Perfect Christmas… well, almost.

As any mother would say, it is impossible to have a perfect Christmas if you don’t have your kids, but it sure helped that they were being spoiled rotten and in heaven with their El Paso grandparents. As they should be, it is every grandparents’ right to do so. And for the record my kids have four awesome grandparents. I don’t know if it is possible for grandparents to love their grandkids more than my and my ex’s parents. Those kids get good love.

My kids knew I was at the beach for Christmas and they were happy for me. Did I ever mention how much my kids rock? “I hope you are having a good time, mommy.” Noah said to me yesterday. Love those kids. Love em.

Best Boyfriend Ever’s family lives in Florida. Near the beach. Um, did I mention he was PERFECT??? So not only did I make it to a beach for my birthday, I was at the beach for Christmas. We walked along the beach for the last time yesterday. It was windy, but warm enough to walk barefoot. Some crazies even got in the water. I love the ocean, but I draw the line somewhere. The second I can smell the sea air something happens to me I can’t explain. I feel so… at home. At peace. Something deep inside me just sighs with contentment. That is how I know where I will spend the rest of my life eventually. The ocean is waiting for me. A few more years… In the meantime, Christmas was amazing. My boyfriend’s family is really great. I could talk to his mom for hours and hours. She has great stories about the past and of course I never tire of hearing stories about boyfriend’s childhood. He is sweet to listen to them over and over again because he knows how much his mom loves to tell them. Then we got to spend time with a good friend of his from middle school and his wife. Lordy did we have a good time. We just had the best time and I cannot wait to hang out with them again. And I promise to eat more before we do flaming dr. peppers. Dude, they really DO taste like that! The night got a bit fuzzy at the end and I will deny remembering much in the last hour. I said what? Yeah, no, that totally was not me…

Anyway, after the crazy two weeks before Christmas I spent the last 8 days relaxing and refueling. We got some nice long runs in, went to the book store where I got a book NOT on art and business, slept in, took NAPS, and in general just chilled. It was awesome and being at the beach at Christmas with such an amazing man was the best present I could have asked for. I have no idea what I did to deserve someone so special and kind and good to me, but I need to make sure to do it again and again. And to hold on tight to this one. He is for sure a keeper.

Tired. Just a bit. Or a whole lot, but whatever.

I have hardly slept the past few days then yesterday Sophie woke up with a 101 fever. Poor baby girl. She was absolutely miserable. I was so thankful once again for having the life I do. I had already been all set up at home since Sunday night. Every other Sunday or Monday I pretty much bring my studio home to work at home for the week so I can have the kids with me right after school. So I got her on the couch all bundled up, got her some medecine and got to work after getting Noah off to school. For the past four years the week before Christmas is my craziest. I hardly sleep and am painting until 2-3am each night getting christmas presents done in time. Last week any orders to be mailed out had to be done and wrapped to ship this past Monday. This week are the locals left that can come to me to pick them up. My back is aching, my eyes are bleary, but when I see the faces on the people who ordered my art it is like a shot of adrenaline. Yesterday i had to have Soph come up tot he studio with me to deliver to two clients. She was all bundled on the couch and watched as people got their art. Afterwards as we drove to the store to get oj, chicken noodle soup and some more medecine she said, “Wow mama, your art makes people cry they get so happy. That lady sure said a lot of nice things to you!” I just smiled. “I’m really lucky, I guess, to have this job.” I said. “Yep, mama you sure are!”

Then we stopped at the Blockbuster because I had seen one of Sophie and my favorite movies on sale for $3.99 this past weekend. It is Just Like Heaven with Reese Witherspoon. Oh, my god we love that movie! So i got that, we drove home and she had some chicken noodle soup and orange juice and I painted next to her on the couch. Just Soph and me watching one of our favorite girly movies. She kept rubbing her little toes against my back the whole time. At one point she said, “Oh! I’m not making you mess up am I??” “No, Soph, you are making it perfect.” Insert big happy sigh…..

I have two big paintings left and two little ones left. I leave town Friday, so at least I know some sleep is in my future soon. In the meantime, I will leave you with this: When you squeeze a paint bottle that got sealed up at the top and white paint explodes all over your couch and you are just stunned for a minute looking at it and your boyfriend sees you just shocked at the white mess for a minute then snaps you out of it for a second by saying, “WHAT SHOULD WE DO??” Remember that the answer is lots of water QUICK!! Oh, and that when a glob of paint shot up into your hair too, and you just wipe it out quickly with great annoyance with your hand and you forget about it until the next morning even though your boyfriend very kindly suggested washing it out now? You should listen to that advice because hair that has dried with a big gob of acrylic paint is VERY, VERY hard to get out. Live and learn.

Up to my eyeballs in dogs…and a cat here and there.

Myrtle Beach was awesome. The very best part was when best boyfriend took me to the beach before we left. He loves the beach as much as I do. We walked up and down and listened and watched. I never get tired of it. Never get tired of how small it makes me feel and part of something so much bigger than my mind can imagine all at once. So he gave me an awesome birthday. Because he is awesome. And I am gushing. I haven’t gushed in years. So I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

ok, so anyway. I have 5 16×20’s to finsih by Thursday. I accepted one last commission that came in while I was at the beach (in the hotel room a mile away, but whatever) Because he did that crazy thing I can never say no to: offered me money. So I don’t have much time to talk. I need to paint, paint, paint. I was up until 2:30am last night and had two very cute dogs to outline, but was bleary eyed from two boxers in a bathtub. Which turned out kick ass, but last night I was kicking myself for the shower curtain design I chose. I will post a pic. You will understand.

There are a million more things to write about as I watched E! Entertainment Channel ALL DAY last Thursday and my mind is still reeling from how many channels exist out there. Now I know this makes me sound like an Amish girl all out in the big city at 16 and all, but truly? I have not had cable in 5 years, and did you KNOW that you can watch plastic surgery for HOURS at a time, that you can watch gossip channels that is like having Vincenzo, your house boy, read People Magazine aloud to you while you paint? He also brings me wine when it hits the appropriate hour then asks if he can rub my feet while he tells me how clean my house is… oh, um lack of sleep, I got off track. Um, where was I? Oh yes, CABLE=HEAVEN. Ok, need to go paint, but I will be pondering the downfall we all saw, yet no one stopped with Britney and K-Fed, dear god, why didn’t we HELP them? And how DID Tom Cruise get a foot taller than Katie in their wedding photo, and you are RIGHT tomkat’s baby DOES looks asian, and wow, Brad and Angelina really did make the genetically perfect baby, and what will be do if that senator can’t recover and the GOP sways back to the right? (Ok, so I got some CNN in to try to fix some damage.)

Off to paint….Pics coming soon…

Painting at the beach…

Ok, so maybe I am painting at the Fairfield Inn in one mile from the actual beach, but STILL. I have told my children that once Soph goes to college I am off to the beach. I will live by the beach, I will paint by the beach, I will run on the beach. With my dogs who will live forever. YES THEY WILL, SHUT UP. That is the life I will have in the future and it will be good. And right now I am having a moment that is close. Boyfriend called me on Monday and said, “Um, I know your birthday is Wednesday and I promised to take you to a fancy restaurant to wear your fancy dress because we are retards and the last time you wore your fancy pants dress we forgot to take pictures of us all dressed up, but I have a business trip I have to leave for on your birthday.” Yes, he said it just like that. And I was all ?????…. And then he said, “but it is in Myrtle Beach, near the water and maybe you can come and paint there?” And I was all, “OK!!!!” So yesterday I packed up an optimistic number of paintings to get done in one day, went and had lunch with my babies at school, told them I was going to get them some presents from Myrtle Beach (they are with dad this week) and jumped in boyfriend’s car and drove. Can I tell you how much fun I have with this man? We have gone on many a trip now, all driving ones and we have never had to turn on music yet. We just love to talk and if he gets tired he seems to not mind my incessant babbeling, singing, humming and strange habit of randomly reading signs for no reason. And I love to drive his car. He has a very nice german brand car, boy those germans know their engineering, they do!, and I LOVE to drive it. Which is nice, cause he does not like to drive as much as me. But me, after being in my ford contour that has no working radio, the seats mostly don’t adjust, the air only works full blast at a noise level that sounds like you are in a jet when it is on, is mostly full of dog hair and has dog slobber on the windows (yeah I know that is not so much the car’s fault as mine) has a lovely hole in the bumber that people have begun stopping me in traffic to tell me they can fix (yeah, I have money for that) oh and as a side note I have a “Life is Good” magnet right next to it because I love the irony, and as of late it seems to buck like a horse when I drive it over 40 mph. So his car? I LOVE. I drove almost the whole 6.5 hours here. So anyway, we just went down to contintal breakfast and I had me some lovly raisin bran, coffee, oj and toast, took a banana and yogurt up to the room for a snack later and am about to paint while he does computer-y stuff at the office. I have many paintings to do by Christmas, not quite eleventy-million, but close. Eleven, actually, but still. So i need to get started, but I need to tell this one last story. Pay attention, I know I have rambled, but this is good.

So, four years ago I began painting. A few months after I quite my full time job and was painting dogs out the wazoo I began hanging art in local coffee shops to keep the commissions coming in. I got an email from a man that had seen my art and was so excited to get a portrait of their dog Grace for his wife’s anniversary. Well I did that painting and so that his wife would not know about it, I dropped it off to his work (WAY before studio space was even a glint in my eye) I got an email about a week later from a man who had been a coworker of the other guy and had seen my art that day I dropped it off. He had just gotten the cutest puppy in the world and said he LOVED my art and wanted a portrait. Well I told the guy to wait until the puppy got a bit older and her markings were more apparent and to email me back. (Are you people paying attention, the good part is coming.) So of course life happens and said man never writes again. No problem. I lost track of him and he left that company as did the other guy. The guy who actually bought my art moved to Chicago or something so his wife could finish her PhD. Well about a year ago I met this very nice guy through some friends. We got to talking and had a nice time. The next time we saw each other he said, ya know, your name sounded so familiar so I googled you. I wrote you 3 years ago for a portrait! I asked his name and I remembered him as well. “I still have that email! How funny!” I said. So for the next year we were friends and hung out quite a bit. This past July we realized that not only did we adore spending time with each other, but we adored each other. And we began dating. And he is now officially, “BEST BOYFRIEND IN THE WORLD.” Yes, really, he has the statue to prove it. So anyway, last month boyfriend’s company bought out another computer company in Myrtle Beach – why I am here. And here is the small world part – through a series of moves and after his wife got her PhD, the orginal coworker works for the company that just got bought from the company my boyfriend works for. Follow? Go reread if you need to, I’ll wait….Ok….And guess who we are having dinner with tonite??? Yes, I am having dinner with the guy and his wife whose dog I painted 4 years ago. How cool is life?? Yes, it is that cool! And now I must go paint by the beach and remember how super amazing life is and that when some things come full circle you can’t help but be amazed with this thing called life and be so gratefull to wake up each day and see what surprise may be in store for you. Told you it was a cool story…

BIG Holiday Half Price Sale until Friday!

Last week I sent out an email to past clients offering half price commissions that could be completed by Christmas. I filled up just about all of my slots which was great and I am up to my eyeballs in paintings, but for my internet buddies I would like to offer one final half price sale for gift certificates. Now, I know it is not the same as a painting under the tree, but the nice thing about my gift certificates, besides being super cute (see below) is that your loved one gets to pick out their background. Plus they never expire. PLUS you can get them right now for HALF PRICE. I will only offer this until Friday, Dec 15 to make sure they can get into the mail no later than Satyrday. You have to pay by Friday via PayPal or by check or I can now also accept credit cards – which I prefer over Paypal, but I will still accept that too. Now if you call and promise to mail the check I will go ahead and mail it out. I have never, ever been not paid this way because pet lovers are THE most awesome people on earth, so i trust you all. Just promise to mail it by Friday and I will send you the gift certificate.Obviously, call me if you want to pay via credit card so I can get your info.

Ok, so go check out the commissions page, look at all the sizes and prices.

http://www.abeytacreative.com/commissions.html


You can get a gift certificate for half up until Friday. So go! Have fun, splurge and order for yourself! I Will be filling orders as they come in and you can redeem gift certificates right after Christmas, or even before, but I will not be painting after December 22. I will resume January 2. (Now, if anyone HAS to have a painting under the trree for Christmas, I can do one or two rush orders which will not be half price, actually a bit more, but email me if you gots ta have it!!

For questions, please email me at michelle@abeytacreative.com and I can give you my business number to call if you like.
Happy Holidays!

Childhood fantasy… FULFILLED.

Ok, so besides having the most perfect, amazing boyfriend on the planet now, I just had the most amazing day on Saturday with him and the kids. So Sophie is in third grade. The same grade I was in when I got my first Cabbage Patch doll. Ok, all you 30 somethings, do you REMEMBER the madness???? Oh, yes you do. And moms of us 30 something, I can’t imagine the crazyness of trying to get those dolls. My mom, not only managed to get one, BUT THREE. She had three daughters. Have fun with that mom, but the woman did it. I have no idea how, but only now with two kids can I even begin to imagine how hard that was. But boy can I remember getting my Cabbage Patch that Christmas. It was magical. She had brown hair and a blue gingham dress. her name was Deborah Marie. I LOVED that doll. So when Sophie said for Christmas she wanted a Cabbage Patch newborn, I was all, “OK!!!” But my boyfriend, heard it too. And he wanted to not only get it for her, but, ok, are all of you ready to be JEALOUS girls??? He wanted to take her right after he bought it for her to BABYLAND GENERAL. That’s right people! THE HOME OF THE CABBAGE PATCH!!! It is located just an hour or so north of Atlanta. So we went to Toys R Us, and she picked out her new baby, Rebecca Libby, quite the adorable brown haired, blued eyed newborn that matched Sophie’s features, then of course he got Noah a Game Boy Advance game that put Noah into another world for pretty much the next 2 hours and off we went an hour north to Cleveland, Georgia.

So I have to admit, I was as excited as Sophie. BABYLAND GENERAL!!! It was everything I, er I mean Sophie could hope for! It was truly a magical place and everyone played their parts so convincingly that you actually felt like you were in a real baby hospital. We even witnessed Mother Cabbage give birth to a baby boy, Dennis Noah. (I am not sure if my son will ever forgive me for yelling out his name as a name for the new baby in a room full of squealing girls, but I was delighted!!) So here are pictures of one happy mama and daughter. Andf the son who tolerated it because he had the new Eragon game… I added in pics from our lunch in Helen , Georgia later that day. It was a wonderful, amazing weekend. Thank you, thank you, thank you sweet boyfriend for gving such a wonderful gift to my daughter and I. I know it is a day we all will not forget.

A Perfect Day

Today has been one of those days I am so very grateful for. I have been in the studio painting since 9:30am. I have spent the day painting backgrounds for all the commissions I have. A client came in to order a painting for her aunt, an email came in from St. Simons Island for a commission and I have been sending out emails to various magazines and newspapers to try to get more exposure. My cover art was officially accepted by the Chicago magazine and after work I am going to go by the pet store to pick up the Atlanta Dog Life magazine that has an article featuring my art. I am thankful that I am making money doing what I adore. I am working in a magical house that is filled with happy, bright colors. Sometimes I need to pinch myself because life is so good and this gets to be my life. Sure, I still have my panic-y moments when the bills and rent are due, but I am beginning to accept that that is just part of it right now. A few years ago I could not have imagined that this would be my life. That I could have so much and be so fullfilled. I do, however, temper all of this with a part of my life that has been the most difficult. I only see my children 2 weeks out of every month. I share custody with their dad half the time. The road to get to that agreement between us was so hard, so terribly rough, and I cried more in the past two years than I have in my entire life. I never had children imagining that I might not see them every day of their young lives. For every amazing career moment, if my kids are not there to share it with, there is a moment of sadness. Most days I call them each night, they tell me about their day, I tell them about mine. I am so very proud of everything they do and they are proud of their mom. There are moments my love for them consumes me. And on days like today, when my whole world seems perfect, there is a part of my heart that breaks that I will not go home to them tonite. They are the reason I strive to live my life like I do. I want to show them that this life is what we make it, that we all deserve to have what we want and dream of and sometimes it means working harder for ourselves than we have ever worked before. When they figure out what it is they want to do in this life, I want them to not have a moment of doubt in their minds that they can have it, no matter how far fetched or fantastical it may seem. They just have to be willing to work for it and be patient. I miss my babies so much right now, I can’t wait to hear their voices on the phone tonite. Here is my office and how it looks after a perfect day. And the last photo is what I look at a billion times a day and see where my heart is every single moment.