Category Archives: writing

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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Haiku: Winter Tree

winter-tree

Though branches are bare
there’s such beauty to be seen.
I love life’s details…

I hope you’re enjoying the season, dear readers.  And if you happen to live in an area that’s been walloped by ice, cold and snow this winter, hang in there!  Spring is just around the corner…

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
spine

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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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
* *

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.

six_pages

page_detail

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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Just 9 Free Shipping Copies Left in My Etsy Store!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00069]
Greetings!  One last reminder that I’m offering free shipping on my book via my Etsy store – and there are just NINE free shipping copies left!  To save on the $5 shipping fee simply enter the coupon code HOLIDAYS13 during check out.  If you’d like your copy or copies inscribed with your name, or the name of your gift recipient, please indicate this in the notes to seller.

This book is a great read, and the altered vintage photos work really well with the stories – but don’t take MY word for it!  To read reviews left on my book’s amazon.com page, click here.  Described as “A Must Read”, “Quirky and Imaginative” and “Imaginative Gems”, An Altered Existence has been very well received.  I hope you’ll pick up a copy.  :]

Warm regards,
Melody

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My Article in Somerset Memories Magazine!

article3

As you may know, I published a book earlier this year.  An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past is available via amazon.com and signed copies are sold through my Etsy store.  Well, I’m very happy to share some book-related news.  An article about my book has just been released in the Autumn issue of Somerset Memories magazine!

About the Article
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The article, which was written by yours truly, starts on page 59 and runs through page 61.  The article includes an introduction to the book, stories, and artwork, and then gives how-to information on six of the fourteen illustrations that appear in my book.  It’s a thrill to see my work in the pages of such a lovely publication, and I’m very thankful my project and book were selected to be included in this issue.

article2

More Great News: A Positive Book Review, Too!
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Some months back I sent Jana Holstein, the Managing Editor of Somerset Memories, a review copy of my book. She read it, enjoyed it, and was kind enough to include the following review in this same Autumn issue of the magazine.  Thanks so much, Jana!

review

“When talented author and artist Melody Nunez gave me a copy of her book “An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past,” I was intrigued because I knew it was a book that  centered around stories she created to with beautiful vintage found cabinet cards.  As I began reading, each story drew me in and I felt a part of the tale.  Each cabinet card is altered in a way that resonates with the story, so it’s fun to flip back and look at the art while reading the story.  There are 14 short stories in all, reflecting birth, death, family, romance, and even ghosts.  Well written and heartwarming, this is a fun, quick read.  I really enjoyed Melody’s book.  So much so, that I chose some of her altered cabinet cards as feature article in this issue (see page 58.

***

So, if you’ve been thinking about purchasing a copy of my book, but haven’t done it yet, please do.  It’s good!  And don’t just take my word for it – take Jana’s.  And artist/author Seth Apter’s!  And the others who have reviewed my book on amazon.com!  ;] Help support a self-published writer and artist, and treat yourself to a book that can be enjoyed one story/illustration at a time (in multiple sittings) or in one fell swoop.

I hope you’re having a wonderful week.  Happy Fall, everyone!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Haiku: A Glorious Sight

gorgeous_sunset-jpg

This glorious sight –
a perfect blend of colors!
Nature brings me joy…

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week thus far, and I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Reader Participation Haiku/Giveaway: Winner!

artistsway

Congratulations, Jo!  You won the Reader Participation Haiku Giveaway!  I hope you enjoy Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way.  Please email me your mailing address so I can mail out your book.

I really enjoyed reading Jo’s haiku.  For those of you who didn’t see it, here’s what she wrote to go along with the jellyfish photo.

Weightless, beautiful,
strength in its fragility.
Ballet in the sea.

Big thanks to all those who participated.  :]

Warm regards,
Melody

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Reader Participation Haiku & Giveaway!

jelly-fish2

This month’s haiku is a bit different.  Instead of me writing the haiku, I’m hoping YOU will.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a haiku based on the photo above.  I took this photo at the Monterey Bay Aquarium last year, and would like to see which words it brings to your mind.  I hope you’re ready to compose a haiku, because I’m combining this reader participation haiku with a giveaway!

Wait, what’s a haiku again?*
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A haiku is a poem with three lines.  Each line has a set number of syllables.

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables

Here’s an example:
To write a haiku,
remember five seven five.
I hope you enter!

Giveaway – The Artist’s Way
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To submit your haiku, simply comment on this post and include your haiku.  All those who enter will be entered in a giveaway.  The winner will receive a softcover copy of the classic book The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.  You may post multiple haikus if you’d like, but only one entry will count per person.  The winner will be drawn at random, so don’t be shy or feel like it’s a competition.  I’ll announce the winner on my blog on Tuesday, July 16th, so write/comment/enter today!  🙂

Happy Haikuing!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Savannah’s Starlight Cookie Bar Recipe

cookiebars1

As you may know, I published a collection of short stories earlier this year.  One of the stories in my book makes mention of a cookie bar recipe.  This particular story is set back in the 1800’s in New England.  The story’s main character is Savannah Forrester.  During the course of the story she develops a cookie bar recipe – one that she bakes for runaway slaves as they make their way through a local “station” of the Underground Railroad.  They’re running for their lives, and Savannah decides to sweeten their perilous journey with her baked goods.

The particular story I’m referencing is And Some for the Road, and this month I’m sharing “her” recipe – Savannah’s.  (The story begins on page 130, for those who have a copy of the book and are curious.  The cookie bars are mentioned specifically for the first time on page 137)  Here is the altered photo illustration of “Savannah”, just for fun.  I attached the handwritten cookie bar recipe to the vintage photo with red twine….

andsomefortheroad_8257

And now, on to the recipe!

cookiebars2

Savannah’s Starlight Cookie Bars Recipe
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Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips OR 1 – 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda and salt; mix well. Stir in oats, chocolate chips (or raisins) and nuts; mix well.  Press dough into the bottom of a greased 13″x9″ pan and bake for approximately 35 – 50 minutes.  Baking time will depend on whether you like your cookies softer or firmer.

cookiebars3

I hope you enjoy Savannah’s Starlight Cookie Bars.  Happy baking!

Warm regards,
Melody

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