artwork reviews

Tangle Troves™

Last week, I received a prototype of a new product called Tangle Troves™ by Kelly Barone. Tangled Troves is a subscription product where subscribers will receive a monthly box of tools and goodies for tanglers.


This is the box I received. It included a nice variety of items; some regular size Zentangle® tiles, and Bijou size tiles with a magnetic frame that fits the Bijou tile perfectly. Also, a lovely envelope for Zendala tiles, a sheet of sticky-back vinyl that can be coloured with markers, a paper doily, a new tangle by Kelly Barone, and more.

Tangled Trove contents

A nice touch… The instructions came as a message in a bottle.

message in a bottle

My first activity from the box, tangling and colouring the paper doily.


For more information, check out the Tangle Troves website.

reviews Uncategorized

Review: Tangle It! Journal

My online friends Simona Cordara, Alice Hendon, and Ina Sonnenmoser recently published a book called Tangle It! Journal*.

Tangle It! cover

The size of the book is 5.5×8.5″ which makes it nicely portable for tangling on the go.

The book consists of a collection of fun, imaginative, bite-sized activities, challenges, drawing ideas, and more. The book includes space for drawing and tangling, so it’s easy to get started with just a pen and a pencil. Anyone can use this book, no experience necessary. It’s not necessary to do the activities in order, so you can open the book at any page and get started.

I used a Micron pen, a graphite pencil, and coloured pencils, and all worked well on the paper.

Here is a sample activity. The owl on the left is already tangled, ready for you to colour. The one on the right is just a line drawing for you to tangle.


The book also includes 20 new patterns. This drawing is part of a two-page spread. The page on the left (not shown) contains the step-outs for the pattern Ringz, and the page below is my drawing using this pattern.


Below is the tangle Heart Wrap, with my drawing at the bottom.

Heart Wrap

This book is a delightful collection of fun and interesting activities, for both beginner and experience tanglers. You can order it on amazon and other online book sellers.
Click here for
Click here for

*Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for a review.

books reviews

Book review: Tangled Up! by Penny Raile

Tangled UpThere are a lot of great tangling books out there, and one of my favourite has been The Art of Zentangle by Margaret Bremner, Norma Burnell, Penny Raile, Lara Williams. In that book, I fell in love with Penny Raile’s whimsical artwork

So I was excited when I learned that Penny was writing a new book, Tangled Up! The book contains a wealth of patterns, and Penny shows how to use the patterns to draw your own whimsical flowers and imaginary creatures with a lot of personality.

Here is my first drawing.

tangled up drawing

If you have been following my blog recently, you know that my new passion is creating digital art. So of course I had to combine my drawings with some of my digital backgrounds. Here is the result.

tangled up with colour 1 tangled up with colour

This is a terrific book. I can’t wait to draw more of these flowers and creatures.

You can buy the book from your favourite bookseller, and you can find out more about Penny on her website: Tangle Tangle Tangle.

[Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for this review.]

products reviews stencils

Zencils™ Doll Stencils

I recently received a new product from Acadia Laser Creations on Etsy.
These doll stencils are part of the Zencils line of products.


There are three sizes of stencils in the package. The small size measures 4″ when assembled, medium measures 6.25″ and large measures 7.5″.

I used the medium size to make a doll for a greeting card. I like that the package includes both the positive and negative shapes.

doll stencil

I traced and cut the shapes on one of my Gelli® prints.

doll stencil

doll stencil

Finally, I assembled them with some brads onto some card stock.

doll stencil

These are a lot of fun, and I see many applications in my artwork, both in tangling and mixed media.

The doll Zencils, as well as other cool products, are available at Acadia Laser Creations on Etsy.


Sketchbook Skool

A few weeks ago, I joined Sketchbook Skool, where people are rediscovering their inner artist. This is a great class that won’t teach you what to draw, but will teach you how to draw.

The six-week classes include instruction by six different artists. In the Beginnings class, instructors include Danny Gregory, Koosje Koene, and Jane LaFazio. The course is about keeping a sketchbook journal and drawing images from our daily life. Each week begins with videos from that week’s instructor, which include sketchbook exercises.

One of the first exercises involved sketching in public. Here is my drawing from Pinafore Park in St. Thomas, Ontario:


And here are a few more of my drawings from the class.

fruit and veg cactus flower


The class focuses on drawing images from real life. If you have ever wanted to keep a sketchbook journal, this class is for you.

[Disclaimer: I was given a free seat in the Beginner class.]

books giveaways reviews

Tangle Stitches by Jane Monk – Review and Giveaway

Tangle Stitches is a new book by Australian quilter and Zentangle® teacher Jane Monk. I had the pleasure of meeting Jane in October 2010 when we were in the same Zentangle certification class.

Jane Monk Book

This book is for anyone who would like to incorporate the repetitive patterns that are at the centre of Zentangle, in their stitching projects.

The first half of the book contains an introduction to Zentangle, as well as detailed instructions for 41 patterns.

Jane Monk Book

The second half of the book is devoted to a collection of projects.

Jane Monk Book

Now I don’t have any sewing machine experience, so I chose one of the hand-stitched projects in the book, a journal cover.

Jane Monk Book

I adapted the instructions a bit to do the whole thing with Nicole’s Bead Backing which is my favourite bead embroidery foundation. It is stiff enough to work as a journal cover. I also adapted Jane’s design to bead embroidery. Here is my front cover.

my journal cover

For a giveaway of a copy of Jane’s book and one of the pin cushions from the cover, see this post on Craftside. (U.S. and Australia only.)

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book to review. I will be donating this book to the Canadian Embroiderers’ Guild in London, Ontario, of which I am a member.

books reviews

Review of Yoga For Your Brain™ card sets

Sandy Steen Bartholomew is one of the most prolific and loved author of Zentangle books. If you love Sandy’s tangles, these card sets are for you.

SB tangle boxes

The three card sets each contain 40 cards, each with the step-outs for one of Sandy’s tangles. They are nicely portable for easy reference when you’re traveling with your Zentangle supplies. Also, if you’re not sure what tangle to use next, you can pick one at random. Bonus cards also explain the basics of the Zentangle drawing method.

There are two sets based on the books Totally Tangled and Yoga for your Brain™, as well as a Kids Edition. If you create tangles, you can also buy a set of blank tangle cards.

SB cards

You can get more information on the Design Originals website.

[Disclosure: I received a set of cards from the publisher for review.]

artwork giveaways reviews tutorial

Zentangle Untangled Blog Tour: Review, Tutorial, and Giveaway

Several months ago, I was contacted by Kass Hall, one of my classmates from Zentangle Teacher Certification. She wanted me to contribute some artwork to a book she was writing called Zentangle Untangled. I agreed enthusiastically.

Here is one of my contributions. I wanted to show different colour schemes that could be use to colour some Zendalas. I drew three small Zendalas and made copies on card stock. I used coloured pencils with three colour schemes: monochromatic, analogous, and complimentary.

Zendala colour schemes

When I received my copy of the book earlier this month, I fell in love with it. It’s not so much a how-to book about Zentangle, but more about the philosophy behind Zentangle, and how you can use it in your life. Kass has a wonderful way with words, and a great way to talk about what Zentangle is, and what it isn’t.

Kass’s artwork is beautiful, and  you’ll find the book inspirational.

Another one of my contributions to the book is one of my wood & Zentangle brooches; you can see some of them here. I have been asked how I prepare the wood for drawing, so I’m including a little tutorial here. I will show how to prep a wood piece for drawing with a pen directly on the raw wood, and also how to prep with paint.


You will need some thin wood shapes, a small flat paint brush, and a wood sealer; I use DecoArt Primer-Sealer. My favourite places to get wood shapes are: Stockade and Bear With Us.


I love metallic paints. My favourite are DecoArt Metallics. In this tutorial, I use Copper. You can use any metallis acrylic paint.


You’ll need a fine-grit sandpaper, and a pin back to finish your pin. I also like to add flatback Swarovski crystals.


On the painted piece, I use a butterfly stencil, Flutterbies TS10 by Tracy Moreau.

butterfly stencil

Sealing, Painting, Sanding

First, a word on sanding. Whenever you apply a water-based product to raw wood, it will raise the grain of the wood, and the wood will have to be sanded with fine grit sandpaper to give it a smooth surface.

I only use the sealer on the pin that will not be painted. I brush a coat of the sealer, and following the directions, let it cure for 24 hours. Then I give it a light sanding.

apply sealer

For the painted pin, I apply one coat of paint and let it dry.

apply paint

I sand the surface, and apply a second coat of paint.



I learned from experience that, before drawing with an ink pen, it’s necessary to let the paint cure for 24-48 hours. Otherwise, even though the paint is dry, it’s still a bit soft and can clog your pen.

So… you now draw using your favourite tangles, and create a unique piece of wearable art!

finished pins


I use white glue to attach the pin back, and then I add a little bling with some flatback crystals, also attached with white glue.

I don’t usually varnish my pieces, but if you want to, I recommend using a spray varnish for the first coat, to make sure the ink won’t smear. You can then use your favourite varnish.


The giveaway is over. See this post for the announcement of the winner.

press reviews

I’m a Featured Artist on The Rainbow Elephant

Cindy Angiel at The Rainbow Elephant had a profile of yours truly, including an audio interview. Click the image below…

Featured Artist

reviews roundups tangles tutorial video

Weekly Roundup


Challenge #23 (Particular String) Variation by byrd
Eco-house, another pencil blender by Sandra Strait (Molossus)
How to find Inspiration for bleedthrumanade by Sandra Strait (Molossus)
More free Zendala templates
Tip on blending marker color & link to video Letraset Promarker Review by Sandra Strait (Molossus)
Tips on color at Mad for Markers (link) by Sandra Strait (Molossus)
Tutorial: Bleedthrumanade Step by Step by Sandra Strait (Molossus)
Tutorial: Colouring a Digital Stamped Flower with Letraset Trias (link) by Sandra Strait (Molossus)
Tutorial: Made in the Shade-8 different tangles from one pattern by Sandra Strait (Molossus)
Tutorial: Skin tone combinations with Promarkers (link) by Sandra Strait (Molossus)
Tutorial: Tangle with Crayons & Zest It Pencil Blend by Jane Monk
Video: Koi Watercolor Flower Garden by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer
Video: Patterned Monogram tutorial from Joanne Fink by Geneviève Crabe
Video: Tutorial with Inktense blocks (link) by Sandra Strait (Molossus)
Video: Zentangle® CZT Marketing Retreat in Texas by Suzanne McNeill


Argule by Dorothy Roller
Celtic by Deanne Stewart-Mills
Droplets by Suzanne McNeill
Eiffel by by Sandra Strait (Molossus)
Fanfeather by Sue Clark
Geo by Dorothy Roller
Oakling by Margaret Bremner
Pétales de Fleurs by country15
Plooien by Ilex
Sowa by Jeannine Schoonaert
Spinner by Jane Monk