Life is a Gift

Easter tells us that life is to be interpreted not simply in terms of things

but in terms of ideals.  ~Charles M. Crowe


Wise Words from Martha Beck

Photo of Tulips in a glass vase.

Sunlit tulips

This morning I awakened to this in my email box. It is too beautiful not to share. Martha Beck writes books to make you think and that help you grow. It’s a treat to read “Martha’s Daily Inspirations” each morning. So poor yourself a cup of tea and hop on over to her website.

“Stop now, right now, and look around you. This is your place in
the labyrinth. There is no place else you need to be. See with
eyes that aren’t fixed on goals, or focused on flaws. You are part
of the endless, winding beauty. And as you learn to see the
dappled loveliness of your life, as your new eyes help you begin
loving the labyrinth, you’ll slowly come to realize that the
labyrinth was made solely for the purpose of loving you.”

The Labyrinth of Life… Insight from Martha


March Newsletter

Convincing a Child that Moving is a Good Thing

There was still snow on the ground when I received a call from a client I hadn’t heard from in several years. The family was having a new home built and their seven year old daughter didn’t want to leave her home. Her mother convinced her she would have a very special room if she decided to move with the family.

As I drove to their home it occurred to me that I should talk to Jenny, just the two of us. After saying hello I asked Jenny’s mom if she would mind if I spoke with Jenny and she thought that would be a good idea.

Jenny was bright and quite charming. As we were talking I asked her to help me make a list of her favorite things. The words rolled off her tongue effortlessly. She liked daisies, fairies, turtles, blue birds, green grass, mushrooms, butterflies and I’m thinking this is going to be fun when she added pears. Where did that come from. How was I going to get pears in there. I thanked Jenny for helping, had a cup of tea with her mom and home I went to do some sketching.

As often happens I awakened the next morning having dreamt of huge pears. I’m talking about 7-8 inch pears with fairies frolicking in the pear tree and then in my minds eye everything else fell into place. Adjustments had to be made to the sketches and the design was ready.

When painting a mural for a child I love to have a path undulating through the mural. It’s a path leading to where ever they want it to go. A place to let their little minds roam and stir their creativity. This path happens to lead to a portal. Where would your mind take you?

Here’s a short little video of Jenny’s special place.

Found this question in my “Blog” folder, I remember answering it on Facebook but don’t remember if I published it in a newsletter. If I did just bare with me it might help a new subscriber . . .

Hi, I have a ‘mural’ question as a ‘how to’. I saw some of your videos and am, obviously, quite impressed enough to see if you’ll share a trade secret or two. I’m wondering if when you do a wall mural, are you using a reference painting and free handing it? Or a grid system of some sort? I’ve tried a few–and think a grid may be simplest for me….if I could get straight lines. Do you have any suggestions? [:)] (Please?) -Kerra

Hi Kerra, happy to answer your questions. I don’t have a system written in stone. My preference is to let the mural evolve as I paint but my client must trust that I understand the look and feel they are wanting. A sketch is nearly always done before beginning a project. I have never used a grid because I try never to leave pencil lines on the walls I paint. However, if a client had something very specific they wanted, without variations, I might. If I need straight lines I use levels or you could run a chalk-line. Another option is to use a projector and trace the design onto the wall. Let me mention this; try never to use an eraser on the wall being painted as it leaves a burnished mark.

I work from my sketches which may or may not begin from several photos, picking and choosing what best fits with the clients decor and the feeling they are trying to create. Most often I freehand my designs but I sometime design patterns. One of my clients had a leak in a ceiling I had painted ten years ago and I was able to recreate it quickly because I still had the pattern. It saved them a lot of time and money.

Kerra, I tried to keep this simple and to the point but I am happy to give more detail if you like. Hope this was helpful. Good luck ~ your work is lovely!

If you have questions about painting on walls, canvas, papers, wood, metal, fabric, glass, ceramics or porcelain I would be happy to help you. Just email me or comment on my blog. Thank you for reading my newsletter!


Bella’s Insight

Hey everybody, the snow is almost melted again. Not sure why I get excited about that – I love bouncing in the snow. Well, for short periods of time anyway. I have to say that below zero stuff wasn’t much fun.

Boy, I’m sure missing my Saturday morning Buddy. My pal Jayda moved last fall so I don’t get to see her any more, drat. Jayda came to see me for a long time and while she was here mom would show her how to draw and paint and make fun stuff and my job was to make her laugh on her breaks.

Jayda painted watercolors that were made into pinwheels, mom made a calendar out of twelve of her paintings and collages one year and then she got to paint on canvas. When she got tired of painting mom let her draw in her journal. Jayda had lots of good ideas. Mom said she had a great imagination. I think I might have one of those too.

If anyone sees Jayda tell her I said, “Hi!”



Have you heard of Thumbtack?



Promoting your business can be challenging. Thumbtack is relatively new to me so I will let you know how it works out.

Within your Thumbtack dashboard you can set up information on how far you are willing to travel to a job, your qualifications, bio, photos/videos of your work and more.

Potential customers looking for your services fill out a questionnaire and request a quote. Vendors are allowed to ask questions of the potential client without cost to you. A feature that impressed me was that if you ask a question that has already been asked Thumbtack deletes the duplicate question before forwarding another question. You get an email stating that your question has already been asked so you can ask another if need be. How nice that the client doesn’t need to answer the same question over and over. could be a nice source of marketing for a myriad of businesses, we’ll see. Check them out on Facebook.



Being Quiet, Listening and Creativity

Today I wrote my first guest post on Karen Sanderson’s blog, “The Word Shark”. Hope you enjoy it. Also take a look at Karen’s blog her humor is contagious. Don’t forget to check out her poems.

photo of poppies

The name of this painting is “Crimson Grace”. Acrylic on masonite, 48″ x 24″.

We take on so many roles and it gets complicated and crowded. Most of us keep our lives full. Mine has been that way. It seemed quite “normal” after all – mom raised eight kids and I seldom saw her take a break.

Over the years, it has become abundantly clear to me how important to my creativity it is to be quiet and listen. The more quiet time I allow myself, the calmer my life becomes. Little things have more importance. As strange as it may seem, I get more accomplished. When I work, I’m more focused. And when I play, well, I play. . .


A Thankful Thanksgiving

photo of Mickey & Bella the malteses

Have a blissful Thanksgiving
from Mickey & Bella

The season of non-stop shopping is upon us. With Thanksgiving being in the last week in November our holidays are going to fly by. If you aren’t in overwhelm yet, get ready. That is unless you are better at planning ahead than I am. Every year I vow to have my shopping done before Thanksgiving so I can totally enjoy the decorating, holiday parties and quiet lunches with girl friends.

So before we head to the mall let’s stop, look around and focus on our blessings. Really concentrate. You’ll be making a lot of purchases in the next few weeks but the one precious gift you cannot purchase is your health. Last week I awakened to a couple of sneezes, then the runny nose and don’t you know a cough ensued. Now that the symptoms are waning and I’ve stopped feeling sorry for myself, (you see I haven’t has a cold in years and I don’t handle it well.) Being under the weather brings up memories of when I wasn’t in good health. In my early twenties it was common for me to have the flu 2-4 times a winter. The thought of my health deteriorating to that level again is frightening.

photo of a cup of hot lemon water

My favorite Christmas mug

My cold symptoms are nearly gone and thoughts of a dear friend who has been dealing with cancer for three years is on my mind. It would be such a blessing to her to have my energy and good health. To go to the grocery after preparing a long grocery list for the Thanksgiving feast. To be able to stand in the kitchen making homemade noodles while sipping hot water with fresh lemon juice from a favorite Christmas mug or perhaps enjoying a glass of wine and taking a break now and then to sit and reflect on the blessings in her life. She actually has mentioned how thankful  she is for a life well-lived.

Do you think my friend wouldn’t give up a Mercedes in the driveway and enough cash to buy a beautiful new home to regain her health? Which would you choose?

Think about what it’s like to wake up feeling refreshed and energetic after having a headache or a cold, doesn’t your health seem like an incredible gift? Good health is not only physical endurance but mental clarity as well.

This holiday season take time to nurture yourself, go easy on the sweets, take your vitamins and eat lots of vegetables. (Like that will happen) Today as you prepare for your Thanksgiving festivities realize that if you have your health, you are very wealthy indeed. If you have reserves of creative energy you are blessed more than many. My wish for you is a holiday season that is filled with laughter, good friends, pleasant nights of rejuvenating sleep and of course good health.



<a href=”″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Trying something new here. Found this website and on it were several interesting blogs. You name a subject and I think you can find it there.  More to come. Oh yes, and Bella says “Woof”, (hello). Here is a couple of shots of her on The Great Pumpkin Day.

Photo of maltese howling

Bella Howling on Halloween

Bella the Maltese photo in Halloween hat
Bella in her Halloween Hat, not that she is real crazy about it.


September Newsletter

Mural for a 3 Year Old

Ricky B’s Room

One of my favorite things is painting children’s rooms. Ricky B just turned three and his room is complete. He has a giant tree that continues onto the ceiling forming a canopy that covers over twenty-five percent of his ceiling. A squirrel peeks down at Miley the family’s golden retriever. Miley loves to chase rabbits but he is so busy looking at the squirrel that he doesn’t notice the two rabbits watching him.

Ricky B’s mom and dad liked the idea of a growth chart in his room but you would have a hard time finding it without a closer look. His height will be recorded throughout the years on the rope hanging from the tree branch. An emotional reminder of the little one when he takes off to college.

Quick little video of project.

Another response to January’s question: What’s Holding You Back?

Julie Clark from Colorado Springs didn’t think she had much to add but I think you’ll find her story interesting and her new partnership it created. Be sure to check out her blog.

I appreciate your response to my e-mail. Being a special education teacher in addition to a business owner keeps me busy during the day. First, let me say that I loved your blog. Your art is beautiful and I wish I had the budget for your murals in my store. They would look so pretty with my linens.

As to my story, I don’t really have one. I am a Teacher – certified in Special Education, who at one time a couple of years back, found myself questioning why I went into the profession. Budget cuts had forced a layoff at the school where I taught for 14 years. Frankly, at first I was devastated and very frustrated. Therefore, in response to my growing frustration, my husband bought me a vintage linen business. His idea of therapy for me.

He knew I loved vintage linens, the owner was retiring, the timing was right and he knew I needed something to occupy my time between tutoring and substitute teaching. Where he thought I had time, I don’t know, but with his help, I agreed to it. Six months later, we expanded the first store in the Treasure Shoppe and opened a second little space in American Classics. We then opened a third store in the Willowstone Market, but closed it to expand our space at American Classics. Eventually we partnered up with another couple to showcase our Victorian fabric, accessories, etc., and now we have two locations in the American Classics store – space B30 and B26 and the one location at the Treasure Shoppe, downtown.

Naturally, during the school year, most of the marketing, business decisions, buying or stock work during business hours is up to my husband. I’m not superwoman and I hold him to his promise to help when he “gifted” me the store. He’s the professional writer, so he does much of the marketing messages and store displays. I tell him what I want to say, furnish him with an outline or rough draft, he fleshes it out, then I edit, re-write and give it back. He polishes the final article, Linens2Lace blog or marketing piece and publishes it. We do this for sale ideas or marketing as well. It’s a good partnership.

As I said, I don’t have much of a story. I just happen to like linens and the stores are my outlet to express this, as well as keep me from going crazy. I am not kidding when I say, if you see a woman in the store with her nose buried into a handful of linen, it’s probably me. It’s my therapy. I love the find, the challenge of retail selling and I love talking to the customers who come in when I am there. I have learned so much and they have great ideas for repurposing that add to my blog. It’s that type of occupation – far removed from education, which has provided me an outlet for my “occasional” frustration with our education system.

I wish I had more that you could use, but there is nothing special about what I do. It simply works for me, but I don’t think it’s a transferable. Who else would be this crazy?

Thank You
Julie Clark

Hi Mickey, I always like seeing your newsletter in my mail box and Bella too, of course. My question to you is, “Do you think as we get older that creativity plays a lesser part of our live than it did in our twenties and thirties?”
Terry, North Carolina

Hi Terri, as I approach retirement age I feel creativity is an even bigger importance in my life. In my twenties I discovered that if I didn’t paint I became depressed. After getting your question I realized that that hasn’t changed for me. If I wake up feeling a bit “blah” it goes away if I paint. The thing that has changed is that writing works the same for me.

Here are some interesting facts on age and creativity from Deepak Chopra.


Bella’s Insights

Hi Everybody, it’s Bella!

Mom snapped this shot while we were visiting our BFF Debbie at her office. She is a really busy insurance agent, whatever that is; mom says she’s really good at it. How do you like how coordinated we are. Guess this shot was just meant to be.

How ’bout this! About a month ago I got a text, yep that’s right “I got a text.” Well, it was on mom’s phone and she read it to me but she was willing to text back my thoughts.

The text was from Sparky, he’s a good lookin’ dude, but I gotta keep an eye on that guy. The text went something like this. . .

Sparky:  Hi there Bella and Bella’s Mom! Mom is busy so I thought I would let u know that we (this is ur best friend, Sparky) won’t get to ur place until about 8:30 PM Tuesday night – is that ok? We’ll be leaving early the next morning so I shouldn’t be too much of a “pain.” Sorry about the snarl last time – I think my ovaries were acting up!

(I’m thinkin’: Now who does this guy think he’s kiddin’. He doesn’t have ovaries and it wasn’t a “snarl” it was almost a “NIP!” but stealth Bella dodged yet another bullet.)

Bella: Hello Best Friend Sparky. (gritting my teeth) Tuesday is fine just remember that’s pinochle night at our place. People leave around 9:30 PM-ish but u know where everything is so u can make yourself at home when u get here. Mom is too into that game to even know ur here (she barely notices me!) See u Tuesday.

Sparky: Thank you, mi Belle. Mom and I will be as quiet as church mice.

Bella: U don’t even have to be quiet. I’m telling u unless u bark she’ll never notice. Trust me, Bella




Happy First Day of Autumn 2013

Summer is coming to a close today September 22nd, the first day of fall. The fall leaves are just beginning to turn in Colorado Springs. A glorious time of the year but then isn’t each season glorious in it’s own way. Officially the season begins at 4:44 PM EST when the sun crosses directly over the Earth’s equator and both day and night are nearly equal. Fall will last until the beginning of winter on December 21st. It’s basically the time for trees to reevaluate their priorities and start anew, as perhaps we should, as well.

Things I appreciate in the autumn are beautiful fall leaves, warm sweaters, hot cocoa, a great cup of tea, spicy hot apple cider, camp fires, fire in the fireplace, homemade soups, the aroma of dinner in the oven, pumpkin pie, the brisk clean air, flowers shifting from bright vibrant colors to soft subtle hues. Oh, I could go on.

Take the time to enjoy the autumn beauty and perhaps drop a little card in the mail for someone who keeps popping into your head. Getting a card in your mailbox is a special treat these days and very much appreciated. Again, happy autumn.

Autumn Leaves Greeting Cards, 5.5″ x 4.25″ blank inside


July Newsletter

Take Responsibility for the Energy You Bring to Your Workspace

1. Before You Enter Your Work Space, Set an Intent

Everyday be thankful for the person you are and for having a passion to follow. Remind yourself how important it is not to waste one day of your life. Your intent might be “to be productive”, or “to enjoy the process.” You will be surprised at how this can better your day.

2. Display Sentimental Items

Displaying sentimental items in your studio bring a smile to your face and warms your heart. These items can be awards you have won, photos of family and friends you love, perhaps a funny photo of your pet, anything to bring about a pleasant memory and a smile to your face.

3. Start a Gratitude Journal

Keep it simple. It doesn’t matter if you begin, end your day or do both by making a simple one or two line entry, just writing something you are thankful for calms your spirit.

4. Ready Supplies Needed for Today’s Project/Projects

If you’re working on more than one project at a time pull everything and group each project in their own area on your table. If you don’t get to every project leave it for an early start the next day.

5. Take a Break and Do Something Nice for Someone

Half way through your morning take a 15-20 minute break and do something for someone without expecting anything in return. If you work from home it could be a quick little task your child or husband normally does, gathering the trash, straightening a desk or bookshelves or writing a quick little note telling them how much you appreciate them and sticking it to their bathroom mirror. How about hand writing a thank you note to a friend or relative or just a quick hello to someone you haven’t heard from in a while and popping it in the mail. Who doesn’t appreciate receiving a hand written card in the mail these days. It doesn’t need to be lengthy.

6. Call at least One Friend or Family Member a Day

Mid afternoon take a 10-15 minute break to keep in touch with someone special to you. You can do this while you are waiting for paint to dry, text and emails do not count! Pick up a phone and verbally communicate. Studies show that even if you’re an introvert, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better.

7. Spend Money on Something to Cultivate Your Craft

Decorate a pretty box or jar and start saving for something fun for you. It doesn’t need to be expensive. It could be a few new brushes, that gorgeous paper you’ve been eyeing, a fun storage item or a great book – treat yourself.

8. If It’s Got to be Done – Do It

Clutter causes stress; order will create a little piece of heaven on earth. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, ten minutes tops. Your brushes won’t clean themselves, it has to be done. Make it fun – pump up some energizing music and go for it. Enjoy the warm water and bubbles while regenerating those bristles, scrub that water container, clean that pallet, or whatever it is you need to do. It feels so good to return to clean equipment.

9. Ready Your Space for Your Next Play Day

I say “Play Day” because it seems a shame to think of doing something creative, such as painting, cooking, writing, crafting, etc. as being “work.” Your craft/hobby should always be enjoyable.

10. Spend a Portion of Your Day Connecting with Something Greater than Yourself

After you’ve tidied up your play space, take a walk in nature, walk the dog, read a book, write in a journal or (my favorite) light candles and soak in a hot bubbly tub – perhaps a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate should be included. Relax and indulge in enjoyable recollection of your day. Please allow a minimum of one hour, this is your time. How are you feeling about now? Mmmmmmmmmmm
To be perfectly frank I have not accomplished each of these tasks on a daily basis but on the days I have managed – there is no feeling quite like it.

Creativity is play in progress, enjoy the process.

This was adapted from an article I read some time ago on how to enjoy your home. My memory has failed to recall the publication, my apology to the author.

What I’ve been up to . . .

It’s been pretty busy lately, busy painting all the things I love to create.

The design on this wall was coordinated to the duvet cover. Stencils were created for the base color of the design and the other three accent colors were added by hand.

Oh how I love to paint over-sized flowers. Picking up colors from the accessories in the bath and bedroom, the stylized crocus surround the commode and one is wrapping the corner to add a bit of whimsy.

Last evening I had the enlightening pleasure of viewing your mural at the Broadmoor. My Mother, 85, enjoyed the Garden Room, a favorite of hers for years. Your efforts are truly beautiful and even more so is your website with expressions of encouragement to others, including myself.
Would it be possible, please, for you to let me know what materials you use? The quality of color and luminosity are quite vibrant.

Thank you for your time and attention. May your brushes be rarely still and your mind and heart forever creative.

Hi Denise,

You certainly have a lovely way with words and thank you for taking the time to email. Your questions are always welcome.

The paint I have used for over thirty years is Delta Ceramcoat found in most craft stores. This paint was chosen because the pigments hold up well for interior and exterior usage. However, for interiors, I rarely use it in an opaque form. I prefer to add Delta’s faux medium which creates a translucent wash so I can build color, adding more depth. There are usually seven to ten layers of color on a single flower petal. Hope this helps.

All the best,

Bella’s Insights

Hi Everybody! Mom snapped this pic of me a while back. What on earth made her think it would even cross my mind to climb on her desk, silly woman. NO. Nope. Never. Never in a million years. Absolutely not. Not me, I would never get on her desk.

We’ve had another exciting summer in Colorado Springs, not all of it was good. Another big fire hit a town on the north of us. 500 houses wiped out, it was awful. At night you could see how the fire on the ground made the clouds look dark red at night. During the day it was so smokey outside that I couldn’t take my walks. Down right scary.

A friend of mom’s stopped by for a cup of tea with cheese (my favorite snack) and crackers. They went downstairs to check out mom’s studio so I figured they wouldn’t mind if I helped myself to a itty bitty piece of cheese and wouldn’t you know it, that stupid little cracker dish flipped off the side of the table, just my luck. I never even made it to the cheese before they came back

– but I have to say crackers ain’t too bad a snack either. Man did I say “ain’t?” She’s gonna kill me.



Phone 719.260.1440
e-mail mickey

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Please know that your privacy is important to us. We will never distribute or sell your information, or use it for any other purpose. You may unsubscribe at any time using the link at the bottom of each newsletter. Thank you!