August, fly she must…

Another title taken from a song. This time it’s Simon and Garfunkel – April, Come she will… which was on the Bridge Over Troubled Water album. In 1969, when this was released, you couldn’t walk down the corridor in the College house of residence without hearing a track from it drifting under the doors. We learned all the harmonies and tried to play them on guitars, in my case with very little success.  Or was it “die she must”? It’s not the cheeriest of songs I suppose but a pleasure to sing to myself as I come to the end of my Summer Project. I’m on Day 81 of 92 so the end is almost in sight.

July ended with this page, where the prompts were to use hexagons, the colour yellow, our mac n cheese patterns and to rewind to something I had enjoyed. (WE weren’t asked to do them all on one page, it’s just the way it worked out for me on this one.) Amazingly, Mooka, which I once thought was my nemesis, has become a mac n cheese pattern, usually, as here, with Flux and Tipple. I used Nzepple, another of my favourites, for the rewind, as the rounding exercise had been such a pleasure.


And August started a bit dull, at least as far as colour was concerned. The prompts were to use Pokeleaf and Pokeroot together, about which I was a bit unimaginative but had been visiting stately homes, where tapestry and stumpwork abounded, so the rather old fashioned look is what came out.  We were also asked to use the Fragment K15, which I tried three ways, and the pattern Hemp, which is just not my style at all. There was also a prompt using a sort of string that wasn’t a string, which you can see marked Day 66. I like some of the parts of this but it doesn’t make a whole.

The next three prompts I did were to use dots, a circle and do something on “found” paper. I used a dotty background paper from my cardmaking stash and patterned on it with a thick white pen. Unfortunately, the pen couldn’t contain its enthusiasm – or its ink for that matter – and blotted some of the lines. Oh well, it is what it is. I cut the “found” paper from a gift bag and then patterned it with what i think may be a new pattern. Well, not new, but I haven’t seen it before. Anybody recognise it?

Here’s my first version of  it.

Just trying it out on a scrap of paper. The shading makes it.

So I’ve done step outs and given it a neam (Ndulates – my poor attempt at wit.) just in case it does not already exist. Please tell me if I’m wrong. 

So by the middle of August I had to use Fragment E6, which is a fragment of Meer, I think and which I decided to do as simply as possible, just grading up the sizes as I went along. Oh, and turning each fragment 90 degrees to its neighbour.  I then tried a pattern I’m not familiar with -Atorm, so I stuck with the same colour palette and graded sizes idea for that too. The page doesn’t excite me, although I was happy enough with each piece.

I do like the way the Cubine has turned out here.

Another prompt was just to respond to the word Square and I resurrected an idea I did for the Diva Challenge some time ago. I pinched the idea from Mondrian and added just a few square-ish patterns to it. Not original and it didn’t take long, but  I did have fun.

We were then prompted with using sparkles, which I struggle with. It requires a delicacy of touch which I just don’t seem to possess. Anyway, I tried three different ways with sparkles and almost got it right so maybe it just needs more work. Another prompt was to do a tile with as little white space as possible. The diamond shaped one is the result but I decided that the Mooka had a lot of white, so added the bijou tile with something I saw on You Tube as well. The background is my “new” pattern again.

Then I did a ZIA about 6 inches square, using String 89 in the smallest box, although the string has almost disappeared.  The other prompt here was to use tangles Crease and Fedr together. I sort of went for a Rennie Macintosh look and tried very hard to keep that delicate interweaving of lines going. The blue colour is actually sparkiling Gelly Roll but it never shows on camera, does it?

And finally, you will be relieved to see, the prompt was a Splash of colour using black. combined with a random dots “string”. I had a look at a Helen Williams video doing the pattern Well based on a random dot grid. It was a lot of fun, even if it did make my brain hurt at times. I used Gelly Roll Moonlight pens to really contrast with the black and I think it’s fun. Art? No. Fun? Yup, that’ll do for me.

So we come to the Diva Challenge.  This week’s guest blogger is Jeanette Clawson and she asks us to draw a plate or part of a plate.

As I said I love to draw mandalas so when I was in the seminar I was thrilled with the idea of drawing “plates.” Part of my love of mandalas is tied up in my love of china patterns. These plates go beyond just a decorative border and I decorated the whole plate for our challenge today. I drew the strings of all 4 tiles at the same time.

Being me, of course, I did the whole plate on card exactly the size of four tiles. That’s big and took a hell of a lot of filling. I started with a compass and drew in the pencil design, then coloured with Brusho inks. The patterns were shorely, Copada and Purk in the eggy shaped bits. I can never remember the name of the one in the smallest ring. I started off liking it very much, went through a phase of chuck it in the bin, then liked it after all. Oh the emotional roller coaster!

This is rather brighter in real life.

So I’m going to stop there, as I suspect this week may have been a bit of a tangle overdose.  I’ve started writing next week’s post so, until then, world, be good- ish.



Keeping on, keeping on, keeping on…

It’s time to bring you up to date on my Little summer Project for the Facebook page; Zentangle: Tangled & Journaled, Too! I fell behind a fair bit at one point but have now completed July and have started August. Feeling very proud. (And surprised too, if the truth be known.) So here are some of the pages for July.

The prompts for this were to use triangles and Fragment L16, not necessarily together, that’s just how I did it.

I wasn’t unhappy with this one and felt that linking my triangles with Ing worked quite well. However, some of the other pages pleased me a lot less. For example:

The colour prompt here was pink; the string was 169 and we used reticula RA2. Disaster.

This is what the Americans call a hot mess. I nearly didn’t include it in this post, but we learn as much from our mistakes as from our successes so here it is. I drew the String on some pink paper whose surface was very shiny, with the result that my pen slid all over the page. I tried a version of Lisbon Fragment from the Diva Challenge last week and failed dismally so decided to paper piece the fills for the other sections of the string. However, being by this time pretty fed up of the whole thing, instead of admitting that the bin was the best place for it, I glumly cut them out, paying very little attention, so they don’t even fit the spaces properly. (I was sulking, I admit it.) The only success on the whole page is the bijou tile with the reticula on it. Doh!

Lessons learned – try the paper before committing yourself; Know when you are on a loser; don’t keep on out of plain pig headedness.

We used String 157 and the colour green. I wasn’t too happy with this one either, but it’s growing on me.
And the prompts for this page were Fragment H21, Using negative space to make a word and bubbles. (I used a piece of bubble wrap as a stamp and then tangled in or around them.) Again, we didn’t have to use them together, I just fitted them all onto one page.

As you can see, a couple of fairly average pages followed, which met the prompts but were clearly uninspired and then, suddenly, I was on a roll:

I cut out a bird using a Tim Holtz die, patterned and coloured it and  stuck it onto another piece of water colour card, then framed it with a Venetian border. I felt this was much more successful and that perhaps it was worth continuing after all.

We used pattern Venetian and the colour blue, perfs and the prompt word was bird.

So, as you can see, it is a bit up and down but I persevere. I also signed up to do a set of swaps based on the Summer Project and have completed 8 of the 9 so far, plus little decorated envelopes for them to go in. I tried to make them as different as possible, using different prompts from the last few weeks.

Based on Fovine, Betweed and a little pracrice shading.
Using Verve as tha pattern and more shading practice.
The prompt for this was stripes.
I used a fragment to start this off, but can’t remember which one, then some rounding and a bit of colour.
Springkle was my prompt for this, with Stipule and a base that is another pattern whose name I forget.
This is based on a fragment too.
The envelopes so far.

Last week was my friend Suzanne Fluhr and her pattern Aloha, which I really enjoyed doing. To such an extent that I used it for a thank you card.

Mounted on hand made paper that, fortuitously, matched the ink pad used for the edges.

And then there’s The Challenge! Wonder what this week brings.

 Weekly Challenge #329 – “Fragment D-1”

This week’s challenge

My challenge has everything to do with a small FRAGMENT from the Primer by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, a divine fragment (what else?): dee incredible D-1.

This fragment can be used as a filler and on it’s own.
You can choose to arrange a bunch of them with the diagonal line in the same direction, as you can see on the bijou with Zenith on the sides.
You could also play with the direction of the diagonal line, mirror it for example, as you can see on the black bijou.
Combining this fragments with other fragments is another option.
Keep in mind that D-1 can be used on black, white and tan.
And furthermore on a (prestrung) Zendala and in a spiral! Or you could use color.

Now this is a geometric shape, with which I often have problems, mainly because I can’t draw a straight line! So I decided to use it as a string. The obvious thing to do was fill it either with itself or other geometric patterns. Nope. I went for curves and sparkle. The sparkle is a bit of a cheat because it is one of the prompts for the Summer Project and I thought I’d use the one tile for two challenges. Trouble is, although I get sparkles in theory, I don’t do a very good job with them when I try myself. So I used sparkles in three different ways in the hope that one of them would look sparkly.  The photo shows it in my journal, with a bijou I did after watching a Youtube video by a lady called Dawn, who was offering ways round “artist’s block.” It was fun to do and very relaxing.

So, feeling both fulfilled and relaxed, I’ll leave it there for this week. I hope to see you next week, world and, until then, be good -ish.

Welsh Wales 2

This book cover was done by a friend of mine at a session we did at my house.

When last we spoke I was in the not so wilds of Wales, eating a cream tea on Garth Pier in Bangor, overlooking the turbulent  waters of the Menai Straight.  To get home we had a drive of about 170 miles, not on American style freeways but over hill and dale on  a two lane route. We could have found an easier route, well I could, as I’m the navigator on these trips, but where’s the fun in easy?

So we travelled through the northern edges  of Snowdonia and back in time as well. My parents loved this area, as they were hikers and Youth Hostellers for all my childhood. Strangely, at an age when most people were upgrading from hostels to hotels, they bought a tent and expanded their explorations into Europe, which was considered pretty wild and not entirely respectable in middle England in those days. My dad, especially, loved the Welsh hills; he considered any landscape that was flat was no landscape at all, so these wild ancient hills really appealed to him.

And another one by a friend, using the same patterns but a very different result.

So I planned our route home via Bethesda,  Capel Curig, Betys y Coed , Ruthin, out of Wales and home across the Penines, through Congleton, Wildboarclough and Buxton.  I hadn’t visited the Welsh bits in over 40 years and the memories came flooding back. I could hear my plaintive voice, “Are we nearly there yet, Dad?” or “Is it ALL uphill? Don’t they have any flat bits?” and then, with much more excitement, “Can I go and climb on those rocks?” For some reason, climbing on rocky outcrops was much more fun to 12 year old me than walking on paths and lanes through rolling country.

The whole place is a geography/geology lesson unfolding before your eyes, with glacial valleys, tarns (called llyns in Welsh), ribbon lakes and aforementioned rocky outcrops that can be sedimentary, metamorphic or igneous, depending on exactly where you are. And it was beautiful that day we came home, with bright sunshine, a warm wind and scudding clouds; everything in shades of mossy green, mixed greys and vivid blues of sky and the water reflecting it. And, in spite of it now being the school holidays and some of these villages being tourist hotspots, remarkably empty of people. Wonderful.

Wales is an odd country, apart from having a language that uses up all the spare w’s, l’s  and y’s that the rest of the world doesn’t want. It’s not huge in area but, like the rest of the UK, it fits an amazing variety of landscape into a small space and it’s the same with the architecture. Apart from the recent monstrosities of industrial estates, which appear to be inescapable wherever you go, there are little squat cottages huddled into sheltered nooks to avoid the worst of the weather; Victorian double fronted residences with the obligatory monkey puzzle tree in the front garden; medieval castles dotted on crags here and there, crescents of Regency style houses strung out around seaside bays, now mainly converted into hotels, and ancient, I mean really ancient, as in older than Stonehenge, temples or burial sites. I love it.

You may have noticed that there are no photos from this journey. This is because I was too busy checking the map at every turn in the road, of which there were many, to try and take photos and the loved one was clinging to the steering wheel, occasionally with white knuckles and a determined expression on his face.

Since we got home from our adventure, it has not been what you would call quiet. A couple of days after we got back I had a Zentangle session at our house, where some friends and I practised a couple of patterns before using them to decorate the front cover of a notebook. You can see a couple of them further up the page and this is mine


Not on card like the others but directly onto the book cover.

And then there’s the crochet. I finished the two blankies for the twins to be and my daughter gave them to her friends.  Judging from the messages I got back, they were very well received.

Slightly different, to avoid them getting identical gifts.



And then I said I would make one, a bigger one, for my adorable Ben, who is very touchy feely with toys. It’s sitting on the sofa waiting for him to come back from a visit to his Auntie, her dog and her chickens.  I’m hoping he likes it when he gets in. The eyes look a bit startled at the moment  – wait till they see Ben!

This looks a bit dull but the colour is more ginger in real life.









We’re trying to fit a lot in while they are up here, so we have been to the park, had his cousin round to play, and watched a load of films so far.

A family friend who dotes on him is coming to see us tomorrow and on Friday we head for a country park nearby with his three year old cousin too.

In the meantime I continue with the Little Summer Project and some swap tiles I received to complete but have done nothing with so far. And then the Diva Challenge, with its guest blogger,  comes around…

And it’s my friend Suzanne Fluhr, whose blog Boomeresque is well worth a visit. She has invented/deconstructed several patterns and she asks us to use one of them for this week’s Challenge – Aloha. I like this pattern and wonder why I don’t use it more. this time, the tile is serving a dual purpose, as it is going to be the front of a thank you card to some friends of ours we are going to stay with next week. (No doubt I will tell you aaaaalll about it when we get back.) Anyway, here is my take on Aloha, mixed with Henna Drum, which I suspect will not have been an original idea but there you go. And I will finish with that for now. Until we meet again world, be good -ish.

there is metallic gold in places but I can’t get it to show on the photo…

Welsh Wales

I like the way the name of the town is embedded in the gardens.

Now you may think that the above is a tautology but it isn’t, because there is an English Wales too. Near where I was born, there is a small village called Wales, in fact, my dad was born there. Now my parents were keen hikers and Youth Hostellers, so we travelled all over the UK when I was young – not Northern Ireland because ferry costs were prohibitive – and Wales, Welsh Wales, that is, was a favourite of my dad’s because of all the rugged hills and glorious scenery.  So, if we were going for a doctor’s appointment, we went to Wales, but if we were going away for a long weekend, we went to Welsh Wales.

The busy side of Llandudno. A nice old fashioned seaside resort.

Last week, the loved one and I had a brief trip to Welsh Wales, the first time since 1978. We calculated this because it was when we discovered I was pregnant with our first child and we drove down through Wales with irrepressible grins on our faces for days. That’s one part of the experience we chose not to repeat!

This time, we stayed in Llandudno, another old fashioned seaside town, with a pier and a pub converted from an old disused cinema.

The pub we liked.

The hotel was a bit in need of repair but the service and food were good, so it was ok for just a couple of days. There are two seafronts in Llandudno because it is on a peninsular, and they are very different. There is the one lined with hotels and a pier and fairground rides and slot machines and then there is the wild, barren but beautiful bay less than a mile across town. It’s almost schizophrenic.

The end of the peninsular is a huge lump of rock called the Great Orme – I did read why it is called that but have already forgotten! You can walk up it. Ask me if we did, go on, ask me. Well, of course we didn’t.

It’s further than you think.

There’s a cable car, which the loved one took one look at, shook his head and  headed resolutely back to the pub. However, there is also a tram, which he consented to use and which turned out to be absolutely wonderful. Those hills are bloody steep, I can tell you. I would have needed frequent stops for oxygen had we actually tried to walk up and my knees would have given up the ghost if we had tried to walk down.

The tram is 19th century, has very uncomfortable wooden bench seats, which is part of the fun,  and you can see for miles.  There is an awful lot of pleasure to be derived from travelling effortlessly past those unfortunates who have chosen to walk it. They started, you see, smug in the awareness of their own virtue, keeping fit and healthy on foot. No doubt they were counting steps.

They passed awful close.

Noticeably less smug after about half a mile of 1 in 3 slopes, their faces ranged from red to puce, their laboured breathing was audible from 50 yards away and the sweat was showing through their  Lacoste sportswear.  We smiled and waved as we trundled past and no-one said “I told you so.”

At the top there is a cafe, of course, a wildflower garden and a crazy golf. A weird combination but it has a certain charm. The views are spectacular  and, since the day was sunny, we could see up across the mouth of the River Dee to the Mersey estuary and the coast above, in fact, to the same stretch of coast we visited a couple of weeks ago.

There were goats all over the Great Orme and I did keep expecting to hear Julie Andrews trilling along in the background but we were spared that, at least.

To the west is Anglesey and then Ireland, although Ireland is just out of sight. And in between there is the beautiful rugged and mainly unspoilt coast, running down past Conwy, Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfecchan to Bangor just round the corner.

It’s very lovely and, although it was quite hot, there was a gentle breeze to keep it comfortable. We had a lovely time.

The following day, we visited the other bay, the quiet one. At ten in the morning, right in the middle of the school holidays, there were five people on the sand. The sea was Mediterranean blue and the bay was full of little ruffled waves.

You can see the crowds of tourists on this one if you look carefully.

We walked for about half an hour with the sun on our backs and the wind in our faces, before heading back for the car and a trip down the coast to Bangor.

We were a bit disappointed that the road took us through a tunnel under the River Conwy, so we missed seeing the castle, which is a very impressive one, built in the Middle Ages (1283 – 1289) and soaked in history. It’s a Unesco World Heritage site and extremely interesting. Anyway, we missed it so let’s move on, shall we?  We drove along the coast road, with its lovely outlook over the sea to the Menai Straight, which is the stretch of water that separates Wales from the island of Anglesey.

As you drive along you can see across to the island, also very lovely, and Beaumaris Castle stands proudly on the ridge across the water. Another Unesco World Heritage site, it was started rather earlier than Conwy but never finished. It is, however, well worth a visit even now.

The landward end of Garth Pier at Bangor

Entering the town of Bangor, we saw a small sign to the pier and decided to follow it, rather than the town centre, which was likely to be shops and car parks. What a good decision. Free parking! A Victorian pier and cream teas, who could ask for better? The pier is just under half a kilometre long and stretches out over the extremely dangerous waters of the Menai Straight.

Looking across at Anglesey.

The banks on either side are dotted with white houses and cottages, slightly marred by a large-ish block of flats on the Anglesey side. How they got planning permission to build that eyesore is a mystery.

We sat drinking tea and sighing contentedly for about an hour before sauntering back to the car and heading east.

At the very far end of the pier, you can see the ghastly block of flats in the background.

So I did little or no tangling for a few days and was suffering withdrawal symptoms by the time we got back.

I was therefore looking forward to the next Diva Challenge.

This week’s guest blogger is Henrike Bratz from Germany, who offers us her new pattern, Lisbon fragment to try.

As you may have noticed there’s the tangle diva dance in my first “Diva-Challenge”-tile. This pattern has been one of my favorite tangles from the beginning.

So here’s the challenge: Put on some music – best look for a fado playlist and imagine the Diva dancing in Lisbon. Use the “Lisbon fragment” and Diva Dance to create your tile. Add more tangles if you like to and enjoy the moment!

Now I have to admit I had trouble with the step outs for Lisbon Fragment, so didn’t enjoy it very much.however, i do like the look of it and I think it’s worth a bit more study. As for Diva Dance, I never get it looking deliberate; mine always seem a bit messy. So, this week, using an atc, I did as I was challenged but don’t feel it worked too well.

DC 237

Ah well, there’s always next week…

Until then, world, be good -ish.