Sunday, 14 August 2016

Shoshi’s In Print Again!–and Computer News

No sooner than Jane Marbaix’s marvellous Zentangle book has come out, featuring Yours Truly, than another great Zentangle book makes its debut, also featuring Yours Truly!

This time it’s Beate Winkler, CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher) from Germany, who has written a truly inspirational book – about the time Jane approached me, so did Beate, asking if she could include my pattern Y-Ful Power in her book, and of course I said yes.

Yesterday this book arrived in the post. This time it is a hardback, beautifully illustrated with examples of Zentangle being used on the most unusual of objects, and some interesting new techniques to try, too. Here are some pictures.

01 Front Cover

Slipped inside the front cover were some leaflets from Beate – the top one is a gorgeous Zentangle on parchment paper.

02 Inside Front Cover

03 Flukes Leaflet Inside Front Cover

Signed copy! How thrilling is that?

04 Signed Copy


05 Frontispiece

List of contents.

06 Contents

Zentangles embellishing bracelets and bangles.

07 Bracelets and Bangles

After my adventures with my kitchen bin, I couldn’t resist sharing this page with you!

08 Pedal Bin

A decorated table.

09 Table

Another one featuring something very familiar to me from recent work – a wooden wine box.

10 Wine Box

How is this for astonishing – a Zentangle piano!

11 Piano

12 Piano Detail

Shoes, clocks and watches.

13 Shoes, Clocks and Watches

A VW Camper Van!! That would certainly turn some heads when out and about.

14 VW Camper Van

Is there anything that can’t be embellished with Zentangle? To my knowledge, nobody has adequately answered that question!

ZenGems. This is definitely something I’m keen to try. At first I thought they were real 3D objects embellished with Zentangle, until I looked more closely and realised that the “gems” are drawn with coloured pencils. Great representation of reflective 3D surfaces.

15 ZenGems

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for….. or not! – in the A-Z list of featured patterns at the back of the book, Y-Ful Power by Shoshi.

16 Y-Ful Power


Computer Woes and Joys

Last week, my beloved old laptop finally died. This was my first laptop, that I bought back in 2007 when I was going downhill rapidly with my health and dealing with the horrible period living in Limboland prior to my diagnosis of ME in the autumn of that year. During this period, I was finding it increasingly difficult to sit up at the desk working on my old desktop computer (the sort that a friend recently described as the “giant beige tardis” lol!

It was a 13-inch HP Pavilion laptop.

03 Laptop Open

This laptop has been through a lot with me since that time. On it I started this blog, and joined various forums, and made a lot of friends near and far. It was used to capacity and more – after its hard drive failed, I had this replaced with a 500 Gig drive (more later on this) and this made quite a difference. In about 2009 I inherited another laptop, another HP Pavilion, but this time a 17-inch one, and this gradually became the one that was used more – it lived downstairs after we moved house, and the small one took up residence on my office desk and was used mostly for the accounts, correspondence, and held my entire music library and Audible audio book downloads, sound editing software, and all my Bible studies (including sessions I devised and taught to my group over several years, and numerous downloaded articles and resources). I have done a lot of sound recording and editing on this laptop. The larger laptop was better for photo and video editing, having a bigger screen.

Some time ago, the small one started to run rather hot, so I bought a couple of laptop cooling mats with fans, one for each laptop, and these do help.

At this stage I was running Pinnacle software on the larger laptop, for my video editing. I gradually got more and more frustrated with this, as it was pretty unstable and kept crashing, and half the time it behaved somewhat unpredictably, and when I got my new HD video camera, the version I had wasn’t capable of editing in HD. So I bit the bullet and bought my iMac, because the state-of-the-art video editing software, Final Cut Pro, works only on the Mac platform. This software is awesome, and it does what it says on the tin!

The small laptop had been getting slower and slower, and occasionally wouldn’t boot at all, and running very hot, and I feared another hard drive failure. It kept going, limping along until this week when I decided it was time for it to be admitted to Computer Hospital – they told me it was running so slowly because of what they called “heat throttling” – the system running itself more slowly in order to generate less heat, but sometimes this became too much, and it would shut down to protect itself. They were able to get it running OK, but were unable to run a full HD test because it kept shutting down because of overheating, so they removed the HD and tested it on one of their bench computers.

They phoned me to say that the HD was fine, and if I wanted, they could strip the laptop right down and check for dust mats, fan failure, etc., to find the cause of the overheating, but it would be a lot of work, and since the laptop was pretty much at the end of its life expectancy of 10 years, it was likely that it would suffer motherboard or processor failure fairly soon, and I’d be better spending the money on a new laptop.

I went into a sort of bereavement for a day or two – I know it sounds silly, but I think one’s first laptop, especially if it is associated with important events in one’s life, may take on the significance of one’s first car – there’s never a subsequent one that holds the same place in your heart, or is as memorable! Also, this particular computer was a real pleasure to use – the best design HP ever came up with, in my opinion – my later HP laptop looks very cool, but the keyboard is pretty horrible, and I consider the trackpad to be virtually unusable – I use a trackball mouse with it.

I asked them to put the HD in a caddy so I could run it as an external HD. Everything was already backed up (having lost so much in my early days of computing, I’ve got quite paranoid about backing up!). The larger HP laptop is unusual in having two HDs and I was using the second one for video, but as the iMac has now taken over that role, this drive was redundant. I have therefore now transferred the data from the small laptop onto it, and am running this old laptop in virtual form on the larger one, which is now on my desk, so not much change after all! The large laptop is now really two computers in one. This computer has its problems too – the CD drive is a bit unreliable, and it’s starting to run a bit too hot as well, so I can’t expect it to keep going for much longer.

While the laptop was in hospital, I gave the situation some serious thought. I had been running 3 Windows PCs – the two original HP laptops, and the new HP laptop that I bought fairly recently, and the iMac which lives in my studio, permanently attached to my Cougar cutting machine. I have been experiencing the same problems with that, that I had with my original beige desktop PC, becoming too fatigued after sitting at it for any length of time, which has meant that I have neglected my video editing because that is so time consuming. All through last year, while I was dealing with my cancer, I didn’t do any and it had been on my mind that it would be very useful to have a second Mac to help with this, but I wasn’t prepared to spend the silly money required for the high-spec MacBook that I wanted.

Now seemed to be a good opportunity for change, and I didn’t think there was much point in replacing the dead laptop with another Windows laptop – better to end up running only 2 Windows computers, and have 2 Macs.

Ebay to the rescue! Straight away I found a MacBook Pro – OK, not in its first youth, and with some wear and tear on the case, but seriously upgraded so nice and powerful with massive capacity, and for a bargain basement price – so I bought it!

It arrived yesterday, and the man who sold it to me has been an absolute star with his correspondence, helping me with initial problems setting it up, in a very friendly and helpful manner. He sent it very promptly, with tracking details etc. – a real pleasure to deal with him, and I am more than delighted with my new toy.

If I didn’t have so much invested in Windows after many years with this system, I’d go exclusively with Mac – the build quality is superb and the design eminently strokable and fabulous to look at, and the operating system makes Windows feel distinctly clunky by comparison! I know many people who wouldn’t exchange their Macs for anything.

People ask me, “FOUR computers? Why do you need four computers?” Good question! They are all used for different things, and I’ve always used them to capacity and do a lot of different things with them – audio-visual, design, word processing, office work (accounts and corresp0ndence), and more besides. Being restricted in my activity levels with my health problems, I do spend a lot of time on my computers and can definitely justify having the total number that someone many years ago predicted would be the maximum number of computers that the entire world would require – four! – surely the most inaccurate prediction ever made!!


  1. Hi Shoshi, great post and you're not the only one that has several computers in the house including lap tops. Your story about the first laptop brought back memories of the first computer I brought home from school to get used to, it was a BBC and I could happily have thrown it through the window but thank goodness things got better fairly quickly. The children were definitely way ahead of many of us for sometime but with long hours of homework most of us got there in the end. I would like to say well done with your work in print but I am not surprised as your Zentangles are brilliant. Have a lovely week and happy crafting, Angela x

  2. Congratulations! I am so excited for you. That is the best to be profiled in two zentangle books. Your zentangles are so beautiful you deserve the accolades.

    I know what you mean about mourning your computer. It is mourning no matter what anyone says. I have gotten attached to my computers like that too. Losing one of them is very hard on me because I think of the history and the adventures we have been through together. During my home move three years ago my husband accidentally stepped on my computer. This computer had been the love of my computer life. I never told my husband he had cracked the case on my computer. He noticed it one day and I told him. I knew what he was going to say. We need to replace it. I hemmed and hawed until we did. Then when we replaced my computer I sobbed about losing her. We did take her apart. The memory is in my laptop that is in my art room. I am a bit attached to that computer too. The hard drive is now an external drive hooked to my gaming computer. I still feel like I have pieces of her and it is comforting. My new gaming computer is HP. I love HP computers. They are the best. My art room computer is a Toshiba. I love that one too.

    Big congratulations again.

    1. Oh Aiyana, you do understand! I thought people would think I was being really silly about this and say, "What? It's only a computer..." I feel exactly the same, now that its hard drive is in a caddy as an external one, and I've set up the data on the 2nd drive in my larger laptop and given the main folder the name of the original laptop, so in a sense, it lives on!


  3. I can totally relate to your computer story. We are a two tablet (android), two laptop (PC) and one desktop PC family. Sadly no Mac. I wish I had the money to buy one. I don't dare get one on Ebay as we live so far. If I get it here in Spain it would be in Spanish. My desk top is all in Spanish and that has it's problems. I'm struggling with Photoshop in Spanish for instance. I also understand you 'mourning' the loss of a beloved computer.My hubby was commenting the other day that I still have my old (dead) laptop in a drawer and I had to admit that I was keeping it for sentimental reasons. Sad indeed...
    Congratulations on another feature in a book. Well done you. What an unusual book. Even a piano covered in tangles!

  4. Congratulations, you clever lady - I'm not surprised you are in print twice, it's well deserved - your work is amazing.
    I'm sorry to hear about the demise of your lap top and although I don't have a bond with my computer I do understand how you feel as I keep quite a few things I can't bear to part with.
    Finally, I must apologise as I don't think I replied to your previous comment on my blog - I do feel bad and I'm so sorry, I had a week of appointments and everything got a bit beyond me somehow.
    Diana x

  5. This book looks amazing, full of great ideas! What an honour for you to be part of it! You must be very proud, and rightly so, but the best thing about it is your free copy! You can't beat a free (and signed!) copy! This makes me want to try zentangling again! In a way, it was zentangle that led me to mixed media and I never had enough time to explore it properly because my childish enthusiasm to explore pother areas took over.


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