Keepin’ On Keepin’ On

Tangles on Tuesday in the Tangle a Day Calendar. Feb 4 was Koaxil which I did with a 20 minute time limit, trying to get myself to let go and just do a bit more. Feb 5th was Ah, Love You! with support from Sedgling, Zinger, Pokeleaf, Tipple, Fescue, and Festune. Feb 6th features Ionic with an assist from Popcloud.

  I’m doing half way decent on tangling daily again with the help of Jane Eileen’s Tangles on Tuesday challenge. I seem to skip about one day a week, usually when DH is home. But I just do two in the next day or two. Not having to think too much about what patterns to use seems to be working for me and bringing back the zen element.

Tangles on Tuesday in my Tangle A Day Calendar. Feb 7th is Zenvelopes, 8th, is Salo, and 9th is Bublz which always highlights how not-round my circles are! Doh!

  I have noticed though that since I’m jumping straight into the calendar pages I am a bit more frequently that I would like to admit doing a variant because “there are no mistakes.” I keep missing small little key details in the step-outs or perhaps in some cases overthinking things and messing up when I reorient my paper (something that happened in the last three days, but I haven’t photographed yet).

Tangles on Tuesday in my Tangle A Day Calendar. An close look at Feb 11th’s Heart Box and a bit of the 10th’s Flameta which I embellished further at some point after this pic.

  I’m debating if I should start practicing in a notebook first. But, that would mean I’d need to carve out more time. While I would be nice to have step-outs drawn by myself to put into Doodle Organizer I’m almost certain I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Plus, I’ve been having issues with Doodle Organizer messing up the photo/pattern pairing in the back-ups and restoring between my devices so if I were to continue down that path I’d probably need to start all over.

Some Valentine’s goodies for myself – the T’Gaal pencil sharpener that makes 5 different shaped tips on your pencils, my very first Washi tape and the 20 pack of Staedtler Triplus Fineliners.

 I splurged on myself for Valentines day and ordered some goodies (well, DH ordered the pencil sharpener). While tangential to tangling, these are actually for a new obsession that I’ve stumbled upon recently that dovetails nicely with the zentangle practice. I’ll share more about that in another post in the near future.

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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!

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!

Diva Challenges 218 & 219

I Am Th Diva CZT Challenge number 2018, white Gelly Roll on black tile featuring tipple with cruffle, hako, henna drum, b’tweed and bannah shaded with zenstone and white charcoal pencil.

This was my first official black tile. I had played just a bit on a black ATC while going through “One Zentangle A Day” but didn’t like the result. I’m much happier with this one and keep looking at some of my favorite patterns and wondering what they might look like inverted. Though I really wish I had a finer tipped white gel pen. I’m very much a fine tip sort of gal. Have been as long as I remember using pens and even back to my pencil days.

I delayed posting this one thinking I’d do another, but didn’t get that far. Instead, I’ve felt more like just drawing step-outs this week.  No pressure to make decisions beyond which pattern to try next. Plus I’m getting to catch up with a bunch of patterns I’ve learned recently in my Doodle Organizer app!

I Am The Diva CZT Challenge 119, the one with all the straight lines. I used hako as the string and then put shattuck, cubine and hibred into it all on a teeny tiny Bijou tile!

And another first for me – a Bijou tile! I just wanted a quick project last night so I finally broke the seal on my Bijou tiles and made this little guy. Having the constraints of all straight lines all the time (or as straight as I can freehand them) was helpful in it being a quick project. What fun the little tiles are! It probably helps that I enjoy working my patterns pretty small a lot of the time.

As usual, to play along or see what other have been up to last week and this week, head to I Am the Diva CZT!

Ready for Sunday Smackdown #5?

As Cate and few of you know, my day job involves working with the suite of Adobe programs so I’ve itched to make zendala templates almost since I put the pen to Zentangle tile. While my last string challenge, the first Sunday Smackdown, was kind of Zendala-like I didn’t quite feel it was a Zendala. This week’s however is definitely a Zendala or mandala if you just want to color it.

There was no real inspiration behind this one. I just started playing with various shapes on my art board in Illustrator and flipped, rotated, duplicated and tweaked path points until I liked what I had.

Here is the Zendala or Mandala template for the 5th Sunday Smackdown. The PDF includes full sheet, and the official Zentangle tile and Zendala size.
Here is the Zendala or Mandala template for the 5th Sunday Smackdown. The PDF includes full sheet, and the official Zentangle tile and Zendala size.

You can download the template file here. In it you will find sizes to fit both the square and round tiles from Zentangle as well as to fit a full sheet of cardstock or paper.

Below you can see what I did with it on the first try.

Zentangle Tile 2015-092, a Smackdown Sunday #5 Zendala on Strathmore Toned Gray tile using the chiaroscuro techniques used on the traditional Renaissance tiles. Patterns include pearl, purk, striping, tippe, b’tweed, paradox and tipple.

I opted to use a 4″ Strathmore Toned Gray artist tile. The round tile template fits on them, though as you can see I can’t center it on the tile without the outline to guide me 🙂 I have really fallen in love with adding in both highlights and shadows and it even makes my mac ‘n cheese patterns semi-challenging since I have to figure out how to do the highlighting.

I will likely give the template another go at some point this week to try move away from my first instinct to paradox and b’tweed everything. No promises to use a white tile though 🙂

I’m looking forward to seeing other people’s interpretations of the string. Be sure to post a link in the comments here if you use the template so we can all see!