Tide in Knots

Yep…tide…not tied. Water. Oceans. Rivers. That is what the tangle Verve speaks to me. Movement of water.

This week’s Diva Challenge (#355) was to use the tangle Verve. I’m working on samples and a handout for a top secret project, but found this to be just the tangle I needed for this body of water.


At this time…I’m not at liberty to discuss what else is going on. But you are gonna love it, I guarantee!

Oh, and I did mention knots. It is coming up on St. Patrick’s Day this week, so I thought I would give you a quick video on how to draw one of the knots in my Ready or Knot kit. My finished piece looks like this:


And the video is here:

At this time, there is only one Ready or Knot kit left in stock, and I have not decided if I am going to restock it or not.

In the meantime, hop on over to the store and use code MAR15 for 15% off the rest of this month!


A Steep Learning Curve

Some of the things I do come pretty easy. I can visualize images in 3D, much like the computer imaging that Tony Stark uses in the Iron Man movies. But those things don’t always translate to what ends up on my paper.

Some tangles are like that for me, too.

This week’s Diva Challenge (#354) was one of those tangles. The Use My Tangle of Siri by Simone Menzel, CZT was pretty cool looking in her samples and step outs, but I struggled with it. I imagine I would like it better had I not tried to use color in my initial attempts, but I got some new pencils this week that needed trying out, so I went for it.

Diva #354

I have been playing around with Helen Williams’ String Rose pattern for a few days, so that made a good focal there, and I was able to distract myself from the parts that didn’t please me that much. I also did a little bit of that in my Bullet Journal this week:


We had an awesome meet up of the SoCal CZT group last Saturday, and I did finally remember to take pictures, although it was of the projects, not of the people (luckily, others did catch us in photos…those are posted in the FaceBook group.)

I did finally finish cleaning out my tool box this week as well. The finishing touches on parts of my home studio (readying for the transition for things to come home from the shop) has been a bit of an undertaking, and a lot of soul searching to downsize from things that have not been of service to me. I have had fun organizing…there is something so magical about seeing my pencil drawer in my tool box look like this:


Coupled with the knowledge that I may never have to buy another pencil in this lifetime!

I have set up cool little features intended to make me smile when I see them. Like this playful take on an aquarium without water, complete with a few Pokemon.


What made you smile today?

Don’t forget to use the code MAR15 for 15% off all remaining items in the online store. The less stuff I have to move, the better!

It Gets Better

Really…it does. Breathe deep, eat right, exercise, and do something you love, and it gets better. Everything gets better.

February is the month when both my parents had birthdays. My dad would have been 84, and my mom would have turned 74 over the weekend. This is her first birthday since she passed in December, and I decided to honor it a little (even though we never really got along) with working in her favorite colors for this weeks Diva Challenge (#353) – Zendala Hearts.

Diva #353

I started with a pre-strung Zendala that was rather like a mandala. It had the right shapes for those hearts, and I have a mini set of Polychromos in Valentine colors, so I decided to do a bit of coloring. I think it turned out ok.

I was in an awesome workshop over the weekend with the San Diego Book Arts group and Cherryl Moote. I really flexed my imagination, and did some fun things. I have a few things still to finish up, but here is a little of what I did so far:

Rectangular Flexagon (which got water spilled on it, so this is in the mock up pile now.)

Square Flexagon

And because I had the middle of that one, I made a baby Square Flexagon.

A Kaleido Cycle.

A Gallery Book with my alcohol ink on mineral paper in the windows.


And since I had a tiny strip left after the Kaleido Cycle, I had to make a mini Gallery Book.


I still need to finish a few bits and pieces, and make some cases for the Gallery Books. I also got a good start on learning the fold for the Chinese Sewing kit, which I will make after I run by the studio and pick up the paper I want to use. (boy will I be glad when all my art supplies are in one place again!)

If you think these look like fun, you can get Cherryl’s book, Slight of Binding, which has just been reprinted by John Neal Bookseller. I highly recommend it.

And if you need supplies, remember, everything in the store is 10% off in February with the code FEB10 and 15% off in March with the code MAR15. The discounts are limited to stock on hand, and will not apply to anything I have to order.

And I leave you with someone that got miffed when I told him he could not jump on the window ledge, so he decided to take a rest on the quilt I was trying to work on.

IMG_7424 2


17 Hearts

seventeen hearts

hearts not yet seventeen

hearts that influenced seventeens

seventeen families

families missing seventeen hearts

seventeen hearts that will never beat again


This week’s Diva Challenge (#352) was to use Nested Hearts as a string. I had some strong feelings that are hard to describe while I was doing this, and grabbed a bigger “tile” to work on. Fabriano Medeoevalis is such beautiful paper. Buttery to work on, blends like a champ. Colored with CarbOthello Pastels.

Yes, those are bullet holes. Morbid. Morose. All those things that we don’t like to think about. But we have to. These kids need us.

Better People.jpg

I realized when I went to go write today’s blog post that I have not posted yet in the month of February. Lots going on, and really no excuse for it. I’ve been pretty busy with the things that I need to do to get the shop closed the end of May.

Inventory, clearing out stuff I no longer need. If you frequent my online store, you will find some odd categories here and there, where I am listing some things that fall in that category. There were a few things I’ve tried and taught over the past fews years that really did not bring me joy, and I feel that they spread me a little too thin at times.

This week’s focus category was Alcohol Inks. I have some things listed that I just have too many of, and I don’t see me using that much going forward…so check it out!

And while I didn’t blog or post them, I have done all the Diva Challenges for the month…here is #350 with a Heart String and a Use My Tangle called Rimana by Nadine Roller, CZT:

Diva #350

I got on a bit of a roll with ATC’s that week, too.

I carry these around in my backpack when I travel, with the intention of leaving them various places. I think it brightens up the place.

And Diva Challenge #351 was hearts with an Olympic theme. I thought a modified Zedbra was a great tangle for this.

Diva #351

I have an awful habit of tearing up my desk whilst I am working on some of these…


I also took another class with my Quilt Guild last week. Becky McDaniel came in to teach us this cool paper piecing Crazy Cushion. Pattern is available on her web site!

Crazy Cushion Start

I hadn’t really done much paper piecing before, and thought it might be too involved or fussy to be fun, but this was definitely a lot easier than I thought. (I am going to make 2, so we have them for the patio wall to sit on.)


oh, and remember those coasters from the last blog post?

They are now a really cool book. I call it Seeds…a Blooming Book.

More details on that another time…but I will be teaching it. Be on the lookout!

I gotta get moving now. Going to spend the weekend at a Cherryl Moote workshop learning about books that do tricks!


Flower of Life…Zentangle Style


You may have noticed I didn’t post last week. The week completely got away from me…I was so busy setting up our SoCal CZT Round Up (read: cleaning the shop) that I really had no time, and by the time I did, it was already Sunday!

When Diva posted this weeks challenge (#349) for the new tangle from Zentangle HQ called Rumpus, I had already started another piece I am working on for a demo-type class for the San Diego Book Arts Guild. I am using blank coasters to tangle on (with gel pens, not Microns) to use as covers for some yet to be determined book form. The timing is pretty short, so I thought I would use a simple-yet impactful grid tangle. I came up with Fife, one of my favorites, in a rather wonky grid.

While I was working my way through it, I thought…gee…this looks like the Flower of Life pattern I am constantly drawing with my compass. And so I decided to look into it, and wouldn’t you know…Fife is an abbreviation of Flower of Life!


Fast forward to Rumpus now…and I’ll be darned if it isn’t the same concept. A free form Flower of Life!


I still have to think about the book form I am going to use, so I’ll post that when I figure it out.

I was at the UCSD campus for a study I was participating in, around the Engineering Department, and saw this amazingly huge rock teddy bear. It made me think about the enormity of things sometimes.


Tasks have seemed daunting lately. As I clean and sort and file and get things ready for closing the shop, I feel a little overwhelmed.

I felt that way when I was trying to come up with a class schedule for February. For 2.5 years, I have been trying all kinds of days and times and concepts to put classes on the schedule, and if I am lucky I get about 5-6 students a month, spread out over 2-3 scheduled classes. There is simply no way of knowing what times work best for people.

So I decided to try something new. You pick the time that is right for you, what class you want to do, and if I have it available, we are a go! Still working out some details of how to word it on the web site, and how to block off my calendar for when I am out of town, but I think this is going to be much less stressful for all of us.

Individual, private lessons will be slightly more, but bring me a party of 2 or more and I’ll keep my original prices in tact.

And the SoCal CZT Round Up was a huge success. We had a lot of fun tangling, talking, and eating really good snacks! There were 16 of us! (And I was so busy doing stuff I forgot to take pictures!)

We have the next one planned for March 3, from 10-3, still at my place. We will be looking into other locations for future gatherings, so if you are a CZT in the SoCal area, make sure you are in our FaceBook Group to get the updates.

Finally, I did remember to photo the other Never Ending Card I did!

These are just so much fun to make!

Fun time is done (I prefer writing to most of my other icky tasks, like accounting and web site maintenance…)

Make Stuff…You Will Feel Better!

The End…or the Beginning?

Life is a continuous cycle. I’ve learned this in a lot more ways than I ever thought I could. Some things go on and on, and some are only here for a while.

I’ve been doing the Diva Challenge continuously since #161. This is one of the things I feel compelled to continue, as it tends to spark me creatively. So this week (#347) was no different, although it has taken me a little longer than most. With String Theory, we were quested to create a string by tracing objects we found around our space. The part that took me a while was seeing past the “normal” shapes to find something odd that wouldn’t give me just squares and circles. I found a magnifying glass, a purple jade heart from Guatemala (waiting for a new chain,) and my mini metal ruler/compass thingy (part of a set from the Charles Williams Co. that I really dig.)

Diva #347-1

The paper has a bit of purple in the background (I keep tiles by my work station when I watercolor or use ColorBurst and use them to “mop up” what remains on my craft mat, making instant backgrounds.) This was a bit of watercolor paper, so it was nice to tangle on too! I did my shading with a Carbothello chalk pencil (Santa brought me the full set for Christmas this year!)

Diva #347-2

Speaking of beginnings…I am really looking forward to hosting the Southern California Zentangle Teachers on the 27th. I have a really fun project for us, and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with on this…sneak peek of Peeking Hearts!

Penguin Lust Peeping Heart

I’ve been meditating on my sewing machine this past week, working on a special gift. Sewing and quilting is another one of those things that has been a constant in my life, and I know I can always come back to it when I need it.

Bonnie Hunter First Square

Lots of progress has been made, and I am rather pleased with the cheery nature of this one!

I’ve been working diligently on getting some things wrapped up, framed and priced out, too, for what is in the ending stage.

Creat Love Framed

I am closing the shop May 31. This has been a difficult decision, and not one I took easily. I am a pretty introverted person and I have never been good at being in the mix of things (I thought I could change that, but alas, it just made me more stressed.) Taking this action feels like a huge weight has been lifted from me, and I can breath again!

But, never fear, there is an ongoing thing or two that will remain. I will continue to have the online store, and I will continue to teach classes, both at my home and a variety of other locations. I do love sharing what I know with you all, and will continue to do that, through my blog.

What that means, in the meantime, is a HUGE SALE. I don’t feel like moving everything, so starting now, everything is 10% off. Use the discount code FEB10 in the online store. This is limited to stock on hand, and I am working diligently to make sure that all the inventory is up to date. Even the art on the walls, and most of the furniture is going. (And no, my paper cabinet is not on the auction block…lol.) There are some great deals to be had, keeping in mind I never had anything listed at full price to begin with!

While this may seem like an end, I feel like it just the beginning of a new chapter!

Happy January from Southern California!


Surviving the Void

Yes…it’s that time of year again. And this year hit me a lot harder, and took me deeper in the void than usual. We had mom’s interment last Friday, and the 9-ish hours drive each way really took a lot out of me. The interment was at the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Sierra Vista, and it really is a beautiful place with sweeping panoramic views. I did a lot of cemetery visits this trip, including Tombstone and Black Oak in Elgin. It was interesting reconnecting with family in this manner, and realizing I am the senior family member now.


I’ve tried really immersing myself in my art during this time. I did a lot of work with the Dot Rods™ and nearly have the video tutorial edited to post (hopefully by next week!)


I’m really getting into trying lots of different things, and putting the materials I have to work for me. Here is some of the preliminary work that goes into a painting…selecting and prepping the palette.


And the final products! (This was a Christmas gift for my Sig-O.)


And that was a lot of fun.

It was also nice to have the Diva back this week after the Christmas break. (I know…I took a break too!) Her challenge this week (#346) was a Duo-Tangle of Phicops and Huggins. I really had not done Phicops before, but I really enjoyed it. and I tried to do a wonky gridded Huggins, as opposed to my usual Crazy Huggins and I think it was successful!

Diva #346

I only have 5 more pages left in my little Cub from Iona Handcrafted Books, so it will be time to move on to a new one soon. (While I have more than a few blank journals at home, I found this one on their website while I was finishing up this post. Drool.)

I also finished (and blocked, and mailed) a knitting project that I started in New Zealand in October.


Waiting now for some knitting needles that Santa ordered me for Christmas so I can start the next one. I plan on knitting (and stitching) my way through baseball season this year. Nothing like dedicated time to work on these things. I grew up listening to baseball on the radio, so I can look up from my work when something is going on, and not miss a thing!

Sometimes, the simple act of writing things out is a vital part of a healing process. In the case of this blog post, it worked. And while I was writing, the sun came out. Maybe the void won’t swallow me whole now.

Happy New Year from Mike and I.