Friday, July 29, 2011

Symphony under the stars

I wanted to try two newer patterns together - 'Teeny' by Moon Attic and 'Tuxedo' by Ledenzer. I started to picture patrons at a gala garden party sipping fancy drinks. It was a tile that flowed quickly and easily. Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

'Mingle' on a tile

I started this tile simply to have an example of 'Mingle'. When I finished it though I looked at it again and realized it portrays my feelings about what is going on in our government today. Two sides with a mountain between them. They claim they are trying to get a deal done, but I don't believe they are all very sincere about that. So my request to the government is MINGLE! Go all the way to the other side and see where your paths may intersect.  Get the deal done by looking for compromises. Compromise is not a dirty word.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mingle - Tangle pattern

Mingle is a tangle pattern that I saw on another Russian tray. It is fairly simple to figure out. I like how the two designs work together. They contrast but still compliment each other. There are several variations that you can do with this pattern shown on the last line. Click on the picture to blow it up for detail!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Diva challenge from Carole Ohl

Weekly Challenge #32: Zentangle is for Everyone

This challenge asks us to use 4 specific tangles Pais (by Mikee Huber), Zedbra (by Laura Harms and Margaret Bremner), Keenees (by Donna Hornsby), andBaton (by Carole Ohl). Carole will also be displaying all the pieces that are sent to her as a group. I'm sensing a road trip! My son lives in Ohio so I may just have to check out the show when I go to see him!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Organizing my tangle patterns

If you ask ten tanglers how to organize their patterns, you will probably get ten different answers. As in Zentangle, there is no right or wrong answer. This happens to be how I like to organize my tangles.

I keep a pad of Post-it notes next to my computer. They measure 2"x2". When I come across a tangle pattern that I think may fit with my style, I draw it onto a Post-it note. I sort-of do the step-by-step - it depends on what I think I need to do that pattern again. I add the name of the pattern and I try to put the name of the person that created it. (I didn't do this when I began but I'm doing it now.)

I have a sketchbook that I then organize my patterns in. The first section of my book has the official tangle patterns. The second section has all the patterns that zentangle fans have created. I try to keep them in alphabetical order. That is, I have one page for each letter of the alphabet. As you can see above, my 'B's and 'C's are getting filled up. As they are post-it notes, I can rearrange them at will.

This particular book has 26 pages (52 if you count both sides). So at the end of the book I also have a couple of pages devoted to string ideas and pages devoted to themes and other design ideas I want to play with later.

This plan works for me. I like to be able to see lots of ideas at the same time. Plus, a small sample is enough to get me going. Let me know what works for you.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Weekly Challenge #31: "Fairyland"

I have a couple of tiles for the fairyland challenge from the 'Diva'.  Two of them are very literal so they really aren't zentangle, but I was feeling very 'fairyish' when I did them. These tiles were done on a maroon colored cardstock. I used metallic pens and then colored chalks. The middle one was one I did to include the tangle 'Lezy'. (Lezy directions are on my tangle pattern gallery.) That one uses a purple Micron pen with purple colored pencil.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review of new Zentangle Books

 FOUR new books came out at the CHA show that will definitely inspire all Zentangle lovers. I felt so lucky to get to see them all and spend time pouring over the pages.

'Zentangle 5' is the latest in the series of Suzanne McNeill's books. This one focuses on jewelry. There is a wide variety of jewelry in here. Leather, dominoes, resin, shrink art, polymer clay, and more are included. The pictures are detailed so you can really see what is involved. There are projects from a number of different artists (many CZT's) so each project reflects the different styles of each artist.  I'm prejudiced of course since my shrink art project is in here. There is an assortment of new tangles too, with step by step instructions.

'Zentangle for Kids' is the new book from Sandy Steen Bartholomew. It has the basic Zentangle philosophy that we all know and love but the artwork and tangles chosen will definitely appeal to kids. It's a lot of fun. Sandy even inspires kids to find their own tangle patterns by comparing the treads on the bottom of their shoes. New tangles, presented step by step, will keep kids busy for hours, days, weeks, and months!

'Zen Mandalas' has wonderful artwork from Margaret Bremner on the cover. When I first saw it my jaw dropped!  Both Margaret and Carole Ohl contributed to this book from Suzanne McNeill. The book goes into some of the rational behind why mandalas are so special. Throughout this book there are wonderful mandalas in both black and white and color. When I showed this to people at CHA the first reaction was "I could never do that!" But when you look at one section at a time and remember the Zentangle philosophy of "anything is possible, one stroke at a time", it all falls into place.  Instructions to create you own mandala are very clear.

'Zenspirations' by Joanne Fink is not technically a Zentangle book. But it is clearly inspired by Zentangle as she mentions in the beginning of the book. Her artwork and lettering use drawing techniques inspired by various tangles. She also adds color using a variety of Sakura products. It's now on my 'to do' list to go out and buy them all! By the way, you can see several videos of Joanne demonstrating on you tube.

All in all, I think each one of these books is a must have for a Zentangle lovers library! They are just coming on to the market now so all the retailers may not have them yet. Be sure to ask your store to order them for you!

Full disclosure - I was paid to demonstrate Zentangle techniques at the Design Originals/Fox Chapel Publishing booth at the CHA show. Even if I wasn't, you can be sure I would add these books to my library anyway.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More from CHA show

   The CHA show ended today. It was lots of fun seeing the new products and getting a chance to play with a few of them. There were several celebrities from the craft world that I saw. I learned several new tricks for Tombow markers from Marie Browning. In the center of the hall they had a display of very creative dresses. When I saw them I was thinking of the challenges on 'Project Runway'. Frankly, I think these designers would give the contestants on the TV show some real competition! (If you click on these pictures they will open up much bigger.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CHA day 2

It's been another busy day. The CHA trade show draws people from all over. Today I did Zentangle make-it-and-take-its for far too many people to count. Whenever I looked at the clock it seemed the time was just flying by.

Zentangle continues to make converts of people who think they can't do it at first. And when they saw the new Zentangle books we had to offer, well, I know I saw the excitement in their faces!

The 'Zentangle for Kids' is another new book here at CHA. So many people told me that their kids (or grand kids) will be so excited to get it. I was eagerly turning all the pages myself. So many great ideas and drawings! I loved one of the pages towards the back. There are several shoes pictured - or rather the soles of shoes. Each one has a different tread pattern. Now that's an inspired way to get kids looking for new tangle patterns!

In the picture you see me with Suzanne McNeil. Suzanne is such a gracious and inspiring lady. I'm honored to be working with her. Thank you Suzanne.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Zentangle 5 - It's here!!!

I'm proud to say 'Zentangle 5' is here. And yours truly is one of the featured artists! I've been at the CHA show in Chicago today. Today is the first chance I've had to see it and I'm tickled pink!

Zentangle 5 is primarily a jewelry book. There are new tangles presented and a variety of jewelry ideas. The page that I'm on shows zentangles done on Shrinky Dinks. There are bracelets, buttons, boxes and more.

Also at CHA there are two more new books that I've had a chance to check out. They are amazing!

More to come on this show but right now I need to get to bed for another day at the show tomorrow!.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Baby shower goodies

It's been a busy past few days and it's going to be busy this week too. I thought I'd give you a quick peek at what I've been busy with. My daughter is expecting and we had her shower this weekend. My son and his family came in from out of town too. So, we had a house full!

One of the things I did for the shower was the favors. I was so tickled with the way they came out that I wanted to share them with you. I found tiny wooden cradles that I painted with tiny rosebuds. We filled them with bubble gum babies and pink Jelly Bellies.

This week is the CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) show in Chicago. I'll be helping out and demonstrating zentangles. When I am able I'll post my experiences at the show.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Initialize - challenge 30

This is the same tile. It's the Sakura metallic gelly roll pen on the zentangle black tile. This is the same tile pictured with and without a background. My husband likes it best as the simple initials. I couldn't leave it alone though and had to add more. I need some input from you. Which do you prefer?

The initials themselves are inspired by Joanne Fink and her Zenspiriations. Her work is wonderful! Go to and the entire alphabet can be downloaded along with other goodies.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

dewdrops study

Dewdrops are one of the ways you can change up a pattern. This tile has more than I would normally use in one tile but I wanted to specifically try out a number of them and see what I liked and didn't like. The shading and the magnification and refraction of the tangle pattern beneath make this a fun challenge.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

and we're rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river

Circles and spirals.The colored background I got on this tile is one of my favorites. So when I went to tangle it, I didn't want to completely cover it. And also, sometimes I think a simpler tangle is more interesting too. What do you think?

The tangles are done using the fine tip end of my Tombow dual tip marker so the color is the same. The shading was done with two shades of colored pencil.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

playing with colored backgrounds

This is the first one of many to come. Last week I posted the group of colored backgrounds I did all at one time. Now I'm beginning to get to the tangles. It's an interesting challenge

Monday, July 11, 2011

string theory challenge #29 results

Last week I was a temporary Diva. Laura posted my string theory as the challenge of the week. Wow, congratulations to everybody that joined in the challenge. It was a fun week seeing everything that everyone submitted to the challenge.

I was so excited seeing how inventive people were with their strings and weights. I thought I'd list some of what I saw people posting to give everyone else some new ideas.

key ring
camera and wrist strap
knotting thread that was unwrapped from around a card (forming kinks)
beaded necklace
ear buds from music players
USB cord
and a wide variety of necklaces with dog tags, heart charms, and some very interesting pendants.

I tried to leave a comment on everyone's post - If I missed you I apologize. They were all so interesting and wonderful.

Now it's off to try the new challenge from Christina!

Friday, July 8, 2011

More watercolor backgrounds

I've been on a roll. After I did the series of colored squares last week I wanted to experiment more with my Tombows. So, using basic watercolor techniques, I came up with these.I don't know exactly when I'll be tangling on them, but now they are ready and waiting.

I love the colors I get with my Tombows, They are strong and vibrant, If I want them lighter I just add more water.

The technique for these is;
Prepare your palette with the Tombows. - on a sheet of plastic like a page protector, scribble a swath of color from each color you plan to use. Don't worry if the color beads up.
On your tiles,
Draw shapes lightly with a pencil.
With clean water and a fine tip brush, wet the entire area you wish to paint. The goal is to have a light sheen on the surface of the paper. If you have puddles you have two much water.
Touch your damp brush to your palette to pick up color.
Dab the color wherever you want. The color will spread automatically with the water. Add more patches of color to get the coverage you want.
You can only do this while the paper is wet. If it starts to dry. STOP. Let it dry completely. Then re-wet and start again.

When the paper is totally dry you can do your tangles. If the paper curled as it dried just use your iron with a piece of tracing paper over the tile.

This is fun to do. When you get the hang of it you'll be grabbing every scrap of paper you can find to try this on.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

watercolor backgrounds with salt

I've been in a production mode in my studio lately. Creating colored backgrounds that I'll add tangles too later is so much fun. This group was done with my Tombow markers using a watercolor wet into wet technique. I blogged about this once before at . The twist here is that  while the tiles were still very wet, I dropped a few crystals of sea salt onto the surface. As the tiles completed drying, the salt created these lovely marks.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bumps love

If you are sharp eyed with a fantastic memory you will remember I posted this once before. But now that I did the how-to for Bumps, I decide to post it again with more commentary. This takes the basic Bumps pattern and ratchets it up a few notches. The basic shapes and ways to place the shapes are still the same, but as you can see, here there are three shapes together and dots added to the middle of the shapes! Of course there are a few shapes that got a little more complicated, but that makes it more fun don'tcha think!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bumps tangle pattern

Click on the picture to enlarge it for its details

Bumps is a pattern I've played with for years. I finally decided it was time to refine it and name it. When I draw it, it reminds me of a camel's humps. But naming it 'humps' might have had repercussions from my teenage son. So Bumps it is. Yesterday's ZIA used it in the right burst.

Bumps is a great filler pattern that can be used in many spaces. I've drawn it into two different shapes so you can see its versatility. Bumps uses many similar shapes to achieve its pattern so look at the bottom to see the variety of shapes you can use.

Whether you start in the middle or in a corner, each shape builds on the one beneath it. And each shape will have one, two, or three humps on top. Draw each shape large enough that you can put a small shape inside. (Or draw the small shape first and then do the aura.)

Have fun with Bumps!

NOTE - I have a new update for the bumps tangle - visit my blog for the Jan 8, 2014 entry - or follow this link

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July

Happy 4th of July! So many tangles are perfect for fireworks so it was hard to choose just these. But this ZIA was fun to do. Now I'm off to the parade and community picnic!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lezy's fairie path

Yesterday we took my 17 year old son on his first official college visit. We chose the University of Illinois. We also brought along my daughter's dog since we knew it couldn't be left alone for 10 hours. So there we were, trading off the visit segments with the dog sitting.

While I was sitting in a shady spot with the dog, I created this tangle using 'Lezy'.
This tangle was done using a Purple Micron Pigma pen and a purple colored pencil.

By the way, my son was very impressed. We will have to see what the future holds!