Friday, March 28, 2014


This week has been a crunch... not just because I've been busy, but also because my mind has been floating around in the ether a bit more than usual.  (aka - la-la-land)

SO - this week's Diva Challenge # 160 was all about spirals.  I haven't even had a chance to look at anyone's work yet!  I hope I get a chance to do that this weekend.  I did, however, manage to find time to do a piece for the challenge.

here goes nothin...
tangles used: curvaceous, paushalov
Snail Zendala?

Diva Challenge #144
A while back I made the beetle zendala at the left for another Diva Challenge about bugs.  I've always wanted to do more bugs in this manner; a whole collection of them at the same size & using the same colors.  Recently, my mom went & framed for me a whole bunch of pieces that I left with her, including the beetles.  For the past week or so, they have been propped up on a table in my living room where I see them constantly because I haven't decided where to hang them yet.  & I've been staring at the beetles... staring & staring & staring, coming to the conclusion that I WILL make companion pieces so the beetles won't be so lonely. (ha!)  As soon as I saw the word "spiral" in the challenge name, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to make a friend for my current bugs.  Et voila, snail zendala.  I like it.

UGH, no time no time no time no time I HAVE NO TIME!  So many things to do!  I'm building floating bookshelves this weekend.  At least that's the plan.  Which may be subject to change.  It's exciting.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


This week's Diva Challenge #159 is entitled "Top O' the Morning," which is a cute way to say that our mission was to create a piece inspired by St. Patrick's Day.

I'm pretty sure that when the average American thinks about St. Pat's day, they are inundated with visions of shamrocks & leprechauns, rainbows & pots of gold, beer (sometimes green) & a really great reason to party it up.  I won't deny it, that's pretty much where my thoughts went at first.  However, doing a piece to celebrate St. Patrick's Day that was all about the kitsch & commercialized cartoonish vision that, sadly, the day has become... well, I just sorta felt "eh" about it.  Which may be strange.  I have an intense love for the color GREEN, (did you know that green occupies more space within the visible spectrum of light to human eyes?) & hello - RAINBOWS?  YES... rainbows are awesome.  Also, emeralds.  Emerald Isle.  Emeralds emeralds emeralds, I will never love another stone, not even the most flawless diamond, as much as I love emeralds.  (Have you seen the 1958 movie Gigi w/ Leslie Caron & Maurice Chevalier?  Of emeralds, she says "only the most beautiful emeralds contain that miracle of elusive blue.")  ANYWAY - I decided to do a little googling & wikipedia-ing, & try to sort out some of the real essence of the day set aside to celebrate the life of Saint Patrick.

As far as symbolism goes, there's a lot more to choose from than leprechauns & shamrocks.  Also, green, white & orange may be the colors of Ireland today, but long before today's Irish Tricolour was raised during the Easter Rising of 1916 & accepted as the official flag, BLUE was considered to be one of the sacred colors of the country, & there is even a shade of blue associated with St. Patrick - appropriately named St. Patrick's Blue.

I could honestly go on all day about this stuff, but really, who's interested?
So, on to my challenge piece.
tangles used: monaghan

A Blue Irish Cross over a green background tangle.  In this case, Monaghan by Neil Burley, who created the tangle after an inspiring trip to Ireland.  This started life in my sketch book (& actually remains there.)  It wasn't supposed to be my challenge piece, but I'm pretty happy with how it ended up.  It also wasn't intended to be a monotangle, but I think that it worked out well. 

I'm a big fan of comments - in whatever form they might come - please leave your message after the beep.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Ok... lets see here...

This weeks Diva Challenge #158  is - Duotangle: Diva Dance & Crescent Moon.

I was surprised with how quickly I came up with ideas for this one, & another one (possibly two?) is in the works.  So let's just get down to it, shall we?

Here's numero uno

tangles used:  crescent moon, diva dance (waltz & foxtrot)
I started with 2 big overlapping circles, & the rest of it just sort of flowed from there.  I would be totally happy with this if I had chosen a different red pen - the red 005 micron is really disappointing as far as the color output goes.  Very pale & on the verge of pink - also, looks like a different color all together next to the red that comes out of an 05 micron.  Is anyone else in agreement that Sakura really needs to work on their ink colors?  They all just seem kinda wonky.

et le numero deux
tangles used: crescent moon, diva dance (waltz)
This one started with me just scribbling with markers on a large but narrow piece of paper that was trimmed off of a larger work.  It was 80 DEGREES f yesterday!  The sun was shining, the breeze was soft, & I sat in my office all day with the door open enjoying the fresh air.  It's messy, but I like it that way.  Uhm... & yeah, if you couldn't tell (because it is so messy) it is a sun.  This one was totally fun to do, scribbling away loosely with fat juicy fiery warm colors.

I've been totally blown away by many of the pieces found so far on the linky machine.  You people are AMAZING.  Now I just have to go back & tell each & every one of you Diva Challengers just how rad you are.


Monday, March 10, 2014


I'm a few days late out of the gate on this one, but I finally finished with The Bright Owl's Zendala Dare #93 - Snowflake Surprise.

Just from checking out the other posts on the linky machine, I'm going to assume that I'm not the only one who had some.. well... issues with this one.  For me, it was mostly that I AM SO OVER SNOW THAT IF I SEE ONE MORE SNOWFLAKE THIS WINTER I MIGHT DO SOMETHING DRASTIC!!!  Ugh... snowflakes.  BUT, I guess, therein lies the challenge???

I wasn't the only one who looked at the template & scratched my head & thought... how do I fit a 6 pointed snowflake into this 10 pointed mandala?  Well, I finally figured it out.  I went through & nixed a bunch of lines, & came up with this.  Only problem... well... not really enough room to tangle anything... so I added some lines, & called it a day.  & here it is.
tangles used: ...uhhhhhhhh nope
 This weekend I found my missing 2nd go at Diva Challenge #156 - Curvy Gridlock.  I was in an experimental mood, so I decided to use a bunch of different markers on the same piece so I could look at how different/similar they are (how they lay down, saturation, color consistency, other junk like that.)  Then I decided to throw some gouache on it too... just because I've been enjoying using them lately.
tangles used: exis, brax
Lets seeeeeeee... the light blue is obviously the gouache.  The darker grey-blue is a Tria marker, the dark turquoise-ish color is a Prismacolor, & the slightly lighter turquoise-ish color is a sharpie.

Even though I have an almost literal TON of "art/illustration markers," lately I've been enjoying playing with sharpies.  Most recently, I've become fascinated with bleed through.  Particularly in my journal.  I'll draw something on one side of the page & color it with sharpies, then flip it over & use the bleed through pattern for something else. 

OK - so that's it.  I'm having a real bad case of the Monday's today.  It's been a very very Mondayish Monday. 

Comments of any kind are awesome, so please feel free to drop a line & tell me what you think - positive, negative, or otherwise. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Get it... Charlie... Brown...

Alright, now that that's outta my system...

This week's Diva Challenge #157 is a "Use My Tangle" challenge using Erin (The Bright Owl) Olson's original tangle Charlie.

I'll admit, I haven't used this one before... but it's quickly become addicting.

I had an idea for how I wanted to use it almost right away.  Laying it out & drawing it the way I wanted didn't happen nearly as quickly.  I'm going to say right now that I consider this an unfinished piece - that being said, I have completed 3 versions while trying to figure out how to finish it off.

This is my original, uncolored waiting to be finished but I can't make a definite decision & it's driving me bananas version:

tangles used: charlie, zigahzigah
I think it looks pretty neat as just plain lines, but it doesn't feel finished.  I've paired Charlie up with a tangle by Neil Burley called zigahzigah.  It's basically a twist on a chevron pattern.  & I love chevrons.  There are so many different ways to shape chevrons & so many different variations, & so many ways to change the look of them with color.  Chevrons are a recurring pattern in my home.

I did have to make a change to how Charlie is drawn to  make this look right.  Basically, I created an imaginary center line down the middle to give it some symmetry.  I tried to make the diamonds down the center roughly exact on each side of the line.  The outside ones are a mirrored reflection of each other, & though they still have that imaginary center line running through it, I didn't feel the need to make the diamonds the same on both sides.
If that makes any sense...

I was so terrified I was going to mess up my original drawing that I not only made copies of it, but I scanned it as well as traced it so that I could try to figure out the fill.  2 of them are done in blues & oranges.  These are the main colors in my living room, & I was hoping to end up with something I could frame & put on the wall in a particular space that is lacking something.  One is in watercolor, the other in colored pencil.  The third one was done with markers in a sort of grey scale.  I had a boo-boo where the warm grey marker I was using decided it wanted to be streaky, so I attempted to cover it up with colored pencil & a burnisher.  It created this really strange effect - I think it gives it a worn/weathered look.
colored pencil

Because I've been playing with this for 3 days straight & last night started dreaming about it, I've decided to put it aside for a while & come back to it.  That's a pretty dangerous decision, most things I put aside & don't finish remain that way FOREVER! (Example - I have a second piece I did for last week's curvy gridlock challenge that just needs to have the color/fill done, but I can't find it!!!)

What I'd really like is some feedback on this... how should I finish it off?  Any ideas?

I'd like this to end up being the first piece of my own work that I hang in my home - I really am enamored with these 2 patterns mixed together.

Ideas, comments, criticism, smiles, 'you shoulda done this' -es or 'you shouldn't have done that' s are not only welcome, but thoroughly encouraged.

Now I've gotta get on this week's zendala dare... time to make some snowflakes.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


This week's Diva Challenge #156 is to turn a right angle grid tangle into a curvy grid tangle.  As Miss Laura put it - "Who ever said grids need to be straight?"  as well as " Feel the freedom of not being constrained in right angles!!"

SO - I decided to go for an orb.

Let me tell you something - I am soooooooo glad I am done with this one finally.  By the time I was nearing the end, there was not even a drop of zen left in me - it was more like a chore.  Add on top of that the fact that I made several stupid mistakes that forced me to have to change the design a bit, & then I had more pen problems.  The biggest being that a 005 micron I was using decided to die, & I went to another one (not brand new, a little bit of wear,) & the difference in the line width was ridiculous!  Anyway... here it is:
tangles used:  hi-c's, hibred, chainlea
This is another case of the smaller the image, the better it looks.  The real diameter of the circle is 6".  I am having a tiny love affair with the tangle hi-c's right now. 

I'll probably give this dare another go before the week's up - but, I can promise something right now - I am OVER hatching... cross hatching... any tight straight lines grouped together.  I had great control over my lines when I started this piece, but by the end, my hand was wobbly & so were the lines.  So there!

As ever, if you've got something you'd like to say - mean, nice, or indifferent - by all means, please comment away.

Friday, February 21, 2014


This week's Diva Challenge #155 is to attempt to do one of those things that a lot of us seem to have some trouble with - leaving a large white space on our work.  Us pattern lovers just want to fill the paper up to the brim - & then some! 

I've got two for this week's challenge - one that I spit out in about an hour on copy paper at my desk at work using whatever pens & markers were hanging around, & a ZIA that I have been torturing myself with day & night for the past 4 days.

Here's the one that has haunted me for a few days:
tangles used: bloom, chainlea

 I must have made a dozen sketches of different fill & layout & colors before finally making a decision.  This is done on a 6.5" x 4.5" piece of mixed media paper.  The outlining was done in various sizes of Micron's, & the color is LUKAS opaque watercolor.  I'm not happy how the large single bloom in the center that I filled by using chainlea turned out.  It is SO FRUSTRATING when your pens decide they don't want to behave.  In case you ever wondered, Microns do NOT like being used over these opaque watercolors.  Otherwise, I'm pretty darned satisfied with this one.

Here's my quickie - & yes, I love green.
tangles used: sproxy, coil
This one is a tad messy for my taste, but from a distance/when shrunk I think it looks pretty neat.

I actually did last weeks Diva Challenge #154 - Valentangle, I just never got around to scanning them... then when I did, I thought they looked really messy on my computer screen.  But whatevvvvs, I'm going to post them anyway...  Here goes:

 These were all pretty much just intended to live in my sketch book, but the ones on white paper were on the same page as something I wanted to cut out, so out they came too.

In other news, it's beautiful outside right now.  A week ago we were hovering around the low 30's, & today it's 70-some-odd degrees outside.  I want spring to be NOW! 

As always, critiques, criticism & cryptic messages (?) are always welcome, & if you just want to say hi, that's cool too!

Thursday, February 20, 2014


... it's been a while -

FIRST thing FIRST, I've jumped back into the saddle with The Bright Owl's Zendala Dare #92.

tangles used: drack, hastate

I gotta say, I'm pretty happy with this - especially since I went through a virtual creative desert for a few months.  I just... couldn't do anything.  Since the beginning of February I have been picking up pen & pencil every day, & it's finally started to flow again.

I can't ever say enough just how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE Miss Helen Williams.  Seriously.  I gladly purchased her e-book Flips, folds, ribbon and string (if you haven't gotten this, I HIGHLY recommend it!) & have been fillings pages & pages with her neat little tricks.  I missed out on the complete pattern folio that she put out at the end of last year, but Helen is issuing links to the folio with purchase of the e-book - so that was a huge bonus.  THE POINT of this is, I love her patterns/tangles, yet there were a few I just couldn't get a hold of.  Drack is one of them... but I thiiiiiiink I've got it now!

I haven't seen the tangle Hastate used by anyone before, I just came across it going through boards on Pinterest.  If you haven't seen this, here it is:
Hastate by Lizzie Mayne
I really love this tangle, but never knew where to use it.  Instead of drawing the tangle in a linear manner as shown, I broke it into individual pieces & made them face each other.  I think it turned out pretty neat.

So, things were going pretty well when I last posted/did any challenges (mid November).  Then...


things got crazy.

A pipe in the walls between my bathroom & my master closet busted.  Of course, I didn't realize it (because it was between the walls) until much later when it had migrated along the concrete slab under the barely year old wood laminate flooring through my whole house.  I had to have a restoration company come in & rip ALL of my flooring in the whole house out - including base boards & some door casings.  All needed to be replaced.  I had huge noisy machines in my house - blowers & dehumidifiers - to dry out the walls.  None of this happened quickly & my home was a disaster area.

The day after I noticed the water damage, while dealing with my insurance agent & the manager at the restoration company & having a lot of workers in & out of my house - I had to put my cat down.
Chedder Kitty Pie - 2003-2013

my favorite picture of me & mistuh cheddycat
You know how if you live with someone - see them everyday - you don't really notice gradual changes?  Even if it's become quite drastic & quite obvious to someone who has been removed from it for a long time?  See, I knew he was sick.  He was having tummy problems & not digesting his food right.  He was hungry all the time but it would run right through him.  Sometimes he wouldn't make it to the litter box.  He had lost a lot of weight & his hair was thin & dull.  I was aware that he wasn't feeling well, but he seemed happy (if a cat can be happy) & I just didn't notice the physical changes.  In all the panic to get things done the day before, my mom came by to see if she could help me out any.  I had been telling her that I thought cheddy was doing kinda crappy, but when she SAW him, she got choked up immediately.  While workers moved in & out of the house, we took him to the vet.  There was really nothing to be done for him... some things that might, maybe work, but he was just too far gone.  I was a complete & total wreck.  It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make in my life, & the sadness & pain of the decision & the loss was & has been one of the hardest emotional things I've ever had to deal with in my life.

In the ensuing months, more damage was discovered in my home, & just this week the last of the workers finished.  I now get to recover my space for myself... & with no one coming & going anymore, there has been a VERY noticeable difference between being single living alone WITH a cat, & being single living alone... well, alone.  I'm getting used to it.

I don't like to say that anything good has come out of this, but I DO get to completely make over my spare room... & I'm going to fashion it as an office/art space/jewelry studio.  It's not a large space, but it's not exactly a small one either.  I want it to be highly functional, & I want everything to be visible & easily accessible.  I want a big table.  I want to be able to display finished/in-progress pieces & things that inspire me.  & I don't want to face a wall.  SO, if anyone has any studio space ideas that have worked for them, or that they heard/saw & liked, I'd love to hear about them.

That's about it for now.  It's weird, this is the first time I've written about everything that has happened in the past few months... it's not just the drawing that's slipped off, but written journaling completely stopped as well. 

Lets hope I'm finally back in the saddle again.  (gene autry <3 )