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Salted Caramel Nutella S’Mores and Inappropriate Use of Shop Equipment

In my defenseDid you know that Costco sells giant, two packs of Nutella?nutella twopack

This is knowledge I probably shouldn’t have been made privy to.

I mean, how could you NOT buy that!?  Even if you don’t like Nutella someone else you know might! (such as, just brainstorming here,  perhaps a blogger whose work you admire or your mom.  One of those.  Probably the former.  Your mom told me she would prefer to buy her own.)

So my giant, two pack of Nutella was just, you know, THERE.  In the pantry.

And then it rained today.

And s’mores sounded like a really good thing to do.

*Important confession.  It occurred to me to do this as a blog post as I was contemplating s’moredom.  And, while I was truly looking forward to sharing it with you all I was not about to delay the time it took to actually consume the s’mores by setting up pretty pictures of the process.    I mean, you are all totally awesome and worth it but.  S’mores.

So I grabbed graham crackers, aforementioned Nutella, Jet Puff Marshmallow stuff and salted caramel sauce.

I plopped some nutella on one side of the graham crackers.Salted Caramel Nutella S'mores

Added some caramel sauce and  a little extra sea salt (for some reason I never quite get the “salt” in the salted caramel stuff I buy so I add more).salted Caramel S'mores

Jet Puff Marshmellow stuff went on the other sideSalted Caramel and Nutella S'mores

and then……

OK, so I work with Envirotex Epoxy Resin a lot.  I mean A LOTEnvirotex Lite Projects by Cheltenham RoadIf you’ve tried it you know it’s a terrific product but it does produce bubbles as it cures and the only way pop them is to blow on them.  So I spent a lot of time blowing on the bubbles through a straw.  This works great until you are momentarily distracted, forget what your doing but remember there is a straw in your mouth and accidentally inhale rather than exhale and epoxy your tongue.

So

I purchased this little mini blow torch gadget.mini blow torch

It works amazingly well and saves all sorts of time (and your tongue)

AND

whattyaknow! it works on s’mores too!Nutella Salted Caramel S'mores

Question: Is it wrong to claim the blow torch as a business expense if I also used it for s’mores?  I SWEAR it’s only this one time……..

Pro-tip: do not try to take pictures of yourself using a blow torch on marshmallows.  You will note that the corner of that upper-right graham cracker is, perhaps, a bit….redder then they usually are…….1330993075_Fire_Bad_

Moving on!

One good smoosh and.Salted Caramel Nutella S'mores

SALTED CARAMEL NUTELLA S’MORES!!!!!!Rainy Day Snack S'mores Salted Caramel and Nutella

The perfect rainy afternoon diet busting, guilt inducing, tax compromising treat!

My Own Hollywood Backlot in the Backyard

I’ve been ramping up the factory this past week getting prepped for two, big, new shows.

First up is Rendezvous MarketRendezvous Market Santa Monica

This is a new one (for me and them – first time!) and I’m looking forward to it.

After that comes the Jakalope Festival in lovely Pasadena.3f6dde38-e134-4175-903d-746c5a8520f8

I’ve heard great things about this show and Pasadena is one of my favorite places.

So, of course, this means that my life of late (and going forward) is all about building up inventory so there are….

coasters  coasters everywhereCoasters Coasters Everywhere

Not my favorite look for the dining room but such is life.

In the meantime (because endlessly detailing the fact that I’m making coasters somehow does not make for compelling blog reading) I wanted to share photo set-up that I put together.

So photography is…not my favorite aspect of all of this.  I’m just not very good at it.

I bought a fancy new camera a while ago and a tome of an instruction book that just sits here on my desk….mocking me.

I mean, I’m improving but it’s all a bit beyond me – so many buttons!!!! So many math-like things to adjust!  So many considerations about where the sun is at that particular moment.

Anyway, I was trying to get a picture of that little chair I did for my last Mod Podge Rocks projectIkea chair makeover by Cheltenham Road but I was having a terrible time.

I couldn’t find a good spot in the house, I couldn’t get a good angle on it.  But I was so pleased with the project and I wanted a good shot.

I decided to go outside but then all I got were horrible shadows and more frustration until I noticed a spot up against the back of the house  that was shaded and I had

AN IDEA!

I wanted to make the chair look like it was sitting in a room so I grabbed one of my work tables, some old boards I had that were painted white and a chunk of beadboard leftover from a show display.

I pushed the table up against the back of my house to hold up the beadboard and just laid the wood pieces down like a floor.

And then got fancy adding another piece of wood as a “baseboard” and clamped another across the top as a “chair rail”.

Easy Photo Shoot set up

Once you crop it down to “edit” out the edges it looks sorta like an actual room.Easy chair makeover idea by Cheltenham Road

It’s a bit bright and still a little flat but so much better than what I was getting and so easy to set up.

I even could swap out the back wall by just using any other random piece of board that was large enough

How about white!DSC_4526

Perhaps blue!Decoupage Kids Chair with bok covers by Cheltenham RoadI settled on green.  I always choose green (Kermit is my spirit animal).

I’m so happy because this could be just the ticket for solving a lot of my photo-taking-problems going forward (there is kind of a list).

I just need to create some fake-but-interesting walls to hang HOME signs and Subway signs on!

It’s like my own little Hollywood backlot!

OK, gotta go make more coasters.

And HOME signs

And Magnets

And Knobs

And Candle Blocks

And Subway Signs

And Patent Signs

And coasters

Or perhaps a nap……..

Life is all about options.

 

 

Children’s Chair Makeover Tutorial and a huge THANK YOU!

First of all a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who went out and pinned (and favorited which was very kind as well) stuff from Etsy.

Etsy is going through a bunch of behind-the-scenes changes and it’s sort of messing with my views on there but I just have to show you something.

These were my stats for Saturday – which were crazy low:CR Stats March 19

And these were my shop stats after you all got to work!CR Stats March 20And the ripple has continued so, truly, THANK YOU!

In other news.

My hinted at furniture project for Mod Podge Rocks is up and ready for review.Ikea chair makeover by Cheltenham Road

So, some background.

I come from a family of readers.

My grandfather had a full-fledged library in his basement complete with a card catalogue.

As a kid our pre-dinner ritual was to gather around the table and read a book aloud (this devolved eventually into just snacking and drinking martinis* which is an equally valuable use of time).

Some of my fondest memories are of my dad reading to me at bedtime and I still have the abridged Classic Tales books he used. (Of course, being a petulant and not particularly bright child, when I was mad at him I would REFUSE TO ALLOW HIM TO READ TO ME! and I’m sure he was like, “son, you’re an idiot. Go to bed”)

I was also one of those children whose mom had to say “I’m taking your book away and you are going outdoors!” on a semi-regular basis.

Anyway.  Books.  Good!

So, when I saw this little chair at the thrift store I had one of those moments when you know EXACTLY what you’re going to do and you take it home and do EXACTLY what you had in mind.Child Chair Makeover with Mod Podge Ikea Hack Tutorial

I love those moments.

Rare as they are……

As a bonus it was crazy easychair makeover tutorial by Cheltenham Road

and didn’t take very long – most of the time was spent waiting for things to dry.Easy chair makeover idea by Cheltenham Road

I hope you enjoy the full tutorial and thanks so much again for all the support!

*just to be clear I was not allowed to drink martinis as a child.  HOWEVER, as a child I thought I loved olives.  But once, when offered one outside my loving home, I didn’t like it.  So, in actuality, I didn’t love olives….I loved gin – namely the gin-soaked olives I would beg from my parents.  This realization has helped explain a lot.

The Customer’s Always Bright. And a Small Favor!

So, as you know I’ve been noodling around with new ideas.

I like noodling!  It’s fun!

But while I’ve been noodling my customers have been coming up with concrete requests.

Susan wondered if I could work on a line of coasters with a sewing theme.Sewing Room Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadYes!  Yes I can!

I’ve been meaning to do something like this for a long time so I truly appreciate  Susan getting me in gear.  And they are now listed in my Etsy shop

Sewing Drink Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadGeorge – who should probably stay away from sharp needles – had a slightly boozier request.

Could I make patent art bar ware coasters?

Why yes!  Yes I can!

Coaster Set Barware graphicsDwayne changed gears and inquired if I could put together a HOME sign for his home state of Mississippi

Yes!  Yes I can!HOME sign for Mississippi by Cheltenham Road

Mississippi HOME sign on EtsyAnd I have, of course, always had my retro 50s “Advice for Women” coaster set – because they crack me up as they were all written by a man (of course). Retro 50s coaster set by Cheltenham Road

But Theresa wondered if there were a few more options to round out the party favors for an upcoming bridal shower?

Why yes!  yes there are!

Retro 50s Advice Coaster Sets by Cheltenham Road

Because why be content to “have a more successful personality” when you could also,

Make Up – and LIVE!!!Vintage 50s coaster set by Cheltenham RoadAnd now for the favor that was foreshadowed in the title of this post

The FavorPinterest is one of my favorite sites and a huge (actually, main) source of traffic for this blog.  This is awesome!  I love the group that has sprung up here. I love that it’s growing and your ideas, suggestions and feedback really keep me going.

However, Etsy is where my income is generated and, for some reason, I get almost no Pinterest traffic headed to my Etsy shop and Pinterest is kind of a key to success in this scenario.

So, here’s the favor.

If each of you could go to my Etsy shop and just pin a couple of things it would be a huge help!

Just to be clear – I’m not asking you to purchase anything – I’m hoping for the “ripples in the pond” effect where you pin it and your followers see it and they pin it etc etc.

Please pin directly from Etsy (ie not from this blog) so that potential customers are taken directly to my store.

Thanks so much!  I can’t tell you how much I truly appreciate it.

Coming up soon a (minor) return to working on furniture!!  I’ve really  missed doing furniture but I got to work on a fun little project for my next Mod Podge Rocks tutorial and I’m looking forward to sharing it.Child Chair Makeover with Mod Podge Ikea Hack Tutorial

 

 

 

Easy to Make Soda Pop Coasters with Plant Saucers

Easy DIY Coaster IdeaAs you’ve witnessed I’ve been having a good time for the last few weeks playing around with new ideas.

My goal, of course, is to come up with new products. And, hopefully, new products that don’t require me to fabricate

Every. Single. Part

Don’t get me wrong – power tools are awesome. I truly enjoy wood working, sanding and painting but sometimes a guy wants to do something a bit less…..involved.

Also, I’ve been wanting to make round coasters.

Actually, when I first started out I made round ones

The sold well but they were tough to make and wasted a fair amount of wood.Vintage Dairy Label CoastersBut I think I’ve found a work around that has possibilities

So, after last week’s earth shattering reveal that my super clever super secret tool was water this week I ask you to bear with me as I proffer the amazing idea to use terra cotta plant saucers as coaster bases.

I KNOW!!!!!

Pick your jaw up off the floor people ’cause it’s just gonna get crazier from here as I use Mod Podge and Envirotex!!!!!

(remember my goal is to come up with new ideas but not reinvent the wheel)

OK, so I’m not the first person to come up with this (and I haven’t Googled it for fear of confronting my lack of uniqueness) but it turned out to be fun, insanely easy and, I think filled with possibilities.

I grabbed some saucers from Micheals and some gloss white spray paint.Easy DIY Coasters Tutorial(Note: I first did this with bases from Lowes but apparently those are much more porous. They sucked up paint like a vacuum. The ones from Michaels worked beautifully and cost the same).

After a good coating with the paint and some drying time I moved onto the graphics.

I figured everyone here is probably crazy super tired of me and dairy labels (I could hear you all muttering “yes, David, we get it. They’re cool. Buy a cow and move on with your life”) so I thought I’d go with something similar but different (it’s a theme!!)

I had purchased soda pop bottle top graphics from Digital Alice on Etsy a while ago (to use on the knob project) and thought they’d be fun as coasters.

After resizing the graphics I mod Podged them into place and when they were dry sealed them with another good coat of Mod Podge.Easy to make coasters by Cheltenham RoadOnce dry I added some Envirotex and I had myself some fun, round coasters!Soda Pop Label Coasters by Cheltenham RoadI’m thinking I could use these graphics or make up a few of my own.Simple DIY drink coasters

I was also contemplating ones that look like old postage marks.

Record labels would also work!

And, of course, they don’t have to be coasters. Maybe little dishes for keys and such.

Or since these come in all sizes maybe big dishes?

Lots of possibilities I think.  And I didn’t have to sand anything!

My Secret for Easy, Wrinkle Free Mod Podge Projects

Easy Wrinkle Free Mod PodgeI am not one to pronounce that I have the BEST way of doing anything.

You could call it nice, Midwestern humility or you could (more accurately) call it lack of confidence.

I just feel like the second you say “I have the best way” of doing something the natural next step is for someone to say “there is a better way.”

But despite that,  when Christopher asked me how I avoid wrinkles in my Mod Podge projects I thought to myself “I have the BEST way!”

I didn’t invent this and it’s not really earth-shattering or anything but I don’t see it mentioned very often.  (Also when, long ago, I included it in the steps of a tutorial people kinda freaked on me so I thought perhaps I was just making things more difficult.)  But I’ve been doing this for years and years and it works really well for me every time.

For the purposes of this tutorial I’m just going to make one of my 6×9 patent signs.

Here are the basics of what I usedPerfect Wrinkle Free Mod Podge Technique

  • Wood
  • Matte Mod Podge (in a squeeze bottle – explanation below)
  • Laser Print Out of my graphic
  • Roller tool (totally optional)
  • Foam Brush
  • Paper towels

and what is my big secret!?The secret to wrinkle free Mod Podge projects

a bowl of water.

Yeah, I wish it was a more exciting reveal too but what can I say?  It works!

OK to lay some basics out.

Printing: For this to work you must have a laser (or toner based) print. Ink jet prints wont work. I have a laser printer at home and for larger print jobs I go to Staples or Kinkos.

Paper: For most of my work I use Staples Brand Laser Paper, bright white 28lb. But I have also used just plain copy/print paper and all kinds of commercially printed paper like scrap book paper, wrapping paper etc without any problems.

The only paper that hasn’t worked? Tissue paper (too thin) and cardstock (too thick).

Matte Mod Podge: This is the formula I use to stick things down.  There are a lot of different Mod Podge formulas and I use may of them but I almost always start with Matte

Squeeze Bottle. I do a lot of Mod Podging. I mean A LOT. Every day a lot. So, I find it’s easier to just pour the Mod Podge into a squeeze bottle. It’s quick, simple, neat and I can control how much Mod Podge I use and I waste a lot less. (side note, I lost the cap to the squeeze bottle several years ago and it doesn’t seem to make any difference!)

Water: Soaking the paper in a shallow bowl of water for just a few seconds lets the fibers of the paper relax a bit which makes it much easier to smooth into place.

So, here what I do and the order I do it in for all my Mod Podge Projects.

1) Squeeze out the Mod Podge onto the surface of the woodEasy Wrinkle Free Mod Podge Projects

2) Drop the image into the water.avoid wrinkles in Mod Podge Projects

3) Spread the Mod Podge around in an even layer.Easy way to avoid wrinkles with Mod Podge

4) I pull the paper out of the water and (sorry I couldn’t take a picture of this) holding the paper in my left hand I use my right index and middle finger to gently remove any excess water. Just a couple of swipes.

5) I then lay the paper down on the wood and smooth out with my fingers. There is also plenty of slide-ability at this point so I can move the image around until I get it where I want it.

6) Once the paper is in place I use the roller to get rid of any air pockets.avoiding wrinkles in Mod Podge

The roller is a very recent addition to my arsenal and I only use it for larger items like this. For years I just used my fingers and that’s all I use on things like my coasters.

7) I then use a small section of a paper towel to lightly wipe away any excess water or Mod Podge.

8) Once the whole thing is thoroughly dry I go back in and trim away any excess paper and apply whatever sealing coat I’m using (Hard Coat Mod Podge, Gloss Mod Podge etc).

Soaking Time: I let the paper soak just as long as it takes me to spread the Mod Podge around – so maybe 10-20 seconds depending on the size of what I’m doing.

I’ve seen advice to let the paper soak long enough that it curls up and then uncurls. I find that makes it more prone to tearing – esp if you’re working with basic printer paper.

Sometimes my paper does curl up a bit but it I just smooth it out when I apply it to the wood.

THE ONLY DOWNSIDE

The only downside that I’ve found with this method is that as the paper relaxes it sometimes expands a little bit. That’s only a problem if I’m working on an inner surface (like a tray or the inside bottom of a box) and I have to be super precise.

Aaaaand……. that is my big secret!  Soak the paper in water for a few seconds.  It may take a few trys before you get the method down but I would say it works and works beautifully for me about 99% of the time.

I hope that’s helpful to you when next you Mod Podge.  If you have any questions fire away and I’ll do my best to answer.

 

Wine Bottle Coaster from PVC Cap Tutorial

Wine Bottle Coaster Tutorial Cheltenham RoadOne of the things I admire most about my mom and my sisters is their ability to look at something mundane and see all the possibilities for what that thing could be.

My sister’s annual luncheon is a great example and my mom was always doing crazy inventive things for parties or school projects.

I don’t have quite the same gift – or at least I have it on a much more basic level.  Whereas I tend more toward the “Eureka!  that round thing could be a different round thing!”  they see a round thing and think “three of those round things could be serving platter shaped like a Christmas tree!” So, although I’m not quite in their league I do enjoy prowling around the aisle of Home Depot playing the “what else could that be?” game.

My latest Mod Podge Rocks project comes from the plumbing section of Home Depot and I thought it might be good for upcoming spring/summer parties.PVC Cap becomes a Wine Bottle Coaster Tutorial Cheltenham Road

And while I’m not really under the illusion that anyone really NEEDS wine bottle coasters I thought they might be fun to have on a table. The project is so inexpensive and so simple you could do one just to coordinate with a specific event and not have blown the budget.

I just combined a basic plumbing part ($1.80), some paper and cork to make a simple, decorative one.Cheap DIY Wine Bottle Coaster Tutorial

Head on over to Mod Podge Rocks if this might be up your alley.

It also occurred to me as I made this that you could do the same thing to make cool little dishes to hold keys, coins etc.

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