Fitting it all in.

Well what a busy time we have had,  but not in a good way. Three funerals in eight days.  All three were old family friends, of my parents really,  but still precious links to my youth.  All were over 85 and tired, but funerals, you soon realise, are not for the dead but for the living. Only one member of that group is still with us and he attended all three, looking frail and, of course, seeing his turn getting closer.

And now we, their children, are the older generation, no buffer zone of grannies between us and the final frontier. (Well, yes, I know that’s space, if you’re a trekkie but it avoids using the D   word.) Does that mean we are revered for our wisdom  and advice? Hmmmm. Not yet, it would seem. For our bank balance maybe. Cynical but sadly accurate.

And funerals do seem to be drab affairs. I don’t expect it to be jazz bands and New Orleans, dammit, we’re British, but how lacklustre it all is. Two of them were non religious ceremonies and, believe me, ceremony is NOT the word. Once upon a time it was the local vicar talking about someone he knew. (And one of them was still like that and quite moving.) Otherwise,  it’s a professional ‘celebrant’, you heard me, who reads out the words the family have given.

The two we witnessed were

a. Dull and clearly

wishing to be elsewhere, or

b. Sanctimonious beyond belief.

So I’m going to write my own eulogy. It’ll be full of really long words, like fundamental dichotomy or onanism, and Latin or French quotes. Semper in excretum, solum profundum variat. That’ll make ’em earn their money.  Unless one of my children feels up to it… I’ll do an easier version for them. Maybe.

The thing is, what’s the purpose of the eulogy? It’s not for the deceased – he or she is long gone to whatever final destination he or she believed in – so it must be for us. To fix in our minds a lasting image of the absent loved one to keep us going until we are able to remember them naturally, without the barrier of grief. Or is it just a convention that we daren’t fail to observe?

For those of us without religious conviction, it is the gathering together and sharing memories, comforting each other over our loss and fear of the inevitable.  I think I might set up a company for alternative funerals. Get rid of the mouldering corpse unobtrusively and let the mourners get on with the rest of it… a nice meal, some music, a comfortable place to sit and be together. Maybe a slide show of old photos.   Perhaps get everyone doing a bit of Zentangle. Do a mosaic of the deceased’s name?

LATER

You know, sometimes I read back over what I’ve written and I worry about what goes on in my head. I mean, I have very little control over it; the words just spill out. Still, better out than in, as my Dad used to say when he burped. That’s it, of course, it’s a sort of mental burp. Well, I’m glad I sorted that out.

You will see that there are pics scattered throughout this post, none of them related to the text in any way but just me keeping you in touch with my “artwork”.(Bit pretentious calling it art but there you go.) They are the Zenbuttons that I’m doing for the latest swap on FB and also for the 100 Day Project. The swap asks for monochrome – linework and shading all in one colour, which was tricky for me, as I started them while we were away last time and only had several black and one red pen with me. So the red ones were done in sunny Tenerife and the others in rainy England.

In an attempt to emphasise the shading, I prepared a couple of tiles with ink first and then did the patterning.  By the time I’d finished the brown one, you couldn’t see the original colour work! I’ve not finished the blue one yet but here it is, with  both versions of the brown one .

 

 

 

 

I’m not finding the 100 Day Project all that rewarding to tell you the truth. I finally gave in and created an Instagram account on my PC, because that’s what I use for posting. (I use both tablet and phone for other things but i like the big screen and proper keyboard best.) So then I discover that I can’t post pictures from my PC, which was the whole point of the exercise. (Apparently, if I download another app, give them all my personal details, dance naked by the light of a full moon and send my bank details to a nice man in Nigeria, there is a way round this but I really couldn’t be bothered.) So bugger Instagram, I’ll just do the 100 Days and not show anyone!

At which point, I checked in with the Diva and there she wasn’t. Because of her younger son’s health issues, if she doesn’t appear one week, thousands of Tanglers across the world go into panic mode in case there are problems at Casa Diva, and I’m one of them, Hope it’s just a national holiday in Canada or something.

So I’m banking this post until she reappears and then I’ll add the Challenge tile too.

LATER

She’s back and health was the problem but all seems to be pretty much ok now, much to the relief of her followers.

Weekly Challenge #361: “Amanda Day – Earth day YEAR 7!!”

If you have been following the blog from the beginning you may remember that when Chewie was just a wee boy, we were talking about Earth Day and he asked me if the Earth had a name, and i said yes – it’s Earth.  He didn’t think that was good enough, and so he re-named it Amanda.  And hence forth, Earth Day has been forever known as Amanda Day here in my home and on the blog!  So, for this week’s Challenge – try to use some recycled material for your tile!

This year i used a Pizza Box, and as an added challenge – or an alternative if you don’t like working on tan coloured tiles, you can make your string a “Sunshine” string.  It feels like it’s been winter here for sooooo long, and the sun this weekend was so amazing that i made my string into a sunshine and it was super fun.

Well I sort of did it, maybe. I didn’t recycle so much as up cycle.We had some table mats and coasters in faux leather. (Alright, plastic.) And rarely use them because they seem a bit dull. So I took a coaster, a Posca 0.7 pen and got going. The shading uses a Promarker pen, with which I had to be careful because the alcohol ink smudges the rest if you linger too long. The white is just a Uni pen. I’m going to spray it with a coating in the hope of “fixing ” it.

Coasting along on Amanda Day. Dragonair, Curved Rain, Frickle and a couple of others whose names escape me.

And that, world, will have to do. Hopefully, we’ve done with funerals for a while and can get on with being thankful to be alive. Until next time, world, be good-ish.

 

Advertisements

Surprises and the Death of a Vacuum Cleaner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The unfinished aardvark

Mr Snooty Tooty

And why “tidy” is a four letter word. I mean, come on, who likes tidying? I like my rooms to be tidy. I like planning a tidy up. I even like starting to tidy. But actually completing the job? I don’t think so.  The tidy gene just passed me by at birth. I start, knowing I am doomed to failure. So many distractions along the way.

Borbz in the middle and I still can’t remember the name of the border. It’s starting to get to me!

There are all those things you find, that you didn’t know you’d lost and you simply have to see if they still work.  Which brings the tidying process to an abrupt halt. There are all those things you bought because you just had to have them and now all you can think of is “why?”. There are all those parts of things that you can’t remember where you put the remaining parts  of them. There are parts of other things that you suspect you’ve thrown away because you’d lost the bit you now have in your hand. Not to mention the guilt trip about A. all the projects you started and never finished and B. all the projects you bought stuff for and never even started.

And there’s never enough space to spread them all out in some sort of order so you can put related articles together ready to put them away. All I ever end up with is a big box of stuff that doesn’t have a permanent home.  (The box, of course, becomes the permanent home.) And for a while, a few hours at best, I can see that my desk has a wooden surface.

 

 

 

 

Heartfully two ways- straight grid and wonky grid.

Please don’t say it’s just me or I shall have to go and throw myself in the canal. And when I’m dead and gone the loved one and my kids will tidy it all up – straight into the dustbin.  I suppose I could cut out the middle man and chuck it all away myself. Then there’d be room to buy some more.

You know what? I’m feeling better already. (And of course, writing in my blog about tidying is the perfect displacement activity for actually doing anything.) Well, I think I’ll just take this mug downstairs and wash it before I start the tidying.

Progress report for Ben – Miss Snooty Tooty. Needs sewing together, ears and a face.

And when I get downstairs I will see the the unfinished aardvark I’m making for my grandson’s “wife”. (He says they’ve been on a date so now she’s his wife.) Obviously.(They’re 8, by the way.) She’s Miss Snooty Tooty – the aardvark, not the wife – because his one, which I made him for Christmas, is Mr Snooty Tooty.  Not Mrs, you’ll notice, Miss. I love 8 year old logic.  It was yesterday that he asked me to make it for her and he phoned this morning for a progress report. Bless.

The collection so far, using odd spare balls of wool left over from other projects.

After making the unicorn and then a doll at Christmas for Isla, my youngest granddaughter, I was told how all the mums at school had been asking if she could get one for their children. My daughter in law, who knows me well, said she thought no, that I only crochet for family and friends.  (Quite right too.) However, it set me thinking and I decided to make a couple of things to be raffled at the school Summer Fair, assuming that we have a Summer this year, of course. I’ve plenty of yarn – no surprises there – so I may make a couple more. And, this is the good bit, it will use up spare yarn and make things a bit tidier.

I have been drawing too. The bookmarks for the swap are going a bit better. I saw Helen Williams’ blog about Gourdjeous and had a go to see if it would make a border. And then, it goes without saying, I watched a couple more of her videos, which led to me using Heartfully on another one and making a mental note to use Ruffles on another.

Filled the middle of this one with a slightly clumsy Mooka.

So I then went on a You Tube expedition and resurfaced three days later with a headache and so may ideas on using patterns I haven’t used for ages. Like Awrop, and Dooleedoo and Frondous and… and… and…

Still haven’t started tidying.

And then it’s Diva Day , which takes priority, of course.

LATER

Well this week’s Challenge is a humdinger and no mistake.

So the past week or so i kept seeing this really great tangle popping up on Instagram.  Seeing as the first Monday of the month is when we use a tangle created by one of you, i thought this week’s challenge would be to use Pickpocket by Tomas Pedros.

It takes a bit of concentration, not one you would just sit down and rattle off for the fun of it but I absolutely loved it. This is a first attempt but I’m not unhappy with it.

A brain teaser of the first order but very satisfying.

So I’ll finish on a high note and go and get on with some tidying. Maybe.

Until next time, world, be good -ish.

 

Doodling and dawdling.

Playing with Koi brushes.

Dawdling first because we are away in Tenerife at the moment, escaping the English Spring. Did I say Spring?  Hmmmm. Anyway, it’s sunny here, with a gentle breeze coming in off the sea. Very relaxing. I’ve brought my crochet and pens, of course. So far, I’ve made two small crochet teddy bears and started a shawl/scarf but done very little drawing. This is mainly because of the dawdling. When we go out for a walk I take a little bag with yarn and hook and sit in the sun every couple of hundred yards to do a couple of rows of crochet. The drawing tends to get done at the table on our balcony but, this holiday, it’s a walled terrace which makes me feel hemmed in and I don’t like sitting there, so I prefer the small balcony, which doesn’t have a table to rest on. Hey ho, munt grumble eh?

And we keep meeting really nice people and sitting having a gossip and a beer/coffee/wine because you have to make sure you keep hydrated in these warm climates don’t you? Don’t want to get all withered and prunish do we?

It’s only when you go to places like Tenerife that you realise how many people there are in this world without any sense of self preservation. Apart from those poor souls who overdo it in the sun on their first day and spend the rest of their time with skin as tight as a drum, red as beetroot and tender as a good sirloin. Actually, I had a lovely rare sirloin the other night that was definitely less well cooked than some of the visitors to the restaurant in question. (Mainly Brits, I’m afraid.)

Then there are those people who go all the way up Mt Teide, over neck -breakingly bumpy roads, to strap themselves to a giant kites and leap off the edge of a cliff. We watch them a lot and it’s fascinating seeing them swirling in the air, finding thermals and swooping up again, until they corkscrew down and land on the beach with a well controlled run across the sand. Sometimes they seem awful close to the roof tops.

And of course, on Tenerife you take your life in your hands every time you go for a drive. The driving on the motorway is  -I’m hesitating to find the right word – scary? erratic? idiosyncratic? individual? Many of the drivers have that “If I don’t look at it, it won’t hit me.” sort of attitude and the weird thing is, it often works!

 

LATER…

Well, what with this hectic round of hedonistic pleasure, I’ve done little more drawing and arrived home last night full of good resolutions. I have a swap to do – bookmarks with borders. I’m trying to use unfamiliar patterns or ones that don’t scream “border” at me. A lot of false starts so far though. I’m determined to use Toodles, which is easy and yet not, as you can see from the two disastrous beginnings here.  Both on water colour card stained with very dilute Brusho inks. I’m going to gesso over these and try again on the reverse.

I’m not liking the Nzeppel either, trying for the Dingbatz effect but, again, not getting it yet. I had intended doing holey Hollibaugh through the Nzeppel but can’t quite make it work. Maybe I’ll come up with a Plan B, who knows? And as for the one with Verve in the corners, well, least said, soonest mended, I think. However, I think I might make a success of the wobbly stripe with warty blobs, whose name I’ve forgotten. Fingers crossed.

And the Diva Challenge this week is to use Paradox, so I thought I’d try it in a border frame for one of these book marks. It took ages because I did lots of small spaces, mainly because my lines go all wobbly if they are long. And then the shading went belly up because I thought the pencil was brown ish and it was really a sort of mustard. anyway, I mixed in a couple of other colours ans it doesn’t look to bad now.

 

And so, world, I’ll say a fond farewell until next time. Be good -ish, won’t you?

Fast and Furious

No this is not another rant about people who drive too fast and make me furious. It’s more about trying to be fast and ending up being furious because I should have taken my time. It’s my default method with just about everything I do, whether for work or play. Enjoying the process for its own sake is still something I struggle with at times.

However, last week’s Diva Challenge really helped me just get into the process. The pattern was Verve, which is a favourite of mine but it had sort of slipped into my mental background, so to speak. Having done the Challenge, I felt the need to do more, so I had a look through my new journal and found a page with a sort of small, geometric patterned background. Why I didn’t choose something curvy to go with Verve I don’t know but I’m not sorry.

Instead of using a string and filling the spaces with Verve, I drew the little rings that it begins with, as if starting Rumpus, and set off to see where it took me. I coloured and shaded with Promarker pens in colours I thought toned with the paper and I was really pleased with the result. (See? Modest too!)

 

This is going to be a challenge but I will draw on it, just to see what happens, making sure I don’t use alcohol pens, thus ruining the other side.

The drawback with using alcohol based pens like Promarkers is that they often soak through the paper, an effect I had forgotten, so when I turned to the next page, I discovered that the back of my drawing, which happened to be on a double sided paper, had a character all its own.  To my chagrin, it didn’t end there, as you can see from the picture below. I think I will just join the dots and go on from there!

 

It had even soaked through onto the page below.

Looking at other people’s responses to the Diva Challenge gives me a lot of pleasure – and ideas – and last week I read Cyndee Pelley’s blog https://thetirelesstangler.com/2018/03/14/diva-challenge-355-and-the-new-kitchen-table-tangle/. Her take on Verve was lovely but she had also linked to the new video from Zentangle HQ which was a version of Molygon. Reverting to my usual fast and furious, I had a go on the reverse side of the previous one, using the shapes where the ink had soaked through.

Not working so far, although i may go back and give it some welly at a later time.

Bad idea,bad approach, bad result. So I went and had a cup of tea and gave myself a little talking to about one stroke at a time and so on. When I got back to my tangling, I decided that this time I was going to have to go against ZTHQ diktat and use some pencil lines to guide my first attempt at the shape. Naughty, but the first attempt told me that this was not an occasion to throw caution to the winds.

So I made myself a string to guide my Molygons and tried again. It took ages because I was trying to concentrate and I had the video playing onscreen for reference. It’s a very detailed piece, using the Maria method, although very satisfying too.  I used Brusho inks and water colour pencils for the colour and shade and I think I’m going to fill in the background with Printemps or Sandswirl in light grey plus a frame to finish it off. Haven’t given much thought to the patterns for the frame yet.

And soon it will be Diva Day.

In fact, it was yesterday but I didn’t see it until quite late.

Weekly Challenge #356: “What’s in a name?”

That’s right people! It’s a String Theory challenge.  This week’s challenge is to use your name as your string! 🙂 If you don’t want to use your name, or maybe you’re in the witness protection program and you don’t want anyone to know your name, feel free to use any word you like.

Begin with dots and border, then starting from somewhere on the border – write your name in cursive to divide up the tile.  You may have to look at the length of your name, and adjust accordingly.

DC 356

Having eight letters in my name, writing them in my wobbly version of cursive script really wasn’t an option, so I decided on control instead. I divided my tile into boxes and put the letters in them. Sticking with the grid I had made, I chose just one pattern, Measles, by Judith Hopkinson and used it as a frame.  I think the shading helps.

 

 

At which point I will say a fond farewell and go and finish my packing. Defeated by the weather, we are off to the Canaries again to warm these old bones. I wonder where people from the Canaries go…

Anyway, that’s it until next time , so be good, world, won’t you? (Well, good-ish.)

 

Trying Something New-ish

Did this one for a swap a little while ago.

So I followed a link on Facebook the other day and found myself joining another Zentangle oriented group called Zentangle All Around. It has a lot of people doing ZIA’s and they seemed a friendly bunch so I decided to join.

Zentangle All Around is open to anyone who is interested and will follow the rules. We are committed to the exploration of tangle art and its components in a safe and inspirational environment. Basically play nice, be supportive and encouraging of each other, or it’s on the road you will go.

I liked the no nonsense approach and I’ve not been disappointed, enjoying reading the posts and seeing the work. Within a couple of days of joining, one of the Admins put up a sort of competition where she offered things from her Etsy shop, I think, to anyone who wrote a comment saying which one they would like. In for a penny, in for a pound, I told her I’d love one of the hand made journals. It was all names into a hat so I had no expectations but, while we were in Spain, I got a notification saying I’d won one.  I was thrilled out of all proportion to the importance of the event because I never win things, so I was happy as a lark.

I mentioned last time about our less than perfect experience coming home from that trip, but to find a note through the door saying Royal Mail had been unable to deliver a parcel cheered me up no end and they re-delivered the following day. It’s a postcard size journal, ring bound, made up of all sorts of paper and card and I couldn’t wait to get started.

This is from when I was working on the cover of my new sketchbook – journal to be.

The trouble was, I’ve tried journals before and I give up very quickly. I think it’s because, in the past, I’ve treated them as a sort of diary, you know, “what I did today…”. The truth is, what I do today isn’t usually worth recording. I started one a couple of years ago to record my Zentangle “journey” and gave up to avoid dying of embarrassment. I had been writing as though my teacher from junior school would be reading it, all full of good intentions and nicey nicey. In case you haven’t guessed, that is NOT me. Hence, I gave up.

The finished cover, significantly scruffier as you can see.

You may remember, however, that I did the Little summer Project with the Facebook group Zentangle: Tangled and Journaled Too, which is now, alas, extinct.  Over the twelve weeks of July/August/September we did something for a prompt every day, which was both exhilarating and infuriating in about equal measure. But the point is, I did it. So I can do it, if I get the attitude right. (Now where have I heard that before? )

The latest page. I was quite pleased with the lettering, which is not a strong point but the patterning is a bit, as my daughters say “Meh.”

The new journal, therefore, has begun. Very little writing unless I feel like it and no set routine for what or when I use it. In fact, I showed a couple of the pages in a recent post and have done another since then. I’m trying to remember to date each entry and that is one of the two rules. The other is, no matter how bad it is, it stays in. Going fine so far. We’ll see.

The page here being March, I think I’d like to do one for each month, with different styles of lettering each time. there I go again, making rules for myself. Doh!

This blue one is what I did in advance as an example for everyone to refer to.

We had a Stitch and Bitch at my house the other day and there were seven of us sitting around the table making paper decorations based on a Dorian Eng tutorial I saw on You Tube. (Where would I be without You Tube?) If you are interested, here’s where I found it.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_K9ByDo-8Q&t=5s   We didn’t tangle the card but used patterned paper in three sizes to make a sort of mobile. It was a lot of fun and everyone made a successful finished piece.

And this purple one is the one I did on the day at our Stitch and Bitch group.

 

They now hang in my craft room window, at least for a while.

Two new-ish things tried and successful so far.  All very positive.

So then we have the Diva Challenge due. Bring it on, Laura, bring it on…

 

LATER…

And she didn’t disappoint. This week’d Challenge is to use the tangle pattern Verve, which is one of my all time favourites, I’ve used it for a string on bigger pieces but less often small scale, so when she said on her video that it made a good filler, I decided that’s where I would start.

I searched my new journal for a suitable page, couldn’t find one that shouted out to me so I thought, Dammit, Maggibee, just use the next page and make it work for you. So I did, and here it is. (I wish I’d done a “before” picture, sorry.)

The background paper was lovely but didn’t work too well with pens and water colour because some of the print had a glossy surface. I feel I can do better but IIWII
The colours are brighter than they show up here but it’s too big to scan. (12″x12″) I actually like this one enough to put it on the wall.

So, having run out of Verve,but literally and figuratively, I’ll say a fond farewell and recommend, as always, that you be good-ish until we meet again.