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Being Intentional

Happy New Year!  It’s that time of year when we pause and look back while we plan for great things in the year ahead.  I stopped doing resolutions many years ago, and have found that I’m generally a little more reflective around my birthday in February.  In 2013, I read The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.  It’s a wonderful book and really spoke to me from where I was at that point in my life.  I read something around the same time about people selecting a word to guide them through the new year.  Sounded like a good plan to me, and the book talks about being “Wholehearted” – that was my guiding word for 2014.

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It was just a little reminder to try to be a little more wholehearted throughout the year.  I like to think it helped.  However, toward the end of 2014, I got super busy – there were some weeks I was teaching 8 classes a week plus trying to fill pottery orders.  A friend from the neighborhood asked if I had moved into my studio because my car was ALWAYS there.  I love what I do, and I want to do it all!  But I had to remind myself, that I am the person who sets my schedule 🙂  So my word for 2015 was “Balance.”  I needed a little more balance, and I wanted to spend more time with friends and family.  That what I was focused on as I was tangling my word.

BalanceSo in looking back on 2015, I initially thought I did not accomplish as much as I wanted to – those pottery lines, more fiber arts, more classes, but when I really thought about it, I realized I spent more time with friends and family in 2015 than I probably have since I was in college!  Awesome and amazing what putting a little reminder out there can help your subconscious push you in the right directions!

I’ve been doing the “word” thing for a couple of years now, and this year decided to put a little more intention behind it by setting an intention!  I invited some of the graduates from the Six Week Series I teach to join me in setting our intentions.  It was awesome!  Everyone selected their word or phrase and we did some tangling (Zentangle) around it.  Peace, hope, joy, order, contentment, be positive, take a breath, and trust were used, and my intention for 2016 is to Thrive!!  This is still a work in progress, but you see where it’s going.

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I’ll finish this, frame it and set it out as a daily reminder to keep going in the right direction!  What is your intention for this year?

Love, Darla






Spark(le) Your Creativity with Zentangle®

The Five Minute Christmas Card


Do you ever look around and see all this fabulous hand made stuff on Pinterest, in gift shops, in people’s homes, everywhere and wish you could do something like that?  Well YOU CAN!!!  No, really you can!  When Laura and Ellen over at untapped asked me to do a guest blog during their 12 days of Christmas, I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about.  I’m going to show you how to make a Zentangle inspired Christmas Card in FIVE minutes.

What is Zentangle you may ask – and if you just typed the word into Pinterest to see – MIND BLOWN!


Zentangle was created by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts to make art accessible to everyone – here’s their description of it from

“The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.

Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being. The Zentangle Method is enjoyed all over this world across a wide range of skills, interests and ages.”

I became a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) in October, 2011, quit my big corporate job in January 2012, and began teaching Zentangle in March 2012.  There are currently over 1,500 Certified Zentangle Teachers in 25 countries world wide, and Zentangle has been around about 11 years, so good is spreading ya’ll!  I’ve taught Zentangle to almost 2,000 people – all ages, backgrounds, and interest levels – it’s truly amazing!


You can use Zentangle as a form of meditation, to aid in relaxation (that’s how I started!), as a path to mindfulness, just for fun, or a million ways in between.  But what I really love to see with the people I share Zentangle with, is how it really sparks inner creativity!  I have had so many people say to me – I’m not creative,  I’m not artsy, I won’t be able to do that.  Friday night, I was teaching a Beginning Zentangle class.  There was an 11-year old boy in the class, and he was asking what we were going to do, so I showed him the completed paper “tile” and he said, “oh, I don’t think I can do that.”  I told him to just wait and see how great he was going to do.  When we finished working on it, he held it at arm’s length and said, “I never would have thought I could do something like this!” I love it!!


Do you ever think about and plan something you want to try? I mean you can spend hours in thinking about what you want to do, how you should do it, researching how others have done it, planning time to do it, not having time to do it, thinking about how you’ve got to get better with your time management or you’ll never get to do it, oh but you’ve got to do the laundry now, so you really can’t do it now, maybe you need to think some more about how to do it, maybe more research and you’ll be ready to do it,- feel familiar?  It’s doesn’t even matter what the “it” you’re trying to do is – we can all fall down the FEAR rabbit hole. Yep, that’s what it is!  The hardest part is taking that first step over the fear threshold!  And THAT is what I have seen Zentangle do to help people step over the creativity threshold!!  It’s like once they actually put a pen on the paper and see what they can do with the simple “one stroke at a time” process of Zentangle, they have the courage to try something else.

One of my favorite stories of one of my students is of B.  B is a retiree who came to class after she saw someone doing Zentangle at a faith based conference she had attended.  Up to this point she had not experimented with any art, because she was raised with a belief that it was a waste of time, time that could be spent in the service of our Lord.  She took a Beginning Zentangle class, and felt she liked it, then she took my Six Week Zentangle class, and watching her bloom was the greatest gift I can receive as a teacher.  She has taken many more classes, but she has also developed her own style of these lovely scenes inspired by her faith.  So she is praising the Lord with her drawings AND (the best part) she has been asked to contribute illustrations for a book!!!  Yay B!!

Ok, so here’s our no more excuses – jump right in and make a lovely card in Five Minutes!!

Here’s the video


Have fun!  Merry Christmas!





Getting in My Own Way

Hello all!  What a beautiful fall day in Alabama!  It’s the mid point of October, my favorite month!  I love to see the changes from summer to fall – the leaves turning warm shades and hues, there’s a crispness in the air that is energizing!  Humidity has taken a little vacay (yay!).  Plus a lot of my favorite people have October birthdays!

I’m reflecting on the year so far and it’s been pretty awesome when I think about it!  But, I had to think about it.  I’ve been busy thinking of the stuff I haven’t done that I wanted to get done, and the year is running out, and trying to figure out how I’m going to do everything I want to do before the holidays really kick in.  Panic mode!  I’m actually getting in my own way – yep all me getting in MY WAY!  Guilty!  Time to stop and redirect!

Great things that have happened this year  – A LOT when I think about it!

New classes, new students, new friends, and new partnerships – corporate groups, meditation center, girl scouts, bridal showers, birthday parties, Sunday school groups, Andrea Lucas’ Studio in Irondale, and most recently Vestavia Hills Library.  I taught a couple of week long adult art camps this summer that were a blast!  One was art journalingArt Journal class photo        Class photo 1 Class Photo 2 Class photo 3

So much fun!!

I made friends and learned bunches of new stuff at Tangle U in Santa Fe, and I made a dress without sewing in Judith Dios’ Felting Clothing Workshop in Maria Paracca’s Studio, and this weekend 24 of my follow CZTs from the Southeast are coming to town for a get together!

Personally, I have spent more quality time with friends and family this year, than I have in many years!  A week in New Orleans with Laura (working but still a blast), a week in Santa Fe with my mom – then I stayed at my parents for over a week when we returned, time in Kentucky celebrating my brother’s wedding, a week in Mexico visiting Marion with Chatham and Walt, visits from the Knights and the Orrs, a Point Clear getaway with my sweet hubby, time in Louisville with Anne, Lou, and the Knights, and in Illinois meeting Sylvia’s and Bryan’s sweet baby girl Gemma, a few more days with the folks – it really has been an incredible year!

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Yay – I’m in a really happy place right now and amazed by how incredible my life really is!

So getting in our own way – we all do it!  For me sometimes it’s spending a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to get more hours in the day, or I will spend a lot of time trying to figure out how I think I need to do something.  An example – I thought it would be really cool to do more carved pottery.  So I began thinking about patterns to use in the pottery and had some good ideas, then I decided what I really needed to do was to find a 3D printer and scan the drawings in and get them different sizes and made in a way I could stamp the same image on different size plates and platters.  So I spent about a year trying to work out the 3D printer thing, and it finally hit me recently, I could have hand carved a lot of plates in the time I spent getting in my own way about the 3D printing.  So folks, it’s hand carved pottery for me 🙂


All that to say, when you’re having a “moment” check yourself to see if you are getting in your own way. It sometimes happens – look at that year I spent time and energy trying to work out something, and could have been doing it.  So try not to get too caught up, and practice releasing.  For me, when I catch myself getting in my way, I say “Ok, God, this is yours – you tell me where I need to go next” – and I usually have to remind myself that I gave it to Him and to let it go.  Just find what ever helps you release and let go.  It does help to think about the good things you have going on too 🙂

Take care – Darla

Up and Blogging!

Hello everyone!  I have finally jumped into the blog0sphere!  Who knows what I’ll get up to in here.  🙂 I’ll bring you along with me as I meander through life, explore creativity, teach, on my misadventures with my girlfriends, traveling, cooking and I’m sure my fur babies will jump in too and maybe even my sweet hubby!

Thanks for coming by!  Darla