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A Minor Set “Back”

So, I’m gearing up for the holidays (yes, I should have already geared but I don’t seem to be very good at pre-gearing).  I’m filled with ideas about what I want to do and I’m in full-factory mode churning out tons of coasters (one store ordered 500 and now speculates that they may have underestimated their need).

So all is good!

And then, foolishly, I got out of my car last Sunday.

And that was all it took for  the herniated disc in my lower spine to decide that, after years of dormancy, NOW was the perfect time to totally freak out.

What followed was an entire week of moving veeeery slowly and sleeping veeeery badly and being veeeery whiny.  It was fun!  You should have come over!

Thoughtful friends offered to share their Vicodin supplies which was sweet but made me really wonder why everyone but me seems to have so many drugs at hand.  However, I’d tried Vicodin years ago and it didn’t seem to have much of an effect.  Actually all it seemed to do was make me care a little less about the pain….. which was interesting if not particularly helpful.  So I muddled through with Naproxin.

So, since lifting things (like the garage door!)  was out of the picture I thought I’d catch up on trying some new designs and playing with my camera.

I’m just not a good photographer but I’m trying to improve.  I can’t decide if I need a new camera or a new me but I usually spend about an hour taking pictures and then three hours working in Photoshop to make them not suck.  I am only occasionally successful.

My pics on Etsy of my New York HOME sign left a lot to be desired – I’m kind of amazed (and grateful) that people took the leap and purchased it.New York HOME sign by Cheltenham Road on Etsy

I think these are a bit of an improvement.New York City HOME wood sign by Cheltenham RoadNYC HOME sign Wooden Sign by Cheltenham Road on Etsy`

I wanted to find some new, vintage nightclub graphics for Bar Keeper (the store that ordered 500 coasters).Vintage Los Angeles Hollywood Cocktail Lounge Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road on EtsyThere is just something about these old matchbook coversVintage Cocktail Lounge Coaster Set Cheltenham Road

I have no idea if some of these places were greatLos Angeles Vintage Cocktail Lounge Coasters by Cheltenham Road

Or just dive barsVintage Hollywood Coasters by Cheltenham Road

(OK The Hangover Room was probably a dive bar)

But somehow the covers make them all seem fun and exotic.Retro Los Angeles Coaster Set Cheltenham Road

But I now have to make a choice.  ballyhooI have five new images but only need four.  Which should I drop? (I’m honestly asking)

I’m happy to report that my back is much better today – so I’m” back” on track.  Which is great as being waylaid there really did get my mind racing with ideas.  Now lets see if I can turn them into reality!

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

 

Travel! The Abbot Kinney Festival and New Stuff!

I just recently returned from a trip to Ohio to visit the family and recharge a bit.  Not only does my family’s creativity always get me revved up but, in general, central Ohio is overflowing with terrific ideas and resources.  It was also much cooler (weatherwise I mean) that hot, hot, hot LA so I got to get a taste of what fall is actually like!

I returned with just a few days to get ready for the big Abbot Kinney Festival (yes, I continue to be just awesome at planning!).  This was my second year (and their 30th!) at this huge one-day festival.  They close down a mile long stretch of Abbot Kinney Blvd in the famed Venice Beach area of LA.  It looks like thisAbbot Kinney BlvdI was actually kind of concerned about leaving the booth in case I would just get swept away and never make my way back.

I had come up with some new designs and I was eager to see how they would go over.

I’ve been hording pictures of vintage luggage tags and working on a set of my own vintage-inspired graphics.  I put them together package of coasters I’m referring to as The Jet SetThe Jet Set Vintage Luggage Tag coaster set Cheltenham Road

Paris Vintage Luggage Tag Coaster Cheltenham RoadNew York Vintage Luggage Tag Coaster Cheltenham RoadOf course there was a candle block to go along with it.Vintage Luggage Tag Candle Block Cheltenham RoadI’ve also been digging vintage bicycle ads.  So with the help of the always invaluable Graphics Fairy I put a set together as well (along with a tray).Vintage Bicycle Tray and Coaster Set Cheltenham Raod

vintage Bicycle Candle Tealight Holder Cheltenham RoadAnd finally I set up a section of the booth and named it “Local Love” and featured some new coasters and blocks that use vintage maps of the LA area (of course I found the maps in Ohio.  Classic!)Local Love Los Angeles Map Coaster Set Cheltenham Road

Local Love Candle Block Map Cheltenham RoadAll the new stuff went over well and I’m happy to have (most of) it up in the Etsy store now too.

And now it’s on to Halloween!   I’m doing the window for the CoOp and I actually have a bunch of Halloween ideas for projects.  Wish me luck on getting them all done…..this is going to require a lot of coffee.

Happy Fall everyone……it’s supposed to be 100 degrees here today…..I’ll take my pumpkin spice latte iced please.

 

Boo! Halloween Labels

I’m continuing in my unseasonal Halloween mode because today (TODAY!) is the first day of the big Scare LA Convention.

I set up my table yesterday and it looks like it’s going to be quite the event.  I will be curious to see what the crowds are like.

What is great about this is that it has gotten my Halloween imagination going a bit early.

The Muse and I (with invaluable help from the amazing Graphics Fairy!) got to brainstorming on some fun Halloween labels along the lines of my Gothic Halloween Coasters.

My intention is to eventually make these available on Etsy – gotta figure out that digital download thing……..

Halloween Bottle Lables by Cheltenham Road

Mummy BandagesFun Halloween Potion Labels by Cheltenham Road

Vlad’s Virgin Bloody Mary MixDracula Halloween Bottle Label by Cheltenham Road

Hyde’s Transformative TabletsDr Jekyll Halloween Potion Label by Cheltenham Road

Eau Du Salem Witch HazelHalloween Poison Label Cheltenham RoadWe had a great time coming up with these and I’m keen to make some more.

As I mentioned, I plan to make these available on Etsy soon.  That being said, I had a bit of a negative encounter with a woman who had copied, word-for-word (and most of the design) one of my Gothic coasters and was claiming it as her own work and giving it away for free on her site.  So, although I know none of you would do this, please do not copy or reproduce any of these designs.  Thank you very much.

OK, off to finish packing up!  Have a great weekend everyone and if you’re so inclined (and local) come visit me!

David

Getting Ahead of Myself – New Coasters! New Show!

Well, I always hate it when the stores jump the gun on holidays or seasonal changes (my stomach still drops every year when that first “Back to School!” sale is announced).

So, in keeping with that anti-jumping-the-gun policyBingo Card Coaster Set for Halloween by Cheltenham Road

WELCOME TO HALLOWEEN!!!!!!

In my defense, it’s not totally my fault, I’m doing this because I’m participating in a big Halloween show on August 9/10 called Scare LA.

BVS_ScareLA_MailChimp1It sounds like it will be a really fun show.

And it turns out that August 9th is actually the 45th anniversary of the opening of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland so they are having a panel with some of the original designers (I may need to sneak away for that) along with vendors and shows and music and lots of other stuff.

I wanted to come up with some new products for Halloween so this has been a great motivator.

I designed these Halloween Bingo Card Coasters just for fun and really enjoyed the process.

Halloween Skeleton Bingo Card Coaster by Cheltenham Road

However, I do have a bit of anxiety about this show.

I was approached about participating by the powers-that-be because they didn’t have many (or any perhaps?) “vintage” vendors.Halloween Bingo Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

So, that’s cool. I happy with that designation.

Except….. Halloween fans can go in a couple of ways and I’m concerned that these are going to be the blood/horror/gore/violence Halloween fans and I’ll be all, likeRetro Halloween Bingo Card Coaster Sety by Cheltenham Road

“I have cute, vintage pumpkins from the 50s!”

and they’ll be all like,

“we’re going to kill you.”

We shall see.  Wish me luck!

Oh, and if you are in LA and keen on Halloween come on by and when you go to buy a ticket online use the promo code “Cheltscare” for a 20% discount!SCARE LA Discount

David

PS:  I don’t want to talk about the bathroom.  Or the fact that in the midst of bathroom remodel upheaval I decided it would be a perfect time to repaint the interior of the house……more on both fronts to follow.

All I Really Needed to Know…..

Do you remember that little book called “All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?”

Over the weekend I realized that I may have taken that too much to heart.

I was talking to a woman at a party who turned out to be an elementary school teacher. She was very excited about her career and what she was doing with the kids. It was infectious and I was carried along with her enthusiasm until she mentioned what she planned to have them do this week.

And that’s when it hit me.   My entire business model:

Glue stuff to wood!

was pretty much her lesson plan for Tuesday.

At first I found it a bit depressing. But then I realized that perhaps I’ve merely come full circle. Maybe I’m one of those people who found their true calling at a very young age but just didn’t realize it.

And then I felt even better when I realized those stupid first graders are doing it for free!

So I spent the rest of the weekend photographing new stuff I’d glued to wood.

You see my wildly creative mind has exactly two modes: Panic! and Nap.

New ideas only seem to come to me when I have almost no time to execute them. My panicked build up for Unique LA earlier this month was the perfect time for my brain to suddenly burst forth with fresh thoughts.

I found these truly awesome graphics on vintage Los Angeles Rail Road tickets from the 30s and 40s and a new coaster set/candle block was formed.Coaster Set Vintage Los Angeles Cheltenham Road

Vintage Los Angeles Coaster Pack Cheltenham RoadVintage LA Graphic Tea Light Holders Cheltenham RoadThen, thanks to my brother-in-law, who has an amazing knack for finding incredible web site resources, I found these awesome, funny, vintage romance comic books.Retro Comic Book Romance Coaster Set Cheltenham Road They totally cracked me up and I thought they’d make fun gifts.Comic Book Coaster Set Cheltenham Road

Comic Drama Coaster Set Cheltenham RoadRetro Romance Comic Book Tea Light Holder Cheltenham RoadAnd finally (and this it truly thanks to a customer who requested it) a framed version of the HOME signs that I think I may start making on a regular basis as I like how it looks.Los Angeles framed HOME sign Cheltenham Road

OK, I’m gonna go swing by the school and see what the competition kids are up to.

When Worlds Collide

In my performing life I have had plenty of Actor Nightmares where you suddenly discover you are onstage and have no idea what play you’re in or what your lines are.

Last night my acting life and my crafting life combined and I had an Actor/Crafter Nightmare.

In my dream I was at the first read through of a brand new series for Fox.  Except I had no idea what part I was playing and the page numbers on my script didn’t match the page numbers on everyone else’s scripts.  I couldn’t ask or I’d look like a total amateur fool.  But WORSE THAN THAT just next to my chair was a huge stack of candle blocks that I had made for some official Fox function and as I looked down the paper was peeling off of them.  So I spent the whole dream panicking about what role I was playing while alternatley trying to figure out if I could get the blocks home and fix them in time  without anyone noticing.

The only positive aspect of the whole affair was that the new show apparently starred John Hamm.  So at least I was about to be fired from a quality project. 

So I didn’t get a lot of sleep but did wake up raring to go (allbeit at 3AM).

I finished up some projects I’ve been working on.

A new coaster set that riffs on vintage Roller Skating Rink graphics

Vintage Roller Skate coaster Sets via Etsy

Vintage Roller Skate coaster Sets via Etsy

I don’t know if these will have wide appeal but I love the look of them.Etsy Coaster Set Vintage Roller RinkVintage Roller Skating Rink Coaster Set Cheltenham Road  Also, I’ve found that people often shop not for the graphics but for whatever city happens to be shown.  So, if any of you are from Columbus Nebraska have I got the coaster set for you!

I also made some revisions and refinings on my Detroit HOME sign.Detroit Wooden HOME sign Cheltenham Road

Vintage Detroit HOME sign Cheltenham RoadOK, I gotta take a nap.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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