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The New Year

Hi and Happy New Year everyone!

I hope the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 has treated you well.

My apologies again for the looooong pause in blogging.  This Fall was not quite what I had expected.

I’m very sorry to report that, at the very end of October my dad passed away.

Now, when speaking of a 95 year old one can never, with a straight face, say that this was a “total surprise” but it did catch me a bit off guard.  When both of your parents, like energizer bunnies, just keep going and going one can get a bit complacent I suppose.

In any case, we, as a family, had the best possible version of this scenario that anyone can hope for.

We all got to be with him for many days.  He was, although weak, very, very present – making his own decisions (and jokes) the entire time.  We laughed a lot.  He got to say very nice things to us and we, in turn got to truly express how much we loved and appreciated him.

But somehow, despite all the positives, it stopped me cold in my blog-tracks.  Dad really enjoyed the blog – and especially reading all of your comments – and I somehow couldn’t quite figure out what to say…..but I think I have now.

As you all know my dad was an excellent craftsman.  All the pictures I’m sharing here today are of his work.

Handmade Lazy Susan’s by Edgar Cheaney

When my folks moved to their retirement community he immediately established a woodworking shop on the premises.

Dad’s workshop. Yes it was always this clean.

He did projects for himself, took on repair work for other residents and built things for the community.  So all of what you are seeing is work done by a man in his 80s and 90s.

Display case by Edgar Cheaney

And that seems to me to be the ongoing lesson my dad was quietly teaching all of us.

Lectern made from reclaimed wood by Edgar Cheaney

Dad was the definition of a life-long learner-the kid who took the radio apart to see how it worked, built model airplanes and, later in life took apart his computer and put it back together again.

Model Airplane Display by Edger Cheaney

He (and my mom) enrolled in Life-Long-Learner classes on everything from The History of Film to Biblical Studies.  He was a voracious reader and the only male member of the local book club.  When he took on the role of Community Accountant for the retirement community he taught himself, in his 80s, how to use Quickbooks.

Cherry Wood Display Cabinet by Edgar Cheaney

Conversations with him were always fascinating and the subjects wide-ranging.  He listened just as well as he talked, was open to new ideas and even when his views differed greatly he treated everyone with respect.

Shadow Boxes made to go outside the rooms of the Assisted Living patients in the hospital wing

As is often the case in these situations, you learn a lot from the stories other people tell.

At his memorial service the minister related how she’d visited him in hospice and, in the course of their conversation she had asked him how he felt about this coming transition.

My dad paused, thinking for a moment, and then simply said:


I think that one answer sums up him and the many valuable lessons he taught all of us over the years.  Be curious.  Keep trying.  Have an active mind.  Always be engaged.

I’m going to try my best to live up to his example.

Edgar S Cheaney


The Best One Year Anniversary Gift Idea

I’ve talked a lot about my family’s creativity.  Dad, mom, sisters – all do terrific work.

Happily, the gene doesn’t skip generations.

You may recall, a few years ago, my niece, Maggie did a guest blog post here detailing her makeover of her office.  It was wonderful!

Well, it was wonderful until she got more comments on her post than any post I had ever done and then Maggie was, of course,  DEAD TO ME.

So, while that was unfortunate and we all miss Maggie I’m happy to report that my sisters were thoughtful enough to produce several other offspring and up to bat today is the wild-card.  The only nephew.  Jordan!

Jordan is sort of the quiet one who comes up with unexpectedly great suggestions that immediately make me think “that’s brilliant!  I will totally pretend it was my idea!!!”

However, this time there is photographic proof.  And a wife. So…….

Welcome Jordan!

Jordan got married last year to the truly wonderful Kate and they have spent the year living, at least according to Instagram, the life I want to live – great meals, travel, theatre, movies, sports and extremely on-point (finger)nail art (Kate not Jordan on that last one but if he wanted to I’m sure he’d be able to pull it off).

They hit the one year mark recently and since that is traditionally the Paper anniversary Jordan had a pretty terrific idea.

He collected all the paper memorabilia from their first year together – tickets, playbills etc

He picked up a frame from Michaels.  And a matte that had a fairly small opening and a lot of surface space.

Using the paper that came with the frame as a template he laid out collage design and used a sharp craft knife to cut out the details around the matte opening.

After adhering all the pieces using double sided mounting squares (again from Michaels)

He let the the cardboard backing and the glass sort of smoosh them together into a smooth layer.

And voila!  A pretty awesome one-year Paper Anniversary gift!

Cotton is Year 2 traditionally and I’m keen to see what he comes up with (the bar is pretty high here Jordan – you might want to purchase the sheep now just to get a jump start.  Oh wait, that’s wool…..ok, I’m out of ideas – you’re on your own dude).


Sally’s Visit and Paper Jewelry

My sister Sally is visiting me this week.

My oldest sister and I have a lot in common and once she stopped using the phrase “unnecessary addition” and “ruined everything” to describe my birth we’ve gotten along great!*

(*I’m joking of course, everyone always has been and always will be overjoyed to have me around.  Please remember that if we ever meet.  If you can’t quite put your finger on the emotion you’re experiencing it is overjoyedness.  Trust me.)

Sally dabbled in acting too and has always been an artist working in all sorts of media.  She has, for a long time, had a great passion for paper.  She makes her own paper, does paper sculptures, books etc – it’s all quite beautiful.

After she arrived for her visit and we had chatted a bit she brought out this small bagpaulas-bag

(which, keeping it in the family, was made for her by our sister Paula)

and out of it pulled these suppliessally-kit

Intrigued (and a bit concerned that I wasn’t keeping her sufficiently entertained) I asked her what it was for and she told me about her current passion for making paper jewelry and that this is her travelling workshop.

I’d never heard of paper jewelry and I was fascinated to watch her work.

After cutting out some simple ovals of various sizespieces-parts

she carefully wrapped/molded them into her desired shape and glued them together producing these super cool earrings.ear-rings

Then, she shared a picture of some of her other, finished work:paper-ear-rings-by-sarah-alger

Aren’t they beautiful?!  All made of paper.

And then Sally then revealed her true purpose.

In the paper jewelry game durability is kinda key.

She’d been using a fairly expensive product to coat her work but wanted to experiment with Mod Podge Stiffy to see if it would provide the same results.   And since she knew I was the Mod Podge Ambassador in the family she thought I might have a stash.mod-podge-stiffy

As luck would have it, the good folks at Plaid had sent me a bottle of Stiffy.   I haven’t experimented with it since, A) I don’t really do much with fabric and, B) I’m waaaaay too juvenile to use it or reference it without bursting into extremely immature giggles and/or feel like I’m writing 50 Shades of Grey – Craft Edition.

Anyway, Sally wanted to try it out which was perfect!

She grabbed the Stiffy…


OK.  Let’s try that again.

She dabbed the Stiffy….


She found the Stiffy….

….I can’t do this…..

OK, sorry, I need to grow up.  But that’s clearly not going to happen anytime soon so………….I’m just going to call it Voldemort.

Take two!

Sally brushed the Voldemort on and between the layers of paper and let them dry. stiffy I was impressed and so was she! It worked beautifully.  Mod Podge Voldemort both provided adhesion between the layers but also gave the earrings just the right amount of sturdiness so that they will hold up to wear and tear.  These just need a final sealing coat on the back and the addition of the findings and she’s good to go.

She has a bunch of other stuff with her so I’m hoping she shows me more of what she’s working on during the visit.

But I’m not going to make her work on her earrings the whole time she’s here.  No, the garage needs cleaning and I need some coaster backs cut too! (she’s overjoyed.  See?!)


Disclaimer: The good folks at Plaid have provided me (though they probably regret it at this point) with Mod Podge Voldemort as part of my Plaid Ambassador position.  All opinions and juvenile asides are totally on me and I have not received any other compensation for this post.  Links are provided just for reference and convenience.

Father’s Day Photo Frame

Happy Father’s Day to everyone!!!

The other day I posted my Father’s Day idea for Mod Podge Rocks.

It was a fun, insanely easy and I know my dad would dig it but  it’s not what he’s getting because

  • A) I’m not going to try to figure out how ship a 3 foot long sign,  and
  • B) I had a totally different idea in my back pocket.

A bit of background first.

My dad’s pride and joy for most of my life has been his classic 66 Mustang (I mean I’m sure my mom, sister’s and I rank in there somewhere but let’s be serious it was a maroon 66 mustang with a wooden steering wheel and a great stereo system).  Other cars came and went but the Mustang endured.

When my folks downsized dad realized the best choice was to let his beloved car go.

He’s never talked about it but I’m sure it wasn’t a fun decision.

Anyway,  a few months ago while I was visiting my sister’s and I did what we often do: poked around in local antique malls.

We move in a clump around these places pointing out stuff  and I think we all saw this at once.Vintage 66 Mustang Dash Panel

It’s the dashboard from an old Mustang.

While I just had a little jolt of “how cool,” Phebe and Paula immediately started riffing on ideas about what it could be turned into (they are REALLY good at that game).

In all honestly I can’t remember which of them landed on “picture frame”  but we all agreed it was a great idea.  And then they volunteered me to figure out how to do it.

Paula gathered some pics of all of them when they were a bit younger and I got to work.

After cleaning it thoroughly I wanted to create a backer for the pictures to attach to so I flipped it over and traced out the shape.

It proved to be a bit difficult since it’s an odd shape with a lot of little bump ups and such.  It’s almost as if the original designers never once thought about the fact that one day some nut-job would want to turn their dash panel into a picture frame.  Selfish.

Anyway, the final result was a bit crude but it will do.Fathers Day Photo Frame Gift by Cheltenham RoadI then marked  out where the photos would goTrash to treasure Mustang Frame and attached them to the backer using a glue stick.Fathers Day Gift by Cheltenham Road

Then came the tough choice.

Paula had provided me with one pic each of the sisters but now I had to choose my own.

So many options……

I  could go for cute me-at-my-sister-s wedding pic – rocking my ring bearer ensemble.weddingI could choose from the  upsettingly large selection of shots from the permanent “awkward” phase which followed.

Perhaps Squinty Mr. Big Tooth me would appeal?squinty mcbucktooth

(don’t worry as soon as I saw the results of this disastrous 2nd grade photo day I totally fired my stylist)

Moving forward in time I could go for the “no I don’t get beat up a lot at school why do you ask?” shot of me in all my Star Trek finest.gets beat up

(Yes, those are white denim  Star Trek jeans.  No, you can’t borrow them)

Alternately 70s Fashion Victim, Farrah haired me wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to memorialize myself70s victim

Or I could keep more in theme with the sister pics and go for the I’m Done With High School/I’ve Grown into my teeth but am still trying to catch up with my nose– me.high school grad

I chose that last one.

Unfortunately, unlike my sisters (have I mentioned their older than I am?) I was born in a time when color photography had been invented so I need to change my shot to black and white to make it match.

Once everything was in place I was all set.Using a vintage Mustang dashboard as a picutre frame for Fathers Day by Cheltenham Road

It can sit on his desk or hang on the wall.  A reminder of his favorite car and those other people that kept hanging around wanting to borrow it.Fathers Day Gift using vintage mustang dash board for picture frame by Cheltenham Road

(word of advice for you.  NEVER try to learn how to drive stick shift on a car that was made in the 60s, lacked power steering and was possibly better-liked than you)

I hope he enjoys it!

Happy Father’s Day to all of you out there!

Easy Father’s Day Wall Art Tutorial

My dad is the best.

However he’s a bit hard to shop for for Father’s Day and I always get sorta stuck for unique gift ideas (the man needs another book like I need to bump my head on something)

But this year,  I had two  ideas!  TWO!!!!!

The only problem was that I had to make them both and being me (oh-so-very-me) I left it until just a bit late to get going.

Happily, my first idea came together so fast, so easily and so inexpensively that  I thought it might be useful for others and so I made it into my latest Mod Podge Rocks tutorial.   Father's Day Gift Idea

A simple scan of an old baseball ticket

An oversize Engineering print from StaplesEasy DIY Father's Day Wall Art Tutorial

And BOOM! A super-fast, totally customize-able piece of potential Father’s Day Wall Art!DIY Fathers Day Wall Art

I think it’s……..JUST THE TICKET!!!!!


(there’s actually a worse one of those puns on the MPR post)

If you’re keen to make your own head on over to Mod Podge Rocks for all the details.

Oh! and if you’re local don’t forget to visit me at this weekend’s Long Beach Patchwork show (click on the pic for all the details)!Patchwork Long Beach Craft Show

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!!!!!


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).

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!)

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