I’m not a nice person but…

Rather a big one, this, about 8 inches square.
Rather a big one, this, about 8 inches square. It has sparkle but it doesn’t show on the scan.

I feel the need to begin with a bit of an apology this week. You see, every week I go through most, if not all, of the responses to the Diva Challenge and leave comments if appropriate. However, I do not have Flickr or Instagram accounts, so I never leave comments for people who publish there. I feel that it is rude to seem to ignore them, which I don’t, I look whenever I can, but I never leave the encouragement or admiration that I feel. So, if it’s YOU, I’m sorry. I almost certainly admire your work and I enjoy going to look at it.


I’ll say thank you to all the people who leave kind and generous comments on here. It’s surprising how encouraged I feel when I see them.  And I know a few of the names by now, we seem to speak briefly most weeks and I feel as though I am making friends in all sorts of places. So Thank You, your words are appreciated.

I feel better for that.

This is for one of our Stitch n Bitch girls whose husband is blind, so at least he can hear the bells.
This is for one of our Stitch n Bitch girls whose husband is blind, so at least he can hear the bells.

So Ben is here, the house is upside down; there are cold feet on my back at an ungodly hour of the morning; there is nowhere to walk because the floor is full of toys he’s not playing with (because he’s playing with the pans or Grandad’s toolkit) and the TV is on constantly with brightly coloured, whiny brats squeaking on endlessly in politically correct platitudes.

We’ve made the gingerbread house, which I’m hoping won’t fall down before we are ready to eat it. It’s glued together with equal quantities of purple icing and Ben’s spit, where he kept licking his fingers. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t. My grandad used to say, in a broad Yorkshire accent, of course: “You’ll eat a peck o’ muck afore ya die.” and it may be true, I just hadn’t planned on having it all at once.

SAM_8751Ben’s daddy, the techspert, has fixed my computer/printer problem. (I’m so glad she married him. If they ever divorce, I don’t know which one I’d keep!)

Having seen all the Autumn inspired art over the past week or two, I went onto the garden this morning, in the pouring rain, of course, and picked up a few leaves for inspiration. What am I going to do with them? I haven’t a clue but they’re ready for when I do. Oddly, the most impressive leaves come from a sycamore tree which I hate with a passion. For some reason the firm that built our houses planted a couple of trees in each garden.

The leaves before I did anything with them. (Shiny due to baby oil, to prevent them disintegrating too soon.
The leaves before I did anything with them. (Shiny due to baby oil, to prevent them disintegrating too soon.)

For the most part, they were ornamental cherries, almond blossom or small shrubs but, every now and then, they stuck in a perishing great sycamore. Now this is not an appropriate tree for a small garden on a suburban estate. They grow to something like 80 – 100 feet high and this one is no more than 30 feet from the houses in any direction. It isn’t that big yet but one thing is certain, it ain’t going to get no smaller of its own accord.

I’ve got my second wind with the Christmas cards. It had occurred to me that I had lots of toppers made but none built into cards, so I made a push and now have about 20 finished cards, with stickers on for who they are intended for. I’ve included pictures of some of them scattered throughout this week’s post. Still about a dozen to go but I’ve also got a few ideas in my head so I’m on a roll.

I intend to print this off and colour it in different ways - maybe.
I intend to print this off and colour it in different ways – maybe.
I've had this ages and just didn't know what to do with it. added glitter and now it will be someone's Christmas card.
I’ve had this ages and just didn’t know what to do with it. added glitter and now it will be someone’s Christmas card.
So this is it in reds and golds, awaiting sparkle.
So this is it in reds and golds, awaiting sparkle.


Rather bravely, I feel, I have entered a card swap on Facebook. Zentangle Artist Trading Card Swap. I’ll be sent a list of names and addresses to send to and I have to have them all done by a given date. November’s challenge is to use only black and white on Zentangle size tiles. I’ve started by drawing out the squares on a big piece of card and am planning a do a string across the lot and then make it into individual tiles. I hope I can meet the deadline. Anyway, I’ll let you know how I get on.


I don't know how many of these I will need to send but surely it won't be more than 16?
I don’t know how many of these I will need to send but surely it won’t be more than 16?

And then next week, after a couple of days to recover from the invasion, we’re off to Majorca again. According to our friends who live there, the weather is mild and we will still be able to swim in the pool. Bliss. Our older daughter is currently on the Costa Del Sol having a lazy week by the pool and loving most of it. For some reason, she seems to be blaming the Spanish for supplying large quantities of good food and cheap wine, so she’s putting on weight, falling down a lot and has a constant headache. That’s my girl.

Yesterday evening, the five of us – the loved one, Ben, Rachel, the techspert and I  – went to a local pub for a meal. It was quite busy, many people, like us, having reserved tables, and, while we were eating, a group of five or six people arrived, not having booked a table, and were told they would be served as soon as a table became free. They came and sat at an empty  table for two next to ours, borrowing empty chairs from around the room, bumping and pushing against the backs of our chairs and knocking my coat on the floor without apology. They then discussed the fact that it wouldn’t be long before our table was free, casting meaningful looks in our direction. I slowed down the mastication process and we ordered more drinks. More meaningful looks. We ordered dessert. (Hadn’t even wanted dessert until that point.) Took photos of each other. Pushed back our chairs and relaxed, describing to each other in mouth watering detail the best parts of our various meals. Had quite a discussion about whether to have more drinks. Tea or coffee, perhaps. A table in the corner was vacated; they moved; we left. Such fun. Told you I wasn’t a nice person.

And now I’m awaiting the Diva Challenge with happy expectation. What will it be? Different media? Specific patterns? UMT? Doesn’t matter, I’m ready, Laura, bring it on.

And it’s a good ‘un.

And now on to the most important matter at hand: this week’s challenge! My current fascination is with stones and ceremony. Maybe you are familiar with cairns, those crowd-sourced stone piles that serve to mark the path of trails in out-of-the way places. (I say crowd-sourced because cairns are often formed by wayfarers contributing to the pile, one stone at a time). The tiles I show here span a few months. If it appeals to you, I encourage you to try using Rankin’s cairn template as a string for this week’s challenge. 
If the template doesn’t do much for you, I invite you to trust in your intuition as you move toward your own vision of stones and ceremony with pen in hand and blank tile before you.

I immediately thought of the dry stone walls that abound in the countryside around us. Monumental? No. But they represent a tradition that still continues in the hills of the north of England  and I love them.

Using patterns by Helen Williams. (She might not recognise them but that's what they are supposed to be.)
Using patterns by Helen Williams. (She might not recognise them but that’s what they are supposed to be.)
My dry stone wall before patterns.
My dry stone wall before patterns.




13 thoughts on “I’m not a nice person but…

  1. Such a joy to read your blog! I always find myself nodding my head in either appreciation, or agreement, or both. Definitely feel the same about not being able to leave comments, but not willing to have an Instagram or Flickr account. Love your tangled stone walls!

  2. hahaha. The gingerbread house and Ben licking his fingers. 😀
    If I were making a gingerbread house, I’d probably eat a piece of the house and then feign shock that there was a missing piece at the end of constructing the house.

    The swap sounds very interesting. I hope you have fun with it.
    Your submission for Diva’s challenge looks lovely.

  3. I became a bit mad when I read about this meal in the pub. I wonder why there was no one of the staff doing something about that. And, if you’re not a nice person, what are those people?????
    Well, I do like the stone wall 🙂

  4. I would have had the same reaction to the folks at the table circling yours in vulture-like anticipation. It must be the same impulse that makes me want to block in a$$hole speeding, weaving motorists. My husband has pointed out that this maneuver is not a good idea in a country where guns are ubiquitous.

    I remain impressed by your Christmas card output—-and it’s not yet even November!

    Is your drawing/watercolor(?) of the stone wall your own composition? It’s interesting (to moi anyway) that you tangled things other than the wall itself—-which, of course, makes the stones stand out—duh. Clever idea.

    With a wee one running around, I’m surprised you found the time and space for any creative projects. Ben sounds like a delightful order destroyer.

    I need to make the same announcement to Flickrites. However, I have embraced Pinterest, so I can leave comments on those posts.

    1. Yes I have some Pinterest boards, unimaginatively labelled – Diva Challenge, Doodles and the Like, My ZIA etc. Yes, inconsiderate motorists do it for me too. Especially as I personally am a practically perfect driver!

  5. I love your stone wall it reminds me of Ireland when I lived there and go back to visit family😊 as for the swap I generally make 10-12 before the name list is out and then make extra if need be. 16 will be fine don’t forget you have 3 months to complete it ( I just do mine early because I send them to a U.S. Friend to post out with theirs so I like to be fairly quick😉) Joanne F

  6. What a delightful post! I can relate on the sycamore love-their-leaves/hate-their-profligacy theme. If there is a prettier tree in the fall, I don’t know what it is, but if there is one more apt to ruin a yard…well…
    but I lived in a neighborhood where the developers actually planted two cottonwood trees in the postage stamp front yard of one house, and rather large, intrusive species of tree (including sycamores) in every yard on the block. Absolutely inappropriate, I say.

    Also, good on ya for that restaurant stunt. It is something that my significant other and I would pull, given the chance. But it does remind me of my dad on Xmas morning. If we said a thing about hurry up…he would deliberately carry on his morning routine even slower, just for the pleasure of our anticipation growing into frenzy.

    as to your artwork, I love the cards you’ve got done, especially that swervy verdigoh Christmas tree looking one. Lovely! and the stone wall with the rolling hills behind…wow!

  7. Oh what a pleasure to visit with you! As usual, I’m laughing and rejoicing with you at every turn. Noteworthy quote: “Add glitter and now it will be someone’s Christmas card.” That’s a good life motto, if ever!

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