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. ;-)


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Timeless Mooka

C-Gal did some wonderful work in her 2012 Tangle-a-Day Calendar...but she did not even come close to finishing it, so she did not want for me to order a 2013 calendar for her. Such a practical daughter I have!

(I have to admit, I did not come close to completing my 2012 calendar, either...but that did not stop me from ordering the 2013 version!)

So C-Gal worked on this week's dates in last year's calendar, which explains why March 25th is featured as a Sunday.

I have to say, I am most impressed with what she's done with mooka here!

She used my Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer watercolour pencils (my favorite water-soluable color!) and my Creative Mark Micro-Mini Brushes--a fabulous brush set for Zentangle artists. (I treated myself to a set when it was on sale for $19.95...and have been sooooo happy to have this group of brushes in my art supply inventory.)

Leave C-Gal a comment below...I know she'd love some feedback!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mooka Monday

Woke up this morning to find the Diva's newest challenge to be perfect for today's entry in my Tangle-a-Day calendar! And perfect for tangling some more of the coffee-stained rim tags I found on etsy. Click here for the website of the company that makes order came really fast, and I love the tags!)

Mooka is one of my favorites. I never know how it's going to turn out, though. It takes on a life of its own, and it's always (well, usually) fun to see how it turns out.
I am sure I will be mooka-ing more as the week goes by...and since I am on vacation, I should have no trouble finding time to share! 

Speaking of coffee...I want to bring up a little something called the Friendship Cup. You can read more about here...and here and here. Cathy, a blogging, tangling teacher here in TN, sent me the Cup in February, when I was all caught up in Moose and traveling and getting ready to presenting at a national convention...and I had to put it on hold. This Friendship Cup is soooo cool and is something that deserves mindful attention, and at the time that it arrived, my attention was spread in other directions. But now is the time I am able to focus on it, so here is my first mention of it. And your first chance to sign up for me to send it to you!

So...would YOU like it next? Post a comment down below if you wish to be entered in a random drawing to be the next to get the Friendship Cup! Here on vacation I will be gathering some goodies to send with it....

Sadly, I do not have any photos of it here with me right now, so I will be have to post those after we return home. Until then, you can let your imagination run wild as to what it looks like now and what goodies it came to me with, and what goodies I might send away with it...and, you can sign up for a chance to be the next recipient! Fun times!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tri-Neon Noir

For the Diva's Challenge #110/"Get rid of the box," C-gal (my 14-year-old) decided to
a) tangle an ATC for the first time. (This was not her first ATC, but her first tangled ATC. She participated in her first ATC swap at the sweet young age of 4 or 5...but that's another story for another blog entry.)
b) use only tangles that featured triangles
c) layer color onto a white-on-black design.

She had fun "tri"ing those three things. Unfortunately, I do not have access to my scanner, so a photo taken with my iPad mini has to suffice. I don't like how it's not properly squared up, but it's the best of the different photos I took.

How fun it's been to sit together at a table for a few hours today and tangle and talk. It wasn't so fun when I spilled my Zen tea all over the table filled with art supplies...but that's all cleaned up now and we've moved on!

She's almost done with a second entry for this challenge...I might be adding it to this post in just a little while, so check back!

groovy, jilli, planateen, pea-nuckle, basket weave, sugarcaneunyun, snood,
escalator,  tagh, angelfishverve, paushalöv,  zinger, bugles, and one other...
I am still trying to figure out the name of the one on the lower right. Caroline
modified it, but I am not sure which tangle it started as.

...And here it is: C-Gal's 2nd entry for the "Get rid of the box" challenge. Caroline used only tangles she had never used before, and had fun researching unfamiliar ones on

Pause, please!

Whew! Winter ended and spring began in a blur. I have been home, out-of-state, back in town, husband out-of-state; once he was back, I flew out-of-state, back home, and now am out-of-state again. All since my last post. The school year is flying by: we are in the final nine-weeks grading period already!

But I am trying not to think about work/school this week.  I'd like to slow down. Right here, right now would be just fine. Where's the "pause" button?

It is Spring Break; I am on vacation with my family. Ahhhhhhh! We are on a coastal island, but temps are predicted to be in the 50s this week. Not exactly beach weather. So I will shop! I will read! I will dine! I will blog! And most importantly...I will tangle!!!!! I brought an ample bin of art supplies which I look forward to using. And I could not be happier! This kind of opportunity does not come along very often.
crescent moon, hollibaugh, static, bales, sez, munchin,
ennies, betweed,
and patena

The first thing I wanted to do today, after our delicious brunch at a pancake emporium, was to start up my Tangle-a-Day calendar habit. My poor calendar is practically blank. So I did that first, having fun with Terri Brown's fun new tangle snugz. Then I did a quick coffee-stained rim tag (small), using auraknot, at Caroline's suggestion. Then it was time to pull out the latest Diva challenge, which I had begun on a Zendala tile. Her challenge #110 was entitled "Get rid of the box" and we were supposed to do something that was a bit of a stretch for us. I chose to do a pre-strung Zendala tile, as I had never done one before. As much as I love the Zendalas I see others doing, I have dragged my feet in trying them myself.  So here's how that turned out.

(My only other Zendala piece was on a blank Zendala tile almost a year ago, for the Earth/Amanda Day challenge. Click here to see that Zendala and blog entry; I was rather proud of the title I came up with for that one!)

So now I go quickly to post this link to the Challenge; maybe it will find its way into the slideshow, even though it is a day late. Then I will post C-gal's. She chose to tangle an ATC. One of the reasons I am so excited about Spring Break is not only do I have time to tangle; C-gal has time to tangle with me. YAY! What a rare treat these days!

I hope your week is as enjoyable as I plan for mine to be. Comments are always appreciated, if you choose to leave one!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Moose's Latest Photo Shoot

The most recent photos of Moose are here…there are a few areas that we have gesso-ed over to “re-do”, i.e. on the front legs—Caroline is determined that her “punzel” be “just so.”

On Moose’s belly we have decoupaged the encyclopedia entry for “Moose” from a set of old encyclopedias (copyright 1925!) that I rescued when my parents were going to discard them. It was such a short entry with no photos or illustrations, it practically asked us to apply it right there.
That's it for now! The highest bidder will get to choose whether or not Moose gets a sealed with a glossy finish or a matte one!
Bid quick!!! Here's the link....the aution ends at noon!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Moose — Part Deuce and Paushalöv

C-Gal and I have been busy adding tangles to  Micro Moose. We are learning as we go--sometimes the curve of the sculpture throws us for a loop and our pen does not move across the surface as we intended. Gesso is our friend! It allows us to have fun and take risks, and if they don't work out well, or if lines need tweaking, we can re-do or tweak. This is not an aspect of my every-day Zentangle practice, but I don't mind adding that to my ZIA repertoire for use under circumstances that merit it--and this circumstance does, I feel.

Check out this video that we made! (But beware and be kind--we are not seasoned videographers. In fact, this is the very first video I have ever posted to YouTube.) I'm so glad C-Gal wanted to do this for Moose! I would not have had the confidence to something like this when I was her age, so I'm really proud of her. If you want to view it on YouTube, just click here.

Moose has even more tangles now! It's like he's softly woofing to us to add such patterns as punzel and coil...and we don't want to turn him down! But we won't post any more images until he is complete, which will be in just a few hours. (Final touches always occur at the last minute for me...I never manage to achieve closure until my time is up!)

The auction ends soon!!! We'd love for you to bid on our beloved here to link to the auction! We will send him out Monday to the highest if that's you, you can have him in time for Valentine's Day!

C-Gal also made a Valentine featuring dansk this week. I can't say who it's for until later, but it is for someone very special! It's a card that opens to the right and left, kind of like double doors with flaps...the flaps make the heart. The entire card is red, so I covered all but the front flaps with white card stock so you can see the heart better. The rest of the card front is simply solid red.

Can you see a new tangle? Caroline came up with it for this card, and we are still trying to come up with the right name for it.

Speaking of the video Caroline mentioned the tangle that I named after our dog. I am happy to say that I finally have step-outs for paushalöv to share with you! I can't stop doing this tangle. Try it out and let me now what you think!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Meet Moose--My Muse

Isn't he handsome?!
I have a new dog in my life! Well, kind of. I don't want to mislead you. We have not adopted another living, breathing furry friend--but my muse, Moose, is available for adoption, if you have room in your home, heart, and life for a very special canine! In addition, I am working on a sculpture in honor of Moose...and it is available for purchase via a very special auction. (Click here to link to the auction!)

"Micro-Moose," mid-makeover
It's a collaborative artwork; I am not the only artist involved. Terri Malloy of Vernon, Vermont created nine papier mache sculptures of some very special greyhounds, including Moose. I had the opportunity to sign on as an artist to finish one of the sculptures for an online auction, and that's how Moose became my Muse. C-gal is helping me. It's not easy tangling a 3-D fact it's quite daunting. But I decided to take on the challenge, leave my comfort zone of traditional Zentangle tiles, and embrace the opportunity to participate in this grand, charitable event supporting the Fast Friends Greyhound Rescue and Adoption Center of Swanzey, New Hampshire. Fast Friends is a state-licensed animal shelter and non-profit organization, dedicated to educating the public about racing greyhounds and finding responsible, loving homes--forever families--for greyhounds.

Also in on the creative collaboration are Amy Reisinger and Betty Mullan, who made tiny beaded collars for each miniature greyhound.

More about Moose, the actual dog:
He's a big one. And a mighty one: he is winning his battle with cancer. He needs a forever home in which to relax and enjoy retirement and remission. While I am not in a position to provide this for him, it is my honor to tangle this sculpture that can help fund the his cause--his individual cause, and the cause of greyhound rescue/adoption through Fast Friends.

More about "Micro-Moose," the tangled papier mache sculpture:
I've been calling him "Micro Moose" to distinguish him from the living, breathing Moose. But don't get the wrong impression--"micro" makes him sound tiny. He's actually about 7 inches tall, 9 inches long, and 2 inches wide. He has a base coat of white gesso and some patches that mimic his actual markings, based on photos of actual Moose. The patches are tangled with zewm, bunzo, and diva dance. Other tangles that you see in the photo above include y-not (aka etcher),  Rick's paradox, gneiss, betweed, mooka, patena, and a Celtic knot completed in the style of auraknot. More have been added since this photo was taken, and still more will be added in the next day or so--it's a slow, careful process.

C-gal and I will be finishing up Micro-Moose this week and sending him to the highest bidder. I encourage you to visit the auction, check out all the dogs, and support Fast Friends by bidding! You could end up with a fabulous piece of art while supporting animal rescue!

Rick's paradox, shattuck, paushalöv, inapod, and dansk.
OH--I almost forgot! I was so busy with "Micro-Moose" last week that I never finished my Diva Challenge piece. Oh well! I'll finish it eventually. I didn't want to miss yet another weekly challenge, so when I checked out this week's challenge (# 105, Use My Tangle, v. XIII: Dansk), I realized that I already had a perfect "starter" tile. I had begun this tile weeks ago, just as a relaxing piece, and set it aside, unfinished, until I felt inspired to complete it. There was just one space left to fill, and it happened to be the largest area of my string. Today I realized that dansk would complete it nicely, so here it is. If I have time, I'll do another; dansk is really fun! But Moose comes first. I'll post more photos soon!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

C-Gal's ZIA

Auraknot, pre-Bunzo
C-Gal doesn't usually take on the Diva's challenges, but she was inspired by this one, and has been enjoying the luxury of a long weekend (made extra-long by the snow day we had Friday--a rare event for us!). She tends to work on ZIAs more than tradition Zentangle tiles, so it was no surprise when she started working in color in her sketchbook. Starting with Auraknot, she "bunzo-ed" around the tips and created this glorious design that dances right off the top of her sketchbook page!

I especially love how her bunzo stripes bounce back and forth in a continuous path...something I didn't even realize 'til I had scanned the image and placed it in this post!

She hasn't decided if she is going to shade it yet...but if she does, I'll post it again.

I love my daughter's tangle designs! I have more of her art to share with you, so stay tuned!

Duotangle Tango

Happy New Year! I really thought I'd be posting a lot more over the holidays...but that didn't quite happen. I stayed busy with family and since I was still dealing with a long-lasting cold/sinus infection, my energy level was lacking. It was a low-key Christmas for us...we finally got our tree decorated on Christmas Eve! And it was beautiful. I bought some new lights this year--little balls that had a softer glow than the lights we've used for years. Even my husband noticed the difference and appreciated it. On Christmas day we headed over to my in-laws for brunch and family time...once we got home, I spent a few hours cleaning up the late-night wrapping mess, then made some supper, which we ate in the living room while we watched an episode of Dr. Who. We didn't even open our the presents under our tree until after supper! But it was sooooo relaxing to do it on our schedule. I'm glad we didn't wake up and tear into things right away that morning.

I missed the first Diva Challenge of 2013. I simply didn't get a tile done. I was busy trying to get back into the swing of things since Winter Break had ended and we were all getting back to our regular schedule. It was a wonderful challenge, though. The Diva shared with us a new tangle that her husband had come up with (Phicops--love it!), and she even quoted me on her blog entry that week!!!! Wow. That had me floating for days--knowing that what I had written had meant so much to her. I am so grateful for all of her challenges--even when I don't get to them!

But I did get to this week's challenge (#102): A Duotangle Challenge to use Auraknot and Bunzo. And ONLY Auraknot and Bunzo. I like both of these tangles, though I have to admit I probably would not have chosen to create a composition using only these two. The cool thing is, I was afraid that everyone's challange entries would all end up looking somewhat the same. Silly me! I haven't visited more than a handful of the links yet, but each one is so different. Of course! This is Zentangle, after all; everything is freehand and open to endless variation. So here is my version. My Auraknot is flawed as I lost my way as I was creating it, but I decided not to worry about that and just keep going.

I scanned it before shading, as I often do...I didn't think it needed shading until I saw it on my computer screen, and it seemed to be lacking something. So I shaded it, and am posting both so you can compare them. I also rotated the shaded one 90 degrees clockwise. It was tricky to shade because of all the thin areas in the Auraknot...there are certainly times when I am tempted to take an eraser to my Zentangle work in order to remove unintentional graphite. The shading in the Auraknot looks a bit unbalanced to me, yet I don't feel the need to keep working on it. What do you think?

C-Gal (my daughter, for those who don't know) is working on a Bunzo/Auraknot ZIA right now, but it's not ready for me to post yet.

Onward! I can't wait to see what the next challenge is. Happy tangling!