Up, up and away.

Off on our travels again in the morning. Tenerife this time and I’m looking forward to it- I always do- but especially this time because we are going with my cousin and his wife and they are fun. They are slightly older than us and a little staid, so we are the entertainment for them because of our slightly off the wall behaviour  and teasing them is the entertainment for us. We are looking forward to long walks by the sea as, at this time of year it should be warm rather than hot so we’ll be walking miles along the seafront promenade with frequent pit stops for refreshment. Continue reading “Up, up and away.”

Advertisements

Letter from America

It’s so exciting –  and it’s a long story but… (Aw come on, this is me, of course there’s a story.)

Anyway, I saw this thing online, a drawing tool, for drawing circles and I wanted one. Again, that sort of goes without saying: I can’t draw, certainly can’t draw circles, I’m a crafter. Those two things make it inevitable that I wanted this tool. It’s called a Helix angle and circle maker and I was off online at the speed of light, credit card at the ready. Couldn’t get one. Amazon said yes but it came from America and cost a mortgage in postal charges.  I mentioned it on FB and various people said,

“Yes, you can get it from…”

No you can’t, I tried. Now this thing was starting to assume enormous proportions. You know the kid who stamps her feet, goes purple in the face and yells: “I WANT ONE!!!!!!”? That was me. I had five minutes lying down in a darkened room and returned to the fray.

Helix is a British company, so I phoned them up and asked why I couldn’t get one in the UK.

“We don’t sell them in the UK.”

I KNOW THAT! Apparently, they are made in the Far East and all go directly to the USA and can only be bought there. Damn! I mean, why should America be the only place in the world that has perfect circles? And British ones at that. So I updated my progress, or lack thereof, on FB and a very nice lady in the States said she would see if she could get one and send it to me. Wow, that’s nice. And, cutting the story shortish, she got back in touch for my address and sent it off to me. In return, I asked for her address and the costs and how she wanted the money sending to her. No money, she said, send me a piece of your artwork. Oh come on, honey, it may not have been expensive but it’s worth more than that. But no, she was adamant, just a piece of artwork would be fine.

Now if that doesn’t restore your faith in human nature and the kindness of others, I don’t know what will. So ever since she said she had sent it, I’ve been waiting for the postman. (Singing along with the Carpenters in my head, of course.) Rather exciting, expecting a letter from America, quite exotic.  It came this morning. I haven’t tried it yet but I can’t wait. And, fortuitously, this week’s Diva Challenge is to use a pattern called Arukas, which requires circles. Bet my circles are better than yours!

What did I send her? Well, Joanne Fink, the goddess of dangles, had a tutorial on her blog for a little zigzag book, so I borrowed the idea and did one for Rae, the kind American. I’m not a member of any religious body but wanted an encouraging sentiment to put inside it, but one that wasn’t too “inspirational”. For me, there are time when inspirational = sickly, so it took a bit of thought. If I’d thought of it in time, it might have been –

“…though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.”
OR
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

OR

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
OR
Yet do thy worst, old Time! Despite thy wrong
My love shall in my verse ever live young.
OR
For thy sweet love remembered, such wealth brings,
       That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

And what did I come up with?

Life has its ups and downs, so along the way, Make friends, Live, Love, Laugh, Be Happy.

Only when it was almost finished did I realise the second half was a direct quote from “When the red, red robin..” There’s bathos, for sure.

Each page is about 8cm by 6.5cm
Each page is about 8cm by 6.5cm
Promarker pens for the "ground" and the usual microns for the detail.
Promarker pens for the “ground” and the usual microns for the detail.
Each little panel has a word or phrase within it.
Each little panel has a word or phrase within it.

zigzag book outer 5

And I’ve been busy with other things too. I did a jolly Father Christmas based on something I saw on last week’s Diva Challenge. http://tanglemania.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/rag-doll.html and this led me to another site, with a video containing all sorts of Tangle ideas, one of which was to draw these figures. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VHqjKhWWqA Good fun, i thought. you can’t see it on the scan but there is twinkly glitter here and there too.

Father Christmas

And I did a matryoshka doll too. I have not yet coloured it, but I may.

Quite a big pice, bigger than A4, so quite a challenge after the little tiles and Christmas cards.
Quite a big piece, bigger than A4, so quite a challenge after the little tiles and Christmas cards.

 

And, almost finally, my current work in progress: for my grandson, Ben, who, I hope, likes snowmen.

Just waiting to be tangled - I think I'm going to enjoy these.
Just waiting to be tangled – I think I’m going to enjoy these.

So, finally, this week’s Diva Challenge – I like this pattern so I’ve already tried three or four different ways with it. And, oddly, although the first circle, drawn with my new toy, is, like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way, the outer ones, drawn freehand, can’t quite maintain the standard. When my mum did her embroideries – see my stitch gallery for some of her work- she used to make occasional mistakes and always said that was what made it hers and hers alone. She could have been a Zentangler!

This pattern looks simple but needs a steadier hand than mine to get it just right. however, I was amazed how much better it looked with shading.
This pattern looks simple but needs a steadier hand than mine to get it just right. however, I was amazed how much better it looked with shading.

 

 

The Heat is on

Hello world, here we are again. The heat is on both figuratively and in reality. That is to say, the heating is on; the windows are closed and we’ve begun our hibernation in earnest. Snow? Nah. Gales and blizzards? Nah. Mist, drizzle and murk? Yup, that’s the one. The day starts grey, in fact you can hardly tell it’s started at all, and then it brightens enough to fool you into thinking you’ll go out. Wrong. Cold, miserable and damp.  And we are now officially in the run up to Christmas. As a result, I have discovered what I already knew, that the cards I have been making since last January will not be enough. (Here are a few of the more recent ones.)

Another Joanne
This is just the topper ready to go on the card, extensively borrowed from Joanne Fink.
SAM_7729
Based on an idea in my craft class, where we did a card using three trees to hold top and bottom of the front together. On this one I backed the tree with acetate to give it a bit of strength.

SAM_7728                                                           SAM_7727

These two were both from craft class. Very simple but, I think, effective.

A couple of friends came round the other day and one of them brought me some boxes to decorate if I wanted to. Here’s the lid of the first one.

Box lid It’s about five inches square.

However, I have started another project for Christmas, although it may not be ready for THIS Christmas, but we can hope. It’s based on a photo I saw on Facebook of a picture by a lady called Diane Vienneau.  Isn’t it great? So I thought I’d try one. I’ve messaged her on FB to ask if she minds my sharing her work on here and she says OK, so I know she won’t mind and I just want to share her wonderful work.

I’ve only got as far as the main outline plan.

And this is the finished version, framed and done. Not a patch on the original, I admit, but it's probably one of the best things I've done so it deserves its place on the dining room wall.
And this is the finished version, framed and done. Not a patch on the original, I admit, but it’s probably one of the best things I’ve done so it deserves its place on the dining room wall.
Main features in place and then some alcohol markers to colour a general background. I'll use Gelly Roll pends to fill in the rest and add detail, plus some sparkle and Liquid Pearls.
Main features in place and then some alcohol markers to colour a general background. I’ll use Gelly Roll pens to fill in the rest and add detail, plus some sparkle and Liquid Pearls.

You can see all my scribbling on the left hand side, where I noted ideas before I forgot. If it’s good enough, it may even go on the wall.

Speaking of “if it’s good enough…”  I started a big name plate thing for my son and his family some time ago, using Joanne Fink monogram patterns and a Zentangle border. I’ve worked on it on and off for months but lost interest and have just finished it in time to give it for Christmas. It’s wrapped and ready and yet, and yet. Alright, I’ll ‘fess up, I don’t want it to be one of those things they put on the wall if they know I’ll be coming round, just to please me. (Bloody vanity –  I should be grateful they care enough not to want to hurt my feelings.) Well, this is it in its finished form and  I won’t be there to see them open it, so I’ll never know, will I?

So many ways I could have done it better.
So many ways I could have done it better.

I have a Zentangle class tomorrow and am looking forward to it. At the last one, we drew a leaf, divided it into sections and started filling it with patterns. For homework – homework, would you believe? – we were to finish the patterns and take it back tomorrow to do a sort of background or frame.  So this is what it looks like today and we’ll see how different it is tomorrow.

I've bought a frame for this too, although it still needs a little work on the black smudgy
I’ve bought a frame for this too, although it still needs a little work on the black smudgy
In my eyes the veins in the leaves are too  thick but i can fill them with patterns too, maybe.
In my eyes the veins in the leaves are too thick but I can fill them with patterns too, maybe.

Sunday evening.

Been to my Zentangle class. Was it great? Oh yes it certainly was. We did white on black, which was not a complete success but I do feel I learned a lot. See above for the virtually finished leaf and then we did two tiles, see below, and a Christmas Star, using mica powder to colour. It’s much more luminous in reality than it looks here but you get the idea. That’s mica powder added to my Christmas list.

And a new pattern here but can't remember what it's called.
And a new pattern here but can’t remember what it’s called.
Three new patterns tried here but I've forgotten their names already. Durr!
Three new patterns tried here but I’ve forgotten their names already. Durr!
Really loved doing this one.
Really loved doing this one.

The white on black is tricky because of the way the ink goes on and shading is sort of in reverse, but not. Yes, well, that’s as clear as I can make it, so we’ll leave it there.

And finally, the Diva Challege. We were asked to use a doll as our string and I have to admit the first thing that came into my mind was Chocky. ( Sorry, apparently it was Chucky!)I trod temptation under foot, however, and ended up with an angel doll. Now I admit, she/he still looks more like an avenging angel than a guardian one but we are, after all, what we are.

DC 196 dollangel