Friday, March 30, 2012

A New Tangle: Pystyl

When I came back from my CZT training in Providence, RI I had a mess of papers to keep track of.  I didn't want to punch all of them and keep them in a binder so I headed down to Office Depot to find something suitable to contain all of my new found goodies.  As I was walking down the aisle I spotted this.

The second I saw it I thought, "That looks just like a Zentangle!"  It was a steal at $.99 so I grabbed one.  In retrospect I wish I had grabbed about 10 because it has come in very handy.  I used it for about a month, each time noticing something different about it. It has many flowers and even has some designs that are almost identical to Beadlines, Fescu and something that reminds me of Mooka not to mention it is black and white so it has a true Zentangle feel.  

So one day while working at my desk I spot this little gem in the bottom left corner of the bottle.

I knew instantly it was my next new tangle.  I practiced a little on a piece of scrap paper and then left it alone. I came back to it a few hours later and liked it even more.  I decided to sketch out the steps but it still needed a name.  Most of my tangles "speak" to me pretty early on and I don't have to search to far for a name but this one didn't speak to me at all.  My phone was nearby so I snapped a quick pic and sent it off to a few friends asking "What should I call this?"  My friend Greg wanted to call it something like "beautiful blossom".  I love you Greg, but no.  Instead of helping me out, my friend Margarito sent me a picture of a rooster he had bought and asked me to name it instead.  My friend Andrea said it should be called "the start of your first tattoo!"  Cute, but no, not yet at least.  A few minutes later my friend Chris chimed in with Pistil.  I called her and said "Do you mean pistil, as in the pistil of a flower?"  At which point she said "Yes, like a flower!  You know, like in the song from Grease."  As soon as she said it I knew what I was in for.  She sang the whole song to me, while our poor friend Jenn endured what I am sure was about 3 full minutes of confusion and embarrassment.  But hey, she has a pretty good voice and I know Chris well enough to know that there was probably some dancing involved so all in all I'm sure it was a pretty good show.  

So it was decided, pistil it would be but in true Zentangle fashion I had to change it up a bit.  Here is the finished product.  I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fortune teller

This week the Diva took it easy on us and presented us with a string challenge.  String challenges (with the exception of pesky spirals) are my favorite because I can use tangles that I am familiar with and only step out of my box if I am feeling particularly adventurous.  The challenge was to use a string that cuts the tile into 8 pie like sections, much like the origami-esque "fortune tellers" we used to make out of binder paper in elementary school.  I took a little artistic license with the string and got just what I was looking for.

Tangles:  Fish Net, Printemps, St. Johns Cross,
Twilight Zone, Courant, Pendrills, Vache 1, Hurakan
Don't forget!  If you are in need of Zentangle supplies (or a few other goodies), I am offering free shipping in my Etsy store until 3/31.  If my Zendala tiles arrive in time I will post them too!  Just enter FREESHIPPING at checkout.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A few quick announcements......

First, I just wanted to let everyone know I have added some new items to my Etsy site.  There are Zentangle supplies, Moleskine journals and some items for any of you that are Cricut enthusiasts.  There will also be more items added in the next few days so keep checking.  You can take a look here.

Second, as a thank you to all my faithful readers I am offering free shipping for the rest of the month on all Etsy orders.  Just enter the code SHIPPING at checkout for free shipping within the United States.

Third, my friend Jenn of Girl Defying Gravity is having her first giveaway in honor of her birthday this month.  She may be doing this as a ploy to get me to remember to throw her a party, but I think it's probably just a great giveaway!  Check it out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paradox and Knitting

When I saw that this weeks Diva Challenge was to use a spiral with Paradox I could feel a twinge of panic hit.  I am a big fan of Paradox and I am a big fan of spirals, but not necessarily together.  This idea was conjured up by Marizaan van Beek, CZT who's beautiful work I admire and since the Diva had decided it was good challenge material I was obliged to give it a try.  

My biggest issue was Paradox.  When Paradox is good, it looks really, really good. And when it looks bad, it looks like my Micron threw up on my tile.  When I see that Paradox has gone awry, to me it feels like a shoe that has been put on the wrong foot.  You want to believe it isn't that big of a deal, but in reality it is so not ok.  Now I know what your thinking.  You want to tell me all these things about Paradox.  Always start on the same side and you will have no trouble.  Have you seen Margaret Bremner's tutorial?  And the ever famous, turn your tile, turn your tile, turn your tile.  The answer is yes.  I have heard them all.  I have said most of them to other people, and yes, Margaret Bremner of the Enthusiastic Artist blog has put out an amazing, comprehensive tutorial about Paradox that I have actually printed for reference and used with great result.  I have done several tiles that are nothing but Paradox without issue and I love to do them but for some reason every once in a while one tiny little section will rebel and it just ends up wrong.  But this is Zentangle, and in Zentangle we embrace mistakes, ( I tell my students "It's not a mistake, it's just more organic!) and when we can't embrace them we use Bronx Cheer!  The mistake is not my issue, it's my inability to be able to understand my mistake that bothers me.  

The reason that I sometimes become so frustrated with Paradox is the same reason I do not knit.  Three or four years ago I wanted to learn to knit, but I only wanted to knit scarves.  Everyone was making them, they seemed easy and inexpensive, and I thought I could whip them out fast.  I took a 2 hour class from a wonderful instructor and was soon on my way to making a bevy of scarves....or so I thought.  I took home the six inches of scarf that I had made and eagerly continued that evening.  Then I noticed the little hole.  The missed stitch.  My nemesis.  I quickly pulled the yarn out to the point where the tiny whole was but I couldn't figure how to get the yarn back on my needles correctly to continue.  So I pulled some more to the end of the row so I could start clean, but that didn't seem right either.  I pulled another row in the hopes that it would become clear soon where to pick up, but it didn't.  You can see where this is going, right?  Pretty soon I was left with a ball of yarn and no more scarf.  I started over and finished the scarf but the whole time I worried about having another missed stitch and having to start over again. This was very frustrating because my primary art form was beading and when I made a mistake in beading it always seemed so clear how it had happened, and the fix always seemed so obvious. With knitting, and sometimes with Paradox, it is almost as if I do not understand how the yarn or lines are coming together to create the end result, even though I am the one creating them.   It was very similar to what happened tonight.  

I got out a tile and laid down my spiral string.  I figured I would just fill it in with Paradox and see how it looked.  I was already worrying about the varying sides and  strange dimensions of the spiral when I noticed something had gone wrong.

My first attempt.

I am not usually one to nit pick flaws but in this case it serves a point.  Near the beginning there is a flaw where I think I went in the wrong direction.  I was willing to overlook it and continued on.  In the last section however I could just feel it was not ok.  I felt awkward when I was drawing, turning and evaluating.  The part that was so unsettling however was that I couldn't figure it out.  Even though it was right in front of me I couldn't rationalize the mistake.  I couldn't figure out how to overcome it and continue.  It was my scarf all over again.  So then I did it.  Something I tell everyone not to do.  Something I can't ever remember doing before.  I threw it away.  

Then I consoled myself with one of these:

It's only the snack size but it did the trick.

After eating my security blanket, aka Haagen Dazs bar,  I took a hard look at what I was dealing with and I decided that maybe the problem wasn't Paradox, but that I wasn't comfortable with what I was forcing Paradox to do.  Even though these tiles are challenges to push myself, maybe the real challenge is to realize when it isn't right.  I decided to take another try with something that felt more right and let me be more in control and I really like the result.

Tangle: Paradox

Before you ask, yes, I pulled that poor tile out of the trash and will attempt to do something with it when we become friends again.  I think we just need a break.

What was your challenge this week?

The spiral?
Something completely different?

I would love to hear.

Have a great week, 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


This week featured the second installment of the Diva's new feature Use My Tangle.  This weeks tangle was Golven by Mariet Lustenhouwer.  I had never tried Golven before but really enjoyed its mix of straight and curvy lines, plus it is a really fun one to shade.  I think it just may become one of my go to tangles!

Tangles:  Pystyl, N' Zeppel, Golven,
Knightsbridge/Tortuca, Beadlines

Monday, March 5, 2012


It is rare that I hear the husband gush.  A couple of weeks ago he went to a little town north of us called Healdsburg for a business appointment.  He stopped in at the Healdsburg Bakery and Creamery and got a coffee and sticky bun before his appointment.  I have heard about that sticky bun no less than 5 times since then.  He even went as far as to say "It was so good, I wanted to kiss the lady who sold it to me!"  So when he suggested that we have breakfast there this weekend I jumped at the chance to see just how good this sticky bun could be.  

The husband and I rarely get up early on the weekends and when he does, I don't.  Ben is up at 6:30 am during the week and my schedule can be very unpredictable so when I have a chance to sleep in I do.  So for us to be up and out of the house by 9:00 on a weekend is a rarity.  On the weekends the husband likes a big breakfast but I am usually fine with coffee and a sweet so when the bakery/breakfast option was presented I was thrilled.

So Sunday morning we set out for Healdsburg, a little town about an hour north or San Francisco and about 10 minutes from us.  Many people think that Napa is the heart of wine country but I think that Sonoma County has it beat by a mile.  There are fantastic vineyards in the heart of the Sonoma Valley like Benziger Family Winery, Chateau St. Jean,  and Kenwood Vineyards.  As you move north in Sonoma County you get into the Dry Creek Valley where wonderful wineries like J Winery, La Crema Winery and Trentadue Winery are tucked away, and that is where the town of Healdsburg lies.   I am so lucky to be so close to so many little treasures except for one tiny detail, I don't like wine.  I have tried and tried to develop a palate but with minimal success.  I do enjoy late harvest wines but they are very sweet and I don't indulge very often with the exception of the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.  The Harvest Fair is held in October and is a chance for for wineries and restaurants to strut their stuff, and it just so happens that there are lots of late harvest varietals that need to be tested by yours truly.  I guarantee a post in October about my faves.  But I digress.  

When we arrived the bakery was already hoppin.  

The Healdsburg Bakery and Creamery

We ordered up some breakfast.  

The husbands breakfast.  Yes, real men do eat quiche.

My breakfast sandwich with herbed ricotta and ham.  No egg, just
can't do the egg.

The star of the show!  The sticky bun.  And yes, it was delish.

After breakfast we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood.  I have been shopping in Healdsburg too many times to count but have never taken a good look at the architecture.  It was a great opportunity to try out the new camera I got for Christmas.  Thanks husband!

So simple but I love it.  My love probably has a lot to do
with the color.

I love the breezeway on this house.  

I'm a big fan of the architectural details on the roof.  

I can dream, can't I?

After our little walk we headed back to the center of town.  

Downtown Healdsburg

The Square.

We were home by 11:30 so I decided to take care of some things in the garage I had been meaning to get to.  I put some items on eBay, cleaned, did laundry, and then had an impromptu visit from a friend and the weather was amazing (80 degrees in February!) so mid afternoon we decided to head back to Healdsburg and have a beer (well, the husband enjoyed a micro brew, I don't do beer.  This region is really wasted on me.) and a very late lunch/early dinner at a local brewery.  We had walked past the new Moustache Baked Goods several times and decided it was our civic duty to take some of the sweets home.  We tried a few of their cupcakes which were all very good but the big winner was the homemade Oreo.  It's was just like an Oreo but so much better.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day......


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