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.
I did, however, decide to tidy the top shelf in my wardrobe last week. Now every time we go to Spain or the Canary Islands, which is at least twice a year, we go to the local and to the tourist markets, because they are fun. It’s not unknown for me to buy a handbag, or two and, possibly, a scarf/shawl/stole or two. It would appear, based on what I found on that shelf, that it’s time I set up a stall of my own. At least as far as the scarves etc are concerned. In fact, I fear some of the markets will probably go out of business altogether if I stop going.
In a moment of weakness, I then went on to tidy the rest of the wardrobe. This was not a good idea. I did, it’s true, find one or two things to get rid of but it was tokenism and I knew it. I knew it when I put back the cape I wore when I was pregnant with my eldest – approaching his 38th birthday- not to mention the evening dress I’ve had since before I met the loved one in 1974. It hasn’t fit me for a while. Quite a while. A very long time, in fact, but it is still beautiful in my eyes and here it will stay.
So the loved one was at the computer on Sunday evening and called to me
“Do you fancy a trip to Tenerife?”
“Yes,” I said, ” When? ”
“Day after tomorrow…”
“It’s a bit soon. We’ve not been back from Spain two weeks.”
“Go on then.”
So here we are. Good innit?
I brought some yarn to crochet with and set about making a mermaid doll for my granddaughter. I’ve got as far as I can without stuffing it, so this is it, until I get home. Bored, I used the remaining yarn to make her a friend, an octopus playmate, in fact, also in need of stuffing. Making the tentacles was hilarious and much easier than expected.
And now I’ve started on a fish, which will be ready to stuff by the time we get home too. Fun, fun, fun.
Well, suck my socks and call me Sugarfoot, guess what…
The Diva Challenge this week is to use the new tangle – see border in the tile above. So for once, I’m in front of the Diva.
At which point I will wish you all a fond farewell from Costa Adeje and hope you will be good until next time. (Well, good-ish.)
Hello world, I hope you are full of fun, vim and vigour, as I am myself. (That may be me fooling myself but if it works, I’ll go along with it.)
My previous post was a bit short and to the point because we were away in Spain and typing on a tablet does not come naturally to me. How people use their phones for these things is beyond me. I like a keyboard. We had a good time though, in spite of our first full day there being inclement, as they say. The rain in Spain fell mainly on me and the loved one. He’s gone all rusty now but we’re pretending it’s a tan. (I ended up with prickly heat, which is always a good sign!) The hotel was excellent and right down on the seafront, which I love.
Benalmadena , where we stayed, and Torremolinos, the next town along the coast, are not pretty Spanish villages. They are overdeveloped tourist destinations with very little of their original character left, although it is still there if you look for it. Both are full of Irish bars, bars showing football on tv all day, bars with bad English and American food and shops selling some of the most awful things you could ever wish to see. (Bottle openers in the shape of sexual organs, aprons and tee shirts with rude words and pictures… you get the idea.) In spite of this, we love the area.
Firstly, we go out of season, in the Autumn, Winter and Spring, when the kids are in school and the people who think football shirts are a fashion statement are back in the UK. (Alright, they ARE a fashion statement, they say, “Look, I have no dress sense.”) Secondly, it’s cheaper than high season and the loved one does love a bargain. Thirdly, in among the above mentioned delights, there are plenty of nice places to eat and drink too. And, most importantly, it is in one of the loveliest geographic locations you could wish for.
The Marina in Benalmadena is one of those strange places built by someone who must have been on mind altering substances at the time. It looks like an over iced wedding cake floating on the water and yet it is just perfect. Explain that if you can – I can’t.
We usually hire a car and go off into the wild blue yonder and believe me, that yonder can be very wild and blue indeed. If you visit the area, don’t stick to the coast, go up into the hills. Go to Coin, Mijas, (well, Mijas is a bit of a tourist trap too but it’s a very lovely tourist trap, really.) Alhaurin and Ronda.
The Roman remains and aqueduct at Ronda are amaaaaazing. And then there’s Malaga, the regional capital and the most glorious mix of modern and medieval and all styles in between.
This visit, we met up with some old friends of the loved one. The two men had served their apprenticeships together in the 1960s, that’s how old! Although we have kept in touch via Christmas cards and Facebook, this was the first time we had met up in over 20 years. They have a house inland at Fuente de Piedra, where they spend a lot of their time, although they don’t quite live out there all year round. It’s a beautiful place, on the edge of a National Park and we intend to visit them properly next time we are in the area. They drove down and we went into Malaga to sit in a swish bar by the harbour, watching the cruise liners and catching up.
In complete contrast, we then drove out of town to have late lunch in a chiringuito on the beach. We shared a huge salad, freshly caught grilled sardines and calamares, all of which were delicious and the whole lot cost 47 euro, including drinks. The loved one was in heaven. The place was full of locals, always a good sign, and noisy in the extreme but the buzz was fantastic and I would recommend it.
We then went back to our hotel, where it was Happy hour in the bar from 5 till 6 and drinks were half price. After two very large champagne cocktails, I was, as we say round here, daft as a brush and I just sat grinning vacantly at the world in general. No wonder the English have such a terrible reputation in Europe.
So, still grinning vacantly, although the cocktails have worn off by now, I’m sitting waiting for Diva Day and wondering what she has in store for us. And this is what she has to say this week:
So i thought a great challenge would be to use your MacNCheese (or Kraft Dinner as we call it in Canada) tangles. No pressure! Enjoy the process, love each moment. Do the ones that feel great.
So I did and I don’t even know the name of the pattern. It’s one of those where I just HAVE to concentrate and it’s simplicity itself. I’ve done it on an ATC so I can use it in one of my swaps too.
In the meantime, we had a Stitch n Bitch meeting at our house and the project was the pinwheel picture I showed you last time. Well, what with lunch and gossip, we got most but not all of the drawing done but in the end, only two of the girls completed everything, including getting it into the frame. However, I was absolutely thrilled. The finished pieces looked great and everyone said what a good time they had, so I’m totally P as P. (Pleased as Punch, Proud as a Peacock…) I’ll post pictures next time.
I did miss last week’s Diva Challenge because I don’t like the pattern very much, it doesn’t feel very zen to me but I’ve since decided to give it a go and this is what I came up with. It looks a bit Aztec and the colouring is a bit slapdash but I may use it again.
And these are the last of the swap tiles that I should have sent in January! The challenge was to use geometric or grid based patterns, which is not my forte but I gave some of them a Maggibee twist to see what would happen.
I got a bit ambitious and decided to update my blog. Not being all that skilled with these things, it was a bit of a trial for me but I’m not unhappy with the finished look, at least for now.
I’ve been making quite a few cards recently: three or four birthdays and, horribly, some sympathy cards. We’ve had three funerals in a month and there’s another one to come. Two of them were very elderly and frail and, sad though these things always are, it felt right to be saying a fond goodbye. The other two were much younger and that most definitely does NOT seem right. Knowing that sometimes life isn’t fair or right is no consolation at all and I rail at the unfairness of it all. To no avail, of course, but I still have to have my tantrum.
The various arts and crafts have been a great help and I have been working on a shawl/scarf, just because it is a complicated pattern and I have to concentrate. My older daughter wants a baby blanket for a friend, so I’ve started that too. The doll is still unfinished but only because I have been busy with other things. Just out of curiosity, am I the only one who starts half a dozen projects and ricochets from one to the other like a pinball machine?
For one thing, I really need to get my swaps up to date and posted. I had fun with the stars and the please yourself one but the most recent one is to use grid patterns and I find that hard. I’m put off before I start because many of the grid patterns seem fiddly to me. And of course they require a certain amount of self discipline, which I lack, I’m afraid. But it’s a bit like taking medicine – you don’t like it but it’s good for you. I’ll never like the grid patterns if I don’t make an effort. If I get better at them with practice I will no doubt like them more. Won’t I?
(I’m telling lies here. I do like, not to say LOVE, some of the grid patterns – cubine, dex, cadent, huggins – lots of the 3D ones.) But when I do a challenge or swap, I like to try something new to me. There I go again, setting myself rules and targets. Just get on with it!
Anyway, I have to stop ranting there because it’s time for the Diva Challenge and it’s a Use My Tangle week. I didn’t think I was going to like this.
Got myself a cryin’, walking, sleepin’, talkin’, livin’ doll…
Showing my age again but this comes to mind because I am currently making a doll for my granddaughter. (I was going to do one for my grandson too but one may be more than enough.) It’s crochet, from a pattern I found on the Ravelry website (http://www.ravelry.com/ ) – if you haven’t been there, go there. Do not pass go, do not collect £200, just go, it’s got everything and is worth joining just for all the free knitting and crochet patterns.
What’s the problem, I hear you ask… Well, it’s me. I hate having to do as I’m told, constantly want to try MY way and therefore can’t follow a pattern for toffee. It’s why Zentangle works for me – I use the step outs to learn and then do it MY way. And then I try to kid myself that MY way is as good as the original. Hmmm. Not fooling anybody really but…
So this pattern for a doll, a Weebee doll, if you want to look it up but this is a picture of the real thing, is not that complicated but it only works if you follow the pattern carefully. Pah! My doll has one leg fatter than the other and is twinny toed too. And I haven’t got up as far as the waist yet. Mine is going to be the Quasimodo version. Why do I set myself on with these things? I mean, it’s all self inflicted, nobody asked me to do it.
I’ll post a photo of the finished version for your amusement at a later time but this is progress so far. Not looking good.
Got myself a cryin’, limpin’, crunchin’, twistin’, livin’ doll…
I had another of those conversations yesterday. You know, the ones where it’s compulsory to have had a frontal lobotomy before taking part. It was at the hairdresser’s, so I didn’t have high expectations but I think we hit an all time low.
We’d had the usual
“Did you see Eastenders/Corrie/Emerdale- insert soap of choice – ?” to which I had answered,
“No, I’m afraid I don’t watch any of them.”
This was said apologetically, as if I should be ashamed of not killing my brain cells any faster than necessary. Met with a short silence and a long drawn out “ooooohh”
“Did you see Kardashians (I thought they were on Startrek), TOWIE, Big Brother, Dating Naked? Insert name of rubbish reality programme here.” Reality, who are they kidding?
“No, I’m afraid I don’t watch any of them either.”Another short silence and another long drawn out “oooohhhh”
Clearly, I wasn’t playing fair.
“Have you got anything planned for the weekend, then?” she asked, clearly losing hope at this stage. And I couldn’t help it, I had to do it.
“Well, ” I said, “Not really, just the usual parachute jump on Saturday. But after we’ve done that, I think we’ll probably settle for an hour or two of tantric sex and a bottle of wine. Of course, Sunday’s different. We try to do something a bit special on Sundays. I don’t know what Stewart’s got planned. We haven’t got the shark cage mended from last week yet, so it won’t be that.”
The silence was quite a bit longer this time. “oooohhh. ” Another silence, then eye contact in the mirror.
“You’re kidding me aren’t you?” I nodded. A hesitant smile. “We’re going out on the piss.”
“Course you are, where are you going?” And we were on safe ground at last.
So you can imagine how grateful I was when the Diva Challenge came round again.
Weekly Challenge #305: “DuoTangle Marasu vs Molygon” This week’s challenge is a Duotangle!! these challenges are truly my faves. I’m always so impressed with the new and exciting ways you make the tangles interact with each other!!
If you’re new here, a Duotangle is the term i coined here on this blog to refer to a tile or piece using ONLY TWO SPECIFIC TANGLES.
This particular duotangle challenge is to use the two tangles Marasu and Molygon in your tile.
I started mine off with a clear idea, which is not usual, so I did two spirals and added Molygon around them. I started shading and came to a halt. I know it’s not finished but I can’t decide what to do next. I’ll let you know.
Until we meet again, world, be good – ish.
I decided it needed a little colour, so this is the finished version. Maybe.
I’ve invited the Stitch n Bitch girls round for a drawing afternoon and am therefore planning what we can do. Being avid crafters across a range of skills:- knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery, cross stitch, lace making, spinning and weaving, we have a tendency to like to actually make something, as opposed to just developing a skill. Last time we met for a drawing session, we did Christmas Ornaments, just simple star shaped ones, but they went down well.
The time before that it was heart shaped fridge magnets and we liked them too. So I’ve been trying out ideas ready for next time. After some thought, I decided we would tangle a pinwheel and place it in a box frame as a 3D piece of artwork. Then I went off looking for box frames, which proved a tad more expensive than I wanted to spend. Until my cousin told me her local craft shop was selling them off at about £4 each, which didn’t seem too bad, so off I went and bought the lot, ten in total. The thing is, any we don’t use on the day will do for me later.
I then started making test models. The first one used scrap paper with first pattern ideas, just popped into the frame to see if the size is right, which I think it is. (The frame is about 25cmx25cm outside measurements and I have some in black and the rest in white.) The brownish square in the back will be replaced with either black or white card, I haven’t decided yet. In fact, I may just let them choose which colour backing they prefer. So far I’ve chosen Betweed, from Zentangle, Petal Ribbon, by Helen Williams and Flux, also from Zentangle. I’m not sure yet if Heartstrings works but I’ll try a tidier version first and see what it looks like.
The next thing I did was to use proper good quality paper and see how the patterns look, plus using the black background. I’m still not happy with it, but I know what I need to do to make it better.
It needs just one pattern on the flat part, much darker, more defined edges and some Florz on the border. Maybe a bit of sparkle. But we are getting there. Some of the patterns work better than others too. I like the Betweed, Petal Ribbon and Heartstrings but the Flux needs some work. I think I know which pattern to use for the flat areas (Nzeppel) but I need to experiment first.
And I’ve been busy again with crochet too. I completed the second virus shawl and am happier with this than the plain black one. I’ve also made a baby blanket for the girl who does my waxing.
It’s the first time using the midwife pattern and I’m really pleased with it. I hope she likes it. Since we don’t know whether it’s a pink or a blue baby, I’ve gone with neutral colours and I just hope it’ll be ok. (Although it isn’t very clear from the photo, it’s lilac, cream and white self striping yarn – double knitting.) And, having finished that, I immediately started on a bag to keep yarn etc in at the side of my chair. Pictures in my next post if it’s finished in time.
My scrap book/journal is coming along very slowly. So much for doing an entry every day – I haven’t managed one per week. In fact, I haven’t finished the second one yet, although I’ve roughed out the page for the third one. I do seem to have trouble finishing one thing before starting out on the next one. And soon it will be the Diva Challenge again, which I look forward to with eager anticipation.
Weekly Challenge #304: “New Official Tangle Waybop” You may have seen this tangle out and about in the internets lately. Back in November, Zentangle HQ released a few new tangles at their CZT Retreat ZenAgain. Well, on Valentine’s Day the latest Zentangle Newsletter came out with the Step-outs for the new tangle Waybop.
I’d had a look at the newsletter and I do like this pattern. I like motif style designs and this looks promising. This is my first attempt, just sat down and had a go. I’m sure I can do better and I am looking forward to experimenting. But, that’ll have to do for now. See you soon, world and, until then, be good – ish.
My cousin, a fellow crafter, invited me to go with her for a craft afternoon the other day. She had been given a voucher for Christmas to visit a local pottery and craft shop and paint a plate, which they would then fire for it to be collected a couple of days later. I agreed to drive and thought I knew reasonably well where we were going. Apparently there are two places of the same name in the Barnsley area and this was the other one.
Ann, my cousin, knew the way and was to act as navigator and we set off with high hopes. Now this is not a tale of missed turns and aimless wanderings, quite the reverse, in fact. We found the village with very little trouble. Even Stairfoot Roundabout was uneventful. (Anyone local reading the words Stairfoot Roundabout is likely to weep and ask to lie down in a darkened room for a while – it’s a driver’s nightmare.) But we braved it and survived to tell the tale and found our way to our destination pretty easily. The instructions told us we could park at the back of the Co-op (a shop) and we did, in a rather tight spot but we did it. So we found the place, went in, were expected and welcomed and all was set for quite a jolly time.
There were shelves full of bisque pots for us to choose from and I selected, not a plate, as originally intended, but a photo frame because it was flat surfaces, which seemed a good idea. We were asked what colours we wanted to use, shown to our table and supplied with everything we needed, including tea and coffee. I had taken my circle maker with me and proceeded to sketch an overlapping rings design in pencil, which I then over painted in black, white and grey. Ann had done her research in advance and chose to do pointillist flowers. As always happens when you get started on something, conversation ceased and we drifted off in a little world of our own, apart from the background conversation in the shop.
This could have got medals in the World Tediously Uninteresting Championships. No, really.
“Do you want a coffee””
“Er. No. No thank you. I don’t drink coffee.”
“Ooooo, don’t you?”
“Don’t you like coffee then?”
“No. I don’t drink coffee.”
“No. I don’t like it”
“No. I think it’s the taste.”
We were there for an hour and a half and this, believe me, was the height of wit and sophistication in comparison with the rest of it. It made Pinter sound riveting and even Becket was starting to rise in my estimation.
After a while, Ann and I didn’t dare make eye contact.
However, we were both quite pleased with our finished projects and left them to be collected a couple of days later.
Back in the car park, we arrived just in time to see a lady parking across the back of my car, effectively blocking us in. We had a brief, polite conversation where I said she could have our space if she liked. She asked if she should move her car. With a straight face, I said I though that would be a good idea. She reversed so that she was blocking the exit completely. I reversed out of my space. Now neither of us could move. I waited. She waited. I smiled encouragingly. She reversed some more into a wider space and I shot through the gap before she could be any more helpful. I wonder if it’s something in the water.
And now it’s Saturday afternoon; it’s raining/sleet and it has been grey and miserable all day. I’ve stayed in working on a project I’ll tell you about another time and wondering what the Diva has up her sleeve for us next time. I always have fun revisiting her posts and seeing what others have done for the Challenge. I love seeing something new to me and then either trying it myself or doing my own take on it. Can’t wait to see what comes up this week…
And here it is:-
Weekly Challenge #303: “Valentangle” This week’s challenge is pretty straight forward: To create a valentine’s themed tile or card, and as an added bonus – give it away to someone you love! Your spouse, your child, your cat, your mailman, anyone! Who doesn’t love handmaid cards?
Well, I didn’t feel inspired. However much I may love the loved one, we don’t do Valentines and I find the whole thing a bit tacky. (Dammit, we’re supposed to love each other EVERY day aren’t we?) So I cheated. On the Challenge, not the loved one- oh come on, get a grip.
I made a background of NZeppel and then printed a ZIA from ages ago. (I opened it in Word and recoloured it first.) Then I used heart shaped dies on my Big Shot and mounted them on the backing card. You know what? That’s not too bad at all.
So that’s all for now world, no doubt I will be back, hopefully with something a little more fascinating, next week. Until then, world, be good – ish.
But no more borrowed and blue; we’re done with weddings for the time being, unless someone is keeping secrets!
The something old is the hobby of crochet, which I learned at a night school class in about 1971 – we’ll gloss over how old I was at the time, obviously a babe in arms. My mum and I jointly made a crochet waistcoat, and quite a few other things, as crochet was very popular at the time. It sort of faded into the background with the arrival of fiance, husband (The same person, in case you were wondering), son, daughter, daughter, house move, new career, and so on.
Every so often, when I had no other crafts on the go, like cross stitch, dress making, occasional knitting – very occasional, never really took to knitting – crewel work, card making, marking brought home from College, lesson preparation, helping children with homework, (You mean those last three don’t count as crafts? Really?) I would make some granny squares for charity blankets, or, if a colleague had a baby, I’d make a cot blanket. But it was now and then, not a regular thing.
Just before Christmas, my younger daughter, who has had carpel tunnel syndrome, causing difficulties with grip, wanted to learn to crochet but was having a tough time following You Tube tutorials. As we live a couple of hundred miles apart, the mummy lessons were a bit tricky over the phone, so we waited until they came to stay with us over Christmas. The first evening was hysterically funny, as she couldn’t work out how to hold the yarn properly and, when she did get going, consistently made little bowls because she didn’t get how to increase. We were crying with laughter but not improving her crochet skills much. This is called quality time, I believe.
By the end of the evening, I had accepted that she would never hold the wool/yarn the right way, i.e. how I do it and we relaxed into learning some stitches and how to turn corners on granny squares. Within the week, she had come on by leaps and bounds and now, just over a month later, has made a lapghan, as the Americans call a lap blanket, and is in the throes of making a baby blanket for a friend. Quite proud.
In the process of getting her going with all of this, I, predictably, have caught the bug again and have so far completed two shawls, one plain and one rather fancy. And I have bought enough yarn to keep me going for a while, although I know I will be buying much more because I have seen a yarn, currently only available in the US but possibly due to be sold over here in March/April. It’s called Caron Cakes and I lust after it desperately. I would have bought a container load by now but for the cost of postage when buying online. It would be cheaper to build a bridge over the Atlantic and drive across to fetch it.
Now I’m not one of those crafters who think that hand made is necessarily better than shop bought. Some things yes, of course, but others, no. So when I was looking at crochet patterns for things to do, there being a limit to how many shawls a girl really needs, I dismissed quite a few of them out of hand. Potholders, for instance. I’m not spending hours making something to lift dirty dishes out of the oven, Dish cloths, oh come on! I love blankets but crochet ones weigh a ton, beautiful though they are – I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed if I had one of them over my legs. Rugs. What, and have people walking all over them? I don’t think so.
But I have seen some nice patterns for bags, handbags, totes, beach bags and these do appeal to me. I’m biding my time and completing shawl no3 before I start anything else. Well, that and this cuddly toy for Ben, and maybe one for Isla too? The patterns can be downloaded from http://www.ravelry.com/stores/heidi-bears-designs and are reasonably easy to follow.
I’ve bought the yarn for this and made one of the fifty motifs but I think it may be a long job because it’s a bit fiddly. Hope he still likes soft toys by the time it’s finished.
And I’ve been making cards for friends and family birthdays. And both the loved one and I have had the sort of cold that lasts for ages and feels as if it is ripping your chest open. Nice. However, I feel we are both on the way to recovery now so it’s time to plan a holiday. Oh come on, it’s ALWAYS time to plan a holiday.
And then it was the Diva Challenge and I just love this one.
Weekly Challenge #302: “UMT Hamadox by Diana Schreur 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 Hamadox by Diana Schruer, and you can see the step outs here – This should be an easy one, seeing as wee’re all warmed up with last week’s Paradox duotangle. I had been seeing this tangle being used in the Mosaic app for a while, and i didn’t know how to do it, but i love how it looks. So i’m super excited to see it come up this week.
It requires a certain amount of concentration but I do like the effect.
So that’s it for this week. I will no doubt be back, so, until then, world, be good. ish.