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Diva Challenge 107Quandary

Diva Challenge 107

Quandary: a state of perplexity or uncertainty, especially as to what to do; dilemma. From

A fitting word and tangle to describe the past week for me.  No matter which way I turned, I was confronted with another quandary as I tried to meet a big deadline.  By Friday, my shoulders felt as though they were touching my ears from the stress.  Time to tangle and see if I could relax a little.

I haven’t done the Diva Challenge in a while, so I thought it would be nice to work on the latest from Laura Harms.  Quandary again!  This time it was in the form of the new tangle, Quandary, from Zentangle.  As I tackled Quandary in my Tangle-A-Day calendar, I quickly understood how it came to be named.  It reminded me of another tangle, Tripoli, which has always been a struggle for me.  With Quandary, your eye bounces back and forth with the need to create the triangles and the flowers that emerge as you build the triangles.  I got lost several times with less than stellar results.  For me, it seems the secret is in the scale.  I do much better with the larger scale.  I tell my students all the time to play with scale when learning a tangle that they seem to struggle to master but sometimes forget to do this myself.  With my new awareness, it may be time to try Tripoli and Assunta, but much larger in scale.

I also took some time to “finish” a few things.  When teaching, as I did last weekend, I often start a tile or demo a tangle on one and move on.  What’s left is a pile of really random tiles, some with only a tangle and no strings, others resembling most of the tiles I do in a basic class since I keep the string and tangles fairly simple.  These are a challenge to complete and I’ll tackle a few from time to time just to see what I can do with them.  While working on my Diva Challenge, I realized a previous page in my calendar had never been shaded so I thought it might be interesting to share the before and after on my blog.  Shading really is a personal preference and there are tangles that I never shade, and others that change dramatically with a little bit of pencil strategically applied.  To really learn more about shading, take a look at Made in the Shade by Cris Letourneau.  Cris earned her CZT along with me in 2011.  This book is a deep dive into the world of shading specific to Zentangle and is well worth the investment.  You can see more of Cris’ work here.

Give Quandary a try and I hope you enjoy the fruits of my various dilemmas.

Example of same page from Tangle A Day calendar - unshaded and shaded

Example of same page from Tangle A Day calendar – unshaded and shaded

My finished tile from Feb. 17 class at LSU

My finished tile from
Feb. 17 class at LSU

Demo of Cadent from class with Mi2 added

Demo of Cadent from class with Mi2 added

Student Class Mosaic from Feb 17 class at LSUBasic Zentangle

Student Class Mosaic from Feb 17 class at LSU
Basic Zentangle

Mardi Gras and King Cake

Mardi Gras and King Cake

“King Cake: A party staple from January 6 through Mardi Gras day, the cake is named for the three kings who visited the Christ Child and whose feast, the Epiphany, is celebrated on January 6, the Twelfth Night after Christmas. Traditionally, the cake is a brioche pastry baked in a circle, suggesting a crown (although for convenience, large ones are oval). They are sprinkled with gem-like sugar crystals in the official Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. A plastic baby (symbol of the Christ Child), or in some cases a bean, is baked inside. By custom, the one who finds it throws the next king cake party. Lately, the brioche recipe has been supplemented by a coffee-cake ring alternative. French settlers brought the gâteau des rois to Louisiana in the 18th century. Their original round, flaky pastry pie filled with almond crème and topped by a paper crown, is now making a comeback in the French pastry shops around the city.” from New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau website

I’ve never been a big fan of Mardi Gras parades, but I love the history and lore associated with the holiday.  My particular favorite is the King Cake.  Just about every grocery store and bakery has their own special version with a variety of flavors ranging from plain (a little cinnamon) to Voodoo and Praline.  Heated discussions revolve around where to find the best King Cake in the state and everyone has a favorite flavor.  Natives lament the fact that the baby is no longer baked into the cake (liability now that they are shipped around the world, you know.)  King Cake parties are frequent so everyone can get their fill because these treats are only made from January 6 through Mardi Gras day.

Since I have celiac disease and food allergies, King Cake has not been on my menu for many years.  Each year as I run the gauntlet of brightly colored boxes stacked as high as my head and savor the rich aromas, I feel a little twinge of longing.   This is one of the few times I miss being able to eat something on my “bad” list.  I can watch dinner companions eat fresh bread, biscuits, cornbread and more without batting an eye but when it comes to King Cake, it’s another story altogether.  That all changed this year.  I learned last week that a local bakery/deli specializing in gluten-free, allergy friendly foods would be making King Cakes.  Oh Joy!!  I skated close to the deadline, picking up my special strawberry cream cheese King Cake yesterday afternoon, but I will eat King Cake this Mardi Gras season!   In honor of this momentous occasion, I decided to create a Mardi Gras/King Cake inspired Zendala.  The tangle Brayd fits my purposes perfectly as the dough of a King Cake is braided and decorated with Mardi Gras colored purple, gold and green sugar.  Add beads, a crown and masks and it’s Mardi Gras on my tile.  Now I am off to enjoy these last few hours of Fat Tuesday and my first taste of King Cake in years.  Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Heartfelt thanks to Eric at Truly Free Bakery for creating my special treat! 

Tangle A Day 2013Mardi Gras(unshaded) Rain, Socc, Print Temps

Tangle A Day 2013
Mardi Gras
(unshaded) Rain, Socc, Print Temps

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