Today I’m sharing a list of the things that I’ve loved, used, and created this month.
So many small things contribute in a BIG way to the overall enjoyment of our lives. For the same reasons that I choose to make paintings about architectural details, I'm excited to share some of the little things that are bringing joy to my summer.
I hope that this curated list of items and ideas will enhance your life and inspire your daydreams.
City Grill for small spaces
Obviously summer is for grilling, but for many of us city-dwellers a big ol' grill is impossible to find room for in our limited outdoor spaces. I picked up this little table-top propane grill from Home Depot and I can't believe how great it is.
The rectangular shape of the grill provides more capacity than more common round grills and this little guy gets HOT yet cools down quickly, which is great for storage . I threw out my charcoal grill and have never looked back. This little buddy would be perfect for tailgating or picnicking too! Pro-tip: start it on the lowest temperature until you get used to the dials or you might end up with charred meat bricks.
Cocoon Dresses - my new kaftan
A few years ago, I realized the sheer brilliance of kaftan dresses for desert dwelling. Their flowy, boxy shape is airy and while I am not even close to a lady who lounges, stylish and relaxed dressing helps sooth my soul while I work in the studio.
This year it was time to give my summer wardrobe a boost and what did I find? Cocoon dresses! Now, it turns out this style of dress has many iterations, and not all of them are something I can get behind, but the cuts with drape and dolman sleeves have a very easy look to them that I adore. The shape is somewhere between a kimono and a tulip dress and the loose fit is great for steamy summer days (and nights). Click the image above to be taken to Natori's gorgeous portfolio of Cocoon Caftans.
Early Girls - Homegrown
I know, I know... This is a no-brainer, but it's the first time I have grown tomatoes in a container because I thought it was impossible. This year, M and I lost a big branch in our tree and with the added sunlight, we thought we should give it a go.
We planted Early Girls and holy smokes do they have incredible flavor! You want to know what the trick is? Fists full of fertilizer. Often. (Forget the organic guano and cotton seed meal and go with the formulated granules. They're a game changer.) And WATER, natch.
I had almost entirely given up on grocery store tomatoes because of their dull flavor but my faith is renewed! I'd invite you over for a tomato sandwich, but I might be a little too greedy for that this year. Let me get it out of my system. Next year! You, me, tomato sammiches. Click the image above to find your perfect tomato.
The scent of happiness
I have this thing for fragrances and Clinique's classic Happy has made a return to my summertime. I also have this thing for reading reviews of perfumes because I'm amazed at the complexities in scents that some people are able to pick up on and put into words. It reads like poetry.
My go-to review site has me thinking I'm mad for loving Happy. Now, scent is a very personal thing as it's affected by individual body chemistry, what you eat and drink, olfactory associations... I have never been able to recommend a scent for someone else, but for me, Happy is summer in a bottle. The scent is a bright pick-me-up on a hot day. Citrus, white florals and bergamot with a slight musk of amber make this fragrance light, friendly and youthful without being powdery.
Patina Vie Bowls & glasses
I stumbled across a set of Patina Vie bowls recently and instantly fell for them. The patterns appeal to my love of traditional warmth meets contemporary design. The line's best color palettes are a little surprising with the use of acidic colors paired with soft grey pastels. The 6" bowls are a versatile size for dining or use in the kitchen and the thin ceramic feels expensive.
Patina Vie is a growing company with strengths in cocktail glasses and ceramics. I'm looking forward to their launch of bedding too. Beautiful stuff! Click the image to be taken to the Patina Vie site.
Hand Painted Garden Umbrella
Did you catch that I recently painted my patio umbrella? The idea sprang from the teepees I painted a couple years ago for Coachella. I was brainstorming other canvas forms I could take a brush to and there it was - an umbrella in need of paint!
It turned out really well and interestingly, is easier to keep clean because the dirt which tends to sink into the canvas, washes right off of the painted surface. I chose a color palette which melds with the surrounding greenery and includes a complimentary brick color which will take me into fall.
Let me know if you would like to commission a painted umbrella for yourself! They add a lot of joyful personality to garden and patio areas. I have a range of patterns and color palettes available. For inspiration, visit my portfolio of painted teepees. All of these would be great on umbrellas!
And saving the best for last: Lulu, otherwise known as Lou.
Lou came to us many years ago. She was a rescue pup from the mean streets of Downtown LA where she was found protecting her litter. I think she lived briefly with a couple other families before us, and boy do those other families have no idea what they missed. Why anyone would pass up spending their days with this sweet, grateful soul is beyond me, but I'm so glad they did!
Early on, Lou earned the nickname "Aylean" because she preferred to lean against us to keep tabs on our every move. I have fond memories of bringing the Christmas tree home in my red truck, with my sister/pup hanging her head out the passenger window. It was as all-American as a scene as could be with an English Bulldog playing a lead role. Lou was quite the party animal: a real champ at entertaining the guests at my Christmas party, and every party we had, really. She always stole the show.
Lou's hearing was shot a number of years ago, and more recently, her sight started to go as well. It never bothered her though. The only times I can recall that she didn't magically greet me at the front door (she must have had a great sniffer) was when she was in the yard digging to China. Boy did she love to dig. And butt scratches... Oh boy, the butt scratches...
Lou left us a week ago... And maaaaaan is it hard. She lived to the ripe old age of 15, which in Bulldog years is practically Biblical. We are so fortunate that she was able to spend her time here with us. I will always remember the weight and size of her body as I hoisted her up for hugs. I'll always remember her smile greeting me at the door when coming home. I'll always recall the sound of her contented snores from across the house. And I'll always remember he wrinkly tail/butt. I know, that seems odd, but Bulldog people know.
I had a funny moment earlier this week when a new wi-fi account showed up on my computer's signal list. That day, my computer mysteriously tried to connect to "LuuLuu." I'm pretty confident LuLu could neither read or write (or perhaps we were spelling her name wrong all these years), nor was she technically savvy, but I'll be darned if she isn't a fantastic communicator. Thank you for sharing time and place with me Lou! I miss you.
Finally, I have some exciting Pearl and Maude news to share with you in the coming weeks. I can't wait!
Have a great week!
Living the Dream
For me, being an artist is more than painting alone in my studio. I am inspired by other artists, off-beat adventures and spectacle. I curate exhibitions, collaborate on large public art installations, am an occasional color consultant and interior designer and sometimes I sculpt. I seem to do a lot of writing, but that's just business. I live an art-filled life. Thanks for coming along for the ride.