Eyes Bigger Than…

Two starter tiles from Stephanie Drewa.

In the Dark Ages, or, as my Mum would have said, “When I were a lass…”, if we were greedy, one or other of the grandparents would shake their head and murmur, ” Eeeeh, I don’t know, eyes bigger than your belly, that’s what you have…”  and we would either be refused the extra portion or, with a rueful sigh, it would be served to us with the rider; “And you eat every scrap of that.” They would then watch to see if we actually could eat it all and share knowing glances if we appeared to be struggling. And of course they were often right and I can remember quite a few Sunday teatimes marred by the need to force that piece of cake down, ruining the pleasure of the entire meal, rather than admit defeat.

From Jolanda Baan

And why did we take that little trip down Memory Lane, back to my not so deprived childhood teas in The Old Homestead in Wombwell?  (I kid you not, that was the name of the house my Grandma and Grandad lived in. It was in a terrace of four mock Tudor houses in a mucky pit town and nothing like any homestead I could imagine but that was its name.) Because, all these years later, I still do it and I’ve just done it again. Nowadays it’s less likely to be food, of course – my portion control is still questionable but I can leave what I don’t eat without too much of a guilty conscience and no-one pointing the finger and saying sententiously,  “There are children in Africa who’d be grateful for that.”, which may be true but isn’t helpful.

I didn’t draw this but I saw it on google and it was soooo right.
I think this one is from Rhoda Roy in Canada, but she didn’t put her name on the tile itself and, organisational nitwit that i am, I put it in with a couple of others …

But I still take on more than I can manage in other ways and, in particular, with hobbies. (Not, and indeed, never with housework. Never that! The vacuum cleaner backs away if I open the cupboard because it’s been taught not to talk to strangers.)

And at the moment I am deeply involved in crochet. I am working on:

a blanket for my granddaughter – single bed size. about six inches to go

two toys for a friend of my daughter who is having twins. (The friend, not the daughter.) One almost complete, ready to be stuffed and one not even started. (The toys, not the twins)

a circular waistcoat/jacket for me, which I am going to un-pick back about fifteen rows because I don’t like how sort of frilly it’s getting.

and I have plans for a shawl, another blanket, this one for my grandson, more toys and a cloche hat, also for me, maybe, not sure, I don’t suit hats.

From Mary Dewick in the UK

Then there are the two Zentangle swap groups I’m involved with – Zentangle Artist Trading Cards and Travelling Tangles, both on Facebook. I currently need to draw five tiles on a Summer theme for the former, although it’s a long deadline, so they are on the back burner at the moment.  And I have received tiles, started by other members, which I am to complete and then post the results online. (I’ve scattered them about this post for your delectation and delight.) No deadline on that, and I vacillate between longing to get started and the dread of ruining what they have sent me.

Days 9 and 11 of the journal

And then there’s this bloody journal that I have started with another Facebook group – Zentangle, Tangled and Journalled too. I have committed myself to doing a small tile every day for all of June, July and August, based on prompts they post online each week.

Day 19, a Zendala, not on a Bjou, this one but a proper Zendala size tile.

Now I have the time management skills of a newt, so this is already proving difficult. I notice other people do the tiles, pop them in a journal, or draw tile shapes in said journal, one for each prompt and the job’s a good ‘un. Me? Don’t be daft.  I chose to do Bijou tiles, which are nice and small, and stick them in quite a large book (8″ square, I think) and then decorate the pages around the tiles. So, instead of doing a two inch square every day, I find myself trying to then do a further eight inch square too.   I quickly adapted and put more than one tile on each page but, even so, it’s a lot.

We were supposed to write on text but I’m was an English teacher – it’s tantamount to sacrelige. So I printed off a verse from Leonard Cohen and drew in the spaces. Also not on bijou. I stick to my own rules only as and when I want to!

Don’t get me wrong, nobody makes me do this. There isn’t a Zengauleiter person writing my name calligraphically into a beautifully decorated weighty tome, who carries a big stick  to come round and beat me- one stroke at a time, of course, but I’ve posted online that I will do it, so I sort of have to do it. The loved one says it’s masochism and watches another episode of Last of the Summer wine while I try to draw, crochet, scribble just that bit faster.


Days 10, 11 and 12

Hey ho. Oh, and the Diva Challenge. It’s just one tile once a week but of course I write chapter and verse to go with it, don’t I?  I write like I talk, so, as my friends and family will confirm, once I’ve started, there’s no stopping me. But ,although I no longer do the Challenge religiously every week, it is what prompts me to write and post most weeks, so I’m thankful for it.  Of course, there may be those of you who feel the Diva has, therefore, a lot to answer for!

It’s a guest Challenger each week through the Summer – wonder what the next one will be… Anf it’s Elisa Murphy setting the Challenge.

Finally!  This week’s challenge!  Your challenge this week is to draw a monotangle of “Nzeppel, but it doesn’t stop there.  I challenge you to go beyond the pen and tap into that Zentangley Mindfulness.  Think about when you last felt like you didn’t fit in or think about someone you care about who’s feeling that way right now.  As you draw and watch your tangle grow and evolve notice how your thoughts do too.  Maybe it softens.  Maybe it gives you pause to think things through.  Maybe use the back of your tile to jot down random thoughts. Hopefully you get lost in the relaxed focus of the process.  At the end of the day, that’s what Zentangle is all about.

Well, I love Nzeppel, so this was fun. In fact I’m going to add a border to this atc and send it as one of the swaps at the end of the month.

Plain and simple on a background daubed in muted pink and grey, using Reticula R42 .

And there let it end for this week, world. Until we meet again, be good-ish. (AS I will myself, of course.)

My oh my, it’s still July.

The Angel of The North
I managed to squeeze five days’ prompts onto this one, which helped with the catching up process.

And the journal is still taking over my life. In a good way, mainly. Still, I did catch up and these are some of the pages for July. However, having reduced the pressure a bit, up popped another challenge on the same FB page – “Make and send 9 original atcs, get 9 back. ”  by the end of August. And before I’d given it more than a second’s thought, I’d signed up for it. My Dad would have described me as  “Too daft to laugh at…” and he wouldn’t be wrong, would he?

One of the prompts was “Inspire by…” and we were to produce something inspired by a fellow tangler.

One of the prompts for the Summer Project was “Inspired by…” and we were to produce something inspired by a fellow tangler. I decided on Michele Wynne as my source. I love how she uses colour – see her blog “Coffee and Creativity” I’ve almost caught how she uses coloured backgrounds and then emphasises some areas with more colour or different patterns.

This is the one they used for the page header. Eeeek!

And then Janeeileen, who does most of the admin on the FB page, chose something I had done to be used as the FB page header for that week. It was like getting an Oscar, but better! I’m trying to be modest about it but I had to tell somebody, so it’s you, world, that I get to show off to.  I’d like to be proud but quiet but I really feel like jumping gleefully up and down, shouting, “ME! she chose ME!”          Alright, that’s enough now, I’ve calmed down.

Anyway, I’ve started the atc’s too and that will keep me quiet for a while. Possibly.

I paddled out into the sea to get close to this one. I find them strangely compelling.

On a whim, we went off to the west coast for a couple of days at the weekend. We went to Southport, a seaside resort of the old fashioned sort. There’s a long promenade and a boating lake, Punch and Judy on the pier. And the pier is gigantic, it even has a little noddy train in case it’s too far for you to walk. Couldn’t wait to get on it! And there was live music, very good live music too. It wasn’t the brass band or the Promenade orchestra, it was a group called “The Band With No Name”, playing some cracking good rock music. I could have stayed there all day, if it hadn’t been for the fact that the sun was sooooo hot I was at risk of burning and, as the day had started dull, I was not wearing sun cream. It would have been just too ridiculous to go all over the Med and just go a lightish brown, then burn back in the UK. So we toddled off back to the hotel to get changed for dinner. We went to a nice little Italian called Casa Italia, which was a bit cheesy on the decor; trying to look as if you were sitting out in a courtyard but not. However, the food was good, even if the service was a bit perfunctory and the price of the drinks was appalling. I stuck with Peroni in the end, as the wines were silly prices and there is no guarantee of quality.

I really liked Southport. Of course, if the tide is out you would have to walk about two miles to get your feet wet but we didn’t spend much time on the beach, not when there were so many open air bars! And then, the following day, we went down the coast towards Liverpool to Another Place, by Antony Gormley, the guy who created The Angel of the North. (That’s the picture at the top of the page.) It is the moodiest, most melancholy thing I have ever seen. In fact, there are a hundred of these figures on Crosby Beach. See http://www.visitliverpool.com/things-to-do/another-place-by-antony-gormley-p160981 for more info.

And there are dozens of them, some buried up to their waists in the sand.

And then the Diva Challenge came around again. Guest blogger Jessica Davies gave us her second challenge and it was to use the pattern Peanuckle. I learned it early on in my Zentangle attempts and, like Jessica, dropped it to the bottom of my list. I went back to the original video for a revision session, did my best with it and, although it doesn’t look too bad, I didn’t enjoy it. (Which is why it is squashed into the bottom corner of this atc – I had intended a monotangle in different sizes.  Anyway, that’s it for now, see you again soon, world and, until then, be good – ish.

It’s Still June at Our House

Can I just say, the patchy background was deliberate here. I was going for a sort of shabby/chic look. No, really I was.

At least, it as as far as the journal is concerned, it’s still June. When they post updates and info on the FB page, they call it The Little Summer Project, you know, like Stonehenge was a little Summer project. I missed more than a week while we were away on Crete – wouldn’t have gone if I’d realised! Then we had a week at home and it was the loved one’s birthday on the Saturday. We planned a little garden party but failed to tell him that our youngest daughter, husband and adorable Ben were coming up for a few days. They arrived on the Friday evening and his face when he opened the door and saw Ben grinning up at him was a joy to see. It meant that, instead of the eight people he had expected to see at his party the following day, there were 14, as our son and his wife also turned up unexpectedly on the day, with Isla too.  Thank goodness I always over cater. (I may have had an inkling about it all but HE didn’t.) It did mean, however, that there wasn’t much time for Tangling over that few days too, which put me even further behind.

Reticula for the background,  then using white for one prompt, shading Flukes for another, fragment K2 for another and alphabet for another.

I realise I may be giving the impression that I am not enjoying this project and, of course, it just isn’t true. I’m loving it. The prompts make me think outside the box, especially when they want us to use reticula, which I get but don’t get, if you see what I mean. So it’s a grumble at my own expense because I take on too much and put pressure on myself.


Days 26 and 27, going for simple here.

I see myself as a sort of Zen-athlete, setting myself up to my very own Zenbledon, trying to beat my personal besy.  Anyway, I’m determined to catch up over the next few days, at least so that I am less than a week behind. On the page using Verve, I coloured it with Promarkers, which was not a complete success, as it has dried patchily, which annoys me no end. I think I may add a little white in places as highlights, to make it less obvious.

The final prompts to the end of June are to use a resist of some sort; to create a frame  and to revisit something from the past month you have enjoyed. I don’t suppose the revisit really includes Crete, which is a shame, so I think using fragments of Flux will have to do instead. In fact, I tried all sorts of resists and didn’t like any of them – wax crayons, fabric paint, embossing powders and then I saw one someone had done using a stencil, which she had coloured through and then filled the space with tiny, tiny, I mean reeeeeally tiny tangling and I decided to work on her idea.

I’ve used a Dreamweaver stencil, they really are such good quality, a dauber and  ink pads to create the background. The revisit is indeed a few fragments of Flux dripping down the page and the final one is the frame, coloured with Promarkers and bits of white chalk and pen. So that’s it, June is officially over. Better get on with July.

In the meantime, in the real world where time runs at its proper rate, it’s guest spot at the Diva Challenge…

And it’s Jessica Davies, who wants us to give our hearts, so to speak;

Weekly Challenge #324 “Tangled Heart”

In gratitude and appreciation for all we are and all we give to each other in this community, I invite you to create a tangled heart this week. Let’s show each other the love!

Start with a heart shape as your string and then tangle. I found some cut out hearts and traced those on my tiles for consistency, but do what works for you. Go whimsical with freehand hearts, put one on a tile or many, use color or not, go small with bijou or big with opus, tangle inside or outside the string, stick with the white tile or go black … whatever your heart calls you to do.

So I used a pattern I can’t remember the name of but it’s one that I find both challenging and fun, which seemed appropriate. And I’ll finish on that, as my Summer project calls… Until we meet again, world, be good-ish.


Walking on Sunshine

The penultimate swap with a bijou on top of an ordinary tile.

Oh if only we were! It’s a real English summer here at the moment; rain, windy, cool, occasional patches of sunshine… If you ever wanted to understand the British mentality, look at our weather – It looks bright, sunny even, very promising, so you get out the garden chairs, put your pens and paper ready, prepare a long cool drink, and go to sit out in the garden in the sun.

And with the bijou out of the way to show the inside.

Before your bottom has warmed the chair, you have to put on your cardigan, then you pick up your drawing things and your long cool drink and take them inside. Then you fold up the garden chairs and put them somewhere dry and you stand looking out of the window at the rain. Hello Summer! Is there any wonder we go away to warmer climes so often?

However, we’ve just been away and while we had temperatures in the late 20s in Crete, they had pretty much the same in England. Soooo infuriating. On the other hand, we had the sea or a swimming pool to choose from, eating out every night in a different taverna and excellent company. We win!

In my last post I told you we were going to Piscopiano. Wrong. We were in the next village, Koutouloufari, which is just as pretty. I’ll tell you more another time.

It’s a friend’s 70th birthday this weekend, so I’ve made her a card. I’ve done it in stages between the other projects and it has turned out OK, I think.

I used a stamp for the lettering and then sort of giant Dingbatz around it.
It’s on an 8″ square card but I cheated for the inside and made one using Serif Craft Artist.

And I’m on the last swap tile for the bijou on a tile swap. It’s taken more work than I expected because making them match, or at least co-ordinate, has been trickier than I thought it would be. Here they are ready to be posted.

Just re-read the guidelines and it’s supposed to be just black and white. Do you think anyone will notice the red? Ooops!

And then it was the Diva Challenge 321.

Weekly Challenge #321: “Non Dominant – Aura Challenge”
This week’s challenge is a double challenge.  a Double Dog Dare, if you will.

Every once in a while i post a non dominant hand challenge – which is always met with mixed reactions.

People either love or hate this challenge – and a lot of that has to do with being able to let go of the illusion of perfection.

When you tangle with your non dominant hand, in my case – the left, you really are forced to examine every movement you make.  How you hold the pen in your hand, which direction do you turn the tile? Do you pull the pen towards you? Or push it a way.  Do you use your wrist or your arm?

Part of the thing that holds people back is that they don’t want their tile to look ‘ugly’… but i think that one of the great perks of using your non dominant hand is that you already know going in that it’s not going to ‘look pretty’ and so you’re free, in a way, to let go of things like the idea of COMPOSITION or of perfection.

And also – let’s stop calling our work ugly.  If you really don’t like it, try saying your tile has Character.

Now.  For the second part of the challenge?

use tangles that are built using auras!


Well, the truth is, I didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t. Everything she says about why people don’t like doing  this applied to me and I suddenly realised – I do the Challenge for fun and this would not be fun. As a result, I didn’t post my blog at all but am waiting for DC 322. Hope it’s something I can get my teeth into.


It was Aquafleur, which I do enjoy, so this is what I came up with. It’s not all that exciting and I’m using it as a dual purpose tile, since it is a bijou and will go in my Summer journal for the highlighting prompt.

So that will do for this week. As a result of going to Crete, I have fallen behind with my Summer journal and am frantically trying to catch up. I hope you all have a happy week and thank you for the kind comments. I will repeat that, since I don’t have Instagram or Flickr accounts, I can see but not comment on work that I see there. I do look and I very often admire, so please don’t think me rude when I don’t leave friendly feedback.


I then realised I was a week out and had in fact linked the wrong DC tile – Aquafleur was LAST week! So I got myself up to date and looked at the right Challenge;

This week’s challenge is to create a tile that reflects your home.  This could be your country, or province/state, your city, your neighbourhood, your house, or the planet, the solar system, the galaxy or the whole universe. 

Abundies around the heart and HeartsOffset in the background.

Now I’ve mentioned before that I don’t do patriotism, i see it as a quite negative thing. But England is my home and, in spite of the fact that I spend a fair amount of my time travelling, it’s always safe in the knowledge that England is always there for me. And when I sat down to do a home based tile, this is what came up. The UK is my home and where my heart is.

Until next time, world, be good-ish.