Besides the days I take small road trips, it is rare for me to have what I would officially call a “day off”. Actually, I don’t think that it is possible. My work is so entwined with my personal life that I am unable separate the two aspects of my life. I only think this would be a bad thing if I didn’t love my job as much as I do. I get frequent warnings from many well-wishers who tell me that by doing woodworking as a “job” I have put myself at risk of feeling that it is a burden of disliking it and ruining it for myself. I also have a few friends that tell me that I work too much and that I will burn myself out.
I don’t know how to respond to these comments. More so than not, they are from people who are stuck working in jobs they hate. They see the word “job” and it is instantly a negative thing to them. I, myself look at their jobs and tend to agree with them. I wouldn’t want to do what they do for all the money in the world. I suppose that is why I choose to do this.
I have somewhat been following Jim Hamilton’s blog about starting your own woodworking business, as time has permitted. Although I realize that what he is trying to accomplish is a bit different from the design work that I do, there are some similarities. I read several of the comments from well-intended people and I admire his determination to make it work. Because of this determination, I believe he has a good chance of being successful. Everything that has been said regarding having to eat, sleep and breath your job in a situation such as this I believe to be true. I think what makes or breaks people is their willingness to actually DO it.
So what is a “day off” like for me? Is it possible for me to have a day without woodworking in my life?
I began the day as I do every day with writing my blog. That was a very positive way to start that day as it always is, especially since I got to present my latest project.
After I finished that, I decided that I was going to drive to Yarmouth, which is about 40 minutes away and go to the store to stock up on some things for the coming winter. It will be Thanksgiving on Monday here in Canada, and there were some incredible sales at the large store there and yesterday was the last day. It was worth the cost of gas to take the ride out there and partake. With winter approaching when I won’t have access to my car, I thought it was a good time. I phoned a friend who lives near me here and she was eager to take the trip with me.
We stuck to our business and went to the main store, Wal-Mart for a couple of things she needed, and the bulk store. At the bulk store they had a wonderful sale on whole almonds. I had purchased a pound of them several weeks ago, as I had found a recipe for cinnamon-sugared almonds that I tried and loved. When I lived in Chicago, the first place that I had tried this treat was when I was at Navy Pier (which is my absolute favorite place in the city) Besides the huge Tiffany window collection on display, Navy Pier had many shops and attractions. In the summer time there were bands out on the boardwalk, along with vendors and carts which sold small bags of these candied almonds that were still warm. I used to go there sometimes by myself and walk all the way to the end of the pier and sit on a bench that overlooked the lake. It was a great time to just sit and think and look out at the water and dream. When I made these almonds several weeks ago, it brought back the memories of those times to me so vividly. It is odd how foods and smells can do that sometimes. But I regress.
We finished our shopping and decided to have lunch right in the store. They had a deli where they had fresh pizzas and panini sandwiches and different soup to choose from. Just as we arrived there, they placed a hot and fresh vegetable pizza in the window. Although I am not a vegetarian, it looks so appealing I couldn’t resist and both my friend and I each got a slice. The slices were enormous and were only $2 each. I also had a small vegetable beef soup cup, and with our beverages the total bill was only $10. I couldn’t believe the cost for so much food, as I only had a bite of my soup and still brought some of my pizza home with it for lunch today. It goes to show that you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a good meal.
I arrived home by 2:30 and unpacked my treasures. It felt wonderful to have a full cupboard and freezer in preparation for the winter. It wasn’t long ago when luxuries such as that were impossible for me and it somehow gives me a sense of security as well as a feeling of success. I have had some very lean times in the last several years. I don’t look upon them bitterness, as they have made me appreciate small things so much more. That may sound silly, but it is true.
When all was put away and things cleaned up, I tended to much of the mail that had accumulated in my mailbox. There are always lots of things because I like being notified when I comment on things on this site and my other forum and I like to see what my buddies are up to. There were also several facebook comments and an order to fill. I didn’t respond to everything, but read through most of them and I have that task to do today. Not all require answers, but some do and I want to be sure I give them the attention they deserve.
I then decided that it was high time to work on my shoe. I set up my work station and pulled up the tutorial and got going on it. I spent a while measuring it before actually working on it and things went along fairly well. I did do it inside, although I spread a sheet under where I sat and most of the dust was contained. I had hopes of continuing on today out on my small deck, but my roof is being replaced and the workers are right outside my door and my deck is covered with the old shingles they are scraping off as I type now (the cats are very unhappy, as they are quite certain that their own Armageddon has begun!) Perhaps by the time I am ready to work on it later today, they will have moved on to the next section.
I finished out the evening by watching an episode of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. I just discovered this series which is set in the time of prohibition. It is a good story, but I also love looking at the settings and sets and the intricate Victorian design used throughout. I always seem to notice the railings on the stairways or the metalwork on the lamps, etc. I guess I am always a designer at heart!
So that was pretty much my day. I don’t know if you can count the shoe project as “work” although it is clearly related to what I do. I have come to the conclusion that it is impossible for me to escape my job unless I am physically away from the house. But do I really care? I think not. For me it was a fun and relaxing day and it actually did feel good not to allow any of the usual pressures that interfere with things. Even though I did do many work-related tasks, they didn’t feel like I was working and I let go enough emotionally to feel completely replenished and ready to tackle things today.
Today I will catch up on correspondence, as well as work on putting the remaining new patterns into packet form. That will fill up much of my day. I am also going to finish drawing the charms for the candle tray that I finished yesterday. I know what I am going to do, and it will be nice, but I am thinking that the several layers of ribbon that I usually put on the candle itself will be too much for this project. I am thinking that I need a more tailored look for this design and figuring how I will do that and still add something to the candle itself.
On a final thought, I want to thank you all very much for the uplifting and supportive comments you wrote me yesterday, both publicly and privately. As I said, I didn’t really have time to respond to most of them, but they were absolutely appreciated and the best reward I could ask for. It means a lot to me that you like and appreciate what I do. It always makes me want to do even better. I am very happy for the friendships I have made here and respect and admire you all.
May you all have a wonderful day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"