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Category Archives: Houseware Crafts

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?)


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.

I Have Triumphed! (Also Happy Valentines Day)

Vintage Valentines Day GarlandSo everyone says the key to a successful blogging relationship is consistency.

Blog regularly. Post on a set schedule.  Always post on the same day.

……Happy Friday everyone!

OK, when last we met I was experiencing some….let’s call them minor hiccups on my road to sliding-drawer kitchen organization nirvana.

I had this.

I wanted this.

But I was thwarted by measuring (not an unusual thwarting for me), math (also not an unusual thwarting vehicle) and, of course, that old cliche – Evil Drawer Slide Manufacturers!

I kept working but somewhere around the middle of last week the drawer and I decided it would be best to see other people for a while and I focused on some other projects.

I put together some new, Classic Hollywood coaster sets for the good folks at Sweet!

I love these vintage Homes of the Stars graphics and I thought they might be fun for all those TCM lovers (they are also available on Etsy and Amazon)Homes of the Stars Vintage Hollywood Drink Coaster SetOld Hollywood Drink Coaster Set

I also got sidetracked by a random Valentine’s Day project (more on that in a sec)

But, I’m happy to say that the drawer and I worked out our differences and the aforementioned Nirvana is now mine!

Oddly sized spacers were glued and screwed together

20 inch sidemount drawer slides were installed and now……DIY Kitchen Organization Drawer

Pretty!Maximize Kitchen Storage

Who can get to his pasta pot in a heartbeat?

This guy!

Who should probably eat less pasta?

This guy!  (OK, my plan may have a flaw….)Kitchen Storage Solution

(As an extra side-bonus, upon viewing my last blog post my friend and dutiful blog reader Suzanne informed me that my pans were dirty and she was coming over to show me how to clean them.   Which she did!  You’d best believe I Tom Sawyered the crap out of that situation!)

So, in the midst of drawer-wars I realized it was almost Valentines Day and got one of those goofy-but-its-fun-to-do-something-different ideas that I just feel compelled to make for no real justifiable reason.

Why not make some hearts out of scrap wood?

I have all this beadboard that I bought a while ago – before I realized it was too heavy for what I wanted to do with it because, as we know, “advance planning” the Cheltenham Road byword.

So cut out some heart shapes using my scroll saw and painted them in shades of red and pink using Folk Art Milk Paint that Plaid provided me as part of their Ambassador Program.

I liked them but thought they needed a little text so I flipped one over and painted the smooth backside

And after a bit of sanding (for that “distressed heart” look….which, now that I type it sounds like an unfortunate medical condition) I used my Folk Art Stencils  to create a “Be Mine” message.Vintage Valentines Day

To be honest, I wasn’t totally sure what to do with them once I finished (a giant charm bracelet?) so I drilled some holes and strung them together.Vintage Valentines Day Banner

I like how, on the bead board side, the paint stayed in the grooves but sanded off the front leaving some great texture on the face.

So, as I said, a bit of a goofy idea but I had fun making it.Scrap Wood Valentines Day Banner

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some extremely convenient pasta to make!

Vintage Disneyland E Ticket Wall Art Tutorial

Before I get rolling here I just wanted to say thank you all for your wonderful, kind and supportive words about my dad.  It meant the world to my sisters and myself to read what you wrote.  We love sharing out dad’s story and it means so much that it resonates with you (we also showed them with mom who doesn’t do computers or blogs and she loved it!).  Thank you all so much!

OK, there is no smooth segue from that but here we go! – onto Disney and our E Ticket Ride.
Living in Southern California I’m surrounded by folks who are crazy about Disney and its various Lands and Worlds.

I do not actually share this obsession.

In truth I’m a bit bitter toward Disney.

You see, when I was 11 my parent told me we were moving from Ohio to California for my dad’s job.

I was overjoyed!   It was clear this was the first step in my life-long Master Plan!

  • Step 1: move to California.
  • Step 2: Become a Mousketeer!
  • Step 3: Enjoy everlasting fame and unlimited Disneyland access.

My parents had played right into my hand!!!!

The fact that the show was no longer in production and that we were moving to Northern California, several hundred miles from Disney was not made clear to me.

I acknowledge blaming Disney for this is not exactly fair. However, the only other option is to blame my lack of research and questionable grasp of geography and I think we all know that that won’t be happening.

So.  Everlasting bitterness!

Despite my (justified!) feelings I do like to make other people happy and I thought this fun, super easy project would be perfect for the die-hard Disney fan.

If you went to Disneyland prior to 1982 you bought a ticket book to get on the rides.

You can find these vintage books on ebay and I thought it would look cool to have some over-sized versions as wall-art.

It’s pretty straighforward.

I used:

  • Matte Mod Podge (shocking!)
  • 1/2″ MDF panels
  • black paint
  • aaaaand…that’s about it.

After doing a high resolution scan of the tickets I blew them up to 10.5×16.5 and had Staples print them out for me on plain 11×17 paper for about $2 a print (Staples can also do the scanning and blowing up for you if that’s not your scene).

I cut my 1/2″ MDF into 11×17 panels and painted them black.  The painting isn’t strictly necessary – I just wanted to have a nice border around the tickets.

After spreading a good amount of Mod Podge onto the MDF panel

I laid my graphic down smoothing out wrinkles and guaranteeing a good adhesion by using a combo of my hands and a brayer.

A little drying time, a couple of coats of Matte Mod Podge so seal them and they were ready to go.

They can be hung with picture wire and hooks or you can use 3M Command Strips.  With the Command Strips so you don’t have to put a hole in the wall and they are easy to reposition if needed.  Four strips on each panel should to the trick.

I did this with Disney tickets but it would work with pretty much any image you wanted to use: Concert tickets, family letters, etc etc.

As always, let me know if you have any questions and please if you take this idea and run with it send pics!  I love to see what people do!

Disclaimer: The tickets are Trademarked and Copyright protected material which is why I’m not providing downloads of the graphics.  This project is shared for personal use and inspiration only.    


Haunted Halloween Lamp

I know, I know.  Halloween is OVER and we’re all supposed to have moved on to Christmas.

But, as I’ve shown on several other occasions, I am nothing if not seasonally out of synch.

And I had this idea for a quickie Halloween decoration idea and just didn’t want to wait another year.

It came together fast (it had to, the sun was setting and I had about an hour to get it made, staged and photographed).

So, apparently, Halloween, to means “things that light up” and, more specifically Victorian people with glowing eyes (Cheltenham Road – We have one idea and we’re sticking with it!!!!)

For this I used:

  • Thrift Store Lamp
  • Pictures printed on my laser printer
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam Brush
  • Flat black spray paint
  • Craft knife

I’d picked up this lamp from a thrift store for $6

I removed the shade and did a quickly spray paint job on the base (flat black)

I had all my gloomy Victorians from my Glowing Eyes Candle Jar project so I put together a couple of quick collages and printed them out on my laser printer (you can find links to get some of the pictures in the Glowing Eye Candle Jar tutorial)

I use Photoshop for this sort of thing just to be able to move quickly but the same could be done with individual print outs of the pictures

The shade was 10” high so I just worked in sections and printed out on legal sized paper.

After cutting out their eyes (it’s what I do!),

I spread Mod Podge on the shade and smoothed the paper into place – continuing around until the shade was covered.

It happened to be 102 degrees in LA so everything dried alarmingly quickly.  If you live in a part of the country with non hell-like temperatures in October your drying times may vary.

I added a little bit of ribbon trim around the top and bottom of the shade to finish it up.*

After putting it all back together (and crossing my fingers that the thrift store lamp actually worked….something I had neglected to check)  I was done.

Glowing eyes 2017!

OK!  On to Flag Day!  I have some awesome ideas for glowing flags…..

*just to be honest, the ribbon is just taped in place.  A glue gun would be perfect for this task but I may or may not have thrown mine away after one too many unfortunate encounters with really hot glue.

Seasonally Challenged

Remember back in July when I was all about Halloween?

And we laughed about how it was way too early for Halloween?

Welcome to October!  Now we can finally talk about surfing.


I know.

I am seriously seasonally challenged.

But here’s the deal.

I had the big Abott Kinney Festival (in Venice Beach) a weekend or so ago and I had to change gears radically to get stuff ready for the beach crowd.

Coasters are always my biggest sellers and I wanted some new ones.  So I upped my “beach game” by playing with some new colors for my Subway Art coasters:

And worked up some new vintage surf shop coasters as well

So far so good.

I wanted to add some other stuff to the mix and, as you may recall, I bought a bunch of metal trays a while ago and have been trying out various designs on them.

I liked one of my Surfing Coaster images a lot and had an idea about how to transfer it to one of the metal trays but wasn’t sure if it would work.

Spoiler: It did!

I painted the bottom of the tray using Waverly Inspirations Chalk Paint – Ivory, blew up my graphic and printed it out in reverse on my laser printer.

I used my favorite transfer technique.

I simply lay down a decent coat of Minwax Polycrylic, place the image face down on the Poly, smooth it into place using my hands and a roller and let it dry for several hours in the sun (or overnight if you don’t live in hot, dry southern California).

Tip:  I’m always trying to improve a bit.  The only downside of this method is that you can end up with a faint outline of the edges of the paper.  I found that if you only put the Poly where you image is and only smooth down that area it cuts down on the “edge” problem a bit.  You can see in the picture above that the edges of the paper are not stuck down.

Once it’s dry I soak a rag in water, lay it over the image and let get good and damp

and begin rubbing away the paper.

until the image is totally revealed.

My concern was that the process would rub off the paint but it wasn’t a problem at all.

I actually had to go back in with some sandpaper and “distress” the letter a bit more (I kinda overdid it with “A” in California)

I really liked how it came out and the tray sold almost before I opened shop.

I plan to try it with a few fall-like designs as well.  Or, what the heck, it’s October, let’s talk Easter decor!!!!

(you may wonder what I’ve been up to since the Festival and now…..well, my faithful computer Blue-Screen-of-Deathed me just afterwards and I’ve been dealing with the hassle of buying a new one and getting up and rolling again.  Fortunately, most of my work was backed up but between passwords, fonts, bookmarks etc it’s been a slow slog to get my act back together)



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