Friday, December 17, 2010

Just One More Thing

Shelley was part of a round-robin challenge that 12 artists, mostly from the Womens Caucus for Art, completed this Spring. We worked in Moleskine accordian sketchbooks and each artist set their own rules for the string and other requirements. In my book, I asked everyone to work off a wavy string that ran through the entire book, and then to incorporate some text. I had just gotten my book back last week, so I have not had a chance to study it carefully. But while I was searching for inspiration for the urn, I pulled out the little book and hunted down Shelley's page. Here is what I found:
(Click on image to view larger!)
I was so overwhelmed with how terribly appropriate her quote was! I asked a local business (All Signs) if they could blow it up for me. Even though they are drowning in Holiday rush jobs, Steve, the owner, had it done before dinner (Thanks!!!). I mounted it on fome-cor and it was displayed on the altar, behind Shelley's urn, at the funeral today. By the way, I learned that Shelley had even converted her husband, Ken, to Zentangle! Ken looks like a member of ZZ Top - and I kept wondering what the "ZZ"'s stand for. Completely irrelevant, I know. But I was not the only tangle addict there who was distracted by the great pattern-challenges on the chairs in the funeral parlor... the rug... a few ties... a dress...

Anyway. Shelley's quote was perfect. Today was a glorious (cold) sunshine-y day. There were tons of beautiful flowers. And, there was freedom.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shelley's Tangled Urn

So here is what I did. I used Shelley's "Heartlines" and "Alice" (from Totally Tangled).
It was super-glossy so - difficult to photograph!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Not Quite What I was Thinking

In the new book, which will be called Yoga for Your Brain, I have a little section on using Zentangle for praying. Or, directed meditation, if you prefer. I use the example of wanting to think about a sick friend and stay focused on praying for good things for her. You all will know immediately, when you see it, that I was thinking of Shelley when I drew my example. I use an image of the person and words integrated into the Zentangle and there is a very good reason for this. If you just tangle, your thoughts WILL stray. The images and words keep bringing you back to your subject.

I just proved this theory to myself.

You all know me as the strange artist who will tangle on anything. When I went to the first ZT certification workshop I was one of five ladies there who were tangling a gnu. I've tangled furniture, floors, walls, clothing, sneakers, skin... and tonight I tangled an urn.

I kept reminding myself that Shelley was not IN it... yet. But it was such a strange experience. I wanted her to like it! I kept thinking about her and what she would be saying. I have never been so afraid of messing up. This shiny fancy futuristic... probably expensive... permanent resting place... who was I to DRAW on it. I still get shivers. Perhaps it was the subtle fumes from the markers... but all the people who have died or left me in the past year or so joined up with Shelley in my head. You know that  prickly adrenaline rush sensation that you get when you go a little too fast around a curve? That's what a panic attack feels like when it starts, but I kept getting that feeling with an intense rush of sadness. The urn was very shiny and slippery and it was hard to keep control of the pen as my hand kept getting shaky and slippery too!

There seem to have been too many deaths lately. But I have always had a sort of obsession with graveyards. Perhaps because I grew up in the Adams Family, I have a skewed vision of what is considered an appropriate form of grieving (party in the graveyard?) So, I guess it is appropriate that I was asked to tangle an urn. And I think that Shelley will like it. I used her tangles "Alice" and "Heartlines" as the main designs. But, my point is, tangling an urn is not relaxing. Or meditative. There is a VERY good reason that Rick and Maria developed those little squares of paper the way they did! If you are focusing on, or distracted by, the materials you are using... or the outcome you expect... Zentangle will fail to work it's magic.
And don't tangle with death! (ooh that would make a good t-shirt!?

I'll post a picture of the urn tomorrow when it is not quite so dark.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I've never been very good at saying the right thing or even knowing what to say in sad or awkward situations. But a lot of you knew Shelley through Totally Tangled, this blog, or through Wingdoodle. When I asked for Zentangles for her - I couldn't believe how many of you responded. So, you deserve to know that Shelley passed away this morning.

I saw her last on Thanksgiving. I felt guilty when I learned that she was back in the hospital and I hadn't known. I keep getting distracted by... myself. :-( I was also reluctant to visit a hospital - they terrify me. But my mother and I spent a few hours chatting with her and then ate our Thanksgiving Dinner in the hospital cafeteria. She was very swollen from chemo and drugs and I had to stifle my shock when I saw her. But she was still Shelley and she made jokes and was her usual optimistic self. She related, with some pride, the "episode" she'd had the night before which involved her heart and a lot of chaos. I had been worried about what we could talk about, but she was eager to hear stories about the store and my soap opera tales of divorce. I was shocked at one point, that we were actually having fun!

When she talked about her plans to take classes and how she wanted to go to Art & Soul this spring to help me teach - I almost burst into tears. The only thing that seemed to disappoint Shelley about her situation was that the hospital wouldn't let her go home for Thanksgiving. As we left, my mom said that Shelley was in heart failure, and denial. I argued that being positive is not the same as denial. I couldn't argue the heart failure.

She didn't get to go home. But I did hear from a friend that on her good days, Shelley was teaching the nurses and patients how to create Zentangles!!

I can't quite get my head around the fact that she is gone. Just not HERE anymore. I'm glad she is in the book. That sounds so stupid, I know. But Shelley was like a big sister to me - she even scolded me sometimes! She never thought of herself as an artist, but took to Zentangle like a fiend. She pushed me to teach classes... she pushed me into a lot of things! But when she saw her tangles and her artwork in Totally Tangled, she said she'd never expected to be published. That was a knock to the side of the head. Have you ever had a hand in making someone else's dream come true? It's a confidence booster, sure, but it's also extremely humbling.

I  had been thinking of doing a little book, like AlphaTangle, called Tangles for Shelley, with the art that you all sent in. The profits would go to buy Zentangle supplies to use at the hospital. But it seems a little... pointless now that she is gone. I have to do something. That's just my way. But maybe doing a little workbook that the hospitals could actually use with patients...? I have to think on it. But I do welcome input and ideas. I know you all have experience with cancers, hospitals, loss - and recovery too. It is easy to forget when you are steeping in it - that life isn't always about loss.

I DO know that Shelley would have liked to have an art party in her honor. She wouldn't want everyone sitting in pews crying over her. She'd want people making things (Zentangles!) and eating fantastically delicious food and... lots of laughter. Hmmm...

Read more and see some photos here and here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Zentangle Addict Holiday Gift - On SALE

The perfect gift for the Zentangle Addict! My sneakers are on sale for $69 (regularly $79) this week only at Be sure to check the Zazzle specials, as they change everyday (like free shipping!)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bells Ringing?

After a major accomplishment, life change or even a spectacular failure... doesn't it seem like there should be bells ringing? Or at least a little chime? I get a "bing" for just receiving new email. Seems like there should be something to signal a major completion. I really wanted to write something about finishing the book... but I still have some editing to complete. I wanted to write about finishing my divorce - the papers are all signed and he moved out his stuff this weekend. And other things too. But it is hard to know when something is truly finished.

I just spent three days at my dad's in Massachusetts with my kids, so that my ex could move out all his stuff. I brought the kids to his house, just now, and drove home. I passed four deer watching me from the creepy forest with glowing eyes. Came home to a house that was freezing cold and partially empty. Not completely empty. Just sections. Weird. My impulse to cry warred with my determination to put an "exciting opportunity" spin on the whole thing. These are now my walls. I could repaint! I could move furniture.... (I don't have time!?) I kept saying..."Ok, that's done now. He's out. Finished. On to the next thing." Then I saw the lists of all the stuff he had taken... and all the marks to indicate items he had NOT taken. Meaning... he's coming back for more. It's not done yet. I guess that explains why I didn't hear any bell, right?

It just occurred to me that I had written "Came home to a house that was freezing cold..." and my hands really ARE freezing. So I looked at the thermostat and it says "57", but is set to "67". That's NOT good. It's like when you take your car in for a check up - and ten things break the next day.

If my life were a movie... there would be some music playing... a theme song? Then I'd scream and run off to Tuscany and buy an old villa. In reality... Oh - there's a bell!.... just the phone. It's the heating guy telling me that the he put ten gallons in the tank last night and it shouldn't have run out already. What?! Does he think I DRANK it or something?! I haven't even been home. "I guess you want me to drive out there again?" No, let's let the pipes freeze so this drama is complete. Egads - I am becoming a silent sarcastic. Turns out, the house was freezing cold yesterday too. While my ex was moving his stuff. He finally noticed at night and called my mother who called the heating people. She was here til after midnight because it was a Saturday night and the repair guy had to come from an hour away - at extra cost. The oil had run out. But I have a contract. No explanation. And the pressure in the furnace was at explosion level... so it was a GOOD thing the oil ran out. So he repaired it. At extra cost. And now, I guess, we will repeat the process tonight. What I really want to do (besides running away to Tuscany) is curl up with popcorn, cocoa and the Roku (sulk a little) and escape my own head.
 My darling mother just came over to help me sulk. As I read her that last line, she says, "But you couldn't make popcorn anyway. Microwave is gone. And no cocoa. Teapot is gone." Thanks mom. The couch is gone too, but the Roku is still here...

I could not think of a word to sum up my feelings today. Other than AAAAAAARGH!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reader Question - Chambray

I recently received an email from Lydia that read:
"I have a question about a couple of your drawings in your book Totally Tangled.  The one on page 34 in the lower right corner and the one on page 47 lower right corner.  Could you email me the directions on how to do these two or put the illustrations on your website?  I have looked at these two and really like the way they look.  They are very different as though they have fabric just laying on them.  Thank you and I really have enjoyed looking at your book and designs."

I didn't even have to look in the book to see what she was talking about. "Fabric" was the giveaway - that's Sandra Strait's work she's talking about! So I asked Sandra to comment on her designs. Here are her instructions for creating her amazing fabric look:

There are two parts to creating a tangle that looks like fabric.  Chambray isn't meant to exist on its own.  It should have another tangle design overlaid on it.
The secret to drawing Chambray is in the shading.  Look at step 3, how the fold line is in the center of the pencil shading.  This represents the deepest part of the fold.  With a stump or finger, smooth the pencil shading on one side, smoothing to the side, not up or down.  Then go to the other side, smoothing in the other direction.  Be sure to leave a clean area in the center, which then becomes the highlight at the top of each fold.
Now you have this lovely fabric, and want to add a design.  Choose simple tangles.  With folded cloth, there is distortion of design.  If your overlay tangle is too complex, you will lose control of it.  Work from the corners inward so that you follow the curve of each square.  Accept some distortion, because your squares will not be exact. 
Note that with Striping, I simply darkened the shading and kept the highlight. 
After you overlay the design, if you feel you have lost the up and down of the folds, re-shade along the fold lines from step 2.  But smooth lightly.  You don't want to lose the highlights.
 If you have other questions related to the book, I'd love to know how I can help. But also take a look at the Resources section in the back - most of the artists have an email address listed so you can ask them directly about their work.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New Zentangle Book!

This is my apron in the book! Yeah!
No, it's not THE new book - that I'm working on at this VERY moment... but I do have work in it. This is Suzanne McNeill's "Zentangle Fabric Arts - Quilting, Embroidery". Take a look at her blog for images from the book. There's also info on the Design Originals website.
Now, back to work!
Zentangle Fabric Arts - Quilting - Embroidery

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chew it Up and Spit it Out

I survived Halloween. I actually LOVE Halloween. But this one was also my 19th wedding anniversary AND the last day of my marriage. Now I get alimony checks and have to get my husband's name removed from all the utility bills. Ex-husband. That's going to take a while to get used to saying! One of my blog readers called him my "was-band"!

In honor of the occasion (all of them)... I carved this pumpkin. My son said it was "brilliant" and looked like Jack had EATEN another pumpkin. Smirk.

And since I promised not to disappear, even though I am on the last leg of this book... hmmm... that just doesn't sound right? Well, here is a photo collage of my studio where I am working on the book:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Where'd She go? Again.

Yes, I got "Squam-ed" and then disappeared. Sorry about that, but I do have a good excuse and a note from my mom. My excuse: I have been simultaneously getting divorced AND writing the sequel to Totally Tangled.
I don't recommend trying this at home. It leads to lack of sleep, chemical imbalances, bad skin, weight gain and general chaos and insanity. And that's just from the book. Don't even get me started on the divorce!

I had gone looking for a book about how to get divorced, you know, something like The Idiot's Guide to Divorce. But, no, I never found one that actually made sense. I did, however, get a lot of really good (and lots of bad) advice from friends. The two most useful things I learned are: 1. Get a lawyer.  And 2. There is no such thing as a "friendly divorce." I mean what are you thinking?! If you could argue about the kids, money, schedules, and keeping promises... in a "friendly" way... you wouldn't be getting divorced would you!? Ah well. I did just recently find an excellent book, that sums it all up, called Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog. It's by Lisa Scottoline of mystery book fame. Her name on the cover is actually what attracted me to the book rather than the title. It's a collection of essays she wrote for newspapers and magazines about her life - including ex-husbands (she calls them "Thing One and Thing Two"), Spanx, mothers, daughters, the King Tut exhibit, and lots of insights about dogs. They are all wickedly funny and many make you think (ouch). In case you are wondering, I am vaguely considering getting a dog (although I am allergic to them). I am NOT considering getting a second husband - I think I am allergic to them too. If anyone has a good recommendation for a dog, please let me know. I don't like dogs that make me sneeze, drool, are scary, can eat my kids, or should have been a cat. If there are any others, PLEASE let me in on the secret.

As for the second excuse, "I was writing a book." - that one has been almost as stressful, but much more pleasant and exciting too. This is one of those stressors that is on your bucket list, but gets turned into a "to-do" list item because of all the other crap that pushes it over there. Do you know what I mean?
At the beginning of the summer, I was so overwhelmed by all the "doors" that were opening around me, that I contacted a creativity coach, who I had worked with in the past. I emailed Judith Godfrey and said "Help! All my dreams are coming true!" It's like my Irish grandfather always said "Be careful what you wish for, you may get it." And isn't that secretly one of our greatest fears? I often find that I will shoot myself in the foot rather than find out what would happen if my idea became a success. So this whole year has been a series of pushing my limits to see what might happen if I actually say "Yes!" to the things I have always wanted. This is really scary stuff and impossible to plan for. If a door opened, in the past I would say "I don't have time" or "I don't know how to do that" or some other excuse, and just walk past. I have been daring myself to at least look through the doors now, if not take a step through. But what I am finding is an entirely NEW hallway filled with doors behind EACH of those opening doors. Can you imagine the excitement... and the horror? If you follow this analogy, you can see how easy it is to get lost and overwhelmed. The divorce may seem like a sudden and shocking thing to many of you. But in reality, it is just anther door that I have been tiptoeing past for years. And writing books? I joined SCBWI (Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators) when I was 15 years old - back when they were still "SCBW" no "I" yet. I sent my picture books out to dozens of editors for years and years before I gave up. I think I was just wandering around the wrong hallway.

So, this second book started out as one thing, then Suzanne asked me to put it on hold and write a sequel to Totally Tangled... and last night, as I was desperately trying to lay out the pages... I realized, crud! It's not all going to fit into 52 pages! I have amazing work from a ton of different Zentangle artists and the last thing I wanted was to cut anything they had done. So I started cutting all the stuff that I had drawn. My projects, my ideas... at midnight I threw some stuff across the room and stomped out of the studio. You see where some of the stress comes into play here? Abundance can be very stressful! The book is technically due at the end of the month, and my husband had the kids for the past five days, so I have done nothing but work on this book. Today I take over mommy duties again, and I have two weeks left til book deadline (and the divorce changes take effect too) and I feel like a wild animal caught in the headlights. Have I mentioned I'm not good with last minute things? I went to bed completely panicked.

This morning, I jumped out of bed with the horrible realization that what I actually had was... TWO BOOKS! That's a good thing, right? An overabundance of material that can become two separate books is a good thing. It's a good thing! It's good.... good.... good...

Monday, September 20, 2010


I'm home! I am so glad to be back in a warm, comfy bed, but I am already so home-sick for Squam.
I have never been to an art retreat that was so exhausting (and cold!), but so mind altering. If you get the chance to attend, please go. I met so many new friends - I wish I could have brought a few home to play with.
Rustic. Just assume that it will be freezing cold and your room will only have open screens on the windows... and you will be fine. Yes, sleeping in a hat and scarf does help.

Oh what a view! (from our cabin's screen porch.)

Squam Lake has lots of little inlets - the camp sprawls around a bunch of them.
"Sticks & Stones" Class - we had a half hour to integrate some clay into the environment.

"Sticks & Stones" - mud creatures.

"Sticks & Stones" - next we had to create something out of sticks. I made a temple for a horned stick god I found in the woods. The pathway is made from chips of mica. It looked much more impressive in real life.

"Sticks & Stones"- close-up of the horned stick god.

"Sticks & Stones" - my big installation was an archway with a pinecone carpet. It seemed like a good idea at the time... but I couldn't feel my fingertips for 2 days after bending down the saplings and tying all those knots.

This is Brandi - she does amazing pet portraits (
"Painting in a Day"- I re-interpreted my mud creatures onto canvas with acrylics and torn paper. Now they are roguish slugbabies.

And one more time. The slugbabies have gone cute. Well, cuter.
The last class was "Three Tools"- I learned to use a jigsaw, a drill and a tape measure (and a hammer!) I decided to make a dining table for my ... ah, my daughter's dolls. I learned to woodburn too!

I brought the table back to the cabin and sat in the sunshine painting it until it was too dark to see anymore. Aah life is good.

Sat. night was the Squam Art Fair. Large blocks of glowing ice lined the walkways.

Jonatha Brooke was selling her albums (and dressed in bottle caps). She is so amazing. She sang us a bunch of songs she wrote with Woody Guthrie. :-)  If you aren't hip to music, ask your kids, she even has a track on "Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure" - oooh!

The Square Peg Breakfast Club. Funny how the introverts tend to eat near the edges of the dining room. Caryn, Shelly, Carrie, Me, Retta. There were a few others who were fun dining companions, but they didn't survive til Sunday morning.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Squidoo Lens of My Book!

Ragged Edge has done a really nice "Lens" with a review of my book, Totally Tangled!
How exciting! And now you are mostly wondering, "What the heck is a lens?" That is best answered by exploring the site. Go look!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Meanwhile... Back at the Master Class...

Yes, it's a little late, but I finally took some quick pics of what I created at the Zentangle Master Class in Newport, RI in August. I really loved working on the illuminated letter. I did a "Bee" for Bartholomew and, of course, for "Beez Ink Studio".  It took FOREVER to fill in all the sections two days, plus I stayed up until 2am the last night) - this piece is about 13" wide and twice that tall. We were to color in our central letter section with tasteful, muted shades of watercolors... I'm not very good at "tasteful." I like bright and juicy, so I used my Inktense pencils and I really love the way it turned out.
The second piece was even larger, but our tangles were drawn bigger too. I love doing highlights and shadows, so this was a blast. Though I didn't actually... like... my piece until I added the little pile of Jetties at the bottom and the few slipping out of the main design. I think it is my illustrator's nature to need some kind of a "story." Speaking of stories, if you ever get a chance to talk with Rick or Maria, be sure to ask them where the name "Jetties" comes from! You will be very amused.

Yes, it does rather look like a shopping cart! (Unintentional).
Close up detail of Jetties pile

If you are sorry that you couldn't be at the workshop, you are in luck! Suzanne McNeil (from Design Originals) made an incredible video (actually 2 parts) that she posted on YouTube. I'm interviewed in Part A. Most of us spent a few hours being terrified to appear on camera for a few minutes. :-) Yes, I am camera shy. Oh and be sure to watch Part B too as there are lots of actual demos on how to draw some new Tangles, done by the CZTs. If you watch the videos in a hot, humid room, it will feel like you were actually there with us! But seriously, if they offer this Master Class next year, SIGN up ASAP! (Unless you are a "traditionalist" Zentangle fanatic. In which case you would hate it. Tee hee).

Monday, September 6, 2010

Zentangles of Healing

Hey all, I got permission from Mary Ann to reprint her email letter here on my blog. I love the idea of creating Zentangles to help others heal. And I believe that it really does help... and it certainly doesn't HURT! So if you have a moment tomorrow, send healing, protective thoughts to Mary Ann, and if you have two moments ;-D create a tangle for her too. And by the way, Mary Ann is a "Totally Tangled" artist, a really cool lady, and one of my role models. So let's take care of her with our thoughts and prayers. Cheers!

"It's MaryAnn here, from CZT class #1.  I recently found out that I have a couple of nodes growing in 2 sections of my lungs that shouldn’t be there.  It’s been decided that they have to be removed and the date set for that is Sept. 7th.   Since I've had a bit of time to prepare for it, I’ve been using a program called Prepare for Surgery and Heal Faster by Peggy Huddleston (google her name if you want to know more about it, it's excellent for anyone having surgery, big or small).  It endeavors to bring focus on the positive aspects of what’s happening and so I’m trying to come up with some creative approaches to this. 

One of the exercises is to picture yourself first as you are healing and then again already healed, doing something you love to do.  Well, that’s an easy image…. making and teaching Zentangle!  I’m hoping some of you can help me with this.  If you would, pick a date between Sept. 7th and October 7th and on that day send me one of your tangled tiles.  Each day, I plan on feeling better and better, stronger and stronger until I am healed and whole again (this could take a couple of months but I’m being optimistic!  LOL)  And, as each Zentangle arrives, with its love and healing energy stored up in the Tangles, I will be building a mosaic of strength and support from my Zentangle friends and colleagues.  (mailing address is below)

I plan on journaling my journey down this road and hope to use my recovery time to continue to grow personally and professionally.  Maybe by using Zentangle as part of my recovery “tools”, I’ll be able to learn to help others use it too and I’ll share that with y’all.

I’m also having a prayer circle begin praying for me ½ hour before my surgery time.  If you wish to participate, please begin 8am Sept. 7th and while you are praying or just sending postive energy (in whatever fashion you are comfortable with) please imagine that you are wrapping me in a beautiful Southwestern Indian blanket of love.  The actual visualization of that image will help you to focus the energy.  That’s it.  Thank you so much.

As soon as possible after the surgery, I'll send out an email update.


With greatfulness and affection
MaryAnn, CZT (Class #1)"

MaryAnn Scheblein-Dawson
Origami Specialist and Certified Zentangle Teacher
217 Hoffman Street
Franklin Square, NY  11010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Good Times in the Graveyard

Pardon my recent obsession with graves... but here's another update.
Yesterday was my grandmother's birthday. And although I love Harry Potter as much as the next 40 year old with the reading level of a 12 year-old, I did not celebrate Gram's "Death Day" with a party this past spring. In my mind, she is still the funny, silly, brave, ALIVE woman whom I admire and miss so much. Not the freaky-screaming-shell who vaguely resembled my Grandma on a really bad day. So which one would I rather celebrate?

Since she has a new stone, and it was her birthday, I coaxed my kids, my mom, and my mother-in-law out to the graveyard for a little picnic. My son and I had made a chocolate cake (Gramma loved chocolate) and we all ate until we were sugar crazed. Lilah took off running around the cemetery like a banshee and Ellie trailed after her. I had been disappointed that Gramma was buried in this new cemetery - no old interesting stones, no trees, just lots and lots of empty grass and an occasional altar with beer bottles or flowers... but now I realized this was the perfect spot. I didn't have to say"be careful, don't step on...." because it was mostly empty. So go ahead and run, burn that sugar rush! Meanwhile, Alex and I built a marshmallow "cake" into the shape of a heart and I wrote on it with frosting. The ants thought they had died and gone to heaven! Maybe Waterloo Cemetery is actually the Valhalla for ants? Well, it was yesterday. And after a week of steady, dreary rain, Gramma had somehow managed to conjure up an absolutely perfect sunny, cool day.

It really was one of the nicest parties I have been to in a long time! And I was imagining that, after the sun set, a small brown bear would wander out of the trees and gobble down the remaining marshmallows. Then she'd sit herself down against the bench, with her picture on it, and have a little snooze. She'd dream about a lady with lovely smooth, pink skin, mischievous blue eyes surrounded by laugh lines, and the heart of a bear. And for that minute, the bear would wonder 'Am I a woman dreaming of being a bear, or a bear dreaming that I am a woman?' And my Grandmother would look down from where she is watching and have a good laugh.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tangle on... and on... and on...

Wowza! Sandra Strait has published a list of all the Tangle names she could find from the web, the books and the official Zentangle site and kits... take a look at her blog! It's a great way to see if a name has already been used when you are designing your own Tangles. And Sandra, I'm assuming you do not have any small children still at home, right. Otherwise, you have WAY too much free time on your hands! (yep, I'm jealous - but I love lists!)

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Grave Situation

 It's been over a year since my grandmother died (read the post about her here). Her grave finally has a gravestone! It seemed a bit... well, I'm not sure what the word would be. I mean, she was buried in a tote bag for goodness sakes. I kept bugging my mother about getting a nice stone, but it wasn't until this spring that inspiration struck.

We stopped over in Paris on the way to our Holy Lands Adventure. The plan had been to visit the Catacombs, but when we arrived, there was a line all the way around the block. And visitors only enter in groups of 11 or so. I figured we would be standing in line all day before we even made it to the gate. Ugh. So we wandered over to the nearest, free, macabre attraction - the Montparnasse Cemetery. We roamed for hours. I have never been in a more fascinating graveyard. This was more like a little city and filled with famous scientists', authors' and artists' "homes". There was so much variety - from the Egyptian themed grave in the Jewish sector to an ultra-modern stack of granite sticks.

As we were leaving, we realized we had to make use of our inspiration to finally get a stone for Gramma Magda! And certainly not a boring gray slab.

I would have loved to have a bear shaped sculpture as her marker, but that was a bit... expensive. My mother ordered this unusual black granite bench with an engraved bear. A good compromise. The stone looks rather lonely and bare  (and a bit dirty!) without foliage and flowers. I thought it might be nice to make some cement stepping stones with the kids' handprints too. In our graveyards we often put vases of flowers. But in Paris, they have whole shrines erected. There was a grave for a 12 year-old Chinese boy  :-(  that had food in Tupperware containers, soda cans, little toys, photos, and letters. It was so sad. For the famous graves, visitors left their subway ticket stubs held down by pebbles. And on others, there were small piles of rocks. I suppose it is a way of saying, "I was here and I miss you."

A prince and a princess who died on the same day. So many stories buried here!
Guy de Maupassant (and Alex)

A very original grave!

My favorite shot. this was such a beautiful cemetery.

A stack of books!
I have always thought that you rest beneath your stone forever in peace. RIP and all that. But real estate is real estate. And if you don't keep paying the rent, well, someone else will take your spot. how creepy is that?

My grandmother shares her headstone with her mother-in-law, Jenni, her husband, Johannes, and her baby daughter, Merike. Jenni and John are actually buried somewhere on Long Island and Merike had been in a mass grave in Germany. But she was... "removed" when a large highway was built. It's nice to have them all together again in Warner, even if it is only in name.


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