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!


I love truffle!

From the start, I have been enamoured with the tangle that Caroline developed at her CZT training seminar last summer. I couldn't wait for her to share it, yet she was more focused on starting a Zentangle club at her school than she was on publishing step-outs. When she had the chance to challenge the Diva's readers with a guest post, I was delighted that she chose to share truffle with the Zentangle world. How fabulous for her to be able to see creative renditions of her pattern from tanglers around the world!

In addition to truffle I used bales, betweed, and 
a tiny bit of tipple.

I am still posting without the benefit of a desktop or laptop display and keyboard, so I will keep this short. Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Crush on Crux

The latest Diva challenge (#175) introduced me to a new tangle, and I have a huge crush on it!

Crux is brought to us by Henrike Bratz (of Germany, if I am not mistaken). It is a great-looking tangle, and offers grand opportunities for a variation. I had a hard time deciding which finishing touches to use, and I think I would have been happy with numerous options. I am certain I will have fun playing with this pattern!

In addition to crux: keeko, crescent moon, ahh, and hurry

As I'm putting my links in, I read a little note on Henrike's blog stating, "7.5.14 Linda Farmer just gave me the information that Crux is not a new pattern but a variation of 4 Corners, which I didn't know. She's right, but the emphasis on the cross is still a nice variation, so enjoy." 

4 Corners is a tangle developed by Barbara Finwell of Fallbrook, California. Another tangle that I was not familiar with! It's my opinion that Crux and 4 Corners are distinct enough to be considered different tangles, and I really like them both.

I hope each one of you is enjoying a delightful summer! Mine is flying by far too quickly. When will I find the time to update you on my adventures? I have been on two trips since my last post, and hope to write about them before the end of summer. And there will be one more trip: a very special trip that  will be taking place before my kids head back to school. So my attention is diverted from blogging, but I will have much to blog about upon my return! 

I will leave you with a teaser: soon there will be a Diva Challenge guest post from yours truly. I don't know which week it will "go live" but I am very excited and can't wait to see what that tangle world does with the challenge that I throw out to you!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Full Circle

School is out here in East TN, and in anticipation of a fun and tangle-y summer, I am jumping back into the blogosphere with my response to this week's Diva Challenge.

Tangles, from the inside out: cruffle (by Sandy Hunter, CZT),
, bales, onamato, and sraith (by Denise Rudd, CZT),
with a bit of tipple.
Circles are the theme of this week's challenge: we are to draw circles to use as our string. I chose to create a composition of circles inside each other, each one clinging to one side or the other of the previous circle. I drew these using a flat compass and pencil. I was working on my lap, not a desk or table, so my lines were not the best, but I just ignored the fact that I let the compass move at one point, and just tangled away on top of the wonky lines.

I think of years as circles, and the school year has come full circle; the 2013-14 academic year is merely a memory now.  For us, school gets out before Memorial Day, but starts up again in early-mid-August. Thus, it has now been a full year since I gave up my teaching job, a full year that I have been free! Well not exactly; I spent most of last summer trying to pack up my "stuff" from the classroom I was leaving, so I wasn't really "free" at this time last year, even though my teaching days were over. Being the enthusiastic collector that I am, there was a LOT to haul out of there. Books, posters, books, examples, books, personal tools and supplies, books, files of my lesson plans, books, display items, and more books. I was still moving stuff out in July, if I remember correctly.

So it has been a full year that I have missed having a classroom full of kids to teach and encourage in their creative journey. I have really missed teaching. But I have truly appreciated my freedom, and have been very relieved not to have been involved in the stressful professional climate of the local pubic school system. It's been a rough year for my former colleagues.

For the past year I have just been a mom. A stay-at-home mom, juggling laundry, dentist and orthodontist appointments, sports and activities schedules, and occasionally making time for art. It's a good life! I have really neglected my Tanglefish blog not because I decided to, but because life kept being "full" and I just didn't sit down at any point and say "I'm going to blog today!" Well, that's not entirely true; I did post a few entries to the Zentangle for Kidz blog.

It's not that I had nothing to blog about; I have had plenty of interesting experiences that I would have happily blogged about. I just...didn't. Zentangle continues to be a daily influence in my life, as it always will. But it was rather nice to simply enjoy my experiences without putting pressure on myself to format them into a blog post.

But just as I missed teaching, I have missed blogging, too. So here I am. :-)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Birthday Bliss

It's been far too long since I have posted. I've been a busy girl, but hadn't completed any Diva Challenges, nor taken the time out from my busy life to post about any of my summer adventures. It was a wonderful summer! I can't believe it's August already. Caroline and her brother went back to school last week, which means that my life is now working its way into a new rhythm . . . early mornings. After-school activities. And unprecedented freedom in between. This is the first time I have been a stay-at-home mom since my youngest started kindergarten back in '05!!! It's strange! I have so much to do, yet I'm not sure what to do with myself, as there is no structure. It is up to me to develop the structure. I'm working on it. I have many, many loose ends that need attention.

Yesterday was my birthday. My husband went to work, Caroline & Joseph went to school...I had the day to myself. I had plenty of tasks to tackle at home. Too many! So I abandoned them, like a proper birthday girl,  and drove away--hee-hee! I checked out a few possible class venues, including a new-to-me coffee shop in a nearby town. I spent a few hours there, enjoying a latte...followed by an additional cup of coffee.  It was a good day. :-)

Who knew that failure to connect to the internet in a coffee house would be the ticket out of my Diva-Challenge-and-blog-post dry spell?!

At the coffee house, I tried to log onto the internet to check out all my facebook messages (don't you love fb on your birthday?!). No matter what I tried, I could not get my computer to cooperate with the free wifi at the coffee  house. All around me I could see folks working on their laptops...but all I could do was mess with my settings and try to figure it out. I asked at the counter, and the gave me the user name and password...but that didn't solve anything. Restarting didn't help either. None of the usual tricks. So I tried on my iPad mini. I spent my whole latte-sippin' time struggling to get on the silly internet! Ridiculous! Finally, I decided it was a sign. A sign that I needed to unplug. And tangle. I had planned to write a Tanglefish entry once I was online, but without a tile, what would I post anyway?! Forget the internet. I needed to tangle. To take on the Challenge. The Diva's Weekly Challenge #132: the Non-Domonotangle Challenge. I love that name! Click on it if you want to check the challenge out for yourself.

We had to use Bales. And only Bales. A montotangle. And our non-dominant hand. Only our non-dominant hand. Whoah. Uh-oh; tough one. I am right handed, so I drew with my left hand. And I stuck with it. It was hard. It was awesome! I loved it!!! Is that weird? I loved pushing myself and overcoming the difficulty. I actually like how my tile turned out, given that it was all done with my left hand! Sure it's shakey. (And not due to the caffeine!) But it has character. It was a sublimely satisfying experience. I used 5 different pens to get different weights to my lines. I was a little worried about my clumsy left hand putting too much weight on the delicate Microns, especially the 01 and the 005, but all went fine. And then I worried about the shading. But that went fine, too.

Here's the back, that I signed with my left hand, of course. My signature even looks close to my right-handed signature! By the time I wrote the note ("Left Hand Monotangle: Bales") my hand was exhausted and it actually started hurting. But not until then. My pen control deteriorated immediately. But by then I had done it--had met the Challenge. I was pretty amazed. What a delightful way to spend my birthday!

Caroline got motivated to take on the Challenge, too, and here is her tile. I did not show her mine until she had completed hers. We love how different they are!

Caroline also made me a birthday card with my initial. Look at her Mooka!!!! Needless to say, I was delighted by this gorgeous card!!! The "A" extends onto the back, as you can see below.

I didn't mind spending my birthday day by myself, but was so happy to spend the evening with my family. Dinner was at my favorite locally-owned pizza place, and we finished the evening with an episode of Dr. Who. The episode we watched just happened to be named "Amy's Choice."

So, even though I neglected my blog all summer, I am back! Alive and well, and happy and healthy. With plenty to blog about--adventures, new tangles, lots of photos, and more. Life is good.

Oh, and did I mention how proud I am that my daughter is a CZT?! You'll be hearing more about Caroline's endeavors, too.
I love how the arm of the "A" extends
to the back of the card.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Footsteps to Follow

Whoa­—summer is already halfway over, for us here in Tennessee anyway. For this post, I (Caroline Broady) am guest-writing for Tanglefish. I just got back home from the 11th CZT training seminar, which intensified my interest in Zentangle. I had a great time and met a lot of fascinating people. I am super excited to explore different outlets, which include starting my own blog. Right now, my biggest obstacle is finalizing a name. Until then, keep checking here. I know Mom (Amy) is eager to post about our family adventures.
Birdie Feet and Hollibaugh

With those updates out of the way, I can share my submission to this week’s challenge from the Diva: UMT v. XVIII Birdie Feet. Owl Loving April's tangle is representational, so I made my tile accordingly. (Usually, I head for the abstract, rather than literal, patterns.) I had a lot of fun with shading and used my tortillon a bunch. I love how just a little bit of strategically-applied graphite can bring a tile to life.

Now that my mom has “retired”, she has a lot more time to spend doing other things she cares about, including taking on the Zentangle for Kidz Blog. (Read more about CZT Training #11 on her latest ZT kidz post here.) We really want to increase interest/activity, so check it out and spread the word. If you visit, we'd love for you to leave a comment. :-)
–Caroline Broady, CZT 11

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Seeking Balance

Crescent moon, shattuck, dyon, and
a hollibaugh/pepper/tipple mash-up.
First: the eye candy! Caroline completed two tiles for last week's Diva Challenge, #119: Ebony and Ivory. This challenge was all about balancing black and white. I love these tiles, and how different they are from each other.

We are both excited about the current week's challenge, Tangleation Nation: Bales. Hopefully I'll make the time to complete the challenge this week despite all the things I have on my plate. It's a busy time for me. Read on.

Pepper, sand swirl, bunzo, jetties, Rick's paradox, bales,
angel fish, dl nebula, sanibell, inapod, pweeko, jest, cadent,
featherfall, and mooka.
You may or may not have noticed that I have been out of the loop, out of blog-mode and Diva Challenges for a while...I have been quiet and seemingly unengaged. The truth is, in a quest for balance in my life, I'm in the midst of closing a significant chapter. It is almost done, but I still have some loose ends to tie up. And it has monopolized my time and attention for the past few months. Specifically, I am walking away from my position at the elementary school where I have been honored to be an art teacher on staff for the past 7 1/2 years (I was hired mid-year, at Christmastime, 2005). It's not that I don't want to teach there anymore. It was a fabulous job in an amazing classroom with students, families, and colleagues that I adore! It is an emotional parting. Some days I feel like I have made a terrible mistake, but deep down I believe that I am doing what I need to do. Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions...sometime we have to let good things draw to a close. This is one of those times.

It boils down to this: I am now the mother of two teenagers. (Caroline's brother, my only son, turned 13 this month.) This is, of course, a temporary state: teenagers grow up all too quickly and leave the nest to fly on their own. Quite simply, I have limited years left with my kids here at home with me, and I want to be free to make the most of them. When my husband and I began our family, we were not planning for me to be a working mom. It just happened when the perfect opportunity presented itself to me. So I thought I'd give a a try. And I loved the job. BUT: it turns out that balancing my personal life (motherhood) with my professional life as an art teacher within the confines of the demanding and ever-changing public school system is NOT one of my superpowers. After years of trying to establish such balance, I have not been able to make it work to my satisfaction.

I want for "back-to-school" season to be about my son and daughter, not about my classroom. I want for the Christmas season to be about my faith and my family and the full range of joys of the season, and not have my time, attention, and energy be monopolized by the International Children's Day extravaganza that my elementary school produces each December. And I want for the end of the school year to be about celebrating my children's achievements and about honoring and thanking their teachers, not about completing my grades, returning student artwork, and completing my end-of-the-school-year checkout list, which included the overwhelming task of packing up the art room for the summer. So this will be the last time I need to clean out my classroom; I am passing it on to another art teacher. This is a very difficult transition for me...yet so very exciting! I have so many adventures that await me! That is, once I have succeeded in removing my enormous treasury of "stuff" from the art room...boxes and boxes of books, stacks of posters and visual resources, multicultural treasures, file cabinets full of documents & lesson plans, tons of personal supplies, tools, and materials (I counted 13 pasta machines, not to mentional all the cookie cutters and clay tools...and that's just for polymer clay, a tiny portion of all the media that I've taught over the years!). Not only do I have to remove them from the classroom...I have to find somewhere to put them all! Aaaaaaack!!!!! I don't know house is full. So: my first adventure will be excavating all my overflowing storage areas, pitching what I can and organizing that which I feel the need to hold on to. The first word of "creating order" is "creating"...and I am a creative person, so I definitely see organizing as a creative challenge. Woo-hoo! It's time to let my inner neat-freak out to play!

Making this major change in my life, once I get the "stuff" situation under control, will allow me to focus on so many ideas that have been percolating in my imagination for years. I will be establishing a personal studio for Caroline and I to work in. YAY! With regard to tangling...freedom from the school system will give me the flexibility to organize some Zentangle classes in my community. I am sooooo excited about that! So stay tuned for details. Working out a community teaching schedule is a challenge that I have not been able to meet in the past...but now I can seek other venues in which to do what I love (teaching) without it taking away from quality time with those that I love the most.

I hope you'll join me on my journey and cheer me on as I establish new routines. Including paying more attention to this well as another blog that I am so excited to be taking on! More about about that in my next post. ;-)