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Reclaimed Wood Halloween Bat


This post was going to be titled: “Surrounded by Craft Supplies and Out of Ideas” which is the state I’ve been in for the past week or so.

But then, as is often the case, just as I sat down to admit defeat, I had in inconveniently timed, sort of iffy, idea!

Welcome to Crafting in a Hurry with Cheltenham Road.

I thought I’d try my hand at making a Halloween Bat out of reclaimed wood.* Reclaimed Wood Halloween Bat

*Reclaimed!  I’ve been calling all my projects “Scrap Wood X” or “Scrap Wood Y” and then I stumbled upon people billing their projects as “Reclaimed” which sounds so much more artisinal and earthy and less like “I can’t measure and have a bunch of leftover wood hanging around…..

It came together quickly and you can learn from my it-shouldn’t-come-together-that-quickly mistakes!

(corrections and alternate suggestions will come at the end of the post.  Save yourself!  Read them!!)

I started off with four pieces of leftov …Reclaimed MDF.

MDF is great – easy to work with and inexpensive but it’s doesn’t have any texture so I needed to add a bit for interest.

I did my usual distressing technique:How to Distress New Wood

  1. rub the wood with a wax candle (in this case a scented one which makes my “old, crappy” wood smell delightful!)
  2. paint using leftove………. Reclaimed black latex paint
  3. After allowing it to dry I went back in with my sander to distress it
  4. Where the paint didn’t stick the MDF was revealed but it looked a bit to “fresh” for me so I touched it up with just a light wash of wood stain which also dulled the paint a bit more.



















Once everything had dried a bit I flipped the pieces over and connected them using glue, my pin nailer and some more reclaimed (!) MDF.

I printed out the silhouette of a bat that I got from The Graphics Fairy

My bat was to be 23″ wide so I just printed it out on two pieces of legal sized paper and taped them together and then taped the whole thing to the MDF boards.

My jigsaw made quick work of cutting out along the outline and adding a bit more rough texture to the edges (……..if  “Rustic” ever goes out of style and is replaced by “Precise” I’m totally screwed)

And, BOOM! Halloween Bat!Reclaimed Wood Halloween Bat

But wait!  Why stop there David?!  You’re in a hurry, so why not do something else that may or may not work?!!!!

Allow me to present my card:

I thought “hmmm, cool! but what if it had…..TEXT!!!!!!????”

I know!  Who could have seen this coming?!

But, nonetheless it came and must be attempted!

So I laid out some text inside the bat silhouette using my favorite, spooky phrase (thanks Shakespeare!)

I did my image transfer trick with polycrylic


It didn’t really work!

I kinda knew it wouldn’t.

What’s really needed are white letters and white isn’t an option with this technique.  So I tried orange and you could see them but not too well.

I went back in with some orange paint and followed the basic shape of the letters which looks …..rustic……..Halloween Bat Hanger by Cheltenham Road

Despite some “oops” along the way I really like this and think its a fun prototype!  It could be cool wall decor or something interesting to hang on the front door.

It was easy to make (esp if you don’t try doing it in a 2 hour period) and making them in a bunch of different colors and textures would be quite do-able.

Stay tuned!  I may make more!

Next Time:

  1. It came out fine and the slats on the back held the shape together while cutting but I lost a couple of details on the bat.  If I did it again I would cut a silhouette backer out of MDF and then attach the slats to the backer.
  2. Color.  If I was going to leave it just plain then the black totally works.  However, I do like the text.  Next time I would maybe distress the wood with a black undertone and a white top coat.  That way you’d end up with a sort of grey and black bat which would be sufficiently spooky and allow the text to pop.



Hold Please

Hold Please.

I apologize for the delay but I’m experiencing some technical difficulties.

It seems I ran out of room on this blog (I didn’t know that was a thing – apparently I talk too much) so I need to upgrade.

Unfortunately, upgrading costs money and my need to upgrade came at exactly the moment someone hacked all my credit cards (thanks Home Depot!)

So, I’m going to have to do some rejiggering behind the scenes which could take a few moment as I really don’t get the tech side of all this.

I’m hopeful that upon my return it will be an new, enhanced blog accompanied by some e-commerce options (not affiliate links or paid advertising or anything – just a way to buy my actual products).

Thanks for your bearing with me and for my new subscribers (thanks!) I swear more content will be forthcoming soonishly!


What To Do With All That Scrap Wood?

I have a lot of stuff.

Scrap wood (tons!), bits and pieces from Great Ideas! that never quite came to fruition.

Bits and pieces from Great Ideas! that did come to fruition but, perhaps, shouldn’t have….

You get the picture.

And now I have a lot of stuff and I have a goal.

The Blair Witch room must be  torn down and rebuilt soon and the not-in-great-shape-itself garage workshop needs to be shored up as well.

Since the bids for that project are coming in at 80K and up that means two things need to happen:

  1. I need to sell A LOT of coasters and
  2. I need to get rid of all that stuff – preferably not by renting a dumpster

So, with numerous spring shows coming up I wanted to create some quick, easy projects that use up supplies.

Now, because my dad was a precise, thoughtful, craftsman/engineer all of his projects began with carefully considered and fully rendered blueprints and layouts.

Since I am not any of those things all my projects start with me randomly grabbing things and making it up as I go along (dad’s way was better).

I gave myself 45 minutes to put together each prototype.

This one isn’t anything ground breaking- you can find similar things at Michaels 

but it uses up leftover coaster-wood.  It is just strips of 1/4 inch mdf pin nailed onto 1/2″ mdf end caps.

I painted it out, sanded the edges  a bit and “aged” it using antiquing wax.  

And that’s nice but I figure in order to make it a bit more than “something you can buy at Michaels” I needed to do my own thing with it so I covered up a lot of that careful “antiquing” with images pulled from my stock of vintage postcard graphics (and a little image transfer on the end caps)

I think it has possibilites.

Up next, I was making the best apple pie I’ve ever made or eaten and realized what I needed in my kitchen was a thing to hold up magazines or my ipad.

Again, I used leftover coaster wood scraps cut to 2×12 with a little shelf at the bottom.

After staining the edges I waxed over them, painted it white and sanded the paint away to reveal the stain (similar to how did this project).

Again, not particularly earth shatteringly creative but I added a graphic (using my polycrylic image transfer technique) and I like how it looks.  

Again, it needs some refining – like,  I love that graphic (which is courtesy of the awesome Angie at Knick of Time – you can find the download for the graphic here) but it’s a bit overwhelming – I think I need something a bit less “graphicy” for the next round.

And finally, I have a bunch of mason jars and saw this great tutorial for painting them which lead to another quickie box/tote/centerpiece made with leftover plywood, paint and….wait for it…….image transfer!!!!!

Although I clearly have a limited flower budget you get the idea and I think it too has possibilities.

So I’ll be working on these and a few other ideas over the next little while.

Once I figure out the “best” way to do one of them I’ll do a full-fledged tutorial if you’re interested.

But for now I need to go make a lot of coasters.



Experimenting with Martha Stewart Milk Glass Paint

Committed to keeping my vow to never be as behind as I was this last Holiday Season I spent the week cranking out coasters to build up my in-stock inventory.  They are everywhere!

But I needed a little break yesterday and I wanted an activity that would help to re-energize my creative side.

Happily I had a new box of goodies from the folks at Plaid (I’m a member of their Plaid Ambassador Program)

First out of the box was some Martha Stewart Milk Glass Paint

I was intrigued!

I didn’t have any immediate need for anything milk-glassy but I did have some of those inexpensive little milk bottles they sell at Michaels.  

So grabbed those and got to work.

The instructions give you a few options for application: Soft bristle brush, foam pouncer or you can just kinda pour it on the glass (gravity!).

I didn’t have a pouncer and the gravity thing caused all my “Wasteful! Messy!!!!” alarms to go off (why I’m concerned about being wasteful with a product I got for free is one of the ongoing quirks of my “deep-pockets-short-arms personality disorder).

So I went with the brush.

The paint is easy to work with but it was pretty clear that it was going to take a couple of coats to get good coverage or  a rich color.

It was bluer than it looks in this photo and it darkened a bit as it dried but a second coat was clearly needed.

After repeating the application using the pink and white paints it occurred to me that my little milk bottles would look good in a little holder so I grabbed some scrap  MDF  (1/4 inch) from the shop, cut it down

(that’s a 2.5″ x 9″ base piece, two 1.25×9″ sides and two 1.25×3″ end pieces)

and assembled it using wood glue and my pin nailer

Now you may want to sit down for the shock that is about to come.

After painting my little box I thought: “this little box will need some graphics!!!!”

I know!  You never saw that coming did you………..

Anyway…… while perusing Pinterest I’d seen some fun, old vintage flower and seed boxes so I put together a graphic to add to the side.

Because I was, as always, in a hurry I used my Lenk tool for the transfer. (If you’re new to these parts you can see a tutorial for it here)

And then it was time for the second coat of the Milk Glass paint and I decided to experiment a bit.

For the blue bottle I used the brush again and while the color got richer the brush marks were pretty evident.  The instructions had told me that this was what would happenbut it also wasn’t quite the look I was hoping for.

So, with no pouncer I had to get over my fears/cheapness and give gravity a shot.

I poured the paint on the inside of the pink bottle and swirled it around.  It was impossible to photograph (sorry) but worked quite well.   However, although the paint, once dry, can be hand-washed it can’t be left submerged or sitting in water so pouring paint on the inside kind of limits the usefulness of the bottle.

So I poured the white paint on the outside of the white bottle.  I wasn’t quite as messy as I’d feared but it also clumped a bit as it dried (and was also impossible to photograph)

But, the results are pretty if not quite what I’d imagined.

The colors are great and I think the technique holds promise (and to be fair, switching application styles in the middle is my fault not the paints’).

Bottom line – I liked it but  I’ll have to play around with it some more and report back.

I was, however, very happy with my box!

Back to the factory!

Disclaimer: I’m a Plaid Ambassador and the good folks at Plaid have provided me with the paint I used in this project.  All opinions expressed are my own (clearly) and I received no other compensation and receive no compensation if you click on any links.

From the Mailbag!

I have to tell you the truth.

I kind of live for comments on the blog.  They really make my day and I love the community that we all have created.

And while I read and appreciate every single comment, there are a few select ones that never fail to leave me somewhat perplexed.

I’m talking about Spam.

It’s not all bad.  The spam bots can sometimes be quite encouraging.

For instance, I really feel like Alfie has my back:

And while Amberly’s passion regarding my “About Me” page is a bit overwhelming I do feel like I’ve really made an impact with her:


I truly look forward to hearing more from Bernie.  Although I fear we’ll need to overcome a small language barrier before our pen-pal relationship can truly flower:

And while I knew my feelings about Bondo were heartfelt,  “ to get more coins in pool” (which, btw, sounds like a useful activity to pursue) seems to really be taking it to the next level:



And then there are these words that every blogger longs to hear:

Isn’t that thoughtful?!!!  I wonder what this person’s social media friends are like?  Are they way into Mod Podge? !!!


Ohhh……well….I guess they have time on their hands……but going forward you’ll understand, I hope, if none of my tutorials require the use of a file or craft knife……

But what really makes life worthwhile is knowing that my blog is growing and reaching new people!

For instance, there is this lovely comment from a “first time visitor.”  I’m so glad I could help them and I look forward to seeing how they use my posts to help others!

But, on further investigation I just feel like my content may not line up with their readerships’ interests:

Again, though – it’s really all about community!

That’s all for today folks.  Keep those cards and letters coming!

Happy Holidays!


So….it’s been a while.

Sorry for the pause.

I just wanted to pop in (up?) and wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

I hope you all have had a wonderful Holiday Season!

I’ll be back with projects (and explanations) in 2018.

A Week Spent “Fixing” Things

Well I thought the last week was going to be a week of EXCITING!!!! and NEW!!!!

But the reality of deadlines, and my own endless desire to “fix” things made it a week of “REVISE!  REJIGGER”  and “FUTZ!!!!!” (coincidentally, Revise, Rejigger and Futz is  also the name of the law firm I’m starting geared specifically toward deadline challenged creatives)

I love designing things but I always  underestimate just how long it takes me to put a graphic together.

I sit down and suddenly it’s 5 hours later; I haven’t moved away from the computer and I’ve only produced one minor design.

This week I wanted to work on my Victorian Gothic Coaster Set

So, years ago, sitting at my corporate job desk,  Geralyn and I, via emails, came up with a bunch of silly, funny Halloween coasters.

They’ve been quite successful (nothing makes me happier than when people pick them up and laugh) and each year I try to add to the collection.

This year produced bandages from The Mummy

And Bloody Mary Mix from Dracula’s ancestor

These go along with some of my stalwarts: here’s the whole current collection:

I need to narrow it down a bit but can’t decide…….

And I turned my attention to my Horror Novel Halloween Coasters as well.

The designs are my own (to avoid copyright infringement) and I’d liked them but was never totally satisfied.

The Frankenstein design in particular seemed very “one of these things is not like the others.”

Not bad but not quite right.

An easy change of color made, I think, the Sleepy Hollow more on-target.

And a total makeover of Frankenstein made me much happier

Here’s the revised set

The change isn’t overwhelming but I think it’s for the better.

And I took a moment to redo the package photograph as well.

And now, with about three days to go it’s time for all the NEW!!!!

Maybe not……

I’ll keep you posted.


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