My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #191: Overcoming "Blocks"

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 12-11-2010 02:10 PM 3894 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 190: A Blog about Blogging Part 191 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 192: Finding Inspiration »

Well, I started the day today with putting the coffee grounds directly into my cup instead of the pot. What does that tell you? I had heated the final cup from yesterday’s pot first thing while I was in the process of making a fresh one (I have a coffee press, so I do finish what is left the first thing when I get up) and I put a nice big spoon of grounds directly into my cup. Hmmm. . . .

I actually set the alarm this morning to get up at 6:30 because I slept until 8am yesterday morning and I wasn’t happy about it at all. Most people think that being self-employed that you set your own hours and spend most of them doing what you darn well please. If that is the case, you wouldn’t have a business for very long. Ask any successful businessperson.

I usually am happy getting up any time past 5am. I love those early hours – especially in the fall and winter months. It is still dark when I get up and I have the privilege of witnessing the sun come up. That part of the day never escapes my admiration. It is like watching a favorite show over and over again. Sometimes the simplest things in life are really the best moments.

Lately I have found myself to be sleeping in a bit longer. I don’t like that at all. I haven’t had to use an alarm for years and when I looked at the clock yesterday morning and it was after 8am I was quite horrified. I felt as if I was robbed of my favorite part of the day. The entire day I felt uneasy because I felt as if I was trying to catch up. Noon came too quickly as did 6pm. It seemed I only accomplished a fraction of what I had intended to do. I even missed my walk in order to make up for it but it didn’t seem to help.

So today I took the proverbial bull by the horns and set that alarm. I got up before it rang, but just barely. Funny how that happens. At least I feel I am back on track today and not in the least bit tired. Perhaps I am unusual because I don’t look upon sleep as a reward or a luxury. I never did. Even when I was in my late teens and worked for one of the big banks in downtown Chicago, my colleagues would cherish the extra hours they would be able to sleep on the weekends. I never quite understood that. I just couldn’t seem to train my body to be up at a certain time five days a week and another time the other two. It seemed unnatural to me and I didn’t like the thought of sleeping away the weekend. I wanted to enjoy the days off and do stuff around the house or some other crafts that I liked to do so much like paint or embroider (I always liked creative things). The weekends just gave me more time to enjoy them.

I read a blog yesterday by Cozmo saying he was spinning his wheels. I feel as if I am going through the same thing with a gift I want to make for a certain person. Fortunately it is a friend who lives close to me so I have until the very end to complete it and it doesn’t have to be shipped. I want to paint her something. She loves teddy bears and does lots of cross stitching and I have this little box which she can keep some of her embroidery floss for the current project she is working on that I want to paint a bear on. She is currently using a candy tin and I think the hand-painted box will look much cooler than that. Last year I painted a beautiful antique bear with a newspaper hat and a sailor suit and a sailboat that came out beautiful. It was for a great friend of mine in Chicago because she is just a wonderful person. I loved that bear, but for it was not my own pattern and I don’t want to do the same thing for this friend. I want something unique. I have poured through my painting books and the internet and haven’t found any patterns that would be suitable. I am just stuck.

So I have sat here for several nights now, with the clock ticking, trying to decide what to paint. Like Cozmo, I feel as if I am spinning my wheels. But it is important for me to have his done in the next two weeks.

They say that necessity breeds invention. With that in mind, I am going to try a new approach to this dilemma. I decided last night that I am going to design my own pattern to paint. I know what I want. The image is living in my head. I want an old-fashioned type teddy bear in some sort of sewing room with some sewing supplies around it. I can kind of see the image in my head, although it is still cloaked in a layer of fog. As I think about it though, I find the fog is beginning to lift and the image is becoming more and more clear.

I do have original paintings (not from a pattern) that I have done in the past, but they have mainly been off of photographs. I am the type of painter that needs a subject to work from. I haven’t really done an original painting for the past couple of years. The Skating Pond Set was my own original design, but that was separate characters and not really the same thing. This will be the first time that I am attempting to make something of this nature in quite a while. Part of me is somewhat overwhelmed at the thought, but the strong yearning for me to do it is perhaps an indication that I am ready to get on with it and try.

I liked painting the little ornaments I showed recently that were designed by others, but my partner began asking me why I was doing others’ patterns when I could easily design my own. It planted the seed in my head and got me thinking. Am I getting lazy? Certainly it is far easier following instructions than thinking things up myself. But it occurred to me that perhaps he was right and it was time I stretched my creativity outside of my comfort zone and see what I can come up with. A self-challenge if you will. Perhaps I was getting lazy and that is why I was starting to sleep so late.

I feel great this morning. The sun is just now beginning to illuminate the dark sky. It is the first day in a while that I feel the excitement and enthusiasm of creativity burning inside. I know you all have experienced that feeling before and it is wonderful, isn’t it?

We all have some sort of creative block at one time or another. I think the best way to overcome them is to try different things until you find something that works for you. Sometimes it is buying a new tool. Sometimes it is getting organized. Other times it is as simple as changing gears and working on something else that is entirely different. Sometimes it can be as simple as walking away. Take a trip to the zoo or a museum or even a walk in the park or the woods. You never know what will make it click and get you back on track. The good news is that is always does seem to come back. You just need to relax and let things take their course and allow it to come to you sometimes.

I can’t wait to get to drawing. If I am lucky, I will also be painting before the day is out. The more I think about it, the more I feel that this is the right path to take. It is now light enough to see that once again the snow is gently falling. “Movie Snow” I call it. Light and gentle and beautiful. I can’t wait to get to my walk today either. I will try to remember to take my camera.

Already it is a wonderful day!

Each day is a new canvas to paint upon. Make sure your picture is full of life and happiness, and at the end of the day you don’t look at it and wish you had painted something different. —Author Unknown

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

4 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3325 days

#1 posted 12-11-2010 04:44 PM

nice blog today…i see your getting past the morning fog…coffee story is funny…enjoy your day and have a great time making this gift for your friend…more to come….pm

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3058 days

#2 posted 12-11-2010 05:23 PM

I once tried to make tea in a kettle!

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

View StumpyNubs's profile


7598 posts in 2822 days

#3 posted 12-11-2010 05:36 PM

My wife and I lived in Eastern Europe for a while and that’s how they make their coffee. They put the grounds in the bottom of a cup, pour boiling water on top and carefully stir to get the grounds to settle. Nobody had coffee makers in the Soviet days and it just stuck. We drank lots of coffee like that and it actually makes a very tasty cup- as long as you don’t drink all the way to the bottom!

Here in the states we prefer to drink without straining the grounds through our teeth.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18283 posts in 3698 days

#4 posted 12-12-2010 09:12 AM

If you do that very much, I’d say you may have been OD’d on Topamax ;-(( Hopefully you won’t start scrambling all the words you try to type!

Glad you made it up on time. I’m just the opposite, love the night. Always hated getting up early. Probably from getting up to milk and do chores before school when I was a kid. Most days start with a headache, that sucks, but I have learned to whistle a cheerful tune so nobody knows. I love the late evening because that is when it will be gone if it is going to go :-)) It is after 11 here, the last couple of hours have been great ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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