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!

 

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.

Diva #353

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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Dude…DEWD!

That’s right. A tangle named Dewd. I had done Dewd previously in my Venice Journal as part of the Project Pack 1 videos:

Project Pack 1 Dewd

He is a cute little Dewd. Diva chose this for this  week’s Challenge (#343) so I felt compelled to do it again. I started on a Black Tile that I had spray dyed with some sparkly substance.

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Then something went horribly wrong when I got the idea to try Trans-zending on it.  With a Purple Moonlight Gelly Roll. What was I thinking?

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Remember kids, not everything turns out like it did in your head.


On a less terrifying note, I have been working my way through Ornament samples for class on the 9th.  I am setting up stations for each ornament, so you can make as many as you like, and skip the ones that you don’t fancy.

Bijou makes a couple appearances on the list this year.

And again as a bell. (Credit Dorian Eng, CZT for this one.)

And a few cut outs that come out cute (There are more shapes too!)

And another one of Dorian Eng’s Designs.

And a little something I whipped up yesterday!

I’m sure I left our a few, but where would the fun be if I revealed everything? Class is on December 9th…come play with me (and take care of that pesky holiday shopping.)


So last week, I was off to the airport, to go to Guatemala. Sometimes, as we saw with my Dewd tile, things don’t always work out. From the time we left the house to the time we got to the gate, the plane filled up, and I didn’t get a seat (oh, the joys of flying stand-by.) So I drove home.

Strangly enough, I did not actually have a Plan B (very unlike me.) I decided to make the best of the “alone time” to start on my major rework of my home studio space. It was starting to not be much of a work space anymore, but more of a hoarders paradise.

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Panoramas make the room look a little creepy. I am currently over half way done, so I’ll show you a little piece for now, so you can monitor my progress.

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I actually had to wait for the trash to get emptied today, and a load out to the shop, so I can finish loading out what is getting tossed, and what is getting donated. I am pretty pleased so far, and have been concentrating on putting things away when I bring them in here, not just piling them on my workbench. It was starting to look like this all the time:

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I am grateful to have this lovely space, but I have not been taking very good care of it.

And, since I hadn’t planned to cook for Thanksgiving, I treated myself to dinner out. I live across the street from a very large Indian Casino (Pechanga) and I made a reservation to eat this:

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It’s a good thing I had other nice stuff for you to look at!

And, I know I promised this a long time ago, but with all the construction going on in our backyard I wasn’t able to get it done until now. Glass Pens. Coolness.

Still learning to edit videos. Still learning to speak English most days.

Have a great week!

Dia de Tuna

What? Oh, that’s right, you all know it as Dia de Muertos or All Saints Day, but around here, we call it Tuna Day. It’s Mike’s birthday (call sign Tuna…remember Maverick from Top Gun?)

So of course, I started doing cards for the man who has everything. He (at least pretends to) like my art, and often gets a chuckle. So I did this one for him, and my Diva Challenge (#339) for Fall/Halloween.

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I mounted it on a plain black card, and practiced my calligraphy skills to write on it and in it. So now you know why I had to wait until today to post this (didn’t want to ruin the surprise!)

I also finished up (on time!) the Inktober Tangles challenge from Stephanie at www.everythingis-art.com. I am pretty pleased that I caught up in time to have a big finish (much to the detriment of my to-do list for the shop.)

I have 2 other projects I need to catch up on, but I will whittle down the to-do list a bit first! I feel like I am that plate spinner at the circus this week. I’ve been trying to get a video clip filmed on Glass Pens, but the jackhammers and concrete saws in the backyard say otherwise. I think they have finished most of that, so  I should be able to get it done now.


Don’t forget all the cool classes coming up in November!

I will be teaching this awesome Fall Tangles class both in Temecula, AND Santa Barbara.

Fall Tangles

And if you have not yet taken a Zentangle 101 class, you can do both in the same day, as I have that on the schedule for both locations.

And Risa is teaching Pointed Pen Calligraphy on the 18th, just in time for working out your Christmas cards!

And of course, Fun with Alcohol Inks on the afternoon of the 29th.

Alcohol Ink on Toned Tan - Tree

Sign up for these great classes to reserve your space!


Ok…back to tasks, and ticking this one off the list!

Love to you all, Make Stuff!

 

Aloha…Abukas!

I know…cryptic, eh?

This week’s Diva Challenge (#328) is a Use My Tangle (UMT) by Suzanne Fluhr (CZT and Guest Diva Blogger) for her tangle, Aloha. Suzanne writes a travel blog I really enjoy reading called Boomeresque. Mike and I had the honor of meeting her, and the infamous Mr. Excitement, when they were in San Diego for a cruise earlier this year. We had dinner and did some walking…topping it off with ice cream. What could be more fun?

I dig this tangle. I have done it several times now…

It is fun and bold and graphic. It makes a great border, string, or if you make it big enough, you can even tangle inside it.

So I wanted to do it a little bigger, and on one of my alcohol ink mono prints that reminded me of Hawaii. It is, after all, called Aloha!

Diva # 328

So…you may notice the other tangle I used here. Yes, it is new. AND…it is my VERY FIRST tangle. I call it Abukas, and it is influenced by Lynn Mead’s tangle Abeko and the original Zentangle® tangle Arukas. I rather stumbled on to it while I was working on some smaller Bijou tiles for a project I am working on.

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I thought to myself….self….you should do a step out for this and see how it comes out. So, here it is for all you to try, too! I like how art deco it looks, and I think it has a lot of potential.

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I have had some grand fun playing around with it, and I know a few others have tried it as well.

Speaking of those little Bijou tiles…here are some more of them.

I love doing these little things. It really helps me stretch my creative juices without a lot of sit down time. While I love to tackle larger projects, I think it makes it more fun to break it up into chunks, like we can do with an Opus tile.

I tend to lose my motivation when faced with finishing one of the really big things, like this mandala. It actually sat on my easel for just over a year! Finally took some Inktense Pencils to it, blacked in a bunch for consistency, and attacked it with a gold pen. Yes, that is a pen.

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Imagine the relief when that was finished. (It is 20 inches across!)

I am prepping some wool appliqué to keep me busy during a couple of flights next week, so I had best get back to it.

Have a Wonderful Week! Aloha!

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.

Diva #312

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.

Diva #313

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.

Diva #314

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!

 

Changes…and Noom

CharKat’s Creative Insanity is about to undergo a drastic reset! I can tell you this will benefit all those of you who wish  you could come take classes with me, but live far away…but that’s all I am going to tease!


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I attended the Path to Profit Creative Business Summit last weekend, and after almost 2 years in, I finally have a clearer view of what I should be doing for YOU! I highly recommend any creative entrepreneur attend this workshop (there is another one coming up in September!) You really will be doing yourself, and your business, a favor. Minette really knows her stuff, and knows how to find the best business you that will make your business shine and be profitable. And…you get to color and play and be around other creative people…even other Certified Zentangle Teachers!

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CZTs From Left to Right: Jean Mackie, Me, Minette Riordan, Ph.D., and Annette Carlo


I may or may not have gotten a little carried away with the tangle Noom this week. Diva Challenge #309 had us using it, and boy did I!

The first example is this lovely Renaissance Tan Zendala that is part of another journal page I am working on. It makes a lovely border, and I honestly was not trying to make my Mooka into an octopus, but it just happened!

Diva #309 OTL Zendala

Then, while I was finishing up my tiles for the TangleU swap, it worked it’s way in again!

Diva #309 TU Swap

I am really enjoying this tangle. It is so simple, but looks so awesome!


I had a few more cool tiles I did for my journal page I am working on, that I wanted to share too. Mono-tangles (just one tangle on the page) can be very striking, and a great way to practice tangles you are not sure about. And Bijou tiles are an excellent way to carry them off. Even an ATC (Artist Trading Card) size can be less intimidating than doing a whole time sometimes.


Lots to do today! Tangle On!