Category Archives: Process

>> photo update


Yesterday I updated in my Etsy shop ( the photo backdrops of my quote prints! It’s been long overdue and I decided to use some of the vintage floral handkerchiefs that I’ve been collecting along with some other studio necessities like my thrifted mint green tape dispenser, washi tape (always), scissors and spools of spring. The delicate hankies are bright and colorful and contrasted enough with my designs and the photos definitely portray a pretty accurate feel of my creative space, just a little tidier.


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>> sketchbook glimpse part 2

My newest sketchbook is a mixed media hardbound book with thick pages perfect for laying down watercolor. Here is a glimpse into the first pages, which I always find very intimidating… so empty yet filled with endless ideas. In order to break an old habit, I forced myself not to leave the first page blank… Image

… the second page I simply laid down fields of watercolor and then drew marks and patterns on top with ink as well as white gouache. So far this new sketchbook is a fun experiment of trying new things and working outside of my normal creation process.


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>> representing me

One of my all-time favorite things to do is send snail mail. Handwriting a simple note of thanks, a sweet hello, congratulations or happy day is a craft that I want to keep alive. And when I sell a print through Etsy, or have a custom request that needs to be shipped, my love of creating/selling work and putting together a package merge into one fantastic happy moment. What could be better than opening a pretty gift? I want to instill that excitement when I ship an 8×10 map of your favorite state to you. Each design is unique and original, thats why you are supporting handmade right? The interaction of creator to customer should be just as special. I’ve been inspired to share this thought because of a recent blog post by HandMade in PA that nails it on the head with personal experience and featured my maps in the article! Though I’m constantly re-thinking and evolving my mail-to-you package experience, I would like to think I always share a part of myself with each mailer that is sent out. A mental checklist begins to form once I  sit down and begin to package orders. Always included are business cards (yes multiple, in case the buyer wants to share with a friend and keep one for themselves), a hand written thank you note that’s personalized with their name and the item they purchased- sometimes even a story sneaks its way in, a special goodie- whether it be a note card or special print for them to keep or pass on as a gift, designed mailing labels, colorful strips of washi tape, and a piece of yarn to tie it all together! phew!

A rainbow of blank Hello notecards ready to be written on & sent out with orders!

A rainbow of blank Hello notecards ready to be written on & sent out with orders!

A customer bought 4 illustrated state prints! I included a special "hello from Florida" notecard as a thank you!

A customer bought 4 illustrated state prints! So I included a special “hello from Florida” notecard as a thank you

I just recently updated all of my state map photo’s on Etsy to represent this “package” of mine. Because, really it’s not just the end result of what you receive in the mail, it all has to tie together and this whole process begins at the initial stage of wanting to make the purchase. And doesn’t that excitement and wanting start when you first lay eyes on the product? If it is, then those product photos will be the first thing (sometimes even the only thing…) the customer will experience! As I evolve, so will the product photos, the package, the designs, everything will ever so slightly change and change again but it will always be a true representation of myself.

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>> keeping track


An insiders peek at how I’ve been keeping track of which states I’ve completed already!!! I just finished Nebraska and am en route to New Mexico! This little map will be colored in completely before you know it! Have you seen all of the finished designs? They are on view in full in the hello niccoco etsy shop!

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>> collected & studied

Last Saturday was the first day I had off that felt like an actual spring day, sunny with temps in the 60s- just perfect! Matt and I enjoyed a walk at the Lancaster County park on our favorite trail the follows alongside the Conestoga river. We brought our walkin’ shoes, cameras and a ziplock bag to take home treasures. We found so much inspiration tucked in that bag that what we got home we assembled and reassembled our collection to showcase all the different colors, shapes and textures.


We both proceeded to take our favorites and really study them, each in our own way. My favorite drawing tool of choice is of course my medium point sharpie pen. I did some fairly quick studies in my new sketchbook and am pretty pleased with the page. Finding time to draw like this is really such fun!


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>> finished!

It’s a miracle. For the first time I think in the history of ever, I finished a sketchbook. Not only that, but in the process of completing said sketchbook, none of the pages were ripped out and immediately trashed!! Truly amazing if you ask me. I’ve had this horrible habit of disliking a drawing so bad I would risk ruining my bound sketchbook by tearing the paper out for fear of constantly being reminded of my embarrassing doodle. So silly, huh?

a peek into a "never been seen before" page

a peek into a “never been seen before” page

Even though each page isn’t a masterpiece, or even the beginning of something remotely interesting, I feel quite accomplished. Weeks ago I knew this moment would soon be approaching so I went ahead and purchased 2 more Moleskine’s to fill up. Each blank spread appears as an opportunity to draw whimsical notions that pop into my head, its an amazing feeling.

colorful new moleskine's

colorful new moleskine’s

Here’s to embracing quirky drawings and loving them even if they are never shown to another set of eyes!

first page in the sunny yellow sketchbook

first page in the sunny yellow sketchbook

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>> a longwood afternoon



Longwood Gardens may be one of my favorite places here in south eastern Pennsylvania, I never tire of visiting (and we go fairly frequently)! Matt and I have been members the past few years because its an ever changing landscape of inspiration. Truly.

We spent just a few hours a couple of weeks ago to soak in the new Orchid exhibit with our sketchbooks in tow. It’s kind of amazing to break out of my drawing routine… I rarely set aside time to draw from life! It’s an exciting challenge for me since I just don’t work that way anymore… Of course I use photo reference to help and inspire, but to closely examine your subject and know every detail helps to slow moments down. You begin to notice every fold and know exactly how many petals are on the flower because you are recording it.



Throughout the afternoon I filled four pages in my sketchbook and snapped a ton of photos that I may use as inspiration later. You may have seen snippets on Instagram… but here are a couple more of my favorites!



If you can believe it, our next trip to Longwood is already planned… I can’t wait to bring my trusty ink pen and sketchbook to doodle even more botanical goodness!!

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>> hello iowa

I must admit, I’ve been wanting to first illustrate all the states that are near and dear to my heart… you know, all those ones with favorite vacation memories and the ones on the top of the must travel to list. But, there’s something thrilling about learning all about those other states. The ones where I really only know their location, capitol, and abbreviation- embarrassing but true!
So I chose Iowa, partially because I’m connected to the state (selling prints at the fabulous shop Domestica which is located in Des Moines), and because I knew very little about it! See the cowboy hat, thats where John Wayne was born, an amazing fact I did not know!

The Hawkeye State

For me this whole process isn’t just about creating, but learning as I move forward in this self driven project. I truly hope you are enjoying it as much as I am.
I already shared a peek of the next state I’m currently working on instagram…

it’s Virginia!

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>> illustrated quotes

For some reason, I just can’t get enough of illustrated/motivational/quotes from famous people goodness! There is something so inspiring about humble famous words that makes you feel that you, yes YOU, can really tackle anything.

Here’s a bit of hand-doodled inspirational quotes fresh out of my sketchbook.

Hope you enjoy, and have a happy Friday!



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>>sketchbook peek


Starting a shiny new sketchbook can be a bit nerve-racking. That first page is ever so important, it sets the tone of the entire book, right?? It has to be good, no pressure there! Well, I conquered those first page jitters with a bit of washi tape inspiration and my trusting sharpie ink pen!

Along with the very first page is a peek at the other beginning pages of this sketchbook, which, by the way is a nice shade of kelly green moleskine! love! I’ve decided to take a different approach with this new book, its a fresh start- why not try things a little differently? I seem to gather bits of inspiration whether its paper, a tag, a piece of fabric, buttons… anything small, delicate and lovely I stash it away in a drawer properly named “collected things”. I tend to raid that drawer when I scrapbook, but why not include it here, in a sketchbook? So my doodles can take on a new shape because of this found inspiration I’ve included. Who knows what I can come up with when a little snippet of wrapping paper is included! Hope you enjoy the madness that is my world of collecting and doodling!


page 1

I imagine this as a floral patch, that I wish was real


page 2-3

added inspiration with some hand drawn type

page 4-5

inspired by the backyard

page 6-7

doodled numbers



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