#1836 Growth Spurts

Little by little, I am trying to get back into the habit of posting here on a regular basis. I find that I have been missing talking to many of you and when I don’t post for days or weeks at a time, the task seems daunting because there is so much information that I want to share. I am sure no one wants to read a book here on a blog post.

Life has been so busy since moving and there are times when I felt that things were getting a bit out of control. As a small business owner that depends on my business for my main source of income, this can appear to be a good thing, but these ‘growth spurts’ can really rattle you if you aren’t ready for them. It is something that is best if it happens slowly. I know that many of my followers who are in business hope that things explode and that you are instantly successful, but I can tell you all from experience that slow and steady is really a better way to grow. It is the best way to keep up your high level of service and adjust as things change.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with having some growth spurts now and then. Without them, things cannot be successful and certainly, things would become stagnant. I suppose the trick is to keep a reign on them and allow yourself some time to rebound after such a time and collect your thoughts and perhaps re-think your strategy. I think the bottom line is that if you aren’t flexible with your business, you will have the most trouble succeeding.

The first several months of this year have been incredibly busy for me. As most of you know, my business took on a new direction. Not only has it turned from designing to providing wood for my painting customers, but it also has opened up some new opportunities for me in designing painting patterns as well as the scroll saw and woodworking patterns. I like this change and it allows me both time in the shop and also time to paint. As always – my biggest complaint is that there aren’t enough hours in the day. But I am working on making it work, and I finally feel that I have a handle on things once again.

One thing that I have recently come to see is that I need at least one day a week that I will consider as “off”.  To the untrained eye, it may seem that I am ‘working’ and doing pretty much the same that I do every other day, as I have been spending these days painting, cutting some pieces and drawing. But the difference is that I allow myself to not have to do anything in particular, and the projects that I work on are usually something for my own personal satisfaction. Sometimes that mindset can make all the difference in the world.

I have been working with the very talented Lynne Andrews since last year to create a wonderful series of patterns and surfaces and a group on Facebook so we can all create them together. Since I live in a remote, quiet area, there are few painters near me and as I mentioned above, it was time to grow and change with the times. Facebook has offered the opportunity for people from all over the world with similar interests to come together to create. Just by chance, I set up a page last year to paint the “12 Days of Christmas” ornaments, designed by Lynne. (12 Days of Christmas Ornaments by Lynne Andrews – We are making them!)  I took on the task of creating six sets of these fabulous ornaments and I knew I wanted the companionship and friendships of others to encourage me through the process. It was extremely successful and while I still have half of that last day to finish, I think it has been a wonderful success.

So this year, we decided to create a group to paint some Noah’s Ark ornaments. We call this page the Inspirational Ark Series and while it was a bit slow in getting started, it is definitely on the right track and moving right along. Here is a photo fo the finished series:

Not only are there 13 ornaments, but I also designed a prim tree to display them and Lynne created a bottom wave ‘fence’ and topper to complete the theme. You can get all the patterns on her website at www.lynneandrews.com.

I am selling all the patterns and surfaces on my website Painting Wood Kits and Surfaces page.

The tree was a challenge for me, for as you see it above, it was wide and I felt it wasn’t quite as stable as I would like. I needed to limit the size of the center pole so that I could efficiently ship it to those who ordered. Unfortunately, shipping the tree is not cheap.  So I took my time and thought about it quite a bit in between cutting other things. Finally, last week I tried a new approach and came up with this:

Having the arms cross and shorter centered the weight much better and the whole thing felt a bit more stable. But I wanted to go a step further.

I wanted those who purchased the tree to be able to use it for other things. I felt that this would add to the value of their investment and make it something that could work for several projects or seasons. So I decided to offer just the tree on its own, and make the fence and topper pieces available separately. For Lynne’s design, it would be waves and the rainbow/sun/cloud piece for the top:

I already am working with Amy Mogish on a Halloween Club and she is designing another add-on pack for the tree for a Halloween theme. Just wait until you see what she has in mind!

So, for now, you can get just the tree here: SLDPK159A Dowel Tree without Accessories.

And you can get the Lynne Andrews Ark Series Accessory Pack here: SLDPK159B.  This way, too, if you have your own tree, you can easily adapt the fence and topper to fit. It solves the problem of having to buy one expensive tree after another.

As for my own progress on my Ark, the group began with the Maiden Voyage large plaque, which accompanies the set. While it isn’t on the tree, it can be placed on an easel or hung on a wall near where the tree is displayed, or even used by itself for those who don’t want to venture into the entire project. (You can get the wood piece here – SLDP158.)

I spent some time yesterday working on my piece. I had most of the animals done and only needed to finish the lion and lamb from the inner piece:

I finished up my Lion:

And also my lamb:

And I even got the outer Ark base coated. I am in the home stretch!

Since I am not doing six sets of these, I feel like I am on the right track. I will be creating the single, smaller Arks at a rate of approximately one per month, with doing the tree pieces in-between. It will be fun and relaxing and something that I will enjoy. I hope you come and join our Facebook group to come and see the progress of everyone. Some people are done with them all already! Others are like me and just getting their Arks “launched”. Some are there just to cheer us on. We need cheerleaders and appreciate all the encouragement they bring. It is a great place to meet people with creative interests.

I will keep up with the progress on my project in the future. I have a room filled with wood pieces that I have to finish cutting and sanding today and we are planning to update our site tomorrow. We will have some new specials and surprises, so I hope you come back to see tomorrow. You can join our Mailing List here and receive our bi-monthly newsletter. In it, we give special coupon codes and let you know about our new products and sales.

Keith has a new design that he posted last night that already has been quite popular:

His SLDK724 – Jesus Died For Our Sins cross pattern really came out nice. 🙂  He is working on another pattern today and hopefully, it will be ready by tomorrow.

I want to thank you all again for sticking with us through these changes. Both Keith and I are happy to see our company evolving into what it has become. We appreciate every single one of you who has supported us throughout the years and we hope to be here for a long time to come.

Happy Monday to you all. (And Happy Memorial Day to my USA friends and family!)

I hope you all have a fun and creative day!

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