Embrace Your Wobble

Following the Fairy Houses Swap, I did a little picture for my grandaughter as a little Christmas present. It makes a change from crochet toys.

This my new motto, my modus operandi from now on.  It began with drawing and the fact that my hand is not always as steady as I would like it to be, especially when drawing auras. I had an afternoon with a couple of friends where we worked with some basic tangles and one lady, a retired maths teacher, was aching to use a ruler so her lines would be straight. Obviously, I slapped her and made her stand in a corner on one leg for half an hour until she had learned her lesson.

“But my lines wobble!” she wailed.

“Mine too.” I replied “But it doesn’t matter. Learn to live with it. More, love how it wobbles. Embrace your wobble.”

And as we collapsed in waves of laughter, a way of life was born. We agreed that drawing and life would be happier if we just learned to embrace the wobble. So I’m going to begin Inktober again, with a bijou tile for each day and a single pattern on each tile. I’ll show you when I’ve caught up. I will of course do other things too. I’ve received a lot of swaps recently and been extremely remiss in acknowledging them, so I’m going to show them to you here and then put a link from my FB site.

First, two from the Geometric Swap on Zentangle ATC

From Linda Deedy for the Geometric swap. Very nice choice of patterns and just look at the precision.
These all came from Helli Higgins in the Geometric Swap and I’ve started the hearts one at the top.
The Fairy House swap from Janet Prouty Morrison. I love the idea of the log being a terrace of little homes.
Another from Linda Deedy, the Fairy House swap and a couple of lovely atc backgrounds to set me thinking.
The Alphabet swap from Deja Cairns. Love the drama of the block colours. It reminds me of the sixties.
From Diana Schreur, for the Alphabet swap. I love the patterns but just look at the gorgeous little envelope she made to protect it in transit.
A gorgeous postcard from Julie Lazarus.
Fabulous depth on that Zenbutton and a reminder on the postcard, not just about belief, but also not to be afraid of leaving space between patterns.

 

So that salves my conscience to some extent, although there are more but I’ll put them in my next post.

I’m busy with all sorts of stuff at the moment. This includes more crochet as I prepare for Christmas presents for the family. They may not want them but the poor buggers are going to get them anyway. I’ve done a little hippy jacket/cardigan for the youngest; I’ll do another one for her 10 year old half sister; there will be, hopefully, a pretty vest top for my daughter in law and a poncho/sweater for one of my closest friends. The boys are trickier, as I did them all scarves last year. Possibly beanie hats?  We’ll see. My daughters are tricky too, as one of them crochets and therefore I feel my offerings may be a bit de trop and I don’t think the other one is all that keen.

As for the loved one, well, what do you give the man who says, “Don’t bother love, I’ve got everything I need, don’t waste your money.”  And he means it too! Grrrrr!

However, I have started the next round of Christmas cards, Zentangled baubles on fairly plain mounts. I’ll show you next time.

In the meantime, there is the Diva Challenge. I missed the last one but I happened to be using the tangle she asks for on a gift tag, so I offer it here as my response tot his week’s Challenge.

 

A minimal amount of Dewd for the border to brighten things up a bit.

and that will do for this week. until we meet again, world, be good. ish.

 

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My Way

Hat and mitts

So we had a little trip to the sunshine island of Tenerife. (Again, I know but we like it.) We stayed in an hotel we’ve visited before; did the seafront walks we’ve done before; visited some of the bars we’ve visited before and over ate the food as we have over eaten before. We weren’t there for new and exciting, we were there for familiar and relaxing. Now the hotel is very nice, not glam, not too stylish but spacious, comfortable and nicely placed for the

sea and/or shops.

A little sort of helmet

However, the entertainment on our past visits has varied from dire to excruciating, to the point where it was so bad it was good, if you know what I mean. Although there is something slightly charming about a Spanish singer with a reasonable voice who doesn’t know the words to familiar songs but makes noises that approximate the real thing, it gets a bit wearing and I can’t help feeling that a professional singer should know the words of the songs he  sings or sing songs he knows.  And then there is the marshmallow singer, who blurs the words, has used rather too much Grecian 2000 and relies on a sideways look, a wink and a grin showing rows of teeth you could project films onto to compensate for musical shortcomings. Or the woman who thinks she is a cross between Adele and Celine Dion but resembles either Hilda Baker in sequins or Margarita Pracatan. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMOWwg_IoAw )

The not so matching bootees

We tend to retreat to our balcony overlooking the pool and have a glass of wine (or two) and a friendly (usually) game of cards.

So we were a bit surprised and definitely pleased on our first night, to be entertained by a guy who really could play the saxophone and, to our uneducated ear, played the right notes in the right order.  On the second night it was a guitarist who gave Carlos Santana a good run for his money, much to our delight, and on the third night it was a Beatles tribute act, which we also enjoyed very much. On day 4 it was the in house entertainment team doing songs from the movies, which made up in enthusiasm what it occasionally lacked in musicality and it really was fun.

But it was downhill from there on in. The Queen tribute act was embarrassing, well, they weren’t embarrassed but we were. (He knew the words but failed to find a fair few of the notes.) The Mama Mia show made Pierce Brosnan’s vocal efforts look like Pavarotti and the last night was karaoke. Why do people do this? If you can’t sing, fine, but why get up on stage in front of strangers to prove it and then expect applause? What are we applauding, sheer barefaced audacity? Or gratitude when it stops? So this chap gets up and the music begins for “Delilah”. It was quite a while before it occurred to me that he was actually singing that very song, and when he bawled the words “Why, why, why?” I

was thinking exactly the very same thing.

I suggested I might go up and sing “I Will Survive” and the loved one offered “My Way” but we realised that, although neither of us can sing, to meet the standard we had seen, we would have to sing the two songs simultaneously, with the backing tracking playing “Phantom of the Opera”.

We had an early night instead.

Some of my “geometric” swaps.

The weather was much hotter than we had expected (29-31 rather than 21-24) , so we curtailed our usually longish walks and returned to spend our time wallowing in the pool in the afternoons. We then retreated to our room, where the loved one lay down pretending he wasn’t having a nap and I did either crochet or some tangling. My crochet was using oddments of wool leftover from other projects and making little hats, mitts and bootees for local hospital neo-natal units for premature babies. This was fun, although getting any two bootees to be the same size was something of a challenge. I also spent quite a bit of time playing what the American crocheters call “yarn Chicken”, where you crochet as fast as you can to get finished before the wool runs out!

Some more of the geometric ones.
Inktober 1… Mooka, Ginilli, Yah, Fleavy, Pais and Facets

I started Inktober with enthusiasm, using Stephanie Jenner’s prompts. My first attempt used three or four tangles but was more a case of getting some practice than achieving an attractive finished product, which is fine, it is what it is. I liked the second one better. And I have a swap using pairs of Bijou tiles and a geometric theme, which was quite a challenge because I only do grid patterns under protest and I couldn’t think what else to do. I’ve done quite a few (as you can see above) because they are in pairs, but I haven’t decided which ones to send yet.

 

 

 

Inktober 2. The same patterns but somehwo I like it better.

And then there is the Diva Challenge. I think I’ve missed one but this week’s is as follows:-

Weekly Challenge #370: “UMT – Mezzanine by HeidiSue
This month’s Use My Tangle challenge features the tangle Mezzanine by Heidi Sue.  It’s so cute, and it makes a great “statement” tangle!  You can find the step outs HERE
So I tried it and I think it’s one that will grow on me.
And finally, one of those proud parental moments. When on holiday with us a couple of years ago, my younger daughter saw some novelty bottle openers, took a couple home as souvenirs and asked me to get her some more this time. The thing is, they are bottle openers shaped like a penis, albeit a strangely decorated one. Now I am not by any means a prude, but can you imagine this little chunky old lady toddling into a shop and asking for four penises por favor? The joys of being a mum.

And on that happy note I will say farewell for now. When my embarrassment has faded and the blushes have died down, I will, like the Terminator, be back. Until then, world, be good-ish.

 

Back Into the Swing…

Not quite sure what to do with this. Does it need more patterns or is that enough?  Or should I cut it up and use it on cards? For the moment it’s going into a journal, I think.

Up until last week it had been a while since I posted anything, so there’s still a lot to catch up on. We haven’t travelled a lot outside the UK since June, when we went to Bulgaria for a seaside break. It’s not somewhere we’ve been before and I don’t think we’ll go again. To be fair, we barely left the resort, except for a wonderful boat trip across the bay to the nearby town of  Nessebar, which was unbelievably beautiful. For the most part, our hotel was fine, except the staff seemed to be saving their smiles for someone else. It took a week before we got a genuine response.  However, the beach was amazing and the sea was both warm and calm, so we spent hours in it. (One of the reasons for staying close to “home” a lot of the time. )

One of the side streets in Nessebar.
Some of the hand made crafts for sale there.
Looking from our table at lunchtime
My lunch that day . And the loved one had something similar. It cost under $15.00 for the two of us.
The view of Nessebar as we approached on the boat.

We walked a fair bit around the resort and found a couple of nice bars for coffee/snacks/beer, which were staggeringly cheap.  In retrospect I think we would have been happier in an apartment rather than an hotel but who knows?  So why wouldn’t we go back? Because we felt that the place was geared towards a younger, rowdier guest than we are.  (We were staying in Sunny Beach, a purpose built holiday town, not Nessebar, which I think would have suited us better.) I think  we found the place too noisy, both in terms of music and just “normal” conversation. People seemed to lack any concept of personal space and everyone seemed to be shouting at each other. Every conversation seemed to be on the verge of turning into an argument. Perhaps it’s my tolerance levels that need a boost.Better get some tangling done.

The tangling has been on the back burner a lot of the time as I have been trying new, well, new to me, skills. I’ve been continuing my exploration of mixed media and art journalling but am a little discouraged at the moment. Unlike Zentangle, it helps to have an end result in sight and my finished product tends to fall woefully short of my anticipated version. I am disappointed more often than not. The thing is, it’s not enough for me to have tried, I need an end result that satisfies me and most of mine don’t. I know it’s my mental approach that isn’t right but it is how I approach things and that’s that! Discouraged or not, I will keep on for a while yet because every now and then I see signs of improvement.

Over the Summer I have a done a lot of crochet, mainly shawls and toys and this is something I CAN do. I started a bag for use at the beach but then got sidetracked onto a baby blanket for my son’s wife’s brother’s new baby. (Did you keep up with that?) In fact I have done more starting than finishing and really need to get my act together. The crochet does please me because i actually end up with what I pictured at the start.

In addition, I’ve made quite a few cards using the Creations CeeCee methods and this has been a lot of fun. (I’ve got about 15 Christmas cards done so far, just another 3245 to go!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flowers, stars and baubles are made from card I painted and then cut into shapes.  In fact, they’re made from pages from the failed art journals, which look a lot better cut up than they did as pages! The flowers were done by hand, the baubles and stars on a Big Shot die cutting machine. I’m happy with them because they are hand made but fairly quick to do.

A couple of friends came round one afternoon and we used to same method to make greeting cards to sell for charity and it gave me an idea. I have lots of Zentangle pieces that I could cut up and use like this on cards, which might make me a bit of space in my craft room. Hmmmmm! I’ll let you know how I get on with that at a later date.

dav
In the back garden of the Royal Hop Pole

We did a UK road trip in August, going down first to Tewkesbury and  staying overnight at The Royal Hop Pole, which is where Charles Dickens set part of The Pickwick Papers. It’s absolutely lovely and I would highly recommend it. Tewkesbury itself is a very pretty town, with a lot of old buildings and an abbey too. It’s renowned in UK history as being the site of one of the most decisive battles during the Wars of the Roses and I really enjoyed our visit.  These are some pics of the inside of the Abbey and about the streets of the town.

This ceiling is painted in the colours of the House of York, who won the battle in 14 umpty something.
That Zentangle gets everywhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of several examples of Tudor buildings. (Possibly earlier.)
these little alleys between the houses lead to tiny courtyards, many filled with pots of flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I said, a lovely place to visit.

Apart from the various swaps I’ve been doing, there hasn’t really been a lot of Zentangle, so I really enjoyed picking up the two Diva Challenges last week and just letting go. I’m hoping this week is just as pleasurable.

LATER

 

And indeed it was. Straight lines.

Weekly Challenge #368: “Straight Lines”
This week i wanted to do something with straight lines.  little straight lines are my go to when i’m feeling stressed out or anxious… and it was a pretty harrowing week.  So i thought for this week’s challenge we could do a Straight Line Only challenge!! these can be quite fun, and there’s different ways to interpret the challenge!

I forgot to mention Fentz, which I used as a string in the middle bit.

I followed Laura’s lead and used a curved string with Baton, Hexonu, Paradox and Irradial.  I can’t say the finished tile is visually particularly satisfying but the process was, so that’s OK.

And so, for now, I’ll say a fond farewell and rember,  be good -ish.

 

 

Getting to grips with swapping.

Initial D patterns
Initial M patterns
Initial C patterns

Coooeeee! It’s me. Didja miss me? Oh. Right. Well, anyway, here I am again. I’ve been getting behind with my swaps for various FB sites I’m a member of and I decided it was time to be a bit more pro active. The July swap for  Zentangle Artist Trading Card Swap –  https://www.facebook.com/groups/123904037786011/  just trips off the tongue doesn’t it? –  was to send someone an atc using patterns that began with the initial of the recipient’s surname. Corr. At first it was a bit laborious but then I got into it and had a lot of fun. It also got me trying patterns I haven’t used before, which is no bad thing. some of them will go back into the “not bothered” pile but others, like Camreap and Cabana will surface again, I think. Each atc had just a little colour but I got a bit over excited at one point, as you can see.

Initial S patterns
More Initial S patterns, I think
Are these initial L? Already forgotten, sad isn’t it?
White Clover Flower Fairy Vintage Print, c.1927 Cicely Mary Barker Book Plate Illustration
This is the Clover Fairy by said Cicely M Barker and my Grandma said it looked just like me at that age. It needn’t be true but I like the idea. I’ve still got the podgy legs.

I recently joined a fledgling FB group called UK Tanglers (So if you are in the UK, have a look. We’re a friendly bunch and there aren’t many of us as yet.) anyway, we’ve swapped a few starts for each other to finish and some different types of card/paper to draw on and now we’re doing a round robin swap. We’re using  A5 card and each member does a bit then passes it on to the next person on the list to add their bit. I’ve started one and added to two more as they’ve arrived but, and this is soooo typical, I forgot to take photos before I sent them off.

However, I think it’s a nice idea and I’m looking forward to seeing how they all turn out.

 

And the next swap for Zentangle Artist Trading Card Swap is even more exciting …Zentangle fairy houses, no less. Ooooooo this is fun. Since I can’t draw proper Flower Fairies a la Cicely M Barker, I’ve gone for quirky instead.

I know my little houses are pretty derivative but I had a lot of fun doing them and I think I’m going to do a bigger one for my four year old granddaughter, probably as a Christmas gift. Although I tried some with bright colours, I found the more subtle ones felt more comfortable for some reason. (Well, subtle for me anyway.) Anyway I sent them off last week so we’ll see in a couple of weeks how  they are received.  Silly me. I know how they will be received – with pleasure and kinds words, because tanglers are supportive and positive of each other. It’s one of the reasons I love doing it.

So there we are, welcome to Fairyville Parva, full of desirable residences for discerning fay folk.

And then, joy of joys, the Diva is back. Refreshed and renewed by her Summer break, she returned with a couple of back to basics posts and my responses to both of them are here.

Firstly, DC 366 –

Weekly Challenge #366: Back to Basics
I’ve been thinking about what my first back to bizness challenge would be after the summer, and i didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself or on any of you – so this week’s challenge is a Back to Basics challenge – we’re gonna go back to the Zentangle roots.

Black on White, with pencil shading, on a 3.5″ Square
Dots. Border. String.

using simple tangles like HollibaughCrescent MoonKeekoPrintemps.  (follow links for step outs if you don’t know them already)

Dots, frame, string.

So I did my dots in the corners, made a frame, used D and C linked as a string and off I went.  I didn’t try for anything fancy, just quiet concentration and it worked a treat. It isn’t art but it is very satisfying.

And then I moved straight on to DC 367, which is still going back to the fundamentals of Zentangle and using rounding the corners to make a simple but very effective pattern.

Patterns and shading. Neither inspired nor inspiring but good practice nonetheless.

Again, I really enjoyed this and I realise it was because this was all I was doing, no finished product in mind, just one line at a time. Very, very relaxing.

Here’s what the Diva asked us to do

 

Weekly Challenge #367: “Tangle ‘NZEPPEL”
So this week’s challenge is to spend some time with the tangle ‘NZEPPEL and it’s cousin CRAZY ‘NZEPPEL if you like!  I’m trying to ease my way back into the habit of tangling, and this tangle has always been a pretty soothing one for me, that is – once i saw Rick demonstrate it back when i was certified.
The key in the tangle, in my opinion, is to trace the shapes as best you can, only rounding out the corners.  Rick says: imagine squishing a water balloon into a triangle
I tried to draw Nzeppel behind Nzeppel and I think it works reasonably well.
So that’ll do for now. Caught up quite a lot and still got lots to do for next week. So, until then, world, be good -ish.

And the Livin is Easy…

Still focused on Porgy and Bess because  it is, for the time being, Summertime. And we’re having a real Summer too. Sunshine, blue skies, gentle breezes, the smell of lighter fuel drifting across the garden as various neighbours desperately try to light barbecues and cremate some sausages. It doesn’t seem to come naturally to us Brits, this barbecue stuff. To start with, there’s a tendency to make a pyre the size of a small block of flats; then it won’t light properly so everything is dowsed in kerosene or the like; cooking either takes place in a miasma of petroleum vapour, making the addition of smoky chippings totally pointless, since all that can be tasted is refined fossil fuels, OR, we go and have something to eat while we wait for the coals to achieve an appropriate temperature (Generally, people test the temperature of the coals by sticking a metal skewer in. If it melts, it’s ready to cook.) and have no appetite by the time the food is  ready.

AND THAT’S NOT ALL…

There is a naive assumption that barbecue is an easy way to cook. And another is that everything has to be barbecued – veg, fish, fruit, neighbours, you name it, we can burn it to a crisp in no time. Conveniently forgotten are the hours of preparation making the burgers from scratch, marinading the belly pork or steak, building the kebabs, creating at least three types of salads (with dips or dressings, of course) and generally making a meal for a family of four from enough food to feed the village.

We don’t do barbecues at our house. I’m quite good at pies, pastries and cakes, casseroles, stews and gentle curries but barbecues R not us.

Anyway, when we go to Spain and/or Greece, we eat out a lot and that’s the time for lamb cooked on a spit over their version of Towering Inferno, souvlaki with Greek salad, and proper rare steak, singed on the outside and red in the middle. You should try the paella cooked over a firepit,   on the beach in Nerja or the sardinas on a skewer on the seafront at Torre del Mar or the kleftiko at Valantina’s in Lardos  ….  Dammit, I’m faint with hunger now.

I’ve “improved” the middle one a bit since I took the picture by adding a few white highlights and I do think it looks better.

It’s been so consistently hot and clammy and old fashioned English Summery recently that I’ve retreated indoors and done a fair bit of art work. I’ve done some more journal pages, some finished and some still incomplete. I had another go at this one, which I just hated  and it now looks like this… (I’m sorry Michele, your page disappeared entirely under the gesso.)

 

 

Still not confident I think, but I’m getting the idea. And the idea that I’m getting is that the extreme mixed media stuff, with collage and gesso and texture and old bus tickets and who knows what else,  is not for me,  but the many layered drawing/inking/stencilling probably is more my style. I have  “discovered ” a video channel on Youtube recently and am now an addict  – the site/page/ channel is called Creationsceecee and I would heartily recommend it. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYqZWhdaGh8 )

These are a couple of completed journal pages which are better but still… However, I did have fun doing these and I realise it is very like Zentangle in that the process is more important than the product a lot of the time. You may not be able to see them but there is some tangling on these.

As a result, I’ve been trying water colours and inks again and getting better results than before. At the top of the page, you can see one of the cards I made following the videos and I’m mildly addicted to this particular method. Here are some more:

All variations on the same theme but I really did have fun with them. There’s a bit, but not a lot of Zentangle involved but that doesn’t mean I have given up, oh dearie me, no.

However, I think that is for another day. I’m getting back into blogging too, although a little erratic. i hope you’ll check back every now and then.

Until next time, world,  be good – ish.