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…

Welsh Wales

I like the way the name of the town is embedded in the gardens.

Now you may think that the above is a tautology but it isn’t, because there is an English Wales too. Near where I was born, there is a small village called Wales, in fact, my dad was born there. Now my parents were keen hikers and Youth Hostellers, so we travelled all over the UK when I was young – not Northern Ireland because ferry costs were prohibitive – and Wales, Welsh Wales, that is, was a favourite of my dad’s because of all the rugged hills and glorious scenery.  So, if we were going for a doctor’s appointment, we went to Wales, but if we were going away for a long weekend, we went to Welsh Wales.

The busy side of Llandudno. A nice old fashioned seaside resort.

Last week, the loved one and I had a brief trip to Welsh Wales, the first time since 1978. We calculated this because it was when we discovered I was pregnant with our first child and we drove down through Wales with irrepressible grins on our faces for days. That’s one part of the experience we chose not to repeat!

This time, we stayed in Llandudno, another old fashioned seaside town, with a pier and a pub converted from an old disused cinema.

The pub we liked.

The hotel was a bit in need of repair but the service and food were good, so it was ok for just a couple of days. There are two seafronts in Llandudno because it is on a peninsular, and they are very different. There is the one lined with hotels and a pier and fairground rides and slot machines and then there is the wild, barren but beautiful bay less than a mile across town. It’s almost schizophrenic.

The end of the peninsular is a huge lump of rock called the Great Orme – I did read why it is called that but have already forgotten! You can walk up it. Ask me if we did, go on, ask me. Well, of course we didn’t.

It’s further than you think.

There’s a cable car, which the loved one took one look at, shook his head and  headed resolutely back to the pub. However, there is also a tram, which he consented to use and which turned out to be absolutely wonderful. Those hills are bloody steep, I can tell you. I would have needed frequent stops for oxygen had we actually tried to walk up and my knees would have given up the ghost if we had tried to walk down.

The tram is 19th century, has very uncomfortable wooden bench seats, which is part of the fun,  and you can see for miles.  There is an awful lot of pleasure to be derived from travelling effortlessly past those unfortunates who have chosen to walk it. They started, you see, smug in the awareness of their own virtue, keeping fit and healthy on foot. No doubt they were counting steps.

They passed awful close.

Noticeably less smug after about half a mile of 1 in 3 slopes, their faces ranged from red to puce, their laboured breathing was audible from 50 yards away and the sweat was showing through their  Lacoste sportswear.  We smiled and waved as we trundled past and no-one said “I told you so.”

At the top there is a cafe, of course, a wildflower garden and a crazy golf. A weird combination but it has a certain charm. The views are spectacular  and, since the day was sunny, we could see up across the mouth of the River Dee to the Mersey estuary and the coast above, in fact, to the same stretch of coast we visited a couple of weeks ago.

There were goats all over the Great Orme and I did keep expecting to hear Julie Andrews trilling along in the background but we were spared that, at least.

To the west is Anglesey and then Ireland, although Ireland is just out of sight. And in between there is the beautiful rugged and mainly unspoilt coast, running down past Conwy, Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfecchan to Bangor just round the corner.

It’s very lovely and, although it was quite hot, there was a gentle breeze to keep it comfortable. We had a lovely time.

The following day, we visited the other bay, the quiet one. At ten in the morning, right in the middle of the school holidays, there were five people on the sand. The sea was Mediterranean blue and the bay was full of little ruffled waves.

You can see the crowds of tourists on this one if you look carefully.

We walked for about half an hour with the sun on our backs and the wind in our faces, before heading back for the car and a trip down the coast to Bangor.

We were a bit disappointed that the road took us through a tunnel under the River Conwy, so we missed seeing the castle, which is a very impressive one, built in the Middle Ages (1283 – 1289) and soaked in history. It’s a Unesco World Heritage site and extremely interesting. Anyway, we missed it so let’s move on, shall we?  We drove along the coast road, with its lovely outlook over the sea to the Menai Straight, which is the stretch of water that separates Wales from the island of Anglesey.

As you drive along you can see across to the island, also very lovely, and Beaumaris Castle stands proudly on the ridge across the water. Another Unesco World Heritage site, it was started rather earlier than Conwy but never finished. It is, however, well worth a visit even now.

The landward end of Garth Pier at Bangor

Entering the town of Bangor, we saw a small sign to the pier and decided to follow it, rather than the town centre, which was likely to be shops and car parks. What a good decision. Free parking! A Victorian pier and cream teas, who could ask for better? The pier is just under half a kilometre long and stretches out over the extremely dangerous waters of the Menai Straight.

Looking across at Anglesey.

The banks on either side are dotted with white houses and cottages, slightly marred by a large-ish block of flats on the Anglesey side. How they got planning permission to build that eyesore is a mystery.

We sat drinking tea and sighing contentedly for about an hour before sauntering back to the car and heading east.

At the very far end of the pier, you can see the ghastly block of flats in the background.

So I did little or no tangling for a few days and was suffering withdrawal symptoms by the time we got back.

I was therefore looking forward to the next Diva Challenge.

This week’s guest blogger is Henrike Bratz from Germany, who offers us her new pattern, Lisbon fragment to try.

As you may have noticed there’s the tangle diva dance in my first “Diva-Challenge”-tile. This pattern has been one of my favorite tangles from the beginning.

So here’s the challenge: Put on some music – best look for a fado playlist and imagine the Diva dancing in Lisbon. Use the “Lisbon fragment” and Diva Dance to create your tile. Add more tangles if you like to and enjoy the moment!

Now I have to admit I had trouble with the step outs for Lisbon Fragment, so didn’t enjoy it very much.however, i do like the look of it and I think it’s worth a bit more study. As for Diva Dance, I never get it looking deliberate; mine always seem a bit messy. So, this week, using an atc, I did as I was challenged but don’t feel it worked too well.

DC 237

Ah well, there’s always next week…

Until then, world, be good -ish.

Eyes Bigger Than…

Two starter tiles from Stephanie Drewa.

In the Dark Ages, or, as my Mum would have said, “When I were a lass…”, if we were greedy, one or other of the grandparents would shake their head and murmur, ” Eeeeh, I don’t know, eyes bigger than your belly, that’s what you have…”  and we would either be refused the extra portion or, with a rueful sigh, it would be served to us with the rider; “And you eat every scrap of that.” They would then watch to see if we actually could eat it all and share knowing glances if we appeared to be struggling. And of course they were often right and I can remember quite a few Sunday teatimes marred by the need to force that piece of cake down, ruining the pleasure of the entire meal, rather than admit defeat.

From Jolanda Baan

And why did we take that little trip down Memory Lane, back to my not so deprived childhood teas in The Old Homestead in Wombwell?  (I kid you not, that was the name of the house my Grandma and Grandad lived in. It was in a terrace of four mock Tudor houses in a mucky pit town and nothing like any homestead I could imagine but that was its name.) Because, all these years later, I still do it and I’ve just done it again. Nowadays it’s less likely to be food, of course – my portion control is still questionable but I can leave what I don’t eat without too much of a guilty conscience and no-one pointing the finger and saying sententiously,  “There are children in Africa who’d be grateful for that.”, which may be true but isn’t helpful.

I didn’t draw this but I saw it on google and it was soooo right.
I think this one is from Rhoda Roy in Canada, but she didn’t put her name on the tile itself and, organisational nitwit that i am, I put it in with a couple of others …

But I still take on more than I can manage in other ways and, in particular, with hobbies. (Not, and indeed, never with housework. Never that! The vacuum cleaner backs away if I open the cupboard because it’s been taught not to talk to strangers.)

And at the moment I am deeply involved in crochet. I am working on:

a blanket for my granddaughter – single bed size. about six inches to go

two toys for a friend of my daughter who is having twins. (The friend, not the daughter.) One almost complete, ready to be stuffed and one not even started. (The toys, not the twins)

a circular waistcoat/jacket for me, which I am going to un-pick back about fifteen rows because I don’t like how sort of frilly it’s getting.

and I have plans for a shawl, another blanket, this one for my grandson, more toys and a cloche hat, also for me, maybe, not sure, I don’t suit hats.

From Mary Dewick in the UK

Then there are the two Zentangle swap groups I’m involved with – Zentangle Artist Trading Cards and Travelling Tangles, both on Facebook. I currently need to draw five tiles on a Summer theme for the former, although it’s a long deadline, so they are on the back burner at the moment.  And I have received tiles, started by other members, which I am to complete and then post the results online. (I’ve scattered them about this post for your delectation and delight.) No deadline on that, and I vacillate between longing to get started and the dread of ruining what they have sent me.

Days 9 and 11 of the journal

And then there’s this bloody journal that I have started with another Facebook group – Zentangle, Tangled and Journalled too. I have committed myself to doing a small tile every day for all of June, July and August, based on prompts they post online each week.

Day 19, a Zendala, not on a Bjou, this one but a proper Zendala size tile.

Now I have the time management skills of a newt, so this is already proving difficult. I notice other people do the tiles, pop them in a journal, or draw tile shapes in said journal, one for each prompt and the job’s a good ‘un. Me? Don’t be daft.  I chose to do Bijou tiles, which are nice and small, and stick them in quite a large book (8″ square, I think) and then decorate the pages around the tiles. So, instead of doing a two inch square every day, I find myself trying to then do a further eight inch square too.   I quickly adapted and put more than one tile on each page but, even so, it’s a lot.

We were supposed to write on text but I’m was an English teacher – it’s tantamount to sacrelige. So I printed off a verse from Leonard Cohen and drew in the spaces. Also not on bijou. I stick to my own rules only as and when I want to!

Don’t get me wrong, nobody makes me do this. There isn’t a Zengauleiter person writing my name calligraphically into a beautifully decorated weighty tome, who carries a big stick  to come round and beat me- one stroke at a time, of course, but I’ve posted online that I will do it, so I sort of have to do it. The loved one says it’s masochism and watches another episode of Last of the Summer wine while I try to draw, crochet, scribble just that bit faster.


Days 10, 11 and 12

Hey ho. Oh, and the Diva Challenge. It’s just one tile once a week but of course I write chapter and verse to go with it, don’t I?  I write like I talk, so, as my friends and family will confirm, once I’ve started, there’s no stopping me. But ,although I no longer do the Challenge religiously every week, it is what prompts me to write and post most weeks, so I’m thankful for it.  Of course, there may be those of you who feel the Diva has, therefore, a lot to answer for!

It’s a guest Challenger each week through the Summer – wonder what the next one will be… Anf it’s Elisa Murphy setting the Challenge.

Finally!  This week’s challenge!  Your challenge this week is to draw a monotangle of “Nzeppel, but it doesn’t stop there.  I challenge you to go beyond the pen and tap into that Zentangley Mindfulness.  Think about when you last felt like you didn’t fit in or think about someone you care about who’s feeling that way right now.  As you draw and watch your tangle grow and evolve notice how your thoughts do too.  Maybe it softens.  Maybe it gives you pause to think things through.  Maybe use the back of your tile to jot down random thoughts. Hopefully you get lost in the relaxed focus of the process.  At the end of the day, that’s what Zentangle is all about.

Well, I love Nzeppel, so this was fun. In fact I’m going to add a border to this atc and send it as one of the swaps at the end of the month.

Plain and simple on a background daubed in muted pink and grey, using Reticula R42 .

And there let it end for this week, world. Until we meet again, be good-ish. (AS I will myself, of course.)

My oh my, it’s still July.

The Angel of The North
I managed to squeeze five days’ prompts onto this one, which helped with the catching up process.

And the journal is still taking over my life. In a good way, mainly. Still, I did catch up and these are some of the pages for July. However, having reduced the pressure a bit, up popped another challenge on the same FB page – “Make and send 9 original atcs, get 9 back. ”  by the end of August. And before I’d given it more than a second’s thought, I’d signed up for it. My Dad would have described me as  “Too daft to laugh at…” and he wouldn’t be wrong, would he?

One of the prompts was “Inspire by…” and we were to produce something inspired by a fellow tangler.

One of the prompts for the Summer Project was “Inspired by…” and we were to produce something inspired by a fellow tangler. I decided on Michele Wynne as my source. I love how she uses colour – see her blog “Coffee and Creativity” I’ve almost caught how she uses coloured backgrounds and then emphasises some areas with more colour or different patterns.

This is the one they used for the page header. Eeeek!

And then Janeeileen, who does most of the admin on the FB page, chose something I had done to be used as the FB page header for that week. It was like getting an Oscar, but better! I’m trying to be modest about it but I had to tell somebody, so it’s you, world, that I get to show off to.  I’d like to be proud but quiet but I really feel like jumping gleefully up and down, shouting, “ME! she chose ME!”          Alright, that’s enough now, I’ve calmed down.

Anyway, I’ve started the atc’s too and that will keep me quiet for a while. Possibly.

I paddled out into the sea to get close to this one. I find them strangely compelling.

On a whim, we went off to the west coast for a couple of days at the weekend. We went to Southport, a seaside resort of the old fashioned sort. There’s a long promenade and a boating lake, Punch and Judy on the pier. And the pier is gigantic, it even has a little noddy train in case it’s too far for you to walk. Couldn’t wait to get on it! And there was live music, very good live music too. It wasn’t the brass band or the Promenade orchestra, it was a group called “The Band With No Name”, playing some cracking good rock music. I could have stayed there all day, if it hadn’t been for the fact that the sun was sooooo hot I was at risk of burning and, as the day had started dull, I was not wearing sun cream. It would have been just too ridiculous to go all over the Med and just go a lightish brown, then burn back in the UK. So we toddled off back to the hotel to get changed for dinner. We went to a nice little Italian called Casa Italia, which was a bit cheesy on the decor; trying to look as if you were sitting out in a courtyard but not. However, the food was good, even if the service was a bit perfunctory and the price of the drinks was appalling. I stuck with Peroni in the end, as the wines were silly prices and there is no guarantee of quality.

I really liked Southport. Of course, if the tide is out you would have to walk about two miles to get your feet wet but we didn’t spend much time on the beach, not when there were so many open air bars! And then, the following day, we went down the coast towards Liverpool to Another Place, by Antony Gormley, the guy who created The Angel of the North. (That’s the picture at the top of the page.) It is the moodiest, most melancholy thing I have ever seen. In fact, there are a hundred of these figures on Crosby Beach. See http://www.visitliverpool.com/things-to-do/another-place-by-antony-gormley-p160981 for more info.

And there are dozens of them, some buried up to their waists in the sand.

And then the Diva Challenge came around again. Guest blogger Jessica Davies gave us her second challenge and it was to use the pattern Peanuckle. I learned it early on in my Zentangle attempts and, like Jessica, dropped it to the bottom of my list. I went back to the original video for a revision session, did my best with it and, although it doesn’t look too bad, I didn’t enjoy it. (Which is why it is squashed into the bottom corner of this atc – I had intended a monotangle in different sizes.  Anyway, that’s it for now, see you again soon, world and, until then, be good – ish.

It’s Still June at Our House

Can I just say, the patchy background was deliberate here. I was going for a sort of shabby/chic look. No, really I was.

At least, it as as far as the journal is concerned, it’s still June. When they post updates and info on the FB page, they call it The Little Summer Project, you know, like Stonehenge was a little Summer project. I missed more than a week while we were away on Crete – wouldn’t have gone if I’d realised! Then we had a week at home and it was the loved one’s birthday on the Saturday. We planned a little garden party but failed to tell him that our youngest daughter, husband and adorable Ben were coming up for a few days. They arrived on the Friday evening and his face when he opened the door and saw Ben grinning up at him was a joy to see. It meant that, instead of the eight people he had expected to see at his party the following day, there were 14, as our son and his wife also turned up unexpectedly on the day, with Isla too.  Thank goodness I always over cater. (I may have had an inkling about it all but HE didn’t.) It did mean, however, that there wasn’t much time for Tangling over that few days too, which put me even further behind.

Reticula for the background,  then using white for one prompt, shading Flukes for another, fragment K2 for another and alphabet for another.

I realise I may be giving the impression that I am not enjoying this project and, of course, it just isn’t true. I’m loving it. The prompts make me think outside the box, especially when they want us to use reticula, which I get but don’t get, if you see what I mean. So it’s a grumble at my own expense because I take on too much and put pressure on myself.


Days 26 and 27, going for simple here.

I see myself as a sort of Zen-athlete, setting myself up to my very own Zenbledon, trying to beat my personal besy.  Anyway, I’m determined to catch up over the next few days, at least so that I am less than a week behind. On the page using Verve, I coloured it with Promarkers, which was not a complete success, as it has dried patchily, which annoys me no end. I think I may add a little white in places as highlights, to make it less obvious.

The final prompts to the end of June are to use a resist of some sort; to create a frame  and to revisit something from the past month you have enjoyed. I don’t suppose the revisit really includes Crete, which is a shame, so I think using fragments of Flux will have to do instead. In fact, I tried all sorts of resists and didn’t like any of them – wax crayons, fabric paint, embossing powders and then I saw one someone had done using a stencil, which she had coloured through and then filled the space with tiny, tiny, I mean reeeeeally tiny tangling and I decided to work on her idea.

I’ve used a Dreamweaver stencil, they really are such good quality, a dauber and  ink pads to create the background. The revisit is indeed a few fragments of Flux dripping down the page and the final one is the frame, coloured with Promarkers and bits of white chalk and pen. So that’s it, June is officially over. Better get on with July.

In the meantime, in the real world where time runs at its proper rate, it’s guest spot at the Diva Challenge…

And it’s Jessica Davies, who wants us to give our hearts, so to speak;

Weekly Challenge #324 “Tangled Heart”

In gratitude and appreciation for all we are and all we give to each other in this community, I invite you to create a tangled heart this week. Let’s show each other the love!

Start with a heart shape as your string and then tangle. I found some cut out hearts and traced those on my tiles for consistency, but do what works for you. Go whimsical with freehand hearts, put one on a tile or many, use color or not, go small with bijou or big with opus, tangle inside or outside the string, stick with the white tile or go black … whatever your heart calls you to do.

So I used a pattern I can’t remember the name of but it’s one that I find both challenging and fun, which seemed appropriate. And I’ll finish on that, as my Summer project calls… Until we meet again, world, be good-ish.


Ready for the off…

Days 4 and 5 of the Summer project

We’re off again soon, on our way to a Greek island again. (Crete, in fact.)  Knowing that wifi is a bit erratic, well, FREE wifi can be and I’m too cheap to consider paying for it, I thought I’d write a post in advance so that, while we are away, all I have to do is my Challenge tile, pop it in and post it. (Not quite that simple, of course. Being less than skilled with the internet and blogging, I have to get my daughter back in the UK to attach it to the linky thing on the Diva website/blog, as I’ve never worked out how to do that bit from my tablet.)

We’ve been there before and it is so lovely that we are going back. We will be staying in the small village of Piskopiano. I translated this from the Greek as musical fish but apparently that’s not the case. Shame really, it has a whimsical charm. This is what I found out about the place:

traditional house in piskopiano

Piskopiano and its history

Piskopiano seems to have been founded in the Middle Ages, when pirate raids drove people away from the coast to seek the safety of the hills, far from the sea.

The first mention of the village was in 1379, when it was part of the bishopric of Hersonissos (casale Piscopiano de Chersonisso). In 1583 it appears again as a small village of 111 inhabitants.

Later the Turks succeeded the Venetians, and in the first census they held, in 1671, the village had 15 taxable Christian families. This information is drawn from the historian Stergios Spanakis, whom everybody plagiarises but almost nobody acknowledges.

Today Piskopiano belongs to Hersonissos Municipality and has 450 inhabitants. The wave of tourism that spread out from the coast from the 1950s onwards has brought about great changes to all the villages. Old buildings have been restored and turned into hotels, not always in the traditional style, and the inhabitants have abandoned farming for tourism.

Unfortunately, it has proved impossible to discover any other information on the development of the village through the ages. Piskopiano, here for so many centuries, must have its own history. We hope that in future we will find the right sources or meet the right people to tell us more about it.

Sights in Piskopiano

The most important sight in Piskopiano is the village itself. Leave the main street and wander round the narrow streets, looking for the old houses still standing. If you see a sign to the Piskopiano Museum, ignore it because the Museum is no longer there (there is information that it will reopen in 2010).

I wonder if the museum did reopen…

We stayed in the next village last time we were there, a slightly bigger place than Piskopiano called Koutouloufari. It took me all week to be able to pronounce it. It’s up the hill from the seaside resort of Hersonissos, with glorious views out to sea. Now, although we will spend a fair amount of time on the beach and in the sea – or by the pool- we will spend each evening strolling through the three local villages, carefully selecting which taverna to eat in and breathing in the lovely herbal smells that drift through the air.

We also intend to visit Elounda and Spinalonga this time, if we can. The island of Spinalonga was, until not that long ago, a leper colony and its story, well, that of its inhabitants really, is heartrending.

The island was subsequently used as a leper colony from 1903 to 1957. It is notable for being one of the last active leper colonies in Europe. The last inhabitant, a priest, left the island in 1962. 

Not my own photo but I’m reliably informed this is what it looks like.

There were two entrances to Spinalonga, one being the lepers’ entrance, a tunnel known as “Dante‘s Gate”. This was so named because the patients did not know what was going to happen to them once they arrived. However, once on the island they received food, water, medical attention and social security payments. Previously, such amenities had been unavailable to Crete’s leprosy patients, as they mostly lived in the area’s caves, away from civilization.

There are books about it, both fact and fiction and none of them make for a happy read, as you can imagine, but they do reflect the strength and resilience of the human spirit.  So Spinalonga is on the list. We’ve done Knossos in the past and it is fascinating but annoying too. It’s fascinating for all the reasons you might expect and is an amazing glimpse into the Bronze Age and before. There is evidence to suggest that legends like that of the Minotaur had elements of truth before becoming Greek myths. But the man who excavated the site was a tad individualistic in his methods, restoring what he thought it would probably have looked like rather than always supporting it with real evidence. Nevertheless, it’s truly fascinating and well worth a visit. BUT, if you go, go in the morning. Temperatures soar as the day wears on and there is no shade, none, zero, nothing. And take water with you too, if you want to survive the visit.

Days 6 and 7. You will note that I went for a simpler background this time

There are other glorious sites to visit on the island, but whether we see them this time or not will depend on the heat and how tempted we are by the sea and the joys of snorkelling.

I’ve been keeping up with the tangling for the Summer Project so far, although I had a laugh at my own expense. I had deliberately chosen bijou tiles because they are small and I didn’t want to take on something that would prove to be too much. So why, I ask myself, did I start doing acres of patterning on the pages themselves?  ‘Cos I’m daft, that’s why.

Anyway, I’m trying to get myself under control and frame the tiles with something a bit simpler from now on. Doh!

So the Diva Challenge is next  and this week she asks us to use the tangle Dansk, by Margaret Bremner. It coincides with the need for a floral tile for the Summer Project, so I’ve combined the two. It’s on a bijou tile, so very small. 

So that’s all for now. The case is all but packed, the passports and tickets have been checked and double checked. Wheeeee!

Until I speak to you from across the water, be good world. (Well, as always, good-ish)


It’s not where you start….

Travelling Tangles starter 1. Can’t remember the name of this one

I suddenly have several new projects on the go at the same time. (It’s not a new thing, I do tend to be a bit all or nothing, not to mention obsessive and addicted too.) Fortunately, my addictions tend to be to crafts rather than substances, although I occasionally wonder if cocaine would be cheaper! I do spend rather a lot on pens, paper, card, paints, inks, stamps and stamp pads, dies and embossing folders and I simply cannot, I mean CANNOT walk past a stationery shop. No, not a shop that doesn’t move, a shop with pens and so on. It’s as if I have a sort of bungee chord attached and I just bounce right back on in there.

Not happy with these yet. More work needed. Much more!


So I’ve got my monthly swap on Artist Trading Card swap, which this month is the one where you do a bijou and attach it to a normal tile. Challenging but fun. I need to do five of these to send off round the world – well, mainly USA. These are numbers three and four out of the five I need to do.


Like this
I’ve joined these with a brad so the bijou will swing round


Then I’ve joined Travelling Tangles for the first time. A bit nervous about this one because I’ve seen what people can do and there are some extremely talented members of this group. There is a theme of flowers or floral with this swap, so I have done my five starter tiles with that in mind. I’ve done coloured backgrounds using a stamp pad and dauber, then just one motif type pattern on each one.

Pattern is Huabao by YuRu Chen
This one is called Priyanka by Smita Toke
And this is Heli, by Shazia

Like a fool I didn’t make a note of the patterns used, but they are all on my Pinterest page under How to’s and Step Outs if you feel a desperate urge to find out more! In fact, hang on a minute, I’ll go and look…..   Well, I found all but one of them.



I’ll put them in the mail tomorrow and wait with bated breath to see what people do with them.  And then there’s the Summer journal for Zentangle. I showed you the cover a couple of posts ago and now it has begun. Day 1 was to include just one word, so in spite of world events, or perhaps because of them,  I chose Peace. I’ve had John Lennon in the back of my head recently, singing “Give Peace a Chance” so that was my focus for this little bijou tile. For Day 2 it was one of these fragment/reticula things they keep going on about at Zentangle HQ but, since I can’t afford the Primer and won’t afford all the stuff on the Zentangle Mosaic App, I sort of had to guess this one.  I know the app is free but it’s then view only and every breath after that has to be paid for. I feel slightly ripped off,  so I don’t use it, even though I have it on my tablet.) And for Day 3 we were to use String 153 from Tanglepatterns.com. And here they all are together on their page, joined with just a few ribbons – didn’t want to get over ambitious!

So I’m not unhappy with where it’s started, just hoping I can keep it up for three whole months…

Day 4 was to use purple and feel free to do with it as you will, so I did. The purple background is a bit fortuitous, as I used three shades of Promarker pens, which don’t always like water colour card. Howver, since I knew I was patterning over it, I wasn’t too worried, until the pinkiest of them turned out to be running dry and didn’t cover properly. But, if fact, I like the texture it created.


And today, Sunday, was to Dingbat. Nothing like dinging your batz on a sunny Sunday and I really enjoyed this one.


I haven’t finished designing the page for them to go on so I’ll show you that next time, I hope.

And then, today being Sunday, we had my son and his family round for Sunday lunch, and my elder daughter too. So there were five adults and a three year old and we had sort of tapas = chicken paella, albondigas, patatas bravas, pulled pork (Alright I know that isn’t tapas but it is niiiiiice.) There were olives and nachos and sliced peppers, carrots, tomatoes and we ate until out eyeballs well protruding.  Strangely, we still found room for dessert – sponge and custard, very Yorkshire and, as my Dad would have said, it filled up all those little corners. We then went out onto the back garden and played with sand with Isla until it started to rain.

So now I’m going down to watch the Manchester Arena concert and do a little crochet, while the dishwasher has a nervous breakdown in the kitchen. And, of course, tomorrow is Diva Day with another challenge. I may have bitten off more than I can chew but we’ll see. OK, Laura Harms, bring it on…


No Challenge – is it a public holiday in Canada?


Phew, just a day late, don’t panic! The Diva’s week has been a  busy one so who can blame her? And it’s been her Beads of Courage race week too, which is the subject of the Challenge, of course.  I thought it was worthwhile including a full explanation of this, for anyone who isn’t familiar with it.

Beads of Courage is an arts in medicine program that helps kids with chronic or life threatening illness tell the story of their medical journey.  Each bead represents something different.  A different procedure or appointment, or special circumstance.  For example, when seeing a doctor or getting a poke instead of getting a sticker when they leave, they are given a glass bead for each thing.  (blue for doctor, black for poke… some other beads are yellow=night in the hospital, pink=respiratory support, magenta=trip to emergent care, teal=tube insertion or removal, rainbow=therapy; physical, speech, occupational, respiratory) and every child’s string is different and unique to their story. 

I got involved with Beads of Courage 5 years ago when my friend Tara and I decided to organize a 5K Colour Fun Run to raise money for the Beads of Courage programming in Saskatchewan.  One night i said to her: “We should do a 5k run together, do you want to run with me?”  and she said: “Why would we raise money for someone else’s cause? We should just make our own run and raise money for a cause that means something to us.” and our run was born that night.  We were very lucky to have some really wonderful people come on board and our 6 person committee has come a long was from that first year when it was just Tara, Maryann and i.  

Our run is 100% volunteer run (unlike other ‘for profit’ runs like Color me Rad or The Color Run” and all the money raised goes to Beads of Courage programming.  Runners start out in white – then they run through 5 colour stations where volunteers throw colour at them to symbolize the beautiful coloured beads that kids on this program accumulate through their medical journey. 

So I’ve combined Day 6 of the Summer project with the Challenge and done a bjou tile with the pattern Myswing, coloured beads and a purple background for the Moebius Syndrome colours. It was a pleasure to do and, if it helps anyone at all, that is goooood. So that’ll do for now and until next time, be good world. (-ish)