Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekly Challenge #110

Happy Monday everyone!
First of all, as always - a few house keeping items:

  • If you're NEW here (and there've been a lot of new additions to the party!) I'm working on creating some tutorials to help you out.  You can click on the links above or:  See "Getting Started"  and "Tutorials
  • To see all the past weekly challenges - click the tabs above
  • Please grab the button for the Weekly Challenge (on the right  sidebar) to display on your blogs! share the fun!
  • The limit of submissions to the slideshow is TWO, but please feel free to post as many as you like to your blogs.  I will take the first two presented to each challenge. 
  • I know that some of you have told me that the paypal button does not work, and some of you have had no trouble, i'm not sure why it's inconsistent, i've redone the code a few times... If all else fails you can donate to my paypal address which is madam_diva ( a t ) yahoo ( d o t ) com

Happy Monday!

well, March came in like a lion for us here in Saskatchewan - but i have my doubts it will go out like a lamb.  Over the past few days it has snowed probably a foot at least.  In my backyard, there is at least 4 feet of snow in some places.  It's pretty crazy.

And it is REALLY cold.
So cold i saw Sundogs on my way to work one morning.  In Saskatchewan, Sundogs are an indicator that it's really flippin' cold out.

Sundogs on my commute
 So here's some exciting news.
On Wednesday, i gave my resignation at work.

B-rad and i decided that one of the stressors in my life needed to be dealt with, and so the job had to go.  I have no problem being the full time care provider, and yeah - sometimes the job requires some down and dirty work - but the rewards are pretty sweet.

my adorable son, and his cousins' lizard (photo courtesy of my Sister in law)
I'm a little worried about finances.
Even though i will be raising our children until such a time that i can feel comfortable going back to work, it's hard not to feel like a 'free loader', but we'll figure it out.

There will be some lifestyle changes... that's a given.
but in the long run, it will all work out... at least, this is what i keep telling myself.

B-rad and i on a date! Can you believe it?
 I won't have to worry, now, about calling in sick to work when Artoo gets ill... i won't have to juggle work with therapies and hospital stays. It's just a better move.

hold me.

Mama and Artoo
Sometimes i worry about my sanity - talking to my kids all day, but then Chewie is pretty hilarious and entertaining at times....

And also - it's still winter here.  Eventually it will be spring and we can get outside and do things, and it will be great. i hope.
For those who asked to see more of the makeover:

Before  and After
*this photo belongs to Blissful Hair and Make up
I haven't seen all the shots yet, these are just what was posted on facebook
this is one of my faves
*this photo belongs to Blissful Hair and Make up

my other favourite
*this photo belongs to Blissful Hair and Make up
Weekly Challenge #110: "Get rid of the box"

Last week while i was working on the challenge tile, i accidentally went out of my comfort zone when i grabbed the wrong coloured pen.  But i went with it... and pushed myself even further with a medium i hadn't used before - the water soluable graphite stick.
My tile from last week
 I started thinking about how, while i love my Zentangle ritual, wouldn't it be challenging to think outside the box a bit?

Then, very serendipitously i saw this image on facebook:

Which i took as a sign that this would be a great challenge.

I thought back to my CZT training when Rick told us that one of the great things about Zentangle was that you could do it anywhere with any kind of materials, that you could even "draw one on the sand with a stick"... well, i'm far from being anywhere near some sand... but i am surrounded by snow.

A Zentangle in the Snow?  How cool would that be? (Pun intended)... but it wasn't cool, it was down right cold, and when i tried to draw a bit of Mooka in the ever growing snow pile outside my door, my finger froze and the wind immediately destroyed what i had done.  Back to the drawing board...but i may tuck that little idea away for the summer....

Maria is always stretching the boundaries by her amazing tangled creations (just check out the blog and look around) then there's the amazing and beautiful nature tangles of Dilip Patel,

10"x10" canvas with sharpie marker

(Here's a shot of something i did two years ago for the Hearts for Artoo challenge, but i never posted it... this was totally out of my comfort box - for one thing, it's WAY bigger than a tile, and i used a sharpie instead of a Sakura - so it was adventure finding a way to shade it... in the end i used an almost 'dead' sharpie for the shading)

i almost always do my tiles in black and white, with a Sakura Micron Pigma pen and some kind of graphite...  I thought to myself - what would happen if i created my zentangled inspired art with a medium i wouldn't normally use?  So, i decided that since the official Zentangle tiles are such gorgeous and decadent watercolour paper, why not use watercolour?
Painting a tangled rainbow

An interesting thing happened when i switched to watercolour.  i moved much more deliberately and slowly, delicately drawing my little wet snake of colour onto my tile.  I slowed down.  I took deeper breaths, and i found myself returning to that Zen state that attracted me to Zentangle in the first place. I found myself focusing on the process, not the product - and forgiving those lines that weren't as straight as i'd like, and being okay when the paint bled a little bit...

I guess i realized that i'd been letting go of the real deliberate nature of Zentangle in my haste to get my post done.  I realized i'd been unintentionally 'composing' my tiles, knowing that soon hundreds of people would be looking at it.

it was really nice, to get rid of the box and try something new... in this case, watercolour...and actual colour!

So this week's challenge is to find something way out of your comfort box.  If you shy away from colour, now's a good time to try it... if you always do something small, try something big.  If you always do a larger piece, try a few teeny tiny ones.  Maybe you've never tried a zendala. Maybe you've never tangled an object and those bookends have been staring at you saying: "TANGLE ME"...

Only YOU will know what it is that takes you out of the box... so find that... try it, and soon you will realize that there really is no spoon.... :)

Have fun!
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. ;)

If you don't have a blog but still want to participate, you can email your tile to me and i will post it here. (See the contact tab above for my email address).  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.
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??


  1. I had to comment straight away as those pictures of your makeover are HOT!!!! Love the hair, makeup, clothes, poses, etc. sure hope you've had at least one of those blown up onto canvas to put up on a wall somewhere.
    Now to get on with #110 ;)

  2. Laura you are beautiful! I know it will be hard to figure out financially, to leave the workforce, but I know you will be so happy that you did. The boys will never forget how much you love them, and amazingly the years do go by so swiftly! I hope that the stress will be less and that you will enjoy your opportunity to focus on your sweet family! This challenge is going to be fun....I will be thinking of ways to get out of the box all family will wonder where I am. I am stoked. Your watercolor is great!

  3. I enjoyed reading your blog today. It sounds like quiting your job was the right decision to make, you really have your hands full and raising a sickly child is really a full time job. My son was also sick a lot, so I understand, although I didn't work outside the home, the home was work enough. Your picutres were great, I wish I could look that great, with a makeover!! I'm going to really try to do this challenge this week, I've been playing with the shamrock, we'll see.

  4. Laura this was a great post. You won't regret taking the time off to be with your kids. Adjustments yeah but so worth it to spend that extra time with them. Your zentangle in watercolor looks great don't know if I'd have the patience to try that approach but its worth a try.
    Btw, I've always been a beach bunny now I'm a desert rat. So can you please tell me what a sun dog is.
    Looking forward to the challenge this week. Thank you.

    1. Kelly, a sundog is when there's a SHINE of light in the sky about one one or both sides of the sun. If you look in the first picture, those two 'shines' of light on either side of the sun were not a result of my camera, but actually in the sky.

  5. Loved this post, loved these pics, loved your watercolor, love you. Artoo is one of the most beautiful children I've ever seen. Simply darling. Brava to you for giving up "things" in exchange for the real stuff of life. I did it for 35 years with 5 kids and I know exactly what you're giving up. It ain't easy...but it's sooooo worth it. You and your precious fam are never far from my thoughts or prayers. ♥

  6. Laura, kudos to you, for stepping out of the box artistically and financially. Have no fears...things will always work out. My husband and I retired rom our 40 hr. jobs back in 2009. We sat down did the budget...all that...everything looked good on paper. Alas health situations arose (you know that story) and our budget took a nose dive. To say the least I suffered through many sleepless nights. But God always provides and I put it all in His hands. Today...ehh! the finances aren't much better...but I'm happier and have more time to devote to my Art, and a new grand-daughter. You made the right decision. Keep on tangling.!!
    Sue O.

  7. I stepped out of the work force 11 years ago to raise and homeschool my kids. Yes, it was a major adjustment! Very, very hard for me, but I am so glad I am here with them. And art, in my case quilting, makes it even better.

    BTW, your makeover pics are fabulous. Motivating me...

  8. What a Make over!!! you go GIRL!!!! Love the new look... but that old one was good too.... Sounds like the NEW LOOK went inward too... so GREAT... Quitting work is a HUGE thing... I worked from my home prior to having our children... but then I also home schooled too ... so our kids were part of my life as much as I could make it happen... You will make it work... I have a feeling that it will be very very very positive move for the entire family in all ways... Less STRESS is always GOOD...

    Keep on moving and staying out of the box... LOL... Love it all..
    Love, Light and Peace...Bonnie

  9. Hubba, Hubba, your make over is incredible!!! I can't think of a more deserving person. You look so awesome!

  10. Love the new hairdo and hair color -- makes you look even more sassy (I mean that in a good way - lol.) It's so great that you have decided to be home with your children. They grow so fast and before you know it, they are adults! You will never regret the time you spend with them. I think your creative outlets will keep you from getting too stir-crazy, especially when you and the kids are housebound. Being stir-crazy is so much better than being stressed and pulled by outside work commitments and family needs. Anyway -- I wish you all the best and may God bless you and your family.

  11. You do look wonderful with your new makeover! I'm more of a "natural" girl, so I thought you looked terrific before the makeover as well. I hope you'll enjoy your new found freedom to be at home and do your own thing. I did it for many years and loved being with my kids. I'm sure your wonderful hubby will help you find a way to get out and be social. It seems no matter how hard we work money is never plentiful, but God has always made a way and we've never missed a meal. (Believe me, we're not skinny by a long shot!) The challenge this week is SO interesting! I'm taking my sketchbook with me today as we drive to Minneapolis in a snowstorm. ;)

  12. Your makeover is fabulous, girl! And you are absolutely NOT, NOT, NOT a freeloader!!! What a difficult decision you made about work, but I suspect it is one you will never regret.

    I've had trouble with your paypal button in the past, but I'm going to give it another try.

  13. I suddenly find that many are visiting my Nature tangles pages, and then I found that you have made a reference to my 'No box' creations in those nature tangle pages. Thanks. It certainly raises the bar, and a lot of creativity has started flowing in.

  14. Freeloader? Really?
    Throw out that box!
    We've got your back.

    Off to tangle for 110.

  15. First, you look gorgeous. Second, congrats on taking your leap of faith and giving up your paying job for one with much greater benefits. I did that 12 years ago and am so happy. Fun challenge.

  16. I really really love your "new look". The straight cut bangs are so Michelle Obama!!! Look very well on your lovely face and the hair is just right and make up and well, you are just beautiful! You go girl. I want a make over too!!!!

    Well, am off to go outside the box...which is sort of me anyway...but I may play with color because I am a pretty black and white person for Zentangle.

  17. Your hair is gorgeous! I also wish you the best on your new life adventure. My prayers are with you and your family.

    I haven't had time to start the challenge yet, but I want to try watercolor pencils and see how they work. We shall see, my mind could change before I get going with this one.

  18. Your makeover looks great, Laura, and I'm sure it gave you a lift. Your hair, and the clothes they shot you in, look like so much fun. Good for you!

    Well, I've linked to a couple of pieces that stretched me, because I'd never really done anything like them before, but I'm on the hunt for more. This is fun! At the moment, no stationery surface is safe!\

    Thanks for another great challenge. You rock!

  19. I was experimenting with color...linked my latest effort. I created this in black and white, and used Photoshop to color it.

  20. Wow Laura, you look fabulous, love the hair! And how fun was this challenge! got me thinking alright lol. thanks Laura :)

  21. Wow!! Just love the photos, fantastic make-over.

    Cold!!! You put me to shame!! I'm in the UK with temperatures around 6 degrees (I think that is centigrade) and we are grumbling about the cold, constantly wishing and watching for Spring. We have sunshine at the moment, I now feel blessed!!

    My tangle is extremely simple as you will see. Thanks once more for the challenge

  22. You're looking FABULOUS! Great photo's. Thanks again for an interesting challenge that really does take me out of my comfort zone!

  23. I had fun with the challenge. Since I often feel my art is too controlled (or stiff!) this was just what I needed to loosen up a little!

  24. Laura, I really love your new look, gorgeous! I never heard of Sundogs, so I learned something new, along with trying new techniques. I am sure you will be happy with your decision to be a stay-at-home Mom, the most rewarding job you could find. Everything else will fall in line and work always does! Thanks for another fun challenge!

  25. Well, the slide show for this challenge is going to be a whole new level of interesting!

    Love the new-you-look. What a fun opportunity! I think your favorite photo is my favorite too; still has a natural look to it.

    I'm sure you'll be glad you stayed home, and your boys will be big winners too. I think farmers and mothers don't get anywhere near the respect and support they deserve. Just know you're right.

  26. Don't feel guilty, enjoy your time at home!

  27. Hi Laura! I love love love your pictures. You look like a smokin' hot mama! How fun.

    Thanks for the interesting challenge this week. I had a hard time with it because I usually like to try new things. It took me a little while to think of something, but in the end, I am so happy about my idea. I tangled with my daughter!

    I wish you the best on your adjustment and acceptance of your big change. I know it's a hard decision. I've faced that issue myself and really struggled with it. I'm sure in the long run, it will be much less stressful for you and your family. I wish you all the best!

    Oh, tell Chewie that I have a bearded dragon that looks just like the one in your picture! I can send him a picture if he'd like. :-) His name is Aztec, and he's a pretty old beardie now. He's a sweetie.

  28. Hello, I'm brand new to tangles, but have been madly engaged in it since I pulled out my pens less than a month ago. I'm really stoked to participate in your challenge! Thank you for organizing them!

    I LOVE the makeover photos! The one with the balloons is stellar.

    I cringed a bit when you said "free loader". I know how that feels. I stay home with my two boys and it's a wonderful experience. I struggled with it too, and still do from time to time, especially if we run into a crunch, but in the long run it was absolutely what worked best for us. It can be an amazing opportunity to unfurl new wings! Best wishes!

  29. Laura, you are Canada's next top model, really!!! And you've made the right decision, you'll get used to it and love it!! Thank you for the wonderful Challenge.... I have submitted 2 entries, but am still throwing away boxes, LOL!

  30. Dear Laura...Your makeover is fabulous!!! Congratulations on your decision to stay home with your kids, it is a big step and a worthy one.

  31. I managed to create a second entry!! Gold and silver on black - that was a first!!

  32. Thanks for the fun challenge this week! It is my second time joining in, and an out of the box challenge was just what I needed!

    Congratulations on your decision to resign from your job. It sounds like it was a tough one, but I also get the strong sense that it was the right one for you guys!! Congratulations to you and your hubby for your bravery!!!

  33. Great idea Laura, this week's challenge has been so much fun. I really enjoyed seeing all the creativity of the these tanglers!

  34. Wow, Ms. Diva, you look fabulous! Thanks so much for this challenge. I'm quite new at this, and was getting in a bit of a frenzy looking for new patterns, so I was forgetting the creative part of it all. Love the watercolor idea, and I may use that to do some similar things to hang in my new home when I finally get to come to Canada.

  35. Thanks for the challenge.

    I can relate to the struggle to give up the job. I did it with four kids and an amazingly supportive husband. It seems scary at first, but I was amazed at the opportunities that came my way to earn that extra money when we really needed it and I could still be there for my kids. Wishing you the same love and support.

  36. The joy you'll get from raising those boys will out weigh some doing without some material things. I was a stay at home Mom from 69 on, it was worth it.
    Even though this is a box, it's a whopper and round :-) Now off to tackle Mooka.

  37. This was a great post! Congratulations on the move home to be with your children! That is wonderful! (I've been home with mine almost their entire lives - I worked 1/2 weeks for about 6 months after the first child was born - and I have homeschooled all 3, graduated 2 already.) It goes by soooo quickly!

    Loved the Matrix reference, "there is no spoon." Just wanted you to know that it didn't go unnoticed. :)


tangle me some zen, baby!!