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.

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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!

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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.

 

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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.

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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”

It’s very nice to go travelling…

And, as the song goes; “It’s oh so nice to come home.”

Depends on the weather in my case, I do so hate leaving the sunshine behind.

But this week we have been travelling in the UK and next month we intend to do some more, in Scotland this time. My cousin who we used to visit when he and his wife lived in France, now lives in Hampshire, back in England, and it’s a part of the country we don’t know too well, so off we went last week to see them.

This has gone from love to hate as I've worked on it and now I'm just a bit, well, it's OK I suppose.
This has gone from love to hate as I’ve worked on it and now I’m just a bit, well, it’s OK I suppose. It’s quite a large piece, about 10 inches across.

 

It was a fairly uneventful drive down there. We missed our way once or twice but this is de rigeur when I’m map reading and we always get there in the end. We arrived to rapturous welcomes and chicken curry and an evening yattering away like nobody’s business. When we get together, oh how we do go on. And on. And on…

On Saturday, we drove down to Arundel Castle, which was new to us and turned out to be a great delight. To start with, we found it easily, which is not always the case. And we found a convenient car park. AND it didn’t cost the proverbial arm and leg just to park.

It couldn’t last, could it? We are people of a certain age and the placement of public lavatories is a matter of some importance to us. There, at the edge of the car park, were public loos, excellent news, you may think. But no. Why? Because they were not gender specific. Now we Brits like to know where we stand/sit. We like Ladies public conveniences and Gentlemen’s public conveniences, not a loo door with a picture of a man AND a woman on it. There was confusion. Were we meant to go in together? Would it only accept heterosexual pairs? What would happen if a person went in alone? Would the door fly open half way through the event and an armed Convenience Supervisor leap in, dragging behind him/her a complete stranger and insisting that we share? (Or two complete strangers, one of each gender, to ensure the right mix, so to speak?) The discussion was heated but we eventually did what a man has to do and then went into the castle.

Even the children's high chairs looked like a Bishop's throne.
Even the children’s high chairs looked like a Bishop’s throne.

The castle is lovely and full of interesting rooms, the first of which was, no, not the lavatories, we’d solved that one, the cafeteria. And very nice it was too, if a little over priced. The staff, however, were efficient and friendly, the tea was hot enough, strong enough and came with an extra pot of hot water – very civilised – and the scones with jam and clotted cream were delish. It’s a fascinating place. I won’t bore you with the history, you can read all about it here… http://www.arundelcastle.org/the-castle/history.html … but it is stuffed with fascinating bits and pieces. There are lots of family portraits and religious artefacts, coats of arms and pieces of armour, and armaments, and a private chapel bigger than many a parish church. We were impressed with all of it but when we came to the library it just took our breath away.

It’s not the number of books, any library would have them; it was the room itself, filled, from floor to ceiling, including the ceiling, in fact,  with the loveliest carved wood panelling  I have ever seen and, in spite of its undoubted magnificence, a room you could sit comfortably in and read. I’ve never envied the aristocracy before but I really wanted that room. Even the loved one, whose strongest term of approval is “Aye, it’s alright…” actually said…

“This is the most beautiful room I have ever been in.”       Wowzer!

I could have made this my home forever. (As long as there was someone to bring me a regular supply of tea, of course.)
No photo could do justice to this. The wood panelling glows and the carving is incrediblw. I could have made this my home forever. (As long as there was someone to bring me a regular supply of tea, of course.)

And then,and if this doesn’t impress the Hell out of you, I don’t know what will, the lady who was supervising the room noticed that my cousin’s wife, who has had a hip replacement and now has a bad knee instead, was walking a little uncomfortably, asked if we had seen the gardens yet, which we hadn’t.

“Well,” she said, “When you go outside, there will be  a member of staff, who will call a buggy to take you down to the garden entrance…”

So we did and there was and he did and we did. Fabulous. Felt a bit cheeky but it was obviously all part of the service. Excellent. And the gardens were spectacular. Not in a huge and dramatic way, but just lovely. As you can see from the pictures I took, dozens of them. 
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What an ace day out. And that was just the first day of our stay. Can’t wait to tell you about the rest of it!

While we were away, because we spent little time lounging and lots of it out and about, I have done very little drawing, apart from the flower ring you see at the top of the page, which has been both a blessing and a curse. I’m not too unhappy with the drawing itself but the colouring went all wrong. Well, not all, but you know what I mean. I was using my new Koi water colour pens, which I love, but am still learning. I wanted pale and subtle but what I got was loud and glaring because I used paper that didn’t encourage blending or fading the colours with water. Dammit. Oh well, lesson learned.

But for now, it’s the Diva Challenge and…

And she wants us to use patterns that are all straight lines. This is good for me, as it makes me concentrate, so I’ve chosen just three patterns: Zin, Rain and a version of Farling. I’ve used Rain before but not the other two, so it’s been a genuine challenge and good fun.  I couldn’t make up my mind whether or not to use colour, so I scanned it both ways – so which do YOU prefer?

 

Before adding colour.
Before adding colour.
With a bit of colour but no shading - couldn't work out where to shade!
With a bit of colour but no shading – couldn’t work out where to shade!

 

 

I forgot,

 

AND  . . .

I did a birthday card for my son in law. I had all sorts of ideas to include his hobbies and interests and then I thought, nope, he can have some Zentangle, why not? He’s tried it himself in the past and I’m hoping to recruit him to the cause sooner or later. Maybe this will set him going again – or put him off for life!

You'll see this week's Diva Challenge tile included on the card and I kept the theme of lines and angles, with a flash of red here and there. Hope he likes it.
You’ll see this week’s Diva Challenge tile included on the card and I kept the theme of lines and angles, with a flash of red here and there. Hope he likes it.

Minotaur Island

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That’s Crete, of course, and one of my favourite ever places. (Alright, yes, there’s Rhodes and Skiathos and various areas in France and the Peak District in the UK and…..) Anyway, one of my favourites, as I said. Although, coming from the murk of the north of England, it’s the sunshine that attracts in the first place, the island itself has a real magic. It’s quite big, in comparison to the other Greek islands and there’s a wide range of scenery, from cliffs and mountains to beaches and bays; from vineyards and farms to night clubs and busy modern cities.

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The loved one and friend with the pool all to themselves. Bliss.

We were there from May 2nd with my cousin and her husband plus a couple of friends we met there two years ago. It’s one of those things, when you recommend a place, you hope and pray that it’s as good as you remembered and that the others will like it too. And it’s the same way with friends – we knew WE would get on fine with Ann and Kev (Cousin and hubby) and ditto Gareth and Sonia (Friends from previous holiday) but would they get on with each other?  Well, we needn’t have worried. We spent the whole week laughing, teasing and generally enjoying each others’ company. Continue reading “Minotaur Island”