Apologies and Guilt.

The prompt here was Red.

Last week I did the diva Challenge for the first time in what seems like ages. I got tied up with the Little Summer Project on FB, plus family visits and lots of other things and I lost my tangle mojo a bit too. I tend to be a bit obsessive about things and I’ve rediscovered crochet after a long gap and suddenly my life is all stitches and re-learning. So something has to go on the back burner and it has been tangling. However, I as part of the Diva Challenge thing, I visited Jean Chaney’s blog and this is how she started:

Hello all my friends and followers. Today I am posting my last post for Tangle Street Studio, for now anyway. I have followed many people over the years who have simply disappeared. Being of a certain age, I always worry that the blogger may be ill, or worse. I don’t want anyone to worry about me. I am in excellent health and happy. However, I have found myself becoming increasingly stressed with all the things I have added to my plate over the four years since I have retired. Not good at all. I’ve thought about this for some time and decided that it is for the best for me to give myself some breathing room.

I was trying for symmetry and a sort of cushioned effect.

That last couple of sentences really struck a chord with me. I have agreed to do at least three sets of swaps, which I haven’t completed yet and at least one of them is well overdue. I haven’t properly acknowledged some swaps I have received and, instead of getting on with it, I’ve been avoiding them altogether. Dammit this is supposed to be fun and here I am on a guilt trip. Every time I open FB I’m expecting rapped knuckles and “See me” from the teacher.  This is toooooo silly.

Going for 3D and a fragment but I can’t remember which. Oh, it says it on the page – Fragment L2.

So I am giving myself permission not to blog every week whether I want to or not. I will do the Diva Challenge when I like the look of it and not every week as a sort of duty. And I will go on FB and fess up that my swaps are late, acknowledge and thank the people who have sent me lovely pieces of work and then I will tangle -AT MY OWN PACE! So there, see, it wasn’t hard was it?

Going for floral here, well, organic, actually.
And the very, very last one. I was aiming for a sort of enamelled look using acrylic paints. It’s not as vivid as I intended but they never are.

So one of the swaps I’m doing is using circular tiles. I know they are called zendalas much of the time but a mandala uses the concentric circles and a sort of geometric approach and a lot of what I see labelled zendala doesn’t, so to me they are circular tiles. (And none the worse for that, of course.) So I decided to colour some of them first and then draw the patterns.

I’ve already started drawing on this one but there is still a long way to go.


What I also did was rest them on a sheet of water colour paper while I did the daubing and, where the ink went off the edges, it made a sort of design/string for a future ZIA. However, it’s on A3 water colour card, so it is going to be a biiiig piece. Honestly, no sooner have I taken the pressure off than I set myself up with another big project. Doh!

But I do like it and am quite eager to start. I’m going to add more colour, although I don’t know how yet, and I’m going to try to be less slavish than usual in staying within the shapes.  But we’ll see. One of the issues with a big piece is getting so far and then being afraid to continue in case I spoil it. Oh what cowards we sometimes are!

So I’ve just had a look at this week’s Diva Challenge and I like it so I’m going to have a go.

This week’s challenge is to play with White on Black.  You can use a black tile if you’ve got one, or you can throw a bit of black acrylic paint on a tile with an old credit card, or my personal favourite is Black Gesso.

I’m going to cut out a circular tile, so I can use it for the swap too and I’m going to use white, silver and gold. mmmmmmmm!


Well, so much for intentions, good or otherwise.

White on black?

Well, I realised half way through that it’s navy, not black. Then I added colour rather than silver and gold. Then I realised you can hardly see any white at all. Apart from that, it fits the remit perfectly. Hey ho.

Well I’m not starting again, so that’s my response to the Challenge for this week. Until my next foray into the bloggin world, which I don’t suppose will be long, farewell world and be good. ish.



Petworth and Tyntesfield

One of the last few pages in my summer Project.

This is not a firm of lawyers straight out of Charles Dickens, it’s two National Trust properties that we visited this Summer.  Petworth is in the South Downs and is worth a visit for the journey alone, on winding roads, through leafy suburbs and pretty villages. It took me back to the 60’s, when there were very few motorways and a lot of country roads were single track with passing places. (These roads weren’t that bad, just winding and prone to suddenly revealing a glorious view or village duck pond.) Petworth  house was built in the 17th century and contains some of the finest artworks ever, including about a dozen Turner paintings.

We went on a typical English summer’s day, when it was bright, cloudy, sunny, cool, warm and threatening rain in quick succession. Nothing unusual there. The walk from the car park is a bit strenuous if you have an arthritic knee but I couldn’t leave the damn thing in the car, so had to manage. I kept stopping to take pictures of the lovely plant specimens beside the way, and admiring the California redwoods. I mean, they’re not exactly the General Sherman tree but impressive nonetheless. The path takes you into an area that was the yard between the house itself and the servants’ quarters aswas. Now they contain the loos, the cafe and, of course, the gift shop.

Not mys own pic, I’m afraid but “borrowed” from Google.

I managed to avoid the gift shop, much to the loved one’s relief but we had a sandwich in the cafe. This was the old servants’ hall and had dozens of stag heads on the walls. (“Must’ve been going at a fair old rate to come through like that” is one of the loved one’s favourite jokes. He says it every time we see some of these things.) As you can see, it’s very high and quite bare so the acoustics were terrible and it felt really noisy. However, the tea was good and the courgette, lemon and rosemary cake was very nice too.

There are guided tours of the house and we had planned to go on one but it was booked up, so we decided not to wait for the next one, but toddle about, just the four of us. However, we kept meeting the tour as they went round, so listened in to the guide at every opportunity.  He was extremely well informed but desperately wanted everyone to know everything. As a result, he was sometimes over egging it with political, historical and cultural detail. In a way, you needed a bit of a background in English history to keep up, or, at least, to get the most out of it. I did, however, love the way he talked about all these great historical figures as if they were old friends who had just left the room.

In spite of the fact that the family had opened two of the private rooms that day, and we could see how it is lived in nowadays, the house did not really feel as if it was ever a home. Living in a comparatively small modern home, as I do, it was hard to see “real” life going on in these huge, cold, elaborately decorated salons. If you want grandeur,  display and living history, oh yes, but it’s hard to imagine how people actuallylived in them on a day to day basis.

And they don’t seem quite so grand when you discover that, somewhere behind a screen, there would be a commode chair, so if anyone needed a pee – or more – they just stepped out of sight and did it right there in the room. And they didn’t wear knickers and they didn’t have loo roll. All of a sudden that grandeur seems a lot less impressive.

I was suitably impressed by the works by Turner, Titian, Van Dyck and Lorrain and loved the oil painting by William Blake, since you usually see prints, but it wasn’t easy to keep up. It didn’t help when we walked into one huge gallery packed with artwork from across the centuries to find a statue of a satyr leaning over a beautiful boy/young man playing pan pipes and notice, as of course, I did, that the satyr in question had an erection. It’s  difficult (I almost said hard) to keep a suitably respectful demeanour after that, believe me. They don’t like it when you get the giggles.

So we went for a walk in the gardens instead.

The park is huge and landscaped by Capability Brown, of course. I’ve seen more impressive houses, such as Wentworth Woodhouse and Chatsworth, both nearer to  where I live, being cases in point, but the park is very lovely indeed.

A couple of days later, we went to Tyntesfield, which is an altogether different proposition. It was given/sold to the National Trust with all its contents and in a less than perfect state of repair. It’s much newer than Petworth, Victorian Gothic, and you can tell it was lived in. By milli – billi – trillionairs but a home rather than a museum. (The milli – billi – trillions were made from guano; well, where there’s muck there’s money.)

The library roof.

It was a glorious day and we enjoyed just strolling in the gardens but eventually succumbed to the lures of linenfold panelling and four posters. The first room we saw was the library and it really made you want to sit down with a good book. It’s a lovely wainscoted room with an amazing roof.

Although it looks medieval at first sight, it’s revival and has all the best that the arts and craft movement had to offer.  I mean, I know it’s a bit OTT but the craftsmanship is glorious. We were in a group of four but, as we all found things of interest to look at in more detail, we got separated and ended up going round the house on our own.  (Well, there were lots of other people there but you know what I mean.) Anyway, I kept on snapping with my camera phone, as you can see.


One of the upstairs corridors had this huge mirror so I just had to do it…

The house was in a poor state of repair when the National Trust took it over and, although they have renovated much of it and are continuing to do so, they have deliberately left some of the rooms pretty much as they were at that time, so you can see just how much work it is taking  to get the place looking as it did in its heyday. It wasn’t difficult to imagine how it was when it was lived in, unlike Petworth. There was a nursery which still had some of the children’s toys in it – rather poignant in its way.

It was quite magnificent in places but managed to look lived in too.

This is one of the rooms that has not yet been restored to its former glory, as you can see from the state of the walls on the left of the picture. Love the embroidered bed decor – very Jacobean.
This one, on the other hand, has been restored and I really fancied a snooze but they don’t like it when you do, you know. Picky sorts, the NT volunteers.
and this was the en suite – the bath is in the alcove where the people are standing. I couldn’t get a clear shot of it but a bath is a bath, after all.
We sat in the sun for a while admiring the architecture and thanking our starts that we don’t have all those windows to clean.
This is the main staircase, although I have to admit the artwork here did not measure up to Petworth.
But if you’re going to have a piano in the hall, it’s good to have someone to play it for you too, as we had that day.

The following day, not willing to return to the 20th century too soon, we chose to avoid the motorways and travelled across country on the Fosse Way, the old Roman Road that still leads you North for almost 200 miles. According to good old Wikipedia:

It is remarkable for its extremely direct route: from Lincoln to Ilchester in Somerset, a distance of 182 miles (293 km), it is never more than 6 miles (10 km) from a straight line.

So there.

And then we were home, with the washer going full tilt and a little relaxation with Zentangle. The Little Summer Project was coming to an end and my most recent pages are below. All 92 pieces are now complete and I do feel a sense of achievement.

Day 80 and Day 83 – using Beadles for the background and design your own string for the tile itself.
Day 82, the theme was Love, so I decided to do what I love and I tried three new to me patterns. Where it says lurve on the page, you have to imagine a sort of Barry White voice.
Day 87 the prompt was to use String 243, which I did twice; once on the background and once on the tile.
And the prompt for Day 85 was to choose your own prompt, which for me was the sea. Japanese influence if not in execution.

So, with all this in mind, what will the Diva Challenge bring? I’ve missed posting a few of them but I do intend to catch up.

Weekly Challenge #337 – Artoo

This week let’s all use Artoo’s namesake tangle. I used a prestrung 3Z tile for my submission


DC 337

Well I happen to like this pattern and, as I’m doing some zendalas for a FB challenge, I thought I would combine the two.  I used a string from Tanglepatterns.com, although I don’t remember what number and a mix of pens picked at random from a jar conveniently situated on my desk.



And so that’ll do for now. I need to get back into the swing of things and catch up on a few Challenges, so, until we meet again, world, be good.  ish.