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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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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.

Library Card Book Ends

It has been a great couple of weeks for commerce – tons of Etsy orders, custom jobs and new stores carrying my work.

I’ve been plugging away in factory-mode but a little bit short on the “new ideas!” side of things.

Happily,  The Muse (Geralyn) has her head in the game and came up with a really fun idea for some very easy-to-make, inexpensive bookends.

And I came up with a good way to mess it up! (more on that later).

Here is what I used:

 

  • Metal Bookends (from Staples $7)
  • 2 pieces of 1/2″ MDF cut to 4.75″ by 7″
  • 2 library card prints done on a toner based printer
  • Waverly Super Premium black acrylic paint
  • Matte Mod Podge
  • Foam Brush
  • Lock-Tite glue
  • Painters tape (not pictured)
  • Craft knife (not pictured)

I started off by marking where the metal bookends would connect with the MDF panels.

After painting the back and sides with the Waverly Paint I set them aside to dry.

After they’ dried I used Matte Mod Podge to attach the vintage library card graphics to the MDF smoothing out any wrinkles or bumps with my fingers.

Once that dried I trimmed away any excess paper using a sharp craft knife.

So far so good!  Everything was going swimmingly and I could sense the wave of praise that would come my way when it was all done.

All I had to do was glue the wood part to the metal part.

Child’s play!

……..I think we know where this is going don’t we……

Now, I’m sure your thinking, “David it’s just some industrial strength glue that allows almost no-margin-for-error.  What could go wrong?”

To which I say: “you must be a new here.  Welcome to Cheltenham Road!”

OK, so I applied the glue to both the metal bookend and the unpainted back of the MDF and then stuck them together.

I used some painter’s tape to hold them in place tightly as they dried

Can you spot the minor problem?

Yeah – they’re backwards.

I glued them together backwards.

The long sticky-out part of the bookend supposed to go UNDER the books…..

Upside?I did’t glue myself to anything and I can testify now that that glue works really well!  They are super attached!

Downside: they are super attached backwards.

Ah well.

But they still work and you still get the idea.

And, of course, Geralyn’s concept could be adapted to suit any interest:

You could use copies of actual book covers, tickets, photographs, favorite quotes, copies of children’s drawings – the sky is the limit!

But, if you wanted to make these exact ones then here are my library card designs Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Bookend Print Sheet

Just, um…. glue them together the right way and you will be golden!

 

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…..

Mod Podge Anniversary Party!

As you know I use Mod Podge and Plaid products in pretty much every aspect of my life except food preparation (and I may get there – it’s non-toxic after all).

And today, May 19th, happens to be National Mod Podge Day in honor of its 50th Anniversary!

And I know you’re asking yourself, “David (not sure why you’re calling yourself David but it’s cool) how can I celebrate this milestone in gluing history!?!?”

Well, David, I’m glad you asked and there are lots of ways!

As you can see above, Plaid is running an all day celebration on their Facebook page with tutorials, contests and giveaways.

And the good folks at Plaid have provided me with a plentiful Mod Podge Gift Basket to provide to one lucky winner.

Here is what you get!

-8 OZ. M/P GLOSS
-8 OZ. M/P Matte
-8 Oz. Dishwasher Safe Gloss
-Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium 2 Oz. Carded
-Mod Podge Silicone Craft Mat
-Mod Podge 7 Piece Tool Kit
-M/P 4pc Spouncer Set
-M/P 4pc Foam Brush Set

I use and have used all of these products in numerous projects on this blog and I assure you I will use them in numerous projects to come.  Just think how ahead-of-the-curve you’ll be!

To participate in the giveaway just:

Leave a comment telling me how you first heard about Cheltenham Road.

And visit the Rafflecopter site by clicking here and enter your email address (just so I can tell whoever wins that they won – you’re not going to end up on mailing list or anything).

The raffle runs through Monday, the winner will be chosen at random and announced here on the blog.

So Happy Anniversary Mod Podge – in all honesty I’d be pretty lost without you!

Happy Mother’s Day!

l just wanted to pop in and wish everyone a very, very Happy Mother’s Day!

I’m spending mine in Ohio visiting with some pretty amazing moms.

My mom – who, at 95, has racked up A LOT of years of motherhood and Mother’s Days (the woman knows what she’s doing!).

All three of my sisters (all in one place at the same time which is super rare) – who are all pretty awesome mom’s in their own right.

And my niece – now a mom of three – who introduced us to her latest addition, Piper (about a month old).

That’s a lot of terrific moms all in one spot!

Here is a quick pick of the multiple generations 

I hope all of you moms out there are being appropriately celebrated, flowered and breakfast-in-beded!

Happy Mother’s Day!

New Coasters! New Store! and a tiny moral dilemma…..

It’s been a fun, creative, sorta hectic week!

My friend Bernie Shine (he of the matchbook cover tray and endless collection of amazing vintage goods) put me in touch with the folks who run SWEET! the  huge, Willie Wonka-ish candy store smack the heart of Hollywood.

If you’re ever in LA you have to visit this place – it’s amazing!  Handmade chocolate, all kinds of candy, themed rooms, clothing, vintage goods, it’s clever and fun and pretty wonderful.

(they also have given me big chocolate bars every time I’ve visited so they are definitively my new favorite people!)

They wanted to carry all my vintage Los Angeles themed coasters and they were about to host the folks from Turner Classic Movies during the TCM Festival this weekend.  So when I delivered my coasters on Tuesday I also had worked up some TCM fan friendly sets.

I put one together for the great comedians

And a set for some featuring some classic titles:

Embarrassing Side Note: This was actually supposed to be a set called “The Silents.”  Geralyn even came up with a great tag line for the package – “The coasters ARE big!  It’s the coffee table that got small!”  

But I goofed.  

I assumed the Garbo movie was a silent and I didn’t even know Clara Bow had made talkies but, after making up the coasters I did my research (I think I see where I might have gone wrong now….) and discovered that both were talkies.   Oops!

And who doesn’t love the classic monsters!

There were also sets for San Francisco, some general California coasters and this set for the great California National Parks.

 

 

And that’s where I hit my tiny moral dilemma.

I try to use only authentic vintage graphics.  But occasionally I get stuck -I can find three but not four images for a coaster set or there are copyright issues or what I can find isn’t quite right etc.  So sometimes I need to fake it.  It’s rare but it happened twice this week.

So, you know that set of National Park coasters above?

I made up the Yosemite one.

I started with a public domain pic and then via the magic of Photoshop (and a lot of trial and error) made my own WPA style poster

And I have to do something similar with a commission I received to make a “vintage” Hollywood Bowl matchbook cover coaster.

I took black and white picture and  manipulated it to look like, I think, a pretty authentic old cover.

They are really fun to work on but I’m not a big fan of “fake vintage” and I worry it’s a slippery slope.  Am I tricking people?  Does anyone really care other than me?   If I use the  phrase “vintage inspired” or “inspired by” does that absolve me?  What do you think?

 

 

 

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