Monday, November 24, 2014

Microblog Monday: Aid for the Injured Crocheter

I want to share this little tool that has helped me get back into crocheting after my wrist surgery:


This is a Boye ergonomic crochet hook handle. It’s soft and easy to hold and work with. It opens up so that you can insert several sizes of crochet hooks, each with a washer to match its size. I can hold it lightly and it keeps me from having to close my fingers tightly around a thin hook. I got this from Annie’s catalogue, but I’ve also seen them in Michael’s and Jo-Ann’s. If your fingers tend to cramp or ache when you crochet, this is a perfect tool!

Note: This is simply my own opinion. I have no connection with Annie’s or Boye. Just sharing what might be a helpful tip for others based on my experience.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My First Colored Zentangle

Since I mentioned my interest in coloring my Zentangles yesterday, I'll share the only one I've colored so far.
This is actually a ZIA (Zentangle-inspired art), as true Zentangles don't use color and I put in some lines that aren't part of any official tangles. I'm sharing the black-and-white version and the colored one.
The coloring was done with pencils. I had already shaded the original tile, so that affected the color somewhat. Also, if I had done this originally in color, I would've used blocks of color instead of those of black.
I really enjoy doing the color and hope to get better at it and try different methods!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gratitude and Happiness List—November 3, 2014

My gratitude list this week is all about beauty and poetry, and who could not be grateful for those things in our lives? Linking up with Laurel Regan’s AlphabetSalad today to share gratitude and happiness.

That an old, abandoned amusement park from my youth has been opened as a city park on 120 acres on the shore of Narragansett Bay.


For local arts programs like the one we saw at a historic mill: poetry readings from Poe and Tennyson interspersed with chamber music from a live group.


Finishing the first work project I took on since my wrist surgery.


Having not one but two of my haiku published online on the same day.


Lunch with a friend and a tea date at a lovely tearoom with two other friends.


Joining a couple of Zentangle groups on Facebook and feasting on the beautiful work posted there.


Buying some colored pens and pencils so I can try coloring my Zentangles!


Rediscovering my love for poetry. While my husband was bowling the other night, I read Louise Gluck’s Averno and half of a collection by Mary Oliver; now I want to go back to my poetry collection and read more!


Spending a cold, rainy/snowy Sunday afternoon practicing and learning some new tangles.


Buying prepared lasagna at Whole Foods and having an easy dinner in front of the TV and watching “Columbo” and one of my favorite “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” episodes on MeTV.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beginning Zentangles, Part 2

Earlier this month I posted the first few Zentangles I did. Here are a few more.

Tornado (done with Isochor, Printemps, Shattuck, and Tipple)

Forest Primeval (done with Mooka, Flux, Amaze, Tipple, and Printemps)

Beehives (done with Isochor, Printemps, Shattuck, Flux, Poke Root, Festune, Tipple, and Fescu)

I like these, and I think I'm making slow progress, but I clearly have a long way to go! Onward to learn new Tangles!

Monday, October 20, 2014


Microblog Monday: Re-Hooked!

For months before and after my wrist surgery in July, I was unable to even think about crocheting, so my poor WIPs (works in progress) just lay around mournfully, neglected and getting dusty.

Now, finally, my hand is well enough to let me get back on the hook—moderately. I’m taking it slowly and carefully for a while, but am psyched to pick up my supersoft bright red Malabrigo merino again and get back to work on the sweater pattern I bought especially for it!


It’s been a long time!



Monday, October 13, 2014



Microblog Monday: My Writing Challenge (17 Days)


I previously posted my personal Writing Challenge and goals. I pledged to check in on my blog periodically with my progress, and this is my first report.

First of all, I have to say that I did not write every day, but writing on consecutive days was not part of my original challenge—just to write on 100 days. I took time off for our weekend trip to Baltimore and again to attend my father-in-law’s funeral in Florida. Nevertheless, I did write for seventeen days, and I have written almost every day, so I feel successful.

The results: over seventeen days I wrote approximately 4,900 words. This works out to an average of about 288 words a day, well above my self-chosen minimum of 100 words a day.

For the most part my writing was on the second draft of my long-held-in-abeyance novel, “A Certain Shade of Blue.” I also have to admit that not all of it was original writing—I took some parts from my first draft and some from my voluminous files of notes for the second draft. Nevertheless, I did actually get the words into the manuscript, so I’m counting that, because after all that’s where the words need to be! I also wrote a few blog posts during that time, and all writing counts.

All in all, I’m very pleased with what I’ve done in my self-created challenge so far and am looking forward to pushing ahead in the next eighty-three days.




Sunday, October 12, 2014


Struggles of a New Zentangle Learner

Over the summer I decided I would finally start to learn the wonderful art of Zentangle after seeing so much lovely work displayed on the Internet.

I've always longed to be an artist and never had the slightest iota of drawing talent. But this looked like something even I could learn, and the testimony of Zentangle artists I followed was encouraging.

I was scheduled for wrist surgery in July, so I knew I’d be disabled for a while, but I couldn’t resist the urge to bring this beautiful art into my world. With a Christmas gift card, I went to Barnes & Noble. I bought two books: One Zentangle a Day and The Joy of Zentangle. As I looked through them I was chafing at the bit to be able to start learning.

When my hand was well enough I began. Before buying the official tiles, I wanted to practice a little. I had a sketch pad, and I measured and drew the 3 ½” by 3 ½” squares that mimicked the tiles. I started drawing a few individual tangles, some one at a time, some together with others in one square. Some I was pleased with; others made me feel like a five-year-old trying to draw with a pencil for the first time.

Nevertheless, I kept on going, and I began to discover some favorite tangles, as well as those I needed much more practice on. And soon I did buy those tiles and began making my own official Zentangles. They were rough, to say the least.

This one was my first attempt.

String of Pearls

This uses three tangles, Crescent Moon (on the left and right edges), Static (probably self-explanatory, in the middle sections), and Tipple (the different sized circles), which quickly became one of my favorites. Because I so much liked the way the thin band of Tipple looked crossing over Static, I decided to name it String of Pearls, and since then, just for fun. I’ve been naming my Zentangles according to what they remind me of.
(Note: in these early tangles I haven't yet experimented with shading; there's a little more in later ones.)

The next two incorporate Poke Root (the ones that look like cherries with stems), Festune (the flatter ovals), and Hollibaugh, the crossing bars. To my surprise, because I usually prefer curving designs, I really liked Hollibaugh. It reminds me of the kind of spotlights you see at the Academy Awards, and the black areas give dramatic interest to the design. The other two, though, I’m not satisfied with. I need to practice them more, especially Poke Root.

In the following I used Tipple and Hollibaugh again, along with Jonqual (the black-and-white squares), Nipa (the bubbles and wavy lines), and Shattuck (the “bulb” in the center).


You can probably see why I like Tipple so much: it’s wonderful for filling in wherever you have empty spaces, its mixture of large, small, and tiny circles is pleasing to the eye, and it can look like many different things, from bubbles to stones in a stream.


Thus began my Zentangle “journey.” In a future post, I’ll share a few of my more recent attempts.

And, like other Zentanglers, I definitely encourage anyone who’s interested in creating art to try this. It’s fun and challenging and very satisfying. I love looking at my completed Zentangles, and I’m eager to go on learning and improving.

What more can you ask for from a hobby?