Know When to Fold Em’

You got to know when to hold ’em,  know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away, know when to run. – Kenny Rogers The Gambler

Yes…I just quoted a country song. It seems fitting for what I am doing in life.

The shop was a gamble. I planned, I budgeted, I tried. I had a good time. I cried a bit. It was frustrating at times, trying to get people to come along for the ride.

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My plan after closing the physical location was to keep the Online Store open so I could help people afford supplies for Zentangle® and whatever other art they practiced.

But with the increase in postage rates, and increases in our local in district taxes here in rainy California, I am just not seeing a way to do that.

So…that being said. I am having a HUGE inventory sell down. Starting out at 25% off EVERYTHING in stock. EVERYTHING. Nothing is excluded. If it is in the store, it is on sale.

Use the code

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Some fine print here: I have done my utmost to make sure the inventory is up to date. There may be items where the counts are off…it happens when you are a one person production. If an item does turn out to be not in stock for this reason, I will refund your money for that item, or if you like, cancel your order.

If you are still reading here, do not be sad for me. When one door closes, another one opens. There are some fun things in the pipeline and I will be letting everyone in on it later!

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It’s Been a While…

Wow. Yes. It has been quite some time.

It has been on my list of things to do for several months now, but I was scared.

Afraid to start again. Afraid of explaining why I left off when I did. Will anyone still be here when I come back?

Let me start out by saying depression does a lot of things to you on the inside, even when it seems like you have your shit together and everything is fine on the outside. It started out as that, when I closed the shop at the end of May. I felt like I had failed. I had thrown in the towel. I quit.

But then I realized it was a learning experience. I had other opportunities open up then, and have been really enjoying some things. But in the back of my mind, I felt guilty. Like I had abandoned what I worked for.

And that is where I figured out what was wrong. It had become work. A slog. It was not fun anymore. I brought me no joy to tangle. I laid down my pens for a few months.

I started knitting… a lot. I bought a lot of yarn. I knitted more. I started playing with yarn dyeing.

Then I started thinking about paper again. I wondered what I had been missing. I dabbled a bit, but nothing serious. I started participating in the Diva Challenge again when she had her Back to Basics (#366) and got busy with those. Slowly at first. I pulled out a handmade journal that my friend Nancy Dawes gave me, and started working in that. I labeled the inside cover “Starting Over – September 2018.”

I decided to participate in the Inktober Tangles 2018…I thought that would give me a goodly amount of practice to get my “zen” back.

And I started to feel like I got my mojo back. So here I am. And here is Diva Challenge #375, Use My Tangle (UMT) Burtz by Fabienne Blumberg, along with a cool new tangle, Ratoon, by Zentangle. I’ll have more on that in a future blog.

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Lots of other things have happened since my last post. I feel like this is kind of a confessional, but in a good way. Forgive me readers, for I have been a sloth.

I went to Dublin and Boston with Mike (he was working)…twice.

I taught at Midsummer Tangle 4 in Buffalo, New York, and got to visit Canada and Niagara Falls.

Went to a couple of concerts (Shinedown/Godsmack and Scorpions) with my favorite guy.

And went on a Rick Steves My Way tour to Italy for a couple weeks.

Oh, and not to leave out, we celebrated a great big birthday for Mike…60! And went to a great wedding in Ohio for my God-daughter, Monica, and her beloved, Cody.

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I think that about covers it for now. You are up to date. I am still overwhelmed and trying to figure out how to get caught up, but in the meantime, the washer just buzzed…so back to that.

I’ll be back soon.

I’m Not Dead

Wow! I just realized I went an entire month without a post. I guess I have been a bit busy.

I promise I have not been slacking! (But this could be a REALLY long post, with LOTS of pictures.)

Early in April, I went to Cebu, Philippines, for a week, to attend to some family business. (long story, so we won’t go there.) I had a lot of time on my hands, so I started playing with Tomas Padros’ tangle Pickpocket. I really like this tangle.

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So much so that I started on a little blank book that my friend Deborah Pace made…Back and front shown here.

 

I did a small class for the San Diego Book Arts Guild when I got back. Since there were only 3 of us, they talked me into teaching them Pickpocket too! (We also did Fife.)

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Cool part here is that I can only tell which one is mine by the chop…lol.

And the next week, I took a short book making class at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony.

I did manage to get the Diva Challenge #360 (DuoTangle of Shattuck and Tripoli) on the cover of the Japanese Stab Stitch Book. (I’d like to thank my lovely model, Gene Marshall, in her costume from the hit western Shooting Star, for holding all my items to photograph.)

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And then there was our epic 2 week road trip, that took us through SF and a Giants game, the Redwoods, and to Portland to Tangle U.

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On the way back, we stopped to have dinner with friends in Redding, then back to the Bay Area to pick up a car we were having worked on. And it so happened (for the 2nd time that trip) that I got to do to Dharma Trading Company, in person. Most of us know them from their online supply of dyes and things to dye, but their store location also has an epic yarn shop. I did indulge my inner hoarder!

Are you tired yet? I am…but we were not done with our road trip. There was a stop in Santa Barbara, for a little creative coaching in a live event, which I always tangle during. It keeps me focused and also keeps me from interjecting a bit too much (sometimes.) I went back to my little book and did lots of stuff on the pages and inserts.

And then…finally…we came home. Mike went to work the next day, and I started getting busy with organizing and inventory at the shop.

As most of you know, I am closing that location, but I will continue to have quality supplies available for you online, and have a whole lot of really fun classes planned for the coming months. Dying, up cycling, book binding…and of course Zentangle! Classes will be small, and at my house for the most part. Should be a great time!

I did these 2 in my new revision of the Beyond the Basics: Black class this week.

And…yes…I did this week’s Diva Challenge (#362) to celebrate her birth month by using her tangle Somnee. I had one space left on my linen panel from Kim VanZyll’s class at TangleU. (I’ll post more TU finished projects over the coming weeks, as I actually did finish quite a few, including the TangleU chalk piece you already scrolled by.)

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My string for this is Lily Moon Luna’s Caracole. I really had fun with this one. Once again, thanks to my lovely model for holding that up for me.

I really should get going. I still have lots to do!

Have a great week!

 

The Paradox of Overwhelm

So, by now I think everyone knows I am closing my studio in Temecula. (Yes, I am still teaching, at my house, and the online store is staying.) This is a daunting task. Inventory management is not easy for the most seasoned professional, and trying to guesstimate what people will buy at any given time is just not my thing.

That being said, I have a *lot* of stuff that I had either guessed too high on, or the class didn’t go, or yada yada yada…it goes on and on. I had a near breakdown yesterday as I reviewed the volume of things I still needed to catalog and update in the system, so that I can offer it to you good folks out there. I’ve slashed prices on a few things (t-shirts and Trim-a-rims) and the discount MAR15 will still get you 15% off till the end of the month. I will issue a new discount code in May, to help me clear more.

This has become pretty overwhelming for me. So naturally, I turn to tangling to try to resolve some of those feelings (I also have been meditating daily on top of that.) So I found this week’s Diva Challenge (#357) to do a monotangle of Rick’s Paradox to be quite soothing. Line work. Making lines. Line after line after line.

I decided to use my Big White Bee charcoal paper journal for this, and I traced 2 tiles, not really knowing what was going to come out of it.

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I really liked the one we did during the 12 Days of Zentangle, so I decided to revisit that one, with a bit of a twist.

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And then just a plain line work style in the second “tile.”

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And part of getting through the overwhelm is eating nourishing food. Since Mike is on a trip, I am trying some different recipes. Zucchini and cheese Tacos? They were actually pretty good.

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But, calming down again got me in the mood to try a ZenButton…I really like this way to use fragments…I am trying a black one next.

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I had another calming day on Saturday, with a small Zentangle 101 class.

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You can book classes directly by emailing me!


And then I got a little more overwhelmed today when I went to get some washi tape out of my box to decorate my Giants Baseball Opening Day page today…

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That, my friends, is what more than 200 rolls of washi tape looks like. I may have to have a swap or something, as I have a few duplicate rolls. (In my defense, most of this was swag from the recent Planners Rock conference I went to.) The case is from Michaels, you can get it here (use a coupon and save!)

So, the game starts in 5 minutes, and that means I have to go!

(PS…I didn’t publish this before the game started. Giants beat the Dodgers 1-0!)

 

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Spring…Cleaning!

We’ve been going thru a lot of our clutter lately. I am not sure not this accumulates in the quantity it has, but I can allot a bit of it to all the stuff I brought back from Arizona in January.

Cleaning out my mom’s house was a daunting task. She had accumulated “things.” I’m not going to say hoard, because it wasn’t like that, but I am not sure she had a switch that said…I do not really need to buy that bag or that purse or that pair of shoes. Or subscribe to another Danbury Mint monthly thing…like a collection of Presidential dollar coins. (Which, by the way, are worth $1 each. But if you subscribe, they will send you 13 of them a month for $39 a roll. There’s a racket we all need to get into.)

But, that made me spur into action and roll them all to take them to the bank. (For my friends outside the US, dollar coins have never really caught on here, even though they are in circulation.) And that made me also roll up all the other change I had accumulated in my pickle jar…and voila! I made $671!

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I know what you are thinking…Charlotte, what has this got to do with Zentangle?

Clutter is not only something that accumulates physically.

“Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination”
Christina Scalise, Organize Your Life and More

Mental, emotional, and physical. And it builds up, and keeps us from being our best selves. I struggle to get things done on my super cluttered desk because it does not invite me to be creative. It invites me to see the clutter. The clutter depresses me and makes me not want to work on things I know will make me less depressed.

Just the simple act of organizing and picking up can be so freeing, mentally and physically. Spacious freedom in your mind and in your home. Now, I am not going all Marie Kondo method on you. I’m an artist. I have stuff.

I am becoming more productive as I clear things out, and I think even more creative without all those “things” to weigh me down. So I did a bit of playing this week on a prompt for a journaling group I am in (it was my turn to create the prompt) and whilst I was doing my page, this popped up:

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I think I may have come up with a new tangle I am calling Zigmajig,  a cross between Keeko and Jonqal.

And that led me to make a step out for it…and use my initials for a Tangle Your Name from this week’s Diva Challenge (#356). (My name is a bit long to get on a tile, so initials work for me.)

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Neato, eh? Oh, and if you have ever seen this by another name, I’m happy to give it up.


I had a couple of awesome playdate/classes this week. On Monday, Pam and her daughter came and played with me for a few hours. We learned a few things and had a lot of laughs!

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And on Wednesday, I taught the first of 2 sessions for the San Diego Book Arts Guild at the library in Pacific Beach. I had 15 lovely ladies tangling on coasters for a high altitude flyover of Zentangle…just enough to wet their appetite for more! They did an awesome job.

And while I know it’s not spring-like weather in some parts of the country, after my class I walked along the beach for a while, and enjoyed a sunset.

Boy, do I love living in SoCal. (Note that it has been raining all day today. I love rain.)


I’ve also been busy putting the final touches on my mobile store for TangleU this year. I am still working on a super top secret limited edition kit for the event, so that is what the empty space is for…

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Remember, there is still time to use the code MAR15 for 15% off at the online store.

And now, I have to clear the clutter of accounting work, so I can submit my taxes for the year…icky!

Have fun!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Flower of Life…Zentangle Style

Hi!

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!

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

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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.

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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!