My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #209: Taking a Break Now and Then

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 12-29-2010 01:09 PM 4058 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 208: Clenaing Up and Backing Up Part 209 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 210: Celtic Candle Tray »

I think that sometimes getting away from things and taking a break can be extremely beneficial. Especially to someone like me who works from home and never really gets away from their business. Over the past several months, I have taken a couple of what I call ‘day trips’ but other than that, I hadn’t really had a break from things. I realize that this is part of owning your own business, but I also feel that sometimes it can get to you and you need to spend some time on other things to keep you fresh and excited about things.

I like working on what I call personal stuff during the month of December. One may argue that I am not really getting away from my job at all because I am still doing woodworking and painting and such and after all that is what my job is all about, but the psychological difference of doing something for a mass of people and to make a profit on your business and doing something as a gift for a loved one is huge.

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy what I do on a daily basis, but during the past few weeks I was able to work mostly on gifts for others and refocus a large portion of my attention on having fun creating and not think in the least of how much profit it may bring. For someone looking in from the outside, it may be difficult to distinguish the difference, but I can assure you that it is tremendous.

Anyone who really knows me knows that I truly enjoy creating designs for others. I feel that I am not alone in saying that it is probably the main reason that I started doing this in the first place. However, when it is thrust upon you day in and day out, sometimes we are more aware of the pressure we have put on ourselves than the pleasure we gain from our work. We forget the reason why we do this type of job in the first place. I don’t believe that any job is immune to that. However, by being aware of that and allowing ourselves some time to refresh and change gears for a bit, it helps us stay interested and creative and work at our best. It’s the old “I can’t miss you if you don’t go away” philosophy and it does have some merit.

With that said, I am very happy with how the day went yesterday. It seemed like forever since I have been actually drawing on the computer and even longer since I have been at the scroll saw. I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed it. I spent the most productive part of the day drawing up a new candle tray that is just about ready to cut today and I am very happy with the design.

The candle trays have been extremely successful and I have had many requests for more designs for them. Many people who made them for Christmas gifts have already come to me and told me how well-received they were and how people loved them. I have requests for not only other holiday designs, but also non-holiday ones that can be left out all year. I have so many ideas for them in my head that it is hard to settle down and realize that I need to just draw one at a time. As I sat down to draw yesterday, I found myself getting lost and overwhelmed by the number of versions I was thinking about at once. I finally realized that I had to just start with ONE and go from there.

I chose another Celtic design. I wanted to get my feet wet with some simple geometry and the Celtic designs are just that. Clean lines and repetition. They aren’t so complex as the Art Deco designs that I am thinking about doing, but they are simple enough to get me back in the swing of things. The first Celtic candle tray I did was well-received and I understand that there are lots of people who enjoy this type of design so I feel that it is a good place to start.

Within a couple of hours, I had the design nearly completed. It is quite different than the first Celtic design that I did and I don’t think it will take that long to cut. I plan on doing so today.

I didn’t get to my walk until after 8pm last night. It snowed off and on all day, at times with it blowing sideways. After writing yesterday morning, I read the NY Times on my computer and realized the scope of the storm that had hit the city. What we are receiving was part of that storm system, but nowhere near as severe. We did get several inches, however, and there were a couple of times I nearly slipped and fell on the icy road. We stayed on the road however and chose not to venture into the woods, as on the path as the drifts were quite high and it wouldn’t have been prudent to try to navigate in the dark. It was beautiful out though, although it was a bit windy and definitely cold. I wore several layers of clothes and didn’t feel it much except on my cheeks.

Taking breaks such as that are so beneficial. In the past couple of weeks, I have read about and talked to several others who have found themselves stuck in creative ruts. I, myself was feeling rather flat at times and I did notice that things were getting to me a bit more than usual. iI suppose we could blame it on the busy holiday season and the pressure that it brings with it, but for myself at least I feel that part of it was because I had been doing too much for too long and just needed to step back and change gears for a while. Fortunately I was able to do so.

Today will be exciting for me as I get to actually make some saw dust. My landlord is on holiday, so I can get an early start without having to worry about bothering her (although she says she can’t hear it anyway). I am looking forward to feeling productive again and making some new and fun designs.

I hope it is a good day for you all too! :)

-- 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 William's profile


9950 posts in 2893 days

#1 posted 12-29-2010 01:44 PM

If it makes you feel any better, I know exactly what you mean. You CAN get away while still doing woodwork. If you truly enjoy what you do, then sometimes “getting away” can just mean working on something you WANT to work on instead of something you HAVE to work on.
As for scrolling, I often have a tendancy to work the scroll saw into whatever I’m building. Every now and then, I’ll get to feeling kind of tired of scrolling. So I’ll do a project (or two) that doesn’t require the use of the scroll saw. By the time I finish that, I’m missing my scroll saw like and old friend.


View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3086 days

#2 posted 12-29-2010 06:29 PM

I agree with William! I have run into the “missing my scroll saw” phase!!

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2970 days

#3 posted 12-29-2010 07:34 PM

Thanks, guys! I am almost finished with my cutting and it is just about lunch time. I should have the project for you all to see tomorrow. I am glad to hear that you are back to missing the saw Cozmo. I know you were going through some block a few weeks ago. I really loved cutting today and can’t wait to finish the tray.

And William, I can’t wait to see how your chandelier finishes up. You are so dedicated! :)


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

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