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30 projects in 30 days

76498 Views 110 Replies 35 Participants Last post by  oldnovice

Off and on, over the past few years I had the idea to try to do a series of projects over the course of a week or so…. like 12 Christmas ornaments in 12 days, or a bunch of pens leading up to graduation time…. I've been pretty good about getting set up to make a bunch of pens, and then not having enough free time or energy to do anything about it… or conversely, having the idea a wee bit too late, and then totally forgetting about it until it was too late again the next year. Sound familiar?

This year we're taking the homemade approach seriously, past years were good intention, but with my wife out of work since last spring, there's no flexibility. Luckily my daughter has a great imagination and my wife and I have some creative ideas… but I digress.

During the process of getting my shop in order for a bunch of homemade Christmas presents I found that I had lots of pen kits just waiting to be made into something beautiful and useful…

Then I remembered the challenge idea, and checked online for ideas, and found a website where artists, writers anyone really can sign up, link their blog, and take on a 30 projects in 30 days challenge. The main goal wasn't to fill your shelves with tons of projects, but rather to force yourself to be creative everyday. Whether or not you think you have the time, you'll force yourself to be creative everyday, and in the process, you might find yourself taking your work in a new direction, or at least develop your abilities beyond where they'd be in a year or two from now if you just casually plodded along whenever time, energy (and the pull of the accursed TV) allow.

So, I have all these pen kits in the basement, I'll make 30 pens in 30 days!... But alas I only have 26 kits, and now I'm kinda into the 30 day idea. So I'll make pens and bottle stoppers! Yeah, that's the ticket. I'll have really nice gifts for everyone, and (thanks to the pen trading swap) I can do this all for free (or rather by only using money I'd already spent.)

Ok, now I know the spirit of the idea is just to practice your craft, and build up your skills and creativity… and I'm adding in the additional challenge of coming up with 30 "gift quality" items… well, pens still are quick, and if I have to make two a day to get one good one, time-wise that should still be OK. Besides which I'll be done on Dec 1st, and will still have 3 weeks to make or repair anything else that gets put on the list. No Problem.

no. Problem. Over the past year, between Christmas, birthdays, and a slew of cousins, nieces and nephews graduating, I've already gifted quite a few pens. Sure I can give more… but I can't really give the same thing two years in a row.

If only there was a way I could sell or trade these with friends, without coming out and having to "sell them", or put them on eBay and cross my fingers. Even though I've had a couple of fine art shows about ten years back (and had moderate success with them) friends and family (except for Mom) never seem to remember that I'm available for hire for interesting and unique gifts - often (cause I'm a sap) for pretty cheap.

Then I remembered reading about a "painting a day" auction that several painters came up with a few years ago. The idea was that they would spend about an hour painting a small canvas and market it to everyone on their mailing lists 24 hours in advance of a very short eBay auction. Most paintings sold for a bit over $100 in a matter of minutes. Most sold out, being collectible one of a kind pieces, that in turn allowed these artists to earn a fairly good living, and still have time to work on larger commissions that might take months if not years to sell.

Ok, how to adapt this idea… A Ha! take advantage of the viral marketing of social networking sites like Facebook, and give my friends (real and online acquaintances) the opportunity of taking part in a semi-private auction, where they can support a friend, and up-and-coming artist, and get something nice for themselves or to gift, that they might not otherwise be able to afford at a higher end art/artisan boutique.

What a win-win. I have the opportunity to get plenty of practice at my craft (without breaking the bank or flooding myself with pens) and my friends (the real ones at least) get to keep their money local. (and I won't have to give my six-year old a pair or matching ball point pens for Christmas. But look honey, it's bubinga!)

I'll be posting the projects here, after I get the ball rolling on my Facebook page. This is a "business page" so anyone on Facebook ("friend" or not)can view it (it might even be viewable by the general public).

if you're one of the jocks already on Facebook, check out the page, and come along for the ride… or set up a site of your own, and join me with your own 30 day challenge! I'm starting November 1st. Who's with me?
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Round II, June 2009

I had a great time with this challenge last Nov, learned a lot, and made a lot of sawdust. Took a long time to finally get the shop remotely clean after that. I tried to parlay that challenge into doing a project a week for this year. I was off to a good start before work had me on the road way too much. I started a toybox, a bowl, some shop storage, a wineglass, jigs… I forget what else.

Now, I'm looking at a few foul weather days and my intention of working in the yard and garden, playing in the woods (I've recently got into, addicted really, to geocaching) is a bust. Now that the lathe has had a nice long (well deserved) rest, I'm ready to make up for lost time. (I haven't been blogging enough, and somewhat MIA from LJ besides.)

and what luck, June is just around the corner, and 30 days long to boot.

I just announced on Facebook that I was gearing up for round two. I've already got 12 pen blanks prepped and ready to go, and some other ideas I'm eager to give a shot.

I'm going to preview the finished works on my FB page, a preview to any friends and family who are looking for a nice grad or dad gift. Early Christmas present perhaps? Buy handmade!!!
However, I'm not going to pressure myself this time to come up with 30 sale-able projects, just 30 in total. If any (IMHO) are good enough, then I'll post them on my Etsy site the day after I preview them on FB (and LJ of course!)

What is this whole 30 projects in 30 days challenge? Want to do one of your own? Read back through this series, check out the links… and let us know what you comes out of your shop.
sounds like the kind of pressure I've had for years being in business for myself. I hope you meet your challenge.I 'll just Wait for the results. It's good to challenge yourself to see what you can do.
3 days, 3 pens...

Sure, I'd prepped a bunch o pens going into this contest… But now that I'm posting 3 for 3, It just seems kinda weird posting nothing else yet. Today was the 2nd of 2 cigar pens. One gold, one platinum, both Hawaiian woods. Check that, GORGEOUS Hawaiian woods.

Well, we won't be seeing any more cigar pens this month. Hawaiian or otherwise. Not because I think your sick of pens pens pens, or I'm getting bored with them, I just dont have any more. So, now you know what you wont be seeing… but what else will you be seeing???

Well, I'm heading back down to the shop tonight to get a jump on a couple other (non-pen related) projects… and maybe prep some more pen blanks too! Ha! Time will tell.

3 nice pens good job
week two, in review

6 days, 7 more projects:

To date:
six pens, six rings, three stoppers,
a bowl, garden waterer/composter, one secret geocaching project.

and… one pen featured online at Grungezombie as a good fathers day gift idea,

and one pen sold!

not a bad week at all…
Looking forward to a busy, but hopefully great week #3!
getting closer good group of projects
week three in pre-view

I didn't take on this challenge having to make a project every day, just start and finish 30 of them in 30 days. Well, this week is looking to be rather busy… so I took advantage of the rainy day, and get a few things knocked off. Now I won't have to sweat it at the end of the day… or have to play catch-up come next weekend. I've been on too good of a roll to let things slip now.

Fortunately, I'd already glued up a bunch of blocks for rings and such, but I need to get some more pen blanks prepped… I'm thinking of trying out a new style of pen, but which should I order???

The problem with rings and such, is that each new size is really more like three projects, what with having to make a jam chuck for finishing the outside and a sanding jig small enough to get inside. Anyhow here's a sneek peek of the coming weeks projects to tide you over until I get a free minute to post them:

yep, thats a teeny tiny ring, and a couple of bigguns.
Loooking good
week three in re-view

new photo… but it otherwise looks about the same as the beginning of the week, eh?

If only work was more considerate of my personal time plans. I had to head off to the wilds of Boothbay, Maine this week. The good news is I was gone and back in one trip. The better news, I "had" to stop by Woodcraft on the way there. The bad news, I couldn't exactly get any projects done in the hotel room, so I just read turning magazines. I say hotel, twasn't quite that… barely a step up from camping really. If there's a cheaper room, they'll book it. Ah, the joy's of not getting a per-diem. Good seafood though.

Anywho, I got a good jump on the past several days worth of projects last weekend, and tomorrow, in addition to actually posting them, I'm back on the 30 projects in 30 days horse. Gotta get crackin', only 10 days left. - it's not like I get an extension or anything.

The long and the short - it's looking like 30 projects in 25 days, but at least I have a few projects to try that I didn't have last week.
Well done
obligation blogging

is not much fun. Nor, is obligation anything - even woodworking.

OK, so I was ITCHING to get this next challenge going when time was free, though temperatures and overall shop readiness just did not permit… So I gave myself the option of April, or June as a fall back. April saw the shop almost ready, but time was fleeting.

Last June we had at least 40 days of rain, so shoptime was easily found. This June is looking nicer, and time might be OK.


One lesson I've learned from the previous months immersed in the shop was that, while I learned loads, the photographing and blogging took as much, if not nearly more effort than making the projects, and SADLY, the shop would then remain idle for a while afterwards, as I caught my breath, and caught up on things I'd been neglecting. Weeks or (gasp) months, depending on work, and life. You know how it is.

Having FINALLY gotten my new shop to 95% ready to go, I've decided to put it through it's paces SLOWLY and ENJOY my time there. Rather than dive in whole hog, and miss June as it passes by my dusty shop window, leaving me worn out, and desperate for a summer of beach and mountain time - only to get the woodworking bug back in time for the temperatures to plummet. Thereby driving me and my chattering teeth back into the house for a big bowl of homemade soup, pining for next spring when the sawdust can fly again.

Wait, did I just gloss over an entire year? Hmm, I've already been without a proper shop for months now, lets not give up any more time.

Methinks having a nice Summer and Fall to make sawdust, and give a whole new shape and life to that pile of wood that moved across town with me sounds a lot better than a 30 day sprint. I'll be a rainy day woodworker, at least for now.

So to that end, I'll be making my third (and perhaps final - cause things happen in threes) round of 30 in 30 this coming November - a last minute rush of projects, before I retire my energies for the Holidays. Hopefully a nice slew of Christmas presents to give, or sell (to further finance my turning habit). Then, I might as well take a break when the world wants me to, right?

For now, I've got a toybox to put the finishing touches on (well, just the finish), and I've started laying out a puzzle and perhaps another box. The sawdust will still fly!
To bad about your shoulder Scott . the shops ready to rock and roll so go for it.
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