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Beagle For Beauty - December 2020

We made it friends, it has ended in Tiers, Tier 3 to be precise but we're still standing...ok, leaning! Let's start this newsletter with a deep exhale and a high five, or maybe a soft back rub depending on how you're feeling. Our year began with my ice skating accident (pic in gallery) and prolonged concussion, followed quickly by hubby's Covid then broken nose and now ongoing head issues, throw in some income unknowns, house move and keeping everyone's mental health happy, It's been a bumpy ride at times. I don't know about you but I can swing between having it all together and teetering on the edge of lunacy. Cabin fever anyone? Despite all the challenges I can't help but circle back to hope, for in the midst of it all goodness is to be found, a twinkle lights of hope that darkness has never overcome.

Shall we turn our eyes away from headlines and laundry piles and look instead to some beautiful things?

1. Still Life: Inspired to create my very own Christmas Still Life I hopped online and searched for 'Christmas Still Life Oil' and researched which composition jumped out at me. I fell in love with the image below and set about my endeavour. I didn't do any further research at the time as to the artist or era etc, I only went by appearances. Now as I come to share my own work and the image which inspired it I am thrilled to know more of it's origins. Artist Eloise Harriet Stannard (1829-1925) was one of only a couple of renowned female painters of her time, and was born and lived in Norfolk, UK. Can you guess her greatest influence? None other than my No.1 art-crush Jan Van Huysum, it's no wonder I was drawn to her! Check out this only photo of Eloise, amazing. I feel like God gave me a little kiss and surprise from heaven with Eloise this month. Instagram has some fabulous examples of her work too.

I wanted to keep my composition simple this month, it's been a complex and demanding year in so many ways so stripping it back seemed a good approach. Clementines always remind me of Christmas, now you can eat them all year round but back in the day they would make their festive appearance every December. We grew up pretty stretched financially so to me they really were a sweet treat and Eloise's inclusion of them resonated with my childhood memories. I hope you like it.

I've made up a bit of a Christmas Stocking for you this month:

2. The Chosen: Christmas With The Chosen, what a worshipful feast! This could be good for Christmas Eve or over the holiday sometime. I have goosebumps upon goosebumps watching this, they show snippets from the new Season 2 currently in production plus the short film The Shepherd which got this all started. If you're yet to see the series of The Chosen I highly recommend, I about cried on each episode, never have I seen Jesus portrayed so beautifully in His humanity as well as divinity. There is also an app for The Chosen which is free and streams to your phone. 3. Story time: Jamin Still is a wonderful artist and author. Make yourself a cup of something warm and enjoy having Ellen And The Winter Wolves read to you along with his beautiful illustrations. My favourite illustrator, poet and author is Charles Van Sandwyk. I am enthralled by his work methods. Mr Rabbit's Symphony of Nature is too delightful.

4. Podcast: Sally Clarkson's annual declutter podcasts are always worth a listen heading into a new year. Episode 14, 230 and 355 will set you up for 2021. It was back in 2015 that I first heard of Sally through this declutter podcast, I never could have dreamed I'd be working in Mum Heart ministry all these years later.

5. Craft: I am in awe of this embroidery work! If sewing is your thing and you have deep pockets or looking for a special heirloom type gift Crewel Work Company have stunning kits. I am adoring their Insta page. Enjoy a short talk on how they create their designs.

6. Movies: Something different and surprising in a couple of ways is the family film Over The Moon. Don't be fooled by the childlike animation, this is a story full of heart, dealing with real life issues and if you research the back story behind the writer you'll see why. Beautiful. An oldie but worth a mention in case you missed it is The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (spot a Hamilton genius in the cast).

7. Inspiration: 100 Year old's last performance, oh, and she's a