Monday, March 23, 2015

Diva Challenge #210

After a long hiatus, I finally had the free space and inspiration on my Monday morning to work on a Diva challenge. Today's challenge is to use a spiral as a string, which the Diva finds challenging because there are no closed spaces created.
I made it a step worse by choosing a geometric tangle and then trying to twist it a little to go along with the curve. Frankly, it kinda got away from me in a few places near the center. OK, near the edges too! But "no mistakes in Zentangle," right? I soldiered on, and by the time I'd finished shading was pretty happy with it.

The tangle here is "Skep," for which I've published a step-out here. It's quite possible someone else has already done a step-out for this or a very close relative. If it rings any bells with you, I'd love to know where it appeared first.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Homemaker Hack: Storing Unopened Natural Peanut Butter

I love my natural peanut butter, but I Hate stirring the new jars! It's difficult, time consuming, and almost always messy.
I've tried a variety of methods to simplify the task. I've tried using wooden spoons, rubber spatulas (fail: the business end actually fell off and got buried in the jar for a week!), and even a Pampered Chef tool meant for breaking up hamburger. I've switched from the enormous 5 pound jars to the smaller 2.5 pound ones, just 'cause they're a bit easier.
Nothing really helps. I always spill some oil, and the bottom inch of peanut butter is always hard and dry.
In any case, I almost always remember to store the unopened jars upside down, just so the oil is at the bottom instead of splashing out as soon as I open it. But last time I shoved a couple of jars in the pantry, it was quite cluttered and, quite by accident, they ended up on their sides.
Eureka! Once turned upright, the oil was distributed more or less evenly from top to bottom. I stirred the jar with a butter knife, spilled nothing, and the whole task took about 1/4 the normal amount of time.
The only question I have for myself is "Why did it take me so long to figure that out?!"

The best part? Now I can stop trying to talk myself into purchasing one of these shanzzy hand mixers built right into a jar lid!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


I've taken a break from Zentangle of late. As a life-long serial crafter, I've learned not to panic when the mood for one art form leaves me for a while: I'm sure it'll be back - maybe in a different form, with a little different flavor, but it will re-appear!
Sure enough, when flipping through the March '15 issue of Good Housekeeping, I noticed a dress with a fascinating pattern on it. "Looks like a tangle," I thought to myself. And sure enough, it was. The step-out is quite simple, and I'm pleased to share it here. As you can see, there are lots of directions you can go with the central "arrow" shape, although I still personally favor the simple hatching I tried first.
Trying to honor the spirit of tangle naming, I've chosen something nice and obscure for this pattern, although I am sure a couple of minutes with Google will reveal my thought process. :)

And here's a finished tile incorporating Skep along with Shattuck and Hairy, both personal favorites - and both, I now note, by Sandy Steen Bartholomew.

While I've tried to work up a few other step-outs in the past, I believe this is the first one I've published: the others are still not quite right. Who knows? The muse may strike again and I'll finish one or two.