Category Archives: art supplies

My 2013 Art Journaling Classes for At-Risk Children

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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.

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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)

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In the Classroom
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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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Giveaway: A Sizzix Big Shot Value Pack!

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I’m super thrilled to share that this giveaway is for a Sizzix Big Shot Value Pack!  Woo hoo!  Not only does the value pack include the versatile and portable Big Shot die cutting and embossing machine, it also includes assortment of dies and embossing folders!  This prize is worth hundreds of dollars, and is the biggest prize I’ve given away yet.  Please join me in thanking Sizzix for donating it!  :]

I’m super excited to be offering this prize – particularly as we near the holidays.  If you don’t have this machine, you’ll LOVE it. And if you already have one, this Big Shot Value Pack would make an incredible gift for your favorite crafter!

The Prize
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One lucky winner will receive a Big Shot Value Pack.  The retail value of this value pack is over $300, and it can currently be purchased for $139.99 on sizzix.com as part of a special sale/promotion!

The Big Shot Value Pack includes the following:

Sizzix Big Shot Machine
Originals Tags Die
Sizzlits Decorative Strip Flowers Die
Movers & Shapers XL Card Die Set
Extended Cutting Pads
Textured Impressions Embossing Folders – 4 Pack, Summer Set
Originals Arrows #2 Die
Sizzlits Transportation Die Set – 3 Pack
Textured Impressions Embossing Folders – 2 pack, Flower Vine & Twizzle Set
Textured Impressions Embossing Folders – 2 pack, Birds & Flowers Set
Embosslits Jeweled Tassel Die
Framelits Message Frames with Stamps Die Set

More on The Big Shot
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As you may know, I was lucky enough to receive this same bundle, and have shared some related posts here on my blog.

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For an overview on the machine, and the variety of materials it can cut, please click here.

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To see a post about the Washi Tape Tags I made using my Big Shot, please click here.

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To see a post about the custom greeting cards I made using my Big Shot, please click here.

Video, Too!
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To see a Sizzix Video about the Big Shot Machine, please click here.

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How to Enter
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One winner will be chosen at random, and they will receive the Big Shot Value Pack described above.

To enter the giveaway:
1. Subscribe to my blog, if you haven’t already
2. Take a peek at my book, An Altered Existence, on amazon.com. :]
3. Leave a comment on this post

You must subscribe to my blog, confirm your subscription, and complete all steps of your entry by Monday, November 18th to be eligible for the giveaway.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, November 19, 2013.
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Good luck!

Warm regards,
Melody

*The fab folks at Sizzix have donated this Big Shot Value Pack.  I will be paying for shipping.

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Haiku: For the Love of Art

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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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Washi Tape Giveaway Winner

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I’m pleased to announce the winner of my Washi Tape Giveaway.

Congratulations, Marybeth! You’ve won a roll of Washi Tape from the new Artsyville Washi Tape line.  I hope you enjoy using it!  Please email me your mailing address via my contact page.

Thanks to all those who participated in this month’s giveaway.  :]

Warm regards,
Melody

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Washi Tape Giveaway

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I recently ordered a roll of Washi Tape from Aimee at Artsyville – it was the first design from her new Washi Tape line.  Rather than just order a single roll, I purchased two, so I could give one roll away here on my blog.  I know it’s an itsy-bitsy giveaway, but hey – who doesn’t like free stuff?  :]

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In order to enter, simply leave a comment on this post sharing one way you might use your tape if you’re the lucky winner.  The winner will be announced a week from today, on Tuesday, September 24th.  Good luck!

Warm regards,
Melody

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DIY: Easy Washi Tape Tags

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As I shared in my last post, I’m a Big Shot Newbie and am loving my new machine.  I had fun creating some Washi Tape tags as my first DIY with the machine, and thought I’d share my simple little project with you. It’s super easy to make tags in a variety of colors and patterns.  Aside from the machine and die, the supplies are minimal.

Materials
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Big Shot die cutting machine
Sizzix Tags die
Chipboard
Washi Tape
Other embellishments – optional

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Directions
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  1. Cut the chipboard into pieces slightly bigger than the tag shape you’ll cut out.
  2. Cover one side of the piece of chipboard with Washi Tape.
  3. Cut out the tag with your machine and die.
  4. Embellish the die further, if you choose.  Consider using eyelets, stickers, ribbon and rubber stamping to add to your tags.

The Washi Tape can be used to customize your tags in many different ways.  For example:

Color & Pattern: You can use one color/pattern per tag, or any number of tapes in combination.  Whether you’re making tags for a birthday gift and want to choose the recipient’s favorite color or are making orange and black tags for Halloween, this is a quick and easy way to customize a tag.

Tape Placement:  Lay down the tape horizontally, vertically, or on the diagonal.  You might also do crosses, a random pattern, or alternate strips of tape with strips of the base tage showing through underneath.  The choice is yours!

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Do you own any Washi Tape?  How many rolls?  What do you use your Washi Tape on?  Please share.  Oh, and stay tuned for a little giveaway I’m going to be doing in the next week or two.  I’m going to give away a roll of Washi Tape that I ordered from Aimee at Artsyville – it’s fab!

Warm regards,
Melody

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The Adventures of a Sizzix Big Shot Newbie

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Every once in a while I stumble upon something that changes my creative life forever.  My most recent life-changing find?  A Sizzix Big Shot machine.  Yes, I know – personal die cutting & embossing machines have been around for some time.  I’m definitely on the late freight where this tool is concerned, and might’ve continued on as I was – unaware and missing out.  Luckily for me, I was hired to work at Ellison – the makers of Sizzix products.  Woo hoo!

Since late May I’ve been thoroughly immersed in the world of die cutting and embossing and I LOVE it.  And though I’ve gradually been learning the things Sizzix  machines can do and cut, I haven’t had the chance to do much crafting lately.  I’d been given a machine starter kit so I could get familiar with how everything worked back in May, but aside from a test run my first week I hadn’t had the chance to do much.  That changed this past weekend.

I pulled out an assortment of my art and crafting materials, and gave the machine a whirl.  I tried cutting an assortment of materials, and also did a quick DIY project.  I made some tags using a die, some chipboard, and Washi Tape, and will share that project on Tuesday – so stay tuned!

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Materials I Cut with My Big Shot and a Steel Rule Die:

Cardstock
Artist canvas
Watercolor paper
Sand paper
Metal embossing sheets
Fabric (cotton and lace)
Wire Mesh
Specialty paper (washi paper, etc.)
Felt
Photos
Mat board
Vintage ledger paper

Steel Rule Dies can also cut these materials:
Leather
Aluminum can
Magnet sheets
Cork
Crafting foam
– anything you can cut with scissors!

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Die Cutting Rocks!  Why?
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Dies cut perfectly.  No trying to follow your traced shape, over cutting, or under cutting.

You can cut multiple layers of materials at once depending on what you’re cutting.  For example, I can cut 6-8 layers of cardstock in one pass, depending on the paper.  I was also able to cut three layers of thin chipboard in one pass.  This is a huge time saver!

The creative possibilities are endless.  In addition to the machine and dies cutting a wide variety of materials, you can use the machine in oodles of creative endeavors.  Here are some projects you could use this kind of machine on – just off the top of my head:

Cards
Scrapbook pages
Collages
Garlands
Party Decorations
Invitations
Tags & other gift-wrapping elements
Journals
Enhancing bulletin boards
ATCs (Artist Trading Cards)
Food packaging (gifts)
Bookmarks
Banners
Mobiles
Jewelry (including pins & pendants)
Quilting
Wearable Art

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I was able to cut 18 tags at once by stacking 8 pieces of paper and running them through the Big Shot. Woo hoo! Quick and easy!

Embossing, too?  Yes!
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My Big Shot also embosses, which allows me to customize papers in infinite combinations by mixing different embossing folders with different colors and types of paper.  Such fun and such variety. :]

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I Wish I’d Had One Sooner…
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Some of the DIY projects I’ve posted here on this blog over the past three years would’ve benefitted from using this machine.  They would’ve been quicker and easier – no doubt about it.  Here are a few of the projects I could’ve used my Big Shot on if I’d had one back then:

Aluminum Star Ornaments
Cards from Scrap

The Tip of the Iceberg
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I’m definitely a newbie when it comes to all the Big Shot can do, but I’ve seen enough to be impressed and excited by the possibilities.  I haven’t even mentioned chemically etched dies (like Thinlits & Framelits) stamp-to-cut, or embossing diffusers in this post.  Just wanted to share the bit I’ve learned and experimented with.  If you aren’t familiar with this kind of machine, and are a crafter or artist, you may want to check it out.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Warm regards,
Melody

*Disclosure: I was given a Big Shot and some dies free of charge, but there was no request, suggestion or expectation – verbal or implied – that I do a blog post in exchange for the product.  I’ve created this post of my own accord because I’m excited about the possibilities. :]  The butterfly die I used in the post is one I purchased – it’s from the Tim Holtz Alterations line.  I also purchased two of the embossing folders above – the bubble wrap pattern, and the beehive pattern.

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My Art Supply Drive: There’s Still Time to Donate!

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Greetings!  I hope your week is going well thus far.  I just thought I’d pop in and share that my annual Art Supply Drive is winding down.  This is the last week of my official drive.  Next I’ll do some shopping, and will then move on to creating a kit of supplies for each child.  So far I have enough supplies to teach two classrooms of children – my goal is six classrooms.

There’s Still Time!
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Did you plan on donating – just haven’t gotten everything together yet?  Fear not!  Whether you plan on sending in assorted supplies, a check, or gift cards, I’ll happily accept your donations after August has come to an end.  However, I’d really appreciate it if you could email me and tell me what you plan to send – and your donation’s ETA.  :]

These are the items I currently need the most:

You’re welcome to send just about anything, though.  Whether you pull items from your personal stash of art and craft supplies or purchase something especially for the kids, it will all be put to good use. :]

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Big thanks to those of you who have already donated supplies for my at-risk students – SO kind of you! I’ll be sure to post photos that I take when I go in to teach.  I wish you could be there with me to see how excited the kids get, and to hear their many thank yous.  I’ll do my best to capture some of the fun and excitement by posting here on my blog after I’ve visited the classrooms…

Warm regards,
Melody

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Kicking Off My 2013-14 Art Supply Drive!

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Greetings!  I’m kicking off my annual Art Supply Drive to benefit at-risk public school students, and hope you’ll participate and help give my students the gift of art!  You may notice that I’m starting my Art Supply Drive earlier than usual, which I’m doing so the drive coincides with the back to school sales that are going on right now.  There are great deals to be had on some of the items I use in the art supply kits – perhaps you’ll be so kind as to purchase these great deals when you see them. :]*

Program Basics
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I gather donations and art supplies, and teach as many classroom of students as I have supplies for (three classrooms in the 2012-2013 school year).  I provide each student with a blank journal and a packet of art supplies when I first visit the class.  I teach the children art journaling in the early part of their school year, and then 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!

Why I Do This…
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My mission is to provide as many children as I can with art journaling instruction and supplies.  Not only does this program nurture their creativity and provide art instruction that would otherwise be missing because of curriculum and budget constraints, art journaling also helps get the children excited about their overall educational experience.

And, perhaps most importantly, art journaling gives the children a constructive way to express themselves and process the world around them.  This is particularly important for these at-risk students, who are sometimes facing the effects of poverty, abuse, neglect, exposure to gangs and drugs, and absent parents.

I, too, faced many challenges when I was a child, including abuse and poverty, and know from experience that creative self-expression can be a lifesaver.  I know that a trustworthy adult taking a special interest in you can make a big impression, and that a proverbial pat on the back can really boost one’s self-esteem.  I also know that art and writing have the power to strengthen, nourish, and heal, and hope to plant a love for art journaling and creative self-expression in the lives of as many children as I can.

Though donations aren’t yet tax-deductible, I hope you’ll help provide art journaling supplies for the children.  Thank you for your consideration!

Wish List

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Here are the top 10 items on my wish list, along with links to specific items (in some cases):

1. 9″ x 9″ spiral top sketch books, which the children will use for their art journals (Office Max gift cards)
2. Michaels gift cards: I will use these to purchase mini ink pads and mini paper punches
3. Glue sticks
4. Scissors
5. Crayola crayons – 8-pack
6. 2.5 Gallon Hefty OneZip bags to hold each child’s supplies
7. Fabric squares – 5″ x 5″ or smaller
8. Pencils – unsharpened
9. Alphabet Sticker sets (any complete alphabet sticker sets are welcome – this is just an example)
10. Ball point pens

To see my overall wish list, which includes more of the items I like to include in the supply kits, please click here.  The list is towards the bottom.

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A Bigger Goal = Art for More Children!
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Last year I taught three classrooms full of students, with your help and donations, and am hoping to double that this year.  The principal at my Santa Ana school would love me to teach ALL FOUR of their 4th grade classes this year, and I hope to teach in two classrooms in Ontario as well.  With six classrooms I’d be teaching approximately 220 students, and love the idea of bringing art journaling to hundreds of students this coming school year.  I’d really appreciate your help in reaching my goal of 220 art kits.  I know we can do it!  Naturally I don’t expect one person to donate 22o of any particular item – am just letting you know what my total student goal is.    :]

Mailing Address
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You may send any supplies, gift cards, or checks to me at the following mailing address:
Melody M. Nuñez
P.O. Box 60030
Irvine, CA 92602

Art Supply Drive Deadline
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Please mail your donation for this year’s drive by August 31st so I can log, sort, shop and assemble all the supplies into kits for this year’s students.  That said, I accept donations year-round, so if you can’t mail by August 31st, I’ll happily accept your kind donation any time of year.

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Thank you!
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Big thanks to all those who have donated in past years.  Extra big thanks to those of you who donate each and every year!  I appreciate your support, and the kids, teachers, and administrators do, too.  If this will be your first time donating to my program, please know all supplies and donations are used happily by the children and are SO appreciated.  Please feel free to post a comment or to email me with any questions.

I hope you’re all having a great week, dear readers…

Warm regards,
Melody

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I Love to Doodle!

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I love spending time working in my art journal.  It’d been way too long since I’d last played within the pages of my current book (#15), so I recently sat down with my journal, some black Micron pens, my watercolor pencils, a small brush, and a cup of water.  The images shared here are the results of my doodling: loose, sloppy, colorful, and fun.  I tried to use a variety of color combinations…

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Have you been creating lately?  If so, please share.  Whether you’ve tried a new recipe or made a greeting card by hand, I’d love to hear about it.

Warm regards,
Melody

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