Welcome to Corona Surprises

I’m Nicole Sandler. I started creating art and making things during the pandemic.

I’ve always believed that I didn’t possess an ounce of artist ability. But out of boredom I picked up a paintbrush and opened a new window!  I guess that being shut in at home for a long time got my creative juices flowing.

I credit the virus! Covid 19 was described as a novel coronavirus.
Corona also describes the aura or glow around the sun that’s visible during an eclipse. It’s akin to a cloud’s silver lining.

If you can follow my odd reasoning, these are my “Corona Surprises”. My silver-lining creations.
If not for Covid, I’d probably still be protesting that I don’t have an artistic bone in my body!

I really started with pet portraits, which are still available (see more), but I began exploring other mediums—from devising my own faux stained glass technique (really) to playing with mosaics, restoring furniture, revitalizing old boxes, making jewelry and dabbling with resin and on and on.

All my work is hand-made and one-of-a-kind. You can see photos of some of the pieces that have found their homes in the gallery, and peruse the many items offered for sale.

I do accept commissions; I’d be  thrilled to create something based on your vision. Let’s talk!


Every item is one-of-a-kind, handmade or personally refurbished and upcycled

Faux Stained Glass

I use my own technique that I unwittingly began developing as a kid who liked to let Elmers Glue dry in her hand so she could peel it off like vinyl. (I also teach this technique. Just contact me for information.) I use this on glass, plexiglass, mirrors, and other surfaces to create something truly unique and beautiful.


Technically, the Suncatchers could go under the “Faux Stained Glass” category as I make them by using the same technique. But the Suncatchers are (mostly) made on plexiglass, designed to hang in a window to let the sunshine through, while the Faux Stained Glass pieces hang on the wall with a solid backing, usually glass or mirror for special effect.

Custom Pet Portraits

I paint custom pet portraits from a photo of your cat or dog (and I’m always up for trying another species, you never know!)  Though I strive to capture your pet’s essence, I don’t paint exact copies of your photographs. Click through to see some of the pet portraits I’ve completed that are now hanging in their humans homes.

Repurposed Boxes

I’ve always had a thing for boxes. When I come across a cool old cigar box, jewelry box or some other five-sided container with a lid, I collect them and transform them into, well, still a box, but a different box…


I’ve always liked mosaics, so I figured I’d try my hand at them. I made a bunch of my own tiles from old CDs, which made me realize that mosaic tiles can come from many different sources. I play with wood, glass, porcelain and even actual mosaic tiles. I’ve made trays, tables, wall hangings and decorative items.

Paintings/Canvas Mixed Media

I do paint subjects other than pets, and occasionally I put mediums other than paint on canvas. It’s easier to just look at them than explain what they are. Here are some mixed media on canvas wall hangings that are available for purchase.

Resin Creations

I didn’t set out to become obsessed with resin casting but it is addictive. I started using resin on some of my mosaics and then branched out with Flower Blooming coaster sets, trays, figurines, keychains, pocket hugs, night lights, tchotchkes and knickknacks and jewelry.


I’m making Jewelry its own category because not all of it is made with resin! Pendants/necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other wearable bling.

Refurbished Stuff

Found items made better! These are things I either picked up for free of for a few bucks at a thrift shop or yard sale that I thought I could breathe new life in to. Anything goes…