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Clutter Cover Up Idea! My Sister is a Genius!

I made a quick trip to Ohio recently to see the family.  My sister Phebe – sober voice of reason/organizer extraordinaire has a new house and she had come up with what I thought was a genius solution to hiding the clutter of all those DVD cases.  I asked if she would mind doing a tutorial on it and she has agreed. Clutter Cover Up Tutorial Cheltenham Road

So, I’ll turn it over to my sister (with some editorial notes from me perhaps).

So our cashe of DVDs grew throughout the 90s and onward…movies as gifts & gags, or rare old friends to be enjoyed once a year…and, even though they are in alphabetical order (Ed Note: she’s serious.  Her spices are too), the shelves look, well…disordered! Phebe's Bookshelf Makeover - DVD Hiding Coverup

My kids say, “just download, Mom, throw out the actual discs–they are a thing of the past!” I know I am dating myself–but I experienced record albums & cassettes, movies that stayed in theaters for 6-8 MONTHS, only 3 channels on our TV, 8-tracks (for pity’s sake!), VHS tapes (in two different case sizes—thanks, Disney)…and finally the DVDs. I’m ready to stop now! Stand still! Keep the dang things and use them as is! (Ed Note: and get off my lawn!)

But they are a bit ugly. I want them near enough to the TV to easily feed a rainy day whim, but how to cover them up? I came up with these  DVD shelf covers.Materials for Bookcase Makeover

It’s pretty easy to see what I did. They are basically a 3-sided box made from foam display board. I cut strips the height of each shelf (they were all different heights!) I needed the width of the shelf plus 12 inches (6 inches per side to accommodate the depth of the DVDs).

I made a vertical slice (not all the way through—just enough to fold back to make a 90 degree corner on each end) about 6 inches in from each side, making sure that left me with a front panel that fit the width of the shelf exactly. I had to adjust and re-cut the first one because I forgot to accommodate for the depth of the foam board once the corner was made (hoorah for duct tape!), so play around with these measurements carefully to fit your particular shelves. In the center, I cut a hole for the grommet about 1.5 inches down from the top edge.

At this point, I got crazy with duct tape and used it to reinforce the corners…holding them at 90 degree angles as I smoothed the tape around both inside and outside each corner. This will help keep the foam board from tearing where I cut it partway through (I hope!).

Next I cut a fabric strip wide enough to cover all three sides with no seams and tall enough to fold over to the inside of the foam board with several inches to spare. I used spray glue (do this outside—very sticky!) and smoothed the fabric on and around the edge to the inside. I didn’t use the spray at the inside corners, I painted glue on those places and really worked the fabric deep into the corners. I even stitched down the folded miters of fabric at the ends on the inside to ensure that they would stay put and be smooth.DVD Collection Cover-Up Tutorial I cut open the hole for the grommetCreate a Hole for the Grommet and folded and glued the fabric to the inside. Last, I glued in one half of the grommet (the foam board is too thick to use both halves) to make an easy finger grip.Front View Grommet Installed

I did put small, flat bookends to hold the DVDs upright so that the sides of my covers slide right in next to the end DVD on each shelf. I have pushed the covers snug to leave a shelf to throw my keys on…a simple pull on the finger hole gets me access to the discs! My “tidy” gene is satisfied! Hey, did my brother get one of those? (Ed Note:  Yes! He did but lacks the willpower and skills to actually make things tidy…..please visit)

Halloween! It’s a Date! (no really, it’s a date)

It’s Halloween Time at CoOp 28 (if you’re local please check it out!  Great store and terrific owner).

I’m working on the window display and trying to come up with some fun, new(ish) ideas.

I’ve been slowly collecting things to put in the window – a skull here, a hay bale there…. you know…Halloweeny.

But I got in my head that it would be cool just to do a big, wooden, 31 sign.

Easy enough!  I made a pattern and cut the numbers out of some HOME sign scrap wood.Wooden 31 Sign for Halloween Cheltenham Road

I sanded them and painted them black and……..?

…..and that’s when I got bit overwhelmed with (and perhaps a bit too excited by) the possibilities.

I could distress them! I could decoupage them! They could have pictures! patterns!

I kind of short-circuit when my brain goes off like that – stuck trying to decide which of the many options is the very BEST option.  You know what I mean?

So…….I decided to make them all.  Perfectly reasonable solution.

I wasn’t actually thinking of this as a product – more as an eye-catcher – but maybe…….

So, for version 1 I  went with classic black and orange.

I wanted that distressed, decrepit look so after a base coat of black I rubbed some candle wax all over the edges and front and then gave it a top coat of orange.

Wood Halloween Sign Orange and Black Cheltenham RoadMy intention was to use my new (to me at least) wax, heat gun and duct tape approach like I’d done with my distressed backgrounds.

But I discovered something interesting. The first time I did that I used flat latex paint. This time I used spray paint for both coats. Once it had all dried I used the heat gun but it turns out that the heat gun heats up the wax AND the paint and doesn’t yield very satisfying results. So it was back to my sander and a rough sanding disc.

Distressed Wood Halloween Sign Cheltenham RoadFor version 2  I left the letters black and created a collage of vintage (mostly orange – though they seem to be photographing as red) Halloween images and mod podged them into place.Vintage Halloween sign Cheltenham Road

Wood 31 sign for Halloween with Vintage Collage Cheltenham RoadVintage Halloween Collage Wood Sign Cheltenham RoadI think these might look good scattered around the store. What do you think?

These are 12″ high but I might make a really big one for the window (time permitting).

But they could be different colors!  Covered with poison labels!  Covered with candy wrappers!  Covered with Halloween scrap paper and on and on and on…..

See what I mean?  So many possibilities!Home Stories tutorials-tips-button

The Big Sister Party

Every year my sisters Paula and Phebe and my mom throw a party that you really want to be invited to.

I am not invited.

To be fair, it’s a party for their ANG Chapter (American Needlepoint Guild) and since A) I’ve never picked up a needle and thread and B) I live in California and they live in Ohio I’ll let it slide.

I happened to be visiting home just before the party this year (still not invited) so I helped with the prep.

Here’s the deal. They truly plan this party for a year or more in advance. All guests get a full meal and a stitching project kit.

First a container for the project kit must be found and my sisters scour the dollar bins until they land on the perfect container – and they need a lot of them. One year the container was a plastic butter box. Phebe was questing in Toledo! Paula was questing in Ohio! They cleaned out several Targets but always, juuust ahead of them was their nemesis: The Butter Box Bitch. Never seen to this day the BBB was apparently also on a quest and somehow managed to be one step ahead of them – in both cities simultaneously- decimating the butter box supplies in every store.

Next, a theme is chosen for color and style. One year everything was black and white – napkins, table clothes everything goes. You get the picture.

This year’s combo was Burlap and Lace and the container was a soap box. Napkins and plates that supported the theme were acquired, projects were made, menus were planned and invitations went out. NO ONE turns down the invitation (no one that’s invited that is, which some of us are not). People who never come to the meetings come to this meeting.

So the project (all the thread, pattern, instructions and other supplies) went in the cream cheese box (you can see the finished project sitting on top of the boxes).The project and the boxPaula, Phebe and mom made 30+ unique burlap lace and button flowers so everyone could “pick” their own.burlap and lace flowersburlap lace and button flowersEach flower was attached to a hand-stitched burlap bag and the box with the project went in the bag so everyone got their own, unique container.Kits ready to go

Even the chandelier gets with the themelamp shades

The table was laid.  TheTableAnd stitching, eating and chatting commenced!Stitching and Chatting

the spreadBut check out this dessert spread.dessert table

Individual brownies, personal cheesecakes and….and! ……and little, individual ice cream floats! floatsThey found all the glasses, dropped a scoop of ice cream in each one and then popped them in the freezer overnight. When party time came they set them out in a tray of ice, along with a range of sodas so everyone could make their own float!  I will be stealing that idea for my next party (I might even invite my sisters)

Everything was, of course, a hit. My dad (not invited) dropped my mom off and my brother-in-law vacated the premises.

Projects were stitched!  Desserts were consumed and everyone had a great time!

And the sisters have already begun the planning and the quest for next year’s shindig.

Travel! The Abbot Kinney Festival and New Stuff!

I just recently returned from a trip to Ohio to visit the family and recharge a bit.  Not only does my family’s creativity always get me revved up but, in general, central Ohio is overflowing with terrific ideas and resources.  It was also much cooler (weatherwise I mean) that hot, hot, hot LA so I got to get a taste of what fall is actually like!

I returned with just a few days to get ready for the big Abbot Kinney Festival (yes, I continue to be just awesome at planning!).  This was my second year (and their 30th!) at this huge one-day festival.  They close down a mile long stretch of Abbot Kinney Blvd in the famed Venice Beach area of LA.  It looks like thisAbbot Kinney BlvdI was actually kind of concerned about leaving the booth in case I would just get swept away and never make my way back.

I had come up with some new designs and I was eager to see how they would go over.

I’ve been hording pictures of vintage luggage tags and working on a set of my own vintage-inspired graphics.  I put them together package of coasters I’m referring to as The Jet SetThe Jet Set Vintage Luggage Tag coaster set Cheltenham Road

Paris Vintage Luggage Tag Coaster Cheltenham RoadNew York Vintage Luggage Tag Coaster Cheltenham RoadOf course there was a candle block to go along with it.Vintage Luggage Tag Candle Block Cheltenham RoadI’ve also been digging vintage bicycle ads.  So with the help of the always invaluable Graphics Fairy I put a set together as well (along with a tray).Vintage Bicycle Tray and Coaster Set Cheltenham Raod

vintage Bicycle Candle Tealight Holder Cheltenham RoadAnd finally I set up a section of the booth and named it “Local Love” and featured some new coasters and blocks that use vintage maps of the LA area (of course I found the maps in Ohio.  Classic!)Local Love Los Angeles Map Coaster Set Cheltenham Road

Local Love Candle Block Map Cheltenham RoadAll the new stuff went over well and I’m happy to have (most of) it up in the Etsy store now too.

And now it’s on to Halloween!   I’m doing the window for the CoOp and I actually have a bunch of Halloween ideas for projects.  Wish me luck on getting them all done…..this is going to require a lot of coffee.

Happy Fall everyone……it’s supposed to be 100 degrees here today…..I’ll take my pumpkin spice latte iced please.

 

Two Ways to Distress Wood

Two Techniques to Get that Chippy Look Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadIt is a far, far better distressed wood technique I do than I have ever done.

A Tale of Two Chippies.

That was my original title for this post but I thought it sounded like it was going to be about a pair of floosies from the 1920s.

I recently heard about using wax and duct tape to achieve a distressed, chippy wood effect. As you know, I’ve always used the “wax and sand it” approach. I’ve been happy with the results but wanted to see if this technique was better.

My other goal was to create a more interesting backdrop for some of my pictures. Most of the walls in my house are kind of tan, neutrally colors and they just never seem to photograph well.

So I gathered my supplies for the chippy-off! I had two pieces of left-over beadboard to work with.supplies for distressed wood project Cheltenham Road

For version one I stuck with my standard method: Wood, wax, (paint) and a sander.

Approach number two called for wood, wax, (paint), duct tape and a blow dryer.

For reasons that are painfully obvious I no longer own a blow dryer……so I defaulted to a heat gun.

The basic technique is the same for each.

Give the wood a quick base-coat of color (I painted one board green and one blue)Create a Distressed Wood Backdrop Tutorial by Cheltenham Road

Then, once that’s dry, grab a candle (or in my case a huge chunk of wax that used to be a candle of some kind) and rub it like crazy all over the board wherever you want the base-coat color to show through.Use Wax to Distress Painted Wood Tutorial Cheltenham Road Then come back in and paint the whole thing with another coat of paint (white in this case) and allow to dry.  The idea being that the top coat of paint won’t stick where you waxed.

For my standard approach the undercoat was green and I used my electric sander to sand away the top coat of paint. It looked like this:Distressed Wood Tutorial Two Techniques Cheltenham Road

Now, onto the new technique. After the top coat of paint has thoroughly dried you point your blow dryer or heat gun at it until the wax gets melty.How to Distress Painted Wood Tutorial Cheltenham Road

Sidebar Thoughts on a heat gunIt only takes a few seconds of heating and then you quickly apply a piece of duct tape (only duct tape will do)Distressed Wood Tutorial Cheltenham Road

And then peel it away.  Check it out!Distress Wood with Duct Tape Tutorial Cheltenham Road

Totally natural looking peeling, aged paint!

I like it!

Ok, for a board this big it took a bit of time but I did discover that you can use the same piece of duct tape a few times before it loses its peeling qualities.

Also, don’t heat things up too much or it will peel away all the layers of paint.Too much heat

Now it was time to play around with photographing it.Create A Distressed Wood Background for Photos Tutorial Cheltenham RoadThe wax and sand method is quicker to do and creates a good, crumbly paint appearanceChippy Paint Techniques Tutorial Cheltenham Road

The duct tape technique is little more labor intensive and might be best for smaller items but it creates a very natural old-paint look.Distress Wood Technique Cheltenham RoadI will have to play around some more to figure out how best to use these backgrounds but going forward I think I’ll use both techniques depending on the project.Make a Distressed Wood Backdrop for Photos Cheltenham RoadBonus!  And if this Cheltenham Road business fails I think I may now have the basic skills to get people ready for next year’s swim suit season!Home Stories tutorials-tips-button

A Life’s Story in Scrap Wood – Tutorial

Scrap Wood Decor Tutorial Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge RocksFirst off, thank you for all your kind responses to my folks 70th!

Do you find that you go through phases where money comes in but then you go through phases where money just goes out…..and out….and out?

With the bathroom remodel and various other upgrades and fixes I’m definitely in an OUT phase.  So I made a vow that any new projects I come up with need to make use of what I have lying around.

And what I have lying around is scrap wood!

From an economic and an environmental perspective I try to make use of everything.  The scrap wood from coaster production gets cut down to become the backers for my magnetsRetro Refrigerator Magnetsor the risers for my Etsy Subway Signs  etc etc.

Custom Subway Graphic Wedding and Birth Signs

Custom Subway Graphic Birth and Wedding Signs by Cheltenham Road on Etsy

But I’m still losing the battle of the scrap wood pile.

So, when my next Mod Podge Rocks project came due I was determined to use the random bits of lumber left over from cutting up the backers for the subway signs.Scrap Wood Supplies for Dimensional Wall Art by Cheltenham RoadAnd though I was inspired by this Pottery Barn wall hangingPottery Barn Painted Pieced Woodwork my version is completely unrelated (my mind is a confusing place).

I decided it would be cool to just show little scraps of where I’d lived or been – kind of my life’s journey via mod podge and scrap wood……which given my current state seems very, very appropriate.Graphic Life Story Wall Art by Cheltenham Road

Cheltenham Road Wall Art Tutorial for Mod Podge RocksHead on over to Mod Podge Rocks for the full tutorial – it’s pretty easy and very adaptable.

That-DIY-Party-link-party-button

Happy Anniversary to my Folks!

Happy Anniversary Sign by Cheltenham RoadToday is my parents 70th Wedding Anniversary.

70!!!!!

Isn’t that amazing!?

My sister’s and I worked up the sign to commemorate the occasion.

My folks, as you know if you’ve read along for a while, are still going strong. They take classes at the local college, do the book club, run committees – bottom line they are just the bee’s knees!

My Dad, determined to keep the world spinning (and condiments handy) has tossed off a new lazy susan (it’s the star shaped one)ES Cheaney Lazy Susan Designs

And, you know, just cause he can, made this beeee-u-t-i-ful cherry wood cabinetES Cheaney Display Cabinet

And his latest is this lectern made from salvaged wood.Dads reclaimed wood lectern

He was commissioned by the Historical Society to come up with a use for salvaged wood from a building they had to demolish.

It has lights! (adjustable of course – that panel flips up for easy maintenance)Lights Camera Talk

The angle of the bed can be adjusted to suit the speaker.

It has a drawer!drawer

And what is that thing in the drawer?

It’s a freakin’ cupholder!!!!!!! (which, of course, can go on either side depending on the speakers hand-orientation)Cup Holder

Even the back is pretty!ES Cheaney Reclaimed Wood  Lectern Design

Show off.

My mom has, of course a million projects ongoing – amazing embroidery, needlepoint etc

But I love these that she makes for the Church Christmas Bazaar

Felt Number and Letter Books.Moms ABC and Numbers Felt books

Soft so as to be easy to play withFelt ABC and Number Books

The number and letters come out so you can learn as you play!Felt Counting Books

As you can no doubt tell I am so proud of them both and completely awed by them both.

Congratulations Mom and Dad!!!!!

And, um, with all my heart THANK YOU!

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