Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bottle Brush Tree

I was driving through a nearby neighborhood recently trying to avoid some construction when I discovered a beautiful bottle brush tree.  The sight of it made me turn around to get some photos.

I've seen bottle brush as shrubs and bushes but I don't think I had ever seen one that was a full grown tree before.

What a beautiful tree it was!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Building a Mountainside Mansion

I was driving around on Camelback Mountain recently a came across this construction site for building a new home on the side of the mountain.  You might think that where that fence is located is going to be where the home goes, but look closely above where all that equipment is located.  They are using some large and heavy equipment to level out a place for what will be built there.

Perhaps it will look similar to this one located nearby.  One thing is for certain, it will be impressive and expensive.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


I asked this fellow what he had done to get himself kicked out of the Phoenix Art Museum.  He didn't answer me.  He just sat there looking rather forlorn.

This statue by artist Nathan Mabry used to sit in the contemporary gallery.  The piece is called Two Vessels (Unpacked) but, I couldn't find any information that gave an explanation of that name.

He was recently moved to a position just outside the entrance to the museum.  When I saw him there I thought he looked a little unhappy about the new location but judging from this older photo inside the museum, he wasn't in the best of spirits there either.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Cycling Painter

I saw this cute little mural painted on a wall in old town Scottsdale.  There is no signature on it so I can't attribute to any artist.  It looks like this fellow is carrying a paint can so maybe it's a sort of self portrait.  I'm not sure why but, it makes me think of Charlie Chaplin for some reason.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Jewels You Can Eat

Do you remember those gorgeous chocolates that I featured on my blog two years ago? 

That chocolate maker recently opened of retail store of his own in the Scottsdale Old Town area and yesterday was the grand opening.  When I heard about the grand opening I made a point of putting it on my calendar so I wouldn't miss it.

I'm so glad I went.  I got to meet Jason Wasser, the founder and chocolate maker.  And, to top things off, they sell beautiful pastries as well as those gorgeous chocolates.  Jason is holding one of his creations in the photo to the left.

I read that Jason has a degree in molecular biology and has used that knowledge to learn how to make exquisite chocolates and desserts.  Now that is putting a science degree to delicious use. 

As you might guess, I brought some home with me and I'm thrilled to know where I can go to get a really spectacular dessert.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm visiting one of the historic California missions.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Saturday Odds and Ends

Saturday seems like a good day to post a few more odds and end shots from my files.  Above is a pretty lamp I saw hanging against a wall surrounding a house.

This one is taken from my balcony looking at a neighbor's balcony that is overflowing with plants.  What a petty sight!

A friend and I had dinner last week at a great little pizza place called Craft 64.  We ordered the caprese salad and I loved the way it was served like a whole tomato sliced with the fresh mozzarella inserted between the slices.  It was every bit as delicious as it looks.

Here's a silly shot I took with my cell phone at dinner with friends last week.  One of those spot lights that businesses use to light a room was shining right over the top of the pepper shaker and creating those dots of light inside the shaker.  Sometimes I just can't stop myself from snapping a shot.

This last one is also a phone shot so it's not the best.  All I had with me when I spotted the full moon over Camelback Mountain was my cell phone.

Just another set of observations along the way!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Contemporary Art Exhibit

I went to the Phoenix Art Museum last weekend to see an exhibit I read about in the Museum's monthly newsletter.  It's called "Any Moment Now" by Brazilian artist Valeska Soares.

It was a wide-ranging exhibit of pieces she has created over the past 20 years.  Some of it looks like collections of items that she has accumulated, but the purpose is to trigger memories in the viewer.  And this glass collection did just that for me.  I was suddenly remembering things I had seen in the homes of family friends and relatives.

This room was rather fun.  Each one of those light bulbs in the ceiling had a pull chain that went all the way to the floor creating a sort of beaded curtain.  Visitors were encouraged to walk through the beaded curtain and pull the chains to turn the lights on and off.  On the other side was another collection, this time of a variety of headboards for beds.

I enjoyed this one very much and will probably visit it again before it's gone.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Air Bee & Bee

Just outside the butterfly pavilion at the Desert Botanical Garden is a series of "bug houses" for us to admire before we enter the pavilion.

This one is called the Buzz Inn, an air bee & bee.

The use of pesticides to control the "bad" bugs has killed more than it originally intended and the bugs that keep our ecosystem healthy have been suffering.  Many gardens around the world have taken to making safe havens for the bugs that are so important to our plant life.

So just like those little "free libraries" that are popping up everywhere, don't be surprised if you start seeing these attractive little bug "hotels" around town too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spring in the Desert..... feeling a lot like summer.  While it's been unseasonably cold in some parts of the globe this spring, it's been unseasonably warm here in the desert.  About 10 degrees warmer than it should be this time of year.  So if I want to take a walk at the Desert Botanical Garden, I need to get there early. I'm glad I was there early this last weekend to see the palo verde trees blooming and making a canopy of yellow to walk through.

I also saw the Chinese Wisteria blooming and I snapped a photo because it won't last much longer with the temperatures so high.

And I really liked this bougainvillea bonsai.  For a plant whose growth is difficult to control, seeing a bonsai version makes it patio perfect.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Orchid Show

I read about an orchid show that was going to happen last weekend and I thought I might get some good photos so I stopped by.  Wow, did that ever turn into a challenge.  The show was in a big green house building that was dark inside.  Add to that, the air conditioning wasn't working so they had fans blowing all around which of course made all the flowers move with the breeze.  I took some 60 photos and only about 10 survived the editing process.  The orchid above was my favorite.  I just love the unusual look of it.

The small ones above were very pretty as were the pink, prize-winning one to the left.

These enormous blooms surprised me.  I don't think I've seen any big ones like this before.  Of course the flowers came in all sizes from these that were about 4 to 5 inches across to teeny-tiny ones, smaller than my pinky finger tip.  The crowd there was interesting too.  There were some real die-hard enthusiasts among the viewers.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Unexplained

One of the apartments where I live is undergoing a bit of remodeling so this portable dumpster has been sitting in the parking area to collect the debris.  One evening last week when I returned home, this fellow was sitting on top looking rather desperate.  It appears to be inflatable but I have no idea what it's supposed to represent.  It looks like it's begging for someone to save it.

Its cries for help didn't work.  When looking down on the dumpster from above, it appears the orange blob has succumbed.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Return of the Malachites

I went to the Desert Botanical Garden last Friday for a walk and I almost didn't visit the butterfly pavilion.  I had been there twice before and I was thinking I didn't need to go again but, at the last minute I changed my mind.

Boy, am I glad I did.  They had just released a batch of malachite butterflies, one of my favorites.  They don't always show up in the spring butterfly show and it's been years since I've seen any of them.

Even though the pavilion was a bit crowded and these green beauties tended to be in some difficult spots, I managed to get several shots of them.

The last time I photographed these delicate creatures was in March of 2010.  The photo I took then still hangs on my living room wall and became my "photo of the year" on January 1, 2011.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I drove 70 miles to see an art exhibit and it was wonderful.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Life and Death in Pompeii

Last Friday I went to the Arizona Science Center to see an exhibit called Pompeii the Exhibition.  I was truly impressed by what I saw.  The exhibit was designed to take the visitor back in time to August 24, 79AD, the day this city was frozen in time and buried for 16 centuries.

One of the things that impressed me the most were all of the artifacts on loan from the Naples National Archeological Museum that were totally in tact.  There were statues and sculptures, pottery and jewelry all looking as if they were brand new.  This statue was found in a wealthy person's home and would have been the center of a fountain similar to how it is depicted here.

These statues of a man on the left and Caligula on the right were found in the city buried in ash and debris.

These sculptures were very impressive.  It depicts two dogs attacking a wild boar.  It was the main sculptural feature of a garden water basin, one of the most elaborate found in the ruins of the city.

This beautiful gold necklace and earrings looked like you could pick it up and put it on and it would look every bit as fashionable today as it was 2000 years ago.

At the end of the exhibit, visitors went into a theatre where a short video gave us the look and feel of being engulfed by the explosions from Mt. Vesuvius.  The floor shook and stage smoke filled the room giving us all a brief, but safe way to experience what happened.  It was very well done.  After the video we moved into the last room of the exhibit where a few plaster casts of some of the bodies that were discovered buried in the ash were on display.  Those casts really gave you a feel of the suddenness of what happened and how so many people died from the gases and smoke as they were trying to escape what was happening.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Spring Flowers

A week ago I had some photos of the butterflies from the Desert Botanical Garden's spring butterfly exhibit.  Today I have just some of the flowers that are planted inside the pavilion for the butterflies to feast on.  One of my favorites is the Gazania.  I love these radiant flowers with the stripes.  They make me think of tigers when I see them.

There were also quite a lot of cape daisies inside the pavilion and the butterflies seemed to love them.  I really like the colorful centers of these daisies.  The purplish color makes a great contrast against the yellow petals.

This plant had a familiar look to me but they were marked with a name I had never heard before.  They were labeled "Blueberry Taffy" a type of penstemon.

I'll end with another group of gazanias planted around a tree trunk.  These flowers make me smile!  

Thursday, April 5, 2018

House #4 on the Garden Tour

The last house on the garden tour was also located in Paradise Valley and it had some wonderful views looking north.  The property is on a hillside so the yard is terraced with the house on one level and the pool and guest house on a lower level.

A unique white teepee was situated on the lawn to the side of the house.  The teepee was furnished with bean-bag chairs and made a fun place to sit or play games.

The pool area looks upward toward the main house and is surrounded by natural desert plants. When the owners bought this house in 2010, the property was covered with non-native plants so they had all of those plants taken out and returned the property to it's natural desert growth.

That's the end of my photos from the Desert Botanical Garden's 2018 Private Garden tour.  I really enjoy seeing these fabulous homes and their stunning landscapes.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

House #3 on the Garden Tour

The third home on that Desert Botanical Garden's private garden tour is an architectural gem in Paradise Valley. The striking concrete block building materials reminded me of some of Frank Lloyd Wright's designs.

The garden was redesigned in 2012 with a very natural desert landscape by designer Brian Kissinger. Brian was there on the grounds and it was a pleasure to meet him and hear about the different plants and design obstacles he encountered.  I admired this gorgeous saguaro in the center of the yard.

In the background of this photo, you see a building with a deck on top.  This section of the house was recently added as a studio for the owner's art work.

In the  photo above we see the artist at work in his studio with that wonderful desert view in front of him.  The artist and owner of the home is Chad Little and to the left is one of his wonderful paintings.

Mr. Little paints a lot from vintage photographs and I enjoyed seeing the paintings in his gallery.  They had a certain nostalgic feel to them.  If you would like to see more of his work click here.  You also see more peeks into his studio.