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A Pattern Puzzle for You

A Pattern Puzzle for You

The Zentangle Method is all about patterns. We call our patterns "tangles."

We teach simple ways to draw and enjoy these patterns, these tangles, by putting pen to paper in fun and easy ways.

There are also patterns all around us. But sometimes they are not as easy to see - perhaps because you don't look for a pattern; perhaps because you don't expect a pattern.

However, not all patterns are on a surface. Some patterns hide in history, some in behavior, some in seasons, some in ideas, some in the sky, and some even in other patterns.

In this puzzle, a pattern is in the pictures.

Bijou and Alfie conspired with Rick to place a pattern in plain sight in the pictures for our recent Twelve Days of Zentangle.

Can you find the pattern?

We will leave the blog comments hidden for about a week to give you a chance to comment. Bijou and Alfie tell me there will be two prizes awarded:

  • One, for first one who identifies the pattern (deconstructing it, so to speak), and

  • Two, for the one who most completely describes the elements in the pattern

We don't know what the prize will be . . . that's something Bijou and Alfie are still working on, but it should be pretty awesome because they are quite excited about this game.

[It's been a week and we've finished our puzzle guesses. Please go to the end of this blog to see all the comments of those who identified the pattern.

Please note that the comments are in reverse time order, the most recent is first.

If your name is one of the prize winners, please email your snail mail address to]

Here are all the pictures. 



Be sure to post your ideas in the comments below. Remember - all comments will be kept hidden for about a week to give you a chance to comment. 

Have fun with all this!


Rick writes:

Thank you all for playing along with this puzzle. Below are all the responses from commenters who identified and described the pattern I put in the series of photos.

Many people found other patterns of which I was not aware. This happens more and more in our lives and perhaps also in yours. Or perhaps more accurately, each of us is becoming aware of synchronicities that have been there all along. Just like when someone first learns the Zentangle Method, “I see patterns!” is the familiar refrain. The patterns were always there. But now you are aware of them as patterns.

Initially, we planned two prizes, one for the first to identify the pattern and one for the most complete description of the pattern elements. We have since added a few more categories such as a random drawing and a few special mentions.


  • First to find the pattern - Mary Margaret Yahnke
    (who also identified many of the pattern elements)

  • Most complete description of the pattern elements (The only ones to notice the number of bead board lines on Day 10):
     - Debbie Rabb
     - Margaret Bremner

  • For suggesting we also do a drawing for names - Susie Brosonski
    Thank you, Susie!

  • Words of the pattern to sing along with the 12 Days of Christmas - Susan Cirigliano:

    On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
    Twelve Tumbling Santas
    Eleven Pen Nibs Resting
    Ten Clock Hands Striking
    Nine Books for Reading
    Eight Lenses Looking
    Seven Objects Reflecting
    Six Tortillions a Dancing ( in tiny deft clogs)
    Five Elves Caroling
    Four Carved Santas
    Three Matryoshka Ladies
    Two Tobasco Minis
    And a Serpent in a Glass Tube! 

  • Individual who found the most things that I didn’t consciously put in the picture - Cori A Levinson (and Margaret Bremner again, but she already got a prize!)

  • Three randomly chosen names:
    • Lucinda Mathews
    • Liz Gatehouse
    • Susie Brosonski

Thank you again to all who participated.  Please enjoy reading the comments. Feel free to continue to comment.

My idea behind this game was to create an example of what you might discover as you open your awareness to the possibility of finding patterns where you might not expect them. Recently I’ve become fascinated in seeing patterns repeat throughout history and discovering that there is more going on that I ever was taught.

The Zentangle Method can be a tool to enable your individual creativity and unique imaginative perspective to contribute to creation in a manner that no one else has, can, or ever will.


For the record, the items that I consciously put in the photos were:

  1. Candle
  2. Tabasco jars
  3. Nesting dolls
  4. Carved Santas
  5. Carolers (the other three are in the band)
  6. Shoes, 6 tortillions, 6 large containers, 6 small containers, 6-sided ornament
  7. Tumbling Santas, “7” facet highlighted
  8. Magnifying glasses
  9. Books
  10. 10 o’clock, 10 bead board grooves
  11. Pens
  12. Tumbling Santas



  • Each day has objects that correspond to the number of the day. For example, Day 11 has 11 pens.

    Barb on

  • The puzzle pattern is an ascending number of Alfie’s “accessories,” depicting The Twelve Days of Christmas. In the first picture, he has one item (his tile), in the second two (mini spice jars). Halfway through, the die shows you a clue (7). Finally, Allie ends with 12 mini Santas.

    Kimberly Longenecker on

  • Each picture has the designated set of characters or tools in the picture for the day. Eight magnifying or eleven pens. Seeing, writing, singing, feeling, touching, represented in each diorama. I’ll write more later as I need to get outside with my ducks and chickens. Happy née year to all of you. Please stay healthy.

    Bev Scott on

  • 1 Candle Ornament
    2 Tabasco Bottles
    3 Nesting Dolls
    4 Icicle Santas
    5 Singers with caps???
    6 Miniature Clogs and 6 Tortillions
    7 On The Dice
    8 Magnifying Glasses
    9 Books
    10 O’clock
    11 Pens
    12 Tumbling Santas

    Jane Lerch on

  • I think that every picture has the exact number of special objects for each day. For examples, I see there are 2 bottles of tabasco sauce on the 2nd day, 3 Matryoshka on the 3rd day, 6 tortillons and 6 mini dutch wooden shoes on the 6th day, 8 magnifying glasses on the 8th day, 9 books on the 9th day, 11 oblique pen holders on the 11th day, and finally 12 santas on the 12th day.

    Sujin PARK on

  • The pattern I notice incorporates several elements- first there is a Bijou card with the theme for the day, as well as a snail sculpture representing Bijou. Next, there is an inspirational item or group of items that correspond in number to which of the 12 days the picture goes with. Day 2 has 2 small Tabasco bottles. Day 3 has the three Russian nesting dolls, day 4 has four adorable tumbling Santa’s as well as four carved wooden Santas in the flower vase, and so on. Elements in the picture serve as pattern inspiration sources also, with ornamentation on their surfaces.
    I love those little tumbling santas- so cute! The collection of 11 calligraphy & drawing ink pens must bring a lot of memories to you also. That looks like the final element in the pattern- these are items that appear to have been collected over time, and have special meaning for you.
    I enjoyed looking for the pattern- it was definitely hidden in plain sight!
    Best wishes for a Happy New Year!

    Lucinda Mathews on

  • The pattern is The Twelve Days of Christmas!

    Lori Stone on

  • Hi! So I noticed this pattern by the end of the 12 Days. For each day there was an accompanying amount of similar items.
    1. Ornament
    2. Tobacco bottles
    3. Nesting people
    4. Carved Santa’s
    6. Blue shoes and
    7. Red bells
    8. Magnifying glasses
    9. Books
    11. Drawing pens
    12. Santas tumbling.
    It was the Santas that clued me in to the pattern. I can’t quite get day 5 and day 10 tho…

    Mary Margaret Yahnke on

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