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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Pretty Egg Day!

Happy pretty egg day one and all!

We're not into coloring eggs in this household due to an egg allergy, so I thought I'd tangle one up quickly before using it for some gluten free spice muffins.  :-)  I used a Sharpie on the egg.  It's fun to work on a different shape sometimes.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tending My Garden

Woohoo!  I just booked a session to teach my new "My Tangled Garden" class this summer.  I am really in love with the technique and am looking forward to sharing it with others.

Here's my latest in my garden series...

It was hard not to add a dragonfly in the background, but I think this garden belongs to the sweet little ladybug perched on a vine.

I had a lot of relaxing fun creating Cat-Kin and Featherfall in this ZIA; I can get lost in Featherfall.  I found a good frame, and I'll likely cut the piece down a bit to fit.  It's a good thing the middle is my favorite part!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Oh Happy Day!

One of the thousand things I love about my Zentangle® journey is the wonderful community of artists I have joined.  I enjoy connecting with my talented peers online and at workshops.  It is inspiring and fun to share our art, stories, and passion for this art form with each other.

I spent a little time with my new friend CZT Karen Izzi at Tangle U this weekend.  Karen has a wonderful spirit and sense of humor... even if she does like snakes.  :-)  Today is her birthday so I wanted to tangle up a colorful bouquet for her inspired by Marie Browning's class.

"Oh Happy Day... Enjoy It In Every Way...."   Happy birthday, Karen!

This ZIA is tangled with 01 and 08 black Microns and colored in with Tombow markers and a water pen.  Such fun to create!  I think I'm in love with drawing dragonflies.  I really can't believe I did lettering that I actually like.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My Tangled Garden

Speaking of finding my groove, I am in love love love with creating these tangled gardens thanks to an amazing lesson by Meredith Yuhas at Tangle U.

I see many gardens in my future....

This piece is considered a ZIA, or Zentangle®-Inspired Art, because it is not done in the traditional black on white on the 3.5" square Zentangle tile.  I love working with the tiles and expanding into new directions with my art.

This piece is created with the standard Micron pen on Toned tan paper.  Shading is with a darker pencil along with highlights with a white pencil.  I added some metallic colored pencils in the little critters too. The critters and a few pieces were inspired by Marie Browning's class also at Tangle U.

At first I thought my Mooka/Flux morph in the middle was too big, but after filling with some Bunzo and shading, I am more at peace with it.  It's an overgrown garden, but I can't imagine what I'd weed!  I just hope there aren't any invasive species in there.  The pollinators seem to like it.


I'm so glad I have found my Mooka groove since the Diva has given us a monotangle (one pattern!) challenge for this week's challenge.

I bought some lovely metallic pens and pencils this weekend at Tangle U that look stunning on the black Zentangle® tiles.  The pens are Pentel Slicci, and the pencils are from Caran d'Ache.

I love Mooka now.  I couldn't say that a few months ago or even a few weeks ago!  I think my experience is a good example on why we shouldn't give up on a pattern or on ourselves.  We all have something with which we might struggle a bit.  Does that mean we throw in the towel and give up, or do we just try a little harder?  Creating Zentangle art, or doing anything else you love, requires practice. Practice is not perfect, and I don't believe that practice makes perfect.  I believe that practice leads us to be more comfortable with our efforts and to feel confident in our abilities.  There's always room to learn and to grow, so if we were perfect, where would we set our sights?

I, too, struggle with some of the patterns, but I don't give up on them.  I may focus on patterns that I prefer or want to learn, but I always go back to the tricky ones.  I practice, I get inspired by others' artwork, and I play until I find the right groove.  Thanks to CZT Kelley Kelly, I found my groove with Mooka, and I officially love this pattern now.  I just needed to make it work for me, and I needed to get over my issue with it.

Here is this week's Diva challenge, my MonoMooka:

Saturday, March 23, 2013

100th Post: Thanks for reading!

While uploading my Tangle U photos, I saw that I had hit my 100th post on this blog!  I figured I should do something to commemorate the milestone.  Where better to have this happen than at a creative, stimulating, and fun weekend away!

I am so thankful to my wonderful family for freeing me up so I could attend this weekend.

I appreciate all of the hard work that the planners, teachers, and vendors put into making this event such a success.

I am impressed and inspired by my fellow CZTs.  People are doing creative things with their Zentangle practice and with their classes.  It is an honor to be among this talented group.

Lastly, I want to thank you for reading this blog.  The Internet has made it so easy for anyone to say anything online.  One never knows if the words will be read or merely added to the virtual scrap heap of bits and bytes.  As much as I think my blog is for me to chronicle my artistic journey, I've been touched by the people who have commented about my posts.  It means so much to know that my words and artwork have meant something to others.  A few people at Tangle U said they enjoy reading my blog (and even asked if I'd be blogging this weekend).

When you fall in love with something like Zentangle art, you are welcomed into an amazing community of artists.  I am humbled and inspired to be part of this esteemed creative circle.

Thank you all!

I can't wait for tomorrow's classes and even more creativity to share.

Here's to the next 100 posts!

My Tangled Garden: New Class Coming Soon

After lunch, we created an organic garden wih Meredith Yuhas.  I am beyond in love with this technique.  

Who wants to sign up for my first class teaching this?  Date TBA but not TBM (to be missed)!

Flowers, vines, leaves, and a variety of sprigs.  To use a favorite family word, this piece is spilling all over!  I love the use of botanical patterns combined with the shading and light/dark contrasts.  Love love love love love this.  

Do you think I had fun?  :)

Creativity Unleashed

I'm enjoying a wonderful weekend in Northampton for a CZT retreat/training, Tangle U.

First, I'm in love with this town!  I have enjoyed every store and restaurant I've been to so far in the limited free time we have had.

Getting together with fellow tanglers is inspirational.  It's wonderful to share ideas, network, and gab.  We're all in the mood to get our tangle on, so it's a vibrant and buzzing environment.  It's nice to talk our tangle lingo and be understood.  We're a funny little creative Borg.

We didn't have any classes the first night, so we hung out and checked out the town.  I found an eclectic little shop that sold some pretty cool wooden spoons.  Yes, I had to tangle one!

Bright and early today we were up for a colorful journey with Marie Browning, my hero in the tangling with color world.  We created Dr. Seuss gardens with flowers, leaves, and very bright colors.  Trust me the the lighting in this photo doesn't do the colors justice!  It was really fun to add little critters like the dragonfly, ladybugs, and caterpillar.  I think my piece is a bit busy, but it was so fun to experiment with designs and color combinations.  I love my popped up dragonfly!  I bet my daughter would love this page.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Get Rid of the Box

This week's Diva challenge posed an interesting idea.  Instead of thinking inside or outside the box, what if we got rid of the box completely?  

When I tangle, sometimes I use the border and string, and sometimes I just start with the blank piece.  Laura asked us to try something completely different this week and to do something that we wouldn't usually do.

That's where I had a little trouble.  I couldn't come up with something immediately.  I tangle in black and white or color.  I play with tangling on different surfaces.  I always try new patterns and strings.  I love experimenting and trying a variety of things.  So what would I do this week?

My daughter (almost 2.5) and I love to do crafts.  One of her favorites is her "dot dot art" with dauber markers.  When I'm tangling, she knows what I'm doing, and she identifies my work as "mommy's tangles."  I asked if she wanted to do a tangle with me, and an idea was born!

My daughter did her dot dot art on a piece of watercolor paper.  After letting it dry, I tangled it.  It was fun to use her colors and pattern as inspiration.  Here are the before and after pictures:

I think we make a pretty great mom-daughter team!  This was fun, and I'll definitely be doing this again.  Thanks, Laura, for making me think way beyond the box!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What To Do on a Snowy Day

Tangle, of course!

Forget the stress of driving in the messy slush.  Relax after finding your front steps. Curl up with your favorite hot beverage and your tangling supplies.

Here's another piece in my latest experimentation with Prismacolor pencils on black tiles.  It's really fun to see the color pop.  I kept layering and layering the colors to see what would happen.  I love my Poke Leaf here.

I've decided on a new chop for my work too.  :-)  It's hard to read in the pencil though.

Before last night's storm, I had the opportunity to share a Beyond the Basics class with three of my regular tanglers.  We went over some more intricate patterns, played with shading techniques, and talked about strings.  Check out their tiles and their first time playing with Paradox, Zander, Betweed, and other fun patterns.

During the class, I learned that it's easier to do some things than to explain some things.  Paradox is one of my favorite patterns, and I do it pretty regularly.  For some reason, when I teach it, I get all mixed up.  It reminds me of when I used to teach aerobics and had to tell everyone to turn left while I turned right.    I think trying to tangle from the side throws me off on an intricate pattern, and working on a larger pad that isn't as easy to turn makes it a bit tricky too.  I think Paradox is much easier when I turn my tile.  Nonetheless, they got it!  :-)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Things Aren't Always Black or White

Sometimes they're multicolored!

I prefer to tangle on white tiles or lighter background papers, but I think it's an interesting challenge to work on the black Zentangle® tiles.  I've had fun playing with the white pen and pencil on the black paper for an inverted look.

After seeing some beautiful colored pencil work on black tiles by CZT Kate Lamontagne, I was inspired to get out my Prismacolor pencils for the afternoon.

I've had a minor cold for a few days and just haven't felt as cheery as usual.  I'm eating better these days, so this cold isn't kicking my butt as much as it might have in the past, but it's still not fun to be sick.  Instead of wallowing in my misery, I decided to add a little brightness to my day with some colorful creativity.

First I tangled a butterfly with just my Prismacolor pencils.  I think the end result is cheerful, but I still prefer the texture and overall look of the black ink on white paper (with or without adding color).  So far I don't think the white pen or the colored pencils fill in the black paper as well, but that may be operator error.  I will be playing with these colored pencils to get more practice.

Next I wanted to play with my new Mooka design inspired by CZT Kelley Kelly's fabulous interpretation of this pattern.  I've been fascinated by Mooka but have struggled with getting a flow that feels right to me.  After looking at some of Kelley's beautiful pieces, I realized that I can be a little looser with where my Mooka bulbs start and end.

I started with some blue Bunzo in the middle and found my Mooka bursting out from the center.  I added some aura around the Mooka bits as a filler, and now I love this pattern even more!  I finally found my Mooka groove.

Thank you to all of my fellow CZTs, tanglers, and friends for inspiring me in new ways each day!

Putting It Together

Do you work best individually or as part of an team?  

I have always been a person who loves to create and work around other people.  I find it inspiring to learn from others, to feed off their energy, and to be motivated by new ideas.  

When I tangle, I'm usually working alone or teaching a class for others.  I love practicing alone because I get the greatest personal focus and relaxation.  I adore teaching because I get to share my passion and be inspired by my students.  I truly learn something new every time I teach.  My practice has been enriched by those around me, and for that I am thankful.

The Zentangle® method has freed me from a lot of fears and my nagging perfectionism.  I feel free to play, to take risks, and to explore new ideas.  If it doesn't work, or if I don't like the end result, it's only a small tile and a little of my time.  Now that I can be more realistic, there's always something about the piece that I do like--a particular tangle, my shading, or just adding to my practice of this wonderful art.  

I enjoy participating in weekly swaps (thanks to the Diva) to step outside of my tangling box.  I get to play with new strings, learn new patterns, and find different ways of thinking about my work.

Another fun way to try something new is a swap.  I participated in a fun bookmark swap at the end of the year.  It was inspiring to make the bookmarks and to explore the creativity in the pieces I received from other tanglers.

I'm looking forward to attending the Tangle U CZT workshop for the classes, the opportunity to connect with fellow CZTs, and to be inspired!  Our homework project was to complete a set of curvy ensemble tiles from to swap.  The nine tiles are pre-strung with a curvy design to fill in.  People approach the tiles differently--some tangle each tile individually, and some, like I did, assemble the ensemble and tangle it into one large piece of art.  When the pieces are swapped, the participants each receive eight pieces from other CZTs.  The pieces meld together into a worldwide, collaborative piece of art.  I can't wait to see everything together, although I will admit that I'm a little sad to break this set up.

Here is my ensemble set in stages.  It only took two days for me to complete because I was having so much fun.  I think that listening to an amazing audiobook, Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington, helped me keep tangling too!

Friday, March 15, 2013

It's a Bumpy Ride!

Sometimes life can be a bumpy ride with ups, downs, and potholes.  How do you handle the journey?  Do you enjoy the adventure?  Do you worry about how long it takes or each detour?

This week's Diva challenge was to use Rick and Maria's new, unnamed technique of adding bumps to the string.  It's a very cool look and was a lot of fun to do.

It took me a while to figure this one out and then to get it scanned and online, but that's ok.  The ride was still worth it for me.  :-)

My tip for using this technique is to fill in the bands a section at a time.  When I added Bales, for example, I worked on the flat sections first and then did the bumped ares.  I did the same thing for each piece thinking that if this were fabric or fondant, the image would be skewed a bit and wouldn't flow directly from the flat part up over the bumps.  I think that gave the technique more dimension and made the bumped areas stand out more.

I also think that some heavy shading on each side of the bumps adds to the effect.  I used a sharp pencil for this.

I'm pretty thrilled with out this tile came out.  I love trying new things along my Zentangle® journey.

Rick and Maria are looking for names for this new technique.  My suggestions were:  Speedbumps, Bumpers, or Croquet.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Better Late Than Never

In my time-lapsed few weeks, I didn't get two a couple of The Bright Owl Zendala Dares.  I had started to work on #47, but it took me a long time to finish it, and I don't know why.

The challenge was fine and wasn't a barrier to creating.  I transferred the template immediately and did my border tangle (Geisel, a new favorite by Debra Castaldi).

Then I stopped and lost time.

Per the challenge I "removed" some of the second set of ovals for a wider area of Huggins.  I had just taught this pattern and had it on the brain.  I love how it looks!

Then I stopped and lost time and focus.

I added some 'Nzeppel.

Then I stopped and completely forgot about finishing my piece.

Like with any activity or hobby that a person loves, the greatest benefit comes from regular practice.  I allowed my chaotic life to take over for a while, and I feel like I lost myself.

I finished my Zendala, worked on another challenge, and got back on track!  I love that I can tangle myself back to a more grounded place.  In the past, I could get derailed for a while during diets or exercise plans.  I'm human, and it's ok to get off track a bit.  I'm just thankful to have a way to snap myself back into myself immediately.

Interestingly, this is the first time in my life that I've successfully lost weight, exercised, felt better, and felt more relaxed and centered.  The Zentangle method is a big part of that (along with my wonderful nutritionists at NWHS).  It's all falling into place.  :-)

So here is my better-late-than-never Zendala Dare:

Where Have I Been?

Do you ever have one of those weeks that you know lapsed only because your smart phone, computer, or cable connection tell you that the date has, in fact, progressed a week?  Hmm, come to think of it, it may have been two weeks.  I can only blame a little of my fogginess on the time change since an hour doesn't typically cause weeks to disappear.

I have been busy with work and other projects.  My daughter and I have spent a lot of fun time together, and she's been a great helper with my exercises and errands.  It's been a good few weeks, but I don't know where they've gone!

Normally, I'd just chalk it up to my busy life, but I'm somewhat bothered by this perceived loss of time.  I think my problem is that I haven't tangled much at all.  To go from daily tangling of some sort to missing multiple weekly challenges and struggling to complete one piece was a real deviation for me.  I feel like I've lost my center and don't exactly know where I am.

Sometimes I'm amazed by how intensely the Zentangle® method has changed my life.  I love it, and apparently, I need it.  Some people need to hop back onto the diet train, get back to the gym, or head back to church.  I need to pick up a pen and play to regain myself!

I couldn't sleep well last night, so I gave myself permission to use the awake time to find my center again.  I finished my Diva challenge for last week.  Laura, the Diva, challenged us with a UMT (Use My Tangle) challenge featuring Whyz by CZT Jane MacKugler.  After playing with the pattern a bit, and totally goofing it up, I have to say I really enjoyed it.  This one is really fun to play with and has a lot of tangellation possibilities.

Since my life has been in a vacuum lately, I missed the Diva's weekly slideshow, but I'm still going to share my end result.  I had fun working on this calendar page and like how it came out.  I played with a few new-to-me patterns too.  The shading doesn't show as well here, but you get the idea.  Disregard the fact that I'm still working in my 2012 calendar.  Oops!

I'm already feeling more like myself today and ready to tangle!  Who's with me?

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I had a blast at this month's Tangle Club with five fellow tanglers.  Everyone worked on beautiful pieces, practiced patterns, and shared ideas.  I think it's truly wonderful when creative people get together.  Inspiring things happen.

Between club sessions, I'm giving everyone a mini challenge to practice new skills or patterns.  After giving a demo of one of my favorite patterns, Paradox, I decided to make this the monthly challenge. I love how this pattern morphs from one shape to many others.  It's hard to see where the pattern starts and ends!  

Feel free to share your Paradox pieces with me too!  I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

If you are interested in regular tangle challenges, I highly encourage you to visit the Diva's weekly challenge.  Laura offers a variety of amazing challenges each week to help us all stimulate and stretch our tangling minds.  They're open to all no matter how long you've been tangling!  Jump in on the current challenge, or start at the beginning.  Either way, you'll learn a lot and have a great time trying new things!