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Category Archives: Halloween

July, when everyone’s thoughts turn to…..Halloween?

July is always an interesting month.

I’ve been working on a lot of custom orders for stores.

Just finished up some fun subway art products for a great little shop called The Red Stable in the German Village section of downtown Columbus

But I always feel like “it’s summer!  I should chill!”

In reality, however, July and August have to be the staging ground for all things fall.

Year after year I find this hard to get my head around – particularly when it’s over 100 degrees outside.

But facts are facts so won’t you join me in getting ready for Halloween,,,,, in July.

Particualrly motivating is my participation in the upcoming Mid-Summer Scream Festival in Long Beach.

It’s a huge, two-day show at the convention center and a great motivator for getting my act together.

I’m trying to come up with some new stuff (ideas have been percolating for a year so, by all means, wait until two weeks before the show David…sigh….)

I’ve been re-thinking, re-designing and rephotographing my vintage Halloween coastersVintage Halloween Drink Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

They are currently on Etsy as a set of six but I’m thinking of changing them to my more standard set of four.  But which four?! It’s always hard to choose.

And my Dollar Store Glowing Eye Candle Holders (click the link for a tutorial) were a hit last year so I plan to make more Glowing Eyes Candle Holders for Halloween by Cheltenham Road

But I don’t want to offer exactly the same thing so I’m looking for ways to change them up a bit

WARNING: EVIL CLOWNS AHEAD

I’m experimenting with painting the inside of the holder itself – to add brightness and make the eyes even more disturbingly glowy

And I enjoyed the results last Halloween when I used the Folk Art Painted Finishes to create the mossy effect on a dollar store skull. so I thought I’d see what I thought of it here

I like that it gives it all a greenish glow.  And you can see a bit more of the detail of the “moss” effect in this picture

But my jury is a bit out actually.

The product works great I’m just not sure it’s quite what I’m going for.

Or maybe it just doesn’t go with clowns but will look awesome with creepy, old Victorians?Glowing Eyes Candle Holders for Halloween by Cheltenham Road

I was also thinking about wrapping the top in some sort of funereal black ribbon or cloth.

What do you think?

All I know for sure is that I really need to crank the AC cause there is nothing Halloweeny about sweating……unless you’re wearing a Wookie costume I guess……

 

 

 

 

Happy Halloween! And a happy blogger! (me)

I can’t believe it’s finally, actually Halloween!

I feel like (and I have) been “doing” Halloween since July.happy-halloween-from-cheltenham-road

To be honest, I haven’t always been a big Halloweener.  My Halloween experiences have been a bit hit-and-miss.

For instance, when looking through old pictures recently I came across this:

separated-at-birthNow, while I get some props for doing mash-ups before mash-ups were a thing it’s possible that the Charlie Brown Meets Jason Voorhees  look was a bit too ahead of it’s time.jason-meets-charlie

(Honestly, I don’t really remember this but I’m pretty sure this was a demo and we ditched the plate before the big day.)

This pic also made me realize I have a quite a history with Charlie Brown and Halloween.

I was, of course, the Great Pumpkin in kindergartenThe Great Pumpkin!

(OK, I feel I have to insert here that I swear to god my mom was an awesome costume maker – I’ve just found a couple of off-years to showcase – please consider my subsequent Patrick Henry ensemble to balance out the poor impression I’m giving

My beautiful picture

But, I’ve been CB as an adult too!  And it was the last time I dressed up.

About a decade ago a group of friends decided that we MUST don costumes and go to the big Halloween Parade in West Hollywood.

It’s a huge event with a lot of amazing, elaborate costumes.22730402181_a6c40bea6d_z

I reluctantly agreed (crowds aren’t my thing), pulled together a last-minute costume -sneakers, black socks, black shorts, zig-zag striped shirt, baseball hat and glove and figured I was good.

I had met the requirements (a costume), I hadn’t tried very hard and I could go about my business of people watching in a big crowd.

Nope!

It was like I was some kind of magnet.

People kept shouting:  “Charlie!!!!  Charlie Browwwwwnnnnn!!!!  You’re a good man!!!!!!!!”

which was, ok, kinda nice – I mean one can’t complain about being called a good man.

but as the evening wore on and the crowd got drunker it sort of switched to wobbly people shuffling up to me yelling:

“wha-wha-wha–wha-wha whwhawha!”

and then bursting into laughter with a “did you get it?!!!!” kinda smile.

It was sorta fun but I think I’ll stay in this year.

But before I go, I have to say thanks to all of you for following along with me.  Your comments are the best (you are some seriously funny blog readers!) and I truly appreciate it.  And one of the things that makes it seem even more worthwhile is when I hear that people have actually done a project I’ve created.  I was so happy when Heather sent a note saying she’d made the Glowing Eye Candle Holders for her co-workers.

Don’t they look great!
h-chase-spooky-votive-holders

And I have to find the picture of those two girls on the far left!

Thanks so much Heather for sending the pic.

 

I hope everyone has a great Halloween!

 

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!

halloween-skull-project-by-cheltenham-road

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

Anyhoo…..

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!

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!”

and

“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?”)

Ugh!

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!

Oh The Horror! Halloween in August!

Framed Halloween 31 sign by Cheltenham Road Hi, I’m David.  You may remember me from such lies as:

I’ve totally got this under control!

and

I’m on top of things now and will blog regularly!

Well, two back-to-back, two-day Halloween shows pretty much put the kabosh on that sense of togetherness.

I went into crazy manufacturing overdrive to have enough stock on hand and I still ended up running out of a few things (good problems!)

These Halloween shows are always a lot of fun and the creativity displayed by both the vendors and the attendees is always amazing and pretty inspiring.

I opted for doing just table set ups this time around and though it got a bit crowded it seemed to work.Cheltenham Road Table Set up for Scare LA 2016

There was a mix  of my old standards like the Glowing Eye candle holders (you can see the tutorial for how to do them here)Glowing Eyes Candle Holders for Halloween by Cheltenham Road

along with a slightly revised subway sign design and potion signsHandmade Original Design Halloween Signs by Cheltenham Road

I came up with the idea for these new, slatted “31” slatted signs at the very last minute (cause that’s how my mind works).

I did three variations and they sold out pretty quickly (there’s a fourth version of the same idea you can see in the basket of the picture above with the Trick or Treat cat)

Framed Halloween 31 sign by Cheltenham Road

I did, however, mange for once to think far enough ahead and sized them to fit in a USPS box (my creativity is only limited by box size I’ve discovered since I keep making things that are too much of a hassle to ship) so they will soon be available on EtsyHalloween Collage Original Sign by Cheltenham Road

And, of course, I needed a few, themed wine charm sets  for all those Halloween party throwers.

I only had time to grab some quick pics before the first show but you’ll see the idea.

I designed some covers for classic, Gothic horror novels

Gothic Novel Wine Charm Set for Halloween by Cheltenham Road(with, of course one for the poor, sober Designated Driver).Classic Horror Novel Halloween Drink Tag set by Cheltenham Road on Etsy

People actually requested coaster version of these which I ended up making for the second of the two shows.

There was a set for the the Lucretia Borgia crowd featuring classic poison labelsChoose Your Poison Halloween Wine Charm Set by Cheltenham Road

And finally a set for all those folks who love the vintage Halloween graphics.Vintage Halloween Wine Charm Set by Cheltenham Road

I’d been toying with the idea of making T-shirts out of my funny, Gothic ad coaster designs but it just didn’t seem to be viable cost-wise.  So I had some tote bags made featuring three of the designs and they seemed to go over well Halloween Tote Bags by Cheltenham Road(although they might have gone over better if the second show hadn’t handed out free tote bags to EVERY.  SINGLE. ATTENDEE…..argh!)

All in all it was an exhausting but great couple of weeks.  And I’m very happy to, for the first time, have Halloween stuff designed and ready to go well in advance (I even have a few more ideas I want to try out).  Now if Starbucks would just get that Pumpkin Spice Latte going I’d be all set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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