Be My Valentangle

I realize that I probably should have expected The Diva’s Weekly Challenge  to have a Valentine theme this week, but I had so much anticipation for the announcement that I didn’t even consider the obvious.

I don’t create many pieces featuring hearts. I don’t have anything against heart art; hearts just don’t organically manifest in my art very often. The Valentine’s Day theme, therefore, this week’s challenge lived up to the title for me. I played with several ideas before I came up with this one.

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I was a little concerned about the minimal pattern integration, but My Sweetheart likes it and that’s good enough for me, but I hope you like it, too. If you do like it, please use the social sharing buttons below to like, pin, tweet or otherwise share “Valentangle” with your networks.

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Self-criticism Out, Zentangle In

I’ve recently been experiencing a creativity block when I try to sit down and make new jewelry. When it happens, I have a tendency to try to force results, even though I know that’s not productive.  When I finally break down and admit that I need a little inspiration, I browse Pinterest for images of jewelry I haven’t seen before or peruse images that I have already pinned to one of my own boards. There’s always beautiful inspiration on Pinterest and you can probably tell by my 5,460 individual pins that I have spent a little time seeking it out. My 136 pinboards should indicate that I don’t limit my quests for inspiration for jewelry making to images of jewelry.

Lately, I have been pinning to a group of boards that I have categorized “Art” which are primarily populated with images of doodles and other ink drawings. I’m a life-long doodler and often find myself saying “oooooh” and “aaaaah” over the beautiful results others have scratched out onto paper… Of my own doodling, I tend to be overly critical, despite the fact that they are only doodles. I don’t often manage to relax while doodling because of my self-criticism, which defeats the whole point of doodling in the first place. Thanks to Pinterest I have been able to overcome that tendency and actually reverse it somewhat. Thanks to Pinterest, I have discovered Zentangle.

Defined by the official Zentangle website as “an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns,” this loosely structured art form has been my key to not only managing to relax a little, but also finding a bit of confidence in myself… At the very least, more confidence in my ability to doodle. It may seem like a very small issue to some, but not long ago (like, last week) I wouldn’t even consider the possibility of doodling with ink; I “messed up” far too many strokes to even think about giving up the option of erasing my mistakes. A few days ago, I had completed about half of a full-page Zentangle when I realized that I had yet to erase so much as a single stroke. When that realization struck me, I picked up a pen to finish the page and was quite pleased with the outcome. If you look at that piece, you can tell when/where I had my ah-ha moment although I had already gone over the pencil portion in ink.

My sweetheart has seen the images I pin to my art boards and complemented my Zentangle pieces by telling me that they would be be big hits on Pinterest and has encouraged me to post them rather than keep them all to myself. While I recognize that his opinion may be a bit biased, I figure what-the-heck, I might as well find out, so here they are: my Zentangle Debut Duo.

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Look closely and you can see that part of this Zentangle is drawn in inked-over pencil.

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My first completely ink Zentangle.

Of course, I would love to have your comments at the end of this post. I appreciate your pinning my images and following my boards as well!

The Bittersweet Season Begins Again

I just opened my admin panel to make a quick post and found this notification from WordPress waiting for me:

Happy Anniversary! You registered on WordPress.com 2 years ago! Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

I can hardly believe all of the unexpected and heartbreaking events that have taken place in the past two years, but through it all, I have My Sweetheart and I feel like our love grows more and more every day. Two years ago I wouldn’t have expected to be saying that now. Maybe that’s just proof that everything really does happen for a reason. {sad smile}

Anyway… I am here to make a quick post about the upcoming holiday season, which is always so difficult for me. If you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you know that I lost my grandparents a year apart at this time of year over a decade ago and have seen very little of my natural family since then. My Sweetheart is known to say that when we grow up, our family becomes more about the people we choose to have in our lives. I agree with that philosophy more and more, but in the past year (or two) the list of those we call family is shorter and shorter. Last year we lost two members of our closest family, our friend Pam and our Diggity Dog, exactly one month apart, and those wounds are still very fresh today. Almost everyone else we have come to know and love and trust as family have pruned themselves from our chosen family tree by one form or another of deceit or devious behavior. With so few friends to call on this year, my favorite aspect of the holidays is going to be a bit tricky.

THAT is what I was going to post about… My favorite thing about the holiday season is cooking for the people I love. Every year, My Sweetheart and I put out an open invitation to everyone we know to join us for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t think that’s going to happen this year. Instead, we have decided that we aren’t even going to celebrate on the same day as the rest of the country. This year, we will be celebrating one day early. We lost our Diggity Dog on the day before Thanksgiving last year, so we are going to celebrate that little dog and everything else for which we are thankful on the anniversary of his passing. (Yes, I know that the date won’t be the same, but it’s the significance of the *day* that means something to us.)

And, just because we aren’t going to expect to feed a family the size of an army, don’t think I won’t be cooking up a feast. I’m already looking for a couple of new recipes to include in this year’s menu on Food.com. I’ve been a member of the site since it was called RecipeZaar.

RecipeZaar founding member banner

My username there is “LoveToCookHateToClean,” so if you have a recipe to help brighten our season a little bit, let me know in the comments here or find me in the community pages there. I love learning new dishes for My Sweetheart.

Are the holidays a difficult time for you, too? Share your coping strategy in the comments. I need all the help I can get.

Upcycled Fashion by Verb. Memo. Love. on Etsy

My sweetheart and I have joined forces in repurposedKATE’s retail adventure on Etsy.com. If you want to find item listings for pieces we’ve co-created, search for “Verb.Memo.Love.” in Etsy’s search field. We’ve just posted our first collaboration, so give the Etsy engine a few minutes to get it indexed before you try the search.

In the meantime, take a look at our debut item: Anthro- Inspired, Long, Multi-strand “Bead Soup” Necklace Using Repurposed Jack Chain & Colorful Hand-wrapped Beads, 38 Elegant Inches Long and feel free to share your opinions with us here.

Of course, if you’re a pinner, we would love to find our creations on your boards…

BeadSoup

Part “Bohemian.” Part “High Fashion.” Part “Upcycled Fashion.” My Bead Soup necklace is a stunning piece that is sure to attract many compliments and envy.