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Category Archives: Use What You’ve Got Projects

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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Farmhouse Style Shelf Idea

Thanks so much for all the kind words about my new focus (and for not virtually patting me on the head).  I truly appreciated it.

But I want to assure you that the blog isn’t going to turn into a place where all I talk about and make are gifts.  As my wise brother-in-law Rich pointed out gifts come in many forms and one can always gift themselves so we have a lot of room here.  In short, don’t worry.  I won’t be saying “gift” every other sentence.  I promise.

Gift!

(sorry, couldn’t resist)

OK, onward!

When my sisters vistited we browsed a large retail store that sells things that help you stay organized and I saw this clever shelving unit.

 

Cool!  Right?!

Simple, versatile.

But it’s a two foot long, three sided, Medium Density Fiberboard box with holes on the bottom edge.

And it costs $100!!!

So!

………..Welcome to SPITE CRAFTING: SPRING EDITION!……….

(I had no idea this was going to be an ongoing series)

OK I guess $100 isn’t crazy expensive but the idea seemed so do-able-for-less that I had to give it a shot.  So maybe not Spite Crafting so much as Idea Stealing.

Here is what I used for my version

From my scrap pile I pulled some 3/4″ plywood and cut it down to size.

  • The front is 24″ long by 3.75″ high
  • The sides are 3″ long by 3.75″ high
  • And the internal shelf is 22.5″ long by 3″ deep

On the back side I marked  a center line and indicated where I would drill the holes.

Live-and-Learn: in retrospect I realize it would have been easier to mark and drill on the front side of the board….next time! 

And then got to work with my drill press at Forstner bit.

I was drilling from the back and I wanted to minimize any tear out on the front side so I placed a piece of scrap wood under by board and didn’t drill all the way through with the Forstner bit – just enough for the point to poke through the other side.

Once all the initial holes were drilled I flipped it over to complete the drilling  for a nice clean look.

I then assembled the whole thing using wood glue and my nailer

And then it was time to get creative.

The folks at Plaid had provided me with Waverly Chalk Paint and brushes and I thought I’d give them a try.

I used their Ivory color for the base.  The special Waverly Chalk Brush isn’t required but it sure made applying the paint easy as it holds a lot and spreads really smoothly.  I think I’ll be glad I have it especially on larger projects.

I’m a new and enthusiastic convert to the chalk paint thing (I know I’m very behind on this curve).  It’s easy to apply, dries fast and comes in great colors – what’s not to like?

Once the paint dried I moved on to other newish thing  – stencils.

For this project I used the Folk Art Farmers Market Stencil Set and a small Folk Art Stencil Brush

I used a light pencil line to keep everything straight

And then stenciled away using both the Waverly “Crimson” and “Ink” colors

Stenciling is pretty easy once you get the idea of using very little paint on the brush.  But I think my inexperience showed as my only complaint about this set is that it was tricky, even with a small brush not to accidentally catch the edge of the stencil I wasn’t intending to use.  Probably a rookie mistake.  Next time I’ll use some painters tape to tape off the “unwanted” stencils.

Once everything dried I gave the edges a bit of a sanding and then a light rubbing with Waverly Antiquing wax.

I used a couple of d-ring hangers on the back and my shelf was ready for its close-up.

(I’m not crazy about my choice to stencil he “No” on the ednd there.  The stencil is fine but it would have been better if I’d had space for a number as well so, as it is, it just kinda looks….I don’t know…unnecessarily negative?)

The antiquing wax did a nice job of bringing out the texture in the wood and making the whole thing look just a bit more vintage.  It’s hard to see in the pics as I went pretty light on this first-time-out attempt but next time I think I will be a bit more daring as I really like the extra texture.

I had envisioned this as a kitchen thing but it occurred to me it could work in any room – like perhaps for crafts?Tons of possibilities!

Further Thoughts:

  • *I always hesitate to use my “I invested in some serious tools” tools on these projects for fear of turning people off.  But all of these things can be accomplished using more standard methods (a regular drill with a forstner bit, nails or screws rather than a pnumatic nailer) it just takes a bit longer.
  • I made my shelf out of scraps of plywood but the original is MDF.  MDF is a great choice for easy to work with, smooth surface finishes and I think, if I make more of these I’ll switch over to it.

Disclaimer:  The good folks at Plaid provided me with the materials for this project.  All opinions are strictly my own and I received no other financial compensation for this post.  Links provided are not affiliate links – just trying to be helpful.

beach frame

beach frame

make-it-for-less-beach-style-vintage-photo-holder-tutorial-by-cheltenham-roadI’m a silly person (it’s possible this has dawned on you previously)

And I have a question.

Is it wrong to do projects just out of spite?

Because I think I just did.

Welcome to Spite Crafting with Cheltenham Road

Backstory:  I can be a bit over-thrifty.  I don’t like to spend money.

Total Truth: I started Cheltenham Road partly because I was tired of the sticker shock I got every time I visited PB or Restoration Hardware.  My vow was that I wanted people to be pleasantly surprised when they flipped a CR price tag over and I try very hard to hold to that goal.

But I’m still subject to sticker shock.

The other day I was wandering a big box store and came across this:big-store-photo-holder

Cool.  Kinda fun.  Not something I need or want but I liked it.

And then I checked the pricebeach-photo-frame

$50?!!!

And that….kinda made me mad?  I don’t know…I just suddenly had to make one.  Just to prove that it didn’t need to cost that much.

Spite crafting.

So I went home, pulled supplies and did my own.

Here’s what I used.

simple-rustic-photo-display-tutorial-by-cheltenham-road

  • 16×16  frame*
  • Folk Art Milk Paint (Petticoat and Veranda Blue)**
  • 6 pieces of thin Luan scrap wood cut to 2 inches high by 16″ long
  • Sandpaper
  • Glue
  • String
  • Screws
  • Clothespins

* I want to be honest here.  I had intended to use a thrift store frame for this project.  But my local thrift store is “closed for remodeling.”  (Who remodels a thrift store?  It’s a big room with stuff piled in it – it’s not like anyone is hoping for better lighting or a juice bar…..well,…actually I do live in Southern California so actually someone might be hoping for a juice bar…OK I take it back.  I look forward to my next combo thrift shopping/cleanse experience).  So I made this very basic frame from scrap wood.  

I cut the scrap wood backer to size and painted the frame, 3 backing strips and 3 clothespins with the Petticoat White Milk Paint.  I painted two strips and three clothespins with the Veranda Blue Milk Paint and left three of the backing strips unpainted. Once everything had dried I did a light sanding for a distressed look.

The Folk Art Milk Paint worked beautifully for this project.  It’s easy to work with, has great coverage (one coat this time) and dries very quickly.   I’m enjoying working with it.

photo-display-idea

After gluing the slats in place

rustic-beachy-photo-display-tutorial-by-cheltenham-road

It was time to attach the string.

I drilled holes through the frame at 4 inches from the top and bottom on both sidesphoto-frame-tutorial-drill

and ran the string through the holes.

To keep the string in place I wrapped the ends around screws and drilled them into the holes.diy-cottage-style-photo-display-frame-tutorial

And that’s it!simple-beachy-photo-display-holder-by-cheltenham-roadDone!  It took, at most, a couple of hours not counting paint/glue drying time.rustic-photo-display-tutorial-by-cheltenham-road

And not too different from the originalstore-bought-vs-diy-photo-display-tutorial

A beachy,  vintagy,  sorta spitefully motivated photo display!!!!

In Fairness: I do recognize that stores have lots of expenses, employees, overhead, insurance  and $50 isn’t that exorbitant.  I just….had a moment….

I also recognize that not everyone has easy access to the tools and supplies I had on hand to make this project.  But I do believe anyone could make something similar for very little money using a thrift store frame ($5-$10) and any leftover paint.  The backer strips aren’t structural and could be made out of anything – scrapbook paper, cardboard, matte board, heck, even fabric.  If you didn’t have access to a drill the string could be, as it is in the store-version, just tacked on the front of the frame.

**Disclaimer:  The good folks at Plaid provided me with the milk paint for this project as part of their Plaid Ambassador program.  I received no other compensation and all the opinions and experiences are my own.  Any links provided are simply for informational purposes – I receive no remuneration if you click on them.

Folk Art Painted Finishes and Mossy Skulls

Disclaimer: The products used in this post were provided to me free of charge by Plaid Enterprises.  I have not been compensated in any other way and all opinions are my own.

As I’ve whined about noted previously, the challenge for me of late is to find time to step away from being a little factory, to get to just play and make things that aren’t “potential products.”

One of the great things about being a Plaid Ambassador is that, when I find that time, I am surrounded by potential projects that they have generously provided.

They have given me a great selection of their Folk Art Painted Finishes line of paints including:   Barnwood (my previous project), concrete and….moss.folk-art-painted-finishes

Now, I must admit that when I opened the box  and saw “moss” my first thought was “and why would I want to do that?”  I have enough trouble with actual moss cropping up – fake moss seemed like an unnecessary addition.

But then Halloween season happened and I discovered that I was brimming with sort of odd, creepy Halloween ideas and that one of those ideas required fake moss!!! Huzzah!

So, you may recall my ugly, 1970s porch light had conked out recentlyporch-light

and rather than throw it away I thought I might be able to do something with it.  Blog-reader (and genuinely very cool lady) Denise came up with a fun suggestion that sparked an idea.  I didn’t use the broccoli but I did keep it green!

The Painted Finishes come in two colors:  Light Moss and Dark Moss and applying them is quick and very, very easy (I say this as a person who is deeply unskilled at faux painting techniques)folk-art-painted-finishes-technique-moss

After removing the glass and cleaning the porch light I went over it, as directed, with, well…. lets just call them splotches…..of the Dark Green Finish using the Painted Finishes Shortie Brushes.8b62e23f0ba81b7b9dfc8274c86f5e02

folk-art-painted-finishes-halloween-decoration-projectThen, while the paint was still wet I went back in with the light green color.folk-art-painted-finish-moss-halloween-decor-idea

The paint has some texture to it and when you combine them it really does have depth and realistic, mossy, look.

I did the same technique on the decorative crown and on a little round – I-don’t-know-what-it-is-nor-why-I-have-it decorative piece of metal that I wanted to use for the base and as a holder for a tealight.create-faux-moss-look-with-folk-art-painted-finishes

With the addition of a small, plastic skull from the .99 Store I had a suitably unnerving centerpiece/diorama

The moss technique looks good in broad daylight (I think I did a better job on the sides than I did on the crown thingy but i can always go back in and touch up)faux-moss-technique-with-folk-art-painted-finishes-tutorial

But when darkness comes and the candles get lit ……halloween-decoration-easy-skull-centerpiece

(although I may have freaked out my neighbors since I photographed this on the driveway and it looked  like I had invested in some random, disturbing shrine.)

I don’t think the plastic skull was actually made to be a illuminated  and doing so revealed a very odd/bad/splotchy paint job that really like!

halloween-skull-project-by-cheltenham-road

But, in conclusion, I have to say I’m a fan of the faux moss! halloween-decor-by-cheltenham-road It took, literally, 5 minutes to apply, dried quickly and looked great. It would be easy to apply to a terra cotta pot that you wanted to give a bit of age to.  Or maybe a faux brick wall.  I’m now kind of flooded with ideas for things that NEED to be mossy.

Happy Halloween Season everyone!

 

 

Snow Day! And DIY Candle Holders

It’s been a trifle, um warm here of late.  Like, 112.  Ugh.

My friend Mary referred to this as LA’s version of a “snow day.”

That made me feel better.  Who doesn’t love a snow day?!

When I was little my mom always managed to have some fun craft project for you to work on during  a snow day.  I’d do paint by numbers or she and I would experiment with Shrinky Dinks or some such thing.  I have some very fond memories of those times.

(Honesty Alert #1: I don’t want to get to fake sweet nostalga-ish  – She also made me clean my room and stuff so it wasn’t all joyful crafts and warm chocolate chip cookies)

So, in honor of my my mom and her creative use of down time I spent most of last week holed up in my house launching on bunch of different projects and, honestly, really enjoying myself

(Honesty alert #2: I also ate a lot of ice cream which greatly added to the “I’m having fun” feeling.  I highly recommend it)

I’d recently stumbled across this awesome post by Jen at House of Wood.

She’d taken a bunch of scrap plywood and turned them into super cool candle holders.

Jen totally inspired me and I was eager to try my own hand at it.

I gathered my scraps  cut them all to the same size and glued them together.Plywood Candle Holder by Cheltenham Road

(Honesty Alert #3: this part required me to go outside and work in the garage which was….not fun…..I ate more ice cream to compensate and was back on track.)

After letting them dry I sanded them smooth, drilled out the holes for the tealights with my drill press and stained the wood.

But being me I had to add text or graphics or something so I did a quick search on the Graphics Fairy site and turned up vintage bicycle ad.  bicycle advertisement

Seriously, pretty much anything you ever needed in life can be found at the Graphics Fairy.

I grabbed just the text on the bottom, reversed it, printed it and applied it to the plywood.DIY rustick wooden tea light holder by Cheltenham Road

I know you’re thinking.

“Oh great he’s about to get out that stupid Lenk thing that I don’t own and therefore can’t use”…. but I’m not!!!!

I found another way to do transfers!  It’s even easier AND it greatly reduces my chances of burning the house down (win/win!).

I’ll share the technique in an upcoming post after I’ve done some more experimenting but I’m really excited about it.

Anyway, I think the the candle holder came out looking pretty cool.Tea Light Holder by Cheltenham Road

And now my brain is spinning with other ideas and shapesRustic Industrial Wooden Tealight Holder by Cheltenham Road (although I’ll feel dumb if I actually have to go out and buy wood to make my scrapwood candle holders…..)

Here is the other side.  I was playing around with text size and placement…..
Industrial Wood Tea Light Holder by Cheltenham Road

Thanks  Jen!  Really you should check out her site.  Full of great ideas, tutorials and downloads.

Oh, and on a final note, I wanted to say thanks for the comments about my dad’s Father’s day presentUsing a vintage Mustang dashboard as a picutre frame for Fathers Day by Cheltenham Road

A couple of folks asked if he liked it.  My sister Paula was there at the unveiling and reported that he loved it.  And when I called later he seemed enthusiastic (he’s not really given to gushing outbursts of enthusiasm but, in his own way, he seemed pleased).

And although I really do believe him, the Eyore side of my personality can’t help imagining his thought process upon opening it going more like:

What the?…..

Well, that seals it.  It wasn’t a phase. That kid just  isn’t gonna get any less weird.gets beat up

At least the girls seem well adjusted……

I guess I just have to buy my own books and ties. 

Typical……

Have a good week everybody!

 

 

Continuing to Experiment and a Christmas Gift Update

Thanks so much for the feedback about the HOME sign keyholder . Truly appreciated!  I’ve “gone back to the drawing board” to incorporate some of your ideas and few of my own.  And I think it has real possibilities.

I’m continuing to experiment with new ideas while simultaneously attempting to use all those craft supplies that stack up due to the “Oh this has so many cool possibilities! I must purchase it!” thinking that plagues me.

Sometimes playing around leads to great things. Sometimes it leads nowhere.

Let’s start with nowhere first shall we?

One of my vows for this year is to actually USE the Silhouette machine I bought on impulse a loooooong time ago.

I had also bought (a while ago……OK, to save time you can just fill in the phrase “a while ago” every time I mention purchasing something in this post), bought several little glass milk bottles. I also wanted to try Armor Etch glass etching cream.

In addition I received some Mod Podge Tints that I wanted to experiment with.

Each on it’s own was fine. Together…..I kinda made a mess.

First up using the Etching Cream.

The Silhouette worked perfectly in creating the stencil.Milk Bottle Etch

The Etching Cream worked fine – not quite as dramatic a difference between the etched and non-etched glass.

So I thought why not use the tint! It will make the dark part darker and the clear part different.

Not so much.Cream Bottles Tinted

Not horrible (and it hadn’t completely dried yet) – all the products worked just as advertised – they just didn’t work together very well.

……..also…..blue milk bottles.  IT WAS A PHASE!  I WAS EXPERIMENTING!!!!!

Anyway.

Not really knowing when to let a mediocre idea go I thought I’d try again!

I grabbed a vase and, in a real stroke of creative genius etched the word “VASE” on it.Etched VaseNo more confusing glassware in my house, no sir!

Then I taped off the etched part and tinted the outside of the glass.Etched and Tinted Vase

Interesting.Tinted Etched VaseNot awful. Not great. Interesting.

So.  Things were learned, supplies explored, I didn’t injure myself so….good….I guess.

Up next, and with better results, I tried out a new way of using Mod Podge and paper napkins.

I sanded and stained some scrap wood and grabbed some cheap napkins from the dollar store.Mod Podge with Napkins(I may do a tutorial on this at some point if I decide I like it so forgive a few skipped steps here.)

Basically you pull the napkins apart, Mod Podge them into place and then use an orbital sander so distress them and bring out some texture.

I really like the resultsNapkins and Mod Podge

You can see how the sander lets the wood sorta show through the super thin napkin.  And the wrinkles that are inevitable when working with thin paper just become a part of the look.Distress Board with Napkins and Mod PodgeI really like it!

I’m not totally sure what I want to do with this new-found skill but I like it.

I mean, you could make trays I guess or coat racks but I’m trying to think of something new to do.

Thoughts?

And finally:

A CHRISTMAS GIFT UPDATE

I got together with some friends before going to a movie recently and the occasion allowed me to say what I’ve been longing to say since my father’s Christmas gift arrived:

RELEASE THE CRACKERRACK!!!

Happy to report that although I swapped in some non-compliant edibles the rack performed beautifully and was much admired.The Infamous CrackerRack by ES Cheaney

Also, my mother informed me that it was her idea that I would use the toast rack as a bill sorter. If she says that the proper use of a 300 year old piece of valuable, handmade, silver is to hold my Ikea bill who am I to argue?

DIY Yardstick Tray with Printables

Tutorial and Free PrintablesSometimes I’m clever.

Sometimes I’m cheap (OK, a lot of the time).

Sometimes those two qualities come together and such was the case with Use What You’ve Got Project #….? (I can’t remember where I am in this series).

So, like many of us, I have, for several years, been digging all the cool stuff people are making using old, vintage yardsticks.

Also, perhaps like many of us, I have been unpleasantly surprised by the current cost of vintage yardsticks.

I mean, I get it, market demand and such but, no, dear antique-mall shop owner, I do not want to pay $10 for a HOME Depot branded yardstick. Or any yardstick really.

So what is cheapo me supposed to do?

Well, I do have a couple of rulers, scrap-wood, a scanner, rudimentary Photoshop skills, Envirotex and a deep desire to (yard) stick it to the man!

Welcome to my faux yardstick tray tutorial!

I started out by scanning two yardsticks and  a ruler I have on hand.   I used Photoshop to change the colors, add and subtract text etc until I had a good number of  “vintage” yardsticks.

So, with print outs of my rulers, a thrift store tray, some scrap MDF and Mod Podge I was off and running.DIY Yardstick Tray Tutorial Cheltenham RoadOf course -because this is the ONLY way the universe works – my tray is 14 inches long and I can only print 13.5 pieces of paper. But I was not to be deterred!

I cut the MDF into 1.5″ wide by 14″ long strips and and sliced and diced the ruler prints so they covered the entire length of each strip.

I left tiny, little gaps between each ruler and darkened that gap with a black sharpie – so it would look like two rulers butted up against each other rather than just one continuous print out.make your own vintage yardsticksAfter they dried I trimmed away the excess and fit them into the tray. It was a pretty snug fit (I actually measured correctly the first time! This is a rare event, similar to seeing a unicorn or discovering that your appliance broke down while still under warranty so let’s take a moment to celebrate) and I just used a little glue on the bottom of the tray for security.  Also the Envirotex is very strong and will hold them in place as well.

Envirotex starts out as a liquid and like any liquid it will find any tiny crack to pour through.  So using a squeeze bottle I squoze (?) a good line of Mod Podge around the edges of the trayYardstick Tray Tutorial by Cheltenham Roadand then sealed the rest.

I did two sealing coats of Mod Podge – if you miss a spot the Envirotex will discolor the paper.Mod Podge Home Decor Ruler Tray Tutorial Cheltenharm RoadAfter giving the Mod Podge overnight to fully dry all that was needed was to pour the Envirotex and let it cure.DIY Yarstick Tray tutorial

I love Envirotex and find it easy  to work with – but you do have to follow their directions very closely.

And there you go.  A “vintage” yardstick tray that doesn’t break the bank.

If you’d like to use my yardsticks you can click on the links below to save 300 dpi versions for yourself.

Free Printables – Colorful Yardsticks by Cheltenham Road

Yardstick Graphic Print Sheet by Cheltenham Road

Enjoy

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