Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Diva Challenge 248: The Gift of Zentangle

I was quite pleased when I saw the topic of this week's challenge, because I've been making tangled gifts right and left since October!
First off, I am giving many of the women on my list tangled magnets, made according to a tutorial I shared here.
Here is a small sampling of a few waiting to be wrapped.

Next, I am packaging most of these in folded boxes like this one
And, once again, I have basic instructions - including a link to a nice tutorial - right here
Most of the people who read this blog are tanglers and won't be interested in coloring my designs, but I did include downloadable templates with and without the tree, in color and black and white. 

Finally, I made a birthday card for a dear friend from this tile

Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph the finished product, which was really pretty cool. I cut around the edges of the design, matted on black paper - also clipped to the spiky shape - and mounted it on a silver foil textured card. 
The tangle here, by the way, is Skep, with a step-out by yours truly! While I've done it in a spiral before for an earlier Diva challenge, this is the first time I've done it in a circle. I like it. :) 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Quick n' Easy Triangle Box with Template

A fellow member of the "Tangled Gems" Facebook group posted a photo of a beautifully decorated folded box. She was kind enough to point me to this tutorial for folding the boxes. (The site is German but the blogger provided a translation.)
I have been making dozens of tangled magnets for Christmas (tutorial here) and needed a way to package them for gift giving, so I immediately began working on a plan to mass produce this box.

Long story short: Here is a template!

To use, click the image to enlarge, then right-click to download it. 
Print it at 100% on your printer - make whatever settings adjustments necessary for your specific equipment to ensure that it fills the whole paper. I recommend a heavier cardstock, although even standard paper works pretty well - and it's a Lot easier to fold!  
You make two boxes to the sheet. 
Definitely refer to the folding tutorial linked above, but the basics are this: 
1) Cut along all of the vertical gray lines, but NOT the horizontal one. (It should be dotted, but I was in a hurry!) 
2) Decorate one or both "triangles" as desired
3) Fold in half along the horizontal heavy gray line 
4) Fold along each dotted diagonal line
5) Punch a hole through both flaps on each side and tie together with ribbon. Assuming you are going to put anything inside, you may want to seal the edges near the bottom with clear tape, especially if you are not using heavy paper. 
Easy as that! 

Couple of quick tips if you, like me, haven't done much precision folding with heavy paper: 
1) Align a ruler or other straight edge along the line you are about to fold to use as a guide. Press your fold into the ruler's edge. 
2) Make your folds twice: first the 'wrong' way (towards the right side of the paper in this case) and then the right way. Go ahead and use your nail or even you ruler to make them nice and crisp. 

I've printed several of these on green paper which I'm going to give to the 5 year olds in my Sunday school class to decorate with crayons and stickers this week. I'm sure I'll do the folding, but the decorating is well within their reach. :) 

And now, a few bonuses! 
If you'd like to color my tree (which is drawn using the tangle echoism), here it is

And if you don't want to color either, here are two sheets where I've done the coloring for you. Just download, print, and fold! 

All images copyright Annette Collins / tarkheenacrafts 2015. But please feel free to use and modify as your heart desires! 

Monday, December 7, 2015


I just want to take a moment to acknowledge a miracle - one that almost went unnoticed. We had a good day today. On a Monday filled with pouring rain, after a series of late nights over the weekend, on a day when the task list included laundry, room cleaning, and a trip to Costco with three kids and only one adult. 
A pumpkin spice latte is clearly justified after a $90 grocery shopping trip!

Oh, and a drive through flooded streets and parking lots to get to a soccer practice. Note to self: Do not drive through that kind of water again!
(The "lake" is ankle deep by the semi!
A friend who works for the city assures me that what appear to be drains placed up high and dry are actually just access to the vault for cleaning crews. He said the system was entirely overloaded.)

All of this should have - usually does - lead to melt downs among the children and a terrible attitude and loss of temper from me. But today, it didn't. Oh, there were a couple of close calls during some necessary discipline, but it didn't rub off into the rest of the day! I even willingly put up the outdoor Christmas lights with just the 6 year old to help.

If you squint real good you can sorta see the puny little lights under the eaves. 
Thanks to the previous owner, BTW, for the little clips still mostly in place down there. 
Saved me Loads of time and fuss!

In an embarrassingly uncharacteristic move this morning, I explicitly asked God to be in this day. And he was. Even though I forgot all about the request until 11 o'clock this evening. He was. Thank you, God.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Diva Challenge: Mono-tangled tree

I had an interesting "bucket list" experience this week: I was called up for jury duty! It seems very odd that I've some 20 years past my initial eligibility without ever being called up, and in fact I got the summons a couple of times in the past, but with one thing and another I didn't end up having to report. This was therefore my first chance.
Overall it was a positive experience. I was anxious getting there because I'm not too familiar with the neighborhood of the courthouse, but that all got worked out in plenty of time. Given how many potential jurors showed up (well over 100) I was surprised to get called into a potential group of 30, and even more surprised to get into the "final 12" - yes, I actually got to serve on a criminal case! Thankfully for my family's sake it was all over in that one day and I was home by 6:45, but it really was a fascinating thing to do. A little scary to have that sort of power over another human being, but kinda cool to see the system working from the inside!
Anyway, I bring this up because I used some of the waiting time to work on this week's challenge - much to the interest of another juror seated nearby!

I didn't spend a lot of time wracking my brain for potential monotangles to fit inside a tree-shaped string. I am confident that I will be amazed by the variety when I page through the other entries. I, however, decided to go with tipple, the simplest of the simple. Because sometimes, dead simple is what is called for! Also, I really like my ornaments. :) The whole thing reminds me a little of the dot-art I messed around with for a season or so a decade ago - I think that was called "stippling," which is undoubtedly the root of the name for this tangle.

This is drawn on a cheap 4x6 index card. I used several pens, including a brown micron for detailing  and pencil for shading, of course. I've had jewels on the brain given the current viral explosion of the same on Facebook lately, but with December already in full swing I simply didn't have the cycles to get out my paint pencils and work up some proper ones. So I made due with basic shading and a six-in-one gel pen for the ornaments.

I still have trees on the brain, so I went back and did a tree with a different tangle. I started messing with this one while standing at the kitchen table and I just grabbed the nearest pen: a sparkly red gel that I picked up at Ikea of all places.
I was Thinking "Aura-Leah" while drawing, but when I looked up the steps I see that I didn't follow them. ;) What I did probably has a different name, but I don't know it! (Ah ha! It's "Wud!")

PS: I didn't take this photo while waiting in the security line because (1) it was too cold to take off my gloves, and (2) I didn't want to do anything that looked suspicious. But there is some very interesting detailing on the top of the courthouse that is begging to be turned into a tangle. Here's someone else's photo - the angle isn't just right, so I guess I'll have to go back some day and get a better one myself!