Monday, December 31, 2012

Wishing a Happy New Year to all!

So ends 2012 in one hour. I wanted to share one more post for this year.

One of the CZT's living in CT asked all of the CZT's to send zentangles® or zia art ( zentangle inspired art ) work for a project she called "Heal the Love". She was going to deliver them to the school after the tragedy that left a community & the nation grieving.

Today we were told that the school is requesting that no more items be sent. The school is overwhelmed with the out pouring of mail & gifts. The nation has reached out to comfort those who have suffered so much loss. 

The request for our project was that with every stoke, we were to bring love & healing into our piece. It took many days to come up with the images that I wished to convey.

I wanted to share the two mandalas that I created & sent to the CZT. The first one I titled "Metamorphose". Children remind me of the stages the butterfly goes through. My hope is that all the love can make their lives beautiful & they emerge as beautiful butterflies (adults).

This mandala tile below, I titled "Sending love in the breeze". I wanted to use lots of zentangles  amongst the hearts. I also wanted to incorporate a woman to represent a safe, gentle & nurturing figure.  I do not have experience with drawing people, so I feel that my figure was a bit out of proportion.  One of the lessons in doing zentangle is to allow things to be as they are & work with them. The lesson in life, recovery & or wellness is to not seek for perfection. Perfection does not exist. Chasing this illusion only adds to chasing ones tail. What is important is to try your best, find acceptance in yourself, enjoy the process & work towards improvement. 

One thing in life that has helped me is to be grateful. Some people make a practice out of writing a gratitude list everyday. When I have felt really down I think about three things that I am grateful for today. When that has proven to be especially challenging, I am grateful to have flushing toilets, running water & a bed to sleep in.

Instead of writing a list daily, I practice being grateful to anyone proving any service for me. How many times do you thank someone, cashier, food servers, bus driver, etc.? Some people believe that "it's their job & they should be thanking me". I agree & it makes me feel good when they do. It makes me feel even better when I thank them.

We can create positive energy & pass it around to others. Even if someone does not thank me, I still chose to be thankful. Just as if you smile at someone who passes by you, some may smile back & others will not. Positivity can spread to others just as negativity can. Any environment that has a positive energy is nicer to be in than one full of negativity. In the world, we can use all the positive energy we can summon. What do you do to create a more peaceful & positive place in the world?

So next time your mood is feeling low, think about three things you are grateful for. This can be a useful tool to use just before bedtime or when you wake up & start getting ready for the day.
This is something you can do everyday no matter how you feel. Feel free to let me know your thoughts about this or what works for you!

Thank you & happy New Year!

Enriching our lives through uncovering pathways.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Follow up on Shrink film project & the tools for wellness.

I went to work & cut the sheet up after my first test strip. The instructions stated that the film will be 1/3 to 1/2 the original size. The recommended heat was 300 to 350 degrees. I used 310. Some of my pieces were 2" by 3" before baking. Some were even larger & some smaller. All of my pieces shrank to 1/3 original size. The recommended baking time was 2 to 3 mins. I went for 2 mins. or more.

The first test piece did not turn out so well. The corners curled but did not flatten out along the top. All the other pieces I lightly trimmed the corners before baking. I think this helped. Still I had some pieces that did not end up with perfect edges. During the baking the pieces curl as they shrink, then flatten out. As I went along baking, I tried some techniques.

What I learned so far is that putting extra parchment paper on top helped to flatten the pieces out. This does make it more challenging to see if the pieces are ready to come out of the oven. Peaking under the parchment when you think it is ready is good to do. You can then see if the edges are flat. If they are not flat, you can flatten them with a spatula before removing them from the oven. When you then take them out of the oven, give them an extra flattening with the spatula right away. Be sure to open the windows while baking as the fumes become somewhat noxious. 

Here are the pieces that came out well.

The top row will be a bracelet . The others are going to be ear rings.

I will now need to do some light sanding on some of the edges. Then I will apply a coat of clear nail polish to seal the pieces. Once this is dry I will attach the jump rings & any other products as desired to complete the projects into finished jewelry pieces. I will post photos of the projects when they are completed. 

I must say, I really like the patterns even more when they have been shrunk. They look so intricate & precise. Some patterns have an unusual sheen after baking that looks quite lovely. I enjoyed this so much that I am going to zentangle another sheet of film right away. Only this time, I will cut the sheet into smaller sections so the patterns will be more deliberate.

I hope you will find some inspiration to make some time for yourself. Pick a project that you have supplies for at home. Gather your things together & get started today! With the holiday shoppers filling up the stores, it may be nicer to stay home using supplies you already have.

When it comes to wellness tools, be sure you are watching for triggers. Do crowds leave you feeling anxious, irritable or uncomfortable? Can you shop during times with the least amount of other shoppers or shop online? Can you do your holiday shopping earlier, before or after the holiday? How about making gifts your self?

If money is a factor that leaves you feeling stressed, what do you do about that? If you have busy friends or family you can offer baby sitting or child care service. You can offer pet sitting services such as walking the dogs. Maybe dropping by to feed, water & give some attention to the pets when the family goes on vacation.
This also works for watering the plants or yard, collecting the newspapers & mail. If you answered yes to any of these suggestions, make a gift coupon with the service you would like to preform. Be specific about the number of visits, hours or details of what you wish to offer. This really can be a great gift that will not cost you any money, except for transportation to get there & home again.

Do you have a talent that someone else would appreciate?
If you sew, you can offer your service to mend, alter or make clothing for someone. If you can knit or crochet, you can make blanket, hats, scarves or mittens to give as gifts. Do you like to do yard work or have a green thumb? You can offer assistance to fix up the yard, weed or start a vegetable garden. How about painting? You can offer to paint something, doors, rooms, fence. You could just paint a picture to give as a gift. Do you like cleaning? Can you offer to wash dishes, windows, vacuum or dust?

There is no limit to the creative possibilities. Some would not cost you anything, especially when you can use up things you already have at home. Do not be afraid to give practical gifts at any occasion. I once gave a case of toilet paper to a friend at her bridal shower. She often ran out before this gift. Another bridal shower, I gave a box full of kitchen & bathroom paper products including foil, plastic wrap, wax paper & baggies of many sizes. Later the bride to be said this was a great gift to help her set up the home faster, saving her money to.

We live in a very commercial time but practical still has value & will always have a place. So take charge of holiday stresses & do not forget about taking care of your self.

Enriching our lives through uncovering pathways.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shrink Plastic project.

Yesterday I spent time zentangling an entire sheet of white Grafix Shrink Film. I first started with the Sakura Micron ink pen but it tended to smear a lot. Grafix recommended that I use permanent markers. I wiped the Micron ink off & turned over the shrink film. I pulled out my set of Sakura Microperm pens 01, 03 & 05 in black ink. I did not draw any string but just started working one pattern at a time straight across. After 4 patterns in I decided to change it up adding patterns here & there. Here is the scan of the entire sheet before I cut it up.

I have never used shrink film before. I have seen projects for shrink film in the book Zentangle® 5 by Suzanne McNeill CZT. 
If you like making jewelry, this is a good book to add to your collection. She incorporates zentangle with leather, glass, domino's,  polymer clay, resin, bottle caps, wood, shrink film & abalone shell.

I am not following the specific instructions from the book. The instructions state to bake a test strip. I will cut one piece & use it for the test. Once I have an idea how much it really shrinks, then I can cut up the entire sheet.

This is a fun project so far. I love to make jewelry, so this will be a new addition to that hobby. I will post again with a follow up on this project. 

Enriching our lives through uncovering pathways.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Invitation to a free event on Jan. 4th, 2013.

Come & join us to learn about Zentangle®. 
At the Expressive Arts Institute,  Judith Greer Essex PhD, REAT.  & Wes Chester MA, CAGS will be hosting this free event so that I may introduce you to the many benefits of Zentangle.

The Expressive Arts Institute San Diego, 
located at 2820 Roosevelt Road, San Diego, Ca. 92106 

January 4, 2013 from 5pm to 7:30pm & yes it is FREE!
Please check out the Expressive Arts Institute meet up page for more information on this & other events.

I will be giving hands on demonstrations & bring examples of different mediums that can be used.  I have been using zentangle as a wellness tool for myself & teaching it to others for the same purpose. It works & you will be surprised by the results, in more ways than one!

We would love to see you there. Take advantage of this event to see what Zentangle is all about.

Enriching our lives through uncovering pathways.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Benefits of Zentangle.

I have been very interested in the benefits of doing zentangle®. It is being taught all over the world by CZT's (Certified Zentangle Teachers). There are people teaching this that are not certified. You will not get the same experience including secret tangle patterns created by Rick Roberts & Maria Thomas (the creators) of Zentangle®. There are a few CZT's serving San Diego County, including myself. You can check out more about CZT's at

If you can hold a pencil or pen, no matter your age you can learn this meditative art. If you can make a dot, small line, a curved line then you can learn to do this. Every stroke is deliberate & repetitive. No art experience is required. Zentangle is non representative of objects. It is done in black ink using Micron pens on off white Fabriano paper tiles. They have black tiles made of the same paper & we use white ink on these. We use the finest ink & paper for our creations, because we are worth it! When done with these supplies the work is even more beautiful.

Some of the benefits that others have seen first hand are lowering of blood pressure, creating a sense of calm, reducing anxiety & agitation, improves concentration & focus, improves eye hand coordination, etc. I read about a nurse that used this while children were given their chemo treatments. She said the children would all cry during the treatments. She gave them supplies & taught them how to zentangle. When the children came in for their chemo treatment she would give them their supplies & they would start to zentangle. Children were no longer crying during treatments. They were distracted & had something positive to show family & friends. What a great wellness tool!

I have read that a pain support group gets together to zentangle. I know that it works well on pain management. I have back pain. When I have taught classes & had to stand for awhile, I do not feel the pain during the class or for awhile after. Others with chronic pain have told me that they do not have pain when they have been in my class.

Students of all ages have been given time to zentangle before taking a test. When they chose to do zentangle before the test, their scores are much improved. One elementary principle reports that two students got into a conflict & were sent to him. He gave both students tiles & pens to do zentangles there at his desk. After a short time, they discussed what had happened & the students were able to resolve the conflict in a very calm manner. There are some schools, mostly on the east coast, were the entire school spend time everyday to zentangle. Zentangle started on the east coast because that is where Rick & Maria live & teach.

When I worked at the women's jail teaching Wellness & Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) classes, if we had some extra time at the end, I would teach them zentangle as part of their toolbox for recovery. This is a good tool for those with addiction challenges. Instead of picking up & using (drugs & alcohol) pick up your pen & paper to create something positive. Great for a distraction tool.

Lastly I find it also improves self-esteem & confidence. It is pretty cool to see that you have created something uniquely your own. Even when I have everyone in a class do the same tangles, each one looks different. I had a student that could not sit through the class. He would rush when drawing. He then would become frustrated because the tangles would not work out. He overcame his challenge & was able to slow it down. He was so proud when he completed a project. He has found confidence, pride & joy. He expands his creative side in many more ways now.

I have some more of my work I would love to share with you. Enjoy!  

                         This tile was completed on 2/21/12

                                        This one was completed 9/14/11.

                           This one was completed 12/20/11.

     My friends say this one looks like a headless snowman but it's not. It only looks this way at this orientation. If you turn it on it's side or upside down it will look different. This is true with all zentangles. They do not have a right side up. When you create tiles you turn them as you add your strokes. 
This one was completed 9/13/11.

This tile was done in collaboration with another student & myself when we were taking classes with a CZT. This was before we both became CZT's. This was a fun collaboration!
 Both of us went to RI to become CZT's.

This is an official mandala tile.
 This is the 2nd one I have done.
These tiles are larger than the official square tiles.
It was completed on 11/17/12

Enriching our lives through uncovering pathways.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

            Today I would like to show you some of my work!

                         Those were done in October 2011.  
                 They were done on official Zentangle® tiles.  
 Some of the patterns used on the top one are; Rain, Zander,        Rick's Paradox, Betweed variation, Cubine variation. Some of the patterns used on the bottom one are; Rick's Paradox & Laced.  

    Here are two more. The bottom one was done in Sept. 2011.
              Some patterns from the top one are Betweed & Laced.
                          The bottom one I made up mostly.

                        Here is another example of Betweed. 
For those who may have noticed, I forgot to initial the tile because it was on the back of the tile above, made with Betweed & Laced. This was more of a practice one.

        Here are two official Zentangle® tiles with Rick's Paradox.
                                  I did these in October 2011.

You will find that many web sites & blogs have instructional steps to patterns. Give them a try. There are some books you can purchase with patterns & ideas for creating tangled art including Zia art.  Zia means zentangle inspired art. To really experience the Zen, you will need to sign up for some classes with a real Certified Zentangle® Teacher. So do some exploring on your own,  & when you are ready, sign up for classes. You may choose to take classes first, setting sail to a Zen way, for better mental & physical health!

I hope you enjoyed viewing my first postings of some of my work!
Uncovering Pathways is my first blog experience. There is definitely a learning curve. I have a great mentor providing guidance, for which I am truly grateful! She was my teacher & inspiration to become a CZT, just like her! Thank you Suzanne at Tinkered Art!  Please check out her blog at

             Enriching our lives through uncovering pathways.