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As I try to achieve my goal of getting back to blogging more often, I wonder if showing you all the piles of wood that I cut interests you all. I wonder if they all begin to look the same to you or if it is really something that you enjoy seeing. Since much of my time these days has been spent on production work and filling orders for decorative painters, I find that if I don't show the piles, I sometimes don't have a great deal new to say here. However, I know that many of my followers are woodworkers and aspire to do some type of production work, so I thought that from time to time you don't mind seeing what fills my days lately.
I spent pretty much of the last week in the shop and cutting. The first large batch of things that I did over the previous weekend took most of Monday and Tuesday to complete cutting and organize, pack and ship out. On Wednesday I needed to really get organized as far as building my Prim Dowel Trees (SLDPK159a), as I had several ordered. I also needed to get a couple of samples to Amy Mogish so that she could do her magic with them for her wonderful Halloween Ornament Club. I am thrilled she wanted to use the tree to display her ornaments. By changing the fence and the topper, the tree could be adapted to many different themes or seasons, which makes it more economical for our customers and just an all around better product. I will certainly be showing you more in the future.
After spending Wednesday building the special jigs I needed to make everything consistent and safe to drill and cut, here was the result of my efforts:
Not only do I feel good about the trees, I should be able to reproduce them rather quickly now. Taking the extra time to really think them through was smart, as I didn't feel fully comfortable with the first version of the tree that I made. I think that is a good lesson for people who are designing or have their own business. If you are unsure about something - wait and let the idea 'hatch' a bit. It is amazing how adding a little time to a project can make a huge difference. I find the most mistakes are made when rushing into something. While I 'liked' the general idea of the first tree, there was something that prevented me from 'loving' it and really feeling good about it. I am very happy I waited until I really figured everything out and now when I send them to my customers, I can really feel like they are getting something that I am proud of making. That is so important, I feel.
On Saturday, I worked hard to fill the orders that came in later in the week. My goal was (and will continue to be) to take Sundays to do "whatever". But that meant that I would really need to work hard the other days to reward myself with that luxury. I feel that I need it though and without allowing some time to myself, I could get tired and even burned out and possibly even resentful about my work. I don't want that to happen.
Here is a picture of what I accomplished on Saturday:
I think it is a good day's work. :) Besides cutting these pieces, I cleaned and reorganized much of my shop. It is once again beautifully neat and I know where everything is. In the future, I would love to give a video tour of how I have things set up for you all to see. I am very happy there and proud of it.
With that under my belt, I had Sunday pretty much to do what I want. I do admit, that I spent about an hour up in the shop. (Maybe an hour and a half!) But it started for selfish reasons. . .
A couple of weeks ago, I saw a Jamie Mills Price pattern that I was dying to paint. It is a layered lighthouse plaque and it is just lovely. I have the perfect spot in my entryway for it to go, and she even has a summer version and a winter version of the same scene, so I could swap it out for the seasons. I went up to the shop yesterday and cut the plaque pieces, and while I was up there, I decided to sand the box of goodies shown above so they will be all ready to send out today. I am glad I did, as I felt that I could really relax the rest of the day.
I went with Keith for a long hike along the rocky shoreline. We probably hiked a couple of kilometers. It was warm and sunny and beautiful and I love to be near the ocean. What a great way to spend the afternoon! On the way home, we picked up some ribs and made a lovely dinner on the grill - ribs, grilled potato and onion and grilled mixed veggies. MMMm! Just what we needed after the long hike!
After dinner, I got to painting on my lighthouse. I didn't know how far I would get, but I wanted to spend the evening painting this fun and no-pressure project. It is called "Harbor Lights" and the pattern or E-Pattern can be purchased at Jamie's website (www.betweenthevines.com)
I got the frame and the background painted first:
I love that Jamie has lots of step-by-step photos:
The lighthouse is painted using all DecoArt products (which I love) and the lighthouse itself had a beautiful crackle finish to it. Jamie recommended DecoArt One Step Crackle:
Unlike DecoArt's Weathered Wood, which is applied between paint layers, the One Step Crackle is applied over the base layer. After letting it dry (I used a hair dryer to make the process faster) it gives you a beautiful, crackled, clear layer:
I put it on REALLY THICK to achieve this lovely finish - nearly 1/8" thick gel! But look at the amazing result! :D
The next step was to use a soft cloth and 'rub' on the browns and tints and rub them off while they were wet. This allowed the darker paint to enhance the cracks and makes the piece look AMAZING!
I have always been 'timid' with this product in the past. I am typically a light painter and don't use much product. But I found that to make this product works as it should, I really needed to have a heavy hand.
So far, so good:
While my piece looks a bit plain now, the real fun is just beginning. I will be adding in all the details and certainly update you all on my progress. My goal is to be able to work for a full day and then take the evenings to paint for myself. I also made some progress on my large Ark piece that I will show you later in the week. I am nearly done with that.
I hope you enjoy seeing these projects. I certainly enjoy creating them. I love showing how fun and versatile that painting can be. I have many great products by DecoArt that I am dying to try on painting and home improvement projects and I want to share them with you all as well. This past year DecoArt came out with several new lines of home-dec paint for different uses and they are really high quality and promise to be fun to use as well.
I wish you all a wonderfully creative week. Happy Monday to you all!
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