Category Archives: writing

Art Journal Shows for My 2012-2013 Students!

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I recently had the pleasure of attending Art Journal Shows for all three classrooms of students I taught and brought supplies to this school year.  The shows for my Ontario students took place on May 16th, and the show for my Santa Ana students took place on June 4th.  All three shows were fabulous!  I wish you could’ve been there at the shows with me, dear readers.  There’s almost nothing better than seeing proud students showing off their artwork – full of excitement, enthusiasm, and pride.

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As you may remember, these children are “at-risk” and often face a number of challenges in their lives. It’s my pleasure and mission to be able to bring a positive form of self-expression to them, and I hope that art journaling will be a tool they use for the rest of their lives.  On a more basic level, my program provides art materials and education that are lacking in many public schools, and it’s a thrill to see the children respond so positively to this creative medium.  The art journaling program gets them excited about their overall educational experience, and allows them to demonstrate their creativity and knowledge in wonderful ways.

Here are some of the pages that were created by my 2012-2013 students.  They were all 4th graders, and they did a fantastic job!  They never fail to impress me with the inventive ways they use the materials they receive. For example, one artist used a business envelope to create a house on her page (below) .  The envelope’s window is the house’s window, the girl in the house is behind the window, and the artist even added fabric pieces for curtains!  :]

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THANK YOU!
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I offer my most sincere thanks to all of you who donated supplies, funds, or gift cards. I truly can’t do this without your help, and appreciate your enthusiasm and support for what I do.  The kids are always SO thankful for the supplies and for the chance to create, and I must pass on their thanks to you. Thank you – thank you – thank you!

The photo below features a journal page one of my Santa Ana students created to thank me – she included bits and pieces of many of the supplies included in her art supply bag.  However, she’s not just thanking me with that page – she’s thanking every person who donated – every person who helped spread the word about the art supply drive.  :]

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Exciting News – Expanding the Program!
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I visited with the principal at my Santa Ana school during the Art Journal Show, and he expressed interest in expanding the program during the next school year.  We laid tentative plans to add my art journaling program to three more classrooms at the school next year – to bring art journaling to ALL FOUR 4th GRADE CLASSES!  Obviously this will require more supplies, resources, supply kits prep time, etc., and it’ll be a challenge, but I’d love to make it happen and am excited by the prospect.  It made my heart SO happy that the principal sees the value, wants to expand, and is committed to bring the arts to more students.

I also hope to teach one or two classrooms of 4th graders at my Ontario school.  If I’m able to pull off a total of six classes between the two schools, over 200 at-risk children will benefit.  :] I’m crossing my fingers – please wish me luck!

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My Upcoming Art Supply Drive
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Historically my annual art supply drive has been in September or October, but this year I’m going to move it up in hopes that some of my wonderful and generous donors will take advantage of back-to-school sales.  Basics like crayons, glue sticks and pencils are often priced super low during these back-to-school sales, so I’ll be switching my art supply drive to August and September.  Please keep my students in mind if you hit these types of sales – we’d so appreciate your support!  And please remember that I happily accept donations year-round, so if you’d like to donate now you’re more than welcome to.  :]

Warm regards and many thanks,
Melody

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Haiku: Imperfect Beauty

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Such gritty texture –
love the vintage wood and paint.
A sign from days past…

Are there any other fans of vintage out there?  Do you like things that are worn, chipped, rusted, or otherwise distressed, like I do?  I just think there’s something special about these worn looks – a story lingers in imperfect surfaces.  I feel that way about wrinkles and scars on bodies, too.  They tell part of our story…

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, dear readers!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Haiku: Floral Beauty

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Tiny bloom beckons,
intricate and colorful.
A heavenly sight…

I hope you’re all having a great week thus far!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Making Your Creative Mark + Giveaway!

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Greetings!  Today I’m sharing a new book with you, published by the folks at New World Library.  The book is Making Your Creative Mark, by Eric Maisel, PhD – something that I think will interest a number of you. Not only will I share a bit about the book, I’m also offering a giveaway since NWL was nice enough to send me a giveaway copy.  Woo hoo!

Mr. Maisel is an esteemed creativity coach and a prolific author.  He’s written over 40 books, including both fiction and non-fiction, but his specialty is helping artists of all kinds (visual artists, musicians, actors, etc.).  He coaches internationally, trains creativity coaches, and lectures internationally, and has created a book that contains nine keys to achieving your artistic goals.

Here’s the text from the book’s back cover:

Writers, painters, singers, filmmakers, musicians, craftspeople, and actors confront daunting challenges every day. It is hard to produce new work, find success in the marketplace, manage relationships, and keep spirits up. Many doubt that solutions to these very real problems exist, but they do, and world-famous creativity coach Eric Maisel has compiled them in this book. You will learn how to:

* make sense of the challenges of your personality, the challenges inherent in creative work, and the challenges of culture and marketplace
* quiet your overactive mind
* increase motivation and avoid blocks
* engage in practices that create and reinforce meaning
* align self-talk with goals, avoiding negative loops that block creativity
* identify stressors and implement stress-management techniques designed specifically for artists
* maintain emotional intimacy and healthy relationships in the midst of the creative process
* claim your identity as an artist
* rekindle passion for your art and feed that flame during dark days and dry spells

Intended for professional artists and those aspiring toward professional status, this book offers the nuts and bolts of sticking to a successful and fulfilling life in the arts.

Topics include The Mind Key, The Confidence Key, The Passion Key, The Freedom Key, The Stress Key, The Empathy Key, The Relationship Key, The Identity Key, and The Societal Key.  In addition the book contains an Artist Plan and a Refresher Course of 97 Creativity Tips.

How to Enter the Giveaway
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To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment here on this post sharing one (or more) of your creative endeavors, whether it’s cooking, creating art, singing, etc.

The winner will be drawn at random, and will be announced here on my blog on May 9, 2013.  Good luck!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Haiku: Tiny Bloom

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Such a tiny bloom
About the size of a dime.
Your beauty awes me…

Have you spied any tiny treasures in nature recently, dear readers?  Do tell!

Warm regards,
Melody

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A Rite of Passage

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My book, An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past, is just over a month old now.  Self-publishing has been a wonderful adventure so far, and I thought I’d share a happy “new author” rite of passage I recently experienced.  Until a week or so ago, all my book sales had been done through Amazon and Etsy.  I hadn’t seen my book for sale in a bookstore, but that was about to change.

While on a road trip I stopped into a bookstore near my destination, and ended up selling them a copy of my book.  Yes, one copy.  They very nicely explained that because they’re a small store they could only start with one book, but I was so excited you’d think I’d made a best seller list.  I was even more excited when one of the two ladies I was doing business with walked over and put my book on their New Fiction section in the front of the store.

OMG – there it was!  My book – for sale – in a store!  It was a first for me, and naturally I had to take pictures to mark the occasion.  I was grinning ear to ear as I left the store and drove on down the road. It was a small victory, but I was elated anyway.  Woo hoo!  Later on in my trip I went to sell another 7 books, including five that were purchased by an antique store, and it was a wonderful feeling.  I wish I’d brought more books with me.  :]

It’s unlikely my little book will make a big splash in the literary world, and I probably won’t sell tens of thousands of copies.  This is a project that came from the heart, and seeing it through to being published – and beyond – is food for my soul.  I strive to be mindful and grateful in daily life, so you can be sure I’m going to appreciate all the firsts and unexpected joys this literary journey brings my way.

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Like the pleasure of seeing MY book on a shelf in a bookstore…

Warm regards,
Melody

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Guest Post: Learning to Ask for Help

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I was recently invited to be a part of a blog tour for an author, Renée Peterson Trudeau, and was happy to accept. Ms. Trudeau’s new book, Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life, was just released and I’m glad to help spread the word here on my blog.  I’m part way through the book, and am looking forward to reading more!

I had some options when it came to how I’d participate in the blog tour, but quickly settled on an excerpt that Ms. Trudeau’s publisher emailed as possible content.  The title of the excerpt?  Learning to Ask for Help.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not very good at asking for help.  And though hubby and I don’t have children, and our family is just a family of two adults (and two bunnies!), I welcome the insights Ms. Trudeau offers in her new book.

I hope you enjoy the post below…

Warm regards,
Melody

Learning to Ask for Help

An Excerpt from Nurturing the Soul of Your Family

We all need support — lots of it. We weren’t meant to do everything for ourselves. Assess how you currently navigate challenges: Do you immediately isolate, put on your armor, grab your sword, and head out into the forest to slay the dragon alone? Or do you enlist the help and strategic counsel of other knights and soothsayers who have already weathered similar challenges? What is your typical response to feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and isolated?

Next, consider all the ways you could ask for the help you need. What do you do now that you could do more often, or what new steps could you take? Regardless of the challenge — whether it involves parenting, your career, or a relationship issue —  consider expanding your concept of what it looks and feels like to receive support.

Here are a few ideas on how to ask for and receive help in our everyday lives:

•     Let your boss know you’re overextended at work and you’re concerned this will effect the quality of your work. Specifically, you can ask for help prioritizing tasks, request additional staff support, or tap coworkers for help or ideas on how to streamline processes or tasks.

•     Cultivate an existing friendship, or create a support group that will meet your specific needs.

•     Ask a neighbor, another mom or dad, or a single friend to watch your child when you need help. Don’t feel like you have to reciprocate; just practice receiving. If a friend or neighbor has offered help in the past, don’t be shy about taking them up on it.

•     Reach out to a career, leadership, or business coach for support on making a career change or navigating a challenging phase in your professional life.

•     If you usually handle the cooking, ask your partner to make a meal for the family — and then stay out of the kitchen. Let go!

•     If you have a big house chore to handle, like cleaning out your garage or weeding your yard, create a “work crew” of friends. Reward them with a party afterward, and/or offer to swap house tasks the following weekend.

•     For family or parenting issues, ask for support and ideas from a parenting educator or coach. Often churches or local nonprofits offer this for free. If you’re unsure, ask potential mentors to lunch to get to know them first.

•     If you want more emotional or practical help from your partner, set up a date to talk about this and brainstorm ways you could support each other to bring more flow and ease to your days (sometimes you may simply need emotional support).

•     Get your kids involved. Ask them to help fold the laundry, vacuum a room, help with dinner prep, or water the plants. Kids are never too young to share in household or family responsibilities.

•     Practice saying yes! The next time someone offers you something — to buy you coffee or lunch, to watch your cat, to help you move, and so on — accept the gift, smile, and say thank you!

In our Personal Renewal Groups for women, we designate one entire month for “Building a Support Network.” Because so many of us find it hard to receive without feeling that we have to immediately give in return, the homework challenge is to practice receiving support by “allowing” others to help — picking up the kids, running an errand, mailing a package at the post office, receiving a meal — and not reciprocating. I believe because we’re so conditioned to do for others and often put ourselves last, women always find this really difficult. Yet at the same time, they share how deeply rewarding it is to help out and support others just for the joy of it — with no expectation of receiving anything in return. In everyday life, there’s nothing wrong with offering to return a favor (“Thanks for watching Scott; I’ll be happy to watch Elijah next week”), and most people do this often, but I challenge you to balance this with learning the art of receiving without feeling that you owe the other person a thing.

The more comfortable we become modeling giving and receiving with ease, the more our children will learn to do this, too. It’s like building up your support muscle — it takes time and practice.

Maddy, a friend who facilitates our self-renewal circles, once told me she found her four-year-old daughter, Ella, creating a circle on the floor with all of her dolls and animals propped up on pillows. Ella said proudly, “Look, Mama, they’re having a Personal Renewal Group meeting to help each other!”

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Life balance coach/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau is the author of the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family.  Thousands of women in ten countries are participating in Personal Renewal Groups based on her first book, the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. Visit her online at www.ReneeTrudeau.com

Excerpted from the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family ©2013 Renée Peterson Trudeau.  Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com

 

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An Altered Existence – Giveaway Winners!

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Thanks to everyone who entered my book’s giveaway.  It was a treat to read your wonderful comments!
It is my pleasure to announce the lucky giveaway winners.  The following three people have each won a signed copy of my new book, An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past.

1. Mayah
2. Debbie M.
3. Amie*

For those of you whose name I didn’t draw, please visit my books’s amazon.com page and consider purchasing a copy – I’d really appreciate it.  Big thanks to those who’ve already ordered a copy!  :]

WANT A “SIGNED” COPY OF MY BOOK?

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If you’re planning to buy  – or have already purchased – a copy of my book from Amazon.com, but would like it signed, I can provide a signed bookplate/label for you to put in your book.  Simply send me a SASE – I’d be happy to send a signed book plate your way!  Here’s my mailing address:

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

Happy reading, y’all!

Warm regards,
Melody

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Books & Bunnies!

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Greetings from Book Central!

I received my first big shipment of books on Monday, which will be used to help promote the book, and I’m so excited!  Feedback on my book has been very positive thus far, and I’m a happy camper.  I’m looking forward to sharing my “baby” with more people in the coming months, so I also ordered some bookmarks and postcards to help with that.  They arrived last weekend and I think they look fab.  Hubby did such a great job on them!

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In other book-related news, some (very) informal market research has been done, and two out of two bunnies surveyed find my new book delicious!  ;]

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So, have you entered my giveaway yet?  I’m giving away 3 signed copies of An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past, and will announce the winners this Tuesday, March 5, 2013.  Please enter now by commenting on this link’s post, if you haven’t already!  :]

I hope you have a great weekend, dear readers…

Warm regards,
Melody

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The Launch of My Book! And a Giveaway!

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I’m thrilled to announce the release of my book, which is now available on Amazon.com!
The title of my book is An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past.  It’s a combination of both my writing and altered art, and I’m so happy to see the project come to fruition!

About the Book (from the back cover)
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An Altered Existence is a collection of short stories, each illustrated with a vintage photo.  These photos, also known as cabinet cards, were “orphans” collected from flea markets and antique stores.  They sparked the author’s imagination, and resulted in 14 short stories illustrated with photos “altered” by the author.

  • A photo of a bearded man with haunted eyes is paired with a silver key, and a story of a family with hoarding tendencies emerges.
  • A wedding portrait of a young couple, combined with a gold wedding band and the words “false” and “true”, yields a tale about a gentle schoolteacher who sets her small town’s rumor mill on fire when she poses for a photo with a local scoundrel, though they’re not engaged or married.
  • A young girl’s portrait, when paired with vintage buttons, births a story that many can relate to: loss, and the subsequent struggle to feel whole again.

Look into these 14 portraits from long ago, and venture into the “altered existences” they inspired.  This collection includes stories about life, love, birth, death, self-acceptance, salvation, and taking chances.  Their stories just may be our stories, too…*

GIVEAWAY!
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In honor of the launch/release of my book, I’m going to give away THREE signed copies!  In order to enter, simply leave a comment here on this post.  The winners will be announced on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, so please enter by Monday, March 4th.  Good luck!
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Please spread the word!
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I’d really appreciate it if you’d share the news about my new book with family, friends, fiction readers, book clubs, and artists – anyone that might enjoy my illustrated collection of short stories.  Thank you in advance!
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I hope you all have a wonderful week…*
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Warm regards,
Melody
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