Saturday, January 26, 2013

Booth blossoms ...

I just got back from the winter market at Dallas Market Center and thoroughly enjoyed making new friends and adding new retailers for our ACEQUIA® Bath and Body Collection.

I know we don't look too glamorous, but we had just spent hours getting everything
built, hung and displayed in our trade show booth.

It's fun watching a concept come to fruition, taking it from design to construction, and hearing such positive feedback.  I loved creating our Capistrano Soap Company booth and watching it blossom.  Here's a little peek at the process.

Bath & Body FINDS booth at the winter Dallas Temp Show.

This is the blank canvas: 10' x 10' space with carpet, standard aluminum framing with two fabric walls (since we had a corner booth), two IKEA chairs and overhead florescent lighting.

Okay, it's a little rough around the edges, but my sketch solidified the concept in my head.

My concept was to create an intimate, upscale boutique for our luxury line of liquid soaps and lotions (without breaking the bank.)  I was inspired by the chic shops along the rue St. Honore in Paris.  While my quick, rough sketch above lacks finesse, it served as a starting point for the ultimate layout.

I made the draperies from some great fabric I found online.  (If you ever want a great deal on fabrics with an enormous selection from which to choose, click your way to Online Fabric Store.) Bought the chandelier for last year's booth from  I made the topiaries and provided a tutorial in a previous post.  Hey, you've got to be creative on a limited budget!

The lightbox built by my husband beautifully illuminates our all-natural ACEQUIA products and sits atop a while lacquer Campaign style desk purchased from World Market.  I covered the little side table (actually a butler's table) with two fabrics, tailored and tied to add more display surface on top with storage hidden under the skirt.

Viola! A trade show booth is born.  Next stop, Atlanta ...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Passport to market ...

We're sharing just a couple of brief posts this week as we get ready to show at the January market in Dallas. Today, we completed boxing all of our exhibit booth furnishings and accessories. Now, it's on to the product packing, and I haven't even addressed my personal luggage.

Dallas Market Center, World Trade Center atrium.

Going to market is an exhilarating time for our young company ... hoping many new buyers will discover our collection of luxury bath and body products. If you're attending the Bath & Body FINDS Temp Show on 18-21 January during the Total Home & Gift Market at the Dallas Market Center, stop by our Capistrano Soap Company booth #1611 on the 12th floor of the World Trade Center. Look for our logo ...

You can follow us on Facebook to see behind the scenes photos as our booth is coming together before the show, and you can keep tabs on our activities via Twitter @CapistranoSoap. We'll be tweeting throughout and would love for you to join in the conversation about our handcrafted ACEQUIA Bath and Body Collection.

Bringing our all-natural ACEQUIA product line to market is a great way for us to share 'luxury as nature intended' with retailers from every region in the US. 


DIY birdseed wreath ...

Our backyard is a bird sanctuary! My husband is a bit of an amateur birder and he has numerous bird feeders stocked with a variety of seed for every bird's taste, a water fountain for little bird sips and baths, and he maintains a yard with an abundance of trees and ground vegetation. He's even supplied our feathered friends with ample houses for nesting mothers and their young.

This Christmas, our daughter Kathryn handcrafted beautiful birdseed wreaths as gifts for her Dad, and I had the pleasure of documenting her project as a tutorial.

Male cardinal checking out the DIY birdseed wreath.

4 cups bird seed
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water (we used microwave to warm)
1 package of plain gelatin
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1/2 cup cranberries (or berries of choice)
Cooking spray
Large mixing bowl
Bundt cake pan
Parchment paper
Cookie sheet



All photos above of Kathryn creating her birdseed wreaths.


  1. In a large bowl mix the warm water and gelatin together, allowing gelatin to dissolve.
  2. Add in the corn syrup and flour, whisk to create a paste.
  3. Add 4 cups of the bird seed and stir well.
  4. Spray the Bundt cake pan well with cooking spray, then scoop the seed mixture into it as evenly as possible.
  5. Tap down the seed with a spoon and leave in place for 24 hours.
  6. After 24 hours, gently flip the molded seed wreath onto a paper-lined cookie sheet, and allow to dry for an additional 24 hours.
Kathryn's yummy DIY birdseed wreath with burlap ribbon.

My husband hung the wreath next to another established feeder. In no time at all, the blue jays arrived to eat all the cranberries, followed by the cardinals and sparrows who devoured the seed.

Sparrow joy! The DIY birdseed wreath is a hit.

Even our winter guest stopped by to check out all the hub-bub.

Northern Harrier Hawk photographed in our Crepe Myrtle next to the birdseed wreath.

Some of our feathered guests have more than seed on their mind. We also have a hawk that visits regularly throughout the winter to inspect our vegetation for ground critters.

If, like us, you are interested in conservation of wild birds and their habitats, please visit the American Bird Conservancy at

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Romance postponed ...

Last week, I posted of my plans for a romantic dinner to celebrate the New Year. I had stayed well through Christmas and was excited about setting a special table and making a delightful dinner for just the two of us.

What do they say about the best laid plans? That dinner was a 'no-go' when I came down with a respiratory virus. I spent New Year's Eve with tissues, thermometers and warm tea. My culinary surprise was leftover Frito Pie, and I could hardly muster more than a few bites.

But, I did have the most wonderful man attending to my every need. I adore that man of mine. He is a blessing in every way. I promise I'll make it up to you, honey!

Emerald isle ...

Cheers to Emerald Green, selected as Pantone's 2013 Color of The Year. 

Image via Cabbage Rose.
Emerald is such a rich, deep shade, perfect to set trends in home decor. And, from what I can see, it transcends styles with ease.

Image via Nuria Arfa.

Thinking of reupholstering that dingy ottoman. What a sexy new life it could have in emerald velvet.

Image via Optimism and White Paint.

I'm thinking of every old, mundane piece of furniture that could be transformed with a glaze of this green or painted in high gloss. Yum!

Image via The Turquoise Iris.

Image via Redesign Revolution.

Drama and high style. What's not to love?


And, what an ooh-la-la addition to a wardrobe. I'm easily seduced by the European beauties shown above in emerald green. Images via Harpers Bazaar (left) and Vogue (right).

Lynn Ford handcarved decorative wood with an aged emerald green patina. Image via Alamodeus.

By far, my favorite emerald is found on the Lynn Ford vintage piece (above) that I purchased from the estate of his brother and famed architect O'Neil Ford. This hand carved decorative wood was crafted by Lynn Ford (1908-1978) in his Willow Way workshop where the celebrated artisan produced doors, screens, walls, light fixtures, containers, and other items in wood, copper, and brass.

I know it has looks that only a historian would love. But, one of these days, I'll have my talented husband tighten the joints and repurpose my favorite emerald gem into a headboard or maybe a cabinet door.

Golden girl ...

According to British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, "Love is the only gold." But, I would wager he knew as many people who felt that "gold is the only love."

Image via Adore Home Magazine.

When it comes to metal finishes, count me among those who cherish gold. There is something compelling about the warmth of gold that makes me act like a magpie drawn to a shiny object of desire.

Moroccan tea cups from Just Morocco.

Image via Eclectic Revisited.

Oooh, and if that gold is gilded on antique furnishings, I'm euphoric. It's hard to contain my desire for the burnished charms of old gold.

Image via Home Biba.

In design styles old and new, a masterful golden touch makes me swoon.


Images above via Home Is Where The Heart Is (left) and Decor Pad (right).

I know decor preferences revolve from gold to silver to tarnished bronze and back again. But, my heart never strays from a golden preference.

Image via The Diversion Project.

I'm a golden girl from head to toe!

Bookworm love ...

Studying photos of inspiring bookcases has fueled my bookworm fantasies. For days on end, I've been confined at home trying to kick a nasty respiratory virus. The good news is that I've had lots of time on the couch to revisit some of my favorite design magazines and re-imagine the walls around me.

Image via Fancy House Road.

Every one of the spectacular bookcases featured in these publications are tall, dark and handsome. That's always attractive to me!

Image via 22 Bond Street.

While some shelving units are well planned and organized, others are a bit unruly. I'm really fond of bookcases that appear to have a voracious appetite for tattered tomes. I always speculate that there's an absolutely intriguing reader/homeowner just beyond the camera's gaze.

Image via Zsa Zsa Bellagio.

I particularly love this setting. The units above remind me of those in the Paris atelier of writer/publisher Jim Haynes, an American expat and extraordinary dinner host.

Images above via From The Right Bank (left) and House Beautiful (right).

The calming butterscotch and cocoa colors above are perfect paint treatments for the bookcases and the room design schemes.

Image via New York Cottages and Gardens.

A zing of red and yellow enliven the libraries and their contents in cheery reading habitats above and below.

Image via Canadian House and Home.

Hand me that novel, pour the decongestant and pass me the box of tissues. I'm ready for another afternoon of bookworm love.

Neutral zone ...

Bark and taupe, tobacco and oyster ... just some of my favorite neutral shades and perfect partners in a winter wardrobe. Direct from Mother Earth's palette to 2013 couture, neutrals are chic designer favorites.


Runway glamour above by designers Jack Guisso (left) and Oscar de la Renta (right).

Add a dash of shimmer or fur trim, and I'm hooked.

Image by

It's easy to see the palette carry from runway to the street. With the exception of trendy cuts, neutrals seem to transcend style dictates. That's particularly true of classics like jackets and scarves that can put in years of service.

Image via Lilly Unique.

Image via Queen's Wardrobe.

While they're appropriate year-round, I favor neutrals in winter (saving my color blasts for spring and summer.) 


Yes, please. I would happily accept either of the great jackets above. Give me the Gucci gator (left) in brown or the ivory beauty (right) paired with jeans. Oh-so-chic!

Hermes bracelets.

And, I love the accessories in natural shades with just a touch of gold or silver for a zest of bling.

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