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There’s Always Tomorrow

“I will blog tomorrow.”

That’s what I kept telling myself each day.  Each day as I got up and got rolling on finishing coasters, making subway signs, cutting letters, sending out Etsy orders I would say to myself, “as soon as I’m done with this I will write a blog post.”

The problem is – I never seem to be done with “this” whatever “this” may be.

And when I am done with “this” I tend to eat ice cream rather than blog (Trader Joe’s Mint Chip.  I’ve been living on that and coffee for about a week.  You know, cause I’m all about healthy).

So clearly, I need to become a “right when I get up” blogger.  This will, of course lead to numerous spelling mistakes and poor grammar but I’m afraid that’s just the way it has to be.


Good Morning!  It’s 6:01AM!!!!!

I have spent my week not blogging and prepping for the Renegade Craft Fair which is this weekend!

My prepping was a bit hindered when I discovered that my scroll saw  was busted.  A quick call to the folks at Porter Cable resulted in this easy fix.

I could either mail it to the factory (no problem – it only huge, awkwardly sized and weighs 50 pounds or so) or drive it 60 miles to a factory!  After that it would just take them three short months to get the tiny little part that’s broken installed because it’s back ordered!

How totally awesome!

Amazon came to my rescue and I now have a brand new scroll saw…..and an old scroll saw……..anybody want a used, broken scroll saw?  No?  Weird.

Happily before my scroll saw trauma I had completed two custom orders.  And it really is true – your customers come up with the best ideas.

Recently, two separate customers asked me if I’d consider making one large letter for them rather than my regular HOME sign.  I’m always up for something new so we collaborated and emails flew back and forth and decisions were made and sawing was done and we emerged at the other end with these.

First up – a gift for a Boston Red Sox loving husband’s new Man Cave.

I hope he likes it!

And then a giant L with a collage of images celebrating Detroit.

It’s 20” high by 13.5” wide which – fun fact – is exactly ½” larger than the largest box my local box supplier makes!  I turns out my artistry is not constrained by my imagination, finances or skill but by conveniently available box sizes!

OK.  It’s now 6:45AM and as soon as I’m done with this blog post I’m gonna eat ice cream get to work!

If anyone is local and plans to go to Renegade please do stop by. 

A Little Experiment

So, I’m wondering if a couple of you could help me out.

A few years ago I thought it would be fun to make Christmas gifts for my family and, unsurprisingly, I made coasters (they never saw it coming!).

I decided to celebrate our family’s vast real estate empire by creating floor plans of all of the various houses from our past – my folks place, our grandparents homes, the house my mom and dad built when they were first married etc etc.

I wanted them all to be a bit different so I created different backgrounds etc and they came out looking like this:Happily they were a hit!  I made my sister cry! (as a little brother if you make your sister cry and you haven’t kicked her or read her diary you have achieved Little Brother Super Stardom!)Since then all family members have reported much admiration of the coasters from visitors.And it has been suggested to me that I should try to add these to my Etsy store.Now, clearly, the world is not crying out for floor plans of my parent’s home.  But when I tried to think through what the process would be for doing custom orders for people my mind boggled a little.

  • Would people be OK sending me a sketch
  • How much explaining would I need to do to get the idea across
  • How many options would I need to offer
  • How long would it take
  • etc etc etc and on and on

So, this is where you come in.

I would like to use a couple of you as guinea pigs.

You would have to be very patient guinea pigs.

I’m trying to figure out the best, most efficient way to create these coasters for people that would leave them satisfied and wouldn’t leave me buried under millions of hours of Photoshop work.To do the project for my family I had to create floor plans of homes I’d never set foot in but the sketches were made by my dad who, as we know, can be a tad on the precise side.  What I need to know is if I can take something like this:And create a viable design.

So, would two of you be willing to join me on this journey of coaster discovery?

You would, of course, end up with a set of customized coasters at the end as payment for your patience.  I figure I need two “potential” folks to work with.  I guess to be fair it should be the first two to respond to this post.

Thanks in advance!

Patchwork, Coasters and Wedding Blocks… Oh My!


I’m workin’ away getting ready for Patchwork on Sunday.  If anyone is LA-local please do consider dropping by.  The historic Helms Bakery is one of the coolest spots in LA to cruise around (whether you go to the show or not) and the Patchwork show is inside so you can peruse without need of sunscreen!

I’m trying to get some new designs out in time.  I’ve been working on my Wonderful LA coastersVintage Los Angeles Coasters

Vintage Los Angeles coaster setAnd a few other project that I’ll try to photograph before the event.

Also, if you’re keen on such things, my new tutorial is up over at Amy’s Mod Podge Rocks site.  I came up with (yet another) variation on my tea light holders but the tutorial also goes into how to get that distressed look under the paper.And now it’s out to the garage!  Things to paint!  Things to sand!


Please Pardon Our Mess

Well, my noble goal to become totally organized, amazingly efficient and completely together is……going to take longer than anticipated.

Honestly, I think I made more of a mess this weekend than ever before.  But I have faith that it’s a mess that is going in the right direction.

And I must say you folks are a great motivator!  Thank you!

I spent my weekend working, working, working to get the room finished (among other things) because I kept thinking “I promised this for Monday.”   Clearly DEADLINES are going to be the key to my success.

I’m happy to report my workroom is almost done and I’m very pleased with it.  But, I’m waiting on a couple of finishing touches so the big reveal will have to wait a day or two.

In the meantime part of my weekend was spent prepping and finishing my latest Mod Podge Rocks Project which Amy posted today.

I’ve been contemplating for a while how to make a vase using  PVC piping and, while discussing the idea with my imaginative friend Karla she suggested making a Mother’s Day themed vase using old photos and it all clicked.

So, I took rather random assortment of stuffAnd made this centerpiece that I thought was a fun way to celebrate family history.

Of course, since I finished it, all I can think about is all the OTHER ways I could do it and all the possible variations.  I love it when an idea takes off like that.  So we may be revisiting this one later as well.

If you’d like to find out the details please head on over to Mod Podge Rocks to check out the full tutorial

In the meantime I’m back to the workroom project!

Lets Get Lazy!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

I’m pleased to report that Amy  just posted my latest tutorial over on Mod Podge Rocks.

Apparently a deep desire to create lazy susans runs in my family.

You may remember my dad’s beautiful lazy susans. Well, in an Oedipus like maneuver (without the killing, eye gouging or marrying your mom part)I have come up with my on lazy susan design!

Of course, my father’s were meticulously crafted using fine wood, incredible patience, creativity and crazy-mad woodworking skills and mine were…….made of random stuff I grabbed on sale at Home Depot.  But lets not quibble about minor details or explore too deeply what makes my dad my dad and me, well, me.

So, I found some metal plant saucers (the things that go under the planters to protect your floor) and thought they would make great, oversize, lazy susans when combined with an inexpensive turntable.

So I had this:

And then, of course, due to my graphics obsession/color problem I had to make it all bright, shiny and graphicy so I ended up with this:

I hope you’ll check it out and, as always, if you have any questions you can ask over on the site or drop me a line here and I’ll be happy to answer.

Pay no attention to the man behind the garage door!

Part 1

First off I apologize for being a total tease and I am now happy to report that the awesome Amy of Mod Podge Rocks has completed her cross-country trek and has posted my tutorial for the Subway signs! So, if you’re at all interested in learning how to make theseOut of some bits and pieces then by all means head on over to Mod Podge Rocks  to get the full tutorial.

They are easy to make and, of course, totally customizable to whatever city inspires you.  For a local store I’ve since made ones for London and Chicago!

Part 2

I arrived home yesterday afternoon and discovered this in front of my garage door. Just patiently sitting there, waiting for me.

Now, I think I’ve chronicled my exploits of furniture acquisitions:

  • Beg: “you gonna take that with you when you move”,
  • Borrow:  “Does taking things left on the street count as borrow?” and of course
  • Steal: It wasn’t my fault!

Bottom line: I’m all about getting furniture wherever I can.

However, I’ve never had a piece of furniture just walk to my front door of its own volition.

Logic tells me, of course, that a friend, knowing of my sickness, dropped it off.  However, there was no note or subsequent email.

So, I’m choosing to believe that word has gotten out among the cast off, discarded and dilapidated furniture subculture that “there’s this guy in LA who can help you out.”   And, even as I type, pieces of furniture are making their way carefully down the yellow brick road to my door.  There’s no place like home…the garage.  There’s no place like the garage…..!


Make Your Own Decorative Knobs

Thank you for all the kind responses about the London Underground dresser!

I’ve had a couple of questions about the top two knobs so I thought I’d share how I made them – it was pretty easy and oh so inexpensive.

First off, I have to give credit to The Muse (otherwise known as Geralyn)!  Almost everything I do gets run by the The Muse for approval and tweeking before execution.  In this case she helped me nail down the city and then worked with me to come up with a good design for the knobs.  We tried the Union Jack but finally settled on the logo for the Underground.

OK onto the “how.”

I’m going to use my Underground image to illustrate but this method would work for any kind of graphic you wanted to work with.

Steps 1-3.  Sand, Prime, Paint!A good sanding is key (wooden knobs seem to be doused in evil paint resistant shellacks and varnishes) and I ‘ve become a big fan of Zinzer’s  BIN Shellac Base Primer which creates a great finish.  And I painted it with a couple of coats of flat black spray paint.

I created my own version of the Undergound logo in Photoshop  but it was also pretty easy to create in MSWord using shapes and a text box.

Of course a simple scan of any image you wanted to use would work as well.

I then put a black background behind the image.  This made it easier to cut out and let it blend in a little better on the knob.You can do this in MS Word too.  Just thicken the outline around the circle (mine went up to 50) and add some small, black boxes behind the ends of the “Underground” text.

To be honest I was a little too lazy about my cut out on this one.  The black edge gives you some wiggle room but you do want to cut as close to the edge of the image as possible (ie, cut it out better than I did this time around).

Mod Podge:  If you’ve read my Mod Podge Rocks tutorials you know that to create a smooth bubble free adhesion I like to soak my images for a few seconds in water before applying them (test your image first – some inks won’t hold up to a bath).

So, soak it, mod podge it on there and wipe up any excess glue.  After that was thoroughly dry I went in with my sharpie and touched up those tiny white edges that always appear.  If you were using a more unique color you could do the same just using a fine brush.

I did a couple more sealing coats of Mod Podge to minimize the edge where the paper meets the knob and after the Mod Podge had thoroughly dried (and I mean thoroughly, like, overnight or longer if you can swing it) I did a very light sanding and then top-coated with a couple of passes of an acrylic sealant.

And there you go.  A totally specific knob for almost nothing.


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