Do it your way.

Sometimes life stops you in your tracks. But sometimes it’s a handy way to look at the view while the lights are on red. To take a moment to see who you are listening to. Is it your own wisdom, the intuition you were born with or the mumblings of other voices ?. Everything we do comes from a source of love or fear, and the option you have is choose to absorb only those who want to share the former.

It can take a long time to unravel the conditioning of a lifetime’s habits, a familial pattern, a marriage, a community belief system. But if a structure starts to jar, and prevent your creativity shining through, perhaps it’s time to regroup. Close your head to the noise everywhere around you. Break life down to its component parts and change, if change is what you seek, one breath, step, or thought at a time.

When we moved to a tiny place to start over, I made deliberate choices to simplify things financially and pressure wise. It isn’t easy to do this and it is a hard thing on your own. But at every junction, a new skill or resource, friend or doorway appeared when we least expected them to, and there was always enough. (That isn’t to say things haven’t been a challenge.) but there were very few moments to doubt that there should be trust in the bigger picture. And our abilities to navigate life’s ‘B’ roads.

This was us three years ago today. Before building our new home here by the sea.

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You look back at things you do sometimes and wonder. How did I get here? How did I manage that? The house was only on the market one week. generally the best things we do in life are things that happen through a sense of pure will and determination, perseverance and intuition that it is simply what has to be done. We get our heads down and get on with it. finding a drive fuelled by a belly fire.

The night before News Years Eve our favourite place to stay told us last minute they had a cancellation. Already nearly ready for bed, we were at the time struggling to get a 2nd hand charity- shop games console to speak with and work on the TV. It was  driving us both a bit doolally. Out of nowhere a text arrived from the b and b . It was a lifeline out of the doldrums, an injection of adventure we both needed. The house suddenly became a mad frenzy  of hovering, packing, sorting out animals and arranging the details with neighbours..

We made it happen in a couple of hours and more  that, nothing dreadful happened because it wasn’t in the plan. Sometimes the plan appears to be no plan. But we know deep down, there’s been a plan all along.

But I believe there is more to it than that. Looking out of the window at the garden, it’s so hard to believe that there will ever be blossoming plants and grass that never stops growing. It happens like magic. Just as our kids grow… And keep growing and changing, non matter how much we keep a snapshot of their baby faces on the mantle piece.


What we do with the time and resources we have then becomes a matter of not only trust but personal intuition. Right now, she’s cleaning her room, but she doesn’t know she’s doing it. My girl is ‘looking through’ some old toys, and thoroughly enjoying the process of re discovering, memories and finding lost treasure. There is singing, that’s a good sign.

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Making a creative – being go from a to b, in a straight line can cause huge stress, and disarm their natural instinct to tweek, nibble at, shuffle around and sidelong glance at a project before jumping in ; And almost put out the fire of passion before it has begun. These spectrum based qualities can become clearer once labels start being given, especially when diagnosed with various types of autism. But this can take years. We know instinctively if our children need more variety in their learning, or a work better with a hat on, or sitting on the floor.

How many times a day do you rebel against yourself? Or someone else? This time of year, with the pressure of change and renewal , being better, living better, morphing into  a new version of the old creaky us, can create lists of to do which hang heavy. The thing is, these lists aren’t created out of badness, their heart is in the right place. For instance, making new crafts, eating better, finding new love, clearing out the garage…its just.. all good, its just.. a big old excuse always comes up . We will always as humans want to do the opposite of what we tell ourselves we should.

Its actually not the worst thing we can do. Making excuses, being a little bit different to the expectation makes it far more likely to find a way of living, loving and being that is really you.  I Was the kid in school dreaming out of the window of running across the fields out of he window, wearing nothing but a tutu and a huge straw hat.

In order to get the most out of ourselves we need to feel we are cheekily being slightly bad at the same time. Life should definitely not feel like we are colouring by numbers. Dry January should surely wait until such months as we are outside enjoying the spring sunshine (not needing a warm fire and moonshine)

I could have been only seen as a dreamer, But somehow, the gaps between the dreaming, when no-one was looking enabled productivity and studying. Squirreling away multiple projects and coursework at once until such times as a ta dah moment was needed. Reading through a leaflet for the village hall fair competition I came across recently, I was gobsmacked at hw many prizes one child could win with a few sticks of corn, potato printing and plasticine ‘Morph’ people in a shoe box.

And when at college I after bashing away at a project all morning in a flurry of paper and sticky back plastic, I was told by  a student teacher , that the ‘mess’ was not the outcome of a perfectionist , as I was explaining I was; I took great delight in finally showing her the finished sparkling object.

Nobody should judge your process. And your process is special to you. No matter what it is you are trying to acheive. I am finding more and more that with arthritis in my hands, the limit for specific tasks is short.. So working with that, I might paint one area of a picture, and then using a different technique ( and hand movement) maybe work on something which doesn’t need a pincer movement! In a way working within your health restrictions, creates a different way of thinking and maybe new skils to try.

In reality this looks like various random piles of things. To paint a whole wall in one go is too painful, so there is some paraphernalia waiting to be completed in the hall.. slowly but steadily getting its Spring facelift. Many ideas have late have hatched little design chicks in Skye blue House. Some are harder to make than others, so need a blast of energy and a rest, some need passion and a breathing space from their grip and some are old friends which can be tinkered with and finished between the crafty imps of art which tear but fill your heart. 😊

Such is the tug and the drama and the pain of needing a physical body to make what we crave. Almost every activity needs some physical dexterity . But not finding it easy doesn’t mean stopping altogether

It is so easy to forget who we truly are. Especially if illness or fatigue creep in, when then destination we work to reach seems to get further away. Just like a never ending horror hotel corridor. Your tropical beach will I promise await you.. perhaps you just have a few things to organise first. But if you can see yourself there, you’ll be there. With an extra large tequila sunrise in your hand.

A strange things happens when people see you happy, especially when we shouldn’t be . When the odds look like they are stacked against you, but you strive anyway..Distracting your pain or temporary immobility with your permanent rose coloured specs. You will notice that your life becomes a story book..Witches and trolls will thwart your progress and joy. (banished as they are to their own lands of permanent misery) and their barbed comments will chip off your varnish . If you let them.

Forgetting to trust the process which has got you this far safely and creatively. lowers your resilience, stops you making, opens up your heart to hurtful jealous noise and ultimately proves your doubters right. If you start to see the creative unfinished processes waiting to be completed as shabby, you let other people’s negativity, pour doubt on your story.

Its not shabby. Its Shabby chic.

Having questions and consistently being aware is good. Seeing yourself through the judgement of others isn’t. Be grateful for this negativity though. Because it reminds you how much we can all do to use our obstacles as reasons to push further on our journey.

Bits fall off, bits gets broken. bits stop working. You can still be seen. Find the right people, find your process, find your passion and a way of showing it. If weeks and months have to go by with piles of half finished work waiting for warm weather, more money, finding your muse.. ITS OK..

For me, I have found that I have to creep up on finished tasks, by doing several at once. this not only gives an element of variety to the job, but stops it feeling like one huge mountain. If you can get past the ‘one- thing -at -a time- rule’ which is drummed into us from an early age, it can be liberating to challenge several tasks into bite size chunks, until they all get done. Its what we do in daily life anyway, why not throw in a few things that we love too? Stir your pot of homemade soup while listening to a story tape, paint a strip of wall every day until you finish the whole house, keep chipping away at your beautiful ideas and keep them alive.

And never stop believing that your instinct is 100% right and what you must do ..

Because, if you don’t, who else will ?

At our most taxing time, a time when I was literally frozen by fear, and by another’s control, I did the following. Every time I had an idea, a dream, a sketch of a plan to make a new life, I drew it and put it in an old carpet bag. I thought of the bag as a kind dragon that I had to keep feeding. Pop the morsel of trust and instinct in its mouth and it would keep growing.

One idea becomes a whole story

This kernel of knowing you have it in you, is what keeps you safe, creative and moving forward. Every aspect of our home and the life we have now has come alive from seedlings in that bag. The big friendly dragon is more likely now to be a chicken or a soppy collie, cat or guinea pig. But even they have their own self affirmations in their bedrooms…

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Stay cosy and warm, especially if you live somewhere cooler! and use the time to gather resources, potter, paint and plant those seeds.

Spring cleaning can wait

You’ve got baby dragons to feed

xxxxxx

One step at a time

Fifteen years ago these old walking boots carried me and my stepsons, our old dog and my ex up hills and mountains. Today I finally got them on for the first time since countless surgeries and went round the block in the rain. It was wonderful. For me, right now this is an epic expedition. Walking up to our iconic St Abbs Church from the road has eluded me for 3 years. It took a shove from an 11 yr old and a little patience, but I made it. These two thought it was pretty cool.

Mum this is a whole new place to go crazy!!!!

You must believe in the power of your old boots..

When you find the courage to tell the world you survived one of life’s mountains ; you might be jumping into an ocean, and you might be doing it alone.

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But, somewhere in the ocean is an island

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Somewhere on the island is a packet of seeds

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Someday your seeds will bear fruit

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Slowly a new tribe will show their faces

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Always notice who saving you their best smile!

Someday your tribe will be the one giving support to each others

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And you will know you helped them achieve that

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Just because you may not have been believed or supported on your path, no matter how long it is taking, or who is with you, no matter if you read this alone, or on the other side of your battlefield; keep your boots where you can see them.

Know they fit you as perfectly now as they ever did, and their bashed toes only make them more distinguished.

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Don’t throw away your authentic sole (soul) because the magazines tell you to revamp it for veganuary.

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Chic designer monochrome is fine for interviews
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But we all know you’d rather be rummaging in here.
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Where every garment and every shoe is a story to be wondered (and wandered) over.
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Unmake a few lists and expectations except the ones where you tread your own path.



Have a easy cosy stressless real year with people and shoes of similar quality. Anything or anyone less isn’t worthy of glorious you and the footprints you’ve yet to leave 💙. Xx

Invisible stitching

When I thought about how to neatly wrap up this year in vintage Christmas paper…

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I found that this memory quilt of a year was made up of precious stitches, invisibly binding each remnant in place to create its magical warmth.

A patchwork quilt of a year

Simple joyous friendships, and perfect moments wove like glittery threads through the last twelve months, sprinkling their sequins on frayed patches of imperfection, and stitching together the best of the treasure from grandma’s button box.

I have great faith in the way of things. Just don’t ask me to name what, why and what the rules are. I believe it comes down to the same things, kindness, patience, tolerance and trust. The closer we are to the way of things, to let go of questioning , ( no matter how bizarre or tough that can be sometimes,) the more returns in just the right way.

People, things and experiences; sometimes we have less, sometimes more…… It can be so hard to know what the plan is sometimes. Letting go of the worry about what will happen next, where money will come from and if our seeds of dreams will ever grow to fruition takes a lot of finger ( and) leg) (and toe) crossing…

Between you and me, nobody would blame you for a few moments of doubt sometimes …

Perhaps we might unlisten

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Or choose a better soundtrack

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Trusting that we have all we need is the hardest of skills. Especially if you live near a good charity shop…
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When we moved here, we were told that if we didn’t tell the entire village our life story. they would make it up. Turns out there is some truth in that. But also, turns out , you get a little distance from your earthly self if you genuinely stop worrying .

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If I had a £1 for every time, I heard a rumour about either one of us, I could replace these old windows by now. The roof tiles I heard falling off last night would be magicked back on. Hilariously, the more proving you do to dissuade what anyone thinks, the more likely you are to underline their ideas. For two years my healthcare has been compromised because I wear bright colours and have stripy sticks. G.p.s see but dont hear what you say. A final funded opinion in a different region has finally hoisted us out of the quagmire of misdiagnosis. Having been pretty poorly for months, Someone listened.

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Sometimes we need to run out of words and block out the noise. Pick out the single voice that makes the most sense. Listen to the inner voice we had with us all along. The Robin on your windowsill isn’t bothered what the neighbours think and sings loudly anyway.

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Sometimes we need to unhear what the voices around us are saying. Take a moment and know things rather than aggravate and pick away at a worry.

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Listen. to the wisdom of the people put on our path. Someone and their wisdom will pop up when we least expect it.

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My family weren’t particularly religious. But I found over the years of my life that I knew a truth about things. At five I sat in a tree talking to the angels. . I truly believed there was someone there. There is a truth and an energy to a way of living life honestly, a way of treating each other, being in the moment, especially given how precious that can feel sometimes, Our connection to the local community in Coldingham has given us a sense of belonging I never had as a child and is creating a sense of family for many of the kids involved in activities in the village.

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Amazing groups of people nurturing each other with gentle humour and humble but heartfelt and genuine support; we feel blessed and included. I understand why my daughter loves Sunday school so much.

People will think what people will think. One day none of this will matter, why not make that day today.? Trying to teach our children not to mind what people think isn’t that easy. Your heart breaks for the loves and losses they feel on a daily basis. But it is a part of life’s emotional journey to learn through experience and feel every last detail. . Learning the skills of resilience is so hard but so crucial. That’s why; if you find a place to feel calm, centered, grounded and truly at home. Go there. Don’t question why. Breathe in. Be thankful. And listen to the one voice that makes the most sense to you. Unhear the noise that breaks in from everywhere else

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It might be birdsong. It might be a wise person delivering a speech, it might be your guru or your best friend. You might hear it in your own voice.It will make sense when you need to hear it. If you can blot out the rest of the noise.

 

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This year for me has been made up of millions of tiny perfect moments. Made more poignant by their size and calibre. From the glistening sparkles on the surface on the water on the pool in Spain, inspiring my new enterprise; to the profound pride in a class member for winning an award for endurance and growth , the changes in my ever blossoming wonder child and our hilarious and ever evolving menagerie. Each scrap reminds me that there is more than the sum of this moment. That it stretches beyond time and space and is bigger than pain and being human.

When you produce a baby in hospital, there is this thing that happens to your pride.. you leave it at the door…people poke and prod you. You are so delirious, excited, in ecstatic delirious trauma you forget to care. In a way, it a bit like that having a long term condition or illness. You become a walking episode of eastenders. Complete strangers discuss intimate bits of you they heard about in the playground. Breathing becomes something you have to remind yourself to do sometimes!!

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You listen to the soundtrack playing around you,. The big stories, the snack sized morsels of concern and guesswork; and you have to decide not to worry about it. The easy lifestyle you once had.. well that’s on holiday. for now your patchwork might be fraying, and your pocket has a hole in it, but your seams are as straight as ever and every stitch is in tact.

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Granny chic is all the rage anyway.

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Your style right now is in the smallest mother of pearl buttons and a hand painted vintage brooch

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Just before I had Leah I revamped my old doll martha. Martha was made by Mopsie, my lovely grandma. Martha was looking a bit shabby, and thinking a baby might like a fresher toy, I embarked on unpicking her insides with a view to re-stuffing her. Heavily pregnant me was therefore slightly horrified and also laughing deliriously to find; pulling out from Marthas tummy, like a string of sausages .. Grandmas old long johns and her post war liberty bodices… A time capsule continuing to make us laugh

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Sometimes the unexpected fabric of life is the most supportive.

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My inspiration this year has been in the detail and in you. Amazing things you all do, the attitudes of perseverance, keeping the fires burning with a touch of flamboyance. From Running an unruly choir despite your own pain, braving the fear of strangers to try new activities, giving things a go, just in case it turns out a bit less less scary than you thought. Carers and relatives of loved ones consistently trying to make life fun for you both, another couple who keep going despite the unfairness of it all but make it look so simple. Friends going through their own worries and offering lifts to hospital or just a hand to hold. You in turn enable the wheel to turn, for an unwell person to continue to have value for others. Amazing.

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The hugs and camaraderie that you might give so freely can occasionally be an answered prayer for someone in desperation. Never undersestimate the power of an act of kindness

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Like Martha, we repaint on our faces, refresh our dress and hair ribbons..

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But its the inside stuff that really shows what were made of. Ethnes hilarious ‘getting dressed backstage stories ‘ from her dance days ; told in the car on the way to choir; warmed up four strangers on a cold night and will keep her forever young and cheeky. Sharing a moment or two is a priceless currency.

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Thankyou to my artists. loyal and funny.. always finding new ways to bring out the best in each other I can’t tell you how proud I am of you all. Your amazing artwork and growing confidence is an inspiration. Teaching each other new skills learnt at the art table. we may have had a quiet year in some respects, but you are officially family now … sorry !!

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And of course my biggest inspiration is my darling diva. A tough year for her in some ways, she has thrived in so many others, with huge community support in doing her panto performances and singing firstly in the adult choir and now solos ( at any opportunity). I am so proud of the young lady she is becoming, and the achievements she has under her belt. She has a kind heart and a cracking sense of humour.

Quite like this wee chap too. I think I’m in love..

We at Skye Blue House hope you have a really happy Christmas with your loved ones and we look forward to sharing many more adventures with you next year.

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Much love Liz and Leah xx

And Pumpkin xxx

Harvests and Hijinx

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A little light on lobster soup.

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Ever feel you might be cooking yourself in slowly boiling water without realising you left the cooker on? You shout for help but the people you call can’t hear.?

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A hand reaches in. It isn’t who you shouted for, but you feel this pure and honest friendship from someone you least expected. Up you come for air, and the world makes sense again. You just needed somebody to hear you, to matter enough to be rescued.

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Because you do matter. We all do. But being your own advocate is so often the hardest job. Often we are so busy hearing our own negative thoughts and conditioned responses in our self deprecating belief system, we forget we might be wrong. Actually, what if, all around you, there are real people bigging you up, believing in you and willing you to succeed?

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I often get asked why I don’t just do my art work and have a simpler life, not traipse about with bags of brushes and paint. Simple. How would I ever spend time with the most amazing people if I did that? And how, would inspiration and ideas flow between us all? The gorgeously creative people I meet, inspire me as much as I hope they are inspired; and we are growing a community of friendships as well as creating confident artists. And that is how and why we all keep each other afloat, in our pot of lobster soup, bubbling away and hanging onto the croutons..

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But , we all feel abandoned by something sometimes.

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Especially when we feel nobody is properly listening.

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Especially when our life map has turned into a soap opera.

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For ten months my battle with the nhs has raged on, causing much travelling to hospital ( an hour away) over ten times in one month, three stays this year alone and an operation which has taken five yrs. too long. And still it continues. But, as you know, it’s part of our story, and our journey here by the sea. What has been the hardest part of this recent chapter is being heard. New gp’s, a different area, fewer coffee pals! And the sinking feeling of going nowhere with ever decreasing energy.

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We all need to be heard, no matter how hard the conversation is. And it might be the most unlikely ally that becomes your rescuer, your friend or your spirit hoist. The big old hand that plucks you from your despair, smashes your boredom or challenges your bravery can be from the most unlikely source and to not feel gratitude would be pretty mad. I am blessed with a cornucopia of fabulous friends, most of whom live nowhere near us. But often the true hero is someone we might never even meet.

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One message in particular lifted me at just the right moment with a kind thought or two. True friends are simply people who get what it is you need and give you unconditional love at the exact moment you are breaking into pieces. If you live every contact that way you build your reserves of self worth brick by brick until you feel whole again.

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In a world where everyone wants to find a blemish and create the perfect background, why not pause and consider. how one small message or conversation you make time for, can make so much difference to another’s life. Imparting a sense of warmth and belief can then spread to all the people that that person comes into contact with, and that renewed grounding, calms and strengthens others. The butterfly affect. Cheers D.G

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As you know, this place, Skye blue house is an ever-changing Ark, on this clifftop and our latest little addition is taking our minds off things somewhat, with his ridiculously cute nature and doe eyes. His name is pumpkin. I might actually be a bit in love.

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He is however, making it very difficult to get any work done! Yet another creature to distract in the house of pets and panto rehearsing, paint and peculiarity…But…a very wise friend of mine, Phil said to me once that some of the best artwork created, can be in the cracks between the real things that happen in our lives. When we aren’t looking. The inbetweenie times, when you might be walking through a room and stop for five minutes, while the kettle boils, or scribbling on your napkin in the cafe while you wait for a friend. We can take the pressure off our bossy brains and let the flow back in, if we make every moment an open opportunity rather than a tedious task. These seedlings can turn into great forests. So between clinic appointments and trips to referrals I’ve done some artwork that finally got finished and set up a few new meetings for the community interest company I am building. Letting go of expectation and the imagined voice of criticism, or comparison has paid off.

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The forest is growing

If things are going pear shaped and the wolf is at the door, prowling and growling we can also allow the energy of the pain we are in, to fuel our creativity in a constructive way.  Keeping your hands busy and your heart occupied soothes your mind and gives you your voice. In turn you are a stronger you, ready to take on the world.

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Ten minutes here and there, half an hour in front of EastEnders, and lifting the pressure off one perfect piece at once, changes the dynamic of your endeavours to play at your own volume.

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There is always something you can do

And It is never going to be quiet enough

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So make the most of every opportunity

What you can achieve in short bursts is sometimes an accumulation far greater than one great big plan.

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I’m not alone. Women Artists throughout history have struggled with their combined roles as artists and mothers, wives and home makers. Often, we wait until the chores are done and the dinner is made, the kids are clean and in bed, or in school, the real stuff is done, before we allow ourselves the freedom of creating. Because, and I know this because I brought up two stepsons before Leah, made the perfect home, survived a rollercoaster marriage and held a teaching post at the same time; all the while I kept feeding my art in my sketchbooks and journals, on paper and in presents I gave away. I spent a huge chunk of my life, and still do, thinking and caring about other people. (sorry guys, I know there’s a few of you too)

Creating in the zone and turning off the time, the shoulds, the agendas, is utterly liberating and terrifying and wonderful. ( But when fully immersed, one never thinks about the ironing of school shirts or buying chicken feed…)

These pieces have all been completed over the last few weeks, bit by bit in the evenings between cooking tea and bedtime

So we have to learn to grab our tween times with a much passion.. Waiting for the perfect studio, unlimited blank paper and no annoying interruptions.. well, highly unlikely .. ever. But your art and dream can still breathe, grow and find its way, in the gaps of your real life, not instead of it.

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It, I, my drawings still existed. The living breathing artwork in you always matters no matter when you let it out, what route you take and how old you are when you finally fold your last pile of laundry

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It takes faith in yourself, your abilities here on the planet and the bigger picture you fit into, to jump. from feeding your dream to letting it loose…

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It is never going to be better than everyone else. Let it go. let it go.

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From here on in we are going to do a monthly diary on this blog page as well as our new seaside community art page blog Sea Sparkle. We hope you can sign into both and spread our ideas and joy!

So, we are now on Instagram as well if you want to say hello on there. Liz at the beach hut. And you can see our groups or Artwork on facebook- Liz at the beach Hut or Sea Sparkle.

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Right now I have a panto to help with…. Oh yes I have….

Lots of love and keep creating. Love Liz at the beach Hut. xx

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Bad Hair day

Ever have one of those? Ever have a grooming decision turn into another decision, until you find yourself back where you started.. or worse..

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….in a state of hair hell.? Because what you thought was going to be what you wanted, was actually somebody else’s idea of what suited you?.

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And you naively assumed your instinct button must have gone on the blink. It hasn’t.. you heard it all right.. you just chose to ignore it!! Nobody knows you better than you, so why do you keep ignoring your instincts?

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Do not get me started on my hair. In this instance, we’re talking one night of attempting blonde (ish). Four hours it took by a well-meaning hairdresser.

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This is not me

Only it turns out you can’t do it all at once and so I ended up stripey. And a bit orange.

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Bad hair moments, days, years.. woah!!! karma kryptonite . When your hair feels wrong, everything feels wrong.

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The next day, before my coffee had cooled, I had slathered on fiery red once more, and my head was once more mine. Too hard to explain why this is soooo important, because actually as my friend pointed out, I do cover most of it up with a massive scarf.

But I was back to where I started. My… me place. My comfortable spot. My – only- I -can- explain- why- this- is- ok- place.

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Again..

And now I’m waiting for it to grow……

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Again…….

Life has felt in the last two years like we were running to keep still. When your health isn’t playing nice and your mobility deteriorates, even the basic achievements often become horribly unmanageable . The last six months have been trickier than usual and our travel, adventures and plans curtailed.

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My head does big thinking, thank goodness, dreaming up schemes, tinkering at plans and knowing we have each other and our spirits to keep going. Leah and I are proud of our achievements at Skye blue House . And we love your comments over the fence! Curtailed by much movement this summer didn’t stop the fun .

When life gets a bit crap, it can give you the impetus to decide who you really are, what your passions are and what you want to say. If your audience isn’t listening, don’t stop talking, find another audience.

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Especially if we are curtailed by a set of directions, from a well-meaning (??) partner, friend or family. Don’t wait until an illness sets you free from the boundaries you carry with you like a script, decide to step into your honest self.

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Especially if we are curtailed by a set of directions, from a well-meaning (??) partner, friend or family. Don’t wait until an illness sets you free from the boundaries you carry with you like a script, decide to step into your honest self.

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The more people I come across and the more stories I hear, I realise that we’ve always known the things we wanted to say and do.. we just didn’t have the skills to communicate them. So we learn to make things, play games, sing, create and mould the world we know we should live in. As children all the ingredients are there to protect us from the future world we will live in.

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And then we unlearn it all for the next eight decades. We can all be our own tough crowd sometimes..

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If only we could take our small selves by the hand and urge them not to waste a moment worrying about the big bully in the year above, who kicked us for looking different, or from agonising over the meaning of a painting in Art college .

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When our choices are taken away in one sense, because we can’t do something it enables freedom of a different sort. Let yourself go with the new plan, no matter how temporary your illness is and work with the rhythms of the day or seasons too.

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This year began with drawing in a hospital bed, sketching in a village community class, and putting together these designs which then became prints. On other days photography was more immediate and I loved the immediacy of creating abstract snapshots from well known parts of the village. I was delighted to exhibit both types of artwork in a local art exhibition a few weeks ago.

In winter when the weather impacts on everything, fireside felting compliments the painterly work and a new cycle of creating more tactile work will begin.

Nobody will like everything you do, big and little kids can be critical. I realised one one of the reasons I had a desire not to be a red head which I’ve always been since the first forays into the henna gloop in the eighties, was a comment made an elderly neighbour of my parents . It was just Too much for the suburbs of Bognor. But when I look back at my photographs however, it was fabulous. All our younger, vibrant, freewheeling selves , no matter what colour our hair was , were wonderful.

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So life is going to be a roller coaster.

We had better enjoy the journey

Getting on the ride, any ride is going to cause some turbulence. But the thing with a roller-coaster is, you might get flung about, soaking wet, turned upside down, throw up, and lose the contents of your stomach, but then.. you arrive back.. where you started.. Because a roller coaster goes in a circle. You can get off when you like and the choice is yours whether to get back on again, or ..

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Do something a little more relaxing…

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Either way you’ll still be you

Today I went for a walk with two dogs, on crutches. Big deal. Right? As I noticed these Autumn shapes and the light playing on the sparkling sea, I realised something else. As many of you know, (because a lot of you have been providing us lovely soup in the last week) !! I haven’t been at all well of late. And there are things still to be done, diagnosed and mended. But …… I had been listening to a screaming noisy soundtrack for as long as I could remember and suddenly it was wasn’t there….. well, it was now quiet enough to hear the birds singing anyway. That extreme pain which blurred everything pre- surgery on my knee last week.. was at last significantly quietened. How fabulous to see the Autumn changes in such crystal clear brilliance without anything else in the way. You only notice how heavy something has been after it has been lifted.

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Six years of staying positive have enabled a trip back to where I began, almost like being a child again, having to relearn how to walk and use the limbs we all take for granted. This disability stole much of Leah’s active childhood, this daft crumpled knee, and my hard won teaching career- impacting on my other joints and causing further health conditions.

Please don’t feel sorry for me. This is just a celebration of a moment and a reminder that at any point something can fail, break or become loose in any of our well seasoned bodies! Getting back to a place that we started from, before we struggled is a bonus. And feeling grateful is important.

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Joy can last for a lifetime or lift us in a moment of reprieve. Somewhere long ago we knew the answers to what would feed our souls, no matter what outside factors tripped us up. That child in us still understands who we are and what we need.

My six year old self knew

and is Still rooting around in button boxes wearing a vintage hat..

Listen well to your small you .

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Unless they persuade you to dye your hair. Then I suggest you phone a friend.

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Don’t be too good, Much love, Liz at the beach hut xx

Baby steps

This year has floored me, and thankfully after months of persistence and perseverance things are starting to happen now on the medical front, although, they are far from resolved. Tomorrow a knee operation will start things off and then hopefully the long-awaited tests and mri’s we are waiting for will get organised. It has been much harder being on crutches when another area of disease attacking the upper body has spread.

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However, dwelling on the pain and things we can’t do isn’t what we are about around here, and helping each other out; making activities possible is not only what we do, but what we want to continue to build for lots of other people. Right now my gratitude overfloweth..

We have some amazing people in our lives, some who we see once a year, appearing with beach hut goodies to build our vision, others who donate lovely art materials for classes to use, others who collect stuff to draw, or help set up tables and carry bags and others who just are kinder than kind with their offers to be available to help.

Post op, we are pulling together our plans under a second blog- a seaside vintage community arts page which will celebrate your achievements, show our progress and tell people our ideas.

We would really love your help. If you would like to be a trustee right at the start of this exciting project, please contact me on lizatthebeachhut@yahoo.co.uk. We need people who have experience in funding applications!! And generally nice folk who want to help people less able to be creative at the coast.

The project is called Sea Sparkle and if you click on the link you’ll see why. Hope you like it. x https://seasparkle.org/2017/09/25/what-is-the-beach-hut/

We are on facebook-

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*Sea sparkle

*Liz at the beach hut

*Liz Walker (request) picture of me and Leah

Your donations, your beach hut additions, your offers of lifts and volunteering, make activities possible. You rock xxx

But first.. Off to get a bit better…

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Better pack a bag and dream up new plans. More bits to follow, but for now, sending you all Much love,

Liz and the gang at the Beach Hut

In the Zone..

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Sorry.. sorry.. sorry.. I keep hearing myself say in my head, as I am weeding a flower bed and dabbing at  a piece of a new painting simultaneously.. feeling the guilty pull of the list of replies I should be making to my dear ones …

I’ll be with you in a minute !!!!

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You aren’t ignored. I am ignoring The pull.

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Because, this is one of the very few weeks of the year where you can be in the zone and time and the weather is playing hard ball.

We recently spent a week with our dear friend in Spain. She and I, and the small person headed for water whenever we got the opportunity, as temperatures soared between 35 and 44! My lovely friend packed and unpacked the car with our beach clobber, and bravely transported me in the wheelchair to a water source in a different spot every day. We covered ourselves in health improving mud, trekked up a zoo path, whooshed around a moving river in a spa pool and lay like lilos when we got to the source..

It was a lovely break. Only a few friends are trusted at the helm of the chariot and I hope her back has recovered! Thank-you again for making all that we did possible. We often went to a pool where my daughter and other kids played . I was able to be in the water but I couldn’t move my joints so I couldn’t swim, however I was glad , oh so glad to be in that pool .

The bittersweet irony at the moment, is being so close to the joys around you but not being able to participate as fully as you might. In a strange way though, it makes spaces for little things you otherwise wouldn’t do. On holiday I read a great, life- affirming book whilst Leah swam, and made plans for projects, took photographs and absorbed all the laughter in the barmy sunshine.

We can either feel ‘plonked’ and act like a plonker or we can still be the same vibrant person under whatever changes our body is making. We can’t control that, but we can still exist in the cracks of our lives and accomplish more in a tiny gap between our obstacles.

You choose.

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Rebrand yourself as completely Fabulous

At this stage, with various procedures and diagnosies still hanging it can feel like I am camping in a different country, my body not knowing its own language. Small achievements are so enjoyable it is a joy to share them as we go.

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And it got me thinking about this Summer place we find.

The magical window.

The bit where there is a sweet spot.

Gratitude sharpens your experiences and your eye for detail. Taking pleasure in what, to some can seem trivial or inconsequential.  

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Gratitude sharpens your experiences and your eye for detail. Taking pleasure in what, to some, can seem trivial or inconsequential.  

Being able to feel the moment, despite the pain or focusing on lack keeps us moving forward. And we can get there by letting it in and breathing quite a lot of other stuff out..

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Back in Spain….. At the top of the zoo hill there were tears (mine) (and a hot and stroppy ten yr old’s) and there was exhaustion, (all of us) A desperate craving for the end of day, a very cold g. and t. and a blast of cool night air.

Only when that came, and the air was slightly less oven like, and my kind friend suggested I sit down, my legs didn’t want to.

You see my sweet spot had arrived. The house was cool enough and now I had stuff to do. It was a little pocket in the day, to complete a few tasks, grab a drink, bath mini and me and potter until exhaustion proper kicked in. I had been at the mercy of others and a chair all day and I was me -ish.

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Lets go girls.. (or boys)

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The obstacle course got temporarily a bit easier once the sun got lower and this was the chance to feel useful on the planet. Squeezing as much into the magical window as possible, when you can, that makes you happy and fulfilled , keeps you going until the next carved out slot comes along and nobody knows when that might be .

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Everyone’s idea of what is perfect to relax with is vastly different. For some it may be a sun lounger by a large, noisy poolside, a spa day of treatments and a tequila sunrise . Yet after enforced exhaustion, wheelchair use, living on crutches, you want to make things, find things, be things, try things and get into the world.

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Everyone’s idea of what is perfect to relax with is vastly different. For some it may be a sun lounger by a large, noisy poolside, a spa day of treatments and a tequila sunrise . Yet after enforced exhaustion, wheelchair use, living on crutches, you want to make things, find things, be things, try things and get into the world.

Yesterday I was in the garden, crouched under the bushes , one leg poking out, listening to the birds and contemplating the miracle which is a garden. In under two years a crop of great things has blossomed and flourished . I had just found blackurrants perfectly hanging in little bunches .one of my hilarious neighbours nearly made me jump out of my skin as I was simply somewhere else. It was bliss

I am in the magical window, and it isn’t gong to last. The beautiful weather which lets the back door be open and the curtains sway in the breeze, the story tape playing while a long abandoned painting is finally completed . Trimming fairy gardens overgrown in the summer rain and finally clearing out junk squirrelled away all year by young and slightly young at heart hoarders …

There is a magical temperature which lets all this stuff happen. Not too hot that you resemble an air balloon, but warm enough to lubricate the rusty limbs for a few precious weeks

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And that’s why I know my true friends will understand why I am a little tardy with replies to messages and a bit vague here and there. This is the only time of year that a sore body can be outside pottering about so freely and with less time constraints too.

The Summer holidays began with an Enid Blyton Style camping excursion to the caravan in the garden, which enabled me obviously, to begin wafting in linen around the house whilst reading poetry to the cat..

I wish.

I watched everything on the t.v. planner with swear words in, ate hummus and talked to myself about sensible things like making a scarecrow and a pond for our one remaining goldfish, whom I feel very sorry for, having just lost his tank mate and who now spends his days swimming in his own doo dah.

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It lasted one night, but at least it was the whole night. And One has to learn to be less patient in completing creative endeavours because there isn’t endless energy, endless warm days and endless time. Getting in the zone is a sensory pleasure and is curtailed by a set of circumstances we don’t choose, but have to learn to get along with.

So we wake up, start a new day and we make again. At the weekend, a new pond! A fabulous homemade build which did in fact make our goldfish much happier: Recipe = ikea boxes + Neighbours saw+ pond liner+ duct tape+ determination+ earth+ alpine plants+ visit to builders merchants for cheap stones+ netting to ward off hungry seagulls .

I have been told, “oh but you make it look so easy”. It makes me laugh to think how lovely but how utterly misguided this is.

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Learning the rhythm of our mobility and how we adapt can free up little pockets of loveliness – your own recipe for tapping into some of that stuff on your hit list, while you can, when you can.

Getting things done..

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As an early bird; We are always up early anyway and both of us enjoy an hour or so of me- time in the morning to come round. Especially, like me, if your body needs to adjust, for meds to get to work etc. I love my mornings. Watching catch-up on tv and doing my writing, facebook, posts etc. My brain loves mornings but will be pretty rubbish past Eastenders O’clock.!

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Finding your not- so- sweet spot in the day- Perhaps ( and there is a possibility as there is a ?? in our family tree !!! ) I was from Mediterranean stock. Oh, two o’clock comes and I can just do with a siesta!! Either rest or reschedule then.. possibly for the whole winter…. .

You don’t know what is round the corner weather wise, health wise or relationship wise; so bloody hell– seize the day please !!!.

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Use the year, month, day, to your advantage and let your dear ones know you are alive but need to be in your zone while you can. From April to September you can find me in the undergrowth somewhere or deep in conversation between hanging out a shirt and feeding a chicken.

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Even in July, the tendrils of Autumn’s harsh winds are closer, and you feel you are on a train at full speed careering through the year without stopping at the stations. Looking out of the window and sharing your thoughts with your fellow passengers is an essential part of the journey. Our destination being another cycle of winter’s bite ahead, digging out the wooly socks again and stocking up on coal, enforced hibernation. So making the most of the outside time we have together is so important

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In these extremes, when our bodies are wonky all that normal stuff is doubly hard, we must seize the day, make hay while the sun shines. If we can walk, see, hug, hold a pen, plant a seed, make a paint mark, rub a dogs ear ; laugh with a friend, how lucky are we ?

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And it all feels so much better in the sunshine.

I have been busy in my magical window, sowing seeds in the garden, in creative ways only available while the studio and my hands are warm, the air is sparkly and new friends pop up over the fence all Summer! With one shoulder , one or two bones still ok and a will of iron, new projects are flourishing. Here is our entry for the Coldingham Scarecrow trail for Coldingham Priory;

Brother Benedict is a heavy thing! So lots of help has been received and appreciated . You can vote for any of your favourites at the Coldingham Gaa Sunday. Info on the Coldingham primary website.

And lastly for today..

Our new Mosaic path being made now from bits of old china, old bathroom tiles and small glass mosaic pieces. Just managed to get the glue dry before the heavens opened last night!! A hop skip and jump through the grass for soggy winter grass.

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How cool is this path? Although, yes, I can hear you say- if it was mine it would already have spots on!

Thank-you for being with us patiently and with continuing trust .  We are here, building something magical whilst still gazing up at the clouds.

With love and gratitude, Happy happy Summer xxx liz and the zoo xx

Keep watering your garden

 I don’t claim to be an expert in anything but the contents of my own head and an awful lot of creative seeds…

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Here at the Beach Hut we make a real effort to rise above negativity that can impact day to day, because we are about being bigger than what life throws at us and using our creative superpowers, when our bodies are being temperamental.

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Unusually, twice this week, my daughter and I have directly heard some unkind and less than charitable comments regarding our creative hub and our enterprise..

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Apparently taking photos means you don’t love people, having a colourful life means you are  bonkers, and we are all doomed…Oh dear…… Best put the brushes away then….

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The enormous effort to not only provide a lovely life for a child after a horrendous journey to get there, to co-ordinate a community enterprise, create artwork, maintain a home, nurture animals and cope with disability is pretty flipping challenging .. on a sunny day. But add in any unwanted factor- the cold, pain, new disease, deteriorating movement, and it gets impossible. Sorry- we won’t tolerate nasty little stings.

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Buzz off

Joy is found more readily and genuinely in the little things if you are limited in your mobility or circumstances. Loving life and each other , and giving back that joy without counting a tally isn’t up for debate. When you really need an adopted family you might be glad you did.

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Creating something new, making your canvas and your garden takes time, trust and patience. And keeping your focus on the magic at the end takes an almighty sense of both self, and belief in something bigger than yourself, (whatever that is for you)  Your process might not make sense to everybody.   It doesn’t have to.

Creating, seeing things grow, making new from old and learning new skills, dress up our failing and tender bodies with layers of brightly coloured jewelled silks and help us float about like the real artists we knew we were all along!! .

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Many days have tested endurance to the absolute limit. Pushing past fatigue so strong all you want to do is sleep. When you are on the floor with exhaustion and you can’t move your limbs.. well you can at least sit in your hospital bed, plan world domination and doodle.

Your support network might think you are off your rocker but the laughing isn’t at you

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Kindness and cruelty to others have one thing in common, both can spread like Summer weeds in the right circumstances and create a huge impact on everything in their path.

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But even a few weeds can be pretty. A garden is always full of all kinds of hidden gems.. a bit like a community. And even the smallest contribution can be worthwhile.The magic is in the mix.

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If you’re lucky you’ll grow a few extra special orchids..

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Having been quite unwell since November and still having mega hospital appointments, it has been a tough few months, of uncertainty, pain and exhaustion . But, I am still able to do what we do – to create magical community events for charity, build fairy gardens, sing in the choir and push the last strands of energy in my daft body to bring a hilarious splashy inky splatty under the sea art experience to eight year olds in our art club, or support adults with mental health issues because it is brings true joy and because I have helpers. This domino of positivity helps me, all our makers, and the ripple effect of wellbeing for each family that they are encouraged to hold onto. It’s not just glitter.

All of these things experiences are non- profit, and completely possible only with the help of a ton of friends and volunteers. From small people pebble painting, friends offering gardening, and loads of donations of materials and hours of volunteering in the art club. And this month that help is extended to hospital lifts, after school babysitting and offers of putting pets to bed while we go away on a long awaited trip to enjoy some Summer heat. … I have so far this month agreed to two separate charity events, helped at another, handed out fresh chicken eggs to a few neighbours, agreed to a put together a new village help directory and lunched over a meeting of our fabulous upcoming Eyemouth Art Trail .. and fed most of the village in our garden in a Summer Tea party to say thank-you for our first two years here. .

No Bad Witches were allowed in…

Communities need each other. Sharing skills, ideas and being greater than the sum of its parts. Like an aging body, there are still things that each of us can do and swap for another gift we aren’t so good at.

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This may sound very obvious but it is as simple as a practicing saying hello and not expecting to give away a bit of yourself in the process.

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Enabling others to connect with the skills they have, share yours. Be the tribe you want to be in. Give as much as you are able and that you can balance with what you need to thrive.

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In contrast, like spreading sunshine, the ancient pastime of muck-spreading still continues in many rural communities, and not just in the fields.

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Thankfully, it is on the wane, as there is too much potential to share and achieve with other like-minded individuals, in person and online- no matter what your interest… Seaside communities have to work together to create strong bones, to hold their bodies together in the long tourist free winters. Many events, groups and activities cross pollinate in a delightful way and supporting each other’s causes can grow friendships, networks and future potential.

If we give people a chance, we can unearth the most unlikely and gorgeous friendships

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Us humans are generally all a bit wonky, and for some of us these differences show more than others

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We carry our emotional shopping bag stuffed full of conditioned thoughts, programmed responses to new things, and reasons why connection is BAD We hear familial ancestral voices, backing up these notions, from generations past and accept it as fact. But, unless we challenge these perceptions, nothing will ever change. Allowing ourselves to be kind, allows us to accept it back from others. We can choose to walk away from the undeserved or unprovoked snarl once in a while. Hurt people hurt people. But it is perfectly ok to have a limit . You can’t fix everyone. And as a random cross section of people thrust together into a town or village environment, it would be mad to think you would like everything or everybody. Tolerance and patience are key, keeping your mind free for getting on with better things.

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Be an expert on what you love. Only then can people know what they love you for. Keep the kettle on and don’t set fire to bridges.. limiting the support available if you really need someone is not a great plan.

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Spread sunshine not gossip, Gotta love your neighbour…

There are cracks we can’t fill , but they don’t need to be all we see.

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Let’s take our big stompy wellies on adventures…

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Because you don’t need to tread on someone else’s garden. No matter how full of weeds your own might be

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Have a lovely week my friends xx

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Love Liz x

Fairy Garden

Once upon a time there was a magical garden.. full of real life fairies….who made real life fairy houses and believed in the power of their sparkly imaginations…

Most fairies know that the best magic is somewhere between what we see and what we believe… …

Hiding in the laundry…

Behind the flowers at the fishpond…..

But especially in the magical old hut at the bottom of the garden…

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So, despite, every other grown up thinking they were a tiny bit mad.. one big person decided to make a new village slightly closer to home.. just in case any visitors happened to fly by..

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After two years of .. er….mishaps.. there were plenty of mosaic pieces to pick from….

So with patient neighbours and a big hammer they began smashing and sorting…

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A fairy path was picked out with different stone slabs as well as treasured shells, seaglass, marbles, stones and other magical finds.

A rare and deliciously indulgent zone was entered into, on and off for a few days, in the gaps between children and animals who needed food and attention, and the body parts could relax in a rare moment of heat from the sun.

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After a little bit of internet inspiration……

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Tiles were covered in broken china, and an initial plan of colours and design attached with waterproof tile adhesive..

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Next the tiles were grouted with weatherproof stuff!! And then the village was patched together with areas of fake grass, coloured stones from the garden centre, to make paths and rivers, and painted in places to create pebbles, rocks and grassy banks. The paint used was acrylic and the coloured shed paint stuff used for the garden path. This all took a while to do, but by doing things properly.. getting each section into a seperate colour, texture and knowing what your plan for a design along the way gives a better finish and confuses the fairies a lot less.

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There is a beach with fishermen…

These little folks, collected by a well-wisher were donated to The Beach Hut lady last Summer at St Abbs Summer Fayre!

A Circus with animals, optical illusions and a glittery tent. We are sure this becomes a den of iniquity after lights out…xx

There is a Park with trees, picnic tables and a bridge over the path..

A playpark with a pool and fountain, a glittery elf and a ladybird convoy…

A duck-pond with benches and real ducks….

A church, with a green man and fairy gravestones..

Various houses including a shell house and the woodland pixie’s house. Already there are signs of life….

There is a bus to get about in…

And a gate for well meaning non-fairie folk…

And a fairy hill..

The grown ups and small people around here are waiting for visitors -winged or not..

This is a village which will keep on growing.. Night and day xx

A few more details…

Re-painting Aldi fairies !!! , Tiny tiny tables and a bridge for beetles!

Not sure which type though…

Better get the sketches out for the next plan….

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Be Happy…
keep believing xxx

Sea My Stix

Feel like you need a bit of extra colour in your life? Me too….Why let a few things like bones degenerating and limbs going wobbly slow you down…

Having spent five years now on crutches, people often ask what they are made from and where I got them.. They often start conversations and even friendships…

My crutches have remained waterproof and robust, with plenty of compliments over the years, stopping us in supermarkets, charity shops, airports, on the beach, in the village.. and many times we have been asked if we make copies….

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So now we shall.

We can now offer you the opportunity to have your crutches pimped and primed your way. Securely covered in the styles and colours of tape which resonate with you, as many designs as you like .

Do your wild thing to match everything you own!



Let’s rewrite the rule book and give our sticks some personality. These poor supports need some better press…

Crutches don’t need to be scary

Go to Facebook- Sea My Stix for more details xx

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All profits from wraps will go to community Art Groups x