Ain’t No Use Complainin’

Using Abundies, Mooka, Flux and Hollibaugh.

When I was a child I liked music – still do – so my Mum and Dad joined a music club to buy me classical records to play on my Dansette Major record player. It was my pride and joy. I can remember standing  in the front room (Sitting room/parlour, depending where you come from. The room that was only otherwise used if we had visitors.) conducting the Halle Orchestra and singing along to the Messiah at the top of my voice. I bet our neighbours loved that! One of the early records that I got was Porgy and Bess, which I fell for hook line and sinker. It led me to love blues and soul from a comparatively early age and I’ve never stopped. And one of the songs in Porgy and Bess (“I Ain’t got no Shame”? possibly) has the line “Ain’t no use complainin'” and sometimes it is so right. However badly done to we may feel, there just ain’t no use complainin’.

This comes home to me at present because we’ve just come back from a trip that was less than perfect. All sorts of things were wrong – they wanted us to share rooms when we had booked (and paid for!) separate ones.  We were travelling as a couple and a single lady, so sharing a room really wasn’t on. We’re good friends, but not THAT sort of good friends.) The compensation offered didn’t materialise. The supposedly five star hotel just wasn’t. (It was mainly very nice but it wasn’t five star.)  The Dining Room staff had arguments over our heads as they cleared the tables.  The airport on the way home was a shambles, badly dealt with by the tour reps. The goods we’d ordered on the outward flight were not there for us on our return.  It just went on. It was especially galling because for the  friend we had with us,  this was her main holiday of the year and it should have been just so. So the day after we got home I got a customer satisfaction survey.

You may imagine how long it took to complete it. And my language when the site timed out and I had to do it all again.

But thing is, as my grandson Ben would say, the thing is, my carefully worded and desperately fair critique of the poor service we experienced will have no effect whatsoever. I won’t be compensated but even if it was offered, what compensates for a series of comparatively small, badly dealt with problems? And the smooth apology, if is is forthcoming, will be worded in such a way as to be no apology at all. “I’m sorry that you feel that way, madam…” I mean, they’re not sorry and it’s not how I feel that they should deal with, it’s their poor standards of service. It’s annoying to be ignored but but it’s almost preferable to being insincerely schmoozed.

Icanthis, Sheleaf and Fiore getting ready for some shade and colour.

So let’s do some tangling and get some focus and relaxation. I did too. I’m doing a set of postcards for the latest swap and using them as 100 Days too. (I’d be drawing 18 hours a day if I tried to cover everything separately!) The first one just fell out of my pen. No thought, no plan except to have a border and be vaguely floral. (The brief is to do a bordered card with either a floral theme or a Summer landscape.) You can see it at the top of the page.

And then, as I was part way through drawing out another one, a thought came to me out of the blue. (It doesn’t happen often so I treasure these moments.) ” Clarice Cliff,” a little voice said to me, “try to do a bit of Clarice Cliff.”

And my poor homage to Clarice Cliff in colours way outside my comfort zone.

This is not my usual colour palette but I got out the Sharpies and gave it a go. Now poor old Clarice will be spinning like a top at this travesty, but I got an awful lot of pleasure out of doing this one.

And when we got back from our trip, the floor was covered with post, much of it was what the loved one  calls “hate mail” but is really happy mail from various swaps. So I’m showing you them here because you will understand what a thrill it is to get tiles and zenbuttons and bookmarks and who knows what else from friends across the world.

So much lovely work.

 

ATC from Pam Purk
Bijou on a Tile also from Pam Purk
What a delicate floral tribute this bookmark from Barbara St Pierre
Another bookmark, this from Brenda Perreira. Look at those lovely colours.
Speaking of colour, how about this from my swap buddy, Terri Byrkitt Brown
More from Pam, love sinuous curves on these.
Pam again – she’s been doing some catching up and this is her vintage Winter Ornament.
Zenbuttons Janet Prouty Morrison May 2018 Fabulous shading
And Pam again. Even the envelope is jazzy!

So I’m going to leave it there and wait for the next Diva Challenge.  We’re off down to Wales to see my wonderful Ben soon, so there may be a pause in the drawing for a week or so.  Well, ain’t no use complainin.

Until next time, world, be good-ish.

 

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Surprises and the Death of a Vacuum Cleaner

It was my birthday on Saturday – we’re not going to discuss numbers but it was between 66 and 68. The loved one and I had planned a family lunch for our son, wife, youngest  granddaughter, daughter, boyfriend, and old family friend and our son’s in laws. (Ten in all.) So when our youngest daughter, husband and son – Ben of whom you may have seen me write previously – arrived unannounced on the doorstop on Friday evening, I smelled the proverbial rat and discovered that I was the only one unaware of this visit.

The buggers had been plotting behind my back. It was not a quiet weekend.  (We are not a quiet family, truth to tell.) But we did have fun. There were two birthday cakes and enough food to feed an army. Both young ones were impeccably behaved, given their ages, and the rest of us weren’t too bad either.

However, it did mean that the blog didn’t get written, the journal was not completed and the 100 day project is already falling behind.  And you know what? It doesn’t matter, because I had my wonderful family around me for my birthday and we all had a jolly time.

The three surprises went home this morning and the family joke is that, as their car goes off the drive, the loved one has the vacuum cleaner out and ready to go. Instead, he started by cleaning all the infant finger prints off the glass doors, as well as the smiley faces Ben had drawn  by licking his fingers and drawing on the glass. (Very popular with the loved one, that was.) So, when they stopped for a break half way home, my daughter called to make sure we were missing them and casually asked how the Hoover (vacuum cleaner for all you transatlantic types) was bearing up under the strain.

You may imagine the glee with which she received the news that it had gone off with a bang and is now defunct. So the afternoon has been spent researching new vacuum cleaners on the internet (The loved one) and stripping and remaking the beds. (Me)

One of my presents was a couple of index card boxes of a size perfect for storing swap tiles. (Well, one for swap tiles, one for Diva tiles, eventually. ) I started organising the first one of these, lost interest within minutes and made a cuppa instead. Not looking all that promising at the moment but I will get round to it. No, really, I will.

And then I reaslised it was monday and the Diva Challenge, so I had a look at her blog.

Weekly Challenge #359: “String Theory: Finger Stringer”
This week’s challenge is a String challenge – and that being to trace your fingers in interesting ways and to use that as your string.

Well this didn’t particularly float my boat but on the other hand it didn’t repel me either, so I gave it a go.  I drew round the ends of my fingers from three different angles and then selected patterns beginning with F for fingers to fill in the spaces. I like the string it made but am less sure about the patterns I chose. New to me were Flevo and Flec, then I added Florez and Frunky too. It’s OK but lacks definition.

Anyway, it’ll have to do because it’s time for bed and I have another big day tomorrow, Yup, you guessed, we’re going out to buy a vacuum cleaner. Does the excitement never end?

So, for now, farewell, world and be good, won’t you? (Well, good -ish)

Movin’ on Up…

I’ll start with progress from last time – these are some of the completed tiles for my circular tile swap.  I’ll show each with its background and then complete.

Before…

And after –

Side one
Side two

 

The other side of last week’s Diva Challenge tile.
The other side of the previous week’s diva Challenge tile!
Another before –
And after.

So far, so good.

My cousin and his wife came to stay with us for a few days recently and they are a bit old fashioned so I decided to make them a little Christmas garland to hang across the mantelpiece. It will be a set of half a dozen baubles hanging on a string. I haven’t decided yet whether to do paper piecing or Zentangle or a mix of the two. The mean part of me says I should use scraps of pretty papers that have accumulated over the years and not been used. The other side of me keeps looking in craft shop windows and thinking “Ooooooo pretty! Want it!” We’ll see who wins that one.

LATER

Well I found a die I’d forgotten I had so I’ve gone down to pretty paper route for a change. These are the central four baubles and there will be one at each end too. They will hang from a string or ribbon and have more embellishments when I get round to it. 

I quite like them so far so I may make some for our house too. (If I finish all the other things I keep wanting to do!)

So then I had a look at the Diva Challenge and decided it was one I would like to do.

This week the challenge is to get into the holiday spirit, or alternatively – to do a fall themed tile.  (To my friends who are into spring right now, feel free to do a spring themed tile if you like)

I had a partly completed piece in the right colours so I decided to complete it – one less on the “to do” pile. I had spilt some Brusho inks onto the card, let it dry, then outlined the shapes it made. Having lost interest at that stage, I put it to one side until a more inspiring time, which is, it seems, now!

DC 339

I’m not sure where I was going with this – autumnal colours and some leaf shapes here and there; a bit of Pokeleaf and Pokeroot and several other tangles but I’m not even sure it is finished yet. It might need some white, perhaps. But, for what it’s worth, my Diva Challenge response is this one.

That’ll do for this week, folks. Until we meet again, be good-ish.

 

Got the tidy bug

Just a sample of the invitations.
Just a sample of the invitations.

Or it’s got me, hard to tell, really. The thing is, as my grandson would say, the thing is, well, you get to the point where you can’t find what you want and, when that happens, you know it’s time to stop putting it off and actually do something about it. At present, drawing and crafting have taken over the house and it’s time for me to take it back. My craft room/office/study has just enough room for the chair to push back from the desk and, although I am convinced the desk is wood, there is no visible evidence to support this. The old dining table downstairs is full of stuff I’ve been using for the wedding invitations and beside my usual chair in the sitting room, there are at least three knitting projects started but not finished. But it’s the craft room that is driving me crazy and, if that is cleared, there will be room to bring the other stuff scattered around the house back where it belongs.

20160306_104800[1] 20160306_104807[1] 20160306_104811[1]

And so, as the Marines would say – I’m going in.

Unless I can think of something else to do, like my blog, for instance. Oh dearie, dearie me. Continue reading “Got the tidy bug”

Touched

In the UK, if you say someone is touched, it may not mean anything to do with emotional empathy but could well refer to mental instability, so you are at liberty to interpret my next remarks as you think appropriate. But the truth is, I am touched, not, as many have said in the past, touched in the head, but, on this occasion, in the heart. As a result of my emotional outburst last week, for which I am now slightly embarrassed, I received such a lot of  support and kindness that genuinely touched my heart. Thank you. you know who you are and, if you look at last week’s comments, you will see that Alex read them too and found some comfort there.

Enough.

In spite of recent events, I find myself up to the knees in hearts and luuuuuuurve on the Zentangle front. This is the result of my participation in a Facebook swap on Zentangle Artist Trading Card Swap. I am using strings 39 and 150 from Tanglepatterns.com and as many heart related patterns as my curmudgeonly old soul can tolerate.  I’m enjoying it more than I should because there is a part of me that likes to be given a remit and then see how far I can stretch it. Continue reading “Touched”

Own Worst Enemy

Honestly, I think my learning curve has flatlined. I mean, I am excruciatingly well aware of how limited my crafting/artistic skills are. Ideas? Yes, tons of ’em. Ability? Ah, no , not so you’d notice. So why did I not only agree to make the wedding invitations for my son’s up and coming nuptials, but then say “Just show me a picture of what you like and I’ll see what I can do.”?  AND SHE DID! Dammit. Anyway, the style they like is not too challenging so I’ll be getting started as soon as we get back from what my Dad used to call furrin’ parts.

I’ve joined the Zentangle Artist Trading Card Swap on Facebook for the February swap. It requires us to use one of two particular strings – 150 and 39, plus anything heart like in the patterns. I’ve done one or two and am loving this – lots of Helen Williams patterns seem to be making their presence felt, I notice.

 

BREAKING NEWS
At half past five yesterday morning the earth moved for the loved one and me.  Continue reading “Own Worst Enemy”

Pete Townshend was wrong

You may remember the immortal words from the song “My Generation” performed by The Who and written by Pete Townshend – “Hope I die before I get old…” At the time, aged about 14, I was with him all the way. Live hard, die young seemed an admirable and romantic mantra, linking to thoughts on Rimbaud, Keith Moon, and Romeo and Juliet. (Mind you, it didn’t take me long to change my mind about R&J. What a pair of spoilt, disobedient brats. Their parents should have grounded them and sent them off to boarding school until they were old enough to have developed some common sense. They weren’t star crossed, they were just the result of poor parenting.)

People try to put us down...
People try to put us down…

But for a long time, I thought it would be awful to be old. And, to some extent, Pete Townshend and I were right about that, it sometimes is. Until you consider the alternative. Better to burn out than to rust? I’ll take the rust, thanks.

 

However, to mix aphorisms, if a rolling stone gathers no moss, I may be rusty but I won’t be mossy. I’m keeping moving.

 

 

Continue reading “Pete Townshend was wrong”