Monday, September 22, 2014

Weekly Challenge #186

Happy Monday everyone!

in case you missed it, over the weekend i answered some of your questions in a post i called Ask The Diva Episode 1.  you can see it here.  If you have something you'd like to ask me, just pop me an email lauraharmz at gmail dot com with ASK THE DIVA in the subject heading.

So! How was everyone's week?

Little Chewie was sick.  He had a fever and was sick to his stomach last Sunday night.  It was persistent, and his tonsils were very swollen - so i took him to the doctor and got some medicine on Monday afternoon.  Even with the meds, his fever stuck around until Wednesday.  He ended up being off of school all week - and catching up on a lot of Pokemon.


After a few days, he was less feverish but was still struggling with his swollen tonsils, so we made a totally unnecessary  another trip to the doctor, to see what was up - only to be told to let the antibiotics have a few more days.  

Both my boys were extremely well behaved in the long 1.5 hour wait for the second time that week, so i rewarded them both with giant smiley faced cookies. 


With Chewie at home all week, and monopolizing the TV, Artoo and i made some art.  Artoo asks me every day: "Mom, can i make a zentangles?" and insists on using the "little papers" so we created some bijou tiles together.  Here's one of his creations.

pretty talented, huh?
 Friday night i was able to get out of the house and visit with some friends - ladies night! WOO!  But i couldn't get too crazy because Saturday morning i ran my second ever 10K!

My mama-friend Tara completed her First ever 10K too! so proud of her.
HECK YES!!
My very good friend Deron drove up from Regina (Saskatchewan's provincial capital about 2.5 hours South of Saskatoon) to run with me.  Pretty awesome, as the weekend before he completed a half marathon.  He was very encouraging and kept me going when i wanted to die, or puke, or both.

Mogathon 10K Selfie!! (Photo by Deron)
My time was 1:13:41 - about five minutes slower than the 10K i did in the spring, but i'm going to blame that on the fact that the course was, while extremely gorgeous, very hilly.  (that, and i wasn't particularly as gung ho about training.... eep!)  Still!! It was under 1:15:00 which was the slow edge of the window i gave myself, so yay me!

It was an amazing day for running, too.  A beautiful day, with blue skies, and fall leaves! Running along the lovely river.  Good times. 

Weekly Challenge #186: "String Theory - Leaves! Leaves! Leaves!"
Oh, Autumn.  You are so beautiful and yet so short.  
I love Fall, it's my favourite season.  Everything about it is lovely... it really is a shame that it is so short (at least in Saskatchewan) and that the inevitable winter comes shortly after.  :(

This photo was taken by my friend Tara - this was the finish line for the 10K!
 Saskatoon is so beautiful in the fall.

I took this yesterday (sunday) afternoon!

this one too.  So pretty. 
It's sad that in just a few days all those leaves will be off the trees.... so let's make the most of them! 

this week's challenge is to use LEAVES as your string.  

For my zendala i used a highly sophisticated technique to drawing the leaves on my tile.  

Step one: Acquire leaves from back yard
Step two: arrange leaves on zendala tile

Step three: trace around leaves with pencil

Step Four: Tangle tangle tangle!
This week use a leaf as your string!  You can draw your leaves, or use leaf inspired tangles, or you can trace your leaves like i did. 

 I used a renaissance tile because the colour of the tile screams fall to me.  Feel free to create a fall inspired tile, if you like... if you're on the other side of the globe (hello!) you may be more inspired by the new leaves budding on the trees and the brilliant greens around you!

Have a great week everyone!
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. ;) 
i'm currently trying to decide what to do about the challenge slideshows (read here)... if you have any ideas i would love to hear from you! 
If you don't have a blog but still want to participate, you can email your tile to me and i will put it in the slideshow. (send submissions to: weeklychallenge at mail.com[not gmail, just mail]. I just ask that you put in the subject line: Challenge # ________ 
The deadline for each weekly challenge is Saturday night so that i can round everyone up by Sunday. What this means is that i will stop adding tiles to the slideshow on Sunday. You're still more than welcome to do the challenges and add your name to the linkey machine. - although to be honest the deadline is pretty forgiving.
 I will be more diligent with the linkey machine - by editing out the ones that don't work, the doubles, the links that lead to nowhere, the links that go just to blog home pages (this is why we need those site specific urls), and the spam. And there is some spam. PLEASE do not put your *home* page in the linkey machine... please? for me??

Friday, September 19, 2014

Ask the Diva Episode 1

Hello happy tanglers everywhere!  if you're looking for this week's challenge it is HERE

I have been collecting some questions for an Ask the Diva segment since i was in Providence for the 15th CZT training.  Originally i was slated to speak for an hour and then have a Q&A, but it didn't work out that way because of reasons.  So i am endeavouring to answer those questions here in a totally bunch of totally random posts i'm calling Ask The Diva Episodes.  :D

These episodes will be archived in the FAQ section of this blog (found here or by clicking the tab above)

If you have a question for me, feel free to email me: lauraharmz (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject heading: ASK THE DIVA and i'll see what i can do to answer you.

So without further ado, here we go:


What are is your favourite tangle? 
boy.  This one is hard, because i have a lot of favourites.  My Go-To for relaxation is usually keeko because i can just shut my brain off.  But i love the look of Mi2 and pretty much any tangle created by Carole Ohl or Margaret Bremner.  My favourite tangle changes all the time because i seem to go through phases, but i always come back to keeko.  So, i guess that's the one.

Who do you find tangly inspiration from? 
Again, probably from Carole and Margaret.  Carole's style is so whimsical, i love that.  And Margaret is an amazing artist who really knows how to use contrast to her advantage.  Other than those two, Everything Rick and Maria does looks flawless and effortless.

You must make a lot of money from your blog?
ha!

HA HA HA!

i just have to laugh at this one.

I was actually asked this one several times by different people, both by email and at Providence.  the answer? no.  No i don't.  Yes, i have ads - but i make about $35-40 a month from those ads, which essentially buys me a coffee and art supplies.  One person implied in their email that i must be rolling in ad money as i've somehow been able to quit my job and stay at home with my kids. Nope. Nopedy nope nopperson nopes-a-lot.  My decision to stay home with my kids had everything to do with Artoo's medical condition and absolutely nothing to do with rollin' in ad money.  ;)  It's really been a challenging, and at times difficult decision, but it is what's best for our family.  Things are tight. but we squeak along.
What i do here, at the Diva Challenge, i do out of love for you guys!  For the low low price of Free.  :) because i'm sweet like that.  (But should you want to share the love in a monetary way, lol, please feel free to tip me via pay pal!)

I'd like to host my own weekly challenge on my blog - Do you have any advice for me, and can you give me challenge ideas?
uhm, i've been asked this many times, and i'm not sure how to answer that.  On the one hand - go for it.  It's a lot of work, and a big commitment, and it's not paid very well.  On the other hand - do you have something to offer to the interneting world that does not already exist?  If so, then by all means put it out there.  If not, then maybe the answer isn't another challenge. As for challenge ideas, you're on your own.  I have a hard enough time coming up with my own challenge ideas. ;)

How can i run a successful blog?
hey. great question.  I have been blogging since the year 2002, more or less, back when you had online journals or diaries (anyone out there remember diaryland?) After i moved my blog from diaryland to blogger i had a personal blog that still exists but is just sitting out in the world unloved.  The success of this blog happened by accident because i found a niche group of like minded creative beautiful people.  if i had to pick one thing to say about having a successful blog - it is to show up consistently.  Knowing that i have to write a post every sunday night means it's part of my schedule.  Part of my life.  My family knows that Sunday night is blogging night for me.  and i get it done. (sometimes really late, but it gets done).

When are you writing a book? Can i write your book for you? Can we co/write your blog into a book and split the proceeds? 
Since my blog started getting  heavy traffic i've had several offers to help me write a book, a few offers of having someone write my book for me, offers to co-write, and even actual legit offers from actual legit publishing houses.  I've declined all of them. Clearly the demand for a book is there.... and the short answer is: Yes, there's a book in me somewhere.

The long answer is: when i became a CZT there were only a very small hand full of published materials on the subject of Zentangle.  As the years went by it seemed like everyone and their uncle were writing and publishing zentangle books.  I think that is awesome! i really do.  I would LOVE to write a book, are you kidding me? But at this point i'm not sure what there is to write about that hasn't already been covered by the plethora of books already out in the world.  I'm a writer.  I've been a writer since i was 10 years old.  I know there's a book in there somewhere, but i can manage the writing by myself.  And when that happens, i'll be sure to let you know. :)

Where can i find the slideshow? Am i missing the slideshow? I can't see the slideshow? my tile didn't make it to the slideshow? Are you still doing the slideshow?
out of all the questions i've been asked so far, this one is the most common... and i hang my head in shame because the answer to this is: I don't know.  I haven't done a slideshow in a long time.  It's true.  It has nothing to do with you guys or the quality of the work you're doing (which is awesome, by the way, and did you do something new with your hair? You look great!).  It has everything to do with the mass amount of time it takes to go through and compile and label and organize the amount of slideshow submissions every week.  About a year or so ago, i had a wonderful angel come down from the heavens by the name of Suzanne - who offered me her time and services to help me get the slideshows back up and running again - and we did! and they were great... but then life, and summer, and traveling happened... and we're so far behind with the slideshows i'm not sure what to do with them.

Clearly the slideshows are the best part.  i love 'em.  you love 'em.  They are wonderful and they are so inspiring to see everyones submissions collected in one location.
But there's a lot of behind the scenes that happens, on my end and on Suzanne's, to make those work.
And so, i'm asking you - the readers, contributors, tanglers, and challenge enthusiasts - what would you like to see happen with the slideshows? Are there those of you out there who are more tech-savvy than me (it wouldn't take much, honestly) who have a solution to this puzzle? The way i see it is we could scrap the slideshows all together, or we could try picking them up again - and leaving the missed weeks lost in a slideshow-less-void, or some amazing magical third option that i don't know about that is in YOUR brain somewhere?  I'm really open to suggestions at this point.  I want to make it work for everyone, but as i said before - this blog is a big time commitment in my life that is already kinda jam packed with time commitments.  Which leads to the next question:

How long will you continue writing the Weekly Challenge? 
Forever. Or, until my brain explodes, my hands fall off and i can't tangle or type anymore.  The weekly challenge has brought so many amazing things into my life, as well as the most creative and passionate and deeply caring people.  I don't know what i'd do without the challenge in my life.  That being said - if at some point it become a burden, or a hardship to continue - if people lose interest - if my life is ridiculously compromised and difficult, i will have to reevaluate priorities.... but i'm here with you for the foreseeable future.  So.  Get out there and tangle something. <3 p="">
Okay, so that's it for the first episode of ask the diva.  i hope this has been helpful and informative - and if you have a question for me, pop me an email!

love you all!!
Laura, the Diva. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekly Challenge #185

Happy Monday everyone!

Another week has flown by.


Chewie is still adjusting to the different schedule of Grade one. The day is jam packed with blocks of learning and it's a big change from Kindergarten.  We got to go to Chewie's school this week and meet his teacher.  She is very sweet and kind and full of smiles.  Everything a first grade teacher should be!  She said her main concern is that the kids enjoy school.

One really great thing that has come from Chewie being back in school is the reinstating of Artoo's naps!  :D

he's my boy that will sleep until 9:30 some days, so having to get up that extra bit early has really taken it's toll, and so nap time is back in business, which is awesome for me.  But we're still working out a nap schedule that works for everyone that gets him some sleep but not TOO much sleep, but also enough that he's not a cranky monster when it's time to go get his brother from school.

Capes are fun. 
On the weekend we attended one of Chewie's friend's birthday party! She turns 5 on tuesday, and she had a super villain party.  The boys both had a great time, and i say anytime you get to dress in a costume is an awesome time.

SuperCute SuperChewie
 There were a lot of superheros and villains in attendance, including a VERY AWESOME joker! He was great with the kids and was running around in character and his costume was pretty rad.
fun times
in attendance were: Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, The Riddler, The Joker, Batgirl, Batman, Captain America, Superman, Bumblebee, Spiderman, Silk, Lex Luthor, WonderWoman, and Catwoman.... i'm sure there were probably more...
The best Batman i've ever seen in my entire life. Ever. 
Weekly Challenge #185: DuoTangle - Phicops vs DivaDance
A duotangle is a term coined here, at Casa Diva, for a tile or piece that uses ONLY two tangles and their variations.

I think we look great together, don't you?
Last week i wrote about how B-rad and i were celebrating our 10th Anniversary.  I had the challenge all ready to go, and then Rick and Maria released the new tangle ING and so i decided to bump it to this week.

The challenge is to use ONLY the two tangles Phicops (created by my uber sexy hubby b-rad) and DivaDance (created in my honour by Rick and Maria) in a duotangle.  Step outs are in the links! 

Have a great week everyone!
Happy Tangling. 

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 don't have a blog but still want to participate, you can email your tile to me and i will put it in the slideshow. (send submissions to: weeklychallenge at mail.com[not gmail, just mail]. I just ask that you put in the subject line: Challenge # ________ 
The deadline for each weekly challenge is Saturday night so that i can round everyone up by Sunday. What this means is that i will stop adding tiles to the slideshow on Sunday. You're still more than welcome to do the challenges and add your name to the linkey machine. - although to be honest the deadline is pretty forgiving.
 I will be more diligent with the linkey machine - by editing out the ones that don't work, the doubles, the links that lead to nowhere, the links that go just to blog home pages (this is why we need those site specific urls), and the spam. And there is some spam. PLEASE do not put your *home* page in the linkey machine... please? for me??

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekly Challenge #184

Good Monday morning one and all!

Well, Chewie survived his first week of Grade One.

SO EXCITED
So far he's enjoying his new class.  He likes his new teachers and he has 2 friends from his Kindergarten class in his new one.  

moustaches are fun
The only thing he doesn't like, so far, is getting up in the morning - which is CRAZY to me because all summer he was up as soon as the clock said 7!

Brothers!
Artoo is missing his brother during the day, but we've been having fun playing games and reading stories and playing with Playdoh.



Thank you for all the wonderful well wishes as B-rad and i celebrated our 10th Anniversary this week! To celebrate, B-rad and i left the kids with my parents and headed to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
On our way to Moose Jaw... a TARDIS would have been a preferable mode of transportation

Moose Jaw is a city of about 32,000 people which thrives on tourism! There is a network of underground tunnels in Moose Jaw that were built in 1908 and were used, originally, to help Chinese Railway workers escape persecution, and sometimes entire families lived in the tunnels and worked in the businesses about ground in exchange for food and supplies.  It's also generally accepted that Al Capone used the tunnels in Moose Jaw for bootlegging in the 20s.  There are tours you can take into the tunnels.  B-rad and i had done the Al Capone tunnel tour a few years ago, so we decided to opt out of the tunnels this go around. 
We did not stay at Capone's Hideaway

We were there for the spa.


Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort is where B-rad and i spent our weekend.  In the 20s, while drilling for oil and gas, they discovered a geothermal spring of highly HOT (42C or 107.6F) mineralized water! So, they've been pumping it up into the pools ever since.

When we weren't taking a dip in the hot pool, we walked around scenic downtown.  We wandered through beautiful Crescent Park.
Anniversary Selfie
The grass was so green and soft in this park.   Although i think i got more mosquito bites in this park than i have all year.


One of the places i really wanted to go was to The Poutinerie.

It's true. 
So, for those of you who don't know - poutine (pronounced POO-TEEN if you're English speaking and POO-TIN if you're French) is a traditional French Canadian dish which consists of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy.  It's. Amazing.

I had a traditional Poutine, and B-rad had a pulled pork poutine
The poutine experience was excellent - but the best part of the Poutinerie for me was sitting with B-rad and guessing the song titles and band names of the songs playing on the 80 metal radio station.

B-rad and i had a really wonderful weekend away...
Yoga in Public Places - Mac the Moose and a Canadian Snow Bird
only to show up at my mom and dad's to find that Chewie had fallen from the monkey bars on the weekend and hurt his wrist, and also a very hot and fevered Artoo.

We got the boys home and settled and i spent most of the late afternoon with Artoo snuggled on my lap.  This is a clear indicator that he's not feeling well, he's not much of a snuggler.  By bedtime he seemed to be a bit more himself.  Hopefully whatever he's working on gets out of his system soon.

Weekly Challenge #184: "New Official Tangle: ING by Molly"
This week the newest "official" was released by Zentangle HQ in their latest newsletter and if you're a regular here you will have anticipated that this week's challenge would be to try the new tangle:

I was lucky enough to be in Providence at one of the training seminars where they demonstrated this tangle.  So i've had some time to play with it!



Have a great week!

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 don't have a blog but still want to participate, you can email your tile to me and i will put it in the slideshow. (send submissions to: weeklychallenge at mail.com[not gmail, just mail]. I just ask that you put in the subject line: Challenge # ________ 
The deadline for each weekly challenge is Saturday night so that i can round everyone up by Sunday. What this means is that i will stop adding tiles to the slideshow on Sunday. You're still more than welcome to do the challenges and add your name to the linkey machine. - although to be honest the deadline is pretty forgiving.
 I will be more diligent with the linkey machine - by editing out the ones that don't work, the doubles, the links that lead to nowhere, the links that go just to blog home pages (this is why we need those site specific urls), and the spam. And there is some spam. PLEASE do not put your *home* page in the linkey machine... please? for me??

Thursday, September 4, 2014

10 Amazing Years

the challenge is here (CLICK)

Today B-rad and I are celebrating our 10 Year Anniversary!  I have been so very lucky to have spent the last sixteen years with this man, and 10 years of those as his wife.  He's a pretty awesome dude, i have to say.


B-rad and I met in the 9th grade.  I had just moved to the province of Saskatchewan from the province of British Columbia because when i was 14 my dad decided to go back to University and moved us to the middle of the country.  The first time i laid eyes on B-rad was in Mrs. Beck's English class, when she was introducing me as the New Girl.  He was sitting in one of the front desks, chatting with a girl named Stacy (who later became my best friend).  It was 1994 (OMG, 20 years ago?!?) and he had long wavy hair and was trying to dress like a skater. (I shouldn't comment on his clothes, though, as he likes to remind me that i was wearing very high waisted jeans and a vest)  But he had the bluest eyes i've ever seen.  I'm pretty sure it was love at first sight, as much as it can be when you're 14. 






I crushed on B-rad for most of the 9th grade, and near the end of the school year i devised a master plan to get him to notice me and maybe ask me out: i said "Hi Brad" every single time i saw him in the halls.  every time. LOL looking back at it now, i thought i was so clever but i was just being painfully PAINFULLY obvious.


My plan worked and shortly after my 15th birthday i became his girlfriend.  :)  For a few months anyway, then summer happened and we broke up. 

i dated other guys in high school but always had a soft spot for B-rad.  I was single for the majority of the 12th grade and we hung a lot because we had mutual friends (Stacy and Rae), and because we are both musicians.  We started dating again right after graduation. 


We dated on and off for several years  - but when even we were "off" we could never really stay apart from each other EVEN after he moved away to Calgary.  We talked on the phone regularly and wrote snail mail and emails to each other until eventually we'd be back together. My life revolved around 11pm when he would call me.   Long distance is really hard, so eventually i moved to Calgary to be with him. 

In Calgary we formed a prog rock band and played a few gigs - those were crazy fun times.  My brother, Patrick, was living with us, and we had so much fun in those years there.



On the day he proposed he took me to a play and then out for dinner, and then we drove to the top of a beautiful hill where he asked me to marry him. (after asking me if i wanted to make out, he's funny)


B-rad and i have almost developed a secret language that we speak to each other that consists almost entirely of movie quotes and inside jokes.  We think we're pretty hilarious.


We have the same sense of humour and have the same tastes (more or less) in music.  He is the best person in my life, and i'm so lucky to have him as my best friend, my partner, and my husband!

Happy Anniversary B-rad!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Weekly Challenge #183

Happy September!

Yup. September time is here.  I switched over my wall calendar and everything.

Sorry to everyone who came by yesterday, apparently my "HAPPY LABOUR DAY, SEE YOU TUESDAY" post did not publish, but hopefully y'all figured it out.

This last week B-rad put the final finishing touches on the bed he designed and built.
finished, kind of
It just needs to be stained now.  So imagine that ^^ a dark brown.  That B-rad, he's a pretty Rad guy.

Speaking of being rad.... here's B-rad and I on the roof!

CHEESE
You may not know this about me, but i am SUPER afraid of heights.  Sometimes even watching movies or seeing pictures of heights will make my palms sweat.  But this weekend B-rad was up on the roof fixing a piece of Fascia that blew off, and i saw the ladder there and i had an unexplicable moment of stupidity bravery and decided to climb up there too.  And i did not too bad - except for the part where i had to climb back DOWN the ladder.... what was i thinking?

This morning marked Chewie's first day of the First Grade!  every milestone these boys go through makes it harder to believe that they were every so small.

i forgot to post his kindergarten graduation photo in June, he's so cute!
I am pretty excited that he's in school full time, i have to say.  He seems to be too.


Artoo is pretty sad that his brother will be gone all day, but he has a pretty full schedule of therapies coming up, so that will be nice to have one less kid to cart around.

cutie patootie
Oh, and a few of you have asked me how my Bijou a Day project is coming along, the answer? Not too bad.  I'm a little behind but i'm catching up.   here's a couple of them:



If you are on Instagram you can follow me at @iamthediva and look for the hashtag #bijouadayproject to see more of them.

Weekly Challenge #183: "UMT - X-Did" by Annette Carlo

If you are a regular here, you'll know that (generally speaking) the first Monday of every month is a Use My Tangle challenge where the challenge is to use a tangle created by one of you!  (If you have a tangle you'd like to submit you can see the submission guidelines here)

This week's tangle is called "X-did" by Annette Carlo, and you can find the step outs HERE

I like the look of this tangle, and i think there's a real potential for some sweet tangleations.  I love a geometric pattern.

my first go was on a bijou tile:

and then i tried again on a Renaissance tile.  I bought a few packs of Renaissance tiles while i was at the CZT15 seminar this spring, because they always looks so amazing... but i still struggle with them.

"X-did" is in the left and right of the frame, it took on a whole different look when i tangled in the negative spaces around the x shapes.

I made a HUGE error on the top and bottom of the frame, hence them being filled in with black.  i really and truly wanted to pitch this one and start over again - BUT I CAN'T!!  My on-going challenge to myself to ALWAYS post my submissions would not allow me to.  SO, i kept going, and thought: "maybe i can save this, maybe not"

Well, it didn't turn out as horrible as i thought it would.  I'm glad i didn't throw it out, but - let's be honest - this one won't be framed any time soon. LOL

so this week - try out "X-did" and see how you do!
Have a great week!
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 don't have a blog but still want to participate, you can email your tile to me and i will put it in the slideshow. (send submissions to: weeklychallenge at mail.com[not gmail, just mail]. I just ask that you put in the subject line: Challenge # ________ 
The deadline for each weekly challenge is Saturday night so that i can round everyone up by Sunday. What this means is that i will stop adding tiles to the slideshow on Sunday. You're still more than welcome to do the challenges and add your name to the linkey machine. - although to be honest the deadline is pretty forgiving.
 I will be more diligent with the linkey machine - by editing out the ones that don't work, the doubles, the links that lead to nowhere, the links that go just to blog home pages (this is why we need those site specific urls), and the spam. And there is some spam. PLEASE do not put your *home* page in the linkey machine... please? for me??