Friday, March 28, 2014

Wild and Wacky

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

This week I joined a new Facebook group called Wacky Zentangle Weekly Challenges. Not that I don't already have enough (too many) groups that I belong to. But I like the idea of having another challenge to do each week, or choose not to do as I see fit, especially since the Zendala Dare has been put on hold for a while. The challenge for this week is to make a Zentangle with ribbons, stripes and/or bands. Here's my take on the challenge.

Starting with a Hollibaugh string to form my bands, I filled each one with a different tangle. I added shading to the edges of each band in an effort to make them look rounded. I think it worked better on some of the bands than others. Once shaded, I felt like it needed something else but didn't want to add more tangles. Deciding to keep the "less is more" look, I added some color to the background using watercolor pencils. I was very happy with the finished look.

Then I decided to try another one. This time I thought I'd draw ribbons. Recently I purchased Helen Williams' (a little lime) e-book, Flips, folds, ribbon and strings, so I went through it reading her directions and watching her videos on how to draw ribbons. I will never be as good as Helen, but I'm not totally unhappy with what I did.

I think I need some more practice, but I had fun doing it.

Can't wait to see what the wacky challenge is for next week!

Friday, March 21, 2014

You've Got Mail

"Please Mr. Postman look and see, if there's a letter in your bag for me."   William Garrett

This week it was time to start a project that I've had on my horizon for quite a while, but needed to find the time to do. Have you ever seen the decorative magnetic covers people put over their mailboxes? Well we used to have several of those, but when we moved to a house that didn't have the right kind of mailbox for it, I gave all my covers to a friend. Now I'm back in a house with a mailbox that needs some decorating. I looked to see if any of the companies that make the covers had a plain white one that I could decorate (i.e. tangle) myself, but no - I couldn't find any. 

That's when my husband thought of the magnetic vent covers we had from long ago. They're meant to be used to cover heating/air conditioning vents if you don't want the air coming out. Perfect! They are white, and just the right size to pretty much cover the side of my mailbox. The top of the box won't be covered, but with one on each side it will work great.

I decided to try using Sharpie markers. So I tested them on a scrap piece to make sure that they were permanent and water wouldn't affect them. They passed the test and I began my tangling. I got about 2/3 of the way through the first one. Then, to my dismay, I read a post by someone on one of the Facebook groups I belong to, stating that Sharpies will fade in the sun. Oh great! Now what? I decided to take out my Identi-pen and proceeded to go over every line I had drawn and every space I had blackened. It got a little tedious, but I must say I was really happy with how I was able to do that without messing up and veering off the lines. Finally I got through that and went on to complete the rest. After all that extra effort, I sure hope the Identi-pen holds up better than the sharpies! Here is the first side before I did any shading.

The next decision was what to use for shading. First I tried various brands and shades of gray markers, but was not happy with the look of any of them. That's when I decided to try my good old reliable pencil. It worked well to give the shading a natural look and blended easily with my smudger (aka tortillon), but I was a little worried that it would wipe right off the smooth surface, or wash right off in the rain. So I tested by rubbing with some water, and to my surprise it stayed put. I finished up the shading with pencil, and here it is. I hope this photo allows you to see the difference the shading really made.

And here it is as it is meant to be.

I've decided to wait to do another one for the other side until I see how well this holds up to the elements. And to be honest, this probably isn't the best time for me to put my beautiful new mailbox cover out, as there is construction going on across the street and I'm afraid it will get really dirty from the mess. So it may be a while before I know how well it withstands the weather and whether or not I should make one for the other side. I'll be back with the verdict at some point.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


"It's a marvelous night for a Moondance, with the stars up above in your eyes."    Van Morrison

First, I'd like to thank all of you who purchased my new e-book of tangle patterns that was published last week. My first week of sales was wonderful! If you missed it and would like to take a peek inside the book, you can see it here on my last blog post.

This week's diva challenge was to create a duotangle (a Zentangle or Zentangle inspired art with only two tangle patterns) using the tangles crescent moon and diva dance. Since these are two of my favorite tangles, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to do this one. 

I am planning a class for next month on using the (fairly) new renaissance tiles, so I decided to work on one of these tiles for this challenge as it will give me another example to show my students. I used black micron, brown micron, white charcoal pencil, brown colored pencil, and graphite pencil. I just love the dimension these tiles have when working with the different colors and shading/highlighting. 

But now I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture of my tile before doing the shading and highlighting, because it makes SUCH a HUGE difference. To me, the tile was kind of blah until I added those steps. So all I can show you is the final result.

Notice that I used this as another opportunity to leave white (in this case tan) space in the tile which was a Diva challenge last month, and something I'm not very good at. I love the way the tile pops because of the browns and whites. If you haven't given this a try yet, you really should. And if you live in my area of South Carolina come take the class with me! (And if you don't, it's a great place to visit!)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Time to Step Out

"Wish it, dream it, do it!"   Leslie Levine

I'M SO EXCITED! Sorry if I scared you with my screaming, but I am...SO EXCITED! I have completed my e-book of new tangle patterns and it's in my Etsy shop, ready for the world to see. At least I hope the world will see it. 

It's been a few months in the making, and with my self imposed deadline of completing it by March 8th, the last couple of weeks have been hectic. Why the deadline you ask? Because I am teaching a class on that day where I'll be sharing some of my new patterns with my students, and I promised them all a free copy of the book. Even with a last minute glitch of finding out that it is too big a file to have on Etsy (we figured out how to get around that), I still managed to meet my deadline.

I thought I'd share a little bit about the book with all of you. Here is a picture of the cover. I have to give my husband credit for coming up with the name Step Out in Style. Get it? Step-outs for the patterns.

31 new tangle patterns, along with 11 patterns from guest contributors, makes 42 new patterns, for a total of 46 pages. There are clear step-outs as well as notes and tips to go along with many of them. Lots of Zentangle art work using the patterns is included to inspire you and spark your creativity. Here is a sample page so you can get a feel for what the book is like.

And a page with art work containing several of the patterns.

Between my time creating the pattern step-outs, researching that the pattern wasn't already out there in Zentangle Land, and doing the art work, along with my husband's time taking care of the computer end of things, we have put in hundreds and hundreds of hours on this project. And of course I can't forget to give credit to my daughter, a professional writer, for giving it the final proofreading. Although this is an e-book, I had to have a printed and bound copy for myself, and when I got that done at Staples last night and actually held it in my hands and flipped through, it was a thrilling feeling. 

If you are interested in getting a copy of my e-book, and I won't be shy in saying that I hope you are, you can link to my Etsy listing directly from here. The cost is $9.95.

Thanks for taking a peek at my book here. Now I'm back to reading my book (a different one), if I can remember what it was about after putting it aside for so long.