Pinterest Challenge: Pantone Rubik's Cube Inspiration

Last weekend, we were unexpectedly forced to stay home one night.  Waiting to hear back from someone, I found myself looking for something fun to do to keep my mind off things.  (On a related note, I may post slightly less frequently over the next couple of weeks since I'm writing my Broker's exam but I hope to make up for it with some exciting news regarding our condo. I'll share our news soon.  Woo hoo!)
Anyway, we were home and I was bored and looking for a non-television related distraction when I remembered that I had wanted to make something for the Pinterest Challenge which is being hosted this week by some talented bloggers: Katie from Bower Power, Megan from The Remodeled Life, Sherry from Young House Love and Michelle from Decor and the Dog.  It's a neat idea: Basically, you're supposed to find something from one of your Pinterest boards and either make it or draw inspiration from it and add your own spin. 
Pinterest Challenge Accepted!  I had already purchased supplies, so offer night (okay, the cat's out of the bag... we have sold conditionally!) became a little less stressful and a LOT more colourful!
I've been eyeing this funky Pantone Rubik's Cube, which I pinned to my Good Ideas board ages ago.  You know the thought of moving has me feeling a little paint-colour-crazy so I thought I'd add a fun spin to the idea with Behr paint (which we used to paint the condo) colours. 
I thought that making blocks would be a fun way to keep several paint chips and still have a cool coffee table sculpture/ fun thing to play with when I'm on the phone. 
I started with 8 wooden blocks from the craft store.  I wanted to be able to make a cube (2 X 2 X 2) and I wasn't ambitious enough to try a full 27!  I then went to Home Depot and found paint chips in a rainbow of colours (48 in total) and made sure the paint chips were large enough to each cover a side of the cube.  I felt a little guilty for taking so many paint chips so we bought a couple of other supplies while we were there.
I decided that I wanted the name of the colour to be visible and I also wanted each cube to be made up of different hues of the same colour family rather than a rainbow of different colours.  This made it easy to organize my paint chips.  Had I thought of this at Home Depot, I would have made sure to have collected 6 variations of each colour but the chips I had collected ended up working out fairly well.
I then traced the block onto the back of each paint chip and cut them out.  I was not a perfectionist but I tried to be reasonably neat.

I then used simple white glue to adhere the chips to the blocks.  Looking back, I may have had more luck with a hot glue gun or a faster drying glue.  I did need to go back and smooth the sides again because the white glue took so long to dry.

After they were dry, I sprayed them with a clear acrylic spray glaze for some extra gloss and water resistance.  We don't have children and Barkley doesn't try to eat things so I didn't care if it was non-toxic spray.  I think it was but I'm not positive... I did feel a little giddy spraying it in the bathroom, despite the fact that the fan was on.
The final result was a set of fun, unique blocks which I can stack in different patterns to show different colour combinations. 

Wouldn't these look fun in our bright living room on the mantle beside our white piggy bank?

It's not to late to try your own Pinterest Challenge.  In fact, I had so many ideas left over that you may see more in the weeks to come.  What do you think?

Home Stories A2Z
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Update:Virtual Bedroom Makeover

I recently posted about a great site which allows you to upload a picture of a room and test different paint colours.  I used my own bedroom for a virtual bedroom makeover (below) but I couldn't find the right colour.  I think I'm getting closer (photo above) since I liked the idea of blue but wanted something more dramatic.  What do you think?

Here are the six colours I tried last time:

Do I have a winner yet?

Also, thanks to Miranda for sending me the pictures of her own bedroom makeover which was completed a while ago.  At that time, there weren't so many internet tools available but I think she was ahead of her time in choosing a favourite painting to draw inspiration from.  Here are some shots of her bedroom:

The blinds have threads of green in them to match the grass in her painting.  
I think she did a great job bringing the colours in her painting to life in her room!  What a sweet bedroom!
Where do you find your colour inspiration?
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Recipe: Vanilla Bean Liqueur

Working in real estate means that I am lucky enough to be invited to many housewarming parties hosted by my clients.  I have one this weekend and this particular couple is very crafty and creative so I wanted to add a small personal touch to accompany the "main" gift.   

I've been making a small batch of Vanilla Bean Liqueur and it was finally ready so I tasted it, (my favourite part) packaged it and now I have a delicious homemade liqueur that my clients can add to their cocktails as they host more parties in their new home.

The recipe is very simple and you can make it right in your bottles if you have the space or, in a larger batch (which I recommend) to pour into pretty bottles after:

Vanilla Bean Liqueur
2 Cups Vodka
1 Cup Sugar
3 Vanilla Beans
1. Split vanilla beans lengthwise with a sharp knife.
2.  Mix the sugar and the vodka.
3.  Add vanilla beans.
4.  Store in cool, dark room for 1 month.
5.  Remove vanilla beans and pour into bottles.
6.  Add fresh vanilla beans if desired.
I love this easy recipe and the liqueur is just delicious when added to a cocktail.  I often buy pretty bottles when I see them just for the purpose of making this liqueur.  The bottle pictured on the right is a plain salad dressing (oil and vinegar) bottle. 
I thought it would be prettier if I dressed it up with a bow.  Normally, I choose rafia but I opted for something a little more festive.
And Voila!  This small addition makes my main gift (which is useful but a little impersonal) just a little more special!  What do you think?  What's your "go-to" hostess gift?


What We Have Learned From Feeding Our Dog Raw:

When we first rescued Barkley, we were feeding him premium, grain-free kibble.  Even so, it never agreed with his stomach and he suffered for months.  Corey and I are busy people and I hate germs so we weren't exactly prime candidates for this option, but we had heard so many positive stories that we decided to try it.
The difference was obvious within a few days.  Barkley had more energy, his stomach wasn't upset, and Corey and I were no longer cleaning up accidents around the condo.  Two years later, Barkley is a healthy, beautiful dog and even our vet is amazed at the change. 
My mother actually suggested that I write down some of our raw feeding tips since people are always asking us about them.  I have created an infographic outlining our experience with this diet.  Remember, we are not vets or experts; just regular people who have been doing this for a while.  Everyone feeds raw a little differently so many raw feeders may not agree with our methods but we have found that they are easy enough to stick with and they keep our dog healthy.  That's enough for us. :)


 I would like to thank our raw food providers first and to encourage anyone in the GTA to visit their websites:
Barkley's ground meat patties, marrow bones and his frozen organs are from Keoni.  Frank was very supportive when we began raw feeding and he makes it easy for us to continue by delivering Barkley's food and even accommodating special packaging requests when we travel.
Even before we switched to raw, we were giving Barkley Nothing Added treats.  Pauline has been a knowledgeable resource and Barkley just loves her healthy treats.  We always keep her liver on hand, along with duck feet, trachea, tripe and lung. 


If you're wondering about the fabulous photos of Barkley, I actually took them last night.  I edited them on photoshop using tutorials from two talented blogs:
Be sure to check out their blogs for tips.


Okay, it's a little more "info" than graphic.  I split it into two pages to avoid excluding important information.


If you found this helpful, remember to pin it and share with your friends.
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Make Your Own Pixel Art

We get so many compliments on this piece of art that hangs over our little electric fireplace that I thought I should spill my dirty little secret: I (not an artist by ANY stretch) made it!  Now, before I proceed with this post, I want to point out that I have the greatest respect for artists.  I have friends who are very talented artists and Corey and I regularly purchase art and it is displayed all over our home.  This DIY sort of fell into my lap and I wanted to share it for those of you who are budget conscious but have a large wall to fill.

Before we moved into the condo, I was in the midst of a crazy Craigslist frenzy.  One day, I came across at 40"X40" canvas being sold for $5 since there were rough pencil sketches on it.  I couldn't resist such a bargain so I picked it up and stopped at an art supply store on the way home.  I purchased acrylic paint in red (we had already purchased the red flokati for our living room) and several other colours that made me happy.  Little did I know at the time that this painting would become the focal point and colour inspiration behind our living room.

Once I had it home in my teeny tiny apartment, (which was already packed with other Craigslist finds and DIYs for the new condo) I realized how intimidating a blank canvas could be.  Since I'm not an artist, but I am comfortable with math and geometry, I thought a pixelated geometric design would reflect this. 

Since I didn't take pictures at the time, I have recreated this DIY using photoshop to demonstrate the steps.  I used different colours in this tutorial just because I thought it would be fun to experiment.

I began by using a ruler to draw a 40X40 grid with a light pencil.  This meant that each "pixel" would be one square inch and I thought this was the perfect size to see from a distance.  I wasn't strict about distancing my lines perfectly since I wanted a more natural feel.

When I was finished, I used the old pencil and string compass trick to draw two circles: one larger and one smaller but with the same centre point.  The difference in sizes determined the thickness of the outline of my circle.  I wanted to start them off centre to add to the abstract feel.  The first circle is shown below.  Note: I probably would have had a better result painting, if I had primed my canvas in a neutral colour first but I was worried that it would be difficult to see my pencil lines.

I then began to paint the squares within the circle.  I followed a basic rule: if over 50% of the square fell within the circle, I would paint it.  Since anyone can print pixel art, I wanted my painting to stand out due to the texture of the paint and minor imperfections.  For this reason I painted each square individually and I didn't worry about staying within the lines perfectly.  In this case, ruler-straight lines would have appeared computer generated. 

I deliberately left some squares blank and painted a few that didn't fall within the circle.  In this tutorial example, I decided to be even more carefree with colour and style.  When I painted my red painting at home, I believe I planned it a little better and perhaps adhered to a bit of a "paint by numbers" strategy by noting a "y" in pencil on squares I thought would be yellow, etc.  This was mostly to help me to paint it over a few days without losing my direction.

In my red painting, I actually enjoyed the process of mixing paints and keeping similar colour families together to allow for a background transition.  In my photoshop version, I'm allowing myself a little more freedom.

Here's the final photoshop demo version:

And here's my slightly more subtle real-life version:

I really love the deep pink on red.  The low contrast really makes it appear different depending on the angle and in some lights, it nearly disappears. 

Here's a side view:

And here's the room which was inspired by this painting:

What do you think?  It's high-impact and requires zero talent!  Why not try your own? 
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