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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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!

 

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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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.

TU 2015 Mooka Blues Purk

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

Tripoli Fassetts

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!

Different Kind of Stripes

Ok…we all know I am not good at following directions that well. I did 2 versions of this weeks Diva Challenge (#316) whilst practicing some pointed pen tangling. The challenge was to use some form of stripes for a string. The first was a rather free form diagonal striped ATC. Done with a dip pen and some red gouache I already had mixed up. I think for run of the mill tangling, I need to work on this more.DIva #316 - 1

And because I am still working on getting the consistency of Bleed Proof White correct in my “FrankenPen” I did another one. This one, I purely stuck to the more flourish lifework type tangles that work better with a pointed pen, and I am much happier with how it looks. And, you get to see a pen, and the ink comparison!

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I think I finally have this figured out, and will write up an instruction when I am ready to make up a few of these pens for those who do not want to “do it yourself.” I’ve figured out the viscosity issue with using this pen, making it a nice, portable alternative to carrying around a bottle of white ink to dip into. So far, I feel like I won this battle!

And from last weeks Diva Challenge (#315) I could not leave well enough alone, so I went back in and shaded it with some gold Pan Pastels…it is very sparkly in person.

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And I tried some different ink on different paper:

Pointed Pen on scallop paper

You may ask, CharKat, why are you doing so much pointed pen work?

Simple! I want to teach YOU how, so I need to practice. And guess what? The class is the 10th of June! I am working up a wonderful experience for you, and would love to have you at the shop. But never fear…if you can’t make it to me, I will have the class kit available for you online, and maybe even a little video instruction after the new website goes live!

Also on the upcoming schedule for June, Book Making Basics, where we will make some tools we are going to need for upcoming books, and make our first starter sewn book, like the one you see here:

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Sounds like fun, eh? I will have the schedule up here, on the old site, by Wednesday.

I have been a busy little bee this week. Between working up samples and experimenting with a few new things, I worked in my little Iona book:

And finished a couple pages in my Tangle Journal:

And, as if that wasn’t enough, when I was filing and cleaning up my office, I found a project from TangleU 2016 that I didn’t finish, so I finished this Zero Drawing Technique piece:

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Man, it felt good to do all that this week! My brain feels awesome, and my heart is full. Finishing things, and cleaning up, has really been nice. Now I just need to hire a housekeeper for the rest of the house!

And on that note, I am going to put more pen to paper, and raise a glass of Single Malt to remember a friend who left this world 8 years ago.

And make stuff!

Return to…Normal?

Whew. Whenever I travel, I love where I go and what I do, and by the end of my journey, I am always glad to be home. When I travel for TangleU (Continuing Education-thype event for Certified Zentangle Teachers) there is also a euphoria of spending an amount of time with my tribe and kindred spirits. But there is also a Post Conference-Funk that Cherryl Moore so eloquently wrote about here.

I am going through the post-euphoria phase, trying to finish quite a number of unfinished projects, but also pleasantly surprised with that I accomplished. We had so many great classes this year, it was an amazing learning experience, and really pushed my boundaries into a few things I had a previous fear of…like using a pointed dip pen for about anything, much less tangling. But that turned out to be something I really took to!

That was so much fun! Another one was the Pan Pastels. I purchased them quite some time back, and never really quite “got the hang of” working with them. I have a few more pieces to finish of this, but you get the idea.

TU Pan Pastel Hibiscus Tag

And I would be remiss if I didn’t again evoke the name of Cherryl Moore, because I spent not one, but 2 classes with her. So far, I have finished one of my journals from her Thursday class.

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Leather cover, Arches Text Wove interior. I have one more like that to fold and finish tonite, and then to figure out my finishing for a cute Coptic stitch book with 32 lb bond and a watercolor cover (yes…I will share that when I finish it!)

Nysha Nelson also had a very interesting class, where I actually completed tiles. We looked at different color combinations and shading techniques. It was quite nice to see what differences there were in everyones tiles from the same set of instructions.

Needless to say, I had a great time, and got to share space with some amazing people!

I also got all my Diva Challenges done while I was gone, but didn’t get them posted. So starting with #312 – Coffee, Tea or Me? I spilled out the last drop of wine from my glass and let the tile dry. I tangled it with a purple Pigma Micron PN and shaded with a purple chalk pastel.

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And then there was #313 – Earth (Amanda) Day. I have to confess that I took this with me on the trip to work on, and finished it just as that day was announced. The background is Art Graf water soluble pigment/graphite. I used the sepia colored one and water to cover the page, then erased through several different stencils to get the shapes. Tangled with a Pigma Micron PN in sepia and then “colored” with Peerless Watercolors.

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It reminds me of the U.S. Forest Servies’ commercials with Woodsy Owl. I think they were in the 1970’s. Woodsy Owl says Give a Hoot…Don’t Pollute!

And finally, this week, #314 – Use My Tangle – Scallamps by Sarah Uram, CZT. I thought this tangle had a lot of potential, so I decided to pair it with some corner Dingbatz that were featured in Kitchen Table Tangles recently.

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And I know you want to know about that cute book! That brings me to the 2nd week of my recent trip, after TangleU we headed to Austin, Texas, to spend time with the most adorable G(r)ay Batman on the plant. (He can’t say his “R”s well yet…)

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We did lots of fun things; went to Natural Bridges Wildlife Ranch, where we were nearly eaten by an ostrich poking his head in the car, explored a cave at Natural Bridges Caverns, and spent a lot of time in the pool.

But, I also had a side trip to collect on my birthday present. Most of you know that I am rather obsessed with handmade books, so when I saw a segment on Iona Handcrafted Books that someone shared on FaceBook, I knew that was a place I needed to be. Be sure to check out the video on their website, so you can see why I was jazzed!

It smells so good there. I purchased a photo album gift for someone…and 2 books for myself. The smaller one is a “Cub 25” that they do not have listed on the website. It has bamboo paper, and I am finding that it really likes just about any pen I have put to it. And it has enough tooth to shade well, and enough thickness to tangle (or write) on both sides of the paper. It is tangle sized too…which is a fun, but the thicker pages are a bit of a chore to hold open in the smaller format. (read, I will tangle in this every night till I fill it up!)

The smaller book was to hold me over until my big one was finished and I picked it up on the way to the airport (really close by if you are in Austin.) This one is 7.5 x 7.5 inches, has yummy butterscotch leather, a dark brown lace, and a a vintage rosette/back plate from an old door knob on the front flap that has Celtic knots on it. 100 pages of watercolor paper. I can’t wait to take this on our Australia/New Zealand trip this year!

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I cannot say enough nice things about these books. All their paper is meant to be used on both sides, so no bleed through even with a fountain pen. I am thrilled!


On the note of what is going on with the shop/website. I am taking some time this month to do a complete reset on both. There is a very limited class schedule this month, and I will post a couple of Open Studio times when I get a minute. The website is in process, and I hope to be live with a whole new and very unique shopping experience for the Zentangle® enthusiast. Bear with me…

Make Stuff…You Will Feel Better!