Monthly Archives: August 2012

Mandala & Zentangle®

I had a recent conversation with Suzanne McNeill, CZT who has published 12 books over the past 2 years on Zentangle® method of drawing and Zentangle-inspired art.

My work appears in Zentangle 5 and in both Zentangle 7 Zendalas & Zentangle 8: Monograms & Alphabets and The Joy of Zentangle, in addition to a Zentangle On Silk You Tube video also produced by Suzanne’s company.
Suzanne’s books and publicity have been instrumental in making Zentangle popular and I am honored that she has agreed to teach a Zendala mini-class at the Marketing Retreat for Certified Zentangle Teachers on Labor Day weekend 2012 – see the YouTube video HERE.

A Zendala is a term coined by the Zentangle Corporation that is a Zentangle in the form of a mandala. The patterns are drawn to fill each section of a circle.

Zendala by Joan Singer, CZT

Joan started this Zendala in one of my classes!

Mandala circles have been used to connect the spirit with the divine for centuries. They offer symbols found in nature as subjects of contemplation. These circle provide an opportunity to explore oneself through ancient teachings.

To create a Zen Mandala, you need only a circle template, a pen and your creative imagination. There are also pre-printed Zendala tiles available for purchase through any CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher) or the official Zentangle website.
The samples above were created from the Zendala collection by the Zentangle Corporation. A set of pre-printed tiles includes 2 tiles each of 9 different designs plus 3 blank round tiles.

For optimal pattern choices, take a class from a CZT in your area.

Zentangle and CZT are the registered trademarked intellectual property of Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.  For more information about Zentangle, please visit


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String StartersTM for Zentangle® Inspired Art

String Starters logo
I came up with the idea of this post and to explain how to use the String Starters digital and rubber stamp line I created earlier this year for the craft industry.

String Starters were created to assist my students with time-saving and pattern making techniques. The digitally created pattern “base” is used to start the pattern.

Pattern animations with String Starters

Patterns you can create with String StartersTM

One of the foundational techniques used when creating a Zentangle involves drawing a “string” – an impulsive line that creates the boundary, or area in which you draw (or “tangle”) your patterns. String’s are not absolute. You just use them as a guide and then “go for it” with your pen.

Tile with a String, Tile with Patterns

LEFT: A String is lightly drawn on an official Zentangle tile. RIGHT: Patterns drawn within the String with a Sakura Pigma Micron pen.

String Starters are not, technically a string, they are helpers that start the patterns you tangle within a string.

There are 12 sets of patterns in the String Starters stamp line.

String Starters, It’s only the BeginningTM of your Zentangle inspired art because you can go in so many different, creative directions using them.

I am using words associated with the Zentangle drawing technique as a SEO strategy because Zentangle is a VERY popular art form and a buzz word in the craft industry.

I will promote my post on Facebook, the site and through my email marketing list (Constant Contact) AFTER I migrate this blog site to my established domain – since this blog is a subdomain off url.

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Special Kids, Special Parents, A Special Leader

Having a special needs child brings a different perspective of where I fit into our community. The key word here is “fit”.  I think, we all need to feel like we “fit in” somewhere with a sense of belonging, and contribution in our society.

So, when my husband and 3 children moved from California to Texas, nearly 20 years ago, I found different ways to fill that need through my kids, mostly through, my son, Alex and his activities.

Alex (the eldest), was born with a craniofacial disorder called Treacher Collins syndrome. One of the anomalies associated with this syndrome is that he has no outer ears or cheek bones which makes Alex look “different”.

The special education community in our town, has always been supportive to special needs, integrating the “special” kids within the school system, but there was a family who advocated the differences of these kids in a profound way. The Ratliff family shined a positive light that not only impacted our family, but the entire community.

Beccy and Bennett Ratliff also have 3 kids. Their son, Thomas, born with special needs, prompted Bennett to advocate a voice of integration within the sports community, so he coached the first special needs baseball team that integrated our kids into a sport they would otherwise never participate in and feel “included” on a social level.

I really had no idea at the time, that Bennett Ratliff, a man with his heart in the right place as a public servant, would become a candidate to represent the state of Texas nearly 15 years later, in this year’s Republican run-off election for District 115!
While Bennett won the run-off election, our kids win through community sponsored events.

Thomas and Alex stay involved with Special Olympics.

Bennett & Thomas Ratliff

Bennett & Thomas Ratliff

Alex & Thomas

Thomas & Alex – Special Olympics Bowling Tournament – April 2011

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