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.

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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!)

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Traveling Around and Kicking Rocks

This year’s vacation is getting close! We are heading out in early October, and I have not been getting the excitement I’ve had in years past. I think part of that is the unknown quality of where I am going (Australia and New Zealand) and that I did the initial planning months ago and really haven’t done much since.

This week’s Diva Challenge (#331) by guest blogger Jane Reiter made me start really thinking of it, in terms of the unique geological make up of all the places you can travel to. She has us tangle patterns similar to the Petoskey Stone in Michigan. Now, I love me some pretty rocks, and these are particularly cool, in their patterns. While they are mostly hexagonal, I took a more free-form approach. I found one of my tiles I had painted in a class, with Twinkling H2O watercolors and alcohol. It was one of those tiles that I wondered if I would ever use, because of the pattern on it. But for this, it seemed to work perfectly (and again, as usual, I forgot to take a picture of it BEFORE I started tangling on it.)

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This one is on hot press watercolor paper. I decided to have a go with the Pentel Hybrid Technica 04, a gel roller pen with some nice pigmented ink. We all know that Microns and other fiber tipped pens are notorious for clogging up whilst tangling over watercolors and other paints, and I have found this to be a great substitute. They come in several nib sizes (03, 04, 05, 06) and the ink is nice and black.


And of course, I have started my “art supply” packing for the trip. Now, I am pretty famous for OVER packing art supplies when we go on vacation. I usually take WAY too much and end up doing nothing. Last year, I even made a scrap book to work on “on the go” so that it would be finished when we got home. (And to confess, I did the first 3 days, and didn’t touch it again. It is still sitting at the shop, wanting attention. It is a beautiful book. It is on my list of project UFOs.)

So this year, I took a harder look. I travel, for whatever amount of time we go, with a small backpack (PacSafe) and a small suitcase (ebags) that fits in even foreign carrier’s overhead bins. I always plan on doing laundry if we are going to be gone longer than a week (and honestly, a charming part of the trip last year was doing laundry in Venice at a laundry mat with American washers.)

And that brings me to the scaled down version of what goes in the backpack. I have an iPad Pro. It is huge, but it keeps me connected (especially to you guys!) while I am out, but has a pretty large footprint. It took me a while to find a backpack that it fit in, without being a huge backpack. Here is the backpack, with all the things that go inside (minus the giant iPad.)

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On the left: I’ve recently started keeping a Bullet Journal instead of a planner, and that is the center of my focus for what I need to successfully plan and record events while we travel.

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And of course, I need to tangle. (Note that I said need. Not want, not should. It helps me sleep and keeps my head on straight.) The purple pen is an Uni Jetstream 4 color with a pencil. Easy access for just jotting notes and not having to dig into…

On the right: my Kipling Nolan Pencil Case. It has plenty of room for all the pens and tangle supplies I also need, as well as a couple zipper pouches inside to hold tiles and smaller things.

 

I can get a LOT in there and it doesn’t take up much room.

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Starting at the top: Mini Travel Stickie Notes from Daiso (the Japanese $1.50 store but you can order online in bulk,) a couple blending stumps, eraser, and extra 2mm leads for my 2B holder (Daiso!) Stuff to tangle on and a couple of my most loved flat templates and a ruler that can also be used as compasses. 2B lead holder (Daiso), White UM153 Gel Pen, Pentel Hybrid Technica 05, Tombow Mono Drawing Pens in 01, 03, and 05, Ooly 6 color Gel Pen (found this one at The Container Store,) Pentel Multi 8-color Color pencil, Factis eraser, and a spray bottle with SpectraFix Fixative. I also have a small card case with ATC blanks, pre-stamped with my information on the back to leave as abandoned art (not shown.)

After I evaluated what was in there, and what I had to tangle on in the bag, I added a few more white and tan tiles, and these (how on earth could I forget a Stardust Glitter Pen and Gold Gelly Roll, much less a white and indigo Chalk Pastel Pencil!?!?) And that also meant I needed to add a sharpener, so I found the smallest one I could (without going shopping.)

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So after repacking, this is what the front and back flap look like:

It is a little fuller, but I think more complete.

I also have need of something different to work on, so I packed a wool appliqué project that I am in the middle of. It is compact, and fits in my cute skellie zipper pouch.

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The needlework kit is an Altoids tin that I did many years ago, with preemie scissors (airline safe.) Those were ginger Altoids. Handy to have if I need to do any repairs on the road, but I also have a small travel sewing kit for that.

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Speaking of scissors, some of the wool things still need to be cut out, and I need sharp scissors, but I don’t want TSA to take them. I purchased these Gingher’s after 9/11, and have been successfully traveling with them since. Rounded ends and short blades keep TSA happy, and sharp enough to shave with keeps me happy.

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So I have plenty to do, and plenty of room for everything! And, it isn’t all that heavy until I put the monster iPad in it.

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So, I hope this little look into my packing schema helps you on your next trip. Pack light and have fun!


While I was puttering around the shop/studio this week, I took some time to play!

I spent some time making a new swatch for the Iridescent FineTec Palette. All three of the specialty FineTech palettes (6 color Pearlescent Gold, 12 color Pearlescent, and this one) are back in stock at the shop now. This looks SO cool on black paper!

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And I was playing around with the idea of simplicity this week, too. It is amazing at how gratifying it can be. I wish I had taken more time to shade it with graphite instead of Fabrico Marker.

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What week would be complete without a little sacred geometry and Spirograph?

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And now, more than ever, it is important to stop and spend quality time with the ones you love! And when the Giants WIN, that quality time is even better!

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Even my plant is happy this week (the continuing saga of the African Violet that took 5 years to bloom.)

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Peace, love, and prayers for receding water in Texas. 

BE(ad) Courageous!

It is time for Diva’s annual Beads of Courage (#319) update. For those of you who do not follow, Beads of Courage is a program where children undergoing medical procedures, especially lengthy ones, are rewarded for their fortitude whilst undergoing things like tests, and blood draws, and all sorts of scary things. It also creates a way for kids to be able to tell their stories in a colorful and fun way, instead of making it always sad. You can read more about the program here.

In past years, I have done tiles involving beads in some way. I did one for my sister-in-law, Marie, who was battling breast cancer at the time. I did one that juxtaposed beauty and duty. And one that celebrated Pride.

I decided this year to go in a different direction. I decided o be courageous myself. I am often reticent to try tangles that “look hard” or seem “complicated. So I thought to myself…”Self, you are a CZT. You are an artist. Why would you think it is hard, when you know Zentangle is easy?” So I saw this pattern, My Swing by Simone Menzel, CZT, on one of the many FaceBook groups I belong to, and thought I should give it a try. And to make it more challenging, to do it small, on a 3Z tile (I had already done the circle bit in the center, for something else I wanted to try, so I used that as my “string.”)

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I think it came out pretty neat, and I felt really good when I was finished with it!


From the UFO (UnFinished Objects) pile, I have a tile that dates back to TangleU 2015 in Santa Fe, from Sharla Hicks’ Mooka Blues class.

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And I finally started working the page dividers in my Zen Journal (real name of notebook, I swear) that I keep my tangle step outs in.

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There is still time to get in on the fun in Saturday’s Pointed Pen class (Monthly and Seasonal Specials)! I worked up this lovely card that a CZT I know is going to get in the mail soon!

I think the part I like about these best is they are so pretty!

And last weeks quick trip up to San Francisco was fun, cold, and the Giants did not prevail. But, did I mention it was fun?

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Loads of work to do! Make Stuff!

 

Dip-WHAT?

Ok…so I glazed over this the first time I saw one, thinking it was a cute idea, but I like my tiles flat. But then I started thinking about it…when are my tiles ever ALL flat?

This week, Diva challenged us to do a Diptych (#318). In the traditional sense of the word, a diptych is:

a painting, especially an altarpiece, on how hinged wooden panels that may be closed like a book.

an ancient writing tablet consisting of two hinged leaves with waxed inner sides.

(Thank you Google!)

In the Zentangle world, it is a tile, folded in half, with some sort of representation of a hinge connecting the two, with the designs mirrored on each side. If you are on the Mosaic app, there is a video in the Kitchen Table Tangles of it.

It just so happened to coincide with me seeing a really cool ZenGem done in just white on a black tile, so I decided to use a black Zendala so I could try it out. I used only a white Gelly Roll, white Chalk Pencil, black 01 Micron, and some silver relief paint.

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I found it fun, but not sure if I could pull of an exact mirror. I will try that on another tile and report back.

I have been playing around a lot with the relief paint, so I could stock it in the shop.

Speaking of shopping at CharKat’s, it should not be too long now that you will be able to go directly to the products I use on this page to get them for yourself, and support an awesome small business! Plus, you have the added benefit of getting things that I have tried, and know to be effective.


I did one of those silly word quizzes on FaceBook today, where it analyzes the words most often used and it was pretty obvious that I put a lot of work into this website and my art…Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 21.25.22.png

I kinda like it!


Because the web site is being worked on, I have been burning up a lot of creative energy lately finishing up things at the shop and at home in my “to-to” piles. We all have them, I am sure, but I always feel like mine are mountainous. It can be a little overwhelming to know you haven’t finished something you were really enjoying working on, or you get a block when it comes to working on it. Prime example is this mandala, that has been holding my easel hostage since August:

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The other day, I decided I was tired of it mocking me, and sat down and started coloring it (Derwent Inktense Pencils, blended with water.)

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And then at the end of that day:

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I have most of the outer edge colored now, too. I’ll get back on that this weekend. Then a little inking…a little embellishing…who knows. But at least I’ll get my easel back!


I also finished up the beauty. I am thinking of using it on my Christmas cards this year. Colored with Tombow Brush Markers.

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Some weeks are a lot more productive for me art-wise. This was one of those, I guess. I leave all the final pics on my desktop to use in the blog each week before filing them.

These were from TangleU, using Pan Pastels:

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Some tiles from my “started but not finished” pile. I sometimes start these to show someone a technique or a tangle, and toss them into the pile without completing them. I am trying to get better about it, as I don’t even remember when I started most of these.

Crazy Cadent Molygon

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Some more pointed pen practice:

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And there always seem to be rocks laying around…so they get tangled on too! Trying out a lot of things with that pointed pen.

And if that wasn’t enough to make your head spin a bit…This is for my friend Inga, for a screen she is putting together full of tangled pieces. It is actually 6 pieces, I taped them together in the back to start wand do the tangle Waybop to use as a string. I just tangled them without any real concern about matching them up. I think it came out pretty cool!

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Ok…Enough playtime for now. I have to get packed to head up to SF for a Giants game tomorrow. I hope they win!

Make Stuff!

Marasu Unfurled

Whew…what a weekend! Missed my usual Monday deadline for posting this week’s blog, but I had a good excuse. Started out going to Palm Springs on Friday, where I had lunch with Cherryl Moote while Flyboy did some work around the house for his mom. Then we went over to Morongo Casino & Resort for an evening with Sammy Hagar & The Circle (Michael Anthony from Van Halen, Jason Bonham, son of legendary drummer John Bonham from Led Zeppelin, and Vic Johnson, guitar player from Sammy’s other band, The Wabos.) We splurged and got the VIP experience, and BOY…did we get an experience!

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Wow! Sammy is turning 70 in October, but he isn’t missing a beat. The show was AMAZING!

Then we doodled off to Phoenix on Saturday, visited my mom at her assisted living place, and spent a lovely evening in downtown Phoenix. If  you re ever in that area, I highly recommend The Arrogant Butcher. Drinks were totally on point, and the food was great, too!

Sunday, after another quick walk around downtown, we headed out to the Goodyear Ballpark to see the Giants play the Reds. It was a beautiful day, and Spring Training remains one of my favorite things to do. You get to be so much closer to the players, and it seems a bit more personal, watching the guys who are trying to make the team.

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We spent Sunday night with friends in Surprise, and headed home Monday, with another stop in Palm Springs to finish some things up at Flyboy’s mom’s house.

While he was working, I started on this week’s Diva Challenge (#305.) I have loaded all my pre-prepped and half finished tiles and whatnot into my art bag, so I always have a few things to choose from when I need to start a project. This time, a watercolor postcard that I had sprayed with hibiscus tea through a stencil seemed like a likely candidate for a Duo Tangle of Marasu and Molygon. While I know that Marasu is a coiled image, I thought I would imagine it unfurled…and in as many different ways as I could think of. I kept the Molygon fillers all the same, so they would stand out a bit. Finished off with a purple metallic Gelly Roll and shaded with Stabilo CarbOthello Chalk Pencil.

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I think it turned out pretty well. I was also thinking…its a postcard! I should send it to someone. So…I will select a random person from the comments on this post to send it off to!

Back to work, wrapping up the finishing touches on the Celtic Knot instructions. Still room in the class if you can make it, and if you can’t, I will have another surprise for you shortly!

Waybop or Knot

I’ve been working on a “secret” project …putting together files and samples to teach Celtic Knot Drafting on March 11. So this week’s Diva Challenge (#304) was right up my alley, as it involves the new tangle from Zentangle® headquarters called Waybop. I’ve used this a few times already, and really like the interwoven quality of the tangle. I decided to carry on with the February heart theme and play with this. I am dipping into the pile I have of pre-dyed/colored tiles. This one was watercolor sprayed with alcohol while it was still wet. The accent tangle is a deconstructed minimalist Cyme.

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And as far as the “secret”…here is a preview –  On another one of my pile of colored tiles.

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Class is on Saturday, March 11. Space is limited, and it is already filling up, so reserve your spot soon! 

I’ve been on a bit of a roll this week, keeping up with both my watercolor class (that ends on March 7th) and my online journaling group (goes all year.) Here is a Zendala I did recently, using one of Jenny Perruzzi’s Zencils for collaging on one of my journal pages.

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And…I finally finished this bracelet I started about 3 years ago.  I’m shocked that the cats didn’t knock it over and spill the beads in that time frame.

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But, alas, I need to get on with my callligraphy practice, and work on the handouts for the Celtic Knots class (yes, there will be handouts!)

Heading out to Palm Springs and Phoenix this weekend. Sammy Hagar at Morongo, visit Mom, and see the Giants play the Reds in a Spring Training game. It’s a rather quick trip, so we won’t be in Arizona long.

Make Stuff…You Will Feel Better!

Give Peace a Chance?

I sit here writing this with a lot of turbulence in my brain today.

I’ve just come off a very awesome week of working at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game Fan Fest as a volunteer. It was a lot of fun helping people get the most out of their visit to beautiful Southern California. The weather was perfect and there were only a few negative folks around. All in all, everyone, including me, had a good time. (Excuse my bright, shiny forehead, but it wasn’t easy taking a selfie at the world’s largest baseball with all the crazy lights they were using.)

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And I carried on having a great start to this week, with a guest Diva (#275), Suzanne Fluhr, CZT. Suzanne is an awesome blogger, and I enjoy reading her travelogs very much, so when she wrote this week’s challenge, she did so with a heavy heart over all the hateful things that have been going on in our beautiful country as of late. Suzanne wanted us to Give Peace a Chance. I love that song…and it played over and over in my head while I was working on this:

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I wish that everyone on the planet would take a minute and step out of their own lives and just be nice to other people. I trust that this can happen. I meditate on it frequently.

The conflict in my brain today comes from my desire for peace, and my desire for safety in my community. In the past couple of years, the homeless population in our town has increased quite a bit. Well intentioned people give them food and money, instead of directing them to the social services that can help them, and now suddenly we have a problem. I’m sad for their plight. I truly feel for them (and its been a bit on the warm side here, so that makes their comfort here a bit uneasy.) I know there are many programs here set up to help them, but as we all learn the hard way, you have to want help to seek it. But what do we do? It is a bit of a conundrum.

Just Trust Peace.


On the shop notes for this week, we have some fun stuff on the schedule. Rock and Tangle is Friday night (the 15th) from 4-9 pm. Regardless of what you are working on, come on down and play! I have all kinds of fun things to try if you are in a slump. Making stuff always makes you happy!

Black and White Summer is shaping up to be a great time too. Saturday, the 23rd, from 10-3, I have an awesome technique to share with you. Bring your basic tangle supplies, I will supply the rest. My good pal Karen did hers ahead of time since she will be out of town, so here is a preview:

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She says it is not done yet, but I think it is shaping up quite nicely! I am working on a small set of my initials, so far I finished K. Hopefully will have the C done soon!

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I should have the August schedule up by the end of the week.

A parting shot from the traveling exhibit from Cooperstown (The Baseball Hall of Fame.) There be Giants there. Say Hey Willie Mays!

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Stay Crazy My Friends.