Collapsed Cutting Table

Making it Work: The First Obstacle

Our plan is pretty solid: I sew like a despondent Disney princess.  Then, instead of hitting multiple small conventions throughout the year (as I did before) I only vend at one or two large conventions.  In theory this gives me time to make plenty of stock, and will let us walk out of a convention with a fat stack of cash.  There’s plenty of risk with this plan, though.  It means that our cash flow is severely low for months.  As we are living hand-to-mouth as it is, we don’t have any room for the unexpected.

Which, of course means the unexpected happened last week.  I was working in the workshop when my cutting table collapsed.  It was a slow motion sort of disintegration, like a building that had been dynamited.  I stood next to it torn between laughter and annoyance.

The table’s demise didn’t come as a complete surprise.  I bought it in 2008 and proceeded to use and abuse it.  Its surface was scarred and chipped.  The supports were stressed and it had gained a drunken lean the last couple of years.  I had promised myself I would pick up a new one next year as soon as I could.

The cutting table is important.  Its height lets me work without my back screaming in agony after an hour or so.  I can work without it for a while but I need to replace it in the next week or two.  I’m supposed to be working on stoles the first weeks of January.  Cutting all them out on the conference table is going to suck.

Going along with the “Use what you have” portion of our philosophy, we first tried to salvage the table.  However, looking at the Frankenstein’s monster that we’d cobble together, one that wouldn’t fold up, one that didn’t roll, one that still had the dangerous wobble, we had to concede that buying a new one was our only option.

Stephan and I had talked about this possibility when we hatched the sewing plan.  The unforeseen expense has been our personal bogeyman for a while.  Last year we spent a couple thousand dollars on car repairs.  That wiped out what little savings we had and still we had to borrow to cover the remainder.  With this new plan we’re even less able to deal with emergencies, at least for the first half of 2015.

I’m looking at this as our first real test.  One of the goals of this blog is to help us raise extra cash as well as be a creative outlet.  We haven’t done much as yet to publicize that part.  Of course we’ve just gotten started.  So far I’ve just posted links to my Etsy store at the bottom of my tutorials and in the sidebar.

Originally the plan was to raise the money to buy the table.  It retails for $150 from JoAnn Fabrics*.  That is about six dice bags or two bustles sold.

But yesterday, when I was looking up the price for this post I saw that it is on sale for 50% off.  Add in the 15% off coupon I had sitting in my planner, and we decided to go ahead and get it now.  For $70 we ended up with a replacement cutting table.  Not bad, but still money we really can’t afford to spend.  So, now I only have to sell about three dice bags or one bustle.

This will be our first test of being able to cover unexpected expenses through our own creative efforts.  I’ve set up a meter on the side of the site to track my progress.  Every Etsy sale will go to the table fund until I reach my goal.  Let’s see how long it takes to raise $70.

[thermometer raised=76.22 target=70 height=200 align=center currency=$ alt=off sep=. trailing=true]

*I prefer to shop local when I can.

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roach (aka Raechel Henderson) is a dual class seamstress / shieldmaiden. She has sewn professionally since 2008. Over the years she has traveled around the Midwest region selling her handmade bags, skirts, coats and accessories at various events and conventions. Arachne hangs out in the window of her workshop reminding her to check the tension on the sewing machines. She writes about magic, creativity, living a life by one’s own life patterns, her family and books. Her first book, Sew Witchy, is due out December 2019 from Llewellyn.