Diva Challenge #180: UMT–MacDee

Hi everyone!

So this week’s Diva Challenge was to use the tangle MacDee. When I first took a look at this tangle I really didn’t feel like I was going to be able to do much with it. Most of the tangles I tend to use have at least some curved or organic element to them, and this one is all straight lines. In the first one I did, I tried to incorporate some organic elements, and use MacDee as a background. I wasn’t thrilled by it, but I thought that might just be my reaction to the tangle, so I put it aside and went on with my week.

My first try at MacDee

My first try at MacDee

However, when I was about to start my post today I decided to give it another go. I used browns and sepias, and curved lines, and came up with something I liked a lot better.

My second try at MacDee

My second try at MacDee

How did you guys feel about this tangle? Are there particular tangles you feel don’t work for you? What do you do when you run across them?

Enjoy life!


Diva Challenge #179: “Bijouterie”

Hi guys! Before I get on to this week’s challenge, I wanted to take a minute to share with you the newest member of our cat family:


Her name is Calliope (we call her Callie for short), and she’s an absolute sweetheart. Unfortunately, she also has the cat equivalent of a cold, and so she has to be quarantined in our bedroom until she recovers. As I write this, she seems to be exploring whether our clock-radio is edible. Meanwhile, Daphne, our other kitten, is having older-sibling angst and getting very cranky about the “new baby.”

Now, on to the Diva Challenge!

This week’s challenge was to use the new Bijou tiles (or something similar). I actually picked up a few of these tiles a couple weeks ago, but it took this challenge to get me to actually try them. I ended up doing three: two achromatic and one brown. I feel like they take a bit of getting used to, and certain tangles are harder to do on these tiles. In particular, the more intricate and “background-y” tangles, like Fife, OoF, and Well (to name a few) are harder to do well on the Bijou tiles. But I like that they force me to simplify, and I’m definitely sticking some in my “on the go” Zentangle kit.

Here’s what I came up with:



And here’s a picture of the first one I ever did, which I took while playing around with the filters on my phone.


How do you guys feel about the Bijou tiles? Like ’em, love ’em? On the fence?

Have a wonderful week!

Diva Challenge #178

Wow, this has been a busy week, artistically speaking. I’m starting school at the end of August, so I’ve been spinning, dyeing, making jewelry, creating tangled found poetry, and trying to fit as much into the free time I have left. ūüôā
And, of course, I’ve been playing with the kitten! She keeps trying to climb a floor lamp in our apartment, to get at the lampshade, but she can’t both climb and bat at it, so then she sits on the sofa and looks up at it, and then mews at me, as though to say: “Mom, make it closer!” Having a kitten is fun, and soon, we’re going to have a second for her to play with! (Pictures coming as soon as the new kitten does)

However, I did have time to go on a long bike ride to the Garfield Conservatory here in Chicago. It was so beautiful! Here are some pictures of some of my favorite plants:






and, of course, a picture of me and my favorite person:


But, all of that didn’t mean I didn’t make time for the last Diva Challenge, which was to use your initials to do a Duotangle. When I saw that challenge, I was momentarily stymied–I have 4 initials (THAS), and I didn’t want to do a “Quadrotangle,” (is that even a word?)

So I did 2, one with my first and last initials (TS), and one with the initials of my middle names (HA):

T(ruffles) +S(prigs)


H(ollibaugh) + A(rtoo)


Have a beautiful week!

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:


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:

which I’m much happier with.

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


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!

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):


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



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:



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?