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!

 

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!)

Diva #347-2


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.

Out of the Blackness…Light

Ok…I’m back. Sorry for not posting last week, but my holiday got the best of me and I was running a bit behind. And now, not only am I playing catch up, but I am still a little brain dead…er…jet lagged. So, here is the whirlwind that is going on now.

This week’s Diva Challenge (#338) was a white on black prompt. Diva already had the new Fine and Bold White Gelly Roll pens, but I just ordered mine yesterday, so I had to make do with just the medium. I did, however, pull out my cool black journal I bought in Venice last year to do it in.

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This is a tale of jet lag. I have no idea what this even is, except it was done in the middle of the night when I could not get back to sleep. Zentangle helps. (And the new pens will be in stock in the store by the end of the week!)

I did get last week’s Diva Challenge (#337) of her tangle, Artoo (in honor of her son) done, as I incorporated it into my Fall Tangles class piece!

Fall Tangles

I am very excited to be teaching this, both at my place on November 4th, and in Santa Barbara on November 11th. Class includes all pens, pencils, and paper (that is the awesome Toned Gray Mixed Media from Strathmore.)

You will need previous Zentangle experience to take this class…but never fear! I will be teaching a Zentangle 101 class in each location on the same day! Sign up early to ensure your space!


With this horrible case of jet lag, all I want to do is sit and knit (especially since I am still sleeping at some pretty odd times.) I did knit on the plane most of the way home (mostly because I found this awesome yarn and some pretty new needles in Christchurch.)

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And wouldn’t you know it, I must have summoned the knit gods by doing this. There was a phone call waiting for me when I got back from a nice lady named Debra who wanted to use the studio to teach Hand Knitting. So won’t you join her on November 1st from 6-9 to learn to use your own hands as knitting needles to create this cool throw?

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You will need to bring your own yarn…3-4 skeins of ‘Yarn Bee Eternal Bliss’ chenille chunky yarn. You can get it locally at Hobby Lobby. Pre-register with comments below and I will forward it to Debra.


And talking about classes…The November schedule is up!

In addition to the classes listed above, Fall Tangles and Hand Knitting, we have Risa Gettler in on the 18th to teach Pointed Pen Calligraphy. Just in time for your holiday cards (and what a great way to practice!) this class will put you through the basics of the pointed pen. A materials list will be published, and everything you need will be available for purchase at the shop.

I will be open for Small Business Saturday (November 25,) with some awesome in-store specials for all your holiday needs. If you are on the email list, I’ll be sending out a special code for free shipping on Cyber Monday! (And CZT’s…I have a great deal on tortillions!)

Tortillions

And if you are in the area, consider dropping in for Open Studio on the 17th or 26th for a make and take ornament! I’ll include the first one for your $5 drop in fee, and you can purchase additional ones if you like.

And not to be left out of the awesomeness that is prepping for the holidays…Fun with Alcohol Inks on November 29 in the afternoon. We will explore some great papers, clear glass ornaments, and even some ceramic ornaments. Great for making gifts!

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And I am cooking up something new for December-January time frame, with a great new  (to me) pen/tool I am starting to use more. Here is a sneak peek!

Fluid Pen on Black Gesso


For fans of the book arts, I am happy to share that Cherryl Moote will be teaching a 3-day workshop for the San Diego Book Arts Guild in February. If you are not familiar with Cherryl’s work, you have seen me post a lot of books and things I’ve made in her classes. She is well worth stalking following and presents some awesome stuff that is Zentangle friendly!

Cherryl Moote

For information on this workshop, go to their website here.

 


And a final report on my holiday. We spent the 2nd week in Christchurch, New Zealand. Christchurch was rocked with devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The second one killed a lot of people (185,) and rendered the landscape of the city into something even the locals no longer recognize. It was like playing “I can’t remember what was there before” for a week.

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This is what remains of Christchurch Cathedral. It is smack dab in the middle of the city, but nature seems to be reclaiming it for its own. There is a huge, very permanent looking fence all the way around it, but there are viewing ports at various locations.

The “snow cone” Chalice in the background, I learned, is all the different plant life native to the area. Each sections leaf structure is different. With the clouds in it, I thought it looked like a cotton candy holder. It is quite lovely.

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One of the things that struck me was talking to a shop owner on our first day in Christchurch. She had the most awesome attitude…she said

How many times does a city have the chance to completely rebuild itself in the image it wants to have?

We did get to the Antarctic Center. Mike flew the mission to the ice in 2005/6 time frame, so it was great for me to get to learn more about what he was doing down there. I also met a penguin (he is a little blue.)

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And we ventured back to Sydney for a day to fly back. Since we had a whole day to kill, we hit the one place we didn’t get to the week prior, Manly Beach and the North Head Trail. We hiked more than 10 miles that day, but boy were the the views worth it.

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We also met a little dragon along the way. (He posed for this.)

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Lastly, I found this awesome opal to wear as a lasting memory of our time out there.

Yahweh Opal

So I guess I can come out of the darkness now.

Geez it is hot here. Maybe I’ll stay in the dark where it is cooler and draw!

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Cozy Up to Tangles

Part of what I really love about the practice of Zentangle is the feeling of comfort I experience whilst tangling. Nothing else matters for a while. Nothing hurts…my body or my brain…for that little while. The outside noise shuts off. My inner critic shuts down. For that time, and usually a good while after, I am everything I want and need to be.

And when this week’s guest Divas – Juliette Flessinger and Kellie Fellinge, CZTs asked us to cozy up for a change of seasons, I was READY! Even though I live in Southern California, I love FALL! It means an end to the heat, even though we don’t get the foliage of someplace like New England, it is definitely a change. They gave us a few tangles and I picked Tripoli and a tile I had spray dyed with coffee and a silicone coaster. Tangled in Sepia and Brown Micron, and shaded with Van Dyke Brown Chalk Pastel, I outlined the coffee areas and added the flowers back in. I was really pleased. So here is Diva Challenge #333:

Diva #333

That was relaxing (doing the outlining) and challenging at the same time. I have to concentrate a lot to get the Tripoli to line up.


I was in a 2 day meeting last week, and I tangled quite a bit during it. Keeps me calm and stops me from being disruptive (I like to talk too much sometimes.) So here are a couple tiles I did there.

The Blue Flowers are on one of the tiles in did in my Paper Play class!

And I have been working through some more prompts from an online journaling thing I was following over the summer. I started really late, and I am WAY behind, but have been really enjoying these little dips into techniques and tangles I do not normally use. Here is what I am caught up to now:

I’ve also used this opportunity to use my tangle, Abukas, in as many ways as possible!


We have a fun class coming up on the 30th with Risa Gettler on doing this cool pop up card. Get a head start on your holidays with this multi-purpose card. While the main focus is to use your calligraphy skills, you can use a computer font instead if your skills aren’t where you want them yet.

Pop Up Card


I will be out of the country for a bit in October, so if you need store items, I should be shipping right up to around the 3rd. I’ll be back on the 20th!

There are still a few of the expanded Summer Time Blues Kits, and be sure to check out the video I posted on blue shading on the tan paper!

Tangle Away – and be cozy.

Throwing Some Blue Shade

Hey Everyone!

No Diva Challenge this week (she is busy with getting the kids back in school,) but I had something I just did not want you to miss!

I have been promising you a video for some time now with my Blue Glow Shading method, so here it is!

All the items used in the video are available in a kit, in a couple variations, at my online shop http://www.charkatscreativeinsanity.com!

So you can peruse the items a little closer, here are the pieces featured in this video.

I hope you like it!


I have a few pieces to share too! I was working on my Tangle Journal (where I create my step outs and use them in a drawing, and did this one for Jetties:

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And I particularly love the tangle Btl-joos (by Sandy Steen Bartholomew, CZT) and when it came up as the tangle of the week in Square One on FaceBook, I could not resist!

Square One - Btl-joos

I think that is enough to entertain  you this week.

Happy Tangling!

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.