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Monthly Archives: July 2012

On Being a Renegade!

I’m happy to report that my very first Renegade Show was a complete success!

I confess, though not superstitious really, I was taken aback when I realized my booth number was 13.

I decided to think of it a Lucky Booth 12B and I was right.

Set up on Saturday went smoothly and my new(ish) displays worked exactly how I wanted them to.  I designed them to be modular so I could re-arrange them to suit the situation.  You’ll recall at Unique LA they were two towersAt Renegade, for an enclosed booth space I set them up accordion style along the walls (please forgive the lousy camera phone photos).The first day was slow buying-wise although I did a brisk business in handing out business cards.

However, a reporter for the LA Times came around and liked my work.  I’m quite honored that he chose to feature my stuff (OK, “featured” is kind of a strong word) in his Top Picks on the LA Times Home and Garden Blog!

Day two was terrific!  And Lucky Booth 12B was busy all day.  The heat was pretty intense which made me want to nap but apparently made my fellow Angelenos want to shop.  And shop they did!

In short it was a great way to end a summer season of shows and now it’s time to get ready for the holidays!


There’s Always Tomorrow

“I will blog tomorrow.”

That’s what I kept telling myself each day.  Each day as I got up and got rolling on finishing coasters, making subway signs, cutting letters, sending out Etsy orders I would say to myself, “as soon as I’m done with this I will write a blog post.”

The problem is – I never seem to be done with “this” whatever “this” may be.

And when I am done with “this” I tend to eat ice cream rather than blog (Trader Joe’s Mint Chip.  I’ve been living on that and coffee for about a week.  You know, cause I’m all about healthy).

So clearly, I need to become a “right when I get up” blogger.  This will, of course lead to numerous spelling mistakes and poor grammar but I’m afraid that’s just the way it has to be.


Good Morning!  It’s 6:01AM!!!!!

I have spent my week not blogging and prepping for the Renegade Craft Fair which is this weekend!

My prepping was a bit hindered when I discovered that my scroll saw  was busted.  A quick call to the folks at Porter Cable resulted in this easy fix.

I could either mail it to the factory (no problem – it only huge, awkwardly sized and weighs 50 pounds or so) or drive it 60 miles to a factory!  After that it would just take them three short months to get the tiny little part that’s broken installed because it’s back ordered!

How totally awesome!

Amazon came to my rescue and I now have a brand new scroll saw…..and an old scroll saw……..anybody want a used, broken scroll saw?  No?  Weird.

Happily before my scroll saw trauma I had completed two custom orders.  And it really is true – your customers come up with the best ideas.

Recently, two separate customers asked me if I’d consider making one large letter for them rather than my regular HOME sign.  I’m always up for something new so we collaborated and emails flew back and forth and decisions were made and sawing was done and we emerged at the other end with these.

First up – a gift for a Boston Red Sox loving husband’s new Man Cave.

I hope he likes it!

And then a giant L with a collage of images celebrating Detroit.

It’s 20” high by 13.5” wide which – fun fact – is exactly ½” larger than the largest box my local box supplier makes!  I turns out my artistry is not constrained by my imagination, finances or skill but by conveniently available box sizes!

OK.  It’s now 6:45AM and as soon as I’m done with this blog post I’m gonna eat ice cream get to work!

If anyone is local and plans to go to Renegade please do stop by. 

A Little Experiment

So, I’m wondering if a couple of you could help me out.

A few years ago I thought it would be fun to make Christmas gifts for my family and, unsurprisingly, I made coasters (they never saw it coming!).

I decided to celebrate our family’s vast real estate empire by creating floor plans of all of the various houses from our past – my folks place, our grandparents homes, the house my mom and dad built when they were first married etc etc.

I wanted them all to be a bit different so I created different backgrounds etc and they came out looking like this:Happily they were a hit!  I made my sister cry! (as a little brother if you make your sister cry and you haven’t kicked her or read her diary you have achieved Little Brother Super Stardom!)Since then all family members have reported much admiration of the coasters from visitors.And it has been suggested to me that I should try to add these to my Etsy store.Now, clearly, the world is not crying out for floor plans of my parent’s home.  But when I tried to think through what the process would be for doing custom orders for people my mind boggled a little.

  • Would people be OK sending me a sketch
  • How much explaining would I need to do to get the idea across
  • How many options would I need to offer
  • How long would it take
  • etc etc etc and on and on

So, this is where you come in.

I would like to use a couple of you as guinea pigs.

You would have to be very patient guinea pigs.

I’m trying to figure out the best, most efficient way to create these coasters for people that would leave them satisfied and wouldn’t leave me buried under millions of hours of Photoshop work.To do the project for my family I had to create floor plans of homes I’d never set foot in but the sketches were made by my dad who, as we know, can be a tad on the precise side.  What I need to know is if I can take something like this:And create a viable design.

So, would two of you be willing to join me on this journey of coaster discovery?

You would, of course, end up with a set of customized coasters at the end as payment for your patience.  I figure I need two “potential” folks to work with.  I guess to be fair it should be the first two to respond to this post.

Thanks in advance!

Unique LA Summer Show Follies

I needed a recovery day.

Unique LA was really awesome and just a weee bit exhausting.

Why would standing there selling things for two days be exhausting?” You may ask.

Well, it wasn’t the “standing there” part – it was the mad, crazy dash to get to the “standing there” part.

In my vast wisdom I decided that with two shows in a row, a huge wholesale order due and numerous Etsy orders due that  NOW would be the ideal time to create a totally new look!  Now would be the time to build new displays.  Now would be the time for new signs, new selling methods!

Now” also turned out to be the time to have a small, nervous breakdown.

The Friday before the show was filled with six, yes six, “last minute” trips to Home Depot.  I’m not sure how one can have six “last” trips….it seems like after the first last trip you’re into last trip overtime and a new phrase needs to be coined.

And Saturday, the day of the show, included yet another Home Depot trip

(I’m losing your sympathy aren’t I?  You’re thinking to yourself “dude, make a freakin’ list!”  I had lists!  I swear!  I just didn’t anticipate broken and/or missing drill bits, peg board holes that were a different size than all other peg board holes in the known universe and a sudden, distinct lack of glue among other things).

But everything got set up – more or less – and I was pleased…..more-or-less.

I had a primo corner spot right near the entrance and created two towers to display coasters, HOME signs and letters.

I know….  Green!  What a surprise that is for all of us.  Who could have foreseen this choice on my part?! (also they aren’t quite as GREEN!!!!! as they look in these pictures and the tablecloth in the back looks more matchy in reality.  Nor was the world slightly blurry that day)

They were also supposed to display magents!  If I hadn’t accidentally left them at home……..

I had a slightly modified display for coaster packs and candle blocks

And added a shelf for trays and such.

The folks attending were great (I even met a blog reader who stopped by to say “hi” – how cool is that?!).  I love that so many people are up for buying original designs made locally.

Sales were brisk – I actually sold out of several things on the first day.

Good problems!

Bad problems?

  • Coming up , on the second day with a nifty new way to display HOME signs that looked swell until they fell and I broke two letters.
  • Discovering that the subway signs were selling fast

and that people were waaay into the idea of customizing them.  So, in a true Wylie E. Coyote Super Genius moment I raced home Saturday night and came up with this!

And in an equally Wylie E Coyote move…..forgot to bring it with me on Sunday.

But, bottom line.  Sales were sold.  Lessons were learned and the hungry maw of Home Depot was fed.

And now it’s time for Renegade!

Mark your calendars!  Come on by!…….. See what I forget to bring! (we can totally turn this into a drinking game!)

Paint Chip Calendar Tutorial

I’m having one of those “work from dawn till midnight” kinda weeks.

You see, despite my screw up with the deadlines Unique LA let my apply late and I got and and the show is this weekend.

It’s gonna be great!  I’m pretty excited and a bit nervous.  This will be the first time, I have a whole booth to myself.  I’ve been working on new set up (pictures to come…. spoilers – I used the color green!  Shocking I know!), building display, making tons of coasters and, well,  everything else – letters, home signs, subway art, candle blocks etc etc.

In the meantime – the paint chip calendar I made for my workroom makeover seems to be popular on Pinterest and I’ve had a couple of people ask me how I made it so I thought I’d do a quickie tutorial.

By “quickie” I mean that I really don’t have any pictures to illustrate much so bear with me.

I used:

  • Poster frame ($2 from Good Will)
  • Sand Paper – fine grit
  • Spray Paint (optional)
  • Fabric
  • Spray adhesive
  • Paint chips
  • Glue dots
  • Spray Paint

1)      After a light sanding I painted the frame with a gloss white spray paint.

2)      My frame was empty when I bought it so I cut a piece of foam core to use for the backing.

3)      I sprayed the adhesive on the foam core and then placed my fabric over it smoothing out the wrinkles.  I then flipped it over and folded the extra fabric on the back and taped it in place.

4)      I needed a big calendar and I found that Home Depot’s Behr line has the largest paint chips around.  They were a little too large actually.  After doing the math I trimmed them down to 3” wide and 5.75” tall.  I also used my little round-over corner trimmer on the top left corner.

5)      As you may have gathered this was a bit of “grab what’s around” project and I had some of those glue dots so I used them to stick the paint chips to the fabric.  To be honest this met with mixed results.  A few of the paint chips just would NOT stay stuck.  I have no idea why – the rest of them seemed to be with the program, but just a few kept falling off.  I eventually (and somewhat crankily) just used a dab of Elmers glue to hold them in place.

6)      I just used a piece of card stock and Microsoft Word to print out the days of the week to run along the top (same with the Notes section at the bottom – just a piece of cardstock cut to fit)

7)      I re-assmbled the whole thing and BOOM! Wall calendar.Paint Chip Wall Calendar TutorialSo, I apologize again for the lack of photographic accompaniment but I hope this answers a few of the questions about the calendar.

And if you’re an LA kinda person please do come to the Unique Show this weekend!

Displaying my Wares – Easy Table Makeover

I’ve been eager to get to work on some new furniture projects but have been a little stuck.  Since I lost my spot at the Rose Bowl I don’t really have an outlet for my furniture.

However, my coasters, trays, signs etc are sold locally in a fantastic store called CoOP 28 run by the terrific Marci.

Recently Marci and I were talking about display and she offered me a prime spot for my trays and suggested I could come up with a little table for them.  Perfect!  I got right to work.

I’d inherited a sofa table quite a while ago…well, I had inherited thelegs the top had decamped at some point (how does that happen?).  In a burst of creativity I’d cut a new top for it mimicking the curve of the apron…..

…….and then stuck it in the back of the garage and forgot about it.

I dragged it out and cleaned it up and gave it a quick top coat with some leftover ceiling paint (I needed flat paint for what I had in mind).

I knew I wanted a graphic on top but I didn’t want anything too busy or distracting.

Blender Pen to the Rescue!

I’ve used a blender pen many times before (check out the link for more detailed instructions) but here is quick recap of blender pen technique using images from another table:

After applying my text I sanded the legs for a light distressing and went over it all with a coat of paste wax

The paste wax adds some depth and a nice shine.

I, once again used my favorite Shakespeare Sonnet and here we gographic transfer tutorial for table

Text on table tutorialAnd I think it will look OK with some trays on it.  It’s not too distracting but it’s not just a boring white table either

Now I’m off to bring to the store.

Hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July!

Another Anniversary!

My new tutorial has just been posted over at Mod Podge Rocks and it marks another anniversary for me – my one year ManPodgerVersary.

A little over a year ago Amy (the Mod Podge Rocks Grand Poo-bah and master of all things podgy) put out a call asking if there were any guys who used Mod Podge.  The talented Walter Silva and I responded and she asked us to come up with projects and it has been an amazing opportunity.

Amy is a constant source of encouragement and positive energy and incredibly patient (I keep turning in my tutorials late or just-on-time-but-not-really-on-time-enough).  And being pleasantly “forced” to come up with ideas has been the best imagination-stretching opportunity ever!

In addition it has lead me to meet most if not all of you who read this blog and for that I am very grateful!

Here is a brief anniversary tour of some of the projects that never would have happened without Ms. Anderson’s encouragement (and my friends who help me brainstorm when I’m stuck):

(If you click on the pictures it will take you to the tutorial on Mod Podge Rocks)

A cocktail table made from a shadow box frame and a porch rail:Chalkboard Paint place card holders:Reversible Chalkboard Bunting (I was going through a chalkboard phase)chalkboard bunting project

Some more of my blocks themed for Halloween :Comic Book Coasters made from hardware store wall plates:

Luminaries made with more hardware store odds and ends:

And there are tons more.  It’s been great!

Anyway, the new project is up.

As you know from my previous post I (sort of) recently found out about Anaglypta Paper and have been looking for ways to use it.  I’ve put it under glass on some tables but this time around I thought I’d try using it on some of my letters.

I thought these could make for cool centerpieces or wedding….things?  I’m not sure but they seem potentially very weddingy (it’s a word!) to meIf you like the look head on over to MPR for the full tutorial.

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