Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving weekend carving.

Finished the 7 seats I had for today, Still have two more for tomorrow. We we forced to buy some elongated seats from a place we usually don't visit. but luckily, they had them. So from now on...NO MORE ELONGATED SEATS! It's simply a logistical issue we don't want to deal with anymore. Until I actually make my own, that is. Then I can take a more control on how they are assembled. Well, it is late here so I'll keep this post short.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy thanksgiving everyone! Yesterday was spent with the family so I didn't get to do much. I'm now behind 15 seats! I was able to secure 3 elongated in Grand Rapids yesterday, But That was it. I still have to find 2 more... and then all the standard seats to boot. Anyway, I carved up 8 tonight. Hopefully, We Will continue to be swamped like this through Christmas and beyond. Got lots of catching up to do. So I might be a little sporadic with the blog entries in the future.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Seat Crisis!

So there simply are no more seats within 50 miles of us. Ok maybe that is a little dramatic. But we have cleared out all the stores and we are still 5 elongated seats short! In addition, we sold 4 more seats today. I was able to carve up those so I'm only behind the 5 elongated. Not to worry, we are heading to Grand Rapids on Thursday and hopefully will find some there. This lack of seats problem is really getting to us. So much so that we were forced to do something we rarely do and dislike even more....Socialize! That is right! We, I mean I, with the my wife's total disapproval, flagged down one of the store managers and talked to her about our plight. If nothing else, they could carry more for the next three months. (FWI We spend over $10,000 in seats a year, depending on how sales go. That might be a little low) If you were a store, wouldn't you like a chunk of that Pie? Cheryl and I did a small, simple calculation on how much money we bring into the struggling Michigan economy and we concluded that Michigan benefit's more from us being here in our business, than in the taxes it charges us. Also we bring in more money than we ourselves get to hang on to. Can you say "redistribution of wealth?" I don't mean to rant, just that the cost of seats and shipping through local business take roughly 2/3 of our gross. add fees and other costs ( electricity, tools, poly, paint, sandpaper, Internet, etc.) Again, all local costs. Now all we have to do is get some money for US! lol. We need profit to grow and expand. Well, this is sounding like my economics class. and Probably was stimulated by yet another bad customer. They purchased a seat three months ago and found out it is the wrong size. They want to exchange it out for the elongated ( remember, there are none at the current time) and want US to pay for them to ship the standard seat back to us. I should remind you that we offered free shipping to begin with. Now this person wants shipping back and back again! What business model is she forming her assumption on? Are we missing something? To the best of my knowledge, If you have any problem with something, and the company offers refunds and exchanges, you have to pay to ship it back to the company, then they refund or exchange it. I 'm not talking damage or wrong messed up orders ( we take care of that right away) I'm talking the customer messed up and wants us to pay for it. ( THREE months later) 2 months over our policy. Hmm.. such is the price for doing buisness. Perhaps we shoiudl be charging more....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The plight of the elongated seat

We sold 12 seats today. That's more like it! Christmas rush is coming. I could only carve up 7 seats tonight because, as is always the problem this time of year, We have run out of seats. So we will once again have to travel to distant places to purchase and stock up on more.

Our main problem is elongated seats. Till now, we have not really offered them for sale. We used to, but our supplier switched up on us with no warning ( see previous posts) Well, one customer has requested 4 seats for her home. So Cheryl and I stumble on a few late last week and Cheryl puts them up for sale. The lady bought them all as well as several other customers. And would you have guessed, all the seats are GONE! ( temporarily, of course, but grrrr!) So we have to travel to distant Holland to get them out before thanksgiving "no mail day" I am hoping that we find them all ( 5 total) at Holland, but I have to be real. Most stores do not Carry more than 4 at a time. I was hoping I could get my own elongated seats up and running before the new year.
In other news, the cats have caught a mouse that was chewing on our furnace gas hose. I have to tell ya. I am not feeling much pity for the mouse. The cats are loving it because it is a toy that does not need batteries. This mouse has been chewing on the small gas hose that causes the ignition sequence for the burner plate. causing the ignition to fail. So we have the furnace set to 70 and it is not getting any warmer in here. I have had to fix the hose several ( three in all) times and the furnce is in a crawlspace under the house! ( can you say duck walk) But today we bought traps and hopefully the cats will finish off the rest.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Job of the Shop Cat

So this weekend we put up the Christmas tree so Cheryl could show off her Christmas tree skirts. She sold one right away so I guess it worked, even without the lights on it.
So I have been busy working on seats this weekend. 11 seats. And My shop cat, Red, has been helping me. Now some of you might be asking...What does a shop cat do? Shop cats are essential parts of the

business. Cats inspect things and make sure things are made properly. Like boxes. Material quality.
Neck warmer. and
Chair warmer.

And he tells you when its break time. He even helps out with Cheryl's shop

This one passes!
As I write this, He is on my lap

causing me great hardship in typing. Cheryl doesn't need much help since she has her own Shop cat.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Cats love me.

Four seats tonight, And I finished one of the plywood seats. Cheryl was working on a couple of new plushies. Tonight we watch Ironman! It's about time, We have been waiting for it on Netflix for almost a month.
The fuzzy cat is Bear He is the neighborhood cat and he lives outside but thinks he lives here when it is cold. He also eats our cat food from time to time. He's a pretty good cat and he seems to be getting along with our kitten thus far. During the summer, he goes for walks with us outside through the neighborhood. Its pretty cool when other people are walking their dogs, we are walking our cat. The nice thing about him is he is wise to the outside world. He runs from cars, easily avoids dogs, and keeps other stray cats away from our yard. He's good with the neighbour kids and he even chased a couple of deer we had in our Yard one time. ( one of those video tape moments I wish we had captured.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cheryl's store!

I took a break from carving today and decided to work on a few odds and ends that have been vexxing me for a while. Anyway, I decided to show off a few things from Cheryl's shop since she had a "breakthrough" last night. She made a cute little plushy that she has fallen in love with and hopes others also will for Christmas. I had to help her put the eyes on them. She has also been working on wine carriers, stockings, and book bags. The wrist lets and book bags have been selling well lately.
So Cheryl is busy sewing tonight and I am hanging out with my shop cat on my lap, causing me to type slowly. Speaking of cats, I taught the kitten how to roll over on command now. next is the shake and then possibly the mercat sit. Usually, the cats rarely get past the rollover and shake commands. They refuse to learn another one, they just repeat the ones they know over and over again. Now Zulu, the late cat ( cat on my avatar) used to speak, rollover, shake, and open the door on command ( open the door, he would tap the door knob of the closest door till you opened it or he could pull it open.) I'll have to capture a video of him rolling over sometime in the future.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prototype Tuesday

Only one wood duck seat tonight, So I decided to take a shot at carving up a couple of the plywood seats. I tried to keep the designs simple because I had to make the seats completely. Also, Cheryl suggests that I should try to target the Etsy crowd a little more with modern designs. I have always liked the Asian feel of the bird silhouette on a branch. Specifically a cherry blossom branch. with a little luck, I'll be able to post them on Etsy tomorrow.

Update! I just found a new site to sell my stuff on and want to see if I can set up a shop there. 1000 markets looks very promising! I'll have to blog about it in the future. I read about it on this ladies blog. Spike, peanut, and me she has a shop on it and it totally in love with it. From what I have seen. I like it so far. I'm off to inspect and research some more..

Snowy Monday

Carved up five seats today! Yeah! I took my time tonight since they will not be shipping out till Wednesday. Other than that, it snowed today and it looks like it is here to stay this time. It was SO bad driving this afternoon that Cheryl and I decided to bundle up with some chocolate and stay in for the evening. It was one of those first snows that come down fluffy, then melt and refreeze. Forming a lovely frictionless surface for your car to skate all over the road on. No traffic slide offs or accidents while we were on the road, but I'm sure there were before and after. I'm SO happy I don't have a job to commute to anymore! I used to have a 45 min drive at 6:30 am and on days like this I would always be late and see several dozen cars in the ditch! Now I can't believe I did that for well over a year and didn't have any accident for myself. Better to be late than have to pay a tow truck to come get ya.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Another busy weekend

You might have noticed that I have skipped a couple days blogging. The easy explanation is that I did not have the time to chat about my day. Either I was too exhausted or it was just too late. The weeks seem to be flying by now and there seems to be little time for anything other than carving, painting and shipping seats. In between all that, I've been trying to make soap and my own seats out of plywood. I worked like crazy yesterday so I could take it easy tonight. I already have 4 seats for Monday. Cheryl discovered a nice feature on our new camera that helps with closeups. Up until now I thought we were forever cursed to take blurry closeup pictures even with the 8.1 mega pixel camera. but the new setting is for pictures closer than 24" They seem to be better for the most part.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday carvings.

We sold 5 seats tonight, but could only carve up one. I decided to catch up on several other things that needed to be done but I never seem to have the time. So I stamped boxes, finished the plywood seats and assembled some other seats for shipping. All in all, a busy day with not much to show off. Friday might be spent trying to locate some more seats. We'll see. The cats await our decision

Memories of Alaska

As some of you might know, I spent several years in Alaska. Two Summers in College and three years in the Army. While serving on special duty at Bolio Lake, The temperature dropped to -56 F . We were watching for -60 to do a cold weather equipment test. To pass the time, we threw coffee into the cold air and watched it disappear. The video does a fair job capturing it, but you really have to see and hear it in real life to truly be amazed. ( It sounds like a low flying plane as the water evaporates!) Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More plywood seats

Carved up two seats tonight. I have four lined up for tomorrow so far. With my brief window of opportunity tonight, I decided to work on the plywood seats a little. Basically I got the cutting and shaping out of the way. The next time I get to work on them, I'll drill holes for the plastic bumpers and hinges. Then stain and poly the seat and underside of the lid. this is taking a little longer than I had first imagined, but doing things in stages like this seems to drag it out. I decided to take another stab at adding a short video to the mix. One of me cutting the seats from the plywood with a reciprocating saw( Black and Decker! YEAH! Can't wait till I get my band saw!) And one of me routing the edges.My camera assistant was not in the mood to deal with the huge amount of dust and chips the routing table produced, so the video is short. But you should get the idea. I had to do my own taping with the Saw, which is not the safest or smartest way to do things. After trimming them flush, I rounded over the corners. A small note on the short vids. One: long videos are boring and I find people talking are kinda distracting. ( exception, Wood Whisperer) Two: Blogger takes along time to upload one even as short as a 15 second one. I'll have to work on editing some longer ones in the future. (Music is much nicer on the ears than the roar of the tools) A small note on the router table. In case you can't see it, the seat is attached to a jig I cut for it. I put handy dandy handles on the top so I would have something to hold on to and keep my hands safe and clear. The router table scares the hell out of me! I give it the utmost respect! There is no attaching a severed appendage ( think finger) after a router bites ya! ( think blender)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Video Experiment

So I finished carving up the five seats that I had tonight. I decided to try to make some small videos of the process to shake things up a bit. Since I had to ask the help of my wife and tear her away from her sewing, the quality might not be as good as I had hoped. but the new camera makes it rather easy to just point and shoot. Perhaps we can make it a regular part of the updates. Since they seem to take a long time for a 15 second video to download, I'll try to limit the number. They are not edited like my other videos.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Catch up Sunday

The weekend is almost over and I have totaled 11 seats! I carved up 6 tonight and have 5 set up tomorrow. It's not the best to leave things to pile up on Sunday, but this weekend was kinda messed up with a family event on Saturday. With a little luck the seats should go out tomorrow. I still have to finish the plywood seats and get them ready since all our seats are accounted for now. Cheryl had to order boxes and bubble bags already! I'm hoping things will continue like this through and after Christmas. I feel like the cats on days like this...


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