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annual christmas butt kicking

Hi!

I just popped in to say:argh

Yes, welcome to the annual Christmas is Kicking My Butt post.

Now, as you may recall I rocked Halloween.

OK, admittedly the bar was set pretty low so by “rocked” what I mean is I had some new products ready to go in advance, I felt moderately prepared and I didn’t smack my head into any solid objects like doors, car trunks or the chandelier in the dining room.  So, you know…ROCKED IT!!!!!

And then, as I was basking in the glow of Halloween-rocking suddenly everyone was all “Halloween is so last month.  I’m all about Christmas now!” and I, having over-basked, was left behind.

So it has been my usual holiday scramble of coaster making mania of late.  Etsy, Amazon and the retail stores that so kindly carry my work have put my little factory in overdrive.

I did manage to come up with a few new coaster designs that seem to be going over well.

A quick revision of my vintage Coffee Label setvintage-coffee-label-coasters-by-cheltenham-road

vintage-coffee-label-coasters-by-cheltenham-road-etsy-shopAnd a new set that features the great WPA art done for the National Parks.national-park-coaster-set

And did a quick update of one of my favorite (but slow selling) sets that feature old Dance Card tickets.vintage-dance-tickets-coaster-set-by-cheltenham-road

dance-ticket-coaster-set-by-cheltenham-roadAnd then there were the shows.  They ended up being almost back to back.  Jackalope went well but it was crazy hot one day, then it rained on the Patchwork show (but shoppers turned out!) and last weekend was my last one – the big Unique LA show.

It all went well with one small hiccup.

So, I set up my little area and all was good.cheltenham-road-table-unique-la

I was positioned on a corner spot and next to me they were giving away Luna Bars (awesome)20161204_142316 and they had set up a little lounge (super awesome – people chatting, snacking – all good).20161204_114113

Catty-corner to me was a booth that was selling, very cool, playing cards (their sign fell down – it says Art of Play).20161204_102709

That’s fine.  They were cool cards and they seemed like nice people.

However, mid-day on Saturday I suddenly realized the lounge area was occupied not by happy, Luna Bar munching, target-demo shoppers, but by a gang of teenage, card-playing hooligans who appeared to have set up a high stakes poker game.

Now, as we all know, Craft Show Hooligans are the very worst strain of hooligan so I was, naturally, hesitant to approach them.  But they were kinda blocking by products….

But, just as I was about to either shoo them away or perhaps call their moms, apparently one of them had the “most awesome hand ever” cleaned out the pot and they dispersed of their own accord.

I breathed a sigh of relief and went back to peddling my nostalgic wares.

And now, tonight (because, really, who wants a break?) is my big annual Holiday Dessert Party!

I’ve been working on new recipes (Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars, Chocolate Cookie Dough Shooters, Molasses Spice Cookies with Egg Nog Buttercream etc) and upping the presentation.  I think these black and white cheesecakes will go over well.black-and-white-mini-cheesecakes

And now I must get back to basking (rats!) baking  and cleaning, and….. mailing coasters

 

 

 

Holiday Centerpiece Idea

holiday-centerpiece-idea-by-cheltenham-roadI always hope to have a relaxing, hot-chocolate sipping, carol singing sort of Christmas season.

I would have you guys over.  We’d snack on desserts and chat.  I would be mellow yet festive, the perfect, relaxed host.

And then then we’d go ice-skating in hell while a flock of pigs flew overhead because only when those things happen will I be mellow  at Christmas time.

 

I love the season, I really do, and I have a great time but there is nothing laid back about it for me (especially now).

So, with my annual Holiday Dessert Party Extravaganza looming it was time to turn my mind to decorating as this is my only weekend to do it.

This year I wanted to come up with something fun for the center of the dessert table and I had an idea that would use apothecary jars, some scraps of wood, lighted mini Christmas trees and a bit of fake snow.

I cut my scrap wood down into different sized blockssupplies-for-christmas-centerpiece

And then wrapped it with some plain copy paper, kraft paper, mini wrapping paper, ribbon and twine I found at Michaelsmini-christmas-packages

I’d purchased some tiny, lighted  Christmas Trees at a post-Xmas Target sale last year.

I wanted to hide the battery pack so I wrapped it too (after making sure it didn’t heat up when the tree was turned on)disguise

I added some fake snow to the bottom of the apothecary jars and then piled in the presents.christmas-centerpiece-by-cheltenham-road

I thought trio of jars on a galvanized tray might look good.festive-holiday-centerpiece-idea-by-cheltenham-road

And I wound some mini lights in the tray as well for a little extra glow  (though I need to hide the wires a bit better)galvanzied-tray

I’m having a bit of trouble taking a decent “night” photo of them but you get the idea I think.apothocary-christmas-tree-centerpiece-idea-by-cheltenham-road

If you wanted to do something similar I think mason jars would look great.  The packages could also be made out of styrofoam and if you can’t find lighted trees then simple bottle brush version would work and you could layer in some mini lights inside the jar.christmas-decorating-idea-by-cheltenham-road

OK!  That’s one decorating idea down!  Onward!

Oh and Happy (almost) Thanksgiving everyone!

A Momentary Digression

Please forgive a minor digression from the (admittedly somewhat vague) stated purpose of this blog.

So, last time I posted pics of my new, Vintage Hollywood Coasters.old-hollywood-drink-coaster-set-by-cheltenham-road

Which appears to have caused a ripple in the Universe in that, I’m suddenly getting auditions again.

(for newer readers here’s the scoop.  Most of my life I’ve been an actor, I lived in NYC for quite a while doing off and off-off Broadway plays and then moved to LA where I landed some roles on TV.  But, once I started Cheltenham Road I discovered that I liked doing this more and while I still have an agent my focus is on CR).

Auditions have always stressed me out (and if you’re interested I’ve done a little side-bar that explains the odds of actually getting a role on TV)the-odds

BUT one of the great joys of going on auditions in LA for someone like me who has always been totally fascinated by “old Hollywood” (hence all the coasters)  is that sometimes the audition takes place on one of the actual factual classic movie studio lots

 

This time my audition took me to 20th Century Fox where I haven’t been since I did an episode of House.stage-22

This place has such an amazing history!

And, once you’re on the lot you can roam around a bit (within reason).

You can look at the giant Star Wars mural they painted on the outside wall of a sound-stage with all the actors trailers parked in front of it (I don’t know what show they are for)star-wars

And I always check out the back-lot sets.backlot

You’d be amazed how often you’ve seen this street and never realized it was the same one you’d seen a million times before.

20th Century Fox’s backlot is pretty small but if you go to Paramount or Warner Brothers they are VAST and awesome (If you ever visit LA I insist that you go on the Warner Brothers Studio Tour – it’s the best!)

But every centimeter of the property is a potential set.

So, is this Lafayette High School?lafayette-high-school

Sort of.  It’s actually the entrance to the 20th Century Fox Administration Building (that whole High School entrance is just tacked on the front of the building temporarily)20th-century-fox

So while the audition went OK (I didn’t get it) I had a great time checking out the lot!

Next time I’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming but I just thought this might be fun.

 

Be Prepared! And, if at first……

So, I was ready for Halloween.  Designs done well in advance!

And I basked in the glory of my preparedness and patted myself on the back for finally getting on top of this moving bullet train of a business.

And then, suddenly, Halloween was over.  And apparently it was already Christmas?!!

Did I mention that I was totally ready for Halloween?

Yeah, apparently being ready for Halloween in July is awesome but only means that you needed to be ready for Christmas in May.

In short.  Life has been a bit of a scramble.

And part of that scramble was my first Christmas project, while not actually going down in flames, went down in a cascade of failed glue joints and ill-considered engineering (and some vintage wrapping paper).

Ah well, you know what they say: If at first you don’t succeed swear a lot, curse the heavens, vow to quit, chuck it all and eat ice cream try, try again!

And I will!  But first I had some new, custom, customer orders and a show to get ready for.

Presenting my latest HOME sign: Buffalo!buffalo-new-york-home-sign-by-cheltenham-road

I got to work, re-working my vintage Circus poster coaster (which I enjoy saying) setantique-circus-coaster-set-by-cheltenham-road

circus-posters-coasters-by-cheltenham-roadAnd continued my love of all things old Hollywood with a new coaster setold-hollywood-postcard-vintage-coaster-set-by-cheltenham-road

glamorous-vintage-hollywood-coasters-by-cheltenham-roadAfter that it was time for this weekend’s Jackalope Arts Fair in Pasadena so, of course they got their own HOME signs, coasters and Subway signs.pasadena-california-home-sign-by-cheltenham-road

pasadena-california-vintage-coaster-set-by-cheltenham-roadSubway Art Sign Pasadena CA by Cheltenham RoadI’m back there today from 10-5 so please do stop by if that’s your part of town!

I’ll be back shortly with my stupid Christmas idea.

And did I mention I was totally ready for Halloween!?

Happy Halloween! And a happy blogger! (me)

I can’t believe it’s finally, actually Halloween!

I feel like (and I have) been “doing” Halloween since July.happy-halloween-from-cheltenham-road

To be honest, I haven’t always been a big Halloweener.  My Halloween experiences have been a bit hit-and-miss.

For instance, when looking through old pictures recently I came across this:

separated-at-birthNow, while I get some props for doing mash-ups before mash-ups were a thing it’s possible that the Charlie Brown Meets Jason Voorhees  look was a bit too ahead of it’s time.jason-meets-charlie

(Honestly, I don’t really remember this but I’m pretty sure this was a demo and we ditched the plate before the big day.)

This pic also made me realize I have a quite a history with Charlie Brown and Halloween.

I was, of course, the Great Pumpkin in kindergartenThe Great Pumpkin!

(OK, I feel I have to insert here that I swear to god my mom was an awesome costume maker – I’ve just found a couple of off-years to showcase – please consider my subsequent Patrick Henry ensemble to balance out the poor impression I’m giving

My beautiful picture

But, I’ve been CB as an adult too!  And it was the last time I dressed up.

About a decade ago a group of friends decided that we MUST don costumes and go to the big Halloween Parade in West Hollywood.

It’s a huge event with a lot of amazing, elaborate costumes.22730402181_a6c40bea6d_z

I reluctantly agreed (crowds aren’t my thing), pulled together a last-minute costume -sneakers, black socks, black shorts, zig-zag striped shirt, baseball hat and glove and figured I was good.

I had met the requirements (a costume), I hadn’t tried very hard and I could go about my business of people watching in a big crowd.

Nope!

It was like I was some kind of magnet.

People kept shouting:  “Charlie!!!!  Charlie Browwwwwnnnnn!!!!  You’re a good man!!!!!!!!”

which was, ok, kinda nice – I mean one can’t complain about being called a good man.

but as the evening wore on and the crowd got drunker it sort of switched to wobbly people shuffling up to me yelling:

“wha-wha-wha–wha-wha whwhawha!”

and then bursting into laughter with a “did you get it?!!!!” kinda smile.

It was sorta fun but I think I’ll stay in this year.

But before I go, I have to say thanks to all of you for following along with me.  Your comments are the best (you are some seriously funny blog readers!) and I truly appreciate it.  And one of the things that makes it seem even more worthwhile is when I hear that people have actually done a project I’ve created.  I was so happy when Heather sent a note saying she’d made the Glowing Eye Candle Holders for her co-workers.

Don’t they look great!
h-chase-spooky-votive-holders

And I have to find the picture of those two girls on the far left!

Thanks so much Heather for sending the pic.

 

I hope everyone has a great Halloween!

 

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!

 

 

Day of the Dead Luminaries

After Abbot Kinney (which went really well despite record heat) I took a  trip to Ohio to see my family.

Upon my return I  was overjoyed  to discover two things:

1) My home had not been turned into a pop-up Halloween store which seems to be the fate of every other empty or temporarily unused building in America (do we really need that many?  Is it like that where you are?  It’s insane in LA); and

2) Amy over at Mod Podge Rocks had posted my latest tutorial!day-of-the-dead-luminary-tutorial-cheltenham-road-for-mod-podge-rocksIt would appear that I’m a bit obsessed with making glowing, creepy luminaries out of things I find at the Dollar Store.  I think this is the third variation on that theme I’ve done.Halloween Decoration Tutorial

As obsessions go it’s not necessarily a bad one (beats that time I was hooked on Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups…. I shouldn’t have reminded myself of that….I’ll be right back) addiction

Anyhoo…..

So, I’d decided I wanted to do these using some napkins and since it seems like Day of the Dead graphics are everywhere and very “in” I thought I’d use Day of the Dead napkins.

However, uttering the words “I’m going to go get some Day of the Dead napkins” caused my super-power to kick in.

What is my super power you may ask?

My super power is the ability to cause any item that I have seen all over the place to completely evaporate from store shelves the minute I decide to buy it.

I went everywhere.  No napkins.  I found stores that were selling (I’m not kidding) coordinated Day of the Dead tablecloths, cups and plates but NOT NAPKINS.

It’s insane.

Happily I did finally find some but from now on I’m using my powers only for good.

My next project will be made entirely out of broccoli.  Do you hear me powers-that-be?!  I MUST HAVE BROCCOLI!!!! LOTS OF IT!!!!!!

You’re welcome children of the world (and former President Bush).

Anyway, after finding the elusive napkins the project came together very easily.

easy-mod-podge-halloween-luminaries-tutorialAnd I think it’s adaptable in a lot of different ways and worth a perusal if you’re in the market for quick, simple, inexpensive Halloween decor.easy-diy-halloween-decor

And, now that I’m back and have just a bit of breathing room between now and multiple upcoming  holiday shows it’s time to get to work!

CCP (Constant Coaster Production) will have to continuecoaster productions along with all the other HOME signsLots of Letter Blanks….. and Subway signs… and magnets…..and wine charms……. but I hope to get to some of the other fun, one-off projects I have been itching to do.

For instance, the front porch light quit working and had to be replaced.  I always thought is was pretty dang uglyporch-light but now it seems like I should be able to use it for something interesting maybe?

UPDATE: reader Denise came up with a inspiring suggestion for what to do with the old porch light.    I will fill it with various kinds of broccoli .  I’M GOING TO HOT GLUE BROCCOLI TO THE OUTSIDE!!!!!  I will need lots and lots of broccoli for this project. 

Thanks Denise!

I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime Happy October!

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