Monday, August 29, 2011

Tangle Homework

In July, I got this email:

Fox Chapel has a new stock of your "Yoga..." book, and mine have arrived. Just wanted to share what I did re page 31 of the book. Still having trouble getting out of the box and page 32 is sending me into YIKES territory. Thankfully I'm not (yet) teaching that.
Anyway, thanks for letting me share. Ooops! I got so carried away I forgot to light the sabbath candles. Sorry I didn't have more chance to chat with you at CZT#6, maybe another time.
-Anita Roby-Lavery

(Anita is a CZT and teaches Zentangle® in Western Pennsylvania. You can contact her at

You may be wondering what exactly was on page 31? WHAT!? You don't have a copy of Yoga for Your Brain? Oh, fine, I'll tell you... wait, I have to go look... (just kidding). Page 31 shows how to draw Bales and a super-twisty version called Quip, but it also offers an "Exercise." "Fill an entire page with variations on Bales." Anita came up with some wonderful variations! Bales is one of my favorite tangles simply because it is SO versatile.

Page 32, which terrifies Anita, is a bigger challenge. This one combines different tangles to create crazy new variations. It's a TANGLE MASH-UP!!

Has anyone tried that? I'd love to see what monster tangles you have created. Or, for the more timid ;-D I'd love to see your Bales varieties. Post your art on your blog and put a link in the comments below. If you don't have a blog or flickr site, you can email me a jpeg (beezink at and I'll post it for you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Original

A not-so-glamorous shot of the Original Lilah Bean. You might think that it would be difficult to read a book with an entire leg in the way... but, no, Lilah is completely absorbed in her Zentangle for Kidz! book. She did have a lot of comments to make, though. Such as... "Lilah wouldn't be saying "Wheee!" because she is actually too scared. Her brother pushed her!" and "The little Lilah Bean in the plant in my drawing is actually part penguin. He's a Penguin Bean." And her favorite batch of Beans are the Chess pieces. And the little mermaid Bean swimming in "Oshun." And...
(I think she likes the book!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tangled Stairs, Part One

Well, I asked if anyone wanted to help tangle the stairs up to my studio... and I admit I was afraid no one would show. Silly me!

It took us a while to get started, chatting, lunch and all that. But everyone was a little nervous to actually DRAW on the wall. So I followed the usual Zentangle® steps and drew a string, in pencil, down the entire wall! Strings are a real "ice-breaker." I suggested everyone start with some kind of Crescent Moon variety along the railing trim and then grow out from there. After that, everyone just took off. It was incredible how fast the time went! And we had quite a few curious visitors who peeked in from the store (Wingdoodle) to see what we were up to.
Jenn Swett claimed the top of the steps.
Debbie Skinner-Perez was next down from Jenn.
Then Bette Abdu (CZT!) and Krystin Watts (soon to be CZT!)

Jenn's "tile"
Debbie's "tile"

Krystin's "tile"

My "tile" - I had the bottom of the stairs. I still have a lot to draw!

It looks pretty good, doesn't it? I just realized that we had one person for each of the sections of the wall! There's still so much to add - we have to finish these sections, then there's the other side of the stairs... and I was thinking the tangles should go around the door and into the store... and then we need shading...

Want to come and tangle, too? I'll be at it again on Tuesday, August 30th and Saturday, September 10th, from 1pm on - join me!  The Belfry is above Wingdoodle at 19 E. Main Street in Warner, NH

[OH! and in a completely unrelated tangent - Wingdoodle is having a huge (40% off!) sale this coming weekend (Aug. 27 & 28) to clear out a bunch of stuff, like leather purses and craft kits, DIY vinyl figures - that kind of stuff. Wingdoodle doesn't have many sales (like, two!) so, just thought you might like to know that!]

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Dangerous Mission. Want to Play?

... down

Want to help tangle the stairwell walls at my studio? 
Sunday, August 21 from noon til we drop. 
I'll supply paint pens, you bring your own lunch/snacks. 
The Belfry, 19 E. Main Street, Warner, NH

The walls above the railings are already divided into sections so we can pretend those are the "tiles." Although, some of the tangles may... creep.. over into other tiles. BTL JOOS has a tendency to do that. Or they might go under the trim to get to a new tile... it should be fun! And there are a LOT of sections we can work on. 

Any age tangler is welcome as long as: 
1) they already know how to tangle  
2) they are tall enough to reach the tangle-able walls  
3) they are stable enough to stand on the inclined surface and draw.
4) no whiners (or brats)

I really hope I am not all alone on Sunday. Just tangling away in the Belfry. Actually, that sounds kind of nice... 
but it is supposed to rain, so come spend your gloomy day with me. ;-D

Lilah Bean Winners

I've posted the winners for the Lilah Bean contest on the Kidz blog. I'm not going to tell you who won, you have to go look, but here is a group shot of my new band of Minions:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Feeling like a loser, a freak? Go see "Glee 3D" and you'll see that as a good thing. My son would be embarrassed to know that I just reluctantly left the movie theater -- I didn't want this movie to end! There were parents dancing with their kids in the concert audience and weird little interviews with strange high school kids... How can these Glee kids ("gleeks") not only make life seem so great, and freaks the only people worth having as friends, but also seem to understand us all so well - no matter our age? I was the brainy-art-chick-medical-anomaly in high school. What? That's not a standard stereo-type? A few more freak points for me! But I was really good at blending in, not drawing attention to myself. In fact, I was so good at disappearing, it's taken me 20 years to realize I need to go looking for myself.

So, if your life is feeling like a high school drama - embrace it - and go see "Glee".
Just don't embarrass your kid by singing out loud.
Oh, what the heck - go ahead and sing. They'll survive.
We all turned out OK, right? :-)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Lilah Bean Contest - The Second Wave

I received six more entries for the Lilah Bean Contest on Saturday. I just finished photographing and adding them all to the Zentangle for Kidz! site. Since I couldn't mess with the Poll that is already posted on the left side of the blog, I added a second one just beneath it - "Part Two". You have until Tuesday afternoon to vote - and, yes, you can vote more than once. Send the link to your friends and tell them to vote as well. Voting is very important, especially when the stakes are so high - I mean, we're talking about an authentic Zentangle kit here! And other cool stuff too. Very, very important. Go vote!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Lilah Bean Contest - Your Vote Counts!

My carved, art stamp Lilah Bean
The Lilah Bean Contest is On! I have all the entries that I have received posted individually on the Kidz blog: and there is a Poll on the left hand side of the blog where you can choose your favorites. If you would like to nominate an entry for a special award, like "Best Hair" or something, put that in the Comments under that entry's post. If you are the artist and would like to add details about how you created your Lilah Bean, or a link to your own site, you can also add that to the Comments section.

I was really impressed with all the entries, from cardboard to glass, I love 'em all!! Go take a look... you have until Tuesday to vote.

(I will check at the post office tomorrow, Saturday, in case there are any late arrivals, and try to add them into the show on Sunday).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Book Signing Pt. 2 - The Mill Brook Event

Yesterday (Wednesday) was the book signing event at Mill Brook Gallery in Concord. This was absolutely amazing! There were at least 50 people there. I was so incredibly nervous and that combined with the humidity from the rainstorm followed with a hot, sunny afternoon... well, you can see that my hair looks like a brillo pad. ;-)

There were a lot of kids at this event - and quite a few teachers too. They brought tiles and sketchbooks to show me what they had been learning from my books (how cool is that!!?) There were at least three other CZTs there and my Canadian groupie/CZT/student - Laura Breisacher. She keeps showing up in very unexpected places!

A small section of my mini-class. What are they looking at...?
...they're looking at the class mosaic!
I did a mini-class out on the deck, then everybody had a chance to make their own buttons and get their books signed and talk to me. The kids here were a lot braver than the ones at the Wingdoodle signing. Go figure. The adults were braver too, although there were quite a few who were afraid to try tangling. These pictures are from Bette Abdu (CZT 1):

Tangling buttons (and the tablecloth)

Carol Belliveau (artist/tangler) and me. Yes, I'm signing books on my lap! All the really important things got their own tables... food, books for sale, pin-making...

My mom, ahem... my "PR Agent" (hee hee), Kay Steen

Devoted fans... really, you can come closer, I won't bite... hard.

Hit by a Truck

"When you realize that your sole purpose in life is to entertain the gods, there is nothing to do, but put on a good show."

I seem to write quite a few blog posts in my head these days. Usually it's because I don't have access to my blog and then, later, I have forgotten what I wanted to tell you. I am learning that one should write about an event as soon as possible after it occurs, or it will start to merge with the next event, and the next.. and then a new story happens and life gets a little confusing. I have tried very hard NOT to write anything about personal things that seem to disturb a small handful of my readers, but some of these things kind of build up and I need to get them out so I can get back to what I am supposed to be thinking about. I am also learning that if I try hard to NOT think about "pink elephants," as I have been taught, that the Universe has a way of tossing pink elephants directly in front of me. "What are you talking about?!" (feel free to skip to the next post, by the way, my feelings won't be hurt if you don't tell me that you skipped ahead.). ;-)

So here is my pink elephant.

Yesterday was my book signing at Mill Brook Gallery - I'll put that in the next post... I was overwhelmed, amazed, flattered, totally stoked, and absolutely terrified - all at the same time. I was sweating uncontrollably, but generally doing OK, until a person commented that she was really proud of me for holding up so well and having accomplished so much this year... "despite what I had gone through." I smiled and said "I'm fine." (I have a pillow in my studio with a dead cow, feet in the air, and the words "Really, I'm fine...") I pictured that cow, but it turned into the pink elephant. No matter how many excited, Zentangle addicted kids and parents I talked to after that - people who were so excited just to talk to ME. ME!? I couldn't stop thinking about failure. How many books, signings, classes, shows... how many successes does it take to make up for one major failure? (And who exactly am I trying to placate?)

To celebrate my "success", I went to see the movie, Crazy, Stupid, Love. I just knew it was a comedy. I didn't realize it was another little joke from the Universe about pink elephants. It was actually a really great movie - I just wish it hadn't hit so close to home: A couple who have been together for 20-something years gets divorced. They have a 13 year-old son and a little daughter who wears tutus and fairy wings. The wife asks for the divorce. I should have left - but the twisting stories and love triangles were quite funny and endearing. And I was really curious to find out how it all turned out. I won't tell you. Except that I have to admit I was really discouraged by the message of soul-mates and fighting for the one you truly love. 

So I spent the rest of the evening trying to figure out where I started making the mistakes, or even if they were my mistakes. My mom told me I was being silly and this stuff just happens. Yeh, I know that... That's where I feel like I failed. My daughter is about the same age I was, when my parents split. 99% of kids would rather have two parents, living together, and absolutely miserable - than those same two parents, separate but happy. And no matter what you tell the kids, they will still believe that it was their fault.

The only people who really got a good deal here were my kids. Even though they only spend half a week with each of us, they now get a heck of a lot more time with their dad. And he takes them on trips and to museums, miniature golf, barbeques, and all the places that divorced dads typically take their kids. The irony is, now that they have their dad's attention, they have to share it. Another joke from the Universe. Whatta sense of humor. And they actually get less time with mom, because she has to work more.

I've mentioned before that I am very introverted - and I have noticed that whenever I have a social event or teach a class, the next morning I have a "social hangover". I feel like I've been drinking all night. I feel like I have been hit by a truck. So I crawled into bed last night, thinking TOO MUCH, and blaming it on the full moon, expecting to feel terrible in the morning, and wishing I could get that movie out of my head... I'd only been asleep for a few hours when...

I was awake at 5am to the sound of brakes screeching, something smashing, and was that a... SCREAM!? @#$%!!?  My teeny cottage has a forest behind, Rte. 114 directly in front, and a lake on the other side of the road. I was sure a car had crashed into my house! I flew to the window and saw mist coming off the postcard-looking lake, but a large van, the telephone company-type, was pulled onto the side of the road. The van-guy was cursing, punching numbers on his cell and picking up debris from the road - all at the same time. He told the police that he had hit a deer, he was fine, didn't need an ambulance, but the deer was still alive and had run into the lake. My neighbor, Harry did the right thing and came out to see if the guy was OK, then called someone to come shoot the deer. Oh God.

I closed my windows, turned on the air conditioner to mask any more noises and hid in my bed. And now I couldn't stop thinking about that poor deer. She just wanted to drink from the lake. Who is out driving at 5am? She saw her goal and ran for it. Blind-sided. Hit by a truck. The Universe laughs again. Everyone feels sorry for the poor guy in the van. The deer is "put out of her misery". And Van-guy serves venison steaks to his girlfriend this weekend.

If my life were a movie (maybe it is?), my character would have run outside to provide support and understanding to the hot Van-guy. Ripped my pajama pants into strips to bind up his gushing wounds - from the horns (antlers?) of the crazed buck who had attacked his truck. We would have fallen madly in love, discovered we were true soul mates... and he would have grilled up the venison burgers for ME. Naturally - he loves to cook, right?

Well, Universe, it's a good thing that I have a sense of humor too. I refuse to become that sour, cynical, bitch. But maybe you don't need to try so hard, OK? On with the show.

(that reminds me of a quote from Mother Theresa, I think: "God never gives you more than he thinks you can handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much.")

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Contest Update

I've gotten quite a few frantic emails about the Lilah Bean contest deadline.

August 10th is the deadline to MAIL the Beans
(unless you are in Australia, in which case, I hope you have already sent them!!)

That means they need to be postmarked BY the 10th.

I will start posting the entries on the Kidz blog, on Thursday and there will be a "poll" where everyone can vote. As the late entries arrive, I will add them to the poll. I think Sunday will be the last day to vote.

BTW - the entries I have seen so far are amazing!!! I am going to have a really hard time picking the Best of Show! (Not that I am complaining - this is great fun!)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Book Signing at Wingdoodle

Saturday's party at Wingdoodle was a blast! SherRee had a nice, short post on the Wingdoodle blog and I snitched her photo collage! All the pics I took were from behind the table, so I wanted you to see that there were, in fact, other people in attendance! I should ask her for the original shots, so you can see them a bit bigger. Anyway, I signed books and did a free mini-workshop, folks made their own Zentangle pins and, of course, there was delicious food made by Kayla (SherRee's daughter, and my kid's babysitter). She rocks. If you missed it (What!?) you can still come to a similar event at Mill Brook Gallery in Concord. That one will be on Wed (the 10th) from 1-3pm.

Here's a mosaic of some of the tiles done by the mini-class students. Nice!

My son Alex, sat next to me and signed books too. He wrote the book intro, the Mendhi section, some art, and the music for the book trailer on YouTube. He got so into drawing tangles, I had to nudge him to get his signature. He's at music camp this week, so he won't be signing books at Mill Brook Gallery. :-( Ah well.

I have to admit - I am bursting with pride at his musical achievements - but I have been secretly devastated that he put his "art" on the back burning for the past few years. He used to draw the most incredible maps and diagrams for worlds and machines that he dreamt up. And, anyone who followed me PZT (that's Pre-Zentangle), knows that Alex used to have his own rubber stamp line. He drew constantly. He told me, a few years ago, that it's just not possible for him to pursue everything at the same time. So he chose to concentrate on his music and dance. Wise boy. I'm still trying to pursue everything! Anyway, it made my heart feel good to see the boy draw. Draw, boy, draw! He even came up with a cool new tangle called "Eddies". When he gets back from music camp he can post the steps for Eddies on the Kidz site. BTW - doesn't he look JUST like his cartoon character in Zentangle for Kidz! ? My daughter showed up an hour after the event ended, so she didn't get to sign anything. But, then, a four year old with a Sharpie marker is a dangerous thing!

Krystin (one of my Wingdoodle minions) was in charge of the button-making project - which was very successful judging by the fact that everyone who came to get their books signed, was wearing a pin! But, I wanted you to see the table cover from the project table...

Cute, eh? Lilah Beans everywhere! (And don't forget to enter the contest - the deadline is this Wednesday!) Oh, and Krystin is going for CZT training this fall! Wingdoodle will truly be a one-stop Zentangle paradise. I am incredibly lucky to have such a great staff here at the shop!! I need to bring a couple of them along on Wed. to the Mill Brook Gallery event!


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