My goodness yesterday was a busy and productive day! (By the way – it feels really good to be able to start an entry like that!) I was really able to stay focused and I accomplished a LOT of things and got some loose ends tied up in the process. It always seems to go that way, doesn’t it? You accomplish one thing and it dominoes into getting several other things done.
First of all, I really, REALLY cleaned out my mailbox. This has been something that was bothering me quite a bit because every message that was left in the ‘inbox’ was one that needed some sort of attention. Either I had to write someone back, or post a picture or check an account or something. I had been worried because this week with my birthday and all at one point the inbox number rose to almost 200 messages. Now most of them were notifications from here or Facebook that someone posted on my wall or one of the conversations or the blogs here, but many of them were personal messages and questions and stuff from customers that needed some sort of reply. Seeing that number was quite upsetting to me because I truly enjoy corresponding with everyone and I had just fallen behind.
So yesterday I went through everything and went down the line and responded to everything that I wanted to. I am with Gmail by Google and they have this wonderful labeling and filing system where you create file categories and such for your mail. You can add color coded labels and filter messages containing certain criteria such as email address or even subject line so that when it shows up in your box, it is already labeled and with one glance, you can tell which category it is from. It is wonderful for someone like me who gets lots of mail.
I have different labels for Facebook notifications, as well as notices that one of my buddies here posted. Then there is customer correspondence, orders, etc. It makes things really really easy.
One of the things that was getting away from me was customers who send me ideas and pictures. I love to hear from people who have my patterns and see how they change them to their liking. Sometimes people are shy about telling me they changed my patterns, but I am always thrilled to see what they come up with. Many times they take pictures of what they did and I have always intended to put them up in the customer gallery for others to see and be inspired, but that is one part of the site that I am really not that good at keeping up with. It is a little bit of a process to get stuff up there and I just don’t take the time it needs to do so. However, I recently started to post them on my Facebook page and they have been very well received. I sometime forget about the pictures though and they get buried in my mail.
But yesterday I created a sub category in my Gmail for customer photos and now with one click I can access any of the emails that I have labeled as such. It really is great and will make my life so much easier and also make it easy for me to share these wonderful pictures.
Another thing that I get a lot of – and truly like – is the many ideas that customers send me for designing projects. I think when things are at a lull and I am trying to decide what to make next, it will be quite handy to be able to click on the category of customer’s suggestions and have them all there in front of me. Up until now, they were buried with all the other customer correspondence and difficult to find, even if I did remember them.
Organization such as this is really wonderful and will be very helpful to the productivity of my work. By noon, I had my email box down to only six items! I had talked to everyone I needed to and I felt like I just scaled a mountain. If you are looking for a nice, free mail service, I highly recommend Gmail. It is part f the Google suite of free things and has really worked well for me.
I spent the rest of the afternoon putting together two of the pattern packets of the four I need to finish up. Everything there went well and I only have one more to go which I hope to finish later on today. While I was proofreading and printing, I made a large batch of crepes to take with for dinner at my partner’s parents. It seems his brother and his fiance were in town and she was making us a full dinner.
On the way over there, we picked up my car from the mechanic. There is a story to go with that, but I don’t have time today. Apparently, when it was worked on in Chicago four months ago, they didn’t replace one of the spacers in the rear end as they should have. The spacer compresses, and it should be replaced each time the rear end is taken apart. This wasn’t done, and in order to compensate for the compressed spacer, the mechanic had over-tightened the bearing when putting it back together. I did call the Chicago shop where I had taken it, not really expecting them to do anything financially, but I wanted them to be aware it was done incorrectly. The manager was very nice and he wants me to fax the bill to them and he said that they will ‘see what they can do’ about compensating me for the additional work that I needed done. Good for him. It would be quite helpful to not have to pay for the entire thing.
In more good news, I heard from some people that they got their Artist’s Club catalog and they gave my little skating pond set HALF A PAGE on it! That is incredible news! I hope that this springboards some good sales of it. I had always said that all I wanted was a fair chance with it to be seen in an appropriate venue and now is my chance. I am very happy to hear that they had the confidence in it to give it that much room and hopefully now people will buy it so that they want more stuff from me. Cross your fingers.
Finally, we had received a call not too long ago from a gift shop in Annapolis Royal that we stopped at when we went out to sell Keith’s pens. The owner wasn’t in but we left our website and name and information with the clerk. The owner apparently went to the site and saw our stuff and called and wants us to bring what we have for her to sell in the shop. Although we are focusing on pens and prints and note cards of my paintings, she said she will take any scroll sawing prototypes we have too. Plus – she buys outright and it is NOT consignment. It is a beautiful sunny day and we are going to head out there this morning to see what we can work out with her.
All in all it was a great day! We finished it with a wonderful dinner and visit with friends. I am eating so good these day, I am going to get fat! Lobster and lasagna and cake and all kinds of goodies! Mmmmm. And I haven’t even had to cook! I am very fortunate!
So I had better close here. I am typing as fast because we want an early start. I will certainly report how it goes at the shop later on. And I will also update you all on the pond. Those of you who have followed along know how hard I worked for that and hopefully we will see it finally paying off. Sometimes it does pay to be patient and not give up!
I wish you all a wonderful day! Have fun and be creative!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"