An Alpaca Adventure!

An Alpaca Adventure! at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

Hello there lovely Buttoneers! Well…that was a rather impromptu blogging break wasn’t it! For those of you that don’t follow me on social media (You should by the way – Instagram is my fave!) I have been having headaches and migraines constantly for a few weeks or so. Luckily the CT scan came back clear but I am back and forth at the doctor’s trialling different medications hoping one will work enough for me to properly get back to work and live my life again! Arrghhh! In the meantime the Eliston Button Etsy Shop will remain open and I will be dipping in and out here and social media when I can.

Anyhoo, Now that my Create 30 blog challenge is well and truly done and dusted I can concentrate on the other little doses of creative lifestyle goodness that are in my blogs tagline – like adventure! Hooray!

I really want this little corner of the blogosphere to be a mix of all things Art, Design, Craft and Adventure because, let’s face it, they are blooming great things to fill your life with!

I wanted to share ‘An Alpaca Adventure!’ with you for a few weeks now but with recent hospital stays and feeling pretty poop, it took a bit of a backseat. But, alas! Here it is because I just couldn’t let this one slip under the radar without documenting it – You know I am a sucker for documenting my life and what better way than to share it on this here bloggity blog!?

This year as one of my presents to my fiancé Chris for his birthday I wanted to mix it up a bit and get us out and about on an adventure. For years now we have been obsessed with how funny alpacas are. Before we moved, about ten minutes from our house, we used to drive past an alpaca farm on the way to go shopping in Cheltenham and always say hello to ‘Alan’ the alpacas (They are all called Alan right!?) which then turned into every picnic starting with…

“I’ll grab a blanket…Alpaca lunch!”

So, when I spotted an alpaca experience online I jumped at the chance to walk an actual real life alpaca! We went to Charnwood Forest Alpacas in Leicestershire and had the best experience – we are still laughing and talking about it now! This is not a sponsored post – we genuinely just had a fabulous time and I wanted to share it! 

Alpaca Party at Charnwood Forest Alpaca Farm, Leicestershire - An Alpaca Adventure! at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

We started out with a really informative talk about the alpacas and the handling of them.

Fun Fact #1: Did you know there are 20 different colours of alpaca from white to black with the brown shades in between!?

They get sheared once a year and their wool can be used for all sorts of things but especially crafting! Have you ever knitted or felted with alpaca wool?

Fluffy Cream Coloured Alpaca all Ready for a Wedding! - An Alpaca Adventure! at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

Fun Fact #2: Alpaca wool is different to sheep wool as it hypoallergenic – it doesn’t contain lanolin, which is the cause of many wool allergies. 

I can’t take all of the credit for remembering all of the talk – I might have had to ring Chris at work to ask how many shades there were – He is a fact brainiac enthusiast so I knew he would remember! 

Alpaca Information Talk at Charnwood Forest Alpaca Farm, Leicestershire - An Alpaca Adventure! at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

Apparently a lot of the time, the alpaca chooses the person for the walk rather than the person choosing the alpaca – how sweet! Jasper here definitely chose me by sticking his face right into mine! I think he could sense the fear to be honest; he had me totally summed up. I was super excited to be holding an actual real life alpaca – I think I played it cool…right!? 

Alpaca Excitement! - An Alpaca Adventure! at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

Off we went, walking our alpaca across the paddock and towards the open fields of the farm. This is where I very quickly realised that Jasper the alpaca was just using little nervous me as a freedom giver. As soon as he felt that fresh air on his face and the wind in his hair, as soon as his feet felt the grass between his hooves and the tree line in the distance…he bolted. What the heck!!?? There I am half running across a field, fingers so tightly clenched on his lead (I mean come on…who wants to be the only one to lose their alpaca?) and hoping to god that the leader girl will DO SOMETHING! It felt like a marathon to this crafty girl with stubby legs I can tell you. The panic was unreal! 

Luckily he slowed and with a bit of wrangling I managed to get him back across the field to the rest of the group where I was told to be a bit firmer with him and not to let him be the boss of me – life lesson right there. 

Life Lesson #1: Never let an alpaca think he is the boss of you.

Walking an Alpaca - Taking a Break - An Alpaca Adventure! at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

Meanwhile, Chris has missed the whole debacle as he is too busy wrestling his own alpaca called Tailwind (a sentence I never thought I would write!) and only caught me on the walk back whilst I was snivelling away between an hysterical cry-laugh and hoping I wouldn’t get told off. Have you ever seen a guy so chuffed to be holding an alpaca? I blooming love this photo – I might have to frame it!

The Alpaca Chooses You! - An Alpaca Adventure! at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure. View Post

Around Here…I’m Back!

Around Here...at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid

Hello there lovely Buttoneers! I’m blooming back! Have you missed me!?

It feels like soooo long ago that I was sat here, mug of coffee in hand, channelling my inner Carrie Bradshaw, tippy tapping away on my laptop…

Actually that all sounds way calmer than it actually was at the end of my Create 30 blog challengeIt’s been so good to step away from the editorial blog calendar for a while. I envisioned myself sat in the garden, reading my book with a cup of tea relaxing my days away. In reality it was so different!

I started off my break by completely stepping away from posting on social media. I needed to get away from the pressures of daily posting ‘perfect’ photos and battling algorithms to get them seen and just live my life a bit. Our family had a sad loss at the start of my break too so posting my day to day or Etsy Shop snippets just didn’t feel right. The break was exactly what I needed and I actually found that I wanted to get back to Instagram sooner than I had scheduled, full of fresh ideas and creativity that I had feared I had lost in the hustle and bustle. More on that later. 

So…What have I been up to? Well, a lot of my days have still been on the computer. I spent sooooo long completely re-formatting my back catalogue of blog posts. When I switched over to self-hosting my blog and ended up completely redesigning it, a lot of the text formatting and image sizes changed. I had even lost a huge amount of images on the crossover without realising, resulting in gaps between text and other images – Yikes! As a bit of an organisation obsessive enthusiast (now there’s an enthusiast print in the making!) This drove me insane!

With trying to keep my head above water keeping up with Create 30 and running on that never ending hamster wheel of social media – I had zero time to fix it.

So, with it niggling in the back of my creative little head, I knew that the minute I stopped blogging for a while, I had to get it done. Cue hours of soul destroying reformatting and image sizing…I was purely running on giant cups of coffee and listening to podcasts. At the same time I started re-taking the Eliston Button Etsy Shop product photography to jazz it all up a bit.  I have spruced up my prices, postage prices and search engine optimisation (Yawwwwnnnn!!) but everything is a lot happier and everything is how it is supposed to be. Phew! The prices and postage are all now in place if you have had your eye on something, but I am still trawling through the re-photographing stage! No wonder I am glad to be back. 

With all the admin out of the way, here is the pretty picture bit. They are a mixture of Instagram photos with their captions to fill you in on what I have been up to and a few behind-the-scenes photos too. Here is what I have been up to Around Here…Enjoy!

Around Here… Back at the start of July I wrote – “Hello lovelies 💖 I’ve been a little M.I.A over on social media for a while, my usual posting schedule has become a bit few and far between and I feel like I’m stuck in a bit of a creative rut. I feel like a lot of my time is spent working hard against the new algorithms, alongside battling the tide and noise of it all that I have lost my umph and feel really disenchanted by it all 😫 I have decided to, not just take a blogging break, but take a social media break too for a short while, in the hope I can get back my usual creative magic 👩🏻‍🎨 I spend so much time worrying and running on the hamster wheel of daily posts and hashtags and writing engaging posts that the fun, imagination and creativity has gone. I want to put down my phone and my laptop for a while and make something with my hands, something tangible, make my crafty little heart happy again. 😊I am unplugging away from the noise and concentrating on finding the parts that I love; the making, the experimenting, the creativity. 🎨✨ The Eliston Button Etsy Shop (link in profile) will remain open and I will flit in and out of here from time to time and add some Insta stories here and there when I have something to share. I feel like a break will do my creative little soul some good and allow it to feel refreshed and recharged to get back to it soon! 🌼 I urge you all to take a little time away from your screens today. Go for a walk, grab a coffee, sit in the garden, draw something, buy some flowers, have a real life conversation with someone and above all, find the fun again… 🌈💖

Around Here… I am just dipping in to say hello and make sure you know I’m still here. I have however, decided to extend my social media break for a little while longer. Self-care as looking after my mental health is very much a priority for me this year after a stormy couple of years and stepping away from my screen and unplugging the last few weeks have helped tremendously in getting myself back on track. I want to come back at it being able to fully dive in and be my best and most creative self. 👩🏻‍🎨🎨 We also had a very sad loss in our family last week so posting just doesn’t feel right at the moment. I promise I will be back when the time is right, but for now I will dip in and out to say hello and continue to post out your Eliston Button Etsy Shop doses of handmade goodness 

Around Here… I dug some home decor bits for the mantelpiece out of boxes from the move to make the place feel homier. We are trying to do up and decorate each room one by one, so a lot of our stuff is still boxed. Sometimes just digging out a few things and arranging them on the mantelpiece can brighten the place up and make it feel like a home rather than box city and a decorating disaster zone!

Around Here… Sex and the City was watched A LOT! I don’t care what people say about this show. To me it will always that old friend that you can just slip back in touch with to make the grey days a little brighter and make your heart feel a little warmer. A familiar favourite that wraps you up in a ball and sits with you under the duvet with a large mug of tea and a ball of knitting until you feel more ‘you’ again – You know the sort. 

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Create 30 – I Did It! (And Future Plans)

Create 30 - An Eliston Button Blog Challenge - Create 30 – Let’s Do This! at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

Hello there lovely Buttoneers! I still can’t believe I did it. I successfully completed my Create 30 blog challenge – I made 30 different things before I turned 30 years old and popped the little handmade treasures into the Eliston Button Etsy Shop! Hooray! I also can’t believe that this is the final time I will use the Create 30 banner above – I loved this banner. I loved it waaaayyy more than my Create 28 and my 27 Before 27 blog challenge banners (I even made the ‘Create’ into a print as one of the challenge makes!) Parts of me will be sad to see it go. I am pretty sure that after a year, you are all sick of the sight of it, but for me each time it appeared was not only a little dose of handmade goodness crossed of the list but it was a little mini hurdle I had jumped, a little step further down the road exploring my creativity and a whole heap more confidence in putting it all (and myself) out there. Each use of this banner meant that another make was completed.

With each Create 30 make, I had imagined, designed, made and completed one more creative adventure, which felt like a mini fiesta every time [Insert maracas, fruit bowl headdress and confetti cannons galore…plus cake…you can’t celebrate without cake!] 

Create 30 – I Did It!

As I mentioned in my final Create 30 make post at the beginning of the week, I really wanted to make a round-up post of the complete 30 mixed in with a smidgen of my thoughts and feelings, a dash of reflection and a pinch about future plans – the perfect recipe for an end of challenge roundup, but also a bit of closure for me. After a year of strict deadlines and sometimes making into the night, I feel like I need this therapy session with you lovelies! Breathe out the panic, anxiety and self-doubt…breathe in the calm, relaxation and relief!

Gold 30 Number Balloons with Bow Sticks in a Hogwarts Pet Pot, A Rainbow of Felt Tip Pens and Pink Bunting - Create 30 – I Did It! (And Future Plans) at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

I needed this challenge. As much as I am really glad I have completed it and I can have a break, I needed to do this. This time last year, I was feeling demotivated, stuck in a creative rut and was having a really yukky time with massive neighbour problems and trying to sell our house. I needed something to focus on and deadlines to chase my butt into a faster lane. I needed motivation and passion for what I love to do back into the forefront of my mind. The main concept was to make new stuff, try new crafts, broaden my existing creativity and throw a new spin onto old ideas at the same time as giving me a adventure outside of what we were going through. (You can read all about it in the original Create 30 – Lets Do This! post)

I work my best with fire beneath me, with a deadline to push me outside of the comfort of having time to do things ‘whenever’ and ultimately never getting them done. I need goals and hurdles to jump over with problems to solve. I need to be able to write a list and check it all of one by one until I am all done – I am a professional list maker (my desk was covered in so many sticky notes and scraps of paper with things to do for the last weeks of the challenge, that I could barely see my desk!) I said it best in my Confession Time…And Time for a New Challenge? blog post…

“When I studied Art and Design in college, I would leave each project right until the last minute and then cram it all in the last few days, the deadline forcing me to not question my creative decisions but to go with it. To show up, to do the work.

Productivity > Procrastination. Progress > Perfection”

I think the important thing for me was to always keep it fresh. I hated the thought of making the same thing over and over to fill up the slots. I wrote a list (surprise surprise!) of my favourite things to make which included prints, weavings and embroidered felt flowers etc and spread them evenly across the 30 makes ensuring there was enough time for each one. I knew I wanted to progress and push my creativity too so that meant getting better at weaving and braving bigger looms and illustrating more prints and starting new fabric collages. Again, I explained it best in the starting post…

“I want to break all of the anxiety/panic/impending doom milestones down into easy, manageable chunks rather than big steps and giant leaps. I want to be able to tick them all off one by one and feel that sense of pride when I get to the end result (and will hopefully distract from saying goodbye to my twenties) I want to smile at each success and acknowledge each hurdle as I go along on this new adventure.

I want to grab all of those little ideas that have been floating around in my head for so long, grab them all up and finally explore them all, one by one. I want to get them all out and let them flow and change and develop. I want to let them fail and be worked out and reorganised…”

And that is exactly what I did! Sometimes I worked at my desk, sometimes in front of Netflix, sometimes listening to podcasts – I got through a lot of podcasts! I even kept my working environment different as to always feel fresh and new and interesting – Go on, ask me a question about True Crime…I should have a degree in those podcasts!

In the beginning, I laid out all of my ideas on sticky notes and placed them on an editorial calendar to see where I could fit them all in around other non-Create 30 posts to keep it interesting for all of us, and break up my screen time in front of my laptop. I made sure I made some similar things to amalgamate together into one single blog post so that I could actually fit them all into the year and got my head down! 

My craziest time was Christmas – I suddenly had a flurry of festive ideas and not enough time to act on them! Don’t worry, they are all noted down for future seasons!

I bloody love Christmas and with all of the festivities but knowing we were definitely buying a new house and keeping up with Christmas orders was a toughie, not to mention Christmas tutorials and festive blog posts – they are some of my faves!

You will never hear me say that completing this Create 30 blog challenge was easy. By no stretch of the imagination was it a doddle. I always woke up in the morning ready to hit the ground running to try and get through my to-do list. I didn’t ever get a week day off unless I was unwell and then had to catch up later. I had strict-ish rules of not working weekends – that was my down time (although a lot of non-print items were made whilst in front of the TV in these times to really utilise my time) But, overall it was enjoyable.

I didn’t anticipate a house move or not having Internet for weeks. I didn’t anticipate how long some things would take to make or design. I didn’t realise how much I would have to dig into my creative imagination to use all of my describing words to paint a picture of where you could hang a weaving, or to describe the tactile texture of a fabric collage for my Etsy listings…

I loved making and getting things made. It seems pretty obvious seeing as this is my job, my chosen career path and my hobby rolled into one, but I had lost that with all that we had been through. I had lost the umph, the get up and go, the creative mojo. I couldn’t think creatively, imagine up new ideas – I was stuck. In quick sand. Sinking into a place where only the best patronus spell in the forbidden forest would get me out. So crafting, designing, making, photography, listing, blogging, hearing your feedback – that was my spell. It got me back to feeling more like me and to be honest, the house move pushed me further and harder into getting things made ahead of time and to get more organised.

I didn’t have time to second guess or doubt myself or my makes which meant I jumped in head first and learnt how to fly on the way down, taking creative risks and ultimately bettering my work.

The downfall of this was my one major hiccup (minus the lack of internet for a few weeks) when I made a silly typo on a new print I had just launched and I didn’t even spot it right there in front of me until my Sister new quality control manager emailed me. It was so silly and no one even noticed it, but I had a pit of your stomach, freeze-on-the-spot-mid-carrot-stick-chomp, don’t-take-another-breath-until-you-have-processed-the-words-in-front-of-you sick feeling until the print was re-made, re-posted and all was calm again! You can read all about it in my blog post ‘Why It’s Okay to Make Mistakes (And a Life Update)

Some days went well. Some days were overwhelming. It was a real mix. At times I felt relaxed and in control, others felt like I was running full speed (not something I ever plan to do!) on a hamster wheel, constantly trying to reach an impossible destination so that I didn’t fall off and flash my knickers to the world (This actually happened off a bench on my first date with my now fiancé – I must have been wearing fantastic knickers!)

On the whole, Create 30 was by far my most successful blog challenge. I completed it in time, regardless of a house pack up and move that I didn’t expect would happen when I launched. Despite days where I wanted to pack it all in and run away with the circus. Despite days where I was just exhausted or feeling fizzled out or just wanted to top writing blog posts for a while. I planned this challenge out meticulously compared to the previous two as well. I mapped out my 30 makes, sometimes they changed or shifted to ease the pressure, sometimes I scrapped them entirely and rapidly thought of something new, but overall there were no major crying sessions that I was never going to complete it all, no break downs and a lot less panic than before.

That said, it wasn’t easy. I tried to make things ahead of time so that I had a few things made in-hand, especially over the house move. I tried to batch photograph things or bulk edit them in groups to save time and my sanity! I used my time wisely, weaving and sewing or making fluffy pom poms in front of the television in the evening or in front of a film at the weekends, freeing up my time in the day to type, photograph, edit etc.

This way I also balanced my time between work and play and spending time with real people instead of hibernating away in the Eliston Button Headquarters until it was all over…Can I come out now?

More than anything I am super thrilled I was brave enough to set sail away from my comfort zone. It wasn’t until I pushed away from the shore in my little creative boat that I felt braver and more capable of new things. I grew. My creativity grew. My ideas and imagination grew and with that my passion for what I always knew I loved grew. M creative cup feels full of new inspiration and ideas for future makes and at the end of the day, I could not ask for more. 

Inspiration Exists But It Has To Find You Working - Pablo Picasso Quote by Eliston Button - Forest - Create 30 – I Did It! (And Future Plans) at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

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Create 30 – No. 29 & 30 – Large Colourful Woven Wall Hangings

Create 30 - An Eliston Button Blog Challenge - Create 30 – Let’s Do This! at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

Hello there lovely Buttoneers! I made it to 30!!!! Can you believe it!? I am totally in a spin about the fact that I have completed my Create 30 blog challenge – I am pretty sure it is going to take a while for it to sink in and I’m not even sure I will feel the relief of pressure until I have written the next blog post about it all. I plan on making a bit of a fun round up and lessons learned type post and then I can breathe! 

I naturally wanted to go out with a bit of a bang at the end of the challenge and do one of the things I love the most, but progress it in some way, push the boundaries a bit more and push my creativity and abilities further than I have before – That was the whole reason behind my Create 30 blog challenge right!?

I love designing an making prints and illustrations, I love, love, love making embroidered felt jewellery and accessories, and don’t get me wrong, I blooming love making fluffy little garlands of pom pom goodness! But, I adore weaving. I feel like weaving is my therapy, my me projects, my passion projects I guess you could say. They are little labours of love that take more than just a day or so to make. They take time and trials and playing with ideas. Weaving pushes me to think harder about shapes and colours and textures – Oh the textures! Weaving is a dream to play with and I certainly want to adventure into the magic a lot more now I won’t have the constraints of time and blog challenges and blog posts etc etc. 

So it was a total no-brainer when it came to deciding what to make, it was more tricky to know how to push outside of the safety net of what I have made before.

I wanted to go bigger and more colourful. I wanted to weave shapes and play with tactile textures. I wanted long flowing tassels that didn’t tangle and to play with small sections and pockets of textured magic, rather than just weaving straight across the piece.

I wanted to freestyle and flow but create a rhythm and a piece that came together at the end. I wanted to compliment and contrast and be adventurous! It was a lot of fun! 

So…without further ado, here is Create 30 – No.29 & 30 – Large Colourful Woven Wall Hangings…

Create 30 - No. 29 & 30 - Large Colourful Woven Wall Hangings by Eliston Button - Create 30 - No. 29 & 30 - Large Colourful Woven Wall Hangings at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

First up is my hot pink, turquoise and rainbow large colourful woven wall hanging…

From the shades of pink and purple variegated woven yarn right down into the depths of the long hot pink tassels at the bottom, this beautiful and brightly coloured woven wall hanging is sure to add a rich dose of tactile, colourful goodness to your home decor.

 

Pink and Turquoise Rainbow Large Woven Wall Hanging by Eliston Button - Bright Coloured Home Decor - Create 30 - No. 29 & 30 - Large Colourful Woven Wall Hangings at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

This one of a kind weaving is super happy and makes for a gorgeously vibrant statement piece for your walls.

Its fun spirited, vivacious colours and small pockets of magical detail is sure to catch your eye and add a huge splash of colour to wherever you choose hang it.

Maybe you would adorn your living room walls with soft, happy treasure to pull a multitude of colours together to form a beautifully designed room? Maybe you would hang it above your bed to draw in the happy bohemian vibes? The possibilities of home decor magic are endless!

Pink and Turquoise Rainbow Large Woven Wall Hanging by Eliston Button - Rainbow Yarn, Tassles and Pink Pom Pom Yarn - Create 30 - No. 29 & 30 - Large Colourful Woven Wall Hangings at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure. View Post

For the Love of…Summer

For the Love of...Summer - Creative Lifestyle Summer Round Up by Eliston Button Beach - For the Love of…Summer at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

Hello there lovely Buttoneers! The sun is shining, the balmy warm air is close to your face and the oscillating fan is on full blast. Ice lollies are in the freezer (or dripping down your hand!) the ice cube tray is full and the sun loungers are out. The garden is blooming, the sandals have been dug out of hibernation and the sun lotion is on hand. This can only mean one thing…Its summer time!! Hooray! 

In my new tradition of celebrating each of the seasons in my ‘For the Love of…’ blog series, I was excited to get started with the bright blue skies and happy yellow, sunshine filled days of summer…For the Love of…Summer!

Also, I don’t normally get to post a lot about the summer as it is usually when I take a blogging break to revive the creative juices (which I will be doing after my Create 30 blog challenge!) so I thought it would be nice to capture it all before I relax a bit!

Just like with my For the Love of…Autumn, Winter and Spring editions, I will be rounding up all the summer goodness from all things Eliston Button as well as some exciting summer finds from around the web.

I want to get your arty, crafty souls feeling the summer vibes and finding the sunshine tribes…I would definitely join that super fun sounding tribe – Pure sunshine magic! 

So, what do I love about summer? I love more sunshine than cloud but also cool breezes and not getting too hot. I love bright happy colours and bright blue skies. I love ice creams and lollies and exciting outdoor adventures (and also getting lost)…

Whippy Ice Creams and Blue Skies - Summer Vibes - For the Love of…Summer at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

I love sun kissed skin and make up free faces. I love road trips, summer stargazing and soaking up vitamin sea! I love sandy beach combing and ocean cool paddles…

Pebbles on a Sandy Beach - For the Love of…Summer at www.elistonbutton.com - Eliston Button - That Crafty Kid – Art, Design, Craft & Adventure.

I love collecting shells, sea glass treasures and colourful bits of fishing rope. I love warm sand between my toes and silky soft feet. I love salty sweet kisses and sounds of crashing waves… View Post