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(S)Knob Appeal Handmade Knobs and Forgetting Things

As those of you who have patiently followed along for a while know – I keep trying to make knobs.Cheltenham Road

Custom Knobs Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadFinished Knobs Up CloseAnd I’ve succeeded. I just haven’t succeeded in a way that either:

  1.  made me totally happy
  2.  proved to be not a kind of  messy, pain in the neck.oops

But, through patience (OK, not patience exactly, I just got excited, bought a lot of knobs, got frustrated and then ignored the whole thing for a very long time until I finally found a more workable idea.  It’s a genius business strategy that will surely take me straight to the top!), trial and error, and a fair amount of wasted supplies I think I’ve made a product that I’m satisfied with.

There are round ones and square ones – up first – square.

I thought I’d do a little tribute to the mad skills of  my mom and sisters and make some using vintage measuring tape graphics.  Fun for a sewing room perhaps?measuring tape knobsI grabbed some of the vintage postcard graphics I use on my trays and that dresserVintage Postcard Handmade Knobs by Cheltenham Road

And finally, just for a bit of fun, some vintage romance comic book graphicsVintage Romance Comic Handmade Knobs by Cheltenham RoadI rolled them out at the Long Beach Patchwork Show last weekend.

People liked them!

People bought them!

I have to make more!

I’m very tired!

My full wine charm collection also debuted at Patchwork and sold out!….well, sort of debuted……and sorta sold out.Wine Charm Display

I got to the show and realized that I had totally, somehow, not packed the table everything was supposed to go on.  Bit of a stumbling block. Book Club Wine Charm Collection by Cheltenham RoadI was saved by the very kind people who put on Patchwork who gave me a loaner table. French ABC Wine Charm Set by Cheltenham RoadAfter overcoming that hiccup I discovered that, though I had a few Wine Charm Sets with me – I’d set the rest of them on the kitchen counter when I made a last minute dive for much needed coffee.Art Opening Wine Charm Set by Cheltenham RoadSo “sold out” is a little less impressive when one acknowledges that there were only six to begin with.

But, it was good to know that folks responded to them!

All of them will be available on Etsy shortly.

Now I just have to actually  bring them (and a table) with me to the next big show: Patchwork Santa Ana!


DIY Yardstick Tray with Printables

Tutorial and Free PrintablesSometimes I’m clever.

Sometimes I’m cheap (OK, a lot of the time).

Sometimes those two qualities come together and such was the case with Use What You’ve Got Project #….? (I can’t remember where I am in this series).

So, like many of us, I have, for several years, been digging all the cool stuff people are making using old, vintage yardsticks.

Also, perhaps like many of us, I have been unpleasantly surprised by the current cost of vintage yardsticks.

I mean, I get it, market demand and such but, no, dear antique-mall shop owner, I do not want to pay $10 for a HOME Depot branded yardstick. Or any yardstick really.

So what is cheapo me supposed to do?

Well, I do have a couple of rulers, scrap-wood, a scanner, rudimentary Photoshop skills, Envirotex and a deep desire to (yard) stick it to the man!

Welcome to my faux yardstick tray tutorial!

I started out by scanning two yardsticks and  a ruler I have on hand.   I used Photoshop to change the colors, add and subtract text etc until I had a good number of  “vintage” yardsticks.

So, with print outs of my rulers, a thrift store tray, some scrap MDF and Mod Podge I was off and running.DIY Yardstick Tray Tutorial Cheltenham RoadOf course -because this is the ONLY way the universe works – my tray is 14 inches long and I can only print 13.5 pieces of paper. But I was not to be deterred!

I cut the MDF into 1.5″ wide by 14″ long strips and and sliced and diced the ruler prints so they covered the entire length of each strip.

I left tiny, little gaps between each ruler and darkened that gap with a black sharpie – so it would look like two rulers butted up against each other rather than just one continuous print out.make your own vintage yardsticksAfter they dried I trimmed away the excess and fit them into the tray. It was a pretty snug fit (I actually measured correctly the first time! This is a rare event, similar to seeing a unicorn or discovering that your appliance broke down while still under warranty so let’s take a moment to celebrate) and I just used a little glue on the bottom of the tray for security.  Also the Envirotex is very strong and will hold them in place as well.

Envirotex starts out as a liquid and like any liquid it will find any tiny crack to pour through.  So using a squeeze bottle I squoze (?) a good line of Mod Podge around the edges of the trayYardstick Tray Tutorial by Cheltenham Roadand then sealed the rest.

I did two sealing coats of Mod Podge – if you miss a spot the Envirotex will discolor the paper.Mod Podge Home Decor Ruler Tray Tutorial Cheltenharm RoadAfter giving the Mod Podge overnight to fully dry all that was needed was to pour the Envirotex and let it cure.DIY Yarstick Tray tutorial

I love Envirotex and find it easy  to work with – but you do have to follow their directions very closely.

And there you go.  A “vintage” yardstick tray that doesn’t break the bank.

If you’d like to use my yardsticks you can click on the links below to save 300 dpi versions for yourself.

Free Printables – Colorful Yardsticks by Cheltenham Road

Yardstick Graphic Print Sheet by Cheltenham Road


Fall Projects, Great Inventors and the Beauty of Ohio

As those of you who are following me on Instagram know I spent the last couple of weeks in Ohio visiting family and enjoying PERFECT fall weather. Fall in OhioI was totally nostalgic for my Ohio roots….. until I volunteered to help rake leaves and then I was, almost immediately, nostalgic for never-fall Los Angeles (and my gardener).

I had a great time and, as always, after hanging around with my family, my creative mind felt totally recharged (possibly overcharged?) and I came back eager to get going on new stuff.

First up I, the king of “really? now? already?…. crap!” put together a super quick last-minute Halloween Decor project for fellow sufferers. It’s my latest tutorial for Mod Podge Rocks.Easy DIY Halloween Centerpiece with free Printables Tutorial

(you may feel they bear a certain resemblance to other, not-so-last-minute candle holders I might have done in the past but these are TOTALLY DIFFERENT!)

Quick and easy with some free printables included.

I’m also trying to get new coaster designs rolling along for the holidays (my goal is one new set a week. Stop laughing) and up first is my tribute to the great inventors.  Ready to go on Etsy.Great Inventors Coasters Set by Cheltenham Road

My brother-in-law, Rich actually suggested this a while ago. I thought it was a great idea and immediately…. waited several months to make it happen…….

All the inventors here – TeslaInventor Coaster Set Nicola Tesla Patent Art by Cheltenham Road Edison, Wright, Bell –Patent Art Coaster Set Great Inventors Edison by Cheltenham Road

And I capped off a busy week by visiting with my good, creative friend Nicki at the Topanga Canyon Vintage Market.

Nicki had some truly terrific, one-of-a-kind things she made.Nicki Huard Creations Rustic Country Christmas TreesI really love these and wanted to steal buy them all!(it took her, honestly, all year to collect enough funnels to make all her rustic Christmas trees)

I mean, they are kind of amazing, all are totally unique and would look so cool as a collection.

Her creativity (and willingness to work her butt off every day) astounds me.Nicki Huard Creations Rustic Decor(If you thought I was a Luddite then Nicki is our queen. She has pretty much zero online presence. If you are desperate – as you should be – to get your hands on some of her stuff drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch with her.)

While there I snapped up stuff for about a dozen different new project myself that I’m itching to get to.Flea Market Finds and big ideas

Finally, in advance, please allow me, The Great Pumpkin, to wish you all a very Happy Halloween!The Great Pumpkin!





I’m All About the Bling – Easy DIY Jewelry Holder Tutorial

So, apparently I – a non-jewelry wearer – am nonetheless a jewelry holder maker. Who knew?

You may recall I recently made a jewelry holder for my friend Karla and shared it as my Mod Podge Rocks project.DIY Jewlery HolderThis got the Muse (Geralyn) thinking and she came up with a variation of her own and another jewelry holder was born!

I may actually go into the jewelry holder business as this to was quick and easy to make.

I started withSupplies for DIY Jewelry Holder Cheltenham Road Tutorial

  • A piece of birch plywood – edges routed (you could just buy a plaque at Michaels if you’re not the routing type)
  • Mod Podge Transfer Medium
  • Hard Coat Mod Podge
  • 6 glass knobs
  • old candle
  • Sandpaper
  • Foam Brush
  • Quote – printed in reverse using a laser printer or copier (bottom line ink jet won’t work)
  • painters tape (somewhat optional depending on your confidence)
  • Pink latex paint (not shown)
  • White latex paint (not shown)


  • aforementioned Router (optional)
  • Electric Drill and bit
  • Forstner Bit (maybe…..see explanation below)
  • better math skills than mine

None of this will be particularly new information to long time readers (my apologies) so you might want to just say to yourself “I got this” and skip to then end (I didn’t hurt myself making it either so you won’t be missing any highlights or anything).


After routing the birch plywood I painted the edges pink and let it to create distressed paint effect

To create the chipped paint effect I used the old candle and rubbed wax along the edges just where I wanted to the pink to show through and applied the top coat of white paint (the white paint won’t stick to the candle wax).

After letting that thoroughly dry I just sanded along the edges to reveal the underlayer of pink and took a really bad picture of it.make a vintage style jewelry holder


Geralyn found this perfect quote from Mark Twain:jewelry holder quote mark twain

I used a font called Forelle (available from Dafont) to create the text, reversed it (key!) and printed it out on plain, legal sized paper, using my laser jet printer.

I applied a good coat of Mod Podge Transfer to the printed side of the paper and then laid it, face down, on the wood smoothing out any bumps or wrinkles – you want good solid contact between the paper and the wood – and left it to dry overnight.Jewelry Holder TutorialIn the morning I used a pretty damp cloth and, after soaking the paper, rubbed it away to reveal the quote.graphic transfer to wood

To drill the holes I laid down a couple of pieces of blue painters tape and marked where I wanted the knobs to go (this is where the patience to do math would serve you well. I kind of eyeballed it and goofed a bit and it came out perfectly!).Jewelry Holder - marking for knobs Cheltenham Road Tutorial

Before installing the knobs I sealed the whole thing with a couple of coats of Hard Coat Mod Podge – just for durability.


This will vary depending on what kind of knobs you’re using. In my case the glass knobs are held in place with nuts. However, I wanted the plaque to hang flush on the wall and with the nuts that wasn’t going to happen. I used a Forstner Bit to drill countersink holes on the back of the plaque. For most knobs you could just use flat head screws to keep them in place and therefore skip this step.Jewlery Holder Cheltenham Road Tutorial

And that was it!  2nd Jewelry holder achieved!Jewlery Holder Tutorial Cheltenham RoadLEGAL DISCLAIMER

This blog does not advocate storing your jewelry on your backyard fence. If your jewelry is lost or stolen due to hanging it on the backyard fence this blog is not responsible.

See, I keep making things that need to be hung on walls. Unfortunately, they don’t tend to be things for me and I’m not keen putting random screws on well-lit walls around my home.

The backyard fence however is totally down with random screwing (difficult to believe but that sentence sounded even weirder in my head) and creates a nice, rustic backdrop don’t you think?Make a Jewelry Holder Easy DIY Tutorial Cheltenham Road

My New Assistant. Or, Talking to Myself and Getting a Response.

I am not a Luddite.

My friend Karla would disagree. Of course, Karla owns about 4 phones, multiple ipads and possibly the cryogenically preserved head of Steve Jobs (the latter is just a theory but she won’t let any of us see her guest bedroom so it’s the only logical conclusion).

Anyway, I am not a Luddite but I am also not quick to adopt new technology nor adept at using new technology.

Part of this is because I feel like if I sold a product and then proceeded send out “updates” and “fixes” every other day people might correctly suspect that maybe it wasn’t quite ready for prime time. Also, because I often find myself frustrated trying learn the “new” way to jot down a note, make a list or just remember a password that I take the idea of these being time saving devices with large grain of salt (preferably sea salt and sprinkled over chocolate. But I digress).

But. BUT! I have bought a new tech toy and I’m loving it!

On Karla’s  recommendation (the upside of being friends with an almost-Borg: really good, personal reviews of products) I got the Amazon Echo.   Do you know about it? It’s a lot like Siri except that it is a free-standing unit that can sit on your desk.Echo Image from CNETUnlike Siri though, Echo is kind of always on and waiting to help. She does the basic things, – she can answer random questions, tell you the weather etc. She can play music, the radio, podcasts and audio books.  You can also set timers (useful for me) and reminder alarms.  And, best of all it’s all done via voice command.Wall Street Journal CartoonBut why she is particularly great for me (and I think other makers of things) is….

I’m always getting random ideas about stuff I need, things to add to a to-do list or just creative ideas. Unfortunately, I only seem to have these thoughts when my hands a covered in glue or I’m in the midst of doing something else and I don’t want to stop, clean myself up and write or type something.

But since Echo works on voice commands I can just shout out the idea and she adds it to my shopping or to do list.  Even better, those lists are automatically transferred to my phone so they are pretty much always with me. It honestly has made life soooo much more organized and efficient.Echo Business Insider Review imageOf course the voice command thing also means she’s listening all the time which would alarm my more paranoid side if I ever said anything other than “ow!” and “damn it!” while working. OK, I guess nosy folks at Amazon might hear me sing if I’m in a particularly peppy mood but that’s really their cross to bear.

And also, as a personal bonus, because my name is actually Dave I do enjoy occasionally asking her to “open the pod bay doors.”

She politely refuses of course.


Just to be clear I’m not being compensated in any way for this testimonial – just sharing a useful toy.  Also the pics above will link you to various reviews of the product.  If you want to investigate you can purchase an Echo via Amazon.


Juggling and a Couple of Favors

I suppose it’s a good sign.

When I worked at the job I hated I’d wake up in the morning and stay in bed until I absolutely had to get up or I’d be late.

Now, when I wake up at some weird hyper-early hour (it’s 3:43AM as I type this) I think “oh, I can get a jump on the day!”

That means I’m happy, right? Eager to get going! I mean, I fall asleep unexpectedly at noon on occasion but I’m happy!

It has been bustling here of late and I have had a bit of trouble keeping all the balls in the air (hence the blog silence) – does that happen to you?

If I get super busy with Etsy and store orders the blog gets back-burnered. I finally got rolling on Instagram and Pinterest fell off the table. New products designs get created but new tutorial ideas and supplies are stacked up in the corners.

….and I really need to go grocery shopping…….I think those fuzzy pom poms in the fridge used to be strawberries……

But lots got done and launched. Here’s the catch-up.  And the first favor.

If you are an Instagram kinda person will you please add me to your roster?  There is a new link over in the sidebar to my Instagram account (I think).  I’m slowly getting the hang of it and I hope to provide fun, interesting content as my skills grow.

I have a new(ish) Mod Podge Rocks project tutorial up for review.

My good friend Karla is a TCM addict who needed a spot for grab-and-go jewelry.Mod Podge Jewelry Holder tutorialIt’s very easy to make and totally adaptable – you can see the whole tutorial at Mod Podge Rocks if you are jewelry wearer in need of a place to stash the every day stuff.

I vended at the big Abbott Kinney Festival last Sunday and came up with a few new coaster designs, among them Vintage Cameras.Vintage Camera Coaster SetI think we’re all well aware of my weakness for vintage cameras and I saw some very cool camera themed wrapping paper at a local store and thought “I could do something like that!” Vintage Cameras Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadSo I  got busy making my own take on the idea.  It was a lot of fun and I hope fellow vintage camera enthusiasts will like them.

I also continued to tinker a bit with the wrapper (and THANK YOU! to all of you who gave feedback on the last wrapper redesign – I truly appreciated it).Vintage Camera Coaster SetBut there are two big Behind-the-Scenes things going on at the moment.

1) I was accepted to sell on Amazon Handmade which is yet another step in Amazon’s attempt global domination.   They appear to be creating a very cool marketplace and they are VERY intent about making sure handmade means HANDMADE. I had to send them pictures of my workspace and process with very detailed descriptions of everything I do.   TIP: Don’t try to run your table saw and take pictures of you running your table saw at the same time.  Don’t ask me how I know.  I just know.

2) I’m finally  (it’s long overdue) getting a full-fledged Cheltenham Road website up and running. The blog will live there along with (eventually) an online store as well as all the other bells and whistles of a grown up web site. I’m not very adept with web stuff (or phones, or really anything much beyond pen and paper) but I think it’s starting to come together.   I’ll do a big post about it when it’s really ready to go but you can get a little preview if you’d like by clicking here.  And, as my second favor request, if you have any thoughts on things you’d like to see on the new site let me know

So, I hope you’ll bear with me as I learn new juggling skills and, hopefully, in the near future, I’ll be able to keep all the balls in the air at once.

After a nap.


Done!…. Done?…. Sorta Done?…. Done-ish? How Do You Know?

Do you ever find that it’s hard to know when you’re actually done with a project?

Is it “done” because the deadline arrived (often the case with me)? Is it done because your totally satisfied (never the case with me)?

The minute I finish something my mind instantly starts coming up with ways that it should be changed or improved.

And I really, really, sincerely, want to change or improve it but there are always other shiny new projects to start (and, I guess, finish and then want to improve) and it’s hard to make the time for the do-over.

But sometimes it bugs me juuuust enough that I must do it! And such was the case with my LA Subway art.

You’ve seen these before.

I’d done the design initially for the knobs of the LA version of my NY Subway Coat Rack and I really the look.Vintage New York Subway Art Wall Shelf

So I’d tried them as candle blocksRetro Subway Art Candle Holders

And coastersSubway Art Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadThey sold acceptably well at the local stores

(I mean, I do realize this is the nichiest of niche products – people who actually LIVE in Los Angeles have no idea we have a subway system so the number of citizens who want commemorative home decor based on it is…

But the design needed something more done to it and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until it dawned on me (at 3AM – thanks creative brain- do you think you could, I don’t know, function during normal, waking hours occasionally!?)

Red!Subway Art Coaster Set

That particular subway is called the Red Line and, for me, it always conjures up images of the famed Red Car trolley lines that used to criss-cross LA.  So red seems perfect!Subway Art Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

And I think I’m done!Vintage Subway Art Style Coaster Set

Done Done


But now – it’s on to a loooong time coming re-think.

Coaster packaging.

I get a lot of compliments (or at least no complaints) on the wrappers I designed for my coasters:Book Club Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

Clean.  Simple.  But there are some, um, flaws….like, perhaps, the packaging doesn’t say with the product is!?!?  Or who made it?  Or how it was made?

So I’m toying around with this design.Vintage Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

I think I like it (for now.  I’m sure I’ll think of better options later – perhaps 2:30AM or maybe a late-blooming idea at 5?)

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!


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