Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's the Hap-Happiest Season of All

"Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale they say. He was made of snow, but the children know how he came to life one day."    Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson

Since I decided to design a line of note cards (see my last blog post), I've been working non-stop to get as many designs completed as possible before the crafts fair I'm participating in on November 9th. I've had no time to tangle anything besides my cards, so I thought I would share a couple more of them here.

Although it's not even Halloween yet, the Christmas decorations are already out in all the stores, and everyone is starting to think ahead towards the winter holidays. Including me, as I design my holiday cards. After taking a survey of my friends as to whether they would prefer their holiday cards to be small (5½ x 4¼ inches), or large (5 x 7 inches), I decided to go large. As was pointed out, some people like to insert 4 x 6 photos in with the cards, so I took  that into consideration in making my decision. This snowman is the image on one of the cards, and is definitely my favorite one so far. I love snowmen and used to have a large collection of snowmen of all kinds. Since moving to a place where there is no snow, I gave up my collection (which means giving up some of the clutter too!), so this little guy makes me happy.

Then I decided to add a pop of color. Although I had used markers to add color to some of my other designs, I decided to use colored pencil for this one so I would have a better chance of neatly getting color into the point of his nose with the sharp tip of the pencil.

I love him either way, with or without color.

Tangling is the easy part of making these cards. The hard part is printing them so the blacks look really black, and the colors are as bright as they are in my original pieces. I think we've figured out the black part, but we're still working on the colors. The following ornament design is driving me crazy - the colors don't have enough pizazz when printed, but I think changing to glossy paper for the colored designs will help with that problem. Keeping my fingers crossed while I wait for the glossy cards to be delivered. In the meantime, I added some glitter to the ornaments on the couple of cards I printed, using a clear Wink of Stella brush which definitely helped (but is not pictured here).
The ornament on the upper right had me nearly pulling out my hair. That was the last one I worked on, and after spending a lot of time on the rest of it, I was not happy at all with this ornament. I made the band across the middle with the teal color to match the other ornament, and then added a brighter blue. Was not happy with that at all. It took a while, but I finally figured out how to remedy this (after all, there are no mistakes in Zentangle, right?). I pulled out a gold Sharpie paint pen and it easily covered the bright blue (mistake), leaving no trace of the blue. Hooray! Once I saw the gold on it, that's when I decided to add silver to the rest of it. Now I'm okay with this card......if only I can get it to print the colors the way I see them here!

I know it's a little early, but happy holidays to all!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

House of Cards

"I squirrel away sealed greeting cards that people give me so I can open them later when I’m having a bad day."    Emily Procter

Next month I will be participating in a crafts fair to sell my Zentangles and Zentangle inspired art work.  I was disappointed to find out that my space will be very small, basically one six foot table. So I wasn't planning on working on anything new for the fair, since I already have way more items than will fit on my table. But something possessed me to introduce a new product at my table - note cards. I will have big cards and little, blank cards to add a personal note to, and holiday cards since that time of year is fast approaching. Here is just a sample of a few of the designs that will be available on my cards. 

Over the next few weeks I'll be busy adding as many card designs to my repertoire as possible. I'm hoping that the cards will be a popular item as they are useful and have a low price point. My Etsy shop will soon be reopened (after being shut down for a while), with my new line of cards. I'll let you know how the fair goes next month. Wish me luck! (If the last two fairs I participated in were any indication, I will need all the luck I can get!)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Crazy 8s (Part 2)

"Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory."  George S Patton

Just a quick post today, much shorter than my last one. But first I have to say thank you for all the wonderful comments I received on my new pattern Cruze. I'd love to see what you all do with it, so I just entered it in the "Use my Tangle" part of the Diva's challenge. We'll see if it ever gets picked - there are an awful lot of tangles already on her list!

This week's Diva challenge is to use Jane Eileen's "8s Parte Dos" pattern. I think I played with it for a very short time when it first came out, but didn't give it the time it needed. So this week I sat down and worked it out...I think! I agree with everyone who is saying that it takes a lot of focus. I didn't find it hard to know which direction to curve the lines (after a few practices), but I thought the hard part was lining up the black dots properly. Did anyone else find that part difficult? So you will see, or maybe you won't, that in my Zentangle I purposely tried to make them grow a little bigger as I went so that I wouldn't get frustrated when they didn't line up perfectly.

It reminds me of one of those flower pots that have holes all over for the plants to peek out of. I was challenged by this one, but I guess that's why it's called the Diva's challenge!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cruze - A New Pattern

"The whole is more than the sum of its parts."   Aristotle

Last month my husband and I went on a cruise to Norway. We've been on several cruises in the past, so I knew that the ship would be a mecca of patterns, and I wasn't disappointed. Patterns on walls, floors, furniture, lights. In other words, everywhere you looked there were patterns, even on the water in the North Sea. Walking through the ship taking pictures of walls and floors and furniture....I can only imagine what the other passengers must have thought! It took a few weeks, but finally I got around to deconstructing some of those patterns to come up with the step-outs for new tangle patterns.

But before I get to that, I wanted to share a few of the patterns I saw that I did not try to pick apart. This first one is a light hanging from the ceiling of one of the lounges. Does anyone else see Mooka in there?

Here are two more - the one on the left was on a wall, and the one on the right was a floor which reminds me of Dex. 

This one is an etched glass door with a wall of different colored lights behind it. Zendala?

The next one was a fabric covered wall (with metal strips dividing it into a grid, just like a tangle pattern).

These two were taken in a store in the town of Bergen.

When I took the following photo I wasn't really focusing on the water, but once I put it on my computer I was immediately drawn to the pattern that the water made in the wake of the boat going by.

And I couldn't resist taking a picture of the roof on this building next to where our ship docked in Eidfjord.

Last, but not least, is this photo of a tiled border going around the pool deck on the ship. This is the first one that I have deconstructed (at least a part of it). 


I have named the pattern "Cruze" in honor of where it came from. 
You start with "blocks" of 5 lines forming a diagonal. At first I tried very hard to get the lines to form a square block, but realized it really doesn't matter if they are squares or rectangles, or whether each one is the same size as the next one. Once you get the flow of the curved lines connecting those blocks, it really isn't hard. You go down one side (step 4) then turn and go back up the other side (step 5). On the last step you cap off the two ends. 

I enjoyed playing around with this pattern, but got really excited about it when I created the following variation. If you place the blocks of lines in a skewed manner like shown below, you get a really interesting variation that has a lot of movement. The top section is unshaded and the bottom one is shaded. 

On the following Zentangle I used the original pattern, but added a little bit of black fill, and really think it makes the pattern pop. I turned the picture 45 degrees to post it here because as I was looking at it I tilted my head and liked what I saw. It looks to me like a hanging basket of flowers.
Then I used the Cruze variation to design the following piece. I just LOVE the way this one turned out. This is definitely one of my favorite Zentangles ever.

Stay tuned for more new patterns coming soon. Maybe one will be called Norway.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Try Something New

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
Walt Disney

A new month, a new season, and some new supplies. Today was a day for trying out new things. For my blog post last week I used Auraknot as a string for my Zentangle. Today I used a tangleation of Auraknot as the centerpiece of my tile.

In addition to using a new tangleation, I created this Zentangle on an apprentice tile rather than a regular Zentangle tile or a page of my journal. It was my first time using the larger 4 1/2 inch tile which is made from Canson XL Bristol paper, rather than the "100% cotton, heavy-weight fine artists' paper with a beautiful vellum surface finish" (words taken from that the regular 3 1/2 inch tiles are made from. Also using the Pigma Pen 05 (that comes with the Apprentice kit) for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the pen and tile. The tile is a little brighter white, and the pen moved effortlessly across the tile's surface which is smoother than the regular Zentangle tile. It's sometimes nice to have a little bigger area to tangle on. 

One more new toy I played with today was a gold Wink of Stella brush. You can see a little bit of the glittery shimmer in this picture, but it's much more obvious in person. 

I also have a clear Wink of Stella brush which applies the glittery look on top of any color you paint it on. I love the effect of these brushes, especially the fact that they are so glittery without the mess of glitter, so I just placed my order for several more colors. They should be great for making holiday cards. I'll let you know how that goes.