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.”
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


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.
Yet do thy worst, old Time! Despite thy wrong
My love shall in my verse ever live young.
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.



18 thoughts on “Letter from America

  1. Wow, you have been busy. I came by because of the I am the diva challenge and was treated to so much more. (I love your little folding books.)

  2. I enjoyed reading your story. How wonderful that you made a new friend in the process. I am ever so grateful for all the wonderful people I have met and become friends with through the Internet. You are right, the shading brings Arukas to life and yours is just wonderful. Have fun making circles!

  3. Enjoy your new toy(always a treat). I enjoyed you blog and the idea that there are those who value and appreciate artwork. The book is truly delightful and your Arukas tile is great.

  4. I like your snowmen – it will surely be great fun to tangle them 😉 And your arukas tile looks beautiful – I love the pattern in the middle and your shading of the arukas pattern – very nice!

  5. Thanks for your wonderful Post. Love all of your art, and those dancing shoes on your HO HO HO Santa are priceless. Your Arukas Tile is super. Your circle center is proudly showing off its delightful roundness, and keeping secret all of your efforts in making it a reality. Well done.

  6. Thank for sharing the saga of your new circle tool. I am glad to read something that’s not US bashing on the internet. Seriously, some of us are nice people—a few—here and there. 😉 Aha. I need to try some shading next time I try akuras. I enjoyed all the Christmas artista cheer. (PS: I fixed the link to my funny sign post, but here is your go to personal link: http://www.boomeresque.com/say-what-southeast-asia-signs/ Don’t say I didn’t warn you about not reading it while drinking a warm beverage.

  7. Your tile is beautiful (what a fantastic circle) and I love your post. It’s always great to hear about a person like that!

  8. Nice challenge tile. I like what you did with the circle. Remember one of the tenets of Zentangle®, there is no right or wrong. That is why they call them orbs and not circles. Your other work is nice also.

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