A Tale of Two Chandeliers (DIY Lighting Make-overs)

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A Tale of Two Chandeliers (DIY Lighting Make-overs)

It was the best of lighting, it was the worst of lighting…ok, I’m getting carried away with the Dickens here I know. It’s just a couple simple chandelier make-overs…

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Bringing the Tropics to a Denver Backyard…Bromeliads in the Trees, + Painted Birdcage Bonus

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Bringing the Tropics to a Denver Backyard…Bromeliads in the Trees

I was inspired on a recent trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens by this tree full of bromelaids. Such a fun tropical look! Here’s what they did:

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One of My Favorite Gardening Tricks – Curly Willow Branches: DIY Tree, High-Impact on the Cheap

One of My Favorite Gardening Tricks – Curly Willow Branches: High-Impact on the Cheap

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This trick is an oldy but a goody.  I learned it years ago in my Floral Designer days and have used it many times, both indoors and out…

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Cheap Mirror Make-over for the Rock Star Glam Bedroom (or, What a Difference Some Paint Makes, Part 2)

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Cheap Mirror Make-over for the the Rock Star Glam Bedroom

A simple little project for the bedroom…

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Find of the Week – August 6, 2013…Designer Finds, Cynthia Rowley & Sigrid Olsen

Another great week at the thrift store…Cynthia Rowley & Sigrid Olsen!

I did my weekly foray at my favorite Goodwill yesterday. After an hour+ of shopping, I hadn’t found anything. I was about to give up for the day when they started rolling racks of women’s clothes out of the back room. I LOVE it when that happens! There’s nothing better than getting first dibs on the new stuff. (Running to the new racks is one of my big Thrifting Tips). What did I find? A pretty 100% silk two-piece embellished tank and skirt from Sigrid Olsen, I love the pattern! (cost $10.99, retail about $250), and my favorite find so far this Summer, a Cynthia Rowley designer dress that will be perfect for fall! (cost $9.99, retail $350+) Can’t wait to sport this one with some cute ankle boots come September…both items are in perfect condition. I had a $10 gift card (thank you Goodwill Club Blue!) so my total was only $11! Viva la Thrifting!

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What are your great thrift store finds? I want to hear ! Tell me in the Leave a Reply/Comment section.

Find of the Week – July 30, 2013…Marc Jacobs & Tadashi

Find of the Week – Tuesday, July 30, 2013

OK, I confess. I have not been listing a “find” every single week. Sometimes there are no finds, or they are just not worthy of being listed. ( I DO go to the thrift store every week) Perhaps I should change the name. Hmmmm…anyway, here is the “Find of the (almost every) Week”

Yesterday at my favorite Goodwill I found: a very nice Marc by Marc Jacobs leather bag (new retail around $450), and a gorgeous black silk crepe Tadashi Collection dress (new retail around $350) both in excellent, near new condition. Grand Total? $14. Starting to understand why thrifting is so friggin’ awesome? Here they are on my mannequin Tallulah.

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I love the Marc Jacobs bag, but green is not my color, so I have listed it for sale on Ebay. Here it is if you’d like to see it: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=121152321944  I’m definitely keeping the dress, it fits great 😉

What awesome thrift store finds have you made recently? I’d love to hear about them! Tell me in the “Leave a Reply” section.

Perhaps the Best Outdoor Garden Lighting Idea Ever…DIY High-End Looking Glowing Orbs for about $3

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This is one of the Best Outdoor DIYs Ever. I mean it. So simple, so high impact, so freakin’ awesome. When I first saw this one, I had one of those smack-on-the-forehead moments of “Why didn’t I think of that?!?”

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A (Cheap) Fun Faux Taxidermy DIY for the Great Laundry Room Make-over of 2013, Part 3

A Faux Taxidermy DIY using a Foam Form, Magic Sculp & Paint

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You may have noticed that Faux Taxidermy is all the rage right now…

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Funky Cool Custom Ceiling Graphic (Medallion) & Light for the Great Laundry Room Make-Over of 2013, Part 2 (plus: How to Install RTA Graphics)

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Well the Laundry Room Make-over is coming along nicely, just a couple small projects left to go. Over the weekend I finished up the ceiling with a “new” (well, new to me anyway) light fixture and custom graphic, and I love it!

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The BEST Cup of Coffee Ever…and YOU Made it! Here’s how. Plus WIN FREE COFFEE FOR A YEAR From Pablo’s Coffee!

Ah Java, that elixir of the Gods. If you’re a fellow devotee of the mighty bean, then you feel me. Life is simply too short for a crappy cup of coffee. But there is hope. You can actually make the best coffee you’ve ever had, yourself, at home, with just a little guidance. Not only does it taste great, but it’s also way cheaper than going to your local Starb#@ks.

Awesome Coffee 101

#1. Toss your automatic coffee maker in the trash, (or rather, recycle it) and get a French Press. I know it may seen drastic, but they are simply incapable of creating a tasty cup of joe. Why? The main reason is the water temperature. Most machines do not get the water hot enough and cannot regulate the temperature as it pours through the grinds. (It is also my humble opinion that the filter alters the taste of the coffee.)

#2 The Beans. Quality beans are of the utmost importance. Always choose freshly roasted beans. This means you may have to make an extra stop at your local roasters, but it is oh so worth it, trust me. No more stale old bags of grocery store coffee for you! Always get whole bean coffee, and grind it yourself, right before you brew. Buy only a pound at a time (unless you have a huge coffee-swigging family) and store your beautiful beans in an airtight container, no need to freeze them. (Denver-Alert! See below for my favorite source of great beans, and how to get them at a big discount! For you out-of-towners, they ship, too)

#3 The Grind. The most important purchase you can make for great tasting coffee is a burr grinder. Be sure and grind your beans fresh, right before you make your morning cup. Why a burr grinder? Frankly, blade grinders suck. They provide an inconsistent grind, and tend to over-heat and even burn the beans. The more even the grind, the better the coffee. I know, burr grinders are more expensive, but essential. You can find good deals on them used on Ebay, and if you’re lucky like me, you’ll find a good one at the thrift store for $7.99…

#4 Good water. Use filtered water, it really does make a difference.

Now that you have the Awesome Coffee Basics, let’s get brewing…

First, gather what you need. French Press, fresh beans, burr grinder, filtered water, tablespoon measure, and a timer. (there are fancy coffee timers out there, but a decent kitchen timer will do the trick)

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Start your water to boil on the stove, then grind your beans in your burr grinder. Be sure and double-check that it is set to the “french press” setting.

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Measure about 8 tablespoons of fresh grounds for a typical 32 oz French Press. (you can adjust this to your taste)

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When your water starts boiling, turn off the burner and let it sit for just a second. Don’t pour boiling water over the grounds. (and don’t let it sit longer than a few seconds or it will cool off too much). Pour the hot water steady, slow and even to fully saturate the grounds. Don’t fill to the top, but to the bottom of the “ring” on the press. (Otherwise you’ll just make a big mess when it’s time to plunge).

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Start your 4-minute timer. After about a minute, stir it gently and put the top on. Don’t push the plunger down just yet, you have 3 minutes to go…

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At four minutes, it’s time to push down the plunger. Move slow and steady until it reaches the bottom.

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Now it’s time to pour and enjoy your delicious coffee however you like. (I like it with a little agave and half n half, my man drinks it black) Be sure and pour right away, don’t let your coffee sit in the press or it will turn bitter. If you are not planning to drink it all right away, pour the extra into a carafe to keep it warm.

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Now it’s time for our DENVER-ALERT! The Best Beans in Town (in my opinion) at the Best Price. PABLO’S. Pablo’s has two Denver locations, one at 6th and Corona, and the newest location at 13th and Pennsylvania. I’ve been getting all my beans there for about 3 years now. Both locations sell their awesome fresh-roasted beans, roasted daily less than a mile away. (www.pabloscoffee.com)

Here’s the Secret to getting a great deal on beans at Pablo’s. Two things. One, Tuesday is 20% off pound o’ beans day. That makes it about $12 instead of the usual $14 for a full pound of bean-y goodness. Two, ask for a bean punch card (you have to ask, they don’t have them out on the counter) When you buy 6 pounds, you get the seventh pound FREE. (they also have cup punch cards, if you just can’t resist getting a brewed cup, or my favorite, the Americano, while you’re there.) If you buy all your beans on Tuesdays (I do!) and use your punch card, it comes out to roughly $10.30 per glorious pound of beans after you average in the freebee. Can’t beat that for fresh roasted beans. They have many great varieties of beans. I’ve tried many of them and have not ever been disappointed, but I do usually go back to the Danger Monkey blend. It’s a good one, I highly recommend it. And speaking of Pablo’s…

WIN FREE COFFEE FOR A YEAR!! (Denver-area Only)

Pablo’s has generously offered an awesome prize. One pound of coffee per month for a year, FREE! (that’s about a $168 value!)

WE HAVE A WINNER!! Congratulations Anna Newell Jones! You’ll be enjoying fabulous Pablo’s Coffee for the next year, gratis! Enjoy, and thank you all who entered the contest!

NOTES: There are many other ways to make a good coffee, including the Aeropress, Chemex, and of course good ‘ol espresso. If you want to explore these other methods, try the Stumptown website for some great tutorials: http://stumptowncoffee.com/brew-guides/ or ask the folks at Pablo’s or your favorite local roaster for their recommendations. For good notes on methods and equipment, check out : www.home-barista.com and www.coffeegeek.com

Disclaimer: Marie Vlasic and the Year of Living Fabulously are receiving NO COMPENSATION from Pablo’s Coffee for this blog or the contest. (I actually just really love their coffee). Denver has several good coffee roasters, you can check them out here: https://www.google.com/search?q=Denver+coffee+roasters