As I am laying out the plans for the show in Saratoga Springs, it seems that each day brings more excitement. This is the way that this are supposed to happen, right?
I have a list of what I need to have prepared for the show, and one by one I am getting things checked off. It is still seven weeks away, but so many things count on other people or companies and I want to be sure that everything is in order so there are as few surprises as possible.
My new printer ink system arrived yesterday. We already hooked both printers up to the laptop to make sure that there were no conflicts regarding running the two simultaneously. All the software is installed and everything seemed to work beautifully. We also got an extra supply of ink so we now have an extra 200ml of each color and a whopping 600 ml of black. Considering the cartridges typically hold 12 ml of ink, we think we are in good shape there. We already began printing copies of our new catalog to take with us and now we can begin to work on having a stockpile of the newest items.
I spoke again to my representative from Olson Blades and he is graciously sending me samples and literature to pass out at the show. I think that will be a great compliment to my classes and it will give people a chance to really compare blades in their own home with their own saw and cutting style. It is so difficult to make a good comparison in a new environment at a show. I have to figure out how I will pass them out though, as I can see them being scooped up in about 30 seconds. Once time, my friend had to leave the house on Halloween for just a short time. She didn’t want to have her house egged or anything (we lived in suburban Chicago at the time and sometimes the kids were full of mischief) and she left a huge bowl of candy on her front port with a sign saying “please take one”. Well we all know what happened. She returned a very short time later and not only was the all candy gone, but also the bowl. I can see these blades disappearing very quickly.
I think that I will divide them up so that I have an equal amount to distribute each day of the show. That way it will be fair for the people who won’t be there until Sunday.
On yet another train of thought, I contacted DecoArt and they are also going to provide me with samples for the show. Part of my lecture will be a demonstration of the Antiquing and Gel Stain that I use to add color on my candle tray sets. People really seem to like it and I receive many questions regarding the technique of applying it. Since DecoArt doesn’t package sample sized bottles (their normal bottles are 2 oz.) it didn’t seem feasible to give out full bottles as samples when so many people are going to be present. I have seen that they have many of their sample sets of paints available in paint pot sets, which are plastic strips with about 12 little pots attached with snap lids. I asked if I could have several of these strips of little pots and make my own samples to pass out and they were happy to do that. Again, it will allow people to take the product home and use it in their own environment and get a feel for it. I think it will be a great thing to offer.
And finally (I am saving the most exciting part of all) I spoke with the company regarding the Excalibur scroll saw and it looks like that will be my next saw! After talking to many people and reading up on the saw, I honestly feel that it will be the best saw for my needs and I will be comfortable with using it. I talked to the owner of Seyco, who is a distributor of the saw and I feel really good about doing business with him and his company. They have been in business for many years and they have a great reputation for customer service. The saw itself is made by General International and they also have a good track record with products and service. I am very, very excited about this and can’t wait to get it. I have spoken to many people who have had the Excalibur saw and they are all very happy with it. One woman I spoke to had some problems with her saw after several month, but she said that the customer service was responsive and very good and she was still very happy with them. Other than her story, everything that I have heard about it and the company have been positive.
I feel like a kid a Christmas time! I decided to go with the 21” saw instead of the 30” one for several reasons. First of all, I don’t really like cutting large pieces. I am not comfortable with swinging a large piece at all and don’t find any pleasure whatsoever in doing so. The only instances when I have needed a larger throat capacity was when I was ‘ripping’ a larger piece of wood to prepare it for cutting. I mostly did this on the scroll saw because I was lazy and didn’t want to get out my small circular saw to do so and I didn’t feel it was worth the extra expense to get something that was such overkill for me. Besides, those of you who have seen my work space here can see that if I had decided on the larger 30” saw, I would have no place for my drill press. The monster saw would take up my entire space there (my DeWalt has a 20” throat capacity). The mid-size 21” saw will do fine for me and I am sure that I won’t regret getting that size.
The blade changing is very similar to my DeWalt and I also like the fact that the head of the saw tilts so you can bevel cut easily without having to tilt the saw table and hold your work piece on an angle. I do a lot of bevel cutting on my trays and self-framing plaques and this feature will be very helpful to me. Everyone who has the saw says that there is virtually no vibration at all when cutting and it is much quieter and smoother than what i am used to. The general consensus is that it is a big step up from where I am and I am sure it will be a great asset to my business.
I could have had the saw shipped here to me now, but that would only mean that I would need to cart it back to New York in several weeks for the show. I think I have enough to bring and I decided to be mature and wait and have it shipped to the show so it will be waiting for me there. It will give me something (else) to look forward to. Besides, I don’t want to damage it and feel that the less travel it will do, the better. I just need to figure out the logistics of everything and I will be good to go. I am probably going to have to rent a trailer for the return trip. Fortunately, my mustang has a trailer hitch and I have the ability to pull a small trailer. I had it installed when I first made the trip here to Canada and I towed a 4’ x 8’ trailer with no problem at all. My friend who is a welder, built a box around it and I was able to bring most of my things without a problem. I think a small U-haul will be sufficient and do the job of getting us and our treasures back. We should do fine.
There is so much excitement and many good things I have to be thankful about! Things are falling into place nicely and it looks like it will be a wonderful time. My lesson plan is also shaping up well, as I needed to specify a general outline of what my lectures would be on yesterday too. The list was long and I don’t think my biggest fear of running out of topics or things to say will be realized. I will spend the next several weeks refining the lectures and creating the supplemental written material that I will provide for the classes and I think I will be fine. As I become more prepared, the initial apprehension that I had experienced is quickly turning into excitement. By writing all these things down, I am slowly convincing myself that I do have something to offer people who attend. And that is a wonderful feeling.
Today we are heading to Digby and to Bernie’s shop for a couple of hours. We are low on some wood and we were invited for both Bernie’s and his daughter’s birthday dinner. Bernie’s birthday was last week, but we always celebrate the two together. It will be a nice change of pace for the day and I am looking forward to getting out for a little while.
For those of you who think I am so organized – I have to be honest and tell you that I still haven’t finished the set of instructions for the project that is going to the magazine (the Bee Candle Tray set). I have “tried” for several days and every time I sit down to do it, a customer calls or writes, or something else that needs my attention comes up. It is just part of doing business though and I can’t tell you how great it feels to be busy. Thank goodness I am several projects ahead as far as the magazine is concerned, so I am not really sweating it out yet. I just want to finish it already and get that and another project done by my partner shipped out and off the books. There is still time though and these things are really important. I am not leaving until noon so I should be able to get some work done this morning.
It is just getting light out now and the sky looks clear, so it should be a nice ride. Yesterday was a mix of rain and snow, leaving a slushy, icy mess. When I went for my walk last night, it was quite slick and I was a bit concerned that today would be treacherous. But it looks good now so all is well.
I can’t believe it is the middle of the week already. I hope you all have a wonderful day!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"