Tag Archives: crescendoh.com

Design Team Project: Alice in Wonderland


My most recent Design Team project for crescendoh.com was made using their Danita & Wonderland Friends Kit.  The kit comes complete with three canvases, Wonderland images, fabric squares, crocheted embellishments, and more.  The fun comes in deciding how to make the canvases uniquely yours!  Here’s how I made mine…

Begin by gluing a fabric square onto each canvas panel.  Set aside to dry.  Color the three Alice & Wonderland Friends images with watercolor pencils, then use a small paintbrush to blend the colors with water.  Set images aside to dry.


Cut narrow strips of the vintage book text with a paper trimmer, and glue down onto the fabric-covered canvas as shown, overlapping the two pieces in the upper corner.


Cut three small squares of watercolor paper, and stamp the capital letters A, H, and R (I used the Best Life Alphabet) on the three paper squares with black ink.  Accent the edge of each letter square with metallic rub-ons.  I used pink on the A, red on the H, and blue on the R.  Glue the letter square onto the canvas where the two strips of book text overlap.


Carefully cut out Alice and her friends, and attach them to the canvas with glue.  Affix the three crocheted elements next to the three characters. I used the flower with Alice, the mushroom with the rabbit, and the heart with the Hatter.


Please let me know if you have any questions!

Warm regards,


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Beribboned “Art Saves” Mobile

My newest Design Team project features some of the wonderful, hand-dyed ribbon that I’m giving away this coming Tuesday.  If you haven’t already entered the giveaway, I’m hoping you’ll want to after perusing the pictures of this mobile.  The ribbon is so lovely!

The design actually reminds me of a jellyfish, one of nature’s beauties.  I decided to start my mobile with a sentiment that’s very close to my heart: Art Saves.  I used the design by Danita from the Art Saves Stamp set, and stamped the image twice with black ink onto watercolor paper.  I used an oval template, cut out the two stamped designs, and set these central images aside.


The “base”, or top, of the mobile was made from a round piece of cardboard salvaged from packaging, but you could make your base by tracing a bowl or plate of your choosing onto any piece of cardboard and then cutting it out with heavy-duty scissors.  (My circle is 8” in diameter)  Next, I brushed undiluted gesso onto both sides of the cardboard circle – one side at a time.  I applied it loosely, and I blotted the gesso with the textured side of a paper towel to leave a subtle pattern.

Once the cardboard circle was completely dry, I measured to find the center and marked it in pencil.  This would become my central hanging hole.  Next I measured in ¾ of an inch from one edge and made another mark.  I placed another mark ¾ of an inch in exactly opposite my first “edge mark”, on the other side of the circle, and repeated this pair of markings three more times, leaving me with eight marks approximately 2½ inches apart and ¾ of an inch in from the edge of the circle.


I punched out a hole at each mark along the edge of the circle with a ¼ inch hole punch, and used an awl to make a smaller hole in the center.  I attached the ribbon to the edges of the mobile by first threading the ribbon through vintage buttons, and then pushing the two free ends of the ribbon through the punched hole towards the bottom of the mobile. Once the ribbon is pulled all the way down the button keeps it from going all the way through the hole.  (Each piece of ribbon is ½ inch thick, and the pieces I used were approximately 32 inches long.)


I attached the darker blue center ribbon by cutting a 12 inch piece of fishing line, bringing the two ends together, and then draping the blue ribbon over the fishing line before threading the two ends of the fishing line up through the bottom of the mobile’s base.  Next, I threaded two vintage buttons onto the two ends of fishing line and tied them securely against the top of the mobile’s base.  I threaded a plastic ring between the two pieces of fishing line, tied the ends together about 6 inches up from the cardboard base, and trimmed the excess.

I punched out eight hearts from black cardstock using the Fiskars Funky Heart punch, and glued vintage buttons to the paper with craft glue.  Once dry, I sewed the buttons onto the paper with black thread, but this step is optional if you’ve glued the buttons down.  I like the look of the thread so I took the time to sew them on as well.  I attached the black heart to the outside piece of each color of ribbon using double-stick adhesive.  I attached the hearts 1 – 1½ inches up from the bottom of the ribbon.


I wanted a finished look on the edge of the cardboard circle, and applied very thin black masking tape I happened to have on hand, but you could use a thin ribbon instead if you have that handy.  A 1/8” ribbon would’ve worked well instead.  I completed the mobile by sandwiching the darker blue center ribbon between the two Art Saves pieces – mounted back-to-back on the ribbon using Pop Up Glue Dots.  I added a vintage button above and below the stamped image as a final enhancement.


Note: If your mobile isn’t perfectly balanced once everything is strung and assembled, you can “tip it back up to even” by noting where it’s dipping down, placing another button on top of the cardboard base to counterbalance, and shifting it slightly until it rests in the place that creates balance.  You can then glue that button in place.

I hope you’re inspired to make something of your own with this ribbon, whether it’s a mobile or something else entirely…

Warm regards,

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An Artful Earthquake: a class review & flea market finds!


Some of my weekends rate higher on the creative Richter scale than others, and this past weekend was full of seismic activity!  I’m still feeling the aftershocks four days later, and am thankful for all the creative bounty rumbled its way into my life.  I attended a great class and hunted for arty treasure at a swap meet – such fun!

Saturday: An amazing class taught by Lisa Engelbrecht…


I was a lucky attendee of the first class to be taught at Jenny Doh’s home studio.  Lisa Engelbrecht taught the all-day lettering & mixed-media class, and she’s as nice and as personable as she is talented.  The class included lessons on lettering, foiling, working with acrylic inks to make washes, collage, and more!  I enjoyed myself and learned a lot – what a great combo!  It was a special treat to meet Lisa E., whose work I’ve admired for years, and to meet my fellow crescendoh.com Design Team member, Lisa Guerin.

Jenny did a great job of hosting the class at her home studio, and the other attendees and I were impressed with her attention to detail and “above and beyond” offerings.  She provided goodies in the morning (including yummy scones), snacks and beverages during the day, and made everyone feel very welcome.  Ordering lunch from a local eatery was optional – I opted in, and the sandwich I ordered was both delicious and huge and also came with chips and a big cookie.

Another nice touch: Jenny took a photo of our group, and printed up a copy of the photo for each of us.  Combined with an “Art Saves” postcard, it made a lovely takeaway, and a great reminder of a wonderful class experience.

Click here to read Jenny Doh’s blog post about the day and see her pictures.
Click here to read Cynthia Shaffer’s blog post about the day and see her pictures.

Rating: 9.0 on the Artistic Richter scale


Sunday: A trip to a local swap meet with my hubby…

One of my favorite pastimes is scouring swap meets, flea markets, and antique stores for odds and ends I can use in my artwork.  Some of my favorite past finds have included vintage buttons, sewing notions, black and white photos, and handkerchiefs, but I’m open to just about anything that catches my eye.  I try to limit my spending, and was on a tight budget last weekend, but managed to find some great additions to my art stash.

Spools of silky thread: The original price on these was $1 each, but hubby haggled and talked the vendor down to both colors for $1. Score!  There were additional spools for sale (mostly in a deeper orange), but I limited myself to these two in the interest of economics and our limited storage space.


Vintage photos: I’m a sucker for vintage black and white photos, and happily pawed through a box of vintage photos at another stall.  I knew I had to limit myself, given my budget and my existing, well-developed collection of photos, and narrowed my selections down to six snapshots.  Hubby asked me how I choose the photos as I was looking, and I explained that I’m just drawn to some images more than others.  I also told him that I love finding photos of people of color.  Though I’m white, my family is a melting pot of different races, which I love.  Additionally, it’s harder to find vintage photos of non-Caucasian people so it’s especially fun when I do stumble across them.  The six photos I chose cost $2 total.


Zipper: I’ve come across some online tutorials for making roses out of zippers, and knew it was time for me to try making one when I found I could buy a zipper with chunky, metal teeth for a mere 25 cents.


Awl: (not shown) I found a small, wood-handled awl that will come in handy when poking, prodding, and piercing future artwork, and it was a bargain at $2.

It was a very satisfying morning: spending time with hubby, unearthing budget-friendly art supplies, enjoying the beautiful blue skies, and people watching.  I can’t wait to visit another swap meet – who knows what I’ll find!

Total spent on art supplies: $5.25

Rating: 6.0 on the Artistic Richter scale

Please post a comment on this post if you’d like to share some of your recent artistic experiences or your favorite flea market finds!

Warm regards,

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New Artwork & Blog Scheduling Update


A new piece of my artwork has been posted at crescendoh.com – hooray!  This month’s Design Team project is a canvas-based mixed media piece.  I started with the Danita & Me kit, and put my own twist on the project. Rather than use the front of the kit’s canvas, I turned it over and used the back!  I love that the same kit yields different results for each and every person that uses it.  We’re all unique, and these kits (and the related example projects on the crescendoh.com website) illustrate that perfectly.


In addition to using the back of the canvas, I incorporated two of my favorite mixed media elements into the piece: alphabet stamps/text and masking tape!  Please click here to see the piece at crescendoh.com, to read the instructions, and to learn how I made it.

Twice, Instead of Thrice

I’m nearly six months into this blog, and am really enjoying the process.  There’s been a bit of trial and error, and I’ve made little tweaks along the way.  For example, I’ve let a feature or two fade away, but maintain a regular posting schedule in an effort to keep your interest and to keep creating and challenging myself.

I will continue to post regularly, and will continue with my mixture of “writing, art, and life in general”, but will move from three posts per week to two.  Until I’m able to switch from full-time corporate to full-time creative this will help me maintain a better life balance.  That said, I’ll be posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please post a comment on this blog post.  For example, if you love a particular type of feature (recipes, haiku, travel, ethnic markets), and would like to see more, please let me know.  If you’re too shy to post a comment, please get in touch through the comments page here.  Your message will come directly to me via email.

Thank you for following my blog – I appreciate your time and your interest!

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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$25 Visa gift card winner!


Our Winner

Congratulations, Letty G. – you’re the lucky winner! I’ll mail your prize as soon as you email me your address, and hope you enjoy using the gift card.  Everyone: I’ll be hosting another giveaway soon, so please keep an eye out for details!

It’s Time to Shop!

In other news, The Handmade for All – Holiday Gift Boutique starts tomorrow!  So Cal. Residents: Please plan to stop by tomorrow or Saturday to shop.  Choose from incredible handmade items that Ariella Fiore has assembled for your shopping pleasure.  Read all about the event here.

Guest Curating for the fabulous Jenny Doh

Another bit of exciting news is that I’m going to be a Guest Curator on crescendoh.com later this month.  I’ll be featured from December 27, 2010 – January 2, 2011, so please keep an eye out for more on that.  My Art Saves story will be published and they’ll feature links I’m providing in my Guest Curator window.  The links will include some of my favorite how-to features, artists, and other great sites, and new links will be posted daily throughout the week so there’s always something different to see.

Upcoming December Features

And finally, here are some of the posts you can look forward to this month: two new recipes, a collage basics tutorial, a new Letting My Inner Child Out to Play feature, a photo tour of my 2004 trip to Ireland, and more!

In the meantime, thank you for reading my blog.  It’s very nice to have you here…

Warm regards,

p.s. If you’re enjoying my blog and know others who may enjoy it as well, please feel free to spread the word.  Whether you email folks a link, post a link on Facebook, share my website with an online group, or tweet about melodynunez.com on Twitter, I’ll really appreciate your time and effort!

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Introducing the Newest Member of the CRESCENDOh Design Team!


I’m happy to announce that I was recently asked to join the Design Team at crescendoh.com.  Jenny Doh “proposed”, so to speak, and I happily accepted!

As a Design Team member I’ll use crescendoh.com products to create projects infused with my own personal aesthetic.  I will create something new each month, and will publish posts here that link you to the artwork and instructions.

My first featured project is a grid collage, and I used some of Jenny’s fabulous rubber stamps in my design.  The image above shows a small section of the collage.  Please click here to see Jenny’s unveiling of the piece, and here to see the collage with the directions on how to make a grid collage of your own.

I’m honored to be on the CRESCENDOh Design Team, and hope you enjoy the artwork you’ll see in the coming months!

Warm regards,

p.s. If you haven’t commented on my giveaway post, comment today – you’ll be in the running for Friday’s giveaway drawing!

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Art Journaling: Making a Difference in the Lives of Children


As one who has been helped in many ways by many wonderful people during my lifetime, I feel very strongly about helping others.  I try to donate to charity and/or give my time to multiple causes each year.  Whether it’s buying Secret Santa gifts for homeless children, or donating food to the local food bank, I regularly take action on charitably-based opportunities.

My Favorite Way to Give

One of my favorite ways to donate time and money is through my own little art journaling project – something I first did back in 2003, and have done during three different school years thus far.  My aunt, who is an amazing elementary school teacher, would tell me about her students and the challenges they faced: poverty, abuse, gangs, drugs, and incarcerated or otherwise absent parents.  Their stories broke my heart, and I knew I had to do what I could to help.

I decided I’d teach the kids visual journaling: the combination of writing/journaling, drawing, and collage.  In addition to nurturing their creativity and language skills, I teach these classes in the hopes that I’ll give them a positive, creative outlet to help them process the crazy world we live in.  Art and writing have been essential to me as I’ve traveled through life, and I am hoping to plant these seeds in children that are facing so many challenges.

How the Class Works

Each student receives a blank journal and a packet full of art supplies that they keep at school until the end of the school year.  I teach the class – an introduction to art journaling – and provide a handout with a how-to overview and journaling prompts for future use.  When I visit the class for the first time they complete two or three journal entries, which helps to reinforce the different ways they can use their journal for fun and as a tool.

As the school year progresses, the children do additional work in their art journals and we finish with an end-of-year art journal show that I attend.  The first three end-of-year shows we’ve held were a great success, and it always fills my heart with joy to see the excitement and pride of the children as they share what they’ve created.

Others Are Lending a Hand

I donate my time and some of the supplies for this endeavor, and usually solicit donations from friends and family to fill in the gaps.  However, this year donations are going to a whole new level.  Jenny Doh from crescendoh.com has generously offered to provide supplies for the children’s art journal packets, and is also getting her readers involved.  She’s giving her readers an opportunity to get in on the giving, and has written a lovely blog post about my project here.  I’m so thankful for her shared enthusiasm about this project.  I know how big a difference it makes in the lives of these children, and I’m thrilled Jenny recognizes it too and is supporting the program.

How You Can Help

Because there is such great need, I hope you will consider making a donation too, dear readers.  Since crescendoh.com is coordinating the bulk of the donations and materials could be duplicated between our gathering efforts, please consider sending me a gift card to Michael’s or Target.  (If you’d rather send tangible art supplies, please contact me.)  Whether you send a gift card worth $5 or $50, you’ll be helping these children in a potentially life-changing way!

If you’re interested in donating, please email me through this website’s CONTACT page so I can provide my mailing address and so I’ll know to keep an eye out for your envelope or package.  I hope to receive all donations by November 21, 2010.

Please note: The art journal pages in the photo above were created by a student who participated in the 2009-2010 art journaling class.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

Warm regards,

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