My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #152: Some Decisions are Difficult to Make

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 11-02-2010 11:56 AM 3929 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 151: More on Changes Part 152 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 153: Just About Finished »

I am at last seeing the finish line in painting the skating pond scene. As of today, I am on the last of the figure and then I only need to do the trees and lamp posts and I will be able to unveil the entire scene. I have thoroughly enjoyed recreating it, but there have been many distractions along the way and I am feeling that I can’t wait to get to the many other things that await my attention.

The distractions haven’t been all bad, but some are certainly more productive than others. Something that I made a commitment to do should have taken two hours and it is now up to about six. I quoted a flat price to do it and I thought I was done, and I delivered my part within the time frame quoted, only to find that there was misunderstanding and what was given is not at all what was wanted.

I am not writing this to point a finger or to blame anyone, but only to vent my frustration and justify some of the reasons I feel that I have accomplished little in the last week. It is times like this when I get frustrated mostly at myself for not making good business decisions and digging myself into a hole.

It is hard to differentiate between business and favors sometimes. (Well for me – lots of the time) I am getting better at it, but apparently not good enough. I actually lost sleep over this one. Not because of any drastic reason, but because I saw myself slipping into old behavior that wasn’t good for my business. It is like a dieter sneaking a piece of chocolate cake in the middle of the night. They know they are wrong, but can’t resist the urge.

I have made a decision though today. I am going to cut my losses and bail, which is something I am not in the habit of doing. I am going to redirect things so that I am not leaving anyone out in the cold, but right now I am down to about 43 cents an hour (exaggeration, but not much!) and I know that starting from square one on this job isn’t what I want to (or can afford to) do. So I am going to cry “uncle” and get on with the hundred other things that are calling me.

I am not angry or blaming anyone for this, except maybe a little bit at myself. I accept full responsibility for the situation. I know of several woodworkers that have found themselves in this position. These include many people whom I admire and respect. So at least I am in good company.

You can probably figure out by now that this bailing thing bothers me tremendously. I am not a quitter. And I do keep my word. But I did do exactly as discussed and gave it all I had to give and things just changed. I mapped out the plan as carefully and explicitly as I could, and it was still misunderstood. The way I see it, I have two choices – I could redo the entire thing and feel crappy about it or move on and feel less crappy. As I said, I will not move on without offering other options, so at least no one is left in the cold.

With that said, I hope this is an indication that I am at least learning to be a better businesswoman. I like people and I like my customers and I want to make them happy. But it can’t be at my own expense. There is so much on my plate right now that I need to do and I thought that squeezing in a couple hour job as a nice gesture would be OK. Now it is turning into a full day’s work, which I can’t afford to give. I found that teaching my children one simple phrase – “I can’t afford it” – may be one of the most important things that I can teach them. There is no shame in not being able to afford something, it is simply a fact. The same is true for time. The sooner we learn that, the better we will function in our lives.

I did finish the next piece of the pond yesterday. This is Helen and Joseph:

From SLDP103 Skating Pond Figures

I only have one more figure, then it is on to trees an lamp posts and finishing up. I am seeing the end of the tunnel. Some of you may have noticed that I am still behind in posting the figures on my other blog, but again, that will be coming. The stories for the characters are ready and I just need to sit down and write them down and present them. I am going to try again today to get that ball rolling again.

I am looking forward to a good and productive day!

Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. ~Author Unknown

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

3 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3062 days

#1 posted 11-02-2010 04:14 PM

Sometimes you have to ‘bail’, for your own mental and physical wellbeing. The year before last and last year I made a few Croquet mallets for a local group. First couple of customers very happy. Third one a real moaner. Although it was exactly the same product, in quality and style, nothing was right. I came straight back with you get your money back or I rework it. Unfortunately the latter option was chosen. After reworking it was still not right. I had no choice but to tell them that that was it, I’ve already made nothing on this, take it or leave it. Needless to say I have not made any more. I’ve been asked to but I just don’t need the hassle. I’ve also let people know where the responsibility lies. One or two said they were ‘Not surprised’.

I’m glad you put down the poison chalice and have gone back to your many and more productive activities.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2945 days

#2 posted 11-02-2010 04:28 PM

Thank you for the support. I do think it is for the best. I’m glad you stood up for yourself too. There comes a point when we have to value ourselves as much as we need and expect others to value us. :)


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

View tdv's profile


1188 posts in 3095 days

#3 posted 11-02-2010 06:42 PM

Hi Sheila I guess when you love what you do & people don’t appreciate it it hurts you have amazing skils with that scrollsaw & a real talent for vision & design. The trouble is nowadays people want as much as they can get at a knockdown price, I believe if they are incapable of doing it themselves they should value your skills & pay or go away & try it themselves, they’ll soon be back, After all they expect a fair days pay for their work (whatever it may be) I have been self employed since 1976 & been in this situation a few times until I started giving written detailed estimates for what I was going to supply & for how much & asked for agreement before I started. Any overrun after that in time or materials was down to me, I usually went over time but in the name of a good job. You do fine work if anyone doesn’t agree that’s their problem, you believe in yourself
By the way the pond scene is looking amazing, can’t wait for the unveiling

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics