Category Archives: art journaling

My Article in Where Women Create Magazine

Where Women Create article
I’m pleased to share that my creative space and article have been published in the May/June/July 2015 issue of Where Women Create magazine.  I’ve come to know the magazine’s creator and publisher, Jo Packham, through my work at Sizzix – what an amazing, talented, and stylish woman!  I’m honored to be included in her beautiful publication.  The article runs from page 82 to page 89.

Given that my creative space is tucked into our small apartment my “studio” space isn’t nearly as grand as many of those featured in WWCreate, but I’m hoping readers will find the article and photos interesting and inspirational nonetheless.

If you’re new to my blog, and have found your way here through the magazine and article, welcome!  I’ve been focusing on quilting lately, but have a wide variety of posts in my archives, including:

Art
Crafts
Recipes
DIY projects, including jewelry and more!
Photographic Tours of places I’ve visited (Europe, Peru, Ireland, New York City, New Orleans, etc.)

You can learn a bit more about me on the About Page, and read about the book I published here.  I have photos of my creative work in the Gallery, including photography, mixed media, collage, and art journals.  Information about my art journaling program for at-risk kids (including a brief video) can be found here.

Whether you’re a long-time blog follower or a new visitor, I thank you for joining me on this creative journey called life – and for stopping by!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Art Journaling Supply Drive for 2014-15!

kids_at_work

Hurray for ART! I’m pleased to share that I will be able to teach at my Santa Ana school this year after all, in addition to the two classrooms I’m already donating vacation days for in Ontario. My fabulous employer is going to cover my usual work hours for the 3 days I’ll need to work with the kids in Santa Ana this school year – woo hoo! The school is going to provide the core items needed for the kits out of their budget (sketchbook, scissors, crayons, and glue sticks), and I’m going to do all I can to help provide the other supplies that the kids have such fun creating with – things like mini ink pads, ribbon, fabric, and more.

And that’s where I hope you’ll come in, dear reader. Please consider donating supplies or a gift card to help bring art journaling to the entire 4th grade at Wilson Elementary School. If you’re not familiar with my art program for kids, please take a peek HERE and read about my volunteer work with the kids.

SUPPLY WISH LIST

Cotton fabric squares – 4 or 5”
Ribbon – at least ½” wide, please…
Playing Cards
Loteria/Mexican Bingo sets
Patterned paper – 8 ½” x 11” or smaller
Punchinella
Envelopes
Stickers
Cancelled postage stamps

Gift cards for Michaels – to purchase mini ink pads for each child
https://merchant.sgiftcard.com/chrome/michaels
(I’ll happily receive e-gift cards at this email address: melody @ melodynunez dot com)

I’m gathering supplies for 150 kits (four classrooms full of fourth graders!).
Please let me know if you’d like to help me bring art supplies and instruction to the kids.
I’ll be happy to provide my mailing address if you email me via my Contact page.

Thanks a bunch!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Santa Ana Art Journal Show

collage

I visited my Santa Ana school last Friday, and attended art journal shows for all four of my fourth grade classes.  It was super exciting to have all 4th graders participate in art journaling this year, and feedback from the children and their teachers was incredible.  The kids had a blast creating art and expressing themselves, and were excited to share with me and the others in attendance at our shows.

The teachers had nothing but positive things to say as well.  Woo hoo!  They loved seeing the children so enthusiastically engaged and – given the current academic climate that’s so testing-focused – appreciated that their students had the opportunity to express themselves creatively in an unstructured way.

Again, thank you SO much to those of you who’ve helped me bring art journaling to my Santa Ana and Ontario schools this year and in years past.  I estimate that a little over 500 students have received art instruction and supplies since I started volunteer teaching back in 2003, which makes my heart happy. :] Thank you for your help and support!

Here’s a small sampling of the pages that were created by my Santa Ana students, since I can’t share art from all 14o of them.  They’re such wonderful artists!

dragon1

abigail

littlebrother

sunrise

turkey

waterbottle

colorful

beach

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at some of the art my students created.  I also hope you have a wonderful week!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Ontario Art Journal Show & Program Update

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I recently visited the school in Ontario where I have two classrooms of 4th grade art journaling students. It was the day of our art journaling shows, and a great time was had by all! I loved seeing the amazing pages my young students had created. They were excited to share, and naturally I had to take some pictures of their work to share with all of you.

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I think their journals and pages are charming and inventive, and I’m thrilled that 70-ish kids at this school received art instruction and enrichment. Art seems like it should be a given in schools, but sadly it’s NOT – so huge thanks to all of you who supported my art journaling program this year and in years past. We’ve made a difference in the lives of many! Stay tuned for pictures from the art journal shows that are coming up at my Santa Ana school, where I have four classrooms of 4th graders participating in the art journaling program. The photos should be posted in early to mid June.

Program Update
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During this coming school year I’ll be teaching one classroom of students, in my aunt’s classroom in Ontario. Given that I won’t have dedicated art supply storage space in a garage after our upcoming move, and that I’ve been giving up much of my vacation time to volunteer teaching for the past four years, I’m going to be putting my program on hold. Changes in life circumstance and fewer donations have given me cause to evaluate the trajectory of this program, and it seems that this is a good time to pause. I’ll let you know if/when I restart.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm many of you have shown over the years.  Together we’ve brought art supplies and instruction to over 500 at-risk children!  Hurray!

Warm regards,
Melody

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My Art Journaling Program: Art Supply Drive & Something a Bit Different for This Fall

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Greetings, dear readers!  I hope you’re all well and happy.  Although it’s only March, I’m kicking off my Art Supply Drive for the 2014-2015 school year.  I know – crazy, right?  I hope you’ll participate and help children in need.  Please keep reading to get the scoop on what I’ll be doing differently this fall, and why I’m hosting my drive now instead of in August.

First Things First: A Bit About My Program
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I volunteer teach art journaling to at-risk elementary school students.  Art journaling – a combination of visual art and traditional journaling – nurtures creativity, strengthens language and fine motor skills, and bolsters a child’s self-esteem while providing a positive form of self-expression. Art journaling is a valuable tool that provides positive focus, promotes personal growth, and encourages non-violent conflict resolution through visual and verbal expression.

Donations and art materials are gathered from wonderful folks like you, and I typically teach as many classrooms of students for which we have supplies (six classrooms in the 2013-2014 school year).  Each student is provided with a blank journal and a packet of art supplies upon the first visit. The children are taught art journaling in the early part of their school year, and then I return to the class during the last month of school for an art journal show – to see what they’ve created and to celebrate their artistic accomplishments.

The kids have the best time creating, and love using their art supplies.  They truly love art journaling, and this creative outlet gives them a chance to shine and to express themselves – priceless!

Why So Early?
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I’ll be moving in July (will still be in OC), and am unlikely to have garage space in the new complex – which affects my ability to store art supplies for my program.  I’ll need to assemble the art supply kits for next year and pass on any remaining supplies before the move.  Since July will be here before I know it I’m asking for your help now.

Just Two Classes This Fall
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I’ll be teaching fewer classes this fall since I’m going to take a short trip/mini sabbatical in November and will need the vacation days I usually donate to my program in order to make this happen.  I need to recharge my batteries, but will still teach two classes at the school in Ontario where my aunt is a 4th grade teacher.

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Wish List
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Because I was able to store supplies and hold some extra items back from last year, I already have a number of the supplies I’ll need for the 80 art supply kits.  For example, I already have all the scissors, decorative paper and cardstock, tags, pencils, mini ink pads, paper punches, playing cards, and more.  My wish list is much shorter this year, and I’d be SO thankful if you’d help me fill in the gaps to ensure that two classrooms of children receive the gift of art journaling this fall.

*Please note: I don’t expect any one person to supply the entire dollar amount for the journals, all the glue sticks, etc.  You’re welcome to donate in any amount or quantity. :]

  • $250 to buy 80 journals/sketchbooks
    (gift cards to Office Depot, checks, or donations via GoFundMe)
  • 100 glue sticks – any brand
  • 70 8-count packs of Crayola Crayons
  • $35 for the large Ziplock bags that hold each child’s supplies
    (Target gift card, check, or donation via GoFundMe)
  • 160 Fabric Squares: please mail these to my P.O. Box  
    (3 kind and generous people are donating these – hurray!)
  • $15 to buy single window business envelopes
    (Office Depot Gift card, check, or donation via GoFundMe)

Art Supply Drive Deadline & Mailing Address
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I’d love to receive all donations by April 15, 2014.

You may donate quickly, easily, and securely via my page at GoFundMe – just click here.

If you’d like to order a gift card online and have it mailed directly to me, or plan to send supplies like crayons, glue sticks, or fabric squares please use this address:

Melody M. Nuñez
P.O. Box 60030
Irvine, CA 92602

Thank you for your consideration!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Playing in My Art Journal: A Self-Portrait

I completed a few new entries in my art journal last week, and one of them was a self-portrait.  I started it during my lunch hour – just working with my journal and a black pen.  I finished the page that night, when I had access to my watercolor pencils, a paintbrush, and a bit more time.

This organic form is representational of me, and yes – that’s a pumpkin head!  The words near the leaves’ tendrils are things I associate with myself – they’re either some of my qualities and traits, or things that are important to me.

I find it very relaxing to doodle/draw, fill in the spaces with color, and then blend the colors with brush and water.  I don’t have any illusions of being skilled at drawing, but I do have fun playing – and that’s the whole point.  :]

black_white

Black and white…

colored_in

Colored in but not blended…

blended_colors

Color blended with water and brush…

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Up close…

I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at one of my latest art journal pages, dear readers.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Warm regards,
Melody

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A Peek at My Newest Art Journal

Greetings!  I hope you’re having a great week thus far, dear readers.  Today I’m sharing a peek at my newest art journal – art journal number #16!  I just started it last week, and thought I’d show you how I customized it.

The Book Itself
journal

The journal is an 8 ½” x 11” book that started out with a blank white cover and blank white inside pages.  I love getting these Possibilities Blank Books from skybluepink.com.  The proprietress of skybluepink, Christina,  is a longtime supporter of my art journaling program for at-risk kids.  Hooray!  :]  I believe the style I order is the large portrait journal with 46 sheets…

Personalization
cover

I decorated the exterior of my journal by covering it with vintage wallpaper.  (Thanks for the wallpaper, Karan!)  The central image on the cover consists of an original black and white vintage photo that I mounted on black cardstock and a vintage label stamped with the word “sixteen”.  I also traced around the edge of the label and photo with a bronze metallic gel pen.  The exterior of the journal is treated with a clear sealer in order to protect it from spills and muck.

The Spine
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I customized the spine of my journal with another number 16.  This helps me order and locate the journals quickly if I have them on a shelf.  The number was cut from a page of vintage ledger paper – I wanted to carry the vintage look throughout on the exterior…

Inside
inside-left

I always make sure to put my name and phone number inside my journal, in case it gets lost.  I also like to include the date I start and finish the journal.  Because I date virtually all the pages/entries in my journals I could also look at the first and last entries to figure this out, but I like having this quick reference in the front as well.

inside-right

On the right side of the inside spread I like to mount an envelope.  I use this envelope to hold odds and ends like movie tickets while I’m working in the journal.  In this particular case I’ve embellished the envelope with some washi tape and a butterfly that I die cut from fine wire mesh.  However, the envelope embellishment varies from journal to journal.

Credit Where Credit is Due
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Many of the ways I customize my book (decorating and sealing the cover, envelope in the inside, numbering journals) were adopted from the supremely talented artist Janice Lowry – I was lucky enough to take a class from her several years ago.  She was a lifelong journal keeper, and her 100+ journals are now part of the collection at the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art.  Janice was an incredible artist and a lovely person, and I’m thankful to have had her for both a teacher and a friend.  :]

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick peek at my newest art journal.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Warm regards,
Melody

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News for the New Year

Happy 2014, dear readers!  I’m here to share some news today, and hope you’ll read through to the end.

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Thank You

I’d like to thank those who offered their condolences on my December 10th blog post or emailed me.  I appreciate your kind words, and appreciate you reaching out with comfort…

I’m Trying Something New

One of my goals for for 2014 is to focus more on self-care.  To that end, I’m going to give yoga a serious try.  I think it will be beneficial both physically and mentally, and since a new yoga studio just opened about a block away from home I have no reason not to give it a whirl.  Do any of you do yoga?  Do you have any tips or suggestions for a newbie?

I Checked Something BIG Off My List!

As many of you know, I volunteer-teach art journaling to at-risk children.  I’d been wanting to create some videos with supplemental art lessons for the kids for a while now.  The goal?  To offer art instruction beyond the Introduction to Art Journaling I teach during my initial visit.  (Ideally I’d visit each classroom weekly or monthly, but since I work full-time that’s not an option)

I recently worked with Bad Bunny Studios to bring these videos to life.  We finished production on the videos in late November, and the editing process was just wrapped.  Next up is the printing of the labels and DVD duplication.  Hurray!  Though I’m not one that loves being on camera, I’m thrilled that these videos have come to fruition.  This is a big step forward for the program, since the children will now receive more instruction and these lessons can be used each year.  I offer big thanks to Bad Bunny Studios – I appreciate your time and efforts!  :]

Quick & Easy Donations

Speaking of my art journaling program, I’m also pleased to share that making donations is now super quick and easy!  I’ve signed on with GoFundMe, a site that offers an easy and secure way to donate to great causes.  Please take a peek at my fundraising page here.  All funds received go directly to providing art supplies to at-risk kids, so please consider starting 2014 off with some good karma by making a donation.

Art Heals

It’s no secret that art is a therapeutic tool for me and for many others in this crazy world.  I often turn to art journaling to help me through tough times, but other creative endeavors work too.  My medium of choice in the last few weeks has been assemblage.  I’ve created four assemblages thus far, and anticipate making more in the coming weeks. I’ll be sharing these first works here on my blog, and may offer some of them for sale in my Etsy shop, so please keep an eye out.

What do you do when trying to work through something challenging, dear readers?  Make art?  Run?  Drink wine?  Journal?  Please share, if you’re so inclined.  Until next time….

Warm regards,
Melody

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My 2013 Art Journaling Classes for At-Risk Children

artists_at_work

Greetings!  Today I’m pleased to share photos from my recent visits to six different Southern California classrooms.  I provided art supplies (with help from many of you!), and taught an Introduction to Art Journaling to at-risk 4th graders.  My students are often facing a number of challenges, and I introduce them to Art Journaling in the hopes that it will help them cope, process their feelings, and express themselves in positive ways as they continue on in life.  I also know that art journaling helps their overall academic experience, and helps to develop their creativity.  Art journaling is a positive thing all the way around!

This year I taught in two classrooms in Ontario, and four classrooms in Santa Ana.  Through the generosity of dozens of kind and generous people, I was able to provide approximately 200 children with their own art supply kits, which will be used all school year and then taken home at the end of the year so the kids can keep creating.

kids_at_work

Preparing the Art Supply Kits
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The school in Santa Ana gathered parent volunteers to assemble the 125 kits we’d need in order to bring art journaling to their entire 4th grade.  The school purchased the journals, scissors, glue sticks, crayons, and plastic bags.  I (we) supplied the rest of the goodies, and the kits were ready to go when I arrived to teach.  Teamwork!  :]

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For the 80 Ontario class kits, I was lucky enough to have four friends come over and help assemble the kits.  Work that would’ve taken me an entire day working alone was completed in under two hours by the five of us – it was such a great help, and was fun to boot.  We got to visit, assemble, and eat some goodies.  I’m not above plying my team with things like homemade almond brittle to keep them happy.  :]  Big thanks to AC, LC, AT, and VT for your time and efforts!

What the Schools Received
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In addition to providing materials for the art journaling students, the schools received many other supplies and tools!

Ontario

2 carloads of assorted art/craft supplies, including several reams of paper
1 Big Shot die cutting & embossing machine (kindly donated by Ellison/Sizzix)
A box of assorted dies (kindly donated by Ellison/Sizzix)

Santa Ana

5 boxes of assorted art/craft supplies
1 box of Post-it notes
1 bag full of ball point pens
1 Big Shot die cutting & embossing machine (kindly donated by Ellison/Sizzix)
A box of assorted dies (kindly donated by Ellison/Sizzix)

ontario

In the Classroom
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cutting

The children were so enthusiastic about their art supplies and the opportunity to create!  They dug right in, and had a wonderful time creating their first two art journal pages while I was there – a page about five of their favorite things, and a collage page.  As always, I was delighted by the things they created, and loved the inventive ways they used the materials.  One little boy used a paper doily and crayons to create a lion’s head!

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Letters from My Students
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I received thank you letters from one of my Ontario classes the other day – what a treat!  I love the letters and drawings I receive from my students each year.  They’re among my most treasured possessions!  Here are excerpts from a handful of letters I received on Tuesday – I’ve corrected some grammar and spelling in the interest of clarity:

“Thank you for all of the supplies and for teaching us another way to express our feelings.  Not to punch, not to slap, but to draw a picture to calm you down a little.  And also, thank you for spending your time with us and the other classes.”

“Thank you for showing your journaling to the class and now I like art way more than I liked it before.  Because now I know that you can do art with just a pen or pencil and art can be about anything you want it to be.”

“Thank you for teaching us art.  It was fun, exciting, and it was colorful.”

“I think it is very nice of you to come and teach us a new way to express our feelings and do new things.  Now I express my feelings in a different way because of you.”

“The best idea that I like is to recycle paper and wrappers, like the peanut and jelly sandwich wrappers.”

“I never knew I could get out my feelings by drawing a picture. Thank you for all you have taught us about art.”

I was so pleased to read these passages.  I make it a point to emphasize that journaling is a great way to express one’s feelings – both good and bad – in my introduction class, and these letters let me know that the message was received.  And because many of my students are from low-income families (as I was when I was a child) I’m sure to let them know that art can be made from the simplest of things – they don’t have to have expensive (and possibly out of reach) supplies to create.

The Schools Can Make Use of All Types of Supplies!
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I just have to share a few non-art journaling photos I took at the school in Ontario. They used of some of the assorted arts and craft supplies I’d passed along when it came time for the children to create dioramas. This is why I’m very happy to accept donations of “other” art/crafting supplies, even if it’s not a perfect fit for art journaling.

The first diorama include a tree made from fabric and yarn.  The second picture shows clouds made from packing foam, rocks made from egg crates, and ocean plants made from yarn.  I love these – they’re a perfect example of what children can do with opportunity and supplies. :]  The schools use these assorted art and craft supplies for all kinds of things – from handmade greeting cards to paper robots and science projects.

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Thank You SO Much!
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I offer big thanks to everyone who donated supplies, gift cards, or funds to my students.  This program truly does make a difference, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me to bring art instruction and supplies to these children.  I’ll be sure to post photos from the end-of-year art journal shows that will take place in May and June.

I accept donations year-round, so if you’re paring down your art/craft stash and would like to donate the items to my students – or if you’re inspired to provide new supplies for them via gift card or check – please contact me.  Everything gets put to great use, and is appreciated by the students, the teachers, and the school staff and administrators.  And me!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Haiku: For the Love of Art

art_supplies_haiku
Color, shape, writing –
nurtures their hearts, minds, spirits.
Love lending a hand…

Today’s haiku refers to the art journaling classes I volunteer-teach to at-risk public school students.

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be teaching six classrooms of at-risk 4th graders this school year – two in Ontario today, and four in Santa Ana over the next two weeks.  My heart is very happy that approximately 200 children will participate in my little program this year.  That’s a big jump from the 30 per year that I started with, and is even a big jump from last year’s 115!  Woo hoo!

Huge thanks to all who donated to my program for this school year – and for any other school year, for that matter!  I appreciate you helping me to bring some creative goodness to children who need it.  I’m thankful for the support you’re giving my program and my students.  I’ll be sure to post a write-up and some photos from my time in the six different classrooms after I’ve completed my initial visits to the schools and classrooms.

With thanks and a happy heart,
Melody

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