The drugs don’t work.

This is a faux leather (plastic) coaster that I've stencilled then tangled in white and metallic pen.
This is a faux leather (plastic) coaster that I’ve stencilled then tangled in white and metallic pen.

In the old days BZ, (You know, Before Zentangle and I suppose it’s AT since then – Anno Tangli) anyway, in the olden days, my stress relief, my major relaxation, was reading. There was a time when, if it was in print, it was grist to the mill and, although I had my favourites, I would give anything a go. As a result, I have read some awful rubbish. My Mum and Dad instilled in me an attitude of “If you start it, you finish it. ” In Mum’s case, it usually meant meals and the moral high ground of a clean plate at teatime. For my Dad it was books, as if it was rude to the authour to start a book and not wade through to the frequently bitter end.

As a result of their attitudes, I have been fortunate enough to develop a taste for vegetables that I didn’t have as a child and am pretty widely read. I can’t do Dickens, though. He needs too many words to say the simplest things and I like to forge ahead with the story. Hence, Steinbeck and Hemingway being among my favourites. I enjoy fiction and non-fiction and am currently re-reading Cosmos, by Carl Sagan. As a not very scientific person, I find the universe scarily fascinating. I mean, it’s big, innit? And Sagan has a conversational style that makes me want to read on, even when my head is too full of facts to take in any more. You wouldn’t believe how many times I pick up the book (Kindle) and re-read the previous chapter in the hope that some of it will have made sense while I was sleeping.

So, at the moment, reading is not so relaxing because I’m self educating.

A card for my son's not quite mother in law's birthday.
A card for my son’s not quite mother in law’s birthday.

I decided, a propos nothing, to tidy some cupboards.This usually involves emptying them, finding things I didn’t know I’d lost, and pretty much putting them back a bit straighter than before. In one of them was a largish piece of plastic bubble wrap, which, when I first discovered the invention of bubble wrap, used to give me immense satisfaction popping the bubbles. Being in the middle of the job, I threw the bubble wrap on top of the pile of stuff, probably to throw away, as we have no foreseeable use for it. As I turned back to the cupboard the bubble wrap called to me. It did. Honest. “Pop me.” it said, “Burst my bubbles, you’ll feel better for it.”

Resolutely, I continued with my work but “Ever at my back I hear, yon bubbles calling, “Burst me dear”…” (Apologies to Andrew Marvel.) So I did, I gave in, picked it up and began systematically popping the bubbles. And after a few minutes I realised I had to pop them all. Couldn’t just do a few for old times’ sake, oh no, the whole damn sheet had to go.  And I was busy and really shouldn’t have stopped half way through the job, as Distraction is my middle name. (That and Technophobia, as mentioned in previous posts.) And I would have felt just slightly silly if the loved one had happened to look in through the window and seen me there, popping bubble wrap. But I couldn’t put it down until they were all gone.

So popping bubble wrap is no longer relaxing either.

My daughter's dog, Kitty, waiting not very patiently at the top of the stairs to be taken for a walk.
My daughter’s dog, Kitty, waiting not very patiently at the top of the stairs to be taken for a walk, while I have yet another go at the Diva Challenge.

Another form of relaxation was embroidery, blackwork, crewel, longstitch that sort of thing.  My walls are covered in stitch pictures made either by me or my Mum but I haven’t actually done any in ages and I have/had a cupboard full of silks and fabrics and accoutrements just waiting to be remembered. The cupboard I was tidying, in fact. There were several unfinished projects and I told myself how little work was needed to complete them and that it was silly to put them away again when they needed so little attention. Truth to tell, the very thought of them made me tense. So I put them back in the cupboard.

Clearly, embroidery is no longer the opiate of choice.

What used to soothe me no longer does. (Hence the drugs don’t work reference, courtesy of the Verve.) And there you have it. I’m going through a dryish patch with the Zentangle at the moment, no projects on the go. (Not true, you bad girl, you have a drawer full of paper and card with half conceived designs. Bad, bad girl, telling lies.) Alright, nothing I feel like doing. What’s wrong with me? Nothing, of course, just not feeling creative for the moment.

I know – I need a holiday!

Thank goodness we’re off into the blue again next week. Needless to say, I won’t be packing embroidery materials or bubble wrap. Will certainly be packing the Kindle. Will I be taking the pens? Well, what do YOU think?

So my next post will be badly in need of proof reading because the combination of foreign WiFi and my cackhanded use of the soft keyboard make for sloppy writing but I will be back next week, world, from wherever I find myself.

Until then, be good, won’t you?

Oh no!


It’s getting worse, if not worserer. As you know, my current recreational fix is Zentangle but, as I said, I’m going through a thin patch at the moment. I’ve done some Christmas cards with a hint of tangle here and there – you can see them scattered throughout this post – but not much else.

SAM_8690 SAM_8691 SAM_8692

Don’t you love this “one over the eight” Christmas Angel? It’s a stamp outline that I’ve coloured and patterned.

I was confident, however, that the Diva Challenge would get me going again. NO. Guest Challenger, Charlotte Carpentier says:

So, this is my proposal to you. Find something to use for a stencil, gather your dye and spray, sponge, Q-Tip, etc. and make yourself a string. Revel in the discovery that different natural dyes, like wine or hibiscus tea, will look different on different papers. Then tangle them. You can even stay inside the lines if you like or go completely outside!

Well, this was the perfect opportunity to use my new Brusho inks, wasn’t it? Couldn’t wait to get started.

Huh! That’s all I’m saying, huh!

And this is my first failed attempt at patterning. I love, love love the long pattern, (A curvy version of Steps by Helen Williams)which was the first I did but the others just don't work with it. Dammit.
And this is my first failed attempt at patterning. I love, love love the long pattern, (A curvy version of Steps by Helen Williams)which was the first I did but the others just don’t work with it. Dammit.
Water colour card, wetted, then sprinkle with Brusho powder and left to see what happens. This was going to be my "string".
Water colour card, wetted, then sprinkled with Brusho powder and left to see what happens. This was going to be my “string”.


Noooo! Why? I don't know but it's not working. Just chose the wrong patterns I suppose.
Noooo! Why? I don’t know but it’s not working. Just chose the wrong patterns I suppose.
Already a bit concerned because it looks a bit detailed.
Already rather concerned because it looks a bit detailed.

Done with an ink pad, sponge dauber and a little doily.

They look harmless enough but it seems they ruin a good idea!
They look harmless enough but it seems they ruin a good idea!
And another one bites the dust. The "flowers" were ok at first but then...
And another one bites the dust. The “flowers” were ok at first but then…
Another Brusho ink piece, ready to tangle.
Another Brusho ink piece, ready to tangle.


But I will not be defeated. And when I have one that I am actually satisfied with, I WILL post it. So there.

LATER, quite a bit later, in fact.

Sometimes I'm just a bit too literal minded.

Sometimes I’m just a bit too literal minded.

I did some more water colour backgrounds using the Brusho inks and this is one of them. I saw the darker areas as a bit flowery so that’s what I let them become. The two “poppies” and the sort of dandelion head worked OK but the daisy looks a bit too structured. Nevertheless, for what it’s worth, this is IT. Patterns used; Betweed, Nipa, Diva Dance and a little bit of Pais.


16 thoughts on “The drugs don’t work.

  1. Oh my word I have never giggled so much at a blogpost in my life! I have a similar thing with hobbies where I start something new, become slightly obsessed with it for a while and then the whole thing starts making me anxious, but your description of it is so hilariously funny 😀 Thanks so much for the giggles today! And all your works are quite lovely by the way, even the ones you deemed unfit to finish!

  2. Just came back to see your finished piece and it’s gorgeous! I especially love the dandelion 🙂 Your perseverance certainly paid off! 🙂

  3. I am also easily bored with whatever my current interest is and am quickly lured by the “ooh shiny” of new hobbies, techniques or tools. Nice to see you play with the Brushos. I do like the finished poppies. I also had to laugh about going to sleep and hoping that what ever you couldn’t understand during the day will mysteriously make sense after sleep. One can only hope 🙂

  4. Oh my you had me from the start. Loved the post and loved your tip toe through the different tries. Had me giggling a couple of times. I think you had a couple of good ones going along the way but really liked the end result. Great job!

  5. As I looked at each of your stencil tangles attempts, I’d say to myself, “What’s wrong with that one?!?” OK, I have to admit I like the last one the best, but the others are none to shabby and I’d love to have a go at the doilies. (You may not believe this, but we actually have doilies here in the former colonies.)

    I heartily endorse the “sleep on it” technique. I can recall in law school trying to do some particularly dense reading right before bedtime and despairing of ever understanding it. Upon re-reading the next morning, it was usually comprehensible. (I submit that there are some legal opinions that just don’t make sense no matter what time of day one reads them. They simply defy logic. At that point, I usually chalk that up to the scrivener’s deficits, not mine.)

    Happy (and safe) trails.

  6. Pure joy from start to finish! I feel a kindred spirit in you – and you like Carl Sagan too, who is a bit of a hero in our house. Lovely, lovely art and, I know I’ve said it before, a brilliant way with words. I’m so glad you’re technical enough to write a blog!

  7. I know what you mean by going on and on in a book that really is not interesting. Some weeks ago a friend of mine brought a book, that (she said) I HAVE to read because it is written well. I started and didn’t like it, went on and on and on until halfway and it was BORING, very boring. I decided to stop (oh, what will she think of me?) and that was the best thing for me to do with this BORING book 🙂
    I like your experiments with the watercolour, fun isn’t it???

  8. HAHA! Your post has truly made me laugh out loud, and have so enjoyed the read. Thank you for sharing a bit of insight into your daily ‘struggles’. My only comment is, in true Zentangle® fashion there are no mistakes and I venture to guess if any one of the fabulous starts to this challenge would be completed you would be pleasantly surprised at the outcome 😉 Throw them into your drawer to complete after the ‘stress’ of the challenge has worn off, they are all off to great starts, they just need an end to pull it all together!

  9. Oh, this is all too too familiar. And bubble wrap is such a trap 🙂 With respect, your dad was wrong about the books. A significant number of books are not worth the time, and authors of such books don’t deserve our time. Love Sagan. Maybe try the Science of the Discworld books when you are done? Terry Pratchett Discworld madness used to explain scientific concepts (alternating chapters of discworld and science). Full brain, but I remembered a lot of it (yay).

  10. That last tile that you completed is really a work of art and i think this result is well worth all the troubles that you had before with the prior experiments. It is absolutely gorgeous!

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