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