Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nov. 7-10 - Art Swarm at The BeeHive

I have invited a bunch of my favorite teachers to invade my studio for a long weekend of intense art-making.

Join us from November 7th-10th 
at The BeeHive in Warner, NH 
for the first ever, 
Art Swarm

FRIDAY, Nov. 7th

Gelli Lab Class 
- Daniela Mellen & Bonnie Wright -

The first class in the Art SWARM weekend kicks off with gelatin printing using the Gelli Arts® Gelli Plate. Come play with this fun versatile tool to create mono prints with stencils, tools, masks, paints, and papers. Techniques will be demonstrated during class time and then an open studio will follow in the afternoon. During this time students can work on creating additional prints, learn to make texture tools and experiment with advanced techniques.
Gelli Lab is a chance to create lots of printed papers that will be used in other Art SWARM workshops this weekend.

Additional supplies will be provided that will give students an opportunity to play with new materials.

Small Gelli plates will be available, but students can bring their own larger plates. If you prefer not to share items, bring your own brayers, stencils and masks. (Some supplies will also be available at a discount in the studio shop).

SATURDAY, Nov. 8th ... a day of Book-making!

-Lisa Heron-

Create a canvas covered portfolio styled book with pockets to hold all your projects from the Art Swarm. Use your Gelli prints for the cover or pages, or add color after construction of the book. Get creative with a ribbon tied closure and colored stitched binding.
Add beads from the Gelli Gems workshop to embellish the book.

Meander Book
-Bette Abdu-

This little Meander Book can not only fit inside the Portfolio, but it can hold your Labyrinth (created on Sunday). Another great use for your Gelli prints.

[photos will be added soon.]

SUNDAY, Nov. 9th

The Tangled Labyrinth
-Sadelle Wiltshire -

Labyrinths show up in many social and faith cultures around the world.  Some date back as far as 4,000 years or more. The most common form are labyrinths that one walks, as a form of spiritual meditation. 

In this workshop, learn how to construct and draw a variety of labyrinth forms for use as a string in your Zentangle Inspired Art. Experience a guided labyrinth meditation using a simple finger labyrinth, and learn to "walk" with tangles that work well to stay with that quiet, centered path you'll be following with your pen.  If time allows, we may even walk a local labyrinth as part of the afternoon "Open studio" option. 

Gelli Paper Beads, Pendants, Buttons and more!
-Sadelle Wiltshire -
Make a unique piece of paper jewelry using your Gelli printed papers and some watercolor paper core. Strong and sturdy, these are perfect for pins, pendants, earrings, buttons.   This is a fun and easy way to use up your leftover or "fugly" prints.  We'll also use thin strips to make gelli print rolled beads. Great for jewelry, accessories, buttons, trinkets for your handmade books and book closures.  No jewelry experience necessary.

MONDAY, Nov. 10th

Sketch-Doodle Stew
-Sandy Bartholomew-

Drawing (pun intended) from the art of SketchNotes, Tangling and Doodling - We'll throw it ALL into the pot and see what we can cook up. You'll learn how to get the ideas out of your head and onto your journal page. Even if you think you can't draw.

Using Zentangle as our guide - everything can be broken down into simple steps that build on each other. Whether you want to draw faces, buildings, food, imaginary creatures or interesting words, they all start with simple shapes.

We will use Gelli prints from Friday, and the journal you make on Saturday, as well as practice sheets to build skills and experiment. Sheer Heaven will be used to transfer sketches onto our final pieces.

Black pens will be used for most of the work with some Inktense and paint pens thrown in for color. All materials will be provided, but feel free to bring your own coloring materials to use during the Open Studio.

- Details and FAQs -

 • When is it?
November 7-10th, 2014. That's Friday morning until Monday afternoon. We'll do stuff in the evenings too. Friday night we'll have a birthday party for Lisa and eat pizza and watch a movie, and probably do some tangling.

• Can I sign up a la carte?
You get all these fabulous classes for one insanely low price of $300.
That's 6 classes, basic materials included, plus 4 Open Studios with teachers available to encourage, assist, or hold your hand if necessary.

• But I only want to take Sadelle's class on Labyrinths. I don't care about all the other artsy-fartsy stuff!
Well, fine. There are five spots available for Sunday's workshops (Labyrinths and Gelli Jewels) for $125 for the day. But that's it, so don't even think of asking for more.

• How much is it if I only want to come for one day? Two days? Three days?
One day... $300
Two days... $300
Three days... $300

• Is room and board included?
The classes are all in my (very nice) studio on Main Street in Warner. One person with a sleeping bag could camp out in the bear cave (yes, I have a bear cave) and dine on Tootsie Rolls... the rest could stay at a small Inn nearby and more adorable Inns in the next town, plus a wide price range of hotels in Concord, NH (15 minutes on I-89) We will post a list of hotels and restaurants soon.

• I'm coming from far away, but I hate dealing with travel arrangements. Can you book my flights and hotel? Rental car? Pick me up from the airport?
But I feel your pain. I hate dealing with that stuff too.
If you would like help, please contact Debbie Lick at Treehouse Travel:
phone: 603-229-7074
If you fly into Manchester, NH, we can arrange for someone to pick you up if you don't want to rent a car.

• What is so great about your studio compared to a fancy-schmancy hotel-retreat?
 - we can have a small group without worrying about meeting the hotel's minimums.
 - The BeeHive is a very happy, buzzin' studio.
 - It is filled with very cool, inspiring art to look at.
 - Zentangle everywhere...
 - Work areas, slop sink, bathroom, K-cup machine...
 - There are windows, so you don't feel like you are in a dark box.
 - Good lighting.
 - I have lots of "toys" I'll let you play with during Open Studio sessions... like two Accu-cut die-cutter machines with a gazillion dies. They can cut paper, cardboard, thin metal, fabric... (bring stuff you want to cut up).
 - test out art materials you want to play with but don't want to shell out money for.
 - there's stuff for sale - art materials, books, rubber stamps...
 - happy Minions.
 - we teachers are here to serve YOU.
 - and there are hoola hoops.

• Where is it?
The BeeHive studio is at 19 East Main Street in Warner, NH. It is Exit 8 off I-89, in the middle of town (don't blink, you'll miss it).

• How many students will be there?
The absolute maximum will be 25 students. We want everyone to have enough space and attention.

• Do I get "stuff"?
Sure. We love stuff. You'll get materials for each class, plus some other secret stuff to play with.

• What is it?
It's secret. You have to sign up to find out.

• Sign me up! Where do I click?
Click right here to sign up for the whole Art Swarm:

NOTE: [The "Art Swarm" spots are filled!]

And click here if you are only coming for Sadelle's Labyrinth class:
(Gelli Jewels is included for free)

NOTE: [The "Labyrinth Only" spots are filled!]

If you are mailing a check, be sure to email me ASAP to hold your spot.
Checks can be sent to:
Beez Ink Studio - Art Swarm
PO Box 359
Warner, NH 03278

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Happy 100

Every year we celebrate my Grandma Magda on August 26th, her birthday (or very close to it). We have a little party in the graveyard.

My mom posted a couple of really nice tributes to her mom (my Grandma) on Facebook. And that is my Grandma and my sister in the paintings, which were painted by my Grandma:

We were scarfing down a very delicious chocolate cake from Market Basket (we are so glad to have you back!!!!!) and about to draw in our Holiday Book, when we suddenly realized...

Gramma Magda would have been 100 years old! ONE HUNDRED. Whoa.

Since we ate all of the chocolate cake, we brought her a bunch of unwrapped Hershey's kisses, and laid out our message on the stone. (We later moved it to the ground).

I have to back up a step in the story... when we arrived at the graveyard, and stepped out of the car, Alex and Lilah were teasing each other and for some reason, he threw the frisbee out into the field - except, he wasn't aiming and it flew off into the trees! Oh NO! Another Aerobie lost. :-(  We searched and searched, but it is probably up there in the tree tops or off in the dense poison ivy.

While Alex and Mom kept searching, Lilah and I laid out the Kisses. She was really distressed when she realized that there wouldn't be any chocolate left for her to EAT when the letters were complete. I suggested she write "LUV" instead of "LOVE" - it's much more Kiss-efficient.

Ah - perfect!!

 But, alas, Alex is the Gramma... er... grammar... police in any language. Especially chocolate.

But he is also an excellent big brother. He spells correctly, but he let his sister have the last Kiss.

I found myself thinking - when I am 100 years old - if I am not still happily alive - I want to know that my kids, grandkids and great-grandchildren are remembering me, telling silly stories about me, and smearing chocolate on my headstone!

As for the frisbee... we could tell Alex felt really bad about that. But Lilah and I decided we'd "manifest" it. We asked any watching spirits - especially our Gramma-Bear (see the bear on the stone?) - to please return the frisbee to the gravestone. We promised to come and check.

So if you happen to be walking through the graveyard, and see a bright orange frisbee sitting on a chocolate-smeared gravestone...

with large pawprints in the dirt....'s ours!

Two Kinds of Power

I keep getting flashes (re-runs?) in my head from that cartoon from my childhood Super Friends ... "Wonder Twin Power - ACTIVATE!"
(she says): "Form of... an eagle!"
(he says): "Form of... a bucket of water!"

Seriously? You can turn into anything, ANYTHING, just by touching two rings together. And you choose a bucket of water?! Well, that is a kind of power.

I've been reading through a lot of Martha Beck books lately and power comes up in many ways - I like the references to Magic and the Universe. But the two kinds of "power" I am finally starting to understand are:
1. Power - as in "don't give away your power"
2. Power - as in energy, power that keeps things running

Power #1

This first one had been leaving me baffled and seemed like a trendy catch-phrase. The knee-jerk response being "well, ok, but how do I NOT give it away?"

I am listening to Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want while I work and I love the concepts, but admit I don't really "get" how it works in real life. As I listened to her explain the concept of problem solving by using imagination and metaphors - I realized that THAT is how I work. Completely unrelated things, ideas, quotes... come together in my head in an effort to explain something... and POOF... the explanation becomes the solution.

Years ago, I read a quote in Douglas Adams' book Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency that went something like - "The best way to really understand something is to explain it to someone else." So true! And Martha Beck takes it a step further... to determine if you have a real problem (vs. an imagined problem)... can you explain the dilemma to your cat in a way that makes them understand why it is a real problem?

So last night, my daughter was trying to express her frustration about being told not to give away her power. New classful of kids at school, new teachers, recess, brothers... eeegh... power flying everywhere!

Lilah - "If a person does something mean or annoying and I get really-really angry... how am I supposed to stay calm and not yell!?"

Yes, good point. We've all been there. Power be damned, we want to punch something sometimes, right?

Me - "So, yelling at this person - that's giving away your power?"

Lilah - "Yes. I'm supposed to keep my power. That is just all dumb and makes no sense!"

She is obviously really frustrated.
My brain starts pulling in strange metaphors and a light clicks on in my head (that's a metaphor too, isn't it?).

Me - "Let's say that your Power is a stack of Donuts - chocolate glazed and some maple glazed too. There's a person in front of you who upsets you - do you give them the donuts... or walk away?"

Lilah - stares at me. I see she "gets it". Then: "But Donuts are really-really bad for you - maybe it would be better to give them to that person and they'd get sick?"


Moral of the story: Don't give away your Donuts.

Power #2

This one has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I am very-very introverted. That is quite different from being shy. I can do all kinds of brave or extroverted-looking things... like going out to lunch with friends, holding a meeting, even teaching in front of a crowd. But I pay the price the next day. Sometimes for the next WEEK. I just want to sleep. I have nothing to give. And if the situation is negative, antagonistic, or physically painful, I can get physically ill or suffer other autonomic responses (like a fever or shakes). I describe it as my "social hangover".

It was about a year ago, when I read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, that I learned this is actually very common for other introverts too. (If you are introverted or know someone who is - read it!!).

The past few weeks have been one event after another... a fabulous trip with my family (but 7 days, 24 hours a day WITH constant companionship), catching up on work and email, meetings, meetings, meetings... and not all of these were welcome or happy events. Let's just say that I was exhausted. My power had run way... way... way... down.

One morning Lilah woke me up after another night of (4am) nightmares. I had been so completely exhausted that I had allowed her to sleep on the floor next to my bed. She was bouncy and ready for the day. I was... not.  She asked me if I was angry at her? I apologized for being so grumpy and explained a little about the introvert-thing. And as I always seem to do - my brain searched for the metaphor to explain the puzzle.

Me: "I am like an iPad. If I am ON and running Apps, they drain Power and the Battery symbol turns red. If I'm in Sleep mode, the Battery can last for days."

Lilah: "Some Apps use more Power - that's why you tell me to close anything I'm not actually playing with..."

Me: "Yes! We can listen to stories in iTunes all day without using up all the Power, but an hour of Clumsy Ninja and..."

Lilah: "....we have to Recharge the Battery!"

Me: "Exactly. I've been running a lot of different Apps lately - some good, some bad - but now I need to Recharge."

She told me to go take a long, hot shower (one way I recharge) and she would draw me a picture.

She drew four pictures...

Those are my BAD Apps. Her App Icons are more expressive than mere titles could be, but I will try to label them. She explained that these are programs that we might do or someone might do to us: Yelling, Sad, Arguments (I love the gestures!), Broken Heart, Angry, Despair (Crying Your Eyes Out).

And these GOOD Apps are: Happy, Brain, Computer, Hugs, Kisses (nice lips!), Creating Art, Love, Good Dreams, Gardening (that's my big weed bucket and me on my knees pulling a weed!), Exercise, Sleep (my bed has round headboard and footboard with cheetah print fabric, those are not chocolate chip cookies!), Reading, Shower.

Lilah understood that both Good Apps and Bad Apps can use Power at different rates. And some activities Drain it really fast and some use very little or actually help replenish it. So she made two more charts of Apps...

The Apps that use up a lot of Power are: Angry, Crying, Computer, Bad Dreams, Arguments, Weeding, Driving (that's a steering wheel and pedals), Exercise, Broken Heart. Oh-yes, these things are all really exhausting!!

But there is a bright side...

These Apps don't use very much Power and feel really good: Happy, Creating Art, Brain, Awake, Good Dreams, Sleeping, Love, Hugs, and Kisses.

I'm loving this concept of explaining an idea to someone and having them explain it back to me. We each add our own metaphors and understandings and the whole thing becomes so clear. There are still things that my daughter can't seem to explain to me (nightmares for one) but knowing that we are creating symbols and pictures and metaphors that create a new kind of communication is exciting and fills us with hope. Anything can be puzzled-out with the right metaphor and imagination. (Thank you Martha Beck.)

And here is one more fabulous drawing Lilah made last week in response to a comic sent to her by Mia Bonet. I posted both, with transcripts, on the page.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

... And a Boat, Too

In the past few weeks, on our grand adventure, we traveled by airplane, bus, elevated train, cabs, Amtrak trains, Grand Canyon railway, shuttles... everything but a boat!

Until today.

Today we got to sail on the MV Kearsarge around Lake Sunapee in celebration of a new book by "Alex Ashe".  Death on the Water was inspired by the mysterious sinking of the MV Kearsarge. The boat was rescued and restored, obviously, or we would not have been sailing on it today!

This is the third book in the Mena Young Mysteries series.

It was relaxing and exciting to cruise around the lake looking at the beautiful homes and waving to the folks who were celebrating the last summer weekend before school starts.

Here is my daughter, Lilah (with her brother, Alex, weirdly growing out of her head!), with Daniela (aka "Alex Ashe"). The red nose helps to protect her true identity. Kind of like... Superman/Clark Kent with the eye glasses. (No one ever seems to have noticed the similarities).

 Lilah is always happiest when she is being helpful. Daniela put her to work handing out souvenirs and bookmarks...

...And red clown noses!

Do you have any idea how hard it is to breathe with one of these stuck to your face? I'm pretty sure that's why Muppets talk so funny. I definitely felt more like a Muppet than a clown. 
Hmmm... portrait of mother and child as Muppets? (hee hee)

She is multi-talented - Lilah also drove the boat!

Although they wouldn't let her park it.

These last four photos (us with the noses, Lilah steering, and the boat) were "borrowed" from Facebook - Daniela took the photos. But I did make the little girl! ;-)

When we got home, I wanted to take a snooze, but seems like this kid never runs out of energy! If I want to get anything done, I have to find a way to occupy her too. I have tables set up just for HER in my studio, but that's not good enough. She wants to be at the same drafting table using MY art toys. Here is a shot of my drawing table with Lilah working on the right half, on my light tablet, and me squished in on the left, working on my journal page.

It is a great tool and Lilah decided to draw her own mandalas. She was inspired by Judith Moffat's Mandala coloring book.Do notice how that elbow is sticking out at 90 degrees from her body? You see that, right? Yeh, that's MY space that is being stolen by the Elbow!

Ah, well, it's really no worse than trying to draw when the cat is sprawled across the table. And at least this time, I didn't have to work in my lap.

The cat gets her own revenge.  Minou can fit herself in anywhere, pretend that she is perfectly comfortable with her butt 12 inches higher than her head, or even prop her head on a stuffie while allowing her butt to be used as a reading pillow to support Lilah's rather heavy Harry Potter book.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

AlphaTangled Contest - The Winners!

I always seem to forget how difficult it is to hold a contest! I like the challenge aspect of it and seeing the amazing work... but "choosing" a winner? So hard!

I really wanted to give everyone who entered a prize - so I had the idea of giving each person a copy of the Tangle Library App! I've sent each of you a message on Facebook with a special code. If you don't see it in your Messages, check the "Other" folder. 

If you'd like info about Tangle Library, or have questions, please visit the Tangle Library Facebook page.

So, in my non-technical manner, I counted up the votes and added in mine and Bonnie's and - since some people voted for a few people... well... that's why I like to give everyone a prize!

The entry receiving the most votes was...


Congratulations, Ellen!

And the second winner - good grief! Are there really THREE people who tied!?
Alrighty then - our winners are...






And if you folks would please send me your mailing addresses (email to me at then Bonnie and I will gather your prizes and mail them out to you. Too exciting. :-)

Oh - and I have had a bunch of requests from people who are asking about getting the books and trading cards in Canada and Europe... we are going to look into the shipping costs and, perhaps, offer international sales for one week. If you might be interested, leave a comment and let me know WHERE we should be checking the shipping (what countries). If you have friends in the area who also want stuff - you could order together too. Thanks.

Monday, August 18, 2014

AlphaTangled Contest - The Entries!

A few weeks back I posted a challenge/contest for the new AlphaTangled card packs.

Here's the challenge:

Create a Zentangle using your name 
or nickname as the string, and only 
traditional tangle patterns to fill it in.

You may interpret the challenge however you like, 
but stick to black, white and red, and shading, 
for your color palette. Any size.

As always, you folks jump at a challenge and make such beautiful art work!

I had planned to do the voting on Facebook, but I had a few emails from non-Facebook users - so I have moved all the entries here to the blog.

If you would like to vote on the winner for the People's Choice category, please do so in the comments below. You just need to leave a comment with the artist's name, but feel free to say what you loved about the piece as well. :-)

Yes - you may vote for yourself.

I will post the winners on Wednesday (August 20th).
Good Luck everyone!


I divided the tile roughly into quadrants, with "A" on the left, "D" top middle, "A" bottom right, and "M" top right. I used Poke Leaf, Zander, Aquafleur, Twing, and Striping. What a fun challenge!



As a string for my tile I used my initials AG. I selected the patterns based on my firstname:


I also posted it on my blog:
Thank you Sandy for this challenge!



a birthday card for a friend's son



I'm really new to tangling but thought I'd play. I used my initial signature, "dLP" as a string.


With the e as string and filled with echoism, nipa, nzeppel, eye-wa and eke. 
All related to my name Ellen.


You can see the string on my blog:


I used the tangles pais, huggins, jalousie, bales, laced and mak-rah-mee. It can also be found on my blog at




I used my first name in capitals for the string. 
Tangles used: printemps, meer, purk, nzeppel, twing pepper, kathy's dilemma and echoism.


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