Oh, Happy Happy New Year!

What a wonderful holiday it has been! Christmas Eve was a highlight for me. Three generations sitting around the candlelit dinner table talking about their Christmas memories. It was such a treat to have both sets of grandparents and their aunt there for the children to hear. We laughed over Farmer Russ always wanting a bicycle when he was a boy and never getting one. He took matters into his own hands and bought himself a motorcycle when he was just 15! Whaaat? What is wrong with THAT picture.

Junebug’s (my mom) favorite present was an Indian outfit complete with a bow and arrow. To everyone surprise Poppa Frank’s favorite present was his Roy Rogers outfit complete with holsters and chaps! What a pair they would make and make now!

I had been obsessing over the menu for a week or two because… I just love to! Here’s what was served:

Asparagus Soup
(a family tradition)

Pear and Gorgonzola Green Salad with Walnuts
(my sister-in-law sent us the most wonderful pears from Harry & David)

Grilled Whole Beef Tenderloin with Green Peppercorn Cream Sauce
(Junebug and Poppa bring one every year… yum!)

Wild Rice Pilaf

Roasted Brussel Sprouts
(fresh from the garden!!! who knew!)

Pennies From Heaven ( a great carrot side)

 After basking in the warm candlelight glow from the table we all said our goodbyes and headed to the candlelight service at church. A beautiful service. So glad that my sister was there. My heart was touched as LaLa asked Ryder if she could put her head in his lap and he played with her hair and scratched her back as she rested. So sweet. Their gentle hands passed the flame from one candle carefully to the other. The sanctuary was aglow as we sang Silent Night.

Christmas morning was fun, EARLY and full of yummy goodness. Here’s what was on the menu:

Quiche Lorraine
(a family tradition: recipe from River Road Recipes- Baton Rouge Jr League cookbook)

Crustless Spinach Quiche
(a new recipe that I wanted to try… I think I prefer Quiche with a crust)

Fruit Salad

Lunch at my sister-in-laws with the extended family was fun and scrumptious. I managed to “win” a roll of toilet paper in the Bad Santa game.  I was hoping for a five dollar bill rolled up in there. No such luck.

The past week has been relaxing, pretty quiet besides the “school is out” sleepovers and “that’s not a word” Scrabble shouting matches. Farmboy even made a delicious Chicken Marsala dinner one night. He is such a Rennissance man! I have been in my pajamas much too much to admit to you. It’s 4:30… we have a party to attend at 7pm. Think I’d better go get changed… NOT that I could possibly still be in my pjs at this hour!

The smell of Black-eyed Peas is in the air. We are taking a DUO (I watch too much Ironchef) of Blackeyed Pea appetizers to the party tonight for double the prosperity for the coming year. Texas Caviar… a great alternative to salsa for chips and a warm BEP dip. Here are the recipes:

Texas Caviar

Zannie’s Black Eyed Pea Dip

When Ryder was getting his hair cut yesterday the stylist asked him what we were doing for New Years and his answer was simply “Eating black-eyed peas”. Made me laugh… we are such an exciting bunch. ; )

Next week Michelle Masters Studio will be back open for business and we will be gearing up for the 2012 Philadelphia Flower Show. There are new greeting card designs on the way as well as some fun new products. Fifteen pounds of french lavender buds is on its way for heavenly scented sachets and I will soon be ordering framing for some new paintings. Yay!

Thank you for stopping by- for reading, for your comments over the last year and for your encouragement and support of my little niche in the world. I am so honored. I wish you JOY, PEACE, PROSPERITY & GRACE for the coming year. May it shine in your lives and illuminate all those around you. : )

Christmas on my Windowsill

Indoor Fairy Garden

Do you remember the Living Spring Centerpiece and the Fairy Garden projects? Well, I was needing a little “plant time” last week and hopped on over to one of my favorite local nurseries/garden centers (Dickman Farms in Auburn, NY). They have a wonderful greenhouse selection and to my surprise/delight all of their house plants were 50% off! Sa-weet.  I knocked myself out.

Now, before I go further, you must know that I was driving hubby’s car listening to the new Coldplay CD Mylo Xyloto for the first time. I pulled up into the parking lot and was completely overcome listening to #5 – You and Me Against the World. Oh. So. Warm and Beautiful… the acoustic guitar and Gwenth’s Chris Martin’s voice. Love….Love.

Where was I? Shopping. I’m not a shopper typically- much to Farmboy’s delight. Plants, plates and ponies are some of my preferred items- much to Farmboy’s dismay. When I need a little retail therapy I head for the local nursery or Marshall’s rather than a horse sale, thankfully- for all of us.

Enough of my late-night, The Clone Wars is on (they all look the same)- pontificating. Here is the “how to” part.

Take a large container with no hole and fill the bottom third with gravel for drainage unless you plan to use a saucer of some sort to catch the water. Be especially sensitive to moisture when using a container with no drainage. Low and wide is better since it will be displayed on a table indoors.

Fill the remainder of the container with potting soil.

Get together all of your plant goodies…

Arrange low growing, mossy plants in the front and center of your Fairy Garden and add the taller ones to the back. Once your plantings are finished water gently until evenly moist.

* I found some wonderful Fairy furniture to add to my indoor garden at Dickman’s! Here is a link to fairy furniture images.

Be sure to add a stone path, some boulders (small rocks) and whatever you can think of to add ambiance! I wish that I could string lights in my little fairy garden. Wouldn’t that be great?!

This little garden has been inhabited so far by the following: Zoobles, My Little Ponies and Princess Polly Pockets. I think its magic is working. Soon, word will get out and the fairies are bound to come. We have recently put little Santa hats out and decorated the place for Christmas. I’m thinking that it’s enchanting- I think the fairies will agree.

What… A Message From The Queen?

I had to do it! I know… the KEEP CALM and CARRY ON thing is everywhere these days. Have you seen it? It began as a poster produced by the British government in 1939, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the event of invasion. Here is more information.

I thought I was a genius to come up with the “Garden On” part – I have a Topiary Crown design for heavens sake! After a quick google search I discovered people were already using the phrase. Phooey. Nevertheless this one is fun and different and makes a great set of notecards for your favorite gardener. I love the dark magenta text- it pulls out the color of the pink geraniums in the urn. On the back the card is titled “From The Queen”. chuckle…

I would seriously love to get one of these in the mail from a fellow gardener! I may have to mail myself one just to be sure! ; ) Click here for more info or to order!

Oil Sketch of Brady

One of the next dog breeds that I will be featuring in a garden setting will be the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. This is Brady. Doesn’t he have a sweet little face? Stop back in to see the finished “Cavalier Garden Portrait”.

Sometimes You’ve Gotta Jump…

Hi and Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Oh my poor little lonely blog. I have neglected you so.

Tis that time of year- filling orders (thank you!), shipping, shopping, designing, painting, cooking, decorating. My lists go on and on. Items checked off one day- twice as many added the next.

That being said there is much to write, much to be thankful for this holiday season and my heart is full. I’m hitting a creative burst so be sure to stop by and see what all of the bursting is about. Until then I thought you might enjoy a snapshot from our Thanksgiving morning.

Our family watches the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade faithfully and here at the Masters’ house the “stands” are filled for the parade as well. All of the cuddlebugs, beanie babies and webkinz are present… lined up in one of my card displays as the parade files by. One day maybe we will go. La-La said that she wanted to be there in person but I have always thought that the best seats were at home where the audio, video and lip-syncing goodness could be heard… not to mention the delicious smells of turkey wafting through the air!


But… there may come a day when I NEED to see that gigantic Super Grover in person. The child inside me would faint from all of that high-flying, blue, super Muppetness. : )


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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Philadelphia Flower Show
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March 5th-13th
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