Wednesday, December 17, 2014

#198: K.I.S.S.

I really admired the beautiful linoleum cuts that our Diva posted on her website.  The shoes were oh-so-cute, and the other tile she created made the most wonderful patterns when turned and repeated on her surface.  That girl is so talented, and I have to wonder when does she have time and energy to churn out all this stuff??  I think that until I remember that when I was her age, I seemed to have boundless energy too.  Time has, um....passed... But Laura's work reminded me of some work I did years ago that fit this K.I.S.S.  (Keep It Simple, Silly - or Stupid if you're an American politician - I digress...) theme.

Back in the "Olden Days", I took a college art class where the final was to make a linoleum cut and use it to create a project for a good chunk of our grade.  Many of my classmates had done beautiful and intricate carvings of scenes or people, and they were using them with multiple colors of ink or specialized Japanese art paper or some such spectacular application.  Although I draw fairly well, I just couldn't get that linoleum to cooperate, and wasn't very good at the carving.  I managed to carve a simple, single leaf on a block about 5"x7", I believe.

But, like every good former Girl Scout of my day, I had a sewing machine and knew how to use it!    I bought some very simple unbleached muslin (really cheap on my student budget, and also easy to sew.)  I made a long gathered skirt and a really easy blouse with an elastic neckline and super simple raglan sleeves.  I got some brown printing ink and made a border at the bottom of the skirt and put some leaves down the length of the sleeves. I completed the outfit with my best hippy-dippy raw leather lace-up belt. 

Well!  I showed up in class on finals day wearing my new duds and was the hit of the season.  The teacher, with mouth open and eyebrows raised way high, gave me an instant A+.

For my response to the challenge, and having been reminded of that leaf carving, I did a single something-like-a-leaf.  I took inspiration from a leaf in the pattern of my bedding with fluted edges and round thingys down the center.  Here is my version.

On other fronts, the Square One group is using Indy-Rella this week.  Much of the work that's been posted on FB is incredibly lovely, but mine...something weird happened and I just had to go with it.  Oh well:

So thank you for dropping by today.  I enjoy all your comments and am grateful for your input.  To see all the Diva Challenge responses, use the link at the right margin of my screen.

Happy Holidays, everyone, and stop back next year for the next round of challenges.  God Bless!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

#197 Arukas - Welcome Back Diva - Update 12/11

Updated to add a bit more I've done.  I rarely do this, but I am so happy with the new Arukas I just finished, so I just had to share!

Also, I posted another Gneiss on Square One.  It is a busy, busy design - sometimes I get carried away...

Our Diva, Laura Harms, has been occupied with her family for the last month. Welcome back!  Her little cutie pie had his surgery and appears, by what Laura has posted, to be doing just fine.  Hugs and best wishes to Artoo! 

My life is scheduled down to the minute with all I have to do before Christmas, so I will just post what I have done and leave it at that this time.  I may go in later and add some other things I'm working on, but...maybe not...

So here is my attempt at Arukas:


Thanks for checking in with me - I'll write more next time!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

#s 195 and 196 - Catching up: Transformed Tangles and Dolls

Oh boy, we just passed Thanksgiving and I'm already behind schedule!  I worked on the challenge for last week, but didn't have time to post anything.

See, I was busy cranking out that annual feast thing.  Let me say right now, I made the best, most perfect gravy of my life!!  That is saying something because I'm a pretty decent cook (and old - I've been doing this quite a while).  I also made a new version of the sweet potato thing.  I have never been a fan of that marshmallow topped dish that everybody (except my youngest daughter) seems to crave.  I like mine baked and topped with brown sugar and butter.  Simple and straightforward.  My new husband, however, begged for the whipped ones with the topping.  Enter the new gold standard...I whipped them with butter and brown sugar, then topped them with an absolutely perfect golden tipped meringue.  Jealous yet?  The rest of the dinner was lovely, and I've been recovering and cleaning up ever since.

Now that tree box (two, actually) sits waiting for assembly.  Tomorrow... [Tuesday update - trees up and lit, ornaments in the boxes still - no sense rushing into these things... ]

...Thursday update:  tree decorated!  Now, let's see, cards to address, 20 dozen or so cookies to bake, pack and mail, hubby's costume to sew (for the 16th!!) for our Venetian Carnivale theme wine dinner (I know, that should be later, but they didn't ask me - it's the big Holiday bash and they got tired of tuxedos and sequined gowns, I guess)...  Plus, I'm going to squeeze in a class with a local CZT - Zentangle in the Round.  Can't wait - I need a push in that direction, as my tins of round tiles are just sitting there getting lonely.   Is it January yet?

You might begin to see why I am already playing catchup and am so late with this post probably three people will even see it.  Oh well.

For Challenge #195, we were to take a familiar tangle and transform it either from grid to free-form, from border to grid, from a loose and meandering to structured grid, etc.  I managed two tiles!  The first is MI2 squeezed into a diamond shaped grid, and the second is Fungees cut off at the waist, so to speak, and packed in a divided box full of  a patchwork of other tangles. Of the two, my favorite part is the bow-tie corners in the MI2 grid.  It just happened all by itself!

MI2 in formal wear!

A box full of Fungees packed in fancy paper.


For Challenge #196, the theme is dolls.  I always admire the beautifully costumed dolls that others collect and I enjoyed my own dolls as a child.  When I was in my later grade school years, the Barbie Doll was introduced, and I didn't get many of the expensive outfits for my Barbie (with a black !!! ponytail - no, they have not always been blonde).  I sewed my own outfits with little tiny stitches, adding ruffles, snap closures, gathered skirts and skinny shoulder straps.  My favorite iteration of dolls, however, has always been paper dolls.  Disney paper dolls were not only of the movie princesses, but also Annette Funicello and the other Mouskateers.  There were also dolls of Grace Kelly, Ginger Rogers and the gang from Sound of Music.  FUN!

So here is my (one lonely little) response tile to the latest challenge.  My original intention was to add a little color in the design, but I got going on all the patterns and just forgot about it.  It's a Zentangle thing, I guess:
Cut on the dotted line...

For the Square One focus, ING was the thing, with shading.  Here is the one I posted on Facebook for that "One".  Somebody did some fabulous 3D looking pearls on top of Hurry last week, and now half of the group is popping pearls all over the place. So fun to draw, and now I need to go that extra step and learn how to do the water drops.  

Thank you for stopping by to view my post this week and I do read and appreciate all your comments.

Monday, November 17, 2014

#194 - Embracing The Yuck - Feel Like a Kid Again

Elisa Murphy, a "newly minted" CZT,  is the guest blogger on our Diva's website.  She has challenged us to embrace our imperfections by using our non-dominant hand to create our tangles this week.   For anyone with obsessive tendencies (and who doesn't have a few of those?), this is a truly humbling experience.

Lately, however, that going-back-to-kindergarten feeling is very familiar to me.  I have always loved the beautiful lettering done over the centuries by monks and scribes, lovely handwritten notes by proper ladies in the Edwardian age, and even fanciful lettering in advertising. 

I enrolled in a beginning calligraphy class, and am just loving it.  I was not prepared, however, to feel like a five-year-old with a fat pencil on that blue-lined paper.  But that is exactly what happened.  Each week, I dutifully produced my homework pages for review by my instructor, who critiqued the shape of my "bowls", the straightness of my ascenders, the curve of my descenders, and ALWAYS the angle of my pen.  I'm shaky, crooked, uneven, and need to keep practicing.  But I will!

For my "Yucky" tile, I chose a string that resembles a calligraphic A (my initial, after all) to remind me of the parallel between these two learning experiences.  My left-handed version of this string was not so flowing and smooth.
In true kindergarten fashion, I used my fat tipped 05 pen.  I chose some tried and true, simple patterns.  N'zepple should have been pretty easy, but turned out REALLY shaky looking.  Oh well, I chalk that up the same way I did when I painted the columns at Pompeii leaning over.  In reality, they are straight and tall, but in my painting, not so much.  But, hey, who will know - they are ruins, after all.  Kinda like crookedy N'zepple.
I added Purk in the center, which turned out not so bad.  I added easy peasy Pillows, and figured good old Knightsbridge and Hollibaugh should be a snap.  Not so fast. The line part was good, but the coloring in part was unexpectedly difficult.  On the Knightsbridge, I even colored in a wrong square, probably because I felt so off-kilter with my lighting, hand position, and trying to think "backwards". 
I fancied up with Queen's Crown, which I left blank because I was just too tired from all that coloring in.  Remember when you were five, and you got really tired from all that coloring and printing?  That's how I felt. 
Finally, the shading was blessedly healing to this effort.  Somehow, it all smoothed out in the end.
But, here it is in all its no-so-much glory:
In other news...
The Square One focus posted on Friday was hurry.  I haven't used it before, but found it pretty fun.  The challenge is to make it play well with others, I think.  Kind of like a hyperactive kid, I guess (back to that theme).  Here is what I came up with.  The first is not exactly executed correctly, but I like how it turned out anyway.  I combined with Mi2.  The second one struck me as a play on words first, which I then executed on the tile.  Backwards from the usual flow, I guess.  I call it "Hurry, Mary, We're Leafing" 

And, last but not least, I am including one final tile using Swarm and Whirlee from the previous focus.  I have no idea how my mind was working when I did this.  One person commented "Mind blown!".  Yeah, mine too!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

#193: TriTangle - THX

It's that time of, not THAT time just yet.  It's time to say thanks to our Veterans and to be thankful for all our many blessings.

I live in an "active adult" community, where Veterans Day is a huge deal.  Neighbors display flags the size of battleships on their homes and there are ceremonies, parades and veterans discounts around the area. 

Facebook is full of photos of all the family members who have served their country.  Here is my dad, who served in Guam in the Army Air Corp in World War II.  I am truly thankful for all the sacrifices made by so many in the service of our country.

Then there is the big THX coming up in a couple weeks.  I'm preparing for the feast we will share with our loved ones (and wishing more of us could be together).  My pantry is stocked with pumpkin, brown sugar, spices and chicken broth to be made into all those goodies we enjoy on the one day of the year we remember to give thanks.

May we always remember that the best way to receive a blessing is to share a blessing.

Thank you, Holly, for providing this weekly challenge while Laura, our Diva, cares for her little guy as he has his surgery.  I read her update today, and it appears there is good news for her family.  More THX!

So, without further ado, here is the TriTangle THX with Trio, Huggins and XYP.

To see all the wonderful work produced by our Zentangle community, visit

THX for visiting!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

#192 Seton and Stained Glass Windows - plus a little making up for last week

This week's challenge references a pattern on some church windows.  I absolutely love stained glass windows and everything about beautiful churches!  If you have never visited our National Cathedral in Washington D.C., I encourage you, as a responsible Tangler, to make it part of your mission!  You will be inspired and delighted by what you see (we won't even talk about the Darth Vader gargoyle...)

The windows in the cathedral depict the typical scenes of saints and prophets and angels, but then there are some surprises.

There are scenes depiction our nation's history.

Some are just plain whimsical.

And then there is my very favorite that includes an actual chunk of moon rock embedded in the design.  It is exceptionally beautiful.

This week I received sad news that a dear friend and the choir director from my church in my former home state had passed away.  He was a warm, funny, brilliant (chairman of his local MENSA society) and enormously talented man.  Played the organ like nobody's business, and had been known to weave in a little rock music or Broadway theme into the most traditional church music.  It was often a good thing the choir sat at the back of the congregation, as it was hard to contain our grins and giggles when he did that. He will be missed by the many that loved him.

I decided to use the idea of church windows as I remember my friend and our wonderful church. I used Seton and added a tangelation of a pattern called Hastate.  In it's full view, that pattern lends itself very nicely to the look of stained glass.  I used it in the quarter-round portions of the Seton pattern.  I also snuck the little moon rocks into the first tile.  The second was done with Jelly Roll pens on a black tile. The little accent jewels in the first are also Jelly Roll.

LAST WEEK:  I missed posting last week, as life in our sleepy retirement community is pretty hectic in October.  I'm so overbooked!  I was honored to be named Artist of the Month by the Pebble Creek Art Club (about 140 members, I think), and was busy putting together my display for that honor.  Thank you, my esteemed colleagues.
I did work on some Betweed tiles, though, and figure better late than never.
The first one is straight-up Betweed in a sort of weave look.  It's OK, but I didn't impress myself.  The second is one where Betweed is the string, and other stuff fills it up.  Again, OK, but meh... The last one I DO like.  I did a challenge on the Square One: Purely Zentangle page on Facebook.  I am happier with this one, plus I tackled Punzel, which is a tough one for me.

So, happy November everybody.  I hope to have some good news to report soon.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

#190: Pink For Ardath

What a lovely tribute to Laura's beautiful grandmother Ardath.  Losing our loved ones is saddening under any circumstances, but when the cause is a disease that strikes mostly women, I wanted to just reflect on the feminine spirit.

I've had a couple of scares over the years, but have so far been spared this devastating diagnosis.  I can't speak any more profoundly than others have done, so this time I will just post my tile and hope it somehow captures the glowing feminine spirit that can nurture all of us, not just women but men as well.

I had no plan when I started this tile, but this is where it ended up.  I used a sepia pen rather than black for a little softer look and added color with Tombow blendable markers.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

#189: Yuma

This challenge is an interesting one, and not only because Yuma is such a cool new tangle. The subject of Native American Art has been in the forefront of my mind for a few weeks now. We live in Arizona these days, and Yuma is a city here. The entire state is full of Native American Art and culture, as is our neighboring state, New Mexico.

My husband an I just returned from a trip to Santa Fe, where we purchased a wonderful piece of pottery by an artist named Paula Estevan (look her up - her work is phenomenal!), who should be a Zentangler, if she is not already.
Most of her designs feature all-over repetition of one design in black and white. The patterns are traditional Native American, but her use of these designs is very contemporary looking, I think. Plus, her pots are paper thin, and if you've ever attempted to throw any kind of pottery, you know making them thin is a magic trick.

We also visited the Georgia O'Keefe museum in Santa Fe. In addition to having the privilege of viewing Ms. O'Keefe's wonderful works, we also saw an exhibit of works by a close associate and friend of Ms. O'Keefe's, Miguel Covarrubias. He was born in 1914 and just passed away this January - 100 years old!!  One of the things in the exhibit was a notebook in which he had made pencil sketches of various Native American designs. I copied several in my own little notebook (photography was prohibited), and I hope to incorporate them into my tangles at some point. 

If you follow Square One: Purely Zentangle on Facebook, you may have seen my interpretation of Fengle, which was inspired by a friend's Henna hand design in Marrakech.

Isn't it amazing how patterns seem to be such an integral part of the human experience?

So, without further ado, let me add my versions of Yuma to meet the Diva Challenge this week. 

The first one I did more or less as practice, and when it was on the tile, I thought it needed something more.  I just happened to read on someone's blog that you can blend Jelly Roll pens, so I gave it a shot.  Kind of fun and sparkly.  Very eyelash-y!

The second one was an attempt to play with the spaces and use the Yuma more or less as a string.  I'm pretty happy with this one - it almost looks Japanese to me.  See how everything is connected?

Happy tangling, everyone.  Thanks for stopping by!



Friday, October 10, 2014

#188: National Coming Out Day

I'm so very late getting on board this week, as I was on vacation and not able to tangle or to blog.  So, here goes, finally!

I wasn't sure if this National day was observed in the U.S. or Canada, but no matter, it's a good thing.  I can't claim to have always been so open-minded. Like many people, fear and ignorance fueled my thinking. I was fortunate enough to have three beautiful daughters who educated me regarding gay people and their rightful place in society.  Thank you, ladies!

Now I watch with interest the legal wranglings of the various states and courts over gay marriage issues. What the Supreme Court did this week (NOT hearing appeals) opened the way for marriage rights in eleven more states. It's so beautiful to see stories of couples together for forty years finally able to legally marry. Make no mistake - any real objection to gay marriage is financial, not moral.  It's all about spousal benefits. So I say hurray for every state that moves into line, but let's get those Federal benefits covered once and for all.

So, here is my contribution. I used Tombow markers for color. Then I tangled LaBel and Laced, Girdy, Boomerang, and Trentwith and Trumpits. This was fun!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

#187: Blind String

When the Diva's latest challenge came out, I was so pleased with that.  I love those deals with a paper tablecloth and you are challenged to close your eyes and draw your table companion.  The results can be hilariously accurate. Or not...    I always enjoyed children's games like pin the tail on the donkey and blind man's bluff which involve a blindfold.  It was really fun to call all your other senses into play. 

When it comes to Zentangle, the blind string challenge plays right along with all that.

However, there is another sobering side to this issue.   I am very nearsighted, and being the "mature" lady that I am, my glasses these days are the graduated tri-focal kind.  The difference in my distance and reading prescription is vast.  When I am doing close work, like threading a needle, reading tiny print like the back of a CD case or, yes, ZENTANGLE(!), I actually take my glasses off and put the object about eight inches from my eyes.  Then I can see just fine.  But I have a real fear of age-related vision problems.  Cataracts, macular degeneration, and who knows what else could spell a real disaster for me.  Because of astigmatism, cataract surgery would not be the magic bullet that it is for some people.  I could lose that close-up vision clarity at some point.  My aunt, who loved to do needlework, suffered from macular degeneration and eventually became blind.  This is so scary to me. 

I guess what I mean to say is I am thankful for ever-improving medical treatments and I rejoice in every day I can wake up and see this beautiful world!  And do Zentangle!

All that (sort of bummer) stuff out of my system, here is what I came up with in answer to the challenge.  I did two strings, which I have posted here:

The first finished tile is a bit fuss-budget-y I think, but the other one turned out pretty well.  I got obsessed with twirly things going on.  I also did something I swore I would never do - used Bronx Cheer to fix a "mistake".  Once I got going, though, I kind of liked them.  You might have to flip the second one around in your mind to match the string - sorry!