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Juggling and a Couple of Favors

I suppose it’s a good sign.

When I worked at the job I hated I’d wake up in the morning and stay in bed until I absolutely had to get up or I’d be late.

Now, when I wake up at some weird hyper-early hour (it’s 3:43AM as I type this) I think “oh, I can get a jump on the day!”

That means I’m happy, right? Eager to get going! I mean, I fall asleep unexpectedly at noon on occasion but I’m happy!

It has been bustling here of late and I have had a bit of trouble keeping all the balls in the air (hence the blog silence) – does that happen to you?

If I get super busy with Etsy and store orders the blog gets back-burnered. I finally got rolling on Instagram and Pinterest fell off the table. New products designs get created but new tutorial ideas and supplies are stacked up in the corners.

….and I really need to go grocery shopping…….I think those fuzzy pom poms in the fridge used to be strawberries……

But lots got done and launched. Here’s the catch-up.  And the first favor.

If you are an Instagram kinda person will you please add me to your roster?  There is a new link over in the sidebar to my Instagram account (I think).  I’m slowly getting the hang of it and I hope to provide fun, interesting content as my skills grow.

I have a new(ish) Mod Podge Rocks project tutorial up for review.

My good friend Karla is a TCM addict who needed a spot for grab-and-go jewelry.Mod Podge Jewelry Holder tutorialIt’s very easy to make and totally adaptable – you can see the whole tutorial at Mod Podge Rocks if you are jewelry wearer in need of a place to stash the every day stuff.

I vended at the big Abbott Kinney Festival last Sunday and came up with a few new coaster designs, among them Vintage Cameras.Vintage Camera Coaster SetI think we’re all well aware of my weakness for vintage cameras and I saw some very cool camera themed wrapping paper at a local store and thought “I could do something like that!” Vintage Cameras Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadSo I  got busy making my own take on the idea.  It was a lot of fun and I hope fellow vintage camera enthusiasts will like them.

I also continued to tinker a bit with the wrapper (and THANK YOU! to all of you who gave feedback on the last wrapper redesign – I truly appreciated it).Vintage Camera Coaster SetBut there are two big Behind-the-Scenes things going on at the moment.

1) I was accepted to sell on Amazon Handmade which is yet another step in Amazon’s attempt global domination.   They appear to be creating a very cool marketplace and they are VERY intent about making sure handmade means HANDMADE. I had to send them pictures of my workspace and process with very detailed descriptions of everything I do.   TIP: Don’t try to run your table saw and take pictures of you running your table saw at the same time.  Don’t ask me how I know.  I just know.

2) I’m finally  (it’s long overdue) getting a full-fledged Cheltenham Road website up and running. The blog will live there along with (eventually) an online store as well as all the other bells and whistles of a grown up web site. I’m not very adept with web stuff (or phones, or really anything much beyond pen and paper) but I think it’s starting to come together.   I’ll do a big post about it when it’s really ready to go but you can get a little preview if you’d like by clicking here.  And, as my second favor request, if you have any thoughts on things you’d like to see on the new site let me know

So, I hope you’ll bear with me as I learn new juggling skills and, hopefully, in the near future, I’ll be able to keep all the balls in the air at once.

After a nap.


Creepy Halloween Candy Tray Tutorial

DIY Creepy Crawly Hallween Tray TutorialI do realize that some of you may be a bit over-Halloweened at this point.

I also realize that I talked about those candle holders for something like three posts and I apologize.

But, may I beg your indulgence for juuuuust one more Halloween thing? I promise I will then return to our regular programming (OK, there will be more Halloween things but I will spread them out a bit better).

On a whim I bought (using a coupon) one of those coffin shaped trays that they have at Michaels this year.

I wasn’t totally sure what I was going to do with it but then I saw a bag of plastic cockroaches and a plan was born!! (insider secret – that’s how all my plans start – bags of plastic bugs. It’s a quirky creative process but it’s worked so far).

You see, I have very fond childhood memories of making Creepy CrawlersMATTEL_THINGMAKER_TOY_FEATURING_CREEPY_CRAWLERS_SET_4477_BOX_LID

Now, given my, um, less than coordinated proclivities and the fact that a hot plate was involved it’s somewhat surprising I survived the experience and that my memories aren’t of searing pain.LRCreepyCrawlersMIBB_lgBut I digress.

My sisters did not enjoy Creepy Crawlies.

My sisters did not enjoy finding Creepy Crawlies hidden in their sheets.

I very much enjoyed my sisters finding Creepy Crawlies in their sheets!

So, not having actually matured very much since then I thought, “wouldn’t it be fun if when people reached for their candy they uncovered bugs!!!!????!!!!”DIY Halloween Tray TutorialAnd thus my latest Mod Podge Rocks project was born!

It’s pretty dang easy! There is just a bit of patience required as the dry times at various stages can be kinda long.

Also, did you know they still make Creepy Crawlers?! I was amazed. That was one of those toys I thought would be deemed to be far too dangerous these days.

And now I realize I have a trip back home to Ohio to visit my sisters coming up……..oh the possibilities………

Spooky Halloween Candle Tutorial

I would be a lousy scientist.

I don’t like to experiment – I like to execute ideas perfectly the first time.

This, of course, has never happened but I just know I would like it more.

My spooky tealight holders took a lot of experimenting.

I tried small jars (too small!).

I tried red paint dripping down from the top (too silly looking)

As we know, I took a brief ill-advised, foray into glitter (too…ponies and unicorns!)spooky, glowing eye Halloween candle holders by Cheltenham roadI tried mason jars (too – “hey that’s a mason jar”).

I tried using velum for the images (too – um, the toner slides off when you try to mod podge it).

It all made me too – cranky!

But I kept at it and refined it a bit and I think I’m ready to present my final take on making spooky glowing eyed candle holders.

Halloween Decoration Tutorial

They are actually very easy to make but, for some reason, kind of wordy to explain so hang in there.

PLEASE NOTE: these are designed to be used only with electric tealights

Here is the round up of supplies I used:Make creepy candle holders for halloween

  • Glass Candle Holders or jars (can you see them?  sorry.  glass! hard to photograph). Mine are from Dollar Tree. I used only straight sided holders and looked for a variety of heights and shapes.
  • Matte Mod Podge (not pictured)
  • Spray Paint. I used black, grey and some window frosting paint I had lying around. Any color that appealed would do – the cheap stuff is perfect.
  • Rag: the more texture on it the better. It probably won’t survive the process so don’t get too attached.
  • Print outs of dour or un-photogenic Victorians (laser/toner based prints)
  • Foam brush
  • Sand Paper
  • Sharp craft knife

Finding Photos

Flickr is a great source for old photos and I stuck mostly to Daguerreotypes as they tend to be very clear (you can find great collections here and here.)

I looked for distinct faces and prominent eyes. The larger the eyes are to begin with the easier this process is and the better the results. Also, while a whole crowd of glowing eyed spooks sounds awesome – it gets less a lot less awesome as you sit there cutting out tons of little tiny holes. I learned to stick with pics that featured one or two people.

After downloading my faves I resized them to suit my candle holder dimensions and printed them out on plain paper.

Paint the Candle Holders

This part has to be done pretty fast before the spray paint dries.

Working with one candle holder at a time spray the top and bottom pretty thoroughly but just let the over-spray take care of covering the middle (it makes life easier and less messy down the road).Halloween DecorationThe moment your done spraying wrap the candle holder in the rag pressing it into the paint with your hands.Easy DIY Halloween Centerpiece Tutorial Cheltenham RoadGive it just a second or two and then remove the rag.Easy Mod Podge Halloween CraftYou’ll have a nice, decrepit texture.

Using the same rag repeat that process with as many candle holders as you want in as many colors as you want.


While the candle holders finish drying take a craft knife and cut out everybody’s eyes! (upsetting sentence #1).

I learned to go a bit wider than the subjects actual eyes – removing the whole eye socket is best (upsetting sentence #2).Creepy, Glowing Eye Halloween Decor

I focused on using pics of children this time around because my brother-in-law sent me an email after the last blog post saying that I needed more little kids because “glowing eyed evil children are better” (upsetting sentence #3) (also, what is going on with my family?!  They are kinda creeping me out)

Applying the Photos

In my first attempt at these I painted the whole candle holder solid black and then just scraped away where they eyes went.  Result? Glowing eyes but, when the lights were dimmed that was all you could really see – the faces disappeared.  So, in order to get the whole face to glow a bit along with the eyes I found that if I painted the middle lightly and then, using sandpaper, scraped away some more paint it worked out great. Creepy Glowing Eyes Halloween Decor Tutorial Cheltenham Road I didn’t sand away every trace – just most of what was there.  The streaks that remain add some nice dark spots when the candle is turned on.

A quick dry-check to make sure I sanded the right spotSpooky Halloween Decoration Tutorial and it’s time for Mod Podging the pic in place.  Halloween Luminary TutorialI applied one image at a time working my way around the candle holder, smoothing out the image and wiping away any excess Mod Podge.

Once everything dried I added a sealing coat of Mod Podge.

I then went back in with my craft knife and scraped away around the eyes one last time for extra glowiness.

I think they make their case in regular light.  They’d look good as a center-piece or on a mantle.Haunted Halloween Candle Holders by Cheltenham RoadBut dim the lights a bit and let the spooky really kick inGlowing Eyes Candle Holder for HalloweenYou can see how the textured paint allows some of the light through both behind and under the pictures.Dollar Store Halloween CraftsI discovered it was best to get the light up to eye level so for taller candle holders so I used a chunk of wood, a dowel or even a plastic cup to elevate the electric tealight.

Someone at Scare LA suggested that, rather than old pics, you could use pics of ex boyfriends, or your mother-in-law.  Mean! but funny!Glowing Eyes Candle Holders for Halloween by Cheltenham RoadI hope this is helpful.  If I’ve left anything too vague let me know and I’ll address it.


DIY Photo Display and Global Economics

Easy DIY Photo Display Project Cheltenham RoadSo, one of the symptoms of my DIY-illness is that I seldom see something in a store and think “I should buy that!” Instead I almost always think “I want to make that.”

I also want to drop everything and make it RIGHT NOW!

That’s fine but the downside is that I often find myself really, really chomping at the bit to make my version of something that is already being mass-manufactured overseas – which can feel a bit silly. I’m not keen on falling into the category ofwhy make itBUT! (you knew this was coming)

When you DIY it you can customize to make it your own.

That’s my justification and I’m sticking to it.

Such was the case when my friend Aimee pulled me into Michaels, pointed at one of those Maker Market photo display and asked if I could make one for her but in different colors.

“HAH! Perfect justification!” thought I – and got to work. The project also doubled as my latest Mod Podge Rocks Tutorial – so you can see all the steps if you are so inclined.  Spoiler Alert: There aren’t many.

It proved to be fun and sooooo easy and versatile that I actually made several. Some using scrap book paper,Easy DIY Photo Display Tutorial

some using prints of old postcardsPhoto Display Tutorial by Cheltenham Road

and some just painted and distressed.

Shape, size, color – they sky is the limit on these!  So why buy them?!

Cheltenham Road: Undermining the Chinese Economy One Project At A Time

Knick of Time Inspiration Party

DIY Magnetic Memo Board and…….Halloween?

I, David,  the man who has recently managed to goof up what day he has a big craft show will now speak of organization techniques.

Stop laughing.

Seriously.  It’s one of my (many) summer goals:

  •   Get organized (or re-organized ’cause I was, at one point, pretty well organized)
  •   Get work-flow streamlined, and
  • FIND A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING (desk-piles will no longer be acceptable).

The first stop on that last item is a real-life Pinterest board.

Pinterest has been great but sometimes,  I need to pin actual, tangible, things and have them readily available.

Did you know you could do that?

Now, technically this could qualify as Use What You’ve Got Project 7 but it’s a double agent functioning as my latest Mod Podge Rocks project as well.DIY Magnetic Memo BoardYou can check out the pleasantly simple tutorial over at MPR.

I like the fact that this works magnetically but also serves as a place to jot down notes.Magentic Bulletin Board Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadIt was easy to put together and while I was “using what I had” the same thing could be created with any number of different pieces-parts that you might have around – picture frames, pallet wood scraps etc etc.

Speaking of being organized and getting things planned, did you know that Halloween is coming?

OK, well not super-soon but even before the actual day there is Scare LA!

I did Scare LA last year and really didn’t know what to expect and was completely blown away.  The crowd was large and enthusiastic but, even more importantly, it was a beautifully put together event.  There were speakers and panels, demonstrations and craft areas – truly something for everyone.  And the costumes!!!!  It was pretty awesome.

It’s coming around again this year (August 8th and 9th) to an even bigger venue in Pasadena and I am happy to be participating.

All that was the lead up to say that, if you are a Halloween connoisseur you might want to put it on your calendar (organized!) and, for a while you can get a discount on tickets using the code: SCARECHELT – just click on the pic below to be taken to their siteSCARE LAWhich reminds me, I need to get going….here in June….on Halloween projects!

I also need to clean up these piles on my desk…and make a couple more magnetic boards.  I’m thinking a small one could go right next to my monitor here (in place of the picture) Turn a closet into a desk areathat way I could jot down ideas and keep track of “to-do lists – quickly……because “stop losing your to-do list” should also  be on my To-Do list.


Father’s Day Project Tutorial and Calendar Challenges

Simple Father's Day Project Tutorial Cheltenham RoadDid you all know that the Patchwork Long Beach Festival that I had signed up for was, in fact, NOT on June 14th but rather on June 7th?

You did?

How funny that you didn’t mention that.

I myself did not realize that fun fact until Monday.  The 1st.  Monday the 1st is when it suddenly became clear to me that I did not have two weeks but rather had five days to restock what had sold at the Santa Ana show.

I, of course, approached this crisis with a Zen-like calm and poise.

My week was filled with with stressed out panic chamomile tea and brunching with chums.

In the midst of brunching and chatting I got this idea for a Father’s Day Project and, as we know, when I get one of these ideas I feel overwhelmingly compelled to make it. Luckily it came together very,very fast leaving me time to lounge at the pool consuming bon-bons as I am wont to do.

I started out with the followingSimple DIY Father's Day Project by Cheltenham Road

  • Three 2″ wood blocks from Michaels
  • Two 3/4″ nuts
  • Wood Stain
  • E6000 glue
  • Mod Podge
  • 8 graphic prints (more on that at the end of the post) sized to 1.75 inches square
  • Electric Drill with a good sized bit
  • Sandpaper

I gave the blocks a light sanding just to smooth things out and marked the center of each.

After quickly drilling the hole in the center I stained the blocks, allowed them to dry and applied my graphics.Quick Father's Day DIY Pen Holder Project by Cheltenham Road

The graphics went on three sides of what would be the end blocks and just on the front and back of the center block.  Once they had dried I sealed them with another coat of Mod Podge

A little E6000 got the bolts in their place and I used two books to brace them while the glue dried.Pen Holder Project for Father's Day by Cheltenham Road

Done! Easy and quick.Easy Pen and Pencil Holder Project by Cheltenham Road

I, of course, used patent prints for my images because patent prints are all I can think about these days but there are so many options.DIY Pen Holder Desk Accessory Cheltenham RoadMaybe use scanned family or school pictures?  Perhaps scan and reduce kid’s drawings?

Scans of cool, old stamps would be fun.Pen Holder Tutorial Cheltenham Road

Or, getting away from Father’s day what about fruit crate labels, or tea label graphics (not that dads cant like fruit or tea)?  The blocks could be painted white and scrap book paper applied. It just seems like there are a lot of fun possibilities.

So there you have it.  And now I’m off to lie down for a little while several days because, you know how it is – all that relaxation can be soooo draining.

PS:  The show went great!  I was a bit groggy and the basic math skills required to run a booth did, on occasion elude me, but the weather was perfect, tons of stuff sold and the crowd was awesome (and I had the assistance of my terrific niece Sabrina who charmed pretty much everyone that came along.  I’m a very lucky, if calendar challenged, guy!).


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.


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