Tutorials + DIY

Gratitude Journals at Kate's Club


Atlanta's favorite feline-themed artist extraordinaire, Catlanta (AKA Rory Hawkins), visited the teens group at Kate's Club to talk about gratitude and create these awesome journals! Kate's Club offers a safe space to face grief for young people who have experienced the loss of a parent of sibling. Creating unique, personalized journals just for capturing our gratitude is a favorite activity here at Paint Love. It's been proven that keeping a gratitude journal and writing for just a few minutes during the day or simply jotting down a couple bullet points about things that made you feel happy or thankful before you go to bed at night, can dramatically change the way you engage the people and world around you. Gratitude journals help lower stress levels, and help establish habits seeking the good in every day.


Interested in starting your own gratitude journal? Here are some helpful tips and suggestions from the Greater Good Center at UC Berkley: 

  1. Be as specific as possible—specificity is key to fostering gratitude. “I’m grateful that my co-workers brought me soup when I was sick on Tuesday” rather than “I’m grateful for my co-workers.”

  2. Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular person or thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.

  3. Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.

  4. Try subtraction, not just addition. Consider what your life would be like without certain people or things, rather than just tallying up all the good stuff. Be grateful for the negative outcomes you avoided, escaped, prevented, or turned into something positive—try not to take that good fortune for granted.

  5. See good things as “gifts.” Thinking of the good things in your life as gifts guards against taking them for granted. Try to relish and savor the gifts you’ve received.

  6. Savor surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.

  7. Revise if you repeat. Writing about some of the same people and things is OK, but zero in on a different aspect in detail.

  8. Write regularly. Whether you write every other day or once a week, commit to a regular time to journal, then honor that commitment. But…

  9. Don’t overdo it. Evidence suggests writing occasionally (1-3 times per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling. That might be because we adapt to positive events and can soon become numb to them—that’s why it helps to savor surprises.


Sketch Effect at Maynard Jackson

The entire team from Sketch Effect started their week bright and early with back-to-back sessions teaching four art classes- that's 125 high school students!- at Maynard Jackson in Atlanta about visual note taking. 

Sketch Effect's workshop drew on the principle that people learn in two ways—verbally and visually—and discussed creative, effective communication and note-taking methods that leverage both channels of learning. 

Students learned about information hierarchy and visual navigation, got to see William Warren and the rest of the team in action as they did a live- drawing to a Ted Talk, and then the students got to put their new skills to the test with visual note taking exercises of their own.  

Here is the hand out they gave the students, so you can learn more about visual note taking for your own use in class, meetings, or at events! 


DIY Embroidery on Canvas with Jesse's House

Julie Ann McKevitt and I taught an embroidery on canvas class at Jesse's House a few weeks ago. I enjoyed working with Paint Love and the girls at Jesse’s House so much, I thought I’d work on a little DIY for you! Go ahead and break out an old canvas painting. You could use one you made or embellish one from a thrift store. Gather up your materials and let's get started on six simple stitches perfect for beginners. 

Gather Up Your Materials

  • Embroidery needle
  • Scissors
  • Thread 
  • Yarn
  • Washi Tape 

Running Stitch

The running stitch is one of my favorites for traveling across the canvas. I love using it to accent the movement of brush strokes or to draw attention to a central point. Come in through the back and pick a point to go back in and continue on your way.

Back Stitch

The back stitch is great for creating a solid line. I like using this for outlines or text. In this stitch, you come up from the back and out just like a running stitch, but then retrace your steps going back. Bring needle up at 1 and back down at 2. Move left and bring needle up at 3, then back down at 1.

Cross Stitch

Cross stitch - my childhood hero. While this is a little more difficult to do on canvas verses an open weave fabric. I find it just as fun. I even enjoy the slightly misshapen crosses. They bring out such a beautiful organic quality. Stitching from left to right, bring needle up at 1, down at 2, then up at 3 and down at 4. Continue stitching across to end of line. Start back stitching from right to left, make crosses by bringing the needle up at 7 and down at 4.


Couching is the absolute coolest embroidery stitch to me. I use a bit of washi tape to secure the foundation thread as I stitch instead of stitching it in. If you wanted to do it more traditionally, Bring foundation thread onto the front and place along the design line. Bring the couching thread up under the foundation thread and make a tiny stitch over the thread. Continue making evenly spaced stitches over the foundation thread. To finish couching, bring the foundation thread onto the backside and secure it. Secure couching thread on backside.

Seed Stitch

Is there anything cuter than than a seed stitch? I love the way it mimics sprinkles. The seed stitch is great for filling spaces and background textures. This works just like a running stitch.

Satin Stitch

Satin stitch to me seemed like it should be way more complicated. I find the hardest part is keeping the tension just right. Not too tight, not too loose. Bring needle up at 1, down at 2, then back up right next to 1 and down right next to 2. Place stitches closely together to fill in your area. I like to pencil out my shape before stitching