art + flowers + food + sunshine

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saturday afternoon was spent at the GORGEOUS berridge nursery in phoenix for their 18th annual art in the garden show. this year, my mother-in-law was one of the featured artists so attendance was a no brainer.

fortunately, it was a lovely afternoon. around here, you never know what you are going to get in the way of weather. it could be a total scorcher or a hail storm. april in arizona is strange like that. but saturday was perfect. i got my morning miles in and then we had some breakfast together before attending a birthday party at the park for one of elinor’s friends. the morning was cloudy and cool. there was a delicate breeze. and even though it started to warm up come noon, it was still well within the range of acceptable temperatures for outdoor activities (in case you care: i happen to think that anywhere in the 60-85 degree range is optimal if you are looking for an enjoyable time in the great outdoors. anything cooler can leave you chilled and anything hotter is a tad too sweaty. and of course, sun and clouds and general ambiance factor into this, but there isn’t time to hash that out…).

so, with the sun playing peekaboo from behind wispy clouds and the temps hovering at about 78, we made our way to the nursery for some art and flowers and food and fun.

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the sun was definitely out come 2pm but the clouds would give us the occasional reprieve AND the nursery had a lovely canopy protecting the plants so that made it a few degrees cooler and took the edge off. and aaaaahhhhh, the breeze. that was so nice. ben and elinor and i ended up with some pink on our foreheads and noses and shoulders… but not too much. just a little springtime kiss of color (which ridley avoided? hmmm…maybe he will have an awesome darker complexion). the sun does that to me once a year before i get my arizona act together and apply sunscreen liberally before extended time outdoors. and i just received a new beautycounter spf from my friend lauren so i have ZERO excuses now.

we strolled about the grounds. elinor took off her shoes and found a spot on a bench by mom-mom’s display so that she could dangle her feet and drink the remains of my coffee (which was pretty much 99% melted ice and 1% coffee, at that point). ridley was passed around until he landed on my lap and then, on the ground so he could walk around and flirt with the people passing by. he just wants to go-go-go when we are out and about.

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i admired the botanicals and resisted the urge to buy more plants because, well, i am not the best with those. but we did hit up a few of the local foodie booths for some goods because i definitely know what i am doing there. we went home with two loaves of noble bread and a bottle of iconic cocktail co. tonic. after a bit more browsing and sampling and strolling and sitting and chatting, we packed up to take the crew home for belated (and much-deserved) afternoon naps.

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what a great time. and the late afternoon and evening was spent resting, watching burn notice (warm weather guilty pleasure netflix), enjoying some AC, applying coconut oil and aloe and lavender to our pink spots, and nibbling bread. we listened to music and sipped rosé and played and colored and giggled and let the day slip slowly into night. gosh, it felt good.

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swooning over dmitri podobedov

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there is something about being on the verge of spring that makes ben and i want to redo the walls. freshen things up. move art around. et cetera.

we have a lovely piece of russian art in our home and for the past few years, we have been keeping our eyes open for another to add to the collection. i really enjoy pieces by russian artists. so dark and moody yet vibrant and alive. my eye is drawn to rich tones with pops of color and joy and i often find that in russian art.

after perusing the gallery russia catalogue, ben and i BOTH selected two pieces that jumped off the page to us. and as it so happens, they are by the same painter. AND, AND! they are the same artist that did this dreamy nude (it is the one above, if you aren’t into clicking) a few years ago. that beauty sold before we could bat an eye and i am still kind of sad about that… but, i am delighted that we have found some new loves!

so, not only do ben and i have similar taste in art, we definitely have a type. we seem to be obsessed with dmitri podobedov. swoon. i am truly hoping that we can get our hands on one of his pieces sometime soon.

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i love this piece and it is most definitely a strong contender.

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and then, there is this stunner. gosh, it is amazing. and almost rivals the original nude that i so enjoyed.

the gallery {amy whitehouse paintings}

this post is my braggity-braggy post about my mother-in-law’s fabulous art.  not that i am taking any bragging credit for her art…but i sure can brag about the fact that our house is home to many of her lovely pieces!  we are so honored and blessed to have such beautiful and original works of art in our home.  doesn’t nice art just make you feel all cultured and fancy?  you know that feeling that you get when you are wandering around a museum or gallery…you feel kinda posh and smarter for just being in the presence of such genius.  even if you know absolutely nothing about the complexities or history of art, you can still absorb it enjoy the beauty.

well, we get to live in a gallery of sorts.  our walls happily display some very nice pieces.  and, sometimes when we are over at the whitehouse home just having dinner, we get to go shopping for fresh pieces in amy’s studio.  so cool.  she is always creating something new and allowing herself to be inspired by her environment and the creativity of others.  i love that she responds to God’s creation in such lovely ways.

unfortunately for you, her studio isn’t open for free take-out like it is for us {smiley face} BUT amy has recently taken a few of her vibrant and signature pieces and turned them into gorgeous print reproductions!  now, amy whitehouse creations are accessible for everyone!  if you are looking for something pretty to brighten up your walls…may i suggest that you pick up one of these beauties instead of just buying something mass-produced or generic.  i was able to watch her sign and number each one of these limited editions.  and they are just waiting to be snatched up and given a new home.

sunflower

favorite sunflower

trees

palms at sunset

flowers

sunflower in vase

want to see more?

http://amywhitehousepaintings.blogspot.com/

want to make one of these your own?

amy.whitehouse@me.com

a guest post from amy

today’s guest blogger is amy whitehouse.  she is not just an exceptional artist, she is also mother to my sweet hubby and now, “mom mom” to miss elinor.  i am honored to feature her work on this blog again and let her share some creative inspiration with you.  ben and i are blessed to have many amy whitehouse originals coloring the walls of our home.  if you wnt to be inspired or pick up a new little something to add to your own art collection, check out her site and blog
thank you amy!
For any plein aire painters, you may enjoy the story behind this painting.
My friend Maryann and I had planned to paint together
at an old adobe home site where an acquaintance lives.
We each packed our art supplies, snacks, coffee;
we met early morning as planned, ready to go!
I unpacked my paints, my easel, my turp can, my palette,
and…oh no! where are my brushes?
Yep, forgot the brushes.  However I did have a couple of paper towels,
found a stick on the ground and went to work.
The result is today’s posting
If interested in purchasing this painting please contact me at
For a portfolio look at my artwork please visit
For my art thoughts and creative posts check out my blog

the gallery

this gallery is dedicated to the fall/winter 2012 collection of chinti and parker

i am thinking that a great post-baby gift would be this entire collection.

any takers?  hint. hint. 

is it just me or are these separates practically perfect in every way?  what fun it would be to walk into my closet on a cool, crisp day and mix-and-match these quirky and coordinated classics.  seriously,  i would like all of it.  they are ideal pieces for effortless style.

and i am pretty sure that miss elinor deserves to be held by a mama that is dressed in these super amazing clothes…just sayin’.

dark and dreamy

this room is pretty much close to perfect in my book.  those dark walls.  that supple leather.  that rich wood.  that velvet couch.  the marble fireplace.  that crown molding.  the animal skin rug.  if the picture didn’t cut off mid-room, i’m sure you would see exquisite curtains and grand bookcases.  and do you see those black and white floors in the background?  that makes me think that the rest of the house isn’t too shabby.

i can only hope that this home is somewhere on the outskirts of london.  with green countryside surrounding.  lovely.

hubby, i’m ready when you are!