Saturday 17th March 2018

Everyone IS Creative. 2018.22.

Everyone IS Creative. 2018.22.

Recently I heard Brene Brown say on the CD of her latest book Braving The Wilderness two things that stuck with me about creativity.

One: she was THAT kid told by her teacher that she couldn’t do art. Her art sucked. As a result, Brene never ever tried again. Until this:

Two: her findings were that the best way to embed the learning in her courses was to integrate them with creativity.


I have taken some of her on-line courses over the past two years and each has a component of journal writing, decorating a page of photos, adding some pictures that inspire and so on. In other words, the head learning becomes embedded with the heart learning.

Source: Brene Brown

My Back Story.

I cannot recall doing anything creative at home like drawing or colouring but I recall coveting the brand new Textas (so colourful) around the time I was in Year 6. I loved the geometry lessons which taught me how to make a flower with a set of compasses. That learning comes back to me every time I make a mandala. I went to High School and would have loved to do Art as a subject but I was advised to follow an academic pathway. Never mind. I had fun decorating diaries, school books bags and so on. I could not draw well but I loved patterns. Still do.

My mum was a colourful and stylish dresser and I am pretty sure I learned that from my observations and my innate creativity. Mum was not educated past age 15 but she was a wizz at cooking and baking. Loads of people were delighted to receive her goodies. I saw creativity in the way my parents’ made their gardens and how Mum arranged flowers.

Into my teaching years, particularly with the children under 8, I loved creating colourful and stimulating classroom environments with my ideas and their art. I found teaching in a space like that was great. However, over the years, I learned that some children do not need a lot of visual stimulation to act out so I amended how I did this.

Over The Years.

Teaching probably kept me as creative as I needed to be until it was time to have a break. I was non-teaching for over 20 years so I went to scrapbooking classes, learned how to make Christmas decorations and went to a term of learning how to observe doing drawing with pencil. I did buy a lot of products over the years and my grandchildren who came to us for care each week got their share of use with my paints, paper, scissors, playdoh and so on.

It actually surprised me not long ago to find that after my visual preference as a learner comes kinaesthetic so I guess I got a lot of that with the cutting, placing and pasting I was doing.

Of course, I also cooked and decorated cakes with icing (still do!) but it really wasn’t until I was permanently retired that I saw that my creativity extended to art-type activities, photography, blogging and making memory books. Then as my outer world shrank as I no longer worked nor cared for our grandchildren something needed to happen.

I needed more. I needed something. As it turned out, I needed to make, to practise, to try and to have some fun.


Some famous people said this about creativity:

I asked my friends on Facebook about creativity and was delighted that not one person who responded said “I am not creative…” well, a few may have said “I don’t see myself as creative but I do….”

Here’s the list from those people.

  • Blogging
  • Creative writing
  • Graphic Design
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Doing colouring-in and dot to dots for adults
  • Making my garden
  • Dressing each day and adding accessories to suit
  • Sewing
  • Cooking and Baking
  • Scrapbooking
  • Photography
  • Making Photobooks
  • Journalling
  • Art
  • Drawing
  • Ceramics
  • Planning Family Outings and Events
  • Making costumes for dancers
  • Creating websites
  • Talking on radio
  • Dancing
  • Making Slime
  • Card Making
  • Singing
  • what about you?
  • what are your creative pursuits?
  • there are more than I have here I am sure! 


Thank you all who contributed. Here’s a few pics of my versions of creativity.

So, how are you creative?

And  sorry but “I am not creative” is NOT a reasonable answer!!

Thanks for joining in.



Taking part in Tuesday’s Link of the Day called: I Blog on Tuesdays with Kylie Purtell here.

And on Wednesdays I link with Sue and Leanne here for Midlife Share The Love Party.

Then comes Thursday: Thanks to Leanne we have a beaut linky called Lovin’ Life here.



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.


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.



I See Mandalas. 2017.73.

I See Mandalas. 2017.73.

It’s no secret I love mandalas. I have not been creating them as regularly in the past months as I have been drawn (geddit!) to pattern making.

Nevertheless, I still see mandalas and here are some I noticed in nature.

Do you see patterns and mandalas in nature?


Time for a link up called Lovin’ Life over here with Leanne and friends.

Joining with Sammie and friends here for The Ultimate Rabbit Hole on the weekend.



Nature’s Close Ups. 2017.70.

Nature’s Close Ups. 2017.70.

This garden is amazing at the moment.

So I captured it recently in close-up form.

I love these shapes, colours and textures.

What about you?



Joining my friend Sammie and bloggers here for The Ultimate Rabbit Hole on the weekend.








About My Mandalas. 366/343.

About My Mandalas. 366/343.

I’ve become so accustomed to making, viewing and noticing mandalas in ‘my world’ and the ‘world around me’ that I see them ALL the time.



Now,  I am not going to enter into any correspondence about mandalas and definitions because they are almost undefinable.

I think that is their beauty, wonder and gift for me. Some of the art from my mandala journey was written about here and then there is another here with the story of my starting to create them.

I sometimes use something from nature to inspire me and use an image to denote a mandala on my Instagram social media account. @denysewhelanblogs (it’s set at private for now, but ask for follow!).

I have posted a mandala example each day in Instagram and onto Facebook and Twitter. I also belong to a Mandalas group on Facebook where we share our photos of mandalas made and seen.

Since commencing mandala creation on July 1 I have completed at least one mandala a day. It is one of the purposes of my day. I just love it. I wake thinking of what I might create that day. Sometimes I do not post anything I have made that day because I see something in nature or elsewhere that is a mandala and I share that.

Over 175 Mandalas have now been made by me, and I love every one of them. I also love to share them. Recently my Dad who’d never heard of mandalas decided he loved them so much he asked for some for his unit. My older grandkids spied ones they liked last week and took them home. I asked facebook friends if they would like one (postage cost only!) and I sent 10 to new homes.

There is a lot of joy in the creation and the sharing and they have added to my mindfulness and creativity every single day.

In 2017 I will be continuing the practice. Try to stop me!

Each of these is on A3 size quality art paper and are originals by me. I used a variety of media. I was happy to see them go to new owners. It’s part of the joy of mandalas.

If you follow me on IG or are a Facebook friend or would like mandala I create in 2017, let me know. I love to share them as I said.

Thanks for your support too! I get lots of likes when I post my mandalas.


This is a first..and I think will not be the last. Posting under 2 categories here on the blog!

And I am joining Vanessa here for #archivelove on Friday 27 January 2017.


Two Photo Challenges In November! 366/303.

Two Photo Challenges In November! 366/303.

I have taken part in photo challenges before.

I have remembered (mostly!) to post the photos on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter.

Then I got out of the habit because I have been blogging each day and doing my art, like index-card-a-day for 2 months along with some (!!) mandalas.


I am going to add more to my day….whilst get ready to take something away from my day.

See my post tomorrow!!

dreamstime_16701599 confused

One challenge is here, with Deb and other creatives.



The second challenge has been running for quite some time. In fact, years…and is a very popular one around the world.

Initiated by Chantelle over here on her blog, it is the Fat Mum Slim Photo-A-Day.


Do you join in Photo Challenges?

Which ones?

I hope you have a creative weekend!


creativity 150

Joining the lovely bloggers, Sammie, Karin and Paula who are part of the Ultimate Rabbit Hole.


Mandalas Come In All Sizes. 366/289.

Mandalas Come In All Sizes. 366/289.

When I made the commitment to creating 100 Mandalas a day for 100 Days I thought I would be creating them similarly. It turned out that even making mandalas deepens the creative thinking process. I then extended myself and learned even more.

Here are some of those for this creative post on Saturday.



Choosing a colour palette that is not a favourite one.



Painting a rainbow adding paint mask then taking it off to reveal mandala



Simple little floral patterns repeated on a small sheet of paper.



Using stamps and making this fun mandala about a journey of sorts.


Stars and rewards based mandala channeling my inner teacher having fun.



Almost the end of ICAD season I had plenty of index cards and used only gel pens for this.



It started as hearts and the message then did its thing. Using colour combos I might not normally choose.



I LOVED thinking this one up as it went along. Based on the beach colours I love, added the words in ever changing sizes. Outlined in gel pen over the painted letters.



Started in the middle and then grew itself. Colours again were limited and shapes grew as they do!



Made on the table here. Bit blurry but it’s my beach finds mandala.

I wonder if you have started seeing mandalas where you do these days?

I see them everywhere.

Do have a go at creating one. It’s the best fun.


creativity 150

Joining Sammie, Karin and Paula for The Ultimate Rabbit Hole here this Saturday.