Sunday, January 31, 2016

Now or never?! Now.

Hello and Happy New Year! Time to start this blog up again! It's still January for a tiny bit longer (well, maybe 15 minutes!) so I am going to consider it still appropriate to wish you a very happy, healthy, creative, and prosperous new year full of laughter, friendship, comfort, peace, joy, love, fun, meaning, and beauty...and anything else you might want to squeeze into/out of 2016.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. I did. In November we celebrated our first full year in our new home. What a difference it makes to be living in a place that fits us so well! It still feels "new" to us, though we are quite settled in now. In November we also celebrated the sale of our previous home. Woo-hoo! Much of my attention in 2015 was spent getting the old house ready to put on the market, as we wanted to make it the best home we could for potential buyers. New paint, new carpet, a renovated master bath . . . and then there was the attic that we needed to empty. The more we did, the more work we found to do. We finally listed it in late July, but even after that we continued our efforts. This is why I only made time for one blog post in 2015. So much of my time and energy were spent managing the old house, settling into the new one, and entertaining a lot more than we ever did before! To add to that, my eldest is in her final year of high school. Need I say more?

2016 is off to a grand start. I am so excited to have several things lined up already in the Zentangle realm! I will be revealing more over time, but my big announcement for this blog post is that I will be teaching 4 classes at Stamp Escape in Pigeon Forge in April! Two of the classes will be Zentangle Foundations, which is the class that covers the basics; "Zentangle 101" as some teachers refer to it. The other two are longer and more advanced. In one class, we will create ZIA Knots, and in the other we will explore using stamp and scrapbook supplies to enhance Zentangle-inspired art. Click here to learn more about Stamp Escape, and to see my classes, click here.

In the meanwhile, here is a recent shot of some Bijou tiles I have been working on for a swap . . . 

There will be more announcements soon! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

When? How?

When did I stop blogging? (Oh...well, that would have been last August.)
When do I begin again? (Hm-kay...I'm trying to now.)

How do I get started when it's been such a crazy long time since I last posted?
How do I "cover" the last um....9 months???

No, I did not have a baby! ;-)
The 9-month timing is a coincidence.

But we did go through a major life change. We bought a new home. And moved. After 17 years at the same address!
This was a biggie for us. I loved our previous is a great house in a neighborhood we love, with wonderful neighbors and a convenient location.

We did not want to relocate. But we needed something different in a home. So...we searched around and until we found what we were looking for. We ended up buying a home on the other side of the same neighborhood. It's exactly what we needed! *Happy sigh!*

I can't pretend that moving was easy. It was an ordeal. We got thorough it; enough about that. I'm sure I'll write more about it later.

There have been other things on my schedule as well...I might eventually get to some of them. For now, I have a tile to post for this week's Diva Challenge, # 218: White on Black on Found. And I am a bit flummoxed because I realize that in creating it I unintentionally used the same basic string as the last two tiles I posted! REALLY???!!! Couldn't I have used a different composition?!

Well, I could have. But I didn't. And I want to move forward. So I am sharing it anyway:

hypnotic, a hybrid hybred with some beadlines thrown in,
a hint of tipple, and floo.
Drawn on a black Zentangle(R) tile with a white Signo pen.

Comments are always deeply appreciated.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Twing Fling

Here's one of my latest tiles. It is inspired not just by Diva Challenge #180, "UMT - MacDee by Anneke Van Dam" but also by one of my favorite Zentangle groups on Facebook: Square One: Purely Zentangle. This new group, established by two CZTs, is devoted to the original format brought to us by Zentangle®: the 3.5-inch square tile, tangled with black ink and shaded with a graphite pencil. 

cadent, twing, and MacDee
I deeply appreciate the vision of founders Chris Titus and Jenny Perruzzi for having the vision to establish Square One: Purely Zentangle. I love seeing all of the innovative compositions all done with the very basics. I look forward to the weekly focus on one particular tangle. The current tangle focus is verdigogh, so I'll be working that into a tile soon.

I encourage you to check out Square One: Purely Zentangle and join in. It's a great way to connect with other tanglers and strengthen your Zentangle practice.

Happy Tangling! Leave me a comment if you wish to let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 2, 2014


This past week flew by as I unpacked, laundered all the clothes from our trip, and took the kids to various appointments. Now that we are home from our grand British vacation, it is "back to school" season here! School starts August 11, which I know sounds early to some of you, but keep in mind that our summer break began at the end of May.

There was much to be done this week, but I managed to find time to tangle two traditional Zentangle tiles for Diva Challenge #178: "Duotangle by the Letter!" My first and last initials are A and B.

avreal & bales
aquafleur & Margaret Bremner's beadlines
I still haven't downloaded my photos from England and Wales . . . but I took loads! Some on my iPhone, a few on my iPad, and a few hundred (I think!) on my son's digital camera. It's been a few years since I'd been to Europe, but I remembered the frustrations of running out of battery life and filling up memory cards, so I was well-prepared this time. My family doesn't have a lot of patience for posing for photos, so I don't have all that many classic, posed vacation pics. I do have lots of closeups of architecture and textiles and other ornamental objects, as Zentangle has turned me into a shameless pattern hunter. Can you relate?

While we were touring around Great Britain, we spent considerable time in our rental car getting from here to there. I kept a sketchbook and pen handy, and the joy of being on vacation and surrounded by the beauty of the Welsh and English countryside inspired a few new tangles. I haven't done the step outs for them yet, though. :-) Is it odd that I use vacation to work out nonrepresentational patterns instead of drawing the beautiful scenery that surrounds me? (It doesn't bother me, even if it is a bit odd!)

While we were traveling, I did not bring any full-size Zentangle tiles to tangle. What I did bring was my tin of the new Bijou tiles! They are perfect little travel companions! I had envisioned tangling some Bijou tiles at each destination, and leaving them behind for others to enjoy, but once we reached a destination, we were so busy sightseeing, there was rarely time to sit and draw. While we were in York, in the spirit of my B.Y.O.B. challenge, I prepped a tile with some Earl Grey tea (see it here along with a greenish Bijou tile, both of which were tangled in the Newark airport on the way home) and utilized truffle to tangle a Bijou tile that I still haven't shaded (shown in this post). Not exactly enough to leave a snail-trail of darling little tangled Bijou tiles around Wales & England. So they came home with me, just as Bijou came home with Rick and Maria. 

If you have no idea what I am talking about, read all about Bijou here. :-)

As always, comments are welcome and deeply appreciated!
Happy tangling!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Homeward Bound

I am indeed writing this as my family and I are homeward bound, around 38,000 feet over the Atlantic. There's about 2 hours left until our plane lands in Newark. 2,717 miles traveled, 940 miles to go. Our ground speed is 478 miles per hour. This seat map display is pretty cool! But all those numbers are not aligned at the exact same moment. The display changes between screens and the figures it rotates through update constantly. It's taken me a while to write just this, as I am terribly slow and clumsy with this iPad Mini keyboard. But it beats the tiny iPhone keyboard I was trying to blog with as we were standing in line to board our plane in Newark last weekend!

The dark and light brown areas
are dried tea--I stained this Bijou
tile while enjoying my first cup of
tea in Britain. It was Earl Grey.
The difference in intensity is simply
because I had to blot the large central
area in order to move the tile to
a safe place to dry. I didn't have time
to tangle it until we were on our
way back home.
Great Britain. That was our vacation destination! The kids and I had never been, and it's been 25 years since my husband had been to England. Our passports had expired earlier this year, so we renewed them at the start of summer, and made some plans. After all, we have precious few summers left that both kids will be free to go on vacations with us; once they start college, who knows what their availability will be!
This bijou tile was started and completed
at the Newark airport. The central design
was inspired by all of the the roundabouts
on British roadways.

It was a marvelous trip. I can't wait to tell you more about it!

(This post was updated on Saturday, August 2.)
I have a bit of an obsession with taking photos out of plane windows.
At the time this was taken, the combination of sun and clouds was
quite delightful. Soon after, the sky darkened, and we had to circle
around for a while, waiting for severe storms in Knoxville to calm
down before our pilot could land the plane. We got to watch the
lightning storm from the sky. On the ground, hail fell, and lots of
damage was done, though fortunately our home was not effected.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Truffle II

Here's another truffle tile. Please excuse the poor lighting of my iPhone photo!

First photo, taken in London...
This was taken in our dim hotel
room as we were packing up
our final night.
What a difference a scanner makes!
I still haven't added shading, however.

I still need to shade it...will update the post when I do. 

I'll have plenty more to share soon, but for now I am still functioning with the tiny keyboard (and screen), and limited ability to edit anything.

But it's all good. More soon!
Happy tangling! And a heartfelt THANK YOU! to all who have tried truffle and contributed to this week's challenge! I am so proud of my Caroline and am thrilled that she had the opportunity to share truffle and present a challenge as a guest post writer. :-)


I now have access to a real keyboard and screen and scanner, for we are now home from our MARVELOUS trip to Great Britain!!! I hate to post our travel plans before they happen, or while we are actually gone. It's a security thing; I just don't think it's wise to share with the whole world that our home is unoccupied for a period. It was a bit awkward that the week that Caroline's challenge was posted just happened to be the one week that our family was abroad...thousands of miles from home! But still, it was WONDERFUL checking in to the challenge whenever we had wifi, peeking in on what everyone was doing with truffle.

Check out my "Homeward Bound" post to see two more tiles I tangled while I was away . . . but barely, as I tangled them during our layover in the Newark airport, before the final flight of our vacation.

(Updated Saturday, August 2, 2014.)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

B.Y.O.B.Behind the Scenes!

I have to admit that it's pretty exciting to have my challenge posted on the Diva's blog!!! I haven't been able to look at everyone's entires yet; I've only seen a few. I'll explain why later...please bear with me as I try to compose and publish this post from a tiny keyboard! (My iPhone.)

Wine-stained tile, pre-tangling

Oh dear. First I accidentally hit "publish" when I tried to hit the icon for adding a picture. I decided I better forge ahead and "fix" it, but honestly, that is SO much easier said than done on a mobile device! Yikes!!!! This is going to drive me nuts! And I won't be able to do anything about it for a while... Bear with me, please! This post is still under construction. Please excuse the mess I am making...I promise to come back and take care of it when I can. But I beg your patience; due to circumstances, it won't be until nearly August.

Nothing to be alarmed about--everything is fine. As I said above, I will explain it all later.'s a bunch of photos, plus some text thrown in, but not quite arranged or edited properly. Enjoy!

The wine that did the staining of the above tile

Coffee-dipped ATC 

The idea of the challenge percolated in my mind for a while before I started writing and tangling. By the time Caroline and I got to North Carolina for a few days in June I was ready. It was so fun to tangle at Foster's. And the strawberry layered cake was delicious! In addition to the tile that dripped a coffee puddle onto, I also dipped an ATC into our coffee; I look forward to tangling that. Caroline prepped some ATCs, too.

Foster's, being a market and not just a cafe, also has a small wine shop, so I found two interesting bottles of red that I brought home with the idea that I could sip some wine as I tried another approach to the challenge. One of the wines had a great pattern on the label...but I think the wine spoiled in my car during our trip. I opened the bottle, and it had a nasty toxic smell! How disappointing. The other bottle of wine was just fine.

That afternoon Caroline and I headed to Raleigh to surprise CZT Sharon Payne, who was demonstrating Zentangle at Jerry's Artarama that day.

I shared with Sharon the secret of my upcoming B.Y.O. B. challenge, and she was quick to show me a few of her pieces in sketchbooks that feature one of her favorite beverages. :-)

Caroline, Sharon, and Yours Truly

Sharon's award-winning boots!

Sharon's latte angel

Sharon's latte carp

From the label of the wine that quite sadly was spoiled.

First set of strokes of my tangle session at Panera

I'll end with a close-up of Caroline prepping an ATC at Foster's. She hasn't tangled it yet, but I hope she will soon!