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New Stuff

New Stuff

I keep hearing variations on the phrase “if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life.”

When I was all about acting I would have interpreted this as “you may love it but you’ll never get a job.”

But now that I’m a little more….in control of things (acting is all about other people telling you when you can act) I’m finding the sunnier side of that turn of phrase.

I spent a good part of my weekend “working” on new ideas. Read the rest of this entry

Storage Wars

OK, I realize it’s Wednesday but I had to talk briefly about my weekend.  It was one of those where you get a million things done but don’t feel like you’re running around like a crazy person.  Do you have those?

This is seldom how my life goes and I wish I could figure out how to make it like this all the time.  I kept doing stuff and looking at the clock and thinking “how can it be only 2:00?  This is awesome!”

Actually, I had to get a lot done because the really terrific people that run Angelo Home ordered 50 of my candle blocks…..and they wanted new designs. Retro Wallpaper Tea Light Holder for CoOp 28 Vintage Wallpaper Candle HoldersI  had a lot of fun putting all these together.  Let’s hope they like them.

Retro Metro Subway Art Candle HolderBut the title of this post is Storage Wars and I wanted to share my new favorite storage boxes (perhaps not the most scintillating blog post idea I’ve had but I hope it’s useful)

I’ve been on some kind of personal quest for the Perfect Storage Box for quite a while.   I needed durable, versatile boxes that could hold a lot, travel easily and use space wisely.  For years I’ve made due with a kind of hodge podge of unsatisfying boxes but I have found…..THE ONE!

They are called Really Useful Boxes and here is why I love them.Wide Range of Really Useful Boxes

  • They come in a bunch of sizes.
  • They are super sturdy.
  • They lock tightly, stack securely and…..

They don’t slope on the sides!!!!11 ltr Really Useful Box

When packing for a craft show I always got so annoyed with the sloping sides of other boxes.  It wastes space and,because they are wider at the top than at the bottom, I’m forced to layer different things together in each box so I’m always digging through boxes looking for things.21 ltr Really Useful Box with trayAlso, with my small Honda Fit where packing space is at a premium these guys fit neatly next to each other – once again no wasted space.

As an added bonus I like things that pull double duty.   So, since they boxes lock together pretty snugly when stacked, once I’ve emptied them of their contents they work beautifully as the riser supports on a craft show table.Storage Boxes as Craft Table DisplayCraft Show Table set up with levelsPlus the company recycles and the boxes are recyclable.

I confess I went a little berserk and bought, like, a million of them in different sizes.

I will now always be completely together, organized and calm!

I found the best selection at Office Depot (they have buy two get one free sales on them) but they are available all over the place or via the web site.

No, I am not being compensated for this praise-singing.  Just wanted to share a useful product.

OK, lets not do that again

I’ve been itching to work on some furniture for months now but lacked:

  • A-the furniture
  • B– a venue in which to sell it.

Both of my problems were solved when

  • A  my very good friend Aimee brought me this
  • B – Thanks to my friend Nicki I was accepted into the Little French Market where I can sell both furniture and my coasters but I don’t have to rent a truck to get it there.

Aimee’s table was in good shape structurally but the finish was pretty well shot.

And I had a vision!


OK, I agree – as unique visions go me using text is not up there with sliced bread, the wheel and fire on the new idea front.…..but I like it!

So first up – a good cleaning, sanding and priming.

For the text I wanted to use my Cameo rather than the blender pen of the past (see!  Radically new!).  So I painted the apron of the table black and then distressed it a bit and taped off a straight line to keep my text even.

And then the trouble began.

Me and the Cameo just don’t get along.  For some reason it won’t actually connect with my computer so I have to do all these work-arounds.  And –when I do get it going it never quite does what I thought I’d told it to do.

I realize you could blame me for that but I prefer to blame the inanimate, non-sentient piece of equipment.   Thanks for your input though.

So, after numerous tries, fails and tries agains I got it to print out my quote:

Except that font wasn’t a great choice.  All those tiny, thin connecting lines don’t quite connect and I had to….. Pick. Out. Each.   Delicate.  Letter.  One.  At. A. Time.

But, once they were on I gave the whole thing a quick top coat of Antique White, peeled away the vinyl letters, did a little distressing and waxing and BOOM!

Another texty table from Cheltenham Road

Aaand I just noticed two things.

I forgot to put the little metal feet back on it – easy fix.

And I missed the period at the end of the quote so now, rather than looking like a quote from Emerson it looks like I’m informing someone named Emerson of the news about friends and houses.


I see a sharpie in my future.

If any of you are local please come visit me and my chatty furniture at the Little French Market

Saturday & Sunday November 17th and 18th
19130 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA
8AM -3PM

Vintage (ish) Paris Flower Box Tutorial

Well it’s time for another Super Masculine Project from Cheltenham Road……

I’ve mentioned before that sometimes I see a piece of furniture and know instantly what I want to do with it – repair, color, style everything.

That sometimes happens with little project too.  I see something in a magazine or on a blog and think “I HAVE to make that!”

Such was the case when I came across this terrific tutorial for a salvaged wood toolbox at A Diamond in the Stuff.Doesn’t that look cool!?  All made from things she had hanging around.  Her tutorial is great and she just made it seem so, I don’t know…. do-able that I had to try it myself.  And I knew exactly how I wanted to do it.

Of course, this makes no sense.  I have no need for decorative salvaged wood tool boxes, the style I have in mind has nothing to do with anything in my home nor with anything I sell.  But I had all the pieces!  It seemed so straightforward!  It seemed so cool! I had to do it!

So I dove in.

Materials You will need

  • Two fence posts ($2.35 each)
  • 1 spindle (i used a leftover you could buy one from Home Depot)
  • Paint – flat latex leftovers are perfect
  • A Candle
  • Screws
  • Spackle (optional)
  • Wax (optional)


  • Saw (or you could have the guys at Home Depot do the cutting)
  • Drill
  • Sander
  • Blender Pen (optional)

Cut List

  • Sides: 2 @ 17″
  • Bottom 1 @ 16″
  • End Caps 2 @ 10″
  • Spindle 16″

A Note on the Cut List: My fence posts were 1/2″ thick – yours may be different so measure and calculate before cutting

I was going for a two-color, chippy look so I didn’t do any sanding and got right to painting both sides of every piece with my under-color which was a leftover blue.

After that coat had dried I took my trusty candle and rubbed it, randomly, everywhere.

Then I gave everything  a quick coat of flat white (leftover ceiling paint actually) and set it aside to dry thoroughly – like overnight thoroughly.

When the paint was dry I attached a course grit sandpaper to my sander and went over everythingThis step produces the “chippy” look but it clogs up the sandpaper pretty quickly.  Since I do this method a lot for my candle blocks and letters I’ve taken to saving old sanding disks that are just about headed to the trash to use for this.

For my version of these boxes I wanted to use some old french graphics.  So I put a blender pen under my pillow when I went to bed and, as I was promised, the Graphics Fairy came and left me these – already reversed and ready to go.The Blender Pen method requires a laser printer, working quickly and elbow grease.

Print out your image on plan copy paper, immediately lay it, face down on the surface of the wood, take your blender pen and rub like you’ve never rubbed before (seriously, you have to press pretty  dang hard).Next up assembly.

I marked each piece where they would connectAnd then marked where I wanted to drill my pilot holes.  Pilot holes are key to preventing the wood from splitting. (tip: to ensure that the spindle would be level I placed the end pieces on top of each other and drilled through both of them at the same time to create the pilot holes in the exact same spot on both)

The fence wood is very soft so the screws ended up nicely recessed but I wanted to cover them up further so I just dabbed a little spackle over each one and then a little touch up paint – now you can’t see them at all.  After a light coat of past wax it was time to rummage in the yard for flowers.Shabby Chic French Flower Box TutorialVery simple, very inexpensive!

(you will have noticed there are two of them.  The two-fence-piece- method leaves you with leftover wood so I made a second, smaller version)

Now what to do with these super-manly objet d’art…….

Anniversary Tutorial

I had mentioned a little while ago that June marked my one year anniversary of blogging.  I didn’t make a big deal about it at the time but it’s been bouncing around in my head.

To be honest, I hesitated to start a blog because I was convinced I had nothing to add the already crowded field of furniture/craft blogs.  I also was pretty doubtful that I would enjoy the process.

But I was wrong! (that’s twice that I’ve been wrong for those of you keeping track).

I thoroughly enjoy this whole experience and the main reason I enjoy it is because of you folks.  Your words of encouragement and support mean a lot to me and truly keep me going when I’m feeling a bit over (and under) whelmed by all this Cheltenham Road craziness.

And I LOVE that you get my sense of humor!  And I really LOVE that you join in with your comments and cracks – it’s so much fun to read!

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks.

It also seemed appropriate to revisit my very first post.  Partly, of course, because it was my first post and it’s an anniversary but also because, for some reason, that post has become quite popular of late.

I had linked it up back in December with Becky at her terrific Beyond the Picket Fence blog party for projects under $100.  And I’m not quite sure what’s going on over there but, all of a sudden, low these many months later, it has shot up the charts and is earning lots of views.

So, for those of you who weren’t around then, if you’d like to revisit my Tragic to Fixed to Shabby transformation of this dresserbureau makeover tutorial

into this dressershabby chic chest of drawers tutorial

you can visit my very first post here:

And for the rest of you let me say Thanks Again!


Unique LA!… And I think I may have created something I like by accident

This weekend is Unique LA!  If anyone within the sound of my voice (meaning LA) is around this weekend please do come and check it out and stop by and say “Hi!”  It would be great to meet some of you and the Unique Shows are always a lot of fun.  Pie!  Crafts! Handmade Items!  Pie! Jewelry, Pie!  (serioulsy, there are three (THREE!!!!) pie places selling their wares!)

Plus Caine and his Arcade will be there.  If you haven’t heard about Cain or seen the video please do yourself a favor and watch it.  It is one of the most touching, soul affirming things I’ve seen in quite a while.

But enough about awesome children on to ME!

So, as you may know I make these tealight holders using the  vintage images that I love so muchFrench ABC blocks tea light holdersWood Typography Votive HoldersWood Tea Light Holders Vintage Bingo CardsWell, the other day, as I am want to do, I totally screwed up on one of them.  Rather than pitching it I decided to just sand off the image and start all over again.  But, it wasn’t as easy to sand the image off as I thought and about midway through I looked at it and thought “hey, that’s kinda cool looking.”

It wasn’t very useful as an image anymore (I sanded off a woman’s face which isn’t very nice) but my brain started percolating.

I probably should have been a graphic designer – I get really into coming up with designs for the paper I use on my lettersVintage Wallpaper Wood LettersSo, I thought, why not use some of that paper on the blocks and then sand it down a little.  I gave it a shot and I think I really dig it.Wood Votive Holders Shabby Chic

Vintage Wallpaper Tea Light holdersWhat do you all think?  I figure they could come in any number of colors and styles of paper.

OK, must dash to go set up Unique LA. I’m excited about the weekend and hope to see some of you there.

Distressed Wooden Letter Tutorial

This week has been crazy!

So many orders to fill!  I’ve been going like sixty from 5AM till 11PM (I think, technically, I may be running a sweat shop.  I should probably report myself to someone.  Or just keep humming “It’s a Hard Knock Life.”)

Thanks for all the good thoughts about Rose Bowl!  It was a hit this time!

The weather was perfect and although the crowd was slow to show up, once they got there they purchased.  So coasters flew away, my French Label Tables sold as did the secretary along with a few other miscellaneous smalls.

I also had the pleasure of meeting one of my blog followers – the totally charming Suzanne and her magician husband (no really, he’s a real, honest-to-god, working magician – he turned some of my one dollar bills into one hundred dollar bills!  It was amazing!  And then he changed them back which was…..less awesome.)

I also got to hang out for a fraction of a minute with Niki Huard from Nicki Huard Creations (who STILL doesn’t have a website even though her husband promised she would….  just wanted to point that out publically).  Her booth, as always, looked terrific and she asked me to share my technique for making my distressed letters.

I’m totally on board with this plan.  My only hesitation is that it’s so easy it’s a little embarrassing.

You will need:

A wooden letter – I make mine cause I don’t like the fonts they use for the ones from craft stores

Paint – I used spray paint cause I was in a hurry but it works great with flat latex

A Candle – any old candle will do

Sander – I use my power one but you could do it by hand.  I also use old sanding discs and I’ll explain why in a sec.

Step One

Paint the letter in the base color of your choosing and let dry.  Don’t worry about sanding the letter beforehand or priming it – the rougher the better actually.  And set your candle in the sun or a warm place just to soften it a little (makes life easier)

Step Two

After the first layer has thoroughly dried rub your candle along the edges and anywhere else you want the first layer of paint to show through.  Rub hard in some places and more gently in others.  Now top coat with your second color of paint and set it aside to dry very thoroughly.  The wax will slow down the drying process so overnight is great if you can spare the time.

Step Three

After the top coat has dried you’re ready to sand.  There may be a couple of sticky spots where the wax is still soft but that’s ok.

Now, just sand, gently at first, using your power sander.  I use old sanding discs because the wax will, fairly quickly, gum them up.  Start off gently to gauge how much you want to take off – depending on the power of your sander and the coarseness of your disk you may end up doing a lot of sanding or just a tiny bit.

And you’re done!

I think I have overdone it a bit with this J – because I was in a bit of a rush (I also clearly forgot to sand the sides before I snapped the pic) – I think these came out better but it’s the same technique I swear!

I’ve found that often the sanding tends to spread a thin layer of wax around so I end up with a nice seal coat.  If this isn’t the case for you then you could seal them with a spray sealer just to make things nice and tidy.

Hope that was helpful.

If you have any questions or if I’ve left some key step out please don’t hesitate to ask.  I read every comment (and totally look forward to getting them) and will answer there.

Have a great weekend everyone!


The Missing Links!

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