Bungalow 8 in Mumbai, Now Closer to Home

I’ve salivated over Bungalow 8′s style for a long time. It’s a home decor, fashion and jewelry store in Mumbai. The store blends India design with a style sense from all over the world. You really can’t tell this is in Mumbai — it could be London or New York.

Bungalow 8

Bungalow 8 Mumbai

Bungalow 7 Style

I like Bungalow 8 because I like mysterious, different, global mixed with industrial. Unfinished concrete walls along with finely carved wood. Gold in a little bit of rubble.

Problem is, they are in Mumbai. And when I go to India, I never get anywhere near Mumbai.

But right now Bungalow 8 products are available at ExclusivelyIn – a shopping site that brings India style to you online. Here’s a sample of the selection, but they are selling out fast, so scamper over to ExclusivelyIn if you like these:

Bungalow 8 at ExclusivelyIn

Another option is Shop Latitude which is carrying Bungalow 8 right now too. I am soooo tempted by so much there, especially the jewelry. If I were going to Cabo next weekend, I’d load up on these things:

Bungalow 8 at Shop Latitude

They have pretty blues and pinks too! I just chose the neutral things I like. Shop Latitude tells you a bit more about Bungalow 8′s design sense on their blog.

These photos of the company’s founder, Maithili Ahluwalia, show hallmarks of Bungalow 8 style: flowy dress, necklaces with big personalities, a scarf worn here as a head wrap. The style looks effortless, cool and comfortable in steamy Indian cities.

Bungalow 8 Founder Maithili Ahluwalia via Marie Claire India and The Sartorialist

l, Marie Claire India; r, The Sartorialist

If you’d like to know where Bungalow 8 pops up around the world, including pop up shops as well as online, follow them on Facebook.


Today’s Home Decor Textile Trends in Scrapbook Paper

I’ve been working on a super-big super-secret project with scrapbook paper. (It’s a great way to add pattern and color to wall art, home decor, picture frames, etc. – see my scrapbook paper DIYs and Pinterest board for ideas!) While researching scrapbook paper patterns, I realized many of today’s textile trends can be found in these papers.

So with some Mod Podge and a few minutes of time, you could turn picture frames, trays, coasters, book covers, so many objects into trendy textile patterns!

Etsy is a great place to find digital scrapbook papers with coordinating colors and patterns …


This is a different color than you usually see for ikat. A pretty in pink ikat scrapbook paper pack from VNdigitalart Etsy shop:

Ikat Scrapbook Paper Pack from VNDigital Art Etsy Shop


This is the Tru-Su Blue Suzani scrapbook paper pack from TaajDigital’s Etsy shop:

Suzani Scrapbook Paper from TaajDigital Etsy Shop


A set of Moroccan scrapbook paper patterns in rich colors from MyPixelPrint Etsy Shop:

Moroccan Scrapbook Patterns from MyPixelPrint Etsy Shop


There’s even geometric tribal-inspired scrapbook paper, like these coordinating patterns available at Grepic Etsy shop:

Tribal Scrapbook Paper from Grepic Etsy Shop

Block Print

Yes there are even Indian block print scrapbook papers! Like these from Digigraphics Etsy shop:

Indian Block Print Scrapbook Paper Pack from Digigraphics Etsy Shop

This is just a tiny sample of patterns available. You can Google or search these terms on Etsy and you will find more colors and designs.

If you haven’t used digital scrapbook paper before, you get a digital file you can download. Then you print the papers either at home on an inkjet printer or at a print and copy center. Fed Ex Office and office supply stores like Staples, OfficeMax and Office Depot have copy centers. You can submit your file online to print, or you can take files to the store on a flash drive.

Wanna See a Crazy Mix of Moroccan Patterns on Gift Boxes?

I came back from Marrakech in November with patterns swirling in my head. We can see all these pictures on Pinterest, Flickr and Google Images, but it’s different to be there in person, surrounded by Moroccan patterns on six sides — on not just four walls, but floors and ceilings too! Here’s a small sample of patterns I “collected” almost like a botanist collects plant cuttings when traveling. Then, I will show you how the patterns inspired some painted gift boxes …

Patterns at the Bahia Palace:

Patterns at Bahia Palace in Marrakech

At the Saadian Tombs:

Patterns at Saadian Tombs in Marrakech

At the Royal Mansour, written about previously here but now I got to see it in person:

Patterns at Royal Mansour in Marrakech

Oh, I have so many pictures, but it would be like making you sit and watch a slide show and I wouldn’t do that to you (anyone here old enough to have watched a relative’s vacation slide show in their living room?!). At least not unless I can give you some great popcorn and your preferred drinks. Because I can’t do that through a blog, those are pictures of just three of the coolest pattern combinations out of many I saw.

Inspired by all these patterns, I pulled out some Moroccan and Indian stencils from Royal Design Studio and played with them:

Indian and Moroccan Stencil Patterns from Royal Design Studio

And this is what I created with them – Moroccan leather gift boxes!

Stenciled Moroccan Leather Gift Boxes

Moroccan Stenciled Gift Boxes

If you want to make gift boxes like these, visit my how-to tutorial at PaintandPattern.com. I share a supplies list and the steps to do this there. I also share sources for where to find leather and other supplies.

These are paper maché boxes you can get at any hobby store like JoAnn, Michaels or Hobby Lobby. I glued pieces of leather to the boxes. I painted stencils on the leather and on the paper maché. You don’t have to do the leather part — you can paint right on the boxes and you’ll get the same look.

The keys to getting this mixed pattern look are this:

  • Use several colors of paint – each box above has three colors. And your leather can also add another color.
  • Choose a mix of three (or more!) very different stencil patterns.

When choosing patterns, I took some cues from the Marrakech pictures. If you study the little three-picture “slide show” above from Marrakech, there’s something all those scenes have in common. They each have geometric tiles. And they each have curvy scrolly shapes in carved stone.

So I took inspiration from those patterns, and chose a mix of geometric stencils and scrolly medallion stencils. And I mixed all these patterns together on a single box. If you want to have fun playing with patterns, doing it on a small project like this is a good way to do it. It’s less overwhelming than say, doing a whole wall with a crazy pattern mix like this.

Or, you could mix patterns on canvas or wood and make wall art!

So check out the tutorial at PaintandPattern.com if you want more how-to detail. If you like this idea but haven’t visited Paint and Pattern before, you might find a lot more you like over there — it’s a whole online blogzine about paint, stencils and patterns! I post projects there about twice a month.

And I hope this helps you see more potential with patterns and to be braver to try a crazier mix. I admit I’ve been shy about lots of mixed patterns but visiting Marrakech really opened my eyes.


2015 Vow: Go Big or Don’t Go Out

I don’t understand that “go big or go home” saying. Why even bother going out in the first place if you’re not going to “go big?” I recently learned the benefits of “go big.” I used to wear demure pearl earrings and anything with more personality felt like too much. They were from Tiffany’s so they were good pearl earrings. But not very impactful. It took a few years to really gravitate away from that.

Somewhere along the way, I changed thinking to deciding if you’re going to part with your money and give it to someone else, you better get something worth it in return. (Maybe everyone else knew this much younger but it took me awhile to consciously realize this!) I’ve decided “personality” is worth it. You can spend the same on demure Tiffany’s pearl studs as on something big, bold, colorful, unusual. Maybe the pearls are more valuable. But they are boring.

Here’s a big pendant with big personality I recently got from Jaypore and I’ve worn it everywhere, and everywhere I go, people comment on it:

Jaypore Pendant from India

People step up to take a closer look. They ask where it’s from. They ask what’s in it. Nothing right now, but it does open and something should be in it. I’ve heard ideas from medical marijuana stash to photos to pills.

It was from Jaypore’s collection of “Mughal Queen” jewelry by Suman Mishra, who made pendants encrusted with gemstones:

Suman Mishra Necklace at Jaypore

Gypsy Pendant

Just be careful if you wear bigger things like this and you lean forward to pet your cat or dog (or bunny or bird or whatever you have). My cat got bonked on the nose and he really didn’t appreciate this go big movement.

“Go big” can be many things:

  • Literally big, like get artwork that fills an entire wall instead of a little 8″ x 10″ piece
  • Bright bold color
  • Crazy mix of patterns
  • Unusual never seen before

Do you want something that will stop people? Make them look and ask questions? Or do you want something that blends into the background? I’ve lived life both ways, and decided which way is worth going next.


DIY Moroccan Spice Jar Labels from Scrapbook Paper

The spice trade over the centuries has brought wealth and war to civilizations. But here, things are much simpler – it just brings Christmas gifts and hopefully some richness to food. I bought more spices than anything else in Marrakech. It was really a ridiculous amount. Here’s a set in my kitchen:

Moroccan Spices

I don’t know how it happened, but it’s only been 5-6 weeks since I left Marrakech and the spices are in short supply already! We got greedy and ate it all ourselves! So we had to go to a local spice place to put spice gift packages together. We got spices in bulk and then they needed jars.

I didn’t want corporate-looking jars with brand names. So, scrapbook paper to the rescue! I typed labels in a Word document. Then I printed the jar labels and ingredient labels on scrapbook paper. Did you know you can print on scrapbook paper in a regular ol’ inkjet printer? Just cut your paper to size:

Cut the Scrapbook Paper to Printer Paper Size

Scrapbook Paper Cut for Printer

Scrapbook Paper Cut to Printing Size

Most scrapbook paper is 12″ x 12″ but you can cut it to 8.5″ x 11″. As you can see, my printer tray maxes out at 8.5″ x 11″ but some printers will take larger sizes of paper. Just check your printer and cut your paper to the right size.

Then make sure you put your paper in the tray in the right direction. My tray says right side down. Then hit Print.

Printing on Scrapbook Paper

DIY Spice Jar Labels

It’s as easy as that! I chose a paper in a spicy color. One tip is to choose a paper without a busy patterned background if you’re printing words. Words might get lost on a busy background. But there are plenty of papers with more subtle patterned backgrounds, like the paper I used from an Olde World book of scrapbook papers.

Then cut your label and attach it to your jar. I put some rubber cement on the back of my paper labels but that wasn’t enough to hold the paper securely to the jars. So I wrapped some jute around the jars and tied it in the back to give the jars a rustic look.

Making DIY Scrapbook Paper Spice Jar Labels

Cutting Spice Jar Labels

Scrapbook Paper Spice Jar Labels

Jute is pretty rough stuff and you might wind up with some big pieces sticking out, like a bad hair day:

Spice Jar Label

Just trim those pieces off and the jute will look neater.

You can also use ribbon or yarn instead of jute, whatever will give the look you want.

And that’s it – you can make a whole set of spice jars and package them in a theme gift box. You could even print labels on different colors of scrapbook papers.

Moroccan Spice Jar Labels


Mud Cloth + Mid Century

Can mud cloth from Mali and “MCM” — also known as Mid Century style — go together? Can they live happily together in one piece? Well, let’s see. Here’s what mud cloth looks like, if you’re not sure what I’m talking about:

Mudcloth at Museum of Natural History

That’s a mudcloth I “designed” with a fun interactive feature on the Museum of Natural History’s website, where you can make your own mudcloth – check it out. As you go through it, it tells you how mud cloth is made and the meaning behind the designs.

Mud cloth is also called Bògòlanfini. It’s made with strips of cotton cloth sewed together, and then painted with patterns that have significant cultural meanings that tell a story. It’s painted with fermented mud gathered from riverbeds, thus the name mud cloth. It can take weeks of work to make one mud cloth.

I own a few pieces of mud cloth. One found this summer at Chicago’s Randolph Street Market (there’s always some there from a vendor who sells wares from Africa) and a large piece I found at the famous Mustapha Blaoui store in Marrakech last month. At that TripAdvisor link about the store, you’ll see a review by Starr Covey Perry who was with our group and I snapped photos of her buying her rug! It is indeed a beautiful rug. Now I’m kicking myself for not buying a rug. But I did get mud cloth which was one thing I wanted to find and I knew Mustapha Blaoui had it:

Mud Cloth Patterns

This might be CRAZY, but I want to replace the black vinyl on this Mid Century style chair with mud cloth:

Mid Century Chair Makeover

I can’t help but think of Mid Century as a hipster style thing. But I got this chair 20 years ago when I was hipster age and went through a Mid Century stage! Unfortunately I did not treat this chair well. The white plastic was scratched and to cover that, I spray painted it with that faux stone-look paint. Like THAT’S an improvement? I thought it looked cool at the time, 20 years ago. Maybe in 20 more years I’ll look back at this mud cloth phase and wonder, what was I thinking putting mud cloth on that chair? But I’m gonna do it. So that’s a DIY post coming soon.

So has anyone else mixed mud cloth and Mid Century? (Is it too geeky to say MC²?)

Yes! Some people have …

Here’s mud cloth on a stool with Mid Century style. It’s now sold, but it was from Etsy shop ChezBoheme:

Mudcloth and MCM at Etsy Shop ChezBoheme

Apartment Therapy reported on a collaboration between Philadelphia design company HYM Salvage and Urban Outfitters that resulted in this version of “mud + mod”:

HYM Salvage and Urban Outfitters Mud Cloth and Mid Century Modern Chair

And they made this stool/ottoman:


And this chair, with sleek metal detail that contrasts with the handmade cloth:

Urban Outfitters Mudcloth and Mod Chair

A piece of mudcloth is simply draped over a bench, to add pattern and color at Design Manifest. I like how they mixed the geometric mud cloth with the pillow pattern:

Mud Cloth and Bench at Design Manifest

Here’s a pair of 1950′s brass stools upholstered vintage mud cloth. Now sold but was at 1stdibs. I think it works because the lines in the mud cloth are similar to the Sputnik-y stool legs:

50s Brass and Vintage Mud Cloth

Via Rent Patina, how about these two examples of chairs upholstered with mud cloth – one is a wingback, the other like Danish Modern or Mid Century:

Mud Cloth on Chairs via Rent Patina

Here’s a different view:

Mud Cloth Chair via Rent Patina

This is a 1970s chair with a sexy sculptural shape, paired with mud cloth. Chair now sold, but was at 1stdibs:

Mud Cloth Chair Sold at 1stDibs

Here’s a mud cloth pillow on a Nelson bench, a classic Mid Century piece, snapped by Instagrammer xnasozi (you can also buy mud cloth pillows from her shop):


So it seems that yes, “mud” and “mod” can be paired together!

Watch for a DIY coming here soon where I reupholster the black vinyl on my Mid Century chair with white plastic curves reminiscent of Eero Saarinen style. The chair is a relic I still own from the days in my 20s when I worshipped Mid Century. I’m not into Mid Century now but this chair is so cute and comfortable, I could never let it go. So we’ll see if I can weave together favorite styles from the past and present!


DIY Ridiculously Over-Sized Pendant Necklace

It was a little traumatizing to finally get to Topshop — after hearing about it for years — and then find not much age-appropriate for me, other than a bangle. So let’s look at the positive in this situation. What a bangle it is!

Super Big Whoop Pendant Necklace

But here’s the thing: I never saw it as a bangle. It was destined from first sight to become a big-whoop pendant necklace.

The key is, have a fresh eye when looking at things. Don’t use things as they’re intended. Bangles are perfect for making over-sized pendants.

You can make a similar necklace with any over-sized item with a big opening in the middle. Then find something to hang in the opening. Here you’ll see what I mean …

Necklace Assembly

The supplies are somewhat simple. I say “somewhat” because usually my DIYs do not involve plugging something into an electrical outlet. If an electrical plug is involved, that means there’s some drilling or sawing or heavier-duty sanding, and it’s not so super simple any more.


Supplies to Make Super Oversized Pendant Necklace

Inspection Time

Everything passed inspection. And believe me you don’t want to disappoint this particular Inspector because you will hear about it for awhile. Maybe even at 4 a.m.

Making the Pendant Necklace

This bangle is wood with a thin metal lining. As a first step, I drilled a hole. The drill bit was able to drill through the thin metal but the pressure distorted the metal a bit. The wood also split, but paint or wood stain can hide that. I started with the smallest drill bit and gradually stepped up, but the wood still split. So, be careful. These things are manufactured cheap.

Drilling the Bangle

Be Careful Drilling Wooden Bangles

Safety tip: Watch out for sharp metal pieces. Sand them down and vacuum up the metal shards ASAP. Especially if you have kids and four-legged Inspectors running around.

Clean Up Sharp Metal Shards

I had two matching gold-tone pendants (probably from JoAnn or Michaels jewelry-making aisles) already on hand. So I glued them together with E6000 glue, because the pendant is free to spin and I wanted both sides to look the same.

E6000 Glue is Awesome

DIY Pendant Necklace

Then, I knotted leather cord on the gold-tone pendants. Then threaded this leather cord through the hole drilled in the bangle. This was tough – the leather was thin enough to go through the hole but it needed help getting pulled through.

Help Needed

Here’s a trick:

Poke a needle or pin through the leather cord, and pull the needle or pin through the hole. The leather cord will follow.

Try to use a strong needle or pin because I broke a few thin needles while trying to poke them through the leather. It was tough stuff.

Leather Cord Threading Tip

Leather Cord Threading Tip

To finish off the necklace, I simply knotted the leather cord. It’s a long necklace so it doesn’t need a fixture. You can just slip the necklace on over your head.

Here’s the obligatory pin-worthy image:

DIY Ridiculously Over-Sized Pendant Necklace

That’s really it! Super easy.

If you find an object you’d like to use as a pendant that can’t be drilled, such as a thin metal bangle, you can creatively knot the cord around it instead of drilling through it.