I must start by saying that yesterday was a very productive day. I actually made a great deal of progress in my drawings and I am happy with the results so far. As usual, I am not as far as I anticipated, but I think that I will deal with only thing at a time for now. The important thing is that the designs look nice and that people are able to cut them.
I am working on a set of songbird ornaments that are really quite cool. I suppose that they could be used for Christmas, but they could also be used any time of the year for ornaments, in a wreath or hung in a window. For years I have had a skinny, tall (artificial) fir tree that I keep in the corner of my living room. It is about a foot and a half wide at the bottom and about six feet tall and I use it for much of the photography for my ornaments that I am making throughout the year.
Many times when someone comes in they ask why I have a Christmas tree up in June (or July or whatever the month is) and I correct them and tell them that it is an ‘All Season’ tree. I usually keep white lights on it most of the year and then for the Christmas holiday I change it to multi-colored lights for something a little different. It only requires one strand and the soft light from it make a wonderful night light in the evenings and early morning. It may seem silly, but I like it.
When my daughter was young, we made different things to hang on it for each season. We did hearts for Valentine’s Day, Shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, Bird houses for summer, etc. It was a fun way to celebrate the different seasons and also kept her busy a while doing some crafts. Although she didn’t really follow up with doing crafts, she surprised me with some drawings a couple of years back that were quite impressive.
In any case, the birds will be something that is new and that I haven’t seen patterns for before and I hope that others will enjoy them. I am still thinking about how I will be hanging them, as they are a little delicate and I don’t want them to be subject to breaking. I can think about that as I am drawing though and hopefully by the time I finish I will figure out the best way. I plan on doing sixteen different ones, and I still need to decide whether I will package them in one or two sets. Again, we will see.
I behaved pretty well yesterday in regards to emails and such. Although I read most of them right away, I saved the time to respond until later on when I took a break from drawing. Being aware of things made me realize how many times I stopped what I was doing during the day and I do think that it was a big part of why I wouldn’t be able to get much done. Hopefully, this will help alleviate that problem and I will be able to be productive and still stay on top of things. Everyone seemed to understand.
Someone asked me if I heard about the car and I wanted to update on that issue. The manager was supposed to meet with his boss on Thursday and a decision would be made as to what they were going to do about it (if anything.) I phoned him yesterday and I felt that he was giving me the runaround. Although he was pleasant, he said that he thought his boss would be in the meeting but he was out until Monday. He did however say that he forwarded all the information to him and that I would hear from him next week. To me it sounded like he was passing the buck and I don’t really have high hopes of getting anything from them at all to compensate me for their mistakes. They probably figure that I am far enough away that I wouldn’t be a return customer anyway, so there is no motivation on their side to do anything for me. If they do, I will be quite surprised. Well see . . .
On one other issue, I wanted to mention something to you all that I feel is quite important. The other day, I did some work for a customer. It was a drawing job and we did all of our communication through email. The job worked out fine and he was happy with the drawings that I did and very nice and easy to work with. When the job was completed, I sent him an invoice for the work, as he was going to pay via Paypal or send me a cheque, I didn’t know which.
Soon after I sent him the invoice, I received a return email from him which included a note that he couldn’t really figure out how to do things on Paypal and he had written me his credit card number and expiration date. I was horrified.
I immediately emailed him and asked for his phone number, and when he sent it I called him and gave him a lecture on sending that kind of information through an email. I tried to be as respectful as I could, but I had to make him aware at how dangerous for him it was to do so. It isn’t often that I pick up the phone and scold someone – especially a customer, but I can’t stress enough how important this point is.
You should never, never, NEVER send your credit card in an email. Ever. I think that people are used to typing in their personal information on secure sites and they don’t realize that there are different criteria when they are on other sites. Legitimate sites that request personal are encrypted and coded differently than mail sites and regular sites. You have to be careful so that your card numbers and such aren’t hijacked and stolen. If you are on a secure site, you will usually see ‘https’ in front of the address (the added ’s’ is indication that it is secure) You should also see a little padlock icon on the bottom right bar or somewhere, which also indicates it is secure. Look for these if you are uncertain about a site you are visiting.
I felt kind of bad calling a customer to lecture him, but then again, I didn’t. I told him to immediately delete the email he sent me from his ‘sent box’ on his email program and if it were me, I would call the card company and request a new number. I do most of my financial stuff online, and although I realize that many people don’t trust doing things that way, it is more and more becoming the way of the world. We just need to educate ourselves as to which precautions we need to take to make sure our financial information is safe. As with anything, there are good practices and poor practices. Ultimately we are all responsible for our own well being and we need to be aware of them and conduct ourselves accordingly.
I hope you all take these warnings seriously.
So it will be back to the drawing board today. I expect to make good headway today, although realistically I don’t know if I will finish. It depends if I do 12 or 16 different birds. But they all have a decent amount of detail in them and I don’t know if I can accomplish the rest of them in one day. But that is OK. I would rather have them nice than finish them quickly. So far I am very pleased.
I hope you all have a great Saturday. In watching the approaching hurricane, I don’t believe we will be affected by it very much here in Nova Scotia besides some rain. But you never know so we are ready. To all my friends on the Eastern coast, I wish you a safe weekend. Take the necessary care you need to so you can remain that way.
Have a good day.
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"