Friday, February 27, 2015

Joey's Challenge: Blocks

This is a fun challenge, using blocks as strings. Three on the bottom, two in the middle, one on top.

It is one of my favorite string techniques, and I have several ZIAs here and there using blocks as a sort of string. It always ends up looking VERY cool.

In this ZIA I used bijou tiles for my first level

1, 2, 3 (the 1 in  the middle, on the diagonal)
The second level, I used ATC's

one ATC upright, layered over the other one, perpendicular

And for the "top" layer...I used a 3.5x3.5 tile...which actually ended up "under" everything else in the finished piece

This was how I placed my blocks, then traced them in pencil. I decided what to go over in pen after I had everything mapped out in pencil, and then I just filled the various spaces with tangles.

And this is what I ended up with. Such a fun way to tangle.

i used bead lines, fescu, verdigoh, mumsy, rixty, cadent, printemps, bublz, starsket, hollibaugh, scruffle, crescent moon, some tipple, and in the center there is a tangle based on a succulent called haworthia viscosa.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

N-ee way You Want it.

Suzy Mosh's challenge this week is to use a tangle starting with N.

There is one N tangle that I found a couple of weeks ago, that I love and played with and used in quite a few ZIA's and tiles. That is Niuroda by Tina Akua-Hunziker. I just love how textured it is, and how much "feel" it has once it is shaded.

niuroda, fishnet, lokomotic, pokeleaf, concert, circfleur, nipa, b'tweed
Here Niuroda stars in the upper corner. SUCH a cool pattern.

But in the true spirit of Suzy's challenge, Niuroda can't be the N tangle I use, because I love it so much and am using it a lot these days. I had to find a different N tangle that I've never used before.

And I did. It is called NuWave, found on Because I'm currently working in a section of the book "One Zentangle a Day" that deals with using colored tiles and experimenting with highlights and shading on bold colored paper, I chose a colored tile. I used a pen by Recollections TM (they specialize in scrapbooking stuff) White charcoal pencil for the highlights, and gray graphite for the shading. I used String #1 for my string.
a day at home
It does have Niuroda in it. Also Hibred in the lower left, and flux. In the upper left corner is a fun little thing called a grid seed. The idea of grid seeds is to make the same little design over and over again in a grid. has a page about it, with loads of ideas. This one is grid seed F1 and is absolutely stunning with shading and highlighting.

The new N pattern that I've never used before is called NuWave, and it is the upper right tangle. Again, the shading and highlighting makes is so special, like it is lifting off the page.

The tile as a whole sort of reminds me of a morning at home, baking. Don't ask me why. Like, a day off and it happens to be dreary out so you stay home and make pies and breads.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Challenge entry and a sad event

This is going to be a brief post, because it is a sad week. David Hunter asked me to let people know, he will not be participating in the Diva Challenges for a while, as his wife passed away and he will be busy with wrapping up stuff for her funeral, and dealing with the things she left behind. Please pray for him and his kids and grandson, as they go through this tough time. You can send him condolences if you want, at our Intermountain Tangle  blog, where I posted a short announcement about it. David's email is associated with the blog, so he will receive anything you send him there.

So it is a sad time. He tells me his house is so quiet now. :(

The Diva Challenge this week was to tangle using something we've never used before in this art form. As soon as I saw the challenge, I knew I wanted to try a tile with crayon!

I've been playing with string 109 lately,
string 109
and have a little collection of tiles using that string. It is pretty amazing how you can start with the same outline and end up with such different looking end results.

Using crayon, I really REALLY wanted to play with color, but no,
I decided that black alone would be good.
I've got other projects where lots of color is called for. My, does the smell of a box of crayons bring back my childhood!

make sure it's good and sharp

 As I worked with this "new" medium, I discovered that it is pretty tough to control the tip of a wax crayon. It's hard to determine where exactly the line was going to go, and I had to focus more to make the lines go where I wanted them. I chose tangles that are simple, and that I have used often.

MrE, Knightsbridge, Flux, Mooka, and Concert (that is one I've developed) In the upper left corner a few Starskets (another one I invented)

kind of a fuzzy one

The overall effect is one of fuzziness, maybe blurriness is a good word. It is friendly and soft. I like it. MrE never looked so bundled. 

Here are other tiles I've made using String 109.
Diva Dance for the win!

Niuroda takes the stage here.

shnek around the corner

Thursday, February 19, 2015

That's New To Me: the S version

Suzy Mosh continues with her fun challenge. It is growing pretty nicely. I like it that each week there are many participants. The idea is to choose patterns that we have never used before, and she assigns a letter. This week it is the Letter S.

There were a few S patterns that I played around with, but one just captured my heart. It will be a favorite, and used often, I know it: Shnek

Once again, this one came along when I was clicking around randomly, probably on pinterest, not really searching for S patterns...but there it was.

I played with it a bit and found out that you can change the look of it, depending on where you connect the next round

if you connect at the round, it looks like a little ball.

if  you connect near where the last round "ended" there is a concave effect, so each part looks sort of sunken in.

This pattern is so wonderful for edges, and I can just picture it in a "garden" tile, as caterpillars. Making it actually is very similar to flux, because you are making loops, and coming back to connect.

Here is a piece I made yesterday. Hollibaugh was on my mind, so I drew some, and I let it set a bit, until inspiration struck:

It looks like a pie

Shnek on the round. Pretty cool looking.

Another pattern that struck my fancy for this challenge was Sindoo by Sharon Robinson
This was a tough one to do right, and I haven't yet made it as lovely as demonstrated on, but it's a terrific pattern for a grid with delicacy and elegance.

There is a lot of scope for variation in this pattern. Depending on what gets filled in, how you shade it, what shape you fill.

And this is the tile I created.

It is string #80 which I found at Adele Bruno's site, the current string thing challenge

it's like a centipede
Sindoo on a long curve, with shnek along the edges, some fescu...I think it looks like a very frilly centipede, or maybe one of those spanish scarf sea creatures you sometimes see in nature shows. It has a lot of movement that I like.

And one element of sindoo in the corner. A little bit of shading. And voila!My entry in the challenge

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Polka Dots

Joey's Challenge this week was to use circles, and fill the circles with tangles, no repeats.

Just so happens, I have a circle template with lots of sizes, so I traced several on a page of my sketchbook. But that template doesn't have anything really small, so I went searching. I fund a round pin in my jewelry box (some kind of an award that a kid won, somewhere) and put a few smaller circles in there.

Then it was time to go to work, so I packed my bags and went. Thankfully, the first half of my shift was slow-ish so I had time to play.
I wanted to shade things so some of the circles were like holes, with depth "under" the page, and some of them should be rounded, so they looked like they were sitting "on" the page.

Pretty cool stuff, if I do say so myself.

Patterns from top left going widdershins:
nipa over flord
mumsy and bula
hollibaugh with ripples and tipple
macdee with floatfest
itsy bitsy
and that is dyon in the middle top

I've seen b'tweed done like a dream catcher before, and have tried it. That technique would be a fun one to work on.
This is my second or third try at it. Not *too* bad, but it would be something to perfect, that's for sure.

Nipa is one of my favorite patterns. It can look like a crick in a meadow, or like planets spinning in a solar flow.
Trentwith, dyon, and phicops are "on" the paper

 Here I have it flowing over a bed of flord. I think the "under the paper" effect is really good

This was a fun and simple challenge.
I like what I ended up with. Thanks, joey!

Got my goat...

Oh, has our beloved Diva presented an interesting challenge this week.

Feb 19 is the Chinese New Year, and it will be the Year of the Goat. As soon as I read the challenge, I went to the internet to find out more.

At   Chinese Fortune Calendar  there is more information  than I ever imagined could be found, all about Chinese astrology, and the elements, yin/yang, branches, stems, I Ching...SO. MUCH. INFORMATION.

Turns out, this is the year of the Goat/Sheep and it is green, and it is yin wood.  I started getting ideas: hmmm, curlicue tangles would be good for the wool, hmmm, leafy and twiggy patterns would be good because that's what Goats and Sheep eat (and it's wood). Should use some green in there. Hmm.

Then I clicked on this page where the seed of an idea was planted.  It has to do with the Chinese written symbol for Sheep, which is very interesting, the history of Chinese pictographic writing.

About our company & people Blog with a variety of news Forum for ...
Chinese for Sheep.
 After practicing in my sketchbook with my brush pen (which didn't turn out as cool looking as the character as written with Chinese calligraphy brushes. I love how the lines are weighted naturally, because the Chinese brushes tend to be thick.)

Et Voila! I have my idea.
I started with a string
 Cool, eh?

Now, how to fill it? A tangle in each "arm"? one tangle for the character, with other tangles around it? hmm. Then, thinking about the research I had done, I remembered that this year's Goat is Wood, and it is Green. How to start fell into my mind. The tangle Wud, right?

I also used some Diva Dance along the left lower arm, because I thought the wud needed knots. Ha!

Got out my dark green .05 micron pen for the other tangles I wanted to add. I still wanted curlicue stuff, for the wool, so I did some spirally stuff along the left side, in trios. I aura'ed around them, using Dave Hunter's Linkum tangle, and along the base, and up the right edge, a little bit of fescu. Shading on the character was in  green pencil, and I added the shadow beneath the character in No. 2 pencil, then blended with a stump.

the color doesn't show up well at all in these pictures, but it is very pretty in person. If you click on one of these pictures, it will take you to a place where you can see the string and the finished tile, right next to each other. I REALLY like that. Amazing what shading can do.

I am taking this tile to work with me and putting it up on my cubicle wall. Year of the Goat, 2015.

Thank you Laura, for a fascinating challenge, and the ensuing journey to which you pointed me.

And a hearty thank you to all who comment here. It is very cool to see what people think of the stuff I post.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Wow! Whee! What? Fun!

The challenge that Suzy Mosh presents each week "That's New to Me" is becoming a favorite. She chooses a random letter, and we must choose patterns we have never worked with before in that letter. It's that simple, and I love it!

This week, it's W and I chose Waax, by Esther Piszczek, Whirlee by Lynn Mead, Wabi by Sandy Steen Bartholomew, and Wud by Joni Feddersen.

With this ZIA, I am posting a second entry to this week's Diva Challenge. That challenge was to do whatever we wanted, but make it Valentiney. And that's what I did. Is there anything more valentiney than a box of chocolates!

Whirlee is in the left "lobe" of the heart near the center. I think it looks just like a chocolate bon bon.
life is like....

 The Wabi is down and to the left, a piece near the  left edge of the heart. It's circular, with concentric circles and tear drop edging. The Waax is in the right lower side, right under the big isochor heart. And Wud is the frame of the whole "box of Chocolates"

Notice the string of Hitched along the lower right edge? I think they look like peppermints.

Other tangles I used (I'll try to list them all!)

starting at the top left, as best I can remember:

orbs, striping, paradox, thumbprint, yincut, wabi, mooka, show girl (blue background), a heart, a dark chocolate and orange flower, bumps, more orbs, isochor, printemps, truffle (in the corner of the heart).
Up from truffle, concentric hearts in a bed of purple, undling, flux, sannibelle next to a knightsbridge variation, something spirally, kandyribnz, BB, whirlee, down from whirlee is a pile of circfleur, more isochor, waax next to knightsbridge, hitched, a big heart of isochor, and in the upper right of the heart, a big diva dance! There is flux here and there, and lots of little pink hearts scattered around.

This was so much fun to dream up, design, and do! (BTW, does anyone know the actual name of that knightsbridge variation? it's one of my favorites)

Drawn on 11x8.5 sketch paper from a pecon sketchpad, with sepia micron pens, one "chocolate" pen by Recollections, several chocolate-ish colored micron pens, colored pencils by Koh-i-noor, their Progresso line of woodless colored pencils. A few varieties of pink gel pens from a set my son gave me for Xmas...Staples brand.

which also brings up the topic of what to use. I do love the idea of having high quality art supplies, but it must be said, if you have the back of an envelope and a BIC pen, you can do art. Don't let NOT having wonderful, high end pens and pencils stop you from creating. My interest in doing art  started three years ago in earnest, with a yellow No 2 pencil with an eraser on the tip, some Artist Loft watercolor pencils, and a few pieces of watercolor paper, which were supplied by the teacher at a one day seminar.
When I bought my own, I started with very inexpensive stuff, and have added to my stock with mostly medium quality stuff since then, and the occasional really terrific high quality piece. Prismacolor is a brand that has lots of praise from every quarter, and the one Prismacolor pencil i own IS luscious..some day I hope to have a full set by Prismacolor. Until then, i will use my Artist's Loft, Crayola, and YES! my new Derwent pencils. And of course, the sakura microns and the tiepolo paper of the best!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I liked this challenge a lot, mostly because I kinda burned out on hearts and valentine colors, and the diva told us to do what we wanted, that seemed Valentine-y to us. Yay!

This is the first one I did. The pattern is Erbluehen by Simone Bischoff, and it makes such a graceful frond of buds.
When I colored the edges with the micron pink pen, it was much darker than I anticipated, and it looked funky. Coloring in with softer tones of pink and shading with fuschia and purple made a difference. Then, this was cute I thought...making fescu I used hearts. Could I do otherwise? And a border of beadline. Kinda valentiney, eh?

One of the many cool things that Dave Hunter did for us at this month's Intermountain Tangler Gathering, was to bring heart templates and stencils. As I was getting ready for bed last night, this idea came to me.
It is the largest heart stencil, filled with undling (a new favorite tangle) and to finish it off, outlined with red.

So, for someone who was kind of burning out on heart shapes and pink and valentine-ish stuff, I sure made some pink, flowery, heartish stuff. And it was fun.

This is a page of heart tangles that I practiced over the last two weeks...I didn't like them when i did them, but looking at them after a few Not bad.

from top right: heart line, oolo, minline, heart rope
playing with depth and shading using circles
I have another valentiney thing I'm working on, maybe I'll post it later in the week!

A word about my moleskine notebook.
I mentioned it here a few posts ago, about using the good stuff. I assumed that Moleskine was going to be "my good stuff" because the notebook ran me about $20.00 Twenty bucks, for a medium sized blank notebook? And moleskine has such a reputation for quality.
Regrettably, I must say in this case, moleskine has been a let down. The paper is so thin, even pencil lines can be seen from the back of the page, and ink, or even crayon? You can see that stuff from behind the facing page! The paper is almost as thin as what you would find in a Bible. It is NOT "good stuff" and I have permanently put it aside. It won't be useful for any use that I can think of.

So...thankfully i do have "good stuff" in my Tiepolo tiles, micron pens, Koh-i-noor and Derwent colored pencils, and I am LOVING using all of it! (I am currently considering a set of prismacolor pencils  to add to my art supplies. Next big Blick coupon! woot!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

hearts galore!

Joey's challenge this week is to create a tile using patterns that being with the word heart. Playing around with this one, I learned a new pattern to me: Heartline, by Helen Williams. I just love it, and practiced it a lot, enjoying every minute.

So why did I have such a hard time with this one? I did several "practice" pieces, playing around with different combinations of different patterns and wasn't happy with any of them. And finally this morning I got out a tile I had colored with watercolor pencils, and tangled on it.

 The patterns are Heartline, Heartvin, and Heartstrings. I put some fescu in, and a bit of beadlines. It still doesn't feel like it has much flow, but I like the color, and the patterns are all fun.

my favorite part is the little pink heart

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


That's New to Me, from SuzyMosh this week involves choosing patterns that begin with M.

I started playing with M patterns as soon as I saw the challenge on Suzy's page on Sunday, but didn't get around to making a tile until this morning, and what I ended up with turns out to be almost my favorite piece. It is the first time I feel really good about color, too. For some reason, color makes me nervous.

anyway, here it is.

Tropical Paradise
Mumsy is the star, with maisie waves and meringue leaves. The colors are Progresso woodless colored pencils. HINT: the white pencil is wonderful for moving the color around. A standard stump doesn't work to blend these pencils. The white pencil is a finisher, more than a blender, but I can see the difference (took the photo before I finished the colors).

The tile is standard card stock, and the pen is a Sakura micron .01.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Diva Challenge 203: Athitzi

Okay, this pattern is SO versatile. Peeking at other peoples' entries, I am amazed at how it can be used.The author of the pattern, Eleanor Holt, has a sample on her blog that is stunning to look at. The simplicity, with just the right shading, is stunning!

The Diva's sample follows Eleanor, but also explores other ways to use Athitzi. And everyone looks to be having a LOT of fun with it!

This challenge comes my way, as I am at the beginning of an exploration of mandalas. Those spirally athitzi's just called my name and became the center of my mandala. I also put some athitzi in zig zag, on another round.                                                                         

 In the original, the eye is drawn around and around by the colored orbs. I shaded the athitzi with gray colored pencil, which is maybe more subtle than I want. A few leaf shapes, with some queen's crown making a sort of doily effect.

After reading a piece on using the good stuff  I made a decision to break out my moleskine notebook, and because I am exploring mandalas right now, that is what the moleskine book will be used for. The cool thing about it is, I can "use my good stuff" every day for a while, or not touch it for a few, if I want. Because the moleskine will be a mandala centric notebook, I will choose other places for other tangle play.

Here is the first mandala I created, after seeing the technique on a video we have posted on our website Intermountain Tanglers  in the "resources" tab, under videos. It is the fourth video down, titled "CZT Marketing retreat" that video CZT Sandhya Manne from India shares a technique for putting concentric circles on a tile, which can then be easily made into a mandala. That inspired me to start exploring mandalas, and this is the first one I created:

Four Corners Mandala

What really made this one pop was adding all the lines and aura'ed circles on the outermost edge. Makes it look radiant and energetic.

It's gonna be fun, doing mandalas and exploring athitzi. That is a very versatile pattern!