Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekly Challenge #198

Good Morning everyone!

Welcome to the Last Challenge of 2014!  If you're a regular here, you'll know that i tend to take the last few weeks of December off to do Christmassy things with my family!  Don't Worry, we'll be back and ready to rock on January 5th!

What adorable little Christmas Trees they make.

the family tree selfie
We had some pretty crazy weather up here, it was really cold and snowy... and then - just like that it was warm and all the snow was melting... we had about 3 or 4 days of temps hovering around 4-6 degrees Celsius (that's about 39-42F)

i took this picture early one morning of my neighbours tree... i love hoar frost
The boys are having a tough time with the dark this year.  I was telling a friend that the sun has been rising around 9:08am and then going down at about 5:43pm.  Chewie is having a hard time going to school in the dark.  But thankfully we are almost at the darkest peak!

These are amazing cookies - i made them for a cookie exchange with some girlfriends
There've been lots of baking and holiday movie watching as well.  We've watched Elf, Arthur Christmas, The Legend of Frosty the Snowman; and The Muppets Family Christmas tends to get watched every single day.  (B-rad and i attempted to watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation together last night and we were both seriously underwhelmed.  lol - i remember it being a lot funnier, now it just seems really stupid.)

The boys and i have been busy making Christmas type crafts as well.  Chewie likes to make snowflakes.


he's having fun, he just tends to make a 'grump' face when i take pictures of him now...
i forsee a lot of 'grump' as we venture into teendom


We also got our letters to Santa sent in the mail!  that was a fun day.

and i've been busy carving stamps like a crazy lady.... I've been doing the #CarveDecember challenge with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, but i haven't been carving every day... mostly just the odd numbered days (Suzanne's doing the evens ;) hello Suzanne!)

Here's a few of them:




It's been really fun!!
I also attended my first ever Dr. Sketchy Anti-Art School event which is a life drawing session with burlesque dancers as the models.  it was really fun, and i'll be going again in January!  I've never done life drawing before - it was hard!!

here's one sketch i particularly liked.... (I don't do faces very well so i tend to just not draw them)

Busy busy busy!!

Weekly Challenge #198: "K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, silly!)"
so!!
We are officially entering into YEAR FOUR of the Weekly Challenge!! Can you believe it?? The very first challenge was issued 4 years ago, on December 20th 2010.

I went back and re-read the first challenge (found here) and i can remember where i was at, all those years ago.  Artoo was only a few months old, and we were still dealing with his diagnosis of Moebius Syndrome but were not yet telling anyone about it.  We were struggling to keep our heads above water as we navigated the terrain of the crazy learning curve of a special needs child.  I wanted to stick my head in the sand and never come out, and i still wanted to make christmas special for then-2-year-old Chewie.

I look at where i am today and i find that i am still NEEDING some simplicity in my life -  just in other ways.   There are so many things that need to be done.  Gifts to be made/purchased/and wrapped, activities to do with the kids... I feel like the minutes and the hours of the days are gone before i even begin.  I don't want to venture out to the stores, but i'm not done shopping and someone has to!  Christmas dinners with families, christmas parties with friends... i sort of feel like December needs to be 6 weeks long, instead of 4, only then there would be 6 weeks of craziness.

So, we come back to the challenge.  The first challenge ever posed here... the challenge to simplify. To keep it simple, silly.

How does this challenge speak to you.  How can you translate that into your work? Will you simplify your string? Simplify your tangles?
Here's my tile. 

Also, congratulations to the winners from last week's giveaway: Suzanne Wilka, Bunny Wright, and Lucy Banta! I hope to get those in the mail for you as soon as i can!!
If you have a blog or host your images on line (like on Flickr or Picassa or Pinterest), add the site-specific URL where your tile is posted to the linkey machine below! Don't forget to link back here so that others can join in the fun! (if you don't know how to find this, you can see my half assed tutorial here) Also, please feel free to come back often and visit the links of those people on the linkey machine - don't forget to leave a comment or feedback, everyone loves feedback. ;) 
I will be more diligent with the linkey machine - by editing out the ones that don't work, the doubles, the links that lead to nowhere, the links that go just to blog home pages (this is why we need those site specific urls), and the spam. And there is some spam. PLEASE do not put your *home* page in the linkey machine... please? for me??

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekly Challenge #197

Hey Everyone! I'm back!

Did you miss me? I missed you - it was nice to have a break from blogging and focus on the family - but i did miss blogging and writing and sharing with all of you!

I want to give a HUGE thank you and shout out to all my fabulous guest bloggers:
Cris Letourneau (#192)
Holly Atwater (#193)
Elisa Murphy (#194)
Sandy Hunter (#195)
and
Emily Classon (#196)

It was so nice to just know that the challenge was in such capable hands.  You ladies did an amazing job! Thank you!!

So - I'm sure you're all wondering what we've been up to over here at Casa Diva.  More specifically, wondering how Artoo is recovering.

In my last update i told you a bit about the surgery.

We went to see his Ophthalmologist here in Saskatoon, and she told us that his eyes look very healthy - that the stitches were all still in place.  She told me a bit more about how the botox would work. Artoo had botox injected into his interior eye muscles to relax them, as they have become super tight seeing as they've had no resistance for 4 years (Moebius Syndrome 101: Cranial Nerve VI attaches to the outside muscles of the eyes.  Artoo's muscles have no nerves attached, therefore he can not move his eyes from side to side.)

Right now the stitches are holding everything in place, and as the botox wears off and those inside muscles begin to pull again, we will see the final result of the surgery.  It will probably take until February or so - it's a long wait to find out how successful the surgery was.

wearing a silly hat for Silly Hat Day at Chewie's school
 The double vision seems to still be a factor, and so we see him using one eye more than the other to compensate for that, so we've had to begin patching him a bit each day.  I think it's been helpful, and as the botox is wearing off i see him trying to use both eyes at once.

Still such a happy boy.
He seems to be back to his old self though.  Silly happy song singing laughing boy.
this may be one of the cutest pics of my boys
I feel like so much has happened this month, it's difficult to condense it all into one blog post so i'll just do bullet form... This month... in no particular order:


  • It has snowed much snow.  Chewie is loving it, me - not so much.
  • I have new Winter Tires on my van, so driving is much nicer now.
  • B-rad's car has died so we have been a morning car-poolin' family for the past two weeks as we take him to work before taking Chewie to school - the plus side is that Chewie is on time every day ;)
  • Chewie's parent/teacher conference was great - he's such a smart and caring kid.  (proud!!)
  • I've been doing a lot of art lately, which is nice.  I'm slowly working on creating 100 Mandalas, i took Julie Gibbons' "5 days of Mandala Magic" course in the beginning of November (as well as my second year in her year long mandala magic course), i'm also taking part in Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's #CarveDecember challenge, wherein you carve a rubber stamp each day... (you can see many of these things on my instagram feed @iamthediva)
  • I started painting again (happy!!)
  • I killed my treadmill (sad!!)
  • B-rad and I had an amazing experience meeting the Canadian band Mother Mother (They are awesome!) and watching them rock out!
Also, as many of my regular readers know, i tend to take the last half of December off from challenges - because Christmas with kids is awesome and fun, but it's also crayyyyzeee busy.  So, you have this week's challenge and next week's challenge - then we're back in January! 

Weekly Challenge #197: "New Official Tangle - Arukas"
Last weekend a new official tangle was announce in the Zentangle Newsletter - it's called Arukas... which is cleverly Sakura backwards!



This is one fun tangle.  If you haven't had a chance to play with it - today is your lucky day!!! This week's challenge is to use the new tangle in your tile or inspired piece.  

here's mine: 



ALSO 
Before i go:

The lovely and talented Carole Ohl has gifted me with some Tangle A Day 2015 calendars to give away!


(If you don't want to wait, you can buy your own here)  And so i will be giving away three copies to three lucky people.... 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck everyone! happy tangling, have fun!!

If you have a blog or host your images on line (like on Flickr or Picassa or Pinterest), add the site-specific URL where your tile is posted to the linkey machine below! Don't forget to link back here so that others can join in the fun! (if you don't know how to find this, you can see my half assed tutorial here) Also, please feel free to come back often and visit the links of those people on the linkey machine - don't forget to leave a comment or feedback, everyone loves feedback. ;) 
I will be more diligent with the linkey machine - by editing out the ones that don't work, the doubles, the links that lead to nowhere, the links that go just to blog home pages (this is why we need those site specific urls), and the spam. And there is some spam. PLEASE do not put your *home* page in the linkey machine... please? for me??


Monday, December 1, 2014

Weekly Challenge #196

Hey my wonderful Tangly friends! Happy December!  Today's post is the last (but not least) in the series of guest bloggers! Please hang on, if you were expecting a UMT that will (most likely) happen next week!

Today's challenge is brought to you by the wonderful Emily Classon, CZT.  See y'all next week!

Weekly Challenge #196: All Dolled Up

Hello!  I am thrilled to be helping our fabulous Diva with her post this week.  We’re all sending along healing vibes to the Diva and her family.

As the mother of an adorable four-year-old girl, my life is surrounded by dolls--stuffed dolls, magnetic dolls, story dolls, and of course, an infinite supply of princess dolls.  For the holiday season, I will be creating a tangled tree as part of a local historical society’s seasonal exhibit.  Area organizations and businesses decorate a tree based on items from the society’s collection.  I chose antique dolls for a tangled paper doll tree.  Each 12-inch ornament will have an individually hand-tangled dress.  I can’t wait to see how this tree develops!

Your challenge this week is not to decorate an entire tree.  You may now breathe a huge sigh of relief. 

Instead, I invite you to be inspired by dolls like I have been.  Awaken your inner child, and add some playtime to your tangling with a doll-shaped string, a tangled paper doll chain, or a tangled fabric doll.  Do you have an old Barbie stuck in a trunk somewhere?  I bet there’s a way to tangle her too.

Here are a few of my tangled dolls for inspiration as well as a paper doll string on a Renaissance tile.







Thanks for playing along with me!  Happy tangling.

I am a mom (of an amazingly adorable 4-year old girl), blogger, freelancer, lizard-lover, and Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT).  At home, I am referred to as The Queen of Silly, and I am seen donning a tiara at many a tangling event.  I live in Massachusetts.

I adore creativity and imagination.  For years I have been a scrapbooker and card maker.  I have explored a variety of crafts and once had a jewelry making business.  After falling in love with Zentangle® art and practice, I became a CZT in August of 2012.  

I used to be a crazy, Type-A perfectionist who multitasks while multitasking.  The Zentangle method has been transformative for me because it has encouraged me to slow down, to breathe, and to break down the chaos in my world into manageable pieces.  Tangling allows me to reduce stress, to center myself when my mind is swirling with thoughts, and to inspire my creativity. When I create Zentangle art, I get the same clarity and calmness that I get practicing yoga or meditation.  I love tangling and sharing my passion with others!
Emily Classon, CZT (9)
MomZenArtist
momzenartist (at) gmail.com




If you have a blog, add the site-specific URL where your tile is posted to the linkey machine below! Don't forget to link back here so that others can join in the fun! (if you don't know how to find this, you can see my half assed tutorial here) Also, please feel free to come back often and visit the links of those people on the linkey machine - don't forget to leave a comment or feedback, everyone loves feedback. ;) 
i'm currently trying to decide what to do about the challenge slideshows (read here)... if you have any ideas i would love to hear from you! 
If you don't have a blog but still want to participate, you can email your tile to me and i will put it in the slideshow. (send submissions to: weeklychallenge at mail.com[not gmail, just mail]. I just ask that you put in the subject line: Challenge # ________ 
The deadline for each weekly challenge is Saturday night so that i can round everyone up by Sunday. What this means is that i will stop adding tiles to the slideshow on Sunday. You're still more than welcome to do the challenges and add your name to the linkey machine. - although to be honest the deadline is pretty forgiving.
 I will be more diligent with the linkey machine - by editing out the ones that don't work, the doubles, the links that lead to nowhere, the links that go just to blog home pages (this is why we need those site specific urls), and the spam. And there is some spam. PLEASE do not put your *home* page in the linkey machine... please? for me??

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Story Booth

this week's challenge can be found HERE

The folks over at Zentangle® HQ have been collecting CZT stories.  When i attended CZT#15 in Providence this Spring i was honoured to be asked to share my story.



Check out the Zentangle® YouTube channel for more CZT Stories.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekly Challenge #195

Another wonderful guest post for you this week!

this week it's brought to you by Sandy Hunter, CZT

Weekly Challenge #195: "Turning Old into New" 

Greetings, fellow tanglers!

My name is Sandy Hunter, and I’ve been a certified Zentangle teacher since February of 2012. Like all the tangle fanatics before me, I’ve tromped a well-worn cyberpath to that cozy little corner of the internet that is the Diva’s Weekly Challenge blog… and now she’s offered me the chance to plop down by the fire in her figurative living room and uncork this week’s challenge! Hold on to your fuzzy socks!

••••••••••

Imagine your favorite go-to tangle pattern. Something you love; something you draw all the time. Is it a grid-based pattern? Or is it a ‘scatter’ pattern, that you can just use randomly to fill up a space? If nothing comes immediately to mind, go poke around on tanglepatterns.com …or pinterest. They’re gold mines for tangle patterns. 

Here’s the challenge: 
If you picked a grid-based pattern, pull it out of the grid and make it a freeform one. 
If it’s a freeform pattern, make it a grid-based pattern. That could mean several rows or a single row, drawn as a border.

The idea is to change the structure of a pattern, while still retaining its basic elements. Don’t worry about getting every part of it exactly “right”. If you’re having a good time and you’re drawing something you like, it’s perfect. 

Some examples (I meant to stop at two, but you know how it goes when you’re having a good time!):









Happy tangling! 

Sandy Hunter
If you have a blog, add the site-specific URL where your tile is posted to the linkey machine below! Don't forget to link back here so that others can join in the fun! (if you don't know how to find this, you can see my half assed tutorial here) Also, please feel free to come back often and visit the links of those people on the linkey machine - don't forget to leave a comment or feedback, everyone loves feedback. ;) 
i'm currently trying to decide what to do about the challenge slideshows (read here)... if you have any ideas i would love to hear from you! 
If you don't have a blog but still want to participate, you can email your tile to me and i will put it in the slideshow. (send submissions to: weeklychallenge at mail.com[not gmail, just mail]. I just ask that you put in the subject line: Challenge # ________ 
The deadline for each weekly challenge is Saturday night so that i can round everyone up by Sunday. What this means is that i will stop adding tiles to the slideshow on Sunday. You're still more than welcome to do the challenges and add your name to the linkey machine. - although to be honest the deadline is pretty forgiving.
 I will be more diligent with the linkey machine - by editing out the ones that don't work, the doubles, the links that lead to nowhere, the links that go just to blog home pages (this is why we need those site specific urls), and the spam. And there is some spam. PLEASE do not put your *home* page in the linkey machine... please? for me??

Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekly Challenge #194

Happy Monday and welcome to the third guest post in a series of guest bloggers while my family recoups from Artoo's surgery!

This week's challenge is brought to you by newly minted CZT Elisa Murphy, who i met while i was in Providence this spring!

Weekly Challenge 194: “Embracing the Yuck”

Hey there, Zentangle Nation!!! I’m Elisa Murphy, CZT 15.  I am ridiculously excited and honored to be your guest blogger this week.   I’m practically shaking about it!! Either that or I’ve had way too much coffee.  One quick disclaimer before we get started: I’m a huge fan of sentence fragments.  I apologize  in advance to any grammar police out there.

This week's challenge is inspired by the circumstances surrounding why Laura needs guest bloggers.  Many of you know that Artoo just had eye surgery.  Any parent would feel unsteady and plain scared about their kiddo needing surgery.  It’s an even more profound experience of fear and powerlessness when your kiddo has unique circumstances and is prone to throwing medical “curve balls”.  Learning how to cope with these events becomes it’s own unique art form.  Like The Diva,  I speak from experience.

Here’s my idea.  Let’s show some Zentangle solidarity and support for Laura and other fellow “Zentanglers” fighting the feelings that come with being forced to sit with that unsteadiness and powerlessness.  My clinical term for this is, “Embracing the Yuck” (I’m so fancy).

With all of this in mind, your challenge is to tangle with your non-dominant hand (including shading and blending).  Cue the collective groan.  For those uniquely lucky souls who are ambidextrous, please hold your pen, etc.,  like you’re singing into a microphone.  

Let’s return to the foundation of Zentangle and focus solely on that process, celebrating the imperfection of the product.  Can you find the beauty in the discomfort? What happens when you tap into that shaky feeling as you navigate your tile?  Did you find a way to adapt?

While I was creating my example I decided to write my thoughts and feelings on the back. I welcome you, if it feels comfy, to do the same.  

My "journal entry" of what I was thinking and feeling while completing this challenge.  Yes, this is how my mind works.  This is why I can never find my keys.
Time totally warped for me.  When shading I became a little disoriented of where I should put my pencil next.  I almost let my ego take over and use an eraser.  Horrors, I know.  But I didn’t do it!! Finally I reverted to my go-to coping mechanism, sarcastic humor: “Wow. Cool. I just created the Hollibaugh version of ‘bridge to nowhere’.” and the inevitable, “Ummm, what the heck was I thinking there?”. 
The closer I look at this, the more I see it's imperfections. Hello self doubt and insecurity.

Honestly, the experience became unexpectedly powerful and thought provoking. 
But I have the power to change my perspective.  I can chose to step back and see that in the big picture, I'm doing just fine.  Lines soften and things seem to flow a little more smoothly.  

And THIS is why I love Zentangle.  

One last note.  I told my eight year old kiddo about my idea and showed her my tile.  Her adorably honest response was,  
“Woah. Mom, are you sure you want people to see THAT as your first Zentangle on that Lady’s blog?”.  

Ugh. Thanks, kid.


So.........Are you with me?? Can you throw perfection out the window with pride and let your Zentangle freaky-line flag fly??  Let’s do it for The Diva!


Bio: I’m a mom, a wife, a survivor.

I’m a classic “New Englandah” from Massachusetts.  In other words, I’m a huge fan of sarcastic humor, waves crashing on a Cape Cod beach, and school cancelations during a good (wicked cool) snow storm. 

I found Zentangle® while trying to reconstruct my life after the devastating, sudden loss of my 13 year old daughter.  I completed my first Zentangle tile on October 11, 2013 (exactly one year and one day following her death) and rediscovered a creative, peaceful light within myself that I thought was lost forever.


I felt a crazy pull to share the “Zentangle Effect” with folks around me so I registered, and this past June became a proud member of the remarkable CZT community and the CZT 15 family (hey, guys!!) .
Elisa blogs at: Elisa's Now and Zen

If you have a blog, add the site-specific URL where your tile is posted to the linkey machine below! Don't forget to link back here so that others can join in the fun! (if you don't know how to find this, you can see my half assed tutorial here) Also, please feel free to come back often and visit the links of those people on the linkey machine - don't forget to leave a comment or feedback, everyone loves feedback. ;) 
i'm currently trying to decide what to do about the challenge slideshows (read here)... if you have any ideas i would love to hear from you! 
If you don't have a blog but still want to participate, you can email your tile to me and i will put it in the slideshow. (send submissions to: weeklychallenge at mail.com[not gmail, just mail]. I just ask that you put in the subject line: Challenge # ________ 
The deadline for each weekly challenge is Saturday night so that i can round everyone up by Sunday. What this means is that i will stop adding tiles to the slideshow on Sunday. You're still more than welcome to do the challenges and add your name to the linkey machine. - although to be honest the deadline is pretty forgiving.
 I will be more diligent with the linkey machine - by editing out the ones that don't work, the doubles, the links that lead to nowhere, the links that go just to blog home pages (this is why we need those site specific urls), and the spam. And there is some spam. PLEASE do not put your *home* page in the linkey machine... please? for me??

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Artoo Update

I've been contacted several times in the last day or so, asking how Artoo is recovering. i've been trying to answer everyone, but i thought i'd just do a bit more of an in depth update here so i don't have to keep repeating myself.

The surgery, itself, went well. He had his top and bottom eye muscles moved over to the outside of his eyes to give the inside eye muscles some resistance, as well as Botox injections to release the tight inner eye muscles. As you can imagine, there is quite a lot of swelling and bruising around his eyes, and the white parts of his eyes are very red due to subconjunctival hemorrhage. (A subconjunctival hemorrhage occurs when blood vessels breaks just underneath the clear surface of your eye - your conjunctiva).

Initially he was in some pain, due to the swelling and bruising, but his actual eyes seem to be without pain. He has not had to wear bandages, as all of his stitches are under his eyelids, they will dissolve on their own.

His vision continues to be good, although he does have some double vision - which is normal, as he's going from using one eye at time to using them both at once. That should resolve itself in time. Other than that, he's back to his happy normal self - and playing and singing songs and dancing around.

Thanks for your thoughts and well wishes! And an extra big thank you to my guest bloggers this month.

Love Laura, B-rad, Chewie and Artoo.