Running to Catch Up.

It’s a shame the sparkle doesn’t show on this photo, it’s really glimmery on the blue/gray.
The yellow one here is based on one of the prompts in the Little summer project, using Fedr and Crease. I like the mix.
I was going for sunshine and moonlight on these two.
I’m afraid these two are a bit space age and psychedelic, rather than floral and I hadn’t touched a drop.
At least these have a vaguely floral look to them.

Having given myself permission to relax about all the challenges and tasks I set myself, it’s as if a load has been taken off my shoulders, which is soooo silly, since it was me, myself, I who put it there in the first place!

So I’ve caught up on one of the swaps I was doing – which was for July (?!?) The theme was Summer Garden which should have been quite straightforward – but no. I didn’t want to be to representational, so I went for Summer Days/Summer Nights instead. I mean, they are floral-ish, in places but then again, not.

We did two ATC’s for each person on our swap, so I did a Summer Day and a Summer Night for each one. As always with these things, some turn out more to my taste than others but, in the end, I did enjoy it. Oh well, I’ve sent them off to my ever patient swap buddy in the States and that’s that.

The next one to catch up on is to be posted by the end of November, so there’s a chance I may get that done pretty much on time.


We’re going down to Wales to see my daughter and family this weekend, followed by a funeral in Bristol on Monday; babysitting our granddaughter on Tuesday and off to southern Spain to meet some old friends at the end of the week.  Hmmmmm.

I’ve started them and have decided to use this as an opportunity to practise different ways of shading, using pencil, alcohol markers, water colours, coloured pencils and Brusho inks; all in shades of black through to pale gray. For me it’s about getting the grading right. I want definition but not thick,dark lines, if only I can get it just so.

I’ve had a copy of Chris Letourneau’s “Made in the Shade” for quite a while now and I go back to it now and then when I can’t decide where to shade but what I need to improve now is the method. It’s a learning curve, but sometimes that curve is a tad more steep than I would like!

Perseverance is the key here, I think.

Believe it or not, I do have a life outside of tangling and it has been quite busy in its way.

I mentioned a funeral – well I don’t know if it’s the same elsewhere but, when I was child, my parents’ friends were honorary aunts and uncles. As I grew up, I tended to stop using the Auntie/Uncle title  and they became my friends too. Of course, by now they are in their 80’s and 90’s and there are fewer of them than there were and last week the last of my “Aunties” died, aged 85. She had been fading for a while and I’m glad to say we had seen her earlier this year, although she lived several hundred miles away.

Very soon the loved one and I will have to accept that WE are now the older generation. But not yet, not yet.

In addtion, I am up to my eyes in yarn of all colours and thicknesses too. My crochet bug hasn’t faded yet, so I have made amigurumi toys – a rabbit, an aardvark, two unicorns and a doll – two kerchiefs, two scarves and a blanket for Christmas presents – and a Cabbage Patch hat for my granddaughter and then there’s another blanket on the way. Actually, it’s no wonder I haven’t had much time to tangle is it?

And then, of course, it’s the Christmas cards. I’ve decided to cut down on how many hand made cards I’m doing this year. (I say that every year.) But many people do not recognise a difference between homemade (for cheapness) and hand made (for quality and the love invested in them.) I think I may do a sort of production line of similar cards, not yet decided.

And lo! The Challenge came upon us, and glory shone around us and we were…

Well we weren’t sore afraid and that’s a fact.

 Weekly Challenge #340: UMT Wibble by Shawna Martin

The first Monday of each month is a Use My Tangle challenge where the tangle we use is brought to us by ONE of YOU!! You don’t have to be a CZT to submit, but they do have to follow the guidelines etc found here…

This month’s Use My Tangle is called Wibble, by Shawna Martin.  You can see the step outs here

Shawna did not submit this tangle, but i did come across it while doing Inktober Tangles and i loved it and wanted to play with it some more.

DC 340

I wasn’t sure I would get a grip on this pattern at the first attempt but it worked much better than I expected. I’ve added it to the monotangle swap I mentioned above, so it served two purposes. Win win.

At which point I bid you a fond farewell and bid you, as always, be good, world if only 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.


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.


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.


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, 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.


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…