Tag Archives: art journaling class

My 2013 Art Journaling Classes for At-Risk Children


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.


Preparing the Art Supply Kits

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!  :]


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

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


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)


In the Classroom


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!










Letters from My Students

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!

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.



Thank You SO Much!

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,

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

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!

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. :]

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,

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Art Exhibit, Book Signing & Art Journaling class in Kansas!


I was in Kansas last weekend – what a wonderful trip!  The 14 altered art illustrations from my book – An Altered Existence – are currently on exhibit at the Lincoln Art Center, and I spoke and signed books at an event there last Friday, July 19th.  It was a pleasure to be welcomed by both the gallery and the community, and it was such a thrill to see my work hanging on display in that lovely art space!  I also taught a class at the Lincoln Art Center on Saturday morning, and it was great fun to share art journaling with my 12 students.  A good time was had by all!



Fun with Friends

In addition to activities related to the art exhibit, I was there to meet up with some wonderful friends of mine.  Our adventures included a visits to a local wax seal manufacturer, antique shopping, and some yummy meals.  Some of us even went firefly “hunting” in the evenings.  We don’t have fireflies here where I live, and my Lincoln friends were kind enough to take me out in search of the luminescent beauties.  We didn’t find oodles, but I was entranced with those we did see!  I’m so thankful to all my wonderful friends for their kindness, support, and enthusiasm!

Antique Store Finds & Generous Gifts

I invariably leave Kansas with more than I arrived with (this is my third such trip to Lincoln), and this year was no exception.  I was gifted with a number of wonderful and unique items, like a vintage crochet-trimmed handkerchief, books, vintage photos,  a ceramic pen holder, an Anasazi pottery shard and more.  Such wonderful treats!


My antique store purchases included a bronzed baby shoe (I split a pair with one of my friends who also collects them), a manger cow with springy horns that truly looked like a “mad cow”, as well as a little purchase for hubby.  I also bought a jar of vintage buttons, and the jar itself was fab and rather unique.  Given the unusual size, shape, and contents of the jar, I wasn’t surprised that I was stopped at security when flying out of Wichita.  It was my first-ever on-the-spot bag search, so I suppose I was due.  Here’s a picture of the mad cow – I think he needs to turn his frown upside down!  :]


Blessed Journey

Every trip I’ve made to Lincoln, Kansas has been over-the-top fantastic, and this particular trip will always be extra special to me because of the art exhibit, signing, and class related to my book.  Big thanks to everyone who helped make my exhibit and overall trip so wonderful.  I’m most appreciative.  :]

Warm regards,


Posted in An Altered Existence: Fictitious Stories About Faces from the Past, antiques, art, travel, vintage | Also tagged , , 9 Comments

Art Journal Shows for My 2012-2013 Students!

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.

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!  :]













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.  :]


Exciting News – Expanding the Program!

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!


My Upcoming Art Supply Drive

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,

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Art Journal Shows for My 2011-2012 Students!


I have such exciting things to share, including TWO art journal shows for my 4th grade students, a brand new program video, and an upcoming article about my art journaling program in the Orange County Register!  Woo hoo!

First things first – I’m thrilled to report that my 4th grade art journaling students did an excellent job in their journals this year. It was my privilege to attend an Art Jounaling Show in Ontario on May 18th and an Art Journaling Show in Santa Ana on June 8th. The children were super enthusiastic, they created wonderful works of art, and they all thrived in the art journaling “environment”.  Please take a peek at our new and improved program video here, which features both photos and video from the school year – including testimonials from participating teachers and one of the school’s principals.


This program allowed the children to develop their creativity, it enriched their academic experience and helped develop language skills, and gave them a positive form of self-expression – one I hope they’ll use in the years to come.  Aside from all that, they had a blast!  They were excited about working in their journals whether they were working on “free pages” or creating pages related to their school curriculum.  And though they all received the same types of supplies, their individuality and distinctive thought processes were clearly visible – each child put their own unique spin on the assignments and used the materials in wonderfully creative ways.


During my recent visits to the schools I spoke to teachers and to one school principal, and I heard similar things from all of them. They confirmed that these students are receiving the benefits I’d hoped for when I taught my first classroom of children back in 2003: art journaling nurtures their creativity and gives them access to art instruction and supplies that aren’t in the schools’ budgets.  It gives them a positive way to express their thoughts and feelings, and often provides insight for the school staff to better help nurture a student.  It also gives students another way to be successful and to gain confidence at school, since not all students excell academically or athletically.  In short, art journaling is making a significant difference in the lives of these young children.  Victory!


The students and and school staff were all very enthusiastic and thankful, and I must pass a huge thanks on to all who donated, rooted me on, or both.  I can’t do this without your help, and thank each and every person who lent a hand.  Whether you spread the word about my Art Supply Drive by re-tweeting, sent me a Michael’s gift card, or sent a box of supplies pulled from your own stash of goodies, you helped provide a wonderful experience to over 65 public school children this school year.  Thank you!

By the way, we had some special guests at our Santa Ana Art Journal Show.  OC Register reporter Theresa Walker (and photographer Paul) attended the day’s festivities, and they worked diligently to gather facts and photos for an article that’s slated to run in the OC Register on June 30, 2012.  Thanks to both Theresa and Paul for their time and effort, and for helping to make the day even more exciting for my Santa Ana students!

I’m already looking forward to the next school year, and hope to return to both Ontario and Santa Ana to teach.  I’d love to expand to teach at least three classrooms next year (1 in Ontario, 2 in Santa Ana), and will be crossing my fingers in hopes that future donations will support at least three classrooms.  I’ll be launching a new Art Supply Drive in October of this year, but do accept donations year-round, so please contact me now if you’d like to help my 2012 – 2013 students.  Thank you for your consideration and support!

Warm regards,

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Art Supply Drive! Please lend a hand…

The new school year is well under way, and I’m hoping you’ll help me make a difference in the lives of over 35 at-risk public school students by participating in my art supply drive!  I’ll be teaching art journaling to these children soon, and though I donate my time and some supplies, I can’t afford to provide all they need on my own.  Whether you choose to donate supplies, gift cards, or funds, all donations are both crucial and most appreciated!

Please watch this brief video to learn a bit about my program.  Just over a minute long, the video was made at the end of the last school year, and features some of the artwork from last year’s students.

YouTube Preview Image


Why I Do This…

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 often 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.


Wish List

Though donations aren’t yet tax-deductible, I hope you’ll help provide art journaling supplies for the children.  Please consider donating in one of the following ways:

Monetary Donations in any amount

Gift Cards for Michaels, Target, Big Lots, or Office Max in any amount – even “remaining amounts”, like $4.73!

Supplies – I’d love to receive the following in quantities of 45, but will happily accept whatever you’d like to send:

Glue sticks
Children’s scissors
Crayons – Crayola packs of 8
Cardstock – any color assortments welcome (12″ x 12″ or smaller)
Patterned paper – any assortments welcome (12″ x 12″ or smaller)
Small envelopes
Paper doilies
Playing cards in different designs, shapes and colors
Mini ink pads – assorted colors
Loteria packs (Mexican Bingo)
Pencils – unsharpened
Ballpoint Pens
Alphabet stickers
Glassine envelopes
Ribbon – at least ½” wide, please
Die cut shapes
Cancelled postage stamps
Fabric – fat quarters or other smaller pieces, please

You may also send assorted arts and craft supplies, which will be put into a “mush pot” for the classroom teacher and children to pull from!

Donation Deadline

Though I accept donations on an ongoing basis, I’d love to receive donations for this year’s class by November 6, 2011.  This will allow me enough time to shop for the remaining items I need and assemble the packs for the students before heading into the classroom.

Please contact me through this site’s contact page if you would like to donate and/or have any questions. Thank you for your consideration!

Warm regards,

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Art Journal Show for my 2010-2011 Students!


As many of you know, I volunteer-teach art journaling to at-risk elementary school children.  And though I’m not a non-profit (yet) and the project is grassroots and on a smaller scale, it makes a big difference in the lives of my students.  There is absolutely no money for art supplies (the class didn’t even have scissors to use before my first visit to the classroom) so this supplemental program made a huge difference in the educational and artistic experience of over 32 children.

A Brief Overview

I gather donations and supplies in the fall, and 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.


A FANTASTIC Art Journal Show!

As with past years, this year’s art journal show was a huge success.  The kids were so proud and excited to share, and they’d all done wonderful work in their journals! Parents, other classes, teachers, and school administrators attended the show, and at the end of the day I awarded each student a Certificate of Achievement for their participation in the art journaling program.

I’m including some photos from our May 13th art show in this post, but never share photos that show the children’s faces for their privacy and safety, so please imagine a class full of happy and excited 10 and 11 year-olds!





I’d like to send out an enormous thanks to all those who donated supplies and funds for this year’s class.  I thank you, the classroom teacher I worked with thanks you, and the children thank you.  In fact, I heard dozens and dozens of thank you’s from the children – both in person and in thank you letters.  Here are a few excerpts from letters I received from my students:

“Thank you for donating the art journal.  I think it is lots of fun.  I can spill my feelings into it.  I like all the art supplies.  I like the art journal because I can be creative and passionate.”

Kianha R.

“Can you tell every person who donated thank you?”

Alyssa M.

“Thanks for showing us how to do real art!  I thought art was only drawing but you showed us all another type of art.  I have never thought a book can help that much.”

Bryan B.

“I enjoyed the art experience and the art journals and I would like to thank the people that made it happen.”

Kia G.

“I will do art journaling for the rest of my life.”

Trayvon D.


Why I Do This…

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 to at-risk students, who are often 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 poverty and abuse, 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 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.


What’s Next?

I’m already planning my 2011-2012 class, and would love to expand my program to teach two classrooms full of students: one at my existing school in San Bernardino County, and one closer to home – preferably in Santa Ana, CA.  If you’d like to help these at-risk elementary students, please consider donating funds, gift cards, or supplies.  Gift cards to places like Michaels, Office Max, and Target are most helpful.

You may also donate physical supplies in quantities of 45 (like scissors, glue sticks, 8-color packs of crayons, etc.) or items from your art supply stash that can go into a “mush pot”.  Please email me via this website’s contact page if you have questions and/or would like to donate.  Even a $5 donation makes a big difference in the lives of these children, and I thank you for your consideration.

In closing, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the artistic accomplishments of this year’s students.  They did great work, and everyone gets an “A” for effort and enthusiasm!

Warm regards,

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Art (& Heart) Education: My 2010-2011 Art Journaling Class for At-Risk Children


As many of you know, one of my favorite ways to help others is by teaching art journaling to at-risk elementary school children. (Click here for a post about the project, and here to see a video of me talking about the project)

I taught my newest batch of students on December 17, 2010, and wanted to share how it went since many of my blog readers were kind enough to contribute to help provide the students with supplies.  In short, the class was an overwhelming success!  I arrived with a veritable heap of art supplies and goodies for the kids, and felt like Santa Claus!  It was a thrill to see the excitement and happiness on their faces.

What did the class receive?


Here’s what I took to the kids and their teacher, Mrs. Kelly:

8 boxes of art supplies:
45 art journaling kits
3 boxes of “mush pot” supplies – odds and ends that the teacher and students can use
2 boxes of binders – 35 total (not shown)


Each art journaling kit included the following (and more!):

A blank journal
Elmer’s glue stick
Mini inkpad
Paper punch
Patterned paper
Aluminum foil
Joss paper
Playing cards
Loteria cards (Mexican bingo)

Art Journaling 101

I began by teaching the basics of art journaling, and illustrated my lesson with examples from my own art journals.  After a break for lunch, we began the hands-on portion and the kids had a blast!  They loved exploring the supplies they’d been given, and eagerly got to work.  I gave them prompts for completing two different pages (a list of favorites page and a collage page or spread) – when the two assignments were completed the children were allowed to start embellishing the cover of their journals.


The classroom teacher, my aunt, was thrilled to see the kids so excited and engrossed.  One student, who is autistic, is often slow to start working on and to complete assignments, but he completed his first page in a flash and was on to the second page!  Another student, who has difficulty focusing on tasks for any length of time, was seen diligently decorating the cover of his journal – both intent and wholly engaged.

An appreciative teacher, and dozens of happy, thankful children…

All the students enjoyed themselves and were very appreciative.  I must’ve heard “Thank you, Mrs. Nuñez!” a few hundred times that day, and want to pass their thanks on to those of you who donated money, gift cards, or supplies.

Their teacher, Mrs. Kelly, was also incredibly appreciative – these are supplies they’d never have, if not for your help.  They didn’t even have scissors in the classroom!

I, too, thank you.  Together, we have made a difference in the lives of many!  I’d like to offer special thanks to Jenny Doh and those at crescendoh.com.  You went above and beyond, and I thank you!

What next?

Guided by their regular classroom teacher, the students will continue to work in their journals throughout the school year.  I’ll return to the class in May 2011 when we’ll have an art journal show.  Their parents will be invited, and other classes will view the work they’ve done this year as well.

I can’t shield these children from life’s challenges, but I am able to give them a positive learning experience and to give them a creative tool to help them cope with the ups and downs that will come their way.  Again, my sincere thanks to all those who helped make this class possible.

I’ll be sure to post any updates I receive mid-year, and will publish a post about the art journal show at the end of the school year.  In the meantime, if you’re interested in donating funds, gift cards, or supplies for the class I’ll be teaching in fall of 2011, please contact me.  Thank you for your consideration.

Warm regards,

Note: The artwork show above was created by my student, Savannah.

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A New Project & My Pay It Forward Video!


A New Design Team Project

Here is a new project I created for Jenny Doh over at crescendoh.com. It’s a photo card with a twist!  Rather than just featuring the photo by itself, I’ve stamped vellum and stitched it to the photo.  It’s easy to do, and adds both a message and texture.  To see more photos, and to read the project instructions, please click here.

Yours Truly on video…

As many of you know, I teach art journaling to at-risk elementary school children.  I’ll be teaching this year’s class this coming Friday, and am so excited!  I spoke about this project, and how it’s one of my favorite ways to Pay It Forward, on a video shot for crescendoh.com – you can watch the video by clicking here.  Thanks again to everyone who donated to this project – I couldn’t do it without you!

Please keep your eyes peeled for my future design team projects – they’ll be posted monthly!  And please look for a write-up about Friday’s art journaling class, coming later this month or early next month.

Warm regards,

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