Good day, my creative friends. It is a calm and peaceful morning here in Nova Scotia with an overcast sky and a hint of misty rain that can't seem to decide whether it wants to be rain or snow falling. I actually love these kinds of mornings. As I sit here sipping on my second cup of coffee under a soft, fluffy blanket with Richard curled at my feet I am listening to "The Nutcracker Suite" on my headphones and feeling quite cozy. It is going to be a fabulous day.
I finished my painting project yesterday and finished up the photography for the pattern last night. I can't tell you all how excited I am about the outcome. I know in the past couple of weeks I have been a bit secretive regarding what I was working on. I actually had some ideas and there was a bit of a learning curve and some trial and error that I needed to go through in order to figure things out. These things take time and as much as I like to share things with you all, it wouldn't have been prudent for me to do so in this process. I needed my full concentration on the task at hand.
So what is all this excitement that I am feeling all about??
I often receive requests from my painting friends to purchase our finished fretwork pieces. As many of you know, they can be quite intricate and involved and in order for me to sell them as a living, I would need to charge far more than someone would be willing to pay. After all, this isn't a hobby for Keith and I. It is our sole source of income. As much as we would love to sell our beautiful, frilly fretwork ornaments, some take hours to cut and we would need to charge quite a lot for them or we wouldn't be able to continue. Plus, we need time to design and fill the orders we have and run our business. It just wasn't feasable.
But then I got an idea . . .
In my 'cyber-surfing' travels, I came across a Silhouette cutting machine. I had always wanted to create my own stencils of my designs for my woodworking and painting followers to use in their crafting. I thought that especially for the scrollers who say they have no talent for painting (I don't believe them, by the way!) it would be a nice way to kind of 'get started' and encourage them to try some new things. But finding a way that would be cost effective for us all without me having to stock a lot of things was difficult. Then I saw the Silhouette and the capabilities that it has and my head started working on it. Not only does it cut paper, but it also cuts all kinds of materials – including plastics and fabric. This opens a whole new avenue for me.
So to make a long story short, I took the plunge and invested in the cutter. I received it about a week and a half ago and I have been working on it and experimenting with it ever since.
While Silhouette offers its own patterns and designs that you can simply plug into the machine, I wanted to cut MY OWN designs on it. Fortunately, unlike most designers, Keith and I use Adobe Illustrator and all of our patterns are vector graphics. This means that they are done in the type of files that the Silhouette was made to read, with some modifications, of course. Believe me – it is not 'plug and play' by any means, but many of our designs are part way to the place where they can be copied and cut on the machine.
Just think how exciting this is for us!
While each design will require additional designing and drawing, we won't have to worry about licensing and copyrights and things like that and we can sell them or the finished products as we wish. This means we can keep the costs down for our customers as well, as we don't have to pay licensing fees and things like that. In the next weeks and months you will be seeing lots of exciting ways we will be selling our designs for your crafting enjoyment. I think you will like it.
My first design that I am trying with this is a project that I am doing for Toletown painting community. I love working with Toletown and Lorrie is the epitome of patience with me. I am offering this design for their 'quick paint' project for the month of December. If you haven't seen Toletown, you may want to check it out. It is an awesome place for painters of all levels (even those just learning) and the price for membership is very reasonable.
Anyway, the design I chose to do was a candle wrap for the large, jar type candles. I chose to create it out of Roc-Lon fabric and use my new cutter to cut a beautiful, intricate and lacy design in the border of the wrap. After trying several things, I finally figured out the 'magic formula' to make it work. Here is the result:
Isn't it FABULOUS?!? I was so excited when I saw it. Even the tiny comma cuts look beautiful! I knew I had a winner and I plan on doing MANY new designs with this method! And because I am not hand-cutting each pieces, I should be able to provide these wraps for about $6 each!
I am going to offer the Roc-Lon fabric wrap pieces on my site (they will be up later today) to purchase. Since they are thin and flexible, they will cost no more than if I were mailing paper patterns, which I think is definitely a 'plus'. The tree bordered design can be used with my pattern that I have at Toletown, or any pattern the user chooses. For the Toletown project, I am also including a version of the design that is only cut on the perimeter, so no one HAS to order the wrap to make the project:
But I love how it came out! I threaded some pretty twine through the beading holes (you could also use Velcro if you wish) and I added some pretty hot-fix rhinestones at the top of each tree from Rhinestone Canada. They still are, and always will be my favorite place for these stunning rhinestones. The prices are SO REASONABLE and the selection is great. Linda also ships the stone out within 24 hours and has free shipping on orders over $100. Since the stones are tiny, the shipping costs are small even when you do pay. I highly recommend them!
The "Joy" lettering was my own handwriting on my computer using my Wacom tablet and a calligraphy pen. I was really happy with how quickly and easily this design was to paint. Even someone who never painted before could do a beautiful job on it!
I really hope all of you are as excited about this as I am. Now you all know why I have been so 'distracted' lately. I have lots of wonderful things planned for the upcoming year! I think it is going to be our best year ever!!
I should have the pattern done and the surface up on the site by this afternoon. Head over to Toletown and see what else they have to offer. Besides loads of free patterns (with your membership) there are two classes available each month (with an instructional VIDEO so you can easily follow along and learn!) and a new 'quick paint' project like that that you can download. There are contests and challenges and an overall atmosphere of fun and encouragement. I think for my woodworking followers who may want to add some color to their projects, it is a great place to start.
I am so excited about these new avenues and I hope you are as well! I really think that this opens a world of possibilities for us all!
I am off to write directions now. I will post the links as soon as I have them. I wish you all a wonderful mid-week day today! I hope you are happy and do something you love to do!
Happy Wednesday to you all!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"