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July, when everyone’s thoughts turn to…..Halloween?

July is always an interesting month.

I’ve been working on a lot of custom orders for stores.

Just finished up some fun subway art products for a great little shop called The Red Stable in the German Village section of downtown Columbus

But I always feel like “it’s summer!  I should chill!”

In reality, however, July and August have to be the staging ground for all things fall.

Year after year I find this hard to get my head around – particularly when it’s over 100 degrees outside.

But facts are facts so won’t you join me in getting ready for Halloween,,,,, in July.

Particualrly motivating is my participation in the upcoming Mid-Summer Scream Festival in Long Beach.

It’s a huge, two-day show at the convention center and a great motivator for getting my act together.

I’m trying to come up with some new stuff (ideas have been percolating for a year so, by all means, wait until two weeks before the show David…sigh….)

I’ve been re-thinking, re-designing and rephotographing my vintage Halloween coastersVintage Halloween Drink Coaster Set by Cheltenham Road

They are currently on Etsy as a set of six but I’m thinking of changing them to my more standard set of four.  But which four?! It’s always hard to choose.

And my Dollar Store Glowing Eye Candle Holders (click the link for a tutorial) were a hit last year so I plan to make more Glowing Eyes Candle Holders for Halloween by Cheltenham Road

But I don’t want to offer exactly the same thing so I’m looking for ways to change them up a bit

WARNING: EVIL CLOWNS AHEAD

I’m experimenting with painting the inside of the holder itself – to add brightness and make the eyes even more disturbingly glowy

And I enjoyed the results last Halloween when I used the Folk Art Painted Finishes to create the mossy effect on a dollar store skull. so I thought I’d see what I thought of it here

I like that it gives it all a greenish glow.  And you can see a bit more of the detail of the “moss” effect in this picture

But my jury is a bit out actually.

The product works great I’m just not sure it’s quite what I’m going for.

Or maybe it just doesn’t go with clowns but will look awesome with creepy, old Victorians?Glowing Eyes Candle Holders for Halloween by Cheltenham Road

I was also thinking about wrapping the top in some sort of funereal black ribbon or cloth.

What do you think?

All I know for sure is that I really need to crank the AC cause there is nothing Halloweeny about sweating……unless you’re wearing a Wookie costume I guess……

 

 

 

 

Rustic, Distressed Paint Finish with the Folk Art Coastal Paints

Rustic Utensil Caddy image transfer

The good folks at Plaid sent me some more paint: Folk Art Coastal

The paints are super-thick and you can use them to create a textured, weathered effect. I was eager to try them out.

I just needed a project and that’s when things got….complicated.

So I ask you to bear with me as this project goes in a lot of directions.

I landed on the idea for a little silverwear caddy but since I always want to do everything RIGHT NOW and stores were closed (4th of July) I decided to make my own.

I’m not actually recommending you make your own – there are plenty of them available to purchase – but just to be thorough – here is how I made mine.

I cut some 3/8″ scrap wood down to size:

  • 2 front panels 4″ high by 10″ long
  • 2 side panels 4″ high by 6″ long
  • Center divider 10″ long, 7″ high with a handle I cut out with a jigsaw
  • Divider panels 4″ high by 2.5 wide.
  • bottom panel cut to size (not shown….I may have forgotten about that little detail until the last minute…..)

To make things easier I pre-painted the interior after marking where the joints would glue together.

I used my pin-nailer to attach the interior dividers first

Then added the end panels

Then the middle divider and the back side.

Ok, NOW it’s time to talk painting (which you may recall was the actual point of this whole endeavor)

The paint is thick, fun to work with and easy to use.  I wanted to use two colors to create that, aged, layered, crumbly effect and I started off with the blue

I laid down a base layer – fairly smooth – just for coverage then, while it was still wet, loaded up my brush and splotched/smushed more paint on to create some texture.

Once that had a couple of hours to dry I went back in with the white.

Again, I just kind of played around with it, smooshing and splotching until I got a look I liked.

THEN I decided I wanted to see how all that fun texture would work if I tried to add some graphics.

I put together a quick BBQ Restauant image

and headed into my go-to image transfer technique using polycrilic.

DISCLAIMER:  I had to photograph all this early in the morning which led to a lot of artsy shadows so please forgive the “film noir” effect.…..Although it does add a certain drama to the whole thing and I came to think of it as Patsy’s BBQ! – you know, where the murders happened!”

After reversing the image I printed it out using my laser printer.

(I seem to be having some serious problems with the whole backwards thing lately.  So, while one does want to PRINT the image in reverse one does not actually have to photograph said image upside down to add to the confusion.  My apologies.)

I laid down a good coat of polycryic

put my paper in place and used a brayer to make sure I had good contact (cleaning up any poly that I squeezed out).

After giving it a few hours in the sun to dry I rubbed away the paper using a damp rag.

This technique works so well – a bit too well actually – I actually wanted a bit more distress so when I moved over to do the other images I added some cracks to the actual graphic, used a bit less poly and rubbed a bit less aggressively.  That gave me the perfect look.

I liked it.  Loved the texture but it looked a bit too clean so I used some Folk Art Home Decor Antiquing wax.

Easy to use – just add a tiny amount to the brush and rub it in in a circular motion.

Suitably rustic.

I really like the textured layers the paint provides (especially keeping in mind that I used MDF wood which has no grain or texture of its own)

The only downside?

Now I’m hungry for BBQ and, of course, I can’t go to Patsy’s…..partly due to the fact that it doesn’t exist but more importantly because they never managed to get the blood stains off the floor.  So unappetizing.

Disclaimer: Plaid Enterprises provided me with the paint and brushes for this project as part of their Plaid Ambassador program.  The idea for the project and all opinions are totally my own.  I received no other compensation.

Ikea Lazy Susan Becomes a Versatile Chalkboard Serving Tray and I Eat a lot of Cheese!

Penmanship is not my forte.

At all.

I was once told by a friend that I had “the handwriting of a serial killer.”

It could make a guy self-conscious.

I include a handwritten notes with every Etsy order I send and I always picture the customer opening the package and exclaiming: “oh look honey!  Jeffrey Dahlmer sent us some coasters.  How thoughtful!

So, while I have admired all the cool chalkboard art and lettering that you see all over the place it seemed pretty thoroughly out of reach for someone with my, um, limitations.

But the folks at Folk Art have come to my rescue!

As part of my Plaid Ambassadorship they sent me Chalkboard Paint, their new, smudge-proof, erasable, liquid chalk as well as line of stencils that let you create that cool, handwritten text. 

I was eager to try them out but not sure what to make.

A while back, on a whim, I’d picked up a $10 lazy susan from Ikea and I thought it would be cool to make a versatile, chalkboard, lazy susan for parties and such.

The chalkboard paint was easy to apply – two coasts with a light sanding in-between and then a 24 hour cure time.

I liked this product (I’ve used chalkboard spray paint in the past).  It went on smoothly and dried quickly.

Once cured, as directed,  I tempered the surface by rubbing some actual chalk over it and then wiping it away.

Now it was stencil time! …….. And learning curve time!

The stencil set is by Lily and Val and it’s actually a two-parter. 

To create the hand-lettered effect you lay down the first stencil and apply the liquid chalk. 

After a few minutes of drying time you lay the other stencil over it and complete the letter.

It took me a few tries to get the results I wanted (more on that in a sec) but I’m happy with the final look.  And  I like that the set also includes versatile shapes  – like the banner around the “enjoy” text.

It does, however, take a while to lay out a word (no Gorgonzola at this party!).  To speed things along I ended up mixing an matching with some other Folk Art stencils I had on hand.  And, of course, it’s just paint – you don’t have to use a stencil at all if,unlike me, your free-hand skills are solid.

I am not a very practiced stenclier and while the bottle of liquid chalk comes with a spouncer attached I could never, for the life of me, get it to work satisfactorily so I switched over to a standard stencil brush.

The main  learning curve for me was the amount of paint needed.  Even after I thought I’d removed a lot of paint from the brush I still ended up with paint bleeding under the stencil (Bright side!  it was easy to wash away the paint and try again).  Once I took almost all the paint off the results were much better.

And then came the test!

The claim is that the paint won’t smudge or fade but that you can easily wipe it off and do a new design.

My idea was that this would be a versatile piece.  It could be a cheese tray at one party and then a dessert tray, or condiment tray at another.  This, of course, wouldn’t work if the paint “ghosted” when you tried to remove it.

So, I let everything dry (sitting in a sunny window actually) for a couple of days.

I couldn’t rub the paint away with my fingers no matter how hard I tried.

But, a quick wipe with a damp towel and it was gone.  No ghosting.

The chalkboard doesn’t look used and grey – just back to good-as-new.  Perfect!

So, I have a multi-use serving tray AND I got to eat a lot of cheese!  BEST. PROJECT. EVER!!!!!

NOTE:  The Chalkboard paint is dishwasher safe and non-toxic.  It is not, however, labeled at “food safe” hence all the cheese is on wax paper and the crackers in containers.

The liquid chalk paint and stencils are available at JoAnn and A.C. Moore stores (Michaels carries the stencils but not the liquid chalk for some reason)

Disclaimer:  The folk at Plaid have provided me with the chalkboard paint, stencils and liquid chalk for this project as part of my Plaid Ambassadorship.  There was no other financial remuneration.  The idea for the project and the opinions expressed are 100% my own.

DIY Father’s Day Ideas and an All Ice Cream Diet

Well, for a while there I was rocking that Every-Sunday-Blog-Post thing.  It felt good!  I felt like a responsible grown up blogger…. and then….I hit the creativity wall.  Has that ever happened to you?  I just drew a blank.

Now, the standard good advice about times like this is that you should go outside, talk to friends, peruse Pinterest , re-energize and get inspired!

I chose to sit quietly, talk to no one and focus on how many different things I could find in my pantry to put on top of ice cream (my current favorite is pretzels, caramel sauce and chocolate chunks).

Sooooo…..not  much new to share at the moment.  And I thought if I presented another tray or “vintage” sign you all might rise up in (understandable) craft-mutiny.

However, the fog seems to have cleared  because I’m excited about a new project and I hope to post about it on Wednesday (I’m out of pretzels  I have to do something!)

Sneak peek – it involves an Ikea lazy Susan, chalkboard paint and a new product from the folks at Folk Art.

In the meantime Father’s Day upon us!

During my…. let’s call it a sugar-coma lull…. I did keep busy with custom projects.  I worked with a customer on a fun variation on my baseball field Subway Coasters for her dad who is a big LA Dodger fan.  So, Dodger Blue rather than black and his favorite players.  I hope he likes them!

And I realized I’ve done several Fathers Day themed projects over the years so I thought I’d do a quick review in case anyone is stuck for ideas.

I did this project for Mod Podge Rocks last year and I’ve made a few more since.  They are fun, pretty straighforward and inexpensive – click the picture for the link to the full Mod Podge Rocks tutorial.


Father's Day Gift Idea

This little pen holder is  easily customized and simple to create with inexpensive odds and ends.Simple Father's Day Project Tutorial Cheltenham Road

And finally, this photo display is made from affordable metal switch plates and plumbing fittings for a kind of industrial/rustic vibe.

OK, back on Wednesday….unless I make it to the grocery store…..

The Best One Year Anniversary Gift Idea

I’ve talked a lot about my family’s creativity.  Dad, mom, sisters – all do terrific work.

Happily, the gene doesn’t skip generations.

You may recall, a few years ago, my niece, Maggie did a guest blog post here detailing her makeover of her office.  It was wonderful!

Well, it was wonderful until she got more comments on her post than any post I had ever done and then Maggie was, of course,  DEAD TO ME.

So, while that was unfortunate and we all miss Maggie I’m happy to report that my sisters were thoughtful enough to produce several other offspring and up to bat today is the wild-card.  The only nephew.  Jordan!

Jordan is sort of the quiet one who comes up with unexpectedly great suggestions that immediately make me think “that’s brilliant!  I will totally pretend it was my idea!!!”

However, this time there is photographic proof.  And a wife. So…….

Welcome Jordan!

Jordan got married last year to the truly wonderful Kate and they have spent the year living, at least according to Instagram, the life I want to live – great meals, travel, theatre, movies, sports and extremely on-point (finger)nail art (Kate not Jordan on that last one but if he wanted to I’m sure he’d be able to pull it off).

They hit the one year mark recently and since that is traditionally the Paper anniversary Jordan had a pretty terrific idea.

He collected all the paper memorabilia from their first year together – tickets, playbills etc

He picked up a frame from Michaels.  And a matte that had a fairly small opening and a lot of surface space.

Using the paper that came with the frame as a template he laid out collage design and used a sharp craft knife to cut out the details around the matte opening.

After adhering all the pieces using double sided mounting squares (again from Michaels)

He let the the cardboard backing and the glass sort of smoosh them together into a smooth layer.

And voila!  A pretty awesome one-year Paper Anniversary gift!

Cotton is Year 2 traditionally and I’m keen to see what he comes up with (the bar is pretty high here Jordan – you might want to purchase the sheep now just to get a jump start.  Oh wait, that’s wool…..ok, I’m out of ideas – you’re on your own dude).

 

Make a Magnetic Bulletin Board

Thanks so much for the all the flattering answers to the “how did you hear about this blog” question on the Mod Podge Anniversary (giveaway) post.  I was trying to do a little market research not fishing for compliments but boy-oh-boy what a super pleasant side benefit!  Thank you!  You totally made my weekend.

And, just a quick reminder, there is still time to enter the Mod Podge Gift Basket Giveaway raffle.  You can check out what’s being given away and how to enter on this post.

Now, onto this week’s project.DIY Magnetic Bulletin Board Tutorial

Disclaimer: I used my trusty Lenk tool for this and while I love it and it’s inexpensive I do realize it’s not for everyone so I have ideas at the end of the post for easy alternates.  Bottom line, this is more an “inspiration” tutorial than a “do what I do or perish!!!!” tutorial.

 

On my recent trip home to Ohio, while poking around in stores with my sisters and neice (it’s how we roll) I saw some cool magnetic bulletin boards and I’ve been itching to try to make my own version.

Here is what  I used:

  • A picture frame
  • Muslin fabric
  • Lenk Woodworking Tool*
  • Metal flashing (found in the roofing section of Home Depot)
  • Tin snips
  • Elmer’s Spray Adhesive
  • Invisible Painters Tape!  Look for it everywhere! (or perhaps I just forgot to take a picture of it)
  • Vintage graphic(s)

*I’ve used the Lenk in numerous other projects, it’s inexpensive, useful and you can find it here (not an affiliate link).

Using the backer that came with the frame as a guide I cut out a piece of the metal flashing and set it aside.

I then cut a piece of the muslin a bit larger than the backer

taped it in place making sure it was stretched smoothly and popped it back into the frame.

I printed my graphic (in reverse) on my laser printer just using plain old,cheap, legal sized paper.  I had to print it out in two sections to accommodate the size.

I then got to work with my trusty Lenk Woodworking Tool (I have a tutorial on the details of using the Lenk here) I’ll be honest, the Lenk is great and works beautifully but doing a graphic this, well, graphicy, took a lot of patient back and forthing.

Fortunately, as always, my faithful new (porn-star-in-the-making), dog Pi was on hand to keep me company and help out.

Seriously – that’s how he sleeps!  He trots into the room, plops down on his bed in the corner, rolls over, falls asleep instantly and begins to snore so alarmingly I’ve googled “tiny sleep apnea machines for dogs” several times)

OK, I’ll let sleeping dogs lie snore and get back to the project at hand.

The Lenk is pretty forgiving when you’re doing transfer.  I’ve found I don’t have to tape the graphic down and I can check the transfer as I go along by peeling up the corner.  If I’m dissatisfied I can just lay it back down and keep rubbing.

When it’s all good, just peel away slowly and – boom!  Image transferred.

Next up was to add the flashing.

I removed the tape from the backer board but before I took the board away I marked the edges were with a pencil.

I used the spray adhesive on the metal flashing

And ,using my pencil marks as a guide, laid the flashing, sticky side down, onto the back of the muslin.

I laid the backer board on top of the flashing, taped the muslin in place and popped the hole thing back in the frame.

I had so much fun with these I had to make a couple more. I mean, who wouldn’t want a giant Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice magnet board?!  You could leave pithy, exceedingly correct notes to your family!!!!

Or maybe a vintage postcard.  There is  even a spot “for correspondence.”

If you’re keen to make your own versions there are lots of great graphics out there.

I have to do some more research on the telephone graphic but you can find the postcard graphic care of the terrific resource Fuzzimo.

And I just made up the Library Card and you can download a high res PDF of  it if you’d like by clicking this link: Library Card Master

OK – other options for you non-Lenkers.

I had never done image transfer to fabric and found that  there are tons of good tutorials linked on Pinterest.

I used the Lenk because I  had it on-hand.  It worked great but I think, for most folks, image transfer paper would probably be a very do-able, affordable option and it’s what I’m going to try next.   I’ll report back if I discover any tips or superior brands to use (or if you know of some please do weigh in in the comments).

OK, I’m gonna wake up the dog and take him for a walk.

Easy DIY Vintage Sign and a Pie Distraction

There were big plans.  Big, organized, stay-on-schedule PLANS!

I made a bunch of frames for Further Adventures in Spite Crafting.

I was gonna get all of them done and present you with a Spite Extravaganza!

And it was to be glorious!

But then I thought, “all this organized productivity is super.  Why don’t you throw a wrench in it?!”

So I did!

 

Please meet Pie.

For years friends have been saying, and I have been agreeing, that I should get a dog.

I just never quite got around to doing it until, well, now.

He’s from a shelter of course.

(he wears the “Cone of Shame” due to a slight, um….adjustment he experienced before I could bring him home.  Please don’t tell him about it)

He’s  a stray with no known history. They think he’s between 1 and 2 years old.  A mini pinscher mix.

Crazy sweet-natured.

If you sit anywhere near him he curls up in your lap.

This has caused a slow-down in production but a decided uptick in happiness!

However,  I did get around to a bit of my plan – just not the glorious, overwhelming part (stay tuned.  I’m totally sure that’s coming).

I really liked the look of the Spite Photo Display (the link will give you the full tutorial on how I made it)but, being just relentlessly me, I just felt it needed……wait for it!……OK, say it along with me……TEXT!  GRAPHICS!!!!!

Crazy idea right?  You never saw it coming.

I’ll give you a moment to compose yourself and we’ll resume.

I played around a bit, mixing and matching from the supply of images I’ve done previously – just to see how it would look.

And I liked it and thought I’d do another.

This one would have a solid back (rather than the slats) so I came up with a simple, black and white design.

I reversed it, printed it out on my laser printer.

The backer was a scrap piece of Luan Plywood that I had painted with basic white acrylic paint and allowed to dry thorougly.

I applied the printed  image using the Polycrylic Transfer Technique (again, the link will give you the basics of how to do it – so easy!)

And, after letting it dry overnight rubbed away the paper with a damp cloth.

This technique works almost too well if, like me, you’re going for a vintage look.  

I needed it to be much more distressed and faded.

In the past I’d tried sanding it which was fine but always looked sorta, well, sanded rather than actually aged.

So this time I went back in and, with the same damp cloth, rubbed again, fairly hard, but across the grain of the wood.

Much better!

And just before I put it together (using just some wood glue and pin nails to attach it to the frame) I had a last minute idea to paint the inside and outside of my white frame black.

(You should have seen the precarious, silly, set up I made to take that picture.  It involved bricks, a cardboard box and fishing line….I had to snap all the pics super-fast before it fell over.  I’m terrible at this “vignette” thing that everyone else seems to do so well.)

My intention was that this would be another photo holder.  The design would serve to make it look good whether or not you had photos to hang.

But is it just me or is a Camera Shop Sign photo holder a bit too…… on the nose?

I’m thinking maybe instead I should put hooks or something on the bottom and make it a key holder or some such thing.

Notes:

  • If you wanted to do this yourself any thrift store frame would work.
  • I used latex paint for the backer and milk-paint for the frame.  I’m loving milk paint and it would have worked for the backer as well – I just had the latex handy
  • I did a quick hand-sanding of the frame after I painted it just to give it a bit of distress to match the sign.
  • If your image is too large to print on your own you can break it down into pieces and assemble it like a jigsaw puzzle or (easier) take it to a copy shop and have them print it out.  Plain copy paper works great.  Nothing fancy needed.
  • The backer could be anything sturdy enough to handle the paint and the damp-cloth rubbing.

OK, Pie needs a walk.

I actually think that, far from messing up my schedule, Pie may actually force me to be on a much better structured schedule.  Good stuff!

 

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