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Monthly Archives: October 2011

I Got a Rock

The Great Pumpkin* wishes you and yours a very Happy Halloween!

*For newer readers, yes, that is me.  No, I was not drunk.  Yes, I demanded to be The Great Pumpkin for Halloween when I was six.  No, my parents did not seek therapy for my god complex.

I don’t seem to have many Halloween pictures from my childhood.

But perhaps there is a reason for that.

I seem to have had difficulty as a child sticking with mainstream Halloween choices.  My failure to convince people that I was the Great Pumpkin was followed shortly thereafter by declairing myself Patrick Henry for the Bicentennial Halloween edition.

The girls behind me clearly got the Halloween memo and were, sensibly dressed as hobos and, I don’t know… Holly Hobby?

But me?  Nope, there I am, Patrick Henry, complete with scroll and a Give me Liberty of Give Me Death vibe.

I don’t recall that I got a lot of candy that year.

However, I did stick with my Charlie Brown theme as time went by – although I downgraded myself from demi-god to leading man as evidenced by this shot of my homemade 4th of July parade float (why were my shorts so tight?  I am not remotely a fashion conscious person but, seriously, every time I see a picture of my childhood self the first thing that always springs to mind is “what the hell am I wearing?”).

I hope everyone elses costumes are a big hit and that you all have a safe and candy-filled night! (and my sincere sympathies to kids who live in the snowy northeast!)


Let’s Hear it for the Boy?

Early this week, in order to stay on track for both Unique LA and the Rose Bowl,  I carefully laid out what I thought was a reasonable ToDo list.

The list broke things down into small, manageable steps.

My thinking was that I would get several things done each day while still having time for  a social life and getting outside to enjoy the fall weather.

….I haven’t left the house since Monday.

I am in serious need of a montage.  You know, where we see our hero (or heroine) accomplishing a buttload of activities while some peppy 80s song plays in the background.

So, to this end, I would greatly appreciate it if you all would start humming “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” from the original Footloose

I will then get a lot done quickly* and, eventually collapse on the sofa with a satisfied smile while managing to look convincingly tired but extremely attractive (I’d say “without a hair out of place” but, given my condition my hair couldn’t be out of place in a hurricane).

A one, a two, a onetwothreefour…hit it!

*I’m imagining getting coasters finished, blocks made, furniture painted and HOME signs created but alternatively, and keeping with the montage theme, I could turn a vacant lot into a playground for underprivileged kids or go on several dates and, eventually, fall in love.  Montages are unpredictable that way but, honestly, I’d be happy just knowing I got a lot of something done quickly.

Tragic Tuesday (see, I told you!)

As you know I live in Los Angeles.  I rely on the sunny warm weather to be able to work outside year round and to speed up the drying time on my projects.

But yesterday morning disaster struck!  I woke to discover that the sky was some odd, non-blue color and WATER WAS FALLING FROM IT!

I took a picture so you all could all share in the horror.

None of us knew what to do.  And clearly, until this apocalypse subsided, I was not going to be able to work in the garage sanding and sawing as I’d planned.

So it was coaster and block construction time in order to prep for both Rose Bowl and Unique LA.

Today the sun came back again (and we could, at last, put the trauma of yesterday behind us and go on with our lives) and I was able to snap a few pics of my newest acquisition.

I’d vowed to lay off on getting new furniture but this one was free!  And I can never say no to free!

It has those great, elegant legs and I’m digging the scalloped edge detail on the top

Now the question is, what to do with it?  Usually my furniture starts off in really bad shape but this one, not so much.  It’s got some minor nicks and tiny discolorations but, overall it’s fine.  It seems kinda silly to paint it.  I’m wondering if I should just put some attractive paper under the glass to brighten it up and call it good.  What do you think?

Fresh Start Monday

It’s Fresh Start Monday!

Well, I’ve dubbed it that after having a kind of haphazard weekend wherein I sorta got things done, kinda got organized, and almost ate well (I say that because I  managed to eat an entire pie….in one sitting…..I have a pie problem…..).

So, welcome to Fresh Start Monday!

The house is clean and my workspace is organized.  Well, lets be honest – organized-ish – meaning it looks organized but several things just got moved to another room and stuffed in a closet… which will probably lead to a blog post titled “Tragic Tuesday!” wherein  I recount my trip to the emergency room after having heavy things fall on my head when I opened a certain closet door.

Today is all about production line.  Make a 50 coasters.  Cut out three  HOME signs. Paint the ceiling.  Mail out orders.  Cut wood for chalkboard bunting.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Since photos of my assembly line arent particularly arresting I thought I’d share a before and after I did on a little dresser I happened across a while ago.

Here is the (almost) before.  I seem to have a hard time remembering to take pictures as I go along.  So I guess this would be mid-before- meaning I had taken the drawers out, sanded and primed it grey (it was handy).

Honestly, after priming it I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

I finally settled on a two-tone color scheme and added a little detail to the front and some white knobs.

OK back to the assembly line!

Hope everyone else has or had a great Monday!

Unique LA!

Well Yay!!!!!!!!

And ACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ve been kinda nervous all day waiting to find out if I did or did not get into the Unique LA Holiday Show.  You may recall I did their summer show which was a lot of fun and a big succes.

But I’m happy to report that I made the cut!

I think what probably put me over the top was that I paired up with a new Etsy friend, Trisha who runs a shop called Matchbook Memories.

Trisha takes what are called “feature” matchbooks which is this absolutely cool “lost” art where the matches all have images on them so they look like this:

Trisha takes these and, so that you can see the entire book makes these fun pieces of art

and since matchbook art is a huge part of what I do (you can see examples over there on the far right column) our styles blend nicely.

I knew the competition to get a slot was tough – they had 600+ applicants for 300 spots – so I was honestly anxious.

So now a brief celebration but then I’ve really got to get cracking because, along with creating enough stock for the two day Unique show (and designing a booth), I just got a wholesale order for 300 coasters and another for upwards of 120 custom (I have to design them) corporate coasters.

So, it’s off to the workshop for me!

If I don’t post again soon please send someone to check under the largest pile of sawdust in the garage.

Chalkboard Place Cards – whaddya think?

Thanks very much for all the great words about my dad’s Lazy Susans!  He reads the blog and was so happy!  He also reports there are three or four more in the shop in various stages of preparation.  I’ll keep you posted on the next installment of As the Lazy Susan Turns.

But here and now my latest tutorial is up on the Mod Podge Rocks blog.

With Thanksgiving coming I was trying to think of fun, different ways to make place cards and after brainstorming with a friend we came up with these vintagy chalkboard versions.   They are very easy to make and the total cost (with extra left over) was about $8.

Once I got going on them my brain started racing with all the possible variations.  You could make the bases look like records and use scans of vintage album covers on the tag.  Or you could use baby pictures of the guests or vintage Christmas images with the bases made of vintage wrapping paper etc etc – kinda endless themey possibilities.

I’m contemplating making a version to sell in my Etsy shop what do you guys think?

The only downside I can see is that the tags are only 3” across with 1.5” taken up by the image which means you could only invite friends with names like Sue or Bob – your buddy Agamemnon will not be attending this soiree.

If you’re keen on the idea check out the full tutorial over at Mod Podge Rocks.

Dad’s Not So Lazy Susan

I have come to a realization of late.

I am not a process person.

I don’t like rehearsals I like performing.  I don’t like cooking I like eating.  I don’t like sanding and priming I like presenting the finished product.

So, although I know “life is about the journey” I seem to be all about the hotel and the pool.

My father is a process person.  Meticulous.  Careful.  Everything he does is well planned and beautifully executed.

He is awesome but our conflicting styles led to some, um, conflicts when I was younger.

My advice to any 8 year old boys reading this is to NEVER make a model of your favorite spaceship with this man.

It will come out great  but you will lose your mind as he carefully organizes all the parts, sands any minor imperfections, contemplates the paint job and works out how to reinforce the weak spots.

He wanted to create something beautiful.  I just wanted to play with it and, lets be honest, eventually blow it up*.

Not a lot has changed.

I’m running around like a loon trying to finish twelve projects at once, never truly satisfied with any of them, making mistakes because I won’t slow down and my dad is creating this:

My folks moved to a retirement community and, upon arrival, my industrious father immediately gathered like minded citizens and started a woodworking shop/club.  Along with doing their own projects they repair furniture for the residents and other shop-related activities.

Dad recently decided that the lazy susans that sat in the center of each table in the dining room were both inefficient and too small and set about to correct the situation.

You can see the result.  That’s separate segments of ¼” birch stained and then applied almost seamlessly to a base and framed out with molding.

Dad apparently also felt that Central Ohio needed a little continental flair and the wording (which you can’t see clearly) is in German as follows:

The salt and pepper holder is “Das Salz und Pfeffen”, sweeteners is “Die SuBungsmittel”, and the comment sheets “Achtung! Kommentar Bogen Hier”.

His next susan (they will all be different) speaks French and looks like this:

Isnt’ that just beautiful!  I’m blown away.

My dad had a great story about trying to glue down the veneers on this one and every time he’d start a new section the previous section would curl up and he kept running back and forth like a Marx Brother trying to get them all stuck down.

Now, all this is well and good.  Yea for dad and his industrious, talented self!

However, my father makes me angry.

First off, he’s approaching 90  and he clearly has more energy and creativity in his little finger than I have in my whole body.

Second, there’s that patience thing that I never mastered.

Third, he had cataract surgery recently and, despite having worn glasses since he was an embryo he now has 20/20 vision.

And finally, he still has a full head of hair!  And he’s not even using it! – it just sitting up there in a crew cut….mocking me.

* I did not blow up the model and am very, very grateful that he took the time to do it right and that I have such a great memento of my childhood.

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