My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #267: Little Curve Balls

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 02-25-2011 02:02 PM 3691 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 266: Scrollgirl Sells Sea Shells in Saratoga Springs Part 267 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 268: Classes Are All Mapped Out »

When is the last time you intended to do something and it really went “exactly as planned”? Be it a project or a trip to the grocery store, it always seems that sometimes things just come up to change the way we wind up doing things. I don’t necessarily think that this is a bad thing. Many times we benefit from these changes and learn from them. I believe the key to be adaptable and ready for variables and have a “plan B” (or plan C or D, etc.)

As I get older, I find myself not only allowing for these small changes, but actually expecting them. Through self-observation and also by watching and listening to others, I have come to the realization that those who are flexible in their thinking are the people who seem to do the best in situations that don’t go exactly as planned. I want to attribute this ‘ability to adapt’ to experience, but unfortunately I suspect that it has more to do with personality and nature of the individual than anything. But that doesn’t mean that we are unable to change our way of thinking with a little practice.

People who are rigid in their thinking seem to have a more difficult time with life in general. I know a few people like that and I have to admit that it is troubling to watch them struggle through everyday life. Their lives are so structured that if something is slightly out of place or interrupts the flow of their plans even a little bit, it blows them out of the water. I truly feel bad for them because it seems inevitable that things get in the way sometimes and it is painful to watch them try to cope. Also because many times it is because they set themselves up for their own disappointment. It is one of those harsh realities of life.

So why have I gone off on this tangent?

For some reason or another, the reality of my responsibilities of the show seemed to have spooked me a little bit yesterday. In the midst of planning and getting everything set up and written down and printed out, the thought came to me that if in three weeks from today I wasn’t nearly ready to go out the door, things would be a disaster.

What brought on these dark thoughts, you may ask? I just don’t know. Perhaps because it is once again the end of another week and it only seemed like yesterday when I was painting my polar bear on Sunday. My how the weeks go by fast! Also, by 8:30 pm when I returned from my nightly walk, I realized that I was just plain out and out tired and didn’t want to continue working on finishing my painting pattern, even though I had fully intended to when I walked out the door 45 minutes before.

I had worked all day yesterday, but there just weren’t enough hours to accomplish what I wanted to. There were phone calls and other things that needed my attention and they rather interrupted the flow of what I was doing. I did get back on track for a while, but not enough to completely finish what I had planned and wanted to do.

I received an email from the gentleman who is the chairman of the Northeastern Woodworkers Assocation educational committee. He was very pleasant in asking the details of the classes that I will be teaching on April sixth through eighth, the week after the big show. These are both the painting class that I am finishing up the shells for and also another scroll saw class. For some reason, his request put me in a slight panic.

Unlike the lecture that I will be doing at the big show, these classes will be “hands on” where the students will also be making a project. For those of you who read regularly, you know that I am well into the process of planning the painting class, and will be finishing up with that soon. However, I am just beginning to think about the scroll sawing class and what that will entail. Although Jeannie had mentioned it to me, we have never really discussed the details of what was expected or required of me. I don’t even know how many saws they have there and how many people the class can accommodate.

I think that what is bothering me the most right now is that so much is unknown, yet I am supposed to make decisions and get back to the chairman “very soon”. This is a very reasonable request, as he needs to get word out about the class so that people who wish to attend can make arrangements. But I need to know more about the facilities and also how many students, as well as the time frame that they are thinking of having me teach so I can come up with a cost for the class. It appears I have some homework to get done – quickly.

Today’s mission will be to fact find and gather the information that I will need so that I can report back with some information on the class. After all, it is only a few short weeks away and people need to plan if they are going to attend. I also need to button down a time frame and figure out what I will charge for the class. Since I am not used to teaching, I don’t have a clue what the ‘going rate’ is and I need to find out quickly.

The class itself isn’t scary for me. I think I far prefer a hands-on type of class like this than the lecture/demonstration that I will be giving at the big convention. I do have confidence in my own ability to teach and help others accomplish in class, so this part should be easy. It is just the initial planning that is throwing me for a loop a bit and causing this anxiety.

Last night I packed it in at 8:30. I watched a program and went to bed and took a deep breath. I actually got up a bit earlier today and I do feel ready to work at getting this plan laid out and the information to the chairman by tomorrow. That will be a large relief.

So much planning has already gone into this trip. It appears that I will be away from my home and cats and comfort zone for almost three weeks. Although I am so looking forward to the adventure and the people and seeing my children, it is a big thing for me to be out of my safe and secure little world that I have come to love so much. I want to be sure that everything is as prepared as it can be, and allow plenty of space in between these critical events so that when these little curve balls come, I am able to have some leeway and be able to deal with them. Only good planning will accomplish that.

Happy Friday to you all! :)

-- 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 Maveric777's profile


2693 posts in 3100 days

#1 posted 02-25-2011 03:42 PM

You make some outstanding points there Sheila. Best of luck to you and your adventures….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2865 days

#2 posted 02-25-2011 03:56 PM

It sounds to me that it is past time for your to sit down with your friend and get all the little details ironed out. If I were you I’d make a list of notes before having this conversation to make sure you forget nothing. It seems that your biggest obstacle at this time is the unknown. A lot of that unknown will be eliminated by talking to her.
I understand how you feel though. I am the type person that can stand and talk to a lamp post for an hour if I need to. It doesn’t bother me to meet and talk with anyone, whether it be one person or a thousand doesn’t matter to me. However, for example, I recently got a call from a guy I know (Jack, with the chairs). I couldn’t answer, so he left a message that he needed to stop by my shop the next day. I froze. I couldn’t sleep that night. The meeting didn’t bother me. The not knowing what he needed to me with me about scared the bejeebies out of me. Now I know we can’t always know when meeting with someone exactly which direction a conversation will go, I do like to know the general starting point so I can prepare.
I know I’m talking about something completely different, but I see a lot of similarities in your class. That class can turn out a million different ways, but you need to know the basics of what is expected of you in order to move forward without hesitation. I strongly suggest you get your friend who is over all this to set aside some time to answer some questions for you.
Good luck and I hope it all works out for you. I’m sure it will either way. I have a feeling though that failure to talk to her about the details will have you going to this show with butterflies in your stomach.


View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2945 days

#3 posted 02-25-2011 05:23 PM

I agree with you Sheila. You are not the only one who changes the plan depending on what is going on however please bear in mind that it is always the endresults that is more important. We knew that if we have a lot of experiences where we based those alternatives however… I avoid experiments along the way but I rather give importance on the basics. You are gifted with both painting and sawing… a good combination for changing plan for the best as you can always predict what will happen. Good luck to you also specially that you have a lot of activities ahead. God bless…

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2943 days

#4 posted 02-25-2011 05:56 PM

Called Jeannie – Check!
Figured class size and cost – Check!
Got times and dates – (kinda) Check – They are going to finalize that tomorrow between them. I go where they tell me when the tell me to. :D

Knowledge IS power!


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

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