My mother is impossible to buy gifts for. Last night to dinner, I wore a scarf I gave her one year for Christmas. “You obviously liked it. You’ll wear it more than I would. You keep it.” Another year I bought her nice hand cream. The woman loves rubbing cream into her hands. A year later I saw the tube sitting on her bathroom counter, untouched. “Don’t you like it?” I asked. “I love it. I just don’t want to use it up.” I bought her another one so she’d know there was plenty of hand cream in her future. She kept that in her car console, also untouched. Her standard line regarding gifts has always been, “I can afford to buy myself anything you can afford to buy me. Make me something instead.” And so I decided to make her this online album. We’ve spent the last two mother’s days together at my friend Andre’s home in Venice, California. Andre is a landscape designer, floral designer, and artist. His garden, which I call Andre’s World, is a work of art, and one of my favorite places on the planet to spend an afternoon. So until I can afford to buy you something she can’t buy yourself, Happy Mother’s Day!
Portrait of me and my mother, Phyllis, in Andre’s World. Rufus: “Are you my mother”
In Andre’s World, everything is just so.
My mother and Andre have a special bond. She thinks everything he does is perfect. Right now she is probably admiring the way the gravel is arranged. “That Andre!” she exclaims every time sees something creative that he has done, like… everything that he does.
Andre’s sister, Anita, arrives bearing gifts. I love all the bright balloon-like colors.
Anita and her son, Aaron. Notice the JACK art piece in the background. Andre made that out of used coffee cups, mostly from Intelligentsia, to honor his late father, Dr. Jack Jackson.
My mother and her favorite, least demanding, and least expensive child, Willie.
- Anita doesn’t seem to have a hard time resisting Willie’s begging.
Andre’s mother looking at his inspiration board. No pinterest here, but real live push-pins. I feel honored to be included on this board.
A bulletin board in Andre’s studio (not to be confused with his “painting studio” displaying objects of nature, found in nature.
Andre sets the table. “That Andre!
Andre’s lovely mother, Doris, seems happy to carve a ham, even on “her” day.
Mother and daughter, Anita and Doris in Andre’s chic black kitchen.
Phyllis sneaks into the painting studio.
Andre’s painting studio is a separate little light-filled room in the middle of his garden, separate from the studio, which is separate from the main house.
Clearly she wants this painting. Maybe next mother’s day!
God is in the details.
Andre gets creative with seating alternatives.
Such a pretty table. The table itself Andre had made out of a jacuzzi he dismantled. You can see the holes where the jets were. That Andre!
Lunch. Andre had to get really creative with the seating.
Rufus awaiting opportunities under the table.
Andre bought these lovely porcelain tea cups in four shades of green at a store on Abbot Kinney.
Mother-daughter, mother-son portrait. Rufus couldn’t quite get the hanf of the mirror concept.
I fell asleep on the couch in the garden under a potted olive tree. Photo by Who Knows?
Andre gave one to each of the ladies, even those of us who are only dog moms. Happy Mother’s Day!