia affect every day. Self-isolation is an extension of what was daily life for most of Leah’s life. Other than driving to places, using disabled facilities and relying on help, we have had to be self-sufficient, and the world often felt like it was closed or off limits. But through this, we became very resilient in times where all we had was one another.
This current situation is how it feels for many of our elderly, disabled, and friends with mental health issues. Although, it is one thing being isolated, it is another not having the choice to be social. Or to have the support network you need possibly be there. Sometimes, it won’t be food that people need most, it is a conversation or a message. Never underestimate how important you are to your network.
We hope you like the post for the younger members of the family below this one. Lots of ideas for the younger members of your home . My kitchen is now a shared space where I have a new sous chef (and Sugar the chicken started laying on Mother’s day… )
Keep well, keep moving, keep talking
Watch all the classics
And we will speak soon xxx
Your friends, Liz and the zoo at Skye Blue House. xxxxxxx
Shhhhhh. The thing is.. even though grown ups pretend to know EVERYTHING; you know, and I know and they know really, that you are the ones that have the best ideas.
Right now, everyone is wondering about a lot of stuff. Have you noticed? Looking around, with a confused expression, checking the cupboards a lot.. opening the fridge door…… even more… taking the dog out for so many walks he’s hiding in the airing cupboard…
This woman has been there for three weeks….
Your parents don’t know what else to entertain themselves with.. Give them a wee hug. If you’re in the house anyway, it’s ok. Look them in the eye and tell them you’ve got this entertainment business sorted, and you love them…
Let them do that stuff that normally annoys you …..
…keeps them quiet….
Now here are some cool ideas to help your parents de-stress over the holidays. Just do not tell them it might be fun. ANY mention of doing something which doesn’t involve bleaching their taps and ironing their pants will FREAK them out. TELL them it is for you, That will show them….
Right….. you might need some serious motivational tools…..
And some serious checking out of what there is stashed away.
1 Bottle Sculptures
Start collecting washing up or washing liquid bottles .
To cover the bottle and build up the layers, tear up old newspapers, mix 50% pva glue with 50% mixed water to make the glue.
Before you start, bunch up a newspaper head into a ball, cut cardboard arms, wings or feet. stick these on with masking tape. Paper mache your whole sculpture with three layers of newspaper. If you are lucky enough to have modroc. Use this next. But this is just an extra idea.
To decorate, use the same technique to add coloured tissue paper layers on top. You can create any character by adding detail with more pieces of card and old jewellery, wire wrapped with wool and pieces of plastic covered in your paper layers. Paint details on with acrylic paint and varnish if you have it. Things to remember, glue guns are fabulous to use, but you are going to have to keep this out of reach of all adults, as they are clumsy with hot things and they get very messy .
While your art is drying , there are LOADS of things you can listen to online which make your brain get HUGE . Grown -ups hate this because it means you’ll be cleverer than them.. TedTalks for kids have lots of good stuff. BBC audio have stories and music. Sometimes, it is nice just to hear things in the background while we get on with interesting things we need our eyes for !
2 Grow a family of Cress Heads
Rummage around for some lentils, cress, mung beans. Empty out some cooked egg shells after lunch.. Very very carefully. Put some cotton wool in the base with some water in it. Sprinkle your beans or seeds on the cotton wool. Carefully design your family’s faces with features and stick on eyes . In a couple of days, their hair should start to grow, and you can cut and eat it. Brownie points on the healthy food score too.
3 Paper Dolls.
All adults think they know how to do this…. why not test them on it?
4 Washing Line Tents
Plonk your picnic blanket under the washing line. Fold a sheet Probably not a Tk- Maxx Egyption cotton zillion thread one….add in cushions, snacks, and lastly either the odd human, or failing that, animals or teddy bears.
5 Use what you have
We all know you’ve got some school stuff to do . Maybe not for the holidays but afterwards you’ll need to keep your brain ticking. Try really hard to get a good chunk done in the morning. Are those Adults trying to look everything up on computers? Doh. ! I bet you’ve got tons of cool books already with interesting ideas and things to do. Do you know there was a time between dinosaurs and now.. where we looked at books to find stuff out 🙂 Impress the oldies with your vintage methods…
6 Invite everyone to lunch
Ask what food is available to use and what you can safely prepare. Make a menu and get them to tidy their bedrooms while you make the tea!
This was my daughter’s invention…
7 Nature Study
Everybody has these kinds of books. And on your walk, in your garden or if you can get to the beach; start to look at things around you as if you were a scientist. Make drawings, write down where you find things, what they looked like, press flowers, make small collections of shells and find out what they are called . Be mindful of not taking home any creature’s house, or picking flowers (other than one or two wild ones if there are hundreds in a clump)
8 Sleep upside down or in a Box
A change is as good as a rest! This activity incorporated playing in a box, hugs and animals. Boxes are good fun for millions of things, so keep any that arrive from online stuff….
Pop up a tent and look up stars online.. only eat white food and chocolate.. only walk backwards, have a pyjama day and invent a new language…
9 Make a mobile
Use the same techniques as the bottle sculptures. For this you’ll need cardboard, sticks or driftwood, wire, pva/water mix, masking tape, white acrylic paint to make a base coat, coloured acrylics and any sparkly top layers. Don’t forget to make little metal loops for hanging your shapes on your string or wires. Balance the weight of shapes equally each side.
10 Use tiny toys in a picture
Could you re- purpose some of those annoying little toys that get in the hoover? Make a display case, glue them to a canvas and add some paint or make a photo frame. Your feet will thank you…..
And lastly ..
11 Revamp your wardrobe
If you are lucky enough to have a sewing machine about, learn to use it. Anything will be easier than your what your distant relatives had to use.
Be careful. Don’t let your parents use it if they have had wine. Insist on hand sewing only in that case.
This is a piece of time which will pass. You will be a bit taller, your clothes will be a bit smaller, you will be a little fed up but a lot wiser and everyone will be a little bit more grateful for the normal things we love.
You will march out there into the world in clothes you’ve revamped yourself, showing off art you’ve created, talking about books you’ve read and having made the most of this unusual time.
And you have to keep reminding those big people that they are too xx