Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Tale of Two Coffee Makers: Wait for it

Your driving a car, thinking everything is just dandy, then you look at the speedometer and see that you are driving much faster than you should be. Speed sneaks up. We go with the flow around us and pretty soon everything is moving way too fast.
   This is an age of immediate results, lightning speed communication, high expectation. (check out this YouTube clip of Louis C.K.). SO all this brings me to my new coffee maker. It's a Keurig, and since I'm the only coffee drinker in the house, it's little "one cup under a minute" function is really cool, especially in the morning when it's a little harder to not spill coffee grounds all over the counter, pour water on myself, and then, heaven forbid, WAIT for a cup of coffee to brew. Ask anyone I know: they will tell you I love my new coffee maker. I also got a new french press coffee maker, which I also love. But why would I use that one if it takes at least 10 minutes total to get a cup of coffee?
    ... because sometimes the wait is just what is needed, whether we are aware of it or not. I once spent a weekend with some friends. As i sat sleepy-eyed at the kitchen table, wishing for some coffee, I see that my hostess with the mostest is hand grinding the coffee beans, boiling water on the stove, and then we will wait some more for it to brew in the coffee press. There was a part of me that didn't understand this. Why would you do all that work and then have to wait for the coffee? I have to say, the "child" part of me wanted my coffee and wanted it soon! But there was another part of me that always trusts that everything truly is in its place, and that part of me waited with that conscious trust. What happened when I got to taste that coffee? It was a heightened sense of gratitude, not to mention an appreciation for all that had gone into this cup of coffee.. I could actually TASTE the love and attention. One of the best cups of coffee I ever had.
    What my coffee makers (both the people kind and the machine kind!) have to teach me: sometimes it's efficient to have a quick cup of coffee, but sometimes it's in the waiting that we get to really experience the moment at hand. My new little Keurig will brew tea, too. But I don't think that will happen. For me, an afternoon tea break is just that: a break from activity, a waiting for the steep, a savoring of the flavor, and a mood of the moment.
   Take a minute to savor whatever you are doing. Drive a little slower, sip a little more, tangle a little more deliberately. When you wait for it, mmmmmmmmmm.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2012 Tangle-a-Day Calendar!

I'm happy to announce that the 2012 Tangle-a-Day Calendars are almost off the press!  I'm expecting them by sometime next week (fingers crossed, maybe earlier?).

This calendar was designed as a daily journal for those who love to practice the art of  Zentangle®! The 2102 version is much different than last. It's 146 pages, each page is 8 inches wide, 5 inches deep. The calendar has a coil binding (on the 5" side), making it easier to take this little tangle journal with you wherever you go. Each day of the month has a block (about 2.5"x2.5") to fill with whatever you like. It also has a few tangled spaces to jump start your tangled mind. The paper has the same feel as last year, which I love, and my Sakura pen did too! The other difference is, I'm selling them through the Greyden Press online bookstore. Place the order online and they will ship them directly to you. I am also offering a bulk price for 5 or more shipped to the same address. If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly. Happy tangling everyone!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Unstoppable Fife

I missed last week's "Biggify" Diva Challenge, dang it. Instead of busy holidays, I have relaxing ones. I tend to do all the fun things I don't get to do when I'm busy with my graphics work. So my routine (as loose as it may be!) gets turned around. I usually do the challenge on Tuesday mornings. I go to breakfast with a friend and do some chatting and tangling. Even if my friend can't make it, I go anyway, enjoying a little time that I set aside just to relax with the Zentangle process. Last week, I devoted that time to a new project that needed a big focus. I took the same focused intent I use for Zentangle, and applied it to the new project: I processed my thoughts and notes just like a Zentangle-- starting with a 'string' foundation, and letting everything else flow from there. It was great fun and as I shuffled my pages of notes to find a good order, I felt like I was turning my tile to see what was there. Awesome fun.
   This past Tuesday, I had breakfast with my friend, but there was much to talk about, so we didn't touch the Zentangles. BUT... that same day I had to get my car serviced and had to wait a good bit for it to be finished. I always carry my Zentangle stuff with me (see this post), and so I had plenty of fun while I waited. I played with this week's challenge, using the new tangle Fife, and could not stop. I kept adding the little shapes behind, then behind again, finding all the corners I could connect long after I thought I would be finished. FUN FUN!! Then to shade it was even more delicious. Finding all the little 'behinds' is like finding little treasures as I move around the tile, feeling each little mark as a world on its own.
  Thank you, Laura, Molly, Jann, and thanks to the guys at the car service place for taking longer than was scheduled... It gave me an opportunity to see Fife in an unstoppable way. Hmmm. Now I am wondering if that has anything to do with the other project I'm working on...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Threading the Red

I'm not prone to use color in a Zentangle®. Something about the black and white satisfies my little soul, so I don't often venture far from that until I am asked to. Or, in this case, challenged to! That is one of the reasons I like Laura Harm's challenges. I like to challenge myself, but it's even more fun for me when someone else lays down the gauntlet. 
   This week the Diva presented guest challenger, Cris Letourneau CZT. Cris presented a challenge to support The Red Thread Promise organization. So here comes the color part: We were to create a traditional black and white tangle tile with a single red "thread" running through it. We were also invited to send our actual tiles to be auctioned to help raise money for the organization. 
   I used red pen for my string, and moved on with the black. The red pen I had was a very bright one, which really shook me up!! Just kind of kidding, although it definitely wasn't the most comfortable color for me to use, I bucked up and had a lot of fun. (As is so often the case when peeking out of the 'box'.)
  Thanks, Cris and Laura, for a fun challenge. And my tiles are headed your way, Cris!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

TriShapes to Monotangle

This week's Diva Challenge is brought to us by Sue Clark, a CZT from Loveland Colorado. Sue's idea is to use three shapes (circle, square, triangle) to create the string. The other element of the challenge was to "tri" tangles that we had never used before. That part was easy, as there are so many tangles popping up, one can hardly keep track. Enter:! I visited this site, went to the beginning (A), and started down the list, adding tangles that I hadn't tried yet. This was fun, as I didn't have to think, just pick in the order they appeared. I love doing this! It gives me a sort of permission to not care so much about what I want the tile to look like, or what I think might go together. Not that those things are bad, but one can often get over-focused on presentation and outcome.
   My string had many sections! So I used many tangles! (Antidots, Arc Flower, Archer, Asian Fans, Basketweave, Bateek, Bilt... with a little 'Nzeppel and Paradox thrown in, just because I love them!) This was a fun process: to just let go and fill each section without the worry of what the outcome would be. I started to feel very busy, and so did my tile. I liked how it felt, but I knew I had to do another tile to balance myself out a little!

During the first tile, I paid attention to which of the tangles I was enjoying most while doing it. Which rhythm suited me at the time? I settled on Archer, a tangle created by Chris Gerstner. I decided to do a monotangle tile: just using one tangle in all the sections created by the string. I used the three shapes again to make the string and filled them with Archer. Even though this tangle appears to be a "border" tangle, I mirrored it and then let it stretch out and attach itself to the Archers in other sections of the tile, connecting the ends of the lines to whatever was around it. Shading was lots of fun, as lots of shapes appeared that I hadn't seen when I just tangling the lines. And where did the string go? Hard telling, but it's in there!

Thanks to Sue and Laura for a fun challenge this week, and Chris Gerstner for a fun tangle. And thanks to and all who contribute to it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Got Galoo?

Inspired by Maria Thomas' tangled frame ideas, I offered a Zentangle class that featured specific tangles that could be used to create personalized and unique photo enhancements. As I prepared for the class, with my library of trusty tangles in front of me, a new tangle emerged. This one was born in trying to 'clean up' a messy ink blob I had made while trying to do a whole other thing. This may be a tangle that has been done before, although I've looked around and didn't see it. So if any of you have seen it, let me know. I call this Galoo. If you like coloring in spaces, you will most probably have some fun with it!

Here is the detail of one frame corner:

And here are the steps:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Containing the Fun

I little while back I was inspired by Maria Thomas' repurposing of a canister that they now use as a home for their Micron® pens. To store my pens properly in a horizontal position, I put them in a box I have to rummage through. Not fun, and certainly not very handy. What ended up happening was, I had them laying horizontally all over my desk, and once in a while they ended up back in the box. After seeing the canister idea, I was on the hunt in my own house to find something I could repurpose. No such luck.
   Not long after, I was in Staples and found this square pencil holder that had sections. Laying it on its side (with some kneaded eraser dots to hold it steady on my desk), I can put all the .01 pens in one compartment, all "the others" in another compartment, and a pile of tiles now has a home in the lower compartment! I don't see this contraption online at Staples, so you might have to actually visit the store to see if they have them. I believe they also had a black version.
   Now my desk is still not clutter-free by any means, but now my pens are not part of that clutter, happy in their new little home and standing ready at a moment's notice. Because one never knows when a Zentangle moment may present itself!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pondering on the Poppy

The Diva's challenge this week is about poppies, or rather, what they call us to remember. It seems the past couple months have been full of passings: people leaving this party for some other. I don't have a clue about how it all really works, although my sense is, that possibly, everything that seems to leave still lingers in some way or another. The poppies are a reminder of the energies that linger in our lives, and our connection to them.

   The process of Zentangle also reminds me of these things. As one line ends, another emerges from the pen, connected in some magical, yet natural way to the space around it. Each line flows to where it pleases, and finds its place, relative to those that have come before it. As each tile is finished, it finds its place to stay, maybe in a box, maybe in a letter to a friend. Wherever it ends up, its marks and twists and turns are indelibly real, and the next Zentangle that comes into existence, is quietly built upon the one we put away. One thing just can't help but be part of the next. So thank you everybody:)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bridging the Love

I am a lucky girl.

Last weekend I was invited to teach some beading classes at Beads'N More in Akron, Ohio, which is over 3 hours away. (One of the shop owners is Estelle Goodnight, who is also a CZT!) So my other half, Daved (also now a CZT!) drove me up the road, and also acted as my 'store manager', as I was able to bring a trunk show of patterns and kits to sell during the classes.  It was a great weekend, with wonderful people, and creative energy flowing all around. It was a special experience to be in a shop that bridged beading AND Zentangle energy. (Thank you, Estelle and Alyson!)

As I was keeping very busy teaching the classes, Daved had lots of time to sit and be still. There were times it appeared that he was doing nothing, and for the most part, that was kind of true. But as I watched him be still, I called to mind something Rick Roberts had said during the recent CZT seminar: To pay attention to what is NOT there: the open space. Very often it is the stillness and not doing, that brings us to see the next step to take.

It wasn't until the second morning that I saw what was happening in Daved's 'open space' of the day before. As I sipped my hotel coffee, and pulled out some blank Zentangle tiles, we began a chat. He described to me a tangle that had come to mind in that open space of the day before. He hadn't put it to paper, and I was seeing that he would leave that up to me:)

What happened was a tangle he calls Bridgen.

There are tangles a bit like this one, but what makes this different is the process of the sequence. For instance, in Tink, the circles are drawn first inside a string section, and then randomly connected. In Bridgen, the string IS the basis of the tangle. All of your marks are made one after the other, connecting right onto the string itself. (This part is fun, as path decision is already made.) Once you have covered your string, then (step 6), make the next circle inside a section next to, or far away from the last circle you made. Then make another "bridge" mark (step 7) to connect them, letting the new line fall under the line that is already there. This will result in a Hollibaugh effect, of items falling behind. Remember, the bridges can be curved or straight. Find your own rhythm: do you like to make a circle then connect? Or do you like to make the lines and cap it with a circle? Are you in a mood to fill up the space or leave some blank and open? I love how the process of a Zentangle can show us these little things about ourselves.

Thank you, Daved and the space. I've been getting joyfully lost/opened up in this one!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spooky Little Treasures

When my boys were little, Halloween was one of our favorite holidays. Super hero costumes were pretty much the norm, and the front porch was a mini-haunted house that even the teenaged trick-or-treaters thought was cool enough for them. These days I have my (grown men!) kids' Facebook pages to see what they wear on Halloween. And now I live on a dark street a bit up a hill that the little kids just don't make their way to, so it's a quiet evening of tangling for me.
   I love how a life can ebb and flow into new spaces, just like a Zentangle. My Halloweens these days are like an open space to either fill or not fill, with whatever I like. This Monday, the Diva presented a spooky flavored challenge. A webby kind of mood took me over, so that's where I went:

Thanks Laura, and hope you all had a great Hallow's Eve!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Punzel Play

The new tangle in town is called Punzel, and is a tangleation of one called Chainging. The Diva has presented it as this week's challenge. I was fortunate (along with about 100 others) to learn this at the recent Zentangle Certification seminar. It took me a little while to get this one, and I kept making my little horn shapes way too long! I finally got the hang of it after watching Maria do it a few times. I was thinking too much about lining things up to make a chain (a very left brain activity: trying to make a tangle look like something in real life). Once I realized that it was only about making a series of SHAPES, I was able to let go of what I thought should happen, and simply get into the rhythm of making those little shapes. Also, until I fill in the little black spaces, it can look a little confusing to me. Trust!! I find that if I trust the steps and try not to think ahead, it's much easier!

I love how this tangle can be playful and strong all at once. Its chunky parts are lots of fun to shade and play with, which is why one of my tiles is a lot more complex than the other. I couldn't stop having so much fun.

Thank you, Rick and Maria, for another fun and beautiful tangle. Thanks, Laura, for keeping the challenge fires burning!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tangled Inside

Wow, finally back in the Diva Challenge world. The last few weeks were a little upside down, trying to get all my work done before our wonderful trip to Providence for the Zentangle certification seminar. I would do the weekly challenge, but then never got as far as scanning and uploading and then writing. I missed it!!
   I started a string on Monday using Flux (Rick-style), but got interrupted before I could tangle it. In the meantime, a new post from appeared, featuring Margaret Bremner's tangle, Prestwood. This one looked like fun, so I used it for the challenge this week. I love this tangle, as its curvy lines were just what I needed! It got a little involved, but I think that was what was so fun! I also did this without my good glasses (I didn't want to tear myself away from the fun to find them), so it's very rough looking. But hey, again, it's not how it looks, it's how it feels! And boy did it feel good to do the challenge and actually get far enough to post it and link it and everything!

   I gotta hand it to Laura Harms. I'm sure my life is only half as busy as hers, yet she keeps on posting challenges every week without skipping a beat. For that I am grateful. It was still there waiting for me. Thanks, Laura, and happy birthday to your sweet little Artoo!

And thank you, Margaret, for a fun new tangle!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sparks Ignite

The planets lined up in such a way, that I was able to attend the Zentangle Certification Seminar (#7!) last week. Each of 100+ participants come to it with their own unique connection and experience of Zentangle. Some come with little sparks, and some come with big fires already burning. It didn't seem to matter what each person's specific relationship to it was. When we were all there together, the fire seemed steady and communal, as if each person passed a little torch to each other all at once. It's a very mysterious  feeling, and as this was my second time to participate in a CZT seminar, I found it interesting that the same feeling was present both times. I can't say what it is that makes it happen, I can only say that it happens. I would go again in a minute if I could.
   I was lucky enough to go with my other half, Daved, and my friends Peg, Lesley, and Angie. We all flew there together, spread out while we were at the seminar, and came back together in the end. Only this time, when we left and stood around in airports, we found ourselves shoulder to shoulder with newfound friends who also found themselves wearing tee-shirts with pen marks all over them. The only clean shirt I had was my new black shirt that posed the question: "Want to see my Zentangles?" By the way, if you have one of those shirts, be careful where you wear it: going through security at an airport isn't a good time to explain Zentangle to the person behind you who has suddenly read your shirt and wants to know what Zentangle is. I would suggest if you do wear one, also stuff some tangled tiles in your pocket for giveaways if you have no time to explain yourself:)
   As I'm still trying to catch up on work after being away for a week, and words really do fail to convey all the wonders of the experience, I will, instead, post a photo that, for me, embodies the spirit of love, camaraderie, and pure joy of the experience. The seminar participants in this photo were at one time, strangers from different parts of the world. But every time I look at the photo, they feel almost like one person. This is the magic I feel from this art form. It's a connector and an equalizer. It's an art for everyone. And I am basking in some fiery gratitude.

Monday, October 3, 2011

An unconditionally beautiful reminder...

Do not be concerned with the fruit of your action, just give attention to the action itself. The fruit will come of its own accord. This is a powerful spiritual practice.
Eckhart Tolle

In thinking a little about this, we could say the fruit (which we often call the end result) doesn't even matter. The condition of the fruit is irrelevant (is the end result 'good' or 'not good'). Even if you are able to give attention to the action itself while you are in the action, please don't get to the end of the action and then judge the fruit. The action can BE the fruit.

The act of doing Zentangle is the fruit. No matter what you are experiencing as you do your Zentangle, that is the gift. Whether it be joy or frustration, All of it will show you what is in the moment. No wrong, no right. It's just a moment.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Redefining a Day

Thank you, Laura for your lovely challenge this week. One would think after inhabiting this planet for as long as we have, that we wouldn't need reminders of the power of love, but we do.
   Love and fear. It's been said that there are only these two things. The anniversary of 9/11 brings either or both to the fore. As I watched tv, and read the Facebook posts of the day, I was struck by the amount of sadness and loss of 9/11 ten years ago. But also, on Sunday, I was fortunate enough to get a real reminder of what a day can mean: our young friends welcomed their first baby. It occurred to me, the possible cloud that our new little friend, Eva, might carry. Sometimes when a person is born on a day marked by tragedy, that energy can "get on" a person. I'm wondering if we shift our perspective to a love-based one, how that could change the meaning of a day.
   On Sunday, I tangled a gift for little Eva Jolie. When Laura posted our challenge the next day, it felt like I had already participated in the challenge. When I finally got to see and hold little Eva yesterday, everyone in the room talked about the possibility that she could change the meaning of the day for all of us there. That's a start, yes? Can such a sweet and tiny little being pull it off? I have no doubts. She already has. We can be the change we wish to see.

Thank you, Laura and little Eva Jolie!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tangled Toms

I'm in love. I've admired from afar, having only the internet to dance around my desires. I played with the idea of meeting in person, but the planets just hadn't lined up that way yet. One day, a server in a restaurant introduced me to her favorite, which gave me the inspiration to pursue my intuitive hunches. I found a place where I could try my sweeties on for size. The only one that seemed to work was a lovely bicolor, which I secretly really wanted, but didn't think it would be appropriate in all situations. Because I'm a sucker for black and white, and especially stripes, was hoping they would do. Once I slipped into it, there was no longer a question. The love was real and everything about it was perfect: comfortable, cute, unpretentious, straight forward.

  If you've not tried on a pair of TOMS shoes, I suggest you at least find a shoe store and do that. And if you've never hear of TOMS shoes, here is a link to tell you all about it. They have great shoes and a great story. Once I knew what size would fit me (I found them true to size for me, some say get a half size smaller, as they are likely to stretch), I ordered another pair (ok, two pair) from I ordered a basic black, and a natural canvas, to tangle, of course.....

  I used a Micron .03 and a regular graphite pencil (softer lead works best). I tried a .05, but the ink seemed to skip over the canvas instead of actually coloring it. I will probably make some of the areas a little darker, but then again, I'm too anxious to start wearing them, so maybe not. I sprayed it with some Krylon, but will have to hunt down some Scotchgard™ or something similar. Anyone with any suggestions, please chime in! I loved how easy these were to tangle, and I love that they ended up looking like a Zentangle I would do on a tile, with all the line differences and pencil shadows.
    I am in love. Never had a shoe that was more comfortable (Minnetonkas are really nice!), and I know that if I HAVE to wear something else, I will. Otherwise, Toms are now my go-to shoe!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Art is for Everyone

A new little restaurant called Amicis opened in our city (Kettering, Ohio) a couple months ago. One of their commitments is to feature a local artist's work each month. They get fun stuff on their walls, and they also get to help out artists in the area who want to show or sell their work. I offered up Zentangle, and they said, 'cool!'
   I had a few large Zentangle inspired pieces, and lots of actual Zentangle tiles (LOTS of those). Most of my larger items were already framed, but the smaller pieces were not. Framing is expensive, and it's really hard to find nice frames that will fit a Zentangle tile. So I asked my friend and framer, Dave Crowell (Framin' Dave as we like to call him) to help me out. We worked out a deal where he made frames from his short pieces, and I agreed to just buy whatever he made.  I loved the idea of getting a bunch of random frames to play with. And because Dave knows all about what Zentangle is, I trusted that he would give me frames that would work. What fun it was to pick up boxes of these babies and then match them up with my little army of Zentangle tiles! I framed about 40 of the tiles altogether. Not all of them are in the show, but most are.

   As many of you know, I borrowed Laura Harms' Zentangle Challenge one week and asked participants to send me their challenge tiles. I wanted to feature these as part of the show. I thought the best way to show what Zentangle is (in my mind, it is art for everyone!) would be to show the beauty and diversity in lots of different tiles done by lots of different people. You all were amazing!! I received 60 tiles from people all over the world! It was a thrill to get the mail every day- so many beautiful tiles! I had seen many of them already online, and to see them in 'real life' was like I was meeting the person who created it, and feeling them with me. Putting them all together was like the online Zentangle community coming to life right before me. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your beautiful contributions.
      To display this lovely community of tiles, I found a slide-in frame strip that is used for displaying 4x6 photos. They were inexpensive and each 18" strip held 5 tiles very nicely, although I did have to cut them and reposition them to hold the 3.5" tiles.

As for what will happen to the tiles you all sent, we decided that if people wanted to buy one, they could easily take it off the strip, and we will donate the proceeds to the local art non-profit, We Care Arts, who help disabled persons discover and use their potential through learning art skills. Once a tile has been sold, we slip a thank you tile in its place with the donor's name on it.

Thank you all again for helping me illustrate the beauty and fun of Zentangle. As far as I'm concerned, even though the show has only been up since Tuesday, it's already a success because of its spirit and your participation. I feel all of you there, and I am grateful for that. Anything else that comes from it would be icing on an already yummy cake! (I did sell 4 pieces on the night of the reception -- woo hoo!)

Pair o' ducks

I missed last week's Diva challenge. I started a few tiles, but that's as far as it went. Some days and weeks are just like that. Sometimes the challenge is actually getting to do the challenge. It felt a little funny not to get to it. Having it not happen, I became aware of the ritual it has become for me. It's a gift I give myself each week. Even though I can sit and tangle anytime I like, I forget that I don't always have to take command from all the 'shoulds' that live in my head. (I should get this done, that done, etc). It's a good thing to shake things up and move out of the rituals once in a while so I can really feel into which ones really mean something to me.
   This week I made a point to be with my challenge gift. I love Paradox, but don't do it as much as I would think I would, so this was great fun. It's especially cool, since Margaret Bremner posted her very awesome Paradox "pointers" in her blog.  At this time, I haven't been round to see what all the other challenge participants are up to, so looking forward to doing that in the next couple days. It's always an inspiration!
   I am always inspired by Shelly Beauch's lovely spirals, so the first was a spiral filled with Paradox. The second was a very swirly string, with the triangles eked out of the sections. I'm in love right now with the brown Micron, so it had to find its way in there this week.
   Thank you, Laura, Margaret, Shelly, and Rick Roberts, for the gift of Paradox (or Pair of ducks, as the Diva says!)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Back in the Saddle

Hello, to anyone who is still coming to try and read a post on this blog! Sorry to have been away so long. I've missed a Diva Challenge, and everything! (that would be my first miss). It's been a very busy couple of weeks around here. I had the opportunity to show my work in two places during the month of September, so I just said yes, closed my eyes and jumped in! I figured I might just as well do both at once instead of staggering the workload. It was lots of fun, and sometimes overwhelming, but now all the stuff is somewhere else instead of laying around my house!
   My jewelry is featured at Gallery 510 in Dayton, and the Zentangle side of me has work showing at Amicis, a new restaurant in Kettering, OH. The jewelry had been in the works quite a while. I had taken some time off from designing any original beadweaving designs to simply enjoy some peyote stitch projects. What happened turned into designing more stuff with guess what? Peyote stitch. I had taken the pressure off myself, gave myself permission to simply get back to the basics of enjoying beading, ONE BEAD AT A TIME, for no other reason than to just bead! Before I knew it, I ended up with over 20 different peyote pieces. Funny how that all works. It was only natural, then, to put them out in the world all at once. I'd never done what I would call a "collection" before, so it was kind of fun to see this little cohesive group of bracelets all coming out together.

Here are a few photos of the fruits of "Project: Peyote"

Tomorrow I will tell you all about the Zentangle show...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Challenge Week 36: Assunta

On Tuesday morning I took my tangly toys and went to breakfast with the purpose of learning Rick Roberts' new tangle, Assunta. Learning this tangle was the Diva's Zentangle challenge for week #36.
   SO... I got away from my phone, sat on a cool and breezy patio, ordered my breakfast, and began to follow the tangle's steps that were illustrated in the Zentangle newsletter. I followed the steps, trying not to 'figure out' the structure. That was a little tough. Part of my brain wanted to understand what I was doing, so I could do it RIGHT! But there was a deeper part of me that nudged me to let that go and just trust the structure that I saw on the paper in front of me (I had printed out the diagram from the newsletter). It was still a little daunting, as I lost my bearings once my initials little nicks were gone, but again, I looked at the diagram for my map, trusting that the road really would take me to the end. And it did. Once I turned down the voice of control in the left side of my brain, the voice of beautiful unreason in the right side became loud enough to follow, and to trust what my eyes were seeing.
   I did a couple tiles before I got really comfortable with the structure and eventually, a sort of rhythm came around. I naturally worked small when I first began, and by the time I was ready for a third tile, I wanted to get into a bigger scale. I couldn't resist adding Puf to the spaces between the drop shapes, so having a larger scale would make that easier. This tangle reminded me of Cadent, and so my third tile included that as well, also all "Puf-ed" out. So much fun, especially the shading. That's when all the shapes emerge and things start asking to be out front or behind. I love that in Zentangle, you can decide what to shade and what not to. Because it's just a shape, and not a representational rendering of something real, like an apple in the sunlight, it doesn't matter where you put your shading.

I love the new Assunta tangle – thank you, Rick! And thanks to Maria for inspiring such a treat. If you read the newsletter, you will get the story on that!

Thanks, Laura for another fun weekly challenge!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday Tangle Breakfast

Chai Spiced Oats (this was so pretty I had to post!)
Last week I visited my favorite breakfast spot for a little quiet time away from my computer. Amicis has awesome Chai Spiced Oats and it was a cool, lovely morning on the restaurant's patio. As I always have Zentangle tiles and Micron pens in my purse, after I ordered my oats, I pulled out my goodies and joyously tangled a tile. It was such a sweet experience, I decided to make it a weekly ritual. If I did it on Tuesday, the Monday mayhem would have passed, and I could settle into the Diva's challenge, or play with a newly discovered tangle.
Assunta and Breakfast 
   I put the word out on Facebook to the local Zentangle lovers. I figured, even if no one could join me, I would still be happy to sit and tangle all by myself. Today was the first "official" Tuesday Tangle Breakfast. I had one tangle buddy appear (thanks for the great company, Tammy!), and the morning was cool and sunny. I had a great time sinking my pen into the new tangle, Assunta. Once my right brain wrapped around its structure, my pen didn't want to stop. Of course, the breakfast wrap I ordered tempted the pen down, but I can't wait to tangle more later today.
   One of the things I love about the art of Zentangle, is its flexibility. Whether by yourself, or in a group of others (even if they aren't tangling), it's unobtrusive and relaxing, no matter where you are. I'm looking forward to next Tuesday.
   Thanks, Zentangle, Amicis, and Tammy!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tile X2

Margaret Bremner, a fellow CZT, brings us this week's Diva Challenge (number 35!). She invited participants to first create a string that included a small square with a large border, then add a string to that. It creates a very orderly tile, with wild things happening in the space between the strings. I thought, since things have been busy round these parts, I would only do one this week. And I felt like I was cheating a bit by using two colors to define the difference between the tile and the border. But I kept reminding myself that the challenge and its "rules" are really just suggestions, just like the string itself is a suggestion; rather than something that binds my decisions, the challenge gives me the groundwork to jump into realms not yet discovered! So, while letting myself have so much fun, two tiles came about.
   Thanks Margaret! Thanks, Laura!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Zen Mandalas: Sacred Circles

Just in case you haven't seen Suzanne McNeill's new book, it's here!
Zen Mandalas: Sacred Circles Inspired by Zentangle®

Suzanne McNeill, CZT, has once again put together a wonderful collection of Zentangle inspired mandalas that will inspire you to get out your art goodies and get busy. As always, there are new tangles and new ways of looking at the art of Zentangle. And color? Lots of color! She also covers the symbolic aspects of the colors and shapes used in mandalas.
    I am very grateful to be included in the book, along with my fellow CZT, Margaret Bremner. Her beautiful work graces the cover of the book, and there are more of her goodies inside, as well. 
    I've been a fan of Margaret's work since we met at the CZT training seminar in May, 2010. I remember looking at the show'n'tell table, thinking... "I really want to meet this Margaret Bremner person!" I finally did meet her on the second day, and little did I know we would be sharing space in a book one year later. I love the tangles of this life, and the strings underneath. Thank you, Rick and Maria for being the string!!
    I hope you all add this book to your stash (as I know most of you have every Zentangle inspired book that comes out!), and find the inspiration and gifts that a mandala, especially Zentangle-style, can bring.

Thank you Suzanne, Rick, Maria and Margaret.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Harmony of Opposition

Words just don't come around some days. But there is always a Zentangle to say things in ways that words never can.
My Week 34 Diva Challenge: Opposites Attract. I loved this idea: Thanks Laura and Christina:)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pendrills Play

It's always fun when a new tangle comes to town. This week, the Zentangle newsletter offered a tantalizing new tangle treat called Pendrills. And always on top of her game, Laura Harms (aka the Diva) offered the challenge to use it this week.
  I love how this simple shape can grow and twist or simply slide across the page in a straight line. It can go behind, which is one of my favorite things, or stay flat, or end in a curly fashion, or not. Amazing how a couple of simple lines and swirls can have so much to say!
  Thanks, Maria, Rick, Laura, and the lovely grapevine!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Let's Connect

These past few days the news has been filled with reminders of how some people on a certain Hill are having a tough time connecting. (Don't worry, this isn't political, just an example of some human nature.) Maybe they should all just chill about 20 minutes for a Zentangle break. I got to thinking about connections and visualizing one side putting their stuff on the table, and the other side putting their stuff on the other side of the table. Really, the process of Zentangle shows us that there is always a way it can come together, if we just step back and see, instead of hovering, hanging on to what we think is “right.”  All this observation led me to this little tile…

One of the things I love most about Zentangle is that there is something for everyone… like an art smorgasbord, where one can pick and choose elements, styles, rhythms…. It’s endless! If you tend to like a little order in your life, Zentangle provides it. If you need to get out of a box, Zentangle can help you do that. Some days we like to stay in the lines, other days we just have to bust out of them. The string in Zentangle allows both of these things at once. Here are a few tips (and also some visual steps) for satisfying both sides, and at the same time, connecting one tangle with another:

  1. Make your string with at least three sections.
  2. Fill one section of the tile in a tangle of your choice, staying within the lines of the string boundary.
  3. Fill a second section that is furthest away from the first one with a different tangle, again staying within the boundary of the string.
  4. Look at the two filled areas. Turn your tile in different directions, hold it at arm's length. (This give you a fresh perspective every time!) Find lines that have “stopped” at the string, and see if you can continue the lines, using them as “bridges” to your second tangle (see the Third tile below). The tangle, Hollibaugh is a great bridge-maker!  Or use one existing tangle as the starting point for the new tangle. You can also have elements from your first tangles that can drift across the string into your new tangle.
  5. Once you’ve made your bridges, use them as a new string and fill them with more of your favorite tangles, or fill them with the same tangles that extend from a previous section.
Tonight I will raise a little glass of something to connection and all the places we can find it.