Watercolors for Caitlin Wilson

Right before Henry was born, I was commissioned to paint several water colors for Caitlin Wilson, thanks to a referral by Rachel Grace. My illustration style and what she needed turned out to be a good fit, and I am so grateful to have this opportunity to work with her. Caitlin is an amazingly talented and creative designer.


I had so much fun bringing her lovely pillows and interiors to life in watercolor for her portfolio and website relaunch. I always love a fellow enthusiast of bright and happy colors.


As I mentioned in a previous post, I loved being able to do something that felt “normal” in the early days of motherhood, as I was feeling tied to the sofa while feeding the baby or trying to sleep. It was a bit stressful as well definitely, but it helped me to work faster and  plan my time differently. Instead of painting a watercolor in 2 shots, I had to think of what I could accomplish in 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and be flexible as well. As sometimes my mom could hold the baby, and sometimes he needed me, as I am his food source!


This type of working means that I have to leave my studio area in progress sometimes, and avoid the common procrastination trap of thinking everything must be neat and clean before I can start working. Sometimes you just have to get it done, even if it’s painting on your bed while watching TV with a cute little boy who just wants to snuggle next to you.


Caitlin could not have been sweeter or more understanding regarding working with a brand new baby, as she’s a working mom herself. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to meet her in person before she relocated to Portland, but I can definitely say she is a sweetheart (via email) and a talented and hard worker who deserves great success.


Enjoy the details of these watercolors. The floral pillow with navy piping was my favorite to paint. Okay, and the bulletin board!

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Drawing Houses

It seems like the trees in my neighborhood were just shaking their pink pom-poms announcing spring, but we’re already in the middle of summer thunderstorms.  It must have taken that long to start adjusting to the new rhythm of my life.


Our schedule is getting easier, or we’re adapting and becoming more efficient baby wranglers. We’re learning to pick and choose some nights. The kitchen remains clean, but we’ve left clean laundry unfolded in favor of more time with Henry, dinner out with friends and a whole book read last week. I thought about doing it tonight, but decided to check in here instead.  Every day is a choice when it comes to time, but I’m trying not to sweat it or spread myself too thin.

I’m feeling very grateful to have the need to carve out time to finish some house illustrations, and create floral garlands for photographer Anna Peterson’s new logo.


This row home drawing was one of my favorites to do, mainly because it was for my friend who is a total sweetheart, and also because I loved painting the little flower boxes. I was especially happy to finally finish this, since it was part of a long overdue wedding gift I’d been meaning to send, but some baby got in the way. I told myself I technically have a year according to Emily Post, but I felt really guilty not finishing yet when she threw me a Book Club Baby Shower and cooked me a delicious chicken pot pie and S’mores bars shortly after Henry was born!


This sweet portrait was a commission (and surprise gift) for the parents my friend, Rachel. They were moving to be closer to her and her growing family, and she wanted to document their beloved home of thirty-six years.


This Cincinnati home portrait was finished just in time for Father’s Day.


Alright, I’m off to delay yet one more day of folding laundry (probably).

Posted in Etsy Shop, Illustration, La Tienda, Painting | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Notes from a New Mama

When I last left off, (two whole months ago!), I was having a little too much fun acting crazy with my big belly, which is a completely fun prop before it exhausts you. Sadly, the writing waned as I was tying up loose ends at work, getting the house ready and trying to enjoy the last bit of selfish me-time for awhile by taking naps, going to the movies and just doing whatever I wanted.


Henry Andrew was born in February, and we are counting ourselves very lucky to have a happy and healthy baby boy. I think he’s already a little flirt, and is making friends and charming women and men alike wherever he goes. Mike and I were so excited to finally meet him, and it’s so cool to see what a sweet dad Mike is becoming. And to see someone who had never changed a diaper become a pro in a few short weeks!


I was so very lucky to have my mom stay with us for five weeks to help during this exhausting yet very special time in his life, especially since Mike didn’t have much time off work. I was grateful for her support, advice, cooking, cleaning, for another set of hands to hold the baby, for hands to hold me if I was overwhelmed, and to see the magic of my mom becoming a grandparent and falling in love with this little boy. 

Apart from the intense new motherhood experience, I also had the opportunity to work on some design and illustration work. A friend and I did some virtual interior design for a client in New York City, and I did some watercolor illustrations for a fabulous local designer. It was boot camp in terms of figuring out free time with a new baby, but it also helped me to reconnect with the part of myself that is “Marissa” and not just a source of nutrition and love for a new human. Please refer to the part where my mom was here for 5 weeks lest you think I’m pretending to be a super-mom.


Some days I felt like I never left the sofa while feeding the baby. Though I spent many hours gazing into this baby’s sweet face, I also watched all three seasons of Downton Abbey. Yes. It is all it’s cracked up to be, and I’m already missing it!

Mom and I baked three chocolate chip cakes in five weeks, and got hooked on no-knead sourdough bread which my Aunt brought for us with a starter.  We balanced it out by making some bright colored salads with the first of the gorgeous spring vegetables. I am so excited for Spring!


The weather has been cold but sunny in Philadelphia, and we’ve been taking Henry on walks in the neighborhood. We have some friends in the neighborhood who occasionally join us, and I have been treating myself to hot chocolates at our local coffee shop as an extra incentive to get outside! He loves being carried around in our Baby Bjorn and will fall asleep for entire hours it seems.


I did finish knitting a baby sweater for lil Hen before he was born. It’s way too big, but he looks pretty cute wearing it at around two weeks. It’s crazy how quickly they do grow and how their faces change. He already looks entirely different than in this picture. We’re enjoying him and adjusting and learning every day.


I’m not sure how much I’ll post about Henry or being a mom on here in the future, but wanted to show my face and introduce you to our little boy. Thanks for being my virtual friends, and  I look forward to reconnecting on this space with you all in this coming year.


Posted in Bebe, Life | 1 Comment

Charlotte’s Web Shawl

There are some projects and goals that lay on the wayside for the duration of time it takes to graduate from high school. Case in point, I have had these Koigu mill ends since 2008 which were always slated to become a Charlotte’s Web Shawl.

After I found out I was having a baby, it seemed like hundreds of strangers and friends wanted to tell me how little time I would ever have to myself, labor and delivery horror stories, advice (some good!),  more horror stories and very personal inquiries. Regarding the knitting, I took this time to finally make myself this particular shawl – before my life is over and I never have a minute to myself! I jest.

Here is the yarn. Mike helped me to put them in order for the shawl.

To be a Charlotte's Web Shawl

My illustration from four years ago was inspiration to someday knit this!

4. Charlotte's Web Shawl

I really just wanted to knit this shawl for the fringe.


Here is the finished shawl. It’s huge. It’s about my height fully stretched out, so around 66 inches.

Charlotte's Web Shawl

I’m really happy with how it turned out. Once I got the hang of the lace pattern, it was pretty easy, but I recommend placing a lifeline in case you mess up. I messed up and restarted it at least three times. This is not to scare you off, just to provide some realistic expectations.

Charlotte's Web Shawl

This colorful detail below is one of my favorite parts of the shawl.

Charlotte's Web Shawl

Well, besides the fringe of course! I held myself back from adding beads or sequins!

Charlotte's Web Shawl

I don’t know why I waited so long, but it was worth the wait!

Charlotte's Web Shawl

Posted in Knitting, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

2012 into 2013

For a Florida kid who spent her youth wishing for white Christmases, I definitely got my share this year while spending the holidays with Mike’s family in Southern Indiana.Highway 37

We stayed cozy inside at my in-laws home playing poker, canasta, Cards Against Humanity, watching movies, eating ice cream sundaes (my idea!) and hanging out.

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This year we each wrote a handwritten poem for our sibling & in-law gift swap. You could write about anything, and the poetry reading was hilarious! It has been added to the annual repertoire.

I wrote about the shenanigans that occurred on Christmas Eve night including too much tequila for certain family members and a kitchen plumbing incident resulting in calling Mr. Roto-Rooter at 3AM. This pregnant sober lady caught it all. Though I couldn’t enjoy the cocktails, I did dance enough for myself and the baby. The belly just enhanced my moves!

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Here’s a semi-cheesy shot of Mike and me on Christmas Eve before the annual party and resulting craziness.

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Mike’s best friends are already spoiling the future baby boy. We received plenty of Indiana University baby clothes, 2 pairs of amazing shoes, and one heavy metal onesie. We couldn’t be more pleased!

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New Years Eve was spent in Bloomington at the Atlas Bar where Mike’s best friend was bar-tending. It was a treat to spend this time with our loved ones and run into some familiar faces unexpectedly!

It’s always hard to see everyone you want to, but this time we really got to squeeze everyone in. Tracy and Rob came down from Indy for brunch, Mike and I got to visit our former bosses Jane and Werner (and Matisse and Cassatt, the retired art store kitties), and I had a mini-reunion with 3 of my interior design girls.  We even got in a 15 minute visit with my best friend, Heather, who was driving through from Illinois to Maryland!

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Before we knew it, it was time to return back to Philly. The drive home was thankfully uneventful and quick (for 700 miles). I was feeling comfortable and fine, and even felt like driving my 1/2 of the trip, though Mike is sweet and would have driven it all if needed.

Though I had a wonderful time, I did not dread returning to work and my routine this year. With less than a month before the baby comes, there is so much I want to get done at work and at home. Let the nesting commence!

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Happy New Year, my friends!

Posted in Life, Road Trips | 4 Comments

Holiday House Portrait

My adorable friend, Rachel Grace  asked me to create a house portrait for their 2012 holiday cards. I was so touched to be asked, and hadn’t realized how much I missed my watercolors and inks after a brief hiatus. In interior design school, interior and exterior renderings was always my favorite part of my projects.

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They have a cute Craftsman style house which was fun to draw, and Rachel and her talented hubby are always doing impressive home improvements.

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I especially liked creating the holiday garland details and banners, and painting the bricks!

Detail of Holiday Garland

I loved how their house portrait turned out, and thankfully, they were pleased with the results! I also decided to add custom house portraits to my Etsy shop since they are so much fun to create.

HousePortrait 009

Rachel used a local printer to scan the image and create their cards. It was such a treat to receive their cute holiday card in the mail. I think it turned out really great! Thanks for the opportunity, R+T!

Holiday Card!

Posted in Etsy Shop, Illustration, La Tienda | 4 Comments

Ft. Lauderdale + Monkeys

I found myself with one unexpected extra day off from work this year, so flew down to Ft. Lauderdale to spend 3 days with my Mom, Dad and friends and family. The weather was beautiful as you can see. Though I love the changing seasons, I do love being outside on a December night with no chill in the air.

Ft. Lauderdale While I was there, my Mom, Godmother and best friend threw me a wonderful Baby Shower. It was so special, since most of the attendees have known me since I was in diapers myself. We acquired quite a stash of clothes and necessities for the baby, including lots of monkey outfits. They’re adorable, and monkeys must be mandatory for 2012 baby clothes.

My mom gave me a beautiful quilted baby blanket that my Godmother made me when I was a baby. I’ll take a photo of it soon! I remember laying on it as a kid, so it’s very special to have it for this next generation.

Sock monkey baby gear from my BFF Brooke. Too stinkin' cute.

Great food, family, friends, weather and health. I don’t think I can think of anything else I need, and am counting myself a lucky lady.

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