An Oil Study


I’m trying to get  comfortable using oils again. This little guy came out of the garden over the weekend. I think I like it. The roots need to be a little darker… maybe a bit more detail… then it will be done.  Some days are more successful than others in using oils again. It’s hard to find the time outside of regular work/design/production and life.

My solution:

I’ve moved my French easel into the kitchen. My thought is that since I’m usually there for 2 hours anyway getting dinner put together and helping with homework… I may as well add painting into the mix. Why not. Quick, small oil studies. It’s actually given me a startling new idea that I will be sharing soon. : )




Irish Setter Designs

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I LOVE a good Anniversary!

Don’t you LOVE a good anniversary? Farmboy and I celebrated our 18th this year. When I hear other people say 18 yrs- I’m like, WOW. That’s amazing. When I think we’ve been married 18 yrs- I think… cool… that was fast… 18 years is no big whoop. Seriously, isn’t that weird? I love that 18 years feels like nothing- in a way. Don’t get me wrong. In today’s day it seems over 10 is a big deal and when I hear other people say it I think it is. But with us, I feel like 18 years isn’t very long… maybe because in the context of a lifetime- perhaps it’s just the beginning.

It really was yesterday that I hopped down the isle to the back of the church in my wedding dress not realizing that the entire church was still standing and watching. I was so excited to be married to “the one whom my soul loves” and glad that the wedding-planning hoopla was nearly over.  I heard the congregation giggle at each bounce. I kid you not. Maybe hopping wasn’t the most dignified way to express myself, but it was me and my heart was full, happy and thankful.

Every year Farmboy plans a trip. Most years we have celebrated by driving through New England in the Fall to enjoy the foliage. Last year I planned it… a little jaunt to Cape Ann. A smash I must say. This year Farmboy planned the trip only to share that we were having lunch in Saratoga Springs. I do LOVE a surprise!

If you know us you will know that we didn’t leave here until 12:30 pm which makes lunch at Saratoga Springs actually… dinner.  After showing Farmboy the racetrack (I had done a show there a number of years ago) and visiting Yaddo Gardens (always wanted to visit there!) we had a lovely dinner at DUO- a Fusion-ish Japanese restaurant with a Techno vibe. I had the Chilean Sea Bass with Black Bean sauce and Farmboy had seared Sesame Tuna with Seaweed Risotto. Seaweed Risotto… who knew?! Memorable and delicious.

To my delight and surprise the evening ended at The Interlaken Inn in Lake Placid, NY. Did you know that I have always wanted to go to Lake Placid??!!! The Interlaken Inn is such a find! In fact, I may have to do a Fabulous Friday Find about it! If you go to Lake Placid… stay there. Thank me later. Luxury linens, cozy room, dormered ceiling, claw-foot tub, pedestal sink + sky light = Room #20.  As if the grand piano in the foyer didn’t have me at “hello”. Just sayin.

Olympic ski jump festival… check. Fall foliage… check. Beautiful views… check. Romantic picnic… check. Delicious breakfast… check. Keys locked in the trunk… check. Huh? YEP. On the way out of town. 5 hours from home on a Sunday morning. Everything in the car… including the keys. Ran out get the proprietress some cards as a little thank-you.  Slam goes the trunk… you know how it feels. Noooo! I think the keys were in there. No big deal, right? “Honey, I think I locked the keys in the trunk”… “Why?” was his response. Hmmmm. “Because I no longer have the keys.” Thankfully Farmboy’s reaction is “it probably kept us from getting into an accident on the way home”. Love that guy! So… we went to town and bought the kiddos a happy while Mary, the proprietress, took care of everything.

Did I mention the breakfast at The Interlaken Inn? Morning light. Lovely. Refined.

The local garage couldn’t get into Farmboy’s fancy dead-bolt “Fort Knox” car. A couple of hours later, an old-timer locksmith did the trick and we were on our way home only 4 hours past what we had planned. There was still time for a “plein-air” painting on the way home even though I did leave my tube of Cadmium Yellow paint in the studio!!!! It’s hard to paint a landscape (trees) without YELLOW people! Yellow and Blue make Green!!!!

Nevertheless, put Lake Placid/Mirror Lake on your “to see” list. It really is spectacular. We will be going back and staying at The Interlaken Inn. For more information visit their website:


The Interlaken Inn- Lake Placid, New York

What a delight our stay in Lake Placid was. Having never been, I was thrilled when Farmboy revealed our anniversary trip destination! We arrived around 9pm on Friday night to a lovely, old historic Inn- steps away from both Mirror Lake and Lake Placid.

I loved the beautifully decorated grand piano in the foyer and the heavy architectural mouldings/woodwork throughout the inn.  Once we were settled in our room (I’ll come back to that) we went downstairs to the pub style bar to have a glass of wine. All of the dark stained wood paneling and the copper ceiling tiles created a wonderful ambiance in the pub. Of course, the giant moose may have had something to do with it too.

The staff was very helpful and friendly encouraging us to visit various places to best take in the scenery. We asked to see the Inn’s dinner menu. Known for its world class cuisine… here are a few offerings from the menu that sounded particularly interesting:

Buck Island Crab Cakes- with orange basil beurre blanc

Bison Meatloaf- over roasted garlic Tucker Farms mash potato, with thyme scented veal jus

Shrimp and Pasta- with asparagus, plum tomato and sweet Thai basil sauce

Puff pastry wrapped creme brulee’  (Tried this Friday night… Excellent!)

 Our room- The Hibiscus Room #20, was wonderful. Quaint with many dormered walls/ceilings creating a sense of being in a cozy nook.  Keep in mind its on the third floor (no elevator so don’t accidently leave something in the car!). Luxury linens and a spacious comfortable bed created a cloud that I did not want to leave! What a relaxing way to start the day. Although there was a TV in the room we never turned it on.

 The bathroom was simple and refined with tile floors, a pedestal sink, claw-foot tub, skylight and luxury, plush robes and towels. Ahhh. Uncluttered.

The grounds around the inn were charming as well. Stone walls, a private garden, a flagstone patio, little baskets of herbs containing the beginnings of what was to come from the kitchen. Located one block off the main street there was no traffic or noise from passing cars.

Saturday morning we met Mary the proprietress as we left for our 2.7 mile walk/run around the perimeter of Mirror Lake. She was friendly and inquisitive about our plans for the day. Little did we know how she would save the day on Sunday!

I do wish that we had gotten back to the Inn in time for dinner- the menu sounded so good! Maybe next time. Sunday morning we started the day with a hearty Adirondack breakfast in the front dining room. Baked goods, clean crisp linens, polished flatware and Brazilian coffee that was so smooth I drank it black.  Farmboy and I chatted with some of the other guests and learned more about the 100 year old house’s history from the owner. Her carmelized onion and red pepper omelet was scrumptious! In the light-filled breakfast room Farmboy and I gathered our thoughts and plans to make the most of the day. After the car was indeed packed I rummaged through a bag in the trunk to find some notecards to give to Mary as a little Thank-You gift for her hospitality…

Did you hear the one about the couple celebrating their 18th anniversary? You know, a perfect weekend… only moments to go before they continue their romantic drive home through the Fall-colored mountains? That one. Where she locks the keys in the trunk by accident while in the process of getting a goodie out to give to the Inn owner. Hysterical, isn’t it? Not. Needless to say, our lovely hostess went “above and beyond” to help us be on our way and keep any disasterous anniversary memories away. She took such great care of us- making all of the calls to help us find a way to get into the car and on our way home.

Heading to Lake Placid? Stay at The Interlaken Inn. You will be so glad that you did. Tell Mary the artist who locked her keys in the trunk on her anniversary weekend sent ya. She’ll remember. For more information visit their website here.



Would You Let Her Back in the House?


Hi, I'm Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed illustrations for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, aka Farmboy, my two children affectionately known as "La La" and "the Bean" and a small petting zoo of other family members.


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