Sunday, 21 October 2012

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

I am the Diva challenge #83 - Duo tangle Assunta/Mooka

I was scared witless by Laura's challenge this week over at I am the Diva!   We were only allowed to use two tangles - Assunta and Mooka, both of which are quite tricky to master.  Oh well - in for a penny, in for a pound, as we say over here in the UK!  I was determined to have a go, whether or not I could do it well.

I decided to "biggify" Assunta, and do a wild Mooka within it.  The whole thing turned out much bigger than I usually do, at around 11" x 8.5".  I used watercolours to brighten it up a bit, and I must say I like it quite a lot!

Here's the result - thanks for looking and please leave me a comment - I love it when people talk to me as otherwise I get quite lonely!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

I am the Diva Challenge #82 - UMT v.VII: Brayd

This week the challenge provided by Laura at I am the Diva was to create a tile or ZIA using Shelly Beauch's lovely tangle Brayd.

I've never drawn Brayd before so I had to really concentrate - but I was very pleased with the result.  For the "hair" inside Brayd I drew Beadlines in a pale grey fineliner pen, and other tangles I used were Dustbunny, Tipple, Mooka, Fishnet (sort of!) and Bluebonnets* - at least I think that's what you'd call those lovely leaves I seem to draw more of than anything else.  Like I always do, I used Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens in shades of grey to shade and to add a little bit of colour to this one I used Kuretake 'Brushables' pens. 

*Update:  I just found out that the leafy shapes are not Bluebonnets but an official tangle called Flux (note to self - revise tangles and their proper names)!

Thank you Laura for this great challenge, and thank you Shelly for creating Brayd for us!  (and thank you also to anybody who feels like commenting.)

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Goodbye Denise

My sister died peacefully yesterday, August 4th, with our brother at her side and the rest of her family not far away.

She will now be in the loving arms of her devoted husband Roy, who passed away in 2002, and one thing I know for certain - Denise had a hard life in many ways but boy was she loved by that wonderful man.

Goodbye Denise, my big sister, my friend.  Our relationship was not always easy, but we both knew how much we loved each other and we were able to share a loving moment just a few days ago when nothing else mattered but that.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Sad times

I wish I could be more upbeat but life has taken a sad turn for my family this last few weeks.  Firstly my sister was diagnosed with lung cancer, which has spread to other parts of her body including her brain.  As she already had COPD this was the worst news we could have had, and after collapsing with a blood sugar spike she is now in hospital 600 miles away from where I live, trying to gain enough strength to undergo radiotherapy and chemotherapy.  I made the journey to see her a few days ago and we had a lovely quiet time together when we were able to say the things we needed to say to each other.  I was lucky to be able to do this, as I know many people don't get that chance, and for that I will always be grateful.

I notice that both this week's "I am the Diva" and the "Zendala Dare" weekly challenges are dedicated to fighting this awful disease, so I will try to find enough time and motivation to participate, however if I don't manage to fit them in, please forgive me.

My other sad news is that our beloved 14 year old tom cat Gus died this week from congestive heart failure, which he had been fighting for several months.  He was such a lovely-natured, affectionate cat, and we are going to miss him so much.

Gorgeous Gus at the prime of his life.
Goodbye Gus, our old friend.  You were a brilliant boy and we'll never forget you.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Exciting news - my new sketchbooks are coming!

I've been working on some quilted linen sketchbook kits especially for Zentangle artists, and after some trial and error the first one is now completed!  Here's a sneaky preview of the sort of thing I'll soon be offering for sale on

The book itself is a quality Winsor & Newton watercolour-grade sketchbook containing 50 sturdy double sided pages.  I've made a removable cover from Japanese linen, lined with 100% cotton Osnaburg fabric.  On the front I've mounted a quilted panel of natural linen onto which I've sewn my own zentangle design using free-motion machine embroidery.  The back of the book has a pocket which holds the Zentangle kit, comprising of an HB pencil with eraser, two Sakura Micron pens in sizes 01 and 02, a mini set of watercolour paints and an artist's quality size 2 paintbrush - everything a Zentangle artist-on-the-go could want. 

I'd love to hear any comments you might have, or suggestions as to how I could improve this kit!

Front of sketchbook
Back of sketchbook
Contents of kit
 Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

I am the Diva challenge #80 - Mi2! Mi2!

This week Laura at I am the Diva set us the challenge of creating a tile or ZIA using the tangle Mi2.

I was really pleased about this as I love Mi2, although I've only drawn it once, and then only to practice it, not draw it "properly"!  Thank you Laura for this great challenge!

I decided to concentrate on the negative spaces, which I thought looked not only like seeds, but leaves - so that's what they became, and I decided to make the whole ZIA a big leaf.  And then I realised that I have an almost obsessive need to "tie up the loose ends" I took that literally and did exactly that around the edges, with my own little knot tangle, as yet un-named and un-published*.

* Update:  I've just noticed that there is already an official tangle called Pendrils, which is very similar to this one, so I cannot call it my own after all.  Never mind - I'm sure I'll come up with something original one day!

I just had to use my beloved watercolours of course, and polka dots, which I adore.  I hope you like my ode to a leaf.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

I am the Diva Challenge #78 - Auraknot

This week, the lovely Laura at I am the Diva gave us the challenge of producing a zentangle-inspired tile or ZIA using the new official tangle Auraknot.  I have to admit I was petrified at the thought of this challenge!  I've tried drawing this tangle several times this week without success, and to tell the truth I almost gave up.  Then earlier today I read a comment written by another challengee, who said we are often reluctant to do something because we are scared of failing.  How true that is - it certainly is true of me, anyway!

So, I decided to be brave and I've tried again.  I used watercolours, because I love them.  I decided to draw a fantasy sea-themed ZIA - because I love the sea.  And I used some of my favourite tangles including Sanibelle and the little pebbles (oops I don't know what that tangle is called but I'm new to this so please forgive me!)  The Auraknot tangle became almost secondary, but that meant I stopped worrying about it, and I think I'm fairly happy with the result.  As far as Auraknot is concerned my fish got rather "mixed up" but my starfish and its babies turned out okay I think.  Let me know what you think - good or bad because that's how we learn.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Zendala Dare #13 - Play with Paper

This week Erin at the Bright Owl set us a challenge to use paper we would not normally use for Zentangle, and provided us with this template:

So I dug into my old paper stash and found a pad of patterned cards I'd never used - and as I have a birthday coming up I thought I'd make myself a birthday card!

I think the floral pattern has been lost rather, but that's probably because I never know when to stop and don't know the meaning of less is more (oops!).  Overall I'm not really happy with this now it's finished, but I did enjoy doing it.  I used Dust Bunny, and other tangles I either don't know the name of, or that I just made up as I went along - as I tend to do!

Thanks for looking, and thank you to Erin for setting another great challenge for us.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

I am the Diva Challenge #77

This week the Diva set a special challenge for Rho Densmore, whose brother-in-law Pete sadly passed away recently.  Rho has designed a beautiful new tangle for Pete, which she calls "Fiore di Pietro", and our challenge is to create zentangles, tiles and ZIAs using this tangle, which she plans to put in special memory books to be given to the family in Pete's memory.

So Rho, here's my tribute to your dear brother-in-law, and of course I give my full permission to use it if you feel it suitable.

I send my thoughts and good wishes to Rho and her family at this very sad time.

For Pete

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Zendala Dare #12

Here's my entry for this weeks Zendala Dare (#12) set by the Bright Owl every Friday.  Every week we are given a template to use, and this week's starting point was:

Now......this stumped me at first, it being only my second ever zendala!  So I thought I'd go for something completely different for me - bright and bold and lots of black.  I'm new to zentangling and it's all hard for me but I've found the tangle "Punch", by Sandy Bartholomew, particularly challenging as it just seems to end up a mess for me!  So I thought I'd try that under the petal shape sections to see if a larger scale made it any easier - and it did!

Hope you like my zendala - and thank you for looking.

Friday, 29 June 2012

I am the Diva Challenge 76 (b)

I decided to do a new entry for this challenge, which was to depict our "home" in zentangle.

Just down the road from me there is a little lane that loops around the end of the loch, and hidden in the bank next to the road, between bushes overgrown with ivy and thistles, there is the sweetest little waterfall which carries rainwater off the hill and down to the loch.  It's surrounded by rocks, out of which grow ferns, primroses and other foliage and flowers, and it buzzes in summer with the sound of bees and trickling water.  It's like a secret miniature landscape and it's one of my favourite spots on this lovely island just off the north-west coast of Scotland.

So here's my tangled version of it:

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

I am the Diva Challenge #76

I've been so busy sewing patchwork creations for our local gallery for the last few weeks I haven't had time to enter any of the challenges, then I saw this week's and Bingo!  My very first zentangle landscape, done a few weeks ago, was of my homeland on the west coast of the highlands of Scotland.  So I'm going to show that, and try to do a new one in the next couple of days.

So here it is.  I don't know why it looks so wonky down the left hand side, but it doesn't really matter to me. I wanted to illustrate all the rock layers on the side of the cliff leading down to a little jetty, and I was quite pleased with the result.  I hope you enjoy looking at it too.

I took this photo at the same time I started my ZIA:

Thursday, 7 June 2012

My first Zendala!

Today I entered my very first zendala into the weekly Zendala Dare challenge hosted by the Bright Owl.

Every Friday Erin provides a zendala template for us to use, and as Erin was in wedding mode this week we were only allowed to use tangles beginning with the letters L.O.V.E.!

I decided to try some new tangles for me, mind you most of them are still new to me!
For my L.O.V.E. tangles I chose:

Looplopp - corners (sorry, I don't know what those pointy shapes are called!) 
Lotsadots  - all over the place!
Organza  - hearts
Opus - rectangles
Vigne - border
Estrel - circles

I was worried I would feel rather restricted having to use "somebody else's template", being a bit of a control freak (oops), and this is one of the reasons I've avoided zendalas up to now - but I was wrong.  It was really enjoyable, and actually rather liberating, not having to do the initial worrying about where to start!  So I'll be joining in more often from now on!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Here I am at last! Diva Challenge #73

Well here I am at last in blog-land.  Not that I have anything remotely interesting to say today - I just thought I ought to set myself up so I have a place to keep all my pictures and thoughts together.

Actually I did do something different at the weekend - I opened a Flickr account and joined the Zentangle community!  I posted some photos of my landscape zentangles and I was so encouraged by the comments left by some lovely people, I decided to have a go at the weekly challenge set by I am the Diva for the first time, and this was the result:

Weekly Challenge #73: UMT v.V: Bridgen