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!