Variant Title has been added to your shopping cart.    View Cart   or   Checkout Now
An Attitude of Gratitude

An Attitude of Gratitude

One of the things I love most about CZT Seminars are the conversations that I get to have with tanglers from all over the world. There is something special about people from all different backgrounds with all different experiences coming together for a shared passion.  

One of the comments I hear most often at seminar, or when talking to tanglers in general, is how once they started tangling they started to notice patterns everywhere. Last night at dinner, this topic came up once again and one woman reflected on her walk back to her hotel when she was noticing patterns all around Providence and she said something that really resonated with me. She said, “...even the sewer covers, they were beautiful!”

Sewer covers? Beautiful? Really?....

One of the magical parts of practicing the Zentangle Method is that it really does change your perspective. Not only do you start to notice patterns everywhere, but you start to notice beauty in places you would of never before – like the sewer cover. You begin to admire and draw inspiration from things you would have normally overlooked and the world around you suddenly becomes a much more beautiful place.

As time goes on, you realize that finding beauty and joy in the small things fills you with gratitude for those small things. It is no coincidence that Gratitude is the first step in the Zentangle Method. Practicing gratitude is a small thing you can do each day that has immense benefits.

Starting your Zentangle practice with an appreciation for the time you get to sit and tangle and the materials that you are using, sets the tone for that tile. But, don’t stop there – start your day with gratitude and appreciation and take the time to notice and appreciate your cup of coffee, your morning commute and the tangled sewer covers on the street and see what happens to your mood.

After I wrote this blog, I went outside to take a picture of the sewer cover to include in this post. I stopped at the first one and snapped a picture…


But then, I noticed few feet down the sidewalk a different one…


I realized I didn’t know which one the woman at dinner was referring to. I then saw one across the street, so I went over and sure enough, it was different. Before I knew it I was going up and down the streets of Providence looking for all the different metal street covers I could find. I must have looked a bit silly, but I was delighted bouncing around taking pictures of the side walks and streets. I’ve walked these streets many times before, but never had I paid attention to a single street cover… much less 7 or 8 different ones.


After my adventure, I went and found Darla, the woman who originally mentioned them to me and told her about this blog and the photos. I needed to know which one she had noticed. Turns out it was this cover that caught her eye, although we both agreed we have a new fond appreciation for all the beautiful metal street covers.




Thank you to everyone who commented on last week's blog post about what you do with all your Zentangle tiles! It was so fun to read through all of the ideas! We have randomly selected Paulette Kirschensteiner as our winner! Please email your snail mail address so we can send you a gift!


Julie Willand


  • I have a great appreciation for the patterns we find in our world. I have a pattern photo collection gathered when I was taking an Advanced Digital Imaging class a few years ago. I have always taken pictures of patterns because they are inspiration for so many artistic endeavors, and sometimes they just cool to look at as a stand-alone image. Having some of them show up as tangles during my Zentangle journey has been a real joy. I am grateful the world is full of beauty in the most surprising places.

    DM Smith (bakayaro onna) on

  • Thanks for the wonderful blog and the reminder that beauty is everywhere!!

    Kim VanZyll on

  • I feel gratitude for this blog post. being in the moment…

    Joanne Erhartic on

  • I have photos of street utility covers from all over Europe too, fun stuff.

    And the sidewalk paving patterns in Barcelona are gorgeous.

    Sandra Blade CZT 32 on

  • Sewer (Electric…) manhole covers are varied and beautiful around the world. I’ve photographed a few in Providence, Denmark, Croatia… It’s often tough figuring out whether to look up OR look down. Just don’t trip! BTW, I’m also addicted to door knockers, hanging laundry, small abandoned/sunken boats along the shore… I’ll leave with that!

    Gale Sherman on

  • Sewer covers are actually a “thing” on the internet and have been for years. Internationally. I too have wondered about who designs them, why they have different patterns, and have appreciated them since before I even knew about Zentangle. It’s part of the whole “street art” culture. People make rubbings (like tombstone rubbings) of especially nice sewer covers! Sometimes at considerable risk to themselves. In other countries they can be even more beautiful than here. There are many images to be see online if you google them. I love to notice them and speculate on the “whys” of this odd form of art.

    Devin on

  • So grateful for this post this morning, I am preparing to walk out the door to teach a children’s Zentangle class at a children’s Art camp and this was just the inspiration I needed. Beauty is everywhere, and it is so fun and important to share how to communicate it. Thanks Again!!!

    Anita Jones on

  • When I was in Seattle, I found beautiful ones, especially in the historic area. Pics to follow, if I can find them.

    Suzanne H Crisafi on

  • Wonderful post about paying attention. Thank you for the reminder that there is much to learn and much beauty all around us.

    Emily on

  • Patterns are everywhere! It is truly amazing when one stops and appreciates the beauty of a simple steel street cover. I love the awareness and being in the moment Zentangle has brought to me.

    Sandy on

  • If you ever make it to Minneapolis-St. Paul, check out the manhole covers there – so cool!!

    Kelley Kelly on

  • Yes, I think that the interlocking hexagons cover is my favorite. I especially like the offset white strip across it that was created when the street was painted. Then, to have the cover put back at an angle so that the stripe doesn’t line up makes it all the more delightful.

    Leslie Hancock on

  • Oh the manhole covers are great! Definitely patterns everywhere, so fun to discover them!

    Alice Roche on

  • These are actually really take a look at hubcaps… :o)

    Jody Genovese on

  • Hi Ginger… I am CZT15.

    So I’ve been at this “paying attention” thing for a long time. AND yes…I have actually put storm water or sewer covers in my watercolor paintings at times and wonder about the amazing designs. Who does these? Do they have contests for the designs? Many are beautiful. Changing your viewpoints is a very very important concept in Zentangle! Very.

    ginny on

  • My son-in-law has always come home from trips with photos of manhole covers and other engineering “wonders.” I see them but don’t usually take pics.

    The one Darla noticed appears to be covered in “Huggins,” doesn’t it? My favorite of your snaps is covered with the auraed hexigons. Does it have a tangle name? I think it should.

    Amy Gill on

  • I think when exploring a new place we tend to look forward or up but not always straight down so thanks for acknowledging the designs and beauty of old sewer covers!

    Heather Toswell on

  • Looks like I have an adventure to go on later today! Fun!

    Heather Moffatt on

  • Google manhole covers for much pleasure! I have always been fascinated by them! Great blog! Thanks!

    Katrina on

  • Next time I see someone bending over to look at a manhole cover I might ask them if they are a tangler! Spotting tangles can be very distracting – I often phase out of the action while watching television because I’ve spotted a pattern in the background!

    Jem Miller on

  • I meant to finish my comment by saying.. YES even manholes are something to be grateful for.. and the prettier the better.

    Brenda Shaver on

  • Thank you for this post! It really is amazing to me, the beauty I see in places I never imagined. Finding the Zentangle method 71/2 years ago helped me become a very different person. Like many of us, I had been through some tragic events in my life and tended to see the world as half empty instead of half full. Practising Zentangle and becoming a CZT changed my whole perspective on just about everything imaginable. I now am able to visualize things I used to see as being negative, to being a blessing.. to being a positive influence in my life.

    Brenda Shaver on

  • Fun blog! Great man hole covers!

    Sandy Kelley-Jones on

  • I am here at the seminar! I will have to take a walking tour of sewer and manhole covers at break today! Looking out the windows of this historical Hotel is enough inspiration to blow my mind! There are patterns everywhere. Did you notice the one picture you took, how the street marking is offset when the cover was replaced? A good variation of a pattern! Very grateful to be part of this Zentangle community.

    Ginger White on

Leave a comment