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New Products, Puttering Around and PIE!

Thanks very much to all who entered the Big Book of Mod Podge raffle!

I had added the question about “where did you hear about Cheltenham Road?” out of pure curiosity and had anticipated that most people would say “I’m your sister’s friend.”

I did not anticipate that many of you would simply say really, really nice things (I didn’t expect you to say mean things either I just didn’t expect the compliments). It wasn’t my intention to go fishing but boy the fishing was fine and VERY much appreciated.

The lucky winner (randomly chosen by Rafflecopter) was Suzanne who did admit that her husband is an actual factual magician so there may have been some Harry Potterness going on there but I’m not going to question it.

July is usually a pretty slow for me but this year has been a good balance of steady sales (keeping my one-man-factory chugging along) and time to toy with new ideas.

The latter is truly the most fun – just puttering away and playing the “what if I…..” game.

Would you like to play along?

I’m getting ready for the big Scare LA show in a couple of weeks so my thoughts have turned to Halloween.

I love the graphics on Ouija boards and thought they’d make fun coasters. But I can’t decide if I like the ones I made that show the full boardvintage Ouija Board Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadOr if I prefer the style that just captures a section of the board.fun Halloween Coasters by Cheltenham Road

Thoughts?

All I know for sure is that the packaging should say something like, “useful for summoning dessert.”

Well, actually it should be “useful for summoning spirits” (meaning alcohol but I can’t figure out how to make the joke work).

Or perhaps just “not for use at graveyard dinner parties or in homes where the host has recently been murdered.”

I also wanted to try a slightly different version of the Glowing Eyes Luminaries I created for Mod Podge Rocks last year Last Minute Mod Podge Halloween Decoration Tutorial Cheltenham Road

but use smaller candle holders.spooky, glowing eye Halloween candle holders by Cheltenham road

I played around with adding glitter to one but I’m not sure I’m ever actually in favor of glitter. I was hoping it would make them kind of ethereal but it strikes me as more of a “yay! Unicorns and ponies!” effect than a “creep me out” effect at the moment.

I do kinda like the “blood” dripping down the side though – always pleasant.

I’m a bit stuck as to size. Small tea light size or bigger so they have more impact?

Of course, not everything was Halloween based as I was getting my next Mod Podge Rocks project goingDIY Photo Display Tutorial Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge RocksAnd finally, though this is not a food blog I did make these beauties for a Sharknado 3! viewing party.peanut butter pretzel chocolate pies

It’s a long standing gathering – a group of us have hooted through all previous versions and I’m often in charge of dessert.

Chocolate, peanut butter pretzel pie.chocolate peanut butter pretzel pie in a jar

I put them in jars to make life easier.

The recipe was courtesy of Becky Sue at Baking the Goods  and it was very easy to make.

OK, back to puttering – and perhaps the gym since I ate about four of those pies (good cooks test their food!)….I should probably clean the house too.

Or I could putter some more!!!!

Build a Hanging Wall Shelf

I hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend!

I spent my Sunday at the Patchwork Festival – more on that later because, in the meantime my latest Mod Podge Rocks project is up and ready for review.

Is anyone in need of a vintage themed shelf for their sewing room?

The Mod Podge Rocks project I teased is up and ready for review today. It was inspired by my mom and sisters and their amazing fiber arts skills.DIY Vintage Sewing Shelf Tutorial Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge Rocks

It’s sort of a continuation of my Use What You’ve Got project -a few pieces of scrap wood (not from the dresser!) and some odds and ends.

The idea started forming when I was home visiting Ohio a few weeks ago. My sisters, (Paula and Phebe, both have these enviably comfy, well stocked, sewing rooms in their homes. I don’t sew at all but even I want to curl up in there and get to work. Anyway, Paula and I had put our heads together for a sewing themed project. If you ever need someone to bounce creative ideas around with ask me for Paula’s number. She’s awesome with this stuff – always up for the creative brainstorming and we have fun doing the “what if?” game.

This one started out with “what if we used old spools as hooks?” and morphed from there. She even provided me with the spools!

And a project was born.

Make a decorative wall shelf Cheltenham Road Tutorial for Mod Podge Rocks

DIY Sewing Room Decor Shelf. Cheltenham Road Tutorial for Mod Podge Rocks

It was a pretty easy project and I think my sister(s) will be pleased with the outcome.Sewing Room Project.  Make a wall shelf.  Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge Rocks

OK, Patchwork.  Firs off thanks very much to all of you for the good wishes. It worked! It was a great day both for weather and sales.

I came up with some new product designs.  These trays were fun to make and pretty easyclassic bathing beauty tray by Cheltenham Roadand continued my obsession with finding new ways to display things.Craft Show Display Idea by Cheltenham Road

I’ll share more pics next time around.  I’m giving myself two days off (I’m an awesome boss!) because although it was great it also kinda wiped me out. The build up was seven days of 5AM -11pm work and although the big day itself was enjoyable it was also long.

As I was hauling the heavy boxes back to the car at the end of the day (seriously, whose dumb idea was it to make everything out of wood!? My next business will be entirely feather based) I kept repeating the manta “I’m not insane I am a creative entrepreneur!!!”…..I almost believed me.

There is Always A Day Job And Proper Blog Usage

The Use What You’ve Got scrap wood project has really got my mind exploding with ideas.  I’m having a great time coming up with things but I’m having trouble getting to them because I have orders to fill.  And it is kind of slowly dawning on me that “Oh!  coasters and signs are my day job.  I guess there is always going to be a day job.”

What is kind of awesome is that, for the first time in my life, I really enjoy my day job.

And what is making it even more enjoyable of late is a run of customers coming to me with ideas that make me think outside the David box.

Lindsay wanted a HOME sign but asked if I could find some vintage cherry labels and do a collage that would go with the style of her kitchen.Wood Letters HOME sign with Vintage Cherry Label collage Cheltenham Road

Vintage Kitchen HOME SignIt was such a fun idea and I wouldn’t have thought of it on my own I’m pretty sure.

Next Susan wanted a Subway Sign but with some rules for her family.  Not a new idea really but I’ve never done one before and I like her rules a lot.Custom Family Rules Subway Sign by Cheltenham Road

Custom Family Rules Subway Graphic Sign by Cheltenham RoadAnd finally, Kevin got on a baseball kick after buying some Cardinals Coasters from me and, between us, we came up with these baseball themed coasters as gifts for his friends.  We made a few using the classic subway graphics that I’m so fond ofClass Baseball Field Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

Subway Graphic Baseball Field Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadAnd a few using vintage postcard graphics from classic ball fields.Vintage Baseball Stadium Coaster Set Cheltenham RoadEbbets Field.  Classic Baseball Stadium Coaster Set Cheltenham RoadI do feel very, very lucky to have a business where, not only do I get to stretch my imagination on my own but the customers pitch in!

And now a little business to take care of before we part.

I’ve become aware that some of you may be reading this blog with the wrong intentions. Approaching it, perhaps, as others might view the Indy 500. Sure, you say you’re there for the fun of the race but really, in your heart, you’re hoping for a crash.

I became aware of this fact when my friend Nicki told me that she thought of me when she burned her hand on a glue gun and was reminded of my experience with the heat gun.

My friend Nicki then told me that around her house a bozo, injury causing move was referred to as “pulling a David.”

Well, we laughed and laughed and then I said to my former friend Nicki: “former friend Nicki I don’t think you are taking the correct message from this blog” and I asked her to please return her Cheltenham Road membership card and decoder ring.

Admittedly I was perhaps feeling a bit sensitive having just (I’m not kidding) smacked my head into the underside of the giant hinge that holds my garage door open.

Again.

No stitches. But hats will be a major player in my Spring wardrobe.

Anyway. I just wanted to bring to your attention that this blog is not intended to be the America’s Funniest Home Videos of the cyber world.

Thank you.

The Third Wine’s the Charm

Book Club Wine Charm Set Cheltenham RoadSo I thought, “wine charms! piece of cake! Easy! I’ll whip these bad boys out just as soon I finish this pie and fall off this log!”

******************************2 weeks later ***************************

“Stupid wine charms! Whose dumb idea was this?!………….. Taking forever…………”

*****************************4 weeks later ******************************

1 sets down! 10 more to go!!!!!!!!

I have to confess I often start off this way. The idea seems so straight-forward. So within my grasp. What could go wrong?!

And then reality hits.

You’ve gotta actually design the things because although Jane Eyre is in the public domain the actual book covers are…..not so much.Jane Eyre Wine Charm Book Club Wine Charm Collection by Cheltenham Road on Etsy

Then you have to figure out how. exactly to create them.Book Club Wine Charm Set by Cheltenham Road

Then you’ve got to round up (affordable!) resources so you can (hopefully) make them again and again.

(and I did thanks to my awesome sister and her husband who can make pretty much anything and run a little company called  PRPromotions)

And then, just when you think “done!” you are reminded that you’re a one-man-show and the packaging isn’t going to design itself!Wine Charms made from Classic Books by Cheltenham Road on EtsyBut then, happy and feeling like you’ve figured it all out you move on to design idea number two  and are confronted with the cold truth:  You don’t remember your High School French as well as you’d hoped.French Language Wine Charm SetAnd you can’t think of what to put on the “F” which will be for the designated driver:Designated Driver Wine Charm French ABCsAnd then you buy an new camera and become……focus challenged. Not that you can’t focus on what you’re doing but rather you can’t focus the camera on what you’ve done!what the

And you took 5 bazillion pictures that way…….

And then you think “clearly it’s time for a drink…….wait!, where’s my glass?……………Dammit!!!!!!!.  Oh the irony!”

PS: the Book Club set is up and ready on Etsy.

PPS: so much for my protestations of how my blog posts should always be helpful or educational….unless you count this as a cautionary tale I guess.

UWYG Scrap Wood Project #2

Los Angeles Wood Letters Vintage Postcard Collage by Cheltenham RoadI have never taken a selfie.

I can never think of anything to post on Facebook.

I don’t throw birthday parties for myself.

In truth, I’m just not comfortable being the center of attention or calling attention to myself (you may be thinking to yourself “acting is an odd career choice for such a person” and you’d be right).

Anyway, blogging is kind of a challenge for me as well because it never feels right to just make a post that essentially shouts “hey, look at me!!! Look what i did!”

I mean, obviously, I get over that but my intention is always to share useful ideas.

My plan with the Use What You’ve Got Project was to present the stuff as tutorials or at least semi-tutorials.

But I was under a slightly self-imposed deadline to get new things to the CoOp 28 store.

So, welcome to a second LOOK AT ME!!! post.

Sorry!

The Mindful Nest store requested one of my super large Beach SignsWood Letter Beach sign by Cheltenham Road

which left me with some oddly shaped scraps.

I thought “why not stick with what you know for the first project:” Letter cutting and gluing stuff to wood.

I’d previously made that smaller (meaning 12″ tall) version of my LA collage sign.

And I had all these postcards for my Etsy HOME signs.

So I expanded to Chicago:Vintage Chicago Wood Letter Collage by Cheltenham Road

Vintage Chicago postcard collageSan FranciscoHand-cut wood letters by Cheltenham Road.  San Francisco vintage postcard collage

and finally New York.11 inch high wood letters vintage New York City collage by Cheltenham Road

Each letter is 11″ tall and the bases are made of scrap as well. The letters are attached with (leftover) dowels so they can be left on their base or removed and hung on the wall.

Now that particular wood pile is pretty depleted. Perhaps I should make smaller letters for smaller towns?

I promise that further entries in this series will be more useful.

The Use What You’ve Got Project….and a plunge

As I mentioned before Feb/March are kinda slow months for me.  Etsy is quiet and the stores have done a post-Xmas restock but aren’t putting in big orders.

So, I have vowed to use the down time wisely – or at least productively.

On a very practical front I’ve started a Use What You’ve Got project.  The goal is to use up all the random bits of stuff I have lying around (like this embarrassing scrap wood pile)The Scrap Wood Pile Project - Cheltenham Roadwithout incurring extra expense. Projects must be made using only what is here already.  And there seems to be a lot that’s here already.

So far it has been a blast.  My brain is in over-drive with project ideas – so much over-drive that I keep shorting out – too overwhelmed by all the things I COULD do to know which one I SHOULD do – you know what I mean?

So I started with something simple, something in my wheelhouse – lettersHand cut wood letters

Letters are the perfect scrap project for me. Easy to cut, use a lot of wood and, as a bonus, painting them lets me use up the inexplicably huge store of random paint I have gathered.Vintage Style Wood Letters Cheltenham Road

So I made those and then –

I took a plunge!

Hopefully the beginning of a lot of plunge taking. Many things about Cheltenham Road need to move forward and first up – the quality of my photographs.

I struggle a lot with the photography side. Trust me, you’ve never seen someone go from zero to cranky as fast as I do the minute I pull out my camera. And I’ve been spending and insane amount of time Photoshopping my mediocre pictures to make them presentable.

So the first step on the make it better chart was to buy a better camera.  I breathed deeply, got over my sticker shock and I am now the proud owner of a Nikon D7100.nikon d7100It’s intimidating. There is a ton to learn.

But, in truth, my pictures came out better just pointing it at something and knowing nothing.

For instance here is the same shot of some letters with my old camera and my new one.Camera Test ComparisonI’ve done nothing to the set up or the lighting – just swapped them on the tripod.  Both cameras were on “auto.”

It’s not a great picture or anything but imagine what I can do  if when I read the manual!

And then I started playing around with shots of some new coasters and I think they came out looking a bit more polished too. Union Station Vintage Subway Art Graphic Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

Retro Style Los Angeles Subway Art Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadSo cool! Steep learning curve but cool! And I’ve got about 10 scrap wood projects going.  And a blog upgrade underway and….and….AND!

More to come!

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!

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