Making Old Things New Again

Wow…another whirlwind weekend and right into a busy week! Time flies when you love what you do! I am blessed and grateful on a daily basis to be able to do what my heart tells me to do.

In my early days of Zentangle, I would start a tile and if it did not go the way I wanted it to, I would banish it to a pile of Forgotten Tiles (rather like the Island of Misfit Toys in Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.) I just could not seem to figure out, at that time, how to make them work, and I would not toss them out because they held some value for me.

So, for this weeks Diva Challenge (#273), I dove into that pile to find one that needed some love and a bit of a “Tangle Remix.” I picked this tile, that I was not happy with the Betweed on, but I had done such a nice job on the gold I did not want to toss it.

Diva #273 - 1

And I used the adage “When in doubt, black it out.”

Diva #273 - 2

And once that was dry (I left it overnight) I went back to work on it, with the gold pen on the black areas, and a little Rick’s Paradox. I thought briefly about putting more, but I t think it really needed a little white space. Diva #273 - 3

See, all better now!

I spent this past weekend up in Big Bear, California at a retreat called Dancing with Petals and Leaves: Mixed Media and Color Play put on by Sharla Hicks, CZT and artist of unbelievable talent. It was an intense weekend (Thursday – Sunday) of color theory, tangling, print making of all sorts, and outstanding food.

By the end of Thursday, we had done color theory and alcohol printing and I made this awesome piece.

Alcohol Ink on Toned Tan - Tree

We did a lot of tangling, using the “What ifs” and exploring different forms…


And we played with print making on a larger scale, using big tools!

And lots and lots of other fun things…

Oh, and did I mention food? We ate VERY well.

And I will leave you with this…my pile of things that need to be worked on or finished is so much larger now!

Complex String Flower - Blue Gold

And be sure to join me in July for some fun stuff! Stay Crazy My Friends!

Courage in the Wake of Adversity

Yes…I know that waxes rather profound as a title. This week has been a rather sad one all over the world, but one thing the tragedy in Orlando has done is bring people together in the face of adversity. I would like to think that, as a world, we can be, stronger together. And that would take some courage for a lot of people, to put aside their prejudices in the name of peace and just downright accept EVERYONE.

Pointing fingers, blaming, and looking for scapegoats accomplishes nothing. But we all know that. I’ve recently read a lot on  the Responsibility Foundation. Their main goal is to Educate, Engage, and Elevate the ideal of Responsibility, especially in today’s young people. Everyone takes accountability for their actions…there is no blame for the things that “happen to you.”  I like this idea, and its ideals. I’ve long thought that people take too little responsibility for what happens in their lives, and constantly look for someone else to blame for their woes.

But these things all take COURAGE. And in the  Army Values, that means to me, Personal Courage.

Personal Courage as defined by the Army, is to face fear, danger or adversity.

It’s not always easy. But then, life isn’t easy either. All we can do is take responsibility and have compassion. These things are free.

I know you don’t come to my blog to read, but you do come  here for my art, and for that I am grateful. I use Zentangle and other art forms to calm my mind when things are in a state of adversity and that is often reflected in my work. So when The Diva sent out this weeks Challenge (#271) to interpret Beads of Courage, I meditated on that for a while.

Beads of Courage is an arts in medicine program that helps kids with chronic or life threatening illness tell the story of their medical journey. Each bead represents something different. A different procedure or appointment, or special circumstance. For example, when seeing a doctor or getting a poke instead of getting a sticker when they leave, they are given a glass bead for each thing. (blue for doctor, black for poke… some other beads are yellow=night in the hospital, pink=respiratory support, magenta=trip to emergent care, teal=tube insertion or removal, rainbow=therapy; physical, speech, occupational, respiratory) and every child’s string is different and unique to their story.

This has been very personal to The Diva, as her ADORABLE little Artoo has Moebius Syndrome, and spends  *lot* of time in hospitals and at doctor visits.

So this week, I combined my meditation for Orlando with Beads of Courage, and came up with this:


I hope the sun shines on the families affected by this, and any other adversities.

I should have the July Schedule up by the end of the week. I have air-conditioning! Come in to escape the heat and relax. Rock and Tangle this Friday Night!

Stay Crazy My Friends…Make Stuff…You will feel better!

And one final note…To quote Rush, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

Blue Skye

This week’s Diva Challenge (#270) is using Margaret Bremner, CZT’s new tangle Skye. I have admired this tangle since she first introduced it, but I am a bit intimidated by it, so I have not tried it, until today.

I generally do not have to practice tangles…I can see them once in step outs and just do them…this was not the case here! I had to practice this one…more than once…I was vexed!


And it took me the better part of a few hours to get through them…I worked through this on both sides!

But, I got through it, as you can see with the white one on the left, and finally got up the courage to grab one of my Twinking H2O tiles that I painted at TangleU. I love what Margaret does with the monochrome colors she uses, so I decided to give that a whirl. I used a Stabilo Fineliner in blue, for the first time, gold Gelly Roll, and General’s Chalk Pastel in Indigo.


Just as an FYI…the Stabilo bled when I sprayed it with my usual fixative. Fortunately, I like the effect and the lines stayed ok. Lessons learned! (By the way…I spray most everything because I lot of my work gets handled a lot…when I teach and such…)

Had a fun class with 2 of my regular students last Saturday, where we explored some single element tangles on Bijou tiles. I think we did some pretty neat work!


And…I have a 3-Part class coming up on preparing backgrounds and tangling on larger formats, and here is a sample of what we will be doing.


10 x 10 inch watercolor paper…was playing around with Color Bursts by Ken Oliver. The paper is actually much whiter than it photographed…not sure what is up with that!

Lots of fun things on the schedule in June, be sure to check it out!

Have a Crazy Art Filled Week!

Dueling Tangles

Another busy week here at CharKat’s! I started a new planner this week, and I seem to be getting a lot more done, which is nice. I hope the honeymoon lasts with this one. It is a bit more compact than my last one, and fits in my purse. Yes, I know there is technology that I can use in its place, but I like paper…I like to use a fountain pen to write, and I like to make notes and tangles and sketches and jot down ideas…so the technology is a time suck for me, because…SQUIRREL! (or FaceBook or Pinterest, or Candy Crush) So I am making more of an effort to stay off the technology!

This weeks Diva Challenge (#267) was a Duo Tangle: Pokeroot vs Drupe. Now, I am not particularly fond of Pokeroot. I don’t really use it much (make that ever) so this took a bit of prodding to get me to do it. ‘Nuff Said…Diva #267

On Monday, the SoCal Zentangle Friendship Group met at CharKat’s, and I showed them some of my cool projects (the finished ones)  from TangleU and led us in a couple of tangles. We learned a new tangle from Zentangle HQ, called Ellish (if you haven’t seen it in your newsletter yet, it will be coming soon!)


And K-leesi by Sharon Robinson.


Speaking of TangleU Projects…here are some books I’ve finished from Cherryl Moote’s Class:

They are still blank on the outside, but so cute!

And I am seeing a lot of finished t-shirts! All so different, and so pretty. What fun it is to wear your art. Here is one is black and white from Izumi Sato, my fellow SoCal CZT:

Izumi Sato

And this pretty, almost electric looking colorful one from Karen Sandoval:

Karen Sandoval

Judy Englehart submitted this lovely:

Judy Englehart

And this bright bit of spring from Julie Gladstone:


If you want to color your own t-shirt, I still have them available in my online store. I can ship international, but you will need to email me your order instead of going online ( Click here to get to the store, and don’t forget the Gell Roller for Fabric and Fabrico markers for color!

I am putting the final touches on my larger piece for the May 21st class (May Flowers featuring the tangles of Helen Williams) and I am really liking what I’ve done here. I don’t normally post works in progress, but I thought this might be the time to make an exception!


I think that bottom flower looks a lot like this Japanese beauty, so I am probably going to color it the same.


And on that note, I need to skedaddle! But, I’ll leave you with this:


The String’s a Spring!

Wow….when I have a good and creative week, it really does start to roll! Too bad that doesn’t carry over to me getting dressed and leaving the house sometimes….

But, it is spring here in beautiful Southern California, and while its been a bit on the windy side, we are already experiencing warmer than usual temperatures. Our darling Diva tasked us this week with using a Spring for a String (#264) and since I am working back through Helen Williams’ e-books, I thought I would work up some ribbons with that spring. Morning Glories with a little of Helen’s Mooka-Style and a pretty green ribbon to tie it all up with. This is a little bit of what we will be doing in the May Flowers Class on May 21st. That class will feature several of Helen’s tangles on a larger format, including her new Compass Daisies! I simply love her work.

Diva #264

I know what you are thinking…wow….those colors are beautiful! They actually look even better in person. I was experimenting with my new Peerless Watercolors for this, on Fabriano Medioevalis paper in the 4.8-ish inch square.

Peerless Watercolors are saturated sheets that are activated with water. Instead of pigments, they are mineral dyes. There were originally developed to hand tint photographs around the turn of the century (like more than 100 years ago…) and the formula has not changed. The colors are translucent, except for the Spotting Black, Opaque. They come in cards that are about 6 x 2.5 inches, and you can just use a water brush to work with them. They are a little strange to work with in their native form…so there are a variety of ways to make them into neat, lightweight, portable palettes to work from. Jane Davenport has a great video and information on that here. But…me being me, I took my own creative license and made mine a bit different.


To give you perspective, that is a hair tie as a closure. 3″ x 4.5-ish. I have acetate between each page for protection and as a mixing pallet, and only cut a 1/2″ piece for each place. It weighs about an ounce, and is easily held in your non-dominant hand while working in it, so page flipping is no big deal. The pieces of card are stuck in with double sided tape, and when it runs out, I can just pull it off and put in a new one. As you can see, the color of the card is not really representative of what color they are, so a swatch test is necessary. I used some old watercolor paper I have had for probably 20 years (and the puppy had chewed on when I still had a puppy) so the net cost of this was…well…just the paints. I also stuck a few extra pieces of watercolor paper in the back in case I got an urge to try something, and the inner cover liners are also watercolor paper.

Not that I haven’t been busy prepping samples for the May classes, and packing for TangleU next week, but I’ve been on rather a book-making tear. In addition to my Peerless pallet book, I also finished my working notebook/travel journal for TangleU. In an effort to not bore the people that aren’t interested in bookmaking, I will show you the highlights. I’m still trying to figure out how to make another listing for just paper craft-type things, so you don’t have to be subjected to this…

I’m pretty impressed with it, and have started keeping track of my “lessons learned” for each of these types of projects, so I can continue to improve them. This one has 4 sets of pages (for a 4-day retreat) with each set having one watercolor page with a “tile frame” mounted on the back of it (still using up that puppy-chewed paper!), 10 sheets that are lined on one side and blank on the back, trimmed with Washi tape and some stickers, and a double-sided pocket folder that I also decorated. The closure is a button held on with another smaller button through an eyelet, with the same cord braided and beaded to loop around the button. This was mostly made from a WeR Kit I found in my drawer, and I bought one button and 4 sheets of 12×12 scrapbook paper. So again, it cost me nothing but time, really, to make.

AND, on that note, I really need to sleep. Baseball season makes me stay up later than I usually like to keep up with my beloved Giants, so I tend to be a bit more sleep deprived than usual.

Stay Crazy My Friends!

Going Global

Ok…first things first. The May 2016 schedule is up! Journals are the first Saturday, and the Monthly Special is on the 3rd Saturday this month because I will be out of town. But…you won’t want to miss this one…May Flowers featuring the Tangles of Helen Williams. I love her flowery botanical work, and while I am still working up a sample for the class, here is a teaser of one I did previously.

20140303 Ribbon Flowers

Check out the full schedule here – Zentangle Classes & Schedule. The Buy It now button for classes is at the top of the page now. (Thanks Square for changing the online store around…not sure if I like it or not yet!)

You can also find all kinds of cool stuff and supplies in my online store. CharKat’s Creative Insanity – Online Store!

Ok…enough of my blatant advertising and down to the matter at hand.

This week, I got thrown for a loop (almost literally) with the Diva Challenge (#263) when she asked us to use a Globular Grid. I freaked out just a little with all those small spaces. So I grabbed the biggest round tile I found, a “card” from Dick Blick, and my compass, and made bigger spaces. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try out some of the Fragments from the new Zentangle Primer, Volume 1.

Diva #263

It looks great to me, from a distance, with my glasses off. (Of course, we are all our own worst critics!) A note about working on “cards”…this paper had no tooth and was very difficult to shade. It is about 6”, and I used a bit bigger pen, so that was part of the problem for me, I think. Anyway…learning/teaching moment!

We had a lovely time on Monday at this month’s Zentangle Friendship Group. We pre-scrunched pieces of paper bag to make a type of Kente cloth, using tangles. It was pretty fun. This is 9 x 12, so I did use brush pens (hence the chunky designs) and tried a few different things.

Paper Bag Kente Cloth

A design note: to try this, you need to scrunch and scrunch and scrunch your paper bag. Then, I ironed my with a hot steam iron and let it dry. I imagine its is not a super-permanent paper, and I did not spend a lot of time on it. I am going to try a few other things with some other pieces that I treated with a preservative. I’ll let you know how that turns out!

It’s been a busy week. On Wednesday, I attended a quilting workshop with Ami Simms, and boy was that fun. I should have pics of my quilt posted in a week or 2…woo hoo.

We’ve has some great classes this week at the shop, too! You really should join us.

And on that note, I need to finish getting ready for tonights Zentangle 101 class and Iron Maiden at the Forum tomorrow night!

Stay Crazy My Friends!

More “Fassetts” of My Life

This has been a really nice week for my budding little business venture. I’ve had some new students, and some old friends, and sometimes both together, which is REALLY fun.

This week’s Diva Challenge was a Use My Tangle (UMT) from Lynn Mead, CZT, from Washington State. Her tangle, Fassett, is really quite cool, and you can do so much with it. I taught it in my class this week on Black Tiles (Beyond the Basics: Black Tiles) and we had some fun with it in gold Gelly Roll Metallics.

Diva #262

We had a really fun class last Saturday, with Nancy Dawes and her family visiting from Vancouver Island. Everyone folded and worked on their origami.

Nancy caught me in action!


And she posted her finished ball on her FaceBook page (Crafting Passions.) You can also check out her blog here – She does some awesome things!


I finished the one I started in class too, but only just this morning!

Jump #2

I tend to get a bit…carried away. I like to say I never do anything half-assed…I do it full assed! The scattered gold pebbles in my Tipple are reminiscent of the beach sand by the Hotel Del Coronado, which we visited on Monday with our guests!

Twink Sand

So pretty!

ok…I have a million loads of laundry to finish, journals to work on, quilts to cut bits for…I know…get back to work! Next week, look for journal pics. I am really excited to finally be putting my “stash” to use (thanks for the push into the glue, Nancy!)

Stay Crazy My Friends!



Sorting Stacks

First off, I hope everyone had a

Happy Easter 2016

As typical, mine was quiet, as Mike was at work. I did get a lot done, and the house got cleaned!

This week’s Diva Challenge (#261) was issued by guest blogger Jan Reiter, CZT, who challenged us to Stack Bijou. Now, I have to tell you, I was a little intimidated by this. That seemed like a lot of work! And we know how famous I am lately for not finishing anything. So…I rummaged through all my “pretty paper” collection that isn’t particularly good for tangling on in great quantity, and cut up 6 “stacks” and a Bijou-sized (2×2 inch) tile. And I stared at it for a little while. Then I went to town…and I tangled them from the biggest to the smallest. It went a lot faster than I thought it would, but then I always make things more complicated than they need to be!

Diva #261

This was a lot of fun. And believe it or not, the Bijou-sized tile and the far outer frame are from the same paper! Since brown was my “theme” I went with a sepia Micron too, so that was nice, and a copper Gelly Roll on the accents.

UPDATE: I realized while I was filing this weeks photos after I posted the blog that this Diva Challenge marked 100 & 101 consecutive challenges!

So you know I haven’t been slacking, I have been busy with shop models for upcoming classes. I know you want to join us this Saturday when Origami meets Zentangle! The project is based on a design from Hans Werner Guth, called “Jump” and tangle inspired by Dorian Eng, CZT.


To sign up, head on over to the Class Schedule Page!

I have been participating in a Round-Robin tangle with 3 other CZT’s and received my tiles back yesterday (and I’m sending the next batch out today, I promise!) I think they came out really cool, and it was a lot of fun working with everyone on this. We all have really different styles, and that melded together very well.

SoCal Round Robin

And…So you don’t think I missed last week’s Diva Challenge (#260), I did that in my journal in church this week. Yes…I listened to the talk…and yes…this helps me concentrate on it rather than making my grocery list in my head or thinking about what I am cooking for lunch. I love Shattuck, it is such a versatile tangle!

Diva #260

And, for everyone that knows me, no week is complete without a little rock n’ roll! We headed to Las Vegas last week to see Billy Idol at the House of Blues. I was deaf in my right ear for a good while since we were next to the speaker, but what a show, and what great seats! It is hard to believe he is 60! (hubba hubba!)


Back to packing for TangleU! Here’s a sneak peek at what you will be able to score at CharKat’s after I get back…IMG_0190


Tangle them…Color them…Embellish them! Wear Your Art!


Stay Crazy My Friends!






That Green Time of Year

Yep, that’s right…it’s March! I love the month of March. Not only is it the month of my birth, but the weather starts being nice again, the sun is out, the grass is green…and…we all get to be Irish for a day.

We had a couple of really fun Celtic themed classes over the weekend, so that led right into this week’s Diva Challenge (#259) “A Touch of the Irish.” This was one of those pieces I was particularly proud of when I finished it. I have not forged into the ZenGems craze because I did all this stuff 20 years ago when I was designing jewelry, but I broke out my Prismacolor Premier pencils and some luscious hand-made Garza Papel (from Spain) and pulled this off.

Diva #259

I know…huh? I keep looking at

If you want to see the steps I took for the gems, check this out…


I didn’t get a blog up last week, it was my birthday…I joked to one of my students who is a professional cake decorator that she should bring me a birthday cupcake (since I am watching my girlish figure) and she arrived with this:


That is one HUGE cupcake…and it was really tasty too.

I did get the Diva Challenge (#258 UMT Rautyflex) done too, although I just did it in my Tangle Journal.Diva #258

There was some unusually beautiful skies here this week, with pretty vapor trails. I loved how they made a pretty perfect X there…


I will have the April Schedule up by the end of the week. I am working on a sample for a class, so be sure to save the date (April 2) if you are in the area. Origami meets Zentangle, and it is so fun to fold!

That is all for now…Stay Crazy My Friends!

I’m Not Gone…I’m Molygon!

Whew…you would think taking some time to work on stuff would be more productive! But…I feel like I haven’t gotten much done. And I still need to do my taxes!

So, a couple of weeks ago, I started giving a class where we do these step outs and then use the tangle, so you have a visual reference and a neat-o mini binder to keep them all in. So, what better way to knock out my Diva Challenge (#253) for the new tangle, Molygon, from Zentangle HQ. Not only did I practice it real well by doing the step out, I was able to make a cool reference tile, right on the page.

Diva #253

And, the bonus is that it is on my “to-do” list to complete at least one page a week for my reference. Ta-done!

I also worked up this cute frame for the Valentangle class. Based on Joanne Fink’s Zendangles, it will be one of two options for the class on the 13th. Register here, pick  your option for either the card or the frame. I need to prep the frames, so preregistration is a must!


Got a major UFO (unfinished object) out of my studio this week, and hung for use. I like to up-cycle things that may no longer seem “fresh” and make them useful again. This ugly dart board case was just that object. Mike swears he bought it about 30 years ago, and it definitely had seen better days.



Some Chalk Paint and trim pieces later, with a little Zentangle magic sprinkled in, and viola! It is now presentable!



One important takeaway from this project. Gorilla Wood Glue does NOT dry clear…I may eventually touch up the paint where you can see the glue, but I was just so darn happy to have it off my workbench I didn’t even care!


Lastly, I have a sneak peek at my prototype for some t-shirts you will be able to buy online or at the shop. Color them yourself…way cool. (this is a finished one, tangled a little and colored.) I just finished my “wash test” to make sure everything worked fine, so next it’s off to the printers to get them made.


Looking forward to seeing people at the shop!

Namas’cray…stay crazy my friends!