Monday, September 4, 2023


It's been a year. 
What a year it's been. 

Today is the official anniversary of Mom's last laugh and last breath. And so, on this meaningful day, I want to share the stepouts for a beautiful tangle that I created in memory of my Mom. 

Switching gears, but it's definitely still on topic: I'd like to give a BIG shout-out to my friend Jessica Davies, CZT, of Salted Pink Studio for giving me the name before I had even developed the tangle! I was in a group chat with her and a few other CZTs. I was experiencing FOMO (Fear of Missing Out, you know) about an upcoming online retreat, so as I was trying to decide whether or not to sign up (I wasn't sure the timing would work for me), I mentioned I had FOMO, and Jessica's immediate reponse was, "No FOMO!" 

Which sounded like an awesome tangle name. Thank you, Jessica! It just needed a tangle to go with it. 

I had personal reasons for wanting to come up with the perfect tangle for "NoFOMO". It took me a few weeks, but then, ta-daaaaa!!! I had come up with what I feel is the perfect NoFOMO tangle. FOMO, you see, is different for each of us. In order to manage FOMO, we have to look inward and deal with our thoughts and feelings. And we have to look outward and manage our time, resources, and reality. What is possible? What opportunities are to be pursued, which should be released? How can FOMO be relieved? Do you find a way to participate in whatever you are afraid of missing out on? Or do you find a way to let it go and move on? Do you need to grieve? Do you need to find a distraction? There are choices to be made in the process of dealing with FOMO, right?! 

So, this tangle is about defining a context, a frame. You might say it represents whatever it is that you fear missing out on. And then you choose what to do on the inside. Do you treat the space as one area, or divide into smaller areas to work with? You choose what to do with the space, the void, within. And then you decide how to manage and make the most of the space beyond. The area surrounding the frame. Are you still with me? Does it make sense? 

This tangle can make use of a particular curvy shape the looks like an ornamental letter "C". It has a bulb at either end, like the tangle mooka. And it's a shape I keep noticing on all sorts of things! Silverware. A decorative easel. A trellis in a potted plant at my cousin's church's labyrinth in Texas. So I decided that not only did NoFOMO need to be the name of a tangle, but that this shape, which I like to use when I draw NoFOMO, needed a name. So I came up with one that acknowledges that it looks like like a double-ended strand of mooka: mirrooka. You can see it in action in my stepouts below! And below my stepouts, you can read a bit more about how this relates to my Mom's passing one year ago.
September 4...last year it was the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. This year, of course, the 4th (today) falls on a Monday. So yesterday felt like the one-year mark, being the Sunday of this holiday weekend. I decided it was time to finally get my stepouts finished for publishing in remembrance of this significant day. So that's what I did yesterday. I finally made my "polished" steputs of a beautiful tangle I had been drawing for months, and even teaching when I had the chance. 

You see, NoFOMO is the tangle I created to honor Mom and my family's memories of her last weekend in this realm. We knew she was dying, had very little time left. Mom had reached the end of her journey, and her husband, children, and grandchildren were all there with her at Mom & Dad's apartment. My sister and her kids (all in their 20s) had come down from Washington, DC and Virginia on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, and my own kids (also in their 20s) drove down from Ohio later in the day, and didn't arrive until 1am, the wee hours of Sunday morning. 

We then proceeded, in the middle of the night (!) to commence with the merriment of all being together, looking through stacks of photos and mementos that Mom had waiting for us. She had hoped to drift away peacefully, surrounded by her family chatting and laughing (as we alway do) sharing memories prompted by the photos. But every time she drifted away, she couldn't quite leave completely. She'd open her eyes and contribute to the stories. Sometimes she'd say something that didn't quite make sense to us, but she was still engaging, and most of the time, what she said was spot on, relevant...and so funny it cracked us up! So our vigil with Mom felt more like a family party. And Mom didn't want to miss out on any of the fun. She couldn't leave the party. 

So at 81.5 years, on high levels of oxygen 24/7, my amazing Mom pulled and all-nighter. At about 5 am, we all realized what was going on. Mom was experiencing FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. She was not afraid to die; her faith was in her Lord and Savior, and she was not afraid to leave this world and meet her Maker. Her body was not serving her any more. But she did not want to leave the party. FOMO. So that's why I wanted to create NoFOMO. To honor Mom's last hurrah, as well as the legacy of love and service she left behind. I love you and miss you, Mom. 

Mom made it through that Saturday night well into Sunday, and we teased her about having FOMO. She had never heard of it, so we explained it to her. She was quite amused and had to tell her hospice nurse about it when the nurse came to the apartment to check in on her. Even on what turned out to be her last day, she was learning and laughing, in addition to loving. Her time after that dwindled down. She stayed as long as she could, and then made her exit. We weren't ready, but she was. We knew she needed to go, and she reassured us that it was okay.

Teaching at a Jewish school, I have learned that the anniversary of the date of passing is very significant; it's called Yahrzeit. That is about all I know, but now I would like to learn more. I'll light a candle for her tonight, though I won't leave it burning for the traditional 24 hours due to safety concerns. do you like NoFOMO? It's a tangle that plays so well with others! I'd love to see ways that NoFOMO appears in YOUR drawings, whether it's a page in a sketchbook, a traditional tile, or a piece of Zentangle Inspired Art (ZIA). Take care . . . and maybe make your Mom a piece of art! I wish I'd made more for mine. Or maybe make a piece of art WITH your Mom, or Dad, or Grandparent, or sibling, or son or daughter, or niece or nephew, or all of the above, if feasible. But most importantly, MAKE MEMORIES to cherish. NoFOMO is a definitely a memory in the form of a tangle! Remember to define your frames, and explore and nurture the space within and the space beyond.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Exploring New Waters

Hello blogworld! Anyone out there? Anyone miss me? I have missed writing. I have missed it terribly! And I didn't want 2022 to end without a single post, so after an hour or so of struggling to log into my Blogger account (I had completely forgotten the email I had used to establish this entity!), I finally got in. I am happy to have the opportunity to once again try to bring this blog of mine back to life. I've wondered if I should rename it or start a new one, but quite frankly, I love the name "tanglefish." My daughter helped me decide on it over a decade ago! So even though I am establishing a new business with a name that one might say is more land-oriented (Pen & Path), I am going to keep with the name "tanglefish" for my blog, and embrace the flow that started so many years ago. I have recently been on some adventures. And I am currently starting some new ones. I would like to chronicle them here, perhaps. Just tonight I submitted an application for something that would be really cool. I'll let you know if pans out! What's a blog post without some photos? Well, not as interesting as one WITH photos. But I can't seem to upload the water-themed photos I just spent an hour or so selecting from my phone. So photos will have to wait for another time. I might need to spend some time relearning how to do things in Blogger. Leave me a comment, if you would be so kind, to encourage me to make the effort! Thanks for reading! I'll try to have photos in the next post! And maybe share stepouts to a new tangle! -Amy in TN

Monday, April 12, 2021

Stick With It; See It Through!

Hello, happy Spring, and thank you for visiting Tanglefish! Please leave me a comment below to let me know you were here. I am delighted to have some stepouts to share. It has been a long time since I have drawn formal stepouts and put them out into the world for all (who are interested) to see. I think the last tangle I published was within, a tangle inspired be a beautiful piece of are by Margaret Bremner, CZT™. You can see within and read that blog entry here. The tangle that I share with you today is not new; it first flowed from my pen back in 2014. I was somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, flying home from a fabulous family vacation to England and Wales. I had my sketchbook and pen handy for the long flight, of course, and started playing with spirals. I was pondering the tangle opus and had a "what if...?" moment: What if I did not reflect the spirals on the other side of the "vine"? What if I only drew them in one direction? What would happen if I kept going and going, with more and more spirals in the same direction? So I kept going. It started looking really awkward, but I kept going. And then all of a sudden, I LOVED what happened! All because I stuck with it. I saw it through to a natural completion, as the spirals worked their way around. I fit them in each other and around each other, I nested them and layered them. Those spirals leaned on each other and supported each other, and something wonderful emerged. I added a few bells and whistles. I restated the central line over and over as I drew, and when I was done with the spirals, I added rounding in the angles. I had an idea to give it a "partial frame," aura-ing just a few segments and fitting a short strand of pearls in those partial auras. Ta-daaa! A new tangle was born! I named it quickly and easily based on my process of exploring the answer to my "what if?" question: Stick with it; see it through. Or, S.W.I.S.I.T. I love the sound of that; it suits the swirls! This tangle has a mind of its own. It likes to have room to spread out in all its glory and to be the star of the show. it is: swisit!
If you want to take swisit for a spin, I'd love to see what you do with it! Please join my new Facebook group, Fantanglefish, and post a photo!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Happy Flapping

To day, March 20, is the International Day of Happiness. Thanks to the United Nations for setting aside a day for this! Some people might need to be reminded or prompted. 

“Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place. But there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around.”– E.L. Konigsburg

narfello, floo, and gneiss 

This quote speaks to reminds me of a magic carpet that is floating or gliding smoothly on an invisible air stream, with one restless corner flapping as though it might know an even better direction to explore. Sometimes my attention is that corner that just can't settle down because it is excited about so many things! But I think that's really have multiple directions to be excited about. 

So I found a tile to share that has an energetic was a quick, spontaneous composition that came into being as the second tile in a Zentangle® Foundations class I taught in January.

I should have been teaching today; I had a new ZIA class lined up at the local community college. I was really excited about this new concept for a class, but it did not attract the minimum of enrollments required, so it was cancelled. It's always a bummer when a class gets cancelled, yet there is also always a silver lining. Instead of pouring my time and attention into my class today, which would have been lovely, I got to sleep in, read a little while my husband slept in even later, and eventually we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. This afternoon we got to work together for several hours in the yard on this beautiful day! It made me so happy!

Our yard has a long way to go before we will be satisfied with it. We have ideas, but tend to put other things first. Maybe this year we can get a little closer to our vision. Yardwork did not always make me happy, but the older I get, the more content I am to engage in the simple tasks of pulling weeds and picking up pinecones & sticks. Especially on a sunshiny day like today.

I decided that I wanted to write today, too. Writing makes me happy, and I haven't written here in a long time. I seem to write one post a year at this point. Maybe this year I will write more. Time will tell!

I started creating a new Facebook Group today. I have a local Facebook group for my tangle peeps here in East Tennessee, but I am getting ready to teach a broader audience. As I put together some class kits to send a Girl Scout Troop on the other side of the country, I realized that it did not make sense to add my local Facebook group name to the insert that I send with the kits, since the troop is not local. So I wondered what info I should add instead. It suddenly came to me: I should start a Facebook group as a companion to my blog. I'm on Facebook a lot more frequently, and it would help to keep me motivated to write here. It would be a way for me to connect with readers. Hopefully I will get more people interacting and responding to my posts. Maybe they (you!) could share any artwork they (you!) create in response to or influenced by what I write/create/share.

I am still in the very early stages, but I think I will call the group FanTanglefish. That has a nice ring to it! It might be FanTanglefish Tangleistic Pursuits, as "Tangleistic" is a term that I recently willed into being for another teaching opportunity that I accepted. I just finished a series of videos for a big CZT event, which is another source of happiness and joy. 😁💖I rather like my new word, tangleistic. 

I have to include a tangled image, of course, though oddly I did not tangle today! Thus, in addition to the tile above, I also offer a photo from a class I taught earlier this year: a Zendala from a Valentine workshop. It features shattuck, betweed, and a tangle I call cl-bahhsonné.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Twists & Turns; Returns & Reengaging

Happy May! Here is one of the tiles I tangled today, following an Instagram Live session with Annie Taylor, CZT, in Spain. How I enjoyed tangling with her and the others who were also watching her.

May 1, 2020 seems like a great day to re-engage. The world has changed since the last time I published a post here in Tanglefish. In my little corner of the world, our situation is far from "business as usual" but some things are returning. Some are seasonal, of course...plants are renewing their blooms and foliage. Some are societal...some businesses that had been closed for the pandemic are re-opening, as plans are in place to starts lifting restrictions. Some are personal. I am fostering renewed interest in various topics/pursuits during this season of social isolation. But renewed interest does guarantees action and results. So on this first day of May, I have decided to commit to engage in actions that further my interests and goals. So instead of thinking of writing posts, it's time for me to start writing them again.

I find it interesting that my last blog post shared my tangle within, which is reminiscent of a labyrinth path. Labyrinths are a renewed interest that I am pursuing, Did you know that May 2 is World Labyrinth Day? Thanks to CZT Sadelle Wiltshire for letting me know through her emailed newsletter that I received midweek...after I had actually taught a Zoom lesson to my 4th and 5th grade art students how to draw a classical labyrinth. Here's a link you can follow to learn more. 

And here is a link to register, if you are interested, and you happen to read this in time.

There are many things that fascinate me about labyrinths. One aspect that I appreciate at this moment is that it twists and turns and defies logic as it takes you toward the center, then away from the center, and then you find yourself IN the center! Applying that concept to my life, my attention changes directions so frequently, yet I like to think that it can suddenly end up where it needs to be at any given moment.

I had some fun trying to develop a labyrinth path earlier this is what I ended up with. It's rough, but I didn't create with the intention of sharing. I was just experimenting.

I'm curious to know how many of you are familiar with walking and finger labyrinths and the concept of labyrinths as a contemplative tool. Leave me a comment below to let me know!

To acknowledge the beautiful changes in nature that are occurring right now, here are some photos from around my home taken earlier today. The peonies in my side courtyard have come and gone (the roses right next to them are now exploding) and the peonies in my front yard that will be bursting open sometime this month. I counted 19 buds!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Inktober Eve! And my new-ish tangle: within

If this is your first visit to Tanglefish, WELCOME! 
If you are a returning reader, WELCOME BACK! 
I'm glad you are here.
I'm glad I am here, too.

If you are just here to see my new-ish tangle, within, inspired by Margaret Bremner, scroll on down to the bottom of the post. But then make me feel better by reading the rest and maybe even leaving a comment. LOL

Today is the last day of September, which means...tomorrow is officially Inktober!

So maybe I will use Inktober as a great excuse to resurrect Tanglefish. I have missed blogging, but the blog world is so full that I doubt that anyone missed me. My last post, "PUF the Magic Tangle" from over a year ago, had only one comment. One mere comment, despite the fact that it was viewed over 1500 times, according to my statistics. And that one comment was total spam, not at all related to what I had written. I'd delete the bogus comment, but then you wouldn't have the opportunity to go read it for yourself for a laugh and an invitation to join my blogger pity party. LOL

But back to Inktober!!! Are YOU ready??? I'm not, but I hope to be soon. ;-) Workin' on it!

Inktober is a widespread endeavor in the art world, and since it involves drawing and ink, of course the Zentangle® community gets excited about it, too! There are lists of tangles and Facebook groups for anyone who wants to participate through social media (I'm sure Instagrams will also be full of Inktober images!). 

CZT Stephanie Jennifer of Singapore is one author of an Inktober Tangles is a link to her Inktober 2019 blog post.

CZT Alice Dean Hendon of Maine, who runs the amazing tangle-y Facebook group called Tangle All Around, is also an enthusiastic promoter of Inktober (and so much else!). Her Inktober Tangles list includes not only a tangle suggestion (the first word on her list) but also the "Official" Inktober work prompt from Jake Parker, the creator of Inktober.

Click here to access one of Alice's Facebook Tangle All Around posts that talks about Inktober.
Click here to access another post in which she clarifies.

Oh, yes, and though it is not Zentangle-specific, I must include a link to the official Inktober website!
Each list (Alice's and Stephanie's) is fabulous, and I like to use both lists to inspire my drawing throughout the month of October.

Full disclosure: I have never made it all the way through Inktober drawing every day. But that's okay! The point is to get you drawing MORE. 

And I will add to that the goal of SHARING more. I need to increase both. I don't draw as much as I'd like, and I rarely make the time to share what I do. I am, putting it out there. I have goals. Time to progress toward them. 

One of my goals is to do a better job of sharing all the tangles I have come up with over the years. There are gobs of them. Not many are published. Those that are published don't get much attention; they seem to fly under the tangle radar systems. But I do get so very excited when I see other tanglers using them in their art. So if you share work with any of my tangles, I'd be thrilled if you'd let me know! 

One of my Zentangle inspirations is Margaret Bremner, CZT™, of the Enthusiastic Artist blog. Last summer Margaret shared an artwork on Facebook that had a feature in it that enthralled me immediately. It was a round medallion that drew me in and held me captive, in a good way! An amazing way. I could not stop staring at it, enjoying it, exploring the lines. It led me to create a new tangle that Margaret embraced, much to my very great joy. My tangle is a simplified arrangement of strokes inspired by that one element, that fascinating medallion, in her work. I named this new tangle "within" because it is contained within an enclosed orb. It is a single path, reminiscent of a labyrinth. Labyrinths have fascinated me for years. I won't go into labyrinths here, but if you are familiar with walking labyrinths and the practice of walking them in order to reflect and journey with one's thoughts, then you might also appreciate the name within from that aspect. Within also reminds me of the plastic adapter that was inserted within a 45 to play it on a record player, back in the days of vinyl.

Within can be used as a single unit or in clusters, as shown on the right. There are many ways to embellish it.

Within, inspired by Margaret Bremner.

A few weeks ago when I was visiting my daughter in NYC (that'll have to be a whole 'nuther blog post or two for a whole 'nuther time! LOL), I was blessed with a pm from Margaret who had been playing with within. It brought me such great joy to see what she did with it...and even more joy that she has granted me permission to share her work here. 
(Yes, I know this paragraph is centered for no good reason; there must be a glitch that is not allowing me to format it flush left, try though I might. I have certainly tried. Multiple times, multiple ways.)

Margaret Bremner
Art by Margaret Bremner,
used with permission.
Margaret Bremner
Art by Margaret Bremner,
used with permission.
Margaret also gave me permission to post a link to her original post on Instagram, so you, too, can see the artwork that sparked this tangle. It is entitled, "Shield Thy Trusted Servants." Click the title to see! (I hope; you might have to sign into Instagram. I'm not sure how it works, as I am not IG proficient yet.)

And thus concludes my first post of 2019!
Leave me a comment below to help encourage me to continue posting. 

Happy Inktober to all, and to all a good pen!

Monday, June 4, 2018

PUF: the Magic Tangle

Abra-cadabra! I'm back! I think I've mastered this disappearing act. I just need to work on reappearing more often.

Happy June! We are not quite halfway through 2018 yet. The months are slipping by! Travel for various reasons has kept me busy. I've made it to Ohio every month this year so far leading up to June, and I am sure I will be heading up there at least once this month. I do enjoy my trips up I-75! If you stick around (i.e. subscribe to Tanglefish!), you will probably learn many of the reasons why.

But on to the topic of this blog post: puf by Carole Ohl, CTZ™, is a charming tangle. I was excited to see that it is the focus of this week's Diva Challenge (#364). Puf really does seem to be magical in that it transforms from basic bales, a grid-based tangle that tends to turn out rather flat in appearance, to a dimensional and somewhat organic outcome! The original grid gets lost in the lines; it's rather exciting to see it transform! Here's my finished tile:

At the bottom of this post, you can see some pics of the tile in process.

In this next paragraph it might seem at first as though I am veering off topic, but watch how I magically tie it in:

During one of my trips to Ohio this spring (this particular trip was for a FIRST Robotics Competition Regional Tournament with my son's team), I made a little phone call to Bead Stash, a bead store in Kettering, Ohio. I wanted to see if they had any Tangle-a-Day Calendars in stock. Yes, I know it sounds odd to call a bead store to ask about a Zentangle®-inspired calendar, but I knew what I was doing.

Oh JOY! The owner of the store answered the phone, and confirmed that she had one copy left in the store. So I drove about 40 minutes to pick up the calendar and meet the owner—none other than the creator of the Tangle-a-Day Calendar, Carole Ohl herself!!! The same CZT™ who  came up with puf, as well as a bunch of other fabulous tangles such as featherfall, tuftid, floatfest, and inapod. You can see these and other tangles on her Open Seed blog.
What a great store!
I was so happy to meet Carole!!!
See how it all ties together so beautifully?! It was lovely meeting Carole in person, after having been a fan of hers, her tangles, and her wonderful Tangle-a-Day Calendars for several years. It was a short visit, as I had to return to the team at the robotics tournament at the Nutter Center at Wright State University. Those who know me well will not be too surprised that I found a Tim Horton's nearby so I could enjoy a latte pick-me-up on that beautifully rainy afternoon in Ohio. And invest strategically in a little bit of ground coffee to bring back to Tennessee.
I stock up when I can! This keeps me happily
caffeinated at home.
My son and I in the Team 1466 pit. He is the team's "Pit King"
I'm not quite sure why he has my old Ray Bans under his saftey goggles!
And here is my challenge tile in process, so you can see how it began and progressed:

I'll wrap this up with a few photos I took on a walk this evening with Joseph and Pausha. The clouds were glorious, and I thought it was funny the way Pausha appears to be exhaling the sunset in the 2nd photo. Almost like a fire-breathing dragon pointer!

I welcome any comments!
Happy Tangling!