Far and away, one of the most enchanting and easily copied customs for exotic Moroccan dining and entertaining may be as near as your own backyard. If not yours, check your neighbors! It’s scattered rose petals….

Moroccan Rose Petals

In the fountains

Moroccan Rose Petals

At dreamy Dar Moha. So many there you could almost play Scrabble.

Moroccan Rose Petals

For our most special farewell lunch at Peacock Pavilions

Moroccan Rose Petals


Morocco-Rose-Petals 5.jpg

and our farewell dinner at darling Hotel du Tresor. Aaaahhh, where are my pruning shears!

June 2nd, 2008

Rhapsody in Blue



After a week in Marrakech, it was time to hit the beach and dip our toes in the chilly Atlantic Ocean, North Africa style. It’s a 2.5 hour drive of questionable auto safety on a busy two lane road to Essaouira and the coast, but well worth it once you arrive! We missed seeing GOATS IN TREES on this drive (Alas, I think goats in trees are currently out of season) but trust me, they do exist. Google proves it. 


Essaouira was once a fortified town, has fabulous shopping in a walled Medina area, and is all decked out in the most refreshing shades of blue painted wood set off by whitewashed walls.


I’ve already posted about the blue doors of Essaouira after my March trip but I must do so again as there are so gosh darn many gorgeous ones and they are SOOO photogenic.


Even their propane tanks are color coordinated!


Some more cool blueness


and a shot of my new favorite adult beverage, Campari and fresh-squeezed orange juice over ice. Is that our handsome horseman in the background?

May 13th, 2008

Artisans on the Water

Get your sea legs and Dramamine ready, we’re going for a cruise! My lovely friends Susan and Todd Allemand from Out of This World Finishes in Seattle are hosting the first annual Artisan’s on the Water August evening dinner cruise.


Mix dining, dancing and imbibing with artistic demonstrations from namey “name” artisans and HUGE prize giveaways and what do you get? One rockin evening, that’s what! Oh, but hurry, you must get your tickets before May 20th to take advantage of discounted registraton.

May 9th, 2008

Floor Focus

Well, I just have finished up my first Floor Focus class today and the class and boards turned out so well I decided I MUST share before heading home! I turned everyone a little loose this time and gave them each a different mix of patterns, some instruction and suggestions and had them plan out their own color selections. There were so many “winners” I decided to get a photo of each board along with the “recipe” so we can print them off and share them among the whole class. In no particular order, here’s Andreas…














Some assorted boards that deserve to be seen headless…..


and to be totally fair, a seriously bad shot of me.


Aren’t they cool?? The next Floor Focus class is scheduled for November 10-11. I can’t wait to see what develops then….

April 30th, 2008

Its Christmas!

I feel like I have been opening presents all day! You see, today was the deadline for submissions for customer photos for the soon-to-be published Modello by Design book. As artists ALWAYS work best under pressure, many waited till the last day to submit and I am thrilled to say that it looks like we will have almost 100 decorative artists and their work (and our Modello patterns) represented in this book. We have the basic layout designed to now we will be busy, busy, busy putting it all together in under two weeks. Special shoutout to Lauren here at Modello Designs who is doing a fabulous job managing all of this and will be laying it all out in the gorgeous way we’ve come to know and love.

More shoutouts go to….


Robbie Calvo,


Barb Skivington of Faux Works


Raina Gentry of Walls of Pompeii


and Susan Allemand, Out of This World Finishes.


April 21st, 2008

Modello by Design

We get so inspired from seeing the photos that our customers send back to us showing how they have utilized our Modello patterns in artful applications! A picture IS worth a thousand words. I know that our customer base of professional decorative artisans get a lot of great ideas by looking at other artist’s work and also how important it is to be able to show a potential client how a design will look in a real-life setting-in living color. And so, last month we announced that we will be publishing an inspirational book entitled Modello by Design, Inspiring Interiors from Artist’s Portfolios. We asked our customers to submit photos of some of their favorite projects which we will be compiling for a book to be released in late July. I love the idea of being able to get our talented customers “in print” while giving them a tool to spark their imagination and entice their clients.

Modello by Design 1

Cover photo by Terri Riesenman.

Modello by Design 4

Marquetry floor by JoAnn Kingsbury.

Modello by Design 3

Fabulous ceiling by Nichole Blackburn.

Modello by Design 2

Awesome niche by Dee Ann O’Neal.

The photos are still coming in! The deadline for submission for Volume 1 is April 31 so if you are out there and sitting on some great work we’d love to see it! Soon!! Here’s the skinny on how to submit.

March 23rd, 2008

Marrakech Express

All aboard/that pla-aa-aane! Wow! I had such a hard time figuring out where to begin to share all the exciting sights and happenings on my trip to Barcelona/Marrakech/Madrid that a whole week has already gone by since my return. I’ll start with Marrakech first:

It’s just hard not to be made speechless by the quantity and quality of the decoration there. Everywhere there! Even the most humble restaurants and buildings are a visual smorgasbord of color and pattern. The colorful fabrics, the lacy metalwork, the painted pottery, berber carpets, intricate carved plaster, inlaid wood, embroidered leather, zelij tiles, bebouches (leather slipper/shoes), the tadelakt walls that are everywhere with sgraffito borders ”scratched” into them: Everywhere you look is a feast for the eyes! Here’s just a sampling-


Left are the 2 story high windows at the Marrakech airport that is undergoing renovations. I looked at these closely, of course, and believe that the vinyl was all cut by hand! At right is an antique painted wood door that was in our courtyard at Riyad el Cadi.


Zelij tile floor at Ali ben Youssef Medersa and, right, a wall in a hammam.


A trip to Jardin Majorelle is required I think, if just to experience the most pure blue and yellow colors you will ever see. At right, stencil templates are used to transfer patterns for carving wood and plaster.


Tadelakt and a Sgraffito border at a restaurant off the amazing Jemaa el-fna and, right, the berber carpet that is hopefully winging its way to my dining room as I write!

My son Dan and I had a wonderful time meeting the most lovely Maryam, both in town and at Peacock Pavilions. She is all that you would expect, and then some more! One of my favorite memories is her and her friend bargaining (in perfect French, of course) with a vendor for about 10 minutes to get me a good price on my new fake Ray Bans. She’s tough, this girl! Our creative journey together continues!! Maryam and Chris’ style is very chic and sophisticated and their goal is to incorporate traditional Moroccan designs and motifs in a very modern, unexpected way into their interior spaces. And so we shall……more to come, of course. I am chomping at the bit to get back there with our painting group in May! Morocco is definitely NOT the kind of place to visit just once.

There are more of my trip photos here and here also is another great flickr set on Marrakech by someone who is actually a very GOOD photographer, rather than the accidental one that I seem to be!

March 18th, 2008

Living in Morocco

Of the many books I have on Morocco and Moroccan architecture and design this is one of the best…..Living in Morocco-Design from Casablanca to Marrakesh.


As a PS to this post I have to share that if you EVER find yourself in the Marrakesh airport-which currently pretty small but undergoing an expansion-CHECK OUT the bookstore!!! They have the most amazing selection of art, architecture and design books. They are mostly all in French, but who doesn’t just look at the pictures most of the time anyway!?

I was too loaded down at this point to pick up a heavy book, but next time I will know better….


March 10th, 2008

Morocco Modern

Some pretty images from Morocco Modern


More carved plaster designs….


And that amazing blue!


March 8th, 2008

Carved in Stone?

OOOPs! Well I thought I had posts all set to appear while I was on my Spain/Morocco trip, but in my haste to get everything done the night before I neglected to select “publish” and produced a lot of dead air time. SO-while I recover from jet lag, do laundry, catch up on bills, edit my photos for Flickr and try to ease back into my “real” world, I’ll let a couple of these fly…… 

I love the look of the carved Jali sandstone in these pages fromAlberto Pinto Orientalism (fab book BTW!).

Alberto Pinto  

I can’t tell if they are real or painted carvings….


but this look is easily achieved with a single-overlay stenciling and some careful attention to shading with a stencil brush.

Royal Design Studio Stencils

I featured in my book, Painted Illusions, and it’s also detailed out in this DVD on Advanced Shading and Shadowing and this one on Furniture and Floor techniques. If you do it on a textured sureface or apply decorative finishing techniques to create the look of stone before adding the stenciling it makes the illusion seem even more real. It works great on wood too! The designs shown above are the Italianate Border, Italian Medallion and Reverse Scroll and can be found here!