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Monthly Archives: January 2012

New Tools!

If you know me you know I like nothing better than getting a new power tool.  Nail guns of all sizes! Drill Press!  Saw!  My goal seems to be to collect all of them.

But hardware store clerks are a jaded crew.  They are not impressed by my purchases.

For reasons I’ll explain in a minute I recently went into Paper House and told the clerk that I wanted  to buy a Silhouette Cameo Cutter.

Her eyes went wide and she said “Ohhh, how great!” which kind of surprised me but I figured she was just being positive.

But then she went and got it and, as she passed back through the store a low murmur began “ohhh whose getting a Cameo?” and “oh look!  Lucky!!!

and they kind of, well….. followed her.

So when she got back to me she arrived with a sort of gang.  A gang who, when they saw me (not who they were expecting I gather) sort of paused and then began firing questions.  “is this for your wife?”  “Is it a Valentines Day present?!!!!”  “I wish someone would buy me one of those!!!

I felt very selfish confessing that it was for me.  But that just unleashed new questions

What do you make?”  “Do you know what this can do!!!!!”   “Are you single?!” (she was joking…..I think….)

The guys at the hardware store never paid this much attention to me.  I’m buying all my tools at Paper House from now on.  Do they carry drill bits?

The reason I bought it was that my London Underground Dresser got a lot of attention – including a local store who wants me to make more things like it.  Which is great but I’ll confess the dresser was a bit laborious to create.  To get the font and size I wanted I had to print out and cut out all the letters.  So the Cameo seemed like a great solution to this problem and, of course can be used for a lot of other things as well.

Up first is this little coffee table which was, literally, in the trash after the last Rose Bowl.  Two of the legs were broken off but otherwise it was fine.

 I glued and reinforced the legs but there were still ugly gaps.

So I employed my bondo treatement.


Bondoed (a new verb!)


Painted (yes that is an old sock hanging from the shrubbery…I have no explanation)

And now it’s time for fun.  I’m thinking, with all its curvey details and such

this tables gonna go all Paris Metro (image courtesy of The Muse)!

…..Now I just need to read the instructions on the Cameo.

Invaluable Web Freebies

It’s was a rainy Monday in Los Angeles yesterday.

And it was kinda nice.

The relentless sunshine here always makes me feel, regardless of what I’m doing, that I really should be outside doing something more fun.  The occasional rainy day makes staying inside and getting chores done seem pleasant.

So while a billion coasters were drying (I have two large wholesale orders due) I spent a little time organizing all my bookmarked web pages and was reminded about the amazing ideas and generosity available on the web.

I’m sure you all know abut The Graphics Fairy and her astounding range of wonderful and free images.  I’ve used her work on everything from my French Label TablesTo Halloween Blocks

 I’ve also just discovered fuzzimo:

Run by Antoniu it is an incredible repository of great graphics, really clear photoshop tutorials and brushs, free fonts and on and on.

I’m always hunting for new fonts and would get nowhere without

I also like to create my own wallpaper designs for my letters

and found a great resource for that an many, many other design needs at the  VectorGraphicsBlog

I downloaded their Ornate Decorative Elements package

and in about 20 minutes had made this:

Cathe Holden is a graphic designer who gives almost all of her ideas and graphics away for free over at Just Something I Made (which my sister Paula turned me onto)

And it just goes on and on!

Do you all have any great “go-to” sites when you’re looking to create something?



Do you guys use Anaglypta?  It’s my new go-to item for easily adding some depth and texture to anything.

I realize many of read that and thought to yourselves:

“yes, David, we know about Anaglypta – and, just FYI, we’ve also already stumbled across the wheel, fire and sliced bread but thanks so much for sharing.”

But for those of you who are less snarky Anaglypta is not, as I first thought, an Egyptian Pharoh but rather  a textured wallpaper.

It’s embossed and very, very sturdy and, best of all, not too expensive.  You can pick up a roll at Lowes for around $20.

I had this coffee table from the End Table Nirvana Haul

It has nice scalloped edges and after some gluing, sanding priming and painting (black) it looked pretty good.

But it just wasn’t catching anyone’s eye after, I think, three Rose Bowl cycles.

So I had piece glass cut and put some Anaglypta under it and…..

It sold within minutes!

So, I’m totally won over by Anaglypta and I’ve been inspired by these projects as well.

It makes such a great, subtle addition to this drawer front from The Rehab Boutique

Or check out this amazing transformation from Dumped and Discovered (I’m hooked on this blog too!).

How great will this be when you’re confronted with some beyond repair veneer or something? 

I can’t wait to get going on a new project!

Have a great weekend everyone!

It’s a Family Thing

Welcome new folks – thanks so much for joining!

As most of you know I named my business in honor of my family and their mad creative skills and every now and again I want to do a family update.

Dad has weighed in a with his latest lazy susan project.

I had posted about his work previously but here is the Readers Digest version of my dad.


  • He is incredibly creative and precise and does beautiful work (great qualities now but almost drove me to drink as a 10 year old who just wanted to build a model).
  • Almost 90 and still going strong creating terrific pieces.
  • Though not remotely senile, wanders around central Ohio in winter wearing short sleeved shirts and no jacket whereas I live in Southern California and am currently wearing three layers of clothing INSIDE MY HOUSE.
  • Also, almost 90 and has full head of hair – which is just plain mean.

This lazy susan, as you can see, has a built in checkerboard and he even made his own checkers for it! (cause I guess just, you know, buying some checkers wasn’t sufficiently show-offy).

You may recall my sister Phebe’s Guest Post but here is the reader’s digest version of her:


  • Vibrantly creative with pretty much anything she puts her mind to.
  • Early proponent of the Home School movement – tried to teach me how to read when I was 6 months old.
  • Currently favorite sister because she provided a guest blog post without prompting.
  • Full head of hair……..but I’m OK with that.
  • Showed proper respect by marrying a man named David.
  • Loses points only because her David also sports a full head of hair.

And I’m very excited because my sister Paula and her husband have opened their own Etsy store!

Here is the Paula 411


  • Possibly the most positive, loving person you will ever meet.  Can and does make pretty much everything and it’s always beautiful.
  • Superpower: always has the tweek or idea that will make any project better.
  • Full head of hair….I’m learning to accept it.
  • Loses points for marrying someone not named David who also displays a full head of hair –which he recently grew long just to drive the point home.

I featured one of the clocks they are making in my Underground Dresser photo (it was a Christmas present!).

It’s made from a cigar box and Paula’s not-named-David husband has done a bunch of others. (click on the pic for a link to their shop)

And Paula has started producing these soft portfolios (also at thier shop – click the pic for the link up)

There is a third sister.  Sally – who is equally awesome but has not yet provided pictures of her amazing work making all things paper – including jewelry!


  • numerous hair-styling options available to her (whatever)
  • gains points for marrying someone named David.
  • loses points because, you guessed it, her David, owns a comb and blowdryer.

And, of course mom!


  • Awesome is the only word. 
  • I blogged about her mad Chistmas skills previously.
  • Despite what science says, can’t be blamed for the hair thing as her father also had full, thick head of hair into his 90s so it’s totally not her fau……!

OMG!  I’m totally adopted!  My sister wasn’t just being mean when I was 6!

Make Your Own Decorative Knobs

Thank you for all the kind responses about the London Underground dresser!

I’ve had a couple of questions about the top two knobs so I thought I’d share how I made them – it was pretty easy and oh so inexpensive.

First off, I have to give credit to The Muse (otherwise known as Geralyn)!  Almost everything I do gets run by the The Muse for approval and tweeking before execution.  In this case she helped me nail down the city and then worked with me to come up with a good design for the knobs.  We tried the Union Jack but finally settled on the logo for the Underground.

OK onto the “how.”

I’m going to use my Underground image to illustrate but this method would work for any kind of graphic you wanted to work with.

Steps 1-3.  Sand, Prime, Paint!A good sanding is key (wooden knobs seem to be doused in evil paint resistant shellacks and varnishes) and I ‘ve become a big fan of Zinzer’s  BIN Shellac Base Primer which creates a great finish.  And I painted it with a couple of coats of flat black spray paint.

I created my own version of the Undergound logo in Photoshop  but it was also pretty easy to create in MSWord using shapes and a text box.

Of course a simple scan of any image you wanted to use would work as well.

I then put a black background behind the image.  This made it easier to cut out and let it blend in a little better on the knob.You can do this in MS Word too.  Just thicken the outline around the circle (mine went up to 50) and add some small, black boxes behind the ends of the “Underground” text.

To be honest I was a little too lazy about my cut out on this one.  The black edge gives you some wiggle room but you do want to cut as close to the edge of the image as possible (ie, cut it out better than I did this time around).

Mod Podge:  If you’ve read my Mod Podge Rocks tutorials you know that to create a smooth bubble free adhesion I like to soak my images for a few seconds in water before applying them (test your image first – some inks won’t hold up to a bath).

So, soak it, mod podge it on there and wipe up any excess glue.  After that was thoroughly dry I went in with my sharpie and touched up those tiny white edges that always appear.  If you were using a more unique color you could do the same just using a fine brush.

I did a couple more sealing coats of Mod Podge to minimize the edge where the paper meets the knob and after the Mod Podge had thoroughly dried (and I mean thoroughly, like, overnight or longer if you can swing it) I did a very light sanding and then top-coated with a couple of passes of an acrylic sealant.

And there you go.  A totally specific knob for almost nothing.


End Table Nirvana Continues To Pay Off!

So we’ll continue our furniture world tour with a little French end table I worked on for the Rose Bowl.

This was another find from the End Table Nirvana (yes, I’m still working my way through that amazing furniture haul!).

She had tossed this little guy in at the last minute for free “because it’s broken.”

But all that was broken was that the top wasn’t fully attached and the lower shelf had split along a seam.  The finish was looking a little sad too.  But one can never argue with free!

So, as usual, it was time for sanding, glue, bondo and clamps (always clamps!)

After some drying time it got another good sanding, a cleaning with TSP and quick coat of flat white paint (actually ceiling paint left over from my dining room).

The next step was to distress it a little but I was in a bit of a bad mood and got a kinda carried away.  The final result was not as much “distressed” as it was “traumatized” but I didn’t have time to go back in and repaint.

I decided it needed a little help from the Graphics Fairy and did a little mixing and matching with these labels that she so generously provides.

Once I got them (re)arranged and reversed I went to town with my Blender Pen method.

A nice coating of wax and I was all done and it was time for pictures.

I feel that lemons should always be stored on the lower shelf of a table in the hallway near the bathroom where the light is better.  Don’t you?  It’s a great spot for your vintage camera collection too.  Just a little FYI from me to you.

I’m happy to report that this one sold at the Rose Bowl!  And considering it was free and the paint was leftover – the overhead on this one was just printer ink, blender pen, a knob and time!  Yay!

Please check out these great link parties

“This is the cool place!”

Dresser MakeoverThis is the cool place!

A woman exclaimed that as she approached my booth yesterday at the Rose Bowl.  AND she actually proceeded to buy something.

I’ve discovered that exclamations of “OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS!!!!” do not necessarily lead to purchases.  Last year a woman stopped dead in her tracks, and shouted (like at the top of her lungs) “I’VE GOT TO HAVE THAT!!!!” when looking at one my clocks.  Then there was a brief pause while I, and pretty much everyone nearby, stopped and waited.  Aaaand then she walked on.

Now I realize that I don’t actually purchase everything I think is cool.  But I’m kind of a quiet person by nature so if something grabbed me so much  that I reacted to it like I was having a heart attack and it was a nitroglycerin tablet I’d probably fork over the money.  But that’s just me.

Anyway, the weather was beyond beautiful yesterday (sorry east coasters) –  70s, sunny with a light breeze.  Sales were good, although my “oh this is so cool/but I’m not buying it” rate was better.  I think people were suffering with that post-Christmas “good lord what did I do!?” hangover.

The big eye catcher was my new dresser that I hinted at on Saturday.

I’d had this dresser sitting around and was waiting for inspiration to strike. And it struck big time when I saw this blog post from the very talented Lauren and Nick of  Lindaure Designs (the link is for their excellent tutorial).

Isn’t  that beyond cool?!  The minute I saw it I couldn’t wait to get started.

Mine’s a little different – different city, different layout but I was pleased with the final result.

(and I just realized when I posted this that I not only stole their dresser idea I even stole the fan they put on top of it!  Shall we just chalk the whole thing up to “sincerest form of flattery” and move on?  I think we shall.  Oops!)

The dresser got the most “oh that’s cool/wander away” action but I kind of expected that.  It’s a very specific person who’s going to want to own it so it’s OK.

I did manage to get away from the booth to hang out for a bit with my friend Nicki of Nicki Huard Creations.  Her booth was busier than mine.  Crazy busy.  Too busy…..  I think I like her less now….

However, despite liking her less, I have to show you these nifty teapot lamps she makes.

And she has promised to teach me how she does her stenciling (she has secrets!) because look at these boxes!

Look at how clean those lines are!  You may be thinking “uhhh, David, it’s a stencil.”  But this is rough wood so to get that kind of sharpness takes some skills and I want to acquire them!

Today I started to tackle the garage as phase one of my war on disorganization!  If you don’ t hear from me again I probably dropped something on myself.

Linking up here:

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