Yes, you should remember little moments

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”~Winston Churchill, English statesman

NOTE: apologies to Diva visitors; I initially uploaded last week’s linky code to this week’s challenge.

Do you remember last month? Heck, do you remember yesterday?

I appreciate the little things, yet sometimes I need a visual reminder of those little things so I can remember to appreciate them in the future. What about you? Do you forget little things like making all the green lights on the drive home? While that’s not a good example of capturing the image on film/digital media–always keep both hands on the wheel while driving and make bluetooth, hands-free phone calls–what are some tiny things that made your days?

For me, I looked at my phone at 4:44 on May 4th–Star Wars Day–and was able to capture that moment with a reminder pop-up on my phone’s screen. Cool coincidence!

My tree. I see her death and her rebirth. Follow the full journey over at #TheWritersTree on my Instagram feed.  I am so pleased, nervous, scared, happy and joy-full over her daily growth and change. Little changes every day: a new bud here, a larger leaf furl the next.

Zentangle classes at Great Lakes Mega Meet and Baker’s Studio. Happy students. Stunning images.

Back on the WiiFit, the highest step scores to date, and I’m lookin’ fine doing this.

A navy blue evening sky. Creating my first refrigerator magnet haiku on my new phone app. Taco Tuesday–I had totally forgotten about that! An inspirational cough drop wrapper. Funky manicure color. Calming moment sitting on a wall one evening next to a highway. Yes, I found that relaxing, and I want to do it again.

I note my lack of coffeeshop photos, signaling a lack of writing. I miss that. Reminders don’t always have to be positive, but they shouldn’t make us feel guilty. I’m not, just sad that I didn’t make the time.

In a moment to make more time for things I like comes this week’s Diva Zentangle Challenge 220 is the monthly Use My Tangle (UMT) post.

I have some half-finished tiles that I carry around in my Zentangle leather wallet–thanks to Laura, the Diva herself and the Blog Friendship Cup–and those tiles annoy me. Every time I look at them. It’s an incomplete feeling, a stubborn emptiness, an almost-hatred for their stalled completion. I decided to get them out of my life, and wallet, to make room for new, blank creativity. Incorporating a Diva Challenge into one of those was an increased challenge.

I not going to tell you what was new and what was old, but I was thrilled enough that my hands were not steady. The lines on All Boxed Up are uneven, but it’s a comfortable, flowing tangle full of auras. I like that aspect of tangles, and I like the sense of happiness at reviving an older, unfinished tile.

I have two more tiles like that–at least that I know of. This is exciting.

Another little moment to remember. What about you? Is this one of those moments?


Dancing in memories: a reflection of April

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”~Peter Drucker, American businessman

Back to my regular blogging schedule now that the AtoZ Challenge has ended. Did I complete the challenge? No…and yes.

I did not post all of my alphabet posts on the day-of alphabet days. Why the delay? One: Life interfered. I took some vacation, had a minor house issue which required major effort to contain, and bought and installed a new computer and printer, the latter being not as easy a venture as I expected. The trip to State College to see the Penn State Blue-White game was the highlight. That involved daily Creamery ice cream cones, my husband’s first venture into The Phyrst bar, shopping, photos at the Lion and on the Beaver Stadium football field. That trip was followed by a mini-trip to visit his folks: dinner, a trip to quaint Doylestown and lots of puppy play time.


The wonders of April 2015

I exercised more on my WiiFit–and it shows;
see Day 14–attended my friend’s book signing, bought three bags of used books for my Found Poetry Zentangle class next week and saw my baby turn 200K in our driveway.

Lots of little things make up one big life. Remember that.

But the second reason all of my AtoZ posts are not posted as of this blog post is that I wrote flash fiction in each of them. Flash fiction. It was spontaneous, not planned at all, but it takes time, more time than I expected. However, after Day One, I couldn’t stop; both for myself and for my readers. It was my first attempt at both flash fiction and AtoZ. My first time writing daily blog posts and daily storytelling.

Not the best idea I had.

So I’m extending the challenge posts throughout the month of May, rather than doing an info dump of alphabets on my readers.I hope you’ll come back and learn all the ways to Procrastinate a Writer. Maybe you’ll learn something. Maybe you’ll feel for Jayne and Tom, and who is that Newspaper Guy? Or maybe you’ll just leave hungry for cookies.

Mega Meet registration and Zentangle open

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”~Confucius, Chinese philosopher

This has been my quote of the week at work. So simple, so succinct, so perfect.

Registration for The 16th Annual Great Lakes Mega Meet opened tonight at 7pm. I got all the classes I wanted, including a last-minute addition to the schedule. My friend registered for hers, too, so we’ll share some classes together that weekend. As for my Zentangle Found Poetry…


This is the current registration for my Zentangle class. Not bad for fours hours.

Great Lakes Mega Meet (and Zentangle) class registration opens tomorrow

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”~Maya Angelou, American poet

The 2015 Great Lakes Mega Meet class schedule is online. Time is short to review: class registration opens at 7:00pm this Tuesday night. That’s only four days from today! I have to get together with my friend so we can coordinate our classes like we do every year.


Check out the awesome Found Poetry Zentangle class offered!

She wants to take my Zentangle class. I am so honored. And she’s excited about it, really excited, not in that support-your-friend kind of way but in that I-can’t-wait-to-learn-this-technique way.

To read the complete class description, you’ll find Zentangle Found Poetry on the last page of the Class Descriptions.

New news in a Zentangle New Year

“Life isn’t about finding yourself; life is about creating yourself.”~George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright

February 14th was Valentine’s Day. My husband and I had evening plans in Detroit, but snowy weather and a busy week for both of us changed our minds into a snuggly day together. We went to two different local coffee shops and played a total of FIVE Yahtzee games. We ordered take-out from Palermo’s, a pizza place we haven’t eaten in for entirely too long. We drove to Penn Theater in Plymouth and also picked up an extra-large bag of popcorn so we could enjoy some new DVDs at home movie-style.

As such, I almost missed this blog post because it published on Valentine’s Day. Thanks to my friend’s email, my news is officially official.

Seriously, it’s exciting Zentangle class news. Check it out here. Go ahead. It opens in a new window, so I’ll wait.

Love it, love it, love it! Since I’ve began attending in 2007, Mega Meet has opened up to the new and exciting everything. Scrapbooking has transformed over the years into something beyond matted pictures and precut stickerss on colorful paper. I blame–or thank–some of that to the popularity of Tim Holtz, a man who met an unspoken need in the market: artsy scrapbooking and art crafting.

My class is the best of all worlds: Zentangle techniques, creative simplicity and repurposing old items. It’s a great mixed-media technique, and I am thrilled that the organizer, Kate, has been open to such amazing class suggestions. In the past years, some of the more popular classes have been the mixed media classes such as art journaling and book binding. People know how to put pictures to paper; now there’s a craving for something new. I’m excited to teach this class. Seeing my name next to a class like this is always as exciting as seeing my name in print, whether it’s one of my books or my Michigan Scrapbooker Magazine articles. The class is unique, combining an artform I’ve fallen in love with the drawing artform that started this whole journey.nd is something that a combining of an artform that has caught my eye with my drawing passion.


This is a great way to start the New Year. I discount January somewhat because I was sick and unfocused for most of it. February has been the cool month–and the cold month, so I’m dreaming of the spring Blue-White game.

So it was serendipity that this week’s Diva Zentangle Challenge #205 is to use inspiration from the Chinese New Year. The Zodiac sign for 2015 is the sheep. Taking a cue from Laura’s tile, I pulled out a pre-strung Zendala tile. Yes, Zendala. It’s not been my favorite Zentangle medium, but this week is was fun to rediscover it. I chose tangle that began with the letters S-H-E-E-P. Turns out there are five spaces in this tile, so away I went.

Shattuck – Huggins – Ennis – Evoke – Purk. It was actually fun to work on a Zendala again, although part of that made be the pre-strung aspect to it. It was a simple string, flowed well with just a few tangles. I felt a pull towards red, so I used my Inktense pencils to play with color shading.

If you’re in Detroit for Mother’s Day weekend, be sure to check out this class. It blows my mind that the scrapbooking community might embrace such a class in this public venue once again. I can’t wait to share this with students. My friend who sent me the email exclaimed that this is DEFINITELY one of classes she plans to take. That’s an honor: my friend is taking my class for the technique and not just because we’re friends.

Is your life passing you by? Mine isn’t, and here’s why

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much more.”~Helen Keller, American writer

Another month has passed by, and I have another super-cool reminder of what my life has been about. In no particular order, here are 7 Great Things that happened in my May 2014:

1–The weather warmed up and it actually felt like spring. My father-in-law played with hus new smartphone and emailed a photo of my husband’s mom gardening in her yard in Philly. The trees in our yard shed fluffy white petals, creating a sweet-smelling carpet to our front door. One petal even dashed inside the garage and planted itself on the roof of our car. The petal said hi.

2–Coffee shop visits. Lots of them. Writing at Espresso Royale in Ann Arbor while my car was in for repairs. Sharing pastries with my husband on a Saturday morning at Espresso Elevado in Plymouth. Playing Yahtzee with him while sipping Clover-brewed Starbucks Brazil blend in Northville. Watching my husband explain chemistry to me with a diagram on a Starbucks napkin. Where was he when I needed help in my 11th grade chem class?


3–Zentangle! Teaching classes at Mega Meet, all while meeting new people, artists, and making new friends. My first Tuesday Tangled Lunch at Hobby Lobby in Canton, establishing more of a friendship with one of my students.

4–Our annual trip into Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Lunch at Bubi’s Awesome Eats. Coffee at Starbucks. Shopping at local CD and book stores. We even saw a fuss outside one of the casinos, with three people in handcuffs!

5–Friends. Earning my last Foursquare Mayorship taking one to use an ATM at 7-11. Taking a new friend to buy his new car. My Writers Group. We meet every first and third Wednesday of the month at Barnes & Noble in Livonia. Come join us; we don’t bite! Unless its one of the pastries we get at the café.

6–I finally achieved perfect balance on WiiFit. I also achieved my highest step count to date: 3901. That was reached by watching NCIS: Los Angeles On Demand. Next goal: 4000 steps/30 minutes

7–Writing, both in coffee shops and online through the poetry app, Ku (formerly known as Heyku).

SPOILER ALERT! This first day of June has already started off with coffee and games and poetry, oh my. What’s next? Come back in 30 days to find out.

How was today’s first Zentangle Lunch event…?

“What you plant now, you will harvest later.”~Og Mandino, American writer

My first Tuesday Tangled Lunch at Hobby Lobby was a success! The event was exactly what I wanted it to be.

First of all, someone showed up besides me. Not bad considering modest promotion. I expect future attendance to be strong because in less than two weeks, customers have taken all of my flyers. I have fabulous exposure to the employees because the classroom is in the back, right next door to the break room. One woman stopped in twice to ask about classes and these Tuesdays, disappointed that she and her friend would have to wait two weeks for the next one.

What’s the format for these lunch gatherings, you ask?  I set out a variety of my work for show-n-tell and inspiration. You show up and eat (or not) and play with stuff. That’s it.

Kim has taken several of my classes. She showed up with her previous Zentangle projects to show and an idea for what to work on today. She brought the heart template that was part of my MegaMeet I {Heart} Zentangle class earlier this month and planned to do her first black tile using that heart as a string.


Kim’s first white-on-black tile:
I {heart} it!

Here’s where the inspiration to have these lunches took off. Casual sharing and mutual learning experiences.

I offered her the use of my pens. She worked on her black tile while showing me her very first Zentangle from a demo years before she took my class. We talked about her experience then, the instructor and the materials that were used. I learned a lot from that.

Kim showed me her completed black tile and made a comment about the open space. She liked it but wasn’t sure it felt complete. She asked for suggestions, and my immediate response was to aura around the inside space. She hadn’t thought of that.

This is why it is beneficial to take a CZT-taught Zentangle Basics course before exploring advanced techniques. The books available are marvelous resources for ideas and inspirations, but a class provides a solid understanding of how to make the most of them. People may think that it’s “just” drawing and they can leap right in. But if you did not have a CZT explaining what an aura is and ways to think about it and its use, then you would not know to consider an aura because you don’t know its purpose or its effect. Kim understood and appreciated this.

To use her example as a figure skating teacher, you don’t just step out on the ice Day One and expect to be taught a Triple Salchow.


Spinning in circles: my Diva #169

I offer these lunch events to have causal, unassuming discussions about the process. To introduce Zentangle and the process to others. To explore. To share. It’s not a class, but I do show up with a project or prompt for everyone to launch from.

Today’s plan was to work on the Diva’s Weekly Challenge, one reason I chose Tuesdays as the day for these lunches. Kim had looked up this week’s Zentangle Challenge #169–to use circle strings–and she admired the concentric rings Laura did. Kimtalked about ideas she had after seeing that. I had a different string in mind based on inspiration I saw in a book this weekend–at a bookstore in Canada, no less! Interconnecting circles. I showed Kim how she could use a common item like a travel mug to create different size circles by using the lid, the cup base and the lip of the mug. She had never thought to create a string like that, but now she does.

Our discussion branched out from “just” Zentangle to family memories, creating websites, seasonal activities, and buying a house.

All of this came from my first lunch event. And I didn’t bring home all of the cookies I brought as the snack. *whew!* Just imagine what future lunches will inspire.

WoW MegaMeet 2014, Day 3: Zentangle’d goodbyes

The last day of Mega Meet. Where did the time go? Oh, right, shopping and cropping. It certainly didn’t go towards sleep. I am thriving on about 5 hours of sleep. Each night. Note that today is Day 3.

Bev and I await the opening of the curtain rails, just ahead of the stampede. We have a plan, and the booth we want is right in front.

Our stop was the Make-n-Take at the Melissa Francis booth: making a painted chalkboard using a blend of acrylic paint and their chalkdust component. As we waited for setup, my grunge instructor from yesterday, Cheryl, worked on her art journal while giving us a show-n-tell mini mixed media lesson. Gotta love the mermaid.

My last Zentangle class went well, an eager group that smiled throughout the lesson. My friend took this day’s class, and it was her third class with me. That’s a friend!

The two CZT Guys who taught today were Greybar and Thistle. Note the lack of class chocolate; they’re stuffed.

This was my most complete Mega Meet to date. I enjoyed all of my classes, not one was disappointing. I don’t regret any of the classes I could not fit into my schedule. I visited every booth I wanted to, and bought everything I planned. And some extra, but that’s how these things go. I had downtime to watch artists like Cheryl and Tim. I won. I hung with friends. I made and took just enough make-n-takes. And my credit card did not melt. Excellent.

So it ends for another 362 days.

Mega Meet 2014, Day 2: Tangled up in friends

“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”~John W. Gardner, American educator

Yes, this is a totally Zentangle-y quote, almost a bit cheesy, but it’s always worth the reminder. Especially with Zentangle classes.


Friday’s Zentangle class. My students got heart.

The first day, yesterday, is always the freshest. Things are new and exciting, even the last-minute configuration of my classroom. Today was an exhausting day: two morning classes, and afternoon meet-n-greet at the Michigan Scrapbooker table for writers and designers, followed by teaching my class, shopping and finally cropping until midnight. I was tired. My Zentangle class may not have been the best, but it was still good. I was on a caffeine I.V. since the morning, so here’s to that. And to chocolate.


Vamping it up the Photo Op with my editor, Carrie, from Michigan Scrapbooker Magazine

The grunge class was by far the best class I’ve had here since Tim Holtz taught. Cheryl led us on an adventure of mixed media using lace, Silks acrylic glaze paint, matte medium and gesso. Class was a use of those techniques to collage the inside of our large to-be-filled-later art journal. Cheryl was open enough to let us take photos of her art journals for inspiration. Awesome creativity all around.

And I was interviewed in that class! Maybe I was the teacher’s pet, or maybe I was just fortunate because I was last to clean up. I’ll post a link as soon as I find it. My husband’s taping it: 10pm on Channel 20 in Detroit on WMYD.


CZT Guys Snufflet and Catnap demo today’s Zentangle heart card class.

Just as I’m setting up for my Zentangle class, a woman walks up to me and says, “Are you Diana Hirsch?” Yes, I am. “We miss you in the Bizarre Holidays, ScrapPea.” Oh my gosh–a member from the ATC site I have been absent from since November 2013 when NaNoWriMo took over my life! How cool is that?! It’s too cool for words, so I won’t even try here.

I won a raffle prize, a free necklace charm from a booth I planned to shop at later. Sweet.


And then cropping. I finished my MegaMeet mini album from yesterday’s class, and my friend Bev printed pictures from her portable photo printer. Vendors show up to sell product at the crop at sale prices. This haul represents a part of my purchases from the vendors selling at Friday nights crop party. The showroom floor…that’s another matter.

And finally …sleep…for the few hours I have.

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