Tangles on Tuesday

My first six days of Tangles on Tuesday in the Tangle a Day Calendar
My first six days of Tangles on Tuesday in the Tangle a Day Calendar.

Somewhere along the line I lost my purpose in picking up zentangling a little over 13 months ago. That purpose aligned with the goals of the founders. I wanted another form of meditation.

I have a tendency for monkey brain and often get fixated on what is flowing through, but being given a pattern to focus on that is repetitive was giving me a way to just let those thoughts go that I wasn’t finding in my solo yoga practice (class was a different matter, but was no longer an option). As I tend to do, I ended up focusing on the final outcome rather than the process.

Undiala with an assist from primtemps and tipple, Warped Eggs, and Y-flip in a hollibough string.
Undiala with an assist from primtemps and tipple, Warped Eggs, and Y-flip in a hollibough string.

When I thought back to when my tangling was more meditative it came down to working my way through One Zentangle A Day. So, I got the Tangle A Day Calendar and I decided that I’d follow “Idea #6 Tangles on Tuesdays” in the Zentangle: Tangled and Journaled, Too! group on Facebook. Jane Eileen, the owner of the group posts seven new tangles each Tuesday. So, I’m doing the day’s tangle in my calendar. Sometimes it is a monotangle, sometimes friends show up, other times tangleations appear – and that is just what happened in my first week of this new practice!

As a graphic designer who frequently has to read minds because I’m not given all the information an outside design agency would require, I often experience decision fatigue. This exercise is effective because I have a decision made for me from which to start instead of being paralyzed with possibilities.

Zandhoorn, Tofube, and Vertcut
Zandhoorn, Tofube, and Vertcut

This week the practice has been especially helpful. Last weekend’s blizzard brought to light a design/build defect in our apartment building and we awoke Monday morning to a rather large puddle in our apartment. At first I thought DH had very wetly mopped up after a doggy mess or that the dishwasher had sprung a leak, but a look at the ceiling revealed that was the source of water. Maintenance poked a hole in it to keep it from spreading, but by Monday night it was the size of a dinner plate with an arm along a seam line nearing 5 feet long and we were catching about a gallon of water every three to four hours by Tuesday morning. After a lot of yelling and complaining we finally were relocated to a hotel on Wednesday evening where we could breathe and not have the roar of industrial machinery running at all hours and the heat cranked up to ridiculous levels.

It may have been one thing if we were going to work, but I always work from home and DH was on telework for much of the week due to the storm aftermath. Working in that chaos with men coming and going without notice, the roar of the equipment, and both of us and Brandon being confined to the master bedroom and left without means of cooking safely or washing dishes was not sustainable. Neither of us were at our usual productivity levels in that situation.

Flowerly gets an assist from sampson.
Flowerly gets an assist from sampson.

DH has ventured back to the apartment today to do laundry and bring back more clothes for us. The report is there is a larger hole now, cleaned up and ready for patching, plus an additional hole. The dehumidifiers and fan are gone. We are hopeful that means it is dried out and they will start the patching tomorrow, painting Tuesday, and that we’ll be back home at Wednesday’s checkout time? We haven’t actually heard from management since Thursday night when they said it would be 3-5 days, though they hadn’t been very truthful prior to that. While Thursday at the hotel was lovely — being able to breathe, and to eat without fear of ingesting insulation, it gets old pretty quick. I’m ready to be back home, even if that means loosing a day of work to cleaning up after the mess they’ve made. I want my bed! My pillow! My computer monitor!

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In With the New Year

I’m not setting any resolutions or goals for 2016 per se. I may over the course of the next week or so settle upon a word or phrase to serve as a mantra. Then again, I may not.

What I do hope will happen is that I will find my creativity once again. All the craziness of the past few years with DH finishing up grad school and our moving from Colorado to Virginia has sucked a lot of energy out of me. Yesterday’s “You’ve got memories to look back on” on Facebook was three solid of years of saying good riddance to the previous year. That’s not good.
2015 did end on a lot of up notes. We sold our house without much drama (aside from getting it emptied from a distance) on December 1st and came out the other end able to erase all the debt from grad school/under-employment, improve the living situation (our first non-futon mattress was delivered a week ago and I’m hopeful will help my body and mind), upgrade our 9-year-old laptops so I can take on more design jobs, and still have a bit of a savings account again. Without paying both a mortgage and rent we will be able to save money each month once again instead of living paycheck to paycheck.

I’ve had very little time and energy to devote to any sort of creativity on a regular basis and I’m hoping to change that going forward. It may not all be Zentangle or even ZIA, but I’m thinking a good bit of ink and maybe some watercolor work. I also want to work on creating art on my iPad so when my body is not wanting to play my creativity still can. If you have any suggestions of apps (I have the Adobe ones, Paper, Procreate and Skribl) or YouTube channels to check out, please let me know! I do know tangling will still play a significant part because I really have to embrace letting things flow and Zentangle is an effective exercise for that.

So, in the spirit of being creative on a more regular basis I made the following last night. In bed. In a dearly lit room. While watching X-Files as DH and I have been scrambling to get caught up to have it all watched before the revival later this month. I have say, living out here has brought a whole new dimension to watching the show!

 

I created a string in my unused 5×8″ Strathmore Watercolor Art Journal using 2016, then tangled in it using b’tweed, flux, tipple, fescue, mooka, a variation on purk and whatever those fan-like things are called.

I did the drawing in my watercolor art journal I ordered a month or so ago and hadn’t used yet thinking I’d watercolor after, but I’m not so sure if I want to watercolor it now. What do you think? Maybe I should try my hand at digital coloring? My string was inspired by Sue Jacobs and her tile she shared. Can you spot the “2016” in there? I think my tipple kept it a little more distinguishable. I did waffle over whether to so obviously cut the piece in half, but ultimately decided to go for it. I have to say I still hate my mooka though. *sigh*

Happy New Year to anyone still following along! I hope 2016 is everything you wish for and more!

A Time of Lasts (For Now)

Well, after some really frustrating circumstances in the past several weeks which resulted in some not so pretty breakdowns a date for my departure was finally set. By this time next week we (Drew, Brandon and I) should be over half way to Alexandria, VA. The goodbyes and “lasts” have now begun. 

A Sky Writing Journal spread tangled while thinking about the changes that will result from my fast approaching move from Northern Colorado to Northern Virginia. i used falls, msst, bunzo and popcloud.
After 16 years years in Colorado I’ll be leaving the mountains behind. I think it is going to feel odd. That was what was going through my brain while I tangled this spread in the Sky Writing Journal that Cate gave me for my birthday. I think Popcloud could use some shading with colored pencil yet. I tried to highlight it and Falls with white colored pencil and it didn’t work. My experience on my previous spread was that pastel pencil also didn’t want to lay done really and definitely wouldn’t blend sufficiently.

Last night I had the pleasure to attend a last Zentangle class. As usual, Cate brought me to Sue’s house for the evening, but this time Holly Williams of Tangle Your Bliss was teaching. We learned the Tints on Tan technique that Marty Deckel and Jenny Perruzi have shared. It was really fun to add more vibrant colors to the tan tiles. Best of all though was another evening with a few of the great women I’ve connected with (or reconnected with in the case of Cate) over Zentangle! I’m going to miss you guys and only hope to find a few tanglers in NoVa as great as you!

Here are all of our tiles (two are Holly’s):

Holly’s first Tints on Tan class tile mosaic with two of her samples, and tiles by Cate, Sue Clark and myself.

And here is a closer look at my tile. I need some practice, but I’m really excited to explore this more!

My tints on tan tile with printemps, bunzo, tipple, flux, finery and shattuck.

Wall Journal & Sunday Smackdown #9

My Sunday Smackdown #9 zendala on a standard 3.5″ square tile made from Fabriano Uno paper. I used Purlbox and Hurry and I’m not sure what exactly to call the third pattern.

I actually had finished this tile in time for posting for the Sunday Smackdown #9, but then got distracted by more Gelli printing fun at Cate’s 🙂

I kept it pretty simple and clean, using only three patterns, though I’m not quite sure what to call the petal-shaped one as that is really just a technique employed in lot of the patterns. Can anyone help me out on it?

I couldn’t resist an artsy shot of my zendala.

Inspired by my IG feed I took an artsy shot this time around and I really liked it so I thought I’d share the close-up look at it 🙂 It does really show the detail in how I shaded.

The finished “Be Brave and Keep Going” page in my Wall Notebook featuring a lot of tangles!

Then, speaking of procrastination, this has been done for probably a full month I think, but I never took a proper picture of it. The bricks had me employing a bunch of stacking of tangles, though I’m pretty sure it doesn’t quite meet the criteria for the Stack and Tangled FB group. That’s okay though because the same two people have just launch today a Journaled and Tangled group that this will fit in!

Sunday Smackdown #7 – Tangling in Books

I’m a little late on the whole Sunday Smackdown thing this week. Actually, I’m so in my head with all the moving stuff I’m not even clear on who should be issuing the challenge or what type it “should” be. But, while I’m the one posting, let’s consider this one to be indirectly issued by Cate, okay?

You see, when she picked me up to attend Sue‘s wonderfully generous Illuminated Letters workshop on Saturday (more on that later in the week/month) she had a birthday goodie bag for me. In it were two books meant for journaling and doodling in – The Skywriting Journal and The Walls Notebook. I had first seen glimpses of The Walls Notebook in Alice‘s Instagram feed. When I did some digging to figure out what this mysterious “wall book” was that she kept talking about I ended up at Amazon and noticed there were other themed books as well.

 

Tangling in my Skywriting Journal from Cate using n’zeppel, sandswirl and flitter. I’m not sure if it is done yet or a WIP. What say you?

It was such a surprise to get both books (plus some other miscellaneous goodies)! The workshop was so inspiring plus the lure of new toys and I came home and tangled some more! This time in the Skywriting Journal. I’m procrastinating on working on my letter because I don’t currently have a good place for “quality” tangling. The dining room table is covered in glassware of various types and my desk in yarn and sewing supplies – both for sorting/packing/donating. All of my tangling has been happening in bed, the one room that doesn’t look like it has been hit by a hurricane.

“Be Brave and Keep Going” stacked with printemps, bic, box it up, vectorwec and my own random chevron in my Wall Notebook. This is definitely a work in progress. Not certain what to do with the block letters yet – fill in solid (black or color) or tangle or a combo?

Then yesterday I saw that the Stacked and Tangled informal challenge was to use words. Words and stacked tangles seemed natural for the brick walls of The Walls Notebook. My friend, Amanda, gave me a necklace for my birthday that is a perfect mantra for this trip around the sun that is full of new challenges – Be Brave and Keep Going. It seemed like a perfect coming together of elements.

It’s a work in progress. The sky one may be as well, I’m not yet sure. One thing is for certain – tangling in books is fun! And I may just end up doing that to some encyclopedia pages as the wonderfully creative and energetic gals at the workshop on Saturday spoke of after I mentioned having a not quite complete set of my grandparent’s encyclopedias and being uncertain whether to move them.

So, please join me in the fun and do some book tangling this week! Use a journal like I’ve done or an old book. We’re not strict around here, so feel free to collage a book page onto a tile and then tangle over the page. It doesn’t have to remain in the book. Share your book tangle links in the comments below so we can see what you’ve done!

 

Zendala Dare #100 & Other Miscellany

Apparently this past week and certainly the weekend has been all about ZIAs! I think I now am understanding the strict rules and purpose of the Square One: Purely Zentangle Facebook group 🙂

My version of the 100th Zendala Dare template.
Zentangle Tile 2015-086, the 100th Zendala Dare template. This one kind of went rogue as I riffed and there ended up just a bit of b’tweed, paradox and fescue

I had to do this week’s Zendala Dare of course. Who could miss the 100th one?!? I ended up doing a lot of riffing on this one, just letting the pen do what it wanted. As a result there aren’t actually many tangle patterns in it. Though the oblong b’tweed outlined only with graphite kind of makes me think of pine cones. I’ll have to remember that when winter rolls back around!

I can’t wait to go look at what everyone else has done with this great template!

A toned tan zentangle inspired art (ZIA).
Zentangle Tile 2015-085, a toned tan tile featuring free form Weave in two colors, stickers, printemps, black pearls and mysst.

I used Strathmore’s Toned Tan for this one. It isn’t quite as warm of a tan as the Zentangle tiles so I’m not as fond of the sepia on it (the colors of this photo are a little off since it was photographed under a lamp instead of natural light). I do like the finish though. It isn’t quite as absorbent so coloring is easier, but there is plenty of tooth to shade and highlight with graphite and white charcoal. I am still a bit meh about this one. I don’t feel like my Weave was free form enough and as a result it looks sloppily executed instead. Cate things I’m on crack. What say you?

I also ended up putting in Mysst which I just haven’t been happy with using myself yet. I’ve seen examples of other people’s work using it and liked it, but I have yet to like my own stuff using it. I do however love Stickers! What fun!

Coffee filter zendala.
Zentangle 2015-088 zendala in progress on a coffee dyed unbleached coffee filter.

Yesterday was dedicated to finishing my Sunday Smackdown #3. This is a sneak peek of it in progress. I completed all the drawing last evening, but I’m still on the fence whether to add any highlighting and shading. Cate says to post it everywhere and frame it and hang it in our living room once we’re moved. We’ll see. It would suit our furniture in a way… I’ll likely post another shot of what it looks like now on Instagram (fiberfool)  at some point today if you’d like to ring in on whether I should take it further or leave it as is.

Chiaroscuro on gray paper featuring a ribbon with sunup sundown and flying cadents.
Zentangle 2015-087, my first ribbon with flying cadent on Toned Gray Strathmore paper finally done. I think.

I think I’m done with the first toned gray zentangle inspired art piece. There is a good bit of open space in the lower left yet that has me slightly unsettled. I did end up adding Sunup Sundown on the ribbon and did fairly extensive shading. I need practice on ribbon work though. But Sunup Sundown could very easily become a mac & cheese pattern for me. Loved it!

I’ll be back soon sharing my finished Coffee Filter Zendala and the how-to for my response to Sunday Smackdown #3.

Weekend Zentangling

Zentangle Tile 2015-070 with Oof in progress.
Zentangle Tile 2015-070, in progress featuring Oof for the Square One: Purely Zentangle Facebook Group.

I had such a great time with the Square One: Purely Zentangle focus pattern last week that I jumped right in this week. Oof is the pattern for the week and I thought I was using it on Friday, but I went off of memory and drew my first arcs the wrong direction. I ended up with a fun tangleation, though I’ve neglected to photograph it.

The really completed Zentangle Tile 2015-070
Zentangle Tile 2015-070 Square One: Purely Zentangle focus on Oof. The tile stared at me until I went back and added more.

So I tried it again on Saturday morning as I sat in the coffee shop at the south transit center waiting for my bus to have lunch with Cate and take Sue Clark’s Zendala class. I finished the tile the following morning, or I thought I did. As I sat and sipped my coffee the tile was mocking me for being too flat and dull so I added in more. But, if Instagram is any indication, less was more in this case. Oh well!

Zentangle 2015-071 zendala
Zentangle 2015-071, the first zendala from Sue Clark’s zendala class featuring striping, printemps, diva dance (waltz) and black pearls.

For our first zendala we used an official tile and these great stencils to set the symmetric string.

Zentangle Tile 2015-072, the second zendala from class.
Zentangle Tile 2015-072, the second zendala from class featuring zander, meer, pepper, knight’s bridge and n’zeppel. Then, because I can’t pay attention in class and ended up breaking up more sections that I was supposed to I popped in some copada.

I had to finish this one the next day as well. This was a pre-strung zendala tile and Sue demonstrated how the string can really just be a suggestion and you can divide more etc. While I knew that, I’m not certain I would have done it to a zendala all on my own. I’d be afraid of messing up the symmetry I think. But it worked out. Although I couldn’t manage to divide every other section so I did them all and added in an extra pattern – copada.

Sunday Smackdown #2 in the sketchbook.
Practicing for my Sunday Smackdown #2 in my sketchbook.

Because I put the finishing touches on so many tiles on Sunday morning and I was pretty worn out from Saturday’s craziness I just started doing the step outs for Weave in preparation for my Sunday Smackdown #2. I found doing the step outs helped me solidify keeping the “top grid” and “bottom grid” straight. I highly recommend it!