What’s The Tea: A Little Summer Update

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Hey, friends! It has been a few minutes since I last posted, hasn’t it? This has been a sort of slow and quiet summer here on Inspired by Charm. I know many of you understand and are feeling the same. Today I thought I’d pop in to share a little life update, talk about a few things I’m excited about, and show you what’s been happening around these parts. Sound good?

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

Garden Update:

This year I planted tomatoes, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, spaghetti squash, jalapeños,  and cucumbers. (I also planted a cocktail garden, which you can read more about HERE.)

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

I’m happy to report that my garden is doing well! I’ve harvested about 10 large cucumbers, and there are several more on the vine. I have five spaghetti squash with the promise of more. The Swiss chard also has produced well, but it is my one regret. I don’t know what to do with it, and I’m shamefully lacking motivation to get creative with it. The kohlrabi is just about ready to harvest, and my tomato plants (except for the one that is struggling) are loaded with green fruit.

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

All-in-all, things have been a success!

If you’ve been following IBC lately you also know that this year I decided to devote half of my garden beds to dahlias. I am happy to report …

The Dahlias are Blooming!:

As of today, two plants have completely bloomed, and at least 3 or 4 more have buds.

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

In case you missed it, this spring I put in a dahlia garden. I planted 27 tubers and have been lovingly caring for them for the past few months. I’ve also been documenting the process HERE if you’re curious about growing dahlias.

As you can see, the dahlias are at least four feet high and flourishing. I’ve had a few issues with bugs, but I think I have that problem mostly taken care of now. In my next dahlia update post, I’ll be sharing what I used for bug control and how I’ve handled fertilizing and other maintenance.

Dabbling in Art:

For the past year or so I’ve been feeling this pull to get back into art and drawing. When I was in high school and college, I took several art classes, and those were among my favorite classes. In the decade since I’d drifted away from that passion. Last year I finally took a couple of adult education art classes in my neighborhood. One class was on watercolors, and the other was oil painting. I loved both and planned to take more classes this year. Unfortunately, that’s just not been possible.

However, that didn’t stop me from building up my art supplies. Since the start of the quarantine, I’ve bought paints, brushes, pencils, pastels, and so on. The only problem was that I hadn’t been using them. (Anyone else familiar with this story?)

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

So, I decided to commit to my art practice and sign up for a painting course through JeanneOliver.com. Last night I finally sat down and started the course. (The course I’m taking is Graceful Muse with Renee Mueller.) The first lesson was to work on several color studies. The goal was to practice and play with different media.

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

Abstract is new to me, but I have to tell you, I had SO MUCH FUN! These are the three studies I created. I’m not sure anyone would call them “good,” but I’m digging the results, and I had a lot of fun in the process.

It’s been so wonderful to dive back into this old passion. I have a feeling I’ll be sharing more of my art here on the blog.

Other Things I’m Loving:

The Tidbits Planner is BACK!! This is my GO-TO planner, and I couldn’t be more excited to see it return for 2021. I have tried DOZENS of planners in the past, and this is the one for me. The ordering process is a bit different this year, so if you want a planner, you need to order NOW. You can find all of the details HERE.

Tidbits Day Planner - What's the Tea: 2020 So Far with Inspired by Charm #whatstheteawithIBC

– The new album from The Chicks (formerly Dixie Chicks) is incredible. I’ve had it on repeat for the past week. My standout favorites are Gaslighter, Sleep at Night, and Set Me Free. (Although all of the songs are fabulous.)

– I’m STILL eating my go-to breakfast. It’s an obsession. I also picked up new spring honey from Pisarcik Flower Farm. If you’re local to Pittsburgh, it’s a must. So-o-o good! (The honey dipper featured below can be found HERE.)

Yogurt with Granola Berries and Honey - Delicious and Easy Breakfast Idea #granola #honey #berries #breakfast #snack #easy #recipe

Yogurt with Granola Berries and Honey - Delicious and Easy Breakfast Idea #granola #honey #berries #breakfast #snack #easy #recipe

– If you are looking for a silly, heartwarming, music-inspired movie, you need to watch Eurovision on Netflix. It stars Rachel McAdams and Will Ferrel. It is truly a delight! I also recently rewatched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It came out back in 2013. It’s another must-watch for anyone who hasn’t seen it.

– Since moving into Bayberry House, I’ve been slowing adding lots of blooms (annuals and perennials) to my yard. (These are in addition to my dahlias.) All of these lovely plants have allowed me to put together a handful of arrangements. (I shared a short tutorial on my Instagram stories and saved it to my Instagram story highlights if you’re interested.)

What's The Tea: A Little Summer Update #art #painting #gardening #flowers

– I’ve also been walking or jogging daily. I haven’t missed a day since April 1. (More on that soon.) When out walking, I’ve found so much joy in listening to podcasts.

My favorites include:

What are some of your favorite podcasts? Let me know in the comments below!

In conclusion …

Well, I think that’s it for this update. Next week I’m hoping to ramp up content here on Inspired by Charm. As we start thinking about fall and the coming holidays, I like to keep things jumping here on IBC so it’s time to get my butt in gear. I have lots of things to share with you, so stay tuned!

And one final note. For those of you, like me, who have struggled with heightened anxiety, stress, lack of motivation, lack of creativity, sadness, etc. during these past few months, please know that it’s okay. You are not alone. You are okay. You are enough.

If you’re like me, it’s easy to assume you should be handling things like a champion, but that’s not the case for everyone. Be kind to yourself. Take time away if you need it. Find someone to talk to if you need help. Take breaks from things that cause you stress and anxiety. Dig deep into things that bring you joy. Find healthy distractions. Meditate. Journal. Read. Listen to music. Cry. Start a new hobby. Do a good deed for someone else. Or don’t do any of that and create a plan of beauty that works for YOU.

Sending you all love, joy, grace, peace, and lots of creativity!

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  1. Sorry I am late to the comment party. First of all, your blog never fails to inspire me and give me new ideas. I love how thoughtful your posts are and how real. I enjoy each and every post. You are so talented and generous to share all of this with your readers. Secondly, I would totally buy your art! That is the exact style of art that I am drawn to, and the colors are so vibrant. You should think about selling prints! Stay healthy and enjoy the rest of the summer days!