One step at a time

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

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

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

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

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But, somewhere in the ocean is an island

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Somewhere on the island is a packet of seeds

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Someday your seeds will bear fruit

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Slowly a new tribe will show their faces

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Always notice who saving you their best smile!

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

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And you will know you helped them achieve that

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

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

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

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



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

Invisible stitching

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

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

A patchwork quilt of a year

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

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

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

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

Perhaps we might unlisten

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Or choose a better soundtrack

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

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If I had a ÂŁ1 for every time, I heard a rumour about either one of us, I could replace these old windows by now. The roof tiles I heard falling off last night would be magicked back on. Hilariously, the more proving you do to dissuade what anyone thinks, the more likely you are to underline their ideas. For two years my healthcare has been compromised because I wear bright colours and have stripy sticks. G.p.s see but dont hear what you say. A final funded opinion in a different region has finally hoisted us out of the quagmire of misdiagnosis. Having been pretty poorly for months, Someone listened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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Granny chic is all the rage anyway.

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

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

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Sometimes the unexpected fabric of life is the most supportive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Much love Liz and Leah xx

And Pumpkin xxx

The Blank Page

 

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I’ll let you into a secret.. Blank canvas syndrome is an actual thing. Stalling at the moment of creative freedom is the hurdle of almost anyone who ever picks up a brush or a pencil. We imagine ourselves unable to do this massively hard thing which encompasses our genius in one monumental piece of art. Over and over again.

We stand enraged at ourselves for being rubbish before we we even start

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And then more often than not we don’t bother at all, because the fear of the creating bit is too big and too scary.

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There are too many choices

I have noticed this human tendency in many situations, presented with a wobbly, new or challenging step in our lives, we revert to our most vulnerable, smallest sense of self. Some people can overcome this through having had positive childhood  or life experiences,  conditioning from supportive friends and especially from family . But let’s face it, for most of us, there have been enormous gaps in our well-being feedback, in relation to most aspects of anything we put out there, on show to the world…

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If we can hide we often do

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We can lose confidence and momentum as easily as we gain it, because humans want to believe their flaws out weigh their fantastic qualities.

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Standing on the precipice of a chapter can be mind-blowing.Image result for standing on the edge

I know this to be true. You can fool yourself into believing there will be nothing there to fill the void.. you know nothing about his new thing yet, so how can you trust it? you will never reach the level of comfort you had before.. so best maybe to do what you always did.. and stay where you were ..oh so comfortable….

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and the magic and experiences waiting for you can never be.

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Life isn’t a straight line though,  like a bus chugging through the things we do, forgettable and then starting over again tomorrow. Your skills and wisdom back-back gets fuller as you go,  and you will only ever ripen in yer old age.. It doesn’t matter what your fears are.  Moving out of a loveless home, leaving a job, starting a new group or an activity you dreamed of doing when you were a kid.. If you need to do it from the bottom of your boots.. then the layers you have grown over your heart will turn slowly into your new jet pack.. and give you wings..Image result for flying person

Each day,  and situation isn’t a blank canvas .

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We are an accumulation of all that we have ever done so far.

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A million moments we either choose to remember, celebrate or let pass by..

Each one slowly feeds us and our mind absorbs the important bits , inspiring future ideas;  the big, important, or small, perfectly formed thoughts..the trick is to find your connection with what makes your hear sing;

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When we look for inspiration, or start a new artwork or project, we can be overwhelmed with self doubt .And we do the same with our own self image. We look at what we see in the mirror as less than perfect, swamping the whole picture , to reinvent ourselves once more and catch something new, which perfectly represents our ultimate ‘self.’

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Only , that particular fairy has wings. You’ll not catch her. She is a million fractured images at once, absorbed from past memories, experiences, joys and pain and can only ever be fleeting..  All you can do is be grateful for a good photograph occasionally, and smile as much as possible.. because it is the least aging facial contortion!

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As some-one who has been recently forced to look at  pictures of themselves less able  than they were, and not even know how lucky I was at the time, please take it from me that focusing on the perfections of what you look like NOW is so so so not important. It is about getting to know who you are this minute and to like them, trust your own brand of creativity without judgement, both in the mirror and on your canvas.

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Sometimes the more perfect we are the less we know ourselves..The more layers we apply to our guarded hesitant approach , the further away from freedom we have.

Enjoy your face but it’s what you do with it next that counts…

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Last week my daughter and I went to see Mama Mia at the Maltings in Berwick. We sat in the disabled bay with a man in a wheelchair. On paper tell me how fun that sounds?Image result for line of jelly babies

Well stop. Let me tell you, that between us, the lovely stewards (a very sweet couple) and a bag of jelly babies .. we probably had more fun than anyone in the cinema. Nobody cared we were singing and laughing out loud and we watched the film directly from the heart instead of from the perception of how it would look to others if we made a fool of ourselves. It was magical, memorable and we made three new friends.

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It is possible to enjoy yourself..

A surface of many types is just the beginning. Step one. The beginning of a chapter or an adventure. It is meant by its nature to be weathered and roughed up a bit, textured and aged until it’s true nature appears. If we know this we can see past the fear of the blank, because the joy of the process of seeking it out is part of the fun.

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 Let the magic happen.

And if it is your canvas giving you blank stares.. do one of the following;

How to Texture Your Painting surface

1 Cover the surface with pa and water, then tissue paper and then more p.v.a, flattening gently as you go with more gluey gloop and a big brush .

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2 Scrape a layer of texture onto your canvas,  using acrylic paints in either a rough approximation of your finished colour scheme or an opposite one ( complimentary colours can peep through your final work and look very effective.Image result for acrylic underlayer  on canvas

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3 Scrape on paint or an acrylic medium, or paint with a texture by adding sand .. then scratch into it with a card edge, tooth pick or press into your surface with bubble wrap or lace.

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4 Fill your surface with pattern and image from magazine cuttings,  in the same way as Idea 1, make sure they are nice and flat to work on. To make this slightly easier when you paint on top you can always glaze over with a very watery white acrylic wash 50% water/50% acrylic.

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5 After priming with a basic colour, draw on your canvas without looking directly at it. Do it with a really loose paint mix with a long brush or a stick with an oil pastel attached to the end. keep you marks really fluid and loose , enjoying the flow and rhythm of your idea without the constraints  of your four canvas sides.
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6 And when you start painting or applying your actual layers, don’t tighten up too much initially.. Try adding your detail with more tissue, or add torn -up older cast off artwork as an under-layer..

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The recipe for good things  takes time. Often we look at a person and their creations and think they appeared fully formed and gorgeous out of nowhere.. as if by magic. My guess is that they too have stood in new shoes..

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You wouldn’t plonk on beautiful make up without prepping your skin first .. to make it last, attach itself and shine out.  And the best faces, rooms, stories, canvases and relationships are built upon over time and with experience and wisdom . Trust what you know no matter what or who anyone else imagines you are.

 Artwork works when there is a  depth, texture and a hint of what has brought you to its creation.  Just please don’t confuse your surfaces.

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Its quite hard to eat your tea if your face is covered in magazine cuttings.

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Fill in the the blanks with your fabulous selves..

Love Liz xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are we doing?

There are lots of types of Art. But even more types of Artists. As most people won’t be written about in a hundred years for their brush dexterity, what is the point of getting in a tangle. You don’t have to be good at anything in particular or do everything at once, but what is a great shame, is the fear of ever trying….

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Whenever I tell someone I teach Art, most people tell me a story.. usually this begins, ‘I was rubbish at Art at school, my art teacher hated me…….

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Or a well meaning parent told you , that it wasn’t your strongest subject and not as important as Science/Maths/English …(substitute your own literal equivalent obviously… so you should probably just give it up… And most people do….

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They say that that your blue-print of an artistic confidence is pencilled-in around six.

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And that because we learn/don’t unlearn the basics then, or free ourselves from the tyranny of the criticism we felt then , we continue to stay there.. creatively…..hearing our judges for evermore…..

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That’s where getting brave comes in..

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Finding a way to watch something develop and exist, without fear of what the outcome will be, or how it compares to anyone else’s is a gift. If you can find a like minded group in a space which builds confidence and enable makers with different needs to develop…stay there!

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My Art over the last couple of years has included a little bit of everything!!! I have thoroughly enjoyed this process, after years of the curricular patterns in the teaching of secondary education, and our stash of accumulated resources is ever growing and developing ( in the back shed.. for now, but hopefully not for ever)

 

Our story began with the small people.. the ones who really know how to create… the ones who know how to use their sparkly super powers to full advantage..

 

To see our updates for community artwork, go to Image result for facebook logo lizatcreate… (These classes depend on funding as mobility issues require helpers and proper art spaces)

And for the grown ups- For five years, we have endeavoured to keep the ball rolling with self funding classes for a range of needs and groups, if and when we are able.

 

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The aim of continuing to bring Art to as many people as we can, is to show that you can still be thoroughly marvellous despite your wonky bits and on tired days and sore days. Especially if your teacher is feeling the same way. And we will continue to try and fund- raise to maintain this for as many people as possible. Please let us know if you can help in any way.

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And what about me? 

My friend whose husband is an artist, said he asked her the other day, if I ever did any Art.. He’s got a point.. I do spend an awful lot of time doing things for and with other people.. a balance I will slowly swing back a little, now we are more settled here.. But here.. For Colm..

 

I have a few bits up my sleeve which are more detailed.. if I can get my hands to work long enough.

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And like the work we did with Dalkeith Arts.. the more our community can do to support the Arts and crafts for those who need it it to stay well.. the better..

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This is my latest little project.. for us nostalgic types..

Sea me will be our new community group name. And under the umbrella of Liz at The beach Hut, will be a lively and productive Community Arts Organisation, collaborating with volunteers to promote the arts within the St Abbs and District community. Our aim will be to provide support and inspiration to as wide a demographic and range of abilities as possible. At the moment, our face-book page is all things gloriously beachy and seasidey. Please do add appropriately x

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This week reminded me all too poignantly of why our drive to exist and make in the most beautiful way we can should be so. I would like to dedicate this post to my  friend and an inspiring and talented potter Anna Merecedes Wear. Anna sadly lost her brave battle with cancer very recently and has left a lot of love and respect from the art community behind in her fabulous quirky, ceramic foxes and figures. It was Anna who not only shared apple and cinnamon cake on a Friday over a cup of tea with me, in those first few weeks at Art college, but took me under her wing and showed me the polite way of sticking your fingers up to having to do things by the book. She continued to create in her unique and wonderful style, making so many people smile and doing what most of us only dream of.. sticking to her guns. I feel proud to have known her and been helped by her stoicism and wisdom. Our thoughts are always with her lovely family.

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Seize the day and let someone help. Or get your books and crayons out. Who cares what happens. Poke your old school teacher memories in the eye and raise a glass. Find your tribe. You never know what you can do until you try.

Love, Your friend,

Liz xx

 

 

 

Chez Nous

 

Once upon a time there was a little girl who dreamed of living in a white cottage by the sea….

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(Not in the sea)

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It just had to be magical .

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An old boat fashioned into a hut? . A perfect childhood den..

 

So, fast forward forty (odd) .. actually very odd years…but that’s another story…Wigwams in the garden/ hide outs in-between sheds/ childhood bedrooms designed and redesigned for a (usually- bored parent)  /numerous crazy junk-filled student flats/ an escaped marital castle. a temporary refuge and our hug house which help put us back together again…..but still, this little dream of a little blue and white house remained..

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My small person and I kept feeding the plan, despite massive hurdles. It had to have no stairs, and be a place of sanctuary . Where flowers grew, and the kettle was on.

 

We imagined…..

A seasidey, comfortable little house where people would feel at home, hydraengas in the garden and shells around the edges, inspired by trips to France and Greece and a love of deep Blue from iconic paintings and seaside holidays, ( So much so that my daughter has blue as her middle name.)

Image result for ultramarine blueI knew all our years of looking would be worth it. The ingredients were coming together  and we had faith in finding our home.  We knew it was here.

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As you already know, we spent a long time over the last year doing the groundwork, the garden, the inside etc. Finally, this week, we managed to get the walls done and it was like coming home..

…Can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, and the mess was worth it. !

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We were lucky to have the best village painter and the weather held out so we got the job done in two days. Finally the whole picture came together .

Day one.

 

Day two.

So.. here is our home…Image result for heart

 

And the stripey detail drainpipes..

And the funky tattoo doorstep with the fishermen donated by the other beach hut lady.

And the beach blue windows..

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And the additional path colours.. Which will be a lifelong project I think. A bit like the forth road bridge…

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And the fab shipwreck wood half gate which will keep our neighbour’s little dog from escaping when we pup sit… ( It is a work in progress as it needed to go up before the rain hit… )… Another masterpiece from my dustbin- cover-upper-erer…

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And the beach…( which will be a long term working painting given the temperamental nature of my joints and the weather here!)

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That’s Molly giving it the once over… Again, it needs another coat.. not least because of the er.. snow affect my lovely painter accidently added in a mini blizzard. But also it will have more detail in it as time goes by…

Hope you like it. Think my six year old self would be quite pleased, given how many small people have congregated here this Summer!Image result for lifebuoy

I can feel the weather and my body getting less adaptable already, so I am grateful for these last few months of long sunshiney days. If I have had an ounce of energy it has gone into making what we have here, chipping away until each piece is done. It has been done on a shoestring, it hurts, its frustrating, but for now the biggest things are complete. You need the patience of a saint to build something yourself, and the skin of a rhino to throw off your critics….My rhino skills are sadly lacking but the positive comments and new friends made over the fence have more than made up for that.

Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not possible xx

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Love Liz

And six year old Liz xxx

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