Funky Glamor Easter Centerpiece with Beet-Dyed Eggs, Rhinestones, Faux Fur & Feathers

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Happy Easter! Funky Glamor Easter Centerpiece…easter3

With the “Use-What-You’ve-Got” mentality, I gathered together some odd craft supplies I had lying around and created one of the funkiest Easter Centerpieces I’ve ever seen (If you’ve seen funkier, show me! I’d love to see it) Faux fur scraps, feathers, and rhinestones on beet-dyed eggs arranged in my vintage polka-dot bowl. I hope it sparks you to be creative with whatever crafty bits you have lying around the house…

This is the first time I’ve ever dyed eggs with beets. First off, fair warning. It WILL dye your hands, (though it wears off pretty quickly) so wear gloves unless pink fingers are your thing.

1. Hard boil the eggs. I used this method http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/eggsdairy/r/Hard-Boiled-Eggs.htm and it worked perfectly, no cracks or issues. Let them cool.

2. Cook up your beets. I used the recipe for beets on this page: http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/04/how-to-dye-easter-eggs-naturally-without-a-box-onion-skins-beets-cabbage.html Of course, I used the boiled beets, which are now pickling in the fridge. (if you’re not into natural, just use Paas dye or food coloring. I won’t tell anyone.)

3. Dye your eggs. The longer you leave them in the juice, the darker they will be, just be sure and stir them around from time to time while they’re in there. Place them on paper towels (or a rag you don’t turning pink) to dry. I tried to get fancy with it by creating stripes. It is subtle but it worked. I just held the egg steady in the beet juice at one level, let it dry, then at another level, let it dry, and so on. NOTE: At first I tried to use beet juice from a can of beets. Epic Fail. Just made a mess. Don’t do it.

Decorating the eggs

1. After letting the eggs dry thoroughly, it was time to get funky. First I gathered all my goodies. I chose to use a sheet of David Tutera self-stick rhinestones on the eggs. This was very easy. I just cut them into strips, peeled off the back and stuck them on. Even eggs deserve some glitz. I must say I’m digging the sticky rhinestones, so many uses! I was lucky enough to get these in a gift bag, but you can find them at Joanne, Hobby Lobby, Micheal’s, and many places online such as Amazon. I plan to reuse the ones on the eggs after we eat them.easter3 (the eggs that is, not the rhinestones)

2. Arrange the display. I choose to use a cute vintage polka-dot bowl that usually sits on my kitchen counter. I put a white faux fur scrap in first, being sure to tuck all the edges under, then added a string of coque feathers tucked in around the fur, and then added the guinea feathers outside the coque feathers. (I keep a bunch of miscellaneous feathers around for decorating projects. They’re great to add to flower arrangements, just alone in a vase, in centerpieces, etc.) Lastly, the eggs went in the bowl on top of the faux fur, and I set the bowl on top of another faux fur scrap. That’s it! Quick, easy, and well, a little weird I know, but it suits my personality. Everything I used (except the eggs of course) can be reused again. The only things I bought were the beets and the eggs, which will all happily be eaten.

I hope you’ll be inspired to get funky and think outside the Easter box with your project. I’d love to see your funky creations! Please share them in the comments section below. Happy Easter!

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When the Walls Come Tumbling Down…

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It’s one of those days when sh*t just happens…the plaster in the bedroom started falling down, big-time. Let me tell you, plaster falling your head when you’re lying in bed is not fun! Now the bedroom is torn apart (not sure where we’ll be sleeping tonight) and we’re tearing into the damaged wall. Sigh. I wanted to redo the bedroom, but not like this! Nothing like a little forced remodeling. In an attempt to make a big fat lemon into lemon-aid, I’ll be tackling several projects in the bedroom redo, including painting, ceiling treatment, lighting, rehabbing an old dresser, and more, all as cheaply as possible of course. Below are a couple pictures I’ll be using as my inspiration (though my man and I are arguing over color so this is subject to change) Subscribe to the blog and follow along as this project comes together. #remodeling #DIY

Inspiration pics from Houzz.com

http://www.houzz.com/photos/1279699/First-floor-living-space–and-study-eclectic-home-office-london

FIND of the WEEK

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FIND of the WEEK

This week’s finds come from my favorite thrift store…

2 adorable BCBG Maxazria skirts and a darling Cache’ top that matches my hair 😉 All 3 in perfect condition of course. The skirts were $3.99 each and the top was $3.49. (plus I saved an additional 20%, more on that in “Thrifting It” Part 2, coming next week) I’ll be rocking these cute finds as soon as the weather warms up here in Denver. Be sure and subscribe to see how I put them together into fetching Spring outfits.

Learn all the ins and outs of finding the good stuff at the thrift stores in “Thrifting It”, Part 1…Part 2 coming Next Week!

I have a confession to make…

Looking fit at Burning Man 2012 after P90X... Here I am looking fit (and rather silly) on my Burning Man vacation last year, after P90X, before all hell broke loose…

I have a confession to make. Right now, I am feeling slightly less than fabulous. Like so many women, I’ve been fighting that old “Battle of the Bulge” all my life, gaining and losing the same 20 pounds over and over. While my closet is full of fabulous clothes, they range in sizes from 6-10. Today finds me on the high side and back in the 10s. I want my 6s back. I was doing so very well last year. I’d completed both Insanity and P90X, was down on the small side of the closet and feeling great for my August vacation to Burning Man. Then upon returning, all hell broke loose, emotionally speaking. Financial stress hit hard. My father went into the hospital, then passed away. A couple months later my Mom got very sick and was in and out of the hospital as well. (she’s doing better now). Through it all, I let my workout routine go to hell, and ate for comfort. Today I begin the official journey back to feeling fabulous. Eating for health, working out 4-5 days a week, and adding more physical activity to my days. I will be sharing my journey with you here, and you have my permission to hold me accountable. I’ll be posting all sorts of helpful tips & tricks as well. I’ll tell you what’s working for me, and what isn’t. So come follow along, it’s going to be an interesting ride…

PS No matter what your weight, you still have the right to look great! Dress well and work it, no matter your size, because you ARE fabulous.

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Thrifting It, the Thrift Store Shopper’s Starter Kit – How to Find the Good Stuff, Part 1

thriftinglogoThrifting It, the Thrift Store Shopper’s Starter Kit – How to Find the Good Stuff, Part 1

Moschino, Versace, Maxmara, Diane Von Furstenberg, Guiseppe Zanotti, Prada, Hermes…what do all these designers have in common? They’ve all lived in my closet. And, they came from the thrift store. Yea that’s right, the thrift store. 90% of my closet is filled with designer labels, and about 70% of that came from thrifting. So get over your pre-conceived ideas. I’m going to teach you how to find the good stuff.

After over a dozen years of hard-core thrift store hopping, I’ve seen it all, and learned the ins and outs. So what’s so great about thrifting? Well, besides paying pennies on the dollar for really great stuff, it’s green, the ultimate in recycling. You’re saving items from the landfill, and usually the proceeds are going to charity. You’ve gotta feel good about that, but mostly, it’s fun. There’s nothing like the rush of finding something amazing, something you really love, for just a few dollars. I call it my weekly treasure hunt. What are some of my best finds? A gorgeous pair of Guiseppe Zanotti heels for $8.99; Prada boots for $12.99; a brand new Versace shirt for $3.99, and that’s just a tiny sampling. My top two finds so far have to be a beautiful new-condition full length custom-made ranch mink coat (I would only ever buy second-hand fur) for $29.95 and 2, yes TWO, Hermes’ scarves in perfect condition for a total of $43.99. (they were not quite my style so I sold them on Ebay for over $700, which covered most of my thrift shopping for the year, but more on that in future posts) You won’t find something good on every visit, but the times you do find a treasure make it all worth it.

Here are 9 Thrift Store Shopping Basics to get you started…
1.If at all possible, go during the week. My favorite days to go are Tues-Thurs. Most people go on the weekends, and it can get mighty crowded. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have to elbow my way to the skirt rack.

2. Be consistent. Most stores get in new merchandise daily, so there is a high turnover. Try to visit your favorite store once a week. And, it will help you get to know the store and the employees, which will end up saving you time in the long-run. (more on this next time)

3.Wear comfy shoes. You’ll be roaming the racks for an hour or two, so be good to your feet. (I admit to breaking this rule, I love my heels, but I usually regret it)

4.Wear clothing that’s easy to get on and off so trying on clothes is as painless as possible. (and um, be sure and wear underwear)

5.Bring socks, both athletic and every-day, so you’ll be able to try on any type of shoes.

6.Bring a friend who will be honest about how the clothes look on you whenever possible. This can be a life-saver, or at least, a clothes-saver…

7.Grab a cart. You may not think you need one, but trust me, grab it. It frees your hands for flipping through the racks instead of holding stuff. Toss whatever you find interesting in the cart. Don’t take the time to check it over just yet, you’ll do that before you check out. I know I’ve missed out on some great stuff by thinking “I can come back for that”, only to find it gone. If you like it, throw it in the cart.

8.The Most Important Thrifting Tip: Check out the new stuff first! The bigger chain thrift stores like Goodwill, ARC and Salvation Army are putting out new stock constantly throughout the day. If you see bins and rolling racks, (ie: stuff on it’s way out to the floor) dive in! I find most of the good stuff before it ever actually gets hung on the rack. I am not shy. I will follow the employees pushing carts out of the back room so I can get first dibs on the new goodies, which brings me to #9…

9.Always be nice. I often see people being rude to the employees. These folks work hard and put up with a lot, so be kind to them, and your fellow treasure hunters.

In “Thrifting It”, Part 2, I’ll show you all the extra “hidden” discounts you probably don’t know about. We’ll also talk about what to do with that cart full of stuff before you check out, the ins and outs of some of the various thrift store chains, and much more.

Have any comments or questions? I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments box below.

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Spending Teeny, looking Terrific…

I can’t remember the last time I paid retail…I am obsessed with “the Deal”. There is absolutely no reason you have to spend a ton to look good. In upcoming posts I’ll share all my little cheap-ass spending secrets with you, and I will honestly say where I get it and how much it cost. Here’s a couple brief examples:

Just running out to do errands? No excuse to look shlumpy. (whenever a see a lovely lady in faded jeans, dirty tennis shoes and a grubby tee-shirt I want to grab her by the shoulders and scream “You deserve to look better than this!”) It only takes a minute for a quick, put-together yet comfy look. Here’s one of my fast & fabulous errand-runner looks, and what it cost me…

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This is what I wore last Friday night out gallery-hopping. A fun, comfortable yet fashionable look. Here I am shopping at the Mona Lucero Boutique, a great local fashion designer. (I don’t remember what she said, but it must have been funny…)

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There’s loads more to come, don’t miss out! Subscribe to the blog.

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Welcome to the Year of Living Fabulously

What is “the Year of Living Fabulously”?

“Quaintrelle”…According to Wikipedia, A quaintrelle is a woman who emphasizes a life of passion expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life’s pleasures. This blog is for you, my fellow Quaintrelle.

In this blog, I’m sharing with you of all that I’ve learned about having the very best for the very least. You see, I have a disease. Call it “Affluenza” or “Designer-itis”. I’m in love with the best of everything in life: designer clothes, fine dining, beautiful living and lavish experience. Unfortunately for my bank account, I have chosen a profession that is not exactly known for 6-figure incomes; I am an artist. Not willing to compromise on living the high life, I’ve spent many years figuring out how to work the system; How to get the very best for much, much less, usually for pennies on the dollar. It is possible, and I’m going to show you all I’ve learned. You are about to reap the rewards of all my hard work and research.

Consider me your fine-living guide; sort of a Hipper, Funky Martha Stewart. Over the weeks, months, and hopefully years to come, I’ll be sharing my secrets with you, including many topics such as: How to find the Good Stuff at Thrift stores and Yard sales; how to “Work the System” at the designer outlets such as Neiman Marcus Last Call & Off 5th; getting the best of the Groupons (& other luxury social-coupon sites); the Art of the Barter,: using Ebay to make Cash and fund your Designer Addiction; at-home Beauty Secrets for Pennies: posh D-I-Y Decorating Ideas: the “Find of the Week” & “Tips & Tricks”; Time-saving Shopping Tips,  and much more. (There will be special local secrets and tips just for my fellow Denver-ites as well called “Denver-Alerts“. Watch for them!)

Click the “Follow” link below, and you won’t miss one fabulous thing.

Why “the Year of Living Fabulously”?

As I write this, tomorrow is my 45th birthday. I’ve had a great life, with many ups and downs as I’m sure all of us have. I’ve done very well on my meager earnings, but I’m greedy, I want to do even better. I want the next year to be my best yet, and yours, too. May this be the year of love and laughter, looking & feeling great, fun times with friends and loved ones, surrounded by beauty of all kinds…and the year I finally get that Louis Vuitton bag I’ve had my eye on.