Decisions and the desire to rush

Well I do seem to have trouble with this Zentangle idea of taking your time, one stroke at a time, getting into the zone and so on.  Maybe I’m not a natural Tangler. Actually, there’s no maybe about it. Even as I start a piece, I want to see the finished product and, once I’ve got the idea fairly clear in my head, I need to wave the proverbial magic wand and Bibbety Bobbety Boo, there it is. Frankly, if it didn’t work all that well for Cinderella, it certainly ain’t gonna work for me.


We’ll start with this week’s Diva Challenge, which was a duotangle using your initials to decide the tangles to use. I deliberately went for patterns I haven’t used much and, in my head, it fell into place like magic –

M = Me Three. (I love the 3D ones.)

B = Blooming Butter (Not my style at all, so a proper challenge.)

Talk about out of my comfort zone, I expected to meet Captain Kirk any minute, I was so near my final frontier.

First, it all looked so simple. A circle of little tube-ey things round a sort of buttercup with strings. (A bit surreal, perhaps but bear with me.) And then I thought, ooo, join the strings to the tubes. And if the middle buttercup has five strings, we could join five more buttercups. but each buttercup has five strings so I need tubes to attach to ALL the strings – AND each other. This was getting into higher mathematics. Well, higher than I can manage, anyway.

I persevered, out of stubbornness, no doubt, but by now the “one stroke at a time” idea has gone right out of the window. Get it finished, see what it looks like. So I did. But neither of these tangles has much black in it, so I thought I’d colour them. In yellows, because buttercups are yellow.  But the watercolour pencils smudged what bits of shading I had done. Dammit!

Started again  from scratch. Perhaps by now I wasn’t in the right mental state to be drawing. In fact, I probably wasn’t in the right mental state for anything short of gun crime, but hey, did I stop? Nah! I was a bit better organised placing tubes and strings and the shading with coloured pencils looked quite pretty, if a bit pale. The thing is, having completed them both, I don’t like either. Start again, I hear a little voice say. Not likely. My grasp on sanity is tenuous enough already.

So here they are, imperfect to say the least but it’s as far as I’m prepared to go.

“Beam me up, Scotty!”

Second try - hardly any shading and not right.
Second try – hardly any shading and not right.
First attempt - and smudged. Grrrr!
First attempt – and smudged. Grrrr!

In between all this, I’ve been working on a ZIA that just appeared in my head one day. I drew the outline and it went so right first time that i left it for a few days, not daring to do more in case I ruined it. Eventually, I worked up the courage to continue and it just grew, like Topsy.  I actually LIKE it. Yup, you heard me, I am satisfied with a piece of my own work.  Well, almost. The thing is, does it need colour?

And, if so , where, how much and what shades? Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Is it big headed to like your own work?
Is it big headed to like your own work?

Stitchin n bitchin

I may have mentioned before a group of ex-colleagues and friends who meet about once a month to stitch and bitch. Most of us have been dressmankers and knitters, embroiderers and cross stitchers, crochet addicts  and lacemakers over the years. More recently, some of us have taken to cardmaking. One of our group creates fabulous botanical drawings, another spins wool and then knits it. Between us, we are about 500 years old and sometimes it feels that way too.

We meet about monthly at each others’ houses, taking it in turn to play host and supply buns, cakes and old fashioned nibbles, plus, of course, industrial size portions of tea and/or coffee. Last week we were at my house. I over catered, of course. We ate every morsel, of course. And we had a lovely time. Sometimes we bring projects we’re currently working on and sometimes the host prepares a project for us all to work on, sometimes learning a new skill.

This week, I suggested we did some good old fashioned colouring in, using whatever media we were comfortable with. I got out my full collection of pencils, water colour pencils and alcohol markers and then printed off some templates to work on.

Two of the group used this as their template: (I can’t credit it because I don’t remember where I got it from.)


(I’m going to have a go using this one myself for Zentangle but haven’t tried it yet. )

They won’t let me show you what they did but they were two very different finished products, one all primary colours, rich and striking, the other very delicately shaded in pencil.

I have a CD from and I printed off a couple of templates from that too. (They are really good, although fairly girlie, but hey, we’re girls – if you stretch a point.)

Digi Stamp set 9 bird_L                                               Digi Stamp set 10 bird_LS

And lots more to choose from.

This is my finished one from that set.

Pink bird No Tangles, just some practice for shading through from dark to light.

There are also shoes, handbags and dresses on another disc I bought (Same company) and so I did this one too.

Using an outline from a katysuedesigns,com CD
Using an outline from a katysuedesigns,com CD

The world is full of things I want to draw, tangle or colour and it’ll take me until I’m Methuselah to do it all. Well, I’m up for the challenge.

Speaking of which, this week’s Diva Challenge is to use a new tangle. Truffle, I think. I’ve enjoyed using it and I can see quite a few ways it could go. Today? Whimsy rather than drama and a touch of colour. Of course, something had to go slightly wrong and today it was careless use of marker pens so they bled outside the lines. Grrr!. Still, nobody to blame but me. But I might try this tangle again,  I think I like it.


Challenge 177

Trying something different.

I’ve joined a Facebook group called Ornation Creation, which is both a good and a bad thing. It’s made up of people who want to share their work, much of it Zentangle oriented. (Good thing) They’re all very talented. (Less good, as my inferiority complex kicks in.) I really enjoy looking at their work and, where I can offer constructive criticism, I do. (Good thing.) I put some of my own work on there. (Not so good, as I always feel people are just being kind.) The guy who runs it puts a template up each week to be downloaded and either coloured or tangled, or both, if you feel like it. (A very good thing, as my penmanship is catastrophic.)

Now not everything on there is to my taste but some of the contributors are working at a similar standard to myself. (A good thing, as I don’t feel like a kid showing off to the grown ups so much.) But some of those people are artists. I mean ARTISTS! If you get the chance to look, go on, there is some stunning stuff.

Anyway, I did a couple of the templates recently and people were very nice about them, which smoothed my feathers, if nothing else. So I’m putting them on here too, along with this week’s Diva Challenge, which is all about your beverage of choice. Well, I’m English, dash it all, so it just had to be tea, didn’t it? The string is tea, the colours are tea and all the tangles used begin with T. Is that overkill?


For the diva Challenge 175.
For the diva Challenge 175. Tangles used – Twenty One, Trumpits, Twistee, Tra-La-La

And the ones from the templates were two fish, which I printed, coloured with water colour pencils and then tangled. Unfortunately, my printer is allergic to reds and warm colours generally, so the printed version is much duller than I intended.  I’m showing you both so you can see what I mean.

By the time I'd finished colouring, I could hardly see the lines to follow for the patterns but I'm not sure how much it matters.
By the time I’d finished colouring, I could hardly see the lines to follow for the patterns but I’m not sure how much it matters.
A bit disappointed with the colour.
A bit disappointed with the colour.

So, with the next one, I’m biting the bullet and tangling straight onto the coloured original. I hope I don’t make a mess of it, but, hey, it’s only paper…

I know the colouring is rough but I'm going to pattern over it with Micron pens.
I know the colouring is rough but I’m going to pattern over it with Micron pens.

You can see how good the templates are, can’t you? So I’m off to play with the fishes, more soon..


History in the making

Hello again, world.

I don’t usually post so much, so close together but I have made a discovery and can’t wait to tell the world. If you have looked in the area on this blog called Le journal, you will have seen my Dad’s diary of when he went to France on a hiking holiday just after WWII. Now I knew he had sporadically kept journals all my life and they had been stored in a box, in a cupboard, never to see the light of day. He died at the comparatively young age of 70 – a fortnight after his 70th birthday, in fact – and neither my Mum nor I had the heart to go through them or throw them away. When my Mum died, twenty years later, I had a bad time of it and just cleared out the house, ready to let it as a commercial let. We dumped tons of stuff that we didn’t know what to do with in an outhouse, locked it away and didn’t give it another thought.

Recently, the tenant left and we went to the house to see what work might need doing before the new tenant moved in. (Be patient, I’m getting there!) We decided it was time to throw away the old unwanted stuff and opened the Aladdin’s cave that was the outhouse. (For anyone in the U.S. reading this, in Yorkshire, outhouse is not a euphemism for lavatory, it really is an outbuilding for storage purposes and for anyone from South Yorkshire reading this, I’ll point out it was actually the coil oil – coal house, to the rest of you.)

There, in a cardboard box smelling mouldy  and damp, were Dad’s diaries from 1948 to 1979. All handwritten and all just waiting for me to sit and relive my childhood through my Father’s eyes. One of the first ones I found looked like this:


You can see what sort of condition it's in.
You can see what sort of condition it’s in.

It didn’t look very prepossessing but, when I opened it, this is what I found;

Dad's diary 1951 inner

Being a pretty self centred person, I sat down to read it there and then. Now, I admit, there are no fulsome declarations of adoration of this clearly exceptional child – me- but I haven’t had a dry eye since I opened it. So what I’m going to do is type it up and add it to the Le journal section of the blog.

I feel ridiculously proud of my Dad, partly because he was a lad who left school aged 14 and went to work “int Pit”, as did so many lads in our area, and yet you’d never know it from his writing. Self taught for the most part and yet I haven’t found one punctuation or grammatical error. (And I’m an EX English teacher, so I can’t help looking for them) And partly because he only wrote about things that were important to him. He hardly mentions work, which he hated, or politics, which he distrusted, or art, about which he felt insufficiently educated to have a valid viewpoint. But he wrote about ME!. And best of all, as I read it, I can hear his voice, as if he’s just “tellint tale.”  I am so lucky, so very lucky.

Dares and challenges

I’m getting quite into this Diva Challenge and Zendala Dare stuff. In fact, at the moment, real life seems to be getting in the way of tangling. Dammit!. Am working three days next week doing some staff training and really ought to be preparing but what am I doing instead? Yeh, well, can if I want to! (Won’t be thinking that on Tuesday when I stand in front of a group of teachers and find myself unprepared.) Oh well, there’s time yet.

I didn’t think I would do any tangling today because I had two hospital appointments. Neither of them particularly serious – a weight loss clinic where I had to confess to the over indulgences of three weeks in various parts of Greece. (It would appear that too much of that three weeks was spent in tavernas.) Anyway, I’m back on the wagon again, so we’ll see how we go; no point in beating myself up about it. Just got to get my mojo back and be sensible.

The second appointment was a routine eye test that I have to have in case I get retinothapy. That’s not the right word but I can’t remember the right one. However, things did not go according to plan. Arrived at hospital and went to the right place, at the right time BUT, and it’s a good but, on the WRONG day. Felt just a teeny bit silly and went home again. Another MAM.

So I decided I did have time to tangle after all and completed one of The Bright Owl’s Zendala Dares and, AND, this week’s Diva Challenge. The Challenge was to use Crux so I decided to do a loopy string and fill the sections all with Crux but in differing sizes and tangleations. Sadly, the idea was better than the execution but, for what it’s worth, here it is.

I like the idea of this one better than the finished product. It looks a bit scrappy to me and the colour isn't as definite as I would have liked but hey ho.
I like the idea of this one better than the finished product. It looks a bit scrappy to me and the colour isn’t as definite as I would have liked but hey ho.

The Zendala Dare 77 from Bright Owl was, on the other hand, a success. (Of course, others may not agree but, for once, I felt pleased with the way it turned out. Hope you agree.

Don't ask why the paper is such an odd shape. Just accept that I had a MAM. (Middle Aged Moment) and leave it at that.
Don’t ask why the paper is such an odd shape. Just accept that I had a MAM. (Middle Aged Moment) and leave it at that.

Encouraged by my success, I’m going to go back to both the Diva and the Bright Owl and look at some of the older Dares/Challenges and choose my next project. No more time to blog – got to tangle.


Holidays and challenges

We arrived back from Rhodes at 01.00 this morning, so today has been a little sluggish. However, two weeks in the sun, with temperatures in the low forties quite a lot of the time, has been both a pleasure and a challenge. We’re not used to heat here in the U.K. so in Greece, we spent a fair bit of time either in the sea, the shade or with the air-conditioning on full blast. Since the air con in question was not over enthusiastic, we found ourselves, at best, in an apartment that was piping tepid.  We did put a brave face on it and, as a result, have returned home bronzed and refreshed. (Well our daughter says we look rusty rather than bronzed but I know when I hear envy.)


So we stayed at Hotel Cosmos Maris, Lardos Beach, Rhodes and it was lovely.

As you can see.

Hotel Cosmos Maris, Lardos Beach, Rhodes. Lovely.
Hotel Cosmos Maris, Lardos Beach, Rhodes. Lovely.

It even had pomegranates growing at the roadside.  SAM_6854  But, sadly, not ripe enough yet, or we’d have probably been sorely tempted by these.

We went on a trip to Lindos, just up the coast, by boat, which, since there was no jetty or quayside, just beached itself on the sand each trip to pick people up.  The people you can see in the picture had to scatter pretty quickly to get out of the way.

The ferry to Lindos coming onto our beach to pick us up.
The ferry to Lindos coming onto our beach to pick us up.

And Lindos itself was lovely. We’d been some years ago and were not disappointed by our second visit. It’s lovely, even though it is a tourist trap.


Boats in Lindos Bay.
Boats in Lindos Bay.


One of our ways to keep cool was to spend as much time as possible in the sea and my husband took a sneak pic of me surfacing to tell him about what I’d just seen. I’ll forgive him one day but it may not be soon.

Not Hale Berry, perhaps but I did enjoy the snorkeling.
Not Hale Berry, perhaps but I did enjoy the snorkeling.

And, to while away the time between the sea and the taverna, I did some tangling. Now I have to say, I did try some of the Diva’s challenges but not with any great degree of success. I’m blaming it on the distractions and the fact that I was working on my knees rather than at a table. Challenge 174 was to superimpose two strings, so I went one better and used three – my husband’s initial (S), our daughters’ initials (A and R) and, since our son is an A too, his was in there as well. I forgot to take a pic of the strings before tangling them but this is the finished tile.

Tangle 47  Can’t say I’m particularly proud of the finished result but there you go. In the middle is a sort of tangle that I may have invented, except it’s probaly something I’ve seen and just don’t remember where. (Double circles, then auras, then more twinned circles – a bit like Diva Dance but not.) Anyway, I quite like it, even if the rest of the tile is a bit lacking in imagination.

Also downloaded a template from Ornation Creation of Facebook and had a go. The pic doesn’t do it justice, as it’s coloured with Gelly Roll pens that sparkle, which doesn’t show here. Again, I’n not happy but I think I’m just a bit too ambitious. My ideas outstrip my abilities – and then some. Anyway, you can see for yourself but don’t say anything – it’s our embarrassing little secret.


But I did do one that I was secretly pleased with – I’m not always such a miserable piece of work, honest, and this is it. For some reason, I just like it, so there. Pink weeds I called it Pink Weeds and you can see why.

I did a couple of others and they are here, Not entirely happy but when am I? I did them as attempts at the I am the Diva Weekly Challenge 173, which asked us to revisit favourites, which I did.  I love Phicops, Betweed and Fengle, so tried them out together on the first tile – the one edged and slightly coloured with peach. Then I re-read the instructions and realised I hadn’t “intertwined” anything, so I added one at the back that I can’t remember the name of and had not much fun with it because I am utterly hopeless at using black around things. It’s be OK if I did actually colour “around” but I don’t have a very steady hand, so the black goes everywhere. Doh!

So I tried again, using Paushalov, Kringel and a variant on Dragonair, with auras and a bit of red. But, again, nothing very “intertwined”. I think it was at this point that I felt the call of the taverna  and toddled off for mussels saganaki, lamb kleftiko and a caraffe or two of wine. Felt better about everything after that but, strangely, my hand still wasn’t steady!

Tangle 49                Tangle 48

I started quite a few others but they need some work yet, so maybe next time.

Until then, Yammas, Your Health!