Wedding Wonders

There are 7 Wonders of the World, and 7 Moroccan Wedding Wonders according to me. Care to see what I mean? Step into my world...

In case nobody told you, Moroccans love to party. Yes it's true. They love to whoop it up for weddings, the birth of a baby, family members coming to town from far away or from the BLED, whatever. If there's an opportunity to get together, they're all about it.

I, however, am not.

In fact, whenever I hear about an upcoming party (most of the time it's only 24hours notice--or less), I immediately start planning my "Possible Excuses For Not Going" list. This is no easy task you see, because there can be no repeats. Faking sick is too cliché and besides I've used that one too many times. Since I'm here without any family, playing the "prior engagements" card is not an option. Plus I don't work so scheduling conflicts are also out. As much as I object, I'm usually pushed, pulled, or dragged to these ridiculous parties.

What makes them so bad, you ask? Hmph. Where do I start?

[ DISCLAIMER: for the umpteenth time, this is my personal blog and I write about what I have seen and done. Before anyone gets all twisted, let me say that I understand certain cities or families might do things differently but I have not been a part of those parties. I write about what I have personally experienced. ]

I'll use a wedding as a basic example-- although you could pretty much swap titles for any other type of party. They're all exactly the same. The wedding trumps all because of the outdoor tent involved. The other ones just omit the tent and instead cram a tent's worth of people inside of a house.

In America, when someone gets engaged, the soon to be married couple sends out invitations. Yes, actual paper invitations IN THE MAIL even. They are customized with the vital info for the big day and include RSVP cards so the families know how many guests to expect and exactly how many plates of perfectly planned out food to order. Let me stop right here.

In Morocco, the "invitation" comes in the form of a phone call usually a few days (sometimes less) before the wedding. It's a general extension to whomever is within earshot of the phone call, plus any other relatives, friends, or peeps in your posse. This is mistake #1. How does the wedding couple know how many people are coming? They don't. How many tables/chairs to set up? It's a gamble  How much food to prepare? They just wing it.  It's all a shot in the dark. Most of the time, presumption and reality are way off target.

This brings me to

WEDDING WONDER #1 : Capacity Crunch

If you've ever had the misfortune of attending a "Max Cap" wedding, you know exctly where this is going. There are round tables that are standard for wedding receptions and are supposed to seat 8 people. I'll say it again, this time slowly and slightly more condescending: they are supposed to seat 8 people.
For some reason, Moroccans totally ignore this. Of all the weddings I've attended here, there has never been less than 13 people at my table. Just when I didn't think it could get any worse, we broke the record at the last wedding I was at. Brace yourselves: 16 people at one table! What the heck?! Seriously. Talk about getting close and friendly with your neighbor. By the way, it's all women in the tents and the men either get together at a house nearby (since there are far less men in attendance) or have a separate tent. The guys are lucky. They don't have to go to the foo foo showing off ceremony. but the women are all crammed together in one hot, sweaty tent.

The number of people at each table fluctuates depending on how many people show up. This would never fly at an American wedding. No way. Not only is attending a wedding for people you've never met before (unless you're someone's date) not desirable, it's also incredibly rude.  Here nobody cares. People passing by will just randomly crash the wedding and nobody notices. This ever-changing head count brings me to

WEDDING WONDER #2: Plate People
Plates are a vital part of any wedding because the food is usually one of the main points of the party. Americans send the RSVP cards with the invitation and the guests mark what they would like to eat. Common choices are fish, chicken, steak, or a vegetarian plate. This lets the catering company know exactly how many individual dinner plates to prepare. Since many weddings have pre-arranged seating, the bride usually marks down who is sitting at what table and what each person ordered to eat. So for example, if you have a table of 8 people siting at table #24, the waiters know that 4 people ordered chicken, 2 ordered steak, and 2 ordered fish. Everything is done in a neat, orderly, and completely organized fashion.

Yeah. Not here.

WEDDING WONDER #3: Finger Food
You have however many people at each table, and everyone eats the same thing. From the same dish. With no silverware.

The menu has been the same for every party. Every. Single. Time.

There's nothing new, no surprises, and nothing different. This is part of the Copy+Paste mindset.  So here's what goes down:

A bunch of women sit at a table that is covered with 2 layers of tablecloths made out of Saran Wrap. Sometimes you sit there for 2-5 hours before the food is ready. And don't forget that there is no alcohol of course so everyone is essentially just sitting around. Occasionally you'll have music but not always.  Ocassionally some weddings will allow men to come in the tent but not always. Occasionally there is something to focus your attention on but not always. So you sit. And wait. And do nothing. In my case, you try to drown out the sounds of people yapping in Tashlaheed and think about something else.

When the food is ready (always chicken) it is brought out on a giant plate. There's about a 90% chance that said plate will be navy blue and have some sort of Chinese decoration with peacocks on it. *stops, lets eyes wander, and ponders the peacock plate phenomenon* SNAP! Back to reality. Ok, so the plate comes out and it usually has three chickens on it and it's sitting in olive oil, seasonings and covered in green olives. They fry it in these giant tanks and there's usually a few women cooking these slowly for a tent full of hundreds of women.

WEDDING WONDER #4: Chicken Chatter
When it comes out, small loaves of bread called KHOBBS are set on the table. Not on plates, just on the table. Everyone rips off a part of bread--unless there's a bossy old woman at your table--then she collects the bread and distributes it amongst everyone. Once everyone has bread, it's time to eat. You take a small piece of bread in your right hand and use it as a scooper to rip off a piece of the chicken. Uness you're sitting next to the bossy old woman-- then she rips off chicken with her bare hands and sets it in front of you like you're a helpless American baby. Either way, you eat the chicken with the bread. Ok, let me interject: I'm not a food snob, but it's kind of hard to eat chicken and bread with no wetness or shmear of any kind of sauce. Dry bread with meat is just a little strange to me. Dipping it in the grease at the bottom of the plate is not sauce. Anyway, when everyone has finished devouring the chicken carcasses, they take away the plates. At this point, I'm usually full because my stomach has shrunk during the 5 hours of sitting there staring into space before the chicken was ready.

Before you know it, another peacock plate of food is brought out. This time it's filled with beef and is covered in cooked prunes. Surprisingly, the prunes are really good. I actually really like the beef because it's tender and stringy. But by the time it comes out, I'm full from the chicken that I usually decide to pass on the beef altogether. Unless I'm sitting next to the bossy old woman-- then she looks at me like I'm crazy for not eating and says, "Shtah! Shtah!" which is "Eat! Eat!" in Tashlaheed. So then I have a prune and get my hand somewhere near the plate so she doesn't rip off beef with her greasy little fingers and put it in front of me. I get that it's a nice gesture or whatever but I'm 31 years old. I know how to eat. And I also know how nasty it is to have your food fingered and molested by some bossy old woman that you've never met before.

When round two is finished, the waiters clear the plates and take the first Saran Wrap tablecloth off. This is actually pretty smart because all the gunk and nasty junk goes with it. The table is now ready for the last plate which is a mound of fruit. Typically you'll find the standard apples, oranges, and bananas and sometimes grapes, peaches, strawberries, or kiwi depending on the season.  If you like fruit, now is not the time to be staring into space. The good stuff goes fast, and sometimes people put fruit in their purses for later. SOOOO rude, right? Yeah well it happens all the time. I know of a lady who filled a boot with all kinds of things-- a FruitBoot! What the heck? Why does she even have an empty boot with her? Seriously there is no shame in their game. It's not uncommon to see women take bread and then stuff it with chicken (and then again later with beef), wrap a napkin around it, and jam it into their purses. They don't even bother to be discreet about it, either. Now that's some ratchetness right thurr.


When everyone is finished eating, the (what they consider) fun begins. Allow me to introduce
Wedding Wonder #5: DANCING DIVAS

This is where things get a lil' "wild." The ladies let loose, shake their hips and show off their moves on the dance floor. Notice I said ladies. Yep. It's an all-female dance party. And the dress code is hot sweaty Taksheedas made out of like...plastic or chiffon or polyester or some other type of incredibly impractical non-breathable fabric. Cue the musty, steamy, perfumed air. They all dance with eachother and bounce their shoulders while listening to one of two things: either a drum circle of women beating on the DEFF, (a tambourine-like thing without the jingles on the side) or Berber music. If you can call it that. It's less than desirable singing in tones and pitches almost unmatched by a natural human voice and it's ALL auto-tuned.  Riiight. Not exactly my cup of tea. But not to worry, because this is the time where they hand out actual cups of tea. Perfect timing.


Along with the tea comes these tiny paper plates lined with a napkin and about 5-8 different types of mini cookies. It's all sealed in a cellophane bag and tied at the top with ribbon. Some people bring them home and others have some cookies with their tea. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a sugar monster and I love sweets. Of COURSE I untie that ribbon and get crackin'!
Within 5 minutes I'm covered in crumbs and sugar and totally content. Is it wrong to say this is my favorite part of the wedding?

WEDDING WONDER #7: Premature Party Pooper

By now, we're pushing 10 or more hours and I'm beyond my level of reasonable sanity. I have mentally checked out long ago and my body is starting to follow suit. Right about now is when my head starts bobbing and my chin hits my chest. It's time to go home. Actually, it's BEEN time to go home. Since saaaay...the time I got here. Seriously, I've sat in the steam tent for long enough. Somewhere between the chicken grizzle and the obnoxious gold costume jewelry, the Berber tongue whistling and ambush perfume sprays, I've had my fill. I've kissed enough strangers on the cheek to last a lifetime and as much as I'd love to stay and teach them how to Tootsie Roll, it's really time for me to roll out. 

Normally, men and women are not in the same tent. However the last wedding I was at was kind of mixed but not really. Guys watched in the beginning but got kicked out. Either way, press play!

Take 20 seconds to watch this video: 

Now take another 30 seconds and watch this guy!

The party is nowhere near finished and will probably last for hours after my departure. You can call me a fuddy-duddy since I call it quits around 5am and  I'm totally ok with that. I guess these peeps have way more fun than I can handle. Or maybe I'm an amateur when it comes to making it through a Berber Bender. Either way, it's safe to say these parties are not my thing. So allow me to stand up and brush the cookie crumbs off my khaymar and make a sneak exit out the back of the tent.

And no, I do not have a sandwich in my purse.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


...The Fabulous (and extremely lovable) NURA AFIA!

Watch the Purple Smokey Eye video by clickin' hurr

Who is this mystery darling I speak of? Well she is none other than Colorado's best makeup artists. 

She found me on Instagram and it was like were were instant besties. Turns out we have a lot more in common that either of us had imagined. She's half Moroccan, and 25% Lebanese, 25% Swiss and has spent her life living between Denver and Casablanca. She's traveled the world thanks to free plane tickets from her airline-employed father, and plans to come back to Morocco soon OBVIOUSLY so we can meet in person. Haha!

To everyone who loves makeup: SUBSCRIBE TO HER YOUTUBE CHANNEL. To open the YouTube page in a new window, CLICK HERE

She has really amazing tutorials about makeup and she also does different product reviews. If you like eyeshadow in particular, watch her videos. She has really good advice on how to achieve different looks. Oh yeah, and she's goofy. BONUS!

This Navy Blue Smokey Eye video can be seen if you click hurr

 Her YouTube name is BabyLailaLov so search her videos and subscribe!

Watch the Natural Eye Red Lip video by clicking right hurr on this pretty lil' red link.

She looks a little like Angelina Jolie with those natural lips, no? I think so! 

This look is really pretty, and she gives very detailed, in-depth instructions and techniques. Seriously, you NEED to watch this. You can see this Blue Smokey Eye video by clicking Here. Yes, here.

Besides her YouTube, follow her on Instagram! Her name is NuraLailaLov 

...she stays FTD. (That's fresh ta deff for all you squares.)  She really is...the bomb.com

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Sand and Sujood

THE BEACH. There is just something about it that pulls me in. I have loved the beach my entire life. Even when I was a kid, I remember going to Silver Lake with my mom or my Auntie Kelly and packing a whole day's worth of fun into the car and hitting the road. We'd bring all kinds of things to cook out, watermelon, fruit salad, floaty things, and lots of sunscreen.

Now that I live in a beach city, my trips to the water are still a part of my life. Every week, Mo and I like to take mini road trips and head out with no plan. We often end up in little places off the beaten path and make our own little picnics. It's my favorite part of the week and it's something we both look forward to.

Since there are 5 prayers in a day, most often the noon-ish prayer called Dhor and the Asr prayer is in the afternoon. Just because we are at the beach does not mean that we don't take time out to pray.  We always bring prayer mats with us and my phone has a compass app on it so we know which direction to face when we pray. There's a position during prayer while your head is on the ground and it is called Sujood.

We always make time to pray and it feels so good. There's nothing more peaceful than feeling the raw earth underneath you and hearing the sound of crashing waves next to you. Worship is for the Most High.

One day, we brought a sheet and made a makeshift lean-to with it. It was perfect because it was like a little fort and provided us with perfect shade.

It gets the thumbs up of approval

These gnaoua guys were walking along the beach, rang-bang-boomin' around and playing their racket!  They're like musical nomads.

After I took this out (which is a fancy-shmancy fan I bought in Spain), Mo said, "Oh good, you brought the air conditioner!"

I found this cluster of sea-stuff and I thought for sure they were going to open up and start belting out show tunes from "The Little Mermaid" or something.

How about this seaweed?!

This guy was so happy while he was fishing. Hopefully he caught some big ol' floppy fish!

Does anyone know what these red things are? I found lots of them hiding under rocks right on the shore. They look like clown noses or something and I've never seen them before. If you know what they are, can you please comment?

This is a little stretch of beach just north of Taghazout.

One Sunday, we found this perfect little cave opening to shade us from the hot sun. It was perfect! We had lunch underneath there, too.

Time to pray again. :)

This is after we both prayed Asr together. The day was warm, sunny, and with a perfect breeze.

And lastly, check this out:

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


It feels like it’s been way too long since I posted anything. Please excuse me—it’s Ramadan so I’ve been totally focusing on that. If you don’t know, the month of Ramadan (based on the lunar calendar) is a time where every Muslim in the world fasts for 30 days. It doesn’t mean we don’t eat for 30 days, it just means we rearrange our whole lives to take extra time to think, pray, reflect, appreciate, and be grateful for what God (Allah) has given us.. It’s an entire month to ask for forgiveness, learn about slef control and become a better human being spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Ramadan is truly a unique month.

Every morning we wake up around 3:30 am and we eat suhoor, (breakfast) while it’s still dark out. Usually for me it’s dates, LOTS of water to last me all day, maybe some tomato/lentil soup, and maybe some leftover food from dinner. When the athan, the call to prayer, sounds around 4:15am (it varies and gets pushed back about a minute or so every 2 days, due to the earth’s rotation) it’s everyone’s cue to drop whatever you’re eating or drinking. Like seriously, drop your fork. Then we wash up and do our wudu, our precise method of washing our hands, mouth, nose, face, wrist-to-elbows, hair, inside & outside of ears, and finally our toes and feet. When this is done, we are ready to pray.

The morning prayer is called fajr  and it is always done before the sun comes up. During Ramadan, we pray and then afterwards Mohamed and I read the Quran for a while before we go to sleep around 5:30-6ish. Since I don’t work, I have the luxury of sleeping in till about noon. When you think about it, sleeping from about 1:30am-3:30am and waking up for breakfast is not really solid sleep. In fact, since I’m up for a good two hours, I think it negates the sleep before breakfast. So if I sleep from 6-noon, it’s really not that long. It’s like going to sleep at 11pm and then waking up at 5am for the day. Totes not lazy. Mohamed may not agree with that. He gets up at about 9:00 am (sometimes earlier) and heads to work. Just because it’s Ramadan and people are fasting, doesn’t mean that he gets the whole month off. Nope. He’s out there in the hot sun doing hard work and when he’s inside he’s doing really heavy lifting. He’s a butcher so sometimes he’s literally luggin’ around cows and goats and stuff. Soooo not my thing. …but sleeping in is.

When I finally roll out of bed couch, I start my day and then around 12:45pm the athan goes off again, signaling that it’s time for dhohr, the afternoon prayer. It’s time for wudu again and then I’m ready to pray. To some people, it may seem like 5 prayers a day is an awful lot, but really it only takes about 10 minutes or so. It’s nice to be able to have 10 minutes of PEACE and quiet to myself at intervals throughout the day. Wouldn’t you like to get up and stretch while you’re at  work and think about something else for a few minutes? Really, it’s a blessing.

After I'm finished praying, I usually read the Quran for a while. Sometimes if there's a wifi signal from the neighbor, I check my email, watch Islamic-related videos online, or do some research. Mohamed bought me 8 little books about different things related to Islam and they are all in English! Finding a book here in English is like a diamond in the rough. I'm very happy he found some and bought all of them for me. Anyway, one of the videos I found is now a favorite on my bookmarks bar. It's a video of a little boy leading the prayer-- which is no small feat. The way it works is that whoever is most knowledgeable is the one who leads the prayer. The prayer leader is called the imam. I'm not sure if this young boy is just a guest this particular day or if he often leads the prayer. To see that he is in a room full of much older men is very impressive. Generally, all imams have the entire Quran memorized from cover to cover and can recite it without error every day. It's safe to say that this young boy has it memorized and is very knowledgeable in Islam or else he wouldn't be leading the prayer. This is such a heart-felt recitation of the Quran and it is really beautiful. It doesn't matter if you're Muslim or not, watch this very short video. It's translated in English so you can see what he's saying. 

If you have time to be reading this blog, you have time to watch a short video. Please just press play.

If you want to watch on regular YouTube, it will open in a new window if you click HERE

 Later on in the day, it's time to cook. My friends and I have been making some really delicious food to break our fast with. Traditionally, you break the fast with dates and water, but it is not mandatory. I like to have orange juice and luckily you can get fresh, (and I mean FRESH) squeezed orange juice on just about any corner here. The guys will cut them and juice them by hand and refill old water bottles with it. You can get a liter and a half for 20 dirhams, or about $2.00 USD.

Here's a little video from where we pulled over to the curb and the guy comes right to the car window. Talk about a drive-through!

Much like the early morning athan that signals us to stop eating, the sunset athan called Maghreb signals that it is now permissible to eat. The point of not eating or drinking while the sun is out is so that we are reminded how hard it is for people who have no food or anything to drink--all the time. It's a time where a king is the same as a beggar-- they both fast and pray and are equal. They feel the same hunger pangs and long for a glass of water. Fasting is a reminder of how hard life can be for others and it teaches people to appreciate everything they are blessed with. Some Muslims don't even have dates to break their fasts. Islam teaches us that it is absolutely our responsibility to help each other. How can you eat a big feast when you know your neighbor has no food? It's our duty as Muslims to be kind and generous. If we know the neighbor is hungry and has no food, it's our responsibility to invite him in to eat or at least bring him a plate of food. I mean, how could you not?

Before we start to eat, we usually have a glass of water and 3 dates. At that point, the men head to the mosque and the women pray at home. By the time the guys are back (about 10 minutes) the table is set and everything is ready to go. We usually have a modest dinner and it starts with my favorite Moroccan soup called harira. It's a tomato and lentil soup and there are lots of good spices and herbs in it. Another thing that is traditional in Morocco is this really sweet honey-soaked crunchy thing with sesame seeds sprinkled on it. It's called chbykkia and it's pronounced "shBECKY-uh." The spices in the soup and the flavor of the chbykkia go well together. We also make different little tapas and finger foods, which are perfect since our stomach shrink throughout the day and we get full really fast.

After dinner, we rest for a little bit and then the athan sounds for the last time of the day. The Isha  prayer comes shortly after dinner and many people go to the mosques. They are so packed and full that some of the mosques have the streets blocked off around them with cars parked 3 and 4 deep in the streets. There are parking attendants to help navigate people around and it looks like a scene from a movie where they have all the unoccupied cars in the streets! During Ramadan, there is a set of extra prayers called taraweh. The imam recites prayers and it takes about an hour and a half. Throughout the course of the 30 days, the entire Quran is recited in order, bit by bit.  For women, it's better to pray inside of the home and even better to pray in the bedroom, but many women opt to go to the mosque to pray along with the imam. Most mosques have rooftops that are filled with women (the men and women always pray in separate places-- often with the men in the main room and the women in the upstairs level). It's nice this time of year because it's warm with a cool breeze and you pray under the night sky.

After the taraweh prayer is finished, people return home. Some families eat dinner again, but I choose not to. Usually I am still full from breaking the fast earlier. The last 10 days of Ramadan are a very special time. Some people go back to the mosque again at 2:00am-ish and pray what is called qiyam prayer. This is optional and extra, but a looooot of people do this. I prayed a few nights last year, but this year I have not. Mohamed goes to a city called Ait Melloul and comes back at 4:00am just in time for breakfast. Think about it: He sleeps from about 6am-9am then goes to work. When work is done, he comes home, breaks his fast, prays taraweh, eats dinner, then prays the qiyam prayer, all while completing his regular 5 daily prayers at their fixed time. Amazingly, he doesn't collapse. His faith is strong and he is a good example for me of the dedication it takes to be Muslim.

We are winding down the last week of Ramadan and I have to say, it's been really amazing. The blessings from Allah are all around us and the atmosphere feels really positive. It's a wonderful time of year and I'm so happy to be in a Muslim country surrounded by all my Muslim brothers and sisters.  Ramadan Mubarak.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

DIY Upcycled Projects and Razzle Dazzle Artsy Stuff

I'm a craftin' fool!

I've been meaning to publish these pictures for a while now. The photo album in my phone is getting a bit full, so now is the perfect time to unload all of my glittery glamour onto this blog. 

These photos are a collection of things I have done in my place in Morocco  and little doodads and odds and ends of crafty creations. The only exception is the pictures from the former beach house with the light blue walls. Some of you may have seen a few of these pictures elsewhere but I'm putting them up on here anyway. 

Before I start, I want to give another HUUUUUGE thank you to my Mom, Dad, and sister Rujanna for buying these amazing art supplies to send here. A special thanks also goes out to Alena, aka Stace for chipping in to pay for extra luggage for the flight here. None of this would have been possible without my super cool friend Sarah because she lugged an entire suitcase full of art supplies from Tampa Bay back to Agadir with her. So the whole group of people made the jazziness of this house come together. I love you all!~

First up, the lovely Eva Holbrook was my first visitor and she so graciously brought me a cupcake pan. I'd been dying to make cupcakes for so long and she totes saved the day! Except...I didn't have an oven at the time.  You know, minor details. Instead, the cupcake pan turned into my handy-dandy mixing palette and it worked great because the paint washed out so easily because of the Teflon. I have an obsession with paint splatters and how it looks during the mixing process so that explains the picture above. :)


I'm just including these pictures of the Aorir (not Tamraght) beach house because I like how the paint turned out. I didn't have a plan and just went with the flow as I started to paint. I also put up a curtain that I cut out from a sheet. I paid $2.40 for two flat sheets as a set. They were new, too and I just cut it and put it on a curtain rod bought at the souk for around $3.00 I think. 


AFTER: A little pop of color.

The next part is all about cabinets. When I first walked in the new place, I saw these grody, nasty brown wood cabinets and my first words were, "Uh-uh. Noooooo way, man. Not today, not ever. These have to be changed immediately. How gross ARE these? Eww dude." Then I told Mohamed I wanted to paint all the wood in the kitchen (including the window frames, windows, and the wood I hadn't bought yet--but envisioned-- as shelving) to all white. He literally laughed and said, "That's gonna look stupid." I laughed back and said, "HA! We'll see how stupid it looks when I'm all done. So I painted away and turned it from this grimey, grungey, dingey kitchen into a light, bright, cooking space. 

Before: Crusty Cabinets

After: Like 100x better, right?!

Mohamed actually said, "Ok, you were totally right. It looks way better now." Thank you, kind sir and please become accustomed to saying the words "you were totally right" as you will be using them often in the future. Haha!

None of the doors had handles on them so I decided to get a little wacky. I bent forks over the top of the kitchen sink and formed my new cabinet pulls:

Supes Cute!

Fully functional, or FORKtional. :)

The next thing is kind of boring, but it's a good tip if you need kitchen space on a budget. The white pole you see in the picture is actually the lightweight metal tube from the beach house curtain rod. I still had the hardware and mounts with me and as luck would have it, it fit perrrrrfectly where I wanted to hang it. I made my own metal hooks to hang the pots with out of 2 wire coat hangers. I clearly don't travel with a saw, so I just used a smooth-blade fruit knife and cut it. I know, right? Whatever, it worked and didn't take hardly any elbow grease.

Don't call me a pot head.
PS-- shout out to Victoria J. for bringing me the red measuring cups from Denver :)

Baller on a Budget craft idea # 3,476:  The super cool string light.

This project was almost free. Sarah gave me some  purple yarn and I bought the punching balloon from the souk for 3 dirhams or about $0.35. I wandered into a hardware store and picked up this bucket of Elmers-like glue for about $1.85. The plastic drop-cloth came wrapped on one of my custom canvases so that was free. 

I blew up the balloon and greased that bad boy with some medical ointment for backaches because I didn't have Crisco. Then I undid the yarn and wound it around my elbow and wrist like an extension cord and dunked it in the bucket of glue. Let me tell you how messy this project is: UMM..AVOID MAKING THIS AT ALL COSTS. It's seriously a big gooey, gluey, gloppy mess. Definitely NOT a kids project. Long story short, I wound the string around the ball, let it harden and then popped the balloon. Scroll down.

The cast of characters

Pretty sweet!

The Couch Surfer:

Ok fine, there's nothing surf-related about this but there is a couch theme goin' on here. This lovely  hideous couch and chair came "grah-twee" with the apartment. My first reaction was almost instant: "Ahhh...NO." But then I thought, "What the heck? I can try my hand at furniture upholstery. Why not?" So I super hard-core cleaned them up and took some fabric, hair pins, and nails and got to work one Sunday afternoon. I've never reupholstered anything so I just used common sense. Here are the results:


upcycled couch
Before (obvs)


After I redid the couch and chair, I figured why not try to keep up my streak? 

Sitting in the basement of Mohamed's mom's house was this horrifyingly ugly chair. It was wood with quite possibly the world's most hideous flower fabric on it. Ever the one to find a glimmer of hope in something ugly, I begged Mohamed to let me have it. He looked at me like I was nuts. With a little convincing, reluctantly agreed and sighed while shaking his head. (Behind him, I was doing a victory dance of course).

I knew I needed to re-vamp the whole chair so I bought some fabric and small can of buttercream colored paint. I got to work and totally transformed that beast. My friend Eva from the intro above was the first person to step foot in the new spot. Of everything she saw, she said she loved the chair the most and saw potential in it. I will have all of you readers know that she is *EXTRA LOUD THROAT CLEAR* a highly sought-after interior designer based out of San Francisco and she rocks. So apparently, my eye has good taste. Hopefully she likes the end result as much as I do. :)

BEFORE: I don't even want to sit on this.


Quickie Project 1:
This next project was totally free and took me less than a half hour to do. There's a mirror shop around the corner and they always leave scraps outside, which of course are not garbage if you're an artist.  All I did was put tape on a mirror and then painted the sections with paint. When it was dry, I took off the tape.  Afterwards I added glitter, too because honestly...everything is better sparkly. It's about as long as a cookie sheet and as wide as your hand.

Matte Paint

Razzlier and Dazzlier
Quickie Project #2

When you move into an apartment in Morocco, all the crud from the tenant before you is still there. Whatever they leave behind is now your responsibility--on top of you having to clean the whole place from top to bottom. Dumb. Anyway, the landlord painted the whole house a really nice buttery color so at least that was fresh. Of course, he left behind his trail of trash, empty soda bottles, and cigarette butts for us to enjoy. Thanks guy! His gigantic paint bucket lid was thiiiiis close to going in the trash until I heroically rescued it at the last second. 

This is yet another free project for me. I had the paint can lid, some striped tissue paper from my last trip to the dry cleaner, and a black permanent marker. First I painted the lid navy. Then I put a thin layer of glue on it and put the already cut out tissue paper circle on the glue. When it was dry, I sketched a cute little teapot onto it and later filled it in with black permanent marker. Because my obsession with glitter never ends, I decided to outline the edges with silver just to make it pop. Now it hangs on my wall in the tea room!

Trash? Not so fast, Bucko!

That's better.

Quickie Project #3

Once again, this was free. It took about 45 seconds. 

Step one: drizzle paint into an old bottle
Step two: drizzle a different color paint in there
Step three: add a few drops of paint thinner and shake until you're satisfied

And PS-- this "wine" looking bottle is actually what the first bottle of paint thinner came in. I of course do not drink. 

The next 2 pictures are of a 4-piece painting I did. 

On one of our beach trips, I picked up a ton of shells (and even a crab claw!) on the beach. There was an old (typically ugly) frame that I had in mind while I was collecting my beach treasures. It was brown wood with fake gold trim and some even fake-er flowers on the inside. I find it hard to believe that people actually think this kind of decor is even slightly attractive. So I changed it.

I painted it all with a sand-colored paint and removed the flowers and junk inside. I took a picture while at the beach and had that printed for about 30 cents. I put the picture in the newly painted frame and glued all kinds of stuff around the edges. Now every time we see this, it reminds of us of a day we spent at the ocean. Cheesy, but true.

BEFORE: Seriously?

AFTER: Can you find the crab claw?

Ok, so this next one is not technically art but whatever. This is my blog and I'll do what I want. I decided it would be a good idea to give my finger a mustache with henna for the sole purpose of giving  Mahmoud a baby mustache. Yeah. Lasted 2 weeks. 

Looks like Raul Julia a little, no? (The dad from the Addams Family movie)

Another random quick and easy project I did:

Free Project # Whatever

The stick light:

1. Find sticks.
2. Take them.
3. Glue them.
4. String the corners.


The Glitter Mirror.

This one was free, too. (Do you guys see a pattern here?) I took a piece of scrap wood from a kitchen shelf and painted it purple. Then I glued purple glitter scrapbook cardstock to it. I set my free mirror scrap on it and then banged some nails in until it held the mirror in place. I just happened to have purple glitter glue (are you shocked?) so I covered the nails with it to camouflage them. I stuck a peacock feather in there just because it reminds me of my mom.

...and SPEAKINGGGGGG Of peacock feathers:

I painted a huge painting of some peacock feathers for the salon. Mohamed was sweet enough to get some canvases custom stretched to the exact size I wanted and I wasted no time in getting to work. The first picture is kind of close up so you can see the inside of the feathers. It looks like they are a swirling navy blue galaxy. I umm...(cue side eyes) added a little navy glitter in the middle only. I seriously have sparkle issues.

One of the other canvases was used to make a painting to hang over the little breakfast nook. The pictures do NOT do it justice. You can't see any dimension and it looks blurry, but in real life it's totally not like that. If you want to see it up close, then come visit me. Entrance to the "house gallery" is free. :)

In the salon, I painted 2 walls peacock blue (which shows up a different color in every picture, none of which is true to life) and one wall is like avocado green. The 3 shelves all have a blue and purple theme and I made everything except the tagine and antique lamp. The middle part has a book holder that was once a bird house and the purple bottle was one I picked up on a trip to Spain. It had juice in it but I painted the inside and stuck peacock feathers in it as you can see. The little polka-dot thing is actually 2 books wrapped in scrapbook paper and sitting atop it are two jars filled with purple sand. 

The paper on the book holder is cut up articles from an Aer Lingus mag I picked up on a flight to Ireland. Everything is recycled somehow. 

One of my favorite posts of all time is called "The 7 Day Scramble." (it opens in a new window if you click HERE). If you read it, I talk about how I was on the Marrakech Express and there was an incident with my shoes. The Babouche shoes I was wearing are now hanging on my wall with plants in them. I made 2 loops out of an old T-shirt and hung them above an antique Berber knife. The shoes are very very common here and are traditional style with embroidery on them, black on black.

This little cluster hangs next to the teapot thing from above.

Finally, we have the shirt pillow. Simply put, I bought a button-down cropped shirt from the souk and sewed it into a pillow. The buttons go in the back so you can't see them and I just filled it until it was fluffy and firm. 

As you can see, there are some jazzy pillows in the background. You didn't think I'd let the couch go sparkle-free did you? Come onnnnn...

If you liked anything from this blog, feel free to pin anything you want onto Pinterest.  

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go throw a handful of glitter in the air and then run through it...

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS