Battle

Many readers will identify with the painful to watch Versus Arthritis adverts on television . Asking viewers to pledge support for those in severe chronic pain. For those suffering a myriad of fatigue inducing symptoms. I imagine these adverts are met with a variety of responses. Each according to life experience. If illness for you has come to mean an easy, specific and named condition, with a sociably acceptable set of treatments, this no-mans land of auto-immune symptoms will make no sense. Those of you with friends or relatives who have arthritis , may become interested, hoping to gain insight and understanding.

Perhaps you are untouched as yet, and believe the afflicted to be exaggerating. Perhaps you feel a few twinges and you have already begun to feel less mobile, a little weaker, and not so certain your g.p. understands your needs. How much worse does it get? What happens then?

And for those affected personally with a degenerative condition, a body that is consistently affected by weather, a slave to daily fatigue and is aging years too early; maybe your heart breaks just a little bit to see that pain, because you know it yourself and live through it every day.

Living with disease and pain is exhausting. And debilitating in more ways than just your illness.

Bad enough are the daily rituals of pain-easing strategies and positive, life affirming reminders on the fridge, when you can’t now reach the bottom shelf, but sometimes more crippling is the lack of understanding by many employers, friends, colleagues and even family of how to live with and even love with the cards you’ve been dealt .

Unfortunately, it is often those closest to you who can lack belief in the validity of your pain, or why you can’t join in family activities. Employers might lack the understanding of how to incorporate chronic pain into a hard working professional’s life, and therefore write them off as lazy or ‘milking the system’.

A lack of effective financial support, twinned with a lack of information to guide the affected in the workplace, can create a lack of respect for our still beautiful and resourceful bodies and imaginative minds that still desperately want and can give something valuable to the world.

Do you tell ?

  Ironically I often see people desperately trying to prove themselves still able, by achieving double the output of creativity, in half the useable time of an average person; before weariness once again steals their daylight hours.

And although we educate our children in schools, in a plethora of differentiated ways, owning our healthcare needs as valued adults seems to be a different matter. In my classroom for example, a movable trolley with wheels, spaces between desks to navigate my sticks, an ergonomic chair and access to the lift would have saved my early retirement .

Without support to maintain a normal work/life balance and earn a competitive salary, those with a chronic condition are often forced to rely on disability payments or p.i.p.

This does two things. It labels people as permanently unwell, and keeps them in a state of limbo. As an ‘ill’ person , they might feel highlighted under their disability or condition before they are themselves, their old, ‘professional’ self . It can be incredibly difficult to convince the world out there ( and ourselves) that you can be both a, suffering from a degenerative condition and b, you still want to be, or are able to be the same or even better version of YOU.

The second thing that disability payments (or the equivalent) can do, is to minimise the quality of creative life you might get to live after your illness. An artist wanting to make money after being struck with a chronic and degenerative condition had better make A LOT of money at once or not at all. Because sometimes, making small amounts can cause more hassle than it is worth. This is of course, ludicrous. As a consequence thousands and thousands of amazing people who still have incredible creativity to offer the world, are stuck. Stuck earning too little to live on with the usable hours of their day or week. Having to declare any profit on a piece which might have taken months at an hour a day and then potentially losing financial support because they might be deemed able to work.

Sadly, sometimes, others are stuck being dependent on caregivers at home who might not be treating them properly, either emotionally or physically because their illness is not taken seriously, or they become stuck in a cycle of believing that because of their illness, their life force has also diminished. As parents our needs often come last on the list. But truly, unless you take decisive action to get as well as you can, your dependents won’t have the best of you, the rest of the time. Your life force is still there . It just needs a nap.


When you feel in pain, are tired and your va va voom has disappeared, it is almost impossible to tell yourself it will be OK. Prepare a box of nice things, a book, whatever food you love, new pj’s etc. Wrap a couple of presents for yourself. When the day gets really rubbish it’s there as a gift. The white knight might come charging, but in the meantime be your own.

When you live with chronic illness, you are often looked over as unsociable or underachieving because you can look well. That is until you move, or bend or try to walk.  

Then you’re still at the fence

For many people it can put an end to their chosen careers or dream path. Not only because their energy has diminished but because others see their failure and think it is best for them that they give up their crazy ideas. At best this might be justified as being for their ‘own good’. If we see pain, we often feel the need to just stop, not continue and give up for an easier life. But sometimes, your continued belief in your dream scares and intimidates people. How can you still have the audacity to do a brave thing in your condition when they haven’t? We know people react out of love or fear. That’s their fear talking. There is no room for a different, braver version of you. And the longer you’ve been ill, the wearier you will be. It wears you down. It takes an enormous amount of resilience to look past your pain, or your illness, the negativity of others and see yourself still sitting there.

Of course, there are other reasons that domestic situations might be difficult. If you need help with more specific issues click on my blog here :

Imagine a kindly hand in yours, telling you please be brave. On the journey through pain management and recreating a new life there are so many blind alleys to go up , promises and pastures new, magic fixes, gurus, and snake oil. Or you could drown in daytime tv and wine, buy new outfits you might wear if you could only bend your arms a bit more. Or like most of us, swing from one extreme to the other, like a giant pendulum until you rest on where you’re meant to be.

In the heart of it all is your key. The only key you need to navigate and know what you need. How to eat, what to wear to be comfortable, what makes you happy, what you have to offer and who you are, You.

On my journey to this page, I have battled heads of teaching departments, g.p’s, psychotic ex husbands, surgeons, solicitors, the weather and less than sympathetic relatives. But the biggest battles have been with the deterioration of a pandoras box of connected diseases- glandular fever, meningitis, arthritis, endometriosis and lupus. All of which have ebbed away at my energy, my career and my ability to live a pain free and operation free life

But. Those battles, the lack, became my drive. For my sense of self as an Artist, a single mother and a human being; I kept putting one foot in front of the other and vowed to create something every day. To that end for ten years since Escaping, I have written 100 blogs posts, ( today is my 7 year Blog Anniversary)❤ written 40 poems, drawn 200 illustrations , taught hundreds of community art groups, supported individuals and groups in the pandemic, completed hundreds of drawings, paintings, prints, cards and products. And I don’t think I’ve even started.

And I have learnt

  • Our bodies are telling us loudly what we need. Keep moving towards those things. Keep communicate those things to your doctor.
  • Know your rhythm. Completely be ok with it, even if the rest of your tribe think you are bonkers. Today is Happy day. Happy day is the first day of the year when there is enough sun to be outside for more than five minutes. I’ve waited six months. The cold is my kryptonite and grips my veins until I cry. So I did too much today. And it was worth needing to rest all afternoon. (which is often my rhythm anyway) At least there was Achievement too!
  • Accept your uniqueness. Having a chronic illness of any kind can feel like a ticket to a club you don’t want to be in. Let those that love you know what it means and concentrate on what you can do.
  • Accept help without feeling like you are helpless. There are plenty of positive ways to share skills.
  • Let go of activities taunting you because you can’t do them anymore. Who needs to paint on rice anyway?
  • Eat your greens, take a shed load of vitamin c and keep warm. Wear lots of thin layers and use heat patches.
  • Don’t be alone in a world that has become so isolated, but has so much potential. If you are housebound, volunteer as phone befriender for the elderly, find a local group or if you need support in your pain, locate a pain clinic. (These are groups set up to help find ways to manage and understand pain, and meet other people)
  • Rest. When you need to. My dog and cat now get grumpy if I don’t, as we all pile in a heap together.
  • Talk to someone if it hurts, if you’re sad, if it’s a bit rubbish. We all need that. And they might need it too.
  • And obviously, the most important thing is to make some art. Or create, or sew, or cook, or felt, or knit, or grow tomatoes or ANYTHING you can see taking shape outside yourself that expresses joy. Re-wire your brain in this meditative way as often as possible, listen to story tapes, not news, music not noise.

This drive to let the work blossom gives a perspective to my physical pain, and allows me to empathise with others in the same situation. Working together has been my joy. Without the groups and individuals there would be no Liz at the Beach Hut. We inspire each other. Being alone in pain is no use to anyone, but being silent amongst friends is a blessing. Press the link to the next page to see a selection of some of my own work, some of which was achieved on crutches (five years) , with a face full of skin cancer stitches and with a combination of early onset arthritis and lupus.

It took my health providers years to finally unpick my particular selection box of goodies, and along the way, I missed school exams, college terms, weeks of work, almost a lifetime of fatigue, joint problems and pain and digestive problems. I have had 18 operations and endured a ten year fertility battle with multiple losses. It took the longest time, but I refused to give up. It was simply because I wasn’t the norm, an easy fix, and I didn’t always look ill. When it was suggested I take early retirement because I was on crutches, when I wondered if this body would stop me moving forward, I let momentum and trust take me to the next destination. It has taken me far longer than I imagined it would, as a healthy twenty something leaving Edinburgh Art College. But I now know, that my journey to get here has been rich and rewarding, a parent, a teacher, artist, writer, and a person who exists.

Every obstacle an opportunity.

And always with my trusted companion !

You can do anything.

Just do it your way

xxxxx

All our love, Liz at the beach Hut x

Art folio

Winter months are a good time to reset, remember, revisit and recollect. So often, when we feel it’s an uninspired time, we sweep aside how full the journey has been to get to where we are now. Discover again your forgotten gems, past achievements and unrequited ideas. And wherever you may be right now, keep your creative journey alive. Here are a few things done by yours truly over the years, from craft fairs, community Arts, Artwork and classroom teaching . Determination to keep making and to inspire and be inspired by others continues to be the best medicine I can find for chronic pain ! A snapshot so far

P.G.C.E Moray House Artwork with Primary and Secondary Schools
Henry Moore Secondary Art Class
My ‘Superhero’ group by one of my Art Class
Art with Dementia
Felt Wallhanging. Old School House Exhibition
Detail of Felt
Canvas Wall Art
Detail
Dalkeith Arts press release
Giant paper mache shoe for theatre production
Alien carnival float designs
Kids ‘Create’ Art classes Lasswade Leisure Centre
Primary school Nativity Backdrop
My classroom Ross HIgh School. Recognise my tiny assistant !
Dalkeith Arts Co-ordinator
Degree Show Edinburgh Art College
Handmade felt wall-hangings, ‘Creatures’ and drawings.
Felt commission
Small felted pieces
Felt commission
Making Felt. Always with an animal about!
West End Craft Fair Stall in the 90’s and Artwork Maison Hector Stockbridge
Kids Summer School East Lothian
Felt purchased by private Leith Home
Summer School
N.E.C Birmingham
Handmade cards
Felt cushions
Personalised Blankets
St Johns hospital Livingston
Detail
Pencil pots
An artist never travels light
Art Bags for individuals in the pandemic
Collating Our Artgroup’s Artwork for display
Classroom
Many many folders!
Much work done
And many labels!
A life in colour

Art class

Between rest and rain the words come,

and drawn lines stroke my page.

Though chimneys howl and waves are fierce

your colours block their rage.

I thank you friends for sharing ways

to open up your hearts

your palette of our friendship

your gestures, lines and marks.

Catch your worries, leave them

unwind slowly, shut the door.

throw the clock out, see your hands move

see what’s not been seen before.

No-one’s watching, it is magic,

Doesn’t matter where you start.

Looking, laughing, making memories,

Making joy and Art.

Thankyou so far you fabulous Artists for being my inspiration! xxx

Liz at the Beach Hut

Thankyou

As we look past the storm damage and the winter garden, bereft of it’s colours and usually dug up by four giant paws …

We could be sad and ponder all that was lost, and is gone: lament the landscape of change.

Or we could take a moment to celebrate all that has been and the journey through this last year, the people we met on the way, the new friends, the furry feet, the help we prayed for and received miraculously.

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The beach hut is a movable feast. It goes where we go, for as long as it needs to be there. We all have a beach hut spot in our hearts. Who knows where ours will go next.

Skye Blue house was named after our beautiful Skye and the Blue of the sea and my daughter’s eyes, of all things sacred and beautiful in nature and in art.

Latterly life might have thrown a few curve balls, with health and weather, goblins and ghouls; but in our time here; we made fairy gardens, and a pond, had chickens that laid blue eggs, had garden parties, grew lettuces and fruit, painted a lot of furniture and made a lot of art.

Life is a series of moments strung together with spiderwebs of time. Every day adding brushstrokes to the painting of our life. The point isn’t to finish the picture, but to keep painting.

Take a moment to guinea Hygge from time to time
Notice wonderful things
Celebrate and dance whenever possible
And keep a chair ready and the kettle on for your next best friend to appear.

Happy New Year wherever you are, and love and blessings from all of us here ❤

Love, liz at the beach hut 🧚‍♂️🎄xx

Road trip

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Oh what we wouldn’t give

To have another life

One which has more sunshine

Where no neighbours give us strife.

Well here’s a little story

Given with a pinch of pride,

To tell you that you can indeed;

And land the other side.

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Not only as the self you were:

Bit all the missing parts,

The scattered bits you thought were left,

Like plasters on your heart.

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It started during Covid, when our patience , trust was tested

The art was made for future times, and painful bones were rested

Contact with the outside world was mostly done on zoom

While unkind eyes peered in through the curtains in the living room

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A goldfish bowl is what it felt, a sport for bored old men

While real life captured daily in the dreams of ink and pen

But sadness takes its toll you know,

Despite how brave you feel

Despite distractions, kindly words and never ending zeal

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All a human wants to do

is open their back door

To feel the sun on their bare feet

And let their spirit soar.

Pain is eased by warmer climes.

Where damp bones are less sore.

Where just for once a dress is aired

To float in at the shore.

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We packed the house with boxes

Planned a road trip for so long

Both of us excited, planning

Nothing could go wrong

We headed off to Dorset in a car packed to the top

And listened long to Audible and old c.d.s non stop

The B and B though lovely , was run strictly, and like school

Bear, in car at Breakfast , trying bravely to stay cool

Beaches were so pretty but a long way from the car

And a wander down to Lulworth Cove felt a step just too far

A hot and fluffy Scottish dog and 12 year old, to entertain each day

These trips should come with medals or a free spa by the way!

Next was a small chalet in a little place called Eype

Right next to lovely Bridport which was where we really liked.

We looked at lots of houses, thinking renting would be right

To see how life would unfurl and if this was where we liked.

We needed to be careful.

And that’s why we were quiet

The more they knew, the chance for damage

grew with every night.

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A plan was hatched to safely try another little boat

A few who knew could see how hard we’d tried to stay afloat.

All we needed was a plan,

of Epic size proportions

But, hey this is real life here, 

with all its mad distortions...

Returning back to where we live, my daughter would not go

Her summer was more summer if she could simply flow

So we returned, the bear and I, had just two weeks left to search

To look online for something new, in shadows of the church.

That time was peaceful, useful, long , she’d never been away .

And we both got to do the missing which we did, I’m glad to say .

Our house was cleared and cleaned and boxed and sorted every day,

But every turn produced a problem tripping up the way.

From nests of wasps which manged to escape their mortal trap

to blown up routers thanks to power cuts, needing several chaps.

Each new thing became a task though simply to sort out,

and spaces came with things that went, the things we dared chuck out.

If you think you are going, you clean out even more

your cupboards don’t have spices dating back to Eighty four.

So emails pinged and forms were filled

for landlords time again

Oh how we forget what its like to go through that in vain

To jump through hoops and hand out cash and prove our worth for lets

‘ No parking, fun, or children, and definitely no pets!’

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In summer too when every shed is sold as summer space

For one months rent , a car you’d buy or ticket up to Space.

The days were ticking past and I had to get my girl ,

my guinea pigs were down there too and this lot are my world.

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Bear and I however had managed something too.

Our goodbye lunches sparkled in the eyes of all the friends we knew.

We felt a tug of love, a lamplight in the gloam

The silent yet warm constant presence making home a Home.

We drove back down to England to continue with the plan.

A room filled floor of boxes to join us in a van

When two hours in a wobble veered us off the A1 road

And holding Bear in one hand, the A.A. man did unload

The boot packed full of random stuff and two cats ,mewling madly

Our tyre was worn but also had a cut which leaked so badly.

We made our way back down at 50 all the way

And 12 hours later we arrived, but no words could we say.

The best parts are the absences in an adventure story

The chance to miss and find again, your own sweet Jackanory

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Sometimes life can play a trick and you must listen hard.

Sometimes you must journey long to stay just as you are.

Sometimes you must see yourself as others see you first.

Sometimes you must love yourself the way you most deserve.

We used our instincts all the way and listened to each time

An obstacle would light each step and that this was a sign.

Not to carry on this path;

But see it as devine.

On getting down to Sussex,

where the gathering troups were held

The planned next manoeuvre

was far from being gelled

In England there was one month left til schoolterm did begin.

But Scottish schools returned in days, and time was running thin.

As things came clear for reasons I shall leave for just today

It came to me that this was time for us to be away

In one day two new tyres, new togs and food was deftly sought,

and all those things that previously for Dorset had been bought,

We’re swiftly and with Kondo grace stuffed back into the car.

Along with several animals and all the Art so far.

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And realising with lightning speed that this had been the reason

That fate had stepped in just before this new emerging season

And travelling back to where we knew were friends with open hearts

Was where we made our home and what inspired the Beach Hut Art.

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We made the journey home which made us feel quite glad

To unpack every box and discover what we had

To know the choices laid out bare and stand still any way

And re affirm what we believe, no matter what they say.

You run, and search for you we think is missing in your lives

When what you have is what you’d pay a leg for in St Ives

Off we drove at 5 am, stuffed up to our cars brim

Excited to be going home at last and not so scared of him

Guineas cage on top of cats and Bear leaning on me

A more comical carload you’re unlikely to see.

The school had left a place for her despite our prior chat

And lovely feels are happening when home feels where its at.

The boxes are now emptied, the feet are on the ground.

The Summer shed off more than rubbish,

Insight has been found

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We can save the rest for other days, as this could take a week

But trust me when I tell you that if Inner calm you seek

Step outside your comfort zone and leap into the unknown

Miss your loved ones Til you both want nothing but your home

Drive away and back again to see where you are now

Scare yourself a little while your body will allow.

Mine’s already creaking with the haar in every joint

The Autumn school term makes adventure hard now, that’s the point

A healthy body to ease pain needs the right amount of heat

And healthy minds need peace to live with earth beneath your feet

So, back to the beginning with a view I’d pay to have

To know the value of your lot and make your head feel glad

The chance to see what you would miss is if you let bullies win

They pop up almost everywhere so turn to them and grin

Your feet are earthing you wherever your two legs can be

And your two legs can carry you from shore to shining sea

And if like me, you struggle with this easy of all things

Three thousand miles proves your car can be your wings

The Gods were working with and for us on this magic quest,

This summer ended not as planned but worked out for the best.

For us, I know the following, and never will forget,

We like our house and won’t be pushed into an airbrushed let

where animals and children aren’t welcome on the floor.

It might be noisy but there’s always welcome here behind our door.

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A little word of thankyou too for meals made on our quest.

And barefoot caravaning tending truly was the best.

My bin man and our lovely gardener we could not compare

And A. A men with pet skills, well you got us everywhere.

We’ll love and richly leave you for a little while this time

But soon be back with drawings, stories, notions love and silly rhymes .

]

Leaving a light on,

All our Liz and the zoo xx

Paw me

It was all a bit of a mad dash, with not much time to panic as it was a cancellation. But the surgery was very much needed as the drawing hand was really struggling with bad arthritis and pain. A massive thankyou to my friends and even to people I know only a little, for being so so kind, positive on facebook, offering lifts, chocolates, flowers, getting easy to cook groceries, gifts and the all important loo rolls! We have the loveliest people in our lives.

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Anything is possible with a little patience, trust and chocolate !!

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Back soon with words, all our love, Liz and the zoo xxx 🙂

Drawing on


Hello yellow light and hopeful thoughts wherever you are.

The first ray of morning light through my window… – earlymorningchic

In these ambiguous months of daring to hope, but not wanting to feel any more disappointment, we stand on the edge of a life we might step into.

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For some of you, your path might have turned a new direction entirely, leaving you a bit floaty. Reality hovers in a hazy cloud of internet balanced with the real life intense everyday dramas played out in our homes, and nobody knows what the next move will be.

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Thinking about most things only gets us so far.

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Trying to make sense of the changes and losses, and staying positive has been tough. Our sparks of hope might have been dashed too often to stay upbeat . The mundane has taken centre stage over bigger rewards and adventures, pools of simple pleasures between the TV shows and endless meals.

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We have found new ways to make the usual , unusual. Our minds have been busy balancing coping strategies, in essence, the left brain trying to make sense of what is a global unfathomable phenomenon with analysis and logic, whilst the right communicating it’s emotional response through creativity and self expression.

This tender balance of logic and free creative will, is an essential survival recipe , and a basis to nurture your creative process.

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The vastness of our choices, our decision making skills (or not) and freedom of expression shrank in almost every area in the last two years, going out, meeting people, communicating normally, feeding our souls with new wonders and different visual excitements , our vistas shrank. Our pools of reference and the connectivity which established where we were at that given moment was suddenly much smaller.
And what can happen if we are not careful, is we start to forget the things that mattered to us in the time before. Think about when lockdown first happened and you looked trough old photos, reminding yourself of old clothes and cars you loved, people you cared about and lost touch with. It is the same process with the things that you love to do, that enable your voice to sing.

Whole chunks of important fuel for the spirit which we aren’t able to taste for months and months. We forget what beauty and drama is out there as our lives begin to curtail us layer by layer.

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We forget how to express joy at this wonder, because the powerful surge of happiness that comes with that freedom feels like it has gone, or is not as urgent.
But this is when we need it most.

All your thoughts are magical possibilities. Catch them quickly…


Your mind is amazingly curious. Casting out a net of constant questions, and catching all kinds of fishy thoughts, from tiny quick darting silver ones you hardly have a chance to grasp, to thundering great chunky ones that sit in the net taking up space and not letting new ones in. When I was little I asked a lot of the usual questions children do, but was often told to top being silly. So I found listening ears in older relatives who loved to talk, in looking after other people’s children as I grew up, small curious beings who saw the magic in life still, I read and read and found myself down rabbit holes and in faraway trees and
I drew .

And a dialogue of sorts grew in the observing of everyday things around me, seen in a different light. People were fascinating to me. And when I realised that some of them not only talked back but had questions of their own, thanks Gilda. For my introduction into kitchen philosophy at a tender age over a cup of tea.

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Our thoughts like our ideas, our appetites, come in waves of intensity. I can often pack away a problem into a small case in my brain somewhere for days, only to give it a whole unadulterated day to itself later. Have a sketchbook or notebook handy Always!
Art is truly made in the cracks of the day. Padded out from a scribble on a paper napkin or a voice memo in the bath. Catch your inner ideas, they have to battle with a lot of boring rational thoughts. There will never be a perfect time to create.

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But putting together twenty scraps you’ve made over a month in ten minute bursts after the house is quiet in the morning, becomes something real and alive.

What I have come to appreciate is the value of intense creativity. In the central vortex of the act of completing a piece of work, I am lost and meditative. Words are gone and instinct takes over. I knew it was something I couldn’t do when I had a very young child, but you might be more disciplined than me!

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To get to this sweet spot, is a luxury I have learned to value drawing again throughout the pandemic. The child and Bear seem to have developed an understanding of my mental disappearance whilst still being in the room. After 12 and a half years of my ‘mum brain’ being on high alert, and 12 years of being a Stepmother to two small boys before that, it is a lovely escape. Even better because it is shared with others . And all of our life experiences so far feed into those simple drawings.


Sometimes you must put in every tiny scrap of detail in a piece of work

Sometimes the detail speaks for itself and is of itself without words

I know I need to be both of these Artists

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That without one type of creating, the other makes no sense either.
That all these years having to decide which artist I was: was a waste of good thinking time, or maybe it was the path to truly knowing my path.

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Going to an academy or school which pigeon holes you into a type of artist can be a wonderful thing. But it can also deter you from ever trying anything new
My favourite accomplishment of the few years since retiring from teaching art has been to actually finish a painting. As a teacher, every day I would begin a demonstration for each class, sometimes eight groups and new projects in a day. And I would promise myself that some day there would be actual paintings from all these starts. Sketchbooks held a vast ocean of possibilities that I would create someday in the cracks of my life somewhere. These cracks were stuffed with ideas and promises, and inspirations which kept me moving forward.

From stairs in my home

I painted walls for my children, my own daughter and my stepsons. I painted on flower pots and murals and birthday cards and designed things for people. I didn’t understand the frustrating pendulum which kept lurching me from intense drawing to free abstract work.

Murals and classroom walls (below)
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How could you be someone who thinks so much, has so many ideas and also this flowing mass of colour reacting to life through instinct.?
I was, I am still years later. Back in the teaching years it was squished into the clothes and resources and pupil work and in the details, but it was still there. Our true essence is always there.

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We are all many characters depending on which chapter we are in.

There is a wonderful freedom in not abiding by one set of rules for your work. A freedom to experiment with different media and applications.

All the work you do has your stamp on it, and the more you do, the more you you’ll see patterns and rhythms even if every piece if different.

Enjoy your seasons!


Never apologise for the many ways your mind needs to express itself. Or the contradictory ways that joy comes out. My big friend Jim makes fairy gardens. And knits hats. He looks like a biker. His artwork is unapologetic and fun, colourful and so clever. Although he has given me permission to use his pictures, he doesn’t really show his work. The joy that one or two people get from seeing it or getting a gift from Jim is enough for him.

Yvonne teaches English after a career in teaching history, knits, sews, bakes, plants and writes a blog all with the same humble but consistent enthusiasm. Until recently I had no idea she could do half this stuff. The hidden craft skills and beautiful objects she has created is inspiring. Again, mostly for family and only on here because of arm pulling.

Both of these friends are inspiring to anyone who thinks you have to have training, or only do one thing and excel at that and then it only matters if the world sees it on Instagram. Each object they have made is pure and of itself. I think the troubIe many people have is muddying one area of skill with another and trying to cram too much into one idea.

It took me a while to realise with my art that wasn’t working; was the paintings I was trying to put both sides of myself in at once . There was the patient ordered one, who interpreted an object , albeit in a Liz way, and there was the wild one, who was quick to mark make and needed less permission. Once the pressure to perform goes, the freedom to immerse fully in the artwork is wonderful.

It was like trying to please both children with one present, but what was needed was to give each of my creative sides time to explore their path and let go as individuals. The critical voice I heard telling me to choose, from my training at Art College, my familial conditioning, those that sought to understand the work; (and in doing so, silently slightly pigeon hole it) , had to have the volume muted.

And I can tell you, the freedom to do that, although it has taken nearly fifty years is wonderful. I always loved to draw, details, to absorb what I saw and explore the essence of an object in itself. But I also could create artwork which was in itself the rhythms and textures and colours of the thing too.

garden theatre - Click to view full size photo


We don’t need permission to express multi dimensional joy . Sometimes having a shake up in life is an opportunity to question how and why we go through the day in the way we do.
I’m not going to lie, this last stretch of lockdown, in less than sunny Scotland has been by far the hardest for me. In previous months, the enormity of what stretched ahead was made easier almost by the challenge of it, and what and who needed looking after. Ever the land girls. We just buckled up our cords and braces and got on with it. Not really giving too much thought to the fuzzy future, until the daily chores were done and everyone was schooled, fed, cleaned. Medicated or entertained!
We’ve all been doing that in our funny little bubbles..

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It has been like sleepwalking, living through these months with a fraction of the ingredients we had, and only a few of the loved ones we care about.
But because we have stoicism, hope, resilience, imagination, strength we know we can get to the other side. I have just watched the film birdbox. Sandra Bullock out on violent open river with two four year olds, escaping the end of the world, rowing for their lives, all three blindfolded . Trusting only instinct to get to the place of sanctuary where they will be free.

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Those of us still waiting for injections, still waiting for permissions, for medical procedures to start, for the goal posts to remain still, rather than keep moving, are on a treadmill. The ground feels unreliable. Dare we trust it?

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We just want to get off the roundabout and for the world to stop spinning random poker questions about our healthcare.
I had a bad day. I don’t often get a bad day truth be told. So it was allowed. It was all Facebook’s fault. They chucked up a video post of my Stepfather who died last year. Of a happy pre-Covid Easter where we all fed lambs and chick’s and sat in the sun in their garden. I felt a surge of loss but in a strange way, a renewed gratitude too.

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Very soon, life will resume something different but new. We aren’t the same people we were going in. Some of the ones we had in our world are sadly no longer here. Some people might be less able. Some are suddenly much older, some have left our lives for other reasons, some of us might want to stay where we are, or enjoy it in a way we hadn’t realised. We might not want to do things the same way. Or at least we might want to be more mindful, more selective.

What is clear is that there is no excuse not to be happy in our pursuits.

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I knew I couldn’t do things the same after that day.
Or if I did, I had to know why
Sometimes we have to question who has made the rules we live by, why we do things. Where they come from.
I felt I’d entered the upside down.

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So I decide to give myself

Permission to STOP

NAP

THINK

PERUSE THE AREA
Permission to bathe ridiculously

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Permission to say to oneself …. Really? Do I really want to eat, read, wear, go to that?

To check my thoughts as I did things, and ask if I really wanted to for me?.
To make art at the living room table for 6 hours and watch films at the same time
To reverse all the meals in the day

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To do things in a different order
To stop thinking about everyone else just for five minutes.
What happened? Nothing.
Apart from a feeling like I had the best pair of comfortable big earth shoes on.

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People that know you best might ask if you are ok, but probably nobody will notice.

Most to do lists are only in our heads.

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Moving through the days with an awareness of why made me realise
that I actually do prefer most of the things the way I was already doing them, but now I feel much less like life is on autopilot.

We made it that way because we like it and it works.


In order to get out of your own head for a bit and see if you still fit your seat. Imagine you are in a car, instead of being in the drivers seat, you are now a passenger.

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You are free to watch the road, look ahead, see what’s coming, read the road signs and enjoy the view. You don’t need to be behind the wheel to be on a journey.
Whatever you believe in, and it’s a personal box of magical ingredients for every soul on earth, you’re not alone. There are people on the road with you. Give them a wave as you amble along.

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Being upside down is often the first step to being firmly rooted. Rip up the rules

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Make art that makes your soul sing, making nobody but you happy. And get back in the driving seat of your creativity.

This blog post has taken a while to write as my hand is now cripplingly painful. The bones are fusing and I have to stop regularly. However, finally the fairies have woven their magic and surgery is extremely imminent. I am getting bones removed next week from the drawing and writing hand to make it , hopefully, less painful. So. All this, means I not only have faith in all of you, but in the universe too and in me, getting back to some new creating in a little while, in whatever way we all can!!

Wish me luck my lovely friends!

All our love, Liz and the zoo xxx

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A little light on life

The light around here has been incredible recently.

As I Flip through Facebook posts recently, I have loved to see the many walks my friends take and the things they see along the way, things that my legs don’t get to. Some of these things I saw before my body stopped playing, some I may get to one day if I win the lottery, and some of them I will never see. All of the above are ok with me.

we do not see things as they are we see things as we are - Google Search |  Wise quotes, Life quotes, Words quotes

We can travel the world to see the most glorious of sites. We can trek up mountains to see a new perspective we yearn for. Potential and adventure is wonderful. But if limitations are set, it doesn’t mean that life has to be less stimulating.

Postcard 'Tiny adventures' | ninamaakt

If circumstances change the rules, as they have for everybody at the moment, our fun radar has to look closer for things to appreciate. And for inspiration.

80s Actual: 1982: Invasion Of The Deelybobbers/Deelyboppers/Beeny Boppers/Bonce  Boppers/Space Boppers...

I got asked by a woman over the phone, filling in a medical form how many buses I could walk. ( length of) without stopping, and with sticks .. If you’ve never tried answering that one give it a go. I can walk 2 buses.

But, walk two buses, take a photo or two and then walk a couple more. You can get somewhere, or to your car, and then a little further… And then moments as incredible as any rare truffle are waiting. If your deely boppers are on.

And if that has to suffice until surgery or vaccinations happen it is a start.

The new normal looks different for everyone!

For some the routine has stayed reassuringly familiar ……..

And others of the more active variety have been growing like weeds…

And art has been created in the spaces created like little yawns in the day… where children or animals are sleeping, eating or otherwise occupied .


Next year will be a big birthday for me, and although I could probably still get asked for i.d without make up, due to being partly of the faery variety 😉 It will mean that, including teaching in America at 20, I will have been teaching art for 30 years. It has been a rollercoaster, not least for health reasons. But always the best part, the only part that mattered was giving something to kids that they did not have before.

My first teaching job was in a tough school. some of the kids (and staff) were hard work, and I was going to work full time whilst looking after two young stepsons and a big house. I was keen and sparkly, but at the time, was being knocked in more ways than one, both at home and at work.

HiDe BeHiNd My MaSk | Power Poetry

Now I think that girl was amazing. Then, I taught my socks off in a blur.
I didn’t know what the kids saw. But I knew I gave them everything because I always will. And I loved their inspiration as much as creating with them.
Eventually the politics of that post got too much. So I moved schools. Before arthritis got the better of me and I taught in high school for 18 years.


Out of the blue last week, I received a message on facebook from a great big bearded man, who I didn’t recognise. The picture showed him on his wedding day. He just wanted me to know, he said, that I had been an amazing teacher. That he still remembered what I taught him 20 years ago, and that he still tells his niece about being taught art by me.
How incredible. This was not something this man needed to do, or gained anything by doing. But I did. And how lovely to gift those words to someone years after they knew you. In a time where our identities are in question because we can’t be fully ourselves, always speak kind words when you think them.

How To Get The Most Out Of A Scrabble Words Cheat - Foreign policy

Thankyou to the wonderful Mickey. Keep doing those little things, especially in your own home. The universe and your wife will thank you! I know I do.,

A Lovely Man: Amazon.co.uk: Pavon, Mar, Vaz de Carvalho, Joao: Books

This poem was written for all of you who take the time to read this, for your heart and for your own self care.

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In amongst the day to day routine keep an eye out for flashes of colour, a chances to reflect on the details when the bigger picture get too overwhelming. Savour every colour. They are only for you.

A flash of colour on a dull winter's day - Trevor's Birding

Children and seasons will change, so will this situation. For a long time my mantra has been to keep going. Clichéd maybe, but sometimes it is all you can do to put one foot in front of another.

DREAM ABOUT WALKING BAREFOOT - What does it mean? - Evangelist

Or one bus

Oxford Bus Company : Oxford Bus Company

Something today matters for a reason you don’t even know yet.

Autumn Leaf Heart Pictures, Photos, and Images for Facebook, Tumblr,  Pinterest, and Twitter

I am so proud of my groups, friends and some of the community helping one another to stay positive. To see artwork, share your Ideas or experiences with us.. go to facebook, liz at the beach hut and sea sparkle.

Live in colour

Rainbow with Clouds Clip Art | rainbow with clouds clip art | Rainbow  clipart, Clip art, Rainbow pictures

Love Liz at the Beach Hut xx

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.

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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