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.

Diva #375

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.

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:

Zigmajig Cupcake

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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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

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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.

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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…

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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.)

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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!

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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.)

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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!)

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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.

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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!

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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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Hoarding in the Afterglo

Yes, I am a hoarder. I can finally admit that over many years of fully participating in the hoarding process. I saved bits and bobs of things to make things out of. I had lots of bright, shiny ideas and never followed through with them, resulting in clutter and disarray to the point where I had no workspace left.

I think once I came to grips with the “why” part of my hoarding (that’s a VERY long story) I was ready to deal with it. And deal I did. With the encouragement of a coach, I organized what I wanted to keep, purged what no longer served a purpose, and made a very positive change. Here are a few before and afters:

I replaced the sewing table tops with larger ones, so there is automatically more room there, but since the move around, and purge, the room seems twice as large! And…on top of that, I have been pretty productive!


Since I am basking in the afterglow of having a nice workspace again, it is only right that this week’s Diva Challenge (#344) is a Use My Tangle (UMT) of Afterglo by Carole Ohl, CZT. I have not done this tangle since my very first month tangling, and I did not have fond memories of it. So trying it again (I am still on the white pen kick in my black Venice Journal) I kept an open mind.

Diva #344

I am really learning a lot about shading with this new paradigm of graphite. I think it works really well. And don’t those look like poinsettia?

I also did this one for the Square One Facebook tangle this week, Hypnotic:

Square One - Hypnotic

I’ve also been playing with my Dot Rods™ now that I have space to work. I made this as a peace offering to a friend that I’ve had a falling out with. Don’t tell her though, as I have not yet given it…lol. (I don’t think she reads my blog anyway.)

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I layer them in. Makes it so fun! (Notice the smallest one has a bend in it. An important reminder that they should not be exposed to heat, as I tried to heat shrink that blue tube onto it and it melted a bend. Better to use medical tape to make grips, I think.)

I am cutting and packaging more Dot Rods™ this afternoon, so they should be back in stock in the Online Store tomorrow. I will be out of town from the 13th to the 19th, so if you have orders you want in time for Christmas, they need to be in by the 11th.


A final note on the hoard clearance before I get my rear in gear to go out and work in the garage…I found this completed quilt top, along with the backing and binding fabric in one of the boxes. Circa 1995, the colors are nice, but they just aren’t me anymore. Waffling on whether to donate it or finish it and gift it.  I did such a nice job piecing it!

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And my new “altar” is my favorite part of the room. The lady in the picture is my Grandmother, Ethel Beatrice Kirkham Pyeatt. She always looked and acted like a movie star. She lived quite the life. And the doll is called Gene Marshall, a 1940’s & 50’s movie star, costumed in her role from Shooting Star (imaginary movie.) I used to have over 50 of these dolls in various costumes (another really long story) and sold most of them. I lost the few I had left (another REALLY long story relating to the hoarding issue) and this is the only one I replaced, because she reminds me so much of my Grandmother. She had still been in her box since I received her in 2015!

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Ok…enough from me for the week. Back to work, lots to do! Make Stuff!

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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!