Zendala Dare #94: Happy

I was so happy last month to see that Erin has posted a new Zendala Dare! I really love the templates she comes up with, although I have to be in a particular mood to do a full Zendala (as opposed to a Zentangle tile, which I’m pretty much always in the mood for ūüôā ).

I have two very different takes on this template. The first is using a medium that I’ve been experimenting with recently: Shrinky-Dink plastic.
For those who don’t know, Shrinky-Dink or shrink film is a kind plastic that shrinks to about a third of its original size when heated. It takes lots of types of color well, including colored pencils, permanent markers, and paint. I’ve recently been drawing Zendalas on it, then shrinking them to create pendants. It’s a lot of fun, and you end up with tiny, intricate designs that look like they must have been drawn with a microscope.

This is what it looked like before I shrank it:

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And here’s the shrunk version inside the cut-out, to show how much it shrinks:

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And finally, here’s a picture of me holding the finished product:

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However, I also did a black Zendala, using my new Zendala tiles and Zenstone (I love my new Zenstone, in case you couldn’t tell). I also tried using tangles that start with the letters in Happy: Henna Drum, Aquafleur, Phicops, Purke… And then I ran out of space, so Y had to be abandoned. But I like the way it came out:

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Diva Challenge #175

I always like the UMT challenges, especially when they get me to try out a tangle that I otherwise wouldn’t have learned. Such was the case with this week’s tangle, Crux.

It took me a little while to get into this one (in my first attempt I drew the lines all wrong, and nothing connected right–aah!). However, after a few false starts, I ended up with two tiles that I was pretty happy with.

In the first one, I think I tried to do too much in a single tile. I was trying to use sepia and black use Crux, transition from Crux to Forest, and use a new tangle of my own that I’m still figuring out. When I got done it looked like this:

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Ok, but it didn’t feel quite right to me. I felt like the tangle on top was getting lost in the rest. So I went over it again with a thicker pen (Micron 08–bringing out the big guns…) and ended up with this:

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which I’m much happier with.

Today, I decided I wanted to give Crux another go, and came up with this:

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I didn’t realize until I looked at the thumbnail while I was posting it, but from a distance it looks a bit like a snake. Totally unintentional. But cool nonetheless.

Have a great day!

Dyeing Silk Hankies–and how World Cup is invading my life

These past few days I’ve embarked on a new dyeing/spinning project, dyeing silk hankies or mahwata. If you want to know a bit more about mahwata and how they are made, check out this site, which has an explanation of and tutorial for silk mahwatas (warning-it does contain pictures of dead silkworms).

In terms of dyeing, silk hankies are actually pretty simple: you soak them, pour dye on them, and set the dye using the method of your choice (stove, oven, or microwave.). Personally, I prefer using the oven, but it can get tricky because you have to keep the temperate pretty low (under 180 degrees F), which can be difficult for some less sensitive ovens. I had to spend much of yesterday turning the oven on and off to keep it at the right temperature–argh! However, the result can be beautiful. Here’s how mine came out:

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I was actually hoping for a more nature-y, forest and field kind of look, but they ended up looking very much like the Brazilian World Cup uniforms (and logo). So I’m thinking of naming this color way “Brasilia.”

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Here’s what it looks like drafted and waiting to be spun:

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And here’s what it looks like spun on the spindle:

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I don’t have a picture of it in a skein yet, because I haven’t spun enough yet (watching World Cup while spinning does tend to slow me down). But the awesomeness of soccer makes up for it!

P.S. For a nice tutorial on how to spin silk hankies, check out this article on Knitty.com

Diva Challenge #174

So, I don’t know how other people arrived at their strings for this week’s “Overlapping Strings” challenge, but I don’t have any restrung tiles at the moment, and felt like just drawing a string and then drawing on top of it would just end up being like drawing a single string for me. I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it spontaneous and truly “overlapped.” So I used the Tangle Randomizer on TanglePatterns.com to come up with two strings to overlap. The Randomizer gave me Strings 11 and 54, which I overlapped to produce this string:

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I ended up with this tile:

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I have mixed feelings about this one. I like it in some ways, but I also wish that I had made some of the tangles pop out more. I think that I was so worried about the overlapping strings producing a tile that was too busy that I overdid it and ended up with a tile that was too much the same. Did any of you have similar problems? Different ones?

Diva Challenge #173-a week late!

So, I absolutely loved last week’s Diva Challenge, and I spent a lot of time on it. However, part of why I had so much time to spend is because I was in Montreal (more on that trip later) with my husband, and I had no Internet access. The result-9 tiles and no way to share them. I really went nuts on this one. I first started with just one-using Aquafleur-then added a second tangle and added color and a new color paper, then decided to play around with Drupe as well. Anyway, I ended up with this (my week’s work, in roughly chronological order):

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Of this set, I think my favorite are these two:

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I loved how this challenge helped me see these two tangles in so many different lights and really expand my Zentangle horizons. I expect some of the techniques I learned during this challenge will start showing up in my regular tiles!

Diva Challenge #172

So, when I pulled up this week’s challenge ,I almost turned around and skipped it. A Duotangle of Mooka and Auraknot? I almost couldn’t face it, because these are probably the two tangles that I really love the look of and never feel satisfied with when I draw them.
And, while I’d love for this post to be an uplifting story about how I tried them and this time it was wonderful, it…wasn’t. I still don’t feel Iike I’ve really mastered either of these tangles, but I did manage to produce two tiles:

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While I still think I need to keep pushing myself to use these tangles (especially Mooka, which I really avoid), I do feel that this week made me a little more comfortable with them, and helped to identify what my issue with them is, which is proportions and clean lines.

How do you guys feel about these tangles? Are there any others that you find beautiful and challenging? What are they, and what do you think makes them so difficult for you?

Diva Challenge #170

I know this post is a little late (over a week, to be specific), but I wanted to post these so I could talk a¬† bit about the process of creating a Zentangle, and when the Zen just doesn’t happen.¬† The challenge was to use the tangle Bugles.¬† Now, to be honest, I don’t love this tangle.¬† I don’t dislike it, but it doesn’t really speak to me.¬† There are some tangles that I just see and immediately want to use, and others that just don’t speak to me.¬† But, I wanted to challenge myself (it is the Diva challenge, after all).¬†¬† So I sat myself down in a cafe and started to tangle.¬† And it just wouldn’t work.¬† I kept changing my mind about what I wanted to do, which tangles I wanted to use, etc.¬† and kept having to backtrack and try to “fix”¬† what I’d already done. For me, changing my mind a lot and trying to redo parts is always a sign that the tile isn’t really working for me. So I definitely wasn’t feeling the Zen.¬† In the end, I finished up with this:

My first, less-successful attempt at a tile using Bugles.

When I got done, I really didn’t want to leave it like that.¬† I was sure I could do better, and I really wanted to try and make a tile with Bugles work better.¬† So the next day, I pulled out another tile, and tried again.¬† This time, I ended up with this:

My second swing at it.

My second swing at it.

While this will never make the list of my favorite tiles, I’m a lot happier with this one.¬† I like the shading, and I feel like the transitions between tangles works better.

So,¬† do you guys ever have a tile that just isn’t working?¬† How do you know when it happens?¬† And what do you do?¬† Do you put it aside, push through to finish it and then move on, or take a second shot at it?