April 1st, 2012

Skimstone How-To Videos

Some time ago, I offered a Sneak Peek at a new Virtual Workshop I was working on with Katrina Johnson of SkimStone: Mastering Modello Patterns and SkimStone Surfaces. I had hoped to have this new online workshop ready this past Fall, but obviously THAT didn’t happen.

stencil on floor with Modello pattern
floor stenciling with Modello stencil and SkimStone

Well, happy to say we are in the final stages of getting that ready to launch. In case you are wondering, Virtual Workshops is an idea I came up with a few years ago when the crappy economy started preventing people from having the time and money to travel to my San Diego studio for classes. These workshops are web-based, and featured extensive, detailed, pre-recorded video lessons, printed materials, and a one-time live webinar for review and Q&A. We are currently revamping our Virtual Workshop website, so that our previous VW’s Patterned Mirror and Glass, Foilin Around, and Stencil Impressions will be available again SOON! First things first, though-introducing Mastering Modello Patterns and SkimStone Surfaces.

Katrina and I have create a free intro series of SkimStone 5 how-to videos to introduce you to the basics of using SkimStone and Modello masking stencils. This video is Part 1. Please visit our How-to Videos page on Paint and Create to see the rest! These will give you a good foundation on how to use SkimStone, but if they leave you wanting MORE, and we hope that they do, we invite you to sign up for our Virtual Workshop mailing list for the possibility to win a FREE PASS to this upcoming Virtual Workshop and also to receive a special discount code to use when the full workshop becomes available mid-April. We will be giving away workshop passes to 5 lucky winners. Sign up to win at the bottom of this page.

We’ve created a gallery of lovely SkimStone and Modello pattern applications to inspire you. Have a look and hope you’re a winner!

Open publication – Free publishing – More skimstone

March 3rd, 2011

Stencil Studio Tour

I’d like to personally invite you today on a little tour with me of Royal Design Studio and Modello Designs “home” here in San Diego, CA. I’m slightly embarrassed by the low quality of the video and editing (this was all shot with a little Flip camera), but hope can find some inspiration from all the ways we have used our stencil patterns and Modello masking stencil patterns throughout our teaching studio, offices, and showroom!

I hope you enjoyed the tour and getting to see “almost first hand” what we’ve been doing around here! I have kind of been laying off doing hands on workshops here as I’ve developed the web-based Virtual Workshops, but hoping to find the time to schedule some studio classes here in the coming year. I’d love to get your comments below and please feel free to ask questions as well! I know it was a bit of a whirlwind tour!

October 6th, 2009

The Reviews are In

The reviews are in for the very first Virtual Workshop, Foilin’ Around. It was a “challenge” working through some of the technical difficulties and limitations of the webinar format, but I think I “have it down” now! I need to thank my great inaugural group for their patience, support, contribution, AND nice comments!

Just finished Melanie’s Virtual Workshop. It was great!! It was just like we were there. As usual, Mel gives mor than I expected for something like this. The foils are awesome in their own beauty!! Didn’t realize they could add so much to a finish. -Janet Gonzales

Loved it!!! Awesome job Melanie! Looking forward to many more; very inspiring! THANK YOU!!! -Denise Lindstrom

I have already learned alot from the videos and can’t wait to play around with some of these finishes. I really also appreciate the chance to purchase these items at this great rate. Thanks again for putting this together and I’m sure I’ll be taking your future virtual workshops. -Mignon Hunter

I loved, loved, loved this innovative virtual class!  No matter how much you think you know about this business, there is always something new to learn — and I learned so much from this session.  We’ve already reproduced several of the finishes with great success.  The videos were clear and concise and beautifully filmed and the supporting documentation was detailed and completed the experience.  This was definitely worth my time and I’m looking forward to the next — Stencil Impressions.  Thank you Melanie for always being such a great source for knowledge and inspiration. -Barb Skivington/Faux Works

Thanks so much for all the work you put into the Foilin’ Around virtual workshop.  And it’s obvious that you put a LOT of work into that class. I’ve always been an admirer of your innovative finishes and your ability to describe the techniques so well in person and in writing.  The virtual workshops take your talents to a whole new level, and I’m pleased to have been a participant in your first virtual workshop. I’m glad you decided to have students in future workshops view the videos in advance of the online discussion. When I viewed the videos I did have some questions, but I found the answers in your Power Point presentation.  But still, I found the real-time online discussion to be interesting and informative. Thanks for all you do in the world of decorative finishing. -Kate Kiernan


The trick to doing anything well in the end, I think, is to make it “look” like it was easy all along. Whether it’s a decorative finish, an edited video, or a 3 minute samba on Dancing With the Stars, that final shining ”ta da” moment only comes after a lot of mistakes, lessons learned, dedication to keep moving forward, and hours of grinding out a lot of practice and hard work. Once the memories of all the stress, hair pulling, and performance jitters fade, you find that you actually CAN do something, anything really,  by always venturing to take one more step forward, no matter what. Sometimes that requires a bit of back-stepping as well, but that’s all part of the dance, isn’t it? Next up, Stencil Impressions……

September 29th, 2009

Foilin Around Virtual Workshop

I’m going to tell you a secret. I’m in the middle of a major love affair. With Metallic Foils. I began innocently enough…I thought I’d do it just once…maybe twice, and get it out of my system. Then I fell into the shiny, shimmery trap. It’s so easy to do and so hard to resist….I keep going back. There is so much to explore, so many senses to touch, so many creative desires to fulfill!

As time wore on, I discovered new ways to do it with stencils, Modello patterns, different techniques, unusual tricks. My passion isn’t fading. I need to share it. I want everyone to feel the way I feel…and so, I now offer you the chance to indulge YOURself with-the Foilin Around Virtual Workshop

I’ve shared the results of my passion here before, and even as recently as the canvases I just created for our HD Boutique booth, all done with Metallic Foils. I’ve stocked our shelves with the most amazing colors, and even given them more enticing pricing. If you don’t want to make a HUGE commitment (just have lunch!), we have metallic foils both by the roll AND by the yard…..tempting, aren’t they??

Our first Foilin Around Virtual Workshop is this Thursday at 6:30pm EST. You can enroll in the class up until noon on the day of the workshop. Remember, no travel required. I’ll come to you….

….and if you missed it, all the details on Virtual Workshops are just below.

September 5th, 2009

Modello Designs Video

Been busy, busy, busy! I’ve been working day and night on what I hope will be an amazing booth display for the HD Boutique show we are doing next week and will be filming more video instruction for my Virtual Workshop series tonight. Popping in to leave a link to our Modello Designs business profile video that was shot a few weeks ago by Turn Here. Unfortunately, this was BEFORE my makeup lesson….but I get another chance and another excuse to go shopping for something new! We are shooting one for Royal Design Studio this Wednesday….


Since I couldn’t get the video link to load directly onto the page (ARghhh!!) please click here

August 18th, 2009

Face Painting

This coming weekend, I will begin filming the instructional video portions for my upcoming Virtual Workshops. It’s been a good 5 years since I’ve done one, and besides worrying about all of the things I have to do to prepare tools, materials and backgrounds for this, my thoughts have inevitably turned to another important consideration: How am I going to look? Yes, OK, I have a healthy-sized vain vein running through my body! SO, I call on the makeup artist who did the makeup for me in my previous videos, Doris Lew Jensen, to give me a “lesson”. You see, I’m imagining that I will be doing many videos in the next year and that I can certainly wield a makeup brush or two on my own behalf. Well, a full hour and….


…12 specifically designed makeup brushes later….


….I had a blueprint for beauty, and…


..I’m ready for my extreme closeup.


I’m so thrilled with my eye-popping eyes that after everyone else leaves work I decide to play “model session”


Yeah, I’m not expecting that America’s Next Top Model will be calling me anytime soon either….I’ll get back to painting my samples for my workshops now….

August 17th, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action

Did you know that “the experts” are predicting that by 2011, 90% of web content will be video based?? That seems like a s-t-r-e-t-c-h to me but it certainly IS a medium that’s building a lot of momentum, and as small business owner, it sure got my attention. So when I got an email from an organization that I belong to called Ladies Who Launch with an offer of a very special deal on a “business profile video” by Turn Here video, I jumped on it. I plan to shoot one for both my stencil/pattern companies, Modello Designs and Royal Design Studio, but Modello got to go first.


Their deal is that they send an experienced, local videographer out to your company to shoot for a couple of hours. They interview the company spokesperson (that would be me) and then lay over appropriate footage that they shoot around your location.


I called on a couple of local friends/customers to add “testimonials”. My friend Karen Jorgenson took her role very seriously…


…as did Marcelino Da Silva..


…and they were both  great!

The edited video should be ready in a week or two, so look for the premier coming HERE soon!