Hope Orphanage Trust

There will be a number of people reading this blog  and that familiar  instinct will start to niggle. Everybody  wants something from you or the content must be false or has been written with a need to feed their own ego . Fair enough . You might need to feel that way just now. The reason for that is a complicated thing , but it generally means you might just really find it hard to trust someone being kind or giving you something without wanting anything in return . 

I have been in situations of Late where despite slogging my guts out , I have faced doubters and others inability to trust , therefore displaying unhappiness , jealousy or other less pleasant manners ! in the form of a variety of different guises. It happened once and I tried even harder, it happened twice and I smiled and walked away wishing the person well.

new ixus st abbs 004
I used to try so so hard to make people happy . I thought I could and that it was my job to . That because I had all this love , and all these ideas on how to make things better that’s what I needed to do , regardless of me . It’s still ok to want to do that, its just so much better if you aren’t exhausting yourself filling the gaps in someone else’s learning to satisfy your desire to perfect everything. And you can let them see the problem, but not fix every tiny detail for them. 

In the context of both the classroom and life though , the truth is , that the harder you care for others , without knowing that you deserve it too , all you do is create a reliance on others towards you for ever , without them learning the skills to develop as independent creative and unique people. 

lighthouse trust

To create well, you need to really love what you are madly collecting pictures of, thinking about drawing, imagining the marks you’ll make, or embracing the layers of texture you have found is your secret code for your work, or your fabric piece or your , or the brush-marks in your painting. No amount of teaching can find your unique way of making your artwork , but listening to every scrap of advice without ego and not judging yourself or anyone else is a good way to start.


I guess it’s as simple as still bringing the paint and ideas and passion to the table , and being your inspirational wonderful self but not needing to know the outcome of each persons artwork , leaving the journey as important as the destination . Teaching the very young or elderly slows everything down to a snail’s pace , becoming about each brushstroke and the conversation at the time . Very rarely is the end result. Their trust in that minute , in you is a gift and a privilege. 

It can be an amazing thing to notice when we are given moments like this, when we find people who trust us, when time slows down to no -time and everybody is in the zone.

If you know you are being genuine , your work will be too. If you send out the message that you don’t trust people or gifts given in all shapes and sizes to you.. then that mistrust surrounds you like a cloak; and you forget to peep out from under it , once in a while. Not everyone is like the person that made you feel that way..


Enjoy at least some of the ride , come and stick your hands in some paint… some of life’s passengers are quite wonderful! ! Xx 

At The Seaside

Beautiful St Abbs

Our journey to the sea began when I was a little girl being buried in the sand on Broadstairs Beach, or flooded in a caravan park in Wales. But we loved the thrill of the British Summer at the sea, where the days stretched out ahead with no plan, and parents mysteriously became languid and less bothered with dirt, schedules or routine..



seaside-rummage.jpg  You were allowed to collect treasure, eat gruesome combinations of extra salty and sugary food and make instant friends over a rock pool find. Even beach sandwiches tasted amazing when you were little, peppered with sand and suncream crusts.

1502805201614.jpg--kilkenny___best_chips_pollHow wonderful to stay there, in our perfect place.. Oh wait.. thirty more years had to happen first, lessons to be learnt, children stepchildren, divorce, flats, degrees and houses, people to meet and health issues to navigate. But the die was cast . I knew in my heart that one day there would be fishing boats and seagulls near my door. I just didn’t know when.



Several life issues collided and as I think I told you earlier, after five years in our temporary but lovely house that I bought when my life exploded, not being able to teach because of arthritis and also other slightly intrusive issues best left out of here…it was so time for an adventure! So we walked into an estate agent’s before Christmas last year and our house was sold in two weeks.

Our other house was lovely too. It was a hug house. It was what we needed at the time. Necessary to meet the friends I’m keeping for always, and to learn the tools in my newly polished, slightly scared tool kit.  Creating independence, bravery, strength and the ability to manage on our own against every set of odds imaginable.. that’s what that house gave us.

The best part ( and the worst bit about here ) is that my best friends could visit easily! I love these girls.. oh and one honorary girl.. sorry pal x. (although Australia is a bit far for a cuppa at either house !) They, and a few others had become my lifeline, having no family nearer than 400 miles. But they gently coaxed me,out of my fears and into my potential . Initially , I had that panic of  doing the right thing on moving.. it can be very very lonely and scary….

but look they do visit!! (This one is going to Spain now so we can all be brave at any time!)

new housey 043

(More on friends at a later date.. don’t worry Won’t miss anyone…. xx)

Some St Abbs Stuff

St Abbs is a little fishing village on the edge of another slightly bigger village of Coldingham, on the southeastern coast of Scotland,  within the  parish of Berwickshire, and is well known as a site for scuba divers. The sea around the village is unusually clear,  and the spectacular underwater scenery resulted in Britain’s first Voluntary Marine reserve being established here.


The double archway at “Cathedral Rock” is just 50 metres from the shore. Several small, nearby rocky islands, such as “Big Green Carr”, “Broad Craig” and “Little Carr” are near to the harbour and can be easily circumnavigated underwater.

A new visitor centre was opened in St Abbs in March 2011.The centre is located in the former village hall.  I may see some of you there sometime xx

St Abbs has its own privately funded and independent lifeboat station. The lifeboat station was originally established in 1911 following the sinking of the S.S. Alfred Erlandsen..

The station was previously operated by the RNLI but following its closure in 2015, a local fundraising effort saw the station saved through public donations and funding from the Tunnock’s company. The station was re-opened and the new boat launched on 17 September 2016. They are a very determined lot around here!

We miss our friends so much, but they do come, they stay longer , they bring their dogs and wellies and breathe deeper. We did the right thing for us and hope to see some of you in future projects with us here soon.

Love Liz and leah xx

no 4

Grandmas Garden

There is nothing better than the sound of the wood pigeons calling and the knowledge that your’e up before the rest of the world on a sunny day. Even in the depths of winter, a bright crisp morning can still bathe your face in unexpected warmth if you wrap your self up and head into the garden or your balcony or your park with your coffee . ( make it real coffee, favourite mug, don’t wake anyone else up.. )

 Mum’s garden in Sussex.

Sometimes it’s possible to wait years to allow yourself permission to be happy. It isn’t a cliche, or something smug people are telling you to annoy you. To give yourself the freedom to feel, and create and be, gets you back to that kid you have pictures of in a drawer somewhere. The kid that went out in the garden and knew the power of right now, being spontaneous and looking for magic in everything..

rose perfume

Its not gone. The grass is still there. Some days the sun will even come out! Some days if you can only draw with your left hand with a big chunky kids crayon, do that. It might become a layer in your best work ever. Just let the process be the fun.


I am as guilty as the next person … of not creating until my ‘proper’ work is done. Of completing my to do list before I get my sketchbook out or only stepping into the zone when the ironing is neatly folded or the bathroom clean.

Thing is.. you never have a clear list. Blink and twenty years go by. You’re the parent or grandparent in the garden instead of the kid.. Because you always thought that it was an all or nothing thing this making lark.. either you were a famous artist or why bother.. you maybe just put it to one side until the perfect day came.

No day is perfect. Like us. Like our creations. Lift the pressure off and it feels like Christmas. I’ve discovered sneaking in odd little moments of it to shake myself up. scribbling in tiny sketchbooks as freely as I might have done before Art school squashed the life out of your randomness! ( Although I have to thank them for temporarily getting me to concentrate on learning to felt and getting a degree I guess!)

rose jam jarRemember Doing this?

Squeezing that little bit of pure unadulterated joy in, regardless of who gives a monkey’s is essential for your enlightenment as a human and also for you to connect with the person you were always designed to be.

Today. I am meant to be resting my hands after an injection for arthritis in my thumb joints, that are fusing together. I got too excited about writing to you and showing some pictures .  I promise to get the Voltarol out, but before I go I just wanted to share the kiss I got last night… Ha ha, don’t get too excited. We are on holiday, my daughter cavorting at the kids disco..It was from a tiny boy, on the cheek, because he was sitting playing a game on his own on his ipad, stitching up people. Great fun. We had a great chat, and as we left, my own child fit to drop, he bashfully asked his mum if he could give me a hug. Ahh.

Go play.. it reaps dividends !! xxxx

april 2016 092Felt artwork  ‘At Your side’


Dream…. brace….live..

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Liz at The beach Hut  came about because I was at a turning point , as so many of the wonderful people I meet and teach are. I often feel that there is a real.. there by the grace of God feeling to the stories I hear and the journeys we all take. Choices are made every day, every second. Whether to get up, go out, make the phone call, cross the road to speak to the person who slightly scares us, stand up for ourselves, go for the smallest challenge, let alone the biggest dreams, and there is nobody who can say that they honestly haven’t had those moments. I have, I do, quite regularly if I’m truly honest with you..

Because being in pain, being different, being and feeling a bit rubbish, comparing ourselves to other people and being at the mercy of others to have help or assistance can feel rubbish, and embarrassing and humiliating  . And it is easier, to take the path of least resistance, to curl away , to hide, to limit the obstacles and to protect ourselves with what we know, and limit the mark we make on the universe. Being less valuable is a perception you feed.

Cant walk? Try a segway!!

Heres’s the thing . The bigger the mark you  make on the world the more potential for other people to share your skills and your experience. Your fellow travellers absorbing the parts of you, your heart has forgotten to reach.. The more scars you have the more you can bring to the table.

This is only my story. I love hearing other people’s stories. Never dismiss anyone on your path. They are your own personal quest characters, maybe there to teach you something, share a valuable lesson or for you to help them.  Look at them closer.. spot the wizards and gremlins and pixies?

I’m sitting on a plane right now, next to an 81 year old lady. She was stuck with me and mini me in the wheelchair access section of the airport, waiting for the plane. We got talking about bravery, and choices we make. Recently she had a major heart attack. Jean was frightened to travel anymore, scared it would happen again. Next time it might not be on the way to the bingo. But she’s doing it anyway, getting whatever help she needs en route , choosing poolside over Jeremy Kyle.  Go Jean !!!


Being unable to do something can offer a way of trying it differently, accepting that people might be there to make that process a bit easier, if we can accept their kindness without judgement. It gets easier . If you are reading this and temporarily or newly incapacitated.. You aren’t alone or suddenly worthless. it’s no fun losing some of your independence. But you are still you. And having support at an airport so you can snorkel in Majorca, is probably a good enough trade off.

It’s a journey through gratitude to peace , via acceptance, guilt, fear, anger and sadness  . All of which will come and go and all highly understandable.  You might look at my journey and pity me for not working as a teacher any longer, in a career I trained hard to do. Please don’t ! All the experiences and amazing children I met along the way are nestled in my memory brain boxes and I now have room for more of what my real life is for.. Creating, and building a space for you…

Giving help

There were moments yesterday abandoned off a coach with no way of carrying suitcases to a multi story hotel , no help as promised on booking and having had no sleep, that my internal feathers were more than slightly ruffled.. but remember, these are moments, and rare and they pass. We pinched a wheelchair from the janitor and have become portable pool divas.. This morning my eight year old had a melt down because she was fed up with the wheelchair. Fair enough. But then she realised that it could actually not only get us to the aquapark, but carry a lilo, me, several beach bags and her trusted Maisie.. it was a different story. xxxx


Not everyone will approve

dog on bike

Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way.

Gordon B Hinckley

Being free of our emotional straight jackets is the hardest thing in the world. Most people can’t shake off their little pecking voices and fall back into patterns which stop them being who they can really be. They are sometimes aware and sometimes they aren’t, self sabotage, self doubt, circles of trauma relived or pain held back. It is the worst thing about the human condition. What we do to each other and what we do to ourselves.

I can only know what I know, and you will have your wisdom for someone else which they might need when you least expect it.

You can read books and books on that stuff , some of it is wonderful, you can listen to hours of audio tapes, and some of them too are worthwhile. You can meet gurus and change your style of clothes, call yourself something else and sit on a mountain.

But as well as that. The one thing to manage, learn, understand, live, get and do all the time is ;IMG_4305


  • To your own voice. What you really really think /feel/need.
  • To what people who love you are saying on repeat.
  • To the signs and to the slow hum of the moment.

Because that’s all that matters.

Then breathe, and choose your next step.

Not everyone is gonna like it. But that’s half the fun !! xxxxx


Give it a go

Explore your creative beginningbrushes


Working as an art teacher with children for 18 years, was a privilege . As far as the provision of creativity for kids was concerned! They taught me as much as I taught them. Children of all ages and abilities and backgrounds , emotional needs and behavioral issues gave me a solid understanding of all areas of my subject, but also how scary it is for most people.  We all have this fear of drawing, even those who can draw quite well. But actually, the drawing part is a, not nearly as tricky as it seems if you have someone help you unlearn your conditioned fears, and b, for the most part, drawing doesn’t have to feature that highly in most creative endeavors. We can cheat in a million ways to get our project conceived.

When I wasn’t able to work standing up, or teach every day because of these old bones of mine, I had to find ways of still creating with some of the amazing people I had met , still having a voice, feeling valuable and not just watching my beautiful resources rot. If I labelled the illness as me, it would have won, the disbelievers who think you can’t still reach out and be of use to other people if you are disabled or tired or have days where your pain takes over… they’d be right. And the joy people get  just getting their creative freedom would be gone. I’ll keep doing what we do if its only with my big toe.

first week back 009For you and your making…There are no rules, no success criteria to live up to, no comparisons to make unless you choose them. I’ve seen the best ‘ proper artists’ tie themselves in knots, unable to create, unable to express their true work ; and I’ve seen my  gorgeous vintage customers , and the young fly free with abandon, to produce wonderful, expressive canvases you’d be proud to see on your wall.

You start with letting yourself be. Let yourself make mistakes and fail as many time as you need to. Take the competition with yourself and the world away . Trust that nothing is going to happen that won’t be another step in your growth, another tool to learn more about yourself, learn to  play be present. Enjoy the journey and how it feels on the way.

Here are some bits and pieces we like. Some might appeal and be a starting point for new ideas. Enjoy! x

Create a really comfortable space to work in. That’s so important. Think a doggie going round in circles in their bed until they get comfy. That’s you in your studio that is !

You definitely need the following:

Never try and do anything all at once, especially if you have issues with pain. Do a tiny bit, chip away. Chip away at several things at once and trust that they will evolve. Trying to climb mountains is just not possible every day. BUT sometimes a pile of chips turns into a mountain on its own. It’s what you do when you’re not focusing so hard that often turns out the best. Enjoy the ride…

If your hands hurt, use sponges, kids drawing tools, collage tools and your fingers to paint with. This can actually sometimes work BETTER than brushes because you take the control out of the equation. And you tap into the other side of your brain too .

pencil gripsThese are fab little grips you get for pencils that make it easier to manouevre your drawing .

Make it warm. Sounds obvious. You can’t work if you are cold or uncomfortable. Loosen up your arm-wear- tight sleeves mean you can’t bend your limbs to move them freely and you need to loosen your flow.. Being warm can be a little heater in your hut, big socks and a cat on your lap. (This taps into the next must do.. )

Surround yourself with familiar and gorgeous things which inspire you. And also things that have always interested you but have seemed too out of reach, too good for you, too scary, too hard, too cultured, whatever fear it has tapped into in your past..60229a09fa11a114e148fb8256c38a89--vintage-sewing-notions-vintage-sewing-room

That doesn’t matter. Get them out of magazines, print pictures, look at books, take photos, look at pinterest, collect found objects you like the look and feel of, rummage about for objects which you feel you want to celebrate, people, places or themes which resonate. Start with one object if you are struggling.. Like a pebble..write down words that are bubbling inside your head.. doodle ideas that are starting to grow..


Sometimes its even better if nobody else gets why you like them. Fab. Use that to create your own space, wall, corner, identity. Let them see this new exciting version of yourself, the one youv’e been hiding in your head and notebooks.

Get tea and cake….Here’s an idea……………


enjoy it.

Make a mess, move some materials around and see what happens……………….xxxxx




That Day

She tells glitter spells by the sea shore

our road trip 172When this problem for me all started I was in a house with stairs.. no good.. in an area that had lovely people, but no inspiration to create with. We had the chance for a new chapter and could literally jump in or stay there for ever. I walked into an estate agent one day and just said ( a week before Christmas) lets sell. By New year it was sold. 12 weeks later we had to be out. I had no idea how it would work out financially, but I knew it was meant to be, that I could trust it was the right thing for us. We went on a road trip, drove around meeting people, and looking at villages near the sea, about 100 miles of coastline from Edinburgh.

It was a complete blank card. We saw no actual houses. In a way, that wasn’t the important part. Its the place, the people, the distance to your car if you can’t walk easily, the safe places for your child to play.. the vibe..

One day, you wake up and the sun is glinting through the glasses in the breakfast room at the b and b, there is a tension in the air that wasn’t there yesterday. The light is brighter, the trees have stepped into fairy-tale mode and the beach in February is warm and calm. We drank tea and ate chips, chatted to locals, and felt we had returned home.

Those boats had been waiting for us. The chance remark by a little old lady in a newsagents that there was one bungalow for sale, was enough. The next day we were inside, having traveled home an hour and back again, dog and child already at home in the garden, and when the agent rang to ask if there were any thoughts on the purchase.. I heard myself answering I’ll buy it. I had no money, or plan, and in twelve weeks new people would be in our current house, it having sold in two. But this was going to work. We were home.

And we vowed to have a few of these in our new home one day.. The dream/nightmare began…. (single mum, no income, on crutches in pain but determined kind of way…)


And we did, we have and we are.. its possible. The things you really want.. they actually are possible. My cat is sitting on that stripy cushion right now. In the bungalow by the Sea. It was a hellish time during those 12 weeks. There were a lot of panic moments and a lot of cursing myself for being a hoarder. I had enormous help from friends to whom I am forever in their debt. But this is about the  result, not the determination you need and must find to get there. That would be your journey, your learning, whatever you needed to find. All we can ever do is wake up grateful. And have a drive to create a best life for us. And that is completely different for everyone. ( We quite like ours!) xx

Dalkeith Arts


We were really fortunate to spend four years with some very special people in and around our last home. Being involved in Dalkeith Arts was initially a great way of getting out into a cultured environment with a small person in tow, and when it became an organisational position, and I was asked to be their Arts Co-ordinator, I learnt on the job and found skills I’d forgotten about . From co-ordinating exhibitions with the team, delegating out to sub-groups throughout the year, managing emails, paperwork and posters, meeting for committee meetings, chairing meetings, and teaching workshops, at times it was a full time job ( an unpaid job!) But the core committee at times when we could have given up, kept ploughing on with positivity and slowly drew in new, jolly bouncy people to help. Unfortunately, due to geographical distance, Brownies at night! and the general ebb and flow of change, we found it impossible to stay  involved, which felt like an appropriate time to make the change. The team is going great and like a river just keeps on flowing.. It would be lovely  to say here how rewarding and wonderful (along with frustrating and knackering) it was!

And to recognise how many amazing people we met. The genuine kindness, selflessness and wisdom of helpers, volunteers, creators, and the extended team who pulled events together at the last minute, was magic. I miss so many of you. It was like pulling off a plaster leaving. You can’t half involve yourself in something so all encompassing. And I am sure that the new team members are all raring to go , taking it on to heady heights.

More bits and bobs will be added here in time, once all the photos are found post move! But, it was long overdue to pop something up,  and wish D.A all the best. So, thank you, I thoroughly enjoyed bossing everyone about on my sticks at exhibitions… (Only kidding… helping co-ordinate successful events, even do the public speaking, which it helped rekindle a long lost confidence in, ..) and get to know so many folk.  Love and good health, keep the door open to everyone and keep smiling at each other. You are all welcome to drop in, pick our brains or borrow a white table cloth or two! xx