Sunday, 29 November 2015

A busy weekend

It's Sunday night. My kids and husband are out at the movies. I've just come back from walking the dog. I had to end the walk sooner than planned as it started to rain. The bonus was seeing a massive double rainbow as I returned home.

It's been a busy weekend. Here are some of the highlights.

Seeing Pete Murray live

Pete Murray is an Australian singer-song writer. I've been listening to him for years but haven't see him live before. On stage it was only Pete, his guitar and one band member with his guitar. The style is possibly acoustic rock? 

Here's a story about his tour.

Pete Murray acoustic tour

It was a very intimate show, with lots of interaction with the audience. He described it as being a show for his fans. He encouraged us to call out songs for him to play. I called out one - Happy Ground - he heard me, spoke to me and played the song. Gotta love live music.

Pete Murray Happy Ground

A highlight was Pete stepping away from the mike as the audience joined him in singing Opportunity, which is one of his better known songs and one that still gets on the radio 8 years after it was released. It sent chills. Again, gotta love live music. 

It is a wonderful thing to share your enjoyment of a particular artist with the artist themselves and with other people who like them. In this case it was about 800 others. 

Moving. Beautiful. Blissful. Wonderful. 

Pete Murray Opportunity

The link between Pete Murray and this blog is that I listen to my Pete playlist as I draw. His music suits the mood I want to be in when I sit and Tangle. 

Harvesting potatoes

The Husband has a small vegetable plot in the backyard. This spring he planted potatoes which we harvested on Saturday. We ended up with 20kg of spuds from a 3 x 1.5m plot. The variety he planted were Royal Blue. They have a deep purple skin and white flesh.

Dinner tonight was wedges with sour cream and sweet chilli sauce - a staple cafe item here in Oz. They were THE BEST wedges I've ever eaten. 

Meeting a new frog

We got home from the Pete Murray gig at about 11pm. A movement caught my eye near the front door. It was a frog. We get frogs in our backyard pond but not usually near the front door. The frog was about 5cm long. 

This is the pond system in our backyard. It has an outlet at the top then 3 pools below. The outlet is connected to the top pool by a rocky creek bed. We designed and constructed it ourselves with bought bits and pieces. We then experience about 5 months of calling frogs mostly during the night but often during the day as well.

My first visit to an IKEA store

Big news for Canberra has been the opening of an IKEA store. It opened about two weeks ago. 

The Husband and I visited it today. I put my exercise tracker on to see how far we'd walk. We walked 2.5km. Some of that was to and from the car, which we parked in an overflow car park but most was in the shop.

Imagine walking for 2km. In. The. One. Shop.

This is not an experience I'm going to repeat very often. 

Below is a picture of the flat pack section. The size of this section did my head in.

Drawing, drawing and more drawing

I spent a pleasant few hours drawing. Yesterday I put all my Diva and IAST tiles into a folder and did some more Diva #245. It featured Hollibaugh. I love this tangle.

Diva #245 - my tiles

Today I finally produced some tiles using Mooka that I'm pleased with. The four tiles form a set. The moral of this story is keep trying with those tangles that you can't quite get.

Thanks for reading my blog. Happy Thanksgiving to those readers who celebrate it.

Miss L

Saturday, 28 November 2015

It's a string thing #120 - Thanksgiving

This week's IAST challenge is Thanksgiving themed. As an Australian, this is not a holiday I celebrate. However, I do appreciate the value of taking a moment to reflect what I'm thankful for.

I took a few days to get time and head space to be able to work on this week's challenge. Normally I complete it within a day or so of Adele's post. This week work has been super hectic - I'm a teacher, end of year reports are due and the students are all restless.

The odd thing was that, when I finally worked on my tile, I was at my tiredest. It was Friday night. I was too tired to watch TV or read but was too amped up to be able to got to bed. I knew I wouldn't sleep. My husband suggested I draw for a while.

Then I tackled this week's challenge. I was too tired for everything else but I wasn't too tired to Tangle.

Here's my tile.

On this weekend of Thanksgiving in some parts of the world, I am thankful for peace and safety that I experience in my part of the world. I am also thankful for all that Zentangle brings me - Creativity and Connectivity. I love being part of the Zentangle blogging community.

Miss L

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Diva 245 - Hollibaugh

This week's challenge was all about Hollibaugh. Like the Diva herself, Hollibaugh was one of the first tangles that I learnt and one that I return to often.

My first tile uses a lot of black. I struggle to get the black even. Any tips?

I've used the Zenstone tool to add highlights to the next two tiles. This tool is great for Renaissance and black tiles. It can be used to draw strings and guidelines as it fades into the background and can be rubbed off with your finger. It also provides a very soft highlight - great for people who are nervous about highlighting.

The string in the Renaissance tile is based on Purk, which is another favourite tangle and shape.

The final tile combines a tangellation of Zander with Hollibaugh. This is not a combination I've used before, and I've not used Zander on black at all.

Thanks for your comments. I will be back commenting on your work and supporting you once work and family busy-ness calms down a bit.

Miss L

More tiles

I really, really love drawing Hollibaugh. Like many others who posted on the Diva's site this week, this Tangle got me hooked on Zentangle.

I continued to play around with this challenge after viewing other people's efforts. Other Tanglers are so skilled and inspiring!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Weekend getaway

This weekend The Husband and I went to the Blue Mountains to visit my brother and sister-in-law and to get out of town for a bit.

The Blue Mountains are west of Sydney. The area is known for sandstone cliffs and valleys that rival the Grand Canyon in the US in terms of size. The big difference in the Blue Mountains is that the cliff tops, valleys and canyons are lush and green, not desert.

The Husband and I did a short walk to a look out called Pulpit Rock and then walked for a while along the cliff top. The views were spectacular, as always in the Mountains, but not as good as normal because there was a lot of low cloud. We enjoyed it anyway and took lots of photos of the wildflowers.

In the afternoon we wandered amongst the shops in Leura, which one of the better known villages in the mountains. Dinner was spent with my brother and sister-in-law.

Ian has recently come back from fishing in Alaska. His stories of meeting Grizzly bears, black bears and moose were pretty funny. He even saw a bald eagle steal a salmon from a grizzly bear who was fishing just along the river from him and his friends.  Pretty amazing stuff.

It rained on Sunday so we didn't get any walking in. I had hoped to walk along the cliff top track which has stunning views in the Jamison Valley, or at least wander around town looking at the houses and gardens. Not to be this time. Instead, we took our time over breakfast then went browsing through some antique shops on the way down the mountain.

I managed to add to two teapots to my collection. They are made of tinted aluminium. These were popular in Australia in the 1960s I think, and something I associate with my Nan's house. I can't imagine how awful the tea would be. They will do nicely in my eclectic teapot collection.

We took lots of photos on our walk. I've made a collage of them. Hope they turn out well on the screen.


Miss L

Saturday, 21 November 2015

It's a string thing #119

This week's It's a string thing challenge was inspired by the 100th anniversary of Coke. 

When I looked at the string I didn't see a coke bottle. Instead I saw a wine bottle. As I practiced the tangles I thought the string and the tangles reminded me of those wine bottles that are half encased in in twine baskets.

Here are my attempts. I'm not happy with the finishing of either. They look rushed to me, which is what they were. I'm also not finding the Inktense pencils easy to use. Any tips?

A message to my followers and the Tanglers I follow

I offer my apologies in advance for not visiting your sites or commenting on your tangles this last week or over the next couple of weeks.

The last weeks of school are the busiest for me, and other teachers. Marking and reports are taking up all my energy and time. The heat is not helping matters either. It's very hard to work when it's over 36 degrees outside and no air conditioning inside. 

Then there's quite a bit of family stuff going on - happy things but busy, busy, busy.

I will get back to your sites and tangles. I promise.

Miss L

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Diva 244 - Tripoli

This week's Diva challenges uses one of my favourite tangles - Tripoli.

Before I attempted it, I had a look at what some other people had created. I was particularly impressed with what the lovely Yorkshire Tortise drew. Her tile features a ring comprising various tangellations of Tripoli.

This week I have used some different paper for my tile. The paper is called 'Marbletone Board' in cream and is 200gsm. I found it in the fancy paper section of my local office supplies store.

I was in my local office supplies store because :

  1. I was purchasing more A4 folders and photo corners which is how I store my completed tiles and larger ZIAs (see below)
  2. I had finished a lot of work that day for school and needed to reward myself (without sugar!)
  3. I never need much of an excuse to have a wander through this particular store. It is pretty big and I love, love, love stationary.
Here's my tile. It is about 20cm square.

The string is one of Shelley Beauchamp's spiral strings and inspired by one the drawings in her book. (Can't wait to see Shelley again next year.)

Tile Storage

I Tangle a lot. Lately I've been spending at least an hour every evening drawing, and longer on weekends. What to do with all those tiles and pages?

I store my work in A4 folders that have in-built plastic sleeves. I put black card in the sleeve then attach my tiles to them with photo corners.

The beauty of photo corners is that they hold the tiles in place while allowing you to remove them at any time.

Let's say you are struggling for inspiration. You look through you past work, which is easy to do as it is in a neat book form. You find a tile that looks great but you can't remember the tangles. Not a problem because you simply slide the page out and slip the tile off the page so you can read the notes on the back. This is where you would have noted down the tangles you used to create this master piece.

Here's a photo of a page from one of my albums and a close up of a photo corner. I also have a larger version of the album to store my Opus tiles. I purchased that folder at a scrapbooking store.

Health update

Scans have been completed. Everything is clear. I've finished the anti-biotics for whooping cough. The fatigue I have is back to normal levels for me. Thanks for supportive comments. They help.

Have a good week.

Miss L

Sunday, 15 November 2015

It's a string thing #118

I've been attempting Adele's "It's a string thing" challenge for a couple of weeks now. I also regularly do the Diva's challenges.

The benefit of doing the challenges is that they both extend my skills, usually by introducing me to tangles, strings or techniques that I've not used or combined before.

The difference between the two challenges is that you can see straight away what other Diva participants do whereas you have to wait a week to see the other String Thing tiles.  With the Diva, I can get ideas if I'm stuck before I draw. With the String Thing it all has to come from me and my head.

Both are well worth doing.

I keep a folder on my desk top called Inspirations. It's where I copy images from both challenges that I like or feel inspired by. I've also learnt to rename the files with something meaningful. I'll call a file 'cadent variation' or 'great shading' instead of IMG_1234.jpg like I used to.

The next step will be to view this folder, get ideas and get drawing but....

My excuse is that at the moment I'm enjoying working through Kathleen Murray's Let's Tangle. 

My tiles for this week's challenge

Here I've stayed with the three suggested tangles: Acrosstick, Afterglo and Ahh.

The second tile includes Dex because I think it is similar to Acrosstick.

Have a good week.

Miss L

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Let's tangle - Purk

Tonight I have the house to myself. BoyBoy is camping with his school somewhere down the coast while the Husband and Moo are out  watching Australia play Somewhere-istan in the soccer.

I spent the evening watching a bit of telly on Stan (a local version of Netflix). Nice to have the internet all to myself and all the bandwidth I need to stream TV. Then I drew for an hour or so.

I normally listen to Pete Murray while I draw. Tonight I changed to Paul Kelly. Paul Kelly is a prolific singer song writer. I thought I was familiar with a lot of his music. Not so. It has been pleasant getting to know more of his work and hearing the occasional song I recognise.

Both artists are Australian. I have a bit of preference for Australian music artists. I'm currently sharing that love with my students at school as part of our Australian poets, poetry and imagery unit.

But I digress, again.

Below are tonight's drawings. They follow a page from Kathleen Murray's 'Let's Tangle'.

Here's the Let's Tangle drawings from some weeks ago. The focus was Purk. Pepper had featured a page or two before, hence the tile at bottom right.

Now for my trio of drawings this evening. It was all about experimenting.

Enjoy your week.

Miss L

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Diva # 243 - Just a tiny taste

This evening I am tired.

Today was my first day back at school (I'm a high school teacher) after a week and a half off with Whooping  Cough. That makes me one tired, tired person.

Every day I'm getting better and stronger. Comparing how I feel today versus the last while, I'd say I've been fighting this disease for at least a month if not longer. My doctor thought the increased tiredness could have been caused by stress.

The stress assumption is accurate given some family troubles that I've been caught up over the past 6 months. The less said about that the better. 

I suspect the stress had the effect of knocking my immune system to bits, hence the Whooping Cough.

Anyway, the antibiotics are working. I'm working. I'm also joining my husband on his nightly walking of the dog. We do around 3km every evening. We live near a golf course so the walking is very pleasant. We see kangaroos every evening when we walk. I never get tired of seeing those lovely creatures even though I see them almost every day. 

I digress.

Cancer scans are all clear. Early January will mark 9 years since diagnosis.

Diva Challenge #243

Here are my attempts.

Excuse the purple on this one. The blending didn't work as well as I'd hoped.

My new supplies of tiles came in the mail last week, including a big bundle of Renaissance tiles. I love Renaissance tiles and what other Tanglers manage to do with them.

My package also included black tiles. This is the first time I've bought them. Seeing other Tanglers use them for Diva challenges has inspired me. This tangle is Rixty which is a favourite. Thanks to Shelley Beauchamp for showing it to me.

Have a great week people and thanks for viewing and commenting on my blog. Thanks also for all the supportive comments about my health. Your comments make a difference to me.

Miss L

Sunday, 8 November 2015

It's a string thing #117

This week's challenge was to create a mono tangle of Adele's new tangle Sand.

Sand reminded me of Chillon and Bales so I thought I'd merge those three tangles together.

Here's what I ended up with.

I bought some thick paper to use instead of renaissance tiles but I found the paper was hard, rough and didn't take the pens well.  I noticed that the linking lines in the background were wrong. Not happy with this one.

Also realised that Adele wanted a Sand MONO tangle, not just a tile featuring Sand. So, back to the drawing board. 

Here's my next attempt.

In this one I got the background links right. The top quadrant is supposed to represent the pieces of Sand flying off into the distance. Colouring was done using my new Inktense pencils. 


Miss L

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Diva #242

Before I share my Diva tiles I have a health update.

Health update

The reason for the new level of tiredness is that I have Whooping Cough. This was picked up in a blood test and nasal swab that my GP sent me to have last Friday.

The results of blood tests that I'd had done earlier in the week showed that my white blood cell count was low so I needed more tests to find out why.

There could still be other things going on. That's the problem with having had cancer in the past, there are so many things that can come back to bite you later on. Stress also has a big part to play.

I had my annual cancer scans yesterday and get the results of them tomorrow. Hopefully nothing bad.

So, Whooping Cough. Without the cough. Without any noticeable rise in temperature or any other symptoms.

At least there is a reason for the tiredness and a pill to treat it - antibiotics for two weeks and one week off work.

Due to the week off work, expect to see a lot of tangling on this blog.

The Diva Challenge

This week we were given the new tangle Gourdgeous. I'd seen this in an email from Rick and Maria but had not been tempted to try it. Like other Tanglers (hello Yorkshire Tortoise), the realism of the tangle doesn't appeal to me as much as the more abstract tangles. Still, I gave it a shot.

Here's my first attempt, a black page taken from a sketch book.

The tile has Gourdgeous, Keeko and a tangellation of Zander. The Zander tangellation is something you will see Shelley Beauchamp use quite a lot. Check out her blog and her new book.

My next tile is my favourite. I thought I'd let myself go a bit with the tangle and found that I quite like the fluidity of the shape.

This tile features Gourdgeous, Meer, Shattuck and Golven. I used chalk-pastels to add colour to the tile. This is a technique and tool that I've recently started playing with. The pastels blend very well and I have a lot of control, more so than with the water colour pencils I've used in the past.

My last tile is simple. It features Gourdgeous and Yah, with chalk-pastel shading.

And to finish ...

Here's some ZIA that I made recently. The object is about 30cm or 12 inches tall. 

This was the first time I've drawn on a 3D bumpy surface. Not easy. I am very pleased with the results.

Comments on this blog

I value your comments highly. I moderate all comments as I'd like to have control over what appears on my blog. It may therefore take a day or two for your comments to appear.

Miss L