At last, my favorite time of the year has arrived! Winter coats, hot cocoa, warm fires, decorated streets. It’s such a wonderful season in New York City. Of course with Christmas approaching, I’m searching for the perfect treasures to gift to my friends and family. I put together a bespoke PANDORA Essence and Christmas Collection bracelet for a friend… but I couldn’t find a wrapping paper that I loved. I wanted something special because the wrapping is just as important as the gift itself! So with an artist’s mindset, I went home to my drawing table to create my own gift wrap.

Follow along as I guide you through my process below…

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I like to use white craft paper (brown is nice too), which you can find at most craft stores. I pick a color theme (in this case, wintery mint!), and prep my supplies to get ready to paint. You can also do this with markers, pens, and really just about anything! Use your imagination!

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Stringing personalized charms onto a PANDORA double strand bracelet to complete the gift.

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Next, I like to mark the size of the box on the paper with light pencil marks. That way I know how much area I’ll need to paint (don’t forget to include the depth and sides of the box). Also, this helps me judge how large or small I should paint the pattern so that you’ll be able to see it once the box has been wrapped.

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For this paper, I’m going to paint rows of ladies in mint green holiday gowns. I begin by painting their faces, arms, and torsos – since it’s the only area of skin that will show.

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Next, I paint the gowns. I like to vary the mint color between dark and light to make it less flat.

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Once the gowns are painted, I go back and add little dotted details with a light mint or white paint. Before it has a chance to dry, I sprinkle some matching glitter over it to add some holiday sparkle.

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Once the glitter is on, let your paper dry completely. When it’s dry, funnel the excess glitter into a bowl to clean it off. Tap the back of the paper to ensure you get all of the loose glitter off (there will be less of a mess when you’re wrapping!)

When the paper is dry and the excess glitter has been dusted off, you’re ready to wrap your gift!

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Voilà! Wrap it with a box, and it’s ready to be gifted!

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The Wreath Exchange


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Hand Painted Ornaments

Check out my guide to creating your own hand painted holiday ornaments!

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Check out my Guide to Gold Paint here.

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See more of my guides:

Guide for the Traveling Artist / Creating an Art Box / Favorite Sketchbooks / Holiday Gift Wrap

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Sometimes seeing one beautiful color can spark an idea for a dreamy gown. Lately, I’m into shades of mint greens. Soft, airy, light and fresh! Especially when I think about this gownPayPal_1

I was stocking up on my favorite colors at Blick last week and ordered some Ash Green, Mint Green, and Cobalt Green Pale. I love shopping on Blick because I can checkout hassle free with PayPal (which literally took less than a minute!).

I love sketching under timed challenges. Setting a limit of 5 seconds, 30 seconds, 5 minutes, etc. It’s an amazing way to loosen up your pencil… and spark new ideas. 1 minute to #paypalit for supplies, and a few 5 minute sketches.

As soon as the paints arrived, I squeezed them onto my palette and got straight to painting!

5 minute Ladies in shades of winter mint…


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Last week, on a bitterly cold and rainy night, Caldrea invited me to warm up at a Secret Garden Party on the terrace at the Gramercy Park Hotel… and oh, what a wonderfully scented secret it was!

Entering the Garden Party was how I imagined Mary Lennox felt when she discovered her Secret Garden. I was greeted by a glowing red and pink room filled from floor to ceiling with roses, serene models in whimsical gowns with oversized florals blooming from their hair. All of this to the angelic sounds of a harp playing in the corner. But the most wonderful thing? The scents! The room was filled with the unmistakable scent of blossoming rose bushes… Caldrea candles filling the air with scents that made you forget the wind and rain just beyond the windows.

As I walked through the room of roses to the next garden, the scenery suddenly transformed to a fairy-like land full of greenery, glowing lights, fruits blossoming from the trees, and the scents of pear blossoms and agave. And I can’t forget the ceiling made of lavender bundles

It was difficult finding a reason to leave these secret gardens, but lucky for me, I’ve brought the scents to my own home. To relive the scents of summer throughout the winter that has barely begun…

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I first began experimenting with tulle on my paintings in 2012, and have since had a small stash of tulle circles waiting to be transformed into Scarlet O’Hara-esque gowns…

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A Charming Dancer

The holidays are just around the corner, and I’m always looking for new ways to share my artwork with my closest friends. Over the next few weeks I’ll be creating unique artwork with the charming jewels from PANDORA Universe.

Being an artist, gifting someone something that didn’t involve much creativity can feel a little bit guilty. I pride myself on gifting things personal and unique every holiday season. I thought it would be wonderful to create art with the actual gift, and include a print of the artwork along with the items… adding a wonderful story to the gift.

This piece, featuring many of the charms from the PANDORA Essence Collection and PANDORA Christmas Collection, has been delicately crafted into a fashionable dancer. She’s composed of an eclectic array of charms, rings, and dainty silver chains.

Once she was created, I photographed her to create fine art prints to include with a few boxed charm bracelets as a gift.


The charms that once composed an elegant dancer will now go off to new homes and add never ending sparkle to the holiday season!

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Growing up, my family always decorated our tree with unique heirloom ornaments. Ornaments that have been in our family for generations, or ornaments that were gifts from friends – even some ornaments painted by my Grandmother. Each year, we pull out bins filled with tissue wrapped ornaments, stories and memories of our childhood flooding in with the unwrapping of each piece. The idea of having ornaments filled with a past is something that is near and dear to me.

This year, Swarovski gave me the great honor of designing the card for their annual holiday ornament collection. As I build my own collection of ornaments, this Swarovski crystal snowflake will forever have a special place on my tree.

Take a look at the process behind designing the card below- inspired by winter magic and sparkling snowflakes….

The final card design, featuring a gown made of snowflakes.



Purchase your own ornament at a Swarovski Boutique near you. All Swarovski Holiday 2014 ornaments include my snowy card design

Link for boutique finder:
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 Painting TOMS for Target totes! The perfect reusable holiday gift wrap that gives back to those in need, beginning November 16th.

Purchase your own and customize it for a truly unique gift!

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An Artist’s Guide to Sketchbooks

My sketchbooks are one of my most prized possessions.Simply because they are documentations of my imagination, thoughts and travel, and how it’s changed over my lifetime. I look back at a sketchbook from 15 years ago, and my mind can immediately shift back to the mindset I had at the age of 14 years old… or at least trigger memories of what that time was like; and boy how they have changed!

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I believe that keeping a sketchbook is one of the most important methods to improving and growing your art and creative mind. Sketchbooks allow you to be free… and delve into your deepest imaginations. One of my favorite sketchbook exercises is to do blind contour sketches. Simply to sketch an object or person without looking at the paper, or lifting my pencil/pen. It improves hand eye coordination, and the result can be both therapeutic and often quite humorous.


“A drawing is simply a line going for a walk”

Paul Klee

(Click the link above for a great article on sketchbooks!)

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Set your imagination free!

Take your lines for a walk. Long walks, short walks, it’s all the same fun.

Check out my Artist’s Guide to Sketchbooks & A Guide for the Traveling Artist.

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After experiencing the magic of Sennelier upon my arrival in Paris, I took a walk along the infamous Seine. It was a gloomy autumn afternoon, yet the grey light continued to radiate off of the cream colored stuccos scattered throughout the city. A Parisian glow.

Continuing the great battle against jet lag, I stopped at a small cafe for a café au lait and some lunch. That’s when the never-ending consumption of bread, cheese, wine, and coffee began… and it didn’t stop for the next 7 days. It would’ve been unacceptable to do Paris any other way… right?

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 Freshly energized with some wonderfully brewed caffeine, I went back to wandering the streets of Paris in my favorite olive green cape coat, mapless. The thought of buying a map never really crossed my mind. I love the idea of finding your way through a new city by chance and stumbling upon things in an unexpected sense.

There I was, walking through Paris, a bit delirious, wondering how this could all be real. It was one of those moments you’ve dreamt about your whole life, and now that it was a reality… it was difficult to grasp. Paris was flooding my mind with dreams and inspirations.

Wandering through the city I had seen small glimpses of the Eiffel Tower, so I knew it’s general direction. However, I had lost track of it after lunch, so I was feeling a little disoriented (it was acting as my North Star). I continued down some narrow cafe lined streets, and all of a sudden there it was! The Eiffel Tower appeared magnificently between two rows of buildings.

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I think I circled the Eiffel Tower twice, taking it all in. It was charming. I eventually climbed my way to the top to get a glimpse of the city from above. It was the perfect way to mentally map out where things were located for my next adventure…

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Let me backtrack for a moment…

On my flight to Paris, I was far too excited to sleep. I tried, but I just couldn’t possibly shut my mind off. The plane section was only about half full. Lights off, apart from a few movies flashing by on passenger’s screens. The silence playing with the soft hum of the plane engines.

I was listening to my favorite playlist, specifically this song. I looked outside at the pitch black sky, and all of a sudden I saw the clearest, brightest, and largest Big Dipper I had ever seen. It was like we were floating through outer space just passing through a sea of stars, with the Big Dipper shining brightest. So I stared, with a perfectly accompanying song. The notes on the piano became the sounds of the stars



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   Arriving in a city I’ve never been, language unknown; It’s an odd feeling. Somewhere between excited, adventurous, and lonely. I was exhausted and jet lagged having arrived in Paris at 7am from New York City, but I fought through it with wide-eyed excitement to finally have arrived in a city I’ve so longed to explore.

After settling into an artsy Parisian AirBnb loft, I quickly set out to explore the city until my friend, Charlotte, arrived late that evening. I’m not much of an itinerary type when it comes to travel, so I picked the first place I knew I had to see, and I’d let that lead me to something else once I found it.

My first stop couldn’t have been anything other than Sennelier; The infamous art shop on the Left Bank of the River Seine. Past frequents of the shop being Picasso and Cezanne.

Henri Sennelier created the first oil pastels intended for professional artists at the specific request of Picasso in 1948. So now you can see why I had to stop in and see this 127 year old shop… and perhaps find a few things to bring home with me!

After wandering through the city, and getting lost for an hour (I did not have a map, which was a wonderful thing), I finally stumbled upon the shop. The inviting green exterior of the storefront displayed elegant golden letters “SENNELIER” above it’s door. The shop and it’s surroundings were as charming as I had imagined… but the inside was beyond. I pushed the door open, history in mind, and slipped inside the small entrance to a warm wooden interior filled from floor to ceiling with all the colors you could ever imagine.  It was quite busy at the time, two young students filling their art class supply list with the help of the staff, and an older man sorting through brushes to decide which he preferred.

Art shops are magical places. They, for one, are filled with the ingredients to visualize your greatest imaginations! I would much rather pour my money into art supplies than anything else… because if there’s something you can’t afford in the world, you can always draw it – it gives a sort of satisfaction! Secondly, art shops are filled with wonderful people. My mind always wonders what each customer is going home to create… it’s fun to dream up stories about people in art shops. My favorites are the older customers. I can only hope I’ll still be painting (and able to) when I reach an old age, because I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Paris, to be continued…

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