Today is what I am going to call a day to tie up loose ends. I get those every once in a while – usually in between projects where it seems that everything is everywhere and I just need a day to put everything away and reorganize it all and get things tidied up.
As I look around my place here, there seems to be stuff scattered here and there and it can be mighty annoying and counter-productive for me to work with things like this. I really don’t like clutter, and with living in such a small place and also using my living space as not only a workshop, but a photography studio and sometimes even as a kitchen, you can imagine how quickly things can get out of hand if I allow them to.
I have received many comments regarding my working environment both personally and publicly on the forums. Many people marvel at my organization and how I am able to keep things so nice and tidy while still being productive and running a woodworking business. My answer to them is that the key to keeping up with things is maintenance. As with anything, it isn’t that difficult to do if you don’t let it get too much out of hand. While I do regularly put things away and clean up after myself, there are times when I am in the midst of things that I don’t quite follow these self-imposed rules one hundred percent. Usually it is when I have deadlines or I am in the middle of finishing something that I am excited about. This time both factors figured in. So today will be a day of putting things away and taking a breath before I jump into the next project. Overall, it will be a very productive day and even though I may not produce anything new from it, it will give me a clean slate to work on for the next project, which is already being thought out while I am doing this (there is nothing wrong with multi-tasking!)
On another note, I received the samples of the magnetic sheets from the company the other day. I was both pleased and a bit disappointed at the same time. It seems that they don’t quite have the product that I was thinking about and I will have to see if what they do have will work for my intentions.
For those of you who may have not read, I was exploring the possibility of using the magnetic sheets to sell with my painting patterns as an alternative for those who don’t cut wood or have access to wood cutters. These sheets are printable and they can be cut with scissors and the finished product could be displayed on a refrigerator or any other metal surface. Since we all have refrigerators, I thought this was a great idea and I thought of many applications for using designs in this manner such as picture frames as well as seasonal decorations.
I had ordered up some magnetic sheets and given them a try for painting and they worked splendidly not only for painting on myself, but also for printing my own original artwork for possible sale in that manner. The sheets held the color beautifully and everything looked crisp and vibrant. I thought of how nice it would be to include a sheet of magnet paper pre-printed with the design so that all my customer had to do was paint and cut. This would be wonderful for group activities like children’s parties and such and would make things nice and easy.
The only problem I had with these sheets was that they were a bit thin. Since they were paper, they could be torn if handled roughly and although they weren’t what I consider ‘fragile’ I was hoping to find something stronger.
I called the company and they mailed out some samples of the other types of printable magnetic sheets they offered. There were three options that were possibilities:
-Option 1 was a double sided magnet that was made for laser printers. Since I have an inkjet printer, that one was out.
-Option 2 was a double sided magnet that was made for inkjet printers. This one was a ‘maybe’. It was a little more expensive (actually exactly double in price) than the paper magnet I had, but it had the thickness and durability that I wanted. On the downside, it was coated on both sides (which I am sure had something to do with the higher cost) and I felt it was unnecessary to have both sides coated so it was somewhat of a waste.
-Option 3 was a one sided gloss coating that was used for photo printing. This was a good candidate because it was thick enough for my purposes, but I am not sure that the paint would adhere well to the glossy surface. I need to take the time to give it a try and paint on it to see if there are any problems with the paint sticking. I am sure that there is some type of preparation that I could use, but the whole point of offering these is that you can just take it out of the package and paint away. Another good thing about the gloss was that it was a little cheaper than the other two, with the price being about half way between the thick and thin stock.
The first thing I did was go to my printer and run each sheet through to see how it would work. They all did beautifully, and I must say the photo quality gloss looked simply outstanding. It got me thinking that I should get that type in any case to offer my own finished artwork on. The colors were amazing and even though I tried to smear it with both my finger and an eraser, the color held wonderfully. It was definitely the front runner.
The other papers preformed equally well in the printer, and there were no problems whatsoever in printing them out. The result was crisp and clear designs that also looked very nice and professional, although they weren’t as brilliant as the gloss. Since I tested the painting on the matte surface last week, I knew that I would be able to use it for painting purposes. The only down side was the unneeded coated back side that caused it to be a bit more costly. However, if I had to use it, I would, as a clean white back for the magnets would not be a horrible thing. It would look neat and professional.
But now I am intrigued as to if I will be able to paint on the gloss surface without problems. If I am successful, it would be the best of both worlds. I did like the look of the gloss much better for printing the finished paintings and it would just make things so much easier if I were able to use the same sheeting for both.
So part of my day today will also be ‘research.’ I will do some test painting and see what the results are and make a decision what to order. That will open a whole new avenue for me for designing.
I truly believe that diversifying is going to be key to my success. Especially since scroll sawing is such a niche market for my designs. With the state of the economy, everyone is naturally conservative and I am sure it is no shock to everyone that the craft industry in general is suffering as a result. I realize that if people are trying to put food on their tables and keep their jobs, they are less likely to spend money on what I consider a luxury field such as crafting.
I am happy to report that my own company is still growing during these difficult times. Even though it is growing slowly, I look at any positive change as a great accomplishment and a positive. I am very encouraged by this and I do realize that it is only doing good because my partner and I continue to work extremely hard to offer new high quality patterns. In order to continue in this direction, we need to continue to work even harder.
So for today, I will take a breath and reorganize and plan. I have some ideas for where I will be heading next and all I need to do is to choose which one to implement first. That is a good place for me to be. I also have another lesson that I want to get together soon, as well as work on writing some articles for the magazine to go along with the projects. I already discussed the topics with my editor and she was very enthusiastic about me writing for them. (Who would think I would get paid to write!) I have written articles before, but they seemed to be kind of an afterthought and I now look at writing a bit differently. This could be good.
I wish you all a happy and productive Friday. I needed to drive into Digby yesterday and although it was overcast and rainy, I noticed the leaves have indeed turned into a riot of color. I couldn’t get over the difference between Monday and yesterday, as I just drove that way for Thanksgiving on Monday. It just goes to show how quickly the season will pass and how soon the trees will be bare. I wish I had my camera.
Take care all. Have a great day! (Below is your picture of the day – I didn’t take it but I liked it. It looks very similar to what it is like around where I am)
The photograph is by Doug Weldon. To visit his website and see his other beautiful photography you can click HERE.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"