E ver since we got decently moved into our Miami apartment, I have been going at full speed, getting holiday gifts ready for my Etsy shop. As of today, I’m proud to say that all new products have been created, photographed, had listings written for them, and posted. CELEBRATION TIME. In case you’re curious for some behind the scenes looks, you’re in luck – I tried to document as I went along, so hop on board and I’ll show you some of this came together!

If you’ve been following me on Instagram and/or get my weekly newsletter, you’ve surely seen some of my “Leaf A Message” photos. Ever since experiencing the leaf change up in Vermont, I’ve been enamored with these beauties.

I wanted to preserve the leaves physically and not just through a photograph; so I dried some of the leaves in books and also tried this “I’m impatient and want these dry right now” technique – ironing them between two sheets of paper towel on a very low temperature.

I was happy to discover that the ironing technique worked!

These leaves and I have been through thick and thin together. They traveled in the car with us all the way from Vermont to Miami.

When I was finally ready to do some painting, I picked my favorites to place on top of watercolor and acrylic washes.

Then I adhered the leaves with modge podge and pressed them flat. Once that initial layer was dry, I painted a top coat to fully protect them. Then it was time to put them in their cute frames and photograph them – only after spray painting most of the black frames gold. It was a many layered project!

Photographing for Etsy is a trip. In real life, I’ll think I’ve set up something good…and then through the lens of the camera the wall looks too stark and the cute rhino takes center stage instead of the product I’m trying to showcase. Here’s what I mean:

I tried a BUNCH of different set-ups as I tried to get the right shots of these leaves. I finally found a couple that worked!

I also tried layering the leaves on my abstract paintings (and pairing them with a Miami leaf that I embroidered – embroidering leaves = my latest obsession). But my brother and sister said the photo was slightly confusing for a product photo and they weren’t sure what they were looking at. I still love the look of all this vibrancy, though, so at the very least YOU get to see it.

My abstract paintings have been another recent thrill. Upon moving into my studio, there was a blank wall just waiting to be filled with something bold and wonderful.

I bought a bunch of square canvases and set about painting them with the most vibrant scenes I could think of. At first, I wasn’t that thrilled…

But I’ve learned that abstract paintings are JOURNEYS and sometimes they take awhile to develop into what they’re supposed to be. I wish I had “before-ish” shots of all of the paintings I did and then what they eventually became. But here’s the “after” picture of that one above.

It became something that I love! This was based off a photo from a trip to Maine earlier this summer – I took the picture as we were eating lobster; and this was the first painting I tackled. Thus the title: “Even Lobsters Have Firsts.”

I’ve decided that titling abstract paintings is one of my favorite activities.

Look how much better my studio wall looks now!

There are close up pictures of all the paintings on my Etsy shop (and you can also peek at all my painting titles over there).

I told Bobby that putting all of these paintings up for sale is kind of like having a litter of puppies that you send off to various homes. I really want to keep the whole litter but also know that it will be wonderful if these go to good homes and bring other people joy. So I’ll enjoy my paintings in the meantime and if some of them sell, then GREAT! And if some of them don’t sell, then GREAT! More for me!

I also put my acrylics to good use creating some 10 packs of Christmas postcards.

While having trouble sleeping one night, I had this idea flash in front of me – so I hopped out of bed and started creating these postcards. If you want to send out some hand painted holiday cheer, these may be just the thing for you!

If you want to send out some hand painted holiday cheer, these may be just the thing for you!

I also got excited about offering custom moleskine notebooks. (Celeste, I’m afraid the cat is out of the bag in terms of what you’ll be getting for Christmas…thanks for being the example. :)

And I tried my hand at custom couples portraits, inspired by the amazing wedding of our friends that we just went to – so these are an offering now, too!

Lest you think that my life has looked pulled together during all of this, I’ll leave you with a picture of my studio as I was just moving in – I’ve yet to take an updated photo because of all of this artistic hustle…but I must admit that it doesn’t look much better than this at the moment…which is kind of hilarious, kind of terrifying.

Just trying to keep things real over here! When I’m creating so many beautiful things, keeping a space beautiful, too, becomes a mammoth task.

Tomorrow, the clean up process begins!

This goes without saying, but if you’re looking for some unique, lovely gifts to give the people in your life this year…I hope you’ll stop by my shop and take a look. I would love to send out a cheery package in the mail to you!