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Christmas in January: Classy and Organized

I wasn’t totally sure what to blog about this week.

I’m a bit in-between on projects and spending time attempting to clean out and clean up my horribly messy work-spaces.

Not very interesting blog material.

But  my parents have rescued me!

A package arrived just yesterday from my folks.  Christmas! a bit late but perfectly timed.

For those of you who are new here my parents are the engine of all my creativity.  Mom and Dad are in their 90s and going strong. Mom does amazing embroidery and other needlework and spends a fair amount of time (year round) hand-making charming Christmas ornaments for the Church BazaarMom's Santa Ornament Of late, she is focusing a bit more on her passion for miniatures (she and my dad are building a doll house).

My father is and Engineer and a life-long craftsman who still works in his wood shop – fixing furniture and planning projects like his lazy susans.ES Cheaney Lazy Susan DesignsHis creations are always beautiful and very precise.  His workshop is always clean and well organized (I may be adopted)

So – back to presents.

Mom decided to give us all pieces of her mother’s fairly extensive antique silver collection.

I am now the owner of a silver toast holder.Antique Hester Bateman Silver Toast HolderBut it’s no ordinary silver toast holder.  It was made by Hester Bateman one of the only, if not the only, female silversmiths. She lived and produced her work in the 1700s taking over the business after her husband died. Her work is beautiful and you can find samples of it in the Smithsonian.

It’s kind of amazing and I’m proud to have it.

I’m not quite sure where to display it (near the bread?) but it does make me feel like I should dress better and perhaps be a bit more imperious with the staff.

Up next was my father’s handmade gift. Kracker Holder

You may be thinking, as I was when I opened it, “lovely!  What exactly is it?”

Fortunately, it came with an official User Manual – that made everything very, very clear.KrackerRack User Manual(OK, maybe I’m not adopted)

So now I’m all set.

I have something to eat toast from while watching Downton Abbey and my snacks will always be perfectly organized (as long as I don’t go wild and purchase off-brand crackers or indulge in the notoriously asymmetric and dreaded tortilla chip.)

Back to cleaning and organizing.


About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

24 responses »

  1. chris aka monkey

    wow lucky you the gifts are gorgeous, and you are not adopted ha ha xx

  2. What great gifts! Hilarious and sweet at the same time. I’d venture to say you are definitely NOT adopted. Both talent and humor it seems, are in your DNA! Thanks for sharing.

  3. The Hester Bateman sterling silver toast rack is truly lovely….but in dire need of a user manual, especially one that has such intriguing off- design user instructions as the KrackerRack. How should English muffins be handled? Squished in, or perhaps dropped directly into Boston Harbor with the tea? I feel certain that unlike Hester, the KrackerRack designer would have clearly addressed these concerns.

  4. Ah yes, the ubiquitous but still-not-yet-fully-understood science of damp cloth technology….Also, I love the suggestion of how to make guests feel virtuous while eating cracker fragments. Genius!

  5. Like how they don’t waste the crumbs! Talented, funny AND frugal. Quite a combination, and the gifts are great, too 🙂

  6. Do NOT attach silver toast holder to piece of drawer front to hang jewelery from!

  7. I always enjoy your posts, but my organizing self really loves today’s post. And I noticed how perfectly spaced the items are on each of the Lazy Susans (your engineering dad, perhaps?)

  8. Does your father believe in the traditional Mormon way of life? (Would he like a second wife?) I’m not a Mormon but would consider converting.

  9. how precious to receive such treasures! I’m sure you could repurpose the toast holder as a bill holder on your desk. unless all your statements are now estatements and that ruins that idea. I’m sure you have some type of ephemera to use. clip art and such.

    I’m laughing at the description of the Krakerrack and its precise number for each type of cracker. One wonders if the downsizing of American consumables has altered the exact count over the years. 😉


  10. Oh God- I have real issues. This is totally me- anally organized and all over the silver service pieces. But-I say be a rebel, go against the system and get the tortilla chips!

  11. With that toast holder in the house, you MUST start having martinis with dinner. Nightly.

  12. Wow! You’ve really got quite a legacy to uphold! You are certainly carrying on a great creative tradition. Your father’s woodworking is just gorgeous and you can see the care and attention to detail with your mom’s creations. We’ve spent quite a bit of time in the UK and are heading back to London for a week in March. No self-respecting B&B or private hotel would ever serve up breakfast without a toast holder. It just isn’t done. So be sure and make a lovely pot of Earl Grey along with some toast served up in that lovely holder. And as for the Krackerrack, I now wonder how I have managed to make it through life Krackerrack-less! I love it! No civilized snacker should be without one!

  13. Love your post! : ) i do have a qüestions about the woodworking trays. We have several beautiful pieces that our great grandfather made with designs similar to your trays but the finish is wearing off terribly. The clear coating is chipped and very worn in places. If I sanded them down to the wood and sealed them again would they keep the different color depths in their design? Is that do to different wood types used? I know a lot of love and hard work went into them and I would love to display them again restored to their original glory. Would you poly or wax to seal? I love old appreciate any suggestions you might have. Thanks.

    • Hi Danna. To be totally honest I’m not any kind of an expert at true antique restoration and wouldn’t want to offer any advice for fear it might lead to messing up a family heirloom. If I were in your position I would go to a good antique store and get a reference from them about who they use to restore pieces.
      Just as an example of what could go wrong, my dad’s lazy susans, though they look multicolored are, in fact, all the same wood just carefully stained different colors. So, if one was to sand them it wouldn’t necessarily restore their beauty it would just strip away the color. Or sometimes what looks like, say, solid walnut is really just a thin veneer that if sanded to strongly would just disappear. A real antique restorer could also tell you with assurance what the seal is made out of (there are so many possibilities) and what modern sealant would work well with it etc etc.
      Sorry to be so verbose but I hope that helps.

  14. What wonderfully talented parents you have. And, obviously, your father is a bit of a card, too, in a funny engineer sort of manner. Those are two particularly wonderful Christmas gifts!

  15. I am tremendously in love with every little thing about this post.

  16. These gifts are incredible!!!

  17. Love that you shared your wonderful and unique Christmas gifts with us. I can clearly see that the KrackerRack would not be nearly as useful without the wonderfully thorough user manual. Truly a unique and functional gift. Would love to have one myself.

    The British like their toast at room temperature, thus the toast rack. Americans like ours served warm. Either way is great, just takes a little getting used to, eating room temperature or even cool temperature toast. Your toast rack is a beautiful piece. A treat to own just to enjoy looking at it.


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