I am still kind of slow today. It is funny how you go away for only a day and it takes you several to catch up again. I am not complaining though. It is good to be missed. Not only by the cats, but also by friends and others. It was funny but when I left on Friday morning, there was one email in my mail box. I was totally caught up on correspondence and getting back to people that I needed to talk to and all. When I got home, there were over 40 things there for me. About half of it was responses from things I commented on here or at Scroll Saw Workshop site, but the other half were real letters that I needed to respond to. You all know how I can talk, so you can imagine how much time it takes me to do that :)
My partner wanted to finish the site update yesterday too. That was OK, but I really wanted my last candle tray to be included in the update. I had finished cutting it on Thursday, but I still had to sand and finish it and take the photographs and also make it into the packet. Since he has taken over doing most of the work on the site, he has made it much more attractive. He uses Adobe Dreamweaver to create the tables on the front page which are a far better presentation than the list that the template has to offer. The look is so much more organized and cleaner and it is much easier to find stuff and get around. However, I don’t know how to do coding like that so it is out of my hands and when I need to add or change something, I can no longer do it myself. That isn’t a position that a control-type person like myself is used to. But it looks so much better that I am learning to compromise.
The site as I said before is on a template and we tend to override the code from the template, which isn’t always easy. The way we have to update is kind of incrementally, where we have to publish it step by step in order to link everything properly to each other. That means that if you happen on the site when we are in the process of updating, things may be goofy or funny until we are all completed. We try to keep this ‘down time’ to a minimum and do the final things quickly, but they just take some time. Usually a couple of hours. So for the morning, while he was coding on one computer and setting things up, I spent the morning adding descriptions and information on my computer. For the new candle holder, he left a “coming soon” space on the table on the front page. I didn’t like doing things that way because it didn’t look complete, but it really made getting that last pattern finished a priority.
After lunch, the site was ready to go and I sent out the first set of emails announcing the update. I spent the next couple of hours, sanding and finishing and photographing the new pattern. I got it up on the site by around 4 my time, but I still needed to do the packet for it in case someone ordered it. Of course, someone did right away. That was good, but I sent his other patterns to him and told him that particular pattern would be there by this morning. He was great with that, but I still didn’t like having to delay things myself, as I thought it looked a bit unprofessional. So I finished the pattern and sent it to my friend who proofreads for me and proofread it myself about three times and sent it off to the customer. By then it was close to 9pm.
My friend, Leldon said it looked fine so I could take a deep breath and kind of relax for a minute or two. I know this is pressure I put on myself, but it was just so close to being ready for the update that I just wanted to include it. It is a really cool pattern and means a lot to me. So far it took the most amount of thought of all the candle trays and took me several days (off and on) of thinking and drawing to make it look good. I am really happy with it though and I think it will be a good seller.
I like to call it “The Grizz”
|From SLD328 Grizzly Bear Candle Tray|
For those of you who are regulars here on LJ’s, you have probably heard of Grizzman. When I first started doing these candle trays, he suggested that I do a grizzly bear themed one. Those of you who know me know that I also love wildlife and I thought that it would be the perfect theme for something like this. So I did this in honor of my good friend and it will make me think of him every time I see it. (I did leave out the dress though!)
The wood that I used on this was hickory. This is the first time I tried using it and I will be honest, I was kind of afraid of it because it is rated as quite a hard wood. But when we planed down this piece last week at Bernie’s, it really looked beautiful and interesting. It almost looked like a mix of oak and brown maple to me. It had the smoothness of the maple, yet there was some grain in it that resembled oak, but with far less grain marks than oak. I felt it would hold up to the sawing of the trees fairly well and I am very pleased to say I was right. The color after applying the mineral oil is incredible. It was a warm, rich light brown and you can see how beautiful the grain accented the design.
|From SLD328 Grizzly Bear Candle Tray|
I had sent the design to Leldon in the early afternoon for him to see and he cut it also that afternoon. It was funny because he sent me a picture of his set and it arrived to me on Thursday afternoon just as I was removing the pattern from mine. It is rare that I give a pattern out before even I cut it, but Leldon has been a great help in both cutting and proofreading my patterns for me. He catches stuff that I don’t even think of and has really helped me quite a lot.
|From SLD328 Grizzly Bear Candle Tray|
I really like the way it looks in the darker wood too. That is the fun part about making these patterns. You can change the look completely so easily!
The most difficult part of making this design was making the trees go around the corner without it being obvious that it was turning. I know that I probably didn’t state that clearly, but I didn’t want another round tray for this design, yet I didn’t want the trees to be sideways on the sides of the bears. I had to have them curve gradually and naturally enough so that you didn’t really notice that they were turning. It took a while to draw them so that they look OK, but I finally got it I think.
I love cutting trees like this and it has been quite a while since I drew a pattern like this. Again, I say it is easy, but let me rephrase it to saying it is very forgiving. You just cut the inside (negative) areas of the trees first and then you do the outer trees. This is really great for practice because if you miss following the lines a bit here or there, who is to know? Who is to say that the branch should be exactly this way or that? Even if you were to lose a branch or end, no one would ever be the wiser. It is really fun to spin in and out and it really builds your sawing skills for maneuvering.
I know this is getting long, but I do want to say something about blades again. When I was in the city on Friday, I picked up some 2/0 reverse tooth Olsen Blades. I had a large supply from when I worked with Scroller when they were privately owned many years ago and the supply I had was finally dwindling. Scroller was very secretive as to where they got their blades (it was a competition thing I think) and I don’t really have contact with the original owners anymore. I had thought that at one time they said they got their blades from the same manufacturer as Olsen.
In the past year, as I see my supply getting smaller, I have been trying many types of blades to see where I can purchase them from. I am all for supporting small companies such as myself and I have honestly tried several of the blades from other suppliers both here in Canada and in the United States. One brand in particular is extremely popular and I thought I would give them a go. I honestly for the life of me can’t see how people can saw anything with any degree of accuracy with them. They have a mind of their own. I tried them when I first came here to Canada and I also tried them a month or so ago when I found them in the drawer thinking I am a better sawyer and I found the exact same problem. (So did my partner, so it wasn’t just me) They wander and don’t respond immediately when you turn or change direction. Now you all see the small stuff I cut, and I like to be dead-on the line. If I mess up, I like it to be because of me, not because of the blade.
I came home with my little package of Olsen 2/0 reverse-tooth blades and tried them out on the hickory charms yesterday and I thought to myself – Yahoo! I found my blades!!! So now I can say with one hundred percent confidence that those Olsen blades are the way to go. I had thought they were the ones (about 95% sure) and I know that many people loved them so I did recommend them a lot, but now I can really stand behind them.
I honestly don’t know how others use the other brand that everyone is bragging about? It really makes me wonder. I can only think that they never tried the Olsen ones and don’t know the difference. I think if they tried them then they would see how easy things can be.
Anyway, if anyone wants a blade chart for Olsen blades, I do have one to download for free on my site or you can PM me or email me and I will be happy to send you one. I love to see people successful in doing this and I really believe that this is the way to go.
So for today, I will finish all my correspondence, which will take me a couple of hours. I am sorry if I didn’t get back to you right away if you emailed me but I am trying my best. After that, I think I am going to pull out my paint and play with my skating set for the rest of the day. I have new projects to start and Monday seems like a good time to do so. I have also been dying to make some cinnamon buns and it is finally cool enough to put the oven on for a little bit. That would really be a treat!
We have another beautiful day here that is cool and clear. We have had such a lovely summer! It would be a good day to talk a walk too and just enjoy some fresh air. I hope you all take a little time to take advantage of what is left of your summer too. Enjoy the days while you can!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"