Back in The Swing of Things

This is NOT me!

I dyed my hair purple today. Well, it was raining.  I read the instructions on the bottle of stuff – the stuff that didn’t work last time  and has been in the bathroom cabinet ever since because it would be a waste to throw it away.

“Wearing the gloves provided, apply to towel dry hair and leave for 10-15 minutes depending on how vibrant you want the resultant colour to be. ”

Well my hair was already dry so I damped it a bit with wet fingers and then applied a thick dollop of pale mauve cream with bare hands because I’d used the gloves last time and thrown them away. Within seconds my hands were a delightful pale lilac, which hasn’t shifted after 4 hand washes, and which I thought would bode well for the colour my hair would eventually be. So I left it for an extra half an hour, just to make sure, while I took some stuff from the craft room de-clutter experiment into the garage. Then  I dove into the shower in a panic in case leaving it on too long meant my hair would fall out at the roots and I’d end up with a purple scalp instead.

It didn’t.

I didn’t get purple hair either. If there is any change at all, it is minimal. My hair is for the most part a slightly darker shade of steel grey than it was and the whiter bits, which I had hoped to see a fetching lilac, are a slightly paler steel grey, although darker than they were before. The colour now resembles that of one of the female guards on the Gulag Archipelago. You know, the ones who who do shot putt and water boarding in their spare time.

My hair is a bit of a disappointment at the best of times. I once read a description of a woman who:

“Had white strands that swept like gulls’ wings back from her face”

This is not what I signed up for.

When I started to go grey, I had visions of gulls’ wings. Distinguished and classy. Instead I look more like a Staffordshire bull Terrier, with a sort of overall brindled effect. One of the many less attractive features of the ageing process.

However, not one to be put off or, to put it another way, not one to learn from experience, I have another pot of purple dye that I’m going to try in a few days’ time. And this one is violet! Not violent, that’s what I’ll be if it doesn’t work.

As for the craft room de-clutter, it’s been a long time coming. I mean, I threaten it now and then. I push things to one side so I can draw or paint in a small space and I say: “Really must clear up in here.”  And then I finish painting and go down for tea and everything is just as it was. All I’ve done is acknowledge that it needs to be done.

BUT NOT TODAY! Today I have gathered all the Christmas card making paraphernalia into a large carrier bag and taken it out to the garage. (Which I know is a mistake because I bet I’ll find tons more as I go along.) And I’ve gathered together all the wires, micro-filters and plugs from 20+ years of computers into a box and they’re going outside too. (At least until my technically competent son in law comes and identifies what needs to be kept and what can go. ) And now there’s an empty drawer that can be used for some of the bits and pieces lying about on the desk, shelves, floor. This is sooooo cathartic. But I’m pacing myself. I don’t want to rush into it and throw away things I will later need, so I’m gathering things together and going through them a bit at a time.

And of course I need a break now and then, for a cuppa or an online game or something. It’s odd though… I’ve filled two litter bins at least twice; there’s a huge carrier bag full of Christmas things waiting to go outside; there’s a box of wires ditto; there are piles of stuff around the room waiting to be put away – but there doesn’t seem to be any less than there was before. How can that be?

So I’m off to put the kettle on for a coffee to gain strength for the final push. I want it clear today because tomorrow the next stage begins… clearing out the drawers and cabinets. (Can you hear the Jaws music getting louder?)

 

So until next time, world, think of me as I plod on through a ten year collection of things that might come in handy, ruthlessly discarding things that could have been thrown out years ago.

In these uncertain time, look after yourselves and be good to each other.

 

 

 

 

 

An Uncertain Time

I drew this for Inktober last year and loved how it turned out with the fish and the worm eye to eye.

Well it has taken a pandemic to get me back on the blog so we’ll see how it goes from here. My experience of lock down so far is fairly unthreatening. When we are not away on hols to the sun, I spend a lot of time at home, drawing, painting, crochet and reading, plus all sorts of other crafts that I try out.  The thing is, from inside my normally well provisioned, comfortable home, the world doesn’t look much different. If I avoid tv I can convince myself that there is no danger and everyone will be fine. But I know the reality is different. The Loved One and I are both over 65 and so are many of our friends. Many of us have what are now called “underlying conditions”. (I thought they were the result of the ageing  process for the most part.) So we are classed as “At risk”.

I do feel that people are stating the obvious here. The old and infirm have always been “At risk”. It’s part of being old and infirm isn’t it?  So it’s no surprise that we are the ones popping off first. I’m not happy about it but it is a Malthusian fact of existence.  We are also the least productive members of society in practical terms. We don’t work, we don’t contribute and we can be seen as a burden on the state. We’ve done all our contributing. So if anyone has to go, maybe it’s us.

Well that’s not very cheery but I feel better for looking it in the eye, so to speak.

This does not mean I am volunteering!

Underneath this rather cold hearted look at the world in its present state is an attempt to toughen up, so that if/when my friends and family are affected, I will be able to cope with it emotionally. As for getting the dreaded virus myself, well, I’m assuming that won’t happen because, let’s face it, what bug would take ME on?

One good thing has come out of the present situation…

I’ve started a thorough de clutter in the craft room. In fact, we must hope that the lock down period is fairly lengthy if it is to be completed. So when next I write it will be from a tidy, well organised and efficient work space. (And pigs will be flying over South Yorkshire.)

Until then, world, be good. (-ish)

 

 

Back From Beyond

One of the many crochet projects I’ve been working on. going to give it to an old College friend.

Having had a period of reduced creativity with regard to drawing or painting, and being a bit OCD with the crochet, I set myself up with several projects at the same time. (I always do that, with whatever craft I’m addicted to at the moment.) I have finally got back to drawing and the Zentangle in particular. What has surprised me is how my hand control has reduced. I’m having a terrible time with things like auras and parallel lines. On the other hand, I am having fun, even if the end products are not too good.

Last time we went to Tenerife, (we got back a week ago) I took some prepared water colour card with me to do the line work on so I didn’t have to carry a full drawing/painting kit with me and it worked quite well. I used a mix of Promarkers and water colours to get the range of shades I wanted. So below are the before and after pics.  

 

 

It’s not an original idea of course but I do enjoy these sort of pod flowers.

I also decided to do a header for my Facebook page, so, using pages from a scrapbook/journal I won on Alice Dean Hendon’s FB page,  Tangle All Around, I did a page for each month.

So far I’ve managed May, June, July and August and am awaiting inspiration for September and so on. Hoping to have them ready for when the months change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t think July worked as well as the others because I rushed it but we’ll see how the rest of the year goes.

As you can see, I’ve been playing with really bright colours a lot. Generally, I like a muted palette but, as is often the case, I was trawling for ideas on Pinterest and saw some really bright stuff and decided it was time to step out of the comfort zone.

I keep popping over to the Diva Challenge page to see if she’s back but no luck so far. I see from Laura’s FB page that she is recovering but not back to full strength yet. Surprised at how much I miss that blog.

But I think I will stop here for now. i have a load of swap tiles to look at and acknowledge so It’s time to go. See you soon, world, be good. ish.

 

 

 

Keep On Swimming, Keep On Swimming…

This is in a mini journal I won on a FB giveaway. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not a gifted journaller, so I only use it now and then, it’s what set me off with the very bright colours and tangling over them..

This is what happens when you watch Disney films with one grandchild and then take another one to the swimming pool. You get an earworm, not of a song, but of Ellen De Wotsit going on, and on, and on…

But the film is funny and the swimming was great fun. It seems our four year old has no fear at all, which raises the grandparental blood pressure on occasion, to be sure.

So in order to come down to earth I decided some tangling was in order. I had a little look  through my desk to check if I had any swaps or challenges outstanding and I don’t…Wow! So I wandered around Pinterest for a while, again, then a couple of favourite blogs, Coffee and Creativity being one of them, where Michelle Wynne had mentioned doing the It’s a String Thing challenges. So I thought I’d have a look and maybe go back to the beginning and try them all. Five years of strings, well maybe not.

They look awful clumsy at the moment but I’m hoping the tangles will improve matters.

And then I had an idea, yes, it happens sometimes. Although I have done all my challenges and swaps, I have lots and lots and lots of tiles received from other tanglers all over the world. Some are empty tiles made of unusual or prepared paper/card and some have a start that I will complete. So I’m going to mix the two, where appropriate. In addition, I’ve been preparing pics with Brusho inks,  Promarkers and Sharpies and then tangling over the top.

Down the left hand side  are some of them awaiting further attention. I’ve done the colours much brighter than my usual choices because the black and white patterning, maybe with shading too, will sober them up a bit. I hope!

We’re off to Kos for a holiday soon and, rather than take a full case just for drawing, which puts the luggage allowance for clothes etc at risk,  I’ve done the colouring on some postcard size pieces, ready to do the line work and patterning while we are away.  That way I just take a few pens. (And pencils, and erasers, and tortillons  and so on.) I do get a lot of pleasure sitting on the balcony overlooking the sea and tangling in the sun. Consequently, I’ve prepared for one a day although I don’t for one moment  think I’ll have time to do that much – the sea will beckon seductively and I will give in to its blandishments.

I’ve also done some more toppers for cards and it is my firm intention to actually get on and make the cards when we get back.  In fact, I’m thinking of having a stitch and bitch at my house and get the girls doing a production line, matting and layering them into finished products.

Below is the final set of toppers ready to use. My oh my, I do seem to have been busy!

So that’s all until we get back from frivolling our time away. Until then, world, be good, won’t you?

 

 

Too Many New Ideas

I often think my brain is full, but every time I see something artwise that I haven’t tried, I just have to have a look on Youtube or Ravelry and maybe give it a go. The result is an endless round of unfinished projects and a desk crammed with stuff I may one day need. So tomorrow – you’ll notice I say tomorrow, not today – anyway, so tomorrow, I’m going to finish all my swaps and send them off. I am NOT going to start anything new until that is done.

So there.

Three octopods, six mice, four or five kittens, one owl, one pig/dog… you get the idea.

A friend of mine runs a craft sale to support local charities and I gave her a load of cards I’d made that I knew I wasn’t going to use, plus some crochet bits and pieces. It briefly cleared a space in the craft/computer room. In a rush of enthusiasm – I have a lot of them – I made some more toppers. Toppers, for those of you who don’t make cards, are the focal picture/design/greeting that goes on top of all the fancy layers and embellishments on  cards.

The topper is the bit with the fungus on, the rest ismade up of mats and  layers. Sorry about the poor quality picture.
Definitely Zentangle based and using scraps of discarded paper and card. I throw nothing away without a struggle.

So I went on Pinterest to beg, steal or borrow some ideas. I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. I can get lost for hours. And hours. And hours. It’s the same with Youtube. And then, having spent hours looking at other people’s stuff, it goes one of two ways:

Either –  I decide never to draw, paint, create ever again because  everyone else is so much better than me.

Or – I can’t wait to get started. On everything. All at once.

Recently it has been the latter and these are some of the resultant toppers waiting to be made into cards.

 

And then I got a bit bug infested, if you see what I mean. But then it was flowers, although none of them would be recognised by a botanist, not a sane one anyway! I don’t claim any of these as my original ideas, by the way, just my interpretation of something better. And if you like them, then obviously it was all my own idea and if you don’t, it was someone else and I was just trying it out.

 

 

 

 

On each one of these there is a glossy accent, on the lady bird, the apple, the heart and the bee, It helps to create a bit of texture.

By the way, isn’t it odd? Some time ago I decided to stop trying to do the Diva Challenge every week and then she went off sick. (Just a coincidence, I think!) And yet I still check her site every time I open the computer, partly to see if she is OK and partly in case there’s a new Challenge that I might like to try after all. Hope she gets back to normal soon.

So here are some more Zentangle ones:-

 

I got so involved with these that I did a bigger one, which you can  see at the top of the page.

UPDATE- Tomorrow has come and guess what, I started something new. So much for good intentions.

I’ll leave it here for now and see you again soon. Until then world, be good. ish.

 

 

 

That Which Was Lost…

The outside and the inside match perfectly.

Have you noticed how often we quote from the Bible  or Shakespeare or classical poetry without even thinking about it? I’m not a Christian but my education was and it is deeply ingrained in me, as is Shakespeare. If our schools don’t offer the study of these works any more; the reading of Shakespeare; classic poems,like “Daffodils” or “My Last Duchess”; the learning of certain passages to be able to repeat them pretty much word perfect fifty plus years later, what do they learn instead? The Gruffalo? (Nothing against the Gruffalo, it’s my grandson’s favourite story but…) These oh so useful phrases will drop from the language forever.  Not that it has anything to do with what I am going to tell you but my mind wandered that way so I took you with me on a little detour.

Anyway, I have a little tale to tell about that which was lost. I hope you will find it mildly amusing, especially as it is at my expense.

Whenever we go away, which is quite often, I have a range of goodies that I take with me  to fend off boredom on flights, in airports, on sunbeds and so on. These include my tablet, my headphones – nice, new, big ones that exclude damn near everything else noisewise – some crochet, a drawing kit  and maybe my Kindle or a book.  I keep crochet supplies for the journey in a little tote bag that I bought from a shop in Rotherham called Grimm. I love this shop.

Can you imagine ever wanting to leave this place?
Heaven!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I had bought this  tasteful little bag and equipped it with spare hooks, unicorn poo stitch markers (obviously!), a thread cutter, darning needles and some wool. (Yarn if you live across the pond.) I love this bag and its contents, so you can imagine my dismay when we arrived at the airport, went into my hand luggage and there it wasn’t.

I’ll admit it, I panicked. Four and a half hours on a plane is bad enough but with  nothing to do! Nooooooooo! Well, somehow I survived the journey, listening to an audio book of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, did the transfer to the hotel and frantically unpacked my case, even though I was certain the little lost bag was not in there. I remembered getting it ready, leaving it out on the bed ready to go in my hand luggage. I phoned my daughter who went to the house to see if I had left it there. No. Must have fallen out in the car on the way to the airport, or, worse still, out of the car and now be lying shivering on an inhospitable patch of tarmac. My heart bled.

“It’ll be in the bottom of your wardrobe.” muttered the Loved One. I didn’t deign to reply.

I knew this meant a whole week without crochet and there were balls of wool (yarn) staring accusingly at me, mutely saying “Why did you bring us if you aren’t going to use us?”  And then the Loved One remembered that, wherever you go in Spain – we were in Puerto De La Cruz, Tenerife – you can find a Chinese supermarket that sells everything. I mean everything.  Air bed, bath plug, silk flowers, nail polish, cutlery, vegetable steamer, socks…. They were bound to have a crochet hook. We looked on Google Maps and got a bit bewildered but there was a place nearby that looked hopeful.

I slept fitfully that night, dreaming of unicorn poo stitch markers and wondering how to say crochet hook in Spanish.

Uno ganchillo de crochet  is how you say it in Spanish, by the way. So, fortified by a 19 course  breakfast we began our mission.

Isn’t he/she beautiful? About 8 or 9 inches long.

Fortunately, it wasn’t too far away and the walk was very pleasant, near the sea and through narrow back streets with palm trees and pretty pastel painted houses.  At one point, walking down some steps,  I rested my hand on a low wall and a lizard ran over my fingers. Damn near had a heart attack, as did the loved One, who was holding my other hand at the time and couldn’t see why I levitated about four inches with a

ladylike scream.

He, the lizard, not the Loved One, then posed for the camera like a good ‘un. Sorry if the picture is a bit blurred; my hands were still shaking.

Maybe the nights get cold?

We knew when we were at the right place, as you can see from this picture. It’s a lovely warm climate so why someone thought this house needed a crochet blanket I can’t imagine. (Or the tree across the road from our hotel, for that matter.) But the crochet covered house was across from the place we were looking for. Except it wasn’t. Turned out it was a crafts gallery and sold finished products but not the makings.

 

a bit lost for words…

The lady therein was eager to help, however, and told me, after a lot of arm waving on both our parts, where to find a merceria. (Haberdashery.) By now faint with thirst, the Loved One suggested a brief respite at a local hostelry – those weren’t his exact words but you get the idea – before continuing our mission.  Alcohol being anathema to me, I  agreed with some reluctance and even accepted a large beer, just to keep him company, obviously.

Somewhat refreshed, we continued our quest and, after a brief detour round the harbour (very pretty but in the shade so rather too cool to hang about), we headed up a narrow street and there it was.

Ola, senora. Buscando uno ganchillo de crochet. Tienes uno por favor?

Now it’s one thing to have practised asking the question. It helps if you then understand the answer. Fortunately, she was only asking what size I needed and when I looked a bit confused (I’m well practised at looking confused.) she smiled and brought me several to choose from. I bought them all. I also bruised my finger when pointing at some stitch markers because I didn’t realise they were behind glass. Doh!

Triumphant and flushed with success we sought and found a nice restaurant, where we had a tuna salad to celebrate. Well, yes, I believe another beer was involved but  that’s not the point.

Just the scarf at this stage.

For the rest of the week I made good use of those hooks, making a hat/mitts/scarf set for my granddaughter as a little extra Christmas present. I also made a Christmas star for the lady in the gallery but forgot to take a pic before giving it to her.

When we got home, having looked under the car at two in the morning when we landed, I spent a lot of time looking in odd places around the house, in the hope of finding my little bag of goodies.

“It’ll be in the bottom of your wardrobe.” muttered the Loved One. I still didn’t deign to reply.

I phoned the hotel we had stayed at the night before our journey. Eventually, determined not to repeat the experience, I made up a new new travel kit of hooks and put them in the suitcase ready for our next trip, sighing for my lost unicorn poo stitch markers.

And at last I gave up hope.

Christmas came and went in a blur of family activities and then we were packing for the next trip. Deciding to take different shoes this trip, I delved into the bottom of my wardrobe.

And there it was, smiling up at me from the old case in which I keep my shoes. Bag, hooks, thread cutter and, yes, unicorn poo stitch markers. Oh happy day!

I didn’t tell the Loved One where I found it, of course.

I haven’t given up on the art work, although I have spread my wings a little and done quite a lot of water colour, sometimes with Zentangle, sometimes without. One of the swaps I did was to make a star using two triangle tiles. Well, making the right size/shape triangles was a challenge in itself but I did it – eventually. And i had major difficulty thinking what to do. In the end, I pretty much went for monotangles, maybe with a little embellishment and the end results were reasonably pleasing, thank goodness.

And there hasn’t been a Diva Challenge for a couple of weeks, which I fear means that all is not well at Casa Diva. I hope she and her family are OK but as a very long distance “friend” I don’t want to intrude by enquiring. fingers crossed for them all.

So that’ll be all for now. Off again into the blue quite soon – crochet stuff already packed, including spares!

Until we meet again, be good, world, be good…..     ish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No More Diva Challenges

My first attempt at Zentangle after quite a long break.

I started this post a while ago and then got side tracked, so it begins a little out of date but…

It’s the end of an era. After almost four years, I have decided to stop doing the Diva Challenge. I’ve dragged my feet a bit ever since it came back after the Summer break but this week has put me off altogether. I was going to post my response to the Challenge but couldn’t because there was no Linky there to attach to. In the comments there were several mentions of this but I think maybe Laura wants us to use the Zentangle Mosaic App and hashtags and other arcane devices and I can’t. I use a PC, not my phone or tablet and the App can’t be accessed by PC. (I did email Zentangle HQ and check. )

I intend to keep on visiting and will do the Challenges for my own enjoyment if they appeal to me but perhaps not post them any more. We’ll see.

So heyho and off we go to do something else instead. No doubt the change will do me good but I’m a bit sad about it. I’m a member of a couple of swap groups on FB, one of which is a new one called UK Tanglers and, since membership is a bit low at the moment, it isn’t all that active yet. So if any of you want to galvanize it a bit, go for it. I’m behind on my swaps too. To be honest, Tangling has taken a back seat lately, as I’ve done  a lot, and I mean a lot, of crochet. For example, this baby blanket for a friend of my daughter.

And a huuuuuge poncho for a close friend who lives in a draughty old house and needs to keep warm in the evenings. And a wrap for another friend in a lovely, soft, silver grey  merino wool. A vest for my daughter in law, a hat/scarf. mitts set for my granddaughter, a scarf for my daughter, a shawl for me, (yes, ME!) and a Viking helmet for my son in law.  Yup, a Viking helmet. He plays a game called Skyrim (????) and apparently this is what one of the characters wears.

Modelled by my daughter. DON’T tell her I put her photo on here, she’ll kill me.

However, I cleared away some of the leftover Christmas crafting stuff in my craft/computer room a couple of days ago, found the details of the swaps I want to catch up on and I think, maybe, I’m getting my Tangle  mojo back.

First, a set of ATC’s using recycled materials. These were all made from a page I started for an art media journal, which I gave up on. I’m not patient enough to do all these layers and wait for things to dry and I like to have a clue about the end result instead of the sort of  “ooooo, let’s see what happens if we….” because what usually happens is that it goes a nasty brown colour and I have to go back to the beginning, gesso over it and start again.

So I cut in into ATC size pieces, drew on the other side and felt a bit better, as I hadn’t wasted all that lovely water colour card.

Here they are in more detail, with the reverse of some so you can see the original ideas.

Not the best I’ve done but I took a while to get my juices flowing, so to speak.
And this is the reverse. Funny, I like this better now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a piece of black card I’d punched circles from for another project, so I applied it to an ATC and off we went.

There were quite a few ideas so I just did the first thing that came to mind, anything, just to get going again. I did notice that lack of practice has led to wobblier lines and a tendency to rush things. It may take a while to get back into the Zen part of it. (It never has come naturally to me.)

Anyway, I’m going to send them off only when I have all three swaps complete. This is the first, then there’s one using triangular tiles to make a star shape and another using heraldry shield type things. But I am just going for one step ata time, or I’ll over face myself and start displacement activities, like tidying up. (Maybe not that, maybe making a cuppa…)

A monotangle using Finery. I really enjoyed the simplicity of doing this Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here?

 

The reverse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side 1
Side 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another one I enjoyed, using Yuma, which is not a pattern I use very often, don’t know why.
And the other side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m just going to pop over to see what the Diva is doing, just in case….

And the Linky thing is missing again. Nice Challenge, a “new” pattern called Anthem. I’ll give it a go later, I think.

So I’m calling it a day, for now. Be good, world, you know you want to.