Saturday, March 30, 2013

Purple, pleased ...

I'm so pleased with our newly painted purple door! I found lots of inspiration in fabulous doors that were perfection in purple. Thanks honey for your help with our dowdy door (and keeping an open mind) so I could give our front entrance a fresh coat of my purple DNA.

It's really quite the transformation from the faded cinnamon shade to gorgeous Embassy Purple. I applied three coats of high gloss latex acrylic and love the results. The hardware gives a handsome finishing touch, too. The kickplate is new, but you'd never know the lock set is the original brass. 

After. Purple door by Alamodeus.

I discovered the easiest method to renew brass: lemon juice and baking soda. It is so much better than commercial cleaners I've previously tried. Just squeeze 1/2 of a lemon in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the lemon juice. It fizzes as it's mixed into a paste. Use a soft cloth or soft toothbrush to apply the paste and gently work it into the brass. Rinse off the paste and dry. It took several times of repeating the process before I was satisfied with the results.

There were also three stained glass sidelights next to the door that had seen their better days. So, we had some glass cut and tempered to fit the frames. I decided to approach the new panes with a 'less is more' design approach.

After. Etched glass by Alamodeus.

The old leaded glass (above, left) next to the front door just didn't do it for me anymore, and I wanted something classic, yet fresh. I'm really happy with the new look (above, right), a departure from what I had planned. I ordered a great stencil online with plans to use it for my etching process, but the design felt too large for the narrow width of the glass. So, on to Plan B (the results seen above).

The process is really quite simple. We ordered three panes of glass to fit our needs. I measured my lines and taped off the areas with Blue Painter's Tape where I wanted to retain the clear glass. On the exposed areas, I applied Armour Etch glass etching cream according to the directions with a small brush, paying close attention to the label warnings. This is dangerous acid, so it's not child's play. 

Armour Etch is available at most craft stores. I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby. Be sure to use this outdoors. I applied the cream to the first pane in a well-ventilated area indoors and ended up with a whopper of a headache. Work on the other two panes moved outside!

Etched glass sidelight using Armour Etch etching cream by Alamodeus.

For an old door with lots of dog scratches, knicks and dings, it turned out beautifully. Happy, oh so happy!

Lemon lovers unite ...

It's not spring without a splash of lemon. Don't make that face. The tang in these lemon yellow beauties is ever so pleasant.

Image via Home and Decor Ideas Magazine.

Image via Micasa Revista.


Sunshine captured in rooms like those above bring a smile to my face. Images above via The Pink Pagoda (left) and Skona Hem (right).

Love, love the pops of yellow in this white Finnish bath. Image via LivingStone Kodit.

Talk about a focal point. Lemon yellow always loves to shine!

Travel bug ...

From the time I was a child, I've loved maps. My Dad would tell me our vacation destination, hand me a crisp new road map and let me guide our route to summer fun. I'm sure he knew exactly how to get where we were going, but he never let on. I was Mistress of the Map! Now, even after all these years, I continue to find new map inspirations. So many of these lovelies would be easy DIY projects.


Light the way with map-covered lamp shades like those above from The Old Lampshed (left) and Not On The High Street (right).


Can you catch the travel bug from chairs? Absolutely! Just image you are 'here' (wherever you wish that to be) with map decoupage on simple seats. Images above via Indulgy (left) and Pinterest (right).

Simple map ornaments via Not on the High Street. This online store is loaded with map-themed goods.

Woven map strips make this journal cover so appealing. Image via Dollar Store Crafts.

Crafters find a variety of ways to feature maps in their work. A couple of my favorites are shown above. Love the charming tags on Etsy (left) and well-traveled butterflies from Bromelaid Living (right).

Rejuvenating a worn chest brings the world closer. Image via Not On The High Street.

Image via Corset Laced Mannequins.

I have a mannequin and dozens of European city maps. Why not? I may just makeover my papier-mâché gal and give her a Parisienne street pedigree with a bit of Modge Podge and map bits.

Collar college ...

Who knew there were so many different collar styles on men's shirts? Not I. Not me. No, not I. But, hey, the guys at The Wall Street Journal have given us a cheat sheet from Collar College. Pay attention class. From most dressy at #1 to completely casual at #6, these are the collars in stores this spring.

There'll be a test later!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Moss madness ...

While almost everyone is focused on the NCAA college basketball playoffs known as 'March Madness,' I'm equally possessed by moss madness. Must be spring fever! So, I'm sharing the first weekly snippet of my Garden Journal featuring (drum roll, please) that heavenly carpet of green goodness known as moss.

Image of Alamodeus garden journal. This week's pages feature moss madness.

Such amazing chairs of moss! I have no clue how many glue sticks it takes to adhere this much greenery. But, my often-sizzled fingers hurt just thinking about it.

Image of crafted moss topiary by Alamodeus.

I'm so thrilled that manufacturers have created long sheets of moss for craft projects. I recently created large topiaries for my trade show booth using these large sheets.

Image via Style Me Pretty.

One of the best things about sheet moss is the ability to use it on the tabletop as a runner. I'm thinking of incorporating moss at our next soiree. So inviting for spring!

Image via United With Love.

The other thought is crafting placemats instead.

Image via Belle Bebes.

How simple! Just roll out the size needed and trim to fit. I like the round placemats and can even use my glass plates just like the inspiration photo above. Perfect!

Did someone say, "Shrimp?"

Aye, matey. I'm a shrimp lover and could eat my weight in those yummy sea hors d'oeuvres. Love the taste, love the color, too. That's why I can't help but be inspired by the pink-tinged hues found in salt water shrimp - something akin to salmon, but less red; coral, but less orange; peach, but less yellow.

Image via Jeffrey Nelson.

Living in San Antonio has given me lots of architectural inspiration. There are numerous Spanish Colonial homes with exterior stucco painted in subtle shades of shrimp. Add terracotta clay tile roofs and white trim for a blissful combo.


Images above via The Pink and Green Prep (left) and Martha Stewart (right).

This sweet little shade looks so elegant paired with gray, from charcoal to a matte ash. It's a natural with gold accents, too.


Images above via Netta Please (left) and Martha Stewart (right).

Think of shrimp as the demur first cousin to pink and coral with a lust-worthy warm blush of color.

Image via Elle Decor.

The pairing of shrimp with stronger tones is a natural.

Image via Atlanta interior designer Suzanne Kasler.

Neutrals like taupe and bone enhance the cheerful character of shrimp. Give it some complementary coral to create an inviting menu of colors for dining.

On the menu: Antipasto olive salad

If Mother Nature doesn't change her mind, we will have more Arbequena Olives in 2013 than ever before. Every tree in our small orchard is loaded with tiny olive buds.

2013 Arbequena Olive buds photographed by Alamodeus.

Our last big crop produced plenty of olives (I posted my excitement here). But, we were novices at brining, and when we should have been home changing out the brine solution, we headed to Paris instead. (Oh well, Paris is always worth it.) We returned home to find the pickling process was a failure.

Image via Beekman 1802.

This year, we are prepared with proven brine instructions, and we'll be home to babysit the fruit! I'm ready with so many olive recipes, so I have big plans for this crop. First up: an Antipasto Olive Salad recipe from the Beekman 1802 farm.



1 lb mixed olives-Sicilian green, Calamata, pitted (I'm using Arbequena)
1 jar artichokes-quartered- drained
1 jar roasted red peppers-cut into strips
3 stalks of celery-thinly sliced
½ cup tender celery leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
½ small red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 small hot pepper, chopped-or a pinch of red pepper flakes
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley-rough chop
1 cup smoked Scarmoza- cut into small cubes (You may substitute provolone, mozzarella or your favorite cheese.)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil


Put all ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Serve at room temperature.

Inside story ...

Decorating the inside of bookcases and shelving units with wallpaper or paint can have some pretty impressive results. What otherwise would be another humdrum storage solution becomes an instant wow factor in any room.

Image via Apartment Therapy.

I actually used gift wrap paper to back a glass-front storage unit in my studio and love the results. There are wallpaper and contact paper as options as well. With so many great patterned papers, there are a myriad of styles and colors to fit any interior design scheme.

Image via London-based interior stylist Melanie Molesworth.

There are equally as many choices of ways to adhere the paper, depending on how permanent this decor may be. I attached my gift wrap paper with double stick tape because I redecorate pretty often. But, wallpaper paste or spray adhesive is a smart choice for more long-term solutions. Of course, contact paper already comes with an adhesive back and is so simple to apply. 

Images above via Marika Meyer.

Fabric is another great way to add an inside color story. But, paint can also be an effective way to add energy and excitement.

Image via My Old Country House.

Just look at how a bold color choice really adds dimension and character to open shelving. I doubt anyone could miss the 'oomph' bright color brings to the beautiful construction of this simple, vintage unit. 

Image via Jason Ball Interiors.

Here's a favorite trick of HGTV designer Candice Olson. Add mirrors to the back of a bookcase to create depth and reflect light into the shelf recesses. I'm all for dressing up utilitarian storage to give it some personality and charm.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wearing o' the green ...

Shamrocks and leprechauns are symbols of Irish luck, but I'm thinking the lads and lasses of Ireland may be making their own good fortunes with the wearing o' the green.

So, for St. Patrick's Day, let's toast to the treasured green of the Emerald Isle!

So feminine. Image via Oscar de la Renta.

Yummy lace. Image via French Voguettes.

Love the green glassware. Image via Events By Heather Ham.

Gorgeous door. Image by Ravi Patel.

Lovely table. Image via Style At Home.

Dynamic artwork. Image via Brilliante Interiors.

Go forth and find a parade or pub to toast the patron saint of Ireland. Just remember to wear the green to keep the pinches away.

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