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 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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And Sometimes, Your Ink Runs…

Today has been a day of intense sadness. If I wore mascara, it probably would be all over my face…but instead, my ink ran. Picked up the first pen my hand laid on (Zig Cocoiro with Extra Fine Black insert,) and tangled myself calm in my Iona Cub. Then I spritzed it with SpectraFix, and that happened. Not sure why, so I guess I need to look that up.

But…all is not lost. The page actually looks pretty cool (although I have now removed that pen from my travel bag) and I will continue to use that book for my #InktoberTangles this month. I figured I have just enough pages in it to finish the month and keep scattering in some Diva Challenges whilst I travel (more about that later.)

So for Day 2 of #InktoberTangles, I decided to combine the Diva Challenge (#335) – a Use My Tangle (UMT) called Tint from Henrike Bratz, CZT with the tangle Dicso because I thought they looked cool together. They are both stepped out to be either stand alone or border types, so they naturally fit together. So here is my page…bleeding ink and all!

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And for Day 1 of #InktoberTangles, it was Bunzo…one of my FAVORITE tangles, and a true pen killer!

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If you would like to participate in #InktoberTangles, here is the prompt. Be sure to use the hashtag, and I would love to shout out to Stephanie Jenner, CZT, for putting this together. I think the list rocks!

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I did get last week’s challenge (#334) done, I just didn’t get a blog up for it. I have been playing with my glass dip pen I purchased last year in Venice, so I thought it would be fun to do the Crazy ‘Nzepple with it.

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That one was done with the sepia ink the pen came with. I had been playing around a lot with it that week, both with the sepia and with Calligraphy ink in black. That pen really loves the soft paper, as it has a really smooth, fine tip. no pressure was required, and I really have to slow down a lot to get those lovely lines.

And another shot, without the pretty bottles and pen. The sepia on the left is Sharlarella from Sharla Hicks, CZT and the one on the right is Pixioze from Margaret Bremner, CZT.


I’ve put up a VERY limited class schedule for October. Not that I don’t have anything to teach, but I am headed out on vacation tomorrow night and will not be back until  around the 20th. I will fill any store orders when I return, unless it was something you needed sooner, in which case I am happy to cancel it.

But when I get back…lets do some Pumpkins on the 29th.

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And be sure to reserve your spot to play with Risa Gettler on October 28th as she presents Day at the Bleach. This fun class will take  you on an exploration of bleach on black paper, with beautiful pastel accents…and can be done with or without calligraphy skills.

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I will also be making an appearance in Santa Barbara on November 11th, where I will be teaching a Zentangle 101 class in the morning and Fall Tangles in the afternoon. Sign up as soon as you can, as I have heard this could be a sell out!

Register for any and all classes, and shop online at www.charkatscreativeinsanity.com. Or just click the Home button at the top of this page.


With all the stuff that is going on today, I want to leave you with this:

OTL Week 38 - Summer of Love

And a big hug. Next post will be from Australia!

See ya then, mate!

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Move on Back Two Squares

You know, I always have songs playing in my head while I work. They may not be playing out loud, but when I saw this week’s Diva Challenge (#332) and the prompt was 2 Squares…you know this started on repeat. A song from Yes – I’ve Seen All Good People. And to also know I had a bit of a trying weekend made this more prevelant. 

Take a straight and stronger course to the corner of your life.

And I learned…always have a Plan B. I had to do some shuffling on a long planned class on Monday when the instructor came down sick, so Plan B it was, and this was one of the results of having something in your pocket to teach at all times. I would like to give a HUGE shout out to Nancy Dawes, CZT of http://www.iteachtangling.com for stepping up and teaching this beauty of a Never Ending Card, adapted for Zentangle by her, to our San Diego Zentangle Friendship Group.


If the video won’t play, you can see it here on YouTube: https://youtu.be/g8Y-JU1Hb7w

And here is a montage of each side.


Not just 2 squares! 8 Bijou, 8 Small Squares, and 8 Border pieces! That was a LOT of fun!

Another side effect of Plan B was the cancellation of the follow on class that I filled in with a Supersized Edition of Summer Time Blues. While several people that were traveling from out of town opted for the offered refund, I had 4 intrepid souls that stayed the course and played with me for the rest of the afternoon!


Look at all that fun they are having! This made my day!

And on Saturday, Karen and Judy came over to play in the paints, and we spent the day making backgrounds to play on. We explored several techniques, including watercolor, shaving foam marbling, and alcohol inks.


I am soaking up the cool breeze in Santa Barbara a the moment. After the heat wave we have had in Temecula, this is a welcome respite. I am going to go get a walk in, as it has been too hot to walk lately!

Have a wonderful week.

Where Do I Fit In?

This is a question that has plagued me my entire life. In my family, I was rather an outsider. At school (and I went to 9 schools over the course of my K-12 days) I was not popular or athletic or anything really. In the military, first in the Navy I was a woman in a predominately male occupation (avionics,) then again with the Army in advanced tech/electronics. Later in my Army career, I was older than everyone I worked with, usually by about 20 years. Even know, I feel like I do not really fit in with a lot of the people around me, but they kinda tolerate me because I can be fun sometimes.

So this week’s Diva Challenge (#326) with guest blogger Elisa Murphy, CZT, prompted us to use the ultimate “fit in” tangle – N’zepple. Now, unlike last week with Peanuckle, this is one tangle I use a lot. And since I was playing around with some black paper and bleach for another project, I challenged myself to use this as my medium.

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Different papers react to bleach differently. They have different underlying colors. It was very interesting, and I started to see what colors I could coax out of them.

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The N’zepple tile is a 6″x6″ cut of some scrapbook paper. The other 2 are a black Apprentice tile and a regular black Zentangle tile. Here is the finished black tile. I did a little shading with some General’s Chalk Pastel in the closest color I could find, but the light spots were just the concentration of the bleach in those spots.

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I may have gotten a little carried away, as I continued this into my Mandala study on Monday night.

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And I thought…hmmm…what about other colors of paper? I still  have some more work to do on this one, I am going to add some color with colored pencils.

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And I wasn’t the only one that had fun trying this, eh Karen?

And that is all the fun I can stand for today.

Don’t forget to check out the store and upcoming classes.

AND…if you were on the list, the first newsletter went out today. If you aren’t on the list, hop on over via the Home button up there and sign up!

I feel like I fit in a little, even if it is on the fringe!

Facing Your Fears

Ok…so the original title of this post in my head from last weekend was “Big Scary Sewing Machine” (more about that in another post)…but then the Diva Challenge (#325) came out. Add tho this a trip where I ended up having to face a fear of heights whilst driving, and out came this topic.

First up…fear of heights. I have been working over the past several years to desensitize myself to a fear of heights that mostly manifests during freeway driving. You know…those huge stacked freeway interchanges we have in the United States? Well, I drive a fairly large SUV (Toyota FJ Cruiser) and since I am 5’4″, I cannot exactly see over the hood, and it sits up pretty high. So, I have some little anxiety/panic attacks about those interchanges, and will usually add a few minutes onto my routes to avoid them. Thank goodness for Google Maps, as I can see in the satellite views which ones I need to detour.

But, there are places where that just is not possible. Like traveling across bridges. Like the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the most beautiful places I know. And one of my happy places. I have not driven in the Bay Area in about 30 years. Mike does all the driving when we are up there, But today, I had to get myself to the airport and return the rental car so he could drive the Uhaul down. And you know what happened? Nothing. Not even a twinge of panic.

I was so emboldened by this that I took the Express Lanes all the way home from LAX and crossed over the new “big scary” at the State Route 91 – Interstate 15 connector. (The caveat here is that I was driving his car, a lot lower to the ground.) But I did it. No sweaty palms, nothing.

So, you ask, CharKat, what has this to do with the Diva Challenge this week? Jessica Davies, CZT is filling in for Laura again this week, and proposed the tangle Peanuckle. At TangleU 2016, this tangle was presented by Molly Hollibaugh herself, to a collective groan from the audience. It strikes unease in the hearts of many, even CZTs, as it is a particularly high focus tangle.

I can execute this tangle with a degree of technical proficiency, but I have yet to make friends with it enough to make it my own. It is not one I ever do on purpose, and I have yet to teach it. But, I thought I would give it another shot here. I took a 6″ Stonehenge piece with me that I had been playing with Tombow markers and water on, so I used that.

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I am not unhappy with the results, but I think it just fades into the background a bit. I may try it again more front and center, or just continue to hold it at arms length. Maybe I need to desensitize myself to that, too.


The August Schedule is posted! This month’s special – Summer Time Blues – An Opus Undertaking – will, in fact, take place on Saturday the 19th. We will play with shapes as reticula for tangles as strings, with a whole lot of blue pens. FUN! (Seating is limited to 12 for this class…do not miss out!)

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I am also going to be adding a FREE Bullet Journaling Support Group, but in August it may take place during Open Studio time on the 13th.

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And check out Open Studio – EVERY SUNDAY – in August. It is cool inside, and you can bring anything you want to work on. I have been working on a quilt.

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Oh, and not to be remiss in announcing…we have a Guest CZT at the shop in September. On Monday, September 11, Cris Letourneau will be teaching her class Renaissance Express at CharKat’s! I am very excited for this, and the techniques she will be teaching are amazing and fun. Cris has authored 2 books on Zentangle techniques that I refer to often – Made in the Shade and Pattern Play: A Zentangle Creativity Booster (with Sonya Yencer.) This is a limited seating class, so make sure you reserve your space early. (Did I mention that you even get that awesome mat in your class kit?)

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I have a few things to finish tonight, being out of town for a few days really puts you in a tight spot playing catch up. Sometimes it is a puzzle seeing where to fit things in!

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Make Stuff…You Will Feel Better!

Merry!?…Happy?!…Whew!

Needless to say, I am feeling a little behind this holiday season. Evidence points to the fact that while I generally have finished my Christmas shopping (always before Thanksgiving!) and the decorations are up and the house looks mighty festive…the packages are not wrapped, and things have not been mailed. But, in my defense, I was a bit under the weather for about a week, and that set me behind. And, I have been a bit busy at the shop (which is a good thing.)

I started doing the Diva Challenge at #161. Now that we are at #297, that seems like such an age ago. I had already done 2 of the past Christmas Challenges…so I filled in the rest for this weeks Challenge – Holiday Bash. So here, is a recap:

Diva #1 was Simiplicity. What better way to show simple and Christmas than a white ornament tangled in the basic tangles in black. Although it did need a bit of bling with the glitter glue (and that was mostly to hide a weird glue incident when I used the wrong glue to stick the sides together.) I glued 2 pennies in the middle for weight.

Diva #52 was “Give”. I cut out a hole lot of stars based on Cris Letourneau’s Star pattern, to attach to cards and gifts this year. They are super quick to tangle up, especially when I cut and pre-scored them with my Brother Scan n Cut 2.

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Diva #100 was New Tangles and A Diva Dance. While Diva Dance isn’t a new tangle anymore, it surely does make a great tree base in my card with a quilled angel and gothic calligraphy lettering. I am still working on my calligraphy skills…

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Diva #148 was Merry Happy. Celebrate the season in  your own way. I found a cute set of metallic pens at Daiso (Japanese discount stores where everything is $1.50) so I decided to give them a try. 8 colors, but they didn’t really look different on the black paper I tried, but they looked festive in a Squid nonetheless. Hard to tell that is a lot of different colors on the scan, in person it is pretty subtle as well.

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I also realized while I was writing this, that I had not completed Diva #198 “Keep It Simple”. I guess that gives me something to do this week! (Brilliant)


We had some fun classes this past week…starting last Saturday with an Ornament Extravaganza. We did 4 different ornaments and folded the Zendala gift box for later tangling.

A festive Zentangle 101 class with bonus Crescent Moon study at the end:

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And tangled on paper bags in tribal styles on Thursday:

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On Monday, we had our annual San Diego/SoCal Friendship Group Christmas meeting, where Wendy Gray led us in the making of this lovely lotus fold “Squash Book” to hold Zentangle tiles. It was a lot of fun!

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I am working on the January Schedule today, so that should be up by Monday. If you are in the area, be sure to come hang out tonite and art to your hearts content. Open studio from 4-9 ($5 drop in fee). Bring whatever you are working on, and have some festive cheer!

If I don’t post nest week, Merry Christmas, and Happiest of Holidays to you and yours!