Studio Before/During/After

It’s finally happening…drywall. Yep. You got it. Walls. Things to hang things on. Finally.

This weekend Farmboy and I went to the Everson Museum to see Turner to Cezanne. Masterpieces collected by the Davies sisters. A beautiful collection of work. My favorites were the Van Gogh and a small painting by Jean Francois Millet featuring a young girl minding a flock of geese.

While we were soaking in the art Farmboy said to me…”Isn’t it interesting that we are here looking at art on the same day that we were getting your studio ready for the drywall guy?” Yes, I had thought about it all day. I was excited to go to the exhibit and get inspired to paint again. Its been awhile. Design and painting are the same and different to me all at once. Farmboy, the sweet, generous soul that my soul loves, said, “perhaps the new space should only be for creation…. no production”. You mean no fabric up there? No frames? No storage? Just my easel. The view. And paints. No copiers. No printers. Just my easel? Oh, what a thought. Maybe a cat… a dog. You know, for distraction. Okay let’s not forget a bathroom and coffee pot, but other than that I think I’d be in heaven.

I haven’t painted in oils since my children were born. Hmmm. The Bean is 8 and LaLa is 5. It’s been too long. Will I remember? I am so jealous of the Painting a Day people. One day I will be one of them too. Just wait. Next year LaLa will be in first grade and I will have a chunk of time. Just you wait. I will embrace that time and mourn it all at once. Who knows… maybe I’ll paint a portrait of it.

Try It… You’ll Like It!

That is the title of a sweet little cookbook that my grandmother from Baton Rouge gave me when Farmboy and I got married. It was put together by the PEO Chapter E in Baton Rouge. After a quick google search I found this about the PEO:

One of the pioneer societies for women, P.E.O. was founded on January 21, 1869, by seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Originally a small campus friendship society, P.E.O. soon blossomed to include women off campus. Today, P.E.O. has grown from that tiny membership of seven to almost a quarter of a million members in chapters in the United States and Canada. The P.E.O. Sisterhood is passionate about its mission: promoting educational opportunities for women.

Cool. Who knew Shirley B was so cutting edge? This little paperback cookbook has been so much fun to discover. One of my favorite recipes is the Spinach Balls- they are a big hit at the holidays. Yum. I usually serve them on a platter with a little container of hot sauce on the side for dipping. I am no food blogger but I love to cook and occasionally will post recipes that are tried and true and worth repeating. The Spinach Ball recipe is from the Perky Parties section! Doesn’t that make you giggle… chuckle… smile? It does me. Here goes:

Try It- You’ll Like It Spinach Balls

  • 2 pkgs. frozen chopped spinach
  • 2 cups herbed stuffing mix
  • 2 med. onions chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup oleo (butter) melted
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbl garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • Tabasco to taste

Cook spinach according to directions. Drain very well. Mix all ingredients. Shape mixture into bite sized balls. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Makes approx. 50-60 balls. May freeze (freeze before baking).


Look at that spinachy goodness! Now, dive in and shape the mixture into tiny balls.


Ready for the oven!


Browned on top and bottom and ready for a plate.

Oops! Forgot to take a picture of the finished product plated and ready to be served. Close your eyes and picture a lovely burgundy colored ceramic platter with these piled around a little ceramic container filled with hot sauce for dipping. Can you picture it? I have a bag of these little goodies in the freezer just waiting for the next occasion. I will try to post the plated version when they are cooked. It will look just like you imagined, I promise!

New German Shepherd Artwork

Here is the new German Shepherd design that I’ve been working on.  Can you tell what Logan and Camo’s favorite toys are? I will be adding this image to the website along with product options this week. It will be available on limited edition pillows, prints, guest towels, lavender sachets and notecards. I haven’t given it a title yet…any ideas?…suggestions?


Hi! I was hoping you would flutter by….

Hi! I've been waiting for you!

Welcome to my very first blog post ever!  History being made, not unlike a certain famous explorer in 1492, and you’re here to see (read?) it.  I’m going to keep it simple today, but have big hopes for the future as I post snippets of life from a growing artist, mother, gardener and business-owner. I hope you will read relevant information to inspire you to plant a garden, plan a dinner party or even cut that overgrown shrub into a funky topiary. It’s all about living more creatively, finding balance and hopefully bumping into some humor along the way.

I am new the blogging community so please bear with me as it may take some time before I can get my training wheels off.

Spoiler Alert! Shameless Plug Coming Fast!

Have you heard the news??? We are offering 15% off your entire order at to celebrate our newly redesigned site (use code YAY15)! Thanks to Jill at for the beautiful new look and ease of ordering. She is the best!

So thanks again for visiting. Stop back by to see the back log of new designs just waiting for the stage.

Just ordered Spring Bulbs!

menton Tulipa batalinii Apricot Jewel

As if there is not enough going on these days I just ordered 100 bulbs that should arrive this week. I’ve been putting it off for 3 years now. The decisions…the catalogs…the colors….the varieties…its overwhelming. How can you commit? Is there a therapy group for troubled bulb orderers?

The following varieties are what I ordered from John Scheepers:

Menton Tulips- Late Single (good performer in my garden) shown upper left.

Orienpet- Garden Pleasure (new for me)

Species Tulip- Apricot Jewel (I’ve never tried the Species Tulips before) shown upper right.

My order does not include the additional 2 gigantic bags of daffodils that need planting as well. Hopefully I can talk up planting out in the cold wind enough to make the kids plead to help. I know I can count on LaLa (my daughter) to plop them in the holes for me. Its just the digging part that seems so cumbersome! If only I could train our Yellow Lab Gracie to dig on command where I wanted her to… wishful thinking. I will have to hide her from the whole process. If she sees where I’m digging/planting she will go behind me and “retrieve” my bulbs right out of the ground. I have to be stealthy in my gardening these days.

Our new addition

Who doesn’t want a pony? When have you ever NOT wanted a pony? Everytime anyone ever asked me “guess what’s in the box?”, “the car?”, “the barn?”, “the envelope?”, my answer was… “A pony??!!!!”(fingers crossed).  When I was little I did get my sisters’ handmedown pony when they outgrew him. Tony the Pony. His nose could fit in a teacup. He was a stinker but loved and adored.


Welcome Queenie. A fiesty little Pinto mare. She is fitting right in and hopefully will one day earn her keep. Ha. Makes me laugh to think that. Riding lessons for the kids are going pretty well although it is hard to find the time. LaLa prefers English and The Bean prefers Western. Riding was/is such a part of my life I do hope they take to it and that it becomes something we can all do together.

New Designs

Once this website redesign is done I will be so glad to get back to my drafting table and paint! I have some fun new designs on the way. Here is a sneak peek at my next illustration. One of my customer’s two beautiful German Shepherds (shown below) are featured lounging happily on a lovely camelback topiary sofa. Their favorite toys- tennis balls, sticks and frisbees surround them. Too cute. Other dog breeds that will be featured soon are Pugs, Jack Russell Terriers and maybe our wacky Yellow Lab- Gracie. What would you like to see? Send me a pic of your pooch and be sure to stop back by to see the finished watercolor of Logan and Camo.


Photo reference




This is a picture of our sweet Oliver. He was the model for my Lab of Luxury design shown below. Although he looks sophisticated in the painting, don’t be fooled- he’s a goof. Word has it that he’s the best dog around. I’m alittle biased.





Salsa Verde- Fresh from the Garden

I grew tomatillos for the first time this year and what a surprise that was. Talk about prolific! I had two days in the kitchen making the most delicious Salsa Verde. It was a good way to put to use the onions, jalapenos, cilantro and tomatillos from the garden. I had two lovely helpers who enjoyed peeling and washing. By the time that was over they were on to the next playful activity and I was left with my friend- my mother-in-law’s food processor. I have got to get one of my own! The recipe that I followed is Rick Bayless’ with a few changes such as adding garlic and not adding any water.  I found the roasting helped to sweeten the salsa and cut the acidity back. When it was finished I added raw onions and a couple of raw tomatillos for a little bite.


My two helpers- LaLa and her cousin.

Fresh-TomatillosTomatillos fresh from the garden halved and ready to go into the oven.

Tomatillos-RoastingRoasting with garlic cloves and halved jalapeno peppers.

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8 ounces (5 to 6 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • Fresh hot green chiles, to taste (roughly 2 serranos or 1 jalapeno), stemmed
  • 5 or 6 sprigs fresh cilantro (thick stems removed), roughly chopped
  • Scant 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • Salt


Preheat a broiler.

Roast the tomatillos, garlic and chiles on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until darkly roasted, even blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side, 4 to 5 minutes more will give you splotchy-black and blistered tomatillos and chiles. In a blender or food processor, combine the tomatillos and chiles, including all the delicious juice that has run onto the baking sheet. Add the cilantro and 1/4 cup water, blend to a coarse puree, and scrape into a serving dish. Rinse the onion under cold water, then shake to remove the excess moisture. Stir into the salsa and season with salt, usually a generous 1/4 teaspoon.


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.


Blogs I Enjoy



Upcoming Shows

Philadelphia Flower Show
PA Convention Center
March 5th-13th
Booth #Z-1002

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