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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Ornaments

It is that time of year again!  The holidays are here and the level of activity grows more everyday.  So what do I do?  Find a new project of course.  What? Doesn't everyone?

This year there is no shortage of teachers to buy for at my house.  My 5 year old is in two different pre-school classes, each has a teacher and an assistant.  My 11 year old may have just one homeroom teacher but there are helpers, assistants and other teachers as well.  I have started with the idea of gifting just 5 people, but I will need to see if my 11 has any one he would like to give something to besides his homeroom teacher.

Pens and star ready to get to work.
 I saw a zentangle ornament on Pintrest a few weeks back and thought it was great.  I also thought that ornaments would be a cute way to "dress up" a teacher gift.  So Monday, I found myself wondering the aisles and looking for something to tangle and hang on the tree.  I thought of using a plain ball ornament but I have found that curved surfaces are not always my friend.  I found some flat porcelain shapes that I thought would work.  I ended up choosing a star shape.  As I was not sure how the micron pen would work on porcelain, I next went looking for a pen to use.  I almost got Sharpie Oil based markers to use, but the color options that were available were not to my liking and the nibs were also fairly large.  I still want a pretty fine tip to use.  I ended up going with Marvy Uchida Decocolor oil pens.  They have an extra fine tip and work well.  The paint flows nicely and so far, doesn't clog or skip.  I am also using the Sakura Pen-touch gold pen.  It is a larger tip and not fine point at all.  The end though, it just large enough to make a nice gold dot where I want it.

I bought an extra star to create my sample on.  At only $1.50 per star, I can afford to make a mock up.  I can make my mistakes there and work out any kinks I may encounter with patterns, pens, or problems there first.  I ended up using Tripoli on the stars.  I wanted a pattern that I felt comfortable doing free hand, looked good without shading, and I could embellish as I wanted. 

Getting started

I left the background white and started with the red pen. I almost stopped right here.  I thought that the red really popped out and that my Tripoli was quite a success.  However, I wasn't sure if all the remaining white space was a good idea.  I didn't want it to look unfinished.  As I really loved the red, I didn't want lose it and decided to switch to green.  After that I went in and added green dots to the red and red dots to the green.  Next, I went back again and put a small gold dot in the center of the groupings. 

Detail of final Star.

After I finished the first one, I took a break so that I could see it with new eyes and see what changes, if any, I would make to the next ones.  I decided that while I liked the added dots, the pattern was too busy.  On the next star, I did Tripoli the same, but left out the red and green dots but kept the gold ones.

I like the design this way.  The open triangles keep it from feeling too busy and the gold dots add a focal point for each "section" of Tripoli and just a little sparkle.  I bought a different red ribbon that I'll add to them before we give them away.  I got a clear sealer to go over top of the pens.  They are said to be permanent but I figure that the clear coat will help to prevent scratching over time. 

First try

The kids and I will work together and decide what to note on the backside.  I am still debating what else we may give them, a gift card maybe, but this is a great start.  These don't take that long to tangle.  In a few days, after they have had more time to dry, I will clear coat them.  I am really enjoying making these.  I may have to go back and get some more shapes to try out.


This week the challenge from The Diva was to make our tangle patterns larger than we usually do.  I had been thinking of this very thing for a little while.  I really love the tangle Tripoli yet when I go back to add embellishments to my triangles, I think that sometimes they become muddled.  I seem to be afraid to made a bigger design though.  Why?  Who knows.  It was nice to get "permission" this week to stretch out the patterns and to give them the room to grow.

Funnily enough, I didn't use Tripoli in my tile. I started with Rain.  I like the graphic quality of it and as I have just started to use it, I wanted to explore it more.  I chose Fife because I need more practice with it.  Making it large makes it easier for me to create it.  Bigger gives a lot of negative space behind the pattern which almost begs for more pattern there but I stopped and just shaded.  I thought about blacking the background but I was afraid that I would lose Rain.  I next tried SOCC.  This is a new pattern and is quite striking I think.  I am really looking forward to using it more in the future.  Lastly, I added Umble.  I love it's curves.

I will try to work a little bigger in the future.  I confess I get stuck with the same size patterns and to break that pattern will be a challenge but a fun one.  Bigger will be fun when it comes to adding layers of tangles to a tile or ZIA, and I look forward to the challenge.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Red Thread

This week, Cris Letournea, CZT at Tangled Up in Art is guest hosting the challenge from The Diva. Please click the link to find out more about The Red Thread Promise.  It sounds like a great cause.  I will be happy to donate my tile.

I'm afraid this post will be short.  In the run up to Thanksgiving, my time and energy are short and I fear that if I don't post now I won't get to it.  So with out further delay, my Red Thread tile.

I hope that those celebrating have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  For anyone who isn't, I hope that you have a wonderful week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Pattern: Allium

I have recently joined Pintrest.  I think that there are several of you who are on Pintrest as well as I have found you and because there is a lot of zentangle art posting.  I don't go on as much as I could but I have to be prepared to sit for a while when I log in.  There is a lot to see.  If anyone doesn't have an account and would like one, I think it is still join by invite, just hit me up via email and I'll send you an invitation.

Why all the Pintrest stuff?  Because it is there that I saw an incredible tattoo that inspired this tangle. 
Click the link to see artist information.

Is that not awesome?  Talk about a zentangle tat!  I swear that I would get this exact tattoo if I...
1. had the nerve. 2: Was sure my kids wouldn't hate me. 3. Had a better body.  Lets face it, you don't get a back piece and not show it off.

An anonymous commenter has noted who the artist is.  I am so glad to have his name and information.  He is  Alexis Calvie from Black (he)art Tattoo in France.  I plan on checking out more of his work and I hope you do as well.  If I ever find myself in France, I think I may find him and get my first tattoo.

I was really taken buy the whole thing but I was drawn to the pattern on the left in the middle.  It is so mesmerizing and visual.  My eye is just pulled to it automatically.  I thought that it would make a great tangle pattern.  So, I sat down to play with it a bit and see what I could do and this is what I came up with. 

I say to end with an empty space on the outside as I found that to end with black, the pattern runs together with the next one.  That might be nice sometimes but I didn't care for it.  I ended up choosing the name Allium as the pattern reminds me of an onion with its many layers.  Allium is the Genus of the onion and I thought that sounded good.

I tried it in several tangles. In this week's challenge and in the Punzel challenge.  I also gave it a try on black scrapbooking paper with a white gel pen.

I have a little trouble keeping this pattern small.  I know how to make it smaller but I just get carried away.

I hope you like it.  I'm interested to see if anyone else uses it and how they do.  If you use it, please post a link.  I would love to see your work!

Tri Shapes Challenge

This week The Diva's challenge is hosted by Sue Clark.  I was excited to see that Sue was hosting.  I have enjoyed and been inspired by Sue's work for a while.  The challenge was another great way to explore string making.  I really liked the idea of using overlapping shapes to create the string for several reasons.  One, I am forever feeling stuck when it comes to strings.  I'm not sure why, but my pencil always wants to go the same way everytime.  Using shapes is a great way to get going without having to worry about the rut my pencil is in.  The other is that there is always a shape of some kind in the house.  I can just pick one up and get started.  Using tangles that we have not used before is also a great challenge.  There are so many patterns out there that I have seen and wanted to use but haven't yet.  This was a perfect excuse to just jump in and not over think the pattern.

First I drew my string.  I used my circle template to make the circle and then just a straight edge to make the triangle and the rectangle.  I probably should have free handed them but my freehand can be a bit wonky.  I'm getting a lot better at accepting the wonky but I'm not all the way there yet.

Once I made the string, I pulled out my iPod to look for tangles that I had saved but not used yet.  I really wanted to try Veins by Lizzie Mayne since I saw it.  The tangle reminds me of an album cover from the 90's but please don't ask me which one, I can't remember.  Knowing that I wanted to use that one first, I plopped it right in the middle.  Not practicing most of these tangles first was a real leap of faith, but I am pleased with the outcome. 

I made sure to write down the names of the tangles on the back of the tile and using Sandra Kay Straight's blog, I was able to go back and get the names and the links.  She has the hook up for patterns.   The new patterns I used here are the previously mentioned Veinz, Bowties by Lori Howe, Flubber by Molossus (Ms. Straight), Galoo by Carol Ohl, and Golven by Mariet.  I confess that I had used Golven before in a birthday gift but I love it so much, I wanted to try it again.  I had a little triangle so I added Paradox and just filled the other with stripes. 

I also used a new tangle of mine that I am calling Allium.  It reminds me of on onion cross section so I chose Allium which it the genus of the onion.  I will post steps and examples of Allium in my next post.  The inspiration for this tangle came from a tattoo.  I don't have any tattoos and have never thought that I'd like one, but after seeing this one, I almost took the photo and my back down to the local place to get one, but more on that next.

Thank you to Sue for a fun challenge and thanks to the Diva for bringing the challenge to us each week.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Birthday Gifts

Red Velvet cake.  So yummy!
Fall is a busy time of year for me and birthdays.  Not only do many of my family members turn a year older but also do many of my friends.  This year, I have made zentangles for several people.  I can't post them all yet on the off chance that they may see them.  This weekend though, I was able to gift a few and now I can share them with you.

5X5 on watercolor paper with 0.1 and 0.005 micron pens and pencil.
This is a zendala that I made for my friend Cheryl.  I found this mandala pattern on 102 Free Mandalas to download.  This is a nice place to find many different mandalas.  This one was a little different than what I used but I really liked the shape.  You can download the patterns as .jpeg or PDF files.

I really enjoyed making this and am surprised at how quickly it went.  I framed it in a 10X10 float frame, with a black piece of scrapbooking paper to fill the empty space.  I had hoped to put it in a 10X10 with a 5X5 square cutout to frame it but I made the zendala too big and none of the premade frames would work.  I waited too late to have it framed professionally.  I was quite pleased with how it came out though.  The paper had a black on black pattern on it and with the zendala in the middle it looked quite nice.  The pattern on the paper was just enough to give it interest but not too busy to distract the eye.

5X7 on watercolor paper with 0.1 micron and gold gel pen
This one is for my friend Kent.  While I didn't plan it, this one works double time as Kent is a New Orleans Saints fan and their colors are black and gold.  This photo is of the tangle in the frame so there is a little glare in the glass but not much.

I tried to alternate the dark and light patterns in this one.  I tried a new pattern Golven and I really like it a lot. It isn't difficult to do and looks great.  I look forward to using it again and again.

I am glad to report that both Cheryl and Kent enjoyed their tangles as much as I did making them.  I hope that you enjoy looking at them too.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

All Hallows Eve Challenge

It's a new week and lots of goings on around here.  Not only is/was it Halloween but we have also become the host to an Italian exchange student.  She may be here for just a short while but maybe longer.  It is still up in the air at this point.  We have tried to be welcoming but not overwhelming, I hope.  My 5 year old can demand a lot of time when he is excited.  If you are ever in the mood for a tour of his hot wheels cars, just come on by! :)

I had to work this year on Halloween and sadly missed all the fun.  But, I do get to enjoy the candy while skipping the long walk to get it.  The challenge this week was to do a Halloween tile.  I confess, I quite enjoyed this one.  I enjoy them all but this one was fun to explore.  Which image to put forward? Which tangles are "scary"?  I started looking over Halloween themed clip art for my image and went from there.  I couldn't choose which I wanted to do more so I did them both.

The eyes came out great I think.  I had to fight myself to leave the white space.  They don't float out of the space as I had imagined them to but I don't mind.  While working on this one, the pattern for Pweeko came across my feed and I tried it out.  I like it.  I've already added it to my tangle "stash".

Next, I wanted to do something a bit more obviously Halloween and went with a skeleton.  I now think that it is a bit more Grateful Dead than Halloween but I don't mind.  That is why it's called "Grateful Tangle".

I really left more white space than I have been lately and I'm really glad that I did.  I'm not sure what the background tangle is called.  It reminds me of Nzepple.  It hints at spider webs to me.

I hope that you all had a fun, safe and Happy Halloween.  The busy time of the year is about to kick off for me at work so I hope to still work on the challenges.  I really look forward to them each Monday morning and it's nice to have a direction to head in when I pick up my pens.