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Category Archives: Family

Happy Anniversary to my Folks!

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


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!

Make a Mod Podge transfer centerpiece for a family gathering

Centerpiece Tutorial Family ReunionIn a momentary step away from mad prep for Unique LA, I have my latest Mod Podge Rocks Tutorial up for your viewing pleasure.

I’m on a Mod Podge Transfer Medium kick…..although I doubt I’m using it in the way the Mod Podge folks intended.

I had  a large chunk of 4×6 lumber that I inherited somewhere along the line and I thought it would be cool to make it into a centerpiece for a family gathering.DIY Wedding Centerpiece

It was very, very easy and, if ever there is a big Cheaney Family reunion at my house I am totally prepared!

Of course, the minute I finished it I thought of a lot of other variations on the idea (using tapers rather than tea lights, making it with flower pots or smaller blocks etc etc) so you may be seeing more of these as time goes byEaster Family Centerpiece Idea Cheltenham Road

What do you think?  Maybe for weddings?  anniversaries? Easter Family Centerpiece Idea Cheltenham Road

OK back to prep.  Posts to follow!  Thanks for hanging in there with me!


Things As Lovely As My Sisters

While I’ve been busy making things to hold flowers my sisters have been doing their part trolling the web looking for the coolest, smartest, cleverest ideas. And they have come up with some great ones!

This first one almost makes me mad.  It’s so clever and so, well, obvious, that the fact that it had never, ever crossed my mind is embarrassing.

Heidi from Happiness is Homemade simply took an old, discarded drawer, added some shelves and created the perfect hanging case.Recycled+Drawer+Paint+Storage+Shelf

Genius!  Recycley!

Now,  I am not a parent but I have experienced both the glory and the horror of Legos.  Amazing things are built!  Amazing numbers of annoying little pieces are scattered all over the house! Well, over at Fussy Monkey Business she took a beat up old end table (the kind I see all the time but can never figure out what do with)Lego Table Before and created this perfect Lego storage and display device.Repurposed Lego Table

Genius!  Recycly!

Betty doesn’t have a blog but she did a guest-post  on My Repurposed Life showing how she took a collection of chairs and turned them into a charming corner bench.  This would be great finished-bench-003_thumb1indoors or out I think

As I mentioned she doesn’t have a blog but Betty does have a facebook page you can see here:

 And finally, I had no idea there was such a thing as liquid iron (I mean a kind that isn’t scalding hot) but Tara Dennis did.  She made this cool, faux metal sign out of pegboard.  The mind reels at the possibilities contained within this idea.punched_metal_wall_art_MI_600

Thanks Sisters!  And one of my sisters has a new house so I’m hoping we can get a lot of before and afters from her genius mind as she goes along.

And thanks to all of you who said such nice things about my random blogging nature.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciated it. (although we should note this is my second post of the week!  And I went to the gym too!  It’s a whole new me……for about 15 more minutes and then I’m going to have a brownie and nap.)

Honey I Shrunk the Dresser

My mom, among her other amazing hobbies and skills is waaay into miniatures.

She has a large, very cool, and elaborate dollhouse complete with electrical wiring, tiny wallpaper, real wood floors etc.

Unfortunately, a few years ago the doll family experienced nature’s wrath when a pipe leaked and flooded it (an actual pipe not a dollhouse pipe…the dollhouse isn’t plumbed although I’m sure that’s on the to-do list).  Since then she and my dad have been putting it all back together.

When I was at home recently my sister Phebe spotted a miniature dresser and had the terrific idea that I could do one of my furniture make-overs on it and give it to my mom for Christmas.

Genius, right?!

So I bought it and immediately…..didn’t do it.

But now I’ve done it!  Merry Christmas mom!

Here is how it started out.Miniature Dresser BeforeI decided to do a mini-version of my postcard dresser.  So here is the grown up versionVintage Postcard Dresser Makeover And here is the shrunken take:Miniature DresserDresser with QuarterI think she’ll like it!

As soon as I mail it!

And for those of you who are worried – she doesn’t read the blog unless my dad shows it to her (mom is not a computer gal) so AS LONG AS DAD DOESN’T SHOW THIS POST TO HER I’m fine.

Speaking of Christmas gifts…….

My sister Paula is a sweet, kind, patient and very funny person.  She is not particularly snarky however.

Each year she gives calendars with a carefully thought out theme – tailored to the gift receiver.

Previously, I’ve gotten funny ones, furniture repair related ones, acting/theatre related ones.

This year she gave me this:Worst Case Scenario

It took me a minute to get it but then I did. …..

She’s being snarky isn’t she? This is a snarky gift, correct?


Sad.  My older sister is becoming snarky in her dotage.

Happy Holidays!todays creativecraft o maniac

Diamond in the Stuff

It Runs in the Family – Desk Makeover Tutorial From My Niece!

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!

I’m on a brief vacation to Ohio visiting the family.

In the meantime I thought I’d share a great letter I got from my niece which also serves as a terrific step by step furniture makeover tutorial!

You may recall Maggie is the one who, with no previous experience in upholstery took this chair and made this chairThereby proving that she is a show-off just like my dad wonderfully gifted, generous and talented!

So I’m not sure why she thought she needed advice from me but…….

Dearest Uncle,

I am extremely happy to report on the completion of a project I asked you about almost a year ago.

As you may recall, I had taken it into my head last September to paint my desk.  I swiftly contacted you and, after receiving excellent advice, delighted in the endorphin rush that comes from deciding to do a project… and promptly filed it at the back of my to-do list.

Well, procrastination can only take you so far, especially when the item you are procrastinating about is the one piece of furniture you use on a daily basis – stupid utility value.  So I embarked on the adventure!

Step One: convince husband to help move heavy piece of furniture to the garage (grudging success) – and bang it on every available door jam you encounter (epic fail.)

Step Two: discover that Mom (Phebe) had a piece of furniture she’d like to paint and pencil in several dates to have a “painting party.”

Step Two Point Five: Actually settle on the date and have it arrive.  Set up the garage.

Step Three: settle on color – I went with an Antique White since my newly reupholstered chair has an off-white background and I wanted them to somewhat match.  Mom chose with a Bright White for a charming little sewing machine table which she’s not going to use for sewing at all.  Ever.

Step Four: sanding.  I had a couple of thoughts at this stage… primarily: “Thanks for bringing your electric sander over, Mom!”   and “Why didn’t I buy face masks until I was three quarters finished with this stage? Step Five:  cleaning using TSP

Step Six:  prime everything -followed nearly immediately by realizing that we didn’t have enough primer.  

Step Seven: fine-grit sanding of first layer of primer and re-application of primer.

Step Eight: watch an episode of “The Tudors” so we don’t go out and try to put the first layer of paint on before the primer coats dry.

Step Nine: put first layer of actual paint on.  Curse occasionally due to drips.

Step Ten: More “Tudors” – same purpose.

Step Eleven: put second layer of paint on.  Acknowledge that it’ll be at least a week before I can do anything else.  Ugh!  This waiting thing sucks.

Now I’ll take a mini break from the steps because what happens next was not at all in the plan… but it was pretty inevitable.  I realized that I’d chosen “Antique White” for the purposes of matching my chair… but that my dang office was painted Bright White and my “new” desk wasn’t gonna look great against that wall color. So I decided to find a color I could use for an accent wall, settled on “mis-mixed” leftover at the paint store and ended up with lovely salmon-y color  that was definitely within the realm of matching my chair

Step Twelve: convince husband to help carry desk back inside… AND BASH IT AGAINST EVERY %$*&@ DOOR FRAME WE ENCOUNTERED!!!! (there were a few painting touch-ups needed)

Step Thirteen: hand-paint accent design on the front.  This was a Pinterest idea I saw and loved so I chose a bright green and practiced some tree branches on a large sheet of paper Step Fourteen: realize that I’m really happy with the way my desk came out… but that I have absolutely no way of sitting at it (the piece never had a chair and I’ve been improvising with leftover/extra furniture for years – not my best interior design moment, that’s for sure.)

Dash to the awesome Habitat for Humanity ReStore, find a sturdy little chair of the appropriate dimensions with just a bit of carpentry flare (is that a thing?  it is now…) to match my desk pop  out its seat and painted it and reupholstered it in a nice bright green.  Put them all together and whaddya got?  A sewing desk I’m not ashamed to show off!   The only remaining problem: how to get the primer out of my dog’s tail fur… (she was a little overzealous in her attempts to help me out in the garage…)

Thanks for the great advice Uncle David!  Everything worked out wonderfully!



PS: Mom reminded me to tell you a bit about my 2-drawer index file cabinets that were a minor part of this painting initiative – they just happened to be the exact width of the bags Mom and I store our DMC Embroidery Floss in so I grabbed three from the pile of stuff they were getting rid of at work, painted the drawers and frames in alternating colors (green & white) and stacked them on top of my filing cabinet with a small swatches of the upholstery fabric slid into the label slot – they came out pretty cute, too! 


My father is trendy!

My father is way trendier than I am.

You’ve seen all the chevron mania on Etsy and Pinterest, correct?

(click on the pics to take you to the terrific blogs that featured these projects)

I’ve seen it all and thought, “cool” and done nothing.

Now, while I don’t believe for a moment my dad peruses Etsy,  Pinterest or any other known design blog his latest lazy susan is trendy, trendy, trendy!

Check it out

See?  Trendy!

I fully anticipate next time I visit home to find him wearing skinny jeans and tweeting about what the cafeteria served for lunch.

But  I think it’s quite beautiful.

He continues to amaze me (and have a full head of hair).

I, on the other hand am not trendy.

However I am busy.

I finished a new HOME sign featuring Philadelphia:Wood Sign HOME Philadelphia

I did  yet another show at a swanky club – this one benefiting Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  They even had an ice sculpture/igloo photo booth!  It was very, very cool.

Aaaaannnnnnddddddd………I just got an order for 500 coasters.  500!!!!  That’s a lot of coasters.

This will lead to very boring blog posts that consist of the repeated phrase: “I made more coasters today.”

Do you remember that old Dunkin’ Donuts commercial with the baker who’s mantra was “time to make the donuts.”  I feel like that.

But I also have cool non-coaster projects lined up from now till Christmas.  Yipee!!!! And…. Ack!!!!!!

Details to follow.

Easy Craft Show Display Tower Tutorial and an Upsetting Personal Realization

I’ve had a few questions about my new craft show display tower thingys.  So I created a tutorial…. and had an upsetting personal revelation.

These are not complicated (or revolutionary) designs but they are versatile and I  think they could be adapted by anyone for their own needs.

If you want to be exactly like me (and, according to my mother, everyone does!) here is the first step

Step 1:

Carefully measure the cargo capacity of your Honda Fit – take note of height and depth of storage

Step 2

Totally ignore those measurements and make something that doesn’t fit.

Curse….A lot.

Step 3

Find yourself wondering if, maybe, David Bull (1st grade frenemy) wasn’t correct when he said that you were “dumb and your mother dresses you funny.”

Turn to photo archives for solace and make upsetting discovery.

Step 4

Suck it up and try again

Gather Supplies!

Gather your materials – my displays are 6’6” tall and the measurements reflect that but you could make them any size

You will need:

  • Two pieces of 2”x2” pine lumber cut to 78” each (select carefully make sure they are as straight as possible).  Sanded smooth
  • Two pieces of 2”x2” lumber cut to 21” each.  Sanded smooth.
  • 1 piece of thin backing material (luann, melamine, it could be cardboard if you liked) cut to 68” high by 24” wide
  • Shoe Molding cut down to 1.5” pieces for shelf supports
  • Carpenters Glue
  • Screws
  • Paint (green – don’t even think about another color)
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Carpenters Square (optional)
  • Clamps (optional – not pictured)

Step 1 – Mark for Cross Pieces

I chose to give my display boards legs so, laying them next to each other, I marked each side 10” up from the bottom.

I then used the cross piece as a guide and marked that and put an X where I wanted to drill my pilot holes.

I repeated the process at the top of the frame as well and then drilled my pilot holes (pilot holes are key here to keep your wood from splitting when you insert the screw).

Step 2 – Mark and attach the shelf supports

Before I assembled the frame I wanted to get the shelf support in place – that way I knew the shelves would be level.So I carefully marked where I wanted each shelf and……went and had lunch and forgot to attach them.

 Later, when I realized this screw up, I found my thoughts returning to David Bull and his cruel taunts.

I tried to reassure myself that the first photo was an anomaly

It was not

I then called David Bull and apologized for thinking poorly of him all these years.

Step 3 – Assemble the Frame

When you’re working by yourself clamps are your friend (sounds sadder than I meant it to).  If you clamp them to a carpenters square you not only get a true 90 degree angle you leave your hands free to drill the screw into place.Repeat this on all four corners and you have this!

Step 3A Painting

Here is where my tutorial gets a little goofy.  It’s, like, 103 today and painting ain’t gonna happen.  But if it were, now is the time when you would paint the frame and the backboard (green!).

Step 4 Attach the Backboard

After the paint dries just a screw every foot or so will do just fine.And, voila!  You have this!(OK I am cheating – that’s a picture of my original displays– since the new one wasn’t painted I wanted to show you these.)

My goal was to make something versatile.  So, as you see I’ve attached the two of them with a piano hinge.  This allowed me to set them up in an accordian style for my Renegade booth as you can see here:For Unique LA they were set up as four sided towers and I connected them at the top with L brackets

They could also be hinged along the top rails to create an A Frame display.

I backed two of them with peg-board so I could hang my letters and magnets


You’re probably wondering why I haven’t talked about the shelves.

What I’ve learned and what I’ll do going forward

My original shelves were simply two thin strips of wood glued together at a right angle and paintedThey worked just fine and held the coasters in place when wind would kick up or during the occasional customer jostling but I decided that I’m going to retrofit them using something like thisIt’s hard to get a good picture of it but this is simply a strip of wood with a strip of plexiglass attached to it.  This keeps the items more visable and you can create a higher “retaining wall” so-to-speak.

The shelves are just glued in place onto the toe kick brackets.

I hope this is helpful and if I’ve left any steps out or been vague don’t hesitate to ask questions.

I’m very happy with the displays  and comforted by the fact that, though I may be dumb occasionally, I was not the only one my mother dressed funny.

Love you mom!


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