Turning Problem Solving into an Art Form

Well to start with, I’ve solved the problem of how many steps in a day I do – I’ve turned off the step counter and, you know what,  I feel better already.

And then there’s the satchel/bag. Made as a raffle prize but, since I made it up as I went along, there were times when I couldn’t work out the next bit.  It’s like doing a puzzle, working out how to get the shape you want, quite satisfying. So that was problem solving too, in a way. Anyway, it’s done now and, by the time you read this, it’ll have been given away.

And then there’s the other prize, which has given me nightmares for weeks. Why did I say I’d do a drawing for her? The book is called “The Queen of Wishful Thinking”, a rom-com with a slightly darker side and there is a theme of rainbows throughout, which I have tried to encompass here. (And the crown for the Queen bit…)

Before framing.


But this must be at least the fourth attempt and, even now, I wonder if whoever wins it will immediately take the picture out and re-use the frame. (Not that I will ever know, of course.)

And then there is the latest round of swap tiles to complete…

The theme here is floral and Spring and I know I tend to be a bit literal minded sometimes. That certainly appears to be the case with these,

Before and after colouring. As you can see, the colour ran in a couple of places but I think I can solve that with a little work. (Another problem almost solved.)

I don’t actually like the colours on this one and the deeper blue and pink are Gelly Roll glitter but you can’t tell from this photo. Both are drawn using String 032 as a base, although it has almost disappeared in the first one. We could also use Strings 034 or 138 but I didn’t like 034 much. The ones I posted last week used 138 and I stuck more closely to the string with them. Just a couple more to do before I post them off to the USA. I would recommend the various swap groups that are out there, it really is fun to get pieces through the mail from all over the world. Although, sometimes the commitment to draw at least five ZIA with specific limitations each month can be something of a Challenge.

I need a holiday!


As a follow up to the raffle prize angst, the book launch was last night and a jolly good time was had by all. When I went up to talk to Milly and get my books signed, she said how much she liked the picture and I offered to do one for her. She leaped at it, so maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. I shall do similar but different, as, even if I really wanted to, I couldn’t reproduce exactly the same thing. But I made the mistakes on the first one, so, with luck, the next one will be better. Won’t it? For instance, I think I shall place the Mak Rah May more centrally and let the strands make the rainbow shape. And I might put the red in the middle and the violet on the outer edge for the rainbow background. We’ll see.

I also watched a tutorial or two on Youtube. I lose hours of my life doing that but it can be soooo satisfying. The one I’ve taken to was called Yula, demonstrated by Melinda Barlow. It took a bit of thought  but I think I may well use it again. 

And now it’s Diva Day and the Challenge is to use Molygon. This is not a pattern I am at ease with, mainly because I don’t ever seem to make imaginative use of it. I’ve mixed it with a couple of others that I like to see but not to do.  (Joki and Danza) The problem here is whether or not they actually go together  harmoniously and, in the end, I think they are OK. I coloured them with Brusho inks – I’d highly recommend them – and water colour pencils.

So that’s all for now. Off to Majorca quite soon on holiday with son, daughter in law and granddaughter. Prepare for granny tales on my return.


But, until then, world, be good-ish.


A Touch of the Simon and Garfunkels

I may add a little shade to this to tone it down a bit. Can anyone remember the name of the pattern in purple? I love it but can’t remember what it’s called. Doh!

Gee but it’s great to be back home…

is what started the S&G link because, although we go away a lot and enjoy our visits to foreign fields, it is good to be home, sleeping in my own bed and snuggling back into normal life.

However, both the loved one and I got weighed this morning and it wasn’t good for either of us. Forget “He ain’t heavy…”,  he is and so am I. Bugger, time to start being sensible again. So, when you add this to the fact that my new phone has a step counter on it, which threatens to hold a celebration if I go over 2000 steps, you can see that there is something of a fitness issue at Castle Maggibee. (Some days it never gets above two, since it lives on my bedside table and, if I’m not going out, there it stays.)

Still, I’ve done 6000 steps today and it asked for time off to recover from the shock…

It looks less like a bowler – derby across the pond – when it’s on but I was no way going to model it.

I’m up to the eyes in yarn at present, making hats is the latest craze, cloche hats, very 1920s. And a bag to go with one of them. I’ve used extremely bright rainbow yarn, as they are to be given as prizes in the Milly Johnson launch on Friday and one of the themes of the new book is the rainbow.




Clearly unfinished. It’ll be a small satchel when complete.

I’m also doing a ZIA but, although I’ve started several, I’m not happy with any of them, so, unless I get a flurry of inspiration in the next day or two, the hats will have to do. I made the bag up as I went along, so it’s less than perfect but will look better with a handle and a button fastener.

The first hat I did is much more subtle in its use of colour but the style of the bright one works better.



It looks better than this really, honest it does.

And then it was suddenly Diva Day and it’s UMT time, with the pattern being Scallamps.

Weekly Challenge #314: “UMT: Scallamps – by Sarah Uram CZT”

For those of you who are new, the first Monday of every month is a Use My Tangle Challenge, where the challenge of the week is to use a tangle created by one of you!  If you have a tangle you’d like to submit you can add it here and be sure that it follows the guidelines for submission.
This month’s UMT is Scallamps by Sarah Uram and you can see the step outs here 

Not too difficult and quite a nice finish. As it happens, the swap I am doing at the moment uses String 034, (You can see one of them at the top of the page.) so I adapted it for both the Challenge and the swap. It’s a Spring/floral theme but I wasn’t too keen on this one, added a bit of background colour and liked it better but it still needs something.

Not happy with this yet but…
Better with a coloured background?


(Probably starting over!)





Waiting for shading and colour.

And this is another swap tile in progress, awaiting shading and colour and using String 032. I’m enjoying this one, so it’s going better. So, to waste no more time, I’m off the finish this, do a couple more and maybe a rainbow one for Milly – all before teatime!

Until we meet again, my dearios, be good-ish.


Another Quickie!

We’re off in pastures sunny again, so both the wifi and I are a little unreliable at present.  But I am sitting under a parasol, on a sunny terrace, overlooking the sea. I have sent the loved one and our friend off for a walk -but really so I can sit and draw without feeling rude and/or guilty.

Not a lot to show you, as we have been very sociable this week.  The alcohol quotient has risen significantly – the buggers keep coming round and offering it and it would be rude not to. Someone, possibly the loved one, suggested it wouldn’t happen if we didn’t go in the bars in the first place  but I don’t feel inclined to put it to the test.

Anyway, you have to keep hydrated in these temperatures…

I like the Diva Challenge this week and I see a lot of other people do too. I haven’t looked at any yet, saving it as a treat.  So we’re celebrating Amanda Day -see the Diva blog for more detail- and I started by drawing a freehand circle for my Earth. A bit wobbly but I blame the pen, as no alcohol has passed my lips so far today. No, really.

Said pen is not my usual Micron, but a gel pen and it doesn’t respond to the surface of the paper, but glides too easily over it, which I don’t like much.  But it is what it is . Lesson learned, Maggibee will stick to her usual pens in future.  I used patterns beginning with A for Amanda ; Abeko, African Artist and A-Dalfa. I like all three and must try to remember them when next I am seeking inspiration.

So, for now, here is my less than perfect response to the Challenge, folowed by a fond farewll. Until next time, world, be good-ish.

Diva Challenge quickie

Hello World, just a quickie this week as I’m ankle deep in packing and sorting and tidying. (Very out of character, won’t happen again for some time.)

So this is just for the Diva Challenge –

This week’s challenge is to use coffee, tea, wine, watery paint, or some other liquid: Spilled, dripped, sprayed, blotted, or ringed on your tile to create a string.  

So that’s just what I did, almost. The tea barely showed up on the tile when dry, so I dribbled some Brusho ink (Sandstone colour) onto the damp paper, stood the jar on it for a while and then went off to have lunch.  This is what the tile looked like when dry. 

I thought it looked like Revenge of the Were Rabbit at this stage, certainly not a cute Easter bunny anyway.

So I outlined it with Pigma Micron 03 to see if that helped. It didn’t, much.

 So I did a background in Tearce, which I recently rediscovered and am enjoying using. I then had a pause to decide on a filler pattern, decided to stick with the letter T and went onto Tanglepatterns.com for inspiration. I’d never noticed this one before – Ta Da – and, although I’m not entirely happy with how it turned out here, I can see all sorts of possibilities.

The shading is less than perfect because I used a Promarker pen on water colour paper and it soaks in too much. Lesson learned.

And that’s it for now. More tales from beyond the horizon soon but, until then, be good- ish.

Something a bit fishy here…

Based on something I saw on Pinterest

Home from a recent trip, I spent two evenings stuffing soft toys I’d started while we were away. I have a very low boredom threshold so I always take things away with me to keep me occupied.  Drawing things – obviously- crochet, my Kindle and a tablet to keep in touch with the world and play idiotic games on. The rest of my attention is taken up by eating, drinking and going for walks with the loved one.

This trip the walks were slightly marred by my recent acquisition of an arthritic knee, which slowed me down considerably, in spite of anti inlammatories, pain killers, a knee brace and a telescopic walking stick bought for me by the loved one. You may perhaps imagine the expression on my face when he gave it to me. Grateful appreciation was not top of the list. Admitting that I might need one is not the same as being handed one as a pre holiday gift. However, it may not have been appreciated but, to my easily imagined chagrin, was useful on occasion.

Back to the stuffing. I have been making amigurumi toys; you may remember the armless doll, still incomplete, but I WILL finish her, probably this week. Well I took some yarn away with me and started a mermaid doll. Because I hadn’t taken stuffing – oh come on, even I don’t take soft toy stuffing on my hols – I had to stop at the point where I was decreasing for the shoulders, otherwise it would have been too narrow to get the stuffing in at a later time. 

So I had a trawl on the net (see what I did there?) and decided to make her a couple of friends; a fish and an octopus. They were such fun to do, I may make more, if I can think of anyone who might want them. I’ve started a seahorse too but that is on pause until all the other projects are complete, otherwise I will end up with a bag full of unfinished symphonies. Sorry, another bag full of…

I’ve mentioned before that I belong to a couple of FB groups swapping little Zentangle artwork pieces – Zentangle Artist Trading Swap and Travelling Tangles Project.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, a lady called Michele Wynne (Her blog is called Coffee and Creativity and well worth a visit, her artwork is gorgeous) offered on the travelling Tangle Project  to send part complete ATC’s for people to finish. I begged to be included and came back from Tenerife to find a beautifully decorated envelope waiting for me. This is what it contained –

Just look at the subtlety of the shading here.
And the vibrant colours on this one, wow!









Well it took me a while to work out what to do. I looked at the Mooka one first and decided on some sort of motif pattern top left, somehow linked to what Michele had done. I did a fair amount of rough practice on scrap paper and eventually took a deep breath and drew Cirquital in the top corner, using some of the colours in the Mooka. Unfortunately, mine were deeper than the ones Michele had used, so I used a little of my red  over hers to tone them together.  This was, I thought, the finished version but it didn’t work – almost, but not quite.  There was no link between the two parts, even though I had used the Tipple and Pokeleaf as a unifying element,  they were just two patterns that happened to share a page. Nervously, because at this stage I didn’t want to ruin the whole damn thing, I added a few ribbons to join the two areas. And, in my humble opinion, it worked.  Phew! I hope she doesn’t think I spoiled her starters.









So, feeling positive, I started on the brightly coloured one. The bottom left corner just did it all by itself; I didn’t have to think about it at all. But the top right had me puzzled. In the end I went off on Pinterest looking for patterns and found this one – called Muscari by Elaine Belfatto. Once it was in, I could see it was a disaster – not the pattern but my execution of it. My shading, colouring and drops of white were a frantic attempt to disguise  my failure and, in the end, it looks OK. But it doesn’t live up to expectations. Bugger!

And the vibrant colours on this one, wow!










So I decided to send a couple back for Michele to complete.  I went for plain and simple design on splodgy (That’s the technical term) inked backgrounds. I shall put them in the mail tomorrow and see what happens. 


And then it was Diva Day again and I read the Challenge with high hopes.

This week’s challenge is a string challenge where you are to use a Circle and a Square in some form for your string.

You can take this in any direction you like, you can use MANY circles and one square, you can use many squares and only a few circles – just make sure you use at least one of each.  You can also free hand your circle or square if you want, or if you don’t have access to things to trace.  It’s all good.  


So, since I am completing a swap using triangle tiles, I used one and  drew a square-ish square and surrounded it with circles.  I can’t remember the name of the pattern, it’s the new one from the mother ship demonstrated by the two little girls on the newsletter  and I like it soooo much more than I first expected to. I also can’t remember the name of the Greek key pattern inside the square but it’s an old favourite, just shaded a little.

And here are the rest of the swap. The jury’s till out on whether or not I like the 3Z tiles but I did enjoy these.   And I think that’s all for now. My daughter and family are joining us for a few days, so it will be bedlam at the home for the terminally disturbed this week and we will heave a sigh when they leave but, oh, it will be fun.

Until next time, world, be good -ish.

A Little Adventure

Image result for sheffield landmarks
The Winter Gardens

We went to Sheffield.  Now, in comparison with the Marianas Trench or K2, I suppose Sheffield doesn’t impress you much but, for the loved one and me, it was an adventure. We’re used to travelling around Europe but we don’t do cities much. I like the seaside and promenades and beaches and I like magnificent mountains and barren terrain but somehow we never do cities. It’s alright in theory but  when it comes down to going out, we tend to pick coastal or rural rather than urban.

Image result for sheffield landmarks
The Town Hall

And Sheffield? It’s our nearest big city; it’s where I worked, many, many, MANY moons ago and it really has a lot going for it. In recent times, we have been there quite a few times but always for hospital appointments, which didn’t endear it to us, as you can imagine.  So, when the loved one asked if I fancied a trip there, I almost said no. But it was a lovely bright winter day and we had no other plans, so off we went. Continue reading “A Little Adventure”

Arthur who?

A pair of tiles I received the other day as part of the swap on FB. From Brenda Pereira and Anne Marks

Arthur Itis, that’s who.  In my knee. Now this isn’t fair. I was a good girl and went for my neurosurgery last July and took it on the chin. (s) I gradually eased off on the pain killers and, as I did so, my right knee started to be a bit uncomfortable. And then more uncomfortable. And then painful. Surely you’re supposed to recover from one thing before the next one starts, aren’t you? And anyway, only old people get arthritis, don’t they? It’s not fair and I’m having a sulk, so there. Anyone looking meaningfully at the calendar and  doing adding up faces had better watch out. Fortunately, most of my hobbies involve sitting down – the Zentangle, crochet, reading and so on. Continue reading “Arthur who?”