Zentangle Anniversary and the story of the CZTs

Three years ago, I became a Certified Zentangle Teacher. Woot!

I think this is the perfect time to explain about my CZT Guys. They think so, anyway. It’s long overdue, and they are fumpy that I haven’t told their story yet.

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A tangled flag welcomed us in Whitinsville

I’ve always been into stuffed animals. Yes, I had a Barbie as a kid, but I didn’t like dolls in general because their faces and bodies were made of hard plastic, and that was not good to cuddle with. Stuffed animals were soft and squooshy. Much better for nighttime snuggles. More socially acceptable as companions as a female grows up rather than a doll. Stuffed animals were just cute.

And most of them smiled. Happy and furry is a good combination. I had a lot of stuffed animals growing up, at least one new buddy every year under the Christmas Tree, per Mom’s insistence.

This love of fuzzy critters continued into college and adulthood. It carried over with some boyfriends–some, not all. And then I met my future husband.

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Peaceful Zen scene near the workshop

He embraced stuffed animals as he did me. He was, and still is, a good listener, and he picked up on my college desire for a Snuffles teddy bear. I had mentioned this to past boyfriends, but none of them got the hint. On our first trip together to Penn State, he bought a smaller Snuffles bear–a Snuff–from the Penn State Bookstore on campus while I was browsing elsewhere. And so began our collection of Guys, “Guys” being a gender-neutral term that simply identifies one of ours from just any ordinary stuffed animal.

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Soon to graduate from the CZT6 certification workshop


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Work can be a lonely place at times, stress-full or slow, busy or mundane.  My husband and I both wanted a reminder of each other during the workday.  It’s like an unexpected phone call just to say “Hi, I’m thinking of you.”  I sewed him an apple-sized bear to keep him company while he traveled on business. He found an even smaller Snuggles bear (we named him “Snufflet”) to keep me company while I worked at the University of Delaware. The pink fish, Finse, well…he joined my office crew soon after, and the two of them have been with me at every job I have worked.

I often snuck a Guy or two into my husband’s suitcase when he traveled, just as I would any love note or I’m-thinking-of-you card. He did the same for me.

Which leads us to the Zentangle workshop.

Of course, Snufflet and Finse were coming along. Office Guys and all. Work hard, play hard. They always travel with me. I made sure they were snuggly in my purse next to me on the plane.

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The CZT 6 with their collaborative tile. From bottom right, clockwise: Snufflet, Finse, Purrz, Catnap, Greybar, and Thistle.

Unbeknownst to me, my husband had tucked two Guys into my suitcase and two more into my carry-on. I arrived in Whitinsville, MA with six Guys. I was certified in the sixth CZT class. I’m a CZT6. They are the CZT 6.

You will always find CZT Guys with me when I teach. There’s usually two of them, working in tandem to help instruct the students. And to eat the class chocolate. Let’s not forget about the chocolate.

They often eat so much that they are stuffed.

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