January 26th, 2010

House Proud


Can you imagine commissioning a watercolor painting of your living room-or should I say parlor?? I would for sure want to do some serious redecorating first!!


In the 19th century in Europe particularly, it was highly fashionable to aristocratic and upper-class homeowners to commission such paintings of their homes interiors.


These would be collected in albums to be passed on to future generations, given as gifts to visiting royalty, and proudly displayed in drawing rooms.



Of course, now we can just whip out our digital cameras. …


…but this is so much more incredibly charming!!!


Loving all the pattern and decoration on the walls and ceilings, of course.


Images from the delightful book,  House Proud-Nineteenth Century Watercolor Interiors from the Thaw Collection, published by the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum.

January 23rd, 2010

Flower Girl

As soon as I became engaged 2 1/2 years ago, the questions started….”So when are you getting married”?, “When’s the big day”?, etc, etc. I haven’t been dragging my heels due to marriage doubts-rather because of wedding planning doubts. Like, when am I going to be able to fit this in to our busy life?? We toyed with the elopement thing and the civil ceremony during lunch thing, but that seems-well-lame. I was just really afraid that planning a “real” wedding would get out of hand. Now, when I say “would get out of hand” what I REALLY mean is that I was afraid “I” would get out of hand. I’m pretty much “hands off” or “all in” about things, you know….

Well, we finally did it! We set a date for April 25. So far, I’m keeping it pretty well in check. Mainly, I think, because I have SO MANY new projects I’ve started (I think that this ecomomy has everyone working harder just to keep up!). To demonstrate HOW busy, I can tell you that we arrived at the date a couple of months ago and I am JUST getting around to posting about it!! So far, my plans haven’t gotten TOO much out of hand. I HAVE gone from thinking about a ceremony in a park to The Rancho Bernado Inn, from a dress from the mall to something custom just for me from Cinderella’s Closet (she’s telling me I’m getting a REALLY late start on this-typical!), from a potluck to an elegant lunch buffet, from iPod tunes to a Spanish guitarist….Now, my thoughts turn to flowers.  My goal is to have a not-completely traditional, traditional wedding  (like that makes ANY sense). My floral “style” leans more toward “a bunch of random flowers randomly stuffed into vases”. So I am loving these looks and the idea of just picking a color scheme of pink, coral, green, and creme and making some informal arrangements in a variety of pretty different containers for the tables. These will be placed on antique mirror rounds, of course… I’m really inspired by these first two photos from the latest Veranda magazine….



…and these pretty pics from a recent post on decor8…

decor8 flowers 1

from Creative Mint….

decor8 flowers 2

and Wood and Wool Stool. I think I need to start hitting some flea markets for some vase shopping!!!

January 10th, 2010

Peacock Painters Fly Again

The Marrakesh Express is leaving once again this May for a fabulous painting adventure to Peacock Pavilions in exotic Morocco. This will be the third trip to this intoxicating country where we will enjoy the warm hospitality of our lovely hostess Maryam of My Marrakesh as we paint, dine, tour, shop and partake of the many incredible sights, sounds, tastes and treats that this city has to offer.

Peacock Pavilions exterior

This will be the first trip where we have the opportunity to stay at the soon-to-open Peacock Pavilions during our painting days,


as well as the ever-enchanting Hotel du Tresor, which is located in the heart of the Medina and its famous souks.

Peacock Pavilions Suzani

On past trips we have painted dramatic ceilings,

Peacock Pavilions Zellij tile

done zellij  patterns on some stairs….

Peacock Pavilions Henna

and henna patterns on others-

Peacock Pavilions April

as well as ourselves!

Peacock Pavilion smural

We’ve done Art Deco murals


and graphic floors.

Our next trip will focus on the decoration of an entertainment and separate bar tent, which will be used for parties, wedding, and other special occasions at Peacock Pavilions. We will also do some smaller projects in the guest houses.


For inspiration, we are turning to classic Moroccan textile embroidery patterns


Moroccan Embroidery-5

in classic shades of black and cream


as well a bold and bright colors.

Would you like to join us?? We have a few spots still open….and for the first time, I am offering a savings of $300 dollars off the trip if you pay in full. But you have to hurry! All the details are here.

January 9th, 2010

Artist Crush: Miriam Ellner

I’ve just spent the last couple of days filming some of the video lessons for the next Virtual Workshop I will be offering, Patterned Mirror and Glass. Next week, I’ll beging filming the mirror antiquing lessons, but this week I focused on techniques that incorporate etching, metallic foils, and reverse gilding, also commonly know as verre eglomise.Verre eglomise is a decorative technique that dates back to the Romans and antiquity and traditionally involves applying precious metal the the backside of glass over a gelatin size. Designs can then be etched in and further colored. MY techniques are definitely less traditional, and employ less expensive leaf, quick applications that are easily accomplished, and our Modello masking patterns, of course, but OH, if I had the time I would love to learn and explore the “master” techniques. Cue my latest artist crush, Miriam Ellner. She has an amazing studio and body of internationally renowned work that ranges from classic to contemporary to newer “collage” pieces.












Are you drooling yet? You might also like to view the work on another highly renowned verre eglomise artist, Francis Federer…..

January 5th, 2010

Off the Shelf

I have been on another MAJOR book buying bender lately. I have talked about my book collection here before…..well, in the last two years it’s grown considerably. As I write, I am literally surrounded by stacks of beautiful books that are not going to fit on my already groaning bookshelves. Luckily, today I got an email from Delight.com featuring these inexpensive and super cool book shelf hanger concealer thingies. I think it would be so cool to do a whole wall with  books this way…..though I’ve just ordered two to start….