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Category Archives: Houseware Crafts

The Upside of Crafting in Hell!

Date: Saturday July 7.

Time: 8AM

Temp: 94 degrees headed to 112

Personal Status: Do not have project for blog even started.  Am hot.


Date: Saturday July 7

Time: 4PM

Temp: 114

Personal Status: Still hot. Project totally done!

How did I do it?!!

Crafting in hell means that everything dries super fast!!!!

So, there you go.  Upside!


I’m trying to get myself geared up for Midsummer Scream the big Halloween Convention at the end of the month.  I’m busy making my yearly best sellers (clicking on the pics will bring you to my Etsy Shop):vintage Ouija Board Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

But want to come up with some new signs.

I grabbed some scrap MDF that was already cut to 2” wide strips and cut them to 20 inches.

I stained them and waited for them to dry.

and……5 minutes later they were dry!

I rubbed some candlewax along the edges and painted them (sloppily) with white latex paint – and waited for them to dry.

5 minutes later they….

were not dry! (let’s keep it real)

10 minutes later – totally dry!

I sanded away at the edges (the paint won’t stick where the candlewax was rubbed so it pulls away revealing the stained wood beneath) to create an old, peeling paint, look.

And I used my rotary sander to gouge up the ends for an even rougher look (pics of that in minute).

I laid them out -staggering the top/bottom edges – and used my pin nailer and a couple more pieces of scrap to bind them all together.

Being in a bit of a hurry, I adapted my design from my Victorian Gothic Coasters.

My sign is 12.5″ wide by 22″ tall and I set up my design so that I could print it out in three sections (shown here in different colors just to make it easier to see – ie it doesn’t print that way) on legal sized paper.

My apologies for the watermarks and small size – people keep taking this design (and my other coaster designs) and claiming it’s their own work…

Using my polycrylic image transfer method (details here) I laid the image on the slats and then set it outside to dry for the standard overnight dry time.

But after 2 hours it was dry!

I laid a very damp towel over it

and rubbed away the paper and……done!  4PM!

Here is a closer pic so you can see those roughed-up edges:

Halloween sign #1 all finished.

Thanks Satan!

Also…and not to equate the two “thanks”….thank you all for your feedback last wee about the Game Tile project idea.  You all are the best! I so appreciated all the points you made, the careful consideration you gave it and the ideas you came up with.  I’m actually even more excited about them – although a bit more tempered/grounded  ( which is good) – and I’ll keep you posted on how they come out.  Thanks again so much!

Make Over-Sized, Vintage, Game Pieces

A brief detour on the way to Halloween.

I’ve come up with another (potential) Use-Up-That-Scrap-Wood project!

Of course, you may be thinking that the first step in reducing scrap wood might be, perhaps, to create less scrap wood to begin with?

Reasonable.

But that would involve the dreaded accurate measuring and the even more terrifying planning ahead!

Actually , you’ll be proud to know I did that recently.  For the last round of coaster-blank cutting I measured!  I optimized!  I planned!

And I’m happy to report that after jumping through all the hoops I ended up almost zero scrap!  Genius!  Perfect!

And after I did the third most dreaded thing: Math I discovered that I had saved exactly .005 cents per piece.

#motivating!  #planthatParisvacation

Anyway….

As you know I kinda have a thing for letters.

I’ve been making letters of various sizes and styles since I started Cheltenham Road.

Distressed letters

Distressed Wood Letters Tutorial

HOME signs (click pic for link to Etsy)Los Angeles Wooden Letter HOME sign

Letters with vintage wallpaper

Giant Santa Monica Signs (each letter is 16″ tall)Vintage Santa Monica Sign

Big New York letters11 inch high wood letters vintage New York City collage by Cheltenham Road

I could go on……

As you may not know The Borrowers was one of my favorite books as a child and I think it messed up my sense of scale.  I always seem to think “wouldn’t it be cool if I made a giant version of X?”

Recently I saw a magazine that used old game tiles to spell out the titles of each article.   You know, scrabble tiles, anagram tiles…stuff like that.

And I thought “wouldn’t it be cool to make an oversized game piece letter alphabet?”

To make them all different this became an “every tool you got” project: stencils, image transfer, mod podge – you get the idea

I started with:

  • Scrap wood cut to varied sizes: 4.5 squares, rectangles, a few circles
  • Folk Art Home Decor Chalk Paints – various colors
  • Folk Art Stencils and poncing brushes
  • Polycrylic (not pictured)
  • Small Wood letters (on sale at Michaels)
  • Matte Mod Podge (not pictured)
  • A scanned print of a Scrabble tile
  • Sanpaper (not pictured)
  • E6000 glue (not pictured)

I painted all the wood blank tiles different colors using Folk Art’s Home Decor Chalk Paint.  They come in a great range of colors, go on beautifully and dry quickly (key for Mr. Crafting-in-a-Hurry).  When everything was dry I sanded them for a distressed look.For some of the letters I used Folk Art Stencils for letters and numbers.Folk Art Stencils

For others I used my polycrylic image transfer technique (details here)

I made one to look like a children’s block using a bit more scrap wood, cut, painted and distressed and a small wood letter from Michaels.  I used the E6000 glue to attach all the elements.

For the scrabble tile I simply scanned a tile and blew it up to 6×6 (my wood blank is 4.5×4.5)*

* I used Matte Mod Podge for this but only had a bottle of Gloss Lustre when I went to take photos – either will work.

To make the “image” wrap around the blank I marked where each corner would be

Then cut away the corner

After covering the front and sides with Mod Podge I just attached the print and folded the sides down and let it dry

I like them!  They’re fun!  Easy to make and you could do a lot of variations and spell pretty much anything you want.DIY Wood Letter Tiles

But…..

I discovered as I did my research that there aren’t many super-identifiable vintage game pieces.  Once you get past Scrabble tiles they are pretty much just, well….. letters.

Image courtesy of SplendidSundries on Etsy – click on picture to be taken to Etsy

So my question is – would you know they are game pieces?  Does it matter?

My thinking was to make all the letters in the alphabet and have a nice display box where people could pick out what they wanted.  They would be fun and easy to make. They would use up all those leftover supplies and bits and parts etc.

But do you think it would appeal? (not rhetorical – I’m honestly asking for your opinion).

OK, back to Halloween planning…..

 

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Plaid Ambassador program.  Most of the materials used in this project were provided to me by Plaid – makers of Mod Podge, Folk Art Paints, brushes and stencils.  Other than the supplies I receive no other compensation.  Links are provided just for convenience and the opinions expressed are totally my own.

 

Photo Display Board Tutorial

Last weekend’s Patchwork Festival in Santa Ana went really well!  Beautiful weather, great crowds,  good sales and I may possibly have figured out a good, final, booth set up….more on that in another post.

This Sunday is Patchwork Long Beach!

Patchwork Show Long Beach. Sunday June 10th

I have no idea why I thought “cool! Two shows almost back to back” sounded good but apparently, in the darkness of January, I did.

So here I am – madly restocking!

However, my Photo Display Boards have gotten good response at all the recent shows so I thought it might be fun to share how I make them.  Also, Geralyn came up with a great suggestion for a new one!

Disclaimer: While I’ve labeled this a tutorial it’s really more of “here’s-what-I-did-you-can-do-something-similar-but-I’m-not-saying-you-should-do-exactly-this.  However, that seemed like an unwieldy title so rest assured I’ll be offering up other options for each step as we go.

These signs fall into my Use Up Your Scrap-wood mission in life.

So I started with:

  • Scrap plywood 30” long by 7” tall.
  • 3 eyehole screws
  • Ikea RikTig clips
  • 36” threaded rod (from the hardware store) cut down to 30″
  • Decorative Threaded End caps (from the same hardware store)
  • Folk Art Aniquing Wax

(not pictured but strongly implied)

  • White paint
  • Drill
  • Minwax Polycrylic
  • Sandpaper
  • hacksaw (for cutting the threaded rod down to size)

My board was already painted white but had it not been I would have done it –  regular latex paint works (Milk paint would be fine too) – just make sure its thoroughly dry.  I then sanded off just the edges for a slightly worn look.

Geralyn’s (brilliant I think) idea was that I should make one that could be used to show off children’s artwork so I created a graphic that fit with my “vintagy” style – an old Crayon Box.

Alternate: I also toyed with the idea of just using simple text that said “Look what I made!” or the Picasso quote “all children are artists.”  Any text or graphic would work.

I did my usual image transfer technique (detailed instructions here).

It’s quite simple – I print graphics out in reverse on a laser printer and adhere them, face-down, onto the plywood using Minwax Polycrylic.

For a  sign this long I had to create three, separate, sections printed on regular legal-sized paper which had to be lined up.

After letting the polycrylic dry overnight I took my very wet rag (no need to be delicate) and rubbed away the paper to reveal the graphic.

It takes a couple of rounds of rubbing to get all the paper off and if, like me, you’re going for a vintagy look, you can be fairly aggressive since any image that rubs away just adds to the aged look.

I then used Folk Art Antiquing Was and a pouncing bush to add a bit more distress to the fairly pristine wood.

(In truth I think I may have over-distressed this one.  There is a fine line between “look an old sign!” and “you need to clean that” and I think I may have crossed it.)

After the wax had dried and I’d buffed it a bit I added the eye-hole screws (pre-drilling the holes)….

….ran the threaded rod through them and capped each end with the decorative caps.

I had stumbled on these Ikea RikTig hangers the other day and they work perfectly (as well as being quite inexpensive).Alternate: If you didn’t want to use a rod a tautly stretched wire, a wood dowel or string would work perfectly.  If you’re not near an Ikea then small clothespins would work or, even possibly, be better!

I don’t have any kids so, after stealing some artwork from innocent children passing by, I was all set to go!

As I mentioned any sort of graphic would work.

My initial sign was just black and white for a made-up camera shop

I got a bit more colorful for a mid-century version.

These are fun to make and I think the idea is easily adaptable.

If image transfer isn’t your thing stencils would work great as would more straightforward decoupage.  Lots of options!

And, as always, if you make something similar, I’d love to see the photos.

Back next time with Adventures in Booth Design!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Farmhouse Style Tray Tutorial

Got a bit distracted over the past few weeks but I’m……”back on track?” …. well, that kind of implies there was a track to begin with which might be overstating things….. let’s just go with “I’m continuing to continue.”

So the next couple of weeks will be all about preparations for the upcoming, April 28-29th Jackalope Pasadena Art Fair.

It’s a great show.  I’m excited about it  and determined to

  1. come up with some new coaster designs,
  2. have enough coasters on hand, and
  3. really make use of all that scrap wood for some one-of-a-kind projects.

I have a million ideas – I just need to do the “hard” work of turning them from ideas into actual, physical things.

Oh, and I also need a new booth set up.

Bottom line – it’s going to be a super relaxing couple of weeks filled with bon-bon consumption and channel surfing……

Up first is a tray for the proud citizens of South Pasadena.

It’s pretty easy to do but I thought I’d outline the steps in case anyone out there might like to give it a go.

Here is what I used

  • Tray
  • Wood stain
  • Some thin strips of scrap wood cut to size
  • Wood stain/antiquing glaze
  • Paint (Folk Art Milk Paint in my case)
  • E6000 glue
  • Polycrylic
  • Roller
  • Rag

After staining the tray I cut my scrap wood to size (2.5″ by 16″) and went to my Plaid supply box and pulled out Folk Art Milk Paint (Petticoat color) and Folk Art Antique Wax. After painting the slats with Petticoat I went back in and “aged” the edges with the antiquing wax.

I glued the strips in place using the trusty E6000 glue and left it to dry overnight.

After working out the South Pasadena design I reversed it and printed it on my laser printer using plain old, Staples brand, legal paper

I used my Polycrylic transfer technique (you can see details here) and, after letting it dry overnight, rubbed away the paper with a wet rag (you can be pretty aggressive).

*I have found one refinement for this process.

The technique works perfectly but you do sometimes end up being able to see a slight demarcation where edge of the paper was.  I found that if I spread the poly carefully so as to avoid sealing down the very edges it minimizes this effect.

I seal all my trays with Envirotex Lite.

It’s easy to use (as long as you follow the directions to the letter) but you do have to prep the surface.  I seal everything with a coat or two of Matte Mod Podge taking particular care to run a bead of MP around the inside of the tray to seal up any gaps. 

What could happen if one skips this step?

Hypothetically …… One might return to check on one’s project and think “Gee, it seems like there is a lot less Envirotex in that tray than before.”

One then might find the missing Envirotex all over the kitchen table and dripping onto floor.

One might then panic and instinctively touch the insanely sticky, spilled Envorotex WITH BOTH HANDS.

One then (finally using one’s brain) might go to get paper towels and discover one is out of paper towels.

One might then try to open the pantry door with insanely sticky hands and then attempt to tear open the plastic wrapper with one’s insanely sticky hands and then return to the now even bigger mess on the kitchen table with one’s hands covered in plastic and paper towel bits.

Hypothetically……

Once it was all dry the tray was ready to go.

One down!  So many more ideas to work on!

What To Do With All That Scrap Wood?

I have a lot of stuff.

Scrap wood (tons!), bits and pieces from Great Ideas! that never quite came to fruition.

Bits and pieces from Great Ideas! that did come to fruition but, perhaps, shouldn’t have….

You get the picture.

And now I have a lot of stuff and I have a goal.

The Blair Witch room must be  torn down and rebuilt soon and the not-in-great-shape-itself garage workshop needs to be shored up as well.

Since the bids for that project are coming in at 80K and up that means two things need to happen:

  1. I need to sell A LOT of coasters and
  2. I need to get rid of all that stuff – preferably not by renting a dumpster

So, with numerous spring shows coming up I wanted to create some quick, easy projects that use up supplies.

Now, because my dad was a precise, thoughtful, craftsman/engineer all of his projects began with carefully considered and fully rendered blueprints and layouts.

Since I am not any of those things all my projects start with me randomly grabbing things and making it up as I go along (dad’s way was better).

I gave myself 45 minutes to put together each prototype.

This one isn’t anything ground breaking- you can find similar things at Michaels 

but it uses up leftover coaster-wood.  It is just strips of 1/4 inch mdf pin nailed onto 1/2″ mdf end caps.

I painted it out, sanded the edges  a bit and “aged” it using antiquing wax.  

And that’s nice but I figure in order to make it a bit more than “something you can buy at Michaels” I needed to do my own thing with it so I covered up a lot of that careful “antiquing” with images pulled from my stock of vintage postcard graphics (and a little image transfer on the end caps)

I think it has possibilites.

Up next, I was making the best apple pie I’ve ever made or eaten and realized what I needed in my kitchen was a thing to hold up magazines or my ipad.

Again, I used leftover coaster wood scraps cut to 2×12 with a little shelf at the bottom.

After staining the edges I waxed over them, painted it white and sanded the paint away to reveal the stain (similar to how did this project).

Again, not particularly earth shatteringly creative but I added a graphic (using my polycrylic image transfer technique) and I like how it looks.  

Again, it needs some refining – like,  I love that graphic (which is courtesy of the awesome Angie at Knick of Time – you can find the download for the graphic here) but it’s a bit overwhelming – I think I need something a bit less “graphicy” for the next round.

And finally, I have a bunch of mason jars and saw this great tutorial for painting them which lead to another quickie box/tote/centerpiece made with leftover plywood, paint and….wait for it…….image transfer!!!!!

Although I clearly have a limited flower budget you get the idea and I think it too has possibilities.

So I’ll be working on these and a few other ideas over the next little while.

Once I figure out the “best” way to do one of them I’ll do a full-fledged tutorial if you’re interested.

But for now I need to go make a lot of coasters.

 

 

Quick and Easy Desk Organizer Makeover

I seem to have accumulated (through no fault of my own I assure you) a lot of….stuff.  Bits and pieces – parts of grandiose plans that somehow, before they were fully grandios-ed, got supplanted by a different, even better, grandiose plan.

For instance,  a while ago, I got all excited and purchased a bunch of inexpensive desk/organizers that I thought would make great display pieces.

They didn’t.

I’ve just been shuffling them around and thinking “I need to do something with those….someday…….”

And that day has come!

Well…their day came because this was my thought process on Saturday:

(My inner-monologue can be a bit dramatic.)

Anyway, while I was overjoyed to realize I’d already painted one the fact that it was painted flat black threw me until I remembered this dresser that I’d seen a while ago:

I thought that was such a cool effect.

So I grabbed my Waverly Gloss Black paint and a Folk Art Stencil and got to work:


I still have some kind of a weird block about using stencils.  I never want to do it which makes no sense because it’s pretty simple to do and always seems to work just fine.  This was particularly easy and super-quick.  I just taped the stencil in place and tapped away.

(No, I Totally meant to leave the bottom bright yellow and only half-assed paint that front edge.  Why do you ask?)

Sigh.

The stencil worked perfectly and, I am quite sincere when I tell you the whole thing took about 10 minutes.

And now I have this super-cool desk organizer.

……With a totally intentional bright yellow bottom.

And while I probably should have cleaned up the room a bit more before I snapped the photo.  Other aspects of the picture are pretty good!

And, better yet, my friend Karla came over last night, saw the organizer and said “you could totally give that to me and it would be nice.” So I am!

 

OK, now what to do with the other ones?

Eh, I have a week.  I’ll wait till next Saturday to figure it out.

Disclaimer: The good folks at Plaid provided me with the stencils and paint used on this project but all opinions are my own and was not compensated in any other way.  The links provided are to the Plaid site and are for informational purposes (ie, I don’t get any money if click on them).

Experimenting with Martha Stewart Milk Glass Paint

Committed to keeping my vow to never be as behind as I was this last Holiday Season I spent the week cranking out coasters to build up my in-stock inventory.  They are everywhere!

But I needed a little break yesterday and I wanted an activity that would help to re-energize my creative side.

Happily I had a new box of goodies from the folks at Plaid (I’m a member of their Plaid Ambassador Program)

First out of the box was some Martha Stewart Milk Glass Paint

I was intrigued!

I didn’t have any immediate need for anything milk-glassy but I did have some of those inexpensive little milk bottles they sell at Michaels.  

So grabbed those and got to work.

The instructions give you a few options for application: Soft bristle brush, foam pouncer or you can just kinda pour it on the glass (gravity!).

I didn’t have a pouncer and the gravity thing caused all my “Wasteful! Messy!!!!” alarms to go off (why I’m concerned about being wasteful with a product I got for free is one of the ongoing quirks of my “deep-pockets-short-arms personality disorder).

So I went with the brush.

The paint is easy to work with but it was pretty clear that it was going to take a couple of coats to get good coverage or  a rich color.

It was bluer than it looks in this photo and it darkened a bit as it dried but a second coat was clearly needed.

After repeating the application using the pink and white paints it occurred to me that my little milk bottles would look good in a little holder so I grabbed some scrap  MDF  (1/4 inch) from the shop, cut it down

(that’s a 2.5″ x 9″ base piece, two 1.25×9″ sides and two 1.25×3″ end pieces)

and assembled it using wood glue and my pin nailer

Now you may want to sit down for the shock that is about to come.

After painting my little box I thought: “this little box will need some graphics!!!!”

I know!  You never saw that coming did you………..

Anyway…… while perusing Pinterest I’d seen some fun, old vintage flower and seed boxes so I put together a graphic to add to the side.

Because I was, as always, in a hurry I used my Lenk tool for the transfer. (If you’re new to these parts you can see a tutorial for it here)

And then it was time for the second coat of the Milk Glass paint and I decided to experiment a bit.

For the blue bottle I used the brush again and while the color got richer the brush marks were pretty evident.  The instructions had told me that this was what would happenbut it also wasn’t quite the look I was hoping for.

So, with no pouncer I had to get over my fears/cheapness and give gravity a shot.

I poured the paint on the inside of the pink bottle and swirled it around.  It was impossible to photograph (sorry) but worked quite well.   However, although the paint, once dry, can be hand-washed it can’t be left submerged or sitting in water so pouring paint on the inside kind of limits the usefulness of the bottle.

So I poured the white paint on the outside of the white bottle.  I wasn’t quite as messy as I’d feared but it also clumped a bit as it dried (and was also impossible to photograph)

But, the results are pretty if not quite what I’d imagined.

The colors are great and I think the technique holds promise (and to be fair, switching application styles in the middle is my fault not the paints’).

Bottom line – I liked it but  I’ll have to play around with it some more and report back.

I was, however, very happy with my box!

Back to the factory!

Disclaimer: I’m a Plaid Ambassador and the good folks at Plaid have provided me with the paint I used in this project.  All opinions expressed are my own (clearly) and I received no other compensation and receive no compensation if you click on any links.

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