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Category Archives: Houseware Crafts

Mason Jar Herb Garden

Make a Hanging Mason Jar Herb Garden Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge RocksJust a quick note saying that my latest project is up at Mod Podge Rocks.

This one came out of Geralyn’s request for a vertical herb garden similar to one she saw on Pinterest.

Now, entrusting me with plants is never a good choice.   I kill plants.  I’m a plant serial killer actually.  Hundreds lay dead in my wake.   I’m sure, at this point, the plants at Lowes see me coming and picture a grim Silence of the Lambs future for themselves:

It puts the lotion on it’s fronds, or else it gets the hose again.”

But I have great hopes for these victims herbs  (mostly because someone else will be taking care of the them.)Vertical Mas Jar Herb Garden Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge Rocks

I found my vintage seed packet images from the always reliable Dover Publications, The Graphics Fairy and a new (to me) and terrific blog called Old Design Shop.

It was an easy and inexpensive project and, if you’re so inclined, head on over to Mod Podge Rocks for the full tutorial.

Vintage Rolling Pin Bookends Tutorial

Rolling Pin Bookend TutorialIt’s me! Random Blogging Man!

I have a new tutorial over at Mod Podge Rocks that I wanted to share as well as a bit of rumination on the future of this blog.

But first the tutorial.

I’d been toying with this idea for a while as a way to make further use of all those wooden rolling pins I’d collected long ago.Vintage Rolling Pin Bookends Tutorial Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge RocksI’m wondering if it might be a viable product for the Cheltenham Road empire. They are fun and easy to make and the colors could be suited to pretty much any kitchen.Vintage Kitchen Rolling Pin Bookends Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge RocksAnyway, head on over to Mod Podge Rocks for the full tutorial if you’re so inclined.

And now on to ruminations.

I seem to have hit a blog-wall of late. I want to write because I thoroughly enjoy the little community that we have all created here but…..I don’ t have anything to say. Or at least I don’t think I have anything interesting to say.

You see, I like to make things and I like figuring out how to make things.  And I like sharing how I figured out how to make things.  When I go to stores and see something I like I seldom think “oh I want that.” I tend to think “I want to make that!”

When I started this business and this blog I had a great time coming up with new things to make, new pieces of furniture to attack etc. As the business moved more toward the coasters, blocks and signs I ended up spending all of my time making and remaking coasters, blocks and signs. It’s satisfying work and I’m very grateful for it but I get stuck in factory mode a lot and my “creative time” gets curbed…along with my enthusiasm.

But! Happiness is just on the horizon!

For the summer I have employed my home-from-college (Berkeley! thankyouverymuch) niece Olivia who has been terrific. I’m slowly finding myself able to turn some of the “factory” operation over to her and my mind is able to focus on some new ideas (and I seem to be an OK boss from all reports).

Also I just finished my last show for the season. As always the folks that run Patchwork did an amazing job of pulling it all together. My spot was ideal and the weather was beyond perfect. Patchwork Handmade Festival Santa AnaThe only flaw in the plan was that it took place last Sunday. Father’s Day. Oddly, it seems that a fair number of fathers when asked “what do you want to do on your special day?” did not respond “Go to a craft fair!!!!” so attendance as a little reduced from years past.

But that was my last one a for a bit and now I’m eager to get to new ideas and projects.  So bear with me please.  I will get back up to speed!

DavidHome Stories tutorials-tips-buttonThat-DIY-Party-link-party-button

Father’s Day Picture Display

Make a Father's Day Photo DisplayMy latest project is up for viewing at Mod Podge Rocks.

I wandered the aisles of Home Depot knowing that I wanted to make something using those galvanized pipes and fittings and I wanted it to be suitable for Father’s Day.

Oh, and needed to be super affordable.

I ended up with a random collection of bits and pieces – popes, fittings,  outlet covers, flanges (fun word!)Supplies


that when put together with a bit of Mod Podge, ended up being a kind of cool, sculptural photo display.  And less than $20!  (the pic of the guy with the child on the tricycle is something I found at a flea market but “fishing boy” is me and the other picture shows me, my sister Phebe and my mom at Christmas from oh-so-long-ago)Desk Top Photo DisplayMod Podge Industrial Photo Display

I think there are a bunch of potential variations on this one.  You could use picture frames rather than the Outlet Blanks.  You could use different fittings (there are a ton of options) to make a family tree sort of deal etc etc.


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!


Trash To…Well Maybe Not a Treasure but Useful!

I’m still not dead!

However, it kind of felt like it as I ushered in 2014 with a case of food poisoning that left me flat on the couch for about a week.


My first big (interrupted) task of the New Year was to do another garage overhaul and renovation.  So it was time for dumpsters and clean out and……..discovering a new project I just had to do!

This is how it works for me – I’m a bit…unfocused.  I get all geared up to do one thing and then something sparkly catches my eye and all bets are off.

Anyway, I was trying to be hard-core about the garage and my rule for cleaning  was “if I don’t know exactly what I want to do with something it has to go.”  So  while digging through and sorting I came across these shutter things.  Spindle ShuttersDoes stuff just magically appear in your garage?  My garage is some kind of time/space vortex.  I have absolutely no idea where, when or how these  came into my possession but they are perfect for a little project I’ve been imagining…. for like a year……

I need a way to set up my craft show booth that is fast, compact and yet  makes use of vertical space and gets the merchandise up and at eye level.  I’ve been making due with a stair-step display I builtCandle Block Display but they aren’t very big and they are really awkward to pack up and transport.

So, I had long planned to build a folding, portable shelving unit that would display a lot but not take up much room while packed.

But kept dragging my feet about buying the wood and doing the math.  And then these shutters popped up!

I had to use my scroll saw to remove the spindles – leaving the frames.

I cut some plywood down to 4′ long by 10″ wide shelves and cut little notches in the corners.

A quick paint job and

Easy, portable, BIG display shelf. Easy DIY Craft Show Display Shelf

Perhaps a bit too big because I didn’t have enough merchandise on hand to actually fill it for the pictures.  But you get the idea.Simple Display Shelf made from Shutters

Here is a close up of the notches on the shelves.  The notches allowed me to have deeper shelves and also provided some stability (I need to touch up that front corner).fitted shelf

And it packs up small and flat which is awesome because real estate in the Fit is tight.Fold Up Display for Craft Shows

(Honesty:  this photo is a bit of a fake as there is one shutter missing….I put the hinges on wrong so you can’t close it….which I will fix)

So there you go.  A year in the imagining and about an hour and a half in the execution cause that’s what efficiency is all about.

Thank you Garage Vortex Gods for making this project possible.

Happy 2014 Everyone! (don’t eat chicken quesadillas at dubious Mexican restaurants)

Thanksgiving Sign Tutorial and The Holidays are Upon Us!

As promised, Amy at Mod Podge Rocks has posted the tutorial for my Shakespeare Quote Thanksgiving Sign.  Thanksgiving Sign TutorialYou can find it here along with free downloads of the graphics I created for it (both with and without  the text, in case you wanted to “do your own thing”).

In the meanwhile I’ve been trying to both get ready and keep up with Holiday demand (probably should have had the “get ready” part done a while ago….ah well)

I’ve got more new designs to finish up, make and photograph.

 And I’ve been working on getting some new photos of the Christmassy items.Vintage Holiday Votive Holder Set Cheltenham RoadMy mom always did the best Christmas decorating in our house (a tradition my sister Paula continues) so the prep for decorating  and great Christmas memories are completely intertwined for me.  Just a glimpse of a vintage Christmas ornament box sparks that Christmassy feeling.Vintage Christmas Tea light holder set

So when I was trying to come up with Christmas items for Cheltenham Road, it just made sense to focus  on that vintage box art for inspiration.Vintage Holiday Coaster Set Cheltenham Road

I guess that makes me the ultimate “he’ll play more with the box then its contents” kinda kid.  (it’s true!  I did that a lot)

Holiday Cheer Vintage  Christmas Coasters by Cheltenaham RoadHollywood Santa Claus Lane Retro Coaster SetWhile I can’t believe I already have to think about the holidays I’m also so happy to be thinking about the holidays!!

Hang in there everyone!  It is upon us!



I begin this blog post with an apology.

I’m sorry that I called all of you imaginary in my previous post.  I regret my phrasing and apologize to those of you who were put out by this categorization.  But having been educated by you about the matter I will from now on use the more politically correct term, “differently visible.”

So you know how you make something and you get all excited and you go into full production and people like it and buy it and say nice things about it so you sit back, revel in your success  and immediately  think “wait! I have a better idea!”?

I seem to do that a lot and thus it is with my flower holders…  Simple Block Bud Vase Cheltenham RoadYou may recall I made them for the CoOp and they went over great.

But I’ve been toying with the idea of making  a different, larger version.  I wasn’t sure I was going to go for it till the good folks at Angelo HOME suggested the same thing.

And at about the same time Marci from the CoOp asked if I could make some that were a little more girly.

And I thought, “really? more girly?”  I wasn’t aware that my work could actually get more girly.

I didn’t know if I could do it.

I wasn’t  sure.

But I gave it a shot and discovered that


Yes I can.Retro Dress Pattern Bud Vase by Cheltenham RoadApparently, if you want girly you’ve come to the right man.Retro Fashion Dress Pattern Flower Holder by Cheltenham RoadVintage Dress Pattern Flower Holder Cheltenham RoadFashion Flower Holder by Chetlenham Road

I really like the new look of these.

I made a collage using some vintage dress pattern images and used a thicker piece of wood that I think  gives them a little more presence .

I also made friends with my router (we have a complicated relationship) and am hoping the routed edge detail will make them look less like, well, a chunky piece of wood.Edge Detail Vintage Fashion Bud Vase Flower Holder Cheltenham Road

I may need to replace the word Vogue.  Vintage Style Bud Vase by Cheltenham RoadAny brainstormy ideas about a term to take its place?

I balanced things out by making some black and white ones (had to do the beach girls of course).Retro Style Black and White Bud Vases by Cheltenham Road

The really awesome thing is that I accidentally designed them to fit in USPS Flat Rate shipping box!!!!  I never do that.  I’m always making things and then discovering that I can’t actually mail them affordably.

So this new one may even end up in my Etsy shop (as soon as I can figure out how to pack a really heavy piece of wood and some really delicate, glass test tubes in one box.

In the meantime I’ll keep you posted on how they go over at the stores.

Last Minute Halloween Decor – Free Printable Door Hanger

I’m just back from a quick trip to Ohio to visit the family.  It was beautiful in the Midwest – really reminded me of what fall is supposed to feel like!  I had a great time and will have some pictures of new projects from my dad and mom……just as soon as I get them off my phone…..

In the meantime, although I try not to do “reruns,” I thought this post from last year about and easy Halloween door-hanger project might be useful for last-minute Halloween decorating.

I used some scrap wood,  free images from the endlessly useful Graphics Fairy along with some free fonts from to create this door hanger.

You will need:

  • Scrap wood cut to size (any thickness will do, mine happened to be ¾”)
  • A candle
  • Flat black paint
  • A sander or just plain sand paper
  • Mod Podge (I used both Matte Mod Podge and Outdoor Modpodge for this project.)
  • Eye hooks
  • Wire
  • Printables

I came up with these designs using graphics from the aforementioned Graphics Fairy and a couple of free clip art images.

Here are all the graphics along with the two backgrounds in case you wanted to do your own thing.  If I’ve done it right you should be able to click on them and then save them as a JPEG to print out.

I cut my scrap wood down to 10.5” by 3” strips

….and let’s say it all together shall we?….” rubbed my candle along the edges!” (Cheltenham Road: where good ideas go to be beaten into the ground!) and then painted over it with flat black latex paint.

(The candle lays down a barrier between the raw wood and the top coat of paint and the paint won’t stick to the candle wax.  So, when you sand the edges in the next step you reveal the wood beneath and end up with an antiqued/aged look. You can see a full tutorial and explanation in this post I did on making chippy wood letters)

After the paint had dried a quick sanding gave me that slightly antiqued edge.

I then Mod Podged the graphics into place and, after they dried, trimmed and sanded the edges slightly and sealed them with a coat of Outdoor Mod Podge.

After that I put a mark 1″ in from each corner and drilled pilot holes (pilot holes are particularly important if you’re dealing with old, scrap wood – it prevents the wood from splitting).

I wired them together and my front door immediately took on a festive, fall Halloween vibe.

Now, if I can manage to look welcoming while keeping most of the candy for myself…………

Further thoughts:

I’m not crazy about the wire hanger.  I think a black rope or something would be better and painting the eye screws black would be cool too.

I wanted to use hooks and eyes (rather than wire) which I thought would be easy to come by.  However, by thinking that I, of course, immediately invoked the David Law whereby things that you’ve seen before and seem quite common and attainable suddenly cease to exist.  This happens regularly.  I don’t mean to be egocentric but I’m pretty sure that, at some point in my childhood I uttered the phrase “Oh, I’ll go pick you up a Unicorn – they’re everywhere” which lead to their immediate disappearance from the planet.

Super Size Me!

I’ve been in full production mode the past week trying to get really ready for the Abbott Kinney Festival which is this coming Saturday.   It’s a huge event and promises to be a lot of fun.

I took an ill-considered break from manufacturing on Saturday and turned on the NATGEO channel just in time for Predator Fest and spent the rest of the day watching Animal Snuff Videos Nature Documentaries.   My day devolved from productive and positive into bouts of yelling:




 But I had to get back to work because not only did I need to make back stock it seems to be the week of the giants.

You may recall I was working previously on a giant BEACH signPatterns for Large LettersIt was for a window display at one of my newer stores Mindful Nest in Santa MonicaVintage Wood Beach Sign Cheltenham RoadMy apologies for the poor picture – I have yet to figure out how to take pictures through glass….Large Letter Wood Beach Sign Cheltenham Road

In truth this is second one of these.  I made the first one but because it’s a ton of work I had to price it so high that I thought “no one will ever pay that much for this but it will look cool on my bathroom wall.”

I was wrong so it was on to giant BEACH sign part II.

Then the good folks at Angelo HOME sold another of the giant LA signs so I had to get on a replacement for that.Large Los Angeles Vintage Sign

And then a customer who had seen my Subway Signs asked if I could make her one that was 3 feet wide by 5 feet tall (they are usually 16” wide).

That’s a lot of sign.

It always seems with things like this that all you’d have to do it make all the measurements larger but it’s never that easy.

Thanks to From Gardners 2 Bergers  (a great site) I knew that Staples offered large black and white print outs called “Architectural Prints” for a reasonable price.Large Wooden Subway Art Sign Cheltenham Road

But I wasn’t prepared for the back of the sign warping when I cut it.  Not badly but enough to be unattractive.

But a good thing came out of it!

I ended up building a frame for the back out of scrap woodLarge Subway Art Sign Backer which not only corrected the warp but also brings the sign off the wall adding dimension and provides a way to hang it more easily.

I’m happy with the final result and I may make a few more for display in the future.Custom Subway Art Sign Cheltenham Road

If any of you are local this Friday is the grand opening of the CoOp’s new space.  It is beautiful!  Please do come by if you can.  CoOp 28 Opening PartyOr visit me at Abbott Kinney if you are more a west side, beachy kinda person.

Halloween? Srsly?

I got an email yesterday.  Starbucks was happily announcing the return of the pumpkin spice latte.

I checked my Etsy stats and Halloween was the most commonly searched term in my shop.

Apparently it’s fall.

However, it’s like 100 degrees in LA and I’m just not feeling very…..pumpkiny

But the internet cannot be argued with!  So I put on my Halloween Hat and got to work.Halloween Coaster Collection Cheltenham RoadI’ve  long wanted to redo the photos for my Gothic Victorian Halloween Coasters so I gave it a shot.

(a request: if you want to Pin these I’d really appreciate if you pinned from my Etsy shop.  Clicking on the pics will take you there)

I came up with these a while ago – a collaboration with The Muse actually  – brainstorming all the businesses our favorite classic Halloween characters would start after their literary adventures.W Wolfs Barber Shop Gothic Halloween Coaster Set Cheltenham Road

 The Wolfman’s Barber ShopDracula's Count Me Inn Gothic Halloween Coaster

 Dracula’s B&BJekyll and Hyde Razor Blade Gothic Halloween CoasterJekyl and Hyde razor blade businessSleepy Hollow Cough Cure Gothic Coaster Set Cheltenham RoadEdgar Allen Poe Raven's Cure Gothic Halloween CoasterSleepy Hollow Cough Cure Gothic Coaster Set Cheltenham Road

And I recently stumbled across the idea of a Spook Party.  Have you ever heard of these?  Apparently they were very big up through about the 60s.  They sound like a hoot and they had great graphics.Mel Roy Spook Party Coaster

 Spook Party Coaster Horrors of the OrientI mean who wouldn’t want to see a “living zombie” (though I think there is an inherent contradiction in that phrase)Ghost Show Coaster
And quality entertainment pretty much always means ladies need a male escort, no?

 And finally,  last year I’d worked up a Halloween themed subway sign for a display but I keep getting asked about it so I made a version for sale on Etsy.Halloween Decor Subway Art

So welcome fall!  You’ll forgive me if I hold off on enjoying hot pumpkin spiced beverages until the temperature plunges to the mid 80s.

(that’s three this week! …but whose counting)


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