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New Coasters! New Store! and a tiny moral dilemma…..

It’s been a fun, creative, sorta hectic week!

My friend Bernie Shine (he of the matchbook cover tray and endless collection of amazing vintage goods) put me in touch with the folks who run SWEET! the  huge, Willie Wonka-ish candy store smack the heart of Hollywood.

If you’re ever in LA you have to visit this place – it’s amazing!  Handmade chocolate, all kinds of candy, themed rooms, clothing, vintage goods, it’s clever and fun and pretty wonderful.

(they also have given me big chocolate bars every time I’ve visited so they are definitively my new favorite people!)

They wanted to carry all my vintage Los Angeles themed coasters and they were about to host the folks from Turner Classic Movies during the TCM Festival this weekend.  So when I delivered my coasters on Tuesday I also had worked up some TCM fan friendly sets.

I put one together for the great comedians

And a set for some featuring some classic titles:

Embarrassing Side Note: This was actually supposed to be a set called “The Silents.”  Geralyn even came up with a great tag line for the package – “The coasters ARE big!  It’s the coffee table that got small!”  

But I goofed.  

I assumed the Garbo movie was a silent and I didn’t even know Clara Bow had made talkies but, after making up the coasters I did my research (I think I see where I might have gone wrong now….) and discovered that both were talkies.   Oops!

And who doesn’t love the classic monsters!

There were also sets for San Francisco, some general California coasters and this set for the great California National Parks.



And that’s where I hit my tiny moral dilemma.

I try to use only authentic vintage graphics.  But occasionally I get stuck -I can find three but not four images for a coaster set or there are copyright issues or what I can find isn’t quite right etc.  So sometimes I need to fake it.  It’s rare but it happened twice this week.

So, you know that set of National Park coasters above?

I made up the Yosemite one.

I started with a public domain pic and then via the magic of Photoshop (and a lot of trial and error) made my own WPA style poster

And I have to do something similar with a commission I received to make a “vintage” Hollywood Bowl matchbook cover coaster.

I took black and white picture and  manipulated it to look like, I think, a pretty authentic old cover.

They are really fun to work on but I’m not a big fan of “fake vintage” and I worry it’s a slippery slope.  Am I tricking people?  Does anyone really care other than me?   If I use the  phrase “vintage inspired” or “inspired by” does that absolve me?  What do you think?




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.

17 responses »

  1. Squirrel brother, I can understand your concern. Is there some way for you to put a note on the back that you created the visual? Then, you get credit and you aren’t bilking anyone. Love what you did by the way. Being a sugar junkie, I am glad I do not live near such an awesome sounding candy store, chocolate carmels, anyone?
    Also, because you are so careful and a stickler for detail, you are chastising yourself for your silent/talky mistakes…you mean you don’t have an encyclopedia in your head? That’s what the internet is for and I bet you won’t make that mistake again.
    Rest easy, S.B.

    • Yes, they’ve given me chocolate every time I’ve come to the store! Dangerous (but awesome!). I could definitely add some text to the package if there are multiple “fakes” – good idea. Thanks!

  2. Darci Salinas

    I don’t think anyone will care at all if you need to occasionally make one up….and “Vintage inspired” should cover your (I think) unnecessary guilty conscience. These should go over great with the AMC folks! Good luck!

  3. As long as there’s no copyright violation, you are entitled to any and artistic license on your creations without explanation. You’re an artist. It’s done in business everyday. You’re a businessman. You are not selling us snake oil as a cure-all. Stop fretting over the small things. It’s not dishonest. It’s art.

    What I saw looked fabulous.


  4. Chris (formerly MN but now in AZ for the winter)

    I think that your “vintage inspired” coasters are excellent. Most people wouldn’t care anyway. But if it bothers you then put something on the packaging when it contains non-vintage images. You should definitely take credit for your work!

    • You know what’s funny? Or sad…maybe sad is more apropos. It NEVER occurred to me that “taking credit” was an option! The design part is so much fun that it doesn’t feel like work that deserves credit taking. Thanks Chris!

  5. ALL movies can be silent movies. See that little “volume” button? At our house we like to watch old movies with the sound off and do our own version of Mystery Science Theater. Always hilarious.

  6. You do the absolute coolest designs! Vintage inspired is fine, but so is vintage, you are not claiming people are getting something they could take to the Antiques Roadshow. You DO need to take credit, someone my steal your actual designs and print them on something. (Actually I’m surprised that hasn’t happened already)

  7. I think using vintage inspired is totally fine, but I’m glad you try so hard to be honest about it. They are all great coaster sets and I’m sure they’ll be a big hit.

  8. I don’t think any explanation is needed for making vintage-looking photos…I think people are buying things that look vintage just for fun anyway. Plus, when you resize or move around some text, you don’t make a note of it on your packaging, do you? To me, it’s the same thing.

    Congrats for getting into such a fine store, too! Very cool.

  9. My husband is reading and reporting on a recently written book about the movie “High Noon”. Consider doing classic Westerns? And I agree with all of the above comments including taking credit for your own design.
    Now, brother, one candy only per visit to the store.

  10. I agree with the above! The fact that the images are on coasters, etc implies that they are not exact originals…but a credit line for the ones you designed yourself is a good idea! No worries!


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