I am pleased to report that I am done preparing the two projects to be sent out (Finally!) Yesterday I got over the hurdle of finishing writing the instructions, as well as getting lots of miscellaneous things done. On some days my self-discipline is not as strong as others, but I really stuck to it yesterday and did get things finished.
Woven in between accomplishing that, we had two printers humming and printing out the copies of our patterns to take with us to sell at the show. We received our ink the other day, and we set up the system in the second printer and networked it with our system so we can cue either or both of them from both computers. These little Canon Pixma Printers are amazing, and even when we tried printing on the fast mode, the pages came out clear and nice. Even the photos looked great and you could barely tell the difference from the medium mode that I usually print on.
We have over 450 different patterns we offer, so deciding what to bring and how many to print is somewhat of a challenge. We only have limited space so we do have to carefully consider everything that we are bringing. We all ready decided that we will bring two printers, the laptop, and probably 3-4 banker’s boxes of printed material. Seeing as we are in all probability going to drive the Mustang, there isn’t a lot of room for extras. (Who needs clothes anyway?)
I am pretty good at packing it to its fullest, though. I should be able to fit everything we need in it. I also had a trailer hitch installed on it when I was moving here to Canada and it is capable of pulling a small trailer. So we are going to pack it full to get to New York, and then we will be able to leave our ‘treasures’ at my friend Jeannies’ while we head on to Chicago for a week to see my friends and kids, and then on the way back, rent a small trailer near Jeannies place to tow the rest back here. We are thinking of stopping by Grizzly in Pennsylvania, and if we happen to pick up a band saw or other large tool there, we can always rent a trailer from that point. Either way it will work.
I spoke with Jeannie yesterday and everything is beginning to fall into place. I will be placed between her group of scroll sawyers and Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine. It will be a great asset to us all to be able to cover for each other at the busy show. Jean told me that Lumberjocks is going to have a booth there too, which will really be exciting for me. I hope to be able to meet some of the people from here and need to find out who is coming. It just keeps getting better and better. She also said that Fine Woodworking just joined in and will have a booth. I hope I will have at least a little time to see everything – even if it is before or after hours.
We plan on arriving on Wednesday the week of the show. That will give us two days with Jean and she will be able to show me around and take me to the new center that they have for woodworking and I will get to meet many of the people involved with the show. They don’t get into the convention center until Friday, so it will be a great opportunity to really get to know people involved and help set things up. I am sure we will be busy all day. I love doing shows like this. Besides being able to meet customers, we get to build great friendships with our fellow woodworkers and vendors, and much of this is done either before or after hours of the shows. In being associated with the magazine, I have worked many different shows with them in their own booth, helping them sell subscriptions and demonstrating and such. Many of these were large conventions in Las Vegas, Reno and Chicago, and it gave me a peek of what went on behind the scenes. At one painting convention in Reno, many of the staff needed to get an early flight back and one other designer and I were left to work their booth for them for the last day of the show. It was fun and I was very honored that they had asked me to help them and we had a great time, not to mention the experience I gained in doing such a thing.
It has been many years since I have been to a convention of this scope. I was able to do one smaller woodworking show in Pennsylvania about five years ago, but since coming to Canada, I haven’t really been able to afford to attend any of the conventions, or even the smaller shows. I am beginning to remember how much I loved it and seeing everyone and all the excitement.
After our visit to Chicago, we are planning to come back through the same area of the show, not only to pick up our stuff, but also to spend a couple more days doing woodworking. Jeannie is setting up some additional classes I can teach, as she said many people from her groups want me to teach some painting and finishing classes. I have done this many times before and I feel very comfortable showing others how to paint. I think it will be a nice way to finish off the trip. We are also going to spend the extra time there with her and she and her husband are going to teach us at least the basics about turning. Jeannie’s husband Bill is an excellent teacher and wood turner and we will be able to learn a lot from him. Jean had asked me to do some design work which combined scroll sawing techniques with turning. Since I have never turned before, I feel that I need to know at least the basics before I can design. (says Captain Obvious)
Right now it looks as if we will be on the road a little over two weeks. Part of the beauty of driving is that the schedule will be very flexible and not an issue. We will have our computer and printer there with us, and be able to fill orders from on the road. Even if people want printed orders, I am sure we can print them out in the evening and ship them from the US. There is no schedule set in stone, other than the show and it will be very fun and relaxing.
And the best part is that most of it will be centered around woodworking. We are even looking into stopping in New Jersey at the home base of Creative Woodworks and Crafts for a day to visit with the people from the magazine. My editor will of course be at the show, but there are many others at All American Crafts who I consider good friends and would love to see and spend some time with.
I have about six weeks left before the show. As I sat here yesterday, watching the printers run and the boxes filling up, I had a feeling of confidence that everything is going to be fine. Planning ahead and being prepared is going to be what makes this work. By getting these details set up and out of the way early, it will allow me to concentrate fully on my presentations and thoroughly enjoy the entire experience. I am not feeling as nervous now as I was in the beginning. I have had great suggestions from many of you and I am really beginning to build a solid idea of what I want to say. At first I was worried that I would be standing up in front of people with nothing to say. (you can all stop laughing now!) But now that I am writing everything down and making out a lesson plan, I find that I will have plenty of information to fill the hour – and probably many hours beside that.
Working with top notch people also helps a great deal. Jeannie told me that everything is set up for my presentations. They got the saw, the videographer, and anything else that I may need to give a good class. I will have everything going for me and there seem to be lots of people to help make things run smoothly.
I really thank you all for your help and suggestions. I have received many, many PM’s with tips and suggestions and many good ideas have been brought to my attention. I feel as if I have so much support from you all and everyone involved in the show that it will really make my job easy. (Keep them all coming!)
I can’t believe it is Friday already and another week is done. I look back and see how much I accomplished though in planning and organizing things and I think so far it has been a great week.
I hope you all have a great and productive day too. Happy Friday!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"