A Sunday Funday Fashion Post! Yes, you CAN Look Great Wearing Clothes from the Thirft Store…

I know I haven’t done a fashion post for awhile, so here it goes! I really liked the funky outfit I put together last night so I’ll share it with you.

I always like to prove you can do almost all your shopping from the thrift store and look great, so here is what I wore last night, with descriptions and prices on everything…

(Pictures taken at Denver’s Union Station)

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I love a little pop of color when wearing neutrals! It makes the outfit.

From Top to Bottom:

The long-sleeve square-neck black top is by “Velvet”, Goodwill $3.99, purchased this Summer.

Faux Fur Vest by Charlotte Ruse, also from Goodwill, $6.99, purchased last Fall.

DIY Black Heart Necklace (see it HERE) Created February this year.

Leopard-print brushed cotton jeans by Jones New York, Goodwill $8.99. Purchased last year.

HYPE black and gold clutch, Neiman Marcus Last Call, $38 (Originally about $200) purchased about 6 years ago. (this bag was a splurge for me, but I actually use it a ton.)

Costa Blanca Hot Pink satin ankle boots, Neiman Marcus Last Call $18. (originally over $100) purchased about 7 years ago.

Bracelet, Goodwill, $2.99, purchased a couple months ago.

 

So there you have it, more great looks from your neighborhood thrift store. What have you found lately? I’d love to hear about it.

 

Find of the (almost every) Week – Carolina Herrara & Jones New York!

It’s time for Find of the Week!

This week’s find is a gorgeous leopard-print wrap dress by Jones New York. I LOVE this dress, it’s very comfortable and flattering. Looks like new. I’ve already worn it 3 times. $8.99 at my favorite Goodwill. Also, a very nice pair of authentic Carolina Herrera sunglasses, in near perfect condition, only $7.99 also at my fav Goodwill. Hooray for the Thrift Store!

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FIRST FRIDAY tomorrow! Plus lots of Free Stuff to do & Cinco de Mayo!

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It’s time again for our Favorite Free Date-Night, First Friday, and the weather is great! No excuses, get out of the house and go see some art…

In addition to the usual Fun First Friday Madness at the usual Arts Districts, (Santa Fe, RINO, Golden Triangle, etc.) There are a heap of openings. (See the list below)

ALSO Saturday is FREE DAY at the Denver At Museum.

The Denver Botanic Gardens is FREE on Cinco De Mayo! (Monday)

Here’s an odd-ball event of note: Remember the Fonz? (Yes I know, I’m showing my age 😉 What teenage girl didn’t have a crush on him? Henry Winkler will be signing his new children’s book & giving autographs at Mile High Comics Mega Store on Sunday. (you do have to have a ticket (they are free, but limited! So contact the store asap) http://www.milehighcomics.com/newsletter/041614email.html For tickets: boyd@milehighcomics.com. AND May 3rd is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!

The Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market starts back up for the season on May 3rd, Saturday, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. The produce ain’t free, but the window shopping and entertainment is. (Most of the other Denver Farmer’s Markets start back up in June.)

And of course there is the big Cinco De Mayo Festival in Civic Park both Saturday & Sunday starting at 10am. Free admission.

Ever fantasize about riding the rails? Saturday is FREE DAY at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden. Open 9-5.

Here is your listing of Art Openings this weekend and beyond, courtesy of DenverArts.org. Have a Fantastic Weekend Everyone! Happy Cinco De Mayo!

[Upcoming Events from the DenverArts.org Calendar]

May 02, 2014
May 03, 2014
May 05, 2014
May 07, 2014

Find of the (Almost Every) Week…Theory & Laundry!

It’s time for Find of the (Almost Every) Week! It’s a two-fer this week featuring a perfect black dress from Laundry by Sheli Seagal And a cute wool color-block sweater from Theory, both shown here on my mannequin Tallulah…

I love this Laundry Dress. Comfortable and flattering, can be dressed up or down, and it’s in perfect condition. Retail about $225, Goodwill $8.99.

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And this darling color-block wool sweater by Theory, retail $195, Goodwill $3.99. I love it! I’ve already worn it twice. Totally my colors.

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What did you find at your favorite thrift store this week? I’d love to hear about it in the Leave a Reply/Comments section.

An Extraordinary Artist’s Home Just too Good not to Share (and Chock Full of Unique DIY Ideas)

Looking from entrance hall through to kitchen.  Horse’s head from Strange Trader.  Railway light hanging overhead.  Timber and bronze sculptures to the right by David Bromley.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.
(Yes, you can paint your walls BLACK! Especially great with the white ceiling and trim. That hand-painted graphic piece on the left looks amazing and is totally doable with some painter’s tape and a steady hand…)

Artwork, magazines, collected ephemera in the entry hall.  A mix of artwork by David Bromley and Heidi Yardley, timber carving by David Bromley, Gypsy girl painting by an unknown artist in the USA.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

(I LOVE the art collections all through this home. Notice most of the paintings are not framed? A collection of fun thrift store paintings could look equally good, especially against the dark walls.)

Master Bedroom 1! (There are two!).  Quilt and wall mural by David Bromley.  Painting above bed – old Russian propaganda painting – find similar Russian paintings at Bromley and Yuge’s shop in Byron, In This Street.  Bottom right – Bernard Buffet lithographs.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

(The hand-painted wall mural is killer. I love that art is EVERYWHERE in this home, even down near the floor.)

Dining and living / TV room.  Incredible hand painted wall mural by David Bromley.  Printed Bonnie and Neil cushions from Ahoy Trader.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

(Man, that half-wall mural is marvelous. Sharp and graphic and at the same time soft because of the simple color scheme. I love it against the dark walls. I may have to steal this one (not the actual mural of course, but something similar…) There is a whole lot going on in this home, but it’s not overwhelming because of the simple, consistent underlying color scheme)

Ok.  I promised you something special today and by GOLLY am I going to deliver on that!  This home is so freaking amazing.  It rendered Toby and me pretty much speechless in person… which always makes for a daunting shoot, in which you’re desperately hoping your shots will capture some of that magic, and that the camera lens will accurately convey the visual feast before your eyes.  I do hope we’ve succeeded in that mission today, and that this story feels like a true and honest documentation of one of the most amazing homes I have ever set foot in!

Clearly, this magical property is the Byron Bay home of artist David Bromley, his wife Yuge, and their gorgeous little baby, Wen.  David and Yuge have lived here just about two years, after relocating from Melbourne.  David was always drawn to the relaxed lifestyle here, and had often travelled here before setting up a more permanent home in Byron with Yuge in 2011.

Ironically though, there doesn’t appear to have been much ‘relaxing’ going on since David and Yuge moved here!  No sooner had they relocated, and David was up to his usual tricks – the property, which Bromley previously held as a weekender, was significantly re-worked, turning it into both a functional living and working space. David soon also acquired the property next door – pulling down the fence to create a dedicated studio and office space, and headquarters for Yuge’s fashion label.  The pair have also created an incredible sculpture garden shared by the two properties, filled with David’s own work and an ever-growing collection of artwork, vehicles and vintage collectables.

Whilst they have worked tirelessly to create a special home here, both David and Yuge have been careful to retain the original charm of this property, with its rambling gardens and out houses.  One of these outdoor pavillions has now been turned into an incredible summer bedroom adjoining the main house (so amazing!), whilst another serves as a painting studio.  Though they’ve made impressive progress in just two years, David and Yuge’s home has evolved very much organically, and changes made have been cosmetic rather than structural.

‘We are big believers in working with the original construct of buildings’ explains Yuge. ‘Renovating, wall removal and subtle reconfiguring is awesome fun and amazing, but building for us is daunting and disruptive. We’re not opposed to painting the walls though – painting a room a new colour is like having a holiday!’.  Indeed, soon after relocating here, Yuge recalls she and David would often end their work days to go and spend early evenings paintings the rooms in their house together.  I can so imagine that.  I hope it involved a glass of wine in one hand, and a paintbrush in the other!

Though it’s clearly a seriously impressive and kind of mind-bloggling space, the charm of this home really rests on its sense of light-heartedness and sponteneity.  It’s clear that this house has come together very intuitively, rather than adhering to a grand master plan. This is evident everywhere you look – in the wide stripes painted freehand on the kitchen walls, and the ad hoc placement of artwork from floor to ceiling, wherever it will fit, underneath windows and above doorways.  Yuge and David see furniture and objects as very much part of the architecture of a home – ‘placing bits and pieces we love around the house is how we build a space’ says Yuge.  Despite it’s devilish good looks, there’s nothing precious about this home – like so many of David’s creative endeavours, the space is ever-changing.

I feel so very lucky to have had the opportunity to document this truly special Australian Home.  MASSIVE thanks to David and Yuge for being so open and generous, and for trusting us to share their private world with you all!

ALSO, a reminder – we have an amazing giveaway running all week, thanks to David and Yuge, and their retail store In This Street!  One lucky reader will win a choice of any piece from Yuge’s beautiful womenswear range, and a stunning linen quilt by David Bromley, valued at $1,100.  Please visit Monday’s post and leave a comment over there before 10.00pm this Friday to be in the running.

 

Amazing TV room!  Incredible hand painted wall mural by David Bromley.   ’Moon rock’ felted cushions from Japan.  Printed Bonnie and Neil cushions from Ahoy Trader.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Loungeroom details – a mix of mid century and African artefacts. Wall mural by David Bromley.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Kitchen with amazing monochromatic stripes, painted freehand by David – around the artwork in some areas! Two portraits at top by David Bromley, below – a Russian painting by an unknown artist.  Rug from Loom Rugs.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

(Hand-painted free-hand strips! This took guts and a steady hand, but it looks great. Give it a go! If you mess up you can always paint over it. It’s just paint. The island on wheels clad in old signs. Great idea! And of course, art, art and more art! I admit I’m in love with that wacky cat’s head.)

Kitchen detail.  A painting found in China. Printed pottery on shelf to left by David Bromley.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Looking from dining to kitchen.  Early painting by David Bromley on the kitchen walls, created as studies on the Bloomsbury Group.  Michael Pugh ceramic pot in foreground.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Joe Furlonger painting in dining room. Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Looking in to kitchen from the garden.  ’We love the inside being linked to the outside, and the outside linked to the inside’ says Yuge.  Paths throughout the yard are made from garden stakes.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files. (I would love to open up our kitchen to the back yard, though that may be too much of a DIY for me.)

A long timber shed adjoining the main house has been converted into a summer bedroom, complete with in-room bathtub and private courtyard.  Quilts and painting above bed by David Bromley.  One bed is for David and Yuge – the adjacent bed is for little Wen.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

(How charming! A “Summer Bedroom”, with it’s own bathtub. Great guest room. Who wouldn’t want to stay there? We’ve been seeing lots of hand-painted quilts in these pictures. This is an idea I WILL be stealing. It could be just simple geometric patterns if you don’t want to get all artsy with it. I love that the edges are unfinished, makes life simpler.)

 

 

Summer bedroom, complete with in-room bathtub.  Quilts by David Bromley.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

A long timber shed adjoining the main house has been converted into a summer bedroom, complete with in-room bathtub.  Quilts by David Bromley.  One bed is for David and Yuge – the adjacent bed is for little Wen.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Outside bath on back porch, from Reece.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Side door and entrance hall.  Timber carved sculpture by David Bromley.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Amazing gardens.  ’The gardens here grow so well, and with some adventurous planting you can be living in a forest in no time’ says Yuge. ‘Bamboo grows in front of your eyes, and the weather here makes you look like a good gardener, whereas truthfully it just nature doing its thing!’  Enormous painted mesh Giraffe sculpture by Melbourne artist Tom Ripon (Tom has no website but is stocked in Melbourne by The Cool Roomin Balaclava).  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files. (I want that giraffe! Makes me want to try my hand at outdoor sculpture.)

Exterior of David’s favourite backyard studio.  Paths made from garden stakes.  Pizza oven bought from a cooking school. French antique glass vase.  Lights made from Japanese fishing floats.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

(The simple garden paths are marvelous, and could easily be duplicated with treated scrap wood from old deaks or palettes.)

Of course they have an airstream caravan too…!   Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

(An Airstream? OK, now I am SERIOUSLY jealous…)

Bromley’s favourite backyard studio. Butterflies painting on easel by David Bromley.  Rug from Loom Rugs.  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Detail from David’s backyard studio. ‘Sulky Boy’ painting by David Bromley. Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Painted schoolbus by David Bromley.  Elephant sculpture by Melbourne artist Tom Ripon (Tom has no website but is stocked in Melbourne by The Cool Roomin Balaclava).  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

(The Painted Bus! I love it! If only I had a bigger backyard…)

Old Studebaker found in Daylesford, perched in the garden!  Photo – Toby Scott, production – Lucy Feagins / The Design Files.

Denver! Resolving to Spend Less in the New Year? Start with a Bang – January FREE Events

Just because you blew your wad on holiday gifts doesn’t mean you have to stay home in January. There are gee-gobs of FREE Events in Denver January 2014, starting with New Year’s Eve:

303live-NYE-GuideImage Courtesy of 303live.com

Downtown Denver Fireworks
December 31 (9 p.m. and midnight)
The sky will once again sparkle over the 16th Street Mall at the close of 2013 with the New Year’s Eve Fireworks Downtown. The two spectacular fireworks shows will occur at 9 p.m. and midnight. For the best viewpoints, stand along the 16th Street Mall. Costumed entertainers will interact with crowds between shows, including magicians, mascots, balloon artists, stilt walkers, comedians and more. Best of all, it’s not going to be that cold; the evening will be 35-45 degrees and clear. It’s very crowded down there, I recommend taking the Light Rail.

Of Course FIRST FRIDAY will be alive and well on January 3rd at all your favorite Denver Arts Districts.

January cultural FREE DAYS: 

Denver Art Museum: Saturday, January 4th (the museum is FREE every first Saturday)

Denver Botanic Gardens (York Street): Monday, January 20th

Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield:  Tuesday, January 7th

Denver Museum of Nature & Science: Monday, January 13th

Denver Zoo (3 Days!): Friday, January 10th, Saturday, January 11th, Wednesday, January 22nd

Clyfford Still Museum: Wednesday, January 8th

So pack a nice lunch and go get your Culture on in January, for FREE!

How to Deck Out Your Mantle Like a Pro for the Holidays (A DIY…on a Cheap-Ass Budget, of course)

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In today’s blog I’m going to share the secrets of the pros for doing up your holiday mantle. I used to be a pro. I worked as a floral designer and event planner for over a decade, so I have a few industry tricks up my holiday sleeves. I’ll be showing you all kinds of holiday goodness over the next couple of weeks, but today it’s all about the mantle. (Note: I am a serious Maximalist, the Liberace of Holiday Decor. If a minimal look is what you’re into, this may not be the DIY for you.)

The Basics:

1. Theme

2. Foundation

3. Lighting

4. Balance

5. Layers

6. Details

1. THEME. For a polished, professional look always start with a theme and/or color scheme in mind, and stick to it. Usually a 2-3 color scheme works best. In keeping with a teeny tiny budget, I work with what I have. This year, because of a couple key thrift store finds, I had an abundance of gold and brown. As a bonus, this elegant color scheme goes great on our mantle. I went through all the holiday decorations and gathered up everything that was brown and gold.

2. FOUNDATION. Start with a solid foundation, something that “anchors” the look. In this case, my foundation is about 16 feet of faux garland, doubled over itself on top and draped in the front and down the sides. The Garland is firmly seated in place so it will hold what is to come. (A few of the wired bits of garland are tucked in between the mantle and the wall. If you need something to anchor to, I highly recommend those 3M removable adhesive hooks. They are a life-saver! Well, at least a wall-saver.)

  * A Note on Faux Garland. I love this stuff. It can last for decades, it’s cheap, and it’s positionable. When the garland I’ve been using inside starts to look a little shabby, I move it outside. The trick to getting this stuff to look good is “fluffing”. The little branches are all wired and get squished. You need to fluff up the garland by gently pulling up the branches and shaping the greens. I find most of my faux garland super-cheap at the thrift store, and I even found a big bag of it that one of my neighbors had thrown out. Free! Score!

3. LIGHTING. Lighting is really part of the foundation. Make sure the color of your lighting goes with your color scheme. White pretty much always works. I recommend LED lights. I know, they are more pricey, but they last longer, use less energy to light, and won’t get too hot and burn your house down. That would suck. There are two big common mistakes many people make with lighting. The first is not enough lights, and the second is messy lights, ie: wires showing and lights sticking out all over the place. No one wants unsightly lights 😉 To look like a pro, wrap your lights around the garland, tucking in any wires that show, and use a lot of lights! I used a 150 string on my mantle, and it is just barely enough, even with the added string of bubble lights.

4. BALANCE. From the foundation up, make sure your mantle is visually balanced. Find the center and place decorations evenly out from there. (Unless you are going for an asymmetrical balance, like I did for my Thanksgiving Mantle) Stand back every so often while your working and give it a good look to be sure everything is even.

5. LAYERS. Get in deep! Layers are key for a pro look. Place items tucked in the back, on all sides, in the middle, everywhere! Layering gives visual depth and fullness.

6. DETAILS. The little things count. Polish off your display by paying attention to the details. Are your cords tucked in? Are all the lights working? Stand back and give it a good looksy. Does it need a final touch of bling?

 

OK, there are the basics, let’s get started.

Foundation & Lighting. Here I have my foundation greens in place, and my white lights wrapped into the garland. (Yes, that’s dorky-ass me and my iphone reflected in the mirror, glad you can’t see that I’m in pajamas)

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Next, more lights (a string of bubble lights. I love these things. I find a place to use them every year) and a few sprigs of glittery faux eucalyptus I picked up at the thrift store last year.

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Time for a little sparkle with a bit of gold lame’ fabric tucked under the front and behind the sides. The fabric is secured in place with the wired garland branches. Lame’ is cheap! My favorite fabric source is Distinctive Fabric.

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Now we get busy with ornaments and pine cones. The pine cones I save and reuse every year. All of the ornaments came from the thrift store, collected over the years. (Even our wacky stocking was a thrift store find). Most of the brown and gold ones are from a big bucket of Martha Steward “shatter resistant” (read: plastic) ornaments I snagged at the Goodwill a couple weeks ago for $5. They were new! (retail $39) Can’t beat that with a stick.

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All the ornaments were simply secured to the garland with the wired branches. Easy peasy. Note the Balance & Layers. There are pieces at every depth and level. And for the final detail, I tucked in some pheasant feathers to the middle and either end. I use feathers for just about every holiday. Cheap, festive, unusual, and reusable. Done! Well mostly. I am looking to change out the red candles for white ones…

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There’s much more Holiday Goodness to come! FOLLOW the blog and you won’t miss a thing.