Pam Lowe
Contributing columnist
Dear Readers,
I pursue ideas that pop in my head if I think I’ve stumbled upon a solution to a problem. And I’m more inclined to chase after a thought if said “solution” doesn’t require a big investment of time and money. Effort? Well that I don’t mind because my enthusiasm keeps my energy-tank full. So when a client needed a custom stencil of a logo and there was no time to order it online, and I remembered watching friends cut their own designs, I decided to make one.
When I bought blank vellum and an X-ACTO knife it should have slowed me down or stopped me in my tracks that I found these items in a CRAFT aisle.
I can crochet if I’m not required to follow a pattern. I owned a glue gun once which I used to turn bobs and bits into gifts that my friends called “original.” I can color inside the lines and paint “expressively” with watercolors. But “crafty?” I admire crafty people but I know that’s one thing I’m not.
But I gave the above nary a thought. I was so excited to get home and get started, I bounced giddily on my toes while I waited in the checkout line and then I hopped-skipped all the way to my car, swinging my little Walmart bag. I confess I was right pleased myself for finding a simple way to help this client out.
I printed out the logo, taped the vellum over it, and wrestled the knife from its safety packaging. I quickly realized that my memories of watching crafty friends were vague and when I tried to determine where to start or how to cut, I simply had no clue. But there was nothing to do but give that sharp, sharp knife a try. I knew it wasn’t a scalpel but I also knew I better be careful.
On my first attempt, I made no cut all but I did manage to bend the blade. And then of course I had to waste time straightening it out. Subsequent cuts were hesitant, but I grew bolder as I got the hang of it. I paused when I surmised I was half-way done and punched out a few of the shapes for fun. Immediately I noticed that my stencil didn’t look quite right and I realized the lines I had been cutting were all wrong. AH-HA, I thought. I’d hit a bit of a bump in the road, but now I thought I knew what to do.
When I tried again, I immediately broke that bothersome blade’s tip off, which oddly seemed to help and probably made the whole endeavor less dangerous. Unfortunately, the stencil (when test-painted) looked like a water-logged Rorschach inkblot test and not my client’s logo.
No blood was shed so I’m ahead of the game. And two sheets of blank vellum remain. There’s no way to know if I can improve my stencil-cutting skills unless I try again which may or may not be a good idea.
Until next week—keep your eyes on the stars and your back to the wind.
Pam Lowe is the newspaper editor of the Clay County Courier in Corning, Arkansas. [email protected]