Zentangle is...

The Zentangle® Method, created by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts, is an easy to learn, fun and relaxing way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Diva's Weekly Challenge #367 and Florence, the unwanted houseguest

The lights here have been flickering this morning, so I want to quickly post this.

Here in North Carolina we've had a frightful week with Hurricane Florence, who doesn't know when she's worn out her welcome, if she ever had one. Though she is now a tropical storm, she still lingers over our state. Lar and I live in Chapel Hill, which has been spared most of the destruction from her rain and winds. Our ground is completely saturated, which makes us a little nervous about all the surrounding trees, but we are grateful for being safe and dry, for having electricity and water. I am also grateful for the daily calls from friends in France who are checking to make sure we're okay. My gratitude journal has been a constant companion this week, on my lap as I sit in front of the news updates on TV.

The Diva's focus on N'Zeppl was a joy.

Starting Wednesday, my drawing had a definite spin going on. Thank you, Florence.

By Friday, we were starting to experience the hurricane's bands of wind and rain, and consequently, to see more debris from the trees.

Last night's drawing focused on the easy "Mooka" that Maria posted on the Mosaic app this week.

If you can send some loving thoughts to those touched by Florence's devastation, it would be greatly appreciated. At this point, 11 people have died, including a young mother and her infant. Sadly, the long awaited departure of the storm only means more danger, as evacuees try to regain their homes and fatigued rescuers deal with massive flooding of historic proportions. I also think about all the animals who were abandoned as their owners left in haste.

Thankful for you all, for the hundreds of folks who have come from across the country to help, for the outpouring of concern and well-wishes, I want to pass on one comment from a respected meteorologist here in our area. "Hurricanes exist in order to re-distribute an excess of heat that has accumulated over the ocean. When there is too much heat for the planet, a hurricane forms to pick it up and move it to an area with less heat." We must learn to respect our relationship with the planet, to understand that the planet is an entity with an operating system that supersedes our imagined needs for fossil fuel produced energy. I'm hoping that we can move to put more resources in environmental protection and eventually lessen our need for emergency management, and that the three or four hurricanes still off the coast will weaken and disperse.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

She's back!!!!

Hurray for Laura Harms, our Diva CZT who has graciously returned to post another weekly challenge after a well-deserved break! I know we were all so excited to see her 365th challenge this week.  I probably would have missed it had I not seen Annemarie's and Michele's posts in my email box! Thank you, ladies!

The challenge was to return to our beginnings and do a basic tile, with corner dots, border, string and black ink on white paper. This was so relaxing. No need to think or plan.

Yesterday I spent a few hours in my art journal on the "strength" prompt.  Starting with a used tea bag, I added the collage and then some tangles. Since I'm reading Reckless Daughter, David Yaffe's biography of Joni Mitchell, I thought I'd listen to her music while completing the page. So relaxing.

I don't usually listen to music when tangling. (If I watch the evening news, I always tangle, to keep me calm!!) I may just do this more often.
What about you? Do you listen to anything while you tangle? Does it depend on your mood?

Thanks for visiting! Have a "back to basics" week!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Long time no see?

The past two weeks have made tangling somewhat of a challenge, but I have managed to find a few photos to share.
Inspired by Adele's string and Ria's 3 tangles, I thought I would tackle the IAST #256. Talk about a challenge! I find drawing small hexagons really difficult, and eventually ordered a template to get me started! I pulled out all the training wheels I had available, and practiced Hexa for about a week before I started to be comfortable. (Part of getting comfortable was to start by drawing the two parallel lines, then adding the ends, and finally the < and > to make hexagons! That seems to work fine for my hand / eye / brain.) Mazorito is such a lovely tangle, and I love the little fox faces that I see. (Do you see them, too?) I had a hard time with spacing the dots and orbs, so I just drew the curvy Vs and left room for the orbs. That worked fine. My Horti just looked like Tagh, so that needed some work, too. This seemed like a lot for one tile, so I turned to my art journal. (Since my inner auras on Hexa were all wobbly, I added some rounding.) This took several days to work through, but I think I'm happy with it now. My favorite, most Zen moments were putting in the weighted lines on Printemps with my pencil. Aahhhhhh.

Even after completing the challenge, I still had some more Hexa, Mazorito and Horti in my pen and on my brain! These are entries from my gratitude journal.

Thank you, Ria for a great workout with these beauties! I'm sure I'll use them again and again.

I still have lots of leftover bedsheet, so I made another serviette this week, after seeing one of Maria's on the Mosaic app. This was my first time using a Micron 01 on the cotton, and I loved it. No more IdentaPens for me! Occasionally the Micron tip gets caught in the weave, but it's really not a problem.

Now that the sunshine, and summer heat and humidity, have found there way back to North Carolina, the garden is busting out all over! I spent several hours weeding and pruning last week. I have a few chrysanthemums that I bought on sale last year that have grown to about a meter high and wide. I've never seen any this big! I also transplanted some mums last spring from a shadier area into the sunnier part of the garden. I'm not sure, but I think they're Sheffield mums. They seem to grow several inches every day or two! I hope they will remember to bloom, too!

The mums and chrysanthemums are in the front.
Who needs fertilizer?

Fauna-wise, Lar and I went to a wonderful presentation at our local bird food store and saw an African raven, a screech owl, a barred owl, a skunk, a groundhog, a snow owl and a kestrel that had been rescued. We had a great time seeing them all! I held the raven, but because the others are protected in North Carolina, we weren't allowed to touch.

When Snerd the Groundhog has bananas, he gets a little messy.

What a beauty.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a magnificent week!

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Quality, not quantity?

I feel like I've done a lot of tangling this week, but don't have a lot to show you! Let's see.

My gratitude for Monday focused on some nice weather, and feeling particularly energetic and "comblée", a French word that beautifully expresses the "cup runneth over" feeling that I can't find an English word for right now! (I love how every language has words that can't be conveyed in other languages.) I spent a relaxing afternoon on a card for my daughter's birthday.

Lots of fun making my daughter's birthday card

Inspired by Susie Ng, I decided to try a transparent Zenbutton on an old demo tile. More fun ensued.

Somehow, my mood had changed by Wednesday, and I had to show gratitude for ups and downs.

I played around with some graphite, and Jody Genovese's new tangle, Twilight.

All week long, I've been getting ready for my first ATC swap, through our SparkPeople Zentangle team. The theme is "Summer".

Looks like I had more to show than I remembered! Another lesson for me to take the time to be mindful and grateful whenever I feel any lack or shortage in life. And to remember my motto: "I have what I need and I need what I have."

Wishing you a mindful, grateful week! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 12, 2018


I miss the Diva and the focus that her challenges gave my (our?) life. I understand and endorse her need to move on. I'm trying to find a focus for this week's blog post.

Let's see.

I have been tangling every day in my gratitude journal. This is a simple pleasure. Usually, my drawing surface ends up about Bijou size, and I usually have 3 sections, where I note 3 things that I'm grateful for every day. Usually, I use my comfort tangles, but more and more, I'm trying to integrate some new things as a way of working on my memory. (I never browse or look at step-outs for this journal.) This week, I was looking for something different, and used a random number generator. 49. Diva Challenge #49!  The Red Thread Challenge from guest blogger Cris Letourneau. If you haven't done this one, I highly recommend it! I integrated the IAST #254 into the drawing on the right.

One of the members of our SparkPeople Zentangle team launched an ATC challenge this week where the theme is summer. I recently bought some Zentangle ATCs to try. (I know. I'm probably the only person in our community who hasn't done these!) Since I've been drawn to dingbatz of late (see above!), this is my first attempt. (I accidentally picked up an 08, but really like the bold line.) 3 more to come.

I picked up my art journal again on one of those hot and humid afternoons where I hunkered down inside. My prompt was "mother", and I chose the Rumi quote "We are born of love. Love is our mother." Since my dad was an avid photographer, there was only one photo in the archives with him and my mom. And a guy in a bear costume.  Before I glued the photo down, I tried some "hidden journaling" in pencil. I like that effect.

I went back to another journal page that was incomplete and filled it in with some stamping, stenciling and tangling. Thank you, Michele Wynne, for the bleeding tissue paper tip. Great for covering up and filling in! There's a teabag in there, too. And an unhappy, beet-stained ATC dingbatz.

Looks a bit out of focus, doesn't it?

How are you finding a focus sans Diva? Do you prefer having a structured challenge or do you like to find your own challenge?

Thanks for sharing. Have an inspired week!

From this morning's walk, I wish that you may "abound in well-being and peace"!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Outside the tile

(This post is a long time coming. My internet has been  s l o w  as molasses, so much so that I couldn't get pictures to upload when I started this last week. And then there are power outages. Like the one that just happened!)

My tangles have taken me "outside the tile" this week. An old sheet that I scored at last weekend's estate sale called out to me! Memories of Maria's beautiful napkins danced before me, so I ripped up the soft sheet and started tangling with a brown Identa-Pen.

After the napkin, I ventured out into envelopes. I used a template from The Postman's Knock. Then I scanned my work and saved it, so that I can use it for more envelopes.

The grand finale of the library classes this summer was sponsored by the Durham MakerLab. Another "outside the tile" experience! We tangled and produced paper fidget toys. This was a challenging project, but the high school kids were up for it and did a great job. Folding card stock can be frustrating, so I scored the folds, which made a huge difference in how it all came together.  Due to privacy laws, I didn't get any pictures of the kids and their work, but here's a demo I made.

Thursday, I taught a "lunch and learn" in an engineering firm. Funny, we stayed "inside the tile"! We used Adele Bruno's string for this week, and some celestial tangles.

Have you tangled "outside the tile" recently?
Thanks for visiting! Have an inspiring week!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

News from ...

I made it back after a busy and friend-filled week! My English friend and former colleague Sonia drove up from Atlanta for a visit. An amazing teacher and artist, she caught me up on all that's going on in her home town, but also England, Canada and Jamaica, where she recently spent time with her family. In between our marathon chats--we hadn't seen each other for 4 years!--we got together with other friends, from North Carolina, but also Mexico and France. And in between those reunions, we hit the Scrap Exchange, my favorite up-cycling place to find any "scrap" you can imagine, be it textile, paper, metal, glass, plastic or wood. Sonia sews beautifully, and snagged some gorgeous fabrics. I picked up some lace, a chalkboard, some chalk, a mosaic mirror....and of course, my favorite, rubber stamps. Yesterday, we went to an estate sale in my neighborhood. More foreign flair, as the owners were selling their treasured mementos of years in China, Indonesia, India, Thailand and then some. I managed to limit myself. After all, I just downsized 2 years ago, and really don't have space! Sonia found a camel blanket to hang on the wall, since camels in Atlanta stay pretty warm, and some more fabulous hand-woven fabrics. This was so much fun!
This morning, I finished a page in my art journal for the Martha Graham quote: "Age is the acceptance of a term of years, but maturity is the glory of the years." I wanted to splatter black gesso to give it an aged look. Ha! Now I understand why artists have studios ;)

Thank you, Ria Mattheusen, for the string art you shared on your blog recently. Here's my first try. We'll see what this turns into! I love the technique. The shape remind me of calla lilies, a favorite flower. 

And no post would be complete without a tea bag! This one is stitched onto some fabric:

Thanks for your visit! Wishing you a multicultural week!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Café ou thé?

While I've been continuing my gratitude journal, I haven't done a lot this week. I spent a fun four days with my daughter, while her husband was working in the Netherlands. (We figured the last mother-daughter time we had was 21 years ago!) She spoiled me with a shopping trip, pool time, a special trip to her mother-in-law's magnificent garden and a wonderful Italian restaurant among other things. And, of course, there was time with my grand-dogs! Stella, the latest addition to the family, is a 10-month old pit bull rescue. She is about the most loving dog I've ever known! So much energy for cuddles and kisses! The only time I was able to get a good picture was when she came to do yoga with me, and fell asleep on the mat!

I especially love Mary Lou's shade gardens 

When I came back home on Thursday, I decided to pick up my art journal, which has not seen a lot of action of late. I grabbed a used tea bag and a used coffee filter, and after much hesitation, applied them to the page with some medium matte. The quote came from Robin Wright.

On Friday, I grabbed another tea bag. I took an old Bijou tile and put it inside, then applied matte medium.  (I recently discovered the "Before the Landfill--Crafty Recyclers" team on sparkpeople.com. Looking forward to discovering more things to recycle!)

Thanks for stopping by! Have a lovely week.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

All tangled up!

I finished it!

Project Pack 03

This was a challenge! I struggled with the "tool" for drawing ribbons, with making the "fold" in the ribbons, with filling in the space. (I considered adding some background "ghost tangles" in pencil, but  decided to hold off.) It still seems like it's missing something to "tie" it all together, as I saw in Shelly Beauch's frame and background behind the ribbons. Adding color with water color pencils was lots of fun. Time will tell if I move on to the Renaissance project. Stay tuned!
This week in our Zentangle SparkPeople Team, we've been looking at Step 5 of the Zentangle Method...tangle! This is such a personal topic, since this is where your personality and creativity really shine through. The good news? There is a plethora of patterns to choose from. The bad news? There is a plethora of patterns to choose from! You really have to hone in on your desires and needs at this point. Remember steps 2 and 3, where you spent a few moments centering? What did you find?  Need to try something new? Need to focus on your mindfulness? Need to create comfort? Need to explore the familiar with new eyes? Once you've centered yourself, you may want to consider the following options:
  • For something new, there is a myriad of sites for new tangles. The latest addition is tanglelist.com.
  • For focus, try a monotangle, or duotangle, with one of the basics, like crescent moon or hollibaugh, and focus on synchronizing your breath and your strokes.
  • For comfort, take a favorite, or mac n' cheese tangle. (To help with this, Maria suggests making a list of your 10-20 favorite tangles.)
  • For a new perspective, take a familiar tangle and tangleate, using my "What if?" approach. (For example, with a grid tangle, what if you use it as a ribbon, or a fragment, or with wonky lines, or with embellishments, or as a checkerboard, or as a string?) The possibilities are endless!
  • And if you just don't know what you need? Choose a random tangle from your list of favorites. If they're numbered, you might want to use a die or a "random number generator", which you can find on tanglepatterns.com.
These are just a few ideas. Tangle challenges are great, too. Although some of these are now defunct, the sites are still active, so you can easily access past challenges. (See the right side bar for a list.) Facebook has countless challenge groups, too.
How do you approach Step 5?
A quick note from the garden: no new stars this week, apart from the baby cardinals in a nest outside our window! No photo, as their mom has hidden them well! 
Thanks for stopping by! I'll be visiting my daughter next week, and a dear friend the following week. Hope to see you again soon!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Dots, border, string! And coffee, of course!

While I haven't finished my Project Pack 03 tiles, I have been exploring dots, borders and strings! In our Zentangle SparkPeople group, we focused on how we can use these simple steps of the Zentangle Method to enhance our mindfulness. For example, when I place the 4 corner dots, I always think of  a compass, and ask myself, "Where am I right now? Physically? Mentally? Emotionally?" This simple centering exercise continues when I draw my border and string. "What are my borders today? Who has drawn them? Am I comfortable jumping any of them? " (While I don't always use dots, borders and strings, I try to be conscious of where "I am" at that moment. If I feel like I really need to slow down and be more mindful, I take time to go through this process.) These steps are really important when working in my daily gratitude journal.
I continue to explore using "trash" for my Zentangle work. I recently posted a used tea bag that I put on a card for my sister. Here are two more pieces. 

Pre-strung Zendala traced onto a used coffee filter

Used tea bag with bird stamp and a bit of Cat-Kin, mounted on my handmade paper

I don't really know what I'm going to do with these! Feel free to leave me your suggestions!
My garden is getting a lot of my time and attention now that summer is here. Here are the latest blooms.


Cone flower with pollinator. See the pollen on her legs?

Crepe Myrtle

Butterfly bush

Black-eyed Susan

Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you again soon. In the meantime, see the beauty around you.