Category Archives: art supplies

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!

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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

dragon2

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.  :]

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Black and white…

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Colored in but not blended…

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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
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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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Blog Post Flashback: Heart’s Desire

Hi there!  Today I’m revisiting a post I first shared a few years ago.  I love this project, and thought I’d share it again since the main “ingredient” in this project is a heart-shaped candy box.  With Valentine’s Day coming up, you may be gifted with a candy box – or may choose to treat yourself!  In either case you’ll have something great to do with the empty box, whether it’s heart shaped, square, or rectangular.  Not only is this Heart’s Desire Box fun to make, but it’s also a great goal setting exercise.  Oh, and I’m doing a mini happy dance because since I first shared this project I accomplished one of the goals I set. I published my book – woo hoo!

Enjoy…  :]

chocolatebox_before

hearts_desire_box

Melody the Magpie?
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In case you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a bit of a scavenger.  Whether I’m up-cycling metal food cans or using cardboard packaging to make mobilesI’ve always got an eye out for cast-offs that can be used in a new way.  I enjoy making something wonderful from something simple.  Today’s “something wonderful” is essentially a box to hold your hopes and dreams – your goals.  How does that relate to chocolate box transformation?  Please read on…

Confession

I’m a sucker for heart-shaped Valentine’s chocolate boxes.  Bubble gum pink, lace, and silk roses aren’t in my usual rotation, but something gets me when it comes to those heart-shaped candy boxes.  Whether the box is a relatively plain gold or red, or is fully decked out with saccharine Valentine’s trim, I love them all.  Today’s project is how to turn one of these heart-shaped boxes into something that you can treasure – and put to good use – all year round.  So, if you (or a friend) are gifted with a heart-shaped box this year, don’t throw it away when it’s empty! (You can do this same project with a rectangular or square shaped box as well.)  Oh, and hopefully you can save the box’s liner, too.  It makes a great template!

box_with_pages

A Look Inside Your Heart…
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This project is called My Heart’s Desire because the outer box is intended to hold visual representations of your hopes, dreams, and goals.  Whether you gather small 3-D objects that represent what you hope to bring to fruition, or create paper “pages” that you embellish – like I have – I suggest you identify 5 to 10 things you’d like to work on in your life and include them in your box.  Here’s how I made my pages, including the materials I used.

Materials

Watercolor paper
Gesso
Paintbrushes
Glue Stick
Liquid Acrylic Inks or paint
Rubber Stamps
Black Ink Pad
Sticker & Seed Packet
Alphabet Stamps
Metallic Gel Pen
Rhinestones
Pen
Decorative Paper
Scissors
Walnut Ink
Double-Stick Tape
Heart Shaped Candy Box (you can actually use any shape you’d like)

How to Visually “Spell Out” Your Heart’s Desire
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1. Cut out one “page” for each of your heart’s desires.  Make your page by tracing the liner of your candy box, or by tracing the bottom of the box lid and then cutting just inside those lines.  If you’d like, you can add color to your page at this stage.  I brushed a mixture of acrylic inks and walnut ink onto watercolor paper. Alternately, you can use colored card stock instead.

liner_template

page_before_color

2. Note one desire on each “page”. (I chose “garden”, “travel”, “art program”, “nourish”, “get book published” and “run” and stamped the words on with alphabet stamps) It’s best to be as specific as possible when it comes to verbalizing goals though, so include as many details as you can.  You can write on the back of your pages, too.

book_page

3. Add to these “pages” by drawing, painting, stamping, collaging, or otherwise embellishing your “pages”.  I’ve listed the materials I used, but you can use whatever materials or methods you’re partial to – there’s no wrong way to do it.  The pages can be a simple or as elaborate as you’d like them to be.

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Decorating Your Box’s Exterior
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There are a million ways you can decorate your box, if you choose to change it at all.  Whether you keep the box’s original look, or customize it to make it more “you”, is entirely up to you.

Here are a few décor ideas:

  • Paint your box
  • Decoupage your box
  • Cover your box with duct tape
  • Use some of the same materials you used on the “pages” to decorate the box’s exterior (which is what I did)

I opted to cover the red foil look of my box with a few coats of white gesso.  Next, I used some of the decorative metallic paper on the cover.  I stamped “My Heart’s Desire” on the box’s liner, stamped three flowers in the upper right, and glued a layer of tissue paper over the top to soften the text.  I accented the edge of the liner heart with metallic rub-ons and glued three rhinestones in the flower centers in the upper right of the heart.  Finally, I attached the letter-stamped liner piece to the box’s lid with a strong double-stick tape.

box_with_pages2

box_detail

Hurray!  It’s Done!  NOW What?
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The purpose of this box is threefold.  One, to identify what you really want in life and to spell it out in a tangible way.  Two, to have fun creating that tangible, visual representation of what you want.  Three, to regularly refer back to the contents of your box to remind yourself of your goals and to verify you’re taking steps, however small they may be, towards those goals.  So keep this creation within arm’s reach, and let it be your guide…

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, dear readers.  I’m always happy to hear from you!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Making Art: Four New Assemblages!

I love the creative process, and assemblage is one of my favorite artistic mediums.  It’s perfect for me, since I’m a gatherer and collector. Many of the drawers in our art studio (aka converted dining area) are stuffed with odds and ends I’ve found at flea markets, thrift stores, and antique stores.  And I have an entire drawer full of vintage photos!  I guess it’s a good thing I’m actually putting some of my treasures to use in these assemblages. :]

These first four assemblages will be followed by ten more since I have a total of fourteen little wooden houses.  Some will be made available for sale – like the Fishhook and Bereft assemblages below – and some will stay in my personal collection.  The dress in the Mending assemblage was handmade by my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Lillian, so I’ll be keeping that piece.

If you’re interested in purchasing an assemblage you may do so by visiting my Etsy store.  You may also see more photos of each piece – there are five photos of each assemblage…

Mending

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mending3

Fishhook

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hook4

Bereft

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bereft4

Waltz of the Flowers

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at my artwork!  Please let me know if you have any questions regarding these four assemblages I’ve created.

Warm regards,
Melody

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Holiday Crafting with the Sizzix Big Shot

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Hi everyone!  I did some crafting this past weekend, and thought I’d share some of the things I made with my trusty Big Shot – particularly since I’m currently hosting a giveaway for a Big Shot.  I’m still getting to know my machine, and thought I’d try some new things.  For example, I have some embossing foil I was dying to make use of, and also wanted to use a new die I recently purchased.  The results?  Some quick and easy Christmas Ornaments and Gift Card Holders!

Christmas Ornaments
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Materials:
Sizzix Big Shot machine
Ornament die – #A10126
Christmas Tree, Ornament, Snowflake & Stocking die – #A10599
Dots #4 Embossing Folder – bonus item from die #658189
Snow Village Embossing Folder – bonus item from die #658189
Little Sizzles white mat board – #656492
ArtEmboss embossing foil in silver, red, and gold
Vintage ledger paper
Vintage button
Vintage lace trim
Red striped washi tape
Rhinestone button
Adhesive
Silver thread
*Chipboard or mat board

Metal Ornaments

I die cut red and gold embossing foil using the ornament die.  Once the ornament was cut, I ran it through the Big Shot machine again using the patterned embossing folders.  I finished each ornament by die cutting the silver ornament cap area and gluing it over the existing colored foil.
*Note: I didn’t mount the foil onto matboard or chipboard for more stability when making these “test ornaments”, but would recommend you do so since the foil is very pliable and is easily bent.

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Mat Board Ornaments

For the vintage ornament, I glued the ledger paper to the mat board before cutting out the ornament shape.  Next I affixed the lace trim and the button, and then glued on the silver ornament cap I’d cut from embossing foil.

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The snowflake ornament was made by wrapping red and white washi tape around the ornament (two strips), and then gluing on a snowflake I’d cut from silver embossing foil.  After gluing a rhinestone button to the center of the snowflake I attached the silver ornament cap I’d cut from embossing foil.

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Gift Card Holders
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Materials:
Sizzix Big Shot Machine
Gift Card Holder die – #658189
Extended Crease Pad – #656159
Christmas Tree, Ornament, Snowflake & Stocking die – #A10599
Framelits Phrases – stamps & dies set – #658838
Little Sizzles white mat board – #656492
Printed & plain cardstock
Glue
Black ink pad
Silver trim
Vintage Button
Rhinestone

Run the Gift Card Holder die through the machine with a cutting pad on the bottom, the Extended Crease Pad on the top.  (The crease pad keeps the die from cutting on the lines that are intended to be scored instead of cut)  Fold the two small tabs in, apply glue or double stick tape to them, and then fold in to make the pocket for the card to rest in.  Fold the rest of the gift card holder on the scored fold lines. Embellish as desired.

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Green Gift Card Holder: I embellished this holder with a tree cut from dark green card stock.  I glued a rhinestone atop the tree, wrapped a silver trim/thread around one end, and tied a bow.

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Blue Gift Card Holder: I embellished this card holder with a white mat board snowflake.  I finished by gluing a vintage button on top of the snowflake.

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Floral Gift Card Holder: I embellished this holder with a “Happy Birthday” sentiment (set 658838).  I stamped the sentiment in black ink on watercolor paper, and cut it and the floral border paper out using two sizes of framelits from the set.

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Quick, Easy & Very Versatile
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I think it’s easy to see how versatile the ornament and gift card holder projects are.  By mixing different colors, textures, base materials and embellishments, you can use these dies to create endless variations.  I just scratched the surface when crafting the other day, and look forward to using these dies – in different ways – for years to come.

Have You Entered the Giveaway Yet?
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big-shot-bundle
I’m giving away a Sizzix Big Shot Value Pack, and hope you’ll join in the giveaway fun and enter if you haven’t already.  The winner will be announced a week from today.  Click here to go to the giveaway page!

Happy Crafting!

Warm regards,
Melody

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