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When I was in grad school at SCAD, I started using gouache to paint with. It is great for textile design work because it is matte and opaque, which makes for nice blocks of solid color and less sheen when scanning in to put into repeat (as opposed to acrylic or watercolor, which can both be transparent, and acrylic can sometimes also be a little glossy). I quickly started using Holbein’s Acryla Gouache, and for the last 8 years, it has been primarily what I paint with! I love that it isn’t re-wettable like some gouache can be, so I can paint in layers without the pigments bleeding. 

I’m not sure why it took me so long to think to do, but for fun, I recently took all the colors of gouache I have (over 50!) and painted some little color chips with them. I love that I’ll be able to easily pull these out to pick a color palette, since the colors can be ever-so-slightly different than the color on the tubes. 

I also love that in these paint chips I can remember more easily which colors are ever-so-slightly more translucent than others (you can see the streakiness in their swatches). And it’s always fun to compare colors. 

I’ve collected a lot of colors over the years, but I still constantly reach for my favorites! I mix these colors, but I absolutely love how pretty many are directly out of the tube. If anyone from Holbein reads this — reach out to me! I desperately want a green straight from the tube that’s a good mix of olive and sap green! I’m constantly mixing those two! Many of the “greens” straight from the tube are too cool. If you are trying to compare colors and decide which to buy — I hope this helps you!

A couple months ago, Catalina Rodriguez, a current design student at SCAD (where I went to grad school), reached out to me to see if she could interview me for her Business Strategies and Entrepreneurship class. She was interested in my work as a freelance designer and asked great questions about my process and professional development. I thought I would share the interview here as well for anyone that is curious or has questions about the same things!

How did you get into the field and get established as a pattern/textile designer?

It’s been a winding journey! My mom is a seamstress, so I grew up going with her to fabric shops and collecting fabrics. I’ve always painted and I got into digital design as I got older. It wasn’t until I was in college that I realized that I could bring my love of painting, design, and fabric together to design patterns for textiles. I finished my undergrad degree in painting and worked in graphic design for several years, taking online and in-person workshops with surface pattern designers I admired to build my pattern design skills. I ended up going to grad school at SCAD and got my Masters in Fibers with an emphasis on textile design/print & pattern, and I interned in the print design department at Lilly Pulitzer’s headquarters while there. After grad school, I continued working on my freelance art/design career — making work and sharing it online and reaching out to companies I wanted to work with.

How does your process change when you are working on a commission?

It depends on the commission, but my process generally stays about the same because people are typically commissioning me to create the type of work I already do (painterly florals mostly!). There is obviously more input on color, subject matter, the way the pattern repeats, etc, from the client, but generally we are working together because they like my style and they want that to stay in there. It probably helps that I maintain a consistent brand/style of work for people to seek out.

Where do you get your work from? Social media, contacting clothing/fabric companies (email, mailers, an agency)?

I share my work and process regularly on social media (instagram) and have had some clients reach out to me on there. I also have had people find my work through Pinterest and contact me via my website. I have fabric lines on quilting cotton coming out this year and for that, I contacted companies (via email) and also traveled to International Quilt Market (a trade show) to meet with the art directors of fabric companies in person. In the beginning it can be hard to constantly be putting your work out there, but you have to be sharing your work for people to see it! (and reaching out to companies you want to work with!)

How did you decide to go freelance?

It has always been my intent to freelance so that I could have freedom over where I live and so that I could have the ability to be a work-from-home mom. It is hard to do both, but I feel so fortunate to be able to do what I love and also be able to stay at home with my daughter. My husband’s job is also in New Orleans, and there isn’t a large corporate textile atmosphere here for me to work in if I wasn’t working freelance. The corporate textile industry is so location specific!

How do you handle licensing and not being “too precious”about your work? How can you find a balance between what you want and what the client wants in the negotiation?

This is such a great question and something that I’m constantly learning about myself. My work comes from such a personal place, but it helps to remind myself that this is my job, not my baby. Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic has a great section about this that really resonated with me that I recommend to anyone struggling with this (p. 229-235)! In the end, I have to be okay with letting go if something gets cut or needs to be re-worked and not take it personally. If you keep an open mind, it usually works out in the end. I’ve had to tweak patterns that I ended up liking better in the end because of something the client wanted. I just went through the strike-offs for my first quilting cotton collection and the company I’m working with cut several of the patterns to make the collection tighter. It’s a little sad, of course, to see designs you like and spent time on not make the final cut, but the collection we ended up with is still lovely and I have to trust that they also know what will sell! Some days you just have to stay the course and trust that it will all work out in the end! And remember to see your work out in the world, you have to let it go!

What is the most difficult part of being a freelancer?

So many things! Consistent work, consistent income, balancing all the hats (making work, marketing it, behind the scenes business work and expenses, etc…), figuring out how to best spend your time to make money, I could go on and on! Freelancing really is a dance that isn’t always the easiest road, but the payoff (getting to spend more time with my daughter and having more control over where my art goes in the world) is worth it to me!

How do you get inspired?

I’m fortunate to live in New Orleans — a really beautiful city. I’m always taking photos of flowers, plants, architectural details, etc on my walks around my neighborhood or any time I’m out and about. I keep those photos on my computer to reference when I have time to paint. Pretty much all my artwork comes from painting from life or from the photos I take when out and about/traveling. I’ve trained my eye to always seek out pattern inspiration!

What is most important in your work?

Ooh, hard question! I’d say probably color. You can create a beautiful painting/pattern, but it can be all wrong if the colors aren’t working together. I’m very particular about color!

Who is an artist that you look up to/admire?

I love Lulie Wallace and how she maintains both her art studio practice and creates textile work. I’ve always admired Anna Maria Horner’s rich textile designs and Bonnie Christine’s willingness to share her process. Others: Carrie Shryock, Raven Roxanne, Teil Duncan, Juliet Meeks, Anna Rifle Bond, Margaret Jeane, Emily Jeffords, I could go on and on!

What kind of advice would you give to someone that wants to become a successful surface pattern designer?

Keep making work and keep putting it out there! It took many years for my work to get where it is (and I still feel like I’m just at the beginning of my journey!). Consistently making work is the only thing that will improve your skills and help you get to creating the work you want to make. Don’t be scared to put your work out there, that’s how you get people to notice it!

I’m SO excited to offer my first art & design video tutorial!

This is something I struggled with for years! I only painted on small sheets of paper or sketchbooks for my pattern work because I only had a scanner that would scan up to letter size documents! I wish I had known how to photomerge in Photoshop sooner! It is so simple! (and a game changer for my design work!) Scan artwork as large as you want (on a letter size scanner) and let Photoshop help you with the rest!

This tutorial is FREE for my email list subscribers! Learn how to scan large artwork and photomerge in Adobe Photoshop! Sign up below to have it delivered directly to your inbox! Hope you enjoy!

Where should we send your free tutorial?

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I’m so excited to finally be offering free phone wallpapers of my paintings and patterns to my email list subscribers! Sign up below to receive them delivered straight to your inbox!

Here’s a little preview of the patterns offered:

I plan to be adding more periodically! Sign up below!

Where should we send your free wallpapers?

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Dairy and eggs are two things that are not often a part of my diet. I’m gluten-intolerant and have a slight sensitivity to both dairy and eggs. This is why most of my recipes use unsweetened almond milk and I generally only eat cheese sparingly and only eat eggs when they are cooked inside baked goods. However, during pregnancy, I’ve noticed that I’m not as sensitive to dairy and can get away with eating more cheese and ice cream than I could before. I’m trying to enjoy it while it lasts (wondering if it will go back after pregnancy?) and since the growing baby needs calcium for bone formation and I need to be getting in more protein, why not indulge a little more? I particularly love cream cheese and have been enjoying it as a snack throughout pregnancy. (Interestingly, most of my pregnancy cravings have been for foods from my childhood, cream cheese as one of those! I ate a lot of cream cheese as a kid — with celery, pretzels, crackers, etc. Other cravings have included potatoes (every kind really, but particularly mashed, as I ate those constantly as a kid at my Mamaw’s house!), oranges/orange juice, lemon/lemonade, breakfast cereal, and sweets!)

One day midway through my pregnancy, I was at Tulane’s Newcomb Art Museum for a Friday Collections tour of their Newcomb Pottery. I had walked there from my house (it isn’t far) and had been standing for the tour (about an hour). As it was ending, my vision went completely white and I felt dizzy and thought I might pass out. I didn’t know anyone else on the tour and didn’t want to pass out in the Newcomb private collections room (!!), so I felt my way along the wall and out the doors and sat down in the hallway for a few minutes until the feeling passed. I drank lots of water afterwards and called my midwife to let her know. I believe it was just a low blood pressure episode from standing so long with limited blood circulation during pregnancy (it gets harder for your body to pump blood back up to your heart/etc from your legs). My midwife recommended in the future I try not to stand for such long periods, change my position when I am standing, drink lots of water, and try and get more protein in at breakfast to help give me energy for longer and to keep my blood sugar at a good level as well. I also tested slightly anemic during pregnancy, so I’ve had to take iron supplements and try to get as much protein in as possible. On the weekends I occasionally have bacon or sausage with breakfast, but on a regular basis, I find it a little harder to get meat in first thing in the morning. So I was thrilled when I came across this recipe for protein pancakes that included cream cheese and eggs — both good sources of protein other than meat!

Not only do these Cream Cheese Crepes contain good protein, they are great served sprinkled with lemon juice and topped with strawberries — both high in vitamin c, which your body needs to absorb the iron in protein-rich foods. I’ve been calling these my pregnancy pancakes — as they check off many boxes: extra calcium for baby from the cream cheese, extra protein for breakfast with the cheese and eggs and added nuts, vitamin c for iron absorption with the lemon/strawberry (plus I usually drink a little orange juice with them as well) — all good for getting in good nutrients for baby and keeping me from being anemic! I’ve been eating them so often lately, and not that they are the reason, but I haven’t had any more dizzy, low blood pressure episodes! They are delicious and also super simple and quick and easy to make!

Cream Cheese Crepes
makes 1-2 servings or about 10 thin pan-crepes, but I eat them all myself!

-1/2 block cream cheese (4 oz)
-4 eggs
-butter, for greasing griddle
-fresh lemon juice, fruit, powdered sugar, nuts, etc for serving

1. In blender, blend together cream cheese and eggs. (I use my smoothie maker/blender and it is perfect for this!)
2. Let batter sit for a few minutes (reduces bubbles) while griddle heats up (~350 degrees).
3. Lightly grease non-stick electric griddle with butter and pour batter in about 3 Tbsp-fuls onto hot griddle. Batter is thin, so it will spread (remember these are more like crepes than pancakes!).
4. Cook until edges are dry and bubbles form on top, then flip and cook on other side. (These cook pretty quickly!)
5. Serve with fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar, fruit, nuts, etc.


P.S. I’ve said it many times before, but I strongly recommend using a non-stick electric griddle for these! I’ve found with crepes, pancakes, arepas, tortillas, etc. it just works so much better than cooking on the stove! More even heat and more room for flipping! I use mine all the time!

Growing up, my mom would occasionally make homemade pasta with us. It was always a welcome meal and so delicious (and fun to make!). Several years ago for Christmas, Drew got me a pasta machine and I was so excited to finally make homemade pasta myself! It was only a few days later that my nutritionist suggested I stop eating wheat to see if it cleared up my digestive issues and the first thought I had was “oh no! what about my new pasta maker!” I did turn out to have an intolerance to gluten and was thrilled to finally be feeling better. However, it took me a while (several years!) to try making homemade pasta gluten-free, and while it is a little trickier, it is still delicious! This recipe is simple and easy and I’ve found it to work really well gluten-free!

Homemade Gluten-Free Pasta 
makes two servings, original recipe from here

-1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Gluten-Free all-purpose flour (Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour works particularly well in this recipe)
-3 large eggs
-additional GF flour for dusting work surface

1. Mix flour and eggs together in food processor until a dough forms.
2. Remove dough from food processor, form into a ball, and place on lightly floured board/counter. (If dough is sticky, you can knead slightly, sprinkling in a little extra flour, but I generally find this isn’t necessary.)
3. Cut dough into four sections and flatten each on floured surface.
4. Run flattened dough sections through pasta machine, starting with the largest setting (0), then (1), then (2) until you’ve formed lasagna strips. If dough starts to pull apart, you can fold it back onto itself and roll through whichever setting twice. You can also cut dough in half after running through the machine to make shorter strips.
5. Run lasagna strips through the fettuccine cutting section of your pasta maker.
6. Cook noodles in boiling salted water for a couple minutes. They will cook quickly and float when done.
7. Drain pasta from water and serve with your favorite sauce, cheese, herbs, etc!


This is a delicious recipe, a twist on my original White Cheddar Mac and Cheese, just loaded with lots of extra goodies like chicken, tomato, and spinach. A great way to take Mac and Cheese from a side dish to an entree! Enjoy!

Chicken Florentine Mac and Cheese (Gluten-free)

-1 (12 oz) box penne or other shaped pasta (I like this or this GF kind)
-6 Tbsp butter
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 shallot, diced
-1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-4 Tbsp flour (I use GF all-purpose flour)
-1 cup chicken broth
-1 1/2 cups milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
-2 1/2 cups freshly shredded white cheddar cheese (or you can use a mixture of cheeses if you prefer – I usually use at least one 8 oz block of white cheddar, then add a bit of Gruyere, Parmesan, Mozzarella or whatever else I have in the fridge. You want a good bulk of the cheese to be a sharper kind for the best flavor!)
-1 large chicken breast (or more), cooked and sliced
-handful of San Marzano cherry tomatoes, sliced
-2-3 cups fresh spinach
-salt, pepper, Italian seasoning to taste

1. Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions (I like my pasta al dente).
2. In large skillet, melt butter (over medium/high heat). Stir in garlic, shallot, mustard, and cayenne pepper and cook for about 1 minute.
3. Whisk in flour, stirring and cooking another minute or so until golden.
4. Whisk in broth and milk and stir constantly for 10 minutes or so, until sauce bubbles and thickens slightly (turning heat down to medium if needed).
5. Stir in cheeses until melted. Salt and pepper to taste. (I sprinkle in a little Italian seasoning as well). Stir in cooked pasta.
6. Stir in cooked chicken, tomato slices, and fresh spinach. Cook, stirring, for another minute or so until spinach starts to wilt slightly.
7. Enjoy as is or place in glass baking dish, sprinkle with toasted GF breadcrumbs, and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for another 30 minutes or so until nice and bubbly!


P.S. If you do decide to bake afterwards, I would suggest only cooking the pasta on the stove until it begins to soften, but is still slightly crunchy. Otherwise baking it might overcook the pasta and get too soft/mushy. As it is baking, the pasta absorbs more of the sauce and it is delicious! But, let’s be real, I’m usually ready to dive in and eat it and don’t have time for that!

I love nothing more on weekend mornings/afternoons than waking up slow and having a nice home-cooked breakfast together. More often than not, this ends up being bacon, eggs (for Drew), and pancakes (mostly for me). However, I expect a lot from my pancakes, I don’t want to simply be eating flour and sugar for breakfast. Since I’m gluten-intolerant and eat a mostly paleo diet, this means healthier pancakes are the only ones that stick in this household. I have several ones I like (see Paleo Pumpkin Pancakes and Maple Pecan Pancakes) but I’m particularly excited about these as they resemble a regular fluffy pancake more than the others (Drew approves!). I hope you enjoy!

Practically Paleo Pancakes
makes about 10 pancakes

-1 cup almond flour
-1/3 cup white corn meal *(or another 1/3 cup almond flour)
-1/4 cup arrowroot flour (could probably also sub for tapioca flour or cornstarch but I haven’t tried this)
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
-(optional) lemon zest (for extra lemon flavor)
-3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
-1 tsp vanilla
-3 eggs
-1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
-additional coconut oil, for greasing griddle
-fresh fruit, nuts, whipped cream, maple syrup, etc for serving

*Omit corn meal and sub with additional almond flour to make completely paleo. I add corn meal because I like the slight extra crunch/crisp it gives the pancakes and it reminds me of the cornmeal pancakes my grandmother used to make.

1. Mix together dry ingredients (almond flour, corn meal, arrowroot flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt).
2. In separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients (almond milk, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, eggs, coconut oil).
3. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir until smooth (batter will thicken as you mix together).
4. Heat griddle (I heat mine to ~350 degrees) and grease lightly with coconut oil.
5. Pour 1/4-1/3 cupfuls of pancake batter onto hot greased griddle, allowing to cook until edges are dry and tops of pancakes are bubbly before flipping over and cooking on the other side. (If you want to add blueberries, bananas, nuts, etc to the pancakes themselves you can add on top of the batter once poured onto the griddle.)
6. Serve with fruit, nuts, etc and enjoy!

P.S. I strongly recommend cooking these on an electric non-stick griddle. I use mine all the time for pancakes, arepas, tortillas, etc — it’s one of the hardest working appliances in our house and something I consider a necessity for successful pancake cooking/flipping!

I liked guacamole but was never a huge fan until living in Savannah for grad school and being invited over for a get-together at my Colombian friend’s house. Her and her sort-of grandparents had prepared a lovely spread of arepas and toppings, salsa, guac, chips, and sausages on the grill. I’m not sure if it was just the lovely Savannah courtyard, the beautiful weather, and the company of lovely people and friends, but I became obsessed with the fresh guacamole they served! I ate so much of it and was craving it in the days and weeks afterwards. So I started making my own and ate so much of it that year! I love it best with Fritos corn scoops, but it is also great on arepas, tacos, etc. Enjoy!


-3 ripe avocados
-2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp cumin
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicier)
-sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper
-2-3 Tbsp diced onion
-1 large clove garlic, minced

1. Scoop out avocados into bowl, lightly mash, and toss with fresh lime/lemon juice.
2. Add other ingredients (salt, cumin, cayenne, pepper, onion, garlic) and stir until combined.


P.S. The lime/lemon juice will help keep the avocado from browning, but I still recommend storing in an airtight container and smoothing the top layer down to minimize air exposure.

I remember making pumpkin bread in class one day in elementary school and my mom making it several times at home. I’ve always enjoyed it, although I’d kind-of forgotten about it for many years. I recently was craving it and put together this recipe. I love that it is sweet, but not too sweet — perfect with raspberries or strawberries, chopped nuts, even a garnish of powdered sugar. Would be perfect enjoyed with coffee or tea for a relaxing morning! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread
makes one 9x5in loaf

-2 eggs
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 can pumpkin (puree, not pie filling)
-1 1/2 cups flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill cup for cup gluten-free)
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp nutmeg
-1/2 tsp allspice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x5in loaf pan with parchment paper.
2. Mix together wet ingredients (eggs, sugars, vanilla, pumpkin).
3. Separately, mix together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, allspice).
4. Mix dry ingredients into wet until combined.
5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for ~70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.