My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #57: A Good Story With a Happy Ending

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-30-2010 12:06 PM 4143 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 56: Not Too Exciting Today Part 57 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 58: Calm »

I have a good story for a Friday.

Earlier this week, I had a gentleman call me from Florida. It seems he received the latest issue of Creative Woodworks and Crafts and really liked the “Welcome to the Nuthouse” segmenation plaque that was in there. He talked to me for a few minutes about it, and then asked me “what do you sell?”

I didn’t quite know what he meant. I asked him what he meant. He repeated the questions and I figured that he didn’t quite understand what the magazine was for. I told him that I sold patterns and he didn’t get it. “Don’t you sell the picture?” he asked, and I said “No. Just the design.”

He explained that because of arthritis he had very little use of his hands. He asked me if I could make him one. I really wanted to help him, but I shy away from that because I am kept pretty busy in the designing department and it wouldn’t be possible for me to find time to make extras on top of things. I told him that I had the original plaque here, as it was already shipped back, but one of the leaves needed to be repaired because it wasn’t packed properly and broke in transit. I explained the ouchee on the design (which really wasn’t visible, but I needed to tell him about it anyway) and he asked what I would charge.

Now this is an area that I find very difficult – pricing my work. Somehow I knew he wouldn’t understand the thirty plus hours that went into this plaque. I wanted to help him, but I really didn’t want to just give this away to someone I don’t know at all. So I told him it would be $100.

“HOLY MOLEY!” he said (or something similar). “That’s a bit more than I want to spend. And then I would have to pay transit?” I felt bad and tried to explain. He was really nice and said he understood it was work, but he and his wife were on a fixed income and he couldn’t really work because of his hands etc. etc. He wasn’t being a jerk, I just don’t think he had any idea whatsoever what making this involved. I don’t think he was a woodworker and I wondered why he bought the magazine in the first place.

He then asked if I knew anyone in the Florida area who would want to make one. I got the idea to post it on my scroll sawing list and see if anyone was up to the task. It wasn’t as if he was offensive or anything. I felt like he was a nice older gentleman who really liked something and didn’t really understand what it entailed to make. But I still wanted to help.

My partner thought that I was in the Nuthouse. He said that no one would work for under $3 per hour. I told him that I know lots of people on the list and participate often and there ARE people who make things because they love to make them and not for a living that may want to do this. At least it was worth a try.

So I posted the request to the scroll saw list. I didn’t want to say that this gentleman was cheap or anything like that because I wanted to be respectful, but I also wanted anyone who offered to help to know that this wasn’t going to be a good-paying job. I worded my request as carefully as I could.

Initially, I got several “I want to help but I can’t” replies on the list. After a day or so I did re-post a reply that I understood they were busy and that I wouldn’t be able to do it either because I really got the feeling that people wanted to help but couldn’t. These are really giving people.

I then got a message from someone who said he was really busy, but would do it. He sent me a personal message. I was just about to write him back with the information and my phone rang. It was a customer from of all places Nova Scotia. He had ordered a moose segmentation plaque that I offer earlier in the day and had a question about it and wanted to say hi. I put a personal message when I fill each order and I had said something like “hi neighbor!” to him and he just wanted to talk a minute.

In our conversation, he talked about how he loved to do segmentation and how I should do more wildlife animal ones such as the moose. He then said he loved the Nut House plaque that was just in the magazine. He said he had just finished cutting FOUR of them out and was in the process of sanding them.

Hummm . . .

The light bulb went on. “Four?” I asked.

“Yes” he said. “I really love them!”

“Do you sell them?” I asked anxiously (you know where I am going on this)

“Yes, I do” he said. “I have to charge $60 though” he said “because there is over 30 hours of work in them.”

“How can you charge so little?” I asked.

“Because I love to make them!” he replied.

Well, you can imagine where the conversation went from there. I told him about my customer in Florida and asked permission to give his phone number to him. I then called the man in Florida and told him about my Nova Scotia man. Match Made!

They were both grateful and happy and it was a win/win all around. My customer in Florida got his plaque, my customer in Nova Scotia got a sale, and I had the satisfaction of helping both out. All while the frog was singing down the river. It’s funny how things work out sometimes, isn’t it?

I really love woodworkers! :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

10 comments so far

View John Steffen's profile

John Steffen

218 posts in 3111 days

#1 posted 07-30-2010 12:16 PM

You’re right, that was a good story for a Friday. Fantastic job getting those people together.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18316 posts in 3732 days

#2 posted 07-30-2010 12:31 PM

Yup, it sure is:-) He probably saw it on the cover and like it, that might be why he bought the magazine.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3171 days

#3 posted 07-30-2010 03:15 PM

:—) Sheila
a very niiice story for a friday
and then the big question ” what do you charge as a matchmaker”...........LOL

have a great weekend Sheila


View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3359 days

#4 posted 07-30-2010 05:28 PM

that was a great story…i even had a wonderful laugh at the end…:)) glad you were able to help him out…its just moments like that , that make ya happy….now you might want to see the doc though…cus if your hearin frogs singin down the river…well then i just dont know…lol….....your blogs bring me humanity every morning…thanks sheila….

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1263 posts in 3222 days

#5 posted 07-30-2010 08:17 PM

Great story.
Thanks for sharing!

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2996 days

#6 posted 07-30-2010 09:46 PM

Nice story Sheila. Thanks.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3092 days

#7 posted 07-30-2010 10:49 PM

Sheila. I earn £6 an hour (minimum wage in the UK) stacking shelves. A friend of mine just left to take up cleaning at £7.50 an hour. I am not knocking cleaning, its a dirty job and someone has to do it, but its not skilled. However try asking even £6 an hour for making a box and people will throw their hands up as if you are robbing them. The world has gone mad.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3074 days

#8 posted 07-31-2010 02:37 AM

Good of you to put the 2 people together! Makes more than 2 happy, we happy cause you happy they happy, makes everybody happy happy!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2976 days

#9 posted 07-31-2010 04:21 AM

I am happy that you liked my story. Sometimes we find joy in the simplest things in life. It was a bright spot in my week and I am happy to share it. There ARE many really kind people in this world. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2944 days

#10 posted 09-10-2010 06:51 AM

You never stand so tall as when you stoop to help another.

I’m 6’ 9” tall, and right now I gotta look up at you.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

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