RSS Feed

Garage Organization: Use Mason Jars for Leftover Paint (with Free Printable Label)

Use Mason Jars to Store Leftover Paint Cheltenham RoadThe great garage clean up continues (and continues and continues).

So journey with me, won’t you, to the dank recesses of the Blair Witch Room and a lot of leftover paint

(For readers only recently joining us my house is a 1940s fixer-upper.  We’re not quite sure what the original owner was up to but built off the back of the garage is a mysterious room that, due to its dark, cobwebby, dirty and generally creepy state of decrepitude was immediately dubbed The Blair Witch Room when I first toured the house).

I think most homeowners end up with a stash of random paint cans.  But I am no average home owner.  No, I seem to collect paint like other people collect baseball cards.  Some of it is for my house-of-many-colors and a lot of it is/was for my business.

Bottom line – I have a lot of paint.Store Leftover Paint in Mason Jars

And it’s taking up a lot of disorganized, messy room.

I don’t want to get rid of all of it but I do want to get it reduced, organized and accessible.

Mason Jars seemed like the perfect solution (I’ve seen similar projects while cruising the web).  They seal tightly.  You can see what is in them.  They cost less per jar than the paint cans sold at Home Depot.  So I picked up a couple of different sizes and got to work.Mason Jar Paint Storage ProjectI don’t know if this qualifies as a “tutorial” since the instructions would basically be “pour stuff from one container into another” but I do have some tips based on my expert experience.  Here is how I did it:

  •  Step 1: Gather a lot of paint stirrers
  • Step 2: To save yourself some stirring time shake the can really well before you open it.
  • Step 3: Check to make sure the can is thoroughly sealed shut before you shake it.
  • Step 4: Clean up the mess and change your clothes.
  • Step 5: Reverse Steps 2 and 3 and proceed.

You will, actually, need a fair number of paint stirrers.  If your paint has been sitting around it will have separated and you want to thoroughly mix it before you transfer it to the mason jars.

So, after a lot of shaking, stirring and pouring I went from this:Store Leftover Paint in Mason JarsTo This:Mason Jar Project - Store Old PaintMuch better.  Kinda pretty actually.  Makes the Blair Witch room seem a little less witchy.Mason Jars for Paint StorageAt first I just intended to note color etc on the top of the jars but I decided to kick it up a notch by making some labels that I could fill out to make everything all neat and orderly.Mason Jar Paint Label Free PrintableI just printed mine onto a sheet of 8.5×11″ label paper but I designed them (or tried to) to fit on Avery Round Labels (Avery Number 22830).  I don’t have any of the Avery labels on hand but I used the official Avery template so it should work if you’re so inclinedMason Jar Labels for Paint Storage by Cheltenham RoadClick below to download the full sized graphics

Mason Jar Paint Labels By Cheltenham Road

Free Printable Mason Jar Labels for Paint Storage by Cheltenham RoadAnd now I’m onto the next task – creating a useable, enclosed spray booth.

As Lovely As My Sisters

Umm…..not my best January.  First I get food poisoning and go down for the count and then my computer gets….well,….ebola I believe.

It went into the shop last Tuesday.  I got it back on Saturday and……..not so much better really.  I seem to have a somewhat whimsical connection to the internet.   Sometimes I do.  Sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I do and don’t almost at the same time (and always right in the middle of whatever I’m doing.)

It’s awesome!

So I’ve been spending my time continuing to clean and organize the garage.  A job I thought would take a couple of days and is stretching into weeks.  But I’m determined to get it done and get it done right.

Fortunately, my lovely sisters have not dropped the internet ball (partially because they’ve been snowed in) and have been searching high and low for cool ideas.

Mamie Jane  (of mamiejane’s blogspot) saw a cutting board/ipad holder in the Pottery Barn catalog and made her own using a scrabble tile holder and a child’s block (and a cutting board of course).  And saved herself about $40Pottery Barn Inspired Ipad Holder by mamiejanes And, OK, I couldn’t love these bookends more.  I so wish I had an eye that could put things together like this. Found Object Book Ends(The bookends themselves seem to have sold but you can find plenty of veeeery cool things at their creator’s new Etsy shop )

And check out this very clever and beautifully simple shelf organizer, again via Etsy (they have tons of other creative and useful listings as well)Wall Hanging Organizer by Moonlitterra

And how genius is it to simply turn a tool box on it’s side and attach it to the wall (via Design Sponge)! Wall Organizer via Design Sponge

And finally, Paula knows about my big garage clean out/makeover so she found this truly inspiring project from Shanty 2 Chic.Garage Lumber Organizer

Thank you sisters!

OK, my computer goes back to the repair shop this week.  Keep your fingers crossed!

$10 Table 1 Hour Makeover

$10 Table 1 Hour Makeover

As I think I mentioned I’m cleaning out the garage (again!).Garage disaster

My workshop is a post -Christmas disaster and I need to be honest about what my business is now and how I should use my space.  I have grand plans!  Let’s see if I can do it.

My vow was to truly get rid of things.  I was going to be brutal!

It had actually been a bit of a struggle.  I have joked about “horders” before but, honestly, I feel like I kind of understand it the syndrome.

Each scrap of wood or random bit of ephemera I’ve gathered could be used for something……someday.  And I can never escape the fear that  pretty much the minute I pitch or donate it “someday” will come and I will wish I had it.

But I had to do it.  I’ve given away furniture that I’m just never going to work on to my friend Nicki who I know will do some amazing transformations.  I weeded out scrap wood and bits of other stuff.

My rule was that if I don’t know exactly what I want it for/want to do with it then it has to go.

I did keep a few, small, pieces of furniture because even though I really don’t have an outlet for selling it I love working on furniture (it’s how this whole journey began) and I just can’t give it up.

This little end table was a perfect example.Deco End Table Makeover Before

I picked it up for $10 at a garage sale.  The finish was toast but he lines and details were really nice.

I had a simple vision for it – just a nice, clean makeover to give it a second life.

But time is tight (those coasters aren’t going to make themselves!) so I gave myself a time limit.

One hour.

I didn’t know if that was going to be really possible but it was worth a shot.

My orbital sander made quick work of the majorly decayed finish.  And a sanding sponge worked great for getting into the nooks of those fluted edges.Use a Sanding Sponge for Detail SandingSo, 15 minutes later I had a nicely sanded piece ready for priming.Deco Side Table Sanded and ready for PaintSpray paint was the way to go on this.  It’s fast to dry and perfect for small pieces (I use Rustoleum’s American Accents mostly).

After years of missing spots when I paint I’ve gotten into the habit of flipping the furniture upside down for the initial coat of paint that way I know I’ve hit everywhere.Primed for paintingAfter the primer had dried for about 20 minutes I gave a very (VERY) light sanding.  And then top-coated with Heirloom White.  Two quick coats applied in close succession did the job nicely.

After another 20 minutes of drying I attached a black knob and I was done!DIY Deco End Table MakeoverTruth in Advertising:  While the sanding, priming, painting took an hour I still had to let the paint cure overnight before I put things down on it for these final photos.Deco End Table by Cheltenham Road

And I didn’t apply a top coat of polycrylic or wax as I’ve found the spray paint is plenty durable on it’s own.Thrift Store End Table Makeover by Cheltenham RoadBut, of course, now that it’s done and photographed I have had a brainstorm about something else I want to do with that knob area.

I think it will take a lot less than an hour……….



I’ll Be at the Library

Reading was my thing when I was a child.

Sure, other kids could play sports, join cub scouts or just go outside and play but me I could totally read!  I read fast and I read a lot.

I know!  Weird that I was sooooo incredibly popular and totally beloved by all the other children  and yet found time to spend hours and hours….and hours….and hours totally alone reading.

I read so much that my parents had to impose rules about when I had to go outside and, more importantly, turn off the light and go to bed.

I defeated their evil plan by using a flashlight under the sheet.

They retaliated by taking away my flashlight.

So I began leaving the light in the hall on and my door cracked open just enough to let a shaft of light in that I could read by if I moved the book up and down.

They unscrewed the light bulb.

Finally (and really what other option did I have?) I began defiantly using the goose-necked lamp that was on my bedside table.

The downside of the lamp was that it made an fully audible “click” when hastily turned off.  So, I began listening closely for my parents approach and I would simply douse the light by tipping it into my pillow until they passed.


Well, genius until they paused outside my door for too long one night and I set my pillow on fire.

But it wasn’t totally my fault.  My family are crazy readers.  My grandfather had a full library (complete with card catalog and Dewey Decimal labeled books) in his basement.  My grandmother read so many murder mysteries we were sure she was planning to off someone.  My dad is (or was until recently) the only male member of his senior community’s book club.  And my sister Sally is a librarian!

So, when I was casting around for new product ideas my memory went to all my fond memories of libraries and reading (but not pillow pyrotechnics).

Library Card Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

Set of four coasters based on vintage library due date cards

library card coaster set

perfect for the book lover in your life! A coaster set based on vintage library cards

I kind of miss the ritual of getting your book card stamped and I thought it might ring a nostalgic bell with others too.   I’m hopoing these will make fun, unique gifts for literature lovers or a great gift for a book club hostess.Vintage Library Ephemera Wood Coaster Set

Sadly, I’ve developed adult-onset-sleep-reflex (ie, open a book-fall asleep immediately) so my reading has slowed.  I’m good at starting books though!  There are about four on my bedside table and several more in my ipad.vintage library card coaster setWhat are you reading these days?


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)

Christmas Is Kicking My Butt: 2013 Edition

Mine is a close and loving family but not a “chat on the phone” family.  I actually told my sister Phebe if she ever did call I’d probably panic as it could only mean some disaster had occurred.

Last Thursday I received this text:

 “I’m going to call you.  Nothing is wrong.  Love – Phe”

 She was calling because I hadn’t blogged in a long time and she was worried.

The next day my dad called (equally shocking).  Due to my lack of blog posts he had become worried that Zen: Cat Assassin had finally succeeded in making me jump into my table saw and that I had bled out on the driveway unnoticed by neighbors.

So, to my family:  I’m not dead!!! Happy Holidays!!!!

However, Chirstmas is Kicking My Butt!

When I wrote CiKMB last year I didn’t realize I was starting a holiday tradition.  But, apparently, like watching It’s a Wonderful Life or attending The Nutcracker, butt kicking is now part of my holidays.

It started about three weeks ago with the launch of Unique LA.  I had a great show.  I tried out some new designs and my booth locations  was perfect.Cheltenham Road Unique LA HOliday 2013

Custom Trays Cheltenham Road Unique LA 2013 Holiday ShowCandle Display Cheltenham Road Unique LA Booth 2013Now, while I assure you that I think very highly of the folks that run Unique LA  I’m also convinced they have a sign at the entrance that look something like this:The Management

Coasters I had made a ton of sat there while others that are seldom purchased were, apparently, the “Tickle Me Elmo” of the coaster world.


OK, if everyone has a superpower then mine is the dubious ability to misspell words in ways so subtle that the naked eye (or spell check) never notices.  And when I’m under pressure and trying to churn out a lot of product my powers truly kick in.  How else to explain a woman’s custom subway sign detailing her worldly travels and whose last line was to read: “Wanderlust”

The sign went through several drafts back and forth.  It was finally approved and produced and only when she got it from the store did she realize the bottom line read :OOPSWhich, as you can imagine was not, exactly, the inspirational message she was hoping for from her wall decor.

Naturally I took the sign back and fixed it.  I contemplated replacing the last line withALTERNATE 1


But in the end just made the correction.

Good News, Bad News, Good News.

Good News.

I managed to make it through Unique LA without banging my head into anything or cutting off my thumb (again).

Bad News:

You should probably stock up on canned goods because me getting through holiday shows without some self inflicted disaster is a confirmed sign of pending apocalypse.Nostrodamus

Good News:

I did manage to smash my skull into the underside of a kitchen cabinet while emptying a dishwasher a few hours before my big, annual holiday dessert party so I may have bought us all some time!

You’re welcome!


Speaking of the party it went well.

I took horrible pictures as always but mom’s sugar cookies were a hitsanta in a box

along with caramel apple pie pops, mini grasshopper pies, cake pops, layer cookies, brownie shots and red velvet cupcakes in ice cream conesRed velvet cupcakesAnd now, happily, my kicked butt and I shall retire for a bit as I’ve made my last delivery,  sold out of almost everything and have no desire to make another coaster/candle block/sign for quite a while.

Happiest of Holidays to all of you!  And thank you so much for joining me in my adventures this last year.

Tutorial: Drill Bit Storage and Gauge

Tutorial: Drill Bit Storage and Gauge

Drill Bit Storage and Gauge Tutorial Cheltenham RoadI am not good with numbers.  Really not good.

Anytime numbers come into play some part of my brain checks out.  It can be prices, measurements of weight, inventory numbers…addresses……birthdays….I will die one day because I’ve forgotten some key pin code I’m sure of it.

You get the picture.

I’ve muddled through but I meet my match when it comes to carpentry.

All the fractions just leave me in the dust.  I keep thinking if I just concentrated I could remember that 7/32nds was smaller than 15/64ths.  But those numbers just don’t mean anything to me.  I mean, it makes sense but I just short circuit when I look at them.

So, among other things, I’m always struggling with drill bits (mostly trying to find them as I tend to leave them scattered throughout the garage).  Figuring out which one is the best size for whatever screw I’m drilling or dowel I’m trying to use is always kind of a tedious guessing game.

So, when I saw this picture of a drill bit gauge and storage block  – ie, a way to both store your drill bits AND easily gauge which screws would go with what bits I had to make it for myself.  (the text at the link above doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the picture btw)

It is incredibly easy of course but also really useful whether you spend a lot of time drilling things like me or just want an easy way to save a little time when you work on smaller household projects.

I’m sure there is a commercially available version of this but honestly, it’s just scrap wood and the most time consuming part is switching out the drill bits.

Here is how I made mine.

Supplies1)      Scrap 2×4

2)      Drill bits

3)      Cordless drill

4)      Pencil

5)   Carpenters Square (if you want to be neat)

I started out by dividing my 2×4 into sections (just to make it easier to line up the bits)Mark the 2x4Then using the appropriate drill bit I put a hole in the topDrill Holes in the TopAnd a corresponding hole in the frontDrill the Holes in the FrontI kept going until I’d made spots for all the bits in my case.Easy Drill Bit StorageNow when I have a screw to use I can just keep trying it in the different sized holes until I find a good match.How to match a screw to a drill bitThe same with dowels or anything else.Drill Bit Guide and StorageIt’s already proven to be a big time and stress saver.

Now if I can just discipline myself to put the drill bits back in the proper place each time my plans for world domination will be back on course!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,335 other followers

%d bloggers like this: