Wednesday 27th October 2021

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.



  1. Thank you for sharing this! I created my own that I’ve blogged today too. I love the idea of a graph book though – as a non arty person sometimes a blank page can be intimidating so even a few squares on the page makes it feel less like I have to fill it all. And I know exactly at home where I have a small graph book and it’ll fit into my case!

    • A really good point about the ‘blank page’ Vanessa! I sometimes take a bit of time to ponder when I look at my blank pages and I guess at times I go for what comes up, other times I just start with making a line….adding some more and then a pattern of sorts emerges. I do not stress much at all about perfection anymore and that is a GOOD thing.

      I will check your post out soon. Glad the graph idea was a good one for you. It is F U N.

      Denyse x

  2. I have always enjoyed watching your arty progression Denyse.

  3. Thanks for sharing this and mentioning me. I am enjoying the colouring. Such a good idea to put together an art kit. I’ve always been a bit intimidated to do anything arty or creative like this because my brother and other relatives are so talented. But it is definitely a great mindfulness tool, so long as you don’t worry about being “good” at it.

    Looking forward to the next post. xo

    • I am delighted to see you doing this. And right now, stop comparing yourself to anyone! You know that saying “comparison is the thief of joy?”. As Brene Brown would also say (and it makes me ashamed of being a teacher for this one!) many many people stop making art or music because “a teacher” in the early years of school told them they were no good. Grrrr. The thing is, believe the process is helping you and the product slips by the wayside. It is a bonus if the product is ‘good’ but the process is the source of mindfulness and joy. Denyse x

  4. I think creating in some form is crucial for our health, for everyone!! My hubby creates every day when he builds something and from it comes a deep sense of satisfaction. I create by blogging, but that wasn’t fulfilling me, so now I also create in my planner each day. My pretty little piece of the world that helps me feel that satisfaction most days too.

    • Ooh that sounds really interesting. I see art-in-photos with you. The angle of the pic and the way in which you place a certain part of the garden or a room is artistic. Your whole house – inside and out is a tribute to you. Love it! I always decorated books and planners and now have gone much further by making pages of them. Once I start it just keeps on going and I let that happen. I see so much design and pattern work in your photos I would be wanting to create them on paper too. Denyse x

  5. Great post lovely. It has been wonderful to watch you fall in love with art and share your creations. That is so cool that you became a moderator for index card a day. I haven’t done it in years because I have too many things I try to do so committing to it seems too much for me. Love following Tammy though!

    • Thanks so much Deb. I always give you the shout-out because at times we do not even realise we are making differences in others’ lives. I reckon I will do ICAD again this year but moderating was too much for me after the years of it so I was happy to just create and support others giving it a go for the first time. Good wishes sent your way for a creative and happy 2018. Denyse x

  6. Ah Denyse, I loved everything about this post! I’m so pleased for you that having this creative outlet has helped you surf through some of life’s more challenging experiences. I really enjoy the sharing of your art and at different times I have been inspired by you to pick up my pens. I certainly don’t do it often enough. My brother was gifted all the ‘arty’ genes and so I’ve believed all these years that I’m not much chop at it. As I get older and wiser I now realise that it doesn’t matter – if it brings me joy do it anyway! I hope you include the materials you use for your white on black mandalas in your next post. They are just beautiful and possibly my favourites.

    Thanks Denyse. Xx

    • Thanks Sandra but I dispute that you do not have the ‘arty-genes’ because ALL of us do in one way or another. It might be in the garden with how to plant things to look their best, or in the viewfinder of the camera when you are composing a scene and I know I have seen these in you. Next week I will add more about the materials especially the white on black I promise! Denyse xx

  7. I love the mandalas… they are always beautiful to see people colour them in and how they finish up. I wanted to buy a jigsaw puzzle of a mandala but can’t find one.

    • That is lovely …mandalas helped me so much in 2016-2017 and I needed to take a pen and keep on patterning. It does seem strange that you cannot buy a mandala jigsaw though as you would guess there’d be a market for them…as you already know. Good luck in further hunting! Denyse x

  8. I was just checking out Ness’s post and saw you were the inspiration behind her art kit. This is such a cool idea. Thanks for sharing all the goodies in your bag.

    • Thank you! Next week I will add more about materials and ideas for anyone wanting to do more with their art. And, as long as everyone remembers that they can do art I am happy. Far too many times people are TOLD they are not creative and it is nonsense. Denyse x

  9. What a lovely and life affirming morning routine, Denyse! Coffee whilst out and about before settling down to create something artistic!

    SSG xxx

    • Thank you SSG. I’ve done this before – in 2014 but it’s not been till 2017 and beyond I am now more confident about getting out and about since my lovely GP ‘fixed’ my IBS with some meds. If I were flying as you are about to, my art kit would be coming too! Happy Vacay! Denyse xx

  10. I have really enjoyed watching you blossom with your art Denyse. You create some beautiful art! Your mandalas last year were fantastic! I’m also very glad you had your art to help you through your difficult times like your recent surgery. I really look forward to your next posts about what equipment you use etc. I would like to do more art. I just have trouble finding time and motivation. There’s so many things I try and do and not enough time to do them all. However, I would like to try and fit some art in. Your posts might just be the inspiration I need. xo #TeamLovinLife

    • Min I hear you on the things you would like to do and want to have the time for them all.

      I am someone who prefers to pick and choose activities according to how I feel these days or what I NEED. Sometimes I calm my inner self by literally just painting across the page in repetition or drawing patterns on repeat and it tells my body to relax.

      Thanks for your lovely words about the mandalas. Let me know if you want some outlines to colour and I can post them to you or better still…I will link up a post I did on how to make mandalas yourself.

      I see your garden photos as art. Maybe re-defining art might help you see just what you are doing now.

      Denyse x

  11. I love to do coffee alone too Denyse. People watching is so interesting! It really gets your imagination running wild. I think the idea of an art kit is fantastic. I’m yet to rediscover my crafty side, but I’m sure it will come in the years to come. #TeamLovinLife

    • People watching is lovely isn’t it? It is sometimes great to meet someone for coffee too but up here I have yet to meet many people but there are some living not far away who I have become friends with via twitter and FB and blogging and hope to catch up with them too in 2018.

      I think art came back to me as something I needed to revisit in 2013 even though I may not have seen it for myself. I got into a lovely on-line group and they encouraged me and helped me learn more about materials I would find great. I also give back to groups like that now via my IG updates and of course on the blog.

      You are right, your crafty side will re-emerge as it is needed. You have a LOT happening right now for sure.

      Denyse x

  12. This is so great Denyse. I love seeing your creations online, they are so beautiful and inspiring. And one thing I’ve learned with the girls, it definitely is better to spend a little more on quality supplies that will last!

    • You have nailed it! The stuff from $2 shops just doesn’t last and it frustrates those who like to make good quality art works. Next week I make some recommendations and list suppliers. Thank you Kylie! Denyse x