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Vintage Signs! Trays! A Jackalope Report and How the Dog is Gaslighting Me

I think Pi is trying to gaslight me.

Friends come to meet him and he’s the ultimate tail-waggy, cute, well behaved dream dog. When I describe his Cujo like other side they all look at me like “really David?”

“But it’s true!!!!!”  I cry.  “I’ll show you” and I leave the room.  And he wags his tail, curls up and takes a nap.

But once the friends leave, if I even look like I’m going to, oh I don’t know, go to the bathroom alone, it’s Stephen King time.

This has led to a sort of Dog Supervised House-Arrest situation which has yielded both good and bad results

Upside of Being Under Dog House Arrest:

  • I’m getting lots of filing done
  • I have time to do the research for new designs
  • When I do make it “over the wall” so-to-speak and get to the garage I execute my chores with a breath taking, military-like precision and efficiency that would make my father proud
  • Facing an upsetting lack of tortilla chips and a glorious abundance of pretzels I invented Pretzel Nachos!

Downside:

  • I invented Pretzel Nachos. I was not actually in need of yet ANOTHER salt/fat delivery system…but they are delicious.
  • Getting ready for the big Jackalope show last weekend was challenging.

I couldn’t really plan out my booth the way I usually do so I just chucked a lot of stuff in the car and hoped for the best.

It came out OK

I did forgot my banner that says “Cheltenham Road” and I neglected to bring my business cards but other than that I was, you know, “Captain of Industry” all the way baby!

Product-wise I had to focus on things that I could (mostly) make indoors.

This restriction somehow, to all my Spite Crafting signs morphing into something a bit less spiteful and a lot of fun.

So, in addition to my Camera Shop Sign (click here for a tutorial on the image transfer technique I used)

there was a vintage bicycle sign (graphic courtesy of the The Old Design Shop):and my favorite one that I made with an old typewriter advertisement

They were fun, easy to make and, best of all, sold!

I also worked on some more trays and gave my Bathing Beauties another go

And worked out a new subway sign featuring our great National Parks

Now, of course, I had to bring Pi with me or face the consequences.

I was nervous about how he’d do in public but he did great (gaslighting!)….with a tiny exception.

I gave him one job.  ONE JOB!

He was to sit up, look adorably puppy-like and lure unsuspecting customers into my booth.  They would squeal over the cuteness of my pet and then feel compelled to purchase coasters (it’s a well known cause-effect pattern).

Pi, instead, did this:

 

All day!

Both days!!!!

He just laid there behind or under a table.

Useless.

His pay will be docked accordingly.

So my job now is to continue to try to train him to chill-out (he’s actually been doing better the last couple of days) while I make a bunch of pretzel nachos coasters that are due at the stores.

Wish me luck!

Life of (with) Pi

We’ve traced the barks.  They’re coming from inside the house!!!!

This is not going to become a blog about a dog but I feel I must explain.

I really lucked out with Pi (somehow it auto-corrected last time – his real name is Pi).

The shelter said he was untrained but either they were wrong or he’s the most considerate animal ever.  He doesn’t beg for food, he doesn’t eat stuff off the floor, he doesn’t chew on furniture.  He just crawls in your lap and curls up in a little ball and naps.

In short, he’s kind of a dream.

There is just one small problem.

Poor little guy has some very understandable abandonment and separation anxieties.  And he wants to be near me all the time.

ALL THE TIME.

It’s like having a small, adorable stalker (who snores)

He follows me everywhere:

At my desk right now

Doing laundry

Any bathroom activity, including showering – he just pushes the door open and waits.

(which  I guess is only fair  since I watch him when he does his business)

And if I stand still too long when doing photos for this blog post?

This is fine.  I’m totally down with being unquestioningly adored (it just feels right!).

But I can’t leave the house.

If I leave the house (or even the room and he can’t follow) my sweet, placid, trouble free dog goes full blown Glenn Close at her bunny boiling, I-WILL-NOT-BE-IGNORED-DAVID!!!!!! Fatal Attraction peak.

It’s heartbreaking, a little scary and VERY limiting.

So, since I can’t even go to the garage for more than a few minutes I don’t have anything very detailed to share this week.

I did get a few “almost-done” things “totally-done.”

Finished up my biggest sign yet. It’s for a local teacher’s classroom.

This sucker is one foot high and about 4 ft long when laid out.

I’m also gearing up for the one of my favorite shows -the Jackalope Artisan Fair is in Pasadena next weekend.  I want to have some new trays and since I liked the how the Camera Shop sign came out I thought I’d try it in tray form.  I did the same process as before and  just used a bunch of cut-to-fit, painted pieces of thin scrap wood.

I put together a vintage bicycle tray that I thought might be a fun gift for someone.

And finished up my latest HOME sign for a customer in Fort Worth Texas

I’m hopeful that, this week, I’ll be able to convince Ms. Close that it will all be all right and that I guarantee I will return every time (we actually are making progress).

Until then it’s build up for Jackalope and, possibly some very scratched up doors.

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!

 

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?

 

 

 

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.

Finding My Purpose

I’m happy to announce I am no longer road kill!

I’ve had a slow-to-dawn  realization.

Very slow.

Sloth slow.

Now, were you sitting with me as I shared this amazing  insight you would pat me on the head in a slightly patronizing manner and say: “yes, David, thank you for catching up”  and wonder how someone so dim-witted has made it this far in life.

OK, here we go.

 I’ve been stuck for quite a while on one very important question:

“What is your goal?  What is the purpose of all this?*”

OK…. two very important questions (focus may have been an issue as well -I see that now.)

This dilemma trips me up whenever I try to deal with Branding or Marketing.  It stymies me on Pinterest and even with this blog.

What’s the goal?  Who am I trying to reach?

I mean, this isn’t a lifestyle blog (unless your lifestyle aspirations involve repeatedly smacking your head into things and being semi-permanently dusty.  In which case, welcome home!).

And it’s certainly not a “how to run a small business” blog because I just realized I totally forgot to actually bill a customer for $100s of dollars of merchandise last year….. so “captain of industry” I am not.**

But I couldn’t make up my mind.  What was I going for?  Heaven knows the “Random Ideas with a vintage flair” category was WAY over-saturated.

I needed a focus.

They say that, to be truly successful, a product must solve a problem. What problem could I possibly be solving?

It  (finally) dawned on me when I made these new coasters

and thought “my dad will love these”

and I realized

I’M THE GIFT GUY!

(OK, stop patting my head!!!!!!!)

So, while it’s embarrassing to realize this just now (particularly since everything I make is sold in…..what’s the word?…oh yeah…..GIFT SHOPS!!!) – it’s a new way for me to think about and focus on the entire Cheltenham Road Empire.

So I’ve made a decision.

I want people to come to my Etsy shop to find the perfect, unique gift for someone.

Do you have a wedding coming up?

Is your boss a fan of Tiki bars?

Do you and your friends have a drinking problem?I’m your guy!

I want to help people find the perfect gift idea by coming to my Pinterest boards.

And I want people to come to the blog to find out about how to make or find a great gift for that person or occasion.

Simple Father's Day Project Tutorial Cheltenham RoadI feel simultaneously totally excited and insanely stupid

But I made it!

I have a purpose!!!!  And a focus!

I am no longer an indecisive squirrel!

(Seriously, stop patting my head!)

 

*it should be noted that by “all this” I mean Cheltenham Road not LIFE.  That one I totally have the answer to.  But I’m sworn to secrecy.  Sorry

**The vendor in question is being very, very cool about it.  I am INSANELY lucky with the the folks I work with.  All of them are amazing.

DIY Wedding Reception Table Numbers Tutorial

Sometimes I just….get an idea.

I’m not getting married.  No one I know is getting married and yet….here we are.

Welcome to Cheltenham Road: Bridal Edition

I seriously don’t know where this came from but it popped into my head but it just seemed so fun and easy I kinda had to do it.  Since weddings are all about family (the ones attending and the new one being created) I thought it would be cool to have the table numbers reflect and pay tribute to the family.

I used:

  • Chalkboard Easels from Michaels
  • Mod Podge Matte formula
  • Folk Art Milk Paint: Churned Butter
  • Copies of family photos
  • Scrapbook paper
  • A sharp craft knife
  • (ignore the two stick on letters – I changed my mind)
  • Folk Art Stencils (not pictured)
  • Folk Art Chalk PaintP Rich Black(not pictured)
  • Black Sharpie

The easels are in the craft-wood aisle at Michaels and they come in a couple of different sizes and are pretty affordable at $4.00 each.

After painting the easels with the Milk Paint and setting them aside to dry I resized and printed out some family photos (that’s my mom and dad and my lovely sister Phebe).

Using the Mod Podge I adhered the pics to the font of the easels and then flipped them over and did the same with the scrapbook paper on the other side.

After a little drying time I used my craft knife to trim away any extra paper and then used a black sharpie just to highlight the edge of the easel.Next I sealed the photographs with some more Mod Podge.

And then I…..changed my mind.

I was going to use the stick on letters shown above pic (simply because I had them on hand) but realized that a stencil would be great.

So, I raced to my vast supply of  Folk Art stencils and chalk paint and made quick work of it

And Boom!

Table numbers!

I think they’d be a fun way to get conversations going at a reception.  And I nice way to include the family history in an event that’s all about family.

Now I realize (from watching reality TV) that some brides might not be into having other brides pictures at their weddings.  But you could use any photo. 

My nephew recently got married and they took a whole series of really fun engagement photos which would be great for this.  Or you could just do family photos, mom, dad, grandparents etc.  Maybe even embarrassing photos of bad hair styles of days past – you know, something for folks to talk about while waiting for the chicken dish to be served.

Now, if one of you all could get married I could justify this whole, random post!

Disclaimer: The good folks at Plaid provided me with all the materials (except the easels) for this project as part of their Plaid Ambassador Program.  All ideas and opinions are my own.

 

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