My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #67: Which Direction to go Next?

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 08-09-2010 12:09 PM 3576 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 66: The Same Thing Can Be Very Different Part 67 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 68: Pushing the Pile »

I have never been one to use an alarm clock much. It seems that I get into a certain rhythm and stay on that pattern until something in my life drastically changes. For quite a while now I am on the 5:45 – 6:00 plan. It seems that unless I really am wiped out, I naturally wake up at that time. I don’t fight it, as I love the quiet of the mornings and get some of my best writing done. I also sift through the emails and catch up with all the correspondence at that time. I like it and for me it is a great way to start the day off.

The last several mornings I have noticed that it is darker and darker when I wake up. Besides the coolness in the air, it is one of the more obvious signs that the seasons are changing. I’ve already been up for about 45 minutes and it is just now starting to really get light out. Even though it gets warm out during the day, you can feel the change in the air and it will only be a matter of time before we are back in the midst of winter. I don’t really mind it though. I just take it as it comes. It is funny that no matter what season it is, people are complaining about it. It’s too hot. It’s too humid. It’s too cold. It rains too much.

Maybe I am different, but I like the diversity in climate and kind of just take it as it comes. I am glad I live in an area where it doesn’t get too hot at any given time. I guess my philosophy is that you can always put on more clothes when you are cold, but if you are hot and nearly naked you are kind of stuck. I remember when living in Chicago during the summer you were as much a slave to the air-conditioning as you were to the heat in the winter. Unless you had the luxury of being able to hang out at the beach or the pool all day you were pretty much uncomfortable outside on many days. When I came here to Nova Scotia, I was horrified that barely anyone had air conditioning. After the first year or so here though, I realize why. Although we get our warm days, it never really gets so stifling that we would need it more than a couple days of the year. And that would only be in the peak of the day for a couple of hours. I love the way we get nice cool nights for the most part so even if the day is warmer than we like, we get to cool down for sleeping. It really is ideal for the most part.

Enough about the weather though.

I woke to a range of choices of things to do today. That is one thing I like about my job – I am never bored. I can do the written instructions on the new designs that myself and my partner have before they pile up. It is not one of my favorite things to do, but keeping ahead of it may be a good thing for a Monday morning. I have about 4 – 5 new patterns that need to be put into packets for the next update for the site and getting them out of the way would be a great way to start the week. I also need to include the last several projects that have been in the magazine in that mix, as they are now published and I am allowed to sell them. When I give my materials to the magazine, all the information is there, but it needs to be edited and assembled in to my regular packet format. The holiday issue alone has four of our projects in it and I believe that there are probably about ten new things in total that need to get ready for selling. This list keeps growing, which is a good thing. :)

I need to update the customer gallery on my site. I have had several customers send me in pictures of their work and I want to post it before I forget anyone. Their work is amazing and I like to show off what others do and how creative they are. Working with the site though is not my favorite thing and I can see that taking anywhere from half a day to a full day. If not today, I need to do it soon.

I also need to make lists and figure out who needs to be updated from my wholesalers and which products they need to be shown. This has been an issue with me before and I need to develop a simple, fool proof system of remembering who I showed what as far as new things. It sounds easy, but with me adding so many things into my pattern arsenal continually, I sometimes forgot where I left off with each distributor and what they need to see. I need to go back through older emails and see how far I got with each company. After all, they can’t sell them and put them in their catalogs if they don’t see them.

Then there is the task of figuring out how much new stuff I did since the last catalog update sometime in May. I have some fliers with some new things that I have introduced, but it is time to really organize and make an entire new catalog for fall which includes everything up to date with all the projects in their proper categories. My partner did the last catalog and I believe he wants to do this one too (YAY!) but I need to help him and list everything and get all the photos together to make the task easier, as it can be quite overwhelming.

And I need to get a handle on my numbers and do the figuring part of what sold so far for the year. I promised myself at tax time that I wouldn’t let it go to the end of the year and I have a pile of receipts that I need to log and file and I want to get my books all up to date before the busy autumn season is upon me. (I hope it will be busy anyway!) Although it is one of the least favorite parts of my job, it is a part that when done I fell a great sense of satisfaction and relief from doing. I don’t like ‘wondering’ when it comes to that.

All of the above doesn’t even cover the fact that I have several new ideas and want to get drawing and cutting again. I have a couple of more ornament and Christmas ideas I want to do, and then I want to continue on with the candle trays, as I have some great ideas there for autumn and holiday patterns. And my one catalog deadline from one of the distributors is in November, so any new Spring and Summer things I want in there need to be done by November first or so. It will come faster than I think.

People tell me that if I wasn’t able to support myself yet, that perhaps I should do this job “part time” and get another one part time until I am on my feet. When I look at this list (which is ongoing as you may have caught on by now) I see that that is asking the impossible. There is no way that I could run my business here on a part time basis. I mean, what I mentioned above doesn’t even touch on the daily customer correspondence, printing and mailing orders, research for new projects and working with the magazine. And there hasn’t even been mention of time to have a ‘life’ or any social activity whatsoever. So what would I be working for?

I am glad in a way that it is this way. It means that without a full commitment to the job, it wouldn’t be here at all. I have been really happy that I have been so busy lately. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t hear from several customers in one way or the other. There is the occasional crisis with the magazine or wholesaler, and there is the overall organization and coordination of getting everything to run smooth. It can be overwhelming at times. But lately – more so then not – it is working and I am happy.

With every item I tick off my list of things to do, there is a sense of satisfaction that no paycheck can replace. It is a great place to be in these difficult times job-wise and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I know that there are many of you out there who work for yourself that feel exactly the same and understand. I feel very lucky to be among you!

Enjoy your Monday!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

6 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4607 posts in 2457 days

#1 posted 08-09-2010 03:44 PM

I don’t know how you keep track of all that. Must be a woman (multi-tasking) thing. I have about four or five current projects but I only ever work on one. The rest are written on my white board in the shop (WIP) or in notes in my ‘boxes’ folder on the P.C. (TO DO list). I often think it would be great to have an organiser, even use Outlook more. I might start it but it soon gets forgotten. In the nineties, when I got stressed out in the Computer job, I had a Time Manager, Filofax lookalike thing. It was crammed with work, contact details, stuff. After the breakdown I took out the contact details and burnt the rest. Just kept a pocket diary. Never gone back to it. Sure I plan things. You can see that from my work. I plan in minute detail but its only ever one thing these days. I’m rambling now. Good blog, Sheila.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 3506 days

#2 posted 08-09-2010 04:01 PM

I love your early morning mind meandering. It’s like having a cup of coffee with you. Thanks, Sheila, and I’m happy you know your own mind and don’t bend to the will of others’ advice!


View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 2457 days

#3 posted 08-09-2010 07:19 PM

Shelia, I seen many times in your blogs you mention coffee. From reading this one, you need it! WOW!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Jordan's profile


1396 posts in 2546 days

#4 posted 08-09-2010 09:56 PM

I’d love to get up at that time because I can’t wait to get back started on my carving or painting, however, I also can’t leave it at night which finds me dropping into bed in the wee morning hours – close to the time I’d like to get up! People say, “If I was a millionaire, I’d make my own hours, make things with my tools, write etc etc” It sounds as you live life as a millionaire – who needs money LOL!!


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8987 posts in 2341 days

#5 posted 08-09-2010 10:06 PM

I do, Jordan! I always said if I had lots of money, I would do things pretty much the same as I am – but all my patterns would be free to everyone. It would be great to not have to worry about making money and just ‘playing’ all day. I would also travel and meet many of the wonderful friends and customers I met through my work and travel teach. It would be a good time, for sure!

but I AM rich because I have the best job in the world and know the best people in the world because of it. How could things be better?


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8987 posts in 2341 days

#6 posted 08-10-2010 02:33 PM

@Cosmos – Yes, I do love coffee. However, I am not one of these “gallon a day” coffee achievers (although there is nothing wrong with that) I never really noticed it, but I guess I do mention it here a bit. It’s probably a timing thing. My coffee time is right when I get up in the morning and most of the time that is when I write here. Sometimes I only have one and don’t even finish that. Sometimes I have two. After that first hit I am pretty good for the day. (although in Summer I like a Diet Coke or so in the afternoon!) I am not really a pop drinker though, but I do like it really cold on a warm day with lots of ice. MMmm. In the winter, are 3 or so when I get my tired time, I will maybe have a cup of coffee now and then. But that is pretty much it. Maybe that is why I poop out at 8 or so? It does help perk me up and get through the day! :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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