Hello, hello my friends! A huge, warm welcome to TeaBags And Gardenias! Thank you for popping into a little corner spot in this word that I can call mine – My very own website, my very own little LLC Company, my thankful heart and my HAPPY PLACE! Ahhh, just pinch me!!

Come on in, relax, get comfy and cozy! Pour yourself a cup of tea.

My name is Michelle Leslie Saxon. I was born on October 30, 1966 in Niles, OH.  I am single and do not have any children.

I am a person who, at age 45, re-invented herself.

Yep. I decided I wanted to be an artist and so…I did it.  And this is my story:

On August 29, 2011 my beautiful mom passed away. She wasn’t supposed to. It took us all by complete surprise. She had been ill, don’t get me wrong…But, we had no idea it would end this way. It just simply wasn’t her time. I was her primary care giver. Our roles switched back in 2009. She was my life and my heart. We were Lucy and Ethel!

I wrote this blog back on August 9, 2012. Almost the 1 year anniversary of her passing. (to read more of my writing, click the BLOG tab at the top!)

“Have you ever had one of those times where you feel like you just might bust? I have been having several recently. That feeling of extreme gratitude and happiness? Where you can’t stop grinning and your adrenaline is making your heart leap with joy? It’s been such a long, long time since I’ve had that amazing feeling. Long time. I have felt like I was just existing, getting by and sorta zombie-ish for almost a year now. Losing a parent can do that to you. Losing anyone you love can throw you into a pit that you don’t feel you’ll ever escape from. But, looking back, I can say it has been a journey that has been COVERED in God’s love and GRACE.

People have been asking me, “Have you always been an artist?” (ha ha…artist. Really? LOL) “How long have you been doing this?” Well the answers are NO, absolutely not! And…only 2 months. I have always been extremely jealous of anyone crafty and artsy. My brothers can draw really well, my uncle Dale is an artist, my uncle Paul is an excellent photographer, my Gram is one of the most creative and crafty people I know. My Aunt Mary Ann is crafty and does excellent needle work. As a matter of fact, I think all the males on the Saxon side have the artsy gift. I did not get those genes. I have tried to draw. I even took a class in High School. I think it was “Drawing on the Right side of the brain” or was it LEFT side? Anyhow…I sucked. Bad. I have always considered myself as a person with a “good eye” for things. (Decorating, buying clothes) I read, I can write a bit and I can cook. Oh and I can put on makeup well! LOL! But other than those things, that’s about it. I don’t knit, crochet, draw, paint, and make things out of nothing. I just don’t have the gift. As a matter of fact, I didn’t have the patience for any of it.

BUT what I do have is the ability to learn. To research. To dream and to listen to what I’m supposed to do. This journey began quite honestly on Pinterest. I saw a pin of a “SMASH*book.” I really loved the idea of not having to be precise, neat and artistic to do a SMASH*book. So, like all things, once I decided to try it, I went full force, diving into the world of SMASHING. I loved it! I started a remembrance book for my mom. It was healing. I started a book for myself, I started collecting postcards for another book. I decided to join a facebook group called “SMASH*aholics.” I learned so much! Then one day, a girl posted that video of an artist named Gabby teaching how to create a “She Girl Art” canvas. I watched. I said OMG! I can do this. And the rest is history.

While I don’t really consider myself an “artist” (that sounds so strange and a title that is hard for me to accept. Also it is a tad bit presumptuous.) I am really having some wonderful things happen in that world…

My friend Cheri recently “reinvented” herself. She went to school and now has a totally and completely new career that she worked hard for. I was jealous of her. I wanted to re-invent myself too. Not that I’m unhappy with my career. I am not. I love what I do. I just wanted to do something at 45 that was totally out of character for me, something that I have always wanted to do. This is it!

Some may think I’m being overly spiritual. But you know me. I could care less. I know my mom has made this happen for me up in heaven. I know she is my intercessor and has really looked out for me – God has made me a new person. The Holy Spirit is definitely involved and so are my Mother Mary and my Saints! It’s too surreal to be anything less.

With Gratitude and Grace,


They say that out of pain and heartache come growth and grace. I am living proof of that. I lost my precious mother on August 29, 2011. Out of that tremendous loss I have found an unmatched amount of grace and a brand new artistic me.

The name “TeaBags And Gardenias” is in tribute to my precious mother Kathleen Saxon.

My mom loved hot tea. She took sugar and milk. She also would say “tough teabags!” instead of a curse word! The gardenia is a special flower to us. We loved the smell and the perfection of it. I took a gardenia from one of our bushes to the hospital to try and “smell” her back to us. Needless to say, it didn’t work.

She missed her mother. She mourned her mother with every fiber of her being. She took the pain and turned it into beauty. She tapped into a new love to dull that pain. She paints from her heart in tribute to her mom. She knows her mother guides her hands.

Her mom would be so very proud.