Thursday, November 20, 2014

Embrace the Yuck

The challenge this week is to draw with our non dominant hand - in my case, my left hand. I've tried this challenge before so I put off getting to this challenge this week. I even broke my own rule by looking at some of the other responses to the challenge before mine was done. It was interesting reading the other blogs. Some of them said things like, how much they were surprised by this, how much they learned, and how relaxed this made them. As for me, NOPE! I did not find this relaxing, surprising, or educational. I was frustrated! When I finished it the only sense of accomplishment I felt was, Done!, and out of the way.

I started with a colored tile that was pretty yucky. It had a big water bloom in the middle so I knew it was doubtful anyone would ever buy it. I used a pink Staetler marker with a wider nib. I wanted it to be fairly bold and graphic. I used tangles that had straight - or almost straight lines. It was easier to do the straight lines but hard to get the spacing the way I wanted it. I added shading with colored pencils. Again, it was hard to get the shading in the spaces where I wanted it. Oh well, it's done, I did it. Now onward and upward.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ditto tangleations

Ditto is a tangle pattern I deconstructed after seeing a picture of art deco wallpaper on Pinterest. It has been posted previously but I was playing around with it the other day and had fun coming up with tangleations for it. I show it here in a row that would be perfect for a border but rows can be easily be combined for a fill pattern.

Fill inside the 'fish/comma' shapes or fill around the shapes. Shade within the shapes for a different effect. And notice all the different tangleations. They can all be used as tangleations on other tangle patterns. This picture is shown vertically because I think it's easier to draw the tangle if you go up in a stairstep/zigzag manner. Remember when you are drawing zentangle patterns, ROTATE you tile or paper show the tangle is comfortable to draw.

I love these last tangleations that play with the basic shape of the 'fish'. And then you can totally go outside of the parallel lines and fill a variety of sections on your tile. It's OK to adapt the number of little 'fish' to fit your section.

I made a video of how to draw Ditto that is posted on You Tube. If the link above doesn't work try clicking  here.

If you want more inspiration on tangleations I highly recommend the book Pattern Play by Cris Letourneau. It's packed full with several new tangle patterns, tangleations for them, and finished examples to ooh and aah over. I put a link to it over in the right hand column so you can jump over to Amazon to order it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Mandala maker tips

I've been showing you Zendalas that I've made with my new toy. I am not employed by the company but I've been having so much fun that I wanted to show you how this thing works. It's called the Ravensburger Mini Mandala Maker. It's a fun way to create your own mandala with a variety of shapes. And the mini mandala maker works perfectly with a standard zendala tile.

It's a stencil where you trace the shape and then rotate the stencil within the larger circle. There are lots of choices of shapes. Pick one, draw in the outline, rotate the stencil and repeat. You can go for 4 repeats, 8 repeats, or 16 repeats.

This is an extreme closeup to show you that there are arrows on both the large and small circles to help you line up your shapes before drawing them in.

As you can see, the Zendala tiles fit perfectly. You may want to roll up a small piece of tape however and stick it to the base so your tile doesn't shift while you are working. The kit comes with several square sheets of plain paper. You will need to get the Zendala tiles from Zentangle or a Certified Zentangle Teacher,(find one here). Or you can cut your own tiles if you have a good quality paper to use.

The kits come with colored pencils and a marker pen that has a long nib. The examples shown here are ones that have been done with the pen and are waiting for me to tangle on them. Often I prefer to draw the strings in pencil however. I had to hunt around for a mechanical pencil with a long lead however, as regular pencils will not fit in some of the smaller areas on the mandala maker.

These are some completed tiles. If you look back in my older posts you will find larger pictures.

There are also mandala makers that Ravensburger sells that can be used on larger sheets of paper. I've put a link to one of these in the right hand column of this blog. Full disclosure - if you purchase through these links, Amazon will pay me 4%. Not much of a paycheck, but anything helps.

Explore the Amazon site - there are several varieties of mandala makers to choose from.

If you have kids that you need to buy holiday gifts for, I highly recommend these. My granddaughter loves crafts and she is having a ball with hers.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thanks - THX

November - the month of Thanks. For our veterans and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. And later in this month, thanks for all that has been given to us by our God.

This zendala was done with the tangle patterns;

The main tangles were done with a black Micron. I added details with a brown Micron and then added shading with a colored pencil.

To do the guidelines for my string I used my new toy. - Yes, it is a toy. It's a mini mandala maker that makes it so easy to create your own lines for a zendala. The kit comes with a pen and colored pencils, but I use a mechanical pencil to put my string on. I have a link over in the right hand column if you are interested in more about this little gizmo.

There is an in-depth post on this mandala maker that you can see here

Sunday, November 9, 2014

string 65

Adele Bruno over at Tickled to Tangle challenged us to try string 65 this time. When I saw the string chosen for this week and the tangles suggested I really didn't know how it was going to work. They just didn't seem like they would go together. So I ended up going minimalist. I used only two of the tangles Paiz and Tesali, and I embraced the white spaces. It turned out that by doing that I could use more shading - which is one of my favorite parts!

Thursday, November 6, 2014


It's November. It's getting cold so we are insulating all the cracks - We've been in this house almost 30 years, it's amazing that we are still finding new places to add insulation. So for November I am doing this special challenge. This zendala uses only three tangles that start with the letters NOV - N'zeppel - official zentangle tangle, Oslo - Elaine Benfatto, Vigne - Sue Jacobs (me). 

I made this mandala temolate with a new toy I discovered. It literally is a toy - but it works well with the regular Zendala tiles.It's the Mini Mandala Maker by Ravensburger. Amazon sells it for a very reasonable cost. The ad for it is in the column on the right. If you click on it and purchase through it, Amazon will pay me a small amount.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Cris Letourneau has stepped in for the diva this week and challenged us to play with her tangle Seton. I've had the pleasure of visiting with Cris and her daughter. In her home she has a 'Zen Den'. It's so inspiring to be there. I've also got her book Pattern Play. It's a wonderfully inspiring book that really gets your creative juices flowing! 

Seton is based on a window in Cris's church. So I was definitely thinking stained glass as I thought about this challenge. Plus, my husband took me out to dinner at a restaurant that had a ceiling that featured the stained glass that came from the solarium in an old mansion. That's why I ended up doing this in the round.  I knew I had to find a few different tangleations than Cris had in her book!

I tangled with a large nibbed uni-pen.Then I added the colors with my Tombow markers but I used them with watercolor painting methods. I went back to an 01 Micron Pigma pen to add little details to the tangles.

I also wanted to congratulate the students from my class at Banbury on Sunday for their wonderful tiles!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

string 95

This tile is a challenge from Adele Bruno at Tickled to Tangle. It certainly has the shapes of candy corn so it's perfect for this season. I took a few liberties with String 95 for this challenge #64. The string that's pictured on has the lines from the shapes crossing each other and making additional smaller shapes. I decided to break each shape out separately and tangle them simply. That way I could concentrate on the shading of the shapes to get more of a 3D look. 

The tangles pictured are; 

Charlie by CZT Erin Olson of Zendala Dare
Owlz and
Roxi both by Beth Snoderly
N'Zeppel by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Betweed Halloween

I really did wait to look at other peoples posts. I guess several of us had similar inspiration with the holiday coming up. So anyway, here is my spider web and pumpkin using betweed! Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sometimes he's right

My husband was looking at the tiles I did last week.  When he came to this one he said it was just Ok. He thought it needed something else.  And as I looked at again with his perspective, I knew he was right. Adding the blue color added just the right touch and then he was impressed. 
Look back at the post last Friday for the 'before' picture.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Zentangle on The View

We have celebrities that are tangling! If you saw The View on Friday, Oct 24, 2014, you will hear Rosie O'Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg discussing Zentangle. You can see the entire episode on the ABC website - search for the full episode of The View. Watch for the Zentangle discussion at 4:35. here's the link to the website - Just copy and paste

And if you can't access this because you don't live in the US try my video on YouTube. I did it standing in front of the TV with my cell phone. The grand-baby is making noise in the background and the audio needs to be turned up to hear it. So the quality isn't very good but at least I got it!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

string 66

Back to black and white techniques for string 66 today. The tangles used are Quandary, Quib, and Quiltz.
I was glad that the string is merely a suggestion as I found I wanted to adjust it slightly to accommodate my version of Quib. Quiltz was a challenge to draw behind the Quib. It took a little longer and more increased focus to work out which part of the tangle went were. Quandary is a tangle that hasn't grown on me as many others have, so I was glad to do it in smaller areas.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pink ribbon

Since October is breast cancer awareness month you will notice a lot of pink in tiles this month. It's a disease that has touched so many lives. My godmother died from it so this zendala is meant to honor her. She loved ice cream so I did the string as a swirl inside the ribbon - and added the cherry on top. And many of my happy memories of her were at the beach - so I did the Cockles and Mussels tangle around the edges. The ribbon is done with the Coil tangle pattern. The tangles were done with a pink Micron pen and the colors were done with Tombow markers and a watercolor technique.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Class pictures - Harper and Banbury

These pictures are from some recent classes. At Banbury in Bartlett we did jewelry using shrink plastic. Fun projects!! It's wonderful to see the creativity that came to play.

The pictures below are from a two week class at Harper college in Palatine. They added their own twists to the tangles we learned and came out with some beautiful tiles! Harper added a bit of a challenge as we had to change classrooms from one week to the next. Once everyone found the location, we were good.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Inspirational words

My grandson was christened recently and I wanted to do something special for him.Gifts for boys always seem to be harder than gifts for girls. And since this was for his christening, it narrowed the possibilities even more. I ended up being inspired by the work of Joanne Fink. She has a couple of books out under the Zenspirations titles. I combined inspiration from her with inspiration from design work from Margaret Bremner CZT to create this.

Our special grandson. May God bless him! He is wearing a christening gown that my grandmother bought for me as an infant. Since then the gown has been worn by many different family members. 

I ended up framing the pieces vertically instead of horizontally - it will work better in his room.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about a kickstarter campaign from Joanne Fink, the artist that inspired this project. There are only a few days left in this campaign so don't delay!