Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras

This week the Diva presented a Mardi Gras challenge.  Lots of choices for this one.  Do I go with Mardi Gras colors, beads, feathers, masks, or just excess?  I decided to go with a mix.  I have never been to New Orleans and don't know much about Mardi Gras but my brother John lived in Louisiana for a few years and one year he had a king cake delivered to our house.  

The king cake takes it's name from the biblical three kings which explains why it is traditionally served throughout the season between Christmas and Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins.  It is usually some type of risen bread dough, formed into a ring, baked, and then topped with icing and purple, yellow, and green sprinkles to represent Mardi Gras.  A traditional king cake will also have a small trinket hidden inside and whoever finds the trinket is supposed to buy the next king cake, may be the king or queen for the day, or may be the next person to have a baby.  I guess it depends on what kind of expectations people want to put on you!  The most traditional trinket is a bean but in the the South it is usually a small plastic baby.  

I'm not going to lie.  It did not taste good.  It was overly sweet and mostly stale by the time it arrived but it was a lot of fun looking for that trinket and getting an unexpected Mardi Gras gift from my brother.

So when I think of Mardi Gras I think of king cakes and celebrations so that is what I loosely modeled my tile after.

Tangles: Yincut, King's Crown, Organza,
Quipple, Florz

Have you been to Mardi Gras?

What is your fondest memory?


Sunday, February 19, 2012

A little help, please

In this day and age when so many people are struggling I feel blessed every day to have a wonderful family, great friends, a roof over my head, and a job that pays well.  As I am sure we all know, not everyone is that lucky.  Here in Sonoma county, California the Redwood Empire Food Bank helps those in need of food and other necessities.  

I went to get my hair done the other day and my hairstylist Ann was telling me that for the last several years her grandson, Memphis, had been asking friends and family to donate to a worthy cause rather than buy him birthday gifts.  Each year he sets his goal higher and higher and this year Memphis wants to raise the equivalent of 7735 meals for the Redwood Empire Food Bank because he is turning 7.  In the past Memphis raised money for the Early Learning Institute and raised $900 to keep the Cotati's Kids Day Parade up and running.  

Memphis is turning 7 on February 26 and is so close to making his goal.  I'm sending this out in the hopes that some of you may be able to make a donation, no matter how large or small, to support Memphis in this endeavor.  You can read all about Memphis and learn how to donate here.

Thanks so much,


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Can you see it?

If Zentangle has taught me one thing it is too let go of my perfectionist tendencies and just let things be, at least with my art that is.  This week the Diva had a guest challenger, Diana Hirsch, CZT.  Diana used her opportunity as a guest challenger to raise awareness of the The Four Diamonds Fund.  The Four Diamonds Fund is hosting a dance-a-thon to help to raise money for pediatric cancer.  You can find all the details here.

The challenge is to use the funds diamond logo as a string.  So far, no big deal.  The second part of the challenge is to use only diamond like tangles to complete the tile.  Really?  Nothing curvy, curly, organic or naturey (I know that's not an actual word, but I'm frustrated so I get to do things like that!)?  But that's why it's called a challenge, right?  

Instead of diving in I decided to answer some emails, do laundry, go out to lunch, take a walk with the hubby, cook dinner, make a dessert and watch a movie.  You would have thought I had a biology test to study for.  I decided to peruse my blog roll and saw that my friend and fellow blogger Carole Ohl, CZT of Open Seed Arts had written a post very similar to how I was feeling but she got her tile done so what was I waiting for?

Now don't get me wrong, I love the Diva's challenges and truly appreciate all the work that she and her guests put into them but sometimes when I look at them I feel like I am starting on my first Zentangle ever.  I feel like I only have three tangles in my arsenal and I have never drawn a string before.  It's a weird twist of human nature that we get halted like this, and some of us more than others.   So once again I sat at my work table....(wait for it).......and watched 3 episodes of Parenthood on Netflix.  Maybe the challenge can wait until tomorrow? 

That was starting to sound good but then I took an updated look at my blog roll and saw that my friend and ambulance partner Jenn of Girl Defying Gravity had posted a challenge tile.  Jenn was one of my star students (yes Chris, Greg, Andrea, and Margarito and Su, you were all stars too!)  in my first Zentangle class that I conducted last week.  I'm glad she has taken to Zentangle so readily but trying to upstage the teacher, really?  Not only had she participated in the challenge but her tile was really beautiful. You can check it out here.  (While your there check out the tile with the J in the same post.  That is her second Zentangle EVER.  Unbelievable!)   Oh no, this would not do.  I will own this challenge!

I began by printing out the logo and then transferring it to a tile using pencil lead and an embossing tool.  This is what the completed tile looked like.

Tangles: Florz, Ambler, Cubine

I thought the completed tile was ok but I felt like it was missing something.  Like I said at the beginning of this post, Zentangle has helped me to just let things be and as hard as I wanted to follow that sentiment I just couldn't.  Then I remembered reading a post the other day, I wish I could tell you who's, but the artist recommended photographing a piece to see it in a different light.  So that what I did and it hit me like a brick.  It was clear what needed to be done.  Such a little change made such a big difference.

So, can you see it?

Do you think it made a difference or should I have left it alone?

Let me know, I value your feedback.

Thanks, Erin

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


The Diva has added a new feature to her blog called Use My Tangle.  Aficionados of the Zentangle technique can submit their original tangles for consideration and on the the first Monday of each month the Diva will make one of those tangles part of the challenge.  For the first Use My Tangle challenge the Diva chose Sanibelle by Tricia Faraone, CZT.

I actually started playing with Sanibelle after I had seen it used in many other tiles.  This tangle is a little deceiving because just by looking at it you think you would know how to do it but when you see Tricia's technique it is nothing like what I would have imagined (or at least it was a surprise to me!).  You can see for yourself by following this link to Sanibelle.

Not only is Sanibelle impressive, but it is fast.  It's also one of those tangles that fits into just about any area easily so it's a great one to use if you become "stuck". Thanks Tricia for the great tangle!

Tangles: Sanibelle, Cyme, Rain, Avreal

I would also like to send out a big congratulations to the Diva for winning the Most Fascinating Blog of 2011 in the Teaching category.  Way to go Laura!  You deserve it for all the inspiration and support you provide, not only with Zentangle but by increasing awareness of Moebius Syndrome. Keep those challenges coming!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sometimes I even surprise myself

When I first found Zentangle I immersed myself in it every extra moment I had.  I was overwhelmed by the number of tangles available, how to keep track of them, and the semantics of whether I was doing a new tangle or a tangleation of something old.  Then came the black tiles with white ink.  Oh my, the possibilities of this new duo.  Watercolors?  Who new you could incorporate watercolors.  Watercolor pencils, traditional watercolors, field kits, and who ever heard of a brush that has the water built in?  Who thinks of these things?

Not much has changed except for the fact that many of the more current ideas and inspirations I have come across have forced my older finds into some of the deeper recesses of my brain.  I had read about using your non-dominant hand to tangle pretty early in my Zentangle journey.  It was brought up again in my CZT training and I have seen many people do it on various blogs.  It was even a challenge from the Diva at some point before I started doing the challenges (and I read all her archives), so I know I have stumbled upon it there as well.

So the obvious question is "Why haven't I tried it yet?"  The human nature answer is, because nobody made me.  We all have things we put off for one reason or another.  The feelings it may bring up, the fact that it is undesirable to us, or in my case (and probably other people's as well) the fear of failure.

I have been tangling for just under a year now and I think my tangles have improved significantly. The thought of putting something "ugly" in my book was not something I wanted to do, and I would never have the heart to throw a Zentangle away, so the non-dominant Zentangle remained undone.

Imagine my surprise (dread, apprehension, and nausea) when I read this weeks Diva challenge, Non-Dominatrix!  I must not be the only person who has had some trouble with this because the Diva even commented about it in her post.

So I sat down, got out my pen and tile,.......and sat there for about 15 minutes.  The hardest part was getting started, and not just with the tile, but with each new tangle.  I felt like each time I started something new I had to get back "in the zone", but once I did it was much easier than I thought and the end result was definitely a surprise to me.

My first Zentangle done the "right" way!

Tangles: BB, Rain, Flux, Scena, Nipa, Amaze
I started with Flux because it's one of my favorites and I am really good at it so I figured that my right handed attempt might still come out ok.  I moved on to Scena because I wanted to see what kind of control I could maintain with my line work and then Amaze to test my ability to maintain control in tight situations.  I tried BB in an attempt to see if I could keep my lines straight and moved on to Nipa and Rain simply because I thought the top of the tile looked empty.  Shadowing with my non-dominant hand proved to be one of the greatest challenges, and I am not really sure why.

The biggest surprise came when I turned the tile over and tried to sign my name, and it was a pretty embarrassing effort.  So how can I complete these intricate patterns with my non-dominant hand and still make them look pretty good but when I attempt to do something simple like sign my name I fail miserably?  I guess that's a question for all the neurologists and psychologists and scientific types out there but it makes me wonder, "What is Zentangle really doing to my brain?"  All good things, I'm sure.


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