Saturday 17th March 2018

Art, Materials, Create! Part Two. 2018.8.

Art, Materials, Create! Part Two. 2018.8.

Following on from last week’s post here on Art Kits and more today’s post is photo-heavy and  words added to help with both description of how I use the materials and what I make. Suppliers I have used are listed at the end of the post with links to their websites.

What I use to ‘make my marks’.

Did that ‘whet your appetite?’

Let me tell you it has taken quite a lot of money AND time to make the collection I now have. I have purchased small quantities first (cost effective too) and then seen how much I like using them and to what effect. Neocolour 11 crayons were in that category. I now have a large collection but started in 2013 with 10. Copic pens are ace and they come in sets at Officeworks or you can buy singly from some supplier below. Zig Paint Pens are awesome. BUT very expensive initially. However, I got a set first to see how they worked for me and then added as years went by. I am never without my black unipin markers and they are at Officeworks too. More and more, Officeworks (not sponsored!!) is building a decent supply of artist* materials.


Well. here is what I have learned. As adults we need to  see ourselves as artists and use materials for artists. Not ‘student’ and that is because you will become frustrated with the poor quality of materials over time. It is WORTH spending more as the artist quality materials last well.


Yes I do a lot of this with two brands of paint and types. I have watercolours and gouache. I use artist-brands: Winsor and Newton and Caran D’Arche. Gouache is a more dense version of watercolour. I use the best brushes I can afford and places like Riot Art and Eckersleys can advise you.

Some More: 

Now…if you want to know more, of course ask me in the comments.

I am happy to do more posts later in the year but would also love to know what you are up to if art has become part of your life. Lots of colouring books are available in so many shops that you are spoiled for choice and cost. Big W has quite a range. The only rider for me is beware of books which have a pattern on the back of another as some markers will go through. Another thing I do too is place a piece of A4 paper behind the work I am doing with a marker.

The A3 and A4 and A5 art books I used have at least a GSM (thickness) of 110 or more. Anything less can tear easily and paint/materials may go through. Oh and if you are using any gelly-type pens (and the real ones Gellyrolls if you can afford them) make sure you let them dry before closing your page.

Websites to explore: I have used products from all of these.

REMEMBER to have FUN. It is about the process NOT the product!

Happy Art-ing!


Joining with Kylie Purtell for I Blog on Tuesdays here and with Leanne here on Thursdays for Lovin’ Life Linky!



Art Kits, Materials & More. Part One. 2018.6.

Art Kits, Materials & More. Part One. 2018.6.


In 2013 I was looking for something to give me some level of contentment. It was a pretty stressful time in my life and it was a shout-out from Deb Dane who blogs here that changed my life for the better.

That IS a big call, I know!

A R T was it. But back then I was both curious and shy. I had ALWAYS enjoyed creating colourful and crafty classrooms for kids, and then as grandchildren came along I joined the scrapbooking phenomenon of the 1990s and beyond. I also did a college class on sketching when I first retired.

But A R T for ‘arts-sake’ was surely for more talented people than I am. 

Finding My Place as an Artist.

Oh seriously it took some time to apply this term to me but as one of my art gurus said ‘what are the rules for this?’. Rule-maker and keeper me realised I was the one limiting myself. Deb suggested I join the group on Facebook called DaisyYellow and take part in their Index-Card-A-Day challenge from June to July every year. In 2013 I joined, became a devotee, even signing on as a moderator in 2015 and 2016. In 2017 I did the challenge until it was time for my cancer surgery in early July.

This post explains more about it. I thank Tammy Garcia, the founder, for much of her encouragement of my art. Some examples here of my interpretation of the daily prompts in 2016. These are all created on (old speak) 6inch x 4 inch index cards.

What’s An Art Kit?

I credit learning more about art from being a member of this on-line group as above. It’s a free website and there are minimal costs for certain activities. However, as in all things in life, it was time for me to decide what I wanted in an art kit and what would be its purpose.

You know when you are caught waiting in a room for an appointment or sitting in the car waiting for someone and whilst you could look at your phone or read an old magazine there is this idea! An Art Kit.

I always had small one in my bag when we lived in Sydney and then somehow when we moved and I was mainly being at home, I got out of the habit of keeping one. It was when I had to go to hospital last July I thought I needed to take some art materials for when I was recovering AND cognisant. I was right! In 2017 I was obsessed with mandalas! I was designing and drawing them, making patterns to colour later. They were (and still are) a very MINDFUL activity for me. I made a large version of an art kit with my A4 book with pre-drawn circles and some lines on many pages, added in some Unipin pens, some colouring pens and I was set. I did not watch TV at night in hospital, I drew mandalas and they helped in my mood and physical recovery as I relaxed!

Now I am getting dress with purpose every day, one thing I do is go out for a solo coffee. I have been doing that for more than 2 months now and I am loving it. I get to people watch, sip a favourite coffee, sometimes try to eat something nice, and play with ART. Here I am last Friday at a local cafe. By the way, it took me about two goes not to feel self-conscious so now it’s second nature!

Next post I will add more details about:

  • materials I use that might be expensive initially but ‘pay for themselves’ in terms of lasting and quality
  • some ways in which art has helped my emotional health improve
  • how all of us can make art in a way that is meaningful to us and how to shut up the critic’s voice
  • ideas for colouring-in those lovely patterns and pictures in books and freebies on-line
  • and anything you might choose to ask me questions about in the comments!!

I hope this has been helpful.

I wrote this post as a response to Vanessa Smith’s comment recently and she blogs here. Another blogging friend, also named Vanessa and blogs here  is now colouring mindfully and this post may be of interest but the next one will be more so I think.

Happy Art-ing everyone!



Joining Kylie Purtell here for I Blog On Tuesdays and on Thursdays I join in the Lovin’ Life Linky with Leanne here.


About November 2017. 2017.126.

About November 2017. 2017.126.

Some of my activities in November 2017 in words and pics. A snapshot I guess!

It’s about sharing the dignity which is now an Australia-wide program helping women who have been made suddenly homeless or who are already in a refuge. Women of all ages. I collected some items from here and then bought a lot more and added them to a practical carry-on type bag in good condition.

As I wrote last week here, I made a change to become more interested in my personal appearance and to have some photos taken each day to mark what I have worn. I was quite reluctant initially because I thought “too old” and “no-one is interested” but then I said to myself “YOU are doing this for you!” And once I adopted that stance, I have really begun to enjoy it…and, here’s the thing I am buying new clothes. Well, ones on special as much as possible and the variety in my wardrobe now means I have clothes which fit this much smaller body and look good too.

Realising that art continues to play a part in my healing AND it is a great mindful activity I have been filling both an A4 blank book and an A3 blank book with patterns, mandalas and words. Sometimes in paint, other times in markers and also in black pen. I often listen to music and I have decided it’s close enough to Christmas to get out those CDs and join in! I love singing Christmas songs and I so miss doing it with the kids at school and my grandkids in the car. But nothing is going to stop me doing it for me either!

I love my grandchildren. I miss them very much but I also accept their lives are now caught up with University, work, school and pre-school. We used to mind some of our grandchildren every week at our house and it was such a pleasure to have this experience in our lives. Because I am mindful of privacy for them and their parents I do not have any photos on my Facebook or Instagram unless the older grandchildren have agreed. So, recently I wanted to show just how proud I am of them…and let this second photo into a post. In the background is display with a photograph of the 8 grandchildren as wee babies. One is about to turn 21 and the youngest is under 3. Being Grandma is the BEST! And of course, my husband loves being Papa and when the grandchildren come to visit us here it is a joy.

I admit I wanted to share a photo of me taken almost a year ago with my darling husband ….because I have teeth!! OK..I probably also had cancer starting in the gums but I wasn’t to know that for another 5 months. I like this loving photo of us taken by a granddaughter.

Proud Grandparents of 8. Six girls and two boys. This pic is almost a year old. Sigh. I have teeth.

The little house in the background with the pics and I wear my Uberkate circles proudly with the largest having each grandchild’s initials and the year of their birth on the back.

Back to my happy place is back to the beach. In the last week it finally became warm enough for me to contemplate going for my first beach walk of the season. As I knew I was going to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse for my second surgery last Wednesday, I chose the Tuesday afternoon to walk along the sand and take in the sights, the smells and the sounds. Bliss! I also went on Sunday and the water was even warmer. Love my beach walks and I am beginning to use my fitbit again but not obsessing about it or letting it give me reminders to move! That is TOO bossy!

This post is being published on Tuesday 21 November and I will have already been back to Sydney on Monday 20 November to see my surgeon, the Prof, for a post-op check up. I intended to blog about last Wednesday for this post but realised it would be better to wait until I hear more about what is next and how things went. In terms of recovery on the day I went very well and Emily Hawker confirmed I can say I am a ‘good recoverer’ because that is a word! Recoverer! Love it.

Surprise Arrival at Our House the Day After My Surgery!

It was lovely to receive the flowers above last Thursday after my surgery. Sent by a wonderful friend I am yet to meet. I have lots of friends ‘in the computer’ as people say. I am so very fortunate that I do as they make my day many a time in our on-line and blogging conversations!

Last but oh so not least:

There is one very special blogging friend who has the Thursday link up I add to each week and she has been an amazing supporter of my blog too. This is Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit. On Thursday of this week her step-daughter who is far too young to have anything wrong with her…but she does…is having major surgery this week. I send all my healing wishes to her and am thinking of her family, including a little girl, her daughter.


How has your November 2017 been so far?

Anything special happening?

Tell me more in the comments!


Joining Kylie for I Blog on Tuesdays here and Leanne for Lovin’ Life Linky here on Thursday.


Creativity Soothes Me. 2017.102.

Creativity Soothes Me. 2017.102.

It’s been a while!

I used to post more about my creativity way back when I was blogging more frequently so I decided today was ideal for a creativity catch-up.

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that since 2013 art, in one shape or another, has helped me bridge some of life’s changes and given me a great ‘head space’ in which to become more mindful. I wrote about mindfulness here yesterday.

I am visually dominant then my next sense as a preference is kinaesthetic with aural (hearing and listening) third. I wrote about that here. It makes great sense to me then to enjoy art and using a myriad of different resources. From 2013 when I joined a group called DaisyYellowArt here, I have learned so much about media and then what I prefer to use. It has also meant I have, ahem, spent quite a lot of money over the years investing in artist-quality materials as student ones just do not ‘cut it.’

Making patterns on the page which may be large, small or somewhere in between gives me a creative freedom which I love. Although I do like to share on social media what I have made, the value for me is in the process. 

That is when I am at my most mindful and that is so good for my emotional health. When I went to hospital I took some art materials and an A4 book with some mandala outlines on quite a few pages and once I was in the ward (and not so knocked out from the huge surgery) I could lose myself in art each evening. I was a happy patient for sure and I did show some to the nurses as a way to connect.

Here’s a few I’ve made recently in my creative times. I will often say throughout the day, “I’m off to the art room” and it is a most pleasant and soothing place to be. I listen to some CDs often by some of my favourite teachers including Brene Brown, Pema Chodron and Tara Brach. It does soothe me for sure! I will sometimes draw mandalas and colour them in bed or sitting watching TV. I have a book with art materials that moves from room to room with me!!

What do you do to become more mindful?

Have you tried something new creatively recently?

Do you know what learning style is your preferred one? (hint: post link has place where you can check it!)


Linking here with Kylie Purtell for I Blog on Tuesday link up and here with Leanne for Lovin’ Life link on Thursdays.



Creative Art & Listening. 2017.83.

Creative Art & Listening. 2017.83.

I’ve been following art groups and becoming more creative in my retirement years. I am lucky to have a range of materials to work  play with and have had some lessons in their use. Now I get to have fun and create. I was doing this as part of my transitioning to retirement anyway but since I received my cancer diagnosis it has become a very important element in keeping me mindful and creating to heal.

For each of the photos I have written something about the process and you can see the products.

The accompaniment for me is always a CD where I am learning or reinforcing learning about life, our spirits, our behaviours and more. I have a range of CDs by Brene Brown, Pema Chodron, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Anne Lamott, and Rick Hanson among other. The one I am listening to right now (for the 3rd time!) is about offering ourselves self-compassion. I have been a late arrival to the need to show myself self-kindness and compassion and it is through the works of Kirsten Neff and Christopher Germer that I am undoing the practice of old (criticism and self-judgement) and integrating the practice of: self-compassion.

I hope you enjoy what you see here.


This is my post for the LAST EVER weekend linky called The Ultimate Rabbit Hole here with Sammie and Friends. I thought it was time for another post on creativity! Congratulations to all who made The Ultimate Rabbit Hole great and THANK you for sharing the love.

Large Page, Meditative Patterns & Repetitive Colouring.


Accuracy and pattern making in paint to the ROYGBIV colours…of the Rainbow!


The flower pattern started. So meditative and gentle I saw frangipanis arise.


Adding painted background close to leaf colour made for good concentration and distraction.


From the middle is the famous yellow of most if not all frangipanis. Letting the paint dry before next stage is a measure of my patience these days!


Taking the idea further, there have been many pink frangipanis on our tree as well as while ones, so I added a highlight colour in paint.


Almost there but not quite. Adding different shades of pink within the same tones from my gouache paints. Very slowly adding where I thought it was needed.


A3 size, the finished product is now on display. I loved doing this so much I have started another!


This one is different but still floral in focus. Listening to this book on CD reminds me of self-compassion and my need to be as kind to me as to another.


Hobbies. #LifeThisWeek 22/52. 2017.74.

Hobbies. #LifeThisWeek 22/52. 2017.74.

I wasn’t a kid who had hobbies. I didn’t collect things. I didn’t stick things in albums.

I just liked to READ. Sometimes my  mother would think I read too much and say “Denyse, you can’t borrow any books from the library in term time”. Mum was so not a reader. But I don’t think she ever carried out the threat.

I liked to go to the beach – Manly or North Steyne when I was a teen. But was that a hobby or was I just there to meet up with the girls and the BOYS….mmmm (shhh don’t tell Mum!). This is my shadow just after sunrise on Manly Beach around 50 years later!! Once I was an adult, had kids and was teaching (and often doing admin or study) I really did not have much time for hobbies but for a while, when it was trendy, I did scrapbooking (see the albums that are in the linen press) and the woollen embroidery that made pictures. What were they called? Anyway. That’s it. Oh, one hobby I just remembered. When we knew Sydney was going to host the 2000 Olympics I became a BADGE collector and obsessed by it. I remember taking a morning off school (I was principal!) to line up at K-Mart in Blacktown for a particular set of badges. What did I do with them? I wore ones I was prepared to part with or swap to the Olympics and then after the Olympics my husband made two frames for me to mount the badges. Now they are part of a school’s memorabilia about the Sydney Olympics.

Now I am all grown up AND retired my hobbies would be the photography and art of some kind. I am very visual and with kinaesthetic being my second preferred learning style, as in last week’s post here, then that makes sense.

So do you have a hobby or more than one?

A blogger has called my kind of blog a ‘hobby blog’ but I prefer to say it’s just my blog.

I love making connections here and thank those who join in on Mondays especially for #LifeThisWeek.

Denyse. Connecting here with Alicia who has a link up called Open Slather and here with Kell for Mummy Mondays. * You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “View From Here”.


Words and Pics This Week. 2017.43.

Words and Pics This Week. 2017.43.

It’s been a blah week because of the weather and I have made some time, where I could, to get outside for capturing a snapshot or five. As I do.

Here are some of the pics I took this week…and some words in the captions.

Saturday morning. Driving along and saw how still the water was. I was rewarded with this capture and many others! How amazing is nature!


I’ve grown sweet peas successfully back at our former home so decided this year to give them a go here. Love the sweet pea flower. Memories of childhood and taking flowers to school to the teacher.


My view from our back verandah. The house at the back is unoccupied since it was sold (this is the garage) is very old, made of fibro/asbestos I guess..and this is my view…making it better with trellis added to back fence to coax the sweet peas up!


After a weekend at home because of awful weather I ventured out to see the big seas and high tide at Soldiers Beach.


A walk around the garden and this pattern of raindrops caught my eye.


This 8inx8in mandala on black was both meditative and creative to complete. I could not stop adding to it. It was such fun. Now off to a friend for her to frame to put in her new house!


I hope your week’s been a good one. Mind you, the weather…let’s not talk too much about it shall we?


I am linking to photography friends who host links: Sue and Jen on Friday and over the weekend with Sammie here for The Ultimate Rabbit Hole.



What Did You Create This Week? 366/254.

What Did You Create This Week? 366/254.

In the past week what have you created?

It may be that you made a particular meal for the first time.

You may have decided to team accessories in a new way with an outfit.

Maybe you walked outside and took a different walking path so you could enjoy a new view and create memories.

Perhaps you painted something that was both practical and useful but you had fun choosing the colours.

In other words, creativity does not have to be all about music, art, drawing, craft and so on…it can be taking a different path for something that’s been regularly done only one way.

Here’s what I got up to:

  • made a friend two countdown charts for her little ones to be able to mark off the days till Daddy is home
  • completed mandala #70 of 100 which was actually a black and white mandala a while back, but I coloured it
  • changed the way in which I dealt with my ‘lonely day’ on Friday when my hub does his volunteering work
  • listened to a podcast I had not heard before
  • began a new book based on a more spiritual approach to living


So, what do you think you may have created this past week or so?

creativity 150


P.S. I have a NEW weekly link-up starting here this Monday 12 September called “Life This Week”. There are optional prompts! I hope you will link-up too when you can. Here’s the details from a recent post! 

life this week icons 150 2

Joining the Ultimate Rabbit Hole here this week with The Geeky Shopaholic and also where this link up appears too with Karin here at Calm to Conniption along with Shari from here at Good Food Week.