It’s a case of desperately trying to finish things. In terms of the crochet, it’s a shawl, a vest top, a cardigan, a poncho or two, so far. In terms of drawing, it’s Christmas cards. But before I show you what I’ve been working on, I want to acknowledge some lovely swaps I’ve recently received.
And then on to some of mine. I’ve kept them simple but I think they will be OK.
And then a finished card.
These have been fun because they are fairly quick to draw. I’m thinking of doing a bigger piece, a ZIA, for Christmas this year, mainly in black pen but I haven’t decided what yet. I’ll keep you posted.
And so we come to this week’s Diva Challenge:
Weekly Challenge #373: “Non Dominant Tangling!”
Yes, i know! I hear you groaning from the back of the room… but hear me out.
So one of the things i did during my workshop was to have the participants tangle with their non-dominant hand. And because i had them captive in a room, they all did it.
I know that over the almost 8 years that i’ve been blogging, there has been a very strong divide among my readers, those who love this particular challenge, and those who hate it.
No surprises to say that I hate it. I can’t see the point in drawing something that you know from the start will look awful In fact, I nearly didn’t do it. But, you know how it is, you just sneakily give it a try and then you try to make it better and then you give up. For what it’s worth, here it is. But my initial reaction was right…. Waste of time and ink.
And on that happy note I will say farewell and remind you, as always world, be good -ish.
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
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.
and that will do for this week. until we meet again, world, be good. ish.
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.
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 )
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.
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!
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.
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.
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. )
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
When I was a child I liked music – still do – so my Mum and Dad joined a music club to buy me classical records to play on my Dansette Major record player. It was my pride and joy. I can remember standing in the front room (Sitting room/parlour, depending where you come from. The room that was only otherwise used if we had visitors.) conducting the Halle Orchestra and singing along to the Messiah at the top of my voice. I bet our neighbours loved that! One of the early records that I got was Porgy and Bess, which I fell for hook line and sinker. It led me to love blues and soul from a comparatively early age and I’ve never stopped. And one of the songs in Porgy and Bess (“I Ain’t got no Shame”? possibly) has the line “Ain’t no use complainin'” and sometimes it is so right. However badly done to we may feel, there just ain’t no use complainin’.
This comes home to me at present because we’ve just come back from a trip that was less than perfect. All sorts of things were wrong – they wanted us to share rooms when we had booked (and paid for!) separate ones. We were travelling as a couple and a single lady, so sharing a room really wasn’t on. We’re good friends, but not THAT sort of good friends.) The compensation offered didn’t materialise. The supposedly five star hotel just wasn’t. (It was mainly very nice but it wasn’t five star.) The Dining Room staff had arguments over our heads as they cleared the tables. The airport on the way home was a shambles, badly dealt with by the tour reps. The goods we’d ordered on the outward flight were not there for us on our return. It just went on. It was especially galling because for the friend we had with us, this was her main holiday of the year and it should have been just so. So the day after we got home I got a customer satisfaction survey.
You may imagine how long it took to complete it. And my language when the site timed out and I had to do it all again.
But thing is, as my grandson Ben would say, the thing is, my carefully worded and desperately fair critique of the poor service we experienced will have no effect whatsoever. I won’t be compensated but even if it was offered, what compensates for a series of comparatively small, badly dealt with problems? And the smooth apology, if is is forthcoming, will be worded in such a way as to be no apology at all. “I’m sorry that you feel that way, madam…” I mean, they’re not sorry and it’s not how I feel that they should deal with, it’s their poor standards of service. It’s annoying to be ignored but but it’s almost preferable to being insincerely schmoozed.
So let’s do some tangling and get some focus and relaxation. I did too. I’m doing a set of postcards for the latest swap and using them as 100 Days too. (I’d be drawing 18 hours a day if I tried to cover everything separately!) The first one just fell out of my pen. No thought, no plan except to have a border and be vaguely floral. (The brief is to do a bordered card with either a floral theme or a Summer landscape.) You can see it at the top of the page.
And then, as I was part way through drawing out another one, a thought came to me out of the blue. (It doesn’t happen often so I treasure these moments.) ” Clarice Cliff,” a little voice said to me, “try to do a bit of Clarice Cliff.”
This is not my usual colour palette but I got out the Sharpies and gave it a go. Now poor old Clarice will be spinning like a top at this travesty, but I got an awful lot of pleasure out of doing this one.
And when we got back from our trip, the floor was covered with post, much of it was what the loved one calls “hate mail” but is really happy mail from various swaps. So I’m showing you them here because you will understand what a thrill it is to get tiles and zenbuttons and bookmarks and who knows what else from friends across the world.
So much lovely work.
So I’m going to leave it there and wait for the next Diva Challenge. We’re off down to Wales to see my wonderful Ben soon, so there may be a pause in the drawing for a week or so. Well, ain’t no use complainin.