Saturday, January 26, 2013

Zendala Dare #42

Hello there faithful readers!  So glad to see that you have returned for a new Zendala Dare!  This week has been full of great things.  A few years back my mom started a new tradition of treating all the adults in the family to the annual Lions Club crab feed.  Our good friend Jody and her family are prominent in the Lions Club and each year they are ever present and sometimes my little brother even helps out.  It's a great time for our whole family.

Lot's of beautiful dungees!

Proud crab guys portioning out the crab!

Lions club members cooking up dinner.

My brother, mother, and our friends JB and Linda

My brother giving the camera his "evil eye."

My sister in law and I.

Clo the cow is the mascot for a local dairy.  She is present at many
community events and my brothers really like to get their picture
taken with her for some reason.
My brother and I.

My mom and her friend mugging for the camera.

My brother and my sister in law.
Then I thought, "Hey, since you don't already have enough on your plate and you have Monday off why not watch 3 of your nieces and nephews for the day?"  So I came up with some cooking and art projects and opened up Auntie Erins Day Care.

We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the shape of butterflies and dinosaurs, baked "fried" cheese that we found on Pinterest, and cut up some mixed fruit.  

Here are the kids making the baked cheese.  It was
pretty darn tasty.  
Then we decided to tackle hot chocolate spoons.  We dipped plastic spoons in melted chocolate and then decorated them with toffee bits, cinnamon, Rolo's and white chocolate chips.  After dinner I heated up milk and then we melted the chocolate spoons in the milk and made instant hot chocolate.  The kids really got a kick out of it and it tasted delicious with the homemade madeleines that we made. 

My nephew needs to really concentrate when sprinkling cinnamon!

We finished off the day by making Shrinky Dink necklaces which was a real blast from the past and the kids loved them.  Now onto something I really love......

Zendala Dare #42

Link to Zendala Dare #42 templates

This template was alot of fun and since I have been able to Zentangle during nursing school lectures I'm getting alot done.  This week I was able to get three, count em, three Zendalas finished.  

Tangles:  Striping, Flux, Diva Dance, 

Out of the three that I did this is my favorite.  I favor organic tangles and Flux is a favorite, plus I think these tangles flow nicely with the template.

Tangles:  Knightsbridge, Printemps, Vache 1, Zinger

This one came in a close second.  I think it has a good ratio of light to dark.

Tangles:  Pia, Hollibaugh, Crescent Moon, Amaze

This is my least favorite of the three.  I don't care for the light to dark ratio.  I tried to make it "heavier" with a lot of shading but it still lacks depth.  

Additionally, I managed to squeeze in a little time to get this week's Diva Challenge done.  Due to time constraints I haven't been able to participate for a few months but it was time that I jumped back in the game.  This week the Diva challenged us to use String 003 from Linda Farmer's website,  It was a fun challenge.  As much as I love Zendala's, sometimes it's nice to go old school.

Tangles:  Apeel, Printemps, Florz, Allium, Kwiet, Phicops,
Flux, Tink

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

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Zendala Dare #41

What.....a......week!  I'm exhausted but mostly in a good way.  Nursing school started this week and it has been a long time since I subscribed to a 5 day a week school schedule and the adjustment has been torture a welcome challenge.  I actually enjoy school when it involves a structured program.  I think a program like this with a focused goal appeals to the planner in me.  I have fond memories of my paramedic academy and I can already see some similarities with nursing school.

I have also began to encounter the differences.

And they are quickly becoming a challenge.

Did I mention that there are differences?

The biggest and most obvious difference is that almost everyone in a paramedic academy has some type of experience.  Many students have not worked on an ambulance before but they are at least required to be EMT's before they can be paramedics.

Not so in nursing school.  Sure there are pre-requisites like microbiology, anatomy and physiology but there is no pre-requisite on life experience, people skills or certifications.  I wasn't prepared for how many people have absolutely zero experience when it comes to dealing with a patient, and in some cases, just talking to strangers in general.   Being a paramedic, I have alot of experience in this arena.  At first I found this challenging.    I won't lie.  I was having a bit of a superiority complex, but then I realized that it wasn't going to change anytime soon and I might as well embrace it.  When I decided to become a nurse, it was with an end goal of teaching.  Maybe not teaching nursing school, but I want a job that has some type of teaching component.  I figured now was as good a time as any to get started.  So rather than be resentful that I was sitting through alot of skills labs with information I already new, I decided to try to help out my fellow students where I can because I'm pretty sure there will be a time in the near future where one of my new nursing buddies will be saving my butt.  Now, I have no formal educational training, and I have never claimed that I do.  But if I excel at one skill, it's talking.  All my friends will tell you how much they love tolerate my stories and run for the hills  enjoy hearing them!  So I have decided to embrace this new adventure and be a supportive, patient friend and student and help my classmates get more comfortable with approaching patients.  This new kinder, gentler, nurse side is a big departure from my controlling, assertive paramedic side but I kind of like it.  I've already made several new friends and really enjoy seeing them get more comfortable with communicating with patients and other care givers.   

This nursing program basically has two components, lecture and skills lab.  I enjoy the skills lab because as I described above, it's the time when I get to work with my fellow students and practice new skills, but lecture is a different animal.  By the end of lecture on the first day, I knew I was in a bit of trouble.  The first semester of school contains many concepts which are review for me and when I'm not challenged I have a lot of trouble focusing.  Even though much of the information is review, its still important that I know what is expected of me on a test.    What's a girl to do?  I think you know where this is headed.  I had a talk with the teacher and let her know I would like to Zentangle during lecture, and gave her a brief summary of what Zentangle is all about, emphasizing the ability to increase focus and memory retention.   Mainly I wanted her to know what I was doing so she didn't think I was being disrespectful and doodling in class.    She was very supportive and asked if she could send out an email to the other instructors letting them know what I was doing.  When I'm tangling I feel like I can focus on every word and it's strange to feel so relaxed after having to sit through a 3 hour lecture. Now I'm getting more Zentangle time than before I was in school!   So don't worry faithful readers, I think your Zendala Dare is safe for now!  

Speaking of faithful readers, I want to thank you for all your supportive comments last week.  When I put my thoughts out there like I did my intention is never to send out an invitation to my pity party, it's just me venting.  I appreciate all the supportive comments, suggestions and insight that you all sent my way.  Many of you have suggested a guest template, but surprisingly, the templates are the easy part, but I am planning some guest templates anyhow.   It's all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes of a blog and a challenge  that can be really time consuming but even at week #41, I'm finding new ways every week to streamline it and cut back on wasted time.  I refuse to give it up so I may as well finds way to make it easier!  

Zendala Dare #41

Link to Zendala Dare #41 templates

Tangles:  Be Vee, Jetties, Lowtice, Borkal

I enjoyed this template alot.  I found it easy to think of tangles that would work and found myself conjuring up all kinds of ideas for a second, third, fourth attempt.  Oh wait, I'm in nursing school and have no time.  I guess this is it!

I hope everyone has a fabulous week
full of good weather and tangling fun.
Remember to link up below.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Zendala Dare #40

All right people.  We are officially in countdown mode.  Less than 48 hours from now I will be starting my 2 year journey in nursing school.  Since I will have very little free time over the next 5 weeks I have worked my butt off on the ambulance this week so the hubby and I won't have to resort to Top Ramen once school starts.  I bought books and uniforms, researched new stethoscopes, and overhauled my work schedule.  I managed to attend my 4 year old nephew's birthday party (I'm positive he's 4, he told me about 10 times!) and oh yeah, got a new Zendala Dare ready. This may be the last Zendala Dare that get's published on time for the next two years so enjoy it while you can!

Zendala Dare #40

I know that I have commented in the past that sometimes I struggle with which templates to pick.  I look at size, ease, difficulty, and the likelihood of whether or not they will lend themselves to tangles.  Sometimes I throw it all to the wind and just pick them because I think they are cool.  No such luck this week.  Here's the template and an explanation will follow.  

You may have noticed that alot of my templates have layered shapes.  That is to say that if you took six circles of paper and layered them on a table you would not be able to see the full area of each circle.  I think this an interesting look and it lends itself well to Zendala templates.  This template is more of a line drawing so the shapes are layered but not opaque.  This really bugs me.  I don't know why but it just does.  The best way I can think to describe it is to say that the template looks "hollow" to me.  It has no depth.  I'm also not a big fan of the triangles that keep appearing in it and the star in the middle looks out of place and offset in comparison to the rest of the piece.  I'm just not a fan even though I'm the one that created it!

Here's the finished Zendala:

Tangles:  Mosaic, Meer, Paradox

At this point you are probably wondering why I went on and on about the crappy template I'm giving you this week.  It's because I want you to strive for more than I did this week. I disliked this template from the start and made sure I talked myself out of a positive creative process rather than embrace something I was uncomfortable with and turn it into something great.   Sure, the finished tile isn't horrible but it is by no means inspired.  It's pretty basic and I didn't give it the effort it deserved.  Why?  Because I talked myself out of being creative before I even got started.  I took about 50 one look at that template and decided I wasn't going to work hard at filling it.  I shot myself in the proverbial tangling foot before I even printed the template out and that type of thinking is a waste of time and has no place in art.  So this week, when you are trying to figure out what to do with the template, think great big plans and make them come to fruition.   This week presented me with an unpleasant lesson but a well needed wake up call.  Maybe a second attempt is in order.   We'll see.  

Have an amazing week and don't kill me if 
the Dare is a little late next week!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Zendala Dare #39 - ZenDon't

Historically, New Years is a time for making resolutions.  A time for looking at what happened in the previous year and thinking about all the things we will change to make the coming year a better one.  I hadn't actually thought much about resolutions this year and wasn't really planning on making any but then I read this post by Jenn at Girl Defying Gravity.  

This year Jenn has decided to make anti-resolutions.  A list of all the things she "won't" do instead of the one's she will.  It got me to thinking.  When the first of the year rolls around many of us load up our plate with a whole list of things we are going to achieve in the new year.  Diets, exercise regimens, spending more time with family and friends, saving money, blah, blah, blah.  And then around February 1st we look back and say "Oh, that was alot to put on my plate.  Oh well."

And then it hit me.  What if we took things off our plate rather than load it up?  Instead of adding a diet, how about subtracting something bad from our usual list of foods.  Instead of creating a crazy exercise plan that we can't stick too, how about subtracting excuses for not exercising.  Instead of coming up with a crazy money saving strategy, how about committing to not going to Starbucks on Mondays (maybe not monday, that's asking too much) Tuesdays and Thursdays, thereby saving a little money.  

Now I'm no fool.  I fully realize that these are actually resolutions in sheeps clothing but sometimes it takes a different perspective to get us to do what we should have been doing all along.  

While I was pondering this concept, I started to think about the Zendala Dare and how this "let's subtract rather than add" strategy might apply.  Like anything else in our life, I think some off us can get a little lazy comfortable with our art.  I know that I am guilty of sometimes using easy tangles to finish a piece so I can just be done with it.  I call them "favorite" tangles, but when I really looked at it I realized I liked some of them because they were easy and I was lazy, not because they were so fun to draw.  When I do this I am not only cheating myself out of growing as an artist, but I am not getting as much as I should from the Zentangle experience.  In the past all of the "extra" challenges have involved trying something new.  Well, today I would like to subtract the old.  Sure, it's sort of the same thing, but maybe this approach will open up a new creative path for you.  So without further ado, I introduce this weeks Zendala Dare Challenge:

Zendala Dare #39 - ZenDon't

This week when you find yourself doing something you would normally do with your Zendala, don't do it.

This week:

  • If you normally use black and white.  Don't.  Try one or more colors.
  • If you always shade heavily.  Don't.  Trying not shading at all.
  • If you always use a favorite tangle.  Don't.  Try a tangle you have never tried before.
  • If you always go to the edge of the tile.  Don't.  Try leaving a border.
  • If you always fill every space.  Don't.  This is your chance to be a minimalist.  
  • If you always procastinate and wait until the end of the week.  Don't.  Print the template right now and post it.
  • If you always look at your Zendala and then post a comment about how your "disappointed" or "just not happy" with how it came out.  Don't.  Your work is beautiful.  Give it the compliments it deserves.  
  • If you always stay inside the lines and never deviate from the template.  Don't.  Draw a big X or a squiggly line right through the template and see how it changes your finished piece.  
The template I have made for this week is also special.  You can see that each round consists of 12 shapes, one for each month of the new year.  Even as I was creating the template I was putting my new mantra into action.  When I became concerned that there were too many small spaces I just thought to myself, "Don't."  I just let the template be what it was going to be.  No worrying.

Here's the template:

For my ZenDon't I tried to let go of many of the things that sometimes stall my creativity.

I always resort to using Tipple or Printemps when I'm in a bind.  Instead I told myself, "Don't".

I have a tendency to follow the template very closely.  I told myself "Don't".

I like to leave stark white spaces.  My inner tangler said "Don't"

I decided to use Jitterz, a tangle that was new to me.  I really wanted to practice it a little first but I told myself "Don't."

Tangles:  Inapod, Jitterz, Bateek, Cadent

My second tile was chock full of "Don'ts"!

Tangles:  Box Spirals, Up and Across, Carres, Btl Joos,
Warble, Bubbles, Buttercup,  Midoosa

I started this tile in black and white and then realized that I ALWAYS use black and white so I asked myself, "Continue with the black and white?" and the answer was a resounding "Don't"

I love symmetry.  I also love asymmetry.  When one of them is going to win out however, the symmetry always kicks asymmetries butt.  As I was perfectly lining the template up with my tile I suddenly thought "Don't!".  Step out on a very thin limb with this one and just use part of the template.  I have to say that it is by far one of my all time favorite Zendala's.    I also combated symmetry by using random tangles in varied amounts in the body of the template. 
My last act of "don't" defiance was to use a new unpublished tangle.  Most of the time I like to unveil my new tangles before I start publishing them in my work but this time I said "Don't wait".  So I proudly introduce my new tangle Midoosa.  See if you can figure out which one it is.  Don't worry, directions to come in a few days.  

What will you say "Don't" to this week.  You might be surprised with what will creep up in its place.    

I hope everyone has a fantastic week and remember to link up below.



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