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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Anniversary Tutorial

I had mentioned a little while ago that June marked my one year anniversary of blogging.  I didn’t make a big deal about it at the time but it’s been bouncing around in my head.

To be honest, I hesitated to start a blog because I was convinced I had nothing to add the already crowded field of furniture/craft blogs.  I also was pretty doubtful that I would enjoy the process.

But I was wrong! (that’s twice that I’ve been wrong for those of you keeping track).

I thoroughly enjoy this whole experience and the main reason I enjoy it is because of you folks.  Your words of encouragement and support mean a lot to me and truly keep me going when I’m feeling a bit over (and under) whelmed by all this Cheltenham Road craziness.

And I LOVE that you get my sense of humor!  And I really LOVE that you join in with your comments and cracks – it’s so much fun to read!

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks.

It also seemed appropriate to revisit my very first post.  Partly, of course, because it was my first post and it’s an anniversary but also because, for some reason, that post has become quite popular of late.

I had linked it up back in December with Becky at her terrific Beyond the Picket Fence blog party for projects under $100.  And I’m not quite sure what’s going on over there but, all of a sudden, low these many months later, it has shot up the charts and is earning lots of views.

So, for those of you who weren’t around then, if you’d like to revisit my Tragic to Fixed to Shabby transformation of this dresserbureau makeover tutorial

into this dressershabby chic chest of drawers tutorial

you can visit my very first post here:

And for the rest of you let me say Thanks Again!



The Workroom is Finished!………….Sort of!!!!

OK, after much delay (like a year) and much hemming and hawing and procrastination my workroom is ready!

OK, well, it’s more kinda-sorta-ready-but-I’ve-been-drawing-this-out-so-long-I’m-starting-to-annoy-myself-so-here-it-is ready.

So here we go!

As Cheltenham Road grew I found myself running all over the house to accomplish even minor things.  The computer was in one room, I was working in the dining room, half my stuff was in the garage.  I got a lot of exercise but it took forever to get anything done.

My spare bedroom had been, for quite a while, occupied by a string of female friends who were going through various life transitions (one was out in LA for “pilot season” auditions; one broke up with her boyfriend and needed a place to stay for a while, one was moving back to New York but not quite yet etc etc.) and needed a place to stay.  I was happy to oblige and after a while everyone began referring to the room as “The David Cheaney Home for Wayward Girls.”

They had all been great houseguests but it was time to get down to business so, sadly TDCHWG was forced to close it’s doors.

And that’s when I got to work.

What I needed was a Command Central.  Someplace where I could do all my computer work but also a workroom where I could get production going and going smoothly.  I needed a clean open space with a good amount of storage.  I also needed it to be pleasant as I was going to be spending  A LOT of time here.

Here is the before:

The blue was nice – I really liked it – but I needed the space to be brighter so up went a coat of tan (it looks yellow in all the pictures for some reason).

I quick trip to Ikea produced two bookcases that I laid on their sides and topped with a Remainder Bin desktop.Along the sides of the desk are boxes for storage

And when I’m done with the coasters I can just swivil around and put them on the drying racks.When they are all dry I can pop them in their storage cases – which also makes keeping track of inventory a little easier.

(they are not alphabetized…don’t tell Phebe)

I carved out a mailing station with everything I need handy: envelopes, tape, there are boxes in the tall cabinet and customs forms and bubble wrap in the drawers.  There is even a holder for wrapping paper for the occasional gift-wrap request.I made the former closet (here is what it looked like before):Into  my computer station.

It’s like workroom heaven! (or perhaps just a very overexposed picture)

It’s even possible I may not screw up any more dates now that I have my wall calender made of Home Depot Paint Chips and an old poster frame from the Good Will!

(OK it’s highly unlikely that the calendar will save me from my date-challenged self but it’s worth a shot).

I must confess that I’m a little surprised that vintage/retro loving me managed to create workspace that is all clean lines and white surfaces.  But I knew there was going to be a lot of clutter and a lot of projects and I just wanted the space itself to be kind of neutral.

There is still lots to be done.

I need some more labels on drawers, the front of the Mailing Station needs to be finished and more holes need to be drilled in the desk as I continue to try to figure out why my “wireless” lifestyle requires so many wires!

But overall I’m pleased and it really has helped me get a little more on top of things.

Linking up!

I’ll Be In My Workroom

My sister Paula and I saw this sign while I was in Ohio and decided that everyone in our family could probably have it hanging in their home.Truth be told we are a very nice family – perhaps not totally “normal” but really, who is?

I’ve told you before that I grew up surrounded by creativity – mom, dad, sisters – all of them were always making something.  When I was a kid my mom had a room dedicated to her various projects.  It was always floor to ceiling with boxes and supplies.  And I realized when I was home that now, all of us have our own variation on that workroom and each one tells a little story.

My dad has an actual wood workshop (to be shared later) but his office/den is as much a workroom as any.  This is where he meticulously drafts his designs.  Dad is a fairly quiet, contemplative man with a very, very dry and subtle wit and his desk encapsulates those qualities.

How can you not love a guy who has a model train running around the perimeter of his work surface?! (I love this too because it’s really “our” model train that we built together when I was a kid) or who builds special shelving designed to hold his model airplanes!My mom still has her workroom.  She’s in the midst of re-organizing and wasn’t keen on having it photographed but I had to share one of her latest projects.

This picture is a little blurry (cameraphone) but this is an embroidered image of a Christmas stocking complete with a house, a rocking horse, toy soldiers etc.Cute right?  Well, my picture is kind of blurry because the camera can’t deal with the actual size of this:Yeah.  That’s a quarter (you may recall I went home for her 90th birthday last December)

My sister Sally has always struck me as the Artist in the group and her workspace reflects that.  It’s a total Artist Retreat with paint and brushes and tools. She has been working for years with paper-meaning she makes paper and then manipulates it in ways you would never dream of.  And lately she’s been focusing on making paper jewelry – it’s amazing and beautiful and much stronger than you would think paper has a right to be.

(Sally is also the only one willing to appear on camera).

My sister Paula has an amazing visual eye.  Really everyone should get a present from Paula if only to marvel at the wrapping.  She can put together combos and designs like no one I know.  And she can and does make anything and everything she does looks beautiful – even just how she organizes it.  I discovered that I couldn’t get a good picture of her whole work space (it’s huge) so I focused in on the details. 

Phebe and a Paula hang out together a lot and team up on projects.  Paula is organized but Phebe is super-organized.  Phebe has all her ducks in a row…..alphabetized…… by species and genus.  Trust me, if you’re trying to get something done and done beautifully, creatively and efficiently you totally want Phebe in charge.

And the next generation is getting into this too!

Maggie is Phebe’s eldest who just moved into a new home.  She has carved out her own workroom and at some recent point was given a sewing machine.

Her first project?  Something simple, perhaps.  A pillow?  No.  Sewing the hem on a dress?  No.

She took this chair.

And turned it into this – for a comfy spot in her workroom.

You know….easy peasy.

OK, so now I’m totally guilted and I vow to get my workroom camera ready for next time.

Millwork Monday

I’ve been experiencing some technical difficulties.

No sooner did I decide that I had my mojo back (and I was ready to blog blog blog!) then my internet connection started to have a nervous breakdown.  It’s on! It’s off!  It’s on…off….on….kinda on…’s ……stuck.

The problem has still not been resolved.

In the meantime I continued to focus on getting organized.

The workroom is done!

Sort of!

Well, it’s more done than not – I just keep feeling like there are certain details that need to be accomplished before I can proudly display it on the web.

I also decided that today was MillWork Monday wherein I would spend my day sawing and sanding and getting all the wood items I would need for the week ready to go.

And it was a success.  I now have, for the week, 2 HOME signs, 200 coaster blanks, 20 candle block bases and 25 slats for subway art.It has created a great sense of accomplishment along with a great sense that there is sawdust in my underwear which, you know, keeps me grounded in the here and now.

Despite my sporadic web connection I did manage to post my latest coaster design – vintage subway art coasters.Subway art coasters The set I made is for New York, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago but I’m trying to figure out a way to make it so whatever city you desire I can produce the set.  I’ll keep you posted.

And now I must dash before the internet shuts down.

Time On My Hands

I have to confess I’ve been having trouble getting back into blogging mode since I returned from Ohio.

And I’ve been trying to figure out why because I really do enjoy this.

I finally decided that it was partially due to the fact that I feel that the posts should have something important, or at least interesting, to share.  A tutorial, a good before/after furniture transformation or tips or something.

But my problem of late is that, with all the shows I’ve been doing, I haven’t had time for much that is new.  I’m just kind of a factory reproducing my designs (I’ve made 275 coasters, 120 magnets, six HOME signs and three Subway signs since getting back from Columbus) and I imagine that blog post after blog post of “I made some coasters!” and “I made some more coasters!!” might get a little old.

However, that is about to change!

Because I screwed up!

I know, I know, your shocked!  Shocked that I could have messed something up.  But it’s true, I, David, have made the first and only mistake of my lifetime.

I discovered today that the Renegade show that I thought was happening in two weeks is not, in fact, until the end of July (June, July they both start with “J” and are four letters long people get them confused all the time, right?  RIGHT?).

Then I discovered that I had missed the deadline to apply for Unique LA’s summer show which would have taken place a couple of weeks after the Renegade show if, in fact, the Renegade show was actually happening when I thought it was happening – which it isn’t.

Sooooo… schedule has, um…. opened up.

At first I was bummed but then I realized that this is my window.  My window to launch all those new projects that I haven’t had time for.  My chance to really get back to the creative part of this big-ole-creative-life-change I launched.

And, surprisingly, this had totally re-energized me.  I’m very excited to get going!

Patchwork, Coasters and Wedding Blocks… Oh My!


I’m workin’ away getting ready for Patchwork on Sunday.  If anyone is LA-local please do consider dropping by.  The historic Helms Bakery is one of the coolest spots in LA to cruise around (whether you go to the show or not) and the Patchwork show is inside so you can peruse without need of sunscreen!

I’m trying to get some new designs out in time.  I’ve been working on my Wonderful LA coastersVintage Los Angeles Coasters

Vintage Los Angeles coaster setAnd a few other project that I’ll try to photograph before the event.

Also, if you’re keen on such things, my new tutorial is up over at Amy’s Mod Podge Rocks site.  I came up with (yet another) variation on my tea light holders but the tutorial also goes into how to get that distressed look under the paper.And now it’s out to the garage!  Things to paint!  Things to sand!


Mrs. Landingham

If any of you were fans of The West Wing or Desperate Housewives (or pretty much any other show in the last couple of decades) then you were familiar with Kathy Joosten who passed away last weekend.Kathy was one of the founding members of a theatre company I joined shortly after moving to Los Angeles and I encountered her at my very first company audition*.

She was running the audition – meaning she was in charge of the waiting area, taking resumes and ushering people into the actual audition room.  She took my resume and looked me and it over and said:

 “Well, you’re fresh off the boat aren’t you?  This is a nice New York resume but you’re in LA now.  You need to move these credits around, drop that credit and you need a different picture.”

That may not be an exact quote because in my head all I was thinking was “Oh My God Mrs Landingham is talking to me!!!!!!!”

And it was like having Mrs. Landingham talk to you.  Same voice, same demeanor – a little gruff, vaguely annoyed maybe? But there was a bit of a warm sparkle in her eye and what she was saying was totally kind and very thoughtful (and right!).

And that’s how she was – she could be sweet or fairly cantankerous – she certainly didn’t suffer fools (or those she thought were fools) gladly but she respected hard work and was quite generous in a quiet sort of way.  For instance – we weren’t close friends or anything – just acquaintances – but she was one of the very first people to give me a shot and have me work on some furniture for her when I started this Cheltenham Road venture.

And I wanted to share something a fellow company member posted on Facebook about her that I thought was both true and pretty inspirational.

And I think that sums it up beautifully. Remember her example if you’re feeling too old for something, or stuck in your life  – she scaled a huge and very difficult mountain and she did it with talent and hard work.  You can too.


*For those of you who have joined this blog more recently, I moonlight as an actor sometimes doing small roles on TV and larger roles on stage.

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