Traveling Around and Kicking Rocks

This year’s vacation is getting close! We are heading out in early October, and I have not been getting the excitement I’ve had in years past. I think part of that is the unknown quality of where I am going (Australia and New Zealand) and that I did the initial planning months ago and really haven’t done much since.

This week’s Diva Challenge (#331) by guest blogger Jane Reiter made me start really thinking of it, in terms of the unique geological make up of all the places you can travel to. She has us tangle patterns similar to the Petoskey Stone in Michigan. Now, I love me some pretty rocks, and these are particularly cool, in their patterns. While they are mostly hexagonal, I took a more free-form approach. I found one of my tiles I had painted in a class, with Twinkling H2O watercolors and alcohol. It was one of those tiles that I wondered if I would ever use, because of the pattern on it. But for this, it seemed to work perfectly (and again, as usual, I forgot to take a picture of it BEFORE I started tangling on it.)

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This one is on hot press watercolor paper. I decided to have a go with the Pentel Hybrid Technica 04, a gel roller pen with some nice pigmented ink. We all know that Microns and other fiber tipped pens are notorious for clogging up whilst tangling over watercolors and other paints, and I have found this to be a great substitute. They come in several nib sizes (03, 04, 05, 06) and the ink is nice and black.


And of course, I have started my “art supply” packing for the trip. Now, I am pretty famous for OVER packing art supplies when we go on vacation. I usually take WAY too much and end up doing nothing. Last year, I even made a scrap book to work on “on the go” so that it would be finished when we got home. (And to confess, I did the first 3 days, and didn’t touch it again. It is still sitting at the shop, wanting attention. It is a beautiful book. It is on my list of project UFOs.)

So this year, I took a harder look. I travel, for whatever amount of time we go, with a small backpack (PacSafe) and a small suitcase (ebags) that fits in even foreign carrier’s overhead bins. I always plan on doing laundry if we are going to be gone longer than a week (and honestly, a charming part of the trip last year was doing laundry in Venice at a laundry mat with American washers.)

And that brings me to the scaled down version of what goes in the backpack. I have an iPad Pro. It is huge, but it keeps me connected (especially to you guys!) while I am out, but has a pretty large footprint. It took me a while to find a backpack that it fit in, without being a huge backpack. Here is the backpack, with all the things that go inside (minus the giant iPad.)

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On the left: I’ve recently started keeping a Bullet Journal instead of a planner, and that is the center of my focus for what I need to successfully plan and record events while we travel.

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And of course, I need to tangle. (Note that I said need. Not want, not should. It helps me sleep and keeps my head on straight.) The purple pen is an Uni Jetstream 4 color with a pencil. Easy access for just jotting notes and not having to dig into…

On the right: my Kipling Nolan Pencil Case. It has plenty of room for all the pens and tangle supplies I also need, as well as a couple zipper pouches inside to hold tiles and smaller things.

 

I can get a LOT in there and it doesn’t take up much room.

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Starting at the top: Mini Travel Stickie Notes from Daiso (the Japanese $1.50 store but you can order online in bulk,) a couple blending stumps, eraser, and extra 2mm leads for my 2B holder (Daiso!) Stuff to tangle on and a couple of my most loved flat templates and a ruler that can also be used as compasses. 2B lead holder (Daiso), White UM153 Gel Pen, Pentel Hybrid Technica 05, Tombow Mono Drawing Pens in 01, 03, and 05, Ooly 6 color Gel Pen (found this one at The Container Store,) Pentel Multi 8-color Color pencil, Factis eraser, and a spray bottle with SpectraFix Fixative. I also have a small card case with ATC blanks, pre-stamped with my information on the back to leave as abandoned art (not shown.)

After I evaluated what was in there, and what I had to tangle on in the bag, I added a few more white and tan tiles, and these (how on earth could I forget a Stardust Glitter Pen and Gold Gelly Roll, much less a white and indigo Chalk Pastel Pencil!?!?) And that also meant I needed to add a sharpener, so I found the smallest one I could (without going shopping.)

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So after repacking, this is what the front and back flap look like:

It is a little fuller, but I think more complete.

I also have need of something different to work on, so I packed a wool appliqué project that I am in the middle of. It is compact, and fits in my cute skellie zipper pouch.

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The needlework kit is an Altoids tin that I did many years ago, with preemie scissors (airline safe.) Those were ginger Altoids. Handy to have if I need to do any repairs on the road, but I also have a small travel sewing kit for that.

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Speaking of scissors, some of the wool things still need to be cut out, and I need sharp scissors, but I don’t want TSA to take them. I purchased these Gingher’s after 9/11, and have been successfully traveling with them since. Rounded ends and short blades keep TSA happy, and sharp enough to shave with keeps me happy.

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So I have plenty to do, and plenty of room for everything! And, it isn’t all that heavy until I put the monster iPad in it.

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So, I hope this little look into my packing schema helps you on your next trip. Pack light and have fun!


While I was puttering around the shop/studio this week, I took some time to play!

I spent some time making a new swatch for the Iridescent FineTec Palette. All three of the specialty FineTech palettes (6 color Pearlescent Gold, 12 color Pearlescent, and this one) are back in stock at the shop now. This looks SO cool on black paper!

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And I was playing around with the idea of simplicity this week, too. It is amazing at how gratifying it can be. I wish I had taken more time to shade it with graphite instead of Fabrico Marker.

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What week would be complete without a little sacred geometry and Spirograph?

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And now, more than ever, it is important to stop and spend quality time with the ones you love! And when the Giants WIN, that quality time is even better!

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Even my plant is happy this week (the continuing saga of the African Violet that took 5 years to bloom.)

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Peace, love, and prayers for receding water in Texas. 

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

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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!