Freedom, Fireworks, Cards & Connections

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been on the road for the past two weeks, and got home just in time to celebrate the 4th of July. Since fireworks are such a big part of America’s Independence Day, I thought I’d share this Zenspirations® Dangle firework design.


The 4th of July isn’t just about food & fireworks– it’s about freedom. We are blessed to live in a country where we are free to celebrate holidays in whatever way we want; free to decide where to live and work; free to choose who we want to spend time with; free to decide where to worship and what to wear. Freedom is truly something to cherish… and in honor of July 4th I wanted to share a one minute video of my lettering the word Freedom.

For those of you who have signed up for the Lettering Club, notice how I move my arm; when you are lettering this size, it’s not a finger motion– it’s an arm motion. Speaking of the Lettering Club, I wasn’t able to finalize all the details while I was on the road, but look for the first lesson later this week. If you are interested but haven’t filled out the form yet, here it is:

One of the things I most enjoy lettering are greeting cards. Sometimes I use one or two styles, other times I incorporate a lot of ‘hands’  or lettering styles into one design.


Personalizing a greeting card is a great way to show you care; there is something almost magical about people’s reaction to a hand-lettered card. This week I’ve had several occasions– both happy and sad– to create personalized cards. The design below is a belated birthday card for my friend Toni Popkin… since Toni’s birthday was last month, I decided to just go with an inspiring saying, rather than lettering ‘happy birthday’.


This next card is for my friend June Maffin, whose husband died somewhat unexpectedly last week:


The next card is for my friend Gail Beck, who was one of the very first Zenspirations® Color & Creativity Enthusiasts. Gail is a florist, and does a lot of weddings in the summer, and unfortunately broke her foot this weekend.  I thought a personalized card would cheer her up, and decided to create a design which incorporated flowers along with Gail’s name. I’m planning to write “hope you’ll be Blooming again soon” on the inside. I came up with two different options, and can’t decide which to send:



Please leave me a comment to let me know which is your favorite design.

And then I tackled another belated card– this one for a Quincinera. I opted for full color Dangle monograms, and left the ‘Happy Birthday’ off of the design since I missed Mariel’s actual birthday.


Crowns are not only a motif for Quincinera celebrations, but they are also a symbol for the Modern Widows Club (MWC), a mentoring organization which helps widows develop resilience as they ‘lean back into life’. MWC founder Carolyn Moor talks about the importance of wearing our ‘invisible crowns’; and I must say that there is something special about wearing a crown…


The photo above was taken during the MWC Leadership Retreat, which was a jam-packed four day event in Seattle. I was honored to meet so many incredible, compassionate women, each of whom is doing her part to make a difference in the world. Many of us, myself included, have been personally empowered by connecting with other widows. If you know a widow, please let them know about MWC, and encourage them to seek out a chapter near them and/or to join the online community for support.  Monthly meetings are free, but you can join the organization for $25/year. It’s a great gift to give someone you care about… I know first-hand that MWC makes a HUGE difference in people’s lives.

During the retreat we learned about International Widows Day; the United Nations set the observance for June 23rd. This is a sketch I drew at the retreat:


I want to give a ‘shout-out’ to my fellow MWC chapter leaders… you guys rock!

The Leadership retreat– and the rest of my trip was great… and I’m having fun finding treasures as I open all the mail which accumulated while I was away. So far the best discovery was the inaugural issue of Present Magazine. This delightful magazine is free to consumers, and is available at gift retailers across the country. Best of all, the first issue has an article about coloring, plus a coloring page that I designed!


Visit their website to find out where you can get your free copy… and as always, please post what you do in the Zenspirations Create, Color, Pattern, Play FB group. And be sure to read next week’s blog for some exciting news about the group!

Stay Zenspired,





22 thoughts on “Freedom, Fireworks, Cards & Connections”

  1. Welcome home Joanne!
    Thank you so much for the beautiful card, the saying couldn’t be more perfect. It will be added to my Zenspirations collection file.
    I add my get well soon wishes to Gail. I’d go with the first since “Bloom” is a part of the name of her business.
    The new magazine looks awesome – however no place anywhere near me is on the list. Is there any other way to get it?
    Looking forward to the lettering club, all of my supplies are here waiting!
    Take care my friend, get some rest from your long trip.

  2. Hi Joanne, your travels sound wonderful! I make all my cards, and I love the way you put it, that there’s something magical about people’s reaction to a handmade card! My preference for Gail’s card is the first design. All the cards are beautiful!

  3. Oh Joanne, you are so sweet and such a great friend!! I LOVE both of them of course, but I am more partial to the first one with the purple back round. I like the word BLOOM in the flower and the butterfly too! 🙂 <3 This was such a nice surprise this morning as I always look forward to reading your blog every Tues. during my breakfast and before starting my work day! Your cards of any kind are all so inspiring to me, like the ones you made for Toni, June and Mariel too! You made my day!! Thank you 🙂
    As you know, I am a mover most of the time, so breaking my ankle will be very challenging for me, but I have some GREAT coloring books from a fabulous artist that will keep me preoccupied for the duration! Wink, wink! 😉 When something like this happens in our lives, it shows us the people who take time to reach out and really care for you, just as yourself! I love you for that! I am so blessed to have a great family and wonderful friends. <3
    PS…Just so you know you look so adorable in your crown!
    Sending love and hugs,

  4. Joanne, It’s hard to select which piece of your art I like best. As I go from one to another, the creativity, colors and designs are all so beautiful. It’s between Get Well Wishes and Muriel. On the Get Well Wishes, Gail card, the coloring is superb. The Muriel card is so whimsical and fun, I love it!

  5. Hi Joanne. I’m so glad that you had the opportunity to get away for a couple of weeks and enjoyed yourself. We certainly all need that from time to time. I love all the beautiful work you showed us today. As to your question of which card to Gail I like best, I think I have to say the first one. They are both absolutely gorgeous, as usual, but I think the first one stands out more strongly in color, in image and the message seems a bit more personal, but I’m sure she would love either one. Thank you for the video showing that arm movement. That’s a significant help for me. I’m also curious about the small work with flourishing. I’m really looking forward to taking this upcoming class. Thank you so much for doing this…..Linda E.

  6. Love the one you did for Mariel !! The design and the colors are simply beautiful !!

  7. Hi Joanne-I love all your cards but I like the first card for Gail better. I LOVE the card for June! May I use an inspired version for personal use, please?

  8. They are both beautiful cards. If I had to select one, it would be “Get Well Gail”. Thanks for sharing the cards.

  9. I like the Get Well Gail card. I am not sure if I signed up for the lettering club. Please add me.

  10. I pick the “Bloom” card, but they are all beautiful.
    I love the flourish on each card.


    You Glorious being, you!
    Everything you made & shared here is outstanding & Gorgeous! Especially the card for my sister Mariel!
    I have to tell you though, she & Olive share the same birthday, & this year was OLIVE’S quincinera!
    I think it is Very Funny!
    I am going to send it to Mariel, she is going to be THRILLED that you made something Just For Her!!!
    I am thrilled that you made something Just For Her, & so did not expect it, nor was it necessary!
    I chose the card for Gail that most everyone (& Gail) chose too.
    The one for June is stunning & very “new”.
    I Love It!
    I Love You!
    Zenspired by ALL You Do!
    Jamie – See more at:

  12. I discovered your work for the first time in the ‘DO COLOR TANGLE CRAFT DOODLE MAGAZINE’. I adore the dangle letters and wanted to learn more about them and your website. I’ve been a widow for 8 long years & have never heard of the widows club, so imagine my surprise to find out there is such a thing. I’ll be visiting it next and probably telling friends about it, I meet women all the time who have been widowed recently and who feel as lost as I did (do some times even now) and I believe the Lord has something in mind for me but He hasn’t told me what yet, maybe this will help so thank you in advance. The Freedom video is wonderful, but too short, would love to see more of it. Since Gail has voiced her desires I see no reason to vote on a card for her but I will say I like them both. Now I’m also going to check out the information about an upcoming class????, oh wheat a good time to drop in for the first time. I’m sorry this is so long but couldn’t pass up saying hello & I agree with Sandy Laipply, the card for June is wonderful, what a special thing to make for a friend. .

  13. Hi Joanne,
    I side with the majority, I like the first card best!
    I can sure commiserate with Gail and hope she heals quickly, I had a beach accident on the third and broke my left clavicle.
    As always thanks for your inspiration!

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