Following on…

Is this enough or not?
Is this enough or not?

When I looked at all the Diva Challenge entries last week, it struck a chord when I read Chris LeTourneau’s post, aptly entitled “How do you know when it’s done?”. This is  a problem I often have and I often leave a tile, vaguely dissatisfied because it’s not quite right. And then there are times when I see something I drew a while ago, usually something I wasn’t entirely happy with, and suddenly I can see what’s wrong with it AND I know what to do to make it right. I’m also a bit uneasy with what I see as too much white space, like the one at the top here, where I feel it’s too plain and yet… Maybe when I’ve finished filling in the frame it’ll be done but that white space cries out to me to be filled. Continue reading “Following on…”

A Spot of Colour

Inktense pencils plus Gelly roll pens.
Inktense pencils plus Gelly roll pens.

Every now and then I get an urge to stick with the plain black and white Zentangles and sometimes there has to be a spot of colour. My idea of a spot of colour varies too. Sometimes it’s a splash of red on a black and white tile (Like today’s Diva Challenge tile); sometimes it’s a lot of colour but all in the same part of the spectrum, often blues/greens/purples; or something subtle in gentle tones, often sepia but sometimes it’s not a spot, it’s almost an overdose.

Inktense pencils and Gelly Rolls
Inktense pencils and Gelly Rolls

And that’s what came over me while we were in Cromer last week. It’s as if I needed to combat the horribly grey weather outside. These are both about 7 inches by four or five, I suppose and I had enormous fun drawing them. As always with scanned pictures, you can’t see the shine and sparkle of the Gelly Roll pens, but it IS there, honest.

On a completely random note, many of you will be aware that our grown up daughter had a dog, which died recently and we were all pretty devastated. She is an English teacher and we advised her not to rush into getting another dog too soon, but to wait until the summer, when she can spend time at home getting to know him/her and training him/her ready for going back in the autumn. After two weeks she was visiting all the local dog rescue places, offering to take dogs for a walk, anything for a bit of canine companionship. It was only a matter of time before she fell in love and it happened with, wait for it, Daphne. Yup, Daphne. Not Spot or Rex or Patch, but Daphne. Continue reading “A Spot of Colour”

The World Kept Turning

This is an olive tree twig that I think could become a pattern. A bit like Pendrills perhaps.
This is an olive tree twig that I think could become a pattern. A bit like Pendrills perhaps.

This week we went down to Norfolk for a few days, to Cromer, which we haven’t visited in years. It’s a little old fashioned town on the east coast and, because we were staying in a small apartment, we decided to self cater. In spite of only going for three nights; in spite of having every intention of eating lunches out and at least one evening meal too; in spite of knowing that we would be in a town that DID have shops – we took enough food to feed an army. It looked as though we were setting up for a siege.

Drawn while we were away in Cyprus.
Drawn while we were away in Cyprus.

One suitcase to share for clothes, one bag for my drawing things, tablet and Kindle and four bags/boxes of food. I mean, come on.

DAY ONE

We arrived, checked in and unpacked, then walked down the coastal path into town. We were near the lighthouse but the strong winds meant no fog and therefore no foghorn, which was something of a relief. It was a bit chilly. (You can assume very British understatement there.) The breeze (gale) was blowing in off the sea and, joy of joys, it started to rain.

Spring, glorious Spring
Spring, glorious Spring

Anyway, we had a look round the town centre and seafront, which are both very attractive and went into a pub for a drink and to warm up. We picked the only pub in town, I hope, with no customers. You know in the films when a stranger walks in; the piano stops playing… well it was even quieter than that. There wasn’t any tumbleweed but you get the idea. We finished our shockingly overpriced drinks (No wonder the place was empty) as quickly as possibly and made a run for it.

In view of the weather and our forethought in bringing a huge pan of stew, we stayed in for the evening watching DVD’s. (And drawing, of course.) Continue reading “The World Kept Turning”

Got the tidy bug

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

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

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

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

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

And Gone Tomorrow

20160301_124108The cases are packed; the hand luggage is ready; the packed lunch is cooling ready for tomorrow and the two of us are preparing for our trip in our very different ways. The loved one’s nesting instinct has a tendency to surface at times like these and he finds jobs to do around the house on the day before we travel. (You understand, he started packing his case some days ago – no last minute panic for him.) Today he has dismantled the ground floor lavatory because he thought it was a bit wobbly and, in the process has replaced the plastic diaphragm with a new one made of acetate. (My craft stash is more useful than you might at first imagine.)

Often, there is a wistful “Do you suppose we have any…?” Silicone glue? What size tube? Brown paper?  How big a sheet? Double sided tape? What width? Crochet hooks? Size? String? How thick  and what colour? Oh yes, being a hoarder has its up side. Continue reading “And Gone Tomorrow”

Hair today

Four tiles ready to go - I think
Four tiles ready to go – I think

Is it the same everywhere or am I in a sort of timewarp here in South Yorkshire? Actually, it’s not time, it’s behaviour. I’ll start again. I went for a haircut this week. I keep it pretty short and spiky so it needs trimming about every three weeks and it was well overdue so off I toddled to see my friend Kayleigh, an excellent hairdresser and good fun into the bargain. She has some of the most amazing tattoos you have ever seen. (I don’t actually like tattoos but I can still appreciate the artwork and hers are cracking.)

So she’s cutting away and we’re having the usual banal conversation on the lines of”Been anywhere nice lately?” and, during a lapse in this scintillating repartee, I hear, from across the salon, a young woman talking to the nail technician about her personal relationships problems. Now, she can talk to who she likes about it, but loud and clear across the salon came information I just was not ready to receive. I mean, I didn’t learn anything new, one or two things I might have forgotten, perhaps, but not new, just private. She went on to describe the other participant’s body parts in some detail – he has tattoos too, in some delicate places, so I hope I never meet him because I know my eyes will be unavoidably drawn downwards. It was such a relief when Kayleigh switched on the hairdryer and I couldn’t hear any more. Continue reading “Hair today”

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”

Moving On

Kitty
Kitty

You may wonder why there was no post from me last week,  or you may not, of course. I’m afraid I’m wiping Diva Day off the calendar for last week, as we had a very, very bad day and it’s taking a while to get over it. I certainly can’t get my head round valentangles in my present mood.

Our elder daughter – middle child but elder daughter – lives alone with her dog Kitty and they are inseparable. On Sunday, they came for Sunday dinner, as they often do, and we noticed Kitty seemed to be off her food. Alex phoned the following morning to say the dog has been sick a couple of times overnight and we agreed she would keep her on fluids for a couple of hours and see if she felt any better. By late afternoon she was worse and we took  her to the vets, a vet we have used before and know and trust.

She seemed quite ill to me, confused and didn’t appear to know where she was – normally it takes both of us to get her inside because she doesn’t like going there but she just meekly followed us in. While we were waiting to see the vet, she was pacing round and round the waiting room, virtually empty, thank Heaven. He examined her and decided an X ray was needed, under general anaesthetic, to make sure she hadn’t swallowed anything or had a blockage somewhere in her system. Of course. it would be fairly expensive and of course Alex has no money so I just said of course and we left a very confused and unhappy dog.

About half an hour later Alex phoned in some distress because the vet had called her to say they weren’t going to do the X ray yet because her heart rate was too high, so they would keep her on a drip to rehydrate her, get her heart rate down and then do it the following morning. He had said more but Alex hadn’t taken it in very well, so I called the vet to ask for more detail. He was with another patient but would call back within the half hour, which he did. However, instead of calling to clarify what he had said previously, he told me that Kitty’s condition had deteriorated to such an extent that he was pretty sure she had not long to live.

It fell to the loved one to call Alex to get her coat on and be ready for us to take her down there, and, although he didn’t tell her more, she isn’t stupid and guessed that things were pretty bad. We picked her up, exceeded the speed limit and were at the vet’s in less than ten minutes. Kitty was lying unconscious on the bench, apparently in little pain or distress but we could see her pulse racing in her throat. She could not be saved and we stood holding her until she passed away.

Alex , obviously, distraught, insisted on going back to an empty house full of dog paraphernalia, where she spent the night alone.  When times are good, Alex suffers from depression. These are not good times. And the loved one and I can do so little for her. We have spent over 30 years trying to protect our children and, when it really counts, we are useless.

I’ll be back next week, world, hopefully in a better frame of mind.

Creating a Conveyor Belt

The first one I did.
The first one I did.

 

I joined another tile swap on the Facebook site – Zentangle Artist Trading Card Swap – And this time it’s all about hearts and Luuuurrrrve. You can choose one of two strings, 39 or 150, both of which involve hearts. We are then encouraged to use our imaginations –  how about using patterns with a heart theme? So I set up some tiles with the abovementioned strings and took them away with us on our recent trip to Spain. I’ve scattered some of the finished ones down the page. (I’ll need about a dozen, I expect, hence  the reference to setting up a conveyor belt for mass production. )

And String 39 again, on black.
And String 39 again, on black.

 

Speaking of the recent Spanish trip; we were aware that a couple of old friends were staying in the same resort for part of the time we were there and so we had arranged to meet them for a coffee. Coffee? Well, a drink anyway. The loved one and I always hire a car when we stay there, partly because the resort itself, although very convenient, is not somewhere we want to spend all our time and partly because the weather is unpredictable at this time of year, so getting out and about is easier with transport. Having met up for drinks, we decided to suggest a day out up the coast to Nerja, a regular trip for us, and possibly lunch at the paella restaurant right on the beach, where they cook the paella over an open firepit in the sand.

String 39 again - this one was fun.
String 39 again – this one was fun.

 

They were happy to come, especially since John doesn’t enjoy driving and was happy to let the loved one drive and me to navigate.  Now, as I mentioned, this is a trip we have done several times before and holds no fears for us. It involves circling Malaga on a well marked ring road and then an hour up the coast on an equally well signed motorway. So you can imagine our faces when we found ourselves, not cruising serenely around the edges of the city, but stuck in traffic, slap bang in the city centre. And Malaga is a big place. And they assume you WANT to be in the city centre so there are very few signs indicating how you might possibly WANT to get out of it.

String 150
String 150

 

 

There were signs for the port, the cathedral – which is in a pretty much pedestrianised area so why they signpost it I do not know – the market, the local government buildings, and several hotels, all of which was very informative but not entirely helpful. Somewhat to John and Val’s surprise, this mishap did not lead to domestic violence on our part. We have been lost many times before and somehow found our way out of it and the loved one has a very civilised attitude, which is, and I quote, “You’re not lost while there is fuel in the tank.” And we WEREN’T lost; we knew where we were, just had difficulty being somewhere else.

String 39. The gold doesn't shine on this pic.
String 39. The gold doesn’t shine on this pic.

There was, I admit, a hint of tension when I said “Into the right hand lane for Almeria, darling…” and the loved one promptly took the left hand lane, taking us onto the right road but, sadly, in the wrong direction. The tension increased a tad when I said, “Why didn’t you turn right when I told you to?” And the response was, “Well I wasn’t listening.”  And yet I still love him; funny isn’t it?

Anyway, we went as far as the next junction, came off the motorway, did a circle round the roundabout and back down onto the motorway, this time in the CORRECT direction. Apparently John and Val would have spent the rest of the journey in frigid silence, probably with hissed references to divorce proceedings,  had it been them driving and navigating and I did wonder of they were a little disappointed when we took it pretty much in our stride. Continue reading “Creating a Conveyor Belt”

I’ll Follow the Sun

For some reason my blog headings tend to be song titles, or lines from songs, probably the result of a lack of originality on my part. But when I wrote this, I started humming the song and now it’s going round in my head on a loop. Oh well, it could be worse, could be Agadoo, or Little Arrows! At least it’s true, I am hoping to follow the sun next week and we’re off to sunny Spain for a warmer and, I sincerely hope, drier, week. However, I won’t grumble about the weather when so many people have had so much more to grumble about. The floods not so far from here have been horrendous, not merely in terms of financial cost but in terms of the misery they have caused. It’s not in the news as much now but it hasn’t gone away, hundreds of people with homes and businesses in ruins.  Continue reading “I’ll Follow the Sun”