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Sally’s Visit and Paper Jewelry

My sister Sally is visiting me this week.

My oldest sister and I have a lot in common and once she stopped using the phrase “unnecessary addition” and “ruined everything” to describe my birth we’ve gotten along great!*

(*I’m joking of course, everyone always has been and always will be overjoyed to have me around.  Please remember that if we ever meet.  If you can’t quite put your finger on the emotion you’re experiencing it is overjoyedness.  Trust me.)

Sally dabbled in acting too and has always been an artist working in all sorts of media.  She has, for a long time, had a great passion for paper.  She makes her own paper, does paper sculptures, books etc – it’s all quite beautiful.

After she arrived for her visit and we had chatted a bit she brought out this small bagpaulas-bag

(which, keeping it in the family, was made for her by our sister Paula)

and out of it pulled these suppliessally-kit

Intrigued (and a bit concerned that I wasn’t keeping her sufficiently entertained) I asked her what it was for and she told me about her current passion for making paper jewelry and that this is her travelling workshop.

I’d never heard of paper jewelry and I was fascinated to watch her work.

After cutting out some simple ovals of various sizespieces-parts

she carefully wrapped/molded them into her desired shape and glued them together producing these super cool earrings.ear-rings

Then, she shared a picture of some of her other, finished work:paper-ear-rings-by-sarah-alger

Aren’t they beautiful?!  All made of paper.

And then Sally then revealed her true purpose.

In the paper jewelry game durability is kinda key.

She’d been using a fairly expensive product to coat her work but wanted to experiment with Mod Podge Stiffy to see if it would provide the same results.   And since she knew I was the Mod Podge Ambassador in the family she thought I might have a stash.mod-podge-stiffy

As luck would have it, the good folks at Plaid had sent me a bottle of Stiffy.   I haven’t experimented with it since, A) I don’t really do much with fabric and, B) I’m waaaaay too juvenile to use it or reference it without bursting into extremely immature giggles and/or feel like I’m writing 50 Shades of Grey – Craft Edition.

Anyway, Sally wanted to try it out which was perfect!

She grabbed the Stiffy…

….nope!…

OK.  Let’s try that again.

She dabbed the Stiffy….

….ugh…..

She found the Stiffy….

….I can’t do this…..

OK, sorry, I need to grow up.  But that’s clearly not going to happen anytime soon so………….I’m just going to call it Voldemort.

Take two!

Sally brushed the Voldemort on and between the layers of paper and let them dry. stiffy I was impressed and so was she! It worked beautifully.  Mod Podge Voldemort both provided adhesion between the layers but also gave the earrings just the right amount of sturdiness so that they will hold up to wear and tear.  These just need a final sealing coat on the back and the addition of the findings and she’s good to go.

She has a bunch of other stuff with her so I’m hoping she shows me more of what she’s working on during the visit.

But I’m not going to make her work on her earrings the whole time she’s here.  No, the garage needs cleaning and I need some coaster backs cut too! (she’s overjoyed.  See?!)

Perfect.

Disclaimer: The good folks at Plaid have provided me (though they probably regret it at this point) with Mod Podge Voldemort as part of my Plaid Ambassador position.  All opinions and juvenile asides are totally on me and I have not received any other compensation for this post.  Links are provided just for reference and convenience.

Galvanized Metal Tray Makeover and Jet Lag

I’ve come (back) from the Land Down Under!

It was a great trip.  I saw amazing sites, drank a lot of beer, watched a lot of tennis and truly enjoyed my first full-fledged vacation in years.

Australia maintained its reputation for vicious insect attacks (I stepped on a bee at the beach).  Fortunately the area is named “Manly Beach” and my response to was, I assure you, very Manly.

Sometimes men emit high pitched screams.  We can do that.  Don’t judge.

I also discovered that I no longer tan.

I used to.  I used to turn a nice olive color but now I just become bright red and then, overnight,  it fades back to my natural color, Pasty Accountant White (part of Sherwin Williams new spring color collection).

Disappointing.

I flew back on Friday and discovered Michaels Craft Store was celebrating my return with one of their super-rare 60% off coupons (thoughtful!)  so I dragged my severely jet-lagged self to the store.

I’d intended to just stock up on a supply item but stumbled across this metal tray michaels-tray-makeover

And for 60% the cost came down to $10 and my, admittedly somewhat addled, mind saw possibilities!

It’s a cool tray but, being  me , I thought it could use some graphic enhancement and had been curious to see if the polycrylic technique I’d tried with my yardstick tray  and Halloween candle holder would work on metal.

Back home I got right to work (…after accidentally falling asleep for approximately two days…..)!

I pulled some bicycle graphics from the ever-reliable Graphics Fairy (her blog is also the source for the polycrylic transfer method)graphic-fairy-bicycle-imagegraphics-fairy-bicycle-ad

and did a little mixing and matching in Photoshop to get the look I wanted.crescent-bicycle-tray-master-2017

Of course, as always, the tray was larger than my printing capabilities so, after reversing the graphic, I printed it out in three sections on my laser printer (I just use plain old Staples brand legal sized paper for this).diy-metal-tray

The transfer method is the same as for the signs.

I laid down a nice layer of polycrylic on the bottom of the trayMetal Tray Makeover with Image Transfer

I laid the pieces in place, smoothed them down with a brayer, wiped away any excess polycrilic and…..went back to bed.

After letting it dry overnight I began to rub away the paper with a wet cloth until the image was revealed.diy-michaels-crafts-tray-transformation

It worked great!  galvanized-tray-makeover-project-by-cheltenham-roadIt actually worked a little too great and I had to go back in and rub really hard to remove some of the image to get the distressed look I wanted.image-transfer-on-metal-tray-from-michaels-crafts

I think this opens up a lot of fun possibilities.  My image is black and white but I’m quite sure colors would work just as well.

And now I must go back to factory mode for a short while.  200 coasters due at a store and my sister Sally arrives on Thursday for a visit!

2017 Meet 2002!

Happy New Year one and all!

I hope the beginning of 2017 is treating you all well.

The big new here is that it’s raining in Southern California.

THIS. IS. AWESOME!

THIS. IS. MESSING. UP. ALL. MY. PLANS!

So, rather than working outside I’ve been hibernating a bit and binge watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix*

While hibernating I’ve been setting up goals for 2017 and one of them is to do a bunch of projects that I’ve been putting off since, well, about 2002.

I think that’s a perfectly reasonable turn-around time on a project wouldn’t you agree? (rhetorical question)

First up (no pictures, sorry) are my father’s cabinets.

My dad designed and built two perfect wall cabinets to make my tiny New York City kitchen be functional.  When I moved to LA they came with me but there was no place to put them in my new house and they’ve been moldering away in the garage ever since.  But I’ve found a spot!  (OK, I found a spot about 3 years ago) and this is the year they get refurbished and rehung!

Up next, I acquired these chairs when Geralyn’s office was remodeled.chair

They have survived every garage purge since 2002 because I keep vowing that I was going to do a makeover on themchair-back

They are nice, solid wood, and I think they have nice lines and lots of potential (I may be wrong).chairs

I’m not much an upholstery guy but I’m determined to at least give it a shot.

And finally, I salvaged these two end tables from a beyond-repair vanity.end-table

They are beautiful, solid wood, dovetail jointed pieces.end-tables

Lots of damage to the finish on the sides but not a hugely difficult project.  A fact which does not in any way help to explain why it has taken me so long to do it since I need them in my living room.

So, I’m posting this in the hope that you will keep me honest.  If you don’t see at least one of these projects done by mid-February you have my permission to start bugging me about them.

In the meanwhile I’m at work on new coaster designs and new product designs for the New Year (and maybe even, finally, getting that long-promised web site up and running)

Happy New Year everyone!

 

*This has proved to be somewhat cathartic for my actor-side.  I didn’t watch Parks and Rec when it was on but I did audition for it five times.  5 times!!!  And I NEVER GOT THE PART!!!!

I thought I must have really sucked but, if I sucked, why did they keep having me come back, right?

Well, while binge watching I keep getting right up to some part I auditioned for and then, poof! it’s not there.

This means that either A) they saw my audition tape and thought “good god! that was terrible! cut that part!!!” or B) more generously, “wow! if David can’t even make that work we should cut it” or C) more realistically, the part(s) just got cut which happens all the time.  I actually arrived at an audition for SuperStore the other day only to discover that the part had been cut WHILE I WAS DRIVING TO THE AUDITION.  Stuff happens.

But, you know, YAY, I didn’t suck!

And also Parks and Recreation is an awesome show!  I can’t believe I missed it the first time around!

Simple Solution for Christmas Decorating and the Giant TV over the Mantle

This is a not a lifestyle or decorating blog.

Mostly that is because my decorating and lifestyle could best be described as “something has gone wrong.”

I have good ideas but the place is pretty much a perpetual mess and a hodge podge of not-quite- finished projects

But for Christmas I decorate.

Well, actually, for the Christmas party I decorate – I’m not sure I’d do it if a bunch of people weren’t coming over.  But I do enjoy it and this year I solved a long standing dilemma.

While I love my big TV, it’s place of honor over the mantle kinda kills any holiday mantle decorating. what-to-do-with-the-tv-at-christmas

(yes, the orange Loony Toons monster lives there year round)

I’ve tried various solutions but never quite been satisfied until this year.

It was super simple and though I’m quite sure I’m far from the first person to think of it I was pleased with it and  I think came out looking pretty festive.

I just took a  large box and cut it down to match the dimensions of my TV  -creating a “cover”television-cover-up-idea-for-christmas

After “wrapping” it I just placed it over the front of the TV along with some other boxes and, viola! festive mantle!holiday-mantle-tv-cover-up-by-cheltenham-road

Now this is a case where my sister Paula would have come in handy as she is a package wrapping genius – all of her gifts are truly works of art – you almost feel bad opening them (well, let’s keep it real here, “almost” is the key word in that sentence).  She would have truly taken this to the next level but I made do with my limited skills.*christmas-mantle-tv-cover-up-by-cheltenham-road

The best part is that, when I remove the cover to catch up on my favorite shows it looks like maybe somebody  bought me a giant TV for Christmas!!!! It’s just what I wanted!  And I know exactly where I’ll put it!dsc_6894

 

*I’m not as bad as my dad at gift-wrapping though.  The one year he decided to wrap all his Christmas presents by himself he somehow managed to use, not wrapping paper but the extra rolls of dining room wall paper that my mom was saving in case of emergency.  He thought it  ” looked nice and sort of familiar but was surprisingly stiff and hard to fold”

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.

 

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