Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beginning Zentangles, Part 2

Earlier this month I posted the first few Zentangles I did. Here are a few more.

Tornado (done with Isochor, Printemps, Shattuck, and Tipple)

Forest Primeval (done with Mooka, Flux, Amaze, Tipple, and Printemps)

Beehives (done with Isochor, Printemps, Shattuck, Flux, Poke Root, Festune, Tipple, and Fescu)

I like these, and I think I'm making slow progress, but I clearly have a long way to go! Onward to learn new Tangles!

Monday, October 20, 2014


Microblog Monday: Re-Hooked!

For months before and after my wrist surgery in July, I was unable to even think about crocheting, so my poor WIPs (works in progress) just lay around mournfully, neglected and getting dusty.

Now, finally, my hand is well enough to let me get back on the hook—moderately. I’m taking it slowly and carefully for a while, but am psyched to pick up my supersoft bright red Malabrigo merino again and get back to work on the sweater pattern I bought especially for it!


It’s been a long time!



Monday, October 13, 2014



Microblog Monday: My Writing Challenge (17 Days)


I previously posted my personal Writing Challenge and goals. I pledged to check in on my blog periodically with my progress, and this is my first report.

First of all, I have to say that I did not write every day, but writing on consecutive days was not part of my original challenge—just to write on 100 days. I took time off for our weekend trip to Baltimore and again to attend my father-in-law’s funeral in Florida. Nevertheless, I did write for seventeen days, and I have written almost every day, so I feel successful.

The results: over seventeen days I wrote approximately 4,900 words. This works out to an average of about 288 words a day, well above my self-chosen minimum of 100 words a day.

For the most part my writing was on the second draft of my long-held-in-abeyance novel, “A Certain Shade of Blue.” I also have to admit that not all of it was original writing—I took some parts from my first draft and some from my voluminous files of notes for the second draft. Nevertheless, I did actually get the words into the manuscript, so I’m counting that, because after all that’s where the words need to be! I also wrote a few blog posts during that time, and all writing counts.

All in all, I’m very pleased with what I’ve done in my self-created challenge so far and am looking forward to pushing ahead in the next eighty-three days.




Sunday, October 12, 2014


Struggles of a New Zentangle Learner

Over the summer I decided I would finally start to learn the wonderful art of Zentangle after seeing so much lovely work displayed on the Internet.

I've always longed to be an artist and never had the slightest iota of drawing talent. But this looked like something even I could learn, and the testimony of Zentangle artists I followed was encouraging.

I was scheduled for wrist surgery in July, so I knew I’d be disabled for a while, but I couldn’t resist the urge to bring this beautiful art into my world. With a Christmas gift card, I went to Barnes & Noble. I bought two books: One Zentangle a Day and The Joy of Zentangle. As I looked through them I was chafing at the bit to be able to start learning.

When my hand was well enough I began. Before buying the official tiles, I wanted to practice a little. I had a sketch pad, and I measured and drew the 3 ½” by 3 ½” squares that mimicked the tiles. I started drawing a few individual tangles, some one at a time, some together with others in one square. Some I was pleased with; others made me feel like a five-year-old trying to draw with a pencil for the first time.

Nevertheless, I kept on going, and I began to discover some favorite tangles, as well as those I needed much more practice on. And soon I did buy those tiles and began making my own official Zentangles. They were rough, to say the least.

This one was my first attempt.

String of Pearls

This uses three tangles, Crescent Moon (on the left and right edges), Static (probably self-explanatory, in the middle sections), and Tipple (the different sized circles), which quickly became one of my favorites. Because I so much liked the way the thin band of Tipple looked crossing over Static, I decided to name it String of Pearls, and since then, just for fun. I’ve been naming my Zentangles according to what they remind me of.
(Note: in these early tangles I haven't yet experimented with shading; there's a little more in later ones.)

The next two incorporate Poke Root (the ones that look like cherries with stems), Festune (the flatter ovals), and Hollibaugh, the crossing bars. To my surprise, because I usually prefer curving designs, I really liked Hollibaugh. It reminds me of the kind of spotlights you see at the Academy Awards, and the black areas give dramatic interest to the design. The other two, though, I’m not satisfied with. I need to practice them more, especially Poke Root.

In the following I used Tipple and Hollibaugh again, along with Jonqual (the black-and-white squares), Nipa (the bubbles and wavy lines), and Shattuck (the “bulb” in the center).


You can probably see why I like Tipple so much: it’s wonderful for filling in wherever you have empty spaces, its mixture of large, small, and tiny circles is pleasing to the eye, and it can look like many different things, from bubbles to stones in a stream.


Thus began my Zentangle “journey.” In a future post, I’ll share a few of my more recent attempts.

And, like other Zentanglers, I definitely encourage anyone who’s interested in creating art to try this. It’s fun and challenging and very satisfying. I love looking at my completed Zentangles, and I’m eager to go on learning and improving.

What more can you ask for from a hobby?




Monday, September 29, 2014

Microblog Monday—My New Personal Challenge


Having seen a number of all kinds of challenges on Facebook, from blogging every day to taking a photo every day to doing something or other for a certain number of days—and participating in several with not-always-successful results—I’ve decided to create my own challenge. Since I don’t seem to do well at being accountable to a lot of people in my Facebook/blogging world, I’m going to be accountable to myself alone this time.

So here is my personal challenge:



I am challenging myself to write at least 100 words a day for one hundred days. If I can stick to this, I will have written 10,000 words at the end of the challenge.

I actually began this challenge to myself one week ago and have managed to stay on track, some days writing much more than 100 words.
Now I’m making it public on my blog.

So far I’ve been mostly writing in my novel manuscript, second draft, but I may apply this challenge to other writing as well—sometimes a blog post, maybe working on a short story. The point is just to get the writing done. To pull myself out of my procrastination in as easy a way possible. One hundred words can be written in one paragraph. One paragraph takes only a few minutes.

To make sure I keep myself going, I will check in on my blog periodically to track my progress—maybe on Microblog Mondays.

In the meantime, if anyone else likes this “personal challenge” idea, please do jump in! It’s not quite NaNoWriMo, but it would be nice to have some company!



Monday, September 22, 2014

Microblog Monday: Heavenly Art

I love medieval art. The brilliant tempera colors, the gilt, the intricate carving in ivory, wood, and bone, gold filigree and gemstones, the beauty of illuminated manuscripts, take my breath away. We were able to visit the Walters Museum in Baltimore this weekend, which has one of the best medieval collections I’ve ever seen. Being in the midst of it made me feel like I was walking into Heaven. How craftsmen created these works without sophisticated tools is something I find hard to imagine.
Look at the faces of these tormentors of Jesus! Aren't they so perfectly grotesque?

A diptych of St. George and the Virgin Mary; he was considered to be her special messenger.

An etched gold cross

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gratitude/Happiness List—September 17, 2014
Once again linking up with Laurel Regan’s Alphabet Salad to share some things that I’m grateful for and that have made me happy this week.
—To have reconnected with old friends from high school on Facebook, to have met with two of them over the past month, and find that we still “click” together and have so much to talk about.

—Having a reliable, professional boarding place to leave our dog when we go away—even though I always hate leaving her, they make it a little less wrenching by telling me how sweet she is and how much they enjoy having her. (They may be lying, but it makes me feel better anyway.)

—Anticipating the fall restarting of our church book club with a discussion of what may be my favorite book of the year, “The Goldfinch.”

—Discovering a wonderful new tea, Belgian Mint—slightly chocolately and to die for!

—A cozy rainy Saturday night listening to the radio as the Pawtucket Red Sox won the International League championship.

—Being able to run a 5K and coming in second in my age group, thereby winning a prize!

—Having work coming in again after a nearly two-month pre- and postsurgery layoff.

—Having the date set for the closing on the sale of our other house.