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!

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links as part of the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that inspiredbycharm.com receives a small commission by linking to Amazon.com and other sites at no cost to the readers.

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Comments

  • Becca P at

    You could make pesto with the swiss chard!

    • Charlotte at

      I am so jealous of your garden, just looking at it makes me happy.😀

  • Stephanie Simpson at

    Your blog is a breath of fresh air for me! If you ever do a giveaway you should include a little painting you’ve done-they are beautiful!

  • Cathy Claus at

    I def have dahlia envy! Gorgeous! really enjoyed this post — love the artwork too …. Swiss chard is delish steamed or just saute with a little shaved garlic and top off w a squeeze of lemon juice – so good for you too!!!

  • TIDBITS at

    What a delightful post! Each photograph was music to my eyes ;). Your abstract art was so much fun, I think I need to take this up with my kids while we learn how to homeschool (heaven help me!). You are such an inspiration Michael, in so many ways. And once again, gratitude fills my heart for your help in spreading the word about my planner. Keep up the beautiful work you do for us!

  • Lynn Williams at

    Absolutely love your abstract art! I’m going to have to look into that online course you mentioned.

  • monica at

    Always happy when I see you have posted. The garden looks lovey and as alway it is fantastic to see you bouquets and glimpses of that kitchen!

  • Landrie at

    This post is a breath of fresh air! I LOVE your studies. I hope you’ll display more of your artwork in your home.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you!!

      xo Michael

  • Linda M. at

    Swiss chard is one of our favorite veggies and I grow lots of it every year. To cook, I slice it in ribbons about 1/2 inch to 1 inch wide (and slice the stems thinly). Sauté with a little bit of olive oil, add some garlic if you are inclined, along with some salt and pepper to taste. It will wilt down much like spinach. Right before you serve drizzle with a cap or two of vinegar (apple cider vinegar is usually what I use but red wine vinegar is good too). Mmm. Enjoy!

  • Vikki at

    Great post Michael. The dahlias are looking great and the best is yet to come. I really enjoy reading about your garden. I have also been trying my hand at painting, both water color and acrylics. I’m no artist but its fun to give it a try and verify I have no talent in that area, LOL. I am applauding your dedication to exercise…bravo!! Stay healthy XXOO

  • Rochelle at

    I know who would call those good – me!! Beautiful work – thank you for sharing. Love all your updates. Thanks for continuing to inspire!

  • Diane at

    Your abstracts are SO good! Love the colors!

  • Anita at

    I LOVE your paintings. and the fact that you’re painting again. If anything good has come from all this covid stuff it’s the time we’re all taking to find ourselves again. Also, thanks for the podcast recommendations. I’ve been looking for some new ones to listen to while sewing. I’ll check these out.

  • Shannon Ables at

    Michael, Good morning and thank you for this post. It really is a different feeling that is hard to describe at times, and your post helped to remind us all we are not alone in feeling this way, I want to thank you for sharing your go-to breakfast again as I have been looking for a no-cook option for the next few weeks. This looks perfect! Eurovision looks hilarious, and I cannot wait to view it this weekend. I need a good laugh. Thank you tremendously for the inclusion of my podcast in your list of recommendations. I am deeply appreciative (quickly, could you add a “ate” ate the end of the spelling? You can erase this part of my comment if you want). Your garden is a haven, and must be bringing you such calm. Thank you for sharing pics of its bounty – wow! The gourds are doing amazing!
    Take care and thank you again very much.😌💛💛💛💛

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry about that. I KNEW that’s how it was spelled. My fingers failed me. Haha. It’s been adjusted. Thank you for taking the time to let me know. Enjoy the breakfast and Eurovision!

      xo Michael

  • Vicki at

    There’s not another blogger I follow that fits my taste as well as you do. I absolutely love everything you post. You have created a gorgeous home. Your artwork is beautiful. And you share your ups and downs with us and keep life real. Never doubt yourself, you are a truly special person.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      You made my day! Thank you so much for sharing this. Sending love your way.

      xo Michael

  • Kristen P at

    Michael, You should seriously make prints of your color studies and sell them. They are gorgeous. And the top one would look perfect in my dining room. I am always impressed with your talent!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Thank you so much! I will definitely do some prints and sell some originals down the road. Maybe in 2021! I want to give myself some time to practice and plays first. But stay tuned!

      xo Michael

  • Lisa at

    I love those paintings! Great color.

  • Rosie S at

    Michael, Your blog is new to me, but you had me at Pittsburgh! Born there and frequent visitor when my mom moved back to the area. What a wonderful discovery you are! Swiss chard is my favorite, but the bunny ate mine this year. I sauté, with olive oil, garlic , onion and seasonings then top a pizza with it. Plenty of cheese goes on top of that! So appreciated your comments about being ok about feeling not ok. Hopefully, life will be all the sweeter on the other side of this experience.

    • Kathy Menold at

      I am very impressed with your garden report. Like others mentioned I found sauteing swiss chard with some garlic and good olive oil was my favorite recipe for using this veggie. We were in a cooperative for a couple of years and chard was prolific.
      Your Dahlias are beautiful. I had some lovely deep pink ones come back this year. I was thrilled but have not had any luck using as cut flowers. Do you have a good conditioning tip for these flowers. Fresh arrangements in the house make everything seem better despite the dire news.

  • Tonya at

    Everything looks gorgeous! I am taking Renee’s class as well. She is such a lovely teacher and artist. Enjoy your summer!

  • liz at

    My grandmother made swiss chard on a weekly basis. She would saute it in garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper. She would also add in slices of hot italian sausage – so good!

  • Rikki at

    I love your blog updates and it is so wonderful to see your garden bursting with beautiful bounty! You obviously have so much talent and put so much love into all your projects. Keep them coming because we love to see what you are creating next!
    p.s. You have a beautiful smile! 🙂

  • Reenie at

    Ohhhh Thx for letting me know that the Chicks had a new CD out. Love them and have seen them twice. Ordered and it will be here tomorrow. (Yes… I still listen to CDs) 🙂

  • Kathy at

    Love your blog. Although you have slowed down on it, you keep everyone tuned in with your little bits weekly. Your kitchen is so beautiful as well as recipes coming from it You are truly inspiring.

  • DBLori at

    You could make a Swiss Chard and Feta Torta. I make one from the Italian American Cookbook by John Mariani and Galina Mariani.

  • Rocio Jimenez at

    Michael, as many have said, I LOVE your blog and I love you. You are such a huge inspiration for me, in lots of ways. Thanks for reminding me that it’s ok to feel anxious, and that we’re not alone. Really appreciate this. <3

    By the way, your color studies are really beautiful, as well as your garden. Keep it up 🙂

  • Rebecca at

    I am taking the same course through Jeane Oliver. I haven’t started yet, but your post reminded me that
    I should start now! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Yes! Yes!! The live instruction has been great along with the videos in the FB group. That ends 8/4, so start ASAP!!

      xo Michael

  • Mary at

    Michael, your vegetable and flower gardens are just beautiful! You will soooo enjoy the benefits of your truly fresh produce!

  • Heather at

    First, your garden looks amazing! I have garden envy. The dahlias are gorgeous. Also, thanks for the Podcast recommendations. I’ve also been walking a lot more and I needed some new stuff! Last but not least, I CAN NOT WAIT for you to start up the fall content. Looking forward to it all. Thanks!!!

  • Lori Ann Dupont at

    Michael— about your art.
    Love. Love, love, love, LOVE.❤️ 👨🏼‍🎨
    Also, thank you for that little blurb on self esteem, emotion, etc. I truly needed that. 💕

  • Teresa at

    Where do you buy your art supplies? I love your blog it’s the best I’ve subscribed to

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Anywhere and everywhere. Haha. If there is interest, I may share more on my art adventure, process, and supplies.

      Thanks!
      xo Michael

  • KC Post at

    OK, I’ll admit that I’m old, what’s the tea mean? I read the whole post and didn’t see tea mentioned at all, did I miss something?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Oops! Sorry about that. I explained it in some of my other “What’s the Tea” posts. It basically means: What’s new?, What’s the Scoop?, What’s the Story?, What’s New?, What’s Happening?, etc. Hopefully that helps!

      Michael

  • Barb at

    Thank you for being so “real” & sharing your personal ups & downs. Sometimes we just need to hear that it’s ok!
    Love your blog, your house & your artistic talent!
    Keep smiling!

  • Sharon at

    Michael, You are a gift to us! 💕 Thank you for the countless hours it takes to create ideas and generously share with us! Most of all thank you for your heartfelt words. You inspire and fill our hearts with joy. ❤️ I love your squash and cukes trellises. Could you share your source so I can replicate in my garden. Love it and love the idea of growing vertical!

  • JenBC at

    Wow! Your garden is beautiful and I know must be a source of great enjoyment. I love that breakfast as well. I have noticed that Face yogurt has one called Tru-blend now that has less sugar as well. I enjoy the Siggi’s as well but apparently so do several others around me and sometimes it is out. The abstract art is beautiful! I painted years ago in water color. I just picked it up again during the pandemic and I am now trying to scratch out time to continue this. Thank you for the joy you bring through your blog.

  • Lisa Mountjoy at

    I started doing a paint by number piece I enjoyed at first but it started stressing me out. Can’t find the right light/magnification to help me see, etc. The line in your post where you said to take a break from things that stress me out spoke to me. I thought it would be nice to have a hobby that was an outlet but you made me realize my hobby is causing me stress instead of relieving it! Maybe abstract is a good release! I love YOURS – the colors are so happy! I hope you find a place to hang them in your beautiful home.

  • Dawn at

    What’s The Tea posts are always so fun! Thank you for sharing all of your amazing ideas, creativity and especially for that final paragraph ~ it’s just what I needed to read. 2020 has been so very hard.

  • John R. Huff Jr. at

    Be sure and get your BUTT in gear, Michael. LOL.

  • Toni at

    If you ever have occasion to get to Mendocino,CA they have some botanical gardens that have the MOST incredible Dahlia area! You’d be in Heaven!

  • PJ at

    Michael, I also have an abundance of chard. I make a chard lentil soup and freeze it in quart jars for winter. It takes very few ingredients: onions, chard, lentils, veggie or chicken broth and lemon juice . You might try that. Thank you for the words of wisdom on handling these crazy times. The long running heat wave has made it hard for me to do much. Stay well please.

  • K~ at

    Michael, Thank you for the In Conclusion, while I loved your garden and artistry endevours,(WOW) the IC spoke to me. Needed to hear that this Monday. Thanks again

  • SoCalLynn at

    I love this post! Your flowers are beautiful and your art is so colorful and vivid, like your flowers! love it!
    We love swiss chard. You can saute it like spinach. If you have a lot, saute a bunch, freeze it in individual servings and use it in soups and pasta dishes later.

  • Tracey at

    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!

  • free fonts at

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free.

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