1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
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3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Zentangle Diva #237 – Pope, Fleas and Stencils (Oh My!) Edition

by Suzanne Fluhr on September 28, 2015 · 29 comments

Zentangle Inspired Art

[Are you new to the Zentangle method? Then, start HERE.]

I admit I almost did not attempt today’s challenge by guest diva, Charlotte Carpentier, CZT. Charlotte’s challenge was for us to use a stencil as our string. Before I could even think about the challenge, we had to pack up to return to Philadelphia from “down the shore” in Brigantine, New Jersey where we fled to avoid the the over-hyped Philly Popeapocalypse weekend. I might have helped a wee bit with the over-hyping, but when the Royal Flush Company set up some 70 porta potties directly across the street from our apartment building, I figured it was time to hit the road. (At first I wondered if they might be confessionals, but, no, they were definitely porta potties.)

A Royal Flush Porta Potty array on Rittenhouse Square for the Pope

“A Royal Flush” Porta Potties set up on Rittenhouse Square for the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia.

We spent our time down the shore (i.e. in a southern New Jersey beach town) watching a lot of Pope TV. Pope Francis’ stamina is truly awesome. He came to the United States for the first time ever after a visit to Cuba, and his six day schedule here was full from morning into the night.

Upon returning home, I immediately had to deal with the flea situation. We had managed to eradicate them from our dog, Dino, when we returned to Philadelphia last week, but upon entering our house in Brigantine, he was immediately set upon again by apparently starving fleas. Before bringing him up to our Philadelphia apartment, we gave him a pill that is supposed to kill the ones on him. After waiting half an hour with him at the dog park so it could work, I took him home and deposited him immediately in the bathtub. (If canine looks could kill, I wouldn’t be writing this.) He still had some fleas, but they were sluggish. I lathered him with flea shampoo and made him stay in the bath for 15 minutes. After ALL THAT, I still found some living fleas in the tub when I drained it. The rumor that Brigantine fleas are a powerful breed is not apocryphal.

Zentangle stencil

My “stencil”.

As Dino sullenly dried off in his bed, I took another look at the challenge. Stencil? I walked around the apartment looking for some stencil-like object. I was about to admit defeat and get on with unpacking, when I came upon what I guess is, in fact, a stencil—not a cute or beautiful design stencil, but a stencil nonetheless. I taped it to a piece of paper and colored in the cut outs with colored pens, including some sparkly gelly roll pens. I was too tired to find a liquid colored medium to spray on (not to mention my lack of a spray bottle). I suppose I could have opened a bottle of red wine and sponged it on, but I was afraid I might then be tempted to consume some of said wine which would have meant the end of my working on the challenge or unpacking or anything.

So, here’s what I came up with. Considering what I started with, I kind of like it and I got to use my approved tangle, Phirst, to connect the shapes.

Zentangle Inspired Art

As some of you may recall, last week, I taught my first “official” Zentangle class. As many Boomeresque readers predicted, it was a fun and gratifying experience. There were 12 students. Here’s the mosaic from their tiles.

A mosaic of the tiles from my Introduction to Zentangle class at the Elkins Park, Pennsylvania library.

A mosaic of the tiles from my Introduction to Zentangle class at the Elkins Park, Pennsylvania library.

Did you watch any of the TV coverage of the Pope’s visit to the United States? Have you ever had to deal with fleas? Did you have a stencil in your abode?

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Laurel Regan September 28, 2015 at 11:08 pm

What a creative idea for a stencil, and such a pretty, almost jewel-like, finished piece! I kind of ran out of time to do the Diva Challenge this week – in part because I couldn’t find a stencil! – but did do a couple of others which will be in tomorrow’s Tangled Tuesday post.


Laurel Regan September 28, 2015 at 11:12 pm

Oh, and P.S. – so happy for you that your first Zentangle teaching experience went well!


Suzanne Fluhr September 28, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Thank you. I think the stencil was probably born more of desperation than inspiration, but I liked the way it turned out.


Annemarie September 29, 2015 at 2:11 am

Your stencil work is quite lovely and I like the tangle that connects them. Poor, poor dog 🙂


Jacqueline Gum September 29, 2015 at 6:18 am

That really turned out beautifully! Though I am a bit disappointed not to see a little red wine stain as coloring:) Sounds to me like you could have used some with that day. So to answer your questions, in reverse. No there is no stencil in my abode…crazy as it sounds. I had to deal with fleas with my mother’s dog when she lived in Hawaii. Turns out, they never die there because there is never weather cold enough. They are epic. Even though you might eradicate them on your own dog, lawn, etc they creep over from the neighbors! Did I see coverage of the Pope?? What? It was on every channel on TV!! I suspect ESPN may have even covered it, though I didn’t actually check that station. Frankly, I am Poped out. Nice guy, but glad he went home. Hope I don’t burn in hell for that! Those port-a-potties are scary


Suzanne Fluhr September 29, 2015 at 4:04 pm

If you’re going to burn in hell for thinking that it was time for the Pope to go home, I’ll be the person next to you. Just thinking that the porta-potties might be confessionals is probably enough to earn me a one way ticket. 🙂


Maggibee September 29, 2015 at 7:23 am

First – the porta potties. So many! As for Papal coverage on TV, after a while I used my favourite button on the remote and the room was happily silent and Pope free.
And the fleas? Don’t have a dog except when I find myself dogsitting Kitty, so they don’t bother me. They do remind me why we don’t have pets, though!
And your stencil idea is just genius. The finished piece looks like jewels dangling and the simplicity of the shapes focuses the eye on the patterns. Inspired.
And your class? Told you it would be good, didn’t I?


Suzanne Fluhr September 29, 2015 at 4:06 pm

My stencil was more a case of necessity being the mother of invention or maybe it was divine inspiration from having the Pope in my hometown.


Susan September 29, 2015 at 7:36 am

Perfect stencil for making jewels. Clever idea, love your result.


Roz Warren September 29, 2015 at 9:35 am

The Pope drove right by me on City Avenue last Saturday. I now have a lovely photo of his Fiat.


Suzanne Fluhr September 29, 2015 at 4:07 pm

The one thing I would have liked to have seen was all the major roads, streets and highways in Philly and environs shut down. I truly don’t get why they had to close the Schuylkill expressway all the way from the Blue Route to the Delaware River.


Charlotte Carpentier September 29, 2015 at 10:00 am

I love what you did with the stencil you had on hand. Part of my point was adaptability. This idea was born from my love of collecting stencils, that I have never done anything with. Bravo!


Suzanne Fluhr September 29, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Charlotte, at first I was thinking, “Now, what am I going to do with nary a stencil in sight”, but once I found that one template, I was happy to be forced to think outside the box, so thank you for the challenge.


Lily M. September 29, 2015 at 10:54 am

Beautiful 🙂


nan @ lbddiaries September 29, 2015 at 12:47 pm

I have many stencils, some like yours, others Engineers tend to write with to have straight lines – weird. I don’t know why I have so many. Minor flea attack years ago when son’s dog visited, grrr. And hey, at least PA CARES if people need a Porta Potty or not!! Imagine the hassle if they were not there. They are kinda cute, stretched off there, and their white signs (?) kinda look like a Zentangle design – which is why I didn’t recognize what they were at first (smile)!! Your stencil one looks like slinky earrings!!


Karen Lynn September 29, 2015 at 1:15 pm

That is a really cool tile–a very creative use of available resources! Makes a great collection of imaginative jewelry.

Yes to all three questions.


Jean Chaney September 29, 2015 at 1:23 pm

I love your finished piece! I used to make jewelry and I have a cork board hanging in the bedroom where I display my bracelets and necklaces. Your piece sure looks a lot like that. Fleas, none in our yard. We have fake grass. My dog is grateful 🙂 (Water needs to be conserved here is hot AZ!) Pope? Didn’t watch a minute. And, stencils, well if anybody says I need something, I go out and buy it. So, yes I have tons 🙂


Pat September 29, 2015 at 3:04 pm

You made me laugh about the ports potties. I love how creative you got with this. It looks like stringed beads awaiting!


Diana Schreur September 29, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Congratulations with your first class. It must have been great, according to your mosaic. I like your jewel-looking work for this challenge. A totaly different approache. Thats what I like when I surf through other peoples work, how everybody can come up with great idea’s.
Well done :).


Ilse Lukken September 29, 2015 at 3:38 pm

That’s a great result! I love all the different parts, they make a great tile together!


Annie September 29, 2015 at 4:49 pm

I love that you give us a story (and it’s reassuring because I did the same this week!) I have flea references too…that’s possibly a bit weird. But I would never ever try to compete in the porta potty league – that is definitely weird!

As for your rather uninspiring stencil, I have to say you’ve made a glorious thing from it! Absolutely beautiful.



Devin September 29, 2015 at 7:00 pm

I get SUCH a kick out of your blog, which I’ve just discovered. Love what you did with this. And the PortaPotties bit was hilarious. Hope your doggie is now flea-free.


Suzanne Fluhr September 30, 2015 at 11:32 pm

Thanks for reading my blog! Come back anytime. 🙂


Sheila Grube September 30, 2015 at 10:31 am

WOW!! This is fantastic! I have to admit, when I saw the stencil you used, I wondered how you could possibly make anything remotely ‘pretty’ out of that. Well, I am silenced. This is amazing work. Congrats on your first class and tangle!


Maddy Resendes September 30, 2015 at 1:38 pm

I want to wear earrings based on your Tangle!! Maybe you can collaborate with a jewelry maker. I know others have noted the jewel like quality of your result, but seriously – earrings – a bracelet, necklace – anything you come up with based on your tile – I would gladly wear. Il Papa (is it Il in Italian?)- what can be said – a fascinating peek into a world I can’t pretend to understand. All I can say is it is clear that ones connection to the Pope, especially if Catholic, runs very, very deep. Deeper than someone raised by an atheist can totally grok – but I like him – and he is clearly not trying to please everyone, but being himself – ie. from the supposed secret meeting wherein the Pope encourages the “no-can-do if you are the same sex marriage license clerk” to baldly suggesting in person to Congress that we take responsibility for climate change’s affect on our collective planet/home. He’s definitely a “take what you like and leave the rest” proposition. But he does seem to inspire one not to “throw out the baby with the bath water”.


Suzanne Fluhr September 30, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Thanks for the immensely meaty comment!


Donna Pilato October 2, 2015 at 2:57 pm

So glad you made time to do this – what a great effect your stencil provided – like others said, it looks like strings of beaded jewelry. Very cool.


Betsy Wilson October 2, 2015 at 4:08 pm

Cool what you did with that stencil! And nicely done! Congrats on your first class! Like tangling, teaching can also be addictive. But such a positive addiction!


Leslie in Oregon October 21, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Re the Pope’s visit: I did watch the Pope’s address to Congress on my computer and (even though I’m not Catholic). I admired him for it. That caused me to pay attention to the rest of his visit, via computer, as much as I could. Starting a 6-day visit with my son, I flew into JFK the afternoon of the day he left New York City for Philadelphia. Whether it was because of the Pope’s visit or the 150 world leaders in town, I found the mood in the city (Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens) very pleasant. As a resident of Manhattan in the gritty early 1970’s and a frequent visitor over the last 14 years, I love visiting the city now more than ever: for me, it is a challenging but fascinating, vibrant, positive place. Regarding fleas: they have become particularly vexing in the last two years, and many long-successful remedies have ceased to work. Desperate during the summer of 2014, we went to our vet for a tutorial and advice, changed the topical flea medication we administer to our dogs monthly and have had no problems since. Regarding stencils: we have the same stencil at home that you found. Ours is a remnant from our children’s school days. I like what you did with it, even though I don’t dare catch the Zentangle bug (not retired yet so not enough time).


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