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Category Archives: Family

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.

 

Clutter Cover Up Idea! My Sister is a Genius!

I made a quick trip to Ohio recently to see the family.  My sister Phebe – sober voice of reason/organizer extraordinaire has a new house and she had come up with what I thought was a genius solution to hiding the clutter of all those DVD cases.  I asked if she would mind doing a tutorial on it and she has agreed. Clutter Cover Up Tutorial Cheltenham Road

So, I’ll turn it over to my sister (with some editorial notes from me perhaps).

So our cashe of DVDs grew throughout the 90s and onward…movies as gifts & gags, or rare old friends to be enjoyed once a year…and, even though they are in alphabetical order (Ed Note: she’s serious.  Her spices are too), the shelves look, well…disordered! Phebe's Bookshelf Makeover - DVD Hiding Coverup

My kids say, “just download, Mom, throw out the actual discs–they are a thing of the past!” I know I am dating myself–but I experienced record albums & cassettes, movies that stayed in theaters for 6-8 MONTHS, only 3 channels on our TV, 8-tracks (for pity’s sake!), VHS tapes (in two different case sizes—thanks, Disney)…and finally the DVDs. I’m ready to stop now! Stand still! Keep the dang things and use them as is! (Ed Note: and get off my lawn!)

But they are a bit ugly. I want them near enough to the TV to easily feed a rainy day whim, but how to cover them up? I came up with these  DVD shelf covers.Materials for Bookcase Makeover

It’s pretty easy to see what I did. They are basically a 3-sided box made from foam display board. I cut strips the height of each shelf (they were all different heights!) I needed the width of the shelf plus 12 inches (6 inches per side to accommodate the depth of the DVDs).

I made a vertical slice (not all the way through—just enough to fold back to make a 90 degree corner on each end) about 6 inches in from each side, making sure that left me with a front panel that fit the width of the shelf exactly. I had to adjust and re-cut the first one because I forgot to accommodate for the depth of the foam board once the corner was made (hoorah for duct tape!), so play around with these measurements carefully to fit your particular shelves. In the center, I cut a hole for the grommet about 1.5 inches down from the top edge.

At this point, I got crazy with duct tape and used it to reinforce the corners…holding them at 90 degree angles as I smoothed the tape around both inside and outside each corner. This will help keep the foam board from tearing where I cut it partway through (I hope!).

Next I cut a fabric strip wide enough to cover all three sides with no seams and tall enough to fold over to the inside of the foam board with several inches to spare. I used spray glue (do this outside—very sticky!) and smoothed the fabric on and around the edge to the inside. I didn’t use the spray at the inside corners, I painted glue on those places and really worked the fabric deep into the corners. I even stitched down the folded miters of fabric at the ends on the inside to ensure that they would stay put and be smooth.DVD Collection Cover-Up Tutorial I cut open the hole for the grommetCreate a Hole for the Grommet and folded and glued the fabric to the inside. Last, I glued in one half of the grommet (the foam board is too thick to use both halves) to make an easy finger grip.Front View Grommet Installed

I did put small, flat bookends to hold the DVDs upright so that the sides of my covers slide right in next to the end DVD on each shelf. I have pushed the covers snug to leave a shelf to throw my keys on…a simple pull on the finger hole gets me access to the discs! My “tidy” gene is satisfied! Hey, did my brother get one of those? (Ed Note:  Yes! He did but lacks the willpower and skills to actually make things tidy…..please visit)

The Big Sister Party

Every year my sisters Paula and Phebe and my mom throw a party that you really want to be invited to.

I am not invited.

To be fair, it’s a party for their ANG Chapter (American Needlepoint Guild) and since A) I’ve never picked up a needle and thread and B) I live in California and they live in Ohio I’ll let it slide.

I happened to be visiting home just before the party this year (still not invited) so I helped with the prep.

Here’s the deal. They truly plan this party for a year or more in advance. All guests get a full meal and a stitching project kit.

First a container for the project kit must be found and my sisters scour the dollar bins until they land on the perfect container – and they need a lot of them. One year the container was a plastic butter box. Phebe was questing in Toledo! Paula was questing in Ohio! They cleaned out several Targets but always, juuust ahead of them was their nemesis: The Butter Box Bitch. Never seen to this day the BBB was apparently also on a quest and somehow managed to be one step ahead of them – in both cities simultaneously- decimating the butter box supplies in every store.

Next, a theme is chosen for color and style. One year everything was black and white – napkins, table clothes everything goes. You get the picture.

This year’s combo was Burlap and Lace and the container was a soap box. Napkins and plates that supported the theme were acquired, projects were made, menus were planned and invitations went out. NO ONE turns down the invitation (no one that’s invited that is, which some of us are not). People who never come to the meetings come to this meeting.

So the project (all the thread, pattern, instructions and other supplies) went in the cream cheese box (you can see the finished project sitting on top of the boxes).The project and the boxPaula, Phebe and mom made 30+ unique burlap lace and button flowers so everyone could “pick” their own.burlap and lace flowersburlap lace and button flowersEach flower was attached to a hand-stitched burlap bag and the box with the project went in the bag so everyone got their own, unique container.Kits ready to go

Even the chandelier gets with the themelamp shades

The table was laid.  TheTableAnd stitching, eating and chatting commenced!Stitching and Chatting

the spreadBut check out this dessert spread.dessert table

Individual brownies, personal cheesecakes and….and! ……and little, individual ice cream floats! floatsThey found all the glasses, dropped a scoop of ice cream in each one and then popped them in the freezer overnight. When party time came they set them out in a tray of ice, along with a range of sodas so everyone could make their own float!  I will be stealing that idea for my next party (I might even invite my sisters)

Everything was, of course, a hit. My dad (not invited) dropped my mom off and my brother-in-law vacated the premises.

Projects were stitched!  Desserts were consumed and everyone had a great time!

And the sisters have already begun the planning and the quest for next year’s shindig.

Happy Anniversary to my Folks!

Happy Anniversary Sign by Cheltenham RoadToday is my parents 70th Wedding Anniversary.

70!!!!!

Isn’t that amazing!?

My sister’s and I worked up the sign to commemorate the occasion.

My folks, as you know if you’ve read along for a while, are still going strong. They take classes at the local college, do the book club, run committees – bottom line they are just the bee’s knees!

My Dad, determined to keep the world spinning (and condiments handy) has tossed off a new lazy susan (it’s the star shaped one)ES Cheaney Lazy Susan Designs

And, you know, just cause he can, made this beeee-u-t-i-ful cherry wood cabinetES Cheaney Display Cabinet

And his latest is this lectern made from salvaged wood.Dads reclaimed wood lectern

He was commissioned by the Historical Society to come up with a use for salvaged wood from a building they had to demolish.

It has lights! (adjustable of course – that panel flips up for easy maintenance)Lights Camera Talk

The angle of the bed can be adjusted to suit the speaker.

It has a drawer!drawer

And what is that thing in the drawer?

It’s a freakin’ cupholder!!!!!!! (which, of course, can go on either side depending on the speakers hand-orientation)Cup Holder

Even the back is pretty!ES Cheaney Reclaimed Wood  Lectern Design

Show off.

My mom has, of course a million projects ongoing – amazing embroidery, needlepoint etc

But I love these that she makes for the Church Christmas Bazaar

Felt Number and Letter Books.Moms ABC and Numbers Felt books

Soft so as to be easy to play withFelt ABC and Number Books

The number and letters come out so you can learn as you play!Felt Counting Books

As you can no doubt tell I am so proud of them both and completely awed by them both.

Congratulations Mom and Dad!!!!!

And, um, with all my heart THANK YOU!

Make a Mod Podge transfer centerpiece for a family gathering

Centerpiece Tutorial Family ReunionIn a momentary step away from mad prep for Unique LA, I have my latest Mod Podge Rocks Tutorial up for your viewing pleasure.

I’m on a Mod Podge Transfer Medium kick…..although I doubt I’m using it in the way the Mod Podge folks intended.

I had  a large chunk of 4×6 lumber that I inherited somewhere along the line and I thought it would be cool to make it into a centerpiece for a family gathering.DIY Wedding Centerpiece

It was very, very easy and, if ever there is a big Cheaney Family reunion at my house I am totally prepared!

Of course, the minute I finished it I thought of a lot of other variations on the idea (using tapers rather than tea lights, making it with flower pots or smaller blocks etc etc) so you may be seeing more of these as time goes byEaster Family Centerpiece Idea Cheltenham Road

What do you think?  Maybe for weddings?  anniversaries? Easter Family Centerpiece Idea Cheltenham Road

OK back to prep.  Posts to follow!  Thanks for hanging in there with me!

 

Things As Lovely As My Sisters

While I’ve been busy making things to hold flowers my sisters have been doing their part trolling the web looking for the coolest, smartest, cleverest ideas. And they have come up with some great ones!

This first one almost makes me mad.  It’s so clever and so, well, obvious, that the fact that it had never, ever crossed my mind is embarrassing.

Heidi from Happiness is Homemade simply took an old, discarded drawer, added some shelves and created the perfect hanging case.Recycled+Drawer+Paint+Storage+Shelf

Genius!  Recycley!

Now,  I am not a parent but I have experienced both the glory and the horror of Legos.  Amazing things are built!  Amazing numbers of annoying little pieces are scattered all over the house! Well, over at Fussy Monkey Business she took a beat up old end table (the kind I see all the time but can never figure out what do with)Lego Table Before and created this perfect Lego storage and display device.Repurposed Lego Table

Genius!  Recycly!

Betty doesn’t have a blog but she did a guest-post  on My Repurposed Life showing how she took a collection of chairs and turned them into a charming corner bench.  This would be great finished-bench-003_thumb1indoors or out I think

As I mentioned she doesn’t have a blog but Betty does have a facebook page you can see here: https://www.facebook.com/Redosrepurpose

 And finally, I had no idea there was such a thing as liquid iron (I mean a kind that isn’t scalding hot) but Tara Dennis did.  She made this cool, faux metal sign out of pegboard.  The mind reels at the possibilities contained within this idea.punched_metal_wall_art_MI_600

Thanks Sisters!  And one of my sisters has a new house so I’m hoping we can get a lot of before and afters from her genius mind as she goes along.

And thanks to all of you who said such nice things about my random blogging nature.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciated it. (although we should note this is my second post of the week!  And I went to the gym too!  It’s a whole new me……for about 15 more minutes and then I’m going to have a brownie and nap.)

Honey I Shrunk the Dresser

My mom, among her other amazing hobbies and skills is waaay into miniatures.

She has a large, very cool, and elaborate dollhouse complete with electrical wiring, tiny wallpaper, real wood floors etc.

Unfortunately, a few years ago the doll family experienced nature’s wrath when a pipe leaked and flooded it (an actual pipe not a dollhouse pipe…the dollhouse isn’t plumbed although I’m sure that’s on the to-do list).  Since then she and my dad have been putting it all back together.

When I was at home recently my sister Phebe spotted a miniature dresser and had the terrific idea that I could do one of my furniture make-overs on it and give it to my mom for Christmas.

Genius, right?!

So I bought it and immediately…..didn’t do it.

But now I’ve done it!  Merry Christmas mom!

Here is how it started out.Miniature Dresser BeforeI decided to do a mini-version of my postcard dresser.  So here is the grown up versionVintage Postcard Dresser Makeover And here is the shrunken take:Miniature DresserDresser with QuarterI think she’ll like it!

As soon as I mail it!

And for those of you who are worried – she doesn’t read the blog unless my dad shows it to her (mom is not a computer gal) so AS LONG AS DAD DOESN’T SHOW THIS POST TO HER I’m fine.

Speaking of Christmas gifts…….

My sister Paula is a sweet, kind, patient and very funny person.  She is not particularly snarky however.

Each year she gives calendars with a carefully thought out theme – tailored to the gift receiver.

Previously, I’ve gotten funny ones, furniture repair related ones, acting/theatre related ones.

This year she gave me this:Worst Case Scenario

It took me a minute to get it but then I did. …..

She’s being snarky isn’t she? This is a snarky gift, correct?

OK….

Sad.  My older sister is becoming snarky in her dotage.

Happy Holidays!todays creativecraft o maniac

Diamond in the Stuff

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