Sunday, November 27, 2011

Octopus and Marshmallows

I was watching The Next Iron Chef tonight before Once Upon a Time came on. They had this challenge where the audience in a comedy club yelled out random ingredients and Alton Brown narrowed the list down to octopus, marshmallows and kumquats. The competitors had 45 minutes to make a dish with these.

Blech. I would have thrown all three away and given them a glass of wine instead, but that is probably why I'm not going to be the next Iron Chef.

It's amazing how creative a challenge makes people though. They actually almost made some of the dishes seem good!

Thankfully, the VSN stamping challenges never involve octopus, but they do have a 45 minute time limit.

As a horribly slow and easily distracted stamper, I'm always amazed at how the cards I make in this tight time frame end up being some of my favorite cards. I just work better under pressure.

One challenge really did the trick and made me turn out one of my fave cards I think I've ever made. The challenge was to make a mostly white card. Perfect for me, since I love white cards, but I decided to have a little fun with my small splash of color, and make it a rainbow, since white is actually a combination of all colors.

I was giddy when I thought of that, but way giddier when I finished it. Squee!!
Stamps: Pursuit of Happiness Ink: Basic Black Paper: Whisper White, Silver Glimmer, Real Red, Pumpkin Pie, Yo Yo Yellow, Green Galore, Tempting Turquoise, Lovely Lilac Accessories: Sweet 'n Sassy Cloud dies, Paper Trimmer

I love that sentiment so much and thought it was perfect for the image of a rainbow and that sparkly rain.

I am officially a challenge addict. I really do think they improve my designs. I'm so glad there are so many fun challenges on the internet.

Speaking of challenges, the Austin Fiber Artists Group I'm in has a challenge group too, and we just finished our last challenge for the year.

Each of us got two 12 x 12 squares of fabric, and our assignment was simple - we just had to Zentangle them.

Well, not that simple. The trick with Zentangling, especially if you're new at it, is to define a space to work in. You can section your area off into geometric shapes to make that space less intimidating for starters. Luckily, our fearless leader Diane loaned me some books to get started. That really helps. I bought a few of my own. This one is my favorite.

Now I'm not good at some of the 3D looking patterns yet, so I started with regular patterns. First, I took some bird die cuts and traced them onto my fabric. You need to use a permanent marker like a fine point Sharpie or art pen. Then I just went to town filling in each birdie. One is a mail themed bird. One is a travel themed bird. Most are just random.

This is so fun, relaxing and addicting that once you get into a groove, you will wonder where the time has gone! My sister and I just went to a comfy restaurant with clipboards and our squares and had a really fun afternoon finishing them up for our deadline. Here's my first one finished.

My second one used leaves that I traced from my Leaves #2 die.

What's super fun about this project is that one lady in our group is going to take all the squares - and they were all AMAZING - and make them into a quilt we will submit for a show. I can't wait to see the finished project.

You should really try it. It's so fun and it's great on cards too. We had a challenge on it on Splitcoast and here is the gallery of people's cards.

What are you doodling? I still have one more day in my six day weekend tomorrow so I'm looking forward to just a bit more chilling.


  1. How awesome! You are the coolest person I know. Zentangles look like the doodles I used to do in my geometry notebook instead of actually doing the proofs. After I dig out of the Christmas decorating mess, I may just give this a try.

    And your card is beautiful!

  2. OMGoodness, Lydia, I so agree with you...this white card absolutely rocks!! It's a fave of mine as well!

  3. ooooh! Your zentangling turned out great! I teach that too my 7th graders and I love that you put them in birds. I'm totally going to use that idea when I teach it this time around. LOVE it!!!

    Your rainbow card is GORGEOUS!

  4. LOVE these Zentangles, and I may have to steal the rainbow idea.

    Yeah, once I stopped forcing myself to keep up with daily & weekly challenges, I lost all focus and my Google Reader has run amok. They are GREAT inspiration.

    WV: nowls
    Contaction/slang for new owls. (okay, it's weak.)

  5. Uber cool zentangles (I heard they're great to do on a plane -- especially if flying is scary because it occupies the mind and brings the heart rate down). I've been wondering what to do with my bird punch, thanks for the inspiration! And that rainbow card is super, too!


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