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!


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. :-)