I love the days where you can’t wait to get up in the morning to get going. I am usually a morning person anyway, but even more so when I have some fun projects in the works. Lately I have been in a ‘why do I have to sleep at all?’ phase and I can’t say that is a bad thing either.
Yesterday was a good day. In the morning I finished off printing the material for and packing up three projects and three articles to ship out to the magazine. If it were a perfect day, I would have had that done in time for Purolator to pick up the package, but I really didn’t finish until about 10:30 or 11:00. That’s fine tough, as one day more wouldn’t make a difference. It was more important that I reread and recheck all the paperwork I needed to send with everything. I hadn’t realized how much paperwork went with that much stuff. In the past, I had sent up to ten projects at once to them and I do remember it to be somewhat a lot, but not like this. I need to make sure that all of my file formats and stuff are compatible with theirs at the magazine. It is funny, but some of my software is actually ahead of them. I have to save things in an older format for it to be of use to them or they can’t read it.
Nothing beats that feeling of looking at the sealed box and knowing it is ready to go. To me, is “accomplishment” all wrapped up in a little package. Literally. I love when they have several projects at the magazine on reserve because they tend to pull on them when they have room (although I have convinced myself that they pull on them because they can’t wait to present them!) and more often than not I get a couple of things in each issue. Now with me writing articles also, that also increases my chances of having more than one thing per issue. I really liked doing them too. It is like teaching all over again, but this time through writing.
The shop article is among the three. I have this forum to thank for the inspiration on that. I had mentioned the idea of doing one of that subject to my editor over a year ago and he said he would like it, but I didn’t really get it going until after I did the little blog on it here first. The responses were so positive that it convinced me to go ahead with it. I also did one on making the little turn buttons you use for picture frames because I couldn’t find them here, and finally there is one on shipping and packaging delicate scroll sawn items. Over the years I have really learned how to pack things well for shipping. I rarely have anything break when I ship unless I cut a corner or two, which I have learned isn’t worth it. My editor always tells me that “you could throw the package off of the Empire State Building and it would still be OK.” There’s a compliment you don’t hear everyday! I wonder if he will ever try?
After taking a half hour and rewarding myself to a nice lunch and a round of Scrabble on facebook with my friend from Chicago, I regrouped. Not being one to rest on my laurels, I went through the mental list of what I needed to do next.
I may have mentioned that since I am unable to go to the woodworking show in Wisconsin this August, I am going to donate a couple of patterns and a former student and long time friend of mine from New York who is going is going to teach a painting class for me. I know you may be wondering “Painting?!” but you would be amazed at how many woodworkers or significant others of woodworkers want to paint. When I lived in Chicago and did maybe three or four shows a year, the hosts would always ask me to teach painting because people were actually asking for me. I think it is because many families came to these shows together and I noticed in the scroll saw branch of woodworking anyway that many times when the husband’s cut the wives did the painting and finishing. Perhaps many of the men wouldn’t have cut at all if it weren’t for the requests of their wives. It was a nice way to make it fun for the family to have a common interest and hobby.
You would be amazed, however at the number of men that took the classes. I try to make them as simple as possible with the nicest results and I always stress that by breaking things down in baby steps that anything can be accomplished. My biggest reward (which I received often) was turning the ‘disbeliever’ in themselves to a ‘believer’ and see the sense of accomplishment and pride on their faces when they saw what they could actually create. I have had all ages and genders take a class and walk away with a new self-esteem and you could just see the wheels turning in their heads and see by their smiles that they were happy. It is the best type of reward you can ever receive.
I have missed the teaching aspect of my life. I guess I do teach every day on paper, with the step by step pictures and such, but I hope by next year I will be able to make it back to a show or maybe two so I can have some hand’s on experiences again. Until then, I am grateful that technology has advanced so much over the past couple of years that I am able to do it this way. I have a really decent digital camera that I use for all my pics and I have a continuous feed ink system I got for my printer so I have the ability to print beautiful, clear, COLOR patterns for practically nothing. In painting especially, you need color printing. I think that is why I got away from it too. Producing patterns that were quality just wasn’t feasible when I had to buy $40 cartridges and the quality wasn’t there. Now I do everything in color and I am happy to add more photos in because I know they will be reproduced accurately and are cost efficient.
I designed two patterns for the show, as it lasts two days and the students can come back the second day if they wish. They are of a monarch butterfly pin and a pansy pin. I did the pansy in four different color schemes, so they can choose one for the class and then try again at home with the others. And also because I just couldn’t decide which color I liked best. :) They look really nice and detailed, but are something that when broken down into steps, are easy, easy, easy! Here are pictures of the finished ones:
|From Butterfly and Pansy pins|
and The Pansies:
|From Butterfly and Pansy pins|
I think if you click on the name of the album, you can get to my Picasa account where I loaded up all the progression pictures. (Let me know if this doesn’t work – you have to click on the actual name to get you all the photos in the album, if you click on just the picture, you will only get a larger picture) I didn’t load these up in the project gallery because even though technically they are woodworking (you scroll saw the 1/8” birch to make the pins) I don’t think that many here would be interested in painting stuff. I still have to tag the pictures which I will do when I am finished here, but I didn’t finish painting and photographing until after 10:00 last night so I got lazy and called it an evening. I think I will retake the final on the pansies too because I don’t like the final color. Day natural light will look better.
If anyone wants a pattern when it is done, just email me and I will be happy to send you one. I would love to hear feedback on it if you or anyone you know paints and would like it. :) I was really happy because when I sent the pictures to Jean, my friend who is teaching the class, I got the nicest email back and she was all excited about the class and patterns and everything. “Even I can teach this!” she wrote me. If that isn’t what it is all about – I don’t know what is!
In the midst of all of that, somewhere between lunch and painting, I did manage to get another coat of oil on the three frames I cut last week. I think they will be ready for the shellac today and ready to get into packet format. I can’t wait to see them finished, because the cherry looks great with the oil on it.
I have really got to get going on that Christmas stuff today if I want it in the wholesale catalog! I found out yesterday I have until July 6th and I think the date can be pushed a teeny weeny bit, but not much. The good thing about that is all they need is the photo at that time and I have months before the final instructions are required. So hopefully you will see me in ‘high gear’ cranking out some new stuff in the next week or so. :) We can only try!
It is clouding up here and they are actually rolling in from the direction of the ocean. It’s probably good, because it takes the temptation of sneaking away in the Mustang for a quick little spin away from me. (Nah – I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway!) Last week was my fun and its time to have a different kind of fun!
Have a wonderful, fun, productive (or not!) day. :)
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"