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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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:

Zero Drawing Create Love

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!

Golden Molygons

I have a confession to make. Since TangleU, I have become a bit obsessed with pointed pen tangling. To the point (pun intended) where I have been trying to make it more portable (per a suggestion from Cherryl Moote) by converting a fountain pen. So far, I am still experimenting with this, as I’m not completely happy with how runny the ink seems, so I will be trying different things here until I like it. (Regular fountain pen ink tends to bloop up and if I am not watching it carefully, said bloop ends up on my paper…)

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But, when I switched back to my regular dip pen with gouache, it seemed much better.

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I am finding the Zentangle tiles a bit tricky, as they seem pretty rough and fibrous. Smoother papers work better for this. So that led me to try some Kuretake Gold Sumi Ink I had on black Artist Tile paper that I cut to a Zendala size. And what better way to practice than on this week’s Diva Challenge (#315) for a foray into Molygon. Molygon was featured on Kitchen Table Tangles with Rick & Maria on the Zentangle Mosaic App this week, and after watching the video, I thought I would give it a shot with my golden ink.

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I figured to not do any shading on that, but I may go back later and try it with a gold Pan Pastel and see how that works.


I have been VERY  productive busy bee this week. Not only did I get a good portion of my office cleaned up, sorted, and filed, but I finished a few things.

First up, another book from Cherryl Moote’s class at TangleU. The closure is a wooden dolphin that Elaine gave us on the last day as a reminder of the event, so I drilled some holes in him and used some muted turquoise ink to distress him a bit. IMG_4971

I also finished my Visigothic Versals project from the workshop we had with Risa Gettler. I think we may hold it again in the fall, so don’t feel left out.

The World VV Project

It is a pretty big piece, so  you would have to see it in person.

And today, we had a great meet up with the San Diego Tanglers Friendship group at the Bernardo Winery. Nancy Robinson, CZT, gave us a great tutorial on Zen Gems, and I made this turquoise lovely.

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If you would like to see some great examples of how to draw and color these, check out this free download of Tim McCreight’s Practical Jewelry Rendering. Not only does it cover stones like this, but also cut gems, gold, silver, and pearls. And did I mention that it is free?

I did a few more in my journal as well..

And I think I really like the new Dingbatz. So much that I managed to make a giant one on a journal page I was working on in an art journal.

Dingbatz Bridge

And in addition to all that, I drafted a new logo for the web page, but you will have to wait to see that.

Gotta get to making dinner now!

Marasu Unfurled

Whew…what a weekend! Missed my usual Monday deadline for posting this week’s blog, but I had a good excuse. Started out going to Palm Springs on Friday, where I had lunch with Cherryl Moote while Flyboy did some work around the house for his mom. Then we went over to Morongo Casino & Resort for an evening with Sammy Hagar & The Circle (Michael Anthony from Van Halen, Jason Bonham, son of legendary drummer John Bonham from Led Zeppelin, and Vic Johnson, guitar player from Sammy’s other band, The Wabos.) We splurged and got the VIP experience, and BOY…did we get an experience!

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Wow! Sammy is turning 70 in October, but he isn’t missing a beat. The show was AMAZING!

Then we doodled off to Phoenix on Saturday, visited my mom at her assisted living place, and spent a lovely evening in downtown Phoenix. If  you re ever in that area, I highly recommend The Arrogant Butcher. Drinks were totally on point, and the food was great, too!

Sunday, after another quick walk around downtown, we headed out to the Goodyear Ballpark to see the Giants play the Reds. It was a beautiful day, and Spring Training remains one of my favorite things to do. You get to be so much closer to the players, and it seems a bit more personal, watching the guys who are trying to make the team.

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We spent Sunday night with friends in Surprise, and headed home Monday, with another stop in Palm Springs to finish some things up at Flyboy’s mom’s house.

While he was working, I started on this week’s Diva Challenge (#305.) I have loaded all my pre-prepped and half finished tiles and whatnot into my art bag, so I always have a few things to choose from when I need to start a project. This time, a watercolor postcard that I had sprayed with hibiscus tea through a stencil seemed like a likely candidate for a Duo Tangle of Marasu and Molygon. While I know that Marasu is a coiled image, I thought I would imagine it unfurled…and in as many different ways as I could think of. I kept the Molygon fillers all the same, so they would stand out a bit. Finished off with a purple metallic Gelly Roll and shaded with Stabilo CarbOthello Chalk Pencil.

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I think it turned out pretty well. I was also thinking…its a postcard! I should send it to someone. So…I will select a random person from the comments on this post to send it off to!

Back to work, wrapping up the finishing touches on the Celtic Knot instructions. Still room in the class if you can make it, and if you can’t, I will have another surprise for you shortly!

Welcome to 2017

Ok…I know…I did not really need to take a few weeks off from blogging. Not good for business, etc. But sometimes, you have to refocus your intentions and get some things done. Get through the holidays. Spend time with loved ones. Make art.

I set some pretty lofty goals for myself this year. All measurable and attainable, though, so I know I can do it. The first one is to get my blog posts in on Monday. So, I think I did that! (1 down, 51 to go!)

What better way to start off the New Year than with a new Use My Tangle (UMT)  Diva Challenge! Challenge #298 comes to us in the form of the tangle Orbs-la-Dee by Anneke van Dam. It is a nice filler tangle, and has a few cute variations. I decided to use it on a tile where I was testing the Sakura Micron against the Copic Multi-Liner SP. I wanted to see if I could tell the difference, so I divided the tile in half and tangled the same tangle on both halves.

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Honestly, there isn’t a lot of difference. To the naked eye, the Copic looks slightly different when next to the Micron, but if you used just the Copic, that difference wouldn’t matter. I think the deal here is the price points more than anything else. They are both pigment inks, archival, etc. But I think my real love of the Copic is that it is more economical in the long run, not to mention more environmentally friendly. It is refillable, and has replaceable nibs. The refills last longer than a Micron, and the nibs stay juicier a lot longer. So instead of carrying extra pens when I travel, I only need refills. The con side to this is the starter price of the Copic. I sell the Microns for $2.25 US…the Copics are $11 US. But…the refills are the price of a Micron….and last at least twice as long.

And…as luck would have it for you, my readers, I can supply these lovely pens for you! (Leave me a note below.)


So you know that I have not been slacking over the holidays, I shall produce proof!

First up, I participated in the 12 Days of 3Zs Challenge from Zentangle®. Although I got my tiles late and did not finish them in time for the actual contest, I did, in fact, finish them before Christmas! They make a pretty mosaic star:

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And individually:

These tiles are a lot of fun, and take a little less time when  you only have a short time to tangle. And the pre-strung set take the stress out too!


At our December Friendship group meeting, we had a nice gift exchange, and I was the lucky recipient of a handmade latka book, from my friend and fellow CZT Hiroko Hashimoto. She tangled on the covers:

And I realized that I have a huge stack of these really cool journals and books, and I do not use many of them. I have yet to make one pen stroke in the journal I received at CZT training. So, I decided now was the time to start! The paper in this one is really interesting…it has a lot of texture and character. It also pills excessively when shading (hint: use a lint roller prior to spraying fixative.)

I have been trying to do a page or 2 a week. Seems like a good place to try out some new things.


I noodled around with my Scan ‘n Cut 2 some more and came up with these snowflakes:

The paper is an Astrobrights Metallic card stock, and I used Sakura Glaze pens on them. It is a fairly non-porous surface, although they say you can print on them with an ink jet printer. I have tangled on this paper with a regular Gelly Roll pen, but I find the Micron does not show up well.

Also came up with this cute little ornament from 3 Bijou tiles.

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I did an end of the year recap on my FitBit…I walked over 1,300 miles! The chart was interesting. I started playing PokemonGo in July (my FitBit broke in August, so I was without it for 10 days, and I was sick a good part of December.)

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This year, I am setting a goal of 1,500 miles. That is attainable, if it ever stops raining. The rain is a conundrum for me. We need it badly here in California, but it is severely cramping my walking! But…the rain also gives us beautiful rainbows.

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That was the most magnificent one I have ever seen, and it was right from my home studio window.

I am not going to tell you to stay crazy anymore.

I am going to tell you to make art. It will keep the crazy away!

I’m Not Gone…I’m Molygon!

Whew…you would think taking some time to work on stuff would be more productive! But…I feel like I haven’t gotten much done. And I still need to do my taxes!

So, a couple of weeks ago, I started giving a class where we do these step outs and then use the tangle, so you have a visual reference and a neat-o mini binder to keep them all in. So, what better way to knock out my Diva Challenge (#253) for the new tangle, Molygon, from Zentangle HQ. Not only did I practice it real well by doing the step out, I was able to make a cool reference tile, right on the page.

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And, the bonus is that it is on my “to-do” list to complete at least one page a week for my reference. Ta-done!


I also worked up this cute frame for the Valentangle class. Based on Joanne Fink’s Zendangles, it will be one of two options for the class on the 13th. Register here, pick  your option for either the card or the frame. I need to prep the frames, so preregistration is a must!

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Got a major UFO (unfinished object) out of my studio this week, and hung for use. I like to up-cycle things that may no longer seem “fresh” and make them useful again. This ugly dart board case was just that object. Mike swears he bought it about 30 years ago, and it definitely had seen better days.

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Some Chalk Paint and trim pieces later, with a little Zentangle magic sprinkled in, and viola! It is now presentable!

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One important takeaway from this project. Gorilla Wood Glue does NOT dry clear…I may eventually touch up the paint where you can see the glue, but I was just so darn happy to have it off my workbench I didn’t even care!


 

Lastly, I have a sneak peek at my prototype for some t-shirts you will be able to buy online or at the shop. Color them yourself…way cool. (this is a finished one, tangled a little and colored.) I just finished my “wash test” to make sure everything worked fine, so next it’s off to the printers to get them made.

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Looking forward to seeing people at the shop!

Namas’cray…stay crazy my friends!