Friday 5

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Sooooooooo!  How’ve you been?  It’s been a while!  things have been good here!  I’ve been doing a lot of art, bracelet making and learning new things.  These are the 5 things that have been going on here lately:

  1. BELT BRACELET MAKING!  I love it!  I took a class from Christy Tomlinson and have been very busy making and selling these beauties – take a look at some of my work below!  If you like what you see, I’d love to make you one (or several.  Christmas is coming soon!  Hint Hint!)  I’m having a hug sale for Christmas.  All bracelets, no matter what style etc. are $25 shipped!  Email me!  You can also “LIKE” TeaBags And Gardenias on Facebook to see more.
  2. WHOLEHEARTED! I went to Charlotte, North Carolina recently for an amazing art-filled, new artsy friend making, photography, creative, yummy food and company weekend at Donna Downey’s Studio.  I am still thinking about it and wishing I were back there.  It was so impactful to me!  Something that was on my bucket list that I got to check off.  The artist that taught us was Junelle Jacobsen.  The weekend was called “WholeHearted.”  I learned so much! Thank you Junelle, Donna and Bill for your passion, compassion and hospitality!  I will be back in May for Danielle Donaldson!  Woot!
  3. NEW LOVE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY!  I have always liked taking pictures.  I use my camera on my phone constantly.  I like to say I live my life in pictures and Instagram is one of my most favorite things ever!  (teabagsandgardenias is my Instagram account name – Follow me!) Lately I’ve been using my DSLR camera though and learning to take good photos.  Its a blast and I’ve been so pleased with the shots I’ve taken so far.  You can see some of my shots below.  Junelle took us out to a plant nursery while we were in North Carolina.  She is a photographer and shared some very good tips and tricks!
  4. SKETCHING & WATERCOLOR!  I have been so busy with the bracelet making that I had not picked up a pencil in ages.  During that weekend away at WholeHearted I got to renew my love for watercolor.  I’m not great at it by any means but I’m practicing my sketching skills and water color skills again and I love it!  I missed it so much!  There is not enough time in my day to do all the things I want to do and sometimes things I love fall along the wayside.  I’m trying my best to do at least one sketch a day.  Anything.  Little, big, simple, complex….anything.  Practice is so important.  I’ve come so far in a year.
  5. PRAYER!!!!!!!  Constant prayer!  I have so many people on my prayer list.  SO.MANY.  My list keeps getting bigger and bigger.  ISIS, EBOLA, friends battling cancer, unemployment, addiction, abortion, assisted suicide (Brittany Maynard in particular), other major health issues family and friends are battling, upheaval in Ferguson, MO, Enterovirus D68, I could go on and on.  It all seems so overwhelming but with prayer and the Lord, we are GOOD!  Please pray with me!  Have a great weekend y’all!  Love and blessings, till next time, Michelle

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Creative Girl Class

Hello, Hello my beautiful peeps!  I wanted to share a class I’m taking called “Creative Girl” – taught by Danielle Donaldson.  I’m really excited about this class!  I just love Danielle’s creations and she’s such a great teacher.  She taught a week in another class I took called “Studying Under the Masters.”  Her “master” was Georgia O’Keefe.  It was excellent!

I saw that they were doing a give away and just had to blog about it so I could add one more chance to my odds!  LOL!  (someone’s gotta win, right??!)  So…my question to you is:  Want to join me??   Danielle Donaldson is a true artist with a huge heart!  I love her style!  Can’t wait to learn from her!  P.S. I won “her” in another contest and get to be mentored by her!  Can not wait!  Check out the class description and the give away on this blog:

CREATIVE GIRL: THE LAND OF LIGHT AND SHADOWS {LAST DAYS FOR EARLY REGISTRATION AND A GIVEAWAY}

Danielle asked on a Facebook status post a few days ago:  “If you had to write a sentence about my art – describing it to a friend. What would you say? And if you could learn one thing from me. (Techniques and process, especially the process) What would it be?”

My reply was:  To me, your creations are: Uniquely delicate, stylistically ethereal, whimsically groovy, masterfully colored, mystically Victorianesque, and filled with story and meaning stimulating the imagination. What I would wish to learn: everything!! You rock!

I hope you join me in “The Land of Light and Shadows!” What do you have to lose?  Early bird registration $28 for a few more days. So.Unbelieveably.Reasonably.Priced.  BELIEVE ME.  This is a steal!  This class is going to be priceless!  creativeGIRLfinallogo_zps101604b8

 minigirl-NO5-givaway

7 Quick Takes Friday

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1. Wow.  What a summer…

  • Icky weather.
  • Dad very sick.
  • No beach.
  • Pasty white skin.
  • No trips.
  • Pool only one time.
  • No barbequing
  • Pasty white skin – did I mention that?

BUT, what a fantastic summer it was anyhow!!!!  I immersed myself in learning more about my craft.  This summer was all about making myself a better artist.  Online classes are so incredible!  I absolutely love them.  I learned so much and I think I really improved and learned a TON!! I took several classes from my “idol” artists this summer.  “Paint Your Story” by Mindy Lacefield,“How to Paint Whimsical Animals” by Juliette Crane, & “HerStory” by Danielle Daniel and I’m also enrolled in a year-long course called “Serendipity” by Juliette Crane.  I also took an in-person class by the famous Donna Downey called “How to Paint Like an Artist.”  She came to a local scrap booking store called Altered Angel.   It was a blast!  My dream is to go to Donna’s studio and take a weekend long retreat/class.  Mindy Lacefield will be coming there to teach in 2014.  What a dream come true that would be!  I need to win the Lotto!

Here are some pics of what I created in those classes:

PhotoSheet 5x4 (Owl Fini,Serendip,C,9)

2.  Dad is doing so good!  He was diagnosed (finally) with a condition called “Polymyalgia Rheumatica” after 7 months of hell.  He’s taking Prednisone and it is controlling those terrible fevers and chills.  We are ever so grateful for all the prayers said on his behalf.  It just takes one determined doctor who decided to take ownership and not give up.  We are forever indebted to Dr. Stephen Szabo.  He’s our “Dr. House.”

3.  Join me and thousands of others in praying our latest Novena.  It will be to Saint Jude.  Saint Jude is the patron of Hopeless Causes and Desperate Situations.  Sign up here to get the daily prayers delivered to your email in box.  My father’s diagnosis came while praying the novena to St. Therese the Little Flower.  And we just finished the novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  What exactly is a Novena?  Click here to find out!

4.  There are only 67 days until Christmas.

5.  I’m thoroughly disgusted with our government.  All parties – don’t care who they are.  They are an embarrassment and a disgrace.  I will stop there.

6.  I am so excited!  I had someone reach out to me and ask me to give her and her granddaughter an art lesson.  I about cried.  This is part of my dream and it’s going to come true!  Very humbled and honored!

7.  Even after 2 years, I still miss my mom so much it hurts!  I think of her every day.  I talk to her.  I still cry for her.  And there are days that I still just can’t believe it.  I’ll see a picture of her and my heart will just plummet.  I have so many things I want to share with her.  I need so bad to hear her voice.

“Stars”

I lit a fire with the love you left behind
And it burned wild and crept up the mountain side
I followed your ashes into outer space
I can’t look out the window, I can’t look at this place.I can’t look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you’ve gone too far
So I, I can’t look at the stars.All those times we looked up at the sky
Looking out so far, it felt like we could fly
And now I’m all alone in the dark of night
And the moon is shining, but I can’t see the light.

And I can’t look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you’ve gone too far
So I, I can’t look at the stars.

Stars

Stars, they make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you’ve gone too far
So I can’t look at the stars.

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Surrounded by Cardinals

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I love birds. I especially love cardinals. When I see a cardinal I know its my mom visiting me in spirit. I don’t know why but I just know its her. An instant calm comes over me and I feel her there with me. For almost 2 yrs now I have seen a cardinal almost every single day.

So…some of you know my father has been sick on and off since his back surgery April 11, 2013. Every month without fail my father has come down with the most intense shivers, chills, fever (101+) and sweats. Weakness, low blood pressure, faint, rash on face and dry skin, sick to his stomach, and some throwing up out of both ends. He has been in the hospital a total of 3 times not including the surgery hospital stay. So, 4 x in 4 months. Its been very tough on him. Every single time he’s admitted, they do extensive blood tests, MRI’s, Aspirations, never finding any infection or any cause of this fever. VERY FRUSTRATING. Imagine actually begging God for something to show up wrong so he could be “cured.” No one ever wants to pray for a disease or infection but it got to that point. We needed an answer for these crazy symptoms that came on once a month towards the 17th of each month. He will go through about 4-5 days of these symptoms (intense) and then low grade fever and then he’s better again but weak. It takes him a while to get back up to speed. Before this time he was doing so well. Out and about, grocery shopping and running errands. I was so happy for him.

BUT, It happened again this past weekend. We decided to take him to another hospital. In the ER an older, southern “good ole’ boy” took care of him. We all thought he was a doctor. He wasn’t – he was a Physician’s Assistant but he was as smart as they come. He had a great dry sense of humor, immediately put my dad at ease and he was really funny. We started chatting about what has been going on with dad these past months and offhandedly one of us said he’d gone Thursday to get his “EPO” (Procrit to help him make red blood cells as he’s anemic) shot and had chills that night and then full out sick Friday night etc. etc. You could just see the light bulb go off in this guy’s head. He said “this is presenting to me like serum sickness.” Never heard of “Serum Sickness” before and I’m not braggin’ – I know a lot of medical stuff. (through years of research with my mom.) He explained that he thought the Procrit shot was making him sick.

I have been fully convinced that the titanium that had been put in his back was the culprit. I thought my dad’s body was rejecting it. No one would listen to me though – they all though I was wacko. I didn’t care. The next step was going to be a special blood test and I was going to have it sent to the Melissa Organization for metal allergy testing.

Even though this is very uncommon, the doctors have agreed. The Procrit has to be the culprit….so what does all this have to do with Cardinals?

Dad was released from the hospital Wednesday night. I prayed all day Thursday for a sign that this was the answer. I prayed to see cardinals. I took my dog out several times Thursday and did not see one stinkin’ cardinal. I was devastated. BUT, throughout the day I did see my artwork “Pursue” right in front of me. I told God that just wasn’t enough.

Cardinal 1

Then in my hypersensitivity to cardinal spotting he showed me this one.

Cardinal 2

And this one…Cardinal 3 And this Cardinal 4one.

Cardinal 5Then I saw these two…

And then these.

Cardinal 6 Cardinal 7

And once again, I’m like…”Lord. These are all right in front of me. But if this is all you got, I’m going to trust you.”

Then around 7pm I got a phone call. “Michelle, what are you doing Saturday? Do you want to go to the Braves and Cardinals game? You need a break.” I said ABSOLUTELY and then a few minutes later…it hit me and it hit me hard. CARDINAL. CARDINAL!!!!! AHHHHHH holy crap! I was stunned.

I knew I had my signs. But our Lord just gives and gives and gives…He knows you have to “SHOW ME” many times. So today, after the doctor and visiting my mom at the cemetery, I took Jackson out. Wasn’t really looking for cardinals because I was bought in that I had my signs. Low and behold, 3 REAL ones were on the fence just staring at me. Not moving, making sure I saw them. Tears. Can you stand it???!!! True story. THE END.

Until next time…GO BRAVES (but I love my Cards too) Big weekend here in the ATL!!

Michelle

( Not a )Quote from Pope Francis – darn! but I still like it!

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I love this and had to share it!

4:23 pm….JUST FOUND THAT THIS IS NOT FROM POPE FRANCIS but I like it anyhow.

“We need saints without cassocks, without veils – we need saints with jeans and tennis shoes. We need saints that go to the movies that listen to music, that hang out with their friends. We need saints that place God in first place ahead of succeeding in any career. We need saints that look for time to pray every day and who know how to be in love with purity, chastity and all good things. We need saints – saints for the 21st century with a spirituality appropriate to our new time. We need saints that have a commitment to helping the poor and to make the needed social change.

We need saints to live in the world, to sanctify the world and to not be afraid of living in the world by their presence in it. We need saints that drink Coca-Cola, that eat hot dogs, that surf the internet and that listen to their iPods. We need saints that love the Eucharist, that are not afraid or embarrassed to eat a pizza or drink a beer with their friends. We need saints who love the movies, dance, sports, theater. We need saints that are open sociable normal happy companions. we need saints who are in this world and who know how to enjoy the best in this world without being callous or mundane. We need saints.”

A Peek Into My Studio/Office

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I always wonder what people’s houses look like on the inside.  I am very curious by nature.  Don’t you ever wonder?  Do you ever want to just knock on someone’s door and ask if you can have a tour?  …Or am I the only one? LOL!  I love to see how people live.

I wonder what color schemes they use or what their furniture looks like.  I wonder if they are messy or organized.  I wonder if they leave their clothes on the floor and make their bed.  I love walking or driving by looking at homes.  I try so hard to get a glimpse inside without looking obnoxious or like a peeping Tammy.   Another thing I’ve started liking since I became an artist is looking at artist’s creative spaces…so, I thought I’d give you a little peek into my space.  Warning! It is what it is…messy, busy, busy, busy and comfy!  Just like my art.

My studio/office space is upstairs in a spare bedroom that has a cool shape to it.  The room is above the garage.  It has decent amount of light coming through one window.  Jackson my watch dog sits right in front of that window on my mom’s old chair.  I use the space to do my artwork and it is also where I work my full time job.  I am blessed to be able to work out of my home.  One side of the office is for my work (J.O.B.) and the other is for my personal art business…also a job!  I really enjoy this room!

Looking in from the door, this left hand side is my Full Time job space.  There's Jackson in his chair guarding our house!

Looking in from the door, this left hand side is my Full Time job space. There’s Jackson in his chair guarding our house!

And this is the right hand side of the room where my personal computer is.. (was watching a Mindy Lacefield video) and my art table is.

And this is the right hand side of the room where my personal computer is.. (was watching a Mindy Lacefield video) and my art table is.

I have both sides of the walls covered with nails.  I hang inspirational work above my art table and then I hang things I’m working on everywhere else to dry etc.

I am a big fan of Kelly Rae Roberts!  I also have a sweet print from "Vintage Girl Design's" (Michelle gave it to me when we met.) and I have my Logo plaque I made...Its my inspiration wall.

I am a big fan of Kelly Rae Roberts! I also have a sweet print from “Vintage Girl Design’s” (Michelle gave it to me when we met.) and I have my Logo plaque I made…Its my inspiration wall.

More inspiration.  The little plaque says "Just Put On Your Big Girl Panties And Get Over It!"  Love it!

More inspiration. The little plaque says “Just Put On Your Big Girl Panties And Get Over It.” I read that thing every day…over and over and over again!  Notice the line of cheaters on my monitor.  Gotta have my specs!

This little red dress ribbon picture board is where I put cool business cards or greeting cards that come from some of the art and jewelry I buy.

This little red dress ribbon picture board is where I put cool business cards or greeting cards that come from some of the art and jewelry I buy.  And I have a huge collection of rosaries. To the right you see a glimpse of just some of them hanging off of a wall shelf on a spindle.

And this is my dad's part of the room.  Here is where he photographs my work for printing purposes.  My dad Rocks!

And this is my dad’s part of the room. Here is where he photographs my work for printing purposes.  He updates my websites, packs and ships orders, makes sure we have everything we need (supplies) to ship artwork out and he also comes up with a lot of ideas for me.  And…he provides constructive criticism for the most part. haha! He’s cracking me up lately by calling my new stuff aliens and pigs!  Dad also attends all of my shows.  He’s a great salesman!  My dad is a huge help to me!

Well, there you have it!  My studio!  I hope you enjoyed this little tour…until next time,  Blessings…Michelle

Metamorphosis – A short Story

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The internet is an amazing thing.  I met an sweet friend here through my blog.  Her name is Patti and she is an aspiring writer.  Her blog is called

“Pish’s Blog of Loveliness”

She wrote a short story that I just had to share with you all!   She’s so very talented!  Click below to read “Metamorphosis” – Read it to your kids and let us know what they thought!  Enjoy!

Metamorphosis.