Saturday, December 29, 2012

Zendala Dare #38

Is everyone ready for this holiday season to come to a close?  I know I am!  As much as I love the holidays I always have a great sense of relief when the shopping, eating, wrapping, baking, and party attending is finally over.  I love the time with my family and friends, but let's face it, it's a lot of work.  

I actually had to work on Christmas this year and it was a very busy day on the ambulance.  Holidays can be hit or miss in the ambulance business and from what I have seen in the past years, Christmas has a tendency to be pretty mellow, but not this year.  Luckily, I had my usual partner Jenn so even though it was busy, I had good company and I brought us a few treats so the day was tolerable.  We exchanged gifts and she got me the cutest toiletry bag for when I do overnight shifts at the ambulance station.  Its covered in silver glitter and pink owls.  It screams "girly"!  I love it.  I also attended a girls lunch where 6-8 of us get together every year and have great cocktails, lunch and exchange gifts.  Luckily, my friend Chris drew my name and she is an excellent gift giver.  I am the lucky new owner of super cozy owl pajamas, a new calendar, an awesome mounted picture of my husband and I with Chris and her husband, and a new sandwich shaped coin purse.  All the gifts were amazing but I am partial to the coin purse.  Why?  I don't know but it's pretty darn cool.  

My friend Debbi bought me this magnet for Christmas.  I would be offended, but its probably true.  She knows me so well.

I had the day after Christmas off so most of my family met at my mom's and I was able to visit with my stepmother and her boyfriend who live in Los Angeles but drive up and spend Christmas with us.  After my father passed away 5 years ago my mother and my stepmother became thick as thieves and now they talk several times a week on the phone and my stepmother stays at my mother's house when she visits.  Weird and wonderful all at the same time.  It's easier if I don't try to understand it.  

Zendala Dare #38

I just realized as I am typing this that this will be the last Zendala Dare of 2012!  That's a lot of pressure to come up with something really cool for next week. 

Even after 38 templates I still get a little anxious each time I pick one.  "Is it too linear?"  "Is it too organic?"  "Are the spaces to big or are they too small?"  Well, this week was no different.  Sometimes I create the templates specifically for that weeks dare and sometimes I use one's that I have created and saved.  This one was created 3 days ago.  When I initially finished it I loved it.  I thought it had great balance, clean lines, and was different from the others.  Then came the moment of truth.  I printed it.  Once it's on paper and I can accurately see it's proportions I have a tendency to start to question if it will be "tangleable".  I like people to actually be able to modify tangles rather than just fill with line work (don't get me wrong, I love line work but it's called Zentangle, not Zenline, right?).  When I printed this template the spaces looked very small and I contemplated for 3 days if this was the best pick but I decided to try it anyway and I think the results are pretty impressive. It was actually much easier than I thought to find appropriate tangles.   Let me know what you think of it.

Tangles:  Zedbra, Purk, Antidot, Laced, Meer,
Squid, Crescent Moon

I hope everyone has a safe and fun filled New Year
and please remember to link up below.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Zendala Dare #37

What a wonderful week!  I hope you are all enjoying the holiday season.  This week has been about work, shopping, tangling, eating, baking and spending time with friends and family.

Saturday I attended my niece's first dance recital.  The hubby and I drove 40 minutes to watch 90 seconds of 3 year olds holding their hands above their heads and looking at each other trying to figure out what to do.  I wouldn't have missed it for the world.  Then it was off to pizza with the family and a quiet night at home.

On Saturday I went to an annual cookie make and take party at my friend Chris's house. 

The picture is a little blurry but you get the idea.  Me and about 10 girlfriends baked, tasted, cut, tasted, wrapped, and tasted some more.  There is always spiced cider ( and a bottle of Tuaca nearby to make it a little "spicier", if you know what I mean) and my friend Chris threw together a lunch of chicken caesar for all us girls.  There were lot's of kids so I took my niece for the day so she could enjoy the festivities.

Here she is with the "big girls" decorating gingerbread men.

I worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on the ambulance and it was rather uneventful.  On Thursday I took a mandatory recertification class so you can imagine how heart broken  I was (sniff, sniff) when it let out an hour early! 

Friday was a whole lot of running around and then dinner at my brother's in-laws house.  My brother's in laws are great people and it is so nice of them to invite my brother's and I plus all the kids and spouses for a Christmas dinner.  Last year Denise (the awesome mom, cook, and grandma) made a traditional dinner of ham, au gratin potatoes, rolls, vegetables etc. so I just assumed that we would have something similar this year.  When I arrived however Denise and my sister in law were feverishly working away in the kitchen.  I saw something frying on the stove and I was informed that we were having homemade potato with cheese and sauerkraut pirogi, cabbage and sausages for dinner this year.  "Is that ok?" Denise asked.  "Is that ok? Are you kidding me?"  "I'm moving in!"  Carbs stuffed with carbs?  Am I in heaven?

Then I noticed something that took me a back, just a little.  In a pan of simmering water on the stove were two bottle of Karo's syrup, one light and one dark.  I inquired what they were for and was told that you put them on the pirogi.  Always one to try something new, I dished myself up several of the dumplings and drizzled them with some of the dark syrup on my sister in laws recommendation.  Wow, so delicious and weird at the same time.  No one at the table could remember when this tradition started so they were not sure if it was a family thing or a cultural thing.  Do any of my readers have any insight into this tradition?  Let me know.

Speaking of dinner at the in laws, I decided to make a little hostess gift.  I also made this recipe as my contribution to the cookie party and it was a big hit.  The recipe is for honeycomb candy which I find a lot of people are unfamiliar with.  It has no actual honeycomb in it but it has a light, airy crunch and is made with honey, hence the name.  Honeycomb is one of my mom's favorite candies and last year I decided to give it a try and was surprised how close it was to the honeycomb we used to buy at Little John's candy at the La Brea Farmers Market in Los Angeles.  I have since found out that it is also a favorite of the hostess, Denise so I whipped up a batch and thought I would share the recipe.  Just for the record, I think it tastes best covered in milk chocolate.

Honeycomb Candy 
Recipe courtesy of Gale Gand and Food Network


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda, sifted


In a large saucepan, gently combine the sugar and water then add the honey and corn syrup. Boil until amber colored and the sugar looks like caramel. Add the baking soda, and with a wooden spoon, stir in gently. It will foam up a lot. Pour the mixture onto a silpat or a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan, and let cool. Break into pieces.  Dip in chocolate if desired.  

Now onto the Zendala Dare!

Zendala Dare #37

This weeks template is pretty simple.  A little straight, a little curved and a lot of fun!

Tangles: Diva Dance, Sez, Amaze, Organza, Paradox
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and remember
to link up below!


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Zendala Dare #36

Well hello there!  Don't worry, no complaining this week.  It's been a good one (for the most part)!   A few days of work, lot's of holiday festivities, and today, my 3 year old nieces ballet recital which I'm sure I will report next week was the cutest thing ever!

Last weekend I went to a friends Christmas party and had a great time.  Then I followed it up the next night with a little company get together that a coworker organized.  

Me and two of my besties!

That picture above has one nasty little detail that you may or may not be able to see. I have been lugging some rather unattractive teeth jewelry around for the last year and on Monday I finally got to say goodbye to it!

Yes this is a lame picture I took in my car but I was so excited
to have my braces off!

I was so excited to get my braces off only to realize that I was now saddled with 4, yes count em, 4 retainers!  Two permanent ones, and two removable.  Between the braces, the retainers, and almost losing one that I wrapped in a napkin while eating lunch on the second day, I feel like a 13 year old!

Alrighty then, onto the Dare!

Zendala Dare #36

Here's this week's template:

Week 36 Zendala Dare Template

This week I wanted to incorporate a bunch of new tangles into my Zendala.  I found that to make them work I required a lot of shading.

Tangles:  Wengz, Rain, Beadlines, Firecracker, Culdesac,
AuraKnot + Paradox

I really like the way this turned out.  I used a tangleation of AuraKnot + Paradox for the center and no matter how many times I try it, I am always amazed how good it looks.  It's easier than you would think to combine the two.  You can find the directions here if you want to give it a go.

I hope you all have a wonderful week of tangling and 
preparing for the holiday season.  Remember to stay
warm and link up below.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Zendala Dare #35 - Where's my template?

Whew!  What...a...week!  I know I say that every week is a busy week, and while that is a truthful statement, this week has been a killer.  I have worked an ambulance shift every day for the last 9 days and today is the final day.   I love my job but am through with this hellish week.  Tomorrow I will rest, watch movies, go to the boat lighting in Petaluma, hang with family, and then head to a friends house for a little holiday cheer.  And yes, I can't wait!

I know what you are thinking, "Why do you do this to yourself?"  Well, there's a couple reasons.  A)  I like to pack my days together to maximize my overtime and allow for longer stretches of days off.  B)  I need to make all the money I can before starting nursing school next month.  C)  Two months ago my husband was laid off and I was forced to make a sudden and not so pleasant change to my work schedule.   Luckily, we got word this week that he has secured a new job!  It's been a rough two months but I keep reminding myself that the challenges we faced were not only brief, but are also minimal compared to what many others are going through.  Sometimes it takes something negative to show you just how much positive you have in your life.

To celebrate the end of my nine day work week and the hubby getting a new job I think we should have an extra special Zendala Dare!

Zendala Dare #35 - Where's my template?

As I explained in last weeks post, I got my dates a little mixed up and forgot to post a Dare with an extra challenge last week so we are going to have one this week, and it's a doozy.

Since starting the Zendala Dare eight months ago the question I get most frequently is "How do you make the templates?"  There are no easy answers because it's a combination of instruments, computers, drafting templates, and handwritten lines.  I know this is frustrating because many of you desire to have the ability to make your own templates on a whim.  I know this because it's feelings like those that led me to start the Dare.  So I wanted to give you an easy way to make your own template.

I first discovered snowflake templates at CZT training last October.  You can read the full story here.  Snowflake templates require very few supplies, are easy to make, and offer infinite possibilities.  I learned this technique from the book Zen Mandalas by Suzanne McNeill, CZT.

Snowflake, the only known
albino gorilla. 

To make a template you will need a piece of computer paper, a pair of scissors, and a pencil.  Let's get started.

Begin by folding the computer paper in half.

Now fold it in half again in the other direction.

Fold the closed edges together so that you form a point.
Then repeat this step one more time.
This is just like the snowflakes we used to make
when we were kids.

You should now have something that looks like this.

Place the tip of your folded paper in the middle of whatever you choose to draw on.  I have used a Zentangle Zendala tile in the 

Cut your paper so that it fits within your tile.  You can make it 
a decorative edge if you like.  Mine has a little bit of a wave.  

Add a few more cuts along the sides and, if you choose, snip
off the tip.

Lets open it up and see what we have!

Do your best to smooth the creases from your snowflake.
Place the snowflake on your tile and trace lightly with a pencil.

Now the fun begins.  If you like, create some smaller spaces
by adding a few additional lines.  I find it easiest to connect points
but be creative and do what feels right.  You can use a ruler or 
french curve but I find it easy to just freehand my lines.

I don't usually outline my entire template at the beginning 
because I think it sometimes stalls my creative flow but
I have outlined it here so you can clearly see the outline of 
the template.

Tangles:  Courant, Paradox, Tink, Hollibaugh, 
Katahdin, AuraKnot

Here is my completed Zendala.  Pretty cool, don't ya think?

Here is the second template I made.

The squareness of this template was achieved by folding
it three times instead of four.

Tangles:  Printempts, Squiggles, Charlie,
Fescu, Weave

I find the finished project intriguing because it looks nothing
like the original template.

A few tips about creating your snowflake mandala:

  • When you make the first cut to get the template to fit on tile, it's probably going to be too big. It's important to open it after this step and check.  I don't know why this happens but nine times out of ten mine is to large.  Don't fret, just use your scissors to cut a little more off until you get it to fit.   These extra cuts have led to some interesting shapes in the end.  
  • Don't worry about symmetry.  Your snowflake may have a few little missteps  and that's ok.  Once you fill it with tangles you won't even notice.  
  • Simpler is better, at least in the beginning.  When you are just getting started, make fewer cuts and you will end up with larger spaces.  You can always create smaller spaces using your pencil  
  • If you decide you like your template and want to reuse it I recommend ironing it.  It will make it easier to use it for multiple tracings or to create a master copy.  

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and I can't wait to see
what everyone come's up with.  
Please remember to link up below.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Zendala Dare #34

This week I thought I had everything under control and then I realized that it was the first Zendala Dare of the month.  In the past I have asked a little something extra from each of you on the first Saturday of each month but somehow I lost track of the date and forgot all about it!  So your "extra challenge" Zendala Dare will have to wait until next week.  I think you guys will manage but I do apologize  if you are one of the people who look forward to the special challenges.  I so promise to have something really fun for you for next week.  Never fear though, I still have a wonderful template for you this week. 

Last week I told you how excited I was to have reached 100,000 page views!  I could hardly believe it when it happened and as I had previously promised, we had an awesome giveaway to celebrate.  So I would like to announce the lucky winner!

Christy Evans Curtis

Christy, please send me an email with your address and I will get your prize in the mail.

Now onto the main attraction:

Zendala Dare #34

I fell in love with this template.   Lately I have been seeing some amazing Zentangle's and I have been noticing that a lot of the work I am drawn to is very heavily shaded.  I decided that this week I would make an effort to shade beyond my comfort level.  I think I achieved that even if the photo doesn't reflect it.

Tangles:  Soft Stacks, Flounders, Shing, Amaze

I hope you all have an amazing week and 
remember to link up below!



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