I am afraid you are all going to get the cheap version of the blog today. There is just so much I want to accomplish and it is already later than usual. I had one of those strange evenings where I was thinking so much that I couldn’t sleep. So much to plan and do. At about 4am I finally gave up and came out in the living room to read through some things on the computer, but after a bit, I fell asleep again on the couch and when I woke up it was already almost 8am. For me that is quite late unless I am under the weather (which I am not). So it put me at a great disadvantage time-wise today and I told myself I would keep this short.
We had a fun and full day yesterday visiting Ellen and Bernie. It was his 80th birthday on Wednesday and this was his birthday dinner. We also celebrate his daughter, Cindy’s birthday at the same time as hers is in the next week. I got a nice picture of him and I:
I owe so much to Bernie. He has been a wonderful friend and mentor for almost eight years now and he has taught me so much and been so generous with his shop and tools that I am forever grateful. I am happy to have him as a friend and he and Ellen and Cindy his daughter are considered my Canadian ‘family.’
We arrived in the afternoon so that we could play in the shop for a while before dinner. Keith did most of the stuff there, as I visited and assisted Ellen with the kitchen chores. Bernie lets Keith kind of work on his own there and we only had a short list of wood we needed in the immediate term so he decided to keep the time in there short. We have to go back to Digby anyway in the next week for a follow up eye appointment for me and we plan to go back and get some more work done there then.
Working in the shop even for a short time makes us both wish we had a place for a planer, finish sander and nice table saw. I could tell that Keith was thinking the same thing, as he really enjoys working with the larger tools and I could almost hear him thinking about how we would be able to make it work. We have some possibilities, but none of them are really optimal and we need to think them through a bit better before making any decisions. We will have to see. . .
We did finish a nice amount of thin maple, which is what we were running low on and had a good sized pile to bring back with us. We should be good for a while. In looking at our supply of rough cut lumber, there is probably enough there to last us for several years given the small size of the projects we do. I expect that even when we make our trips to the city this spring and summer, we won’t be dropping much money at the lumber store and adding to the pile. (That doesn’t however mean that we won’t be lugging some nice tools home with us!) We will just have to see.
Today there is a multitude of tasks that I want to address. I need to work on the pattern packet for the little witch boots, and I want to begin on the next (and final) submission that I will be offering to the Artist’s Club for this round. I have an idea in my head, and I need to develop it get drawing.
I also noticed that the painting side of my site and my own personal patterns is not as tidy as I want. Since painting patterns was quite secondary to the scroll sawing ones, that side of things has been very neglected and I really need to ‘houseclean’ those files and give them an order that will coincide with the scrolling side of things.
Kieth is preparing not only the new catalog, but also creating several brochures for his pens. The main catalog is a huge task, as we have over 500 patterns that were created over the past 10 years or so. Since the software that I used has changed so much over that time there is quite a bit of work needed to bring the older patterns up to the level of the newer ones. Even simple tasks such as updating contact information on the older patterns takes a bit of fancy typing because the software that I used to use in the beginning of my pattern making days no longer exists. Converting it into a form that is easily edited is not an impossible task, but it is one that takes time and effort. And we struggle with the dilemma of how much time should be spent on updating older patterns, when most of them in all probability have for the most part run their course. We aren’t quite ready to shelve them yet though, and we do agree that they do have their place on the site.
That is the case with many of the older painting patterns that I am finding. I have some from several years ago that have never been seen. Back when they were created, I didn’t have the means to reach the people that I do now, and I feel that they deserve at least to be seen. While some of them are better left to languish in the archives of my computer, there are others that I feel are nice and cute and I would love to present them to the many new people that come to visit the site. Since my work on the skater’s pond and also with Monika Brint (the snowflake puzzle that I did for her) I have had many more painters come to the site to see what else I have to offer in the painting pattern department. I want to be able to have a decent selection there to keep their interest – at least until I can add to it with these new ideas, and hopefully keep them coming back and looking for more.
I don’t want to neglect this aspect of my business for many reasons. Diversification is the first reason. As I have stated many times over, I think it is important for us to be somewhat diverse in what we offer – especially in these economic times. Another reason is because I do believe that there is a need for good, quality patterns. I have noticed that more and more people are looking for good patterns both in the woodworking industry as well as the painting industry. Offering digital patterns is the way of the future and more and more customers are demanding instant downloads as a means of obtaining patterns. Not only do they save postage that way, but they also have the instant gratification of receiving the patterns as soon as they purchase them – much like when they visit a physical ‘store’ without having to leave their computers. I do believe that digital media is the way of the future and even though I enjoy having physical media such as magazines and patterns to hold in my hand, I see that it is not what most people are asking for. If we are to continue growing and keeping our company healthy, we need to accept this and continue to set our sites to it for the future.
Well, I suppose that this didn’t turn out to be such a short blog after all. (Does it ever?) I hope you all have a great Sunday today and for those of you who enjoy football – Happy Superbowl Sunday! Enjoy the day and take some time to get into the shop and do some fun things that you will enjoy!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"