Wednesday, February 3, 2016

From the diva: Weekly Challenge #253: "New Tangle: Molygon"

I don't even know how long it's been since I had time to post a challenge from the diva, but it's too long.  I still do some sort Zentangle almost every day, and I'm convinced that it has done me nothing but good.  I do occasionally get a little carried away with it, but mostly I just make it my "me time" and go about my day.

This week's challenge was to use the new official Zentangle pattern Molygon, recently released in the Zentangle Newsletter (which you can sign up for here or on the diva's site).

I do believe I may have overdone the coffee this morning.

But it may also be true that lately I'm suffering from a bit of "FOMO"--which I recently learned means "Fear Of Missing Out"...and this often describes me to a T.  I am a learn-a-holic, and I am ever thirsty for new experiences. Sometimes my tangling is full of this piece of me, and today is certainly one of those days.

 I couldn't decide on a color, so I used both.  I couldn't decide on a fill pattern, so I used a bunch. Here's what I came up with:

And I just realized that all those dots make it look like some crazy Pac-Man thing. Funny :)

Here's hoping that everyone has a joyful day.

Friday, January 9, 2015

From the diva: Weekly Challenge #199: "UMT: Hitch by HeidiSue"

It's been a bit of a crazy week, so I'm keeping this short and sweet.

Thanks for the challenge--as usual, I seem to respond well to direction (oh, if only that were true in real life!)...

I had been playing with Julia Ross's new pattern Jesterz, and I ended up drawing a Jesterz-string and filling it with different forms of Hitched--the focus of this week's challenge.  Turned out nice, I think.

Thanks also for the link to the challenge on - I can't believe I'd forgotten to check the diva's site after her 2-week vacay.

See you next week!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

From the diva: Weekly Challenge #198: "K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, silly!)"

It's never been easy for me to refrain from over-thinking, and Zentangle has rarely been any exception.  I often struggle with it, putting way too much thought into anything and everything.

This week's KISS challenge is a welcome reminder for me, and I've got 2 tangles to show for it.

I was drinking coffee.  See the bean?  :) The patterns are Chard (by Linda Farmer) and Mosey, which is one of my own.  You can see the step-out here.  Feel free to use the pattern if you like. :)

I rather like this one. I made it a point not to fill every space (something I tend to do).  I used Cubine (a ZT original), CO2 (by Antonine Megger), Reticulated (by Livia Chua), Girlande (by Simone Bischoff), and a rather simplified version of Scrawlz (by Jane Dickinson).

I hope all of you have a simply wonderful holiday, and I leave you with something I ran across on social media this week.  It has nothing to do with the challenge, but it's a beautiful reminder of how we all shouldn't believe we see our own beauty accurately.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

After a LONG Hiatus...the diva's Weekly Challenge 194: “Embracing the Yuck”

I know we all slip off the face of the world for a while, and I really seem to have a talent for that.  Since I last blogged here I found myself inundated with everything, from inside and out.  Work, volunteering, sewing (more on that in a later post), traveling...combined with a mind that has decided to absolutely explode from all the stuff I want to do...

Let's just say I've felt scattered.  It occurred to me a week or two ago that I hadn't tangled in ..

well... seemed like forever.

So I began again, and I really should never have hit the pause button.  3 days of meditative tangling and I already feel the difference.

I hopped back over to my favorite Zentangle challenge at and found this week's challenge--to use the non-dominant hand.  This is bad enough on its own, but I also opted to use tangles and styles I normally avoid, which basically amounts to putting myself in the most uncomfortable situation and then wallowing in it and figuring out how to make it work.

  • My beginning square is a bit un-square (I rarely do that).
  • I chose to use a ribbon-style tangle (Inchworm) for the string (I never do that).
  • I used Quiltz (I shy away from very regimented, grid-style tangles).
  • I used two other tangles I've never used before (Biscus and Uni).
  • Most uncomfortable for me?  NO SHADING.  If anything, I usually over-shade.
Here's the result:

Although this isn't one of my favorite tiles ever, the process of creating it was probably the most thought-provoking ever.  That may not be very Zen, but it really was enlightening.  Here are some of these moments, along with their little epiphanies--
As my shaky left hand tried to to straight Quiltz lines (and failed spectacularly):

"You know, I couldn't make these wavy lines so consistently with my right hand.
Sometimes you get something cool from something entirely uncomfortable."

When I was tempted to quit 2/3 of the way with the Quiltz and just leave it at that, I pressed on. After completing it, I was glad I forced myself to really did look better.

As I tried in vain to get the smaller Uni on the left to look right, I had a couple of thoughts:

"If it's hard when it's small, make it BIGGER.  At least I'll be able to see where I went wrong...
and boy, doesn't that have an application in life??"


"Wow, sometimes if something seems hard, it's because it's really HARD.
We shouldn't be so hard on ourselves, but should celebrate the times
when things actually work.  It's a big accomplishment to get it right,
so we shouldn't take that for granted."

Thanks to Elisa Murphy (guest blogger) for a challenge that stretched me in all the right ways.  You can find the challenge here.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

From the diva: Weekly Challenge #160: "String Theory: Spiral out, Keep Going! (v.2)"

This week's challenge to use a spiral as the string touched my anal retentive heart.  I love order, even if it is a little unbounded.  And the diva is so right--spirals are EVERYWHERE in nature.

Ahhh....the beloved Fibonacci sequence meets nature meets art.  What? You've never heard of the Fibonacci numbers?  Well, do I have a treat for you...

If you love to read, and if you are remotely interested in mystery, history, chess, math, or just about anything else, you'll love this oldie but goodie by Katherine Neville called The Eight.  I had absolutely no idea whether it was still in print, but it is available in paperback on Amazon, and although it was her first novel and somewhat lacking in some literary-snob ways, the plot is AMAZING and it's a great intro to the math of music and nature.

Anyway, I digress.  Here are my 2 tiles, which I had enormous fun squeezing into a hugely busy work week.

On a side note, I sincerely hope you all are beginning to experience Spring.  I'm thinking we may just entirely miss that here in Ontario.  So I've decided to run away to Florida for a week in April.  HA.

Happy tangling!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This week from the Diva: Weekly Challenge #156: "Curvy Gridlock"

Maybe everyone gets into a rut from time to time...I know that I sure do.  Sometimes it amazes me how much the Weekly Challenge from the Diva can do toward breaking me out of a rut.  I simply couldn't get it together enough to come up with something I really liked for this week's challenge, but it was mostly because all day Monday and most of yesterday I was feeling so restless.  Nothing seemed to be the thing I should be doing.  I did work, but I was for some reason utterly distracted the whole time...distracted by what?  Beats me.

Later in the day, I took a break and decided it was time for a little meditation via Zentangle, and wouldn't you know it?  Out of that 20 minutes or so, a new pattern found its way out of my pen, and I felt peaceful the rest of the day.  Bonus...the feeling carried over into today.

So here are my responses to this week's challenge.  The first is from Monday, and I was less than thrilled with it.  I just wasn't feeling it.  I did enjoy using Beth Snoderly's new pattern Phen for the first time, though.  I really love that pattern and will be playing with it more.

The string for this one was completely random, and the
patterns I used were
Phen, a variant of Quare, and Up and Across

And here's the tile I did last night.  I don't really think it's all that much better-looking, but it felt better. Know what I mean?  And best of all, I got to use my new pattern.

Random string again.
The patterns in this one: Graancirkel, Palrevo, Puf, and
my new tangle, "Grani".

I named my new tangle after my mother (that's what the kids call her, and she prefers this spelling.  Maybe to her "Grani" doesn't look as old as "Granny".  She may be onto something.  Here's the step-out for the new pattern.

As always, PLEASE let me know if you've seen this pattern elsewhere.  I would never want to steal somebody's idea.  Even if it's just too similar to another pattern...TELL ME!  

Happy tangling,

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Grateful Zed Project - Group 1

It's been a long strange winter already.  My first winter in Canada is proving to be an up-and-down experience, especially with my long stays in Mississippi when my dad was ill.  There's been a crap-ton of snow even for this area (according to the hubby). Since it has been melting for the last couple of days, I am feeling a Spring Cleaning bug.  So I'm taking this 15-minute break from cleaning to catch up with a little mental housekeeping, too.  I started this post weeks ago, and it's time to get a move on.

So what's this Grateful Zed thing about?

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have so much to be thankful for.  I am more mindful of the good things I have in my life, whether big or small, and I do find that it truly has had a positive affect on the way I feel every day. Instead of moaning over some thing or situation I don't currently have, I'm finding true joy in what is right in the palm of my hand.

It is important to note that I'm not doing these in order of importance in my life or level of gratitude...I just did them as dictated by whatever inspired me in the moment.

So enough of the sappy is the first set of tangles in this series. I will post five or so at a time, else this blog will get ridiculous, and I'm trying to put some design explanation after each one.

#1:  Gary
Gary is my husband.  I've been married before, then was in a long live-in relationship.  For years I was in something I can only call despair, thinking that I would never find the kind of love I wanted.  I'm neither beautiful nor rich, and I had lost all hope of finding love.  So of course, when I least expected it, I found my friend Gary.  At 40-something, I found the man I'd hoped for all my life right there in a man I'd been friends with for years.  Now I look forward to growing old with him.

String: Sort of a G
Patterns in this tangle: Huggins (with variation), Heartrope (variation), Heartvine,
and a stone wall type variant of tipple (because he's my rock). And he's stubborn.  :)
And Oh MY GOSH...I don't know the name of the main pattern in the G.
It looks kind of Sandy Bartholomew-ish, but I'm not sure.
If anyone out there knows, please tell me!

#2  Savanna
My youngest daughter, Savanna, is my daily joy, my daily trial, and my daily surprise.  She's weathered so many changes... not the least of which was when we moved to Ontario from Mississippi in May of 2013, and though she protested (a lot), she's adapting very well.  She's writing her second book, too. This young lady is simply amazing, and I'm lucky to be her mom.

String: This is string #14 from (she's 14)
Patterns in this tangle: 
Screen, Annee, Vanity, Ahh, Nebulous, Netting, and Agua
My Nebulous is dark and foreboding, just like teen angst...
but the rest of the patterns are fun and bright, like Savanna.

#3: Daddy
My sister and I have half-joked (ok, maybe 1/4-joked) that our Daddy ruined us on men.  A man would have a hard time living up to my father.  He was a normal, flawed human I was surprised to learn when I grew up...but he was my solid foundation, my helper, my instructor in all things mechanical or electrical or carpenter-y.  He taught me more than any other person...ever.  He was that guy that knew how to do almost everything, and when he didn't know how, he found out, and he made sure to do it right.  And in the rare case that wasn't possible, he had it done by someone who could do it right.  In short, he was a man who took care of things and people, whatever it took.  Though you're gone, I love you, Daddy, and I'm grateful to have been your daughter.

The string:  A nice big D
Patterns in this tangle: D-Vine, Dekore, DL Nebula, DL Labyrinth,
DL Sunray, Dragonair, Daggerly, and Dust Bunny

#4: Mama
My mother and I went through such a rough patch when I was a teenager.  I was moody, sad, and unpleasant, but at least I was self-motivated.  She worked long hours for most of the time I lived at home, and still she found time to spend with us, whether it was fishing, teaching me to use her sewing machine or make cornbread, or doing a puzzle with us on a rainy weekend day.  She's worked so hard all her life, and that is something I have definitely learned from her.  When I've had a hard day, I just remember the times Mom would come in after dawn to late-night driving that UPS truck, her clothes salt-stained from sweating in the heat.  I have it easy and I absolutely am grateful for every bead of sweat, every time she fussed at me for letting a dirty pot sit in the sink to "soak", and every moment I have had and will have with my Mama.

The String: An M (I swear)
Patterns in this tangle:  Mooka, Me Three, Meer, Miasma, 
Maylea (well, half of it), Msst, Moon Rocks, Mumsy, 
Man-O-Man, Miander, and Maelstrom.
The Mumsy reminds me of her hydrangea plant that
was in the back yard.

#5: 2014
Plain and simple.  I am GLAD to have another year on the planet.  That is a bigger gift than I knew for most of my life.  I am trying hard not to let myself forget that ever again.

String:  "2014" is the string
Patterns in this tangle: Keeko, Zenplosion Folds, Falz,
Orbs-La-Dee, 4 Corners, and Paushalöv, 
topped off with a festive bit of Organza

#6: My sister Amanda
I suppose many who has a younger sibling will understand the sweet, guilty, all-encompassing love that I feel for my little sister.  It is sweet because, in all sincerity, I do not know a sweeter person on the planet.  She is so warm and caring, and I don't know a soul who could say otherwise.  Guilty because I treated her so badly when I was a teenager and she was trying to hang out with me and my friends.  I should have known then that when we grew up, most of those friends would at best be occasional acquaintances, whereas she has become one of the most important people in my life and in my heart.  I love you, Mandy!

String:  It's an A...but without the bar
Patterns in this tangle: Eke, Huggins, Cubine,
and stars my new pattern, Mosey

#7: Mother Nature
No human-made creation has ever, in my opinion, topped the beauty that can be found in the natural world.  As a youngster, I was fascinated with the ocean and everything in it, and I even thought for a long time that I'd like to be a marine biologist.  Considering I'm a redhead...well, that's just ridiculous.  I realized the folly of my desire before wasting time and money on a degree in THAT.  But I did expand my love of the ocean to include Nature in general, and I love her still.

String:  Hard to remember, but I believe I went
with a string that looked like a sunrise behind a mountain peak
Patterns in this tangle: I stuck with patterns that looked Nature-ish to me...
Lantern-Pho, Wheelz, a variant of Pais,
Chainlea, a variant of Shattuck, and for the life of me
I can't remember in that funnel-shaped one has a name.
It's not Fungees, but it's similar.  Hmm.
Update:  I FOUND IT!  That one is Riki-Tiki.  Whew.

#8: Holly
My oldest child, Holly was the first person I knew for whom I couldn't fit my love into a neat little package.  I loved before her, but not in such an intense way.  I am so grateful for her (and all my children) that words don't say enough, either.

When I did this tile for her, I liked the meaning and the outcome so much that I decided to post on facebook a little explanatory diagram of the reason I picked the string and the patterns.  I was hoping to show some of my friends who'd asked just what this Zentangle business was about for me.  Here's the finished tile, followed by the "Guide" I posted.

#9: Devin
My son was probably the most laid-back, smiling baby I'd ever seen.  Then he became the most active, inquisitive toddler, followed by the most boisterous little boy.  Now he's becoming the man I always wanted him to be. I am so, so grateful that he turned out tall (LOL!) because I'm only 5 ft short, and I have his father to thank for that.  He's a funny guy, and he's a hard worker.  I am very proud of you, Son.

String:  A "D" and an "S" (for his middle name)
Patterns in this tangle: Demi, Sand Swirl, Via,
Knyt, Snookums, and another pattern
I can't recall the name of (ugh) or even IF it has a name.
To me, it looks like ceiling tiles with a little hangy-thingy (an ideas?)

#10: Home Sweet Home
On the day I did this one, I was so, so happy to be home, and so ready to go home.  I was about to go spend some more time at my parents' home because my father was dying.  I felt like keeping it simple, and wanted to practice my shading.  I still need to work on that.

String:  Just split into 3 sections--Floor, Wall, and Ceiling.  Really
all the tangible structure needed to call a place a "home"
Patterns in this tangle:  Panthe (the ceiling),
Weben (the wall), and
something I adapted from Kitchener and other floor-like patterns

If you've hung with the post this long, kudos to you!  I'll try to take less than a month to put together the next installment of Grateful Zed.