Positive Critique

One of the very satisfying characteristics of this website is that, increasingly, people who visit to view, to browse, or to purchase, feel sufficiently comfortable to comment upon aspects of the site which they enjoy, appreciate, like, dislike, find either helpful or, alternatively, unhelpful.  If you don’t administrate a website you may possibly have no appreciation for the help and support that such constructive comment provides.

Today, someone with whom I have a very long and satisfying relationship, explained to me that he gets distracted.        By the blogs.
Upon the Home page are a list of the most recent blogs on the left hand side, of which, this is one.  And a random title will, apparently, catch his eye.  So he reads it.  Then he will spot another one which he thinks may be of interest.  And after some considerable time reading a number of blogs, he leaves the website, having completely forgotten that his original intention was to purchase a picture frame, or an article of wood-turning, artwork or a photograph.  And whilst sales and commissions are not the sole aim and purpose of the website, they are nevertheless an integral part of it.  Viewing, enjoyment, relaxation, information accessibility and resource are also vital to the website structure: yet the observation is a very valid one – if the viewer cannot easily find what he or she entered the site to find, they may become distracted and immersed in another aspect of the site.
And consequently, miss the whole point of their visit.

So I have added some advice – a directive – to the ‘Welcome to TAA‘, in green, at the head of the Home page.  Whether this proves sufficient to enable visitors to comfortably, and conveniently, navigate the site to find what they’re seeking, remains to be seen.  I’m sure that someone will comment appropriately. :-D
All of you good folk who have already registered with the website can easily add your observations and comments to this, or any of the other blogs.
And, of course, anyone who visits, who wishes to register and participate responsibly, will always be assured of a very warm welcome.

Double Your Money

To those of you not old enough to remember the veritable Hughie Green, the title will mean nothing to you at all.  And given that you may be one of those who can’t remember Mr Green, you may consider yourself to be at an advantage, both in terms of age and the ‘questionable’ experience.

Be that as it may, this morning, with no effort on my part, a customer whom I had framed a watercolour for some months ago, rang to ask if I could be of assistance to him again.
He had a medium sized photo, taken in RAW and edited in PaintShopPro, which he would like two prints of:  and would I please frame it for him?
Gladly  – I always enjoy doing work for established customers.
We resolved frame profiles, mount and glass selections, and I duly quoted the price to him, including the two prints.  And, in the course of conversation he made reference to two frames.

When we had originally spoken he had not instructed me that he wanted both prints framed, merely that he required two prints.
So both prints framed ~ double the material ~ but also double your money.

Not a bad start to the day.
The materials which are not in stock are now ordered.  The prints are processed and likewise ordered.
Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together.”

Oh   -  Come on.    :roll:
If you’re reading this, you’ve got to be old enough to remember that one.   :lol:

I Was Right

If you have read Grrrrrrr, you will remember that I concluded with the statement :-
“I’m back in business and things are looking up.
Or else, something really BAD is about to happen !!!

Well today it did.
I woke up this morning convinced that the date was Friday the 16th of November.  My calendar said it was the 16th ~ my mobile phone confirmed that it was the 16th.
I was happy with it being the 16th.

Yesterday, the 15th, I took delivery of some materials from Wessex Pictures, amongst which were the materials ordered for a customer’s watercolour painting.  I duly stocked the remainder of the order and commenced with doing the decorative ink-lining to the window mount for the watercolour.
That done I put it to one side whilst the ink dried, cut the glass and by the end of the day was satisfied that, for this job, I merely needed to cut and assemble the frame, put the whole package together and notify the customer that his painting was ready to collect.
That was yesterday.
Today started off nicely as Friday the 16th.
Until about 10:00am.
I had sorted out the frame profile for the watercolour from yesterdays delivery.  I had cut the mitres and glued and wedged one long and one short side together.  This, I had placed upon the workbench, as I commenced gluing and wedging the second long and short side.  It was at this point that Friday the 16th instantaneously turned into Friday 13th.
The first joined sides, quite inexplicably, toppled off the bench and onto the floor.  Onto the rear of the corner.
When I say “quite inexplicably“, what I mean is;  I was sure that I had placed the assembly on the workbench in such a manner that it would stay where I had put it.  However, I was wrong.  As vociferously as I blamed the piece for leaping off the bench, I had to admit that it was my fault.  I tried streaming the bruised section back to life; and in all fairness it almost recovered, but not quite.  I knew that the client would see it and object to it.  And as I had ordered just two lengths; one for the job and one for stock, (It’s not a section I sell a lot of, so don’t keep a large stock of it.) I pulled the other length from my stock rack and proceeded to make another frame.  I won’t tell you what happened to that one, sufficient to say that I made a mistake with the underpinner and I was less than pleased with the finished article.
Now I was faced with driving to Wessex Pictures (about a 50 miles round trip) to buy another length of framing section.
This I duly did.       [I bought two.  One for stock !]  :lol:
And during the drive to Leamington, I persuaded myself that I was not incompetent, useless, a blithering idiot &/or incapable.  All of which I had accused myself of being for the first quarter of an hour following the ‘quite inexplicable‘ fall and the subsequent ‘mistake‘.  I further reasoned with myself that the day had turned sour, not due to one of my ‘bad’ days, which I occasionally suffer as a result of the strokes, when co-ordination is difficult. 
(I was driving to Leamington OK)

It is so easy to look for, and find, something or someone else to blame, isn’t it?
The events of the day were simply due to the fact that I had been careless.
Nothing more.  Nothing less.

I returned from Leamington and made the frame.
The next step is to prepare the package ~ clean the inside surface of the glass ~ ensure that the artwork is spotlessly free of particles of dust, fibres, specks of foreign matter; then very carefully assemble the package ~ watercolour – glass – frame – tags to hold it in place ~ and turned it over to check that everything is still as pristine as just a moment ago.
Yes.  You’ve guessed it.  Flumbs. #  Five of the little monsters.
So take it all apart again.  And each and every one of them has disappeared.
Re-clean and re-assemble; hoping that you’ve got them all.
Sure enough.  All gone.  Not a flumb in sight anywhere.
Finish tagging the back of the frame.  Place the barrier board and tag that.  Tape the rear of the frame to prevent the ingress of any further foreign matter for the next 40 years.

#  see Glossary of Terms under the About TAA tab

Now from experience, I always turn the frame over again and check it for a second time at this point before fitting the final pieces to the rear of the frame.
I smugly turned it over.  And there it was.  In the top right hand corner. 
So small it almost couldn’t be seen.

So small it could easily be missed.
But I knew that the client would spot it.  Immediately.  In exactly the same way that he would spot a flashing blue light.  He’s not a vindictive man.  He is simply, the customer.
And that’s what customers do.

So once more, the entire package was dis-assembled.
And once more there was no sign of the offending speck of ‘whatever-it-was’.
By this time I was convinced that this was not just Friday the 13th, but this was a decade’s worth of Fridays’ the 13th, all rolled into today.
I was almost frightened to re-assemble it.
But I did.
And it looks fine to me.  I finished the frame – hangings, labels, wire, buffers etc.  And it still looks fine.
It’s ready for the client to collect.

But I am so nervous.
I will have dreams tonight of the frame falling to the floor, breaking the glass, denting the frame and being infested by flumbs like the locusts of biblical proportions.

I really do hope that tomorrow will be Saturday the 17th of November.
That everything will have returned to normal; and that the customer will be pleased with his picture.

Watch this space :roll: :-)

 Saturday 17th November  :lol: :lol:

I did wake once during the night, but immediately returned to sleep and can’t for the life of me remember what I dreamed about; if I dreamed at all.
My client has been to collect his watercolour and has expressed himself pleased with it.
My wife has asked for a small standing frame to be made for her brother for Christmas.
And I have done that, without a problem.

It would appear that life, as I know it (most of the time) has returned.
What a relief !!
But I still shudder when I think of yesterday :oops: :-|


A day which didn’t start at all well ~ I was up and wide awake at 4:30am; my mind buzzing away, full of all manner of irrelevant (at 4:30am) details.  I wouldn’t have minded so much had it not been Saturday.  The refuse/recycle lorries visit our area early on a Saturday morning and I had duly placed my bin and recycle containers at the head of the driveway last night; anticipating a nice long lie-in this morning.  Pah !!! – 4:******30am. :-( :-(

During the course of the morning I gradually cleared my brain of at least most of the whirling debris:  watched the bin-men (sorry, refuse collectors) arrive at 7:30am; collected my now empty wheelie bin and boxes from the drive and made myself a cup of tea.

During the day I have managed to achieve many things which would not have even been considered if I had been allowed to lie-in as planned, so I suppose that “it’s an ill wind ….. etc etc.” :-)
But the cap on it all, is that mid-way through the afternoon, my printer crashed. Terminally, by the looks of it.
And I’ve only had it for 4 months, so it should still be under warranty.
But that doesn’t get my printing done today
I can manage without it being done – but it would have provided some accomplishment to an otherwise scrappy day, if I had been able to see a nice pile of printed material.  Even if I don’t theoretically work on a Saturday.
I would have almost been able to forgive myself for waking at 4:30am.

Tomorrow, I’ll go back to the retail outlet I purchased the printer from and commence the inevitable haggling diatribe about whose responsibility it is to return it to the manufacturer.

Wasn’t life easier when technical development was having a bell on your bike, instead of having to shout at pedestrians who stepped off the kerb in front of you?  I’ll be glad when Monday arrives and I can get back to my workshop.  (at 9:00am)    I’ve got a lovely 100 year old watercolour to re-frame during the course of next week; to full conservation standard too. :-D
I do appreciate clients who bring me work like this.  It is so satisfying.
Oh, and the seat squabs for the eight dining chairs have been re-covered and delivered back to me, so that I can also finish those, this week.

Perhaps life is not too bad, after all. :-)

Sunday morning
And the good news, to counteract yesterdays Grrr, is that I returned to my local retail outlet with my defunct printer, spoke to one of the helpful sales staff, who immediately, without quibble, replaced my now apparently out-of-date-and-broken printer with a completely-up-to-date-and-new-one.

I’m back in business and things are looking up.
Or else, something really BAD is about to happen !!!  :lol: :lol:

Payment in Kind

My friend came round yesterday ~ it’s amazing how many friends you discover you have when you can photograph competently well, frame what you’ve printed and turn wood on a lathe, which permits circular or elliptical frames too. :-D :-D
They spring up from all sorts of unlikely places.
In all fairness, this friend lives just across the road from me and has been a friend for many, many years.  During the last 25 years we’ve been through thick and thin together.
He wanted to make a frame for a photo of two of his grandchildren.
He had purchased the framing material – a small hockey finished in chantilly.
Could he please use the Morso guillotine and underpinner?

He made the frame, approximately 10″ x 8″, with only minimal input from myself.
We went up into my clean workshop and he cut himself a piece of glass.
He then told me that his wife had specified that it was to be a ‘stander’ to accompany a similar photograph of his third grandchild, on the hearth of the fireplace, in the lounge.
Could I make him a standing-back please?

Well, to cut a long story short, he went away with his photo, suitably framed and ready to stand beside the third granddaughter.  Seemingly  delighted with the finished article, but inevitably making silly comments about paying for the glass and the backing etc.

We long ago established that whatever we do to help each other, money doesn’t change hands and there is no accounting of; he owes me this; or I owe him that.  That has never been the way we’ve worked things out.  It’s always been a ‘swings & roundabouts’ thing.

My wife came in this evening and said “that blue bag in the kitchen must be for you.  I found it in the porch on the way in and it’s not mine.”  I duly found the blue plastic shopping bag she was talking about.
Eight cans of 1664 happy juice.
I have no idea where they came from :roll: :-?, but I’m prepared to lay good odds on that my friend from across the road will help me to drink at least half of them.   :lol:  That’s what ‘swings & roundabouts’ means, isn’t it? :-D .