Things turned out great yesterday. It was a very productive day and I accomplished far more than I expected. I took some of the advice that was offered and I made a list and just began checking things off one by one as I finished things. By the end of the day, I was able to lay my head on my pillow knowing that I did my best and with far less anxiety than I woke up with. What a great feeling!
After getting my regular house stuff finished, I made a list and prioritized what needed to be done. This did help take the worry out of the day. I found that much of the time, when I am feeling anxious it is because I am concerned that I am going to forget something. Just the simple task of writing things down helps me stop thinking about that and frees my mind up for the task at hand.
One of the first and foremost things I needed to do was to rework the line drawings for the skating pond figures so that I could get the estimate on the laser cutting. I usually draw my designs in a line that is .5 pt thick. This is ideal for scroll sawing. However, the laser needs a much finer line to follow, so I needed to convert everything to .072 pt to make it work. The process of converting the lines itself is very quick, but I also needed to clean up and close the paths and remove all the internal line work, as the laser is just going to cut the silhouettes. There were some small overlaps and areas where there were perhaps double lines or a stray point or two that were invisible to the naked eye, but the laser would ‘see’ and read. Some of the points were just remainders of lines and were themselves completely invisible except when they were highlighted and I wanted to get rid of them so I could offer clean and neat drawings. I discovered the information pallet in Adobe Illustrator which showed the number of open and closed paths, as well as the number of points each object contained and the total length of the lines. This was very helpful in doing this task, as I did achieve my goal of each object only consisting of one closed path.
The trees were another issue which I felt I needed to deal with. When I drew the trees, I made them very deep and bushy, as evergreen trees are supposed to look. However, when looking at the amount of minute details I had put into them, I realized that much of it was quite unnecessary. All of the trees will have Sno-Tex on them, just as the bridge does, so many of the weaving lines are to be covered over anyway. There are five tree pieces with this style of tree in all, and by simplifying the pattern slightly, it made a huge difference in the total length of the cutting line. In one tree alone, it went from eighty something inches to fifty something inches, saving much time (and money) when cutting, as the laser cutting fees are based on distance.
I converted an example to show you all what I mean:
|From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures|
The tree on the left has a total length of 45.39 inches. The tree on the right has a total length of 71.16 inches. That means it would cost quite a bit more to have the piece on the right laser cut than the piece on the left. With the addition of the snow and painting, I don’t think that visually there would be very much difference at all. It isn’t as if the trees are the focal point of the scene. I believe the simplified version doesn’t compromise the integrity of the project at all, and will save me a substantial amount of cost. The trees are the most costly pieces by far, as the other pieces are actually quite simple in silhouette form.
It took me over four hours to finish working on the entire set. But even if I don’t wind up being able to afford the laser cutting, it will make things much better for me as far as my own cutting of the pieces, as it will also save me all of those inches (and time) if I were to hand cut them myself or hire someone else to do so.
I did get the estimate back from the gentleman last evening and he gave me a quote of about $30 per set prior to shipping and taxes. I am really undecided what I am going to do because of the ‘unknown’ factor as to how these will sell. I may wind up cutting them by hand, perhaps with the help of a couple of friends who will want to work for me doing them, but I need to get a feel for how many will be ordered. I can cut them three sets at a time by stacking the wood, but it will still probably take at least 3-4 hours. If it were on a limited basis, that would be fine, but it will take me away from designing and any of the other tasks that will help my business grow in the long term. Production work is NOT what I want to do.
I am going to keep looking and keep getting estimates, as I do have time on my side for a change. Nothing has to be decided today. I may cut myself another set just to see the actual time it will take and then too I will have a couple of sets here handy, but I will also be looking into hiring others to do it too. I just have to watch because I will need to pay them right away and my own ‘working capital’ isn’t where I am in a great position to do so. I am just getting on my own feet now and there is not a lot to spare at this time. We will just need to see how it goes.
After that, I started on the next tray. I received the figures from my main wholesaler yesterday morning for September and I was very happy with them. The candle trays (the first six) have done incredibly well – better than I could have imagined, and it showed me that business-wise this is what I need to continue to work on. There are as I had said, over 50 designs that I have listed and I need to keep producing them as long as they keep selling and before someone else jumps on the band wagon and starts doing their own. (Yes, that happens quite frequently in my business!) Someone had mentioned in a response somewhere that ‘quality not quantity’ should be foremost in my mind. I always think that way and hopefully you all can see that each and every design I do is with the same dedication and attention to details. I do believe I am capable of producing quality designs in a short period of time. I don’t see that changing.
I was pleased that the drawings went fairly well and I did finish it up at 9:30 last night. I didn’t expect to, as I was just going to start it and see where it went, but it flowed again quite well and I just didn’t want to stop until I finished. As a bonus, I now get to cut today – something I didn’t expect to do until tomorrow – and I can’t wait to see it finished. It is pretty I think, and no way as intimidating as the FLW tray so I don’t really see it taking all that long.
I did also finish up the pattern packets yesterday, including the new Wright Inspired tray that I presented here last week. I sent it to the wholesaler for the next catalog and I believe it did make the cut, as I hope this one does also. I am not absolutely sure on her dates, but I know they are soon. I believe though that in light of the good sales of the other trays, it will buy me a little extra time in getting more to her. We shall see.
So it is off to cutting for me! A wonderful way to spend the day. Hopefully by tomorrow I will have some new pictures for you. I can’t wait to get started!
I also really want to add another skater to the blog, as he is done and waiting to be presented. And I heard from the wood show in New York again that I need to send them another bio for their web site. Now that may be a bit more challenging than anything else today. They want a brief summary of my professional life. Yes, we can all chuckle over that. Somehow I feel that will be the biggest challenge of all!
Thank you for all the comments and support yesterday. You are all a great help to me in keeping my head clear and staying grounded and not letting my own anxieties get the best of me.
I wish everyone a happy ‘hump day’ and hope you all create something beautiful today!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"