Friday, 30 October 2015

It's a string thing #116

I'm continuing to explore the challenges of 'It's a string thing'.

This week the string and tangles were inspired by Halloween and Candy Corn. The string we were challenged to use was TanglePatterns String #095 while the tangles were Chartz, Cadent, Cracked, and Confettus.

Below is my first attempt.

I'm not used to tangling using busy strings like this one, so I decided to go bigger. Below is what I completed today.

The paper is A4 sized 220 gsm drawing paper that I purchase from my local art store. I added colour using water colour pencils. I feel proud of the restraint I showed in not filling the space with strings and for keeping white space within the strings. I have a tendency to overwork pieces like this.


Miss L

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Diva #241 - stones and ceremony

This week's Diva challenge involved thinking about stones, such as standing stones and cairns, and ceremony. The challenge was set by guest Paula Bramante, CZT

Reading Laura's blog this week combined with Paula's story about this week's challenge got me thinking. 

I very quickly completed the tile below. I think it's pretty obvious what the subject matter is.

The subject matter is breast cancer. The left breast is filled with Tipple, which look like stones. No coincidence there as that was the side that my cancers grew in. The right breast or stone is mostly filled with Vitruvius. I chose this tangle because I always mis-read the name as 'Viti-virus' and because I don't like the tangle, as I don't like Breast cancer. The right stone also has some Luv-A in it because, as horrible as cancer is, there is a lot of love that has come my way because of it.

It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, at least in Australia. Get yourself checked. If in doubt, check. I was only 38 when I got hit with it. So please, get checked.

My next tile is along the same theme.

This tile is a complete departure from my usual style. I have never consciously chosen images, strings or tangles for their symbolism and I don't think I've ever used text as part of the design. The words here are positive words reflecting how I got through and continue to get through this disease.

Finally, a tile just because.

This tile uses favourites: Holibaugh, Shattuck, Swarm, Finery and Verdigogh. 

A note about Comments

I really, really appreciate your comments. You may not see them straight away on my blog as I moderate them first. I have a bit of a thing about controlling what goes on my blog, so bare with me on this. I do check my blog regularly and have published all comments so far. 

Thanks for the messages of support about my current health issues. I had blood tests this week and annual x-rays and scans next week. I'll keep you posted.

Miss L

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Diva challenge #240 - birthday leaves

This week's Diva challenge was inspired by the Autumn leaves falling in the Diva's home in central Canada. She suggested that those of us in the southern hemisphere use whatever leaves we see during spring.

I chose to use a basic gum leaf pattern as the string.  I live in Canberra, Australia, which is known as the Bush Capital. We are surrounded by bushland, which I love. Gum trees are everywhere here, and are out flower at the moment. Walking in the bush is like walking near a honey factory, supposing honey factories actually smell of honey ?

Renaissance tiles are my favourite. I like how they take up the white highlights.

This tile didn't work well until I added the internal border. Is that what you call what I did? 

This last tile, my ZIA tangles gum leaf, is an example of using a mistake to inspire creativity. The tile was my first attempt at this project, with the second attempt pictured above it. The gum nuts were a mess and far too heavy in comparison with the leaves. Instead of tossing out the tile, I cut off the bad bits and went looking for some scrap-booking paper to stick the good bits on. Then I found more odds and ends of paper and ribbon and added them. I think I'll play with this idea some more.

This week I'm

  • getting very busy at school as we prepare for reports and for get out planning underway for 2016.
  • getting slightly worried at how fast the term is flying by
  • enjoying teaching a poetry unit to my classes. Love to see students having fun reading poetry to each other.
  • being happy that The Good Wife is back for another season. This is THE BEST drama on TV.
  • getting paranoid about seeing my doctor tomorrow. It's time to get referrals for my annual cancer scans. Plus I've nearly fainted a few times this week. Anything unusual health-wise ALWAYS makes me feat that this could be cancer returning.

Happy tangling.

Miss L

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I am a cancer survivor. More particularly, a breast cancer survivor.

I have considered myself to be a breast cancer survivor ever since I was diagnosed with this horrible, horrible disease in January 2007.

This month is breast cancer awareness month so I thought it was a good time to add a blog post about the disease. This month is also the month when I need to make an appointment with my GP to get a referral for all my annual scans in time to get the scans done in December which is close the anniversary of diagnosis. 

This month and the next couple are when I think most about this horrible, horrible disease.

Today, for the first time in years, I visited the Breast Cancer Network Australia website.'ve changed the site a lot since the days when I was a regular visitor and contributor. It was nice to see that an excerpt from one of my articles is still on the site. I won't say where on the site as I have chosen to keep my Creative Miss L identity separate to my personal identity. Those who need who need to know who the Creative Miss L is do because I tell them in person.

Anyway .....

It was and is hard to revisit the BCNA website. It's been nearly 9 years since diagnosis and I luckily don't think about cancer very often any more.

In the past, I was confronted with having cancer at almost every moment of every day. For years. These days the reminders are less frequent and don't kick me in the gut like they used to. Today though, writing this blog, is making me want to throw up. Happy days, not.

A brief history 

I was in my late 30s when I was diagnosed. I found the lump myself. The lump was removed one week, the remaining breast removed the next as more cancers were found. I had months of chemo and radiation therapies, followed by years of various oral drug treatments. I underwent reconstructive surgery after I passed the 5 year mark. I am one of the unlucky cancer patients who continue to suffer from cancer-related fatigue, even though all cancer treatments ended some years ago. 

I have not used any alternative health therapies or remedies and get very, very pissed off when people try and tell me I should use them, so don't try. Each to their own and I have chosen modern, science-based medicine. I supplement that with physiotherapy when I need it, exercise and a healthy diet, again all science-based. I don't always follow good exercise or a healthy diet, but that's my choice and I'm OK with that. 

Long term effects

Cancer is a head game. I think that how cancer affects you and your life is how you think about it and deal with it mentally. I have chosen to attack the horrible disease and not let it beat me or take over my life.

Since diagnosis I have become a traveller. Holidays with my family are extremely important to me. At the end of the cancer year, my family and I spent a week on Lord Howe Island. To celebrate surviving 5 years post diagnosis, my family and I spent two weeks exploring parts of Western Australia. We road camels at sunset on Cable Beach, we visited the Bungle Bungles, we swam in Tunnel Creek, saw hundreds of fresh water crocs at Windjana Gorge, and we swam with whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef.

Last year The Husband and I spent two weeks touring Tasmania. This year I spent a week on my own in Tasmania and plan to return again next year, this time with both The Husband and BoyBoy. 

A couple of years ago we took another family to Lord Howe Island for 10 days. We are going again, for our 5th time, in December/ January. 

So, cancer has made me a traveller. It has also made me intolerant of people who waste my time or who don't contribute to my peace of mind.

I simply cannot be bothered with people who cause me stress. I could write more on this topic but it makes me angry so I won't. Besides, I might be tempted to write something which I will later regret.

On a positive note...

Cancer is survivable. You can still lead a happy, fulfilled, joyful life. You can still have friends, eat great food, travel, learn a new skill or hobby, watch great TV, watch bad TV, watch the sunset. Cancer doesn't have to take away any of those things. 

Keep well.

Miss L

Saturday, 17 October 2015

It's a string thing #114

I've started looking for online Zentangle challenges in addition to my regular attempts at what The Diva sets each week.

I got the idea for this by visiting the pages of people who regularly visit and comment on my blog. I'm talking about you Annie in the Netherlands, The Yorkshire Tortise in Ireland and Devin in the USA.

This week I found the blog "It's a string thing" (see link on my home page).

The challenge was to use a particular string and incorporate the tangles Ahh, Ta-Da and Teenos. While I'm familiar with Ahh, the other tangles are new to me.

It took me a couple of tries to get something I like. The first attempt will remain in my tangle folder as it was too busy and the interesting elements of the new tangles got lost.

Here's my second attempt.

My next attempt was better. I used a combination of crescent moon and tipple in the tricky circle space in the string and was restrained in my use of the other tangles.

Hopefully this tile messes with your eyes. I like to make people's eyes move over my work, whether they want to or not, and to create 3D effects. Remember that I still consider myself a beginner at this form of art as I've only been learning it for just over 12 months.

I hope you enjoy looking at my work. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Miss L

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Diva challenge #239

Welcome to my blog. Thank you to everyone who views and comments. I've now had over 1,000 page views. No idea how this compares to other blogs but it does make me happy.

Exercise and weight loss

The exercise program is continuing. The challenge I face this week is that school is back on, which means I'm often very tired when I get home. Will I continue to exercise?

Today is day 2 of school for me (I don't work Mondays). I managed to get time on the Elliptical trainer yesterday. Only 10 minutes while the Husband and BoyBoy cooked diner. My heart rate got up and I focused on upper body strength.

I didn't exercise today, other than the 3km of walking that happens everyday just because I'm a teacher.  But I went for two walks on Monday - one on my own with the dog and one with the Husband and the dog.

It's too early to see any weight loss. However, my biceps are getting stronger, my jeans are getting looser and I can stay on the Elliptical trainer for longer.

Diva Challenge #239

This week's Diva challenge was to tangle Munchin on black tiles. I don't own any black tiles so I used thick black art paper instead, cut into Zentangle tile sizes.

I first watched Molly Hollibaugh's video. Her tip for being light with the gel pen worked. I enjoyed watching and listening to her. It was like a meditation and a lovely way to get into tangling mode.

Here are my attempts.

Finally, readers of my blog would know that I'm working through Kathleen Murray's Let's Tangle. Here's my exploration of the tangle W2.

If any knows Kathleen's blog or web address, could you add a comment and let me know. I'd love to see more of her work.

I hope you enjoy looking at my work and that you are inspired to create your own.

Miss L

Friday, 9 October 2015

Let's Tangle by Kathleen Murray

Today's blog post is about what I've been doing this week and the Zentangles that I've drawn.

Last week I received some lovely books in the mail. One of them was Let's Tangle by Kathleen Murray, CZT.

This week I've been working on tiles in Kathleen's book. Kathleen has set out her book with simple, clear instructions, with examples, followed by pages for you to practice what she has just taught. 

I don't normally write or draw in books, even when given the space to do so. This time I making an exemption because my stocks of Zentangle tiles are running low! The unexpected benefit is that my drawing is free-er and I'm experimenting more.

So far, I'm up to page 54 and I have only learnt one new tangle. That's OK because I'm playing with tangles that I'm familiar with, using different combinations, strings and enhancements. 

This page is all about enhancing your tangles with Perfs. I've tried out two radically different strings (radical for me, anyway). My favourite is the one of the top right.

This page is an introduction to Hollibaugh. On this page I wanted to experiment with different ways of presenting this tangle as it one that I've been using since first learning Zentangle. Again, my favourite is at the top right. I like the 3D effect, which is more prominent on this photo on my blog than in real life in my book.

A request - does anyone know Kathleen Murray's web address or blog? I've searched and not found it. I really like her work, as shown in this book, so imagine what her web site would be like.

I've been on school holidays for the last two weeks and I've tangled nearly every day. I hope to maintain this practice when school returns next week.

Health, fitness and weight loss

I have a long term goal of losing weight. Mini goals are to exercise every day, drink more water and eat more veg. Does a cronut count towards any of this?

Cronuts are a decadent cross between a croissant and a donut. These ones were salted caramel. Mmmmm. They weren't all for me and I didn't buy them. My beautiful daughter, Moo, bought them  - one for her brother, one for herself and one for me. 

Can't believe I'm saying this but they are too sweet. However, there are plenty of other delicious goodies at this cafe. The cafe is only a short drive from where Moo is studying at uni. She can surprise me with something else next time. 

On a serious note, I have been either walking or using the elliptical trainer every day during these hols. I've been able to extend my time on the machine from 10 to 20 minutes. And today I walked with a friend for 7.5 kms. 

We walked through part of Canberra Nature Park. We saw lots of kangaroos, several wallabies, a shingle-backed lizard and two echidnas.

This was the first time that K had seen one outside a wildlife park. We are so lucky in Canberra to have all this wildlife minutes from our doors. 

A milestone

I am excited to announce that I have received over 1,000 page views of my blog. I've been blogging for only a couple of weeks and now people are reading my posts.

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog. Comments are very welcome. 

This Zentangle community is pretty amazing.

Miss L

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Diva challenge #238 - Tri-bee

Before I get into this week's Diva challenge I'm going to show you my latest exercise fad. It's an exercise machine. Gasp loudly here if you'd like.

I bought myself an elliptical training machine thing. It was second hand and very cheap. The machine sits on our deck, so doesn't take space inside the house.

Why subject myself to this torture? Well, I need to lose weight. Other people looking at my photo may be generous and say there's no problem. But I know what I used to weigh in the past and I know what fitness activities I was capable of in the not-too-distant past. 

The impetus to get the machine and start exercising regularly came from seeing photos of myself during the days when Dobby got sick and died. What was once muscle, particularly upper body, is now flab. I decided it was time to exercise my feelings instead of eating them.

My aim is to use the machine everyday. By making this public on my blog, I'm trying to add some accountability to my aim. 

Here's me and my machine. Notice the stylish footwear - socks and Crocs! 

And now to today's Diva challenge. The Diva introduced us to the tangle Tri-bee.

Here's what I came up with.

Tri-bee, Tipple, Static, and Printemps
Tri-bee, Finery, Shattuck

Tri-bee, Jetties and random swirling lines.

Tri-bee, Enmingle and Tipple. 
While I am pleased with my efforts this morning, I'm more satisfied with the process.

This wonderful method of drawing we use has the word Zen in it for a reason. This morning's challenge put me into a place of calm where I was able to put aside my worries and focus on producing some art, one stroke at a time.

I hope you like the results.

Miss L

Thursday, 1 October 2015

New books, more inspiration

Something wonderful arrived in the mail this week, a week earlier than expected. It was a box of new Zentangle books that I'd ordered online from 

The authors of the books are all CZTs. That's my way of quality control. 

The book I was most interested in was the 500 Tangled Artworks by Beckah Krahula. I'd read a review of this book on a blog somewhere, and I already use her earlier book, One Zentangle a Day. The other books just came along for the ride as I was already committed to paying a certain amount of postage. 

The book Let's Tangle is one suited to beginners or to people like myself who have gaps in their knowledge and skill. I've been experimenting with some of the tangles and the techniques. For instance, I played around with perfs, which is something I've seen in other people's work but not used myself.

Last night I was flicking through 500 Tangled Artworks. The book is filled with the most beautiful, intricate, delicate artwork. Some is surprisingly simple. Other pieces will require a magnifying glass so I can better understand and appreciate the detail that has gone into them.

As expected, this book had my brain firing with ideas for artworks that I would like to create. 

Here is my first work inspired by an image from this book, image number 256.

My  ZIA is called 'Laces'. It was made on A4 artists acrylic paper. The tangles include: Hollibaugh, Tagh, Crescent Moon, Rixty, Dex and a tangellation of Tipple.

My intention was to create a 3D effect and to lead your eye over the piece.

Enjoy. Remember, comments are always welcome.

Miss L