Words to Light the Way

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hi Everyone,
Have you heard of the practice of selecting a specific word to ruminate on in the year ahead? Choosing one word is supposed to help you focus on developing or strengthening selected character traits, impact your experiences and light your way as you journey through the next 12 months.
I was unfamiliar with this practice, but immediately started trying to think of my own ‘watch-word’ for 2016. I’ve toyed with many, including:

but haven’t settled on ONE word yet… I am also considering Resonate, Sanctify, Aspire, Connect, Intend and Transform. There are so many awesome, uplifting and empowering words that I’m not sure I’ll be able to narrow it down to just one… can you?
As a lettering artist I strive to hand-letter words in a way that visually enhances their meaning. It’s important to me to focus on positive sentiments, I actually went through the dictionary and wrote down inspiring words for each letter of the alphabet. There are a LOT of wonderful words which begin with the letter “C”:

As I progressed through the alphabet I started to add weight to the letters to make them more interesting. Here’s an example of weighted words from my ‘V’ page:

I’m still not sure what one word to choose… but if you have chosen a word for yourself I’d love to know what it is. I may even surprise you and letter it! To celebrate the end of 2015, its time for more FREE downloads, and another contest! One of my licensees, Trim-A-Rim, is thinking about launching a ‘color-your-own’ line, and would appreciate feedback on the concept — they are also interested in getting ‘inspiration samples’ to help their customers envision the creative opportunities here. Given that so many of you like to color, I said I’d be happy to poll the Color & Creativity Enthusiasts, and in return for your input Trim-A-Rim is offering Trim-A-Rim loot as prizes! (More on that below). 
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the product, Trim-A-Rim is an innovative magnetic whiteboard and mirror (it’s reversible) with a clear frame in which you can display a wide variety of different border options. One of the things I like best about the product is that you can change the rim art as often as you wish. It’s a fun and practical way to display your work…

Here is a photo showing the two different sizes:

Below is a photo of the Zenspirations® Trim-A-Rim collection (shown here in the Mini size):

There are two ways to Participate in the Contest:

A)  Answer the four questions below by leaving a comment on this week’s blog, and your name will be entered into a drawing to win your choice of a Mini or Full-size Trim-A-Rim kit, along with print-outs of the colorable Zenspirations black & white borders for your chosen size. Two winners will be selected at random for this Participation option A.  

B) The second way to participate is to download the designs below (OPEN LEAVES, FISH and/or HEARTS), add your own special touches, and post what you do in the Zenspirations Create, Color, Pattern, Play FB Group. As usual I’ve set up albums where you can post your designs. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1471158256528576/.
For every design you post (and yes, you may post more than one version of the same border), your name will be entered into a random drawing to win both sizes of the Trim-A-Rim kit, along with print-outs of the colorable Zenspirations black & white borders for both sizes.   If you post two designs, you’ll have two chances to win; if you post five designs, you’ll have five chances to win. Two prizes winners will be selected at random for this Participation option B.
For both of the random draw giveaways above (A and B), the prizes can be mailed only to addresses within the continental United States.

If any of your designs are selected as an inspiration sample, in addition to published credit, you’ll receive both sizes of the Trim-A-Rim kit, plus print-outs of all 9 of the colorable Zenspirations black & white borders and the full-color borders (a total of 36 border sheets), as well as several border print-outs of your inspiration sample(s). THIS BONUS IS OPEN TO OUR INTERNATIONAL MEMBERS! 


As always, I encourage you to express yourself however you wish, whether that is coloring the designs as drawn, or adding your favorite patterns and embellishments (within the circular border lines). If you do choose to embellish your border, I recommend not adding dimensional items which might prevent the Trim-A-Rim frame from closing securely.


1. You will need to post your comments and creations by end of day Sunday, January 17th. 

2. It’s important that you print the sheets out at Actual Size only (100%, or No scaling), so that the finished result will fit properly inside the Mini Trim-A-Rim clear frame.  Please color only within the printed design area bounded by the interior and exterior border lines, leaving the rest of the page white, and submit your finished work in the full sheet form (not cut out)                         

3. VERY IMPORTANT: PUT YOUR NAME, e-dress and phone number on each design before you scan or photograph it!
4. Post your images IN the appropriate album in the new Zenspirations® Create, Color, Pattern, Play Facebook Group. You can get to the albums by clicking the Photos button underneath the imagine banner.

5. If your art is selected, you’ll need to send Trim-A-Rim a high-res scan (300 dpi) or the original art so they can scan it, and you’ll need to sign a Permission-to-Publish form.

6. Unlike your creations for my books, for these Trim-A-Rim borders you can use wet media as well as dry, including watercolors and other paints, as well as color pencils, gel pens, markers, crayons, rubber stamps, etc. 
7. Submitting border designs is not a guarantee that they will be selected by Trim-A-Rim.

8. Artists whose work is selected will be given credit wherever their work is published or made available for download, and will receive all of the items noted in the bonus opportunity prize package description above. 

9. As always, I’d like to include inspiration samples from as many ‘Color & Creativity Enthusiasts’ as possible, so I hope you’ll help spread the word about the colorable Trim-A-Rim borders. Please invite some of your creative friends to participate!

10. You can e-mail me ([email protected]) if you have any questions: please put

Below are the 4 questions for which we’d like your feedback:
1)  Would you be interested in a black and white version of these designs that you could color and embellish?

2)  If so, which designs would you most like to have a coloring version of? 

1. Patterned Leaves
2. Fish
3. Hearts
4. Bubbles

5. Large Scallops

6. Open Leaves
7. Triangles

8. Birds & Leaves
9. Small Scallops
Here are black & white versions of three of the designs so you can get a closer look (and the questions continue below).  
These are the designs for which Trim-A-Rim is seeking your colored “inspiration samples”:

Click here to download your free copy of the OPEN LEAVES border.

Click here to download your free copy of the FISH border.

Click here to download your free copy of the HEARTS border.
3)  Would you prefer to have line art to color for the Trim-A-Rim border only, as in the 3 examples above, or would you like to have something in the center that you could print out at the same time and then cut out and use on a different project, as in the sample below?
4)  Are there other themes you’d like me to design for use with Trim-A-Rim? If so, what themes are at the top of your wish list?
Thanks for your participation! If you are interested in getting Trim-A-Rim for yourself or as a gift… it’s not yet sold in stores — you’ll find the best pricing (and more photos and info) on Amazon at www.amazon.com/trimarim. Trim-A-Rim’s owner, Philip Fleet, would welcome your thoughts and suggestions.
It’s hard to believe that 2015 is almost over… it seems to have flown by! January is ’show season’, and I’ll be attending the Craft & Hobby Show in Anaheim, as well as the Atlanta and Dallas Gift Shows. I’ll be doing signings and make-it-take-its at the shows, and would love to meet as many of you as I can… if you’ll be attending please stop by to say hi.
Wishing you and your loved ones a New Year filled with
good health & happiness,
peace & prosperity,
laughter & love.
Stay Zenspired,

44 thoughts on “Words to Light the Way”

  1. Hi Joanne!

    Love the Trim-A-Rim idea! Have seen these on FB several times. Beautiful, fun and useful!

    #1- Absolutely!
    #2- #6 Open leaves
    #3- Art in the middle, too! Added bonus!
    #4- I like words, too, so something to that effect. Positive words you would see when you look in the mirror. A little reminder as you start your day, or each time you pass by.

    Thanks for all you do here! You keep my creative motor running!!!


  2. 1. Yes
    2. 2, 5, and 6
    3. Sure. More coloring options are a bonus
    4. Puppy faces, different flowers, birds, the words "dream, believe, achieve" with doodles to color in between them

    Love your work.

  3. Question#1 Yes, #2 2, 3, 7, 8 #3 yes to center design, if nothing else, to practice on and get color ideas. #4 I think Holidays borders would sell, and a Birthday Border where you add the age.

  4. These look like a lot of fun.
    1. Yes
    2. 3
    3. Yes
    4. Overlapping flowers and leaves, words like friends, love, family, and smile for if you added a photo.

  5. 1. Yes – The Trim Rim idea is cool!
    2. 2 – Fish, 4 – Bubble, 8- Birds and Leaves
    3. I like the one with art inside too. The more things to color and create the better.
    4. Sunflowers and / or Butterflies are always my favorite and I like the idea of inspirational messages around the rim too.

    Thanks again Joanne for your creativity and including us in your new ventures! Hope you have a wonderful and blessed New Year!

  6. Hi Joanne!
    Here's my thoughts on the subject…
    1. Yes, absolutely.
    2. I wish I could narrow it down for you, but I would enjoy coloring all of the options you have there, but I'm gonna go with 3, 5, 7 & 9 for this one
    3. Of course more to color. It would be a bonus!
    4.I LOVE your Dangles! Any kind of Dangles in the Rim would be awesome!

    As for your "word for the new year", I Love the word "Fearless" for many reasons. And of course, "Peace".
    I also like "Flow" & "Joy"

    Well, I've got some rims to color!

    Happy New Year to you! I hope you are Fearless in all your endeavors, find Peace throughout the New Year, & Flow with Joy Every Single Day!

    All my best,

  7. 1) Yes

    2) Open Leaves

    3) Line art to color border only

    4) Birthday themed like candles, cupcakes, balloons, and banners etc

  8. 1. Yes, yes, YES!

    2. All of them! Variety is the spice of life!

    3. Both!

    4. Baby animals, FAERIES!, gnome/faery houses.

  9. I am familiar with the one word for the year practice. The best years in my experience were Grace and Gratitude. The Travel year didn't include much actual travel yet was a mentally freeing year. The Communication year was enlightening but ultimately over-stimulating. I'm leaning toward Freedom for 2016. I love playing with my dictionary and thesaurus so was most pleased to read you do that too.

    I feel too busy to color my own although I think the majority of people would want color it yourself options. Leaves is probably the most flexible border.

  10. Joanne, love your work!
    1. Yes…perfect for the coloring fad
    2. Heats, fish & scallops
    3. If possible, both. If not, I would leave it open.
    4. Words, birthdays

    Wishes for a happy & healthy new year.

  11. 1. I would like some frames in black and white so I can add my own designs and color
    2. Numbers 3,6,8 are my most favorite
    3. I like the idea of something in the center….a design or words as suggested by others
    4. I like the idea of inspirational words, more flowers, and designs for a variety of holidays….Christmas, Easter, 4th of July,, birthdays and anniversaries too.

    I had never heard about the word(s) used to lead your life in the new year. I think Live Fierce might be a good thought to mean live each day to the fullest, be unrelenting in trying new things and putting yourself out there.

  12. Love your work!
    1. Yes.
    2. 1, 5, 6, 8
    3. Either way. Love to color your designs.
    4. Center might include words or designed space for our own, holiday series, special occasion as in greeting card fare. Like others' suggestions of crosses, dangles. World theme. Hops, perhaps–a zentangle design in nature…lots where I live.

    My word for the year is "open". There is much pain and sadness in the world. There is also great love, joy and beauty. While it is understandable to find ourselves withdrawing or closed to life and others in fear and self-absorption, I want to remain open, growing, expanding in my capacity to notice, give and receive goodness.

    Happy and Prosperous 2016 to you.

  13. Hi, Joanne.

    1. Yes, I would love a color your own option!
    2. Love #s 2, 6 and 8 as possible color your own.
    3. Center design would be great bonus.
    4. Other possible designs have been mentioned by other but would love to see words, dangles (!) and holiday options.

    Thanks for asking for our input!

  14. Happy New Year Joanne,

    1) yes I would like b&w versions to color myself
    2) I'd like 3,4,5,&9
    3) I'd love different inspirational sayings with a design for the center
    4) A Judaic one, dog items (paws, bones, etc), flowers, holiday/birthday/anniversary/graduation, etc ones, words

    Thank you for including us by asking our opinions when you are working on new projects. For me that's another part of how wonderful you are.


  15. Hi Joanne

    Part two of my reply.

    I do have a word(s) I love to live by. I've had it for years, it's the tag line on my email.
    Having it lettered by you would be a wonderful surprise!

    "Trust Life"


  16. 1) yes
    2) 2, 5, 8
    3) yes, the center portion would be fun
    4) inspirational words with inspirational symbols

  17. Hi, Joanne.

    1. Yes, a 'color-your-own' option would be fabulous, and definitely trendy.
    2. I would like to see Leaves, Hearts, and Large Scallops as cyo.
    3. Yes, a center design would be a nice bonus.
    4. Other possible designs: Cats & Dogs (Paws).

    Thanks, for asking.

  18. 1. the black and white version would be neat for all of the creative minds out there
    2. 2,3,8
    3. a center design or scripture in the center would be nice
    4. flowers, crosses, dangles, bright anything

    I just recently came across your work and I love it! I've printed out several pages to color for myself and my daughters. I think that the coloring could help my daughter to memorize scriptures and she can hang them in her room! (of course myself too)

    My word for 2016 is INTENTIONAL. I am a stay at home mom to 3 little girls and I find myself struggling some days to make it through finishing up the dishes and the laundry and the homeschooling. Just being a mom and housewife itself is a lot to do all day. I want to be intentional about everything that I do, intentional about finishing the laundry, intentional about finishing the dishes, intentional about making sure we get all of the school accomplished everyday. I really feel like God laid this word on my heart for this new upcoming year. I'm excited to see how it changes my life and the way I do things! Thank you for all of your beautiful art!

  19. 1. Yes, I'd love color your own options.
    2. 3, 5 and 7
    3. I think it would be fun to have a design in the middle I could use on another project.
    4. I think holiday themes could be a fun addition, i.e. christmas, easter, valentines day, st pattys, 4th of july etc….

    Thank you for sharing.

  20. #1. Yes! Love coming up with new color schemes!
    #2. 3,5,6 & 7 are my favorites.
    #3.I like the idea of having something in the middle – two projects in one or use as just one project!
    #4. tangles, doodles, and words. I like the idea of words circling around the rim.

    Words for 2016 – Peace, Joy, Faith, Be Intentional, Create, Dream

    Thanks for your creative ideas! Love trying to letter things using your techniques!

  21. What a fantastic design idea!

    1. Yes!
    2. Fish
    Birds & leaves
    Open leaves
    3. I like the design in the middle that can be cut out and used on something else
    4. Inspirational quotes or words
    Seasonal or Holiday themes.

  22. That's so funny that you mentioned the idea choosing of a word to represent yourself in the new year because I just recently heard about the idea too! I've been thinking about what it could be for me, and after reading your blog I think I've finally settled on my word: Diligence. There are many things I want to accomplish in the coming year, and its going to take hard work and diligence on my part. I know I can achieve my goals if I put forth the effort required.

    1. Yes!!
    2. 1, 3, 4, 5
    3. For the Trim-a-Rim, I'd prefer to just have the border to color and cut out..
    4. my favorite themes are the vines, flowers, and geometric designs. A quote would be pretty too.

  23. Yes. I'd love to have leaves to color by the seasons.
    1 Leaves
    Options for both rim and center choices.
    Ideas: Words or phrases, doodles or line art.

  24. Yes. I'd love to have leaves to color by the seasons.
    1 Leaves
    Options for both rim and center choices.
    Ideas: Words or phrases, doodles or line art.

  25. 1. Yes – absolutely!!
    2. 3, 5, 6, & 9 (but I secretly love them all)
    3. I love both options. The center design would be a great addition and I also love it being blank to add lettering, etc.
    4. flowers, inspirational sayins, stripes & doodles, holiday themes

    I'm still trying to decide on my word for the year. I love that you have dictionary lists! I need those! Ha!

    Thanks for asking for our input!


  26. 1. yes!
    2. fish, bubbles, or hearts
    3. yes, something in the middle as well.
    4. something religious? crosses, or stained glass look?

  27. I am familiar with the idea of using a word or phrase as something to ruminate on, but never considered the idea of a word for the whole year. Think I will have to give that a try this year. Things I have used in the past include: I am at peace, good health, be thankful.

    Here are the answers to the questions:
    1. Yes
    2. My favorites are Open Leaves, Large Scallops, Birds and Leaves
    3. More art to color is always nice, but I think it might be difficult to cut out of the middle…maybe if it was perforated?
    4. Inspiration words, Beach/Shells, Feathers

    Thanks for all you do!

  28. 1) Yes, I love the idea of being able to personalize this item. 🙂
    2) Leaves, hearts, and fish
    3) The trim-a-rim border only
    4) Other animals besides fish and birds, night sky with stars and moon, inspirational saying or words.

  29. Holy Moly what a unique way to display your designs and our interpretations!
    2. 4 and 6 are my favorites
    3. I would love a selection of designs for the middle
    4. Zenspirations, words(specific holidays and/or special occasions)and optlion for personalization such as child's hands,signature, artwork, favorite scripture.

  30. 1. Yes
    2. Bubbles and hearts
    3. Like design in middle
    4. Holidays, Life events (anniversary, B'day, new baby, wedding (great shower gift with holiday and event themed borders)

  31. 1. Yes!
    2. 1,6,8 are my favorites
    3. Border only.
    4. Words, dragonflies, sports, birthdays

    My word for the year would have to be "balance" because I've been struggling to find balance between my creative endeavors and my home life responsibilities. More often than not, my art draws the short stick, which is not good for my spirit and soul!

  32. Hi Joanne! I love the new product; I think the Trim-A-Rim will be great fun!

    1. Of course!
    2. I like the one's you chose for the download and I think the bubbles would be fun too.
    3. I love the design in the middle too! I think people would enjoy having that to use in another project.
    4. Inspirational words, a birthday design would be fun, a design with the different images representing the major religions of the world.

    Think of you every day and pray that you are well! Love and blessings my friend! <3

  33. Hi Joanne,

    My one-word for 2016 is DISCERNMENT. I've done this for a few years now, but last year was really the first year it "stuck." My word for 2015 was CLARITY, and wow…it was a guiding theme for me all year long. I wasn't actually ready to get another word, but while I was thinking about that, I immediately thought of DISCERNMENT. That's really what I need this year in all areas of my life.

    I hope you find your one word.

    Warm regards,

  34. Can't wait to have a go at these. And my answers?

    1. YES
    2. 1 – patterned leaves,3 – hearts 5 -large scallops – and 6 open leaves. Oh, and 7 – triangles – too.
    3. Yes, I think a design to leave in the centre or use elsewhere would be good.
    4. Possibilities? Chain links, linked hands, daisies, weaving lines/strings.

  35. I started reading your blog about a month ago and find it very inspiring. It's so cool that you bring others happiness through your art.
    1. Yes Nice to add your favorite colors.
    2. Open leaves
    3. I'd like something in the middle to use for other things
    4. Inspirational words, birthday, holiday, special occasions (new baby, new house, new job, etc.)

    My word for the year will be fearless. I let fear enter into my life too often and it keeps me from doing and trying new things because I might fail. So from now on I will be fearless.

  36. 1. Absolutely
    2. #5 Large Scallops & #8 Birds & Leaves
    3. I think the design in the middle is a great addition
    4. I think garden themes (flowers, birdhouses, buildings, herbs), city scapes, cars, ocean(waves, dolphins, sharks) pets .

    I am brand new to the world of adult coloring and am finding and learning more each time I venture about into this incredible world. I think the Trim-a-Rim idea is a great one with a world of possibilities and I would love and enjoy samples!

    What creativity you have!

    Joy McMinn

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