Saturday, 28 December 2013

It's a String Thing #20

Adele over on Tickled to Tangle creates a String Thing challenge every week. This week, we had a rather geometric-looking string and tangles 'Aah' and 'Afterglo' to work with.


I know it could have been done better but I quite like the overall effect and am very curious to see what others have done with the string. Do pop onto Adele's blog to check out sometime on the 30th or 31st if she gets chance to post. 

Despite us having a lovely Christmas both as a family and with friends, I think I am still in a state of shock and disbelief about Darwin's death and find myself wondering whether it must all be some awful sick joke - and that he will come back to us again.  He won't, I know that, and yes, life goes on pretty much as usual. 

It's helped to sit and Zentangle and I did these two yesterday after doing the String Thing - first opportunity I've had in a while - and I really enjoyed the concentration and calm it produced in me. I used to create a frame around them and, in the second one, to change the tone of colour from black ink to the purple shades you see.

Well, I wish everyone a wonderful start to the New Year. May 2014 begin rather better than 2013 has ended for us too....

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Zendala Dare #84 - for Darwin

It's with a very heavy heart that I post this Zendala Dare from Erin at The Bright Owl. I was so pleased to see a new dare from her so near to Christmas and with all her own commitments to manage. Thank you Erin.

However, something happened two days ago that has thrown our Christmas from a happy time to a very sad one. Our delightful, darling shaggy dog, Darwin - who was only two and half years old - nipped out of the gate and went for a wander on his own. He didn't come back after the usual twenty minutes or so. We live in a tiny, quiet village where we have nothing to worry about at all. But after a couple of hours, we were worried and went out on foot to look for him. To no avail.

Then, just as we'd set off in the car, we were flagged down by a neighbour who was obviously distressed. Our sweetheart dog was dead in his garden, drowned in the pool. We can't think how this happened but it hurts us all dreadfully.

I have to write about it. Partly because life must go on and as we had learnt to live with him, now we must learn to live without him - and blogging is part of my life too. I couldn't possible post without mentioning him. He was, without doubt, a daft bundle of happy dogness and we were blessed to have rescued such a delightful puppy and had him with us. Sadly, just not long enough. I've posted some photos on my other blog 'Being Here' - pop over and give him a kindly pat, won't you?

My Dare this week is rather heavy - full of shading and shadow - but the hearts in the middle are full of love for my lovely Darwin.

We are all trying to be brave and have a Happy Christmas. I hope everyone else enjoys their Christmas and has a very good start to the New Year.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Zendala Dare #83

I was delighted to see that Erin had been able to give us another Zendala Dare over on The Bright Owl despite having a really busy time - THANK YOU!! I did miss it last week but absolutely understand you have many more priorities than feeding addicts like me...but my little heart rose when I saw your latest post in my Blog Roll.

And I've had such fun that I've done all three blank templates again - each one very different from the last.

I am hopeless with colour but ran numbers one and three through's photo editing site to add a cool blue colour, the theme being a chilly one this week. It was hard to think what cold felt like today, as we were bathed in glorious sunshine for yet another day. But you will see in my last Zendala that I've used a lot of 'Mist' which reminds me of Yorkshire!

It took me a while to get started as all I could see were Christmas Puds in the template....

I used the 'Cooler' effect on Be Funky for this one.

This one is in its original state - no colours and not too chilly.

My last attempt definitely feels chillier to me. 

Hope you like them - I loved this challenge and really enjoyed completing it. It was well worth waiting for. I'm off now to see what others have done with this one.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The HAPPY MERRY Diva Challenge #148

Laura's last Diva Challenge of 2013 asked us to tangle what Christmas means to us. I was initially overwhelmed and overfaced by all that it means to me but woke up this morning thinking just one word : Family.

I wanted to do a white on red tangle and started out fine...until my one and only white pen ran out! I've run the finished version through BeFunky to try and bring the colour out a bit more but the contrast just isn't there.

Still, my family is without doubt in the middle of Christmas for me and we are all set to have good old time, on our own this year, in our new house.

Idea taken from Rainbow Elephant
I include here some of the ZIA Christmas cards, that I have posted previously but it seems appropriate to put them up again as we get close to the festivities.

My snowladen Christmas tree on the left was inspired by a lovely set done last year by Rainbow Elephant (link in photo caption) - I love the heaviness of this and the simplicity of the concept and it looks lovely with added gold and silver accents.

This 'Betweed' star I drew on a flight from England back to Spain. In 'real life' it sparkles beautifully with silver accents - shame they don't show up on my scanned version....

On the left, the simplest of all Christmas trees - garlands, a star and a big pot!

And on the right, two little tangled trees.

And some 'Cruffle' ornaments.

Best wishes to everyone who stops by - hope you have just the Christmas you want. (I know what I want for Christmas - some new pens!)

Saturday, 7 December 2013

It's a sort of String Thing

Every week, Adele Bruno, over on Tickled to Tangle sets a challenge based on a string and one or more specified tangles. It's a great challenge and I've really enjoyed doing them since I found her blog and joined in.

This week, I erred from the path a little. I did a tile that stuck to the brief - which was to use Mooka and Moving Day on a particular string. I loved the effects of the two tangles but wished I'd arranged them a bit differently.

This is my first take and the one I've submitted to Adele: I did it quickly and instinctively and was fairly happy with it when I finished it.
However, in my head, I was trying to tell a story with this one. It's fairly faithful to the original string, though I added that straight line in the bottom section after I'd finished - the intention was to break up the large expanse. If I'd given the whole thing more thought, I'd have arranged the sections differently but I have had little time this week. The story was meant to convey a comparison between an old and shabby house and a new and shiny one - suggested by the Moving Day tangle...(Or the other way round!)

I didn't quite do that - so sat up rather late one night and rearranged the order of the tangles. I still haven't captured the 'old/new' feel I wanted to get and my 'step' isn't right. Oh, and I had to turn the tile 90 degrees because it just didn't look right. Oh dear - what a lot of excuses!! This was a tile where I knew what I wanted to see but couldn't achieve it on the paper. And I need to learn from this. I love Zentangle because it works for me as a 'non' artist. I need to go with the flow and then I tend to like what I've done. If I try to plan ahead and deliver a final result, I'm always disappointed. 

What I did do, though, was to run my drawing through Be Funky, which allows you to add effects and I rather like this 'distressed' version with a frame. All's well that ends well! I'd love to know if this happens any of you when you Zentangle - do you plan and know before you start or do you just go wherever you are taken?

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Weekly Challenge #147 from I am the Diva

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

This week, Laura's challenge over on I am the Diva was to include one of her own tangles - Boo *Kee - an incredibly versatile and yet very simple tangle that immediately brought to mind snowballs,(Laura's own submission) snowmen (Ledenzer's glorious take) and other jolly things.

I was tempted to go very geometrical but then saw that Kailey had beaten me to (and probably at) it! So I thought about pearls ...and then saw that Debra and Dawn had both offered some beautiful pearls. I'm not going to link to every single entry but I really enjoyed looking at what everyone else has done this week - I so often feel very inspired by what I see (and yet must confess, I also feel very small!) and Boo*Kee is obviously a real winner!

I am beginning to feel a little Christmassy too so here is my take...baubles...
Thanks for looking.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Zendala Dare #82

Well, circles it was this week! Erin, at The Bright Owl did a lovely Zendala to start us off - and used the tangle I would have chose myself...Jetties. I didn't want to copy but at first, couldn't think how to do something really different.

Hence my first tile - my circles remind me of little Ninjas!

Great fun to do - I'm rather fond of circles and enjoyed the very simple but effect 'Dust Rabbits' that form my background.
And then, in a flash of inspiration (possibly) I saw all those circles as little buttons that needed joining together with ribbon.  Once I'd threaded all my buttons, I was tempted to start colouring the background but resisted as I like the starkness of this Zendala. I often go overboard in filling in every last bit of white.

This was an exercise in self-control. It could be better but I'm leaving it just as it is....

Friday, 29 November 2013

Zendala Dare #81

It took me a little while to find the time to do this week's tangle - Zendala Dare #81 - but I got there in the end.

I'm surprised that the first one turned out as well as it did as I seemed to do it very quickly and without a great deal of thought last night as I was watching the television. I'd seen a couple of tangles I hadn't tried before - Footlites and Florz - so thought I'd have a practice. The individual 'beams' are not very well done, but I am quite pleased with the overall effect.

The second Zendala, I started with more care. I'd recently enjoyed doing Heartstrings as part of the 'It's a String Thing' weekly exercise, so included some more of those, along with Hollibaugh. Then I had to get off to bed. After seeing the children off to school, I finished the Zendala and am surprised that - to my eyes at least - this is a Zendala of two parts! The second set of tangles I used are very different - more light-hearted and open compared with the dense patterns I chose last night. I wonder if there's a reason for that? Do you ever finish something you've started in a different style?

Thank you Erin, I enjoyed doing this Dare very much!

Includes Footlites and Flores, Crescent Moon and Peapod...

Includes Heartstrings, Hollibaugh, Moonrocks, Henna Drum and Paradox

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Thursday tangles

I'm delighted to say that the workshop I ran on Tuesday was well attended and well received. We had a great morning and they want more! Becky took to it like a duck to water - she only needed to see what the basic strokes were and she was off!!
Shame on me, we were so engrossed in what we were doing that I forgot to take photos. Next time, I will because the tangling world needs to see what our little corner of Andalucia is capable of...

And I've really enjoyed this week's 'It's a String Thing' from Adele at 'Tickled to Tangle'. Last week, I learned six completely new tangles and was delighted to see my tile on Adele's page on Monday this week. This is it:

It uses only tangles beginning with 'L' - and here, from the top, we have 'Lokomotive', then going left to right - Lace Curtains, which I did a bit wrong, Lacy, in the middle -very pretty - Longwood - very elegant - Looplopp - very versatile and Lanie - completely sweet! A good learning tile and some tangles I shall definitely use again.

I'm currently on with the Zendala Dare #81, which is a lovely one too.

This week's String Thing uses just Heartstrings by the amazingly talented Helen Williams, who is just BRILLIANT - check her out on 'A Little Lime' and be blown away by how she develops and deconstructs tangles to the most fantastic effect if you haven't seen her work before.

I just started drawing hearts and didn't stop until my tile was full - the most  'Zen' experience yet since I started tangling - I'm afraid I sometimes find I'm a bit too focused and am clenching my jaw - not very Zen! I didn't know how to get a corresponding highlight on my main red heart and would love to know any techniques for doing it. I ended up using a silver pen but it's not right....

Off now to finish that Zendala!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Diva Challenge #146

Oh and what a challenge this week from Laura on I am the Diva!

I really struggled with both Pea-nuckle and Well....I found them too unwieldy somehow. I really didn't know what to do with either of them!

Ah well, (no pun intended) at least I managed a 'go'. Here are two I tried...warts and all!

I don't think I'll do either of them ever again!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Quib and Quibbish.

I wasn't impressed with my own first attempts at Quib at all. I think the new tangle inspired some fantastic work from others and I seemed to like the ones which (like my own) have more than a passing reference to the sea, jelly fish and shells. Quib seems perfect for capturing a waving, moving, fluid sensation of movement.

I went into town today to buy some pens for my forthcoming workshop and decided to try the papeleria nearest to my daughter's school for the first time. I've been in all the others and am mainly underwhelmed by the choice. Although the choice here was definitely wider, the nibs were almost all 0.5 or greater and I wanted something really fine. In the end, I was pleased to find some pens that had a fine nib - with a thicker nib at the other end! Two for one! And she had them in a few colours too - not exciting colours but she said she could get more. So I got those too.

When I came home, I set to on Quib again and came up with something I like a lot better than yesterday's efforts, even though the colours are not good. (The Drupe in the top corner was a practice with the pens... )

And then, because of Drupe and because of the colours and because of the positioning on the paper, I thought I'd run it through the BeFunky website to crop and reposition it.

This to fade out the tacky colours....better I think.

Or better facing this way...with brown tones?

Or even better...Sepia tones! (Sepia is Spanish for squid, so very fitting I think!)
Not sure if it's cheating really. Probably is. But I'm really pleased with the different effects.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Quib - Diva Challenge 145

This is a new tangle called Quib and some folk have done really wonderful things with it, judging from what I've seen over on Laura's blog,  I am the Diva. I'm very envious of some of the entries to the weekly challenge as Quib is both a simple and yet very sophisticated tangle and there are some great examples of both. I tried my hand at one of each - in my own way!

I will, in time, master this one as I do like it very much. So much to learn from what others have done but here are my two first attempts!

This made me think of a jelly fish...lying on a sea 'bed'!
And this one uses my favourite metal tube....I started too high on the paper to be able to 'capture' my 'quibs' at the other end as they came blowing out of the end of the tube. Also, I didn't spread them out quite enough, so distinguishing one from the other was difficult as so many of them are quite dark....I live and learn!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Zendala Dare - Emergency Zendala 3

Poor Erin over at The Bright Owl has a lot on this week and hasn't been able to supply her addicts with a new Zendala to complete. However, luckily for me, new addict that I am, she had an emergency supply!! How brilliant is that?

I chose number three which was quite unusual - for some reason, I'm not able to show you how it looked before I put my pen to it but if you follow this link, you'll see it along with a great set of instructions for Solow and a rather delicious-looking recipe!

Anyway, I struggled with it dreadfully. I realise that last week's attempt was beginner's luck - I did all three templates without even thinking and enjoyed each one immensely.

This was difficult! I don't know why, it just was. I'm sharing my only showable attempt anyway. Why was it difficult? Has anyone else tried it? Advice from you experienced tanglers, please!

To be honest, I find it really creepy....Is there something strange going on in my subconscious?

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A workshop!

Oh I'm very excited. Although I haven't been doing Zentangle for very long, I'm very enthusiastic about it and - being an ENFP - can't keep my enthusiasm to just myself...I long to share it! A number of people locally have seen my tangles (or had them thrust in front of them..) and some have expressed an interest in learning how to do it for themselves. At first, I felt concerned that I shouldn't try and show anyone how to do something I hadn't yet mastered myself. There are Certified Zentangle Teachers out in the big wide world, who undergo courses and then run workshops ...but.....thinking about it, I am never likely to be able to take one of those courses. They're held too far away and I don't have the funds to attend.

In the meantime, I feel it will be quite safe to start 'small', not tread on any toes, and spread the word myself in my own town. So next week, I have gathered together a few enthusiasts - including a real live artist (the lovely Steffi) and an illustrator - to do a 'Tangle' workshop. It may be Zen, it may not! I will, with their permission, share how it goes in a future post.

In the meantime, I've been practising my own favourite tangles in the smaller, Zentangle tile size. It's been good fun and whilst I'm not utterly delighted with any of them, I feel I learn something with each one and certainly enjoy the process. Where I have known the official name of a tangle I've used, I have included it in the caption. Otherwise, the tangles are my own version of things I've seen others use. I am working on improving my knowledge!

This is mainly Betweed and Beedz

Here, I have used Betweed again, Crescent Moon, Feathers and I'm not sure if the 'tresses' one has a name or not.. The shapes at the top have a name but I always think of them as 'Moomins'...they are my own version of whatever is the official pattern.

Here, I use Pokeleaf, Drupe, Beaded Lines and Tipple in amongst the pebble shapes. The seashell shapes probably have a name but again, I don't know it.

Oh dear - not a clue with any of that Nzepple in the top right hand corner? If I find names, I'll come back and amend these comments....

On the left, that is definitely Hollibaugh, PokeLeaf across the top and Huggins down the right hand side. Rick's Paradox - simple triangle only is along the bottom. The column, the snail and the pebbles are my own versions of whatever else might be out there...

This is Verdigogh! I must learn to get the rolled back paper right...Two are not so bad but this bottom right hand corner is rolling the wrong way! How did that happen? There's some Tipple hiding behind three of the corners - couldn't tell you what's in the four

There - away now to try one of this week's challenges and to prepare for my class next week....did I mention that I'm rather excited about it?

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Diva Challenge 144 - A Bug's Life

When I saw this challenge from Laura on I am the Diva, I thought it wasn't for me. I did my first Zendala challenge that Erin put out and it felt quite comfortable...and challenging. But drawing bugs...I didn't quite get it. The only bug I like is a ladybird and several people had already done wonderful things with them. When I stopped to think about it, I could see the appeal of lacy-winged types, like dragonflies...but I felt overly challenged by getting the shape of it all right.

So I did something very obvious...a spider web, just to see how it turned out. I actually felt a bit silly - a grown...nay, middle-aged woman, sitting at the dinner table drawing a spider's web but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. Couple of silly mistakes for you to find if you feel like it...but hopefully, you'll feel 'drawn' in to my spider's inventive little efforts. Great fun! And yes, it took quite a long time but I was enjoying Mary Beard's 'Meet the Romans' series as I worked. And I decided to give colour a miss - it didn't seem necessary to this drawing and would probably have detracted from it. (I just didn't know where to start with colour!)

Thank you Laura - I enjoyed this one very much in the end and my spider isn't too preditory, honest!

Monday, 11 November 2013

I dared!

In the Zentangle and other tangling worlds, challenges and dares are issued. Sounds rather formidable but it's really just one way of stimulating creativity.

I am in awe of some of the results of these challenges and in a number of the blogs I follow - see my sidebar on the right - you'll see both the challengers (who always give it a go) and those who take up the challenge.

I haven't yet dared to do one but today I'm feeling brave. Erin at The Bright Owl has been putting out Zendala Dares for some time - she's up to 80 this week and I decided to have a go. I chose a Zendala rather than a pattern challenge as it's the first time I will have used a template to tangle. And it was great fun - so much so that I did three... There were two sheets of paper to print out - the first held two smaller copies of the template dare and the second sheet held a full A4 size copy. I couldn't resist.

This is about the size on the template. I made it 'busy' and it has just two patterns that are not official and so have no name as far as I know. The squirly one in the outside shapes is one I've drawn since I was at school and is a fairly universal doodle.

This is the second one - also about this size on the template. This has 'Betweed' in some of the centre triangular parts whilst the other centre parts have a little 'Huggins' adaptation in them. The outside shapes have stripes- no explanation necessary and a little Mooka. Actually, seeing it here, I rather like it!
And finally. I had a go at a large size and really put some effort into Paradox in the centre, with Hollibaugh, a version Crescent Moons and something I think I made up in the other...though it started off as Nzepple...and then a few Cruffles...who can resist a Cruffle?

I'm so glad I dared. Am off to try and post this link onto Bright Owl's page....

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Four Evening Pieces

I have felt strangely scared of doing more than practising new tangles in the past week or so. When I first began making tangles, I was delighted with the results but recently, I've been less impressed with what I've done. Does that mean I am more critical or less inspired...don't know.

But I enjoyed doing four tangles yesterday evening and whilst I am still not overjoyed with all of them, I have to say, the process of producing them was definitely worth it. I feel considerably more inspired now and will keep on trying.

This is me, giving it a go...

Apologies for the slightly out of focus edges, I think I could have scanned this better but it was in a bigger book that overlapped the edges of my printer....
This one is the first I did and I was practising 'Paradox' which you can see (a bit blurred) down the left hand side and the cubed effect of Cubine - which is great to do - and at the bottom, the spiky leaf and berry tangle is called 'Verdigogh' and reminds me of Christmas....more anon! There's also my first bit of Hollibaugh.
This is another curate's egg of a tangle. I was trying to do some clever paradox tangle through the middle - which sort of worked, but not perfectly. As I continued, I realised I wanted a sort of pathway effect - hence the stones along the bottom - and then thought perhaps a compass tangle - I chose 'Drupe' - might look good in the top right hand corner - but it lost something in the execution - artistic ability, I think!
I will try the idea again at some point and make the compass look more like a compass.. 

Now in this one, I felt the mojo was working a little better. 'Fengle', the star tangle is notoriously difficult to keep symmetrical, so I didn't bother to try. The curly rope pattern is one called 'Cruze' and when I added a few spheres, I thought it had quite a celestial appearance. And I rather liked it all together, even though I still need to practice 'Cruze' to really get it to work well.

And finally, the 'Verdigogh' that made me feel a bit Christmassy just had to be done in colour. I wanted a fairly simple background, but managed to mess that up a bit by missing my links somewhere in the middle....hence the rather ugly 'stumps' at the bottom!
Not can't do it just have to try and make it right - perhaps I could have got it 'righter'...all good experience!

Friday, 8 November 2013


I have yet to incorporate 'Paradox', which is an original Zentangle pattern, into anything freeform yet. It has taken me a while to try this one as it has always looked so incredibly difficult.

Well, I feel I have got the hang of it now and just wanted to share my sketchbook page where the pattern eventually came to life. I was rather excited!

You can see my first few attempts at the triangle didn't work. But then I got a rhythm going and my concentration held...and I did triangles, squares and even a hexagon, a septagon and a cube!! The circle was beyond me but then it only has one side....I ended up LOVING the tangle and am away to try and incorporate it into a proper tangle.