Monday, October 26, 2015

Weekly Challenge #241

Good morning everyone!

Hope you've all had a lovely week.  Artoo is feeling better, thanks to those who have asked.  He's still got a lingering cough but it's mostly in the morning now.  He stayed home from school all week last week because i didn't feel like he was ready to go back.  And, honestly, i have the luxury (as a stay at home mom) to keep my kids home until they feel better, so why not do it?
the cutest dancy-pants palaeontologist you ever did see

He's pretty excited to be going back to school to see his friends this morning.  I think i'm boring company. ;)

This week marked some serious bonding time with my beautiful niece, Meegan.  When she was about 15 she asked me: "Auntie, will you get a tattoo with me?" I already have six tattoos so i'm not really the best person to say tattoos aren't a good idea - i love all of mine, even the one i got when i was 17 which is kind of a black blob now.   I had a tattoo artist offer to cover it up once, and i said: "no! It reminds me of the person i was in that time, and the changes that i've been through since then."

But what i did do was tell her sleep on it...for a few years: "Y'know what? Come back in 3 years when you turn 18 and we'll talk"

Well.  She turned 18* in September, and she did come to talk.

*In Saskatchewan you can Vote, get tattoed or pierced, buy fireworks and enter sex shops, 
but you can't buy a beer in a bar until your 19.... i know, it's weird. 
and so?.........

....we got inked!
 Meegan is my niece on B-rad's side, and i have known her since she was just a baby.  I used to baby sit her when B-rad and i were dating, and i have watched her grow up.  We have ALWAYS been really close - i sometimes like to think of her as the little sister i never had.  (all brothers for me)

After Artoo as born - about the time i started really tangling - her parents got divorced and she spent a lot of time with me, making art in my basement.  I was dealing with Artoo's health and my own anxiety, and she was going through her own emotional turmoil.  And art really heals. So, we really bonded while playing in the paint.   Which is why, when we chose our art, we chose paintbrushes.


It's getting colder in The Skatch and before you know it will be snowing... we're all really noticing the days getting shorter here too.  Chewie, in particular, is griping about it still be night time when it's time to get up for school.  But - one of the perks to short daylight hours is being awake when the sunrises and seeing this out your kitchen window.  

So, this week is another lovely guest post - brought to you by Paula Bramante, from CZT 15 (Yay CZT15!) and here we go!!!

Weekly Challenge #241: Guest post "Stones and Ceremony" 

Greetings, Zentangle sisters and brothers. I am Paula Bramante, CZT 15 (, an ESL teacher at the University of Minnesota, and a recovering perfectionist. I love Zentangle because it has nothing to do with verbal language. I also love it, paradoxically, because it has given me another language, a visual language, that allows me to communicate feelings and concepts long hidden since childhood. For me, Zentangle is very much like those strange patterns that Helen Keller felt being drawn in her palm by Ann Sullivan. Keller could think, but she had no language to organize her ideas until Sullivan succeeded, most brilliantly, in getting through to her and making her understand that real things in the world were paired with symbols. 

A little about me: I am married and have three children – one birth child, my son, Skylar, who is a singer, songwriter, lyricist, and producer in L.A., and two step sons, Jay and Kragen, who live and work in San Francisco and Buenos Aires, respectively.  Greg and I have one child together, Herbert, who has blue and yellow feathers and enjoys flying over to eat oatmeal and eggs from our plates in the morning. He has mad dying-smoke-alarm imitation skills (BEEP! – BEEP! – BEEP!) and loves to nibble Greg’s longish nose.   

We love all of our sons but sometimes wonder what it would be like to have a daughter. (Even our two rabbits were male.)

And now on to the most important matter at hand: this week’s challenge! My current fascination is with stones and ceremony. Maybe you are familiar with cairns, those crowd-sourced stone piles that serve to mark the path of trails in out-of-the way places. (I say crowd-sourced because cairns are often formed by wayfarers contributing to the pile, one stone at a time). The tiles I show here span a few months. 

I looked through my tiles and selected those that came into being through the call of stones and ceremony. To my eye, these tiles, though apparently different in composition and surface features of style, all have a kind of ceremonial feel to them. Other pictures I have included give an impression for beauty of stones in sculpture. 

Laura here: Paula sent me so many gorgeous photos of rocks and stones to include here and said for me to choose a few - but in all honesty i could not decide because they're all beautiful (i love love LOVE rocks and stones) So - rather than upload them all here i put them all into a Pinterest board that you CAN FIND HERE.  Cheers.

I’m a big TED talk fan, so I was completely delighted to stumble upon this TED presentation by Lissa Rankin, M.D. who uses a cairn template to symbolize the interplay of health and wholeness elements in our lives. At 9:40 in the video, the speaker begins discussing the cairn of longevity and optimal health. Here’s what it looks like:

Laura here again: I've included a link that takes you directly to the spot Paula is talking about if you don't want to watch the whole thing or scrub to find the point with the cairn.  Check it out

If it appeals to you, I encourage you to try using Rankin’s cairn template as a string for this week’s challenge. 

If the template doesn’t do much for you, I invite you to trust in your intuition as you move toward your own vision of stones and ceremony with pen in hand and blank tile before you. 

Please note: It would be too bad to feel limited to a 3.5 x 3.5 tile for this challenge. Rankin’s cairn template obviously lends itself to a mandala. My example of a stack (Cindy Angiel’s beautiful invention) belongs on a bookmark. Don’t let paper parameter’s sabotage your vision. Use what you need to use. Good luck, and 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 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. ;)


  1. Glad Artoo is feeling better. Both our sons went off and got tattoos pretty much the second they turned 18. In about 50 years there are going to be a lot of Millennials sporting wrinkly tattoos. That's ok. Pretty much most of them will have at least one.

    1. Wahhh. I was impatient and my link ended up posted twice. The second one is a duplicate. If you can remove it, Laura, I'd be much obliged.

  2. Don't you love it when "God" or "The Universe" or "Life" sends you the same message in many forms? This happened today...while I was walking in my favorite place, near a creek that runs thru Murray City Park, I saw the low creek and remembered a cairn I had put up on the bank there a few years ago. Of course the water rose and washed away my cairn, but walking past it, i got thinking about my cairn, and about balance and permanence.

    And then I came to this is JUST amazing. Stones and ceremony, it is. This is going to be so heart opening, I know it.

    1. I thought and did something similar! How amazing it is that the feel and structure of stone resonates amongst us.

    2. And to see the oneness among us!

  3. I have a few tattoos that have aged but I think they are a mark of a moment in time that is permanent which is hard to find in this world. It brings me peace to see my first tattoo, a bit blurred, some lines not so defined. It is a very special memory that is only mine. Thanks for sharing! Sarah.

  4. And... Thanks to our guest this week! Great thoughts!

  5. This week's challenge was challenging, as always.

  6. I still haven't got a tattoo, simply because I haven't decided what I want - I've gone the piercing route instead. :) Some day, though!

  7. Often stones can be loaded with magic. I posted a scetch. Scetches are often more interesting than the following artpiece.

  8. My second didn´t follow the scetch so I left it here too. The pictures of the stones you you sent are all so beautiful! And your tangles, I just love them!

  9. My 3d and last has a lot of patterns. It was fun, but I messed it all upp in the llink-up. But the link works even if the title of the link just slipped out of my hand.

  10. Wonderful challenge this week Laura and Paula. I always enjoy the family pics Laura and Paula I enjoyed reading about your take on health and wholeness.

  11. Thank you for the very interesting challenge and congrats on the new tattoo!

  12. Wonderful challenge - thank you both. So glad that Artoo is feeling better now...hope the rest of the term goes well. Axxx

  13. One of my favorite challenges so learning something new, love the idea and I enjoyed drawing it! Thank you Laure and Paula

  14. During my discovery about Cairns I found and amazing artist his name is Michael Grab his web site is you have to check out the way he can balance rocks!

  15. Loved this challenge and will likely explore it some more. Thank you very much for the challenges, they are keeping me busy.


tangle me some zen, baby!!