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Category Archives: Houseware Crafts

My Christmas Decorations Are Still Up

Soooooo….my Christmas decorations are still up

BUT!!!

I have a good justification reason!

OK, here’s the deal. The holiday season was great for me business-wise. Busy, busy, busy. So….yay!

However, I seem to be Seasonally Creative -by which I mean the ideas for a season only seem to really flow DURING that season. That’s fine but it always leaves me running way behind. Everyone else in blog-land is posting great Christmas ideas when I’m still eating my left-over Halloween candy

It’s a problem.

So, I decided to use the post-holiday time to get in gear for next year and I left my decorations up so I could snap pictures.

See? Perfectly justified!  It has nothing to do with laziness or a childlike need to make Christmas last forever.  Also a certain sister who shall remain nameless has not yet sent presents and as I’m sure they are coming AT ANY MOMENT I wouldn’t want to open them in a non-holiday setting.  Just sayin’

So now, please allow me to share ideas that I won’t elaborate on for 12 months.

I’ve wanted to test out how my new Lenk tool worked when transferring color images (spoiler: GREAT!) and I thought I’d make a stand for the cake pops I serve each year at my holiday dessert party.

I made a design based on a vintage record album cover and used one of those one dollar wood plaques from Michaels.Retro Style Cake Pop Stand Project Cheltenham Road

I maaaaay need to rethink where the holes go. It kinda looks like a sniper took Santa out.

(no I didn’t make those cake pops – Thanks Starbucks! Yes, I did eat those cake pops….somebody had to)

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I keep being tempted by those cheap wooden sleds they sell at Michaels each year and when I found one at 70% off I saw my chance!Tutorial Christmas Sled Project

I wanted to see if I could vintage it up to make a kind of serving pieceChristmas Sled Serving Piece Cheltenham Road

I think it has possibilities.

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Over the years I’ve collected those ubiquitous apothecary jars and, like others before me, filled them with ornaments. They look fine but I was getting a bit bored. I thought, ‘why not use some scrap wood blocks and scrap wrapping paper and to change things up a bit?’A New Idea for Christmas Apothocary Jars by Cheltenham Road

I also cut up a paper bag and some printer paper for that “brown paper packages tied up with string” look.*Easy DIY Christmas Decoration Apothocary Jars Cheltenham Road

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And finally , for some reason, I keep seeing in my head just letters spelling out the word HOLIDAY. (no this is not a “war on Christmas” thing. I just really like the word Holiday. I like the movie “Holiday” with Cary Grant. I like saying “holiday.” I wish I was English so I could, when leaving on a trip, announce grandly that “I’m going on Holiday.” It’s just a great word!)Holiday Sign

I figured they could stand on their own or maybe as a banner/bunting thing.HOLIDAY Bunting Vintage Christmas Style Cheltenham Road

And I have about a dozen more ideas as well although I may not get to those. I’m a little Christmassed out here in January. I’ve reached that tipping point where the decorations go from “how fun! and festive!!!” to “get this crap out of my house!”

Happy 2015 everyone!

 

*when did that “My Favorite Things” song become a Christmas song? They kept playing it on the radio this year. I mean, I get it….mittens, packages, snow on my eyelashes….but I don’t recall it being Christmas in the movie.

A New Way To Transfer Images to Wood

A New Way to Transfer Graphics to WoodAs you know I’m always looking for good ways to transfer images.

I ‘ve used Mod Podge Transfer

I’ve experimented with Blender Pens

I’ve used Liquitex Gel.

I have to say all the results were satisfactory but each had drawbacks either due to expense, time or versatility.

So, when I read about the Wall Lenk Transfer Tool that transfers images to wood I thought it sounded awesome!Wall Lenk Transfer Tool I read about it, researched it and, quick as a flash, plunged right in and bought it online.

It arrived!

I was so intrigued and excited I immediately set it aside!

For a year!

(honestly I had no idea it had been a whole year until I checked my Amazon order history.  I thought, maybe, 6 months ago……time flies when you are running a sweatshop having fun!)

But, I have now opened it, tested it out and am here to make my report.

First off, you get what you pay for ($17)…..it’s veeeery basic.  So basic and so potentially hazardous that it makes you wonder how this is allowed to be sold.  Or, more specifically,  given my history, how it is allowed to be sold to someone like me.

It works via heat transfer and, to put it simply, the metal end just gets super hot and then you rub it on your image and that transfers the ink to the wood (or fabric or whatever).

There is no “on/off” switch.  It’s either plugged in and on its way to being insanely hot or it’s unplugged and just lurking around being a little bit less insanely hot.  I didn’t have any moments like I did with the heat gun but the potential for disaster seems to be there.

So, onto the test.

While I was home in Ohio my sister Paula and I, intrigued by all the cool yardstick projects around but dismayed by the insanely high cost of “vintage” yardsticks began to toy around with the idea of making big, faux, versions.  I thought “This is the perfect project to try out my  brand new year old tool!”

I got right to work!

And just three short months later I did it!!! When I get excited about an idea nothing gets in my way!

So, I started out with some poplar wood cut down to size, painted, sanded smooth and a bit distressed.  I wanted it to look like two different rulers so one side was light blue and the other white.Faux Vintage Yardstick Cheltenham RoadTip Number One  – to optimize the transfer the wood must be very, very smooth and the paint (if there is paint) must be given lots of time to dry.

I came up with a couple of ruler designs in PhotoshopFaux Yardstick Design By Cheltenham Road

 

Faux Vintage Yardstick Pattern by Cheltenham RoadI reversed them and printed them out.

Tip Number Two: the prints need to be laser copies or prints – ink jet prints won’t work.

I plugged in the Lenk and, following the directions  gave it about 8 minutes to heat up.

I had read in the Amazon reviews that you needed to “burn off” some of the heat unless you were actually trying to start a small fire.  I burned off the heat by just touching the tool to a piece of scrap wood.  As you can see by the photo it took quite a few touches before it stopped burning the wood -Image Transfer with Wall Lenk Tool Cheltenham Road

But it didn’t take too long.

After that it was just a matter of rubbing it slowly over the image.   You can see where, even though I’d burned off some of the heat, it still scorched the paper a bit.Transfer an Image to Wood Cheltenham Road Tutorial I found that applying a light pressure worked well and going back over the image a few times was also key.

There is no real way to tell if you’ve succeeded or not until you peel away the paper.Transfer an Image Tutorial Cheltenham RoadOn the plus side though, if you peel away the paper slowly you can see if you’ve missed a spot and it’s very easy to just lay the paper back down and give it a few more rubs.  I did this in a couple of spots and it worked out just fine.

In a few places, where I guess I pressed to hard or let it heat too much, the paper stuck to the wood.Image Transfer Tutorial Cheltenham Road

But it was very easy to just dampen a cloth a bit and rub it away.

My box was 24″ long so I couldn’t print out the full ruler on one sheet of paper so I did it in sections and just lined them up.  Once again it was pretty easy.Make a Giant Vintage Yardstick Cheltenham RoadAfter that, I gave my “rulers” a quick coat of wax and assembled the box using a pin nailer (screws or regular nails would work just as well).Easy image transfer tool Cheltenham Road TutorialTransfer Images to Wood - Tutorial Cheltenham RoadThe images transferred very nicely – I like the level of distress and you do have some control over just how distressed you want it to be

Image Transfer Vintage Yardstick TutorialI think, other than the possible risk of burning your house down, this tool offers a lot of advantages.  The transfer takes place quickly (no waiting overnight) and once you buy the tool there is nothing else to purchase.Vintage Ruler Image Transfer Project Cheltenham Road

Also, it’s a true transfer – you don’t end up leaving a thin film of paper so that frees you up as far as background color(s) etc.

Now that I’ve tested it out I’m already thinking of tons of other possible projects (which you will be subjected to I assure you).

 

Please check out these link-parties for more great ideas:link-party-palooza-banner

Knick of Time Inspiration Party

 

Spooky Halloween Luminary Tutorial

Last Minute Mod Podge Halloween Decoration Tutorial Cheltenham Road Halloween is almost here and I was in need of  some quick, easy, and spooky decor.

I grabbed some .99 vases from the local thrift storeThrift Store Jars for Spooky Halloween CenterpieceDownloaded some stern looking VictoriansMod Podge Halloween Decor Projectand BAM! a two-fer.  One glowey eyed centerpiece for me.  One new Mod Podge Rocks Project for Amy!  Halloween Centerpiece TutorialIt was fun to put together, took about two hours (drying time mostly) and cost almost nothing – just what I was hoping for.  If you’d like to see the full tutorial head on over to Mod Podge Rocks for the details.

Actually I should amend that.  It took two hours to put together and then about three hours and six stores to find anything to put around it (I ended up with that green, licheny stuff) because it seems every store has moved on to Christmas.  Argh!!!!!  My new goal is to open the “You’ve Procrastinated and We’re Right With You” store – where holidays are in synch with the actual calendar.

In other news you may remember I was gearing up to do the a Halloween Window for one of my favorite local shops – CoOp 28.

Well, unfortunately, there was a scheduling mishap (not mine but I can understand why your mind would go there) and it didn’t happen.  So I’ve contented myself with Halloweening out my table a bit.Halloween Table at CoOp 28 by Cheltenham RoadUsually I’m very regimented and linear with my displays but this time I tried mixing it up a bit just to see if that might appeal.Cheltenham Road Halloween Table at CoOp 28We’ll see as the holiday approaches if I have snagged any fellow procrastinators or if the Halloween crowd is really just so together that they’ve already done all their shopping.

Meanwhile on to Thanksgiving!….Christmas!!!?…..no?…..Ah!  New Years!  There we go – now I’m up to speed.  Happy New Year!

Halloween! It’s a Date! (no really, it’s a date)

It’s Halloween Time at CoOp 28 (if you’re local please check it out!  Great store and terrific owner).

I’m working on the window display and trying to come up with some fun, new(ish) ideas.

I’ve been slowly collecting things to put in the window – a skull here, a hay bale there…. you know…Halloweeny.

But I got in my head that it would be cool just to do a big, wooden, 31 sign.

Easy enough!  I made a pattern and cut the numbers out of some HOME sign scrap wood.Wooden 31 Sign for Halloween Cheltenham Road

I sanded them and painted them black and……..?

…..and that’s when I got bit overwhelmed with (and perhaps a bit too excited by) the possibilities.

I could distress them! I could decoupage them! They could have pictures! patterns!

I kind of short-circuit when my brain goes off like that – stuck trying to decide which of the many options is the very BEST option.  You know what I mean?

So…….I decided to make them all.  Perfectly reasonable solution.

I wasn’t actually thinking of this as a product – more as an eye-catcher – but maybe…….

So, for version 1 I  went with classic black and orange.

I wanted that distressed, decrepit look so after a base coat of black I rubbed some candle wax all over the edges and front and then gave it a top coat of orange.

Wood Halloween Sign Orange and Black Cheltenham RoadMy intention was to use my new (to me at least) wax, heat gun and duct tape approach like I’d done with my distressed backgrounds.

But I discovered something interesting. The first time I did that I used flat latex paint. This time I used spray paint for both coats. Once it had all dried I used the heat gun but it turns out that the heat gun heats up the wax AND the paint and doesn’t yield very satisfying results. So it was back to my sander and a rough sanding disc.

Distressed Wood Halloween Sign Cheltenham RoadFor version 2  I left the letters black and created a collage of vintage (mostly orange – though they seem to be photographing as red) Halloween images and mod podged them into place.Vintage Halloween sign Cheltenham Road

Wood 31 sign for Halloween with Vintage Collage Cheltenham RoadVintage Halloween Collage Wood Sign Cheltenham RoadI think these might look good scattered around the store. What do you think?

These are 12″ high but I might make a really big one for the window (time permitting).

But they could be different colors!  Covered with poison labels!  Covered with candy wrappers!  Covered with Halloween scrap paper and on and on and on…..

See what I mean?  So many possibilities!Home Stories tutorials-tips-button

A Life’s Story in Scrap Wood – Tutorial

Scrap Wood Decor Tutorial Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge RocksFirst off, thank you for all your kind responses to my folks 70th!

Do you find that you go through phases where money comes in but then you go through phases where money just goes out…..and out….and out?

With the bathroom remodel and various other upgrades and fixes I’m definitely in an OUT phase.  So I made a vow that any new projects I come up with need to make use of what I have lying around.

And what I have lying around is scrap wood!

From an economic and an environmental perspective I try to make use of everything.  The scrap wood from coaster production gets cut down to become the backers for my magnetsRetro Refrigerator Magnetsor the risers for my Etsy Subway Signs  etc etc.

Custom Subway Graphic Wedding and Birth Signs

Custom Subway Graphic Birth and Wedding Signs by Cheltenham Road on Etsy

But I’m still losing the battle of the scrap wood pile.

So, when my next Mod Podge Rocks project came due I was determined to use the random bits of lumber left over from cutting up the backers for the subway signs.Scrap Wood Supplies for Dimensional Wall Art by Cheltenham RoadAnd though I was inspired by this Pottery Barn wall hangingPottery Barn Painted Pieced Woodwork my version is completely unrelated (my mind is a confusing place).

I decided it would be cool to just show little scraps of where I’d lived or been – kind of my life’s journey via mod podge and scrap wood……which given my current state seems very, very appropriate.Graphic Life Story Wall Art by Cheltenham Road

Cheltenham Road Wall Art Tutorial for Mod Podge RocksHead on over to Mod Podge Rocks for the full tutorial – it’s pretty easy and very adaptable.

That-DIY-Party-link-party-button

Mason Jar Herb Garden

Make a Hanging Mason Jar Herb Garden Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge RocksJust a quick note saying that my latest project is up at Mod Podge Rocks.

This one came out of Geralyn’s request for a vertical herb garden similar to one she saw on Pinterest.

Now, entrusting me with plants is never a good choice.   I kill plants.  I’m a plant serial killer actually.  Hundreds lay dead in my wake.   I’m sure, at this point, the plants at Lowes see me coming and picture a grim Silence of the Lambs future for themselves:

It puts the lotion on it’s fronds, or else it gets the hose again.”

But I have great hopes for these victims herbs  (mostly because someone else will be taking care of the them.)Vertical Mas Jar Herb Garden Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge Rocks

I found my vintage seed packet images from the always reliable Dover Publications, The Graphics Fairy and a new (to me) and terrific blog called Old Design Shop.

It was an easy and inexpensive project and, if you’re so inclined, head on over to Mod Podge Rocks for the full tutorial.

Vintage Rolling Pin Bookends Tutorial

Rolling Pin Bookend TutorialIt’s me! Random Blogging Man!

I have a new tutorial over at Mod Podge Rocks that I wanted to share as well as a bit of rumination on the future of this blog.

But first the tutorial.

I’d been toying with this idea for a while as a way to make further use of all those wooden rolling pins I’d collected long ago.Vintage Rolling Pin Bookends Tutorial Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge RocksI’m wondering if it might be a viable product for the Cheltenham Road empire. They are fun and easy to make and the colors could be suited to pretty much any kitchen.Vintage Kitchen Rolling Pin Bookends Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge RocksAnyway, head on over to Mod Podge Rocks for the full tutorial if you’re so inclined.

And now on to ruminations.

I seem to have hit a blog-wall of late. I want to write because I thoroughly enjoy the little community that we have all created here but…..I don’ t have anything to say. Or at least I don’t think I have anything interesting to say.

You see, I like to make things and I like figuring out how to make things.  And I like sharing how I figured out how to make things.  When I go to stores and see something I like I seldom think “oh I want that.” I tend to think “I want to make that!”

When I started this business and this blog I had a great time coming up with new things to make, new pieces of furniture to attack etc. As the business moved more toward the coasters, blocks and signs I ended up spending all of my time making and remaking coasters, blocks and signs. It’s satisfying work and I’m very grateful for it but I get stuck in factory mode a lot and my “creative time” gets curbed…along with my enthusiasm.

But! Happiness is just on the horizon!

For the summer I have employed my home-from-college (Berkeley! thankyouverymuch) niece Olivia who has been terrific. I’m slowly finding myself able to turn some of the “factory” operation over to her and my mind is able to focus on some new ideas (and I seem to be an OK boss from all reports).

Also I just finished my last show for the season. As always the folks that run Patchwork did an amazing job of pulling it all together. My spot was ideal and the weather was beyond perfect. Patchwork Handmade Festival Santa AnaThe only flaw in the plan was that it took place last Sunday. Father’s Day. Oddly, it seems that a fair number of fathers when asked “what do you want to do on your special day?” did not respond “Go to a craft fair!!!!” so attendance as a little reduced from years past.

But that was my last one a for a bit and now I’m eager to get to new ideas and projects.  So bear with me please.  I will get back up to speed!

DavidHome Stories tutorials-tips-buttonThat-DIY-Party-link-party-button

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