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Be Prepared! And, if at first……

So, I was ready for Halloween.  Designs done well in advance!

And I basked in the glory of my preparedness and patted myself on the back for finally getting on top of this moving bullet train of a business.

And then, suddenly, Halloween was over.  And apparently it was already Christmas?!!

Did I mention that I was totally ready for Halloween?

Yeah, apparently being ready for Halloween in July is awesome but only means that you needed to be ready for Christmas in May.

In short.  Life has been a bit of a scramble.

And part of that scramble was my first Christmas project, while not actually going down in flames, went down in a cascade of failed glue joints and ill-considered engineering (and some vintage wrapping paper).

Ah well, you know what they say: If at first you don’t succeed swear a lot, curse the heavens, vow to quit, chuck it all and eat ice cream try, try again!

And I will!  But first I had some new, custom, customer orders and a show to get ready for.

Presenting my latest HOME sign: Buffalo!buffalo-new-york-home-sign-by-cheltenham-road

I got to work, re-working my vintage Circus poster coaster (which I enjoy saying) setantique-circus-coaster-set-by-cheltenham-road

circus-posters-coasters-by-cheltenham-roadAnd continued my love of all things old Hollywood with a new coaster setold-hollywood-postcard-vintage-coaster-set-by-cheltenham-road

glamorous-vintage-hollywood-coasters-by-cheltenham-roadAfter that it was time for this weekend’s Jackalope Arts Fair in Pasadena so, of course they got their own HOME signs, coasters and Subway signs.pasadena-california-home-sign-by-cheltenham-road

pasadena-california-vintage-coaster-set-by-cheltenham-roadSubway Art Sign Pasadena CA by Cheltenham RoadI’m back there today from 10-5 so please do stop by if that’s your part of town!

I’ll be back shortly with my stupid Christmas idea.

And did I mention I was totally ready for 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!

 

 

Abbot Kinney Festival and a Rapacious Grab for Coaster Dominance

Tomorrow is the big, annual Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice.Abbot Kinney Festival 2016

I’ve been looking forward to this – its’ one of my favorite shows each year.

Unfortunately “looking forward” doesn’t always translate into “getting ready for” as much as it should so the last few weeks I’ve been in Mad-Maker Mode because the crowds  look like this:image

You know, just a couple people milling around……no biggie

I’ve put together some new beachy  themed itemsVenice Beach Collage Sign by Cheltenham Road

I hope people get that “VB” means Venice Beach and don’t think I’m advertising some new strain of social disease.  I’ll keep you posted.

And my plethora of beach and beach-centric images have translated themselves to coaster setsSanta Monica Drink Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

and candle holders.Venice California Candle Holders by Cheltenham Road

So, while I’ve been working on getting ready I’ve also had an influx of order because something kind of exciting happened.

A very kind (and remarkably patient) woman named Caryn is now repping me and my “line”

(OK, I have to confess that every time she says “your line” I kind of laugh.  Target has  a “line” of products.”  Calvin Klein has a new “fall line” hitting stores.  I have “stuff that I made in the garage.”  But I can understand why Caryn probably doesn’t choose to present it that way)

She’s been doing an amazing job and I’m so happy to report that several new stores are carrying my coasters.

First up is the Big Sugar Bake Shop

big-sugar-bakeshop--studio-cityTotally charming place with amazingly good cupcakes, muffins and cakes.  It’s nearby and I’ve been a customer for several years.  Now if I can just figure out how to barter coasters for cupcakes I’ll be all set.

Then there is Trinkets and Treasures – a great gift shop in Studio CityTrinkets and Treasures Studio City

The Brentwood General Store caters to a classy crowd – and I’m honored to be there.Brentwood General Store

And there are several more shops coming soon!

Add those to my long time local supporters like Bar Keeper, Mindful Nest and CoOp 28 and a few new ones in Ohio, Arizona, Seattle and New York and I think we can say:city silhouette sunset

We can also say that it’s been a coaster making frenzy around here.

I must confess, I’m very happy but I do gaze wistfully at all the craft supplies and jotted down “project” ideas that I. Just. Can’t. Seem. To. Get To.

Soon, soon.

In the meanwhile, on to the beach!

If you are local please swing on by the booth at Abbott Kinney!

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!

Vintage Sign Coat Rack Version 2.0

DIY Vintage Sign by Cheltenham RoadI hope everyone had a fun, safe 4th of July.

The ball is rolling on Plaid Ambassador projects but in the meantime a few other ideas are coming down the pike.

However, I do apologize.

You may experience a bit of deja vu as we go along.  For instance this is yet another:

  1. vintagy sign
  2.  coat hanger
  3.  project involving slats
  4. project involving diy knobs
  5. Lenk tool graphic transfer

OK, here’s the deal.

I need some new products -both for my own sanity (possibly too late) and to keep the shops that sell my wares interested.

New products are kinda tricky to develop because whatever they are they need to be: unique,  easy to replicate, in keeping with what I already make, affordable (both for me, the shops and the final customer) and….not a nightmare to put together.

Oh, and people have to love it.

Easy!

So, over the next few weeks I want to zero in on some options, refine the ideas and figure out better techniques.

Won’t you join me?!

Thanks!

Up first is Coat Rack 2.0.

Folks responded well to that Santa Monica sign I madeDIY Vintage Sign by Cheltenham Road but I need a version that is a bit more affordable.

So I’ve played around with this smaller version to see what I could do.

The actual sign-making process was the same as the Santa Monica sign (click HERE for the full tutorial and image transfer instructions).

The size is a bit smaller (14×12)

The new(ish) thing here are the knobs so I thought I’d share how I did them this time around.

I found these little spools at Michaels and thought they had possibilities.DIY Wood Hangers

I added a piece of of 1/4 dowel in the bottom of each one.DIY Knobs by Cheltenham Road

I then glued a wood disc to the front (I made the disc by using my chop saw to cut slices off a dowel I had but they also sell just plain wood discs)Inexpensive DIY Knobs by Cheltenham RoadI pained them out with white craft paint and sanded/distressed the edges.

I used the  Lenk tool to transfer the graphics (I was going for the signs on a pool that tell you depth of the water).

And they are sealed with polycrylic for durability.Handmade Knobs by Cheltenham Road

To assemble it I pre-drilled holes for both the shelf and the knobsVintage Sign Coat Rack Cheltenham Road Tutorial

And then simply drilled the shelf into place from the back

And glued the knobs in place.Image Transfer Vintage Sign

I’m happy with the design and ease of assembly.  The knobs are easy to make and looking pretty good.Handmade Knobs by Cheltenham RoadThere are some minor tweeks to make (the knobs need to be a bit lower, I need to stain the MDF slats before I paint them.Coat Rack by Cheltenham Road

My brain is already whirring on different design ideas.

Maybe a typewriter graphic with typewriter key knobs?

Or a dairy (sorry) graphic with milk label (sorry) knobs?

Baseball with baseball knobs?

Soda with soda pop knobs

etc etc.

More to come.  And thanks for bearing with me during this.  I assure you I will  mix in new stuff with the reruns!

 

Snow Day! And DIY Candle Holders

It’s been a trifle, um warm here of late.  Like, 112.  Ugh.

My friend Mary referred to this as LA’s version of a “snow day.”

That made me feel better.  Who doesn’t love a snow day?!

When I was little my mom always managed to have some fun craft project for you to work on during  a snow day.  I’d do paint by numbers or she and I would experiment with Shrinky Dinks or some such thing.  I have some very fond memories of those times.

(Honesty Alert #1: I don’t want to get to fake sweet nostalga-ish  – She also made me clean my room and stuff so it wasn’t all joyful crafts and warm chocolate chip cookies)

So, in honor of my my mom and her creative use of down time I spent most of last week holed up in my house launching on bunch of different projects and, honestly, really enjoying myself

(Honesty alert #2: I also ate a lot of ice cream which greatly added to the “I’m having fun” feeling.  I highly recommend it)

I’d recently stumbled across this awesome post by Jen at House of Wood.

She’d taken a bunch of scrap plywood and turned them into super cool candle holders.

Jen totally inspired me and I was eager to try my own hand at it.

I gathered my scraps  cut them all to the same size and glued them together.Plywood Candle Holder by Cheltenham Road

(Honesty Alert #3: this part required me to go outside and work in the garage which was….not fun…..I ate more ice cream to compensate and was back on track.)

After letting them dry I sanded them smooth, drilled out the holes for the tealights with my drill press and stained the wood.

But being me I had to add text or graphics or something so I did a quick search on the Graphics Fairy site and turned up vintage bicycle ad.  bicycle advertisement

Seriously, pretty much anything you ever needed in life can be found at the Graphics Fairy.

I grabbed just the text on the bottom, reversed it, printed it and applied it to the plywood.DIY rustick wooden tea light holder by Cheltenham Road

I know you’re thinking.

“Oh great he’s about to get out that stupid Lenk thing that I don’t own and therefore can’t use”…. but I’m not!!!!

I found another way to do transfers!  It’s even easier AND it greatly reduces my chances of burning the house down (win/win!).

I’ll share the technique in an upcoming post after I’ve done some more experimenting but I’m really excited about it.

Anyway, I think the the candle holder came out looking pretty cool.Tea Light Holder by Cheltenham Road

And now my brain is spinning with other ideas and shapesRustic Industrial Wooden Tealight Holder by Cheltenham Road (although I’ll feel dumb if I actually have to go out and buy wood to make my scrapwood candle holders…..)

Here is the other side.  I was playing around with text size and placement…..
Industrial Wood Tea Light Holder by Cheltenham Road

Thanks  Jen!  Really you should check out her site.  Full of great ideas, tutorials and downloads.

Oh, and on a final note, I wanted to say thanks for the comments about my dad’s Father’s day presentUsing a vintage Mustang dashboard as a picutre frame for Fathers Day by Cheltenham Road

A couple of folks asked if he liked it.  My sister Paula was there at the unveiling and reported that he loved it.  And when I called later he seemed enthusiastic (he’s not really given to gushing outbursts of enthusiasm but, in his own way, he seemed pleased).

And although I really do believe him, the Eyore side of my personality can’t help imagining his thought process upon opening it going more like:

What the?…..

Well, that seals it.  It wasn’t a phase. That kid just  isn’t gonna get any less weird.gets beat up

At least the girls seem well adjusted……

I guess I just have to buy my own books and ties. 

Typical……

Have a good week everybody!

 

 

Tray Chic. DIY Vintage Style Trays

I’ve been on a tray kick of late.

Trays are the closest thing to working on furniture that I can do right now.

I get to find a beat up old tray at a thrift store, patch and paint it and change it up into something (hopefully) cooler.

Since I had a back log of un-spruced up trays (because as we all know it’s way more fun to find/hoard the thing than it is to actually buckle down and do the makeover) heading into the Patchwork show this last weekend I got busy.

Oh, did I mention I’m also on a slat kick?  Long time readers may feel this is more of an addiction than a kick….but I digress.

It’s just that  I have tons of random bits of scrap wood and I’m always looking for ways to use it up.  I’ve discovered that I can do fun things by turning them into slats for signs and such so I thought – why not combine my kicks (I’m the Rockettes of DIY)

I had a little, beat up black tray that I thought had potential so after cutting the slats to length and painting them white I flipped them over and taped them together on the backside. DIY vintage style tray by Cheltenham Road

Then, on the painted side – using my bathing beauty friends

Panorama Vintage Bathing Beauties and some text – got to work with my Wall Lenk tool. (for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about you can find a full tutorial about how to do image transfer with a Wall Lenk tool HERE and you can see how I do my trays HERE)Image transfer using the Lenk tool by Cheltenham Road

Once I was satisfied with the design I just glued the slats to the bottom of the tray, sealed the image and poured the Envirotex.Vintage Bathing Beauty Tray by Cheltenham Road

Up next I changed gears and made a collage with my wealth of dairy label graphics (along with some help from Angie at  Knick of Time and her generous  free downloads.  While you’re perusing her site be sure to check out her awesome stencils too – great designs).Vintage Dairy Label Tray Original Designs by Cheltenham Road

Vintage Milk Bottle Label Collage Tray by Cheltenham RoadAnd then it was back to slats and a slightly altered Cabins for Rent coat hanger graphic combined with a bit of a forest graphic from an old postcard.Rustic Serving Tray by Cheltenham Road

(Yes, in retrospect it occurs to me that maybe, just maybe I should have taken a little more time with design and, I don’t know……found a graphic of a CABIN!!!! perhaps?  Details, details……)

Anyway, the Lenk tool did a great job,  almost too great  actually as I was hoping for a bit more distress (the text is a bit too crisp) but it still looks pretty good and took very little time.Image transfer to wooden tray by Cheltenham Road

Everything looked good at the show and I had an terrific corner spot.  I made a couple more of my giant vintage baseball tickets and I was ready for business.Cheltenham Road Booth for Spring 2016 Patchwork

Unfortunately the customers weren’t quite as ready.  I did an extremely solid business in compliments……nooooooot so much in sales.  Sold a little bit of everything but not a lot of anything – you know what I mean?  It was fine, profit was made and possible future customers acquired.  It’s just more fun to be crazy-busy all day, sell out and have nothing left to pack up at the end.  Ah well.

And now?

Well, to be honest, it’s on to Halloween!?!  Weird I know but my next two shows in July (back to back- this should be interesting) are both Halloween themed so I must turn my thoughts to pumpkins and ghosts.

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