Faith, hope and charity

Today my not so little girl, like millions of other children will go back to school. Its not primary anymore, where she is home by three and I go through her lunchbox , or the madness of home schooling, including the requisite ten spelling words and a project about the number of sultanas in a cake. This is the big.. Wide. World. Of high school.

Unless the government suddenly decide children aren’t safe there either and change the plans again!

First day of primary

I must admit to a tiny wobble yesterday… She is my right hand, (literally) my pest in a vest, my monkey, my friend. It is also wonderful and hugely exciting . We got through all these months, mostly on our own and we got to this huge day, with half an inch before she is as tall as me. . How wonderful is that. I might now get the occasional quiet thought …

Vintage picture of a mother & daughter. Find the perfect Mother's ...

Or ….Maybe not. After we lost our beloved Skye, the plan was to wait to get a puppy. A collie, a girl puppy. In Winter. Ha Ha.

The Best Laid Plans | Forever Young Adult

We have been blessed with a teeny new addition around here. She is a HE. He isn’t a Collie and he is here right now, with his big fluffy feet.

More paws. !!

Dog Paw Print, Dog Heart Vintage Style - Dog Paw Print - Sticker ...
How to Create a Sales Plan: Template + Examples

You see making plans is crucial, but so is being able to see when a more ideal surprise comes along… Waiting for the perfect moment, home, person, pet, set of circumstances to jump fully in…. means we often don’t jump at all.

Welly Week is back! | R.A.B.I
And you gotta jump…

Sometimes all of our real life stories read like a Christmas day Eastenders episode. We wonder what madness will happen next, what crazy character will pop up and demand we use our hidden superpowers? . We could never have known what was going to happen as we sat eating our Christmas dinners last December, making plans for Summer holidays, and adventures with our families and friends..We don’t really feel freedom until it has been taken from us. Or appreciate our health, until we dont have it, or how wonderful our connections are until we feel lonely. This has highlighted so much for so many. Not everyone has had the same experience, or network. But your inner resilience will be full. And has given us all a chance to think who was there, and what we truly need.

Reflections on Freedom - Surviving Church

Throughout this lockdown we have held our loved ones so tightly. Consistently helped others, talked on zooms to maintain connections with groups and shopped for others who couldn’t get out. We have needed faith in there being an end to this , that there can still be learning and gaining positive skills from the limitations holding life back.

To sustain inner strength you need to know there will always be someone to hold your hand, or carry you..

Whether that might be through a friendship or relationship ending, circumstances of the pandemic, or through bereavement. Time with someone can still be cherished, no matter how the story ends.

In February, our charitable enterprise was in the midst of organising exhibitions, collaborations, venues for sales and ideas for projects with different groups. After lockdown began; almost every plan we were making was either culled or put on hold indefinitely.

It was just a different world and required a new trust. Between us we looked after the animals, and as a young carer, My daughter was great at helping with the weekly shop (the highlight of the week) and the dog walking. We drew, created, shared the artwork to the various art groups run with Sea Sparkle , did her homework, looked through old photos, fed our zoo, and each other and existed in our bubble.

Popping the bubble when we initially left the house after four months was a bit of a shock but a wonderful one. Determined to stop and appreciate the freedom of being somewhere other than the garden. Being unable to walk far, it was all the sweeter being able to drive to other places…

Throughout lockdown, conversations have been had making a plan or two for the future and these can now start to come to fruition. It takes a lot of faith to keep believing it will be alright. That the things we do every day, and chip away at, will bear fruit and blossom. They do, they will. It will be OK.

I have faith in the right people being in our lives at the right time. And that as life starts up, in a new way it might just be a chance to recalibrate.

A new path through the climate data jungle | Answers On
Find a different path

We can soon begin to reach more vulnerable adults through our Art Resources and get on with the new normal. As our children embed new experiences and friendships, another Autumn term begins for parents too.

How Much Is Your Old Vintage Apple Mac Computer Worth? | TurboFuture

We will shortly put together a small exhibition on our sea sparkle page to show what everyone has created.

Dream Houses from Small Stories exhibition at the V&A Museum of ...
Its amazing what you can do in a tiny space…

I hope that one day those of you who consistently read this will be at a table sketching and drinking coffee with us. That our shop becomes a physical one where your ideas also take shape.. All we can do is control our thoughts to be positive and carry on making baby steps towards our dreams. Being around close knit family recently might have impacted on these ambitions. Remember, even people who love you might not want you to succeed. There is safety in things staying as they are.

Hope You're Well': Emailing Through a Time of Pandemic | WIRED

But do it anyway…

Just do it MOTIVATION – Just do it speech Art Williams | Ryan Maynard

Because nobody knows what the future holds. Hold the present in your hands

Eat, Love, read and dress for you and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. If this has taught us anything, it is not wasting time on anyone else’s fear.

Breakfast recipes | BBC Good Food
Today I get breakfast to myself….

I wonder how they are all getting on. Probably feels normal already. Kids have the fear thing sorted…

Stay safe and in the moment, Liz and the zoo xxxx

Lets go thelma..

Word of the Year ...TRUST | Broken trust, Trust quotes, Trust yourself

Lately I’ve been watching how our old collie has masted the art of semi-sitting. If she knows she will have to get up any time soon, she parks just her front feet in a lying down position. The bottom stays where it is. In the air. She’s in pain. But she has figured out how to use her body.

Vintage Ski Signs: Amazon.com

She trusts herself. And the signs around her telling her if food or walking is imminent . She trusts us and the decisions and choices made to keep her safe.

As adults we get to a stage where that luxury is not so consistent. In lockdown it is harder to source comfort when we feel sad or unwell. The initial good intentions of neighbours and communities are either in place or not and we are now more self sufficient than we have ever had to be. Trusting in our intuition, our oldest instincts .

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor
My grandmother once gave me a tip:
In difficult times, you move forward in small steps.
Do what you have to do, but little by little.
Don’t think about the future, or what may happen tomorrow.
Wash the dishes.
Remove the dust.
Write a letter.
Make a soup.
You see?
You are advancing step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Rest a little.
Praise yourself.
Take another step.
Then another.
You won’t notice, but your steps will grow more and more.
And the time will come when you can think about the future without crying.
– Elena Mikhalkova
(Image of Tasha Tudor, American Illustrator 1915-2008)

Vintage Letters (Graphic) by twelvepapers · Creative Fabrica

A few wise words well chosen can change so much more than just five minutes of reading

New pictures from August!!! - Kavka Foto Atelier - Vintage photo ...

Often when I see posts or messages by my dearest friends I am compelled to channel this trust. If communication has dried up, changed direction or has developed a new rhythm, it is a different language to learn in this new landscape, with mutual trust and hope.

Love letter - Wikipedia
A moment to savour

We are all here, missing so many people we have known, or yet to know. But trusting that when the channels open once more, the perfect people will be in your life at the perfect time takes a huge amount of faith. And Those that have been loved by us along the way but chosen another path will journey on in another direction.

Going in Different Directions by Queen-Kitty on DeviantArt

To run a dialogue with everyone you care about whilst providing yourselves with care would be like asking poor Skye to get up from a seated position over and over again. Choices have to be made about where to plant little trust trees, and watch them grow.

National Trust to gather new trees from local sources where ...

We are re-finding our way as families, communities, societies . And there are so many voices distracting from the inner one we need to stay grounded..

Collection of vintage creative backgrounds

In a recent letter from my best friend I was immersed in her detailed dream of her perfect home. It was beautiful and complete. I could smell the air coming through the windows, not yet built, feel the tiles under my feet, taste the drink in my hand and hear her laughter. Her vision was so clear and so sure. We worked together in business understanding the process of abandoning the rational mind to creating and believing. She and I both found the courage to sell up and move home, city, even country for her, despite knowing there were fears pinging at our brains from everyone like heavy rain on tarmac.

Spanish Villa with pool in the beautiful Javea - Xàbia, Comunidad ...
This is for you gorgeous girl

She did it once, and she can do it again. We all can. Right now like you, trust is something I have felt more than ever before. Like most of us we have spent weeks chipping away at projects and ideas, enjoying perhaps the expansion of time. But not having the press of it. We will look back after the storm has passed and see the enormity of our achievements. But it can be hard whilst being in the centre of the whirling weather.

The Psychology Behind Messy Rooms: Why The Most Creative People ...

We are taught to hold ourselves in the present in order to achieve the most beneficial state of positivity. This is true. Dwelling on past failures or journeys, fears, pain and loss can do little to build the new steps ahead of you. It is essential for good health to be present. But having a sudden loss of structure in life has caused a lot of human frustration and resentment. Look anywhere online and the safety valve has popped off . The brain needs a level of stress to perform a series of tasks each day and week. Having a focus is what drives a human.

Creative People Don't Have a Mess, They Have Ideas Laying Around ...

It just matters what you choose to clutter your life up with. Clearing your inbox of emails, chucking them into folders feels proactive and organised. Yet the moment the empty space of a yahoo inbox is enjoyed, it is once again full of pops-ups of toothpaste videos or celebrity gossip.

File a noise complaint | The City of Asheville

Your body, in times of stress is still with you. Remembering how to use itself even when it is deteriorating. The vitality we need to find purpose is lurking inside like muscle memory, it will fight on if we trust it. And only you know when to slow down or stop.. For me, on a personal level, the stubbornness not to give in is what drives me forward. Trusting that there will be a cure or at least some better healthcare management, stops the mental road blocks and enables some progress.

We all need a plan.

Some Basic Principles of Organising - Industrial Workers of the ...

With enough B roads in it to take the scenic route every so often..

Zest Tips for an Epic Road Trip

Enjoy a few funny little conversations with the universe .

Your Self-Talk is a conversation with the Universe | The Alchemy ...

Tune in.

Vintage Radio | Wall Glass - OrangeWallz

In the last few weeks, the gloom, has been balanced by some amazing conversations about new art collaborations and adventures. It has been a no brainer what to get excited about.

ilovevintageclothes stories highlights, photos and videos hashtag ...

Humans can make choices. Believe in the dream doubters and let them stomp on them on your childhood story……

12 best kids' wellies

or let them be your touch paper to something marvellous.

The Blue Touch Paper – Conwy & Llandudno Local

I celebrate you doing it anyway, creating, smiling, persevering, finding your tribe, sharing your skills, and keeping moving forward. Each step a chapter of your story.

FIND YOUR TRIBE 🤙🏻 have an amazing day... - David Boyd Janes ...

Nobody would argue that this hasn’t been the hardest few months for most people ever. I wish we could speak to each of you individually and have you round for a coffee! Human contact is the most highly sought after commodity right now. Yesterday a friend of mine came for a cup of tea. We haven’t seen each other in a couple of years. I sort of expected a distant coffee in the garden and was overjoyed by the bear hug I received. It was so much sweeter as it was the first non -11 yr old cuddle in as long as I can remember. (And was given rather than taken!!) I know it isn’t the same, but to all of you who religiously read our stories and share our journey, that hug is for you as well.

The Little Things: Best Hug

In a few weeks this girl of mine starts a new chapter as a high school student.

But we wouldn’t change any of it. Because she is the sum total of everything learnt and more, and has so much more to know and be. She is a fabulous human and the best daughter in the world.

Our vet has given our lovely Skye a reprieve for a while with some medication to take her pain away from the two types of cancer she now has. Before any new rules are imposed on social distancing, before any more body parts completely seize up.. it is time to Thelma and Louise it to England with a car full of animals to visit family before the next big chapter begins for everyone….

Fade to White: "Thelma and Louise" Turns 25 | Features | Roger Ebert

Our imminent road trip commences tomorrow and will be arduous and long. We will take guinea pigs and Skye, and enough medication to stock Boots. Daily art will continue from Grandma’s garden….

Without danger life is not life. Without trust in the getting there, the journey isn’t as much fun. It will be fine. It will be painful. It is anyway.

Having a plan is what makes today do-able. Being told it might be hard makes trust in ourselves and the stuff of life even more vital. Never give up if your desired outcome doesn’t happen today , it might be that it is meant to happen tomorrow.

Now things are changing it is more essential than ever to make choices on the contents of your physical and virtual inbox. In every way possible. Most people have had time to consider what has nourished them throughout this, and what is no longer important. Ask yourself what do I truly want? Trust that the things and the support you need, will magically appear at the right time. Your fears are fed from the fears of others, often generations back. If you are told you should not do something, unless it will physically harm you, prove to yourself and the critics why your instincts to take that chance are right.

INSTINCT AND LEARNING

Getting anywhere with healthcare right now can be tricky, but if you don’t look unwell, it is harder than ever. Look around Skye Blue house and you see a world of colour and vibrancy. It looks like it was built by a makeover tv show that I gave my sketchbook to . Throughout the year, there are probably about 20 days where the heat is strong enough to work outside all day here, where the bone pain eases a little bit. Where the washing up might stay in the sink and the vision of painted pathways, abundant borders, and stripey beach huts overflowing with a cornucopia of fun and magic is created, hour by passionate hour. For plenty of other hours, the wind is too strong, or the damp too invasive to move freely, so the pressure to spew rainbows is almost insane.

It is wonderful . Days where life is precious are a gift. Onlookers judging the results are seeing the joy and the result of painful but passionate marks and planting . Sometimes, however, it can take longer to be ‘seen’ or treated. If your healthcare is based on your garden’s prowess however, there is something very wrong with the nhs. Personally, drawing until my hand goes numb and I cant open my fingers is far more honest and preferable than watching both the grass grow and daytime tv.

The Best Reader's Digest Jokes of All Time | Reader's Digest Canada

No matter what comes along, there must be trust in it being only a temporary state, in your willpower, in your teamwork and in the universe having your back. For us, also in the friends showing up at the exact moment with bread, with garden strimmers, with books and art equipment for classes.

Garden renovations to help sell your home | Homeowners Guides | YBS

Know what you want. Who you are. Let your imagination open doors. The more you hold on tightly to one perfect vision, the harder it will be for your instinctive sense of wonder to flourish.

Keep looking, moving, enjoying the gifts that are presented and appreciating the help given. Having an adventure or two, making some plans, but knowing when it might be the season to slow down and rest.

5 PCS / Lot Stylish Zakka 17cm Vintage Rest Sign Plate With Hemp ...

Skye, our guinea pigs, Bonnie and Bumble and us girls will be travelling to England as you read this. Slathered in pain patches, and propped up with cushions, we will sing loudly, and pray even louder.

How can I trace the ownership of a classic car?
Stay Adventurous

Trust your quiet self. Then shout your plans from the roof-tops

Love Liz and the zooxxx

The art of receiving

The first couple of weeks of lockdown were taken up with a non stop production line . Every sofa, table, inch of floor and kitchen worktop was taken up with a pile, box or bag being printed, sorted, collated and labelled. It was industrious, challenging, extremely time consuming and, because things didn’t arrive from Amazon, also entailed rummaging for art materials in my cupboards and drawers to make up a set for each of the 30 Art bags.

To give your time, a well thought out message, a piece of artwork, your time, your thoughts or your emotions.. these are all your gifts. All things which you offer up to those people you care about.

If you are alone, remember you aren’t really. Even if your clock ticks so slowly and your cat is talking back to you

Alice in Wonderland We're All Mad Here Handmade Vinyl Record Wall ...

Be kind anyway. To yourself, your family. Immerse yourself in an audio book or a drawing. Or buy a random wonderful thing to eat. You can guarantee no-one is looking.  Oh, apparently, my neighbour’s curry was a starter for her main dinner that night.. fabulous xxx

Single Big Red Heart Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

As a postscript to this post, we are both terribly sad to let you now that Pumpkin lost his brave battle to stay with us here, a couple of days ago. He was an amazing, funny, quirky, friendly ball of fluff. He made so many people happy ,and he was my constant companion. I am certain he read my mind. Or at least absorbed my woes . He leaves a little pumpkin shaped hole in both our hearts and we know you’ll join us in saying goodbye. To the kindest little friend we knew xxxx

In this Moment

Dearest friends. How are you holding up? What strategies are working best?

Light on the sands at Coldingham Bay
Taking pleasures where we can becomes more poignant and vital when there are fewer. This was our 7.30 am dog walk..

Although not easy getting the tribe up so early, the pleasure of early sunlight and space to roam for ten minutes was lovely and worth every grumble. (actually, some of the tribe, the four legged contingency would eagerly beach walk at midnight; so ……just the humans.)

A Man Getting Out Of Bed, Vintage Line Drawing Or Engraving ...
It’s tricky getting used to a new routine .

The thing to remember is that whatever you feel at the moment is normal because for a little while this is normal

A daily walk around the block with Skye’s boyfriend.

Why is the heart a symbol of love?

Everyone has a different coping strategy, mechanism and limit. We only have to look at a facility like Facebook to see how many different ways of communicating our ideas, ideologies, fears, thoughts, and needs pop up in constant noisy thread.

Distraction techniques for pain management — artibiotics

Some people post political views of the current climate, strong in belief and rightly passionate and outraged at an aspect of the world out of our control. Some use humour to cheer others on, or perhaps to mask their own worries.

Mum, Mum, the toilet’s smoking…..

Others share health ideas, creative ways of coping and managing. Practical in their approach. Within various art groups online we have been sharing a daily drawing activity. No pressure, particular style or time limit. Bringing people together in any activity seems to be helping keep spirits up and stops us all from feeling alone.

And all of the posts we scrawl through have a place. They all show the vital need to share, and are all part of the human condition. It isn’t compulsory to look at them all, or even see into the abyss every day.

Cute bulletin board! "We are all different but the same!" | School ...

But, being tolerant of one another’s belief systems, and sense of humour; whether it is a game obsession, following a style guru, following a meditation app, having a liking for role play, if your child, your family are safe in their different tastes, and there are time limits for being online, it is probably helping us all have an anchor. However. now that we are going inside our homes, our rooms, our minds, we are at risks of going inside our heads.

Thinking too much by HelenaTheActress on DeviantArt

And this isn’t ok. When we go there the little questions, doubts and pre-existing anxieties start nibbling at our ears.

Ear biting GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Human nature picks at the scab of anything it deems imperfect. This will be different for everyone. Unless you are truly at one with your inner self, it is very hard at times of stress to switch this little monkey off. We see people coping differently, in extreme ways which aren’t our way, and it makes us feel out of control and cross. In reality, most people are just doing their best, and we should tend our own garden first. .

Vintage School Poster - Always Do Your Best - | School posters ...

We have expectations of the people around us in our home too. And in a usual pattern of time, we have the space to miss each other and come home after time away from a row, or after having experienced a day differently to one another with things to talk about. Being around these people ALL the time is like eating the same favourite dinner every night.

The Biggest Wedding Food Faux Pas

Sooner or later, there will be rebellion. Sooner or later, the entire world’s issues will be laid at your feet. Rage is inevitable.

Chewing on Giallo and Other 'Bites of Terror' with Cuddles and Rage

Quite right. This sucks. However. reaching for the nearest object or wine bottle will only be a temporary solution. Calmly remind your child/ partner/aged relative; that you know what they must be feeling and acknowledge it. Tell them, sometimes that is what you feel as well and remind them how you are already both doing fabulously. Distract the energy as soon as possible by going into another room and doing a task they can join in with, or (if appropriate) tickling them or joking with them.!! This is just a blip. You can do this.

8 Ways to Stay Calm During a Crisis

When we try and make ourselves feel better, some of the usual things might not work at the moment. There is a strange thing with not having structure that although we have lots of time, sometimes we get less done because the choice is too overwhelming. Humans function quite well under a small amount of stress to complete tasks, get organised and structure their days. If you think how much schoolwork a higher pupil gets done over several subjects broken down into hours, then over days, 9 months and see the result- they could never have believed at the start it was possible.

Can decluttering your house really make you happier? - BBC Future

And although nobody wants a timetable for their home, it works to have a plan. Children naturally like routine, consistency and need gentle grounding. (They will of course tell you otherwise.) It might just be when they get meals, that they get a story at a particular time, or you make six o’clock movie time. This period of time will have lasting positive memories if there are things you regularly do.  For a lot of our kids, their life got snatched away and like animals, will pick up on tension that things are just really really different.)

Hygge it out- Now is the time for lots of fairy lights.

And don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t work. Or things were planned get replaced with a day outside because the sun shines. Its all learning. Kids are learning much more important life skills, tolerance, patience, resilience, self motivation, self discipline… as well as having to think more creatively. And you are helping them.

Vintage jelly moulds with sparkly jelly -history and home economics in one.

Why is the heart a symbol of love?

And on the subject of guilt, nobody can like it all. Or be happy all the time, or understand the outpourings of others with sympathy every day. Suddenly the world is in your living room. You are allowed to switch it off. And if a type of post or programme is upsetting or creates disharmony, understand why. My two least favourite things are being asked to re -post round robin messages. (And this is tricky, because it will be dear friends who think of each other and are essentially saying a nice thing. But I find them a bit impersonal and I feel guilty if I haven’t done it. And my bug bear is if two lots of music play too loud at once. A vertigo condition makes it the world go wobbly. We all have our limits.

So, you send your troupe somewhere else to cavort about..

For me on a personal level, seven years of being on crutches after several operations and even now only just starting to manoeuvre with normal sticks, the world hasn’t been open and available for a long time.

Vintage Reversible Open/Closed Door Sign - Melody Maison®

The conditions of widespread arthritis and fibromyalgia affect every day. Self-isolation is an extension of what was daily life for most of Leah’s life. Other than driving to places, using disabled facilities and relying on help, we have had to be self-sufficient, and the world often felt like it was closed or off limits. But through this, we became very resilient in times where all we had was one another.

This current situation is how it feels for many of our elderly, disabled, and friends with mental health issues. Although, it is one thing being isolated, it is another not having the choice to be social. Or to have the support network you need possibly be there. Sometimes, it won’t be food that people need most, it is a conversation or a message. Never underestimate how important you are to your network.

Crayon Resist Spider Web - Lessons - Tes Teach

We hope you like the post for the younger members of the family below this one. Lots of ideas for the younger members of your home . My kitchen is now a shared space where I have a new sous chef (and Sugar the chicken started laying on Mother’s day… )

Keep well, keep moving, keep talking

Watch all the classics

Classic Kids' TV Shows That Still Rock Our World | Movies | Empire

And we will speak soon xxx

Your friends, Liz and the zoo at Skye Blue House. xxxxxxx

How to keep your parents entertained

Kids….. Over Here…….Hello there !

How to Remove Paint from Hands | LoveToKnow

Shhhhhh. The thing is.. even though grown ups pretend to know EVERYTHING; you know, and I know and they know really, that you are the ones that have the best ideas.

50 best indoor activities for kids - It's Always Autumn

Right now, everyone is wondering about a lot of stuff. Have you noticed? Looking around, with a confused expression, checking the cupboards a lot.. opening the fridge door…… even more… taking the dog out for so many walks he’s hiding in the airing cupboard…

The Reason Fridge Doors are Magnetic Today Is Terrifying

This woman has been there for three weeks….

Hilarious photos of dogs hiding! : Funny : BOOMSbeat

Your parents don’t know what else to entertain themselves with.. Give them a wee hug. If you’re in the house anyway, it’s ok. Look them in the eye and tell them you’ve got this entertainment business sorted, and you love them…

A Study Suggests That You and Your Dog Fall in Love When You Look ...

Let them do that stuff that normally annoys you …..

Mom braided your hair every day when you were little~~ Vintage ...

…keeps them quiet….

Rejoice, all you embarrassing dads, you're doing a brilliant job ...
Agree to a few little things that might make life a bit easier . Just don’t let them dress you in old curtains.

Now here are some cool ideas to help your parents de-stress over the holidays. Just do not tell them it might be fun. ANY mention of doing something which doesn’t involve bleaching their taps and ironing their pants will FREAK them out. TELL them it is for you, That will show them….

Overwhelmed Mom Syndrome: It's Real If You Have ADHD

Right….. you might need some serious motivational tools…..

Colorful superhero kids with superpowers | Royalty free stock ...

And some serious checking out of what there is stashed away.

Forget Crayons: 11 Great Art Materials for Toddlers - Artful ...
And then find a peaceful corner to explore your ideas.
How to Turn Kids Art into Posters | Kids art galleries, Art for ...

1 Bottle Sculptures

Start collecting washing up or washing liquid bottles .

To cover the bottle and build up the layers, tear up old newspapers, mix 50% pva glue with 50% mixed water to make the glue.

mix PVA glue and homemade glue (starch flour and boiled water ...

Before you start, bunch up a newspaper head into a ball, cut cardboard arms, wings or feet. stick these on with masking tape. Paper mache your whole sculpture with three layers of newspaper. If you are lucky enough to have modroc. Use this next. But this is just an extra idea.

paper mache around a plastic bottle to make characters. | Paper ...

To decorate, use the same technique to add coloured tissue paper layers on top. You can create any character by adding detail with more pieces of card and old jewellery, wire wrapped with wool and pieces of plastic covered in your paper layers. Paint details on with acrylic paint and varnish if you have it. Things to remember, glue guns are fabulous to use, but you are going to have to keep this out of reach of all adults, as they are clumsy with hot things and they get very messy .

Paper Maché Animals | Paper mache crafts for kids, Paper mache ...

While your art is drying , there are LOADS of things you can listen to online which make your brain get HUGE . Grown -ups hate this because it means you’ll be cleverer than them.. Ted Talks for kids have lots of good stuff. BBC audio have stories and music. Sometimes, it is nice just to hear things in the background while we get on with interesting things we need our eyes for !

2 Grow a family of Cress Heads

Mr. Fothergill's Cress Heads Fun Seeds: Amazon.co.uk: Garden ...

Rummage around for some lentils, cress, mung beans. Empty out some cooked egg shells after lunch.. Very very carefully. Put some cotton wool in the base with some water in it. Sprinkle your beans or seeds on the cotton wool. Carefully design your family’s faces with features and stick on eyes . In a couple of days, their hair should start to grow, and you can cut and eat it. Brownie points on the healthy food score too.

3 Paper Dolls.

All adults think they know how to do this…. why not test them on it?

Paper Doll Chain Template (With images) | Paper doll chain, Paper ...

4 Washing Line Tents

Make a super quick garden tent for the kids | Jardin de niños ...

Plonk your picnic blanket under the washing line. Fold a sheet Probably not a Tk- Maxx Egyption cotton zillion thread one….add in cushions, snacks, and lastly either the odd human, or failing that, animals or teddy bears.

5 Use what you have

We all know you’ve got some school stuff to do . Maybe not for the holidays but afterwards you’ll need to keep your brain ticking. Try really hard to get a good chunk done in the morning. Are those Adults trying to look everything up on computers? Doh. ! I bet you’ve got tons of cool books already with interesting ideas and things to do. Do you know there was a time between dinosaurs and now.. where we looked at books to find stuff out 🙂 Impress the oldies with your vintage methods…

Bright Book Night Light

6 Invite everyone to lunch

Ask what food is available to use and what you can safely prepare. Make a menu and get them to tidy their bedrooms while you make the tea!

This was my daughter’s invention…

7 Nature Study

Everybody has these kinds of books. And on your walk, in your garden or if you can get to the beach; start to look at things around you as if you were a scientist. Make drawings, write down where you find things, what they looked like, press flowers, make small collections of shells and find out what they are called . Be mindful of not taking home any creature’s house, or picking flowers (other than one or two wild ones if there are hundreds in a clump)

My Nature Journal | Emerging Creatively Jewelry Tutorials

8 Sleep upside down or in a Box

A change is as good as a rest! This activity incorporated playing in a box, hugs and animals. Boxes are good fun for millions of things, so keep any that arrive from online stuff….

Pop up a tent and look up stars online.. only eat white food and chocolate.. only walk backwards, have a pyjama day and invent a new language…

Indoor Camping Ideas for Kids | HGTV

9 Make a mobile

Use the same techniques as the bottle sculptures. For this you’ll need cardboard, sticks or driftwood, wire, pva/water mix, masking tape, white acrylic paint to make a base coat, coloured acrylics and any sparkly top layers. Don’t forget to make little metal loops for hanging your shapes on your string or wires. Balance the weight of shapes equally each side.

10 Use tiny toys in a picture

Could you re- purpose some of those annoying little toys that get in the hoover? Make a display case, glue them to a canvas and add some paint or make a photo frame. Your feet will thank you…..

And lastly ..

11 Revamp your wardrobe

If you are lucky enough to have a sewing machine about, learn to use it. Anything will be easier than your what your distant relatives had to use.

Cleaning and Operating a 100-Year-Old Sewing Machine – Lindsay ...

Be careful. Don’t let your parents use it if they have had wine. Insist on hand sewing only in that case.

Teaching A Child to Sew — Phoebe&Egg

This is a piece of time which will pass. You will be a bit taller, your clothes will be a bit smaller, you will be a little fed up but a lot wiser and everyone will be a little bit more grateful for the normal things we love.

Snow stride | Maddy, striding out in the snow Boxing Day, De… | Flickr

You will march out there into the world in clothes you’ve revamped yourself, showing off art you’ve created, talking about books you’ve read and having made the most of this unusual time.

you are amazing - Google Search | You are strong quotes, Rainbow ...

And you have to keep reminding those big people that they are too xx

Mortality due to heart diseases increases by 50% in winter
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Pumpkin says Eat well, keep safe and give your best smiles, See you soon xx

A spoonful of sugar …

Hello dear friends.

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Well, what started as a regular kind of monthly journal has become something very different this month. We truly hope you are well, wherever you are and send our thoughts to you in the world.

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As we all hunker down for little while there are some small things, we can do to stay healthy in different ways.  

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Firstly, this pandemic is all a bit like your mum turning out the lights while you’re still wide awake. It suddenly got dark. Nobody felt ready to just stop doing and being.

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But the thing to remember is how marvellous we all actually are in the face of adversity. soon you’ll get used to a routine and it will feel less scary. If ever there was an excuse to get your old teddy bear out of the attic it is now!

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A lot of folk with anxiety or who rely on social interaction and consistency in routine will need you to help them maintain this.  Perhaps this is you, or someone you love. It will be really vital to establish a structure of some kind in an indefinite time bubble.

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So, make sure there is some phone contact, post your numbers through the neighbour’s door, set up a time each day or week to speak. Routine for the vulnerable is really important. The world hasn’t disappeared. But for some, it might feel like it has. Please use this if you can..

    Hi, I am your Neighbour.
My name is:………………………………………………………………….
My phone number is:……………………………………………….
My email is: ……………………………………………………….
I can help you in an emergency with the following : …………………………………… …………………………………… ……………………………………. …………………………………….
I go shopping on ……………………………………………….
And I am happy to help if you need some extra things.
Let me know by ………………………..….………………………………..
I may need help with   ……………………………………………….. …………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………….. ……………
Use this space for your emergency contact instructions or information …………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………………………….. ………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………….                              

If you have the facility to set up an online get together, or WhatsApp group make it an excuse for a collective chat and making session.  Social isolation can exacerbate old fears and self-destruct buttons. So, if you can be part of something for yourself, and each other it will help

My to do list will definitely include a pile of unfinished artwork!

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We will be posting lots of ideas on our Facebook pages over the next couple of months, and attempting videos … watch this space!!

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Don’t listen to too much news, don’t watch too much tv and scroll through endless pages on the internet. Limit your time to first thing in the day, and in the evening. Instead sit down and write all the things you never had time to do. If you don’t get them done at home in the next few months, you never will! So now is the time to crack on. create things, read your books, write a book! Colour in things, re- decorate, sew things, mend things, cook things and get outside and plant something, even in a couple of pots.

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All of the above can and should be part of your child’s home schooling, which most of you will have enforced on you as well. To make the day work as well as it can, structure a loose timetable to help them and you cope with what is happening.

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Definitely restrict screen time. Insist on this! But perhaps use it as part of a lesson to compensate.

Kids need a good breakfast and most work better on maths and English earlier in the day so pace their learning with short blocks of whatever they are studying. If they can check in with you often, or sit in an organised space they are more likely to absorb their task.

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Don’t reward each task with treats. The child wouldn’t get this in school and will otherwise end up the size of  a house! I am already finding the need for more stringent house rules on snacking.

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Even if I wasn’t a teacher, replicating school is never going to happen at home. Kids naturally don’t take us seriously. So, if we get a few sums done, an art project on alien virus creatures and you plant a sunflower, that’s enough.

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As for the more vintage of you, get a little more on top of the usual needs. Your doctor’s surgery knows everyone is worried and will expect you to place your prescription early. It might take a few days longer and if you are isolated ask a neighbour or in some cases they can deliver.

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For many people, in an emergency, there is an initial period of disbelief and then we go a bit numb. And this is when your coping strategies need to kick in, on behalf of those you love and yourself. If you feel you are safer at home, stay there. Feed yourself well.

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My friend said she found there was suddenly no flour on the shelves. Some of us might actually bake, but many people are buying in case they decide to! Think about the things which will sustain you, if you can’t get to the shops for  a week. What type of bread freezes best? (wraps are good) and go with a list to the shops. Because you will lose the ability to make logical decisions when surrounded by hysteria. Breathe, buy, head home and shut the door.

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Being indoors for a prolonged period isn’t easy, so make it your home your nest. Keep it clean and open windows to circulate air. Jiggle things around. use this as an excuse to do a drastic whatever.. Paint a wall, knit a rug, decoupage a dog bed… whatever keeps your hands busy.

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Watch things which take you to another world. Our minds need to dream, believe, trust and create hs yet to be explored. This cant be done by watching documentaries of people being evicted and soaps where everyone wants to sabotage one another’s relationships. . The same is true of books. Whilst an odd headline in a paper is ok to read, why not listen to audio books which teach you stuff, re- read a classic or read a story with your children. Or grandchildren. This can still happen over a facetime call. This might teach us all how to be story tellers again.

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I was asked to make something for a friend of mine recently. She knew of a couple who had a couple of old vases and they had sentimental value, precious to them. He broke one accidentally and threw away all the pieces . He was well and truly in the dog house. Could I do something with a few of the bits, so that he could give something back to his wife as way of an apology?

So I made them a picture ….. We await the result of his journey from the garden to the marital home! xxx

Broken things can be fixed, maybe not as they were before. But in a different guise and with a new mosaic pattern. Don’t throw anything away simply because it’s use isn’t yet understood. But don’t hoard either !! these next few months might make us all re-think what is important. .  

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Make the most of your cuddles, your animals and your resources. We are all fortunate in many ways still and have to be positive.

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So, over the next while, please do stay in touch on Facebook and here. Keep your minds healthy as well as your body and your space.

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We just learnt that Skye isn’t too well, so this time is even more precious. You my friends are an inspiration and this too shall pass xxx  Good luck, take a deep breath and know you got this ..

With huge love Liz and the zoo.

xxxx

February Flowers

Twice in the last week I have been told to smile. Both times I emphatically believed I was smiling already. And what was wierd was one person could hardly see me on the phone, and the other had their back to me when they said it.

Thing was, I was in big pain. And it was possibly harder to hide than I thought . Even though my facial muscles were doing their hardest to fool everyone…

The people who know us know US. We are far more than a couple of facial muscles. What we emanante, even if we are miles away is an invisible but powerful combination of ingredients which make us up, and are ever fluid. We are made up of things ‘we portray, things we don’t realise we show, the things we do, the things we say, what we wear, and how we interact with the world.

Every time we try to revamp our style, all this does is brush on a fresh coat of paint on a well loved home. The home you personally inhabit is deeper than that. My pain was showing and I didnt realise. But even without looking, it was felt by those who cared. Sensed.

WE are the sum of more than just our own truths. Whether we like it or not.. and this is where you better make sure your’e on Santa’s good list.. someone somewhere can pick up on your hidden depths, your fears, dreams and gorgeously different ability to navigate life’s journey.

In our way is fear of success, fear of showing off, perhaps a life of crippling comments from a family member. Thankfully, if you ask those that truly love you who you are…. you’ll find out that you are not just your doubts, your pain or your insecurities..

Your fabulous personality is a coat of many colours. We recently asked our group to write down words to describe each other and put them together as a gift for each person. It is a tough thing for many people to read, let alone re-write nice things about themselves!! Most wouldn’t have dared to say those things in the mirror. Me included. !! But it was a very worthwhile exercise in cheering up a gloomy February Monday.

Kind of lovely…

If you don’t believe in your own particular style of magic who else will?

We have to trust that from tiny seeds planted when we can only dream ideas up, when we are sore or tired or alone: crumbling a handful of earth between our fingers….. that great blooms will eventually grow.

In between the grey skies and the routines, the heating breaking down (oh yes.. thankfully all pets at once sit on you in this house… )

A few things got printed… Completed and will add to the stock created by Liz at the Beach Hut to fund plans or our community enterprise Sea Sparkle…..

Thank you Serendipity for putting us in the window last week! We are hoping to build on our efforts to create a permanent disabled friendly space to host our Art group. As well as fund a travelling Art-Mobile to take our accessible art to as many people as we can.

We have been a little restricted with the weather lately but occasionally pop our head out of the window….

So in the meantime just pose in the odd cafe…..

Oh ok. Ill keep her.

Exhibition

This month saw the fruits of the Art group’s hard work come together in an exhibition, entitled Art for Health’s Sake. One of a few not for profit supportive and creative gatherings of individulas, coming together in creativity through ill health, mental health issues or through dementia. I can’t tell you how incredible it was to see our artists at their own private view, enjoying the compliments for their work and for their attitude to life and one another. Pride doesn’t come close. My heart is still bursting.

Go to Sea Sparkle on Facebook to see the exhibition video and Sea Sparkle.org on wordpress to see more great examples of the Artist’s work.

Our Coast is cornucopia of beautiful views, oddities, cultural sites and old world charms; backdropped against a wild and wonderful sea with big dramatic skies. As a member of the Eyemouth Art Trail, we spent an afternoon working out the accessibility of the route we plan to highlight in future maps. I am always delighted to show off the town and its cultural hotspots. Especially with a bouncy assistant in tow..

And then the best part… to hibernate afterwards, as it is still freeeezing. Thank goodness for this little baby and the other furry ones. Who understand the need for huddling in extreme situations!!

There is no escape…

Projects have continued by the fire. This is Lulu Hope. She is a little bit of all of us. Inspiration from my girlfriends and what they are achieving against the odds , and certainly gone to the best home of all , a friend I am in awe of.

How lovely to have some artwork in this gorgeous building. Marshall Meadows. A hotel and permanent Art Exhibition hosting several local artists within beautiful grounds. You can find it just before Berwick and the exhibition is coordinated by a friend of mine Dorothy. She helped hang several of my pieces and we will have a private view later in the year .

This was a secret present for a couple of my pals…

Happy Birthday lovely

We currently have no permanent venue for our groups. So once a week, we take our pjs and a trolley to the home of one maker. Everyone is welcome and we bring food to share. Winter can be incredibly isolating. And especially in areas where there is no central hub. For now, this is a wonderful and warm place to eat, make and gather.

The house is getting a lick of paint… Odd things are getting revamped, re-tweaked, repainted….

Even the bath panels didn’t escape a spot of decoupage…

because when Spring comes.. just try and stop my hands being in that earth….

And even a couple of paws…

Keep cooking up a storm…..

xxxxxx

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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