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Folk Art Painted Finishes and Mossy Skulls

Disclaimer: The products used in this post were provided to me free of charge by Plaid Enterprises.  I have not been compensated in any other way and all opinions are my own.

As I’ve whined about noted previously, the challenge for me of late is to find time to step away from being a little factory, to get to just play and make things that aren’t “potential products.”

One of the great things about being a Plaid Ambassador is that, when I find that time, I am surrounded by potential projects that they have generously provided.

They have given me a great selection of their Folk Art Painted Finishes line of paints including:   Barnwood (my previous project), concrete and….moss.folk-art-painted-finishes

Now, I must admit that when I opened the box  and saw “moss” my first thought was “and why would I want to do that?”  I have enough trouble with actual moss cropping up – fake moss seemed like an unnecessary addition.

But then Halloween season happened and I discovered that I was brimming with sort of odd, creepy Halloween ideas and that one of those ideas required fake moss!!! Huzzah!

So, you may recall my ugly, 1970s porch light had conked out recentlyporch-light

and rather than throw it away I thought I might be able to do something with it.  Blog-reader (and genuinely very cool lady) Denise came up with a fun suggestion that sparked an idea.  I didn’t use the broccoli but I did keep it green!

The Painted Finishes come in two colors:  Light Moss and Dark Moss and applying them is quick and very, very easy (I say this as a person who is deeply unskilled at faux painting techniques)folk-art-painted-finishes-technique-moss

After removing the glass and cleaning the porch light I went over it, as directed, with, well…. lets just call them splotches…..of the Dark Green Finish using the Painted Finishes Shortie Brushes.8b62e23f0ba81b7b9dfc8274c86f5e02

folk-art-painted-finishes-halloween-decoration-projectThen, while the paint was still wet I went back in with the light green color.folk-art-painted-finish-moss-halloween-decor-idea

The paint has some texture to it and when you combine them it really does have depth and realistic, mossy, look.

I did the same technique on the decorative crown and on a little round – I-don’t-know-what-it-is-nor-why-I-have-it decorative piece of metal that I wanted to use for the base and as a holder for a tealight.create-faux-moss-look-with-folk-art-painted-finishes

With the addition of a small, plastic skull from the .99 Store I had a suitably unnerving centerpiece/diorama

The moss technique looks good in broad daylight (I think I did a better job on the sides than I did on the crown thingy but i can always go back in and touch up)faux-moss-technique-with-folk-art-painted-finishes-tutorial

But when darkness comes and the candles get lit ……halloween-decoration-easy-skull-centerpiece

(although I may have freaked out my neighbors since I photographed this on the driveway and it looked  like I had invested in some random, disturbing shrine.)

I don’t think the plastic skull was actually made to be a illuminated  and doing so revealed a very odd/bad/splotchy paint job that really like!


But, in conclusion, I have to say I’m a fan of the faux moss! halloween-decor-by-cheltenham-road It took, literally, 5 minutes to apply, dried quickly and looked great. It would be easy to apply to a terra cotta pot that you wanted to give a bit of age to.  Or maybe a faux brick wall.  I’m now kind of flooded with ideas for things that NEED to be mossy.

Happy Halloween Season everyone!



Day of the Dead Luminaries

After Abbot Kinney (which went really well despite record heat) I took a  trip to Ohio to see my family.

Upon my return I  was overjoyed  to discover two things:

1) My home had not been turned into a pop-up Halloween store which seems to be the fate of every other empty or temporarily unused building in America (do we really need that many?  Is it like that where you are?  It’s insane in LA); and

2) Amy over at Mod Podge Rocks had posted my latest tutorial!day-of-the-dead-luminary-tutorial-cheltenham-road-for-mod-podge-rocksIt would appear that I’m a bit obsessed with making glowing, creepy luminaries out of things I find at the Dollar Store.  I think this is the third variation on that theme I’ve done.Halloween Decoration Tutorial

As obsessions go it’s not necessarily a bad one (beats that time I was hooked on Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups…. I shouldn’t have reminded myself of that….I’ll be right back) addiction


So, I’d decided I wanted to do these using some napkins and since it seems like Day of the Dead graphics are everywhere and very “in” I thought I’d use Day of the Dead napkins.

However, uttering the words “I’m going to go get some Day of the Dead napkins” caused my super-power to kick in.

What is my super power you may ask?

My super power is the ability to cause any item that I have seen all over the place to completely evaporate from store shelves the minute I decide to buy it.

I went everywhere.  No napkins.  I found stores that were selling (I’m not kidding) coordinated Day of the Dead tablecloths, cups and plates but NOT NAPKINS.

It’s insane.

Happily I did finally find some but from now on I’m using my powers only for good.

My next project will be made entirely out of broccoli.  Do you hear me powers-that-be?!  I MUST HAVE BROCCOLI!!!! LOTS OF IT!!!!!!

You’re welcome children of the world (and former President Bush).

Anyway, after finding the elusive napkins the project came together very easily.

easy-mod-podge-halloween-luminaries-tutorialAnd I think it’s adaptable in a lot of different ways and worth a perusal if you’re in the market for quick, simple, inexpensive Halloween decor.easy-diy-halloween-decor

And, now that I’m back and have just a bit of breathing room between now and multiple upcoming  holiday shows it’s time to get to work!

CCP (Constant Coaster Production) will have to continuecoaster productions along with all the other HOME signsLots of Letter Blanks….. and Subway signs… and magnets…..and wine charms……. but I hope to get to some of the other fun, one-off projects I have been itching to do.

For instance, the front porch light quit working and had to be replaced.  I always thought is was pretty dang uglyporch-light but now it seems like I should be able to use it for something interesting maybe?

UPDATE: reader Denise came up with a inspiring suggestion for what to do with the old porch light.    I will fill it with various kinds of broccoli .  I’M GOING TO HOT GLUE BROCCOLI TO THE OUTSIDE!!!!!  I will need lots and lots of broccoli for this project. 

Thanks Denise!

I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime Happy October!

Abbot Kinney Festival and a Rapacious Grab for Coaster Dominance

Tomorrow is the big, annual Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice.Abbot Kinney Festival 2016

I’ve been looking forward to this – its’ one of my favorite shows each year.

Unfortunately “looking forward” doesn’t always translate into “getting ready for” as much as it should so the last few weeks I’ve been in Mad-Maker Mode because the crowds  look like this:image

You know, just a couple people milling around……no biggie

I’ve put together some new beachy  themed itemsVenice Beach Collage Sign by Cheltenham Road

I hope people get that “VB” means Venice Beach and don’t think I’m advertising some new strain of social disease.  I’ll keep you posted.

And my plethora of beach and beach-centric images have translated themselves to coaster setsSanta Monica Drink Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

and candle holders.Venice California Candle Holders by Cheltenham Road

So, while I’ve been working on getting ready I’ve also had an influx of order because something kind of exciting happened.

A very kind (and remarkably patient) woman named Caryn is now repping me and my “line”

(OK, I have to confess that every time she says “your line” I kind of laugh.  Target has  a “line” of products.”  Calvin Klein has a new “fall line” hitting stores.  I have “stuff that I made in the garage.”  But I can understand why Caryn probably doesn’t choose to present it that way)

She’s been doing an amazing job and I’m so happy to report that several new stores are carrying my coasters.

First up is the Big Sugar Bake Shop

big-sugar-bakeshop--studio-cityTotally charming place with amazingly good cupcakes, muffins and cakes.  It’s nearby and I’ve been a customer for several years.  Now if I can just figure out how to barter coasters for cupcakes I’ll be all set.

Then there is Trinkets and Treasures – a great gift shop in Studio CityTrinkets and Treasures Studio City

The Brentwood General Store caters to a classy crowd – and I’m honored to be there.Brentwood General Store

And there are several more shops coming soon!

Add those to my long time local supporters like Bar Keeper, Mindful Nest and CoOp 28 and a few new ones in Ohio, Arizona, Seattle and New York and I think we can say:city silhouette sunset

We can also say that it’s been a coaster making frenzy around here.

I must confess, I’m very happy but I do gaze wistfully at all the craft supplies and jotted down “project” ideas that I. Just. Can’t. Seem. To. Get To.

Soon, soon.

In the meanwhile, on to the beach!

If you are local please swing on by the booth at Abbott Kinney!

Folk Art Barnwood Painted Finish Technique, Stenciling and Mean Elementary School Teachers

easy-two-step-technique-to-create-an-aged-barnwood-effectDisclaimer: Plaid has provided me with the tools and materials for this project.  All opinions, however, are my own.

The folks at Folk Art have made a line of water based finishes that mimic the look of Concrete, Moss, Rust and Barnwood.

I’ve been itching to try out the Barnwood look.   I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to try it out on.

As usual I dithered a while and finally decided to use it on a simple crate.

But, as my plan evolved I realized I needed to face and overcome a longstanding fear:reasonable-vs-unreasonable-fears-list

I’m not quite sure why I find the idea of stenciling intimidating but I’ve kind of avoided using stencils all this time.

However, Plaid has sent me hundreds of stencils.  It appears that they too think I should get over myself.

To create the crate I used:diy-antique-crate-supplies

  • (2) 3.5x 1/2 craft wood strips cut to 11.5″ long
  • (2) 3.5×1/2″ craft wood strips cut to 7″ long
  • (1) piece of fiberboard for the bottom cut to 6 3/4″ x 12 1/4″
  • screws
  • brad nails (not pictured)
  • Hammer

To create the Barnwood  Paint Effect and Stencil I used


  • Folk Art Barnwood Tint
  • Folk Art Barnwood Wax
  • Folk Art Milk Paint Brush (Folk Art Shortie Brushes are recommended for this technique but I didn’t have one on hand)
  • Craft Stick
  • Soft cloth
  • Folk Art Acrylic Craft Paint (Imperial Red)
  • Folk Art “Farmers Market” stencil
  • Plaid Stencil Brush

I will confess I was surprised to find out that “Barnwood” did not mean it was red.  But despite that initial hiccup I discovered that using the finish to creating the Barnwood look was a very easy two step process.

  • I sanded the unfinished wood and applied a coat of the Barnwood Tint
  • Once that had dried (four hours) I went over the surface with a coat of Barnwood Wax.
  • I wiped away any extra wax  and then went back in with a craft stick and scrapped away any excess wax allowing what remained to settle into the grooves of the wood (Note: one of my boards turned out to be a little warped so rather than the stiff craft stick I used a small piece of cardstock that had a bit more flexibility and that worked great).
  • Once I was satisfied with the look I set it aside to dry for 24 hours.faux-barnwood-painting-technique

I was impressed with the result.  There are lots of colors and variations and each of my four pieces ended up looking a bit different which really adds to the look of it.


Then came the stencil!

My practice runs did’t bode well.  There were lots of leaks and blobs and fuzzy, unsatisfactory results.

However,  once I began actually following the instructions (which is a totally cool thing to do – you should try it!) and realized that when they say “you want your brush almost dry” they REALLY mean it I achieved, instantaneous Rock Star stencils.

I was killin’ it!!!! stencil-project

(I was not “killin’ it” however when I failed to center the the words on the wood.  Lets just chalk that up to over-excitement shall we and move on?).

As a matter of fact I was so pleased with how easy it was I stenciled all the other sides as well which wasn’t part of my initial plan.

Assembling the box was just a matter of screwing the sides together and using a few brad nails to attache the

I actually took these final pictures in front of my rather aged backyard fence which I think looks pretty much exactly the same as the “Barnwood” paint!aged-barnwood-technique-tutorial

As an added bonus I had to buy all these vegetables for this picture.  So I will be eating vegetables!

(also, ice cream was on sale so I will be eating ice cream!)

All in all I’m pretty pleased with the Painted Finishes technique and I’m looking forward to trying out (and reporting back) on the other finishes.

And I am now all about stenciling!

The entire line of Folk Art Painted finishes are available and Michaels and JoAnn’s as well as via the Plaid web site (I do not receive any remuneration if you click that link)

*Mrs Gombert:

Tall.  Red, beehive hairdo.  Stern expression.  Limited sense of humor.  Name that sounds like a Middle Earth creature who, at first seems nice but soon reveals an evil plan: The Gombert.

I think she scared everyone but I earned a special place in her dark heart when, one day, after being given what I thought was an unreasonable amount of homework I quite innocently asked why “she got paid if we did all the work?”

OK, as an adult I recognize the flaw in my thinking (teachers please don’t email me) but, as a kid, it made sense to me.  However, this statement caused Mrs Gombert to become somewhat unhinged when it came to me (I once got detention for looking out the window!) and I lived in fear of her for the rest of the year.

She’d be on your list too.  Maybe even above spiders.

Vintage Halloween Candle Holder Image Transfer Tutorial


Vintage Halloween Candle Holder Tutorial with Image Transfer by Cheltenham RoadAs I mentioned in my previous post my Halloween Candle Holder project went waaaay south the first time (graphic transfer was pretty spotty, I put one of the images on upside down etc etc) BUT attempt #2 seems better so I thought I’d do a little step-by-step to detail my learning curve.

I started out with my basic, scrap wood candle holder.  To make it:

  • I cut three strips of plywood to 12×2″ size
  • Glued them together using wood glue and clamps
  • Sanded it smooth with my handheld circular sander
  • Drilled 3 holes in the top using a 2 1/8 Forstner bit
  • Plywood Candle Holder by Cheltenham RoadAnd, finally, painted it with some orange craft paint allowing the wood grain to show through a bit
  • NOTE:  It really is orange!  The color keeps changing in the photos but I swear it’s orange!Classic Halloween Wooden Candle Holder by Cheltenham Road

After the paint dried I sanded it again, by hand, using a 220 grit sandpaper.

  • This 2nd sanding is key – and I think skipping it was big part of my previous fail.  A super-smooth surface lends itself to a good transfer.

After that it was on to image transfer.DIY Halloween Centerpiece Candle Holder by Cheltenham Road

For this step I had my minwax Polycrylic (Satin), my images, printed in reverse on plain old legal paper, a brush, some paper towels and (not pictured, sorry!) a brayer/roller.

My “images” are just a combination of text and some clip art – (mostly from The Graphics Fairy)Vintage Halloween Design Print Sheet by Cheltenham Road

I don’t know if anyone would want to do this exact project but if you do here is the reversed print sheet in a high resolution download: Vintage Halloween Graphic Reverse Print Sheet by Cheltenham Road

After applying a good layer of  polycrylic – (good coverage ensures a good transfer)Vintage Halloween Image Transfer Tutorial

I placed my image, face-down, on top and, using the brayer/roller thingy pressed it into place, smoothing out wrinkles and squeezing out excess polycrilicHalloween Candle HOlder Tutorial

(and this is where you’ll want to have the paper towels on hand to clean up any drips)

This is another key step.  You want to press down hard and make sure there is really good contact between the paper and the wood.  Roll  in all directions to make sure you get good contact everywhere.

Drying Time:  I live in hot, dry Southern California so I just leave my stuff in the sun for a few hours.  If you’r in a cooler or damper climate you might want to let it dry overnight.

Then, using a pretty wet cloth just gently rub away the paper to reveal the image.Image Transfer Halloween Candle Tutorial

Now here is the part about image transfer that doesn’t seem to get mentioned a lot.  Yes, the graphic transfers but there is also always a super thin layer of paper left behind.  When you first rub it with the damp cloth everything will look great and then, when it dries you’ll get this:Halloween Candle Block

You can do another round or two of rubbing with the damp cloth to remove more paper but you’ll never totally get rid of all of it.

But, not to worry, once you seal it the white paper fades again.

So, on you last pass with the damp clothImage Transfer Halloween Candle Holder

use a dry cloth to get rid of any excess moister and immediately seal it with poly (or Mod Podge or any other sealer) and you’ll be good to go!

Vintage Halloween Graphic Candle Holder by Cheltenham RoadSo, the first time I tried this I ended up with a bit of a mess of poorly transferred graphics.Classic Halloween Candle Holder by Cheltenham Road

My fixes solved that problem but, this time around, they transferred so well that I had to go back in and “distress” some of them with sandpaper to get the  look I wantedImage Transfer Tutorial for Halloween Candle Holder by Cheltenham Road

I do promise to get off the plywood candle holder kick soon but, even if you have no intention of doing it I hope these projects at least spark some ideas.

And if you DO make one -please send pics!


Halloween Preview (and a fail)

Hmmmm, well this post is going to be a bit of grab-bag because what I planned to blog about, my latest Halloween decoration idea ended up straddling the wrong side of that line between:

“how charming, rustic and vintage!”


“something went wrong didn’t it?”

(and also, in all honesty, it involved image transfer and the other possible phrase that might be uttered upon seeing it would be: “isn’t’ that upside down?”)


So, it’s back to the drawing board but I have hope!!!

In the meantime, my latest Mod Podge Rocks project is up and ready for review.Simple DIY Candle Holder Tutorial

I’ve continued to play around with my scrap-wood candle holders (although I’m going to run out of scrap wood in a second which will change the playing field).

This one was fun to put together and kind of embarrassingly easy.

As I worked on it it seemed to me that the idea could be adapted to a lot of different themes and styles.Simple Scrap Wood Candle Holder

You could go with Christmas paper, it could match wedding colors and be used on a reception table.  It could be made larger, or longer or taller – really the scrap wood sky is the limit!

If you’re intrigued please head on over to Mod Podge Rocks for all the details on the project.

I do have some Halloween stuff to share as I managed to get a few, new Halloween themed items on Etsy.

At the first of my two recent Halloween shows folks really liked the Horror Novel Wine Charms Classic Horror Novel Halloween Drink Tag set by Cheltenham Road on Etsybut a few of them wanted those images as coasters.

So, after a bit of struggle (I wanted to add a Sleepy Hollow graphic and it took forever to design) I put together a set that I’m happy with.Horror Novel Book Cover Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

I really had fun working on these designs as I tried to boild down each novel to one simple, evocative graphicHorror Novel Coaster Set Jekyll and Hyde by Cheltenham Road

And finally  you may remember my Halloween Subway Sign from years back.  I’ve done a minor update incorporating some of the ideas suggested by customersClassic Halloween Subway Art Wood Sign by Cheltenham Road

And, also, while playing around came up with a variation (I may have been drinking at the time) on the layout that folks seemed to like.Vintage Style Subway Art Halloween Wood Sign by Cheltenham Road

OK, it’s back to work on my failed project and a couple of Plaid Ambassador crafts that I’ve been itching to get to.  Happy (early) Halloween to all!

How To Repair Damaged Furniture

Fix Damaged Furniture with BondoThis is the promised follow-up post about poor, patient Geralyn’s little sewing cabinet thingy.

As you may recall – it was in pretty bad shapeSewing Cabinet Makeover Tutorial

Iffy finish and a big chunk taken out of the wood on one corner.
Damaged furniture fix-up tutorial

As you also may recall, several years ago I did a post about repairing damaged furniture with Bondo.Fix damaged furniture with Bondo

It is actually my most popular post!  Which is awesome because nothing says “I’m totally killing it with this blogging thing” like having your most popular post be five years old.

Anyway, I knew I would use Bondo again but I doubted Bondo alone would be a sturdy enough repair to allow the little door to hinge open as it was supposed to do.Bondo Can

So, using an old furniture-fixer trick, I just glued a tooth-pick in the the hollow cavity where the old screw went.Fixing damaged corners on furniture

The toothpick will fill the void and give the new screw something to dig into.  And the wood glue provides a bond that is actually stronger than the the real wood.

After the glue had dried thoroughly, I mixed up the Bondo and applied a pretty generous amount to the damaged corner.  Bondo for fixing furniture

The great thing about Bondo is that, once it dries you can sand and shape it to match pretty much any contour (which I did but nelected to photograph) and then paint over it for a pretty seamless fix.Furniture Fix up with Bondo

After that it was just a matter of drilling a pilot hole for the screw and I was done!fixing up damaged furniture

Folk Art Milk Paint Furniture Makeover by Cheltenham RoadAnd then I got busy (on the other side) with the image transfer and the edge sanding (you can see the details of that effort HERE)Image transfer for vintage sewing cabinet by cheltenham road

OK, to be honest, while I’m satisfied with how the repair looks and functions (and I think Geralyn will be too), I’m still a little anxious about the long-term durability of this fix.

The Bondo trick works great on corners or damaged legs but the fact that this little piece has to “hinge” open is a different kettle of fish.

So I’m going to urge Geralyn to make the part with the new graphic on it her main point of access – just to be on the safe side.

Up next time.  Some new Halloween projects!

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