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Custom Wedding Coasters, Family…..and PIE!!!!

Just back from a quick trip back home to Ohio to celebrate my nephew’s wedding.  It was a beautiful event.  The “new” couple are both truly terrific people and  they planned and executed a top-notch wedding weekend for everyone.

It was also that oh-so-rare and wondeful occasion when I and all my sisters are all in the same place at the same time.  Stories were shared, books recommended and, of course, crafty type ideas were proposed (more on that later).

The newlyweds had asked me to make a few things for the nuptials and I was pleased to say yes.

The wedding was in Granville Ohio (bride’s hometown) but they live in Columbus and wanted to give everyone wedding favors that both reflected the place and included the date so we came up with these coasters.Custom Wedding Coaster by Cheltenham Road

For the Columbus coaster I just (sorta) matched the font and color of the other text and added in the wedding date.

For the Granville coaster we took an old pic of the downtown and added a custom postage stamp.custom wedding coaster by cheltenham road

To create the custom stamp I just followed the steps outlined in a great tutorial at Fuzzimo (which is also a terrific resource for a lot of Photoshop tutorials and free downloads).

They also had me create one (two actually) of my custom signs for their folks celebrating everyone’s weddings!Custom Wedding Sign by Cheltenham Road

I was, as I am every time I visit, re-impressed with Columbus.  So much going on! Art, culture, architecture and……Dough Mama Restaurant Columbus OhioSaying I have a weakness for pie is an understatement and if you follow me on instagram you know that last time I was there I discovered:Just Pies Columbus Ohio

I know some of you may be thinking “ok David, that’s fine but what do they sell?  What is the product that this business promotes?”

I’m happy to report the name is true!  Pies!  Just Pies!  Really good pies!!!!!

Awesome!

But this time around I was introduced to: Dough Mama restaurant Columbus Ohio

How could you not love a place named Dough Mama!?

Savory pies!  Sweet pies!  I was in pie heaven!

If you are ever in Columbus I encourage a full out pie-tour (my newly married nephew will lead you – he’s like the PIEd Piper)

But now I’m back in LA…..home of…….smog, traffic, drought DONUTS!!!!! Seriously, there is a donut shop on every corner in this town (my diet may not work out as well as I’d hoped).

It’s a Sign! Take 2 – A More Detailed Tutorial

Image Transfer TutorialI feel that I owe you an apology.

I was so happy with that Santa Monica Beach Sign that I rushed a bit getting the post up and created, I think, a pretty un-useful “tutorial.

So please allow me to revisit it with a slightly more detailed approach.

This will also give me a chance to provide a more in-depth explanation of the Lenk tool and how (and why) I use it.

Warning: This is gonna be a pretty lengthy and detailed post/tutorial so if you never plan to do a transfer using a Lenk tool you might want to sit this one out.

Here is what I used for this project:

Lumber:

  • 1/2 Inch Plywood measuring 18×18 inches for the backer
  • Five (5) strips of MDF wood 18″ x 2.75″
  • 1/2 inch plywood 18″ x 4″ for the shelf

Paint:

  • White, flat-finish, latex paint
  • Blue, flat-finish, latex paint
  • White spray paint
  • wood stain
  • Spray-on Polycrylic

Tools and Sundries:

  • wax (just an old candle)
  • Lenk tool
  • 3 coat hooks
  • wood glue
  • wood screws
  • sandpaper/sander
  • jig-saw (for rounding the corners of the shelf)
  • hangers

Painting and Aging (the title of my yet-to-be-released, scandalous autobiography)How to Distress Wood

To age the scrap MDF here is what I did:

1) stained the edges with gel stain.

2) After the stain dried I rubbed a chunk of wax along the edges

3) painted the slat with flat, white latex paint  and let it dry.

4) went back in and sanded the edges.  The paint won’t stick to the wax so you end up with a nice, distressed, edge.

I repeated this process with the remaining strips painting them alternating blue and white.distressed wood techniqueFor the plywood shelf I used a jigsaw to round off the corners, sanded the whole thing and used the same wax/paint/sand process on the edges for an authentic, worn look.

I also painted the backer board blue and sanded it’s edges.

When everything was dry I glued all the strips into place (I didn’t attach the shelf till the very, very end).

Wall Lenk Tool Process:Lenk Craft ToolOK, as you know, I’m loving the Wall Lenk Tool.  But it does come with pros and cons

Pros:

  • I think it produces results very much on par with the various transfer mediums I’ve tried.
  • It’s quicker (you don’t have to let it dry overnight or anything).
  • It gives a very authentic “aged” appearance.
  • Because only the graphic is transferred you don’t have to cut out the image right along it’s edges nor do you end up with any lingering edges or visible outlines where the paper ended.
  • It’s pretty inexpensive (I got mine from Amazon) and, of course, if you do a lot of transferring, you’ll only have to buy it once.

Cons:

  • It takes some trial and error to get the hang of it.
  • The results are a bit unpredictable but really no more so than using any other method (and I’ve found that it’s easy, as I did on this sign, to go back in and re-transfer if needed).
  • It has no heat-control mechanism so I will inevitably set something on fire one of these days.

Tips:

I’ve found it’s very important, if you your using the Lenk with a painted surface,  to let the paint cure as much as possible.  If I can, I let it dry for 48 hours – even longer is better (although for this project I think I over-did it waiting 6 months).

Flat paint works better than satin or semi-gloss and if I want a shiny finished product then I just use a glossy sealer at the end.

I also like to give the painted surface a light sanding with a 220 grit sandpaper before I begin.

OK, the Actual Image Transfer Process

(I’m mixing and matching new and old photos here so don’t be thrown by the lettering changing colors)

For this sign I gathered my graphics (the woman is just an image isolated from an old matchbook) and printed them, in reverse using plain, legal size copy paper on my laser printer (I don’t know if ink jet prints will work) Reversed Graphics

I let the tool heat up for 8 minutes as the manufacturer instructs.

It actually gets a bit too hot initially and if pressed into the paper right then it will just burn it.Wall Lenk Tool TutorialSo, I  “burn off” some of the heat by pressing it to a wood block.  There is no set time or amount of heat or any way to check the temperature so I just do it until the wood quits smoking.

I then rub the lenk over the graphic.  Image Transfer TutorialAgain there is no “set” amount of time for this.  The more you rub the more image will transfer so it depends on how “aged” you want it to look. I went over this line of text for about 4 minutes and then paused to let the Lenk heat up again a bit (it loses heat as you go) and then rubbed for another 4 minutes.

I just go back and forth sort of slowly, keeping the tool in motion.  If you stay in one spot too long you risk either burning the paper or getting paint so heated up that it bubbles and melts (not good).

This is the real “learning-curve” part.  There is no way to tell how well the transfer has worked at this stage.  I’ve taken to peeling away just a little bit of the corner of the paper just to get a sense of how it’s going and to determine if I should go over it a few more times or not.

Once I’m satisfied I let the paper cool thoroughly and then go back in with a fairly damp cloth and rub away.Image Transfer using Wall Lenk ToolThe paper comes off fairly easily under light-to-moderate rubbing.

I find that I have to do this process a few times.  I’ll do it once, it will look awesome but then it dries and there is a light, white, film of left-over paper visible, so I just go back in with the damp cloth and give it another round.

I’ve also found that it’s pretty easy, if I decide the transfer wasn’t good enough, to go back in and do it again.  I wasn’t thrilled with my first go on this sign so I just reprinted and tried again.  Here is the “A” in Santa Monica image transfer technique(I’ve got to be honest, I’m a bit stunned that it’s possible to successfully line the images to re-do them but I’ve done it with graphics large and small and had no problem.)

Once I’m satisfied with the results I seal it with a spray on polycrylic

Finishing Steps:

After marking where the shelf was to go I drilled pilot holes and then glued the shelf in place and screwed it in from the back.Attach Shelf

I had spray painted the coat hangers and screwed them into place as well and added hangers to the back of the board.DIY Vintage Beach Sign

I hope this helps with any questions about the tool or how to use it.  But feel free to fire away if I’ve left out some step or been vague about some process.

Happy image-transferring!

It’s a Sign! It’s A DIY, Vintage, Beach Sign

Image tranfer vintage sign tutorial

UPDATE:  I’ve done a slighly more detailed tutorial on how I created this sign.  You can find it here

 

I learned something new!  Or, rather, I tried a different way to do something and it worked better!

OK, the backstory.

I’m not particularly good at planning.  I tend to get excited about an idea, launch into it with a  sorta half-formed concept in my head and then hope inspiration strikes.

It usually does……eventually……..

So, for instance, I wanted to find a use for the MDF scraps that result from coaster making and I wanted to see if I could make them look authentically aged and distressed.

So I stained their edges, did my wax-and-paint trick and nailed them to a piece of scrap plywood.distressed wood techniqueCool! It looked exactly like what I had in mind.

And?

And…..that was it.

It seemed beachy.  I knew I wanted text or an image or something but couldn’t figure out what that would be.

So it sat there all stripey and distressed for, oh, about 6 months.

And then, just the other day, while in the midst of doing something else entirely I suddenly knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I grabbed a graphic I like, wrote out some text and got to work with my Lenk tool (go here for a full Lenk tutorial – but then come back cause there’s an update).DIY vintage sign tutorialMy usual method for using the Lenk is to rub back and forth slowly,Lenk Tool for Image Tranfer on Wood Projects then gently peel back the paper to check my progress and then, if needed, rub a little more.Image transfer onto woodIt works well, and, although I liked the distress, I just wasn’t getting the depth of color I wanted and I was spending a LOOOONG time on each element.

But sometimes the paper doesn’t peel away and you have to rub it off with a damp cloth,image transfer using Lenk tooland I found that if, instead of lifting the paper up to check, I just let it sit there till it cooled and then, using the damp cloth method rubbed it away – I got much richer colors along with the distress.

So here is how the sign looked on the first round:DIY Vintage Sign Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadAnd here it is after I went back in and used the “leave the paper there and then rub it off” technique:Vintage Sign Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadBingo!

There is still plenty of distress but the colors are much more vibrant.

I did find I had to go back in a couple of times with the damp cloth and gently rub away a film of white, leftover paper.

When I was happy with the look I sealed it with some spray on polycrylic.

After that I added a shelf (just a piece of plywood glued on and screwed in from the back) and some hangers and had myself a fun little vintage beach sign coat hangerDIY Vintage Sign by Cheltenham RoadI’m excited about this improved technique.  It’s pretty fast, the colors are rich and the distress is exactly what I likemake a vintage sign tutorial by Cheltenham Road and the sky is the limit as far as what design to use.

Trays.  Coat Hangers.  Signs.  Pretty much anything!DIY Vintage Beach SignOK, now I have to get back to what I was actually doing before I suddenly knew what I wanted to do.

Happy Mothers Day Donuts!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mom types out there!

And particularly to my mom!momMom is doing great and, I was informed, will be spending her morning with my nephew Jordan teaching him how to make her famous donuts! (smart kind knows what traditions to make sure carry on)mom and jordan donut making

(note her mixer: I believe that’s the same one she got as a wedding gift!)

My mom’s donuts were one of my favorite things she made when I was a kid.  When I moved out on my own I requested the recipe and even found a “vintage” donut maker just like hers.donut maker

I’ve actually used the recipe card for her donuts in projects.Vintage Kitchen Tools Shadow Box

Vintage Kitchen Rolling Pin BookendsSo, in honor of my mom I decided to make the ultimate sacrifice and make myself a batch of donuts.

I know!  I am a very good son.

So, while, sadly, I can’t be near my mom on this day there is a giant upside.

Unlike my nephew, I don’t have to pretend that sharing donuts with my dad sounds like a good idea!

I Win!mom's best donuts

Happy Mother’s day Mom (and all the other moms!)

Post-Jackalope and a Mini Tray Makeover Tutorial

The Jackalope show was awesome!   Beautiful weather, great crowds and lots of sales – you couldn’t ask for better.  And thank you all for your good wishes and positive thoughts – they totally paid off.

Jenni requested a closer look at the ashtrays (seriously people?!) terra-cotta coasters I had in the booth.  I snapped a quick  pic Sunday morning and I was glad I did because by Sunday evening they were gone.Ceramic Coasters by Cheltenham RoadI’m really digging these.  They open up a whole new world of possibilities.  For this round I supplemented the soda pop ones I shared previously some of my much loved vintage dairy labels and, going for the man-cave crowd, vintage oil can graphics (question: can man caves have coasters?  Seems kind of antithetical).

In my crazy lead-up-to-Jackalope week I also had a major thrift store score.  Rummaging around I found, in their manufacturer’s package, these nesting traysDIY Wood Tray Makeover by Cheltenham RoadThe cost?  $4.50!

I had been toying around with a tray idea for a few weeks and this seemed perfect.  I had planned to do a full-on tutorial but, um, I sold it before I could get the beauty shot.  So, herewith is a mini version.

I first, sanded, primed and painted one of the smaller trays.

I cut some thin wood (pressboard really) down into slats that were wide enough to fill the bottom of the tray but just leave little space between each strip.  I also printed out an enlarged version of one of my favorite vintage Los Angeles postcards and cut it into strips.wooden tray tutorial by Cheltenham RoadI attached the graphics to the pressboard using mod podge and painted the bottom of the tray black.thrift store tray makeoverAfter gluing the strips in place and sealing them with another coat of Mod Podge I poured in a good layer of Envirotex Lite.Thirft store tray makeover by Cheltenham RoadI used a couple of the other trays in the group as well – using my other vintage postcard collage but I have a couple left and I think I want to make more like this.

Also, during my crazy week, I finished up my latest Mod Podge Rocks project.  It’s a very easy to make coat rack that uses plaques from Michaels, Mod Podge Transfer Medium  and some of my favorite vintage luggage tag graphics.Easy Coat Rack Tutorial by Cheltenham Road(side note: if you want to see a super cool, totally charming coat rack visit my friend Julie’s blog Follow Your Heart Woodworking and check out her latest work.  I think they are awesome!)

In slightly more unsettling news….whatever critter that had died in the Blair Witch room is, um, gone.  On Monday when I steeled myself to open the garage door there was nothing, no smell, nuthin’.  I feel like I’m in a Hitchcock film.  “I SWEAR the body was here a second ago!” * I’ve now pulled everything out and haven’t found a thing.  And while I guess that’s good it’s also a bit creepy.

So, Jackalope went well!  Dead Animal Disappeared!  Garage is now clean and organized (almost)!  What is there to complain about?  Well, I’m afraid I have to reset the board:0 DAYS

stupid, low, door frame……

 

*does this scenario make me Cary Grant?! I’m totally down with that then!

 

Jackalope Show Pasadena, New Products, New Booth Set Up and an Unpleasant Search

Yesterday was the first day of the big Jackalope Fair in downtown Pasadena.

Now, you may think that since I did a big build up for the show in Santa Monica but sold almost nothing that I would just cruise into the prep for this one.

And if you think that, then…..

You must be new here!

Welcome to Cheltenham Road – thanks for dropping by.

Nope, I went into full Captain Crazy Pants mode and made a bunch of new stuff!

I had a brainstorm for a new set of Wine Charms – The Femme Fatales of pulp fiction booksPulp Fiction Wine Charm Set

And, of course, there is one for the Designated DriverWine Charm Set by Cheltenham Road

I also thought it would be good to work up some Local Love coasters, for the Pasadena CrowdPasadena CA Coaster set by Cheltenham Road

And a Pasadena themed Subway Art SignSubway Art Sign Pasadena CA by Cheltenham Road

I continued to work on those terra cotta coasters and found some new designs using oil can graphics and, of course, dairy labels (more on those in a second).

And then I geeked out on booth set up – you can skip this part if it isn’t your thing.

I have to confess I’m a bit embarrassed that I keep doing this.  I mean, of course, you have to make adjustments as you go but at this point I really should have maybe two standard booth layouts that I just trot out.  But I keep getting new ideas – or refining old ideas and I just can’t keep from tinkering.

This time I wanted to play with an arrangement of tables that would give maximum surface space but take up minimum room.

I worked on a dummy version in the drivewayTiered Table Arrangement for Cheltenham Road Craft Booth

The different table heights let me fit a bit more product on there but keep the footprint small.

I was pretty happy with the real thing yesterday (sorry – this is A: not quite totally done and B: a phone photo – but you get the idea).Cheltenham Road Craft Booth

And it seemed to work well (I even remembered my banner! which I had made about two years ago but have forgotten to bring pretty much every time).

I mean, it’s a bit busy -one day my booth is going to trigger a seizure in some poor, unsuspecting customer- but it’s closer to what I want.

Also, due to technical difficulties I had to re-order how I usually set up the coaster and HOME sign boards but I like it a lot.Craft booth set up for Cheltenham Road It’s usually the two coaster boards next to each other and then the HOME Board.  The coasters always catch people’s eyes but this set up makes them see the HOME signs too and pulls them into the booth a bit more.

As you can see in this pic I had the ceramic coasters up front and A LOT of people exclaimed “ash trays!” which had never crossed my mind.  Talk about retro!  Of course, I could probably totally corner that market since I don’t think anyone makes ashtrays anymore…….

So, I’m happy to report that the first day of Jackalope was great.  Weather was perfect, crowds were good and I’m looking forward to going back this morning for Day 2!

After that I will take a long – long nap on Monday and then pull everything out of the garage because….something has died in there. Unfortunately that’s not a euphemism for my disorganization.  Some small critter has actually expired and I can’t find it.  It’s either in a wall or underneath and behind some pile of boxes.  Ugh!

I’ll share pictures when I find it!!!!! (just kidding)

Ah the fun of living out in the country in the heart of a city.

Triumphing Over Childhood Trauma! And a craft show. And a Birthday!

Well, it had to happen.  I’m just glad it waited until now.

I’ve been very lucky over the years.  I have had great success at craft shows.

Pouring rain?  Made a profit!  Only a few customers?  Made a profit!  Windstorm blows half my stuff onto the ground?  Made a profit!

Last weekend in Santa Monica?

Not so much.

I don’t know what happened.  Not a big turnout but those who came just, were not there to buy stuff.  Or even take business cards.  It happened to all the vendors and it was weird.

BUT!

The event was held outside the very cool Museum of Flying at the Santa Monica airport.15776516228_7067342873_oAnd since I……..had some time on my hands….. I checked it out and ended up facing and defeating a demon from my childhood!

“Tell us more, David” I can hear you murmur.

OK,

My dad is an aviation nut and always has been.  He builds model planes.  He learned to be a pilot and flew Cessna’s.  His second career was running the Airline Safety Reporting System.

Planes!

So it was appropriate that, when I was six we took a family vacation to Dayton, Ohio and the Air Force Museum there. (yes, we lived large when I was a kid!).

I was good with this plan. I was a little boy.  I like planes, cars trucks and stuff.

Well, I was good with it until I saw this:

DAYTON, Ohio -- Curtiss P-40E Warhawk in the Air Power Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

This is  a Curtis-40 War Hawk.

And Mr. Aren’t-Planes-Awesome decided he wanted a picture of his only son standing in front of it.

Well, I may have been six but I was not an idiot and I WAS NOT GOING TO TURN MY BACK ON THAT THING!!!

Was he crazy?  Was he trying to kill me?!  Whatever.  It was not happening!

But it did happen.

So, there is a famous-in-my-family photo of me screaming crying in front of this plane.

But I can now put that shame behind me.

Because at the Santa Monica Museum they had thisAirplane

Yeah.  I took that picture.   I stared down that monster and triumphed!  I even got close enough to read the sign! (it is a North American Navion)

Modern kids?….no common sense.trusting foolsAnd, feeling flush with pride, I wandered over and checked out the reproduction of the Wright Brothers PlaneWright Brothers Plane and I was reminded of this great quote:Wilber Wright Quote

Nailed it!!!!!!! (OK, my dad may have had some dubious photo opportunity ideas but, otherwise, great guy!)

And also, today is Dad’s 94th Birthday!!dad(this picture was taken a few years ago)

Still going strong!  Still all about planes (although he was in the Navy – go figure) and woodworking, and book club, and taking continuing education classes and generally making me feel fairly lazy.

So, that was Santa Monica and now –

Onward.

This next weekend is the big Jackalope Show in Pasadena.3f6dde38-e134-4175-903d-746c5a8520f8I am very excited about the show (I love Pasadena) and I had, um,  a lot of time last weekend to ruminate on new ideas that I’ll be sharing them this week.

Back soon!

 

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