Category Archives: Musings





2012_oct_j_k_l Part of the ongoing alphabet swaps-J,K,L -I have been using Strathmore 500 series 100% cotton 140lb hotpress watercolor paper. I love it for mixed media. i put some color in the backgrounds now, let it dry, then draw with the micron pens. Because of the texture and absorbency of this paper, I can get nice details using an 02, 03, or 05 micron pen. I have been experimenting with color more. I have some pan watercolors and a small set of cheap watercolor in tubes, but I still love using markers and ink from Stampin‘ Up. I am using blender pens for much of the coloring, especially fine areas. In larger areas, I have also been using a paint brush. Directly applying color leads to a very deep color. I think it is due to the absorbency of the paper. I’ve also been trying out ideas from the book Zenspirations by Joann Fink. I’ve been lightly adding a little sparkle gel pen for highlights, but that doesn’t show up well on the scans.

I get the paper from Amazon. I usually add it to my wish list, and if the price goes down, which it usually does, if I wait, I order several packages. i try to get the free shipping, but it isn’t always available on the paper. If the price is low enough, it is worth paying for the shipping.

so far, I have purchased all of my Zentangle, doodle, and other books from Amazon using the Super Saver Shipping. I did the 30 day trial for Amazon prime, and it is a great deal if you order frequently, or if you use a Kindle or other e reader. I have to wait on getting the year-long membership, but I did the trial over the holiday season, and it saved a fortune. I can order almost anything from Amazon, and I usually get great deals. I do most of my shopping online because I am medically retired, so My brick and mortar shopping is limited. I’m looking into getting a mobility scooter this year.



Try, try again


Borrowed the idea from the book Time to Tangle With Colors by Marie Browning

from oscillate by Sandra Strait

I made these on Shrinking film (remember Shrinky Dinks?). I had some technical trouble with these. Even though the person who is hosting this swap sent excellent instructions, I didn’t read them again when it was time to work with them. I didn’t start them until a couple of weeks after I received the blank disks. I sanded them, but I didn’t have the proper sandpaper. I was warned the Micron pens don’t dry on these, but online, it said they would work if I sanded them first. I should have listened to the swap host. The micron pens smear easily. I tried waiting 24 hours for them to dry, and I even used my hair dryer on them. I didn’t use my heat gun because it would have shrunk the film and we had to send them to the host so she could shrink them. Probably a good idea, because most of us have not used the shrink film before.

I also tried Stampin Up markers, but they smear easily and didn’t dry after 24 hours. I carefully wiped off the Stampin Up pens, even though the colors blended beautifully. I ended up using Bic Ultra fine markers and Sharpies. Now I know it is better not to use the two together. I had some colors in the Sharpies I liked and some in the Bics, but together, the Sharpies kind of melt the Bic colors. IAM pleased with the results. I sent them back to the swap hos tand she will shrink them. I will get two disks back from other artists. I would like to make more of these, and I have a whole package of Shrink film that I have been a little afraid to use up until now. I think I want to cut it out with the Cricut and then color them. I would like to try colored pencils because I can shade in the colors. I really like the dark blue and greens together, though. I will have to add the shrink film to my stack of projects that are waiting for me.

The one thing I did do right was drawing the design on white paper and laying the disks over the drawing. I traced them with the markers and then colored them in. If you use pencil on them, the pencil lines will show through.


More flowers for Swaps


I made a total of three flower ATC’s for the May swap. For some reason, I had a drawing block this month. Maybe it was my daughter’s wedding at the beginning of the month. I just felt tired and had a hard time coming up with ideas, even though drawing flowers is one of my favorite things to do. I think I feel conflicted because I am drawing for a Zentangle Inspired art group, and I am afraid I won’t use enough tangle patterns instead of just making up a lot of my own doodles. I used a pattern called Lupe by Christina Vandervlist. I really like the look of it. It is the one in the dark orange with the yellow and brown centers. My aqua pen is totally worn out and I use it all the time. 😦 I will have to pick up a new one when I get paid. I tried a bunch of old brushes I have, but I could get the accuracy I do with the aqua pen. I used some colored pencils along with the markers on the one with all the orange square flowers. The purple and green design is called h2o by Luz Adrianna Villa and it is one of my favorites. It came out a little darker than I would have liked, but I still think it came out nicely.

H20 tangle pattern and buttercup pattern are two of the main patterns. Marker and some colored pencil

ATC with markers and micron pens

ATC Swaps and other swaps


I am in a great group on Yahoo. We have challenges and swaps with Zentangle® Inspired Art. I just received my first swaps and they are incredible. I was so excited to get them yesterday and to see how nice they are.  I got 4 pennants from a heart pennant swap and a beginners ATC (artist trading card) created by someone who is much more than a beginner. I will post them soon.

Last year I participated in a few card swaps in another group.  We sent our swap directly to the recipient instead of sending it to a moderator. I like sending it to a moderator better. In the group I was in last year, I got a couple of nice cards. One was really, really nice. The others were not something I would give with a gift. I am now with a fun group of people and we scan in our creations and post them with the group before we mail them. That gave me a chance to show the group what kind of work I do, so I wasn’t stuck in just the beginner swaps. Being new to a group does not make a person a beginner at his or her art form. I do learn something new from this group all the time, but I like to think I have something valuable to offer as well.

If you are an artist, a crafter, or learning something new, I found it is worth checking out a few online groups. Now I know that some groups are more fun, and more educational than others. Being home a lot since I am disabled, I look forward to checking out the messages every day. I don’t feel as isolated, and I get inspired by their work every day.

We are working on swaps for March. I tried not to obligate myself with too many swaps because I still need to finish my daughter’s wedding invitations. I finished one ATC last night, and if I feel better later, I will finish another one tonight. I like to work at night when the phone isn’t ringing and no one is coming in and out of the house. Supper is done and its nice and quiet. I am a little under the weather the past few days, so mentally I have these ideas bouncing around in my head, but physically I am just not up to getting it on paper the way I like it. I tried, but things were messy and not close to what I wanted. One more nap and maybe I will be back to the drawing board (which is a good thing).

Confessions of a Mother of the Bride


My daughter is getting married in May and I can hardly contain myself. I have been working on containing myself,  though. Containing myself does not come naturally. I always like to feel right in the middle of the action. The person who comes up with the best ideas. The super mom who will make the wedding perfect. My first wedding was in 1975 and I didn’t put half as much planning into it as I’ve wanted to do with my daughter’s weddings. This will probably be my last chance to be involved in wedding planning. I have settled down (in my mind, anyway) since she got engaged last year. I was in full-blown planning mania. Unfortunately, my daughter wants the wedding to be hers, not mine. I think I’ve settled down and I am trying to just help when needed. Sometimes Sally’s opinion of when I am needed is different from mine, but I am trying. I was there when she selected her wedding dress and I love it. I am making her invitations and web site, but she approved the invitations, and asked me to make the web site. I no longer feel the desire to be there when they pick the bridesmaids dresses. I just have anxiety that they aren’t going to get around to buying them. For the last wedding we literally ended up buying the bridesmaids dresses the morning of the wedding. That was after four failed attempts to get dresses for everyone. I learned yesterday that they are changing the venue for the ceremony and I accepted their choice without wanting to research it to death. I am beginning to admit that I can’t be super MOB and that I shouldn’t even try. I am so blessed to have a wonderful daughter with her own taste and ideas. I am more blessed that she is marrying a great guy. I did text her and suggest she watch tonight’s “Modern family” so she can see the best wedding ever! I hope she knows I’m kidding when she sees the light up dresses and ties.

Stupid, stupid diabetes


OK, I am finally starting to admit I have diabetes. It’s just another brick loaded on the medical issues I have. I have been pretending I don’t have it for the last few weeks, and my emotions are all over the place along with my blood sugar counts. I’m not an especially healthy eater and neither is my diabetic husband. The Metformin drops my blood sugar so low. I forget to eat sometimes, and in the past, that was no big deal. I binge eat sometimes, and that is a big deal. This blood testing is the worst. The doctor wanted me to test my sugar for a few days, but didn’t order a testing kit??? I am using my husband’s  for now. Fresh poking needles of course. I am testing on my arm because the finger test just hurts so much. He can’t believe I am not brave enough to poke my finger tips. The arm works and doesn’t hurt. I just have to wait a few more seconds for the drop of blood. Now its starting to show and I am going to have old woman red marks on my arms. Yuck. At least it doesn’t mess up my fingers and I can draw and paint.

I am a piler, not a filer!


All I want to do is draw, draw, draw, but I have to catch up on my other household things. My Christmas Tree is still up and decorated. I can’t do anything like that without help anymore and that is frustrating. Before I can do the tree, I have to finish the mail pile. Its been piling up since before Christmas because I was drawing picture for Christmas gifts. I am a piler, not a filer. I make stacks of papers, and I have a hard time getting it all put away. My health issues make it much, much worse. I went through all the junk mail and pulled out the bills. I got rid of the junk mail and all the catalogs. How can the catalog people figure out where I live so soon after I moved in? Don’t they know I’m broke? Now I have a cute little thingy that holds a reasonable stack of mail (bills). I love the target $1 spot. I still have to weed out the bills I’ve paid and pay the bills I still need to pay. My goal is to get it done tomorrow and then have Ken help me take down the ornaments and wrap them in tissue and put them in the big Sterilite boxes with the dividers. Then my allergies will clear up.

Every time Ken brings in any of those big plastic containers, my allergies act up because of the dust. I wipe them off right away, but that doesn’t seem to help. Going through paper work gets my allergies riled up, too. With a 3-year-old running around and the allergies acting up, it is hard to get inspired to finish yucky tasks, so I really, really have to finish tomorrow, so I can have my house back.

I had 4 epidural injections in my lower back today, so I have to sit among the boxes, and tree, and folding table with the bills tonight. Tomorrow a clean house! Yaaaay!

Except my big kitchen table which is covered with drawing and painting supplies and books. I am a piler, and not a filer, so I create among chaos. I need all the possibilities out and nearby when I create because that is how I think, and I cannot get up and down to get supplies because I will be in too much pain to create when I finish finding things. I will sort it out and straighten it up before I start drawing again.

I know my grammar is atrocious in this missive. I am an English major, but some days I have to type what I am thinking and turn nouns into verbs just to make the little spell checker lady who lives in my computer crazy.