Painted Jeans Inspiration

I’m seeing painted jeans everywhere! And not just because I hang out around people who paint. I’ve seen painted jeans in our local Sundance store on Johnny Was jeans. And believe me, the paint was no accident!

You can buy jeans already painted, or you can do your own design freehand with finger painting or brushes, or even stencils.

For ideas, see these jeans from Free People

Gray print on white jeans – this could easily be stenciled:

Free People Printed Jeans

Free People Printed Jeans Close Up

Faded denim jeans with white flowers (affiliate link) – again, this could so easily be stenciled with white paint. Just arrange flower stencils in random directions like they’re falling down the jeans:

Free People Faded Denim Jeans with White Flowers

A darker jean for greater contrast with the pattern:

Free People Dark Denim Patterned Jean

Maybe I would stop the pattern a little lower on the leg, around the knee or low thigh, let it fade out. The patterned waistband is cute.

Free People Printed Jeans

And, I love border prints when they hit the hem of pants.

Here’s a different look. These are crochet panels. But you could tape off sections of jeans in squares and paint a pattern like these Free People jeans (affiliate link):

Crochet Pattern Free People Jeans

Free People Crochet Jeans

These are embroidered. But you could paint flowers in color to look like these Free People jeans (affiliate link):

Free People Embroidered Jeans

Free People Jeans Embroidered

Pull out your blue paints and paint the blues on your jeans like this:

Blue Embroidered Jeans Free People

Also please do not think this is only for models of this age or with these bodies. We should all live fun and free and do whatever we want with our jeans!

Maybe the jean style matters though? I did notice while scrolling all the jeans at Free People, that they’re mostly doing this design on the flared jeans, and not the straight leg, boyfriend, cropped, or skinny jeans. I don’t know, maybe they’re typecasting the flared jeans as bohemian? Maybe paint wouldn’t look so good on straight leg jeans? What do you think?

I’m about to go raid my closet for jeans and pull out the paint and stencils …

White Jharokha

Sometimes I see an idea and it sticks and I have to do it.

I’ve followed Bisque on Instagram for years. They are in Byron Bay, Australia and they sell things mostly from India but also Africa and Indonesia with a distinctive look: many layers of natural textures in neutrals. Textures from carvings, weavings, nature’s etchings. They live with this look, they wear this look, they design the look for others.

Years ago I spotted a row of white painted jharokha in their pictures:

White washed Jharokha

I wanted that look!

My design theme for the India pied-a-terre – our apartment in Chennai, India – is light & white with layers of global textures.

I intended to buy a collection of jharokha and hang them on a wall, copying the Bisque look with a little bit of shame. So far I only did one! I found the jharokha on and in the comfort of our home by Chicago, paid for it in rupees and had it shipped to the Chennai apartment. Gotta love online shopping. There it sat for maybe a year until my last trip to India.

It was dark brown. And you can see it was in rough shape.

Pepperfry Jharokha

Now, you gotta remember you can’t just go to Home Depot for last-minute supplies in India. So I usually pack things like wood glue and wood filler in our suitcase. You know, along with the toothpaste and antiperspirant! Normal traveling stuff. I appreciate having available, but it doesn’t sell everything in India.

The bottom shelf of this jharokha was loose so the wood glue came in handy. However, the wood filler was dried up.

What to do?

Well. I remembered back to my early adult apartment rental days. The time I moved out and had a bunch of holes in the wall from hanging stuff. I wanted my security deposit back. So you know what you do. Yep. Toothpaste. So, I filled all the gaps in the jharokha with toothpaste! It worked!

Then I painted it with neutral clay and chalk paints.

Painting Jharokha

I first painted it with a darker neutral — Old Ochre from Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan. Then, I added a lighter layer of Vintage Linen from DIY Paint.

DIY Paint Vintage Linen

I applied the DIY Paint lightly with a damp paper towel so the darker color below still showed through without brush marks. A fabric cloth or a baby wipe would have held up better, but the paper towel was all I had handy.

White Jharokha

Here you see on the right side how Vintage Linen lightened it up. I wanted it to look like dust in the crevices of white wood. But, not dust for real.

White Painted Jharokha

It’s still in rough rustic shape. I did not have sandpaper. Add it to the list of stuff to take on the next trip.

Jharokha with White Paint

It will eventually be hung somewhere within view of this area, to give you an idea of how it fits in.

Living Room India pied-a-terre

Time to find a few more jharokha to paint on the next trip! I’m glad I photographed the paint cans, so I remember what colors to pack next time.

Travel: The Mayan in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

For all my friends who love to paint, I found an airbnb for you! It’s in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and we stayed in it in January 2019. It’s like a castle! It’s a castle with a circular staircase in a turret! (Scroll down, you’ll see.) And, fabulous painted walls.

Let’s get right to the walls. This mural with metallic gold design is in the dining room:

In the morning, the sun streams in and the gold glows.

If you have stenciled or painted precise decorative wall treatments, you can appreciate the math & measurements that went into spacing those grids and circles so perfectly.

The tiles + the gold paint design on the fireplace almost vibrate with energy.

Painted Fireplace Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Here we are on our last morning enjoying breakfast in the dining room. Can you see how the plates even pick up on the blue tile in the fireplace:

Breakfast Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Okay, let’s move on to the next mural in the house. Imagine walking through a steel door into The Mayan, and you’re in a courtyard. Look up, and there’s a huge mural on the wall. This mural is visible upstairs from big windows in the bedroom and the bathroom. Here we’re looking through the bedroom windows:

Mural Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

The mural goes up, up, up beyond this. Here’s the full flowering agave:

Agave Cactus Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Here I tilted the phone down so you can see the entryway courtyard below:

Mural Courtyard San Miguel de Allende Airbnb

Here’s looking up from the courtyard below. See how the mural is topped off with sky, and when the sky is deep blue, it’s like the mural merges with the sky above:

Mural in Courtyard The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Now, here’s the mural of women, the namesake for this Airbnb which is called The Mayan. Believe it or not, when you step out of the shower, this is what you see!

The Mayan Mural Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Let’s get a closer look.

Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

The finish is “grungy.”

Grungy Finish on Mural San Miguel de Allende Airbnb The Mayan

Now turn around, and here’s the bathroom and shower area:

Bathroom The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

You can see the arch frames the bathroom view. All walls and the ceiling are hand-painted. Even on the doors, there is metallic red paint that pulls color from the floor tiles, and also from red colors in the bedroom that you see when you look through those doors. Here’s that view from the bathroom doors:

Bedroom View from Bathroom Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Those square red and gold shapes are not tiles. They are all hand painted! Let’s look closer.

Hand Painted Walls in Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

As you can see, the wall is also engraved with a grid to simulate tiles.

The previous owner, who was an artist, put a lot of time, care and love into this place. This is not a small wall. All of this had to be mapped out in advance.


Here’s a glimpse of the circular staircase that leads to the second floor bedroom and then up to a rooftop terrace. You can see the theme of arch shapes in the house:

Master Bedroom The Mayan Airbnb in San Miguel de Allende

Okay, so let’s head back downstairs. I’ll show you the wall in the living room area. It’s not as decorative. It’s more metallic mottled brown. It’s an understated backdrop to a huge room. Here’s the view of the living room from the kitchen:

Living Room The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Another arch there! It’s all hand painted design around it in metallics.

This next photo gives you an idea of how the painted design wraps around the arch area.

Metallic Painted Walls Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

More from the living room:


Hand Painted Walls in The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

This post is getting long. But everywhere you turn in this place, there is an interesting scene. Next I’ll show you the kitchen ceiling. You want to see this! And then I’ll show you decorative details around the house.

The kitchen ceiling:

Kitchen Ceiling The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Yeah that’s the kitchen ceiling!

There’s a lot of cool lighting, ironwork, niches and other decorations. Entrance to the circular staircase/turret. Even the “stone” is handpainted detail. As you’ll see in photos below, there’s a lot of interesting things even within the staircase.

Circular Staircase Turret The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Tiny lit up niches in the wall light up the stair treads. And over these, there are metal pieces with shapes like butterflies.

Staircase Details The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

This is at the top of the staircase turret:

Top of Turret The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

Lighting Painted Wall The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

I loved things like the hand at the end of the staircase railing. And, the dog paw print in some tiles!

Details The Mayan Airbnb San Miguel de Allende

If you’re visiting San Miguel de Allende, check out The Mayan Airbnb. It has one bedroom, so it’s good for one couple, but it’s huge! And, there is another Airbnb on the same property just a few steps away. So two couples could rent both. Chandra, the owner and host, is delightful!

Location: It’s tucked off Orizaba road in the San Antonio neighborhood, southwest of Centro. It’s a pleasant 10-minute walk to the more heavily touristed areas.

Link: Airbnb Listing for The Mayan.

Travel: Patterns and Perfection of Dubai

When people think of Dubai, mostly we think of an ambitious nouveau riche city. Its tallest building in the world punching a willful want for wealth and power into the sky. It wants you to know that it will not be ignored.

Burj Khalifa

We talk about the desert mall so big it has ski slopes in it.

The palm frond island so big it’s seen from space.

The Burj Khalifa water fountain display so big it was built by the winner of all the chips. It makes the Vegas Bellagio fountain look like it was built with the pennies found on the floor.

We celebrated my 50th birthday at a Thai restaurant on the edge of the fountain. The water danced and sang every half hour or so. Here’s video but squeezing this enormous display in this tiny box on this page does no justice to it. Like when you are there in person, your eyes cannot even see it all. You have to tilt your head up and look from side to side:

Also crank the speakers up, way up, and maybe you’ll get the feeling of thunder and stomach-rumbling music.

If you ever go to Dubai and want to see this, in the evening go to the promenade that runs along the water. You can stand there with a front row view of a free show.

Yeah it’s all very impressive. But I’m not looking for the things that were built during the last 50 years. I like the older, quieter areas. These older areas line the Dubai Creek, where people lived for centuries and traded in fish, pearls and dates with Silk Road travelers. It’s Old Town and Bastakiya Quarter with stone lanes, souks, boutique hotels and art galleries. Instead of shiny glass, the buildings are the color of desert sands.

Money still walks these lanes though. You’ll see in the gold souk, and the $14USD gelato.

Sandy Patterns of Dubai

Dubai Old Town Old Walls

Patterns of Dubai

Every other photo, my eyes are closed. The sun is so bright and bouncing off everything. You know that test at the eye doctor where they shine the light in your eyes and you want to tear your eyes out, you can’t take it anymore? It’s like that. You gotta bring your shades.

Deb in Dubai

Having come to Dubai from India, we kept having “where are all the people?” moments. But it was a nice break.


Dubai Patterns

I liked the sandy understatement. Some restraint in style. Things all lined up. Perfectly spaced apart. Pairs and symmetry.

Dubai Hotel

Dubai Lights

Though after awhile, it did start to feel theme park-ish. Everything was so perfect, so orderly, so clean! Made for tourists perfect.

Dubai Old Town Souk

Dubai Souk

After living many weeks with the chaos and mess you can easily find in India, this was the transition we needed as we headed back to our suburban American lives. You know, where we try to keep everything perfect, orderly and clean!

Dubai Wind Tunnel