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The Customer’s Always Bright. And a Small Favor!

So, as you know I’ve been noodling around with new ideas.

I like noodling!  It’s fun!

But while I’ve been noodling my customers have been coming up with concrete requests.

Susan wondered if I could work on a line of coasters with a sewing theme.Sewing Room Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadYes!  Yes I can!

I’ve been meaning to do something like this for a long time so I truly appreciate  Susan getting me in gear.  And they are now listed in my Etsy shop

Sewing Drink Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadGeorge – who should probably stay away from sharp needles – had a slightly boozier request.

Could I make patent art bar ware coasters?

Why yes!  Yes I can!

Coaster Set Barware graphicsDwayne changed gears and inquired if I could put together a HOME sign for his home state of Mississippi

Yes!  Yes I can!HOME sign for Mississippi by Cheltenham Road

Mississippi HOME sign on EtsyAnd I have, of course, always had my retro 50s “Advice for Women” coaster set – because they crack me up as they were all written by a man (of course). Retro 50s coaster set by Cheltenham Road

But Theresa wondered if there were a few more options to round out the party favors for an upcoming bridal shower?

Why yes!  yes there are!

Retro 50s Advice Coaster Sets by Cheltenham Road

Because why be content to “have a more successful personality” when you could also,

Make Up – and LIVE!!!Vintage 50s coaster set by Cheltenham RoadAnd now for the favor that was foreshadowed in the title of this post

The FavorPinterest is one of my favorite sites and a huge (actually, main) source of traffic for this blog.  This is awesome!  I love the group that has sprung up here. I love that it’s growing and your ideas, suggestions and feedback really keep me going.

However, Etsy is where my income is generated and, for some reason, I get almost no Pinterest traffic headed to my Etsy shop and Pinterest is kind of a key to success in this scenario.

So, here’s the favor.

If each of you could go to my Etsy shop and just pin a couple of things it would be a huge help!

Just to be clear – I’m not asking you to purchase anything – I’m hoping for the “ripples in the pond” effect where you pin it and your followers see it and they pin it etc etc.

Please pin directly from Etsy (ie not from this blog) so that potential customers are taken directly to my store.

Thanks so much!  I can’t tell you how much I truly appreciate it.

Coming up soon a (minor) return to working on furniture!!  I’ve really  missed doing furniture but I got to work on a fun little project for my next Mod Podge Rocks tutorial and I’m looking forward to sharing it.Child Chair Makeover with Mod Podge Ikea Hack Tutorial

 

 

 

Easy to Make Soda Pop Coasters with Plant Saucers

Easy DIY Coaster IdeaAs you’ve witnessed I’ve been having a good time for the last few weeks playing around with new ideas.

My goal, of course, is to come up with new products. And, hopefully, new products that don’t require me to fabricate

Every. Single. Part

Don’t get me wrong – power tools are awesome. I truly enjoy wood working, sanding and painting but sometimes a guy wants to do something a bit less…..involved.

Also, I’ve been wanting to make round coasters.

Actually, when I first started out I made round ones

The sold well but they were tough to make and wasted a fair amount of wood.Vintage Dairy Label CoastersBut I think I’ve found a work around that has possibilities

So, after last week’s earth shattering reveal that my super clever super secret tool was water this week I ask you to bear with me as I proffer the amazing idea to use terra cotta plant saucers as coaster bases.

I KNOW!!!!!

Pick your jaw up off the floor people ’cause it’s just gonna get crazier from here as I use Mod Podge and Envirotex!!!!!

(remember my goal is to come up with new ideas but not reinvent the wheel)

OK, so I’m not the first person to come up with this (and I haven’t Googled it for fear of confronting my lack of uniqueness) but it turned out to be fun, insanely easy and, I think filled with possibilities.

I grabbed some saucers from Micheals and some gloss white spray paint.Easy DIY Coasters Tutorial(Note: I first did this with bases from Lowes but apparently those are much more porous. They sucked up paint like a vacuum. The ones from Michaels worked beautifully and cost the same).

After a good coating with the paint and some drying time I moved onto the graphics.

I figured everyone here is probably crazy super tired of me and dairy labels (I could hear you all muttering “yes, David, we get it. They’re cool. Buy a cow and move on with your life”) so I thought I’d go with something similar but different (it’s a theme!!)

I had purchased soda pop bottle top graphics from Digital Alice on Etsy a while ago (to use on the knob project) and thought they’d be fun as coasters.

After resizing the graphics I mod Podged them into place and when they were dry sealed them with another good coat of Mod Podge.Easy to make coasters by Cheltenham RoadOnce dry I added some Envirotex and I had myself some fun, round coasters!Soda Pop Label Coasters by Cheltenham RoadI’m thinking I could use these graphics or make up a few of my own.Simple DIY drink coasters

I was also contemplating ones that look like old postage marks.

Record labels would also work!

And, of course, they don’t have to be coasters. Maybe little dishes for keys and such.

Or since these come in all sizes maybe big dishes?

Lots of possibilities I think.  And I didn’t have to sand anything!

Go small

So, last week was all about big and this week is all about smaller.

The good thing about this slightly slower time of year is that I have time to play around and experiment (look for Positive Thinking: The Upside of Making No Money by Cheltenham Road – coming to your local Barnes and Noble store)

The Muse came up with a smart idea (for newer readers “The Muse” is an actual person, not a voice in my head or some imaginary conversation I’m having with Olivia Newton John so don’t be alarmed).

She suggested that perhaps I could make smaller HOME signs that would work as key holders.

I really like the idea because I’m a big fan of making practical stuff.  I mean I’m all about decoration but if it can be useful decoration that’s even better.

So I started playing around.

I made 4.5″ HOME lettersHome Sign Keyholder by Cheltenham Road

Attached them to a base boardWood Sign Key Holder by Cheltenham RoadAdded little hooks (there would be more hooks of course – these were the only two I had on hand).Vintage Los Angeles HOME sign keyholder by cheltenham roadI like it!

Well, I sort of like it.  This is where the playing around comes in.

I think perhaps the base board doesn’t need to be as thick. Maybe two strips of wood rather than a big solid backer wold be better?

Some magnets along with the hooks?

I will re-consult with The Muse.

What do you all think?

Happy Super Bowl Sunday to all!

go BIG

It has been a week of big.

I did (and am still doing, honestly) a big clean out of the garage workshop.

It had gotten bad. Real bad.

It’s much better now. I wouldn’t call it clean or showplace but I can move around freely have places to set things down which is a definite step up.

And I’ve made a vow to NEVER have to do this again. Yes, I know I will have to clean regularly and do tidying and such but I never want to reach the point where I just look at the mess and feel like it’s insurmountable. That was how I was feeling. I’d just look at it and think “but I don’t know what to DO with that pile of things/scraps/pieces that’s why it’s a pile!”

The goal here is to get the factory part of Cheltenham Road running smoothly so I have more time for the creative part – ie the fun part.

And speaking of big and fun.

A customer at the CoOp wanted a subway sign but he wanted a BIG subway sign. 6 feet tall big!

I had to borrow a car to get the lumber.

The slats alone took up my entire dining room table.Super Large Custom Subway Graphic Sign by Cheltenham RoadEach slat is 33″ long.
I’ve made large ones but this was the biggest.Extra Large Custom Subway Art Sign by Cheltenham RoadThe customer was pleased and I learned a lot of stuff along the way.*

And then there was the BIG change of pace.

I hope the following wont’ offend anyone and I do apologize if it does.

I don’t swear a lot myself but I do think well chosen swear words can be very, very funny.

So when an Etsy customer asked if I could make her a custom coaster set and then described what she wanted I had to say yes

Because it made me laugh really hard.Coaster SetA bit “off-brand” I will admit and I’m not totally sure I would put them in my house but I appreciate the directness of the command.

And now it’s on to other big things.

New ideas!

New ideas that I can finally get to because I can FIND stuff!

Oh!  And the timer idea is really working.  It’s keeping me much more focused and really helping me make (much needed) separation between work-time and living-time.  When you work from home those things kind of tend to mush up against each other and I think both suffer for it – I wasn’t working as much as I thought I should nor was I relaxing and enjoying myself as much as I needed to.  I’m still working on it but it it definitely moving in the right direction.

*If you wanted to make your own, similar subway artwork I did a tutorial on it a long time ago over at Mod Podge Rocks.

Working Hard or Hardly Working? Becoming More Efficient in 2016

I’m not a New Year’s Resolution kinda guy. But I do believe in goal setting.

Cheltenham Road has been going well, but for 2016 I’m at a key point. I need to take the business to “the next level.”

I have lots of plans but first up is setting up life in such a way that I can get more done and done more efficiently.

To that end I have begun “clocking in.”

The danger of working from home is that it’s easy to get distracted. I get to work and then, without really noticing it, I discover that I’m doing the laundry or cleaning the kitchen.

The timer keeps me brutally honest about just how many hours I’ve worked which also keeps me focused. I discover I get A LOT more done when the timer is set than I do when I’m just guestimating how long I’ve worked.

So I’ve spent my last week brutally cleaning (the house, garage and work room had become a SuperFund site) , discarding “stuff” and re-organizing.

I’ve used the fact that I’m slow to de-decorate to get Christmas projects done for the next holiday season.  I was toying around with making a vintagy Christmas tool tote and I thought it would be fun to make the ends look like Christmas trees.DIY Vintage Christmas Tree Tote by Cheltenham RoadI found little, light up trees in a remainder bin and thought I’d try my hand at the apothecary thing.Apothocary Jar Christmas Tree Project by Cheltenham Road

I’ve worked up a new HOME sign for a customer in ArkansasArkansas Little Rock Wooden HOME sign by Cheltenham Road
and made new coasters featuring vintage railroad graphicsClassic Railroad Train Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road on EtsyAnd, finally, reworked some of my standard items with new graphics and new pics (just to change things up a bit)Vintage Paris Map Wood Candle Block Tealight Holder by Cheltenham Road on EtsyAnd I’ve tried to adopt the “touch it once” rule.

The thinking is that you try to touch things as few times as possible. So, rather than letting stuff pile up (my constant habit) and then having touch it again to put it away you attempt to only touch stuff once.

Some of you may recall that I tried this sort of thing before only that time is was a scheme where every time I set something down I was supposed to ask myself “is that where that goes?”

It worked for a while but that little voice got very annoying very fast. And soon I was hearing a nagging voice ask “is that where that goes?” and then a louder, angrier voice would shout “IT IS NOW!”

And I realized I was spending a lot of time alone and the voices in my head were yelling at each other and that just seemed like a slippery slope.

But I like the Touch It Once rule because it feels a bit like a game. How do I touch this thing as few times as possible?

I (or quite possibly my psychiatrist) will keep you posted on it goes.

In the meantime, I’m putting the final touches on my next Mod Podge Rocks project (coming up mid-week) and I’ve got tons of other ideas to execute in my newly disciplined workshop.

But, for now it’s back to cleaning and organizing.

(S)Knob Appeal Handmade Knobs and Forgetting Things

As those of you who have patiently followed along for a while know – I keep trying to make knobs.Cheltenham Road

Custom Knobs Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadFinished Knobs Up CloseAnd I’ve succeeded. I just haven’t succeeded in a way that either:

  1.  made me totally happy
  2.  proved to be not a kind of  messy, pain in the neck.oops

But, through patience (OK, not patience exactly, I just got excited, bought a lot of knobs, got frustrated and then ignored the whole thing for a very long time until I finally found a more workable idea.  It’s a genius business strategy that will surely take me straight to the top!), trial and error, and a fair amount of wasted supplies I think I’ve made a product that I’m satisfied with.

There are round ones and square ones – up first – square.

I thought I’d do a little tribute to the mad skills of  my mom and sisters and make some using vintage measuring tape graphics.  Fun for a sewing room perhaps?measuring tape knobsI grabbed some of the vintage postcard graphics I use on my trays and that dresserVintage Postcard Handmade Knobs by Cheltenham Road

And finally, just for a bit of fun, some vintage romance comic book graphicsVintage Romance Comic Handmade Knobs by Cheltenham RoadI rolled them out at the Long Beach Patchwork Show last weekend.

People liked them!

People bought them!

I have to make more!

I’m very tired!

My full wine charm collection also debuted at Patchwork and sold out!….well, sort of debuted……and sorta sold out.Wine Charm Display

I got to the show and realized that I had totally, somehow, not packed the table everything was supposed to go on.  Bit of a stumbling block. Book Club Wine Charm Collection by Cheltenham RoadI was saved by the very kind people who put on Patchwork who gave me a loaner table. French ABC Wine Charm Set by Cheltenham RoadAfter overcoming that hiccup I discovered that, though I had a few Wine Charm Sets with me – I’d set the rest of them on the kitchen counter when I made a last minute dive for much needed coffee.Art Opening Wine Charm Set by Cheltenham RoadSo “sold out” is a little less impressive when one acknowledges that there were only six to begin with.

But, it was good to know that folks responded to them!

All of them will be available on Etsy shortly.

Now I just have to actually  bring them (and a table) with me to the next big show: Patchwork Santa Ana!

 

Fall Projects, Great Inventors and the Beauty of Ohio

As those of you who are following me on Instagram know I spent the last couple of weeks in Ohio visiting family and enjoying PERFECT fall weather. Fall in OhioI was totally nostalgic for my Ohio roots….. until I volunteered to help rake leaves and then I was, almost immediately, nostalgic for never-fall Los Angeles (and my gardener).

I had a great time and, as always, after hanging around with my family, my creative mind felt totally recharged (possibly overcharged?) and I came back eager to get going on new stuff.

First up I, the king of “really? now? already?…. crap!” put together a super quick last-minute Halloween Decor project for fellow sufferers. It’s my latest tutorial for Mod Podge Rocks.Easy DIY Halloween Centerpiece with free Printables Tutorial

(you may feel they bear a certain resemblance to other, not-so-last-minute candle holders I might have done in the past but these are TOTALLY DIFFERENT!)

Quick and easy with some free printables included.

I’m also trying to get new coaster designs rolling along for the holidays (my goal is one new set a week. Stop laughing) and up first is my tribute to the great inventors.  Ready to go on Etsy.Great Inventors Coasters Set by Cheltenham Road

My brother-in-law, Rich actually suggested this a while ago. I thought it was a great idea and immediately…. waited several months to make it happen…….

All the inventors here – TeslaInventor Coaster Set Nicola Tesla Patent Art by Cheltenham Road Edison, Wright, Bell –Patent Art Coaster Set Great Inventors Edison by Cheltenham Road

And I capped off a busy week by visiting with my good, creative friend Nicki at the Topanga Canyon Vintage Market.

Nicki had some truly terrific, one-of-a-kind things she made.Nicki Huard Creations Rustic Country Christmas TreesI really love these and wanted to steal buy them all!(it took her, honestly, all year to collect enough funnels to make all her rustic Christmas trees)

I mean, they are kind of amazing, all are totally unique and would look so cool as a collection.

Her creativity (and willingness to work her butt off every day) astounds me.Nicki Huard Creations Rustic Decor(If you thought I was a Luddite then Nicki is our queen. She has pretty much zero online presence. If you are desperate – as you should be – to get your hands on some of her stuff drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch with her.)

While there I snapped up stuff for about a dozen different new project myself that I’m itching to get to.Flea Market Finds and big ideas

Finally, in advance, please allow me, The Great Pumpkin, to wish you all a very Happy Halloween!The Great Pumpkin!

 

 

 

 

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