Superb Saturday!

What a lovely day I’ve had today! 🙂

Started off with a lie-in, which was most welcome after some very late nights this week watching the fabulous tennis at the Australian Open.  I was listening to a fascinating interview on Radio New Zealand National, with Kim Hill (the Saturday morning programme presenter) interviewing Willard Wigan, a micro sculptor whose work is so minute it fits on the head of a pin or in the eye of a needle, and can only be viewed through a microscope.  (Do have a look at the gallery in the link above – almost unbelievable work!)   He had an incredibly hard time growing up and going to school in Britain in the 1960s, with teachers regularly dismissing him as stupid and unteachable, as well as being bullied, which caused him to escape into a sort of fantasy world where he began constructing things, eg very small houses and furniture for ants.  He left school at 15 and started work in a factory, and then persuaded a hardware store owner to allow him to sit in the store window and carve things using tools from the shop.  His reputation grew as more and more people began to commission work from him, and he’s now a very successful sculptor in high demand, and was awarded an MBE in 2007.

Spent some time in the garden after breakfast, accompanied by his lordship, who enjoyed rolling in the flowerbed as I was taking some photographs …

As I wandered alongside the creek, I noticed how the eddies in the water were breaking up the reflections and creating fascinating patterns (which my mind immediately saw as possibilities for Zentangles …) – got quite carried away taking photos of these, but here are a few to show you what I mean:

And then when I downloaded the photos this evening, I saw different shapes in the pictures – here are a few I cropped out to show you:

Do you see what I see – two different faces, a cat, and a bird?  Fascinating, isn’t it?

After my garden rounds I spent some time looking at Zentangle patterns on the internet, which provided me with lots of inspiration and encouragement – there really is some beautiful work around.  Here are my efforts from the last few days:

This afternoon and evening were spent watching the third ODI (one day international) cricket game between the Black Caps and India, and what a fantastic game it was, with India requiring two runs off the last ball to win the game, and only managing to get one run, meaning it was a tie.  The Black Caps lead the 5-match series 2-0 so far, so game 4 on Tuesday, and game 5 on Friday, will be closely-fought matches, I’m sure.

And that’s been my day, a glorious one weather-wise, filled with lots of photo opportunities, serendipitous creative discoveries in the creek, and a cracker cricket match!  Oh, and I nearly forgot, Li Na won the women’s open at the tennis this evening, which I was delighted to see – she’s a great player with a very quirky sense of humour, and her winner’s speech was a gem this evening (not to mention the fact that she doesn’t scream, grunt or screech while she’s playing, so she gets several gold stars from me for that!!)

So, time for bed – reading a lovely book at the moment called “The Lost Art of Mixing”, by Erica Bauermeister, about a lady called Lillian who runs a restaurant which has a way of drawing people together:  some nice quirky characters in it, and I like the way the characters’ lives intersect in one way or another.  Apparently the book is a sequel to another called “The School of Essential Ingredients”, so I shall look out for that one too.

G’night, everyone, I hope your Saturday is (or was) as good as mine was! 🙂

What a match!

Just finished watching the first ODI between the NZ Black Caps and India (the No. 1 ranked team in the world), and what a performance by our boys, beating India by 23 runs!  So good to see and enjoy:  it isn’t always easy, being a Black Caps supporter, but they’ve certainly been delivering some excellent cricket lately, so I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the series! 🙂

I’ve actually managed to spend some more quality time doing a bit of tangling over the last few days, and have five to share with you tonight, plus a couple of other photos.

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Zentangle 15 2014-01-17

Zentangle 16 2014-01-18

Zentangle 17 2014-01-18

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The Zentangle book I have out of the library at the moment is this one:

Joy of Zentangle

It has a number of patterns in it which are different to those in One Zentangle a Day (my own copy of which arrived during the week – yay!), so I’m enjoying working my way through it, and seriously considering purchasing my own copy of this one as well …  One day soon I’m also going to create a Zentangle using one of the official 3.5 x 3.5 inch Zentangle tiles, rather than drawing it in my book (although I do like having them all in my little book, so I can look back and see how I’m progressing).

Spent most of yesterday finalising the bridge club’s newsletter, so it can be emailed out to members and uploaded to the website tomorrow.  Not trying to skite or anything, but have to say I’m quite pleased with the end result 🙂

Anyway, having had a number of very late nights over the last few days, I’m going to try to get a decent number of hours’ sleep tonight to start off the week in credit, so to speak, so I shall love you and leave you with the last couple of photos:  the first one is the very delicate and pretty flower on one of my Heuchera plants (Caramel), and the other is Henry Lee asleep on top of the Encyclopaedia Britannica set – I can think of more comfortable places to sleep, but I think this was the coolest place he could find in the 32 degree heat this afternoon! 🙂

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Zentangle No. 13

Finally managed to spend some quality time tangling tonight, after a few brief attempts over the last few days – I do wish life wouldn’t keep putting obstacles in the way of my engaging my creative side! 🙂

Discovered when I got home tonight that I’d actually left all my Zentangle stuff at work 😦

I keep it all in one of those business folders so it’s all in one place – you know, the kind of folder that has various pockets and places for a writing pad and pens and business cards, etc, and then zips closed to keep it all neat and tidy – found an old one stashed away in a cupboard when I was having a bit of a clear out over the weekend, so it’s being put to good use! Anyway, luckily I had a set of pens I’d purchased in Brisbane a few months ago when I first discovered Zentangling – had to use a 0.2 size pen instead of the recommended 0.1, and had no designs to refer to, so it was a very good creative exercise for me 🙂

Zentangle 13 2014-01-15

A good win for the Black Caps tonight in the final T20 game against the West Indies – it was looking a little dicey there for a few overs, when we kept losing wickets and the required run rate got to over 9 an over, but thanks to a great innings from Luke Ronchi and a couple of good hits from Jimmy Neesham we got home OK.  And now we have a five ODI and two Test series against India to look forward to!  First ODI is on Sunday – what a perfect way to spend an afternoon 🙂

Sunday night, and almost bedtime …

Goodness me, where has the weekend gone:  I’m not ready to go back to work again tomorrow!  I also can’t believe it’s been almost a week since I posted something:  how slack! 🙂

An eventful week last week, with the main news being our shift in work premises from Avice Hill (oh, how I shall miss those gardens!!) to the more sterile atmosphere of Fendalton Service Centre this coming week, for a period of two to three months.  After that we will be transferring again, this time to our new ‘home’ (for the next three to five years), which will be portacoms behind Sockburn Service Centre.  So after nearly three years out of Sockburn, we are returning to our former location, albeit in different accommodation.  Here are a couple of photos to show you what Sockburn looks like at present:

Sockburn Service Centre 1  Sockburn Service Centre 2

As you can see, it’s all fenced off  with a few ‘props’ in place for safety reasons – hopefully our portacoms will be well away from this! 🙂

Have been struggling to do much ‘tangling’ (I read in one of the Zentangling books I have out of the library at present that this is the terminology one should use when referring to what one does in the execution of Zentangles – there is, apparently, no such verb as Zentangling:  so that was me put in my place …) in the last week, what with bridge picking up again and a cricket match or two to watch on the TV.  Plus I wasn’t happy with my last two efforts, so didn’t feel inclined to share them with you.  However, I seem to be back on track again now, so here’s tonight’s effort:

Zentangle 12 2014-01-12

Still working on trying to achieve a better flow from one design to the next – I guess it’ll happen with practice.

Anyway, it’s just past the witching hour so time for bed – hopefully I will be able to complete and share a few more Zentangles in the coming week than I managed last week! 🙂

And now for something completely different …

Do you listen to the radio very much?  In my drive to and from work each day I listen to Radio New Zealand’s National Programme, which is a non-commercial station, and love the afternoon programme they run from late December to mid-January, when a lot of people are on holiday and ‘normal programming’ is sort of suspended.  It’s called ‘Matinee Idle’ and the hosts are Phil O’Brien and Simon Morris, with Production Assistant Kelle Howson.  Phil and Simon are an irreverent twosome who excel in quick repartee and the ability to find quirky, off the wall numbers to entertain and amuse.  On New Year’s Eve they played a little gem called ‘Bulbous Bouffant’, by The Vestibules (, which is actually a video about three guys waiting for the bus, made by a chap called Spencer Parks in 2006 as part of his independent study at the University of Iowa.  I love the concept of taking a whole lot of slightly unusual sounding words (eg macadamia, gazebo, bouffant, blubber, etc) and weaving them together into a sort of chant – it reminded me so much of The Muppet Show, with the same sort of humour:  great stuff!

Had some time tonight after work and before bridge to take a walk in the Botanic Gardens with the camera – it was a beautiful evening, although the wind made it a little tricky for photos.  I have no idea what some of the plants/trees are (I should be more diligent and note down all the relevant botanical information for you, shouldn’t I … nah, that’s too much like work!), but here’s a selection of shots for you:

No time for Zentangling today – I’m almost suffering withdrawal symptoms! 🙂 I did, however, get the chance to discuss it with one of the librarians at Fendalton Library today, as she was practising in the tea room at lunchtime when I in there – like me, she has only recently discovered it, and is enjoying the creative and therapeutic aspects. I shall have to do double homework tomorrow to make up for missing today 🙂

Bridge tonight was fun – good to be getting back into it, although my brain seems to have forgotten a few things over the short break! Always love the challenge of the game, though, and the opportunity to play against better players and to learn from them.

And with that, I’ll bid you all a good night, and we’ll catch you again tomorrow – take care.

Zentangle No. 11

My first day back at work after two weeks off over the Christmas/New year break – it wasn’t too bad, although I do admit to many a thought through the day about what I could be doing were I at home instead! 🙂

Looking at tonight’s Zentangle, I feel I’m making progress on transtioning from one design to another, and learning how to have one design sitting on top of another as it were.  I can’t tell you enough about how much I’m enjoying doing these!  I really look forward to sitting down each day and learning another new pattern or two, practising them, and then trying to incorporate them in a new creation – it’s so much fun, I’m sure it’s good for my blood pressure and mental health as well 🙂

Zentangle 11 2014-01-06 

Some patterns I enjoy doing more than others, but I try not to favour one over another, lest the neglected ones feel slighted and turn on me and refuse to co-operate and appear the way I’d like them to when I do try them again … 🙂

I’ve really appreciated the book I currently have out of the library which is teaching me all this lovely stuff:  I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but just in case I haven’t, here it is again:

One Zentangle a Day

I like it so much I’ve ordered one of my own through Trade Me – it has to come from Australia, so could be a few days away yet, but hopefully it will arrive before the library copy is due back on 9 January!

Just a couple more photos to share with you, one a pretty little white dianthus with water drops on it, and the other – ah, the other!  Prepare to get as excited as I am, ladies and gentlemen:  the other is a photo of my very first tomato on one of the Strawberry Belle plants (and whoever thought of that name for a variety of tomato needs a serious talking to) which I was given before Christmas – I have been waiting about four weeks for the fruit to actually turn colour, and at last it’s doing so!  I’m concerned that the long incubation period will have affected the taste, but I pledge not to hold back when it comes to relaying the Tale of the Tasting, I shall record it faithfully and accurately, I promise 🙂

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Exciting stuff, isn’t it??! 🙂 🙂

And so to bed – first game of bridge tonight, and I’m definitely rusty – need to sleep to recover!

Ciao for now.

Zentangle No. 10

Just a quick post tonight, as it’s nearly midnight and this girl has to get up for work tomorrow morning! 😦

Today’s Zentangle for you, plus a couple of photos I took in the late evening sun today, one of the sunlight highlighting the edges of the comfrey in my garden (look how hairy those leaves are!), and the other giving a nice bit of sunflare – I can use the second one in the 52 in 2014 challenge – No. 26, Sunflare.   I’m quite pleased with the angle in the sunflare one, it almost makes it look as if we’re in the midst of a forest 🙂

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That’s all for now, folks – catch you again tomorrow.

Zentangle No. 9

A very laid-back Saturday for me: spent most of the day watching the 4th ODI, played in Nelson, which the Black Caps won (on the Duckworth-Lewis system, due to rain interrupting the game at a late stage – I am yet to make any sense of that system, all I know is that the side batting second always seems to come off second best!). I was able to work on my Zentangle practice while I was watching the game, and complete Zentangle No. 9 – here it is:

Zentangle 9 2014-01-04

I also went out with the camera this morning and again this evening after my walk – I’ve sorted out a few topics from the two photo challenges I’ve joined that I reckon I should be able to cover around home – here’s what I found:

DSCF3199 cropped Daisy - 114 in 2014 

These two are for the Daisy topic in each of the challenges – but you guessed that, I’m sure 🙂

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This one is for the topic Green, in the 52 in 2014 challenge – just in case you’re not sure, it’s a head of parsley going to seed – it wasn’t until I looked at the photo on the computer that I noticed the dainty little individual flowers that are just starting to open:  isn’t it pretty?

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This one is for Something beginning with P, in the 52 in 2014 challenge – P is for profile, of course 🙂

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And these two are just for fun – I could have entered the petunia one under the P topic, but decided not to; and his lordship was enjoying the late evening sun as I was out looking for photos.

Last day of my two-week break tomorrow – how sad!  But it also means that bridge starts again next week, which makes me glad! 🙂

Zentangle No. 8

Well, it took me about an hour and a half to ‘construct’ my Creativity Centre, but it was definitely worth it! (Although I can see I’m going to have to purchase a better chair to use with it, as it’s quite high – at the moment I’m having to sit on two cushions, which isn’t the best.)

Anyway, here’s tonight’s Zentangle, created at the new ‘location’ – I’m definitely happier with this creation than I was with last night’s, although I do need to work on my transition so it flows from one pattern to another – it’s a bit stop-start at present, I feel. All part of the learning curve!

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Ooh, lookee, lookee!

Spotted this Creativity Centre (don’t you love the description?) on special in The Drawing Room when I was in town on New Year’s Eve …

Creativity Centre 2

Decided at the time that I couldn’t afford it … came home and thought about it for two days … thought about how much I’m enjoying my Zentangling … thought about how cool it would be to be able to work at one of these instead of the dining room table … rang up today to check and they still had two left … so I decided to treat myself for Christmas 🙂

Creativity centre 1

All I have to do now is put it together … if you don’t hear from me in the next 24 hours, could someone send some assistance, please? 🙂