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.

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.

Bonnie Hunter First Square

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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Wibble Wobble

Well, I am a little behind this week. My usual goal is to have a post up by Tuesday afternoon, but here it is, Thursday.

While I have lots of excuses, none of them are all that valid. 

But, while I was in my meetings today, I tangled, and I present my version of Wibble by Shawna Martin, the Use My Tangle (UMT) for the Diva Challenge (#340.)


The tile was something I found in my box of prepped backgrounds (on a white Zentangle tile. It had a lot of greens and yellows in it, so that leads me to believe it may be a Color Burst by Ken Oliver. I do so many of these sometimes I can’t remember. Whenever I have my paints out for something, I always “sop up” whatever is left with tiles and let them dry. Makes for an interesting challenge, using colors. I did a lot of rounding here, making it pretty graphic looking. Music notes? Interlocking J’s? I dunno…but I like it.

I tend to tangle my way through training sessions so I pay more attention to what is being presented. It helps my brain focus. I have a little pile of started tiles to finish, as well as some blanks and colored backgrounds. This was a partially started tile:


And this one was sprayed with hibiscus tea through a silicone coaster I found at Daiso (Japanese $1.50 store here in California.)


I feel pretty productive when I do this.

I found a cool new toy from one of my art supply wholesalers…a lap desk/easel! It folds up really nicely, and has a drawer to hold all my pens. I can neaten up bu just closing it up! I’m nearly sold out of the first order, but if enough people like them, I will order more.


Click on the Home button to go to the main web site to order them.
I also got the new White Gelly Rolls sets. I have to say I am really impressed with the ink, which I truly believe is reformulated. I am having a much better time doing fill work with them. And check out those awesome metallic pencils. They look marvelous on black paper (and tiles!)

It’s not too early to give your family a wish list for me to fill up for a great Christmas gift! I am always happy to do special orders, and put together custrom packages.

I may have a few kits left for the Fall Tangles after Saturdays’s class. I did a few more samples…check them out!


After posting this, I feel like I’ve been drawing non-stop all week. Gosh!

And thank you to all my fellow Veterans for your service to our great country. And to my civilian friends, than you for your support. Without you, it would be really hard to serve.

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.

Plating Your Tangles

After the enormity of last weeks post, I feel like I am letting everyone down this week! In my defense, it was only a couple days ago.

This week, the Diva is still on her summer break, so Guest Blogger Jeanette Clawson, CZT tasked us with a plate for our tangles. We did these for a swap at TangleU and I really enjoyed it. And of course, I am still on a kick using my own tangle (Abukas) and simply keep trying to put haKrall in new situation (thank you Holly!) So, here I present a plate of tangles for Diva Challenge #330.


The tile is a shaving foam marbled paper by Annette Carlo CZT. I simply love using these backgrounds to tangle on, so I decided I would share the ones I love the most as my monthly special for September. Be sure to sign up for Paper Play and come play with me! We will be exploring this, as well as some alcohol ink (mono prints and ceramic tiles,) suminagashi (Japanese marbling,) and some different watercolor backgrounds. Oh, and I will also be teaching a few new tangles to use on those!


And the rest of the September schedule is posted now too. There are still a few seats left for Renaissance Express with Cris Letourneau on September 11. Consider coming to spend the day with us!

Have a great week!

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!

The Paradox Principle

Paradox (noun) – a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth; a self-contradictory and false proposition; any person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparent contradictory nature; an opinion or statement contrary to commonly accepted opinion.

I think it was fitting this week that the Diva Challenge (#301) gave us a duotangle of Rick’s Paradox vs Diva Dance. It is almost like its a statement of what is going on these days. the contrary positions between what we know to be right and what is being presented to us has a lot of us at our wits end. Many of us are just plain sad a lot. But..spirits lift when tangling. I played in my black journal again this week. The paper makes white pen fill a little better (I think it is black charcoal paper…a little less absorbent than tiles.)

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It also occurred to me that it looks like a slice of pizza. Appropriate for my Italian journal, eh?


We wrapped up a 4 week Gothic Calligraphy project last Thursday evening, with a showing of what we worked on. I was pleased with my result, and find it frame worthy. Although I’m not sure where to hang it so as to not offend people. (I have a bit of a wry sense of humor….and I needed this to entertain me so that I would continue the 6-7 times I had to re-do it!)

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Everyone did quite well, as you can see from our pieces!

If you are interested in more calligraphy, won’t you join us on Thursday to learn to paint Medieval Boxed Capitals? Class includes all materials! Call the shop (951-972-3015) and reserve your spot. (Leave a message if I am not there!)

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Ciao! (Vacation planning underway…this year, Rome and Naples area.)