Tuesday, March 31, 2009

PRATESI SALE TODAY @ IDEELI


Italian luxury linen purveyor Pratesi is known for their superior quality and style. They are a fourth generation family business started in 1906 in the hill country of Tuscany. They have mastered the art of weaving choice Egyptian cotton in Italy into their trademark exquisite linens. The good news is that Pratesi is on sale NOW at ideeli, along with countless other designer deals! Join ideeli now for free, using this link, exclusively for Annechovie readers: www.ideeli.com/invite/annechovie

ideeli is the first invitation-only shopping community. They create daily online events that provide their members with the ideal shopping experience: privileged access to the top brands and experiences, often at prices up to 80% off.Recent sales have featured brands like Oscar de La Renta, Christian Lacroix, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, D&G and have recently expanded into Home Decor.

JONATHAN ADLER DOES HAPPY

One thing I like about Jonathan Adler is his somewhat unserious and light-hearted translation of the classics. I really like this needlepoint cushion featuring a preppy ribbon belt motif. I love all of the color. He also has a men's necktie version that is equally colorful and charming. Either would look fantastic as a lively complement on a white or solid-colored sofa or chair. You can peruse the cushy options here!

Monday, March 30, 2009

GOOD REMINDERS

Sometimes, in this rushed and often stressful life, it's a great thing to be reminded that,"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." It all matters!

I hope that you have a very good start to your week! This framed print is available now here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

SOMEBUNNY DIFFERENT


There is something about chocolate bunnies that still attracts me. When I was little, I remember the thrill when my uncle gave me a 10 inch chocolate bunny for Easter. There was something so magical about the pastel colored foil and the dark chocolate. It seemed like SO much chocolate and I nibbled it down, little by little, savoring every bit of it. When you're a kid, you are oblivious to the difference between good quality chocolate and the drugstore, filler-laden variety that I am sure would make me gag now. Here are some bunnies by Vosges - Haut Chocolat that have some serious pizazz - they have the eye-candy factor down, but their products also taste as good as they look. No post-munch remorse or nausea here. Pictured above is the Barcelona Bunny - it includes milk chocolate with smoked almonds and a dash of sea salt. There's also a "Gianduja" Bunny, "Amalfi" and "Red Fire" as well. I think the Easter bunny favors these for not only the little people, but for the folks who, sadly, don't usually get Easter baskets anymore......available here.
Hope you have some beautiful Spring weather this weekend and can get out there and enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

EMMA SILVESTRIS AND THE PARADOX OF ANCIENT SYMBOLISM IN "MODERN" DESIGN

Alessi's Mediterraneo fruit bowl

Canister set - Mediterraneo by Emma Silvestris

Today, I am excited to present a terrific guest post from hip site Allmodern.com


Modern designers, and particularly creators of contemporary furniture, are, in most instances, driven creatively by the need to remain on the cusp of “cutting edge” design trends, or even to redefine the meaning of what is modern. While this has certainly created some innovative lines, I tend to admire more the designers who can mould traditional object, designs or symbols and recast them in a modern form.

The best example of this phenomenon is Alessi’s Mediterraneo line, designed by Italian artist Emma Silvestris and unveiled in 2005. In this collection, we see toothbrush containers, soap dishes, wall hooks, and other vanity containers molded or imprinted with a free-flowing design that is inspired by marine plant life. But while the design strongly resembles the organic, sinuous form of coral or kelp, Silvestris adds enough quirks along with soft silver and red tones to give the design a more curvaceous, friendlier appeal. What we see in the end is a design that is familiar, but divergent enough to stand out, no matter the design of the room.

Perhaps this can attributed to Silvestris’ background, which is somewhat different from other designers. Born in Salerno, Italy in 1962, she went to college to study Art History and Foreign Literature and spent some time teaching before entering the design world in 1990. Throughout all of her designs she is known for using timeless geometry and symbolism to create a new form of modernism.

This style stands out especially at Alessi, a modern household design firm whose best known designer is New Modernist Philippe Starck. However, the contrasting effect works to its benefit, making the items of the Mediterraneo Collection excellent complimentary pieces for nearly any modern bathroom or kitchen. Sometimes by looking toward the past truly can do design wonders for any modern d├ęcor scheme.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

STRIPED FOR SPRING


This colorful little clutch by Miseli caught my eye....it's on sale NOW at ideeli for just 34 more hours, along with countless other designer deals! Join ideeli now for free, using this link, exclusively for Annechovie readers: www.ideeli.com/invite/annechovie

ideeli is the first invitation-only shopping community. They create daily online events that provide their members with the ideal shopping experience: privileged access to the top brands and experiences, often at prices up to 80% off.
Recent sales have featured brands like Oscar de La Renta, Christian Lacroix, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, D&G and have recently expanded into Home Decor.

Monday, March 23, 2009

ELKINS CHAIR SILHOUETTE COLLAGE

Welcome to the first official week of Spring!

This is an new addition to my shop. An entirely hand made collage, not a print. This collage features a white, intricately hand-cut silhouette of a classic Frances Elkins designed chair on a luscious lilac colored background. It's triple-coated with a clear and non-yellowing protective coating. Very strong graphic quality. Sort of what I'd call neo-traditional pop art. Work is mounted on an 12 x 16 gesso board, ready for framing or even perfect on its own!

Limited edition piece signed and numbered by me on the back. Click here to shop!

Friday, March 20, 2009

IT'S NOT JUST FOR MOLLUSKS ANYMORE.....


Photo courtesy of pointclickhome

Now available: shell habitats for humans. You don't have to be a slimy little creature who carries your home on your back to inhabit a shell. This errr....custom beauty is an actual home located in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. What do you think? Nice little place to "conch" out at the end of the day or a serious aesthetic infraction? You've got to admit, it's NOT generic. I guess it's a sort of modern-day Mexican take on the idea of the architectural "folly" popular in Europe a couple of centuries ago.

I hope you all have a fantastic and restful weekend!

P.S. The pun police will be issuing a warrant for my arrest, I know.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

JILL STUART AND THE "IDEELI" LITTLE BLACK DRESS

One of many beautiful designs by Jill Stuart, available by invitation on ideeli, starting TODAY! Many are just off-the-runway styles at up to 72% off.


Looking for the perfect little black dress by a top-notch designer AND at a terrific price? Look no further. Join ideeli now for free, using this link, exclusively for Annechovie readers: www.ideeli.com/invite/annechovie
Jill Stuart Sale starts TODAY!
ideeli is the first invitation-only shopping community. They create daily online events that provide their members with the ideal shopping experience: privileged access to the top brands and experiences, often at prices up to 80% off.
Recent sales have featured brands like Oscar de La Renta, Christian Lacroix, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, D&G and have recently expanded into Home Decor.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A GOODE TIME WITH SUNNY

Me with Artist, Designer, Author and Entrepreneur, Sunny Goode.

A few years ago I saw Sunny Goode and her work featured in a magazine and was immediately taken with her gorgeous colors and unique designs. Then, last year, I wrote a feature on Sunny and her company here on Annechovie. Much to my surprise, I received a very kind email from her and was then able to interview her in depth for a follow-up post. I was excited when, just last week, I had a chance to meet her in person when she came to town with her beautiful family. We had such a great time chatting, that before we knew it, a couple of hours had passed and we had to break up the fun. Sunny is not only lovely AND talented, but extremely warm, down-to-earth and fun. If you haven't seen her site and blog, you have got to check it out!

Sunny's charming shop in Richmond, VA. You can also shop direct via her website

.

Sunny is known for her innovative ideas and products, pairing gorgeous colors with hip designs.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PATRICIA!

Happy Birthday, Patricia. I hope this year takes you to new heights!

I would like to wish a very happy birthday to my friend, fellow artist and blogger, Patricia van Essche! Patricia is one of those unique people who has a special gift for befriending, advising and nurturing the people in her life - whether that be her family, friends, colleagues or neighbors. She is a woman who manages to somehow keep a million things going at the same time, all the while keeping tabs on those important to her. I hope this day will bring you many special moments, some pampering and at least a fractional realization of how much you are loved and appreciated by those whose lives you touch.

Monday, March 16, 2009

ARTIST'S PORTRAIT * LISA PORTER

Adobe by Lisa Porter

I'd like to introduce a new friend of mine, the lovely Lisa Porter, who also happens to be a blogger and accomplished artist. Lisa took some time out of her busy schedule to share more about herself and her work, as well as send along a few samples of her exquisite watercolors.

"Annie"

What is your earliest memory of being involved in the creative process?
My earliest memory of wanting to explore watercolor was in 5th grade. I had a wonderful art teacher, Mrs. Ellis.
On a hot Arizona afternoon she invited our class to her home for a pool party. We arrived in swimsuits, only to find an empty pool without a drop of water. Always the teacher, Mrs. Ellis supplied us with brushes and watercolors and the freedom to paint whatever our little 5th grade hearts desired. Our palette was the inside of her pool.
She had always told us that it was ok to color outside the lines.

"Ashland"

Where are your roots and who influenced you most artistically?
I’m a native Texan, born in Lubbock and raised in Arizona. I’m an only child with a talented family history. My father and uncle were both wonderful designers and architects. When I was a teen, I remember sitting in my room for hours drawing floor plans for my very own, grown-up dream house.
My mother has always had classic style, sophistication, and a keen eye when it comes to fashion and interiors. My grandmother had beautiful taste and was a collector of fine antiques. I consider my desire to create and surround myself with beauty a gift from all of them.

"Sister"

"Collier"

Do you have a
favorite book?
My favorite book is "You Are Special" by Fred Rogers. I grew up watching Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood in the 60’s.
When my children were babies, we were living in southern California and I took them to his book signing in Newport Beach. They had no clue who he was but I was practically in tears when he greeted us. He extended his hand, was quiet and kind and spoke directly to my children. He told them, “You both are special, your mom knows it and now so do I.” This book is full of memories and wisdom for me as a child and as a parent.
I guess that’s why my favorite subjects are children. I like to paint what I know and am familiar with. It’s my way of acknowledging and preserving what is so important to me. I like to step back, and quietly, from a distance, capture what is close to their heart. Many of my pieces are simply glimpses into an everyday moment of a child.
The architect in me also enjoys painting the many layers of a beautiful home. I like to examine the medley of colors and texture found in wood, stone and lush gardens surrounding a residence.

"Pool"

What inspires you most as an artist?
My greatest joy is when I am approached by a client for a commission. I consider this to be both a privilege and a compliment.
Being an artist gives me a chance to look deep inside and remind myself that I have so much to be thankful for and so much to give back. Always mindful of my family’s needs, homeschooling two teenagers, managing a busy house with four different schedules, and maintaining the gardens is just one side of my busy life. Doing a watercolor brings my life to a quiet, calm pace. It gives me a chance to focus on only one thing. This is the healthy balance that I need which translates into wellness for me and my family.


"Hug"

Which artists have inspired you the most?
Many artists have inspired me over the years. Many of them are not widely known. When I was a college student in Austin Texas, I worked part-time for an artist by the name of Robin Roberts. Robin is well-know for her watercolors of the Texas hill country. I did all of her framing and on weekends assisted her with her shows. She became a close friend and mentor. As a bonus, she generously supplied me with paper, brushes and endless encouragement. She taught me how to use watercolor. I have one of her pieces hanging in my home in Lexington.
My uncle was also a fabulous artist. He never knew how much I was influenced by his work. His bold use of color caught my eye, however, the fact that he would paint only what he loved and wanted to display privately in his own home, influenced me even more. He taught me to paint what I loved, not what I thought others would want to see.

"Tucson"

What is your favorite vacation destination?
Since we currently live in Kentucky, my favorite destination is out west to be with friends and family. That means, Arizona, La Jolla and Del Mar California and Texas. I always seem to gravitate back to the beach though. It calms me.

"Run"

Favorite shop?
Don’t you mean shops? Well let’s see….Williams-Sonoma, Seaside Home La Jolla, Rodger’s Gardens in Newport Beach, and I cannot live without Target.
Most visited links?
Well, of course Annechovie. It was you Anne, who inspired me to show my watercolors in a current, daily dose, kind of way. Your kind comments and encouragement mean so much, especially coming from such a talented artist as yourself.
I also like to stop by and put my feet in the sand at Velvet & Linen, and Beach Bungalow 8. We used to live in Manhattan Beach and I miss it terribly. My other stops include stalking Joni at Cote de Texas because, well, I’m an impassioned Texan. Lately I’ve been getting up and having my morning coffee with Patricia Gray and some of my lovely new Australian friends. I love to peek over The Laurel Hedge, and at Gardens by Coty Farquhar. A new fun place to see what the young set is up to is over at According to Nina.
Blogging has opened up a whole new world for me. I am so pleased to have found and visited with so many warm, friendly, funny, and talented people. It is always a refreshing way to start the day.

Thank you so much, Lisa, for this peek into your life and studio! Be sure to visit Lisa's blog here!

Friday, March 13, 2009

IN THE PINK.....


I am not one for piling on the cushions, however, I spotted this here and had to post it. Isn't it beautiful? I hope everyone has a truly wonderful weekend. See you on Monday!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

TILLY FROM DALLAS

My latest subject, a winsome Dallas, TX pooch by the name of Tilly. I don't have any pets myself, so painting all of these adorable dogs is having an effect on me and there may be a day when I actually adopt one for myself! If you have a beloved pet you'd like immortalized or know of someone who does, please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

THE FABULOUS-NESS OF ETSY

I thought these "Scrabble letter" pillows were very chic. Available here at Pillowhappy

I love ETSY. I am not just saying that because I happen to have a shop on it....it is an amazing place. Where else can you peruse the wares of so many artists and indie crafters from your armchair or bed? You can find just about anything on Etsy, from art to housewares to jewelry to pet accoutrements. And all handmade - straight from the artist to you. No middle man, no sweatshop-guilt-tainted merchandise. Just the good stuff. AND you are supporting independent artists and crafters. Feel like a magnanimous patron of the arts and shop ETSY today!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

I SPY.......

My Worcester Porcelain Ginger Jar print on Anna Spiro's office wall art cluster.

My Courtney Barnes Chair and Ikat Chair in the guest bedroom of this blogger


Beth Connolly of Style Redux has a lovely little corner to write her new blog. How fun to spot the pink canvas version of my Royal Worcester Jar painting propped up on her counter.
One of the best things about sending off my work to clients and customers is hearing that they are enjoying it in their homes. Sometimes people will send me photos or post them on their blog and it always makes me smile. So nice to know that something I've put my heart and soul into can travel so far away and make someone's surroundings a little bit brighter!

Friday, March 6, 2009

CAPTURING THE CLOSET

One of my most favorite clients from Boston recently commissioned me to capture her mother's fabulous closet. It contains a charming sitting area and desk, as well as the clothes storage and dressing area you would expect. All is mirrors and marble and lit from above with recessed lighting as well as a very elegant chandelier. A wonderfully elegant place for a lady, but also a special setting for private mother-daughter conversations that will be cherished for a lifetime. I feel so privileged to be able to work with many wonderful clients who allow me into their "private world" to capture with my brush the things and places that make their life unique. For more information on commissions, please feel free to contact me here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

DOMINO INSPIRATION CONTEST

If you are a fan of the sadly defunct Domino magazine or have traces of inspiration from Domino alive and well in your own home, why don't you enter the The Domino Inspired My Home Contest on We Love Domino? Up until 11:59 EST on March 15th, you can submit pictures of your home, (either a whole room, or a vignette (a slice of a room). Your entry will be posted on We Love Domino. Finalists will be chosen by judges and then the readers of We Love Domino will vote. Winners will be announced on Monday, March 23rd!

There are some pretty cool prizes being offered, including: The Domino Book of Decorating, Simon Doonan's "Eccentric Glamour", Ty Pennington's "Good Design Can Change Your Life", the book "Sheetrock and Shellac", and a selection of gift cards to Goodwill (or their favorite local thrift store). There will be 6 total winners because there are two categories--Whole Room and Vignette--and three winners within each category, so your odds are definitely not bad at all! What's stopping you from having your entry posted? Go for it!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

TIFFANY BLUE WEEKEND PROJECT

Sometimes all it takes is a little paint......

a somewhat lackluster and worse-for-wear cube shelf from West Elm

and VOILA! A new "frame" to showcase your favorite tschokes. A mini gallery.
The color does not show up well in these photos, but I was aiming a shade or 2 lighter than a "Tiffany box" blue and this came out just right for me - a rarity with paint colors. Recession or not, I am all about transformations with the existing. It can be so gratifying when it comes out well! Do you have anything laying around that just needs a little "face lift"?

Monday, March 2, 2009

SPRING IS IN THE AIR!

Visiting my local nursery really put a SPRING in my step. OK, cheezy pun. Forgive, please?
I really liked this bench - the color and shape are refreshingly un-generic and downright perky!

Although a bit cliche' at times, I still like bonsai, namely the blooming varieties and the violet-blue containers you can put them in. However, I am not much for the pot-bellied little mud figures with straggly beards that some people add as mini "yard-ornaments" to clutter up the bonsais. Seems kind of like an oriental version of the gnome, albeit in more muted hues. I'll pass.

Ok, I did not snap these because I considered them, well, errrr......attractive. Quite the contrary. Squirrels are a sort of long-running nemesis of mine, and actually paying money to acquire fake, plastic squirrels is a "beyond the ridiculous" thought for me. (M.S., if you happen to be reading, this is for you. Wink, wink.)

This huge bougainvillea standard would look SMASHING in a colorful pot.

Talk about texture and variety, the range of cacti and succulents out there amazes me. I think I would enjoy having a little collection at some point. Is this a sign I am approaching middle age?

I love wandering around a nursery, checking out the plants and all the outdoor landscaping accoutrements. Fires up the Spring fever.

This place had some eye-catching pots and those terracotta pedestal lanterns would look so cool at night with a big, fat candle placed inside. Even indooors, for that matter.

Orchids are always a great value for color and longevity.

Fountains fascinate me. This place had a vast array and the sounds of the water movement always has a calming affect on me. I thought of Courtney when I spotted the pagoda fountain.

The containers and pot department held an endless variety of styles and colors. Many of the pots pictured here are manufactured in Germany and I also noticed some from the same maker at my local SuperTarget. The colors are fabulous!

More pots..........and the delightful crunch of pea-gravel under my feet.

and yet more.......

Even though we don't exactly have four distinct seasons here in South Florida, there is a palpable difference, even though it may be slight. The days grow longer, the Ocean starts to warm up, certain plants and trees start blooming again. I do seem to get a certain, milder version of Spring fever and my local nursery/garden center is a place I love to visit.
I know, I know, I almost feel guilty for not having had to brave a brutally cold Winter or shovel any snow. There is a part of me, perhaps a holdover from growing up in a harsh climate, that gets excited when Valentine's day has passed and all of the Spring-y Easter merchandise is put out on the store shelves. It's reminiscient of the thrill of feeling the strengthening sun on your skin or inhaling the heavenly scent of hyacinths and crocuses blooming. The same kind of thrill my brother gets when pitchers report to Spring Training and the first game is broadcast. A promise that a long, harsh Winter will soon come to an end. Now, in my case, it may be some kind of internal, seasonal clock that is set, regardless of the fact that I now reside in a tropical climate and never have to wear boots or gloves. Something happens to me. I somehow have a renewed interest in savoring meals outside, shopping for flowers and plants and getting my hands in the dirt again. For all of you who have to wait still longer, I take off my hat to you.
Ye have endured and ye SHALL be rewarded! Spring IS just around the corner!
 
http://clickserve.cc-dt.com/link/click?lid=41000000028477615