1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Zentangle Diva Challenge #240 – Fall Foliage Edition

by Suzanne Fluhr on October 23, 2015 · 32 comments

Fall leaves on the campus of Williams College

[If you’re unfamiliar with Zentangle, start here.]

This week, the Zentangle Diva’s challenge was to do a composition inspired by the season. She recognized that with tangle enthusiasts all over the world (16 countries were represented in my CZT class), we might be experiencing different seasons. Where I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the northeastern United States, it’s autumn.

Fall leaves on the campus of Williams College

Part of the Williams College campus in Williamstown, Massachusetts on a late fall day with a view of the quintessential New England white Congregational Church on the college green.

I’m very late in submitting my challenge response this week. I’m blaming it on the lack of inspiring fall foliage in Center City Philadelphia this year. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it). Our leaves seem to be mostly just turning brown. I was very spoiled by attending college in the Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts which had mesmerizing fall foliage. In fact, one of the first things new students are warned about is to be very careful crossing the main road through the campus during the fall because so many of the motorists are “leaf peeping” and not watching out for pedestrians.

I could also blame my tardiness on being distracted by the fact that we are making an offer on a condo apartment. We’ve been renting for the five years since we sold the house in the suburbs where we raised our sons. It will mean downsizing again, but it makes sense for us to buy something at this point, especially now that it’s clear to me that Mr. Excitement does not share my fantasy of us buying an RV (caravan/camper) and driving around North, Central and South America for a few years.

Without further excuses, here is what I came up with in response to this week’s challenge:

Tangled Autumn leaves

I shamefully admit to using templates for the leaves. I used colored pencils for color. I think the tangle Sand Swirl was the wrong one to pick for the smallest leaf, but I was too lazy busy to start over.

What season is it in your neck of the proverbial woods? (If English isn’t your first language, “neck of the woods” is an idiom meaning “location”.) Do you have any downsizing advice to share with empty nester Baby Boomers?

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Maggibee October 23, 2015 at 5:38 am

Wow, Suzanne, this is a fabulous piece. The sandswirl in the smaller leaf looks fine to me, although I bet it was hard to do. I love the colours, subdued and yet… As for using templates, for me that tended to be one of the attractions of Zentangle in the first place – you don’t have to be able to do representational drawing. You do the best you can with what you’ve got. And this turned out really well, I thought.


Jakki Garlans October 23, 2015 at 6:43 am

Suzanne, love your leaves! If you get any downsizing advice I shall be eagerly reading it too. Like you, I am one half of a boomer couple. Our house now holds the contents of three others plus the stored household belongings of two flown the nesters. The idea, and practicalities, of downsizing are terrifying!


Suzanne Fluhr October 23, 2015 at 10:43 am

Thanks, Jakki. My downsizing advice is that you have to be brutal. We also had other people’s things in our old house. When my parents downsized, they couldn’t bear to “get rid” of many things, so I agreed to keep them in our attic and basement. Several years after my sisters and I had left the nest, my parents informed us that anything we had left there and did not collect by a certain date was being disposed of. That’s when my law school notebooks ended up in a land fill somewhere.


Jacqueline Gum October 23, 2015 at 7:42 am

The picture is absolutely beautiful. I miss fall, living in the south. But not winter! I think your being too hard on yourself with the Zentangle piece! The sand swirl color on the small leaf makes this piece very interesting! You should get lazy, I mean busy more often:) Good luck with your offer on the condo! Fingers crossed!


Donna Pilato October 23, 2015 at 8:01 am

Better late than never! I think these turned out lovely and with these challenge tiles, I don’t believe there’s any shame in using a template. I especially like your maple leaf with the ‘Nzepple surrounding the Tipple. And is that Roxy or Printemps on the stem? Good luck with the condo – all of that house stuff is so distracting.


Suzanne Fluhr October 23, 2015 at 10:54 am

Thanks, Donna. I had never seen Roxi before (I just looked it up), so it wasn’t that. But, it also wasn’t quite Printemps—-just more like no-name swirls.


1 Art Lady Kate Tangles October 23, 2015 at 10:10 am

I so much enjoy reading your thoughts on “life” and what you and Mr. Excitement are up to. Lovely photo of the green and I really like your pretty leaves on your tile. Good luck with the down sizing and I will look forward to hearing more about it.


HeidiSue October 23, 2015 at 10:43 am

The leaves in Salt Lake have been that way, too. It wasn’t until last week, the third week of October, that we began seeing any color in the leaves at all. Now the cottonwood that is part of my view is going all golden, and there are lots of good crunchy leaves on the ground, which is so pleasant to walk thru. But you’ve made some terrific art here. The colors, and the patterns both, very Autumnal.


HeidiSue October 23, 2015 at 10:53 am

Oh…downsizing advice. I am a notorious NON saver of stuff, so I’m an old pro at it. First of all, I always have a bin in my closet. When I buy new clothing, I take out something…one or two items…to put in the bin. When the bin is full, I take it to the local thrift store. Books, household items, things I’m tired of…all go in there over the days.

Secondly, be ruthless. I actually culled 2/3 of my books (gulp…it still gives me the dizzies to think of it) not too long ago. It was almost the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but if I owned it for THAT long, and still hadn’t gotten through it…it went. If it was a book I would easily find at the library, it went. In fact, I saved only my very favorite books and reduced my library to one five and a half foot book case, down from and eight footer and a five and a half footer.

For other stuff, categorize. What is delightful to you? Keep it forever! (even if you haven’t used it in over a year) What is nice and you enjoy it. Don’t get rid of it, keep and see if you find it DOES delight you. What is meh? Maybe that could go. What is covered with dust and cobwebs because it’s been in the basement in boxes for 20 years? 1) call the adult child who owns it and ask them to come get it out of your hair. 2) if they don’t want it, give it away. Maybe someone will find it delightful…but you clearly don’t need it collecting dust and taking up space.

You can do it! I’m rooting for you 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr October 23, 2015 at 10:59 am

I downsized my parents twice and this will be our second downsize, so I can be pretty ruthless and I agree that is necessary. After our first downsize, I insisted we not acquire any more stuff. We travel a lot, but we only bring home refrigerator magnets. I do think the books are going to have to be winnowed. For the last several years, most of my book purchases have been digital, so at least the collection hasn’t grown much lately.


nan @ lbddiaries October 23, 2015 at 11:55 am

I love the leaves and all the “colors” because leaves are like that – all sorts of weird colors. I know because they’re trying to fill the pool before we can get the cover on!

Downsizing – huh. You sound like you already know what is what. We actually have a bigger house now and when we moved here, I had to go through ALL my parents stuff (since they’d both moved to heaven). They never threw anything away so it’s taken the 5 years we’ve lived here to do that. We decided we didn’t want to do that to our son so we began “zen-ing” the house. Anything we didn’t just love or that couldn’t be replaced (and had a place in our heart) had to go. Occasionally I will put stuff in the workshop for a few months to see if I miss it enough to go back and get it out of the box – but that rarely happened! Then it goes. If I do get rid of something I wish I’d kept – I am sure I can find it on ebay (like an egg turner that was not supposed to go anywhere [but you might pay a premium for it!]).


Suzanne Fluhr October 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Thank you, Nan. I also love fall leaves although their beauty is ephemeral and therefore bittersweet.

Yes, we’ve been through one round of downsizing for ourselves and two for my parents. Like you, this has been enough for us not to want to leave this to our children. I like your technique for putting a few things aside that you can’t quite bear to part with to see if you miss them. Thanks for stopping by.


Maddy Resendes October 23, 2015 at 1:16 pm

Love your leaves! And, of course, your Autumn is the Autumn that will always be in my bones even though I have lived in California since 1980. The original sensory stimuli you experience, I believe, somehow get stored in your DNA! This design would make a great Greeting Card! Please make me a set of them for the holidays! Actually, I would buy a few sets for friends! Is your condo prospect also in downtown Philly? I am sure it must be.


Lily October 23, 2015 at 4:18 pm

Fantastic tile 🙂


Patti October 23, 2015 at 9:44 pm

Welcome to my world. When we got back from Europe I was unable to convince my Mr. to put it all in storage, pack the car and travel the United States for 1 year. So what do we do instead? Buy a house in the middle of 5 acres. What do you say we leave the Mr.(s) at home and take off?! 🙂 We’ve done 3 major “brutal” downsizes in the past 5 years and what are we doing, filling a house with furniture. Oy vey! But, we no longer have 38 years worth of “stuff,” we only kept treasures that will be passed down to our son. It’s actually quite freeing. Oh, and we live with the color is beyond words!


Suzanne Fluhr October 23, 2015 at 11:10 pm

As much as I’d love to live in the middle of beautiful foliage, I’m definitely not looking to jump back into major home ownership. It is looking like if I’m going to get to at least have a little taste of my RV fantasy, it’s not going to be with Mr. Excitement, so we might indeed have to leave the boys home.


MySpecialist October 24, 2015 at 1:32 am

That’s a gorgeous view you’ve shared with us. Love your leaves!


Charlotte Carpentier October 24, 2015 at 2:41 am

I use templates for my leaves all the time. Why force it and stress trying to draw something when you can trace and tangle? It makes it much more Zen…


Roz Warren October 24, 2015 at 10:51 am

You’re buying a condo? I hope you’ll be able to match your current view, which is amazing. And I can confirm that the foliage in these parts falls short of mesmerizing. Still, I’m looking forward to taking a walk through the neighborhood today. (I’ll probably walk right by your former primary domicile.


Suzanne Fluhr October 24, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Unfortunately, we can’t afford a Rittenhouse Square view, but if our offer is accepted, we’ll be in a quiet location. At the moment, our current view is of a noisy construction site, so our rented apartment has become less awesome.


Diane Clancy October 24, 2015 at 11:26 am

Suzanne, these are lovely!! I love your photo. I live in Greenfield, Mass – just down the road when you consider Diva is worldwide 🙂 🙂 Great about the condo!! And please do come back and visit my leaves when you want color 🙂 🙂

~ Diane Clancy


Sigrid October 24, 2015 at 2:11 pm

Beautiful autumn leaves and a very natural choice of colors. I like your tile a lot!


Jean Chaney October 24, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Once you’ve transitioned into ZIA, all rules are gone. Humm, no rules to begin with. Anyway, using a template is fine and your leaves are really very nicely done. We rent a space for our trailer, so just because you’re buying small doesn’t mean you can never buy a trailer. Just saying 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr October 25, 2015 at 6:08 am

We could buy a trailer, but my husband would have no intention of traveling in it. 😉


Annemarie October 25, 2015 at 3:35 am

Kees and I live in a (for the Netherlands) ‘normal’ family three bedroom house with an attic. Maybe we keep to many things, but I often think I would like to have a larger house with more rooms. We both have a room for our self where we keep our computers and other stuff; for me that’s all my drawing stuff and Kees even has a sauna in his.
Because I buy so many things for my drawing, I would love to have a larger room! So …. no downsize for us 🙂
On to the challenge: I like what you did with those leaves! And the photo is gorgeous.


Donna Janke October 25, 2015 at 11:21 am

Your Zentangle leaves are very pretty. It’s coming to the end of fall in Manitoba. Most of the leaves have fallen (or blown off) the trees in the last week and a half. We did have some pretty fall colours this year, although nothing like the foliage in the eastern part of Canada and the U.S. We downsized last year. The best advice I have is to be ruthless. Imagine you need to live in an even smaller space than you will be. We spent a busy month where we did nothing but sort through and get rid of stuff. That concentrated effort built momentum. Once we started getting rid of stuff, there was a feeling of freedom that helped motivate us to continue.


indira October 25, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Your leaf tangles are lovely. Perhaps, it is the drought around these parts (at least in NJ) that has made the foliage dry up too quickly.

Downsizing advice? Ruthlessly throw away things that you do not need.

Thanks for visiting my blog and for the lovely comment.


Maureen Stott October 25, 2015 at 7:49 pm

I looked for stencils and couldn’t find any so I had to resort to using a real leaf. Not complaining because I enjoyed the process…just sayin’. 🙂 I think that all three leaves are lovely. You have used some of my favorite patterns. I might have to do another leaf so that I can incorporate some of them. 🙂 I love how you used Shattuck! Very clever!

I am the last one to give advice on downsizing. I have lived in my house for almost 44 years so you can imagine what it looks like, pack rat that I am. I have my furniture, furniture I inherited from our family home after my mom died and my dad remarried, furniture from my dad after he died. I LOVE real wood furniture from decades ago and the memories that go with it. Whatever happens to it when I’m gone doesn’t matter to me. I am enjoying it now. 🙂 I admire your ability to ruthlessly dispose of items – who knows – at some point I will have to embrace it so that the boys aren’t faced with years of deciding what to keep and what to give away/throw away. But not yet. 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr October 26, 2015 at 12:14 am

I might have considered keeping our house in the suburbs because it had a ridiculous amount of storage space, but it really was a “this old house” and I was no longer interested in maintaining it. We only have one piece of inherited furniture (from my grandmother). It’s much easier to part with IKEA furniture. 😉


Jennifer Sparrow October 26, 2015 at 8:17 am

I love your templates and tangles! Shattuck works so well, just blends right in with the veins in the leaves. Same for ‘Nzeppel, which reminds me of the lacy look that decomposing leaves have when just the skeleton is left. The Sandswirl reminds me of a blustery autumn day. On a side note, our leaves here in NC are just now starting to change as well. Seems really late!


Debbie D. October 26, 2015 at 1:23 pm

It looks like Massachusetts rivals Ontario for fall foliage. Your Zentangles are stunning!
Good luck with your move. Somebody once said a good rule of thumb for downsizing is: If you haven’t used it in two years, get rid of it. Ha! They should see our basement!


Antonine October 29, 2015 at 3:00 pm

I’m glad I stopped by on this post to see your beautiful interpretation of the autumn leaves and also the lovely photo of the Williams College campus. I love the colors you used – not the expected redorangebrown stuff. Nice! Living in the desert, as we do now, fall color is the thing I miss the most from the Midwest. I lived in Michigan for a while, where “color tours” are a tourist attraction! We do have a shrub known as a “firestick” that turns red (or orange, depending) when the nights get cold here, so that is the extent of it. I can really relate to your downsizing issues. We combined two houses with years of separate lives when we moved here together. I sacrificed my entire book collection (hubby wanted no bookshelves taking up our minimal wall space in this open floorplan). I know I never re-read any of the thousand or so books I had, but still… I got rid of all my lovely serving platters, lazy susans, crystal cake plates, etc., since we didn’t think we would be doing much formal entertaining (I still mourn their loss). For the most part, though, the great purge was beneficial and healthy! I do love your gypsy fantasy, but Mr. Excitement is probably right to resist the camper thing. Maintenance, maintenance, and more maintenance. I’m a Troop Beverly Hills camper!


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