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I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Catch Up!

Life is getting crazy busy and I feel like the guy in the movie who, while running away from the monster, falls and shouts to his friends:

“I’ll never make it!  Just keep crafting without me!”

………….OK, they don’t usually say “crafting” but you get the idea.

Every day starts with laying out a “To Do List” and every day ends with me looking at the To Do List and thinking – “how did I manage to work all day and do none of these things?”

So, I’m scrambling to keep up.

I swear my tombstone is going to look like this:

So, I’m a bit behind on all fronts – blogging, manufacturing, exercise, personal grooming (no, really, I meant to grow a beard!)

But I am getting some things done!

I had a request for GIANT version of my HOME signs to spell out a child’s name –16” high with a San Diego/Beach/Sailing theme.   I had to set them on the floor to get a (semi) decent picture of them.

I really love how they came out and wondering if GIANT Home signs might be a good idea.

 And, no, the poor child’s name is not NAART.

 Another custom HOME sign was for the great city of St. Louis

And yet another  for someone in Australia who must have really wanted it because shipping cost almost as much as the sign did.

(you can see I’m still struggling with how to photograph these dang things.  I don’t think I’ll do the mirror version again though)

And I made a delivery to my newest brick and mortar store!

If any of you are avid HGTV watchers you’ll remember Angelo Surmelis who hosted several of the networks shows (Rate My Space, 24 Hour Design etc).

Well he’s got his own line of home furnishings that can be found just about everywhere on the web.  But, clearly bent on decor world domination, he’s just about to open a new store here in downtown LA called, appropriately, Angelo HOME

He and his business partner saw some of my work, dug it and now I’m along for the ride.  I got a brief glimpse inside the store and it is going to be very VERY cool!  (Plus! Across the street there is a restaurant that makes amazing donuts.  So it’s a total WIN/WIN!)

OK, back to work.

Paint Chip Calendar Tutorial

I’m having one of those “work from dawn till midnight” kinda weeks.

You see, despite my screw up with the deadlines Unique LA let my apply late and I got and and the show is this weekend.

It’s gonna be great!  I’m pretty excited and a bit nervous.  This will be the first time, I have a whole booth to myself.  I’ve been working on new set up (pictures to come…. spoilers – I used the color green!  Shocking I know!), building display, making tons of coasters and, well,  everything else – letters, home signs, subway art, candle blocks etc etc.

In the meantime – the paint chip calendar I made for my workroom makeover seems to be popular on Pinterest and I’ve had a couple of people ask me how I made it so I thought I’d do a quickie tutorial.

By “quickie” I mean that I really don’t have any pictures to illustrate much so bear with me.

I used:

  • Poster frame ($2 from Good Will)
  • Sand Paper – fine grit
  • Spray Paint (optional)
  • Fabric
  • Spray adhesive
  • Paint chips
  • Glue dots
  • Spray Paint

1)      After a light sanding I painted the frame with a gloss white spray paint.

2)      My frame was empty when I bought it so I cut a piece of foam core to use for the backing.

3)      I sprayed the adhesive on the foam core and then placed my fabric over it smoothing out the wrinkles.  I then flipped it over and folded the extra fabric on the back and taped it in place.

4)      I needed a big calendar and I found that Home Depot’s Behr line has the largest paint chips around.  They were a little too large actually.  After doing the math I trimmed them down to 3” wide and 5.75” tall.  I also used my little round-over corner trimmer on the top left corner.

5)      As you may have gathered this was a bit of “grab what’s around” project and I had some of those glue dots so I used them to stick the paint chips to the fabric.  To be honest this met with mixed results.  A few of the paint chips just would NOT stay stuck.  I have no idea why – the rest of them seemed to be with the program, but just a few kept falling off.  I eventually (and somewhat crankily) just used a dab of Elmers glue to hold them in place.

6)      I just used a piece of card stock and Microsoft Word to print out the days of the week to run along the top (same with the Notes section at the bottom – just a piece of cardstock cut to fit)

7)      I re-assmbled the whole thing and BOOM! Wall calendar.Paint Chip Wall Calendar TutorialSo, I apologize again for the lack of photographic accompaniment but I hope this answers a few of the questions about the calendar.

And if you’re an LA kinda person please do come to the Unique Show this weekend!

Rose Bowl Ramp Up!

It’s the big Rose Bowl run up.  One piece of furniture down……several to go……..

When I first saw this little dresser I thought (and you may remember) that I’d put chalkboard paint on the front and make it for a kids room.

However, my sister Phebe wisely weighed in on that idea.

You see Phebe marches to a different drummer than I do.

Phebe’s  drummer is way cool and waaaay together.  Her drummer leads her to have alphabetized spices and to never be late.  My drummer…..probably got fired from the band for missing rehearsal.

Anyway, Phebe pointed out that as a mom of three she wouldn’t have been thrilled to find chalk dust all over her children’s clean clothes.

I really couldn’t argue with her reasoning and so a new idea was born.

Or rather a recent idea was expanded.

I seem to have a thing lately for old postcards.  So after some mad downloading from the Graphics Fairy and a few other sources I came up with this.

Once again, here is the before with it’s charming shelf liner top

And here we go.

Perhaps a little on the busy side but I’m pleased.

OK – back to work!

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.


Good Life!

Some of my days can only really be described as a little schizophrenic.

This was my day.

Up and to the gym at 5.

A couple of hours of mod-podging coasters and projects and answering some emails.

Shower and dress as “an intellectual archivist” and drive over to Hollywood to audition for The Office.

After the audition it’s back home to

A)     Remove the carcass of the dead rat from the garage

B)      Continue to make coasters and HOME signs

C)      Send out Etsy orders

D)     Memorize my lines for my other audition

Then shower, change clothes to be “an incredibly dull physics professor” and back over to Hollywood to audition for Parks and Recreation.

Then back home, change clothes and out to the garage for candle block drilling.

See?  A little random!

But awesome!

As I was driving back home from audition number 2 my ipod – as it often does – played the perfect song:

Good Life (by OneRepublic):

What there is to complain about

When you’re happy like a fool
Let it take you over
Oh this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life

And it really is a very, very good life! (the rat’s feelings about the day may differ)

This is exactly what I wanted my life to be when I decided to leave the 9-5 world!

But enough about that, I promised an update on my French Label Table.  I’m very pleased with the results this time.

So, as a refresher it started out like this:

and my intention was to add this graphic from the Graphics Fairy collection

using a Blender Pen made by ChartPak  that I found out about via the terrific Villabarnes blog.

My first attempt at the label transfer was spotty at best and failed completely when I tried to seal it with wax and it washed the whole design away.  Ugh.

So, this time I vowed to do better – here are the steps I took:

1)      I repainted the top with a flat white ceiling paint and then gave it a light sanding.

2)      On the computer I reversed the label and upped the saturation so that the black lines were really, really black.

3)      I wanted the label to end up being larger than 8.5×11 (the maximum size I can print) so I broke it up into sections and blew each part up to the size I wanted and printed them out separately on my Laser Printer.  NOTE: This technique only works with laser prints – apparently- ink jet prints will run.

4)      I then laid each piece face down and taped it to the table so it  wouldn’t move.

5)      Then it’s just a matter of rubbing the blender pen over the paper.  I found out that you really need to rub aggressively to make the transfer really work. It may look like the ink is bleeding but that’s OK.

Then just immediately peel it away

6)      A couple of sections didn’t come out as dark as I wanted but it was easy to re-print that section of the label, line it up and do it over again.

I’m pleased with the results but I’m going to wait for it to dry very, very thoroughly before some further distressing and a sealer coat.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I think this technique has lots of possibilities and the Blender Pen was only about $3.00 so it’s pretty affordable (and kinkos or staples can give you laser jet copies if you don’ t have a laser printer).


So all-in-all a very good day!

Hope everyone else also had a good Tuesday!

Free Kitchen Label Download

I think I figured out how to share my kitchen cannister label design that I used on my Ikea glass jars.


I realize they are pretty basic and some of you are probably thinking “Ummmm, dude?  You made a red circle with another red circle inside.  Don’t quit your dayjob” (too late I’m afraid).  But I hope that maybe they will save some of you a little hassle and make it easier to customize your kitchen. 

 Just click on the JPEG (below) to enlarge it and then save that version to your computer. 

 After that the possibilities are many. 

 You can just go ahead and print them as is. 

 You can open them into any drawing program and play around with color and size (they could be cupcake toppers or place cards or anything else you liked).   Or simply insert the JPEG into MS Word and go to town using text boxes to add the wording of your choice.

 If you want to match mine I used a Font called “Honest John’s” which is available for free here .

 For my canisters I painted the top with Krylon’s Fusion spray paint which is made for plastics and works great.  I then printed the circles onto Avery 8.5×11 label sheets, cut them out and slapped ‘em on the canisters.  This, of course, does not make them washable but they are easily replaced if needed.  You could also decoupage them on or, I think, use LaserTran transfer paper which I’ve never tried but it looks way cool.

 If you do use them I would really enjoy seeing the final result!

 And if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.  It’s always hard to gauge how computer friendly people are and I may have skipped some key step.











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