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Maria writes:

The other day, Rick and I were on our porch, enjoying talking with a friend. Of course, we ended up talking Zentangle. This gentleman was telling us about how his Zentangle practice was progressing. He was proud of what he had accomplished so far, and rightly so.  We got on the subject of how forgiving Zentangle art is, always giving us opportunities to create beyond what we had expected was possible that day.  

The Zentangle "no mistakes" philosophy is a gift that keeps on giving. We all can make so-called "mistakes" in our art (and in the art of life). As tanglers, we know enough to either put a tile aside for a while, or face it head on, figuring that there is always something (new?) we can do to make our creation sing . . . and perhaps sing even more beautifully than if that so-called "mistake" had not occured.

Speaking of which, Have you tried a bronx spear?  

I find this new(ish) tangleation of bronx cheer to be highly adaptive to many situations that call for "Creativity (Wo) Man" to put in an appearance.  Its elegantly elongated shape covers almost any faux pas that we might run into on any given day.  I cannot believe Mother Nature has not followed my lead here and created bronx spears for us all to enjoy.  Seems like such a duh!

Black raspberry on a stick.  mmmmmmmm.

Well, perhaps we should just try them out in black and white, on a tile, when the opportunity presents itself. But, wait!  Why wait? you can always enhance your practice by practicing this tangle before the emergency is in front of you. Just start a tile and when you get to a pause in the rhythm of your tangling, throw a (bronx) spear at it. It's as easy as that. You just might end up throwing spears willy-nilly all over the place.   

But seriously, folks, in my excitement about bronx spears, I got myself off topic. 

What I really wanted to tell you was that in that conversation with our friend about how Zentangle is forgiving,  we realized that it is also . . . for giving

"'Tis the season!" . . .right?

If you can part with your precious tiles, they do make amazing gifts just in and of themselves. A simple tile: no frame, no froufrou. The simple act of giving of yourself.

Try it.

It's a beautiful thing.



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Thank you to everyone who shared your favorite 12 Days of Zentangle memory on our last blog. We have randomly selected Pam Hartz Muller to receive a Zentangle Project Pack No. 16. Pam, please send your snail mail address to

Maria Thomas


  • Having been distracted by health problems and growing older problems, I an happy to rejoin the Zentangle family once more. I love the tangles at Xmas time… have you given any thoughts to exploring tangles using the symbols of Chanukah? The MENORAH.,CANDLES,and DREIDL, for example, might inspire the Zentangle community.

    Naomi Frenkel on

  • Thanks for this post! I started last week with the Christmas cards “course” and showed my students one card with a “ink-accident” (I love to draw with Indian ink)… it had disappeared and was just invisible… my students left the studio with lots of cards to finish at home! They were calm and confident : no reason to get troubled by any mistake (by what!?)… and proud to give these self-made cards to their friends and family! Thanks for this forgiving and up-building method!

    Tania on

  • It is indeed a great idea! I gave out a couple of tiles as cards for my dear friends last week. Hopefully I can do this more often and spread the “cheer”!

    Suchitra Komandur on

  • For giving indeed! I’m an AARP Illinois volunteer & have inserted a tangle in Christmas cards to local nursing homes! Thank you for all the inspiration. With gratitude!

    Mary Ellen Ziegler Czt33 on

  • I have been “gifting” my Zentangles to family and friends since I discovered the “gift of Zentangle” in 2018! I love my tangles, and enjoy sharing them with those I love…

    Jessica Dykes on

  • Forgot to say I am CZT14

    Mindy Shapiro on

  • Just last week I mage my husband a Zentangle card for his 60th birthday and having just learned quilling, decorated around the tangles with quills. I make all of his cards.

    Mindy Shapiro on

  • I probably make 98% of all cards that I give my friends and family. I tangle on the front of the tile, write my greeting on the back, punch a hole in one of the corners, and tie a short ribbon or twine through it. I started doing that several years ago when I noticed my friends were keeping out the tiles I had given them. So now they can hang them from door knobs, or Christmas trees, or whatever suits their fancy.

    Ruth Osborn CZT36 on

  • Zentangle family is, as a rule very much forgiving. I always feel gratitude coming from headquarters and forgiving is the other side of gratitude. I think you’re right. I don’t stress so no mistakes enough in my teaching. I think I need to start off with a mistake next time. We’ll see how forgiving we can be.

    Lisa Hoesing on

  • Rarely is someone disappointed to receive a piece of artwork, especially knowing it was created by the presenter. I have included a framed tile as a Christmas gift to a young relative that I rarely see. I believe she will realize how much she means to me when it is unwrapped. To the entire Zentangle family, may you be blessed now and in the future with love, peace and kindness. Merry Christmas.

    LaJuania D CZT36 on

  • Rarely is someone disappointed to receive a piece of artwork, especially knowing it was created by the presenter. I have included a framed tile as a Christmas gift to a young relative that I rarely see. I believe she will realize how much she means to me when it is unwrapped.

    LaJuania D on

  • I rarely buy a finished card these days, preferring to add a tile to a blank note card and personalizing it all I can. Do I worry that my efforts will be misunderstood? There’s a chance of that. But it is a sharing of the joy of creating, and there is no need for forgiveness there! Thank you for all you do!

    Ginger White on

  • Just reading your blog about the Bronx Spear makes me want to do one now before anything gets in the way this day! Thanks.

    Paulette Kirschensteiner on

  • Thanks Maria, I am a fan of Bronx Cheer as well, it has so much more going for it than Bronx Cheer. Having practiced Zentangle for the past dozen years, I have very few tiles still in my possession for I agree freely giving them to friends, family, acquaintances marking birthdays, happy days, days of mourning allows me to share a vital part of myself, an act that is welcomed by the receivers. I do photograph, to record my progress, all of my tiles before sharing them.

    Karen Wyatt on

  • A lovely post. Thank you. I find when I don’t think something is a mistake, as when the direction I intended with my pen has veered off, then it isn’t. It’s just a happy coincidence.

    Jackie on

  • I love this and I love you!

    Heck, I love all of you and I am so grateful for stumbling onto/into Zentangle. Looking forward to 12 Days of Tangles!

    Rosemary Bogan on

  • Hello Maria, I love your message! Both the forgiving and the giving. ( I made cards with some of my tiles to give to friends this year. ) I also love the tile you have in the blog and am scratching my head about what you used for the grey lines inside the heart shaped form. Can you share that with me? Thank you all for this wonderful art form. Happy Holidays!


    Marsha Campbell on

  • Forgiving myself was the most difficult part when I first started tangling! I kept telling myself, “there are NO mistakes—just opportunities!” With continued practice, I realized that I found myself more and more forgiving! The more I forgive myself the BIGGER my heart grows and extends to other aspects of my life! Thank you for adding Zentangling to my world! Happy Holidays!

    Zipporah Rosenblatt on

  • Maria….thank you and your family for your wonderful tangles and projects. I have used Bronx Spears a few times. I received my new Project Pack. Looking forward to 12/11 for a new experience. Have a wonderful holiday. Stay safe. Barbara from NJ

    Barbara Middleton on

  • Maria, thank you so much for all the beautiful tangles. I have used Bronx Spears a few times. I got my Project

    Barbara Middleton on

  • I love this post! And of course I love a Bronx Spear! I’ve included it in my “No Mistakes” Beginner series class! I always discuss the No Mistakes philosophy in all of my classes and I cannot thank you for this gift! Embracing this has changed my life! Gifting tiles is something I’ve always done. It started with someone admiring one of my tiles and I just thought “you should have it!” People are always touched by this simple gift! They are easy to mail too so I often add them to a card or note to someone special. Who doesn’t love the gift of Zentangle®?!?

    Brenda Campbell, CZT 29 on

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