Thursday, January 19, 2017

'Drawings' tangle

'Drawings' (pronounced dra-wings) was just the challenge I needed to get me drawing again. I've been blessed with so many family and friends that are helping me deal with my husband's death. My kids check in on me often and keep me involved in the grandkid's lives. My sister came out to help me deal with the mountains of paperwork I am dealing with. My friends are helping me to keep on smiling and laughing. And I even have a trash angel who lives next door who brings my trash can back up to the house on garbage day. So I couldn't not think of all the angels in my life as I drew this tangle.

I've been having trouble sleeping at night (but that's nothing new) so late, late one night I got out my sketchbook and just started to practice this tangle. The first few times I drew it I felt it was way too clunky, I didn't really like it. But I kept playing with it, and started to try tangleations, until it grew on me. After that I just pulled out a zendala tile and went for it. I didn't stress out about what to put with it, or even to try to put in a string. A simple monotangle would be my restart.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Getting ready to post again

It's been over a month since I last posted. Last month life was going on as normal (or as normal as it was for me). I was creating art and taking care of my husband with his health issues. We celebrated Thanksgiving with the whole family at our house.

Then life changed. My husband's health went downhill rapidly. The hospice nurses who had been helping me take care of him at home, recommended transferring him to the hospice facility so they could manage his pain better. That was on a Monday. On Wednesday, Dec 14th, he passed away. The family was all around him and as they promised, his pain was managed so the ending was peaceful.

Everything since then has been like Alice going through the looking glass. It's a whole different world. We had a memorial service that I feel properly honored his life. Many friends and associates came and had wonderful things to say about their memories of him. My family and friends have been very supportive of me. It's only been this past weekend that I've finally been alone in my house.

The quiet in my house is soooo quiet. I had gotten accustomed to the constant hum of the oxygen machine for my husband so when that was taken away it seemed strange. I got a humidifier going in my bedroom and the noise that it makes is oddly comforting.

Artistically I've been in a funk. Occasionally I'll doodle on the edge of a piece of paper, but I haven't really been able to focus enough to really get something done. I'm hopeful that will change soon so please bear with me until that time comes.

The piece that is shown above is one that I did a while back. My husband told me it was one of his favorites so I posted it here for him. It's a color stack that uses several different colored tiles that go from 6"x6" down to 2"x2".

I'll  miss you Ed.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Color Escapes colored pencils

I have a new toy to play with. I blindly ordered the brand new Color Escapes premium colored pencils from Crayola.  I know what you are thinking, "Crayola, that's for kids!" Well, these are definitely a step above the usual school supplies. I used them on the tile above so I could really see what they could do. I'm pretty happy with what I got and how the pencils preformed.

Pros and cons; The price point is a lot less that the Prismacolors and Lyra pencils that I love. They are currently available on the website for $22.49 for the 72ct box. The selection of colors is very good (but not perfect). The box they come packaged in can be opened so that all the colors are easy visible but as it's only cardboard I may be moving them out to another container soon. (They sell a wooden box set at $49.)

When I did this tile I started by laying down the lightest color in each section coloring the entire area, I applied the color with a VERY light touch,  I then laid the next lightest color - again - with a very light touch. I moved down the range of colors, adding each darker value in a slightly smaller area than I did the last one. At the end I went back with my lightest color and blended the color all together - it isn't until this point that I applied the color heavily and effectively burnished the area. At the very end I added a few white details with a white gel pen.

How did this process work as opposed to my Prismacolors?  Well, they didn't lay down as nicely and the blending was more challenging. But it wasn't that much harder. I have no idea what the lightfast ratings are for these pencils - there is nothing written on the box or on the pencils.

Did these sharpen well? Yes, I had no problem there - but I'll let you know at a later date what happens when I get further down the pencil. 

This picture shows you the range of colors I was using in my purple sections and my blue sections. Did the color choices give me exactly what I wanted - no. But I could 'make it work'. It helps if you have a little knowledge of color theory when you have to substitute colors. Also in this picture you can see the stencil I used to get my Zendala shape. If you are a quilter you will recognize that it comes from quilting supplies. I used a pencil very lightly to get my basic lines in. I then used my trusty, Micron, brown pen for the lines.

This is what the box looks like. I haven't seen it in the stores yet - I got mine from the web site.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Folded Star

Time to start the ornaments! I can't believe we are into the Holiday season already. It's been rather stressful around my home so I was glad to finally have a chance to sit down to tangle on an ornament. I used the folded star design that fellow CZT Cris Letourneau has on her blog . She provided a star with a grid on it so I could use the reticular concept as I tangled.  I did it on a cream colored sheet of cardstock paper and tangled with a brown Micron pen. I used both a 05 and 01 sized pen. A little colored pencil added some shading.

If you are in the Chicago area, I am teaching a class on Zentangle for the Holidays at the Dupage Art league on Wednesday Dec 7th at 1pm. Call them to sign up. Link here.

As I mentioned, it's been stressful for me lately - both in a good and not so good way. We had the entire family here for Thanksgiving. I LOVE having them all and seeing the beautiful faces of my grandchildren, but it's nice to have the house quiet again now. The not so good parts are - first and foremost, my husband's continuing battle with lung cancer. He is now in the Hospice phase and I am his caregiver. Hospice has been wonderful in helping us out with whatever we need and his pain is under control.

The other stressful parts took place just in the past few days. My oldest son returned home only to discover his home had been robbed while he was with us. the house was trashed and some very sentimental pieces of jewelry were among the things taken. However, that is only STUFF!, because the next day we heard the news of the attack at Ohio State University. My youngest is an engineering student there (An engineering building was the one in the attack). Thankfully he was two blocks away when it all happened. My heart goes out to the families of the students that were hurt.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Tangled rocks

Rhode Island is a beautiful place to be. It has beaches and scenic rocky shores. I'm visiting family and attending a seminar too here. We had a chance to walk on the beach and I had fun looking for just the right rocks for tangling.

These are just a few of the  rocks I've tangled on this trip. They are easy to do and make fun little keepsakes.

I use the Sakura IDentipen. Whether I use the fine tip or broad tip is dependent on the texture of the rock. Add a few highlights with a white chalk pencil and I'm done.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Tangled Owls again

Tangled Owls are such fun to do. If you have been following my blog you will remember the owls I did last year. These are made with recycled materials - as I'm sure you can see, empty toilet paper rolls. All you need to do is push in one of the ends to make the ears. I used a Sakura IDentipen. It has two tips - a fine one and a broad tip. Then I added highlights with a white chalk pen.

The challenge, and fun part, is to create a different character for each owl. I started with the eyes. I did a little research on the internet to find images for cartoon eyes. That gave me a personality for each one. As I added the tangles I tried to pick ones that fit that personality. 

These are the ones that I did last year. I'm posting them again so you don't have to scroll back to find them.

And of course, a class picture.

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Sometimes the simplest combinations of tangles can be the most effective. Here there are only two tangles used; Flux and Nzeppel. A tan Renaissance tile is the base and all the tangles were done with a brown Micron. I drew a simple string that reminded me of scrollwork and added Flux along it. In the opening there was a perfect space for Nzeppel. Shading with a brown colored pencil and highlights with a white chalk pencil complete it.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tagh tangleations

Tagh is a wonderful, basic tangle pattern. It starts out very simply, with simple scalloped lines. You can leave it at that or add all sorts of tangleations. This weekend I started to play with it. I had no idea where I would go with it so I started with a curved line in the middle of my tile. I first began with the Zenith tangle pattern. The reason I started with Zenith is because it has the same scalloped line that Tagh uses. After adding an aura around Zenith, off I went with Tagh. I liked the lacy effect I got.

I added a curvy border around the edges and tried different tangleations that used bold black lines. I wan't done though, My mind was coming up with several more tangleations. Tagh was reduced to its simplest form in the inner areas so I could keep on trying tangleations.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall foilage

It's time for leaf peeping again. Time to hop in the car and head off to the wooded areas where the leaves are turning glorious colors. In my case, that may be simply a trip to a local forest preserve where the colors are equally beautiful.

I did the zendala above on one of my hand colored tiles that was a mottled yellow orange to start. The string is, of course, fall leaves. Tangles were done with a brown micron and shading used colored pencils.

These leaves were done by a group at the Schaumburg Public Library. This class was designed for fans of coloring, and the library provided markers and colored pencils. I taught them a few Zentangle tangles to add to their leaves to create a zentangle inspired artwork. I love all the variations and the variety of colors they used! Click on the image to get it full screen!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Antique Oshun

Trying out two tangles here that I haven't used before.  I've admired them but somehow never put them in tiles before now. Antique comes from Kathy Barringer and Oshun comes from Sandy Steen Bartholomew.

While it's fun to be random, sometimes I want things to be more orderly, symmetrical, and less chaotic. So I found peace for the time I was doing this by simply repeating, repeating, repeating.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


This zendala uses a tangle called Dreamcatcher. It's a simple tangle from Daniel Lamothe that can be found here. Once you have the basic pattern done you have many ways to add any sort of tangles within. I used Bumper and Aviary to fill my Dreamcatcher. Fun and relaxing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Anne Marks traveling tangles

Traveling tangles again. This one is a collaboration with Anne Marks. She does such beautiful jewels that I was excited (and somewhat nervous too) to work on this one.

Anne did the jewels and the tangles in the upper right corner. Her start is shown below. As I looked at it I felt it was such a happy piece it was a celebration! I was thinking about Mardi Gras - or a similar party. I decided to add streamers using a variety of tangles flowing from Anne's start. Thank you so much Anne!

Traveling tangles is a fun project that began on Facebook. One person begins a tile and then mails it to another tangler who then completes the tile. It's really interesting to see what happens to the tiles you begin and challenging to get a partially completed tile and to work with it.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Traveling tangles with Storm Van de Werken

Traveling tangles is a fun project that began on Facebook. One person begins a tile and then mails it to another tangler who then completes the tile. It's really interesting to see what happens to the tiles you begin and challenging to get a partially completed tile and to work with it.

This tile was begun by Storm Van de Werken. I ended up going with a group of stacked tangles. Fun and relaxing! The picture of the tile as I received it from Storm is below. Thank you Storm!

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Last week the Diva issued her weekly challenge and it was to 'Relax!' With the stress I'm under right now with my husband's illness I thought that this challenge was perfect for me.

I'm lucky that I have a support system of friends. We get together at my house once a week (most of the time) and we work on our crafts while we talk about what is going on in our lives. We started out doing decorative painting together but now we have branched out to beading, quilting, and of course, Zentangle. Since we were together again after a few weeks off, I had the incentive to tangle again.

I decided to start with a large sheet of tan paper. I wanted to have lots of room to play. I first thought I would just start drawing but as I sat down I saw a round, cork, hot pad and used it to lightly draw a small circle in pencil. A Tupperware lid provided the inner circle. One of my comfort tangles - a tangle that just flows from my pen, is the Flux shape. So I went back and forth with it along the circle strings.

As I worked I consciously told myself to relax, to take my time. When I needed to stop, I stopped. When I didn't know what to do next I just set it aside and didn't worry about it. So I didn't get this piece finished till today. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Wonky fife - down the rabbit hole

I haven't posted anything in the last couple of weeks and I suppose it's time to tell you why. My life has been turned upside down. My husband of 42 years is fighting the biggest battle of his life. Lung cancer. He was diagnosed in February. We've done the chemo, we've done immunotherapy, but the cancer has progressed and we are now in the hospice phase. My husband is still strong mentally and is still positive even though we know what we are facing. He has gone from 155 lbs to 115 lbs and my once athletic husband has lost all his muscle mass. And no, he has never been a smoker. 

I am his caregiver and dealing with the cough, pain, nausea, lack of appetite, and myriad medications is a whole new world for me. It feels like we have fallen down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. We continue to put one foot in front of the other and try to look at each day as a gift. We feel blessed to have a wonderful support system in family and friends. 

I've been having trouble focusing enough to sit down to tangle. I don't know why, I enjoy looking at everyone else's work on Facebook and their blogs. I'm overdue on challenges and swaps. I appreciate everyone's patience with me right now.

Fife is almost a mac and cheese - comfort tangle for me. So when the Square One facebook group suggested it, I finally sat down to tangle again. I knew I had to do it in a wonky style to represent how strange my life is these days.