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Just Believe!

Hi Everyone,

Since this is the season for believing… I wanted to share some of my core beliefs. 

I believe that compassion leads to connection, which in turn leads to community. 
I believe that we are stronger as a community than we are individually. 
I believe that one of the best ways to build community is to reach out in love, and act with kindness and integrity. 

Kudos to fellow scribe Helga Cuypers of Belgium for knowing that JUST BELIEVE was the only phrase on my holiday lettering style sheet which I lettered with a Pigma® Micron®. 

I believe that each of us has the ability-- and the sacred responsibility-- to make the world a better place and I'd like your help in making a difference for others this holiday season. The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, yet statistically it is the time of year when many people feel overwhelmed, lonely or depressed, and I believe that we can each make a difference for someone who has had a rough year. Towards that end, I'm trying to compile a list of simple, creative kindnesses, that are easy and affordable to do. I'm looking on this as a collaborative effort, and hope you'll take a few minutes to share your ideas by leaving a comment.
Believe in yourself
Believe in your dreams
Believe in your ability to make a difference…



In honor of Hanukkah, I wanted to share a FREE downloadable Create, Color, Pattern, Play page from my book L’Chaim: Celebrate Life, Judaic Expressions to Color & Inspire.

which you can download by clicking HEREI’d love to see what you do with the design, have set up a folder in the Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play FB group where you can post your lettering creations. Here is the link:

For those who are not familiar with the story, Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem two centuries before the time of Christ. The Temple had been desecrated by Antiochus IV's troops, and when the Jewish people wanted to light the Eternal Lamp which acknowleges God's holy presence, they discovered that there was only enough oil to keep the lamp lit for one day. The miracle of Hanukkah is that the one day’s worth of oil lasted for eight days— enough time for more oil to be procured.
Last week I shared a Christmas-colored “Believe” Dangle design… so this week I want to share a Hanukah Dangle:
And in closing, I wanted to share a tutorial on rainbow metallic lettering, which I filmed earlier this year for the PBS show Scrapbook Soup, hosted by my friend Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Here is a photo of Julie and me on the set:

And here is a photo of the rainbow metallic lettering (done with Sakura’s awesome metallic Gelly Roll® pens) I demonstrate in the episode:

If you’d like to watch, look for Scrapbook Soup episode 511, which will be posted to the Scrapbook Soup website for seven days, starting at noon on Friday, December 11, 2015. I’d love to know what you think!

Stay Zenspired,






Let's Letter!

Hi Everyone,
Sometimes we begin momentous things without even realizing it… in November of 2008, when I picked up a Pigma® Micron® pen and began to draw patterned monograms, I had absolutely no idea that Zenspirations® would result. I just knew that I loved the interaction of ink on paper, and was delighted to be experimenting with a tool I hadn’t used before. I love to letter! It’s such an integral part of my work that I want to encourage you to incorporate hand-lettered, inspiring sentiments into your designs. So tonight, I’m going to share some of my favorite lettering styles with you, and since I get a lot of questions about what tools I prefer, I’ll tell you what I use— and where you can get them.                                                                  
As many of you know, I am an unabashed fan of all the products that Sakura makes. I love the quality and variety of awesome tools, and am impressed that they pioneer innovative inks and other products. I like their tools so much that I actually filmed a video a few years ago called “Sakura Fanatic”.


Once I discovered Sakura’s cool tools, they quickly rose to the top of my “must haves” list. But there are other things I use, so I've put together a list of all the supplies I recommend, and asked my friend John Neal of John Neal Bookseller to stock them for us. John's been my ‘go-to’ resource for calligraphic art supplies and books for more than 30 years, and he was kind enough to set up a special page on his website listing my books, books I recommend, and my favorite papers, drawing, coloring & lettering tools: 



INTERNATIONAL READERS -- John ships worldwide, so if you have been having trouble finding my books where you live, you can order them from John and he’ll send them to you. Click HERE to visit my page on his website.                                                                                                                                                                                             
So now that you know where to get calligraphy supplies, let’s talk about lettering. The holiday season is a great time to experiment with new tools and practice different styles; you can create hand-lettered holiday signs, quotes, cards, and/or address envelopes to special friends and family members.                                       
The Holiday Lettering Sampler below is a mix of styles done with a variety of tools: broad edged pen, pointed pen, pointed brush, and one (and only one!) was lettered with a Micron. (Leave a comment if you think you know which one :-). 


Sometimes I like to work words into shapes:
Here’s another example of a ‘calligram’— lettering in the shape of an object:
Here is an example of how three simply lettered words add interest to the design:       
So now that you've seen a variety of styles, let me show you how to do the first style I learned: Italic. Earlier this year I filmed several videos for Sakura showing how to do Italic lettering with their new Pigma Calligrapher broad-edged pen. I’d recommend watching the videos in this order:                                                  





You can click HERE to get to the video section of my website.

I’d love to see some of YOUR lettering, and have set up a folder in the Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play FB group where you can post your lettering creations. Here is the link:

If you enjoy lettering, and would like me to share other styles, please leave a comment to let me know what type of lettering you’d most like to see:

*more broad-edged pen

*brush lettering

*patterned monograms

*dangle monograms

*built-up lettering

Before closing tonight, I’d like to say “WOW!” I am delighted with all of the beautifully rendered images of the coloring pages I’ve posted the past couple of weeks. It will be REALLY hard to pick which ones to include as inspiration samples in Expressions of Nature. But it was easy to pick the winners of the contest— I gave my intern all the names and he ran them through his random name generating software. Congratulations to:

Genna Stead Wangsness, who won DO Magazine’s first TWO issues;

Wanda Smith Radler, who won a copy of my inspirational gift book, With God All Things Are Possible; and      

Jamie Torres, who won a A copy of Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern & Play Birds & Butterflies book!

Ladies, please send me your addresses so I can get you your prizes.

For those of you who enjoy Dangles, I wanted share a Believe Dangle design with you:

I created it as a holiday card last year, and it is one of my favorite designs. I hope you'll try your hand at lettering & Dangling-- I BELIEVE that I will see some awesome things posted!

Stay Zenspired,






A Gratitude Inspired Life

Hi Everyone,

To many people Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday shopping season, but I try to celebrate Thanksgiving the way our country's founders intended… by giving thanks for the many blessings of my life. For me, gratitude is both a conscious choice, and a spiritual practice. It's a way of looking at the world. 

I strive to look for the blessing in every situation— especially the most challenging ones— and have developed a technique I call Zenspirations® Meditative Journaling to help me stay grounded in gratitude. This involves putting pen to paper the moment I awaken. Some days I draw, some days I write, some days I letter… but I always try to use my journaling time to connect with God.  
Unlike my more finished work, my morning journals are not meant to be pieces of art, but simply to express what is in my heart. As I count my blessings, I often begin the day journaling a letter of thanks to God; like the ones below.


Other days what pours out of my pen are heartfelt notes to myself, like these:


Still other days I try to focus on the needs I encounter among my friends & family, and the different communities I belong to:
I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this amazing creative community, and to express my gratitude I’m sharing three new FREE downloadable Create, Color, Pattern, Play pages. They are from my next book, Expressions of Nature.


Click here to download your free copy of FEATHERS & LEAVES DANGLES.



Click here to download your free copy of BOLD FLOWERS & LINES:


Click here to download your free copy of DELICATE FLOWER.

I hope you’ll enjoy using these pages as a springboard for YOUR creativity. Coloring is a great way to relax, and can be enjoyed with friend and family as a group activity, so think about printing out some of the pages, and bringing coloring tools to your holiday celebrations. I’d love to see what you do with these pages, and have set up folders in the Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook Group where you can post your designs. Here is the link: You can get to the albums by clicking the Photos button underneath the imagine banner.                                                       
There is no contest this week, but if you are interested in having your work considered for inclusion in my next book, please post your design(s) by the end of the month. On December 1st my editor and I will choose some additional inspiration samples from the posted designs.
Although most people look forward to the holidays, for those who have lost loved ones, holidays can be lonely and sad. I know this first hand; it’s been four years since my husband died unexpectedly, and even though I’m looking forward to being with his family for Thanksgiving, I still can’t help wishing that Andy were here to celebrate with us. When you lose someone you love your world is turned upside down, especially the first few years after the loss (yes, I said YEARS, not weeks or months).    
Although I am strong in my faith and deeply committed to living a gratitude inspired life, it takes extra resolve at this time of year to keep hope in your heart. I’m lucky that my children and I have someplace to go for Thanksgiving. Some of my widow friends who used to host the holiday, don't have anywhere to go this year because no one has invited them (and their children) to join their family's celebration. So this is my request for those of you who will be hosting Thanksgiving: if you have an extra seat (or two or three) at your holiday table, please reach out to someone who’s lost a loved one and make sure they have a place to go. Even if they don’t join you, by reaching out you will be letting them know someone cares.    
And if you have experienced the type of loss which makes the holidays challenging… YOU ARE NOT ALONE… please don’t be afraid to ask for help— or a hug— if you need one. If there is something else you need that the Zenspirations community can provide, please leave a comment letting us know how we can help.I belong to many communities... but I am especially grateful to be a part of our Zenspirations® community. I love the positive and kind ways we support and encourage one another. 
If you have a few moments, please leave a comment letting me know how Zenspirations® has touched your life, and what you are especially grateful for. 

Stay Zenspired,







Expressions of Nature

Hi Everyone,
The art for my next book in the Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play series, Expressions of Nature is due in less than a month! The book was originally going to be called “Leaves & Trees”, so naturally the cover design features a tree.
As usual, I am looking to the incredibly talented team of Zenspirations Color & Creativity Enthusiasts to create the full-color inspiration samples for the book. And to make it fun for everyone I’m running another contest! 

For every design you post (and yes, you may post more than one version of the same page), your name will be entered into a random drawing for one of the following prizes:                                                                  

1. DO Magazine’s first TWO issues (the 2nd issue just hit the newsstands yesterday) 

2. A copy of my inspirational gift book, With God All Things Are Possible.

3. A copy of Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern & Play Birds & Butterflies book. 

If you post two designs, you’ll have two chances to win; if you post five designs, you’ll have five chances to win. The prizes winners will be selected at random; the pieces to include in the new book will be selected by my editor and me.

When you are working on your pages please keep in mind that this is a collaborative effort— what sets Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern & Play apart from all of the other coloring books on the market is that there is room on each page to add your own patterns and special touches before coloring. I look at my work as a springboard for YOURS… and invite you to embellish the pages in whatever way you like. I especially encourage your to add text which inspires you… as well as additional illustrations to make the design come alive. Of course it is fine to simply color the pages if you prefer… I'd love to include at least one simple, beautifully colored image, along with interpretive patterned art, in the inspiration gallery for Expressions of Nature.
1. You will need to post your creations by end of day Sunday, November 29th. 

2. My editor and I are looking for designs which will inspire others by showing a variety of coloring and patterning techniques, so don’t be afraid to try different things. The more you do the better your chance to be included in the book or win a prize!                         

3. VERY IMPORTANT: PUT YOUR NAME, e-dress and phone number on each design before you scan or photograph it!
4. Post your images IN the appropriate album in the new Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook Group. Here is the link:  You can get to the albums by clicking the Photos button underneath the imagine banner.

5. If your art is selected, you’ll need to send my publisher a high-res scan (300 dpi) or the original art so they can scan it, and you’ll need to sign a Permission-to-Publish form.
6. Because the books will not be printed on paper which accepts wet media, please DO NOT use watercolors or any other type of wet media. Color pencils, gel pens, markers and crayons are all fine. 
7. Submitting pages is not a guarantee that they will be selected for inclusion.

8. Artists whose work is selected will be given credit in the book, and will receive two free copies of the book when it is published. 

9. I would like to include inspiration samples from as many ‘Color & Creativity Enthusiasts’ as I can, so I hope you’ll help me spread the word about the new book— and that I’m looking to showcase art from a variety of different people. Please invite some of your creative friends to participate!

10. You can e-mail me ( if you have any questions: please put  “ZENSPIRATIONS® COLORING ENTHUSIAST QUESTIONS” in the subject line.                                                  
Here are the images.

Click here to download OWL IN TREE.


Click here to download FOLLOW YOUR HEART FISH:


Click here to download BOLD FLOWER


Click here to download SWIRLY TREE.


But before this next contest gets underway, I’d like to congratulate the winners of the two contests we had last month. 

Congratulations to the winners of the “Color Peace” blog from October 20th (and if you haven’t had a chance to see the truly extraordinary work that was submitted for Flowers of Faith, be sure to check out the albums for the Be Still Sign and This is the Day Tree in the Zenspirations Create, Color, Pattern, Play FB Group):


Hannah Ballesteros, who won a set of the five new Create, Color, Pattern, Play books: Birds & Butterflies, Expressions of Faith, the mini “Perfectly Portable Pages” Color Peace,   Judaic Expressions, and the soon-to-be-released Flowers of Faith;
Kaleena Gharky, who won a Zenspirations® rubber stamp or clear stamp set by Impression Obsession, and      
Kathryn Leonard, who won a ‘Dangle Design’ Name Sign.

My heartfelt thanks to the 90+ people who shared their thoughts on what to include in my upcoming line of Color, Create, Pattern, Play gift and stationery products in the comment section of the Oct. 27th Coloring Products contest. Your input was invaluable and greatly appreciated. My awesome intern analyzed the data (thanks Nathaniel!), and I thought I'd share the charts he made for those who are interested. 





Thank you again to everyone who participated. The line is scheduled to debut at the Atlanta Gift Show in January. I’ll post pictures when I get the prototypes.

Congratulations to:
Susan Steinke, who won my new 2016 Scripture Calendar (from Hopper Press) & two packages of Scripture Clear Stamps (from Impression Obsession);
Wendy Jo Avey, who won DO Magazine’s 1st TWO issues 
Dorie Osisek, who won a set of 2 Zenspirations Cool Cups (from Tree Free Greetings); and
Terresa Shubert, who won the grand prize of a set of whatever products get made!
Ladies if you can please e-mail me your addresses I’ll get the packages underway.

Before signing off tonight, I have a favor to ask. If you have gotten any of the new Create, Color, Pattern, Play books, especially if you purchased them from Amazon, would you please take a few minutes to write a review? Apparently the more reviews a book gets, the more it gets promoted by Amazon. I’d especially appreciate reviews for Birds & Butterflies, and L’Chaim: Celebrate Life. Here is a screen shot of the four newest titles:



While I was on Amazon I noticed that the Inspirations book is on sale for $5.64, which is the lowest price I’ve ever seen it. I know many of you already have this one, but since the holidays are coming up I thought you might like to know about the sale. 

Hope you enjoy the coloring pages... I look forward to seeing your creativity at work!                                                                                                               
Stay Zenspired,







It's Always Something

Hi Everyone,

I am having some technical challenges tonight, and hope to have them resolved soon, 'cause I have a LOT to share this week... so please stay tuned, and as always,

Stay Zenspired,