Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Tangle Pattern: Whittier

I've been meaning to post this since I came back from Maine at Christmastime.  I love to go to my church, Whittier Congregational in Island Falls, Maine, whenever I'm home. I grew up in the church; was baptised, sang in choir, went to Sunday School, taught Sunday School etc. It's a lovely building with beautiful stained glass in rememberence of some of the founding families of the town.  I love the peaceful feeling I get when I'm nestled in the scrolled wood pews, worn smooth by years of worshipers. Christmas Eve service is my very favorite and I was fortunate enough to attend at this Christmas past.  At the end of the service, we all light wee candles, one from another around the church and sing Silent Night with the lights dimmed. It is so beautiful and really brings home the reason for the season.

This pattern is actually taken from the ceiling tiles there.


Enjoy!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Signs of Spring

Gosh I needed today. It has been a heckuva time in Bee-Land. Trying times and winter blahs are a crummy combination.  The weather has been gloomy for weeks. My attitude has been gloomy for weeks. My health has been gloomy for weeks. Circumstances have been gloomy for weeks. It's been pretty hard to keep a chipper-pip-pip attitude around these parts. But today...today made all the difference.

I went to the barn this morning. It was only 10 degrees when I got there, but the sun was shining and the wind wasn't blowing.  The animals were chipper and seemed to sense an inking of spring in the air. Gracie the goose, Tippy the Duck and Isis the chicken all gifted me with eggs:
Gracie's been laying off and on for about a month now. The chickens have been VERY sporadic all winter and I've never seen a Tippy egg.  It reminded me of Easter, finding all of those treasures. They must know spring is coming right?

There was lots of work to do around the barn as always. It was a busy hive of activity . Then everyone went home and it was blessedly quiet except for the gentle animal noises. I puttered around; the closeness to the animals and the physical work was a welcome tonic. By 11:30 it was around freezing, but with no wind and bright sun, it was amazing out. I sat out in the pasture with the goats and sheep and just soaked up the vitamin D.  All of the animals were doing the same, either lying or standing still, little faces turned towards the warmth listening to the eaves drip. Maple sugar time.

I snuggled my Esme for the first time since early winter. She just laid her turkey head on my shoulder and snuggled in for about 20 minutes. I think she fell asleep. I've been snuggling the new turkey, Baby, too. He's a big male, but is a total marshmallow who loves to be hugged, have his waddle rubbed and the top of his head kissed. I took Dahlia the bunny out in sun for a bit. I flipped her over on her back and cradled her in my arms, rubbing her tummy. She held my wrist with her little paws and closed her eyes in bliss. My buddy, Bert-the-sheep came to sit with me a spell in the pasture. He usually does. He's more like a dog than a sheep. I don't even have to pat him, he just leans on me. Even Maude and April, the most standoffish of the goats came by for head rubs. For the first time in what seems like ages, I could relax and breath.

There's more snow coming...and worse yet, MARCH is coming, but today gave me a much needed shot of something I've been missing lately, HOPE. Thank you G*d for leading me to Heartland Farm Sanctuary.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trying

Today was...well....trying.  I have been anticipating a bad day tomorrow but today's suckage was an ambush.  So this evening I just doodled. First, to remind myself to 'just keep swimming...keep swimming' , a la Dorie in Finding Nemo, I did a regulation sized tile with a non-regulation turtle on it. Zentangles aren't supposed to be representational of anything so the turtle is bucking the rules.  Then I went ahead and fiddled with some new watercolor pencils and colored him in....Mwahahahahah. Rules? We don' need no stinkin' rules!  I felt marginally better after 'sticking it to the man'...even if the man is only in my head.


Thus settled, I started shading a larger piece I've been working on. I can't decide if it reminds me more of seed pods or some dreaded virus coursing though the bloodstream.
At any rate, it was repetitive enough to calm me down to the point where I am over today and can face tomorrow with a little bit more perspective. Thank you Zentangle Gods. I'm sorry I poked you with a stick earlier with that whole turtle thing.

Another very calming thing:


This is Duchess. She is visiting with us while her folks are on a cruise. She is quite the snuggler, so between her and Ben (who has snuggled so much he was napping when this pic was taken) I am thoroughly loved. How bad can tomorrow be when I have this to look forward to when I get home!





Monday, February 18, 2013

Diva Challenge 107: Quandry

This week's challenge over on Laura's Blog is to use the new official Zentangle pattern-Quandry.  Here are the steps from over on the Zentangle blog.
This one was really difficult for me. My spacing was so off, I didn't have many 'flower' shapes in there. Then I saw a video of someone drawing it and it just clicked..  Not much time tonight, so I pulled another 15 minute job. It's quick and dirty but here it is.

Looking forward to when I have more time to prefect Quandry.  It's a tangle pattern that's a great filler for places where you don't want anything dark or a grid.  Kudos for another great challenge Laura! Thanks for the coffee break!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Diva Challenge #106: "The Year of the Snake"

I'm working tonight but took a much needed 15 minute break to doodle this week's Diva challenge...to tangles something representative of 2013: Year of the Snake, in honor of Chinese New Year. I wish I had more time to spend on this one. I can think of all kinds of ways to use snakey lines, but alas this will have to do for now.

Speaking of her Diva-ness, Laura Harms, I entered a contest on her blog last week and won a Tangle A Day Calendar! First Neil Burley and now this?!?!? The Tangle Gods are surely shining on me this last couple of weeks. Thanks again Laura for the special treat!

Back to the salt mines!


Tuesday, February 05, 2013

SQUEE!!! Neil Burley! Neil Burley! Neil Burley

The mail just came and I am now the proud owner of a Neil Burley print, sent to me by none other than... Neil Burley himself!   Squeeee! Neil is one of my favorite artists and tangle pattern designers. Historic building elements, from the UK where he lives, inspire him to create a lot of intricate patterns that he posts on his site for us all to use in our own work. You really owe it to yourself to hop on over to his site and take a look at his brilliant work! I'll wait......Yay! You're back!  Did you see all of the patterny goodness over there!?  I KNOW right?!?! Here is a bad scan of the patterny goodness that is mine, all mine!
This is one of 6 prints that Neil hand printed of 'Rockpool', one of his original designs.

And here is the back side with the information.

I entered a contest on Neil's blog a few weeks ago and was one of the 6 lucky winners of his work. In honor of this wonderful stroke of luck and my love of Neil's work, I think I'll make my next piece with only tangles he created!

Thanks so much for the wonderful prize and the pick-me-up boost to my day, Neil!

Diva Challenge 105: UMT v. XIII-Dansk

I really needed this week's Diva Challenge. It's been a bit of a rough patch the last few days and I needed my doodle time. The challenge this week was to use Margaret Bremner's tangle, 'Dansk'. Margaret does amazing work up there in Saskatchewan. I imagine there is A LOT of  Zentangle time up there in the winter-Brrrr. She has a special sump'in-sump'in in her tangles. I can always pick her tiles out of a lineup!  Anyway, here's my entry into the challenge.  That's Dansk down there in the bottom right.

I know it doesn't look like it but I took my time and went slowly, more as a meditative exercise, and it really helped calm my monkey brain.  Well, that and watching Nathan Fillion on Castle.  Actually that causes heart palpitations so...never mind. But anyway...yet another example of how the repetitive nature this art form can really be a tool for better mental health and relaxation! Thanks again for a wonderful challenge, Diva and such a great tangle pattern Margaret. You both are my heroes today!

By the way, The Diva is having an awesome giveaway over on her blog for a Tangle A Day Calendar! You can enter by leaving a comment on her blog...and get an extra entry if you like her Facebook page . Free stuff! Squeeee!