Tag Archives: A to Z Challenge

Z is for Zentangle


Zentangle® is a method of drawing patterns. Many of the designs are repetitive. Working on zentangle is focused and relaxing. It’s a good activity for being present in the moment. Plus, it’s beautiful, and provides lots of opportunities for being creative.

I first discovered zentangle in a round-about way. My husband likes to carve gunstocks. He bought a zentangle book thinking he could use some of the designs in his carving. He changed his mind and gave the book to me.

You know how when you’re planning to be a certain car, every fourth car you see on the road is the car you want? Well, I began seeing zentangle online, on blogs, on social media, on YouTube. It made me want to learn more.

I discovered a Facebook group called Tangle All Around. Alice Hendon, the administrator, offers weekly challenges: 7 tangles (designs to try), a string (a way to segment your drawing surface so you can fill each section with a different tangle), and a dare (suggestions for using your imagination to create variations for a tangle, or to come up with your own design).

This year, she came up with the special project, which she calls “Zen-untangled.” Over the course of 25 weeks, the participants are making a keepsake notebook of the 101 “official” zentangle patterns. I am way behind in mine (my completed pages are the images in this post), and I have entered mine in a different order, skipped some, and added others. But it’s a very convenient way to have a reference of the tangles I like or am interested in incorporating into a project some day.

If you’d like to learn more about zentangle, it’s been a frequent topic on ARHtistic License.


Wordless Wednesday: Y is for Yellow


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NaPoWriMo Day Twenty-Eight: Oma’s Federbett



Oma’s Federbett
by ARHuelsenbeck

The summer I was nine
my family visited relatives in Germany.
It was the first time my parents
had returned since emigrating to
the US ten years earlier.

Tante Resi’s house was our base of
operations. My grandmother turned her
bedroom over to me. It contained a
wardrobe, a bed, and a nightstand. A door led to
a balcony from which you could see the
garden, the Bavarian village, and the woods beyond.

But the best thing in the bedroom was the
Federbett, literally “feather bed,” a colorful,
puffy ticking envelope filled with feathers.
Today we might call it a down comforter.
I’d never seen one before.

Even though we visited during the summertime,
the temperature plummeted at night, and the
only heat in the house was the wood stove
in the kitchen downstairs. (Heck,
they didn’t even have a bathroom,
but that’s another story.)
The Federbett was so thick
it weighed several pounds. At bedtime,
Tante Resi covered me, and I remained
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X is for Xenophobia



sharon-mccutcheon-TZZwC_xsClY-unsplashXenophobia is the fear of foreigners. It can be manifested as barring of immigrants, refusal to do business with people from other backgrounds, and victimization of foreigners.

Xenophobia is an incongruous affliction in the United States. After all, most of us here either came from someplace else, or descended from someone who did.

When the first European settlers came to the New World, they were welcomed and assisted by the indigenous people already here, who were amused by the ideas that the newcomers brought with them, such as ownership of land. And what did the white people do? Though some lived in mutual harmony with the natives, others murdered tribal people, and eventually the American government drove them from their lands and forced them onto reservations, out of sight.

Part of the problem of xenophobia comes from perceiving the person who doesn’t share our background as being “other,” ineligible to join our society, automatically deemed inferior due to being different.

No one has the right to judge another person. We’d most likely be wrong, anyway. As fellow human beings, we have much more in common with each other than we do differences.

I know I’m over-simplifying things. But simple is not wrong.

Marvin Gaye’s song is as timely today as it was 49 years ago:

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W is for Weaving


Taken at the Arizona Renaissance Festival, February 2019:




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V is for Viola



She is the less-well-known cousin of the ubiquitous violin. Slightly larger and with a deeper voice, she hardly ever gets to sing the melody or a solo if a violin is around.

She is one of the only instruments whose music is notated in alto clef (sometimes called viola clef), which looks like a bracket with its point centered on the third line of the staff. (When the viola has a whole chunk of notes in its high register, the notation switches to treble clef.) The strings are tuned a fifth below the violin’s, and an octave above the cello’s.

Just because a person can play a violin does not mean they can play a viola. Because of its size, it requires a greater reach of fingers and arms. The notes are spread out farther along the fingerboard, so they may have a different fingering than on the violin. The strings are less responsive, so the bow is heavier and the violist needs to use more pressure. Smaller models are made for smaller musicians. Amihai Grosz plays the Brahms F minor Sonata:

Kim Kashkashian premieres György Kurtág’s In memoriam Blum Tamás:

Debussy, Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp, 1st movement:

The size and shape of the viola has been tinkered with for centuries, and innovations have been tried, such as electrification:

Another design tweak is adding a string and cutting away parts of the body:

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Creative Juice #187

Creative Juice #187

Don’t spend one more day not knowing about these things:

U is for Unicorns


Sighted through the window of a bookstore (closed due to Covid-19 restrictions) earlier this month:



Fun fact: National Unicorn Day is April 9. (It’s also my oldest daughter’s birthday.)

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Video of the Week #250: T is for Tinguely Museum Fountain


Video by Frances Arnold.

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Wordless Wednesday: S is for Shadow



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