Musings on Living a Creative Life

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a large room filled with lots of paintings

When I started my business, started designing and making products for my job, I had a vague inkling that it might consume my whole life. I drew a boundary for myself: if it involved fabric, it was outside of the scope of Work and could/should not have any external deadlines or obligations. I learned to sew as a child, but had recently started experimenting with quilting, thinking about garment sewing, and well, collecting fabric. It seemed wise to carve out something I could do for fun, for myself, outside of my creative Work.

Looking back at that youthful version of myself, there was so much wisdom in that decision! What I couldn’t see then, is that I was right…my work did consume my life, and I still don’t do much sewing, ten years later. I also think I was misguided…creating such strong boundaries around what was “allowed” in my creative practice and what was “out of bounds” has maybe made me slower and more fearful about experimenting and trying new things.

I’ve been on an adventure the last few years of realizing I was burnt out, and trying to find a new way forward. I’ve been asking lots of hard questions about what my body/brain/heart/self needs in order to find sustainability (and joy!) in some sort of creative practice, while also acknowledging that I might not find that right away in my paid Work (but maybe I can? but maybe I won’t?).

One of the things I’ve been wondering for the last few months is whether finding more time for stitching, mending, sewing, and quilting might be a way forward. I’ve found sometimes that making something, anything, helps jumpstart the making of everything. My hypothesis, then, has been: maybe if I do anything creative with my hands, everything will start to make more sense and my burnout will ease!

I’ve stitched needle books, gift wrapping cloths, zipper pouches, quilt tops, and sewn various torn things back together again. It’s been fun to be more of an actual sewist, instead of a fabric collector with aspirations of stitching.

One of the things I decided to do to this end was attend QuiltCon in Raleigh, NC in February. QuiltCon is the annual convention of The Modern Quilt Guild, an international organization that celebrates quilts, especially those with a more modern aesthetic (think solid colors, lots of white space, lots of “rule” breaking).

Over the course of three days I looked at something like 600 quilts. They ranged from smaller than a sheet of paper to bigger than a bed. Some were all one color, some were every color you could imagine. There were map quilts, architecture quilts, people quilts, quilts that explored quilt history, human history, racism, school shootings, two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional space, texture, color theory, repetition, labor, symmetry, family, community….after the longest day of quilt viewing, I felt like I had tried to take a drink out of an open fire hydrant. So many skilled, caring, thoughtful people who made so many amazing things.

I’ve included photos of some of my favorites, with their info placards, below (click on an image for a larger view).

If you’re looking for more quilts, you can see the winners of the show, or scroll the hashtag #quiltcon2024 on Instagram.

Back home now, I’m still trying to understand my place in this big world of art making, and how to move past burnout, and what might be beyond it. I’m trying to be gentle with myself and take my time. I’m also feeling impatient! So, pretty normal.

Realtors®: Three reasons map art is the best real estate closing gift

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a black frame with a blue map of boston

Every home buying journey is different, and you’ve seen it all. Some houses are easy to move, some clients are easy to please, and sometimes everything is challenging! One way to make sure that your clients feel cared for, and will call you again the next time they need to buy or sell a property, is to make sure you have a solid plan in place to keep them engaged. A core part of that strategy is giving a closing gift that is specific, unique, and that reminds them of you long after all the paperwork is signed and the moving boxes are unpacked. Here are three reasons map art is the best closing gift:

1. Pride of Place

Your client has selected their new home for all sorts of reasons. Of course things like the number of bathrooms and how updated the kitchen is are factors, but most people also really care about their neighborhood amenities and the character of their city or town. Some clients want two bathrooms AND a good school district. Or maybe they’re looking for a dining room AND a quiet back yard to look out on? Some want high ceilings AND access to all the best shops and restaurants right outside.

Gifting artwork that celebrates the location your client has chosen means that you know they’re a fan! You don’t have to guess if they’re into red wine or white wine. Imagine: no more wondering which sports team they’d appreciate tickets to see, which scents they might be allergic to, or whose name they might want engraved.

You already know how they feel about the place they’ve just moved to: they’re thrilled.

someone holding up a framed map of Camberville, MA (Cambridge and Somerville)

2. Top of Mind

Paper Places are framed, custom artwork designed to be displayed. You can be fairly confident that your gift will be hung on a wall or styled on a bookshelf, because that’s what it’s designed to do. It won’t be eaten, used up, or stashed in a cabinet somewhere for special occasions.

A gift that remains visible in the home is a gift that keeps you top of mind whenever the subject of real estate comes up. This is true whether it’s friends they might refer to you or their own future real estate needs. When they remember that your contact information is conveniently included on the back of the frame, the deal is sealed.

Imagine your client saying “Thanks! My Realtor® gave it to me!” every time they have guests over who compliment the Paper Place hanging in their beautiful new kitchen. Now that is the best closing gift!

A framed gray and white map of Florence, AL on a white mantle

3. The Feel-Good Factor

Each Paper Place is crafted, customized, and framed by hand in Arlington, MA. Your purchase directly supports a small, woman-owned business. As an independent artist, I am able to offer a range of customization and done-for-you gifting options so that you have less to worry about.

Your client will feel cared for and known because of the thoughtfulness of your gift, but they also know that you care about local economies and small businesses. Shopping small also means that you receive the kind of personalized, responsive service that you offer your clients every day. 

a shelf with some plants and paper places map art on it

Artist Abigail McMurray holding a coffee cup in front of a computer

Hi, I’m Abigail! I created Paper Places as a way to celebrate the shapes of the places we live and the places we love. Sometimes those are the same, and sometimes they’re different! Every place is special to someone and I try to honor that. 

You can customize Paper Places in various ways: add a place marker (or markers) to highlight specific locations, or request a custom Paper Place of a town, city, lake, river, or other area. Anything is possible: I can also combine multiple locations, or show how different places are connected.

Get a coupon for free shipping on your first Paper Places order, and receive a quarterly email with gifting tips and inspiration. Unsubscribe at any time.

Get in touch with Abigail for more details on done-for-you gifting, bulk discounts, customization options, etc.

2022 in Review: House Portraits, Vermont, and Camberville, MA

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house portrait components on a blue watercolor background

Happy New Year! 2022 was a banner year for this paper-centric corner of the Internet, though I might be biased as I consider making it through the year sufficient cause for banners! In no particular order, here are some things I’m marveling at and/or celebrating as I reflect on the year past:

Paper Places

I added over 30 new places to my collection of Paper Places this year! Some nearby (I see you, Quincy, MA!), some bodies of water (a whole new sort of place!), a whole bunch of new places in and around Burlington, VT, and I finally added a few state maps as well! There are now right around 100 Paper Places for you to choose from, and they are even mostly actually available on my website (no small feat if you’ve been around for a while)!

That said, there was a very strong, very clear favorite Paper Place across all of my sales, in person and online:

A black frame with a green map of Camberville, MA (Cambridge and Somerville, MA)

Do you have a Camberville? Are you feeling left out now? Even I am wondering why I don’t have one hanging up in my house somewhere! Camberville, of course, also isn’t really even a place – it’s a mashup of Cambridge, MA (on the bottom) and Somerville, MA (on the top). So many people bounce between the two during their time in the Boston area that sometimes it’s easier to shorten/combine, but there’s also a really unique neighborhood that sort of runs along the line between the two cities – this neighborhood is scrappy, full of special small, local businesses, and also really confusing to park in without getting a ticket from one city or the other! It’s basically the best.

Custom Paper Places

I created 15 custom paper places this year for all sorts of folks, including Realtors who needed unique client gifts, gifts for people who “have everything”, and folks whose favorite places I hadn’t made quite yet. While there weren’t any international commissions in 2022, I did make custom maps for places in 5 different states. There was one cemetery, one island, one tiny neighborhood, one special section of the South Carolina coastline, and even one company logo! I didn’t manage to photograph everything, but here are some images from this year’s custom orders:

Custom House Portraits

This was a slower year for house portraits than I’ve had in the past, for various reasons. If you take a look through the photos below, you’ll see one of the obvious reasons… My obsession with tiny details has carried me to a pretty ridiculous/gorgeous place!

a paper model of a white house with windows

I partnered with Boston Frame Works starting in March of this year. Now, each finished portrait is professionally framed in a custom, solid-wood frame with museum-quality glass. The frames are gorgeous, and I love that the “packaging” is now handmade, just like the artwork.

a close up of a wooden frame with a paper house portrait in it

I finished two older commissions in the first part of the year with my old framing process. With a clean slate in March, I finished another 5 before the end of the year. I have one more portrait nearly finished as of this writing – this last one is special as it’s a house I consider a friend (along with the folks who live in it). I’m finding that it’s taking even longer than my normally long time to finish. Oops! Grateful for patient friends!

I also had the opportunity to create two House Portrait Silhouette commissions this year, and I’ve been delighted to continue exploring this new style of portrait. I hope to make more of these this year!


Of course none of this would be possible without you, yes you. You and all the folks like you who do things like read long blog posts, open the monthly email newsletter I send, follow along with my whims and silliness on Instagram, show up to local art markets, support local businesses wherever you are, and care about things made of paper. Thank you! Thank you so much. It’s been almost 9 years since I started making things out of paper and hoping folks would like them enough to want to take them home with them, and I still can’t quite believe that this is my job!

I’m already up to my elbows in new plans and ideas for 2023, along with lots of tiny bits of paper, but only time will tell what will be on next year’s year in review! I hope you’ve found something to be excited for in the year to come. If it involves paper, and there’s a way I can help, let me know!

A hand holding a framed map of Walden Pond up to a blue sky with a big leafy tree in the background

Custom Places in Paper

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a white wall with a black frame hanging on it

From the beginning, my favorite part of crafting Paper Places is the potential for customization. I started by finding map data for the towns around where I live and creating Paper Places for those areas. It is delightful to share my work at a local art market event and have conversations with folks about which towns look interesting, which ones have boring shapes, and what color would look best for a map of Boston in a living room/bathroom/kitchen/bedroom/office.

The other most common conversation I had in that situation was “Do you have [insert random place here]?” So I decided to create custom maps of any place you can dream up. That decision has led me (via map data) around the country to California, Virginia, Arizona, Texas, Oregon, Alaska, and more. I’ve even created a few Paper Places of spots around Europe!

I’ve learned so much about different areas of the U.S.:

Tucson and LA

I discovered that Tucson, Arizona has a really wild municipal boundary, but I can’t really tell why. I learned that Los Angeles bears a striking resemblance to Pikachu (the tail is an interstate corridor that connects the city to the harbor).

Framed rectangular map of Los Angeles, CA with a gray background and Tucson, AZ with a green background. Black frames hang on a dark gray wall with dramatic lighting from the side.

The Commonwealth of Virginia

To create the custom order below, I became well-acquainted with the coastal islands and rivers of Virginia. I can design Paper Places for states, countries, parks, lakes, etc. – anything with a discrete boundary! I also had fun adding a custom Place Marker to this map of Cape Cod for the same client:

Gray ladder shelf with plants and two framed Paper Places: Virginia with a gray background, and Cape Cod with a yellow background

Heading West and South

The more Paper Places I’ve created further away from New England, the more I realized that I’m lucky I started with little towns like Arlington, MA and Somerville, MA. As you head west and south of New England everything get bigger! The municipal boundaries get pretty intimidating to represent at the scale of an 8×8 or 8×10 piece of paper! I created these gorgeous gray and white custom Paper Places for a client who lives in Fort Worth, TX and grew up in Florence, AL. I carefully simplified the map data for each one to make something that could actually be cut out of paper.

Custom framed paper art map of Florence, AL with a light gray background on a white mantle near a small potted plant
Custom Paper Place showing the city of Fort Worth, TX with a light gray background hanging on a white wall with distressed wood surface below and to the left

As I design and cut out each map I find myself wondering who was responsible for all of the little zigs and zags in the boundaries. I wonder when those decisions were made, by who, and what their reasoning was! Sometimes I find myself getting lost clicking around Google Maps. I want to try to understand why that particular park or neighborhood was excluded, even though I’ll likely never visit that spot.

Maybe I missed my calling as a city planner? I don’t actually think so, but I do wonder what they were thinking sometimes!

How to order a custom Paper Place

Once you have a place in mind, all you need to do is fill out this easy customization form and place your order! You’ll hear from me in 1-2 business days to finalize any details and review the custom mockup illustration with you. Here are some examples of different mockups:

A collection of digital mockups of custom paper places, including Madison, NJ, Provincetown, MA, Seattle, WA, Isle of Palms, NC, Menlo Park, CA and Paris, France

This is a digital illustration that shows roughly what the finished product will look like. The colors and shadows aren’t true to life. They’re meant to give a general impression so you can decide if you like the design.

I created this map of Hamburg, Germany with specific attention to the rivers across the city, and the lake in the middle of the city. We finalized the design via the mockup on the left, and this is how the finished product turned out!

9 Unique House Portrait Artists

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Watercolor paintings and laser cut wood ornaments by East Grove Company

When I started crafting houses out of paper, I had no idea that House Portraits were a THING. My family certainly never thought of commissioning one for the house I grew up in. I don’t think any of my grandparents had artwork of their various houses, either. I stumbled on creating house portraits sort of accidentally, and then realized that artists have been photographing, painting, sculpting, and otherwise replicating the places people live for a long time!

I’ve since learned that it’s pretty easy to get a painting or drawing of your house on paper. There are house portrait artists who will paint or draw your house in all sorts of different styles. You can even pay someone to run a filter that turns a photo of your house into a “painting”! Not all house portraits exist as images on paper, though. It seemed appropriate to create a roundup of other house portrait artists that are pushing the boundaries in material or format. Partly because I’m fascinated by the possibilities, and partly because I know my style isn’t always the best fit. I can only create a certain number of portraits each year, and that number isn’t large, so I also wanted to offer some options!

Mid-Century Modern Facades by Robert Webster

@mid_mod_facade &

A preview of the @mid_mod_facade Instagram feed

Robert uses thick mat board to create delightful “mid-mod” houses in a very specific style. The way he simplifies and emphasizes the midcentury-modern geometry is really lovely. His work is always meticulous. He has original work for sale and also accepts commissions for either home facades or full 3D house models. Robert’s style is especially well-suited to the long, low house profiles that don’t always work well in my style.

Watercolor & Wood by Sydney Musselman of East Grove Company

@eastgrovecompany &

A preview of the @eastgrovecompany Instagram feed

I first encountered East Grove Company when they were creating custom rubber stamps, but these wooden ornaments are a delightful addition! Sydney’s multi-media focus means you can commission a custom watercolor painting of your home and also have the painting turned into a wooden ornament and a return address rubber stamp, all in one go. That’s pretty awesome.

Antique Paper Portraits by Helen Ward


A preview of the @paper_house.of.wards Instagram feed

I originally came across Helen Ward’s work in the context of interior design (like a just-finished kitchen reno that turned out amazing). I was captivated by the various projects she’s undertaken in renovating the old house she lives in in the U.K. Somewhere along the way I discovered that she is also a house portrait artist?! The houses are an evolution of her antique marbled paper entomology work. Some of that antique paper stash makes its way into lovely, intricate, full-color paper house portraits. Though she also uses fun unexpected materials like sandpaper to imitate gravel driveways! Helen’s focus on texture and color, and use of creative materials, make her pieces really unique.

Colorful Clay House Portraits by Lindsay Black of Oddly & Co.

@oddlyandcompany &

A preview of the @oddlyandcompany Instagram feed

Fun fact: my very first self-employment adventure involved making (ugly) jewelry out of polymer clay and trying to sell it at my local farmer’s market when I was 13. Lindsay does things with polymer clay that 13-year-old me would not have been able to fathom. Polymer clay is a colored oven-bake clay that you can find at most crafty shops. It takes years of practice and a steady hand to be able to create these crazy-intricate houses with the stuff. The finished sculpture is essentially plastic, so it is unlikely to fade and a little (lot) sturdier than paper! Lindsay also creates adorable family portrait ornaments and can create your house portrait as an ornament, or attach it to a plate or other background if you want to hang it on the wall. So cool.

Painted Wooden Houses by Ana Marko

@anamarko_houses &

A preview of the @anamarko_houses Instagram feed

Ana Marko makes all sorts of lovely painted wooden things in her studio in Poland, but her custom house portraits are truly amazing. This is a detailed, photo-realistic painting of your house, but it’s also in the shape of your house! I love the playfulness of these pieces. I am also very impressed by the level of detail.

3D Paper House Lanterns by Emi Hazlett of Paper Emi

@paper.emi &

A preview of the @paper.emi Instagram feed

Emi Hazlett creates paper architecture as luminaries (battery-powered candles only!). The interior light makes the buildings feel alive. After focusing on window displays, advertisements, and other gorgeous paper art (I highly recommend a scroll through her Instagram feed), Emi has recently added custom pieces to her offerings, both 3D luminaries and framed portraits.

Embroidered House Portraits by Jessica Barta of Jess Stitched It

@jessstitchedit & JessStitchedIt on Etsy

A preview of the @jessstitchedit Instagram feed

Unfortunately, it looks like Jessica isn’t taking orders as of this writing, but LOOK at this! Embroidered paintings on fabric? How cool is that?! I’m so impressed by the unique combination of mediums. The gumption it takes to tackle the depiction of something as rectangular as residential architecture with materials as fluid and squishy as paint and thread is impressive! I’ve loved following Jessica’s work on Instagram to see how she depicts the same tiny details that I struggle with, just with thread instead of paper. I’m looking at you front porch light fixtures.

DIY Embroidered House Portrait with a book by Theresa M. Lawson

@the_monsters_lounge & Purchase Hand-Stitched House book

A preview of the @the_monsters_lounge Instagram feed

I’m not sure if Theresa is accepting new commissions at this time, so I thought I’d mention her book! This is a slightly different style of embroidered house portrait than Jessica’s, above. Theresa’s work is created entirely with thread, and Jessica’s incorporates painted fabric. I’ve just picked up embroidery as a hobby in the last few months. As a beginner who is still working out the basics (is it okay if all my stitches are different lengths?!) the things Theresa can accomplish with a needle and thread are definitely “goals”, as the kids say. Maybe after I figure out the basics I’ll buy the book and learn how it’s done!

Custom 3D Paper House Portraits by Abigail McMurray of yeiou paper objects

@yeioupaperobjects &

House Portrait Artist Abigail McMurray's Instagram feed
A preview of the @yeioupaperobjects Instagram feed

May I be so bold as to include myself in this list? I love building tiny houses out of paper. I love figuring out how to turn a photograph into a framed paper sculpture. I’ve been refining my process since 2018, gradually adding more and more and smaller details, learning new techniques and processes, and crafting over 100 portraits of houses all around the world.

Shipping Updates & Holiday 2021 Ordering

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branches of green fir tree

It’s that time of year again! One of the rhythms and routines of small handmade business life is deciding every year how to attempt to carve order out of the chaos that is the end of the year. Just being a human in November and December is difficult, balancing weird schedules from holidays and school breaks and family obligations and changing weather patterns! Trying to balance “human-ing” and “business-ing” as a single person business has always been a challenge, but it turns out that looking ahead and making a plan makes a huge difference in everyone’s experience!

It turns out that this year that looking ahead and planning makes an even bigger difference, as the world braces for a massive increase in shipping during a time of staffing shortages, and we’re not really sure how long it will take things to get places.

With all of the above in mind, here’s my plan. It may change! You won’t regret shopping early and being prepared.

  • 3D House Portrait Applications Open: Saturday, October 23 – Tuesday, October 27, 2021
  • Paper Places Price Increase: Monday, November 1, 2021
  • Last day to order Custom Paper Places or House Portrait Silhouettes: Wednesday, December 1, 2021
  • Recommended last day to order for Christmas delivery: Wednesday, December 15, 2021
  • Online shop closes for winter break: December 22, 2021
  • Online shop reopens: February 1, 2022

Make a Mark (on a map) – New Custom Map Markers on Paper Places

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Hand holding a place marker in front of a custom Paper Place framed map art

A friend commissioned some custom maps for family members around the holidays last year. He also asked if I could add some sort of indicator of where the family members homes were in each town. This was something I had thought of a few times over the years, but never actually sat down to figure out. This time, I figured it out!

A few months ago, I added the option to include a place marker when you order any Paper Place, or custom Paper Place, from my website. Etsy doesn’t make it easy to add this sort of customization, so this feature is only available here at right now.

Add a Map Marker

Screenshot of website interface to choose Place Marker Style and address.

In order to add a marker to your map, first choose the map you’d like to customize! Once you’re on the product page, scroll down to the “Place Marker Style” option and choose the design you’d like for your marker. Indicate the address of the location you’d like to mark, add the map to your cart, and you’re good to go!

Framed map of Medford, MA with a heart-shaped place marker indicating the location of the customer's home.
Framed map of Medford, MA

This map of Medford, MA was the first map ordered with the new options, and such a great color choice!

Featured on “Making It” Season 3!

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the word making it spelled out in colorful letters
A still from the "Making It" title sequence showing various handmade objects and plants decorating the inside of the barn, where the show is filmed and the words "Executive Producer Nick Offerman"

I wanted to share some exciting news: my work is being featured on this season’s set of NBC’s “Making It” with Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman!

Airing nationally on Thursday evenings at 8pm Eastern (or streaming on Hulu), the show is a light-hearted, feel-good competition series featuring makers, artists, and designers from across the country. Now in its third season, executive producers Poehler and Offerman designed the show to celebrate the creativity and craftiness in all of us.

I was honored to create three custom pieces for the NBC set. When I sent them off for filming I had no idea where or whether they would make an appearance in the show. It’s been fun to spot them each time they’re shown on an episode!

The house with the orange background is one of my sample house portraits that I was able to rent to the production since I wasn’t doing any in-person events in the fall of 2020 thanks to a certain pandemic situation. But the most exciting pieces are the two others that I created specifically for the show:

The “Making It” Barn

Framed paper art depicting the "Making It" barn in navy and white.

This House Portrait Silhouette version of the Making It barn was a fun make! As I was gluing all those little bits together I imagined how it must feel to actually be standing inside the barn for the show. Maybe some day that will be me! I love the addition of the barn quilt this season, and I’m tempted to make an updated version that includes it!

Still from the "Making It" intro sequence showing the exterior of the barn on a sunny day
The barn, as seen in the show’s title sequence
Still from the "Making It" title sequence showing a pop-up book version of the barn surrounded by trees
A paper pop-up book version of the barn, as seen in the show’s title sequence (I love this SO MUCH as you might imagine)

The Cottage

Framed paper art depicting the "Making It" cottage in dark green and white paper

This House Portrait Silhouette version of the cottage was also a fun challenge. Those light fixtures are actually 3D! The dormer windows on the second floor are gorgeous, with the arch to let in even more light. The show doesn’t really use the inside of this space as far as I can tell, but the various hilarious exchanges that Amy and Nick have on the porch are what make “Making It” such a delight. Though it’s sad to say goodbye to whoever leaves at the end of each episode, I love seeing the different “farming” “jobs” they get to act out, often on the cottage porch or nearby, at the the very end of the episode.

Still from the show's intro sequence showing an aerial view of the cottage and the tree out front
The cottage, as seen in the show’s title sequence
Still frame from the show's title sequence depicting a paper pop-up version of the cottage
A paper pop-up book version of the cottage,
as seen in the show’s title sequence

Introducing: House Portrait Silhouettes!

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Framed house portrait silhouette depicting a three-story duplex home with the label "Arlington, MA" underneath, white and teal artwork in a black frame

I’ve been working behind the scenes for the last year or so to develop a new style of house portrait. Introducing, the House Portrait Silhouette! I’m doing this for a few reasons:

  • Sometimes simplicity is the best way forward! My 3D House Portraits have only gotten more complex as I’ve fine-tuned my ability to make tinier and tinier details out of paper.
  • Variety is the spice of life! Each 3D House Portrait takes hours and hours and hours and hours of work, and I find myself craving novelty (and burning out).
  • I feel bad about taking so long! I know there are folks who’ve been waiting for a chance to order a house portrait for a while, or who might purchase if the timing/pricing were less complicated. House Portrait Silhouettes will have a faster turnaround time, and will be available for purchase at your leisure. No need to set any alarms or rearrange your schedule.

I am still making 3D House Portraits! I’m catching up on my queue and fitting in a few projects for family this summer. I will reopen orders later in the summer / early fall of 2021. As always, the best way to stay informed of all house portrait details is to make sure you’re on my email list.

Framed custom house silhouette depicting a 2-story house with double garage, front porch, and sidelights around the front door

The Details

Your House Portrait Silhouette begins with a clear photograph of the home or building you’d like me to work with. I then carefully trace the outline of the structure. I draw in details like windows, doors, shutters, and other architectural elements that help describe the building. After you’ve reviewed the drawing and chosen a background color (there are 38 to choose from!) I will turn my drawing into files for my computerized cutting machine to cut. I use a computerized cutting machine so that everything is super accurate. My machine can cut straight lines, smooth curves, and beautiful details! With cut pieces in hand, I attach the detail pieces to the background, carefully lining things up to match the photograph, then frame it up and ship it to your door.

House Portrait Silhouettes are:

  • 11″ x 14″ and arrive framed and ready to display
  • Available in your choice of 38 background colors
  • One layer of paper in the foreground depicting the silhouette of your home, one layer of details glued to your background paper
  • Three rounds of design revisions
  • $264, including shipping within the U.S.

Simple and Modern

House Portrait Silhouettes are a beautiful, minimalist depiction of the essence of a house. Working from a photograph, I carefully trace the important details to make sure that all of the perspective lines are spot-on. This then allows me to create an image that subtly depicts implied architectural features like the bay window at the front of this Newbury Street house, or the deep front porch of the (above) gray background house with that gorgeous arched attic window.

Make your own Paper Place

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Packaged Make Your Own Paper Place kit on a desk

Have you ever noticed how places are always an important part of the story? Whether the story is a fairy tale, a fable, or what happened Tuesday afternoon, there’s always a setting. Over time, you collect places that are important to your story, whether that’s a home, a park, a school or campus, an office, a restaurant, a town, a state, a region, a country, or all of the above. My work is about celebrating places, and I love to do that by preserving memories of them with paper – something that is everywhere, and usually so ephemeral and fragile, but cut and sculpted and framed becomes an heirloom.

The video tutorial shows how to use my Make Your Own Map Shadowbox Kit (available for now exclusively through, which contains all of the supplies you need to, well, make your own map shadowbox! The kit includes:

  • Instruction booklet
  • Shadowbox Frame
  • Paper for the map cut-out as well as the background
  • Japanese Woodcarving Knife (for cutting the paper)

You will also need:

  • A prying tool or old credit card
  • A pencil or other drawing tool
  • Optional: collage materials like glue, additional paper colors or textures, photographs, memorabilia

The funny thing about remembering and celebrating places, is that they then become part of the story of the place you are now. If you’d like to share your paper places online, tag @yeioupaperobjects on Instagram, and use #yeioupaperplaces!