Posted in Zentangle

Hurricane Irma’s Anniversary is Past, Isaac on the Way…

We returned to Sint Maarten on May 1, with promises that our house would be ready for us. Instead, two months after staying in a rental condo because the only thing completed was a new roof (2nd in under a year!), we moved into a single room in our house with our 2 pets, a cat and a dog. We now have two bedrooms and baths, and a nearly completed kitchen. I have no idea when the dining and living rooms will be complete, but I am ready to toss everything that’s left of those two rooms (well, what survived of the dining room, anyway) and just purchase furnishings from scratch. I’m tired of sitting on armless chairs for which we can’t find room, as construction stuff takes up so much space. Today, after firing our first electrician a month ago, the replacement was forced to cut all the wiring just to access them–the previous guy not only drastically skimped on wiring (no wiggle room if anything went wrong) and placed 3/4 of the house on a single circuit. The last time I experienced anything like that was in my first house in the early 1970s that still contained the original rural wiring from the 1930s!

Some good news was that our second cat–he ran off after Irma and refused to come back–was reunited with us during the second week of August. He had been on his own for over ten months, was barely held together by skin and fur, and still took 3 days to lure home. Now he never leaves. After a check-up at the vet, we were all amazed that he was reasonably healthy. Of course, now he is always hungry! At least he looks like a real cat again instead of a Tim Burton character!

Today I tangled for the first time in a while. And it shows.

The shading is off, the simplest patterns wouldn’t emerge, not even using “first tile” tangles.

I don’t know whether I was more disappointed in the process or the result, as neither seemed to work out for me today. Yet, just a month ago I finished a project started several months back in the UK, to where we were transported after our evacuation after Irma’s devastation of our island of St. Martin a year ago. Here is the 9″x9″ sketchbook tangle.

Quite a difference, right?

Maybe today’s tangle went wrong because of the anticipation of Hurricane Isaac that’s following Irma’s path. I’m hoping Isaac stays relatively weak, as the repairs on our house after Irma haven’t been completed, and we have absolutely no hurricane shutters. Our contractor will be measuring for plywood tomorrow to give us some protection. That will be a great relief after Irma tore our old shutters apart.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another catastrophe skipping into our home, it seems. We are not the only ones with an incomplete home, but that doesn’t make us feel much better. I love this Island, but I just want to feel safe from hurricanes like Irma.

Until next time–hopefully my tangling will improve again!–I wish you happy tangling!

Anyone attending ZenAgain in Providence, RI, in November, shoot me a comment. I will be anxious to meet you. If you are part of the Zentangle Mosaic community, thank you for all the moral and supplies support during this interesting season of my life. Isn’t life supposed to settle down once you’re past 65?

Again, Happy Tangling!

Hugs to all,

Ellie (DrEllieCZT)

Posted in Zentangle

Back on the Island!

So much has happened during the past year–job, devastating hurricane, moving on two continents, quit job, and finally back on the island of St. Martin, but still not back in our Sint Maarten home.

You probably heard about the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma back in early September of 2017. She was the fiercest hurricane on record in the Atlantic and Caribbean. And she took aim at our Island of St. Martin and tore us to shreds. After six days of shelter at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC for short) we were evacuated to St. Kitt’s, where a sister veterinary school–Ross University–offered us shelter, a change of clothes, and medical attention for our pets. We spent two nights there before being further evacuated to O’Hare Airport and put up in two wonderful resorts–one week in one, five in another–while waiting for work visas to come through for (wait for it–) the U.K.

So many stories to tell, and they will come. However, I want to share the tangling I did while we still had power, even as roofing nails tore from the top of the house, and glass was curving and pulling out of sliding door frames.

These two were done as the storm raged over head. The tile below is one I tangled as the storm was merely anticipated.

Other tiles were lost to the water that eventually poured from our new glass-less skylights. Little seemed to survive the hurricane. We sat in our tiny kitchen with our next-door neighbors who rushed over during the calm hour-long eye–their home far worse than hours.

An hour or so after Irma moved on, security guards from AUC came looking for Professor Joe (my husband), and escorted us to the shelter of the school.

It was a while before I could tangle again. Aside from a lack of materials for the first few days (another story for another day), I simply was too shocked to do much except help where help was needed.

But more on the adventure in subsequent posts.

Wishing you health and safety,

Dr. Ellie, CZT

Posted in Zentangle

It’s a String Thing #212

Sint Maarten is currently not in a condition for tangling or visitors, but this blog post is cheerful and fun!

The Tireless Tangler

Adele Bruno was in the path of the latest hurricane to hit Florida. After finally receiving their electricity back and other services she was back this week with It’s a String Thing challenge #212. This week’s string is pictured above and the 3 tangles used were:

Wrapped by CZT Gale Sherman (stepout)

Danzer by Prairie Kitten (stepout)

Ok-Rah bt CZT Lisa Buckley (stepout)

I really liked the tangles but no matter what I tried, I couldn’t manage to find my zen and both of these were a disappointing mess! But here is my confusing picture of both tries together.

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Posted in Zentangle

New Pattern: Marito

A new pattern from tangler Cyndee Pelley! Enjoy this repost frm her blog!
Thank you for sharing, Cyndee!

The Tireless Tangler

Two months ago as I was playing with the pattern Trefoil, it occurred to me to try and make the triangular framework into more of a curved ribbon style. The day before I’d seen CZT, Suzanne McNeill’s pattern Wavy Lines on Pinterest and somehow what came of that experimentation plus the Wavy Lines visual became my new pattern, Marito. It is a nickname for my little boy who was very much on my mind while I was working that day. While Marito has a similar look to Wavy Lines, it’s a different process as well as having many ways to vary the look. Marito has 2 versions, one using a more triangular shape and one that is rounded. It is great for borders as it allows for a wide variety of embellishment possibilities. I love it particularly for gem borders. It can be as simple or fancy as you want…

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Posted in Zentangle

Feeling Guilty

Yes, I am feeling guilty! It has been weeks since I posted. So much has been going on…

Did I mention that I got a job? It’s half-time, on contract, and tons of fun! I get to work with students, teaching them better ways to study, or tweaking their current study skills. A few weeks ago, I even gave a Zentangle workshop for students at the American medical school here (my employer) and a few were young people I helped (hopefully) and encouraged to attend. 

The purpose of the workshop was to provide students with one more way to relieve stress and general anxiety. Some students were so tense that 4 Microns had to be replaced. Medical students are probably the most tense group of students under the sun.

As I ran the workshop, I tangled along with them, using a really fancy overhead projector that broadcast to several monitors. Here are my versions.



We had started a third tile, but ran out of time. 

We ran short of time because, close to the time of the workshop, the sponsoring department decided to push through a protocol that made the workshop part of a research project. A “before” survey, which was supposed to take two minutes, took up a quarter of an hour. Then time needed to be left at the end for the “after” survey, cutting ten minutes off the end.  Still, the students left with supplies and enough information to do some tangling on their own in a very Zen-oriented way. 

I really wish there had been time for a photo of the participants’ work. I saw a few tiles that were outstanding. But we go with the flow and do what we can. More workshops are going to be scheduled for the next semester that starts next month with over 200 new students.

Next post, I will share some experimenting I’ve been doing with different pens and colored pencils. You will be left with little doubt that spending just a bit more for better tools can increase your enjoyment and the satisfaction with results many times over.

Until next time, Happy Tangling!