As the second week of the new year comes to a close, I find myself reflecting. Not so much on the year 2015, but on the last two weeks – the beginning of 2016. It has been a crazy ride so far, with many wonderful things happening. It seems our customer base is growing every day, and I have had lots and lots of orders to fill.
Even though it has been a lot of hard work, I find myself happy and grateful. After all – this is what I have been striving for the past several years. I have always wanted to have a viable and successful business that was centered around creating. It appears that those aspirations have come true, and both Keith and I couldn't be happier.
What I hadn't anticipated was the wonderful sense of satisfaction that came with whatever successes we have had. Because of the nature of what we do, we tend to bring something positive to the lives of others. By providing patterns, kits and instructions for those who wish to create, we are giving them the tools to do something that makes them happy and helps boost their self-esteem. To me, that is truly one of the most important aspects of what I do. It honestly gives me the most satisfaction and because of it, I feel that I am making a difference in the world. It may be a small one, but I feel that these small things are baby steps to doing something that has a positive effect overall, and no matter how small that effect may be, I'll take it.
It is not only the amount of sales that we are having that I have noticed, but also the amount of calls, letters and emails from people who are so happy with our patterns and kits. I love to hear the stories of why they are making our designs, or for who they are giving them to or which cause. There is always joy and excitement as they tell of their plans, and that to me is worth more than anything. As we grow, it seems to happen more and more.
We don't design for nameless, faceless customers. We design for people with families and full lives and stories. Each pattern or piece of wood from a kit we are making willl go to a 'person'. Someone who chose our designs from the thousands of those available on the market. To me, that is a privileged.
They say that positive reinforcement breeds additional positive responses. I clearly see how that works. As I get busier, I also try to do an even better job than I had done in the past. It wasn't as if I was careless before, but the work that I do takes on a bit more meaning. As I am drawing up my designs or writing instructions or cutting wood, my mind drifts to those who will be using these tools for their own creativity. And I want things as perfect as possible to make their job easier. I think that this success has not only brought our work to a higher level, but also our pride in our products. It is a cycle that builds upon itself and hopefully will continue to perpetuate. I am truly grateful.
As you can tell, I think a lot when I am cutting orders. The repetition of cutting the same pieces over and over becomes somewhat automatic after a while and it allows my mind to wander. Not only about the awesome music that I choose to listen to in my headphones, and the memories that accompany that, but also of the customers I am cutting for and the new things that I will be creating in the future. It is all fun and all positive. Even though it can be physically tiring, it is the 'good' kind of tired. The tired that comes with accomplishment. I hope it continues. . .
In between the mad rush of orders these past two weeks, I was able to also draw up and create a couple of new patterns. Keith has been working on our new catalog, which is no small task, and he has some new patterns as well. We added these patterns to the site, and also changed the specials and sales, as well as offered a new free painting pattern as I showed yesterday. We have been busy. ;)
I still need to write the instructions today for the two new patterns that I created, but they are nothing out of the ordinary and that shouldn't take too long. They should be posted by this evening when our
newsletter is set to go out.
The first pattern is that of a pretty set of Damask heart ornaments that I showed earlier this week in progress. I finished them up and they came out really pretty. I call them Damask Heart Ornaments and I am pleased with them:
I cut mine from ash, which is one of my favorite woods to scroll. They are appropriate not only for the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday, but would actually be nice for any romantic occasion (wedding, anniversary, etc.) The link to the pattern is here: http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com/product/SLD521 and it will be active later on today when the pattern is posted. I cut another set of these in 1/8" Baltic birch and I plan to decorate them with some wonderful DecoArt products and some hot-fix rhinestones. But for now, I thought these looked beautiful 'naked' and unadorned. I hope you agree.
The other new pattern that I will be offering is for the SLD522 Heart and Soul Damask Candle Tray. (Again – the link will work when the pattern is posted)
This piece is also in the Damask style, and is fun to cut and came out beautiful. While it is probably not a great project for the beginner scroll sawyers, there is no reason it couldn't be done with a little patience by most. The Damask design is very forgiving and not really as delicate as it appears. I think the most fragile part of this tray is the edging, which I saved to cut until the end. I even left the cut pieces in the cavities on the edges for a bit more support while I finished. I used aspen wood for this try, which is tight grained but light and airy. Since it was 1/2" thick, it held up fine, but you may be better off using something more dense such as maple if you are leery of using a softer wood. I don't deny that the edges of this are delicate and this piece is to be handled with care. But as you can see – it is possible to create it.
I also haven't decided whether or not to embellish the tray. I do like it 'as is', but I am intrigued with the idea of adding some metallic wax to it for some different effects. I may take more photos and then give it a try. I will certainly keep you updated.
Those of you who receive our newsletter should get one by tonight. I have several things to mail out today and then write the newsletter and send it. I don't know how long that will take me.
Keith also has new designs that I showed earlier this week that are now posted. And as I said, there are new sales and specials, as well as some new surfaces that I added in. I plan to design on them very soon and will begin with them this weekend. I hope you want to check them out.
With that said, I will end here for today. Thank you again to all of our customers for your continued support for our little company. You each make a difference in our lives, and we hope we make a small difference in yours. You are very much appreciated.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend. Whether you are in the sun on a beach or shoveling snow here up north, I hope you enjoy what the day brings. Happy Friday 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"