Monday, April 25, 2011

Fun Family Photo Cubes

It's true that I always have a 'what's next list'.  In fact, I started to plan a new arrangement for my giant apothecary jar two weeks ago.  I liked the black and white vintage look of my newsprint Easter eggs and decided to create a display with a similar feel.

I love family photos from past and present. Mr. StyleBurb recently organized all of our family pictures and burned them onto DVDs.  I wanted to somehow turn those pictures into black and white cubes for my apothecary jar.

I selected a wide variety of photos from our immediate and extended family. There are baby pictures of my husband and his sister next to baby pictures of our own three children.  You'll see that I used a combination of head shots and group shots for interest.

My idea for these photo cubes was hampered by my lack of technical skill, so I consulted my Personal Assistant (aka Mr. StyleBurb) to help kick start this project. If I can learn how to do this, anyone can... believe me!

Step 1  Gather copies of all the photos you want to use and crop them to be square.  A few group shots are good for variety, but the majority should be close-ups.

Step 2  Load the following template into your favorite photo editing program.

Click on this template to view it full size and then save it to your hard drive.

Step 3  Import your cropped photos on top of the cube template and resize them to fit within a square.

This is a screenshot of Photoshop Elements as the picture is being resized.

Tip: You can duplicate photographs on opposite sides of the cube.  Only one side will be visible at any given time.

Step 4  Print the finished sheet. I used a black and white laser printer.  By changing the printer settings you can make a variety of cube sizes.

Step 5  You'll need your second grade 3D geometry skills to cut, fold and tape/glue the flat sheet into a cube.

Here are my photo cubes ready to go...

I layered the bottom of the apothecary jar with green moss.

You see different photos from every angle.

A black and white picture of black and white pictures!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Vintage Treasures

My family and I had a great time visiting my mom and dad last weekend. I had a lot of fun shopping with my mom in a vintage/thrift store that recently opened in my home town. I've got lots of pictures to show you!

The store is packed with great finds. You can get a serious case of whiplash from turning your head too fast to look at all the treasures!

I really liked the gate-legged table. The dark brown chair (on top of the table) had such a lovely shaped back. 

I spy a little toy train and three antique dolls.

The store used to be my favorite (and only... I grew up in a very small town) five and dime store. I spent a lot of allowances in this building as a little girl!

I took home a number of sweet treasures last weekend. I was excited to find the small round table (pictured above) - it's exactly what I've been looking for!

I don't have spots for everything I bought, but some things I couldn't pass up.

The glass bottle is an 8 oz baby bottle from the 1950s and cost $3.  I love vintage baby items- not sure where to put it.

At $5, I couldn't pass up this slightly rusted coal furnace plate. I think it's fabulous.

I have a place on my mantel for this small crock (only $6). I love the greenish spots showing through the finish and the rustic opening.

This round table is going to get a little makeover- I've got the perfect spot for it!

I paid $12 for the table.

My dad bought this 2 gallon crock for me.

I had the crock sitting in my foyer beside the bench ...

... and then realized it would be perfect to hold these...

I think the hydrangeas look perfect here!  My family thinks the hydrangeas are fake- they are most definitely real!

My parents have a beautiful home in the country. Some day I'll have to show you more pictures of their house. My mom just put two red and white checked wing chairs in front of the bay window.  There is a forest behind their house with black bears, coyotes, porcupines and other wildlife.  Thank goodness these animals aren't around during our daytime visits!

My dad built this blue hutch in the pantry for my mom. I love the colors they chose.

It's a perfect addition to their country kitchen.

I also found something great for my family room, but I'll show that to you later!  I'm still working on the family room updates. The weather has been uncooperative for spray painting, so hopefully the temperature will warm up and I'll be able to finish some projects!

I'm linking up to these parties...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Different Kind of Makeover

Makeovers aren't only for people, furniture and fireplace mantels; our furry friends need a little TLC after a long winter as well.

My dog, Harry (who is named after Harrison Ford - I'm not kidding), got all freshened up for spring last week.

Here is Harry before he went to the groomer. He's giving us his best 'sad face' expression.

Harry is a six year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Just look at all that fur!

Waiting for someone to open the fridge.

You can't even find his ears when his coat is this long!

Looking 5 years younger, and ready to face the world, is my not so hairy Harry after his visit to the doggie spa.

I have his stylist trim a little closer around his middle to give him the illusion of a slim, nipped-in waist.  Harry feels a little self-conscious of his winter weight gain.

Harrison Ford is completely devoted to me! ;) He follows me from room to room and has memorized my every move. When I put on lipstick he knows it means I'm going out, so he runs to his bed to wait for me to return.

I love the way this picture captures the rich chestnut color in Harry's coat.

Living with Harry is like having my own personal paparazzo.  In the morning he waits for me to come out of the shower so he can lick the water off my toes.  Those of you who aren't dog lovers may find this habit rather gross, but it's something I've gotten used to. 

He takes his job of keeping our yard clear of squirrels very seriously. It's difficult to photograph Harry outside because he's easily distracted by all the sights and sounds.


Who am I kidding- it's just as hard to photograph him inside as well, because he's distracted by crumbs on the floor!  Even though he will be seven this August, Harry still looks and acts like a puppy.

Oh my goodness.... what a cute face!  I've got to go and give him a treat and a snuggle!

Harry is going to hang out with some friends today at Debbiedoos pet party!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Picking The Perfect Paint: Is There An App For That?

Job number one in my quest to freshen the family room was choosing the perfect wall color. Since the furniture is staying, I went looking for a color that might be a little more exciting than the current shade- which is white. Plain old white...  paper white... no hints of grey...  no undertones of blue, green or pink- just White.

You might think that since I have the full paint fan decks from three major paint companies, choosing the perfect paint color would be simple...  not so much.

These are the paint fan decks that fit in the picture. I have others.

After much comparison, indecision and deliberation, I chose three potential colors:

Sherwin Williams 'Buff' -SW 7653,
Sherwin Williams 'Creme' -SW 7556 &
Benjamin Moore 'Cable Knit'- CC-306  (which I had color-matched at Sherwin Williams).

I'm sure these paint colors are beautiful in the right location. Every paint 'reads' differently depending on the light, time of day and in relation to the other items in the room.

In my family room these colors told their own sad story:

Buff looked like pee,
Creme looked like lemon sorbet &
Cable Knit... NO. Our dog would stare at the spot on the wall where I had painted Cable Knit, and then he would bark. I don't think that's a good sign. He continued to bark at the sample until I painted over it.

I returned to Sherwin Williams to buy a color-matched sample of Ralph Lauren's 'Writer's Parchment'. My neighbor painted her basement this color and I love it.  However, in my family room, Writer's Parchment looked quite green. Again, No.

Sherwin Williams paint samples in fantastic one quart size.

The paint samples at Sherwin Williams are great. You can buy one quart of paint for between $6 and $7! Plus, the screw cap is such a smart idea- it is much cleaner to work with than standard pry off caps.

I now had four quarts of various shades of 'cream' and felt no closer to finding my elusive perfect paint color than when I started.

I tried Martha Stewart's 'Glass of Milk'....

Martha Stewart paint sample in approx one cup size.

... couldn't even tell the difference. On the plus side, if I ever need to tell someone the color that my family room used to be, now I have a color name!

The sample of Martha Stewart paint cost $5 for less than 1 cup. That's not a great value compared to Sherwin Williams, but I was in Home Depot and it was convenient and I was desperate.

Once again, I consulted my paint chips and this time chose Benjamin Moore's 'Ivory White'  CC-130.


Benjamin Moore paint sample in 2 oz size.

This color is the perfect creamy white for my family room. It has just a smidgen of yellow, but definitely doesn't look like pee, sorbet or ghostly apparitions.

At about $5 for only 2 oz, the Benjamin Moore paint sample pot offers the least value. In these days of advanced computer color matching, I know I won't buy samples at Benjamin Moore in the future.

I had the color matched at Sherwin Williams and bought their premium paint for $20 less per gallon than the equivalent at Benjamin Moore. Up until now, I have always used Benjamin Moore paint, and while I think they offer an excellent product, their paint is quite pricey.  I am curious to see if Sherwin Williams paint is as durable as Benjamin Moore's.

So, that is the story of how I ended up with a paint sample collection like this:

Color me crazy for needing 6 samples to get the perfect shade of cream!

I'm so happy I found the 'Perfect Paint' for the family room.  Now it's painting time.  I hope I have the right kind of rollers!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Family Room: Let The Fun Begin

Our family room is the one room in our house I've never really liked, which isn't great because next to the kitchen, it is the most used room in the house.

My ideal family room would look something like this:

image from Pottery Barn

I have collected our family room furniture gradually and piece by piece; which is probably similar to the way many families have furnished their homes.  But, my style and preferences have changed over the years. As well, I have made a few unfortunate decorating decisions, and the result is that the room doesn't feel 'pulled together'.

As tempting as it would be to sell everything on Craigslist and start fresh, not only is that not in the budget, it's also not necessary because the furniture is in good shape. (I think the green corduroy on the sofas must be made of kryptonite it's so durable!)  

Instead, my plan is to identify the areas in the family room that irritate me the most and then make some changes- all on a teeny, tiny budget.

The family room has a fairly awkward floor plan. The room is about 11 ft x 17 ft. There is a doorway that leads to the kitchen and another doorway that goes to the hall. We have a north facing window that doesn't let in a large amount of natural light, so the room tends to be dark.

We need to arrange the furniture so that five people can watch t.v. at once.  I really like the sofas, and I would like to add some more pillows to be extra comfy and to lighten the overall look.

Next, I think the area carpet is too dark and too small for the look I'm hoping for. The big problem is that my husband thinks it's fine.  He's in 'Decorating Denial'.

I would love to throw caution to the wind and buy a light area carpet, but that would be very impractical since the dog hasn't learned how to tip-toe around the carpet when he has muddy paws.

I blame pregnancy hormones for my decision to hire an electrician to install one single wall sconce on the wall to the left of the sofa.  I went through an anti-symmetry phase about 10 years ago- it's something I truly regret.

I'm working on some ideas to balance the areas to the left and right of the sofa.

The family room has a floor to ceiling corner field-stone fireplace which completely overpowers the room. I think there should be a law against corner fireplaces.  On the positive side, though, a real wood fire is very enjoyable on cold winter nights.

The blue wing chair is in excellent condition. We originally had two wing chairs, but I sold one.... it was a casualty of my anti-symmetry phase.  The chair would look fine in the room if it was a different color, but right now it looks out of place.

I'm going to pull together a more attractive mantel display. I think I'll look for some white accessories... possibly a small green plant. I'll also repaint to further freshen up the room.

We like to sprawl and relax in the family room, have snacks, watch t.v., play board games or use the wii. I think a coffee table of some sort would be very convenient; somewhere we can set down a bowl of popcorn and drinks.

I have wanted to update the family room for a long time now, so I'm really excited to get started!

Job one in the mini-makeover is painting. I'll keep you posted on the other changes as they happen.

Wish me luck! 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I've Been Featured...

StyleBurb is being featured today at The Blooming Hydrangea!

You will love The Blooming Hydrangea!  Ange has a beautiful new blog design and blog name. This week Ange is hosting a Blog Welcoming Party.

Thank you so much, Ange, for the wonderful feature!