Brooklyn based lifestyle blog by Lauren L Caron


CREATE | Artfully Crafted Gifts

CREATELauren CaronComment
Watercolor painting by Traci Page. 

Watercolor painting by Traci Page. 

For the giving season this year I'm all about giving art. Art is something that can cost pennies to thousands of dollars, but whatever it may be, it's going to be personal and meaningful. More so than the next sweater or electronic.

Recently, a friend of mine, gave me one of her original paintings. I was so touched by the gift, especially after thinking about how she spent time creating this piece with me in mind. I had mentioned that I was interested in purchasing a similar one that she had created and was shocked when she made a new one for me to have?! I was so excited about the gift and the idea of hanging in on my wall, that on my way home from lunch I popped into a local framer. In less than two weeks I'll have it home with me.

In the past year I've met and began following several wonderful artists that I'd love to share with you. As well as a few new framing companies that take all the stress and effort out of having your own work printed, framed or both. 




Traci began her career in advertising, then fashion specializing in product development, and most recently jewelry. Traci typically paints with watercolors and often journals her travels and experiences through the palette. Taking account her career path, Traci has a great eye for details and a passion for luxury, which lends itself well to my favorite series of her's, The Lines + Facets collection that include saturated, slightly abstracted jewels. She also accepts commissions on pet portraits, paints foliage and food studies. You can follow Traci on IG through @PageTraciWatercolor.  


Dani's abstract paintings are beautiful and boundless with expressive brush strokes. She combines strokes of opaque saturation with sheer shimmery metallics perfectly marrying masculine and feminine palettes within each piece. The love the abstraction of her work, and how you can see the movement and the freedom within her hands. She also partnered up with Design Love Fest for free computer wallpaper downloads [here]. I have one on my own desktop and love how it makes my computer look as though it's a part of the gallery wall that is hung behind it. Every few months I change up the image but it's always something similar. On my wish list is a canvas painting of hers, I'd love to have it framed in a white frame with a large matte to give the painting space to breath, hang it on a wall with a mix of modern and vintage artwork... I can see it now. Dani's IG account is @DANISCHAFER


Jeanne has also recently shifted careers, moving away from PR and Marketing in fashion to illustration and painting. She chronicals her swoon worthy travels through watercolor along with translating instagram shots from her A-List of friends and bloggers. Her work can be found at Kennedy Waston in Seattle and online [here]. She also accepts commissions through her website. Jeanne's IG account is @IDREAMOFJEANNE.


If you haven't already heard of Donald Robertson, then you should definitely take to following his instagram feed. He is what the world is calling an Instagram sensation, having blown up within the past year. I first heard of him through Alessandra Branca, when we collaborated on the Branca hall at Bergdorf Goodman. She commissioned him to paint a vignette for an Architectural Digest feature. Within a year, I was telling my boss and boss's boss about him and trying to convince them to collaborate. Not long after I left, he did a collaborative window installation and just this past weekend had a holiday pop-up shop at the store. I can't say that I was the reason for his collaboration with BG but I can pat myself on the back for putting the bug in Linda's ear. His work is definitely up there in price, but if you're a fashion lover like myself, then you have to at least grab his book that was published this year or an ornament at the BG holiday shop. You can follow Donald @DRAWBERTSON.


Inslee is an illustrator who has been commissioned by both private clients as well as major brands and retailers. She has collaborated with several companies to bring her original whimsical designs to print on phone cases, calendars, napkins (embroidered) and more. A few of my favorites include the French chic vibe paintings... the croissants, topless sunbather and the Time Out (print). You can find her here @INSLEE.

Gallery wall with new print, framed and printed by Framebridge. 

Gallery wall with new print, framed and printed by Framebridge. 


If you're thinking, none of these artists meet your taste or style, there are so many others out there selling gift worthy work. A different path would be to have some of your own personal work printed and framed. I decided to do just that for my family this year, with a series of personal photographs that I had printed into a calendar using Artifact Uprising. Parabo Press also sells custom printed calendars.  

Another company that prints, and has a ton of frame options is Framebridge. They offer free shipping of your goods both ways, that means if you have an original or print of something that you want to have framed they cover the shipping fees to have your artwork shipped to them, and back when it's framed. They also print photographs that you can upload direct to their site. 

I decided to print and frame a few of my favorite photos that were shot on my phone. Half expecting the quality to be meh, they ended up turning out beautifully. I chose one from our vacation to France when we road the Camargue ponies, I snapped it while on horseback - one of my favorite places to be on earth. The other is of our dog Max, chilling on the sofa. I love his coy expression because he's actually not allowed on the sofa.

As for the frames, I purchased one simple, modern black for the Camarague image and for the framed picture of Max, an antique silver leafed frame. Both frames are a nice quality. 

One more place that has a number of favorite go to frames is West Elm. they carry polished, and brushed brass and silver toned frames that come with mats. For a recent Union Adorn commercial project, we bought several of these and framed various look book prints within them. 




I hope I gave you some ideas for gifts, that are a little out of the ordinary. I think it's so important to celebrate people's talents, and this is an easy way to do so! Happy Gifting! 


All images are from the artist's website, or taken by myself.

CREATE | 10 Tips On Building A Personalized Art Collection

CREATE, SPACES, VINTAGELauren Caron2 Comments
Gallery wall in our living room - Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Gallery wall in our living room - Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

One of the most common questions I am asked on is how did I build my art collection and where did I find my artwork. Unfortunately, there isn't an easy answer to that question, 1. Because my number one resource would have to be my mom. And 2. She did not find all the artwork in one place, but through being a collector for many years. However, all is not lost, because I can suggest the best place to start, and what to look for, and what to be thinking about when you're trying to build a collection of artwork that is unique, personal to you, and elevated in style. Below is my top ten list:



Many of the pieces that I and my mother have are prints and etchings, which are much easier to come by than original paintings or drawings. Many of them were pulled from old books and sell for considerably lower prices than singular works of art. I have a favorite Zebra etching that I purchased at Brimfield for less than $20. I framed and matted it, and it looks much more expensive than you'd ever expect (see below, it fits quite well in my entry).

The Zebra etching, framed in our entryway - photography by Lauren L Caron

The Zebra etching, framed in our entryway - photography by Lauren L Caron



Nice, original, and quality paintings and drawings are hard to come by, and most often are an investment. My mother has a few gorgeous portraits, these were works of art that she invested in - nothing like a Picasso, but something that took a thoughtful considered decision, not an impulsive one, to make the purchase. If you want a gorgeous painting, you're really going to have to love it! You can sometimes find good prices, but no one is completely naive these days, quality is valuable. 

Image from Elle Decor - William Frawley's Manhattan Apartment

Image from Elle Decor - William Frawley's Manhattan Apartment



Mirrors are a beautiful way to fill space and add another layer to your art collections. They're frames alone can be works of art.  Frames even have the ability to change the mood and direction of a collection. The mirror inset is added light and glamour. Another positive, you can find mirrors at a range of prices, sizes and shapes.

Image from Domino   -  photography by WILLIAM ABRANOWICZ

Image from Dominophotography by WILLIAM ABRANOWICZ



Budding or unknown artists are often going to sell artwork at a better or more affordable price. There are several new companies starting up, aiming to educated us of these new artists. A perfect example is a friend of mine, Katie Armor who recently started Buddy Editions. Buddy Editions is limited-edition fine art prints, many of which, start at $50.

Abstract No. 4 by Natalia Roman - Buddy Editions

Abstract No. 4 by Natalia Roman - Buddy Editions



If you're on the road and see a shanty thrift or antique store, stop in. You never know what you'll find. Look for yard sales or estate sales that are near you to visit on the weekends. And if you live in the city, keep your eyes peeled on the sidewalk. You truly never know what you'll find. I actually picked up an original, limited edition, signed Shepard Fairy, Noam Chomsky print on the sidewalk waiting to be trashed. The print isn't worth thousands but it is worth hundreds (thanks to the 2008 Election, Hope prints that Fairy designed).



You don't have to spend 20 years of your life scouring fleas and antique stores or auctions to call your collection complete. First of all, a collection is never complete, but secondly, you can also think about mixing in some new pieces in with your old finds. As I mentioned before, there are several companies that sell new artwork that is very reasonable. The mix adds a little style and builds a more personalized collection.

Image from From The Right Bank

Image from From The Right Bank



Remember when the Keep Calm & Carry On posters were all the rage? Did you buy one because everyone else had them? Do you still have it up? Just make sure, when you purchase something that is massively shown in all of the blogs and magazines, it is not something that you've just grown to like due to popular decision. A way to tell if you truly love a very popular piece of artwork, is to think will you still love this even when it's on the uncool list? Because if it's on trend, it will most definitely be off trend at some point. If the answer is yes, then no holds bar. 

Also, have friends or family members ever sent you a beautiful greeting card or post card? Taken an amazing photograph on Instagram? These types of images are also considered works of art, especially if they're something that you find beauty or value in viewing. Frame them. They're yours, they are a part of your personal style. You do not need an art critic to tell they're good. 

Design by Roman & Williams

Design by Roman & Williams



My mother taught me to look for frames whenever I'm at a thrift store or antique store - the trick is to look beyond the empty frames, at the ones that are holding ugly or bad artwork. Often, stores will mark up the cost of an empty frame considerably over an awful piece of artwork that is framed. 



If you make a great relationship with a framer not only will they support and help you in your matting and framing decisions, they also may be a source for future art purchases. If they know what you like, they can be on the look out for you. I mean what they do all day and everyday is frame artwork, some of those pieces that walk in the door will be getting framed to be sold. Also, if you have a great framer, you can buy printed copies of your favorite works and have them matted and framed to meet your personal aesthetic. This way, the artwork will be original because it has been interpreted according to your tastes for your home. 



There isn't one answer on where to find artwork. The best single suggestion I can offer is to never stop looking. My mother has been collecting artwork for over 50 years and she is continuously looking at artwork whenever she enters an antique store, flea market or shops online. Some of my favorite shopping destinations, where I've had the best luck are: Housing Works, Brimfield, The Chelsea Flea Market, Estate sales, and several antique stores in North East Connecticut (where I grew up). Other friends of mine have found gorgeous portrait paintings on Ebay as well.  

Max on the couch - Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

Max on the couch - Photography by Lauren L Caron © 2015

I hope this list has been helpful and will aid you in building your wall art collections. Do you have another suggestion or favorite places to dig? Ever had an amazing dumpster dive experience? I'd love to hear about it!

In The Spirit of Valentine's Day: Sailor's Valentines

Lauren Caron5 Comments

Sailor's Valentines are a type of sentimental gift, originally brought home from a sailor's voyage at sea for his loved one.  Typically octagonal boxes made of cedrella (Spanish Cedar) from the 1830s to 1880s by the natives of Barbados.  They contained mosaic designs created from seashells often including a centerpiece that was comprised of a compass rose, a heart design or even a message or sentiment.

A family friend of ours,  Lynda Susan Hennigan discovered her love for these traditional sentiments in her early childhood and has since began recreating them herself.  Lynda was featured in Country Living in 2009 where she spoke about her commitment to this craft,  " I always try keeping to period by using most of the same materials and methods used in the 1800s."

If you're interested in purchasing any of these beautiful art forms you can visit Lynda's website [here] for more information.

Literature and photographs found through wikipedia,, and country living magazine.  Photographs taken by Lauren Gries, unless otherwise stated.