I can't believe another weekend has passed by already! It seems like the time is just flying by and here we are already halfway finished with January. That is probably good news for those of you who don't like winter. As I write this morning, there are gusts of wind blowing outside as well as sporadic rain. Spring is right around the corner.
I took an unscheduled day Saturday to travel up the valley with Keith. He had purchased something from Kajiji and was going to meet the seller and was looking for some company. Since I haven't really been out in the world for a while, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get away and clear my head a bit. After all, I have been keeping up pretty good with my deadlines, with just a couple more to go until I can take a (short) breath. I have so many new ideas though that I find myself jumping from one to the next as soon as something is completed. But that isn't all bad.
I finished up an ad the other day for an online magazine that I am contributing to. I also have a project in that magazine, and I will talk about it closer to the publication date, which is around the first of the month. I am happy to see these magazines emerge, as I think they will help bring the painting industry into another phase and hopefully keep it alive. I love painting as much as woodworking, and I keep trying my best to support both industries and keep others interested. I do the best I can,
While in New Minus, we made a stop in the local Michael's store. As usual, I was horrified at the high prices for basic supplies and crafting items. Two items in particular bothered me, as the markup on them was so horrendous that Keith wanted to just walk out and leave right then and there. I am not a cheap person, but I do want to get a good value for my money and I can't understand how a company can justify charging so much for mediocre crap from China.
Example #1 was a "chalkboard" that was approximately 11" x 17" in size. It was made of MDF fiber board and about 1/8" thick. It had some black chalkboard paint slapped on it, but the corners were a bit chipped and scraped. I suppose it was to be a base for some further embellishments or painting. When I picked it up, I expected the price to be around $5.00. Even that was a high estimate in my eyes seeing the quality and condition of the item (and it wasn't just the one that was chipped, all of them were!) When I flipped it over and saw the $16.95 price tag I almost had a heart attack right then and there. How in the world could they even justify charging anywhere NEAR that much?? I couldn't help but think of the workers in the Chinese factory that made it – they probably got the equivalent of ten cents a day while the owners of these companies were probably buying their third home. It really made me ill.
The next item that stuck in my mind wa a package of paper doilies. I saw these and though of some of the nice crafting possibilities that they would have. The were circular and about 5" in diameter and they came in red, pink and white. There were about 20 in a package, and I wanted to buy them but the cost for I think 20 of them was $6.95. (They were PAPER mind you!) Back on the shelf they went.
I am not getting it. I really feel that part of the reason that crafting is on the decline is that it costs so much to maintain the hobby. It is really sad when simple things like paper cupcake sleeves cost over $7 for a small package. No wonder the industry is struggling. I need to really re-evaluate things and be aware of what I am using to create my designs. I think that is why it is good for me to 'get out there' once in a while. I have a chance to really see what my customers are paying for things.
I'll end my rant there and get on to better things. But I will try to be more aware of which supplies I recommend and offer alternatives that are a bit more affordable. After seeing the $16.95 chalkboard, it makes me think that investing in a quart of chalkboard paint isn't such a bad idea after all. Just saying . . .
Yesterday I really got back to work. I am currently working on two new designs for my scrolling followers. I know that lately I have been doing more painting, but there were several deadlines due all at once for painting projects and I needed to focus there. It felt good to get back to the drawing board and work on some fretwork designs. It felt even better to cut them yesterday!
I didn't quite finish, as I also had some orders to cut, but I am well on my way to getting things done today. The first design is a nice little heart shaped box that would be appropriate for Valentine's day, or anytime actually. Here is the beginning of it:
I am also going to offer up an additional design for the lid. The second design will have a beautiful script monogram letter on it. I am going to include the entire alphabet in the pattern so that the customers can choose. I love this type of cutting and I really think it will be a nice pattern. I can't wait to finish up assembling it later on today.
The next design that I am doing is just getting started. By the time I began cutting it, I had to get dinner done and do some orders that need to go out in the mail today. So this is how far I got:
I think this will be a fun project as well, and I can't wait until it is late enough to get to the saw and finish today. I do enjoy cutting wood.
All day I had my trusty "Helper" sitting by my side.
That's my 'grand kitty' Pancakes. He stuck to me like glue the entire day and was pacing around the floor under the scroll saw so much that I brought the chair for him to sit next to me. You would think with the noise he would not want to be near, but he was very happy sitting up there right by my side. Every so often when I stopped between cuts, I gave him a nice pet on the head. Who said cats are not loyal, anyway?
Today I will be finishing up and assembling these two projects. I should have the patterns ready by the site update later this week. Then on to the next project, which is my Art Play Date project that I will be teaching in the online class. More on that later.
I hope you all had a good weekend and I wish you all a wonderful week ahead. Happy Monday to you all! I hope you find time to do something wonderfully 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"