A book in Parts 1

 

When lockdown came around, I didn’t even think about it but then I started writing a story for my grandson Ben, sending it to him in instalments once a week. It keeps us in touch and him entertained. It gives us both something to look forward to and it adds a little purpose to an otherwise uneventful life – mine, not his. 

 So I’m going to publish them on here, where he won’t see them, and I’ll continue sending him and instalment each week.  you might enjoy reading them I don’t know. It’s hard to tell if your own work is any good.  If you read them and enjoy them, let me know. If you read them and don’t enjoy the experience, stop reading them but I don’t need to know thank you!

STITCH In Time – Part  1 

Len and Pooart Set Off 

Somewhere in England there lives a man called Ben.  When he was at school, there was another boy in his class called Ben and because the Ben we’re talking about was tall and actually a little bit plump, his friends called him Big Ben.  He didn’t mind and when he was grown up and got married and had a son of his own, He called him Ben too.  When his son Ben got older, things got a bit confusing – like when Ben’s wife said “Ben”,  they both answered or neither of them did, thinking she meant the other one. So  Big Ben  started calling his son Little Ben, which was ok for a while but,  as Little Ben grew up, he wasn’t too pleased with being called Little Ben, so he squished it together,  first to Lil Ben and then to Len  and funnily enough neither his mum nor Dad minded too much, so instead of being Ben, he became Len. 

When Ben became Len, he was about 10 and he went up with his mum and dad to see his Grandma and Grandad in Yorkshire, which was where they lived.  They stayed for about a week and had a great time, with Ben helping his grandad out in his big shed in the back garden on rainy afternoons.  Grandad was very good at mending things and quite good at making things and Len was quite good at thinking of things for Grandad to make. Grandad’s real name was Stewart, but once, for a joke, Len had called him Pooart, because he had farted and it smelled really, really bad and sometimes, for a joke, he still called him that. 

At the back of the shed, in one corner, there was something covered with a big blue cloth that Grandad wouldn’t let Len look at, not once all the time he was staying at their house.  Len was curious, in fact, Len was nosey but he knew better than to poke his nose in where it wasn’t wanted and although he asked 

 “What’s in the corner?” Grandad just tapped his nose and said 

“Never you mind.”

The day before they were due to go home,  Len’s mum got a phone call from their neighbour to say that it had been raining day after day while Len and his mum and dad had been up in Yorkshire and now the stream that ran past the bottom of their garden had flooded. First it had just flooded a bit, but gradually the water had run along the garden, up the path and had seeped in under the back door. 

It wasn’t just their house, the other three houses on their side of the street were flooded too, but only their house was empty, with no one to help clean it out.  Len’s Mum and Dad had a long discussion that night after Len had gone to bed and when he got up in the morning they told him what they had decided.

“We’re going to go home early.” said mum “and see what we can do about cleaning up the house and getting things mended and doing all the paperwork, Now, you can decide for yourself;  you can come home with us or you can stay here with Grandma and Grandad for a few days. Which would you prefer?”

Well there was no question in Len’s mind, even though he liked the idea of paddling about in the kitchen and splashing in the water but he didn’t like the idea of a house that had no heating and you couldn’t cook and maybe couldn’t have any electricity or Wi-Fi, so it wasn’t difficult for him to decide to stay with Grandma and Grandad and that’s what he did. 

Len’s Mum and Dad packed up the car and left just after lunch, telling him to be good and not be cheeky and he hugged them and kissed them and felt just a little bit strange as they drove away without him, because he’d never stayed there on his own before.  Then he turned around and walked back into the house to where Grandma was waiting with a cup of tea for him and Grandad was watching Last of the Summer Wine on television.

“Come and sit here Len,” said Grandad, “ this is a funny bit.” 

Without a second thought, Len grabbed his cup of tea and scrambled on to the settee at the side of Grandad and settled down to watch Last of the Summer Wine.  And it was funny and he had quite a nice afternoon, doing some drawing, playing on his laptop and then having tea with Grandma and Grandad and it wasn’t until bedtime that he missed his mum and dad a bit. 

He called them on WhatsApp and they had a chat and they showed him all around the kitchen, where the floor was still covered in mud and the sitting room, where the carpet was soaked and muddy and the settee was ruined and he was actually quite glad to be snug and warm at Grandma and Grandad’s house. 

The following day it rained a lot in Yorkshire too, but Grandma and Grandad lived on the top of a hill and there was no way they were ever going to be flooded, but even Grandad admitted that you can only watch so many episodes of Last of the Summer Wine before you get a bit bored.  Grandma had Len making pastry to make some jam tarts and that was fun for a while as well and then after lunch he didn’t like to say anything, but he was a bit bored.

“Well if you’re so bored” said Grandma, who could read him like a book,  “you can wash the lunch pots.  I’ve got things to do.”  Len wasn’t all that pleased but he admitted that it wasn’t particularly hard doing the pots. It didn’t take all that long and when he had finished pot washing, he looked round for something else to do. He couldn’t find Grandad anywhere, so at last, having done a full circuit of the house, he asked Grandma and she said; 

“I expect he’s out in the shed. I suppose you can go out. In fact, you can take him a cup of tea. Well go on then, don’t hang about getting under my feet.” (Which meant she was going to play games on her tablet for a while.) Len ran out of the back door, flask in hand, and through the pouring rain to the shed.  He hammered on the shed door 

 “Can I come in, Grandad, it’s raining. I’ve got you some tea.”

“Well you’d better come in, I suppose,” said Grandad , but he didn’t look all that pleased and as Len  shut the door he realised why. The thing in the corner was no longer covered up and in fact it was no longer in the corner. It was out on the workbench and the cover was in a screwed -up heap on the floor.  Len did not say anything.  He didn’t ask any questions. He just looked and tried to work out what it was.  But in the end, he had to give up and he looked at Grandad, who had a very wicked grin on his face. 

“Go on then, ask me what it is.”

“What is it?”

“I’m not telling you. You can guess.  I’ll give you a clue.  It’s a mode of transport.”

“But it hasn’t got any wheels,”  

And it hadn’t. It was just a box, in fact it looked as if it had been made from several biscuit tins soldered together. There were wires and sort of sparky bits and bits of tubing and of course there was a flashing light and there was a big red button with a label that said

DO NOT PRESS THE RED BUTTON!!!   

Something To Keep You Going…

This post is written for my two friends who Zentangle with me on a regular basis. We normally Zoom but this week I will be on a long journey and won’t be able to join in, so I’m leaving a step by step guide to this week’s session here. Please fell free to join in if you want to.

Good morning girls.

I thought we’d try a simple wreath this week.

You will need:

Paper or card. (I’m using an A4 sheet of 180 gsm smooth paper so it can take the alcohol inks easily.)

Alcohol markers – two or three shades of green; two or three shades of peach/orange/salmon pink. But, of course you can use whatever colours you prefer. I used Grass and Bright Green Promarkers and two Sharpies in bright and pale orange – they don’t have names I’m afraid – plus Promarkers is Coral, Soft Peach and Tequila Sunrise

A fineliner pen; I’m using a Pigma Micron size 0.3 And a Signo white pen but you can easily manage without it, it’s just for a few bits at the end.

A pencil and an eraser. (Yes I know Zentangle don’t use erasers but rules are for breaking on occasion!)

A compass or something to draw a circle around – about a 10cm (4 inch) diameter and something else to draw around about a 6cm (3 inch) diameter.

So here we go. I started by drawing a 6″ square and putting a dot in the middle to mark the centre for my compass.

Then I drew two concentric circles, one with a 2″ radius and the inner one has a 1.5″ radius, I’ve said radius rather than diameter for if you are using a compass, as opposed to drawing round something. I used pencil for this, as pale as possible because it will be erased later.

Next came a set of small circles, drawn freehand and scattered randomly around the two rings, but not too close together.

You’ll notice they are freehand and not intended to be too precise. We’re going for naturalistic rather than geometric.

Then another circle inside each one.

And then we are doing the pattern that we’ve done before, called Henna Drum. This time it’s a full flower shape rather than a partial one like we did on the Crescent Moon drawing. You’ll notice I’ve done two petal shapes. In the picture below this one there is a close up of types of petal you could choose. It’s up to you whether to do all your flower shapes the same, or vary it a bit as I have.

The longer you make the sticks to start with, the bigger the petals will be. Try to make them middle sized, so they don’t all touch and there’s room for stuff between them.

At this point, we stop drawing and do some of the colouring. This is mainly to avoid smearing the lines when adding alcohol inks. But first I rubbed out all the pencil lines because, once the marker goes over them, they can’t be removed. Then I started with the darker green and created a clumsy outline. The clumsiness doesn’t matter at this stage because we will be drawing over it.

I then filled it in with the paler green.

I know it looks painfully childish at this point but it should come together as we go further.

And here we start with a pattern called Printemps. There’s a video below from the Zentangle team showing how it’s done. However, when Rick starts to explain about sparkles, don’t worry about it. I didn’t do sparkles on this because I didn’t feel it was necessary. You can if you want to though, entirely up to you.

There are lots of videos like this on the Zentangle website and I highly recommend them. In fact, if you fancy the idea, we can do one of the Zentangle Projects at a later stage.

But back to our wreath.

If at a later point you feel it looks a bit empty in places, you can always add a bit more Printemps.

So now we are going to colour the flower shapes. I did one set in the paler peach colour, adding some darker ink in places. See two pics below. The second one is a close up of how to fill in the petals.

It will look a bit more subtle on the finished drawing. You can see here the two colourways I chose – pale peach with the mid colour and then mid colour with the darker orange.

I then gave each of the flowers a couple of tendrils. This pattern, the tendrils, is called Fescu. I gave them quite long stems to spread across the pattern underneath to break it up a bit.

I then coloured them in the darker colour and gave each of them a halo of seven or eight dots.

Then it was back to a little more line work on the flower shapes. There’s a close up below to show what I did a bit more clearly. You can see I also filled in the middles with tiny circles and white dots. Not required but I liked it better with than without.

So this is pretty much the final version. Frankly, I’m not thrilled with mine because I rushed it. (I hadn’t realised how long it would take to stop and scan every stage, so I was rushing to get it done.) Anyway, if you’re bored and you want to give it a go, let me know how you get on. By the way, the colours on this are a bit washed out but no matter what I did, I couldn’t persuade the machine to brighten them up enough.

And because I forgot to post this for Jan…

Neurographic Art. (Mindfulness, Therapy, Fun.)

When I started to write this blog post, I found one I had already started from some weeks ago. I include it here purely to demonstrate that we have survived pretty much unscathed through Lockdown – so far.  If you want to get straight to the Neurographic Art, just scroll down.

The Loved One and I decided to self isolate due to the corona Virus as soon as the Government recommended it, so we are currently into Week 6. I can’t say it has been all that difficult – it’s knowing that you CAN’T that is annoying, rather than being at home itself. I like being at home. I enjoy the drawing and crochet and playing games on my tablet. And I’ve started writing a book, although whether or not it gets finished remains to be seen. There’s a strong possibility that, once I’ve got the main idea out of my head, I may not feel the need to complete it. 

I’ve got three new hobbies too.

Acrylic pour painting is just great. However, it’s extremely messy so I have shelved it until the weather is warmer and I can do it outside. I’ve included a link here just to wet your apetite.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06mC_b9R_e0&t=5s

And then my younger daughter introduced me to jewellery making using UV resin. this is really good fun, although I’m not very good at it yet. When I finally make something that is worth looking at, I’ll add a photo. but this a another link to a YouTube video of how it’s done. The initial outlay isn’t that expensive and you can make some good stuff. It’s just that I haven’t yet!     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYcbvH9beVE

And then there’s pyrography, which I have been fancying trying for a while. I bit the bullet and bought a kit but I haven’t tried it out yet. Again, I’ll let you know.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IswNq-ztvr8 

During Lockdown I have, like many other people, spent a lot of time looking at all sorts of art on the Internet.  It has given me a great deal of pleasure and, on occasions, quite a lot of amusement. One of the things I “discovered” was Neurographic Art, which I liked the look of from the start. At the top of the page is my first attempt, with which I am inordinately pleased. I looked it up and found myself in a world of Russian psychologists and some interesting theories but well out of my comfort zone, so I went for the easiest way out, found out what to do and then had a go.

When I published three of my pieces on Facebook the response was flatteringly enthusiastic and quite a few people asked me what materials I had used and how I had gone about it. Frankly, I did not feel inclined to refer them to the psychologists and make them wade through all of it, so I have put together a step by step guide on How To.., without the background information. You can find it if you go looking for it, I assure you!

I’ve not done one of these before, so please bear with me.

The equipment.

I used an A4 sheet of Bristol Board, 240gsm and cut it into two pieces; a square 21×21 cm and a rectangle 21×8.5cm. The other ones I had done were A5 and I wanted to try a different shape and size. My choice of Bristol Board was because it is so smooth, which suits using alcohol markers better than mixed media or water colour paper/card, as they have more tooth and the colours tend to bleed.

 

Teh pens are Sakura Microns in sizes 01, 03 and 08, plus a black Sharpie in case there are any large areas of black and a tortillon in case I do any pencil shading at a later stage. (Forgot to include a pencil in the pic. It would have been a 3B.

So off we go.

I can’t draw a freehand shape that even vaguely resembles a circle, so I used this stencil.

Ready to really get going.

 

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For some reason i like to leave one circle without any lines going through it. there is no reason for this, I just do. And, although I’ve used circles in everything so far, you don’t have to. I’ve seen people use other geometric shapes, organic ones and representational ones – it’s really all down to how you feel.

Getting started with the rounding

Rounded but not yet filled in – see the arrow?

And then filled in.

So you start by rounding off all the angles where lines intersect. I’ve seen ones where people only round some of these but I like to do them all. It is very, very, VERY soothing. I love this part.

All rounding complete although I’m willing to bet I’ve missed some!

I quite like it at this stage and I think I may do one in just black and white, using patterns instead of colour.

A selection of colours to choose from

At this point i chose my colours. although I have done one using a lot of different colours, I didn’t like it as much as the limited palette ones. I haven’t finished it yet and I’m hoping the addition of patterns and shading will improve it.  As you can see from this picture, I went for a wide range of greens, knowing I would not be using them all. In order to pare down the number of colours, I did a swatch to find ones that went well together.

You will also see that there is a mix of brands and they will all work together, although some blend better than others.

 

 

A colour swatch using all those pens so I can eliminate what I won’t us.

The eventual more limited palette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the swatch and my eventual selection.

Putting the first colour in is always a bit daunting

Funnily enough, it gets easier after the first colour is in there. or at least, it does for me.

all the greens in – I think

I added just a little lilac for contrast.

This is where I started to add a few patterns here and there.

This may be finished.

And that’s probably it. I just kept on adding to it until i got to the stage where I thought if i did any more it would spoil it.

My second piece.

So, if you think that was any help, please let me know. If you didn’t, I’m sorry. (And you needn’t let me know!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the third.

Until another day, oh world of crafters, be good to each other.

 

 

Back in The Swing of Things

This is NOT me!

I dyed my hair purple today. Well, it was raining.  I read the instructions on the bottle of stuff – the stuff that didn’t work last time  and has been in the bathroom cabinet ever since because it would be a waste to throw it away.

“Wearing the gloves provided, apply to towel dry hair and leave for 10-15 minutes depending on how vibrant you want the resultant colour to be. ”

Well my hair was already dry so I damped it a bit with wet fingers and then applied a thick dollop of pale mauve cream with bare hands because I’d used the gloves last time and thrown them away. Within seconds my hands were a delightful pale lilac, which hasn’t shifted after 4 hand washes, and which I thought would bode well for the colour my hair would eventually be. So I left it for an extra half an hour, just to make sure, while I took some stuff from the craft room de-clutter experiment into the garage. Then  I dove into the shower in a panic in case leaving it on too long meant my hair would fall out at the roots and I’d end up with a purple scalp instead.

It didn’t.

I didn’t get purple hair either. If there is any change at all, it is minimal. My hair is for the most part a slightly darker shade of steel grey than it was and the whiter bits, which I had hoped to see a fetching lilac, are a slightly paler steel grey, although darker than they were before. The colour now resembles that of one of the female guards on the Gulag Archipelago. You know, the ones who who do shot putt and water boarding in their spare time.

My hair is a bit of a disappointment at the best of times. I once read a description of a woman who:

“Had white strands that swept like gulls’ wings back from her face”

This is not what I signed up for.

When I started to go grey, I had visions of gulls’ wings. Distinguished and classy. Instead I look more like a Staffordshire bull Terrier, with a sort of overall brindled effect. One of the many less attractive features of the ageing process.

However, not one to be put off or, to put it another way, not one to learn from experience, I have another pot of purple dye that I’m going to try in a few days’ time. And this one is violet! Not violent, that’s what I’ll be if it doesn’t work.

As for the craft room de-clutter, it’s been a long time coming. I mean, I threaten it now and then. I push things to one side so I can draw or paint in a small space and I say: “Really must clear up in here.”  And then I finish painting and go down for tea and everything is just as it was. All I’ve done is acknowledge that it needs to be done.

BUT NOT TODAY! Today I have gathered all the Christmas card making paraphernalia into a large carrier bag and taken it out to the garage. (Which I know is a mistake because I bet I’ll find tons more as I go along.) And I’ve gathered together all the wires, micro-filters and plugs from 20+ years of computers into a box and they’re going outside too. (At least until my technically competent son in law comes and identifies what needs to be kept and what can go. ) And now there’s an empty drawer that can be used for some of the bits and pieces lying about on the desk, shelves, floor. This is sooooo cathartic. But I’m pacing myself. I don’t want to rush into it and throw away things I will later need, so I’m gathering things together and going through them a bit at a time.

And of course I need a break now and then, for a cuppa or an online game or something. It’s odd though… I’ve filled two litter bins at least twice; there’s a huge carrier bag full of Christmas things waiting to go outside; there’s a box of wires ditto; there are piles of stuff around the room waiting to be put away – but there doesn’t seem to be any less than there was before. How can that be?

So I’m off to put the kettle on for a coffee to gain strength for the final push. I want it clear today because tomorrow the next stage begins… clearing out the drawers and cabinets. (Can you hear the Jaws music getting louder?)

 

So until next time, world, think of me as I plod on through a ten year collection of things that might come in handy, ruthlessly discarding things that could have been thrown out years ago.

In these uncertain time, look after yourselves and be good to each other.

 

 

 

 

 

An Uncertain Time

I drew this for Inktober last year and loved how it turned out with the fish and the worm eye to eye.

Well it has taken a pandemic to get me back on the blog so we’ll see how it goes from here. My experience of lock down so far is fairly unthreatening. When we are not away on hols to the sun, I spend a lot of time at home, drawing, painting, crochet and reading, plus all sorts of other crafts that I try out.  The thing is, from inside my normally well provisioned, comfortable home, the world doesn’t look much different. If I avoid tv I can convince myself that there is no danger and everyone will be fine. But I know the reality is different. The Loved One and I are both over 65 and so are many of our friends. Many of us have what are now called “underlying conditions”. (I thought they were the result of the ageing  process for the most part.) So we are classed as “At risk”.

I do feel that people are stating the obvious here. The old and infirm have always been “At risk”. It’s part of being old and infirm isn’t it?  So it’s no surprise that we are the ones popping off first. I’m not happy about it but it is a Malthusian fact of existence.  We are also the least productive members of society in practical terms. We don’t work, we don’t contribute and we can be seen as a burden on the state. We’ve done all our contributing. So if anyone has to go, maybe it’s us.

Well that’s not very cheery but I feel better for looking it in the eye, so to speak.

This does not mean I am volunteering!

Underneath this rather cold hearted look at the world in its present state is an attempt to toughen up, so that if/when my friends and family are affected, I will be able to cope with it emotionally. As for getting the dreaded virus myself, well, I’m assuming that won’t happen because, let’s face it, what bug would take ME on?

One good thing has come out of the present situation…

I’ve started a thorough de clutter in the craft room. In fact, we must hope that the lock down period is fairly lengthy if it is to be completed. So when next I write it will be from a tidy, well organised and efficient work space. (And pigs will be flying over South Yorkshire.)

Until then, world, be good. (-ish)

 

 

Back From Beyond

One of the many crochet projects I’ve been working on. going to give it to an old College friend.

Having had a period of reduced creativity with regard to drawing or painting, and being a bit OCD with the crochet, I set myself up with several projects at the same time. (I always do that, with whatever craft I’m addicted to at the moment.) I have finally got back to drawing and the Zentangle in particular. What has surprised me is how my hand control has reduced. I’m having a terrible time with things like auras and parallel lines. On the other hand, I am having fun, even if the end products are not too good.

Last time we went to Tenerife, (we got back a week ago) I took some prepared water colour card with me to do the line work on so I didn’t have to carry a full drawing/painting kit with me and it worked quite well. I used a mix of Promarkers and water colours to get the range of shades I wanted. So below are the before and after pics.  

 

 

It’s not an original idea of course but I do enjoy these sort of pod flowers.

I also decided to do a header for my Facebook page, so, using pages from a scrapbook/journal I won on Alice Dean Hendon’s FB page,  Tangle All Around, I did a page for each month.

So far I’ve managed May, June, July and August and am awaiting inspiration for September and so on. Hoping to have them ready for when the months change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t think July worked as well as the others because I rushed it but we’ll see how the rest of the year goes.

As you can see, I’ve been playing with really bright colours a lot. Generally, I like a muted palette but, as is often the case, I was trawling for ideas on Pinterest and saw some really bright stuff and decided it was time to step out of the comfort zone.

I keep popping over to the Diva Challenge page to see if she’s back but no luck so far. I see from Laura’s FB page that she is recovering but not back to full strength yet. Surprised at how much I miss that blog.

But I think I will stop here for now. i have a load of swap tiles to look at and acknowledge so It’s time to go. See you soon, world, be good. ish.

 

 

 

Keep On Swimming, Keep On Swimming…

This is in a mini journal I won on a FB giveaway. I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not a gifted journaller, so I only use it now and then, it’s what set me off with the very bright colours and tangling over them..

This is what happens when you watch Disney films with one grandchild and then take another one to the swimming pool. You get an earworm, not of a song, but of Ellen De Wotsit going on, and on, and on…

But the film is funny and the swimming was great fun. It seems our four year old has no fear at all, which raises the grandparental blood pressure on occasion, to be sure.

So in order to come down to earth I decided some tangling was in order. I had a little look  through my desk to check if I had any swaps or challenges outstanding and I don’t…Wow! So I wandered around Pinterest for a while, again, then a couple of favourite blogs, Coffee and Creativity being one of them, where Michelle Wynne had mentioned doing the It’s a String Thing challenges. So I thought I’d have a look and maybe go back to the beginning and try them all. Five years of strings, well maybe not.

They look awful clumsy at the moment but I’m hoping the tangles will improve matters.

And then I had an idea, yes, it happens sometimes. Although I have done all my challenges and swaps, I have lots and lots and lots of tiles received from other tanglers all over the world. Some are empty tiles made of unusual or prepared paper/card and some have a start that I will complete. So I’m going to mix the two, where appropriate. In addition, I’ve been preparing pics with Brusho inks,  Promarkers and Sharpies and then tangling over the top.

Down the left hand side  are some of them awaiting further attention. I’ve done the colours much brighter than my usual choices because the black and white patterning, maybe with shading too, will sober them up a bit. I hope!

We’re off to Kos for a holiday soon and, rather than take a full case just for drawing, which puts the luggage allowance for clothes etc at risk,  I’ve done the colouring on some postcard size pieces, ready to do the line work and patterning while we are away.  That way I just take a few pens. (And pencils, and erasers, and tortillons  and so on.) I do get a lot of pleasure sitting on the balcony overlooking the sea and tangling in the sun. Consequently, I’ve prepared for one a day although I don’t for one moment  think I’ll have time to do that much – the sea will beckon seductively and I will give in to its blandishments.

I’ve also done some more toppers for cards and it is my firm intention to actually get on and make the cards when we get back.  In fact, I’m thinking of having a stitch and bitch at my house and get the girls doing a production line, matting and layering them into finished products.

Below is the final set of toppers ready to use. My oh my, I do seem to have been busy!

So that’s all until we get back from frivolling our time away. Until then, world, be good, won’t you?

 

 

Too Many New Ideas

I often think my brain is full, but every time I see something artwise that I haven’t tried, I just have to have a look on Youtube or Ravelry and maybe give it a go. The result is an endless round of unfinished projects and a desk crammed with stuff I may one day need. So tomorrow – you’ll notice I say tomorrow, not today – anyway, so tomorrow, I’m going to finish all my swaps and send them off. I am NOT going to start anything new until that is done.

So there.

Three octopods, six mice, four or five kittens, one owl, one pig/dog… you get the idea.

A friend of mine runs a craft sale to support local charities and I gave her a load of cards I’d made that I knew I wasn’t going to use, plus some crochet bits and pieces. It briefly cleared a space in the craft/computer room. In a rush of enthusiasm – I have a lot of them – I made some more toppers. Toppers, for those of you who don’t make cards, are the focal picture/design/greeting that goes on top of all the fancy layers and embellishments on  cards.

The topper is the bit with the fungus on, the rest ismade up of mats and  layers. Sorry about the poor quality picture.

Definitely Zentangle based and using scraps of discarded paper and card. I throw nothing away without a struggle.

So I went on Pinterest to beg, steal or borrow some ideas. I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. I can get lost for hours. And hours. And hours. It’s the same with Youtube. And then, having spent hours looking at other people’s stuff, it goes one of two ways:

Either –  I decide never to draw, paint, create ever again because  everyone else is so much better than me.

Or – I can’t wait to get started. On everything. All at once.

Recently it has been the latter and these are some of the resultant toppers waiting to be made into cards.

 

And then I got a bit bug infested, if you see what I mean. But then it was flowers, although none of them would be recognised by a botanist, not a sane one anyway! I don’t claim any of these as my original ideas, by the way, just my interpretation of something better. And if you like them, then obviously it was all my own idea and if you don’t, it was someone else and I was just trying it out.

 

 

 

 

On each one of these there is a glossy accent, on the lady bird, the apple, the heart and the bee, It helps to create a bit of texture.

By the way, isn’t it odd? Some time ago I decided to stop trying to do the Diva Challenge every week and then she went off sick. (Just a coincidence, I think!) And yet I still check her site every time I open the computer, partly to see if she is OK and partly in case there’s a new Challenge that I might like to try after all. Hope she gets back to normal soon.

So here are some more Zentangle ones:-

 

I got so involved with these that I did a bigger one, which you can  see at the top of the page.

UPDATE- Tomorrow has come and guess what, I started something new. So much for good intentions.

I’ll leave it here for now and see you again soon. Until then world, be good. ish.

 

 

 

That Which Was Lost…

The outside and the inside match perfectly.

Have you noticed how often we quote from the Bible  or Shakespeare or classical poetry without even thinking about it? I’m not a Christian but my education was and it is deeply ingrained in me, as is Shakespeare. If our schools don’t offer the study of these works any more; the reading of Shakespeare; classic poems,like “Daffodils” or “My Last Duchess”; the learning of certain passages to be able to repeat them pretty much word perfect fifty plus years later, what do they learn instead? The Gruffalo? (Nothing against the Gruffalo, it’s my grandson’s favourite story but…) These oh so useful phrases will drop from the language forever.  Not that it has anything to do with what I am going to tell you but my mind wandered that way so I took you with me on a little detour.

Anyway, I have a little tale to tell about that which was lost. I hope you will find it mildly amusing, especially as it is at my expense.

Whenever we go away, which is quite often, I have a range of goodies that I take with me  to fend off boredom on flights, in airports, on sunbeds and so on. These include my tablet, my headphones – nice, new, big ones that exclude damn near everything else noisewise – some crochet, a drawing kit  and maybe my Kindle or a book.  I keep crochet supplies for the journey in a little tote bag that I bought from a shop in Rotherham called Grimm. I love this shop.

Can you imagine ever wanting to leave this place?

Heaven!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I had bought this  tasteful little bag and equipped it with spare hooks, unicorn poo stitch markers (obviously!), a thread cutter, darning needles and some wool. (Yarn if you live across the pond.) I love this bag and its contents, so you can imagine my dismay when we arrived at the airport, went into my hand luggage and there it wasn’t.

I’ll admit it, I panicked. Four and a half hours on a plane is bad enough but with  nothing to do! Nooooooooo! Well, somehow I survived the journey, listening to an audio book of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, did the transfer to the hotel and frantically unpacked my case, even though I was certain the little lost bag was not in there. I remembered getting it ready, leaving it out on the bed ready to go in my hand luggage. I phoned my daughter who went to the house to see if I had left it there. No. Must have fallen out in the car on the way to the airport, or, worse still, out of the car and now be lying shivering on an inhospitable patch of tarmac. My heart bled.

“It’ll be in the bottom of your wardrobe.” muttered the Loved One. I didn’t deign to reply.

I knew this meant a whole week without crochet and there were balls of wool (yarn) staring accusingly at me, mutely saying “Why did you bring us if you aren’t going to use us?”  And then the Loved One remembered that, wherever you go in Spain – we were in Puerto De La Cruz, Tenerife – you can find a Chinese supermarket that sells everything. I mean everything.  Air bed, bath plug, silk flowers, nail polish, cutlery, vegetable steamer, socks…. They were bound to have a crochet hook. We looked on Google Maps and got a bit bewildered but there was a place nearby that looked hopeful.

I slept fitfully that night, dreaming of unicorn poo stitch markers and wondering how to say crochet hook in Spanish.

Uno ganchillo de crochet  is how you say it in Spanish, by the way. So, fortified by a 19 course  breakfast we began our mission.

Isn’t he/she beautiful? About 8 or 9 inches long.

Fortunately, it wasn’t too far away and the walk was very pleasant, near the sea and through narrow back streets with palm trees and pretty pastel painted houses.  At one point, walking down some steps,  I rested my hand on a low wall and a lizard ran over my fingers. Damn near had a heart attack, as did the loved One, who was holding my other hand at the time and couldn’t see why I levitated about four inches with a

ladylike scream.

He, the lizard, not the Loved One, then posed for the camera like a good ‘un. Sorry if the picture is a bit blurred; my hands were still shaking.

Maybe the nights get cold?

We knew when we were at the right place, as you can see from this picture. It’s a lovely warm climate so why someone thought this house needed a crochet blanket I can’t imagine. (Or the tree across the road from our hotel, for that matter.) But the crochet covered house was across from the place we were looking for. Except it wasn’t. Turned out it was a crafts gallery and sold finished products but not the makings.

 

a bit lost for words…

The lady therein was eager to help, however, and told me, after a lot of arm waving on both our parts, where to find a merceria. (Haberdashery.) By now faint with thirst, the Loved One suggested a brief respite at a local hostelry – those weren’t his exact words but you get the idea – before continuing our mission.  Alcohol being anathema to me, I  agreed with some reluctance and even accepted a large beer, just to keep him company, obviously.

Somewhat refreshed, we continued our quest and, after a brief detour round the harbour (very pretty but in the shade so rather too cool to hang about), we headed up a narrow street and there it was.

Ola, senora. Buscando uno ganchillo de crochet. Tienes uno por favor?

Now it’s one thing to have practised asking the question. It helps if you then understand the answer. Fortunately, she was only asking what size I needed and when I looked a bit confused (I’m well practised at looking confused.) she smiled and brought me several to choose from. I bought them all. I also bruised my finger when pointing at some stitch markers because I didn’t realise they were behind glass. Doh!

Triumphant and flushed with success we sought and found a nice restaurant, where we had a tuna salad to celebrate. Well, yes, I believe another beer was involved but  that’s not the point.

Just the scarf at this stage.

For the rest of the week I made good use of those hooks, making a hat/mitts/scarf set for my granddaughter as a little extra Christmas present. I also made a Christmas star for the lady in the gallery but forgot to take a pic before giving it to her.

When we got home, having looked under the car at two in the morning when we landed, I spent a lot of time looking in odd places around the house, in the hope of finding my little bag of goodies.

“It’ll be in the bottom of your wardrobe.” muttered the Loved One. I still didn’t deign to reply.

I phoned the hotel we had stayed at the night before our journey. Eventually, determined not to repeat the experience, I made up a new new travel kit of hooks and put them in the suitcase ready for our next trip, sighing for my lost unicorn poo stitch markers.

And at last I gave up hope.

Christmas came and went in a blur of family activities and then we were packing for the next trip. Deciding to take different shoes this trip, I delved into the bottom of my wardrobe.

And there it was, smiling up at me from the old case in which I keep my shoes. Bag, hooks, thread cutter and, yes, unicorn poo stitch markers. Oh happy day!

I didn’t tell the Loved One where I found it, of course.

I haven’t given up on the art work, although I have spread my wings a little and done quite a lot of water colour, sometimes with Zentangle, sometimes without. One of the swaps I did was to make a star using two triangle tiles. Well, making the right size/shape triangles was a challenge in itself but I did it – eventually. And i had major difficulty thinking what to do. In the end, I pretty much went for monotangles, maybe with a little embellishment and the end results were reasonably pleasing, thank goodness.

And there hasn’t been a Diva Challenge for a couple of weeks, which I fear means that all is not well at Casa Diva. I hope she and her family are OK but as a very long distance “friend” I don’t want to intrude by enquiring. fingers crossed for them all.

So that’ll be all for now. Off again into the blue quite soon – crochet stuff already packed, including spares!

Until we meet again, be good, world, be good…..     ish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No More Diva Challenges

My first attempt at Zentangle after quite a long break.

I started this post a while ago and then got side tracked, so it begins a little out of date but…

It’s the end of an era. After almost four years, I have decided to stop doing the Diva Challenge. I’ve dragged my feet a bit ever since it came back after the Summer break but this week has put me off altogether. I was going to post my response to the Challenge but couldn’t because there was no Linky there to attach to. In the comments there were several mentions of this but I think maybe Laura wants us to use the Zentangle Mosaic App and hashtags and other arcane devices and I can’t. I use a PC, not my phone or tablet and the App can’t be accessed by PC. (I did email Zentangle HQ and check. )

I intend to keep on visiting and will do the Challenges for my own enjoyment if they appeal to me but perhaps not post them any more. We’ll see.

So heyho and off we go to do something else instead. No doubt the change will do me good but I’m a bit sad about it. I’m a member of a couple of swap groups on FB, one of which is a new one called UK Tanglers and, since membership is a bit low at the moment, it isn’t all that active yet. So if any of you want to galvanize it a bit, go for it. I’m behind on my swaps too. To be honest, Tangling has taken a back seat lately, as I’ve done  a lot, and I mean a lot, of crochet. For example, this baby blanket for a friend of my daughter.

And a huuuuuge poncho for a close friend who lives in a draughty old house and needs to keep warm in the evenings. And a wrap for another friend in a lovely, soft, silver grey  merino wool. A vest for my daughter in law, a hat/scarf. mitts set for my granddaughter, a scarf for my daughter, a shawl for me, (yes, ME!) and a Viking helmet for my son in law.  Yup, a Viking helmet. He plays a game called Skyrim (????) and apparently this is what one of the characters wears.

Modelled by my daughter. DON’T tell her I put her photo on here, she’ll kill me.

However, I cleared away some of the leftover Christmas crafting stuff in my craft/computer room a couple of days ago, found the details of the swaps I want to catch up on and I think, maybe, I’m getting my Tangle  mojo back.

First, a set of ATC’s using recycled materials. These were all made from a page I started for an art media journal, which I gave up on. I’m not patient enough to do all these layers and wait for things to dry and I like to have a clue about the end result instead of the sort of  “ooooo, let’s see what happens if we….” because what usually happens is that it goes a nasty brown colour and I have to go back to the beginning, gesso over it and start again.

So I cut in into ATC size pieces, drew on the other side and felt a bit better, as I hadn’t wasted all that lovely water colour card.

Here they are in more detail, with the reverse of some so you can see the original ideas.

Not the best I’ve done but I took a while to get my juices flowing, so to speak.

And this is the reverse. Funny, I like this better now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a piece of black card I’d punched circles from for another project, so I applied it to an ATC and off we went.

There were quite a few ideas so I just did the first thing that came to mind, anything, just to get going again. I did notice that lack of practice has led to wobblier lines and a tendency to rush things. It may take a while to get back into the Zen part of it. (It never has come naturally to me.)

Anyway, I’m going to send them off only when I have all three swaps complete. This is the first, then there’s one using triangular tiles to make a star shape and another using heraldry shield type things. But I am just going for one step ata time, or I’ll over face myself and start displacement activities, like tidying up. (Maybe not that, maybe making a cuppa…)

A monotangle using Finery. I really enjoyed the simplicity of doing this Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here?

 

The reverse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side 1

Side 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another one I enjoyed, using Yuma, which is not a pattern I use very often, don’t know why.

And the other side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m just going to pop over to see what the Diva is doing, just in case….

And the Linky thing is missing again. Nice Challenge, a “new” pattern called Anthem. I’ll give it a go later, I think.

So I’m calling it a day, for now. Be good, world, you know you want to.