My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #356: Today Is Another Day!

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 05-31-2011 01:32 PM 4036 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 355: What To Do Next? (And Other Random Thoughts) Part 356 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 357: Inspiration »

Well it was good to get that out of my system. Sometimes it is best to take the plunge and just do what has to be done. I am not going to say there weren’t some rough spots. There was a point in the mid-afternoon where there was lots of stuff all over and I was beginning to feel quite overwhelmed. But I forged on and sorted and actually threw out the stuff that was no good and no longer useful and it was just about dinner time when things were back in place (only a bit neater!) and I actually made a lot of headway. Even the sun was shining as I grilled my chicken breast for dinner. I had made a wonderful marinated olive salad too earlier in the day that was just yummy.

Perseverance paid off.

Now I am not saying that there isn’t still work to be done. But I see enough improvement to at least feel like I accomplished something and have a good start. Keith is still in the process of designing and building a storage unit for the lathe and it will also have much more room for the other stuff. One step at a time.

Organization seems to me like it can be a full time job. It seems that no matter how organized you are, if you don’t stay right on top of it, it is vary easy to slip back into a state of disarray. Judging on the words of encouragement that I hear from others, I am not alone in this train of thought. It seems most people are struggling to achieve that magical “organization utopia” where our house/shop looks and functions like the places we see on TV or in the movies. In thinking about it though, I know very few people who actually live like that. Most of us are fighting a daily combat of keeping the disorganization monster at bay, be it in our tool boxes, clothes closets or even our kitchen cupboards. Not to mention our computers and for us girls, our purses. It is a seemingly never ending battle that is always lurking in any place where we have the ability to put ‘stuff’.

When we break it down simply, there are really only two choices. We can put our stuff in the right place or put it in the wrong place. After all, why would we consciously choose to put something where it doesn’t belong when it has a place? That sounds almost too easy, doesn’t it? I think that the underlying problem is that there is usually only one right place, whereas there are many, many more wrong places. In the “wrong” department, the world is our oyster. Let’s face it too – when we are in the middle of something “important”, the easy road is mighty appealing. John Madden (the coach of football’s Oakland Raiders) had a famous quote – “The easy road goes through the sewer.” I wonder if his closet looked like mine did when he thought that up?

So I have moved up at least a notch and a half on the organizational scale and that is enough for me for now. It is a sunny day out and I want to get back to work. I woke up this morning to a beautiful warm day and the hazy sunshine is streaming through the windows (and I am ignoring the light layer of dust that it shows on the furniture!) I am feeling like I am in the mood to do some drawing and I want to draw up a couple more candle trays. I know you are all probably getting a bit tired of seeing so many candle trays, but I have so many ideas for other ones, as well as suggestions by customers and they are selling, so I want to keep making them until I run out. (or at least until I do something else now and again).

I have made that mistake before. I had a series of what I called Forest Leaf Plaques which are many types of animals scroll sawn into leaf-shaped frames. I designed them about ten years ago and I started with about 15 and then it went to 20 and then 40 and then 60. I even did a smaller series (16 plaques) of Little Leaves which were three smaller leaves that had related animals in them (ie., three bears, deer or eagle poses, etc.) When I was in the process of designing the last fifteen or so of the leaves, I was truly tired of doing them. Even though they were doing extremely well in sales (actually, they took the scrolling world by surprise and I seriously couldn’t print them fast enough. They were literally flying out the door and put me ‘on the map’ as a pattern designer), I had had enough of them and wanted to do other creative things. I remember my editor saying to me “why would you stop making them when they are still selling?” and I thought if I were sick of them, then others must be too. Besides, I wanted to stretch my ‘artistic wings’ and do other things. It didn’t matter what, as long as it wasn’t shaped like a leaf.

I am not sure if it qualifies as the biggest mistake that I have made in my lifetime, (I have had some whoppers!) but I certainly think it is in the top ten. Looking back, I think to myself “why the heck would I stop making something when people are buying them and asking for more?” (Oh – gee! That sounds like what my editor had asked me(!) Humm . . . .)

Do ya think I am figuring things out with this business??

Perhaps there is a glimmer of light deep in the back of that dark tunnel.

So trays it is! :D

Besides – I only have about 25 or so. I have a long way to go! AND I do have some nice ideas of cool things to make for them and ways to do them that are a little different. So why not?

So that’s the plan for the day. Oh – and I have some errands to do too and (hopefully) will get a chance to take a walk on the beach. I haven’t been to the shore yet this year and there are fewer bugs there so I think it is high time to take a half an hour or so and clear my head. I may even be really bad and treat myself to an ice cream cone too. After all, a little self-indulgence doesn’t hurt, does it?

So all in all it looks like it will be a good and productive day today. I won’t even think about if my editor will accept my polar bear or not and that I should hear from him today. :)

We will see what the day will bring, but I am planning on only good things. (We follow where we focus and all of that . .)

Have a great day yourselves! (And treat yourselves to some ice cream too!)

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

2 comments so far

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2641 days

#1 posted 05-31-2011 04:36 PM

Organization , is a lovely thing , but then there are those day that mess it all up . You go shopping bring everthing in and sit then down sort them were they go then the bathroom calls so you sit it down on the catch all and forget about it or you are working away and you finish for the day and say I’ll leave that there I’ll need it later and there it sits long after the project is done. What is worst is when someone else’s mess it up and you go to look for something and it is not there they moved it some were else.
Have a great day

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2868 days

#2 posted 05-31-2011 04:52 PM

I disagree with you and your editor about the “why stop making something while they’re selling” theme. I’ll tell you exaclty why. Have you ever heard of getting out while you’re on top? I think that applys here. I feel you are more correct when you say that if you’re tired of them, then other’s are getting tired too. While it is so very true that they may have run for a while longer, it is also true that they may have tapered off just as you got a second wind and design more and more, leaving you with hours and hours of work that will no longer sell, and leaving you holding the bag. It wouldn’t matter to the editor, because they would just move on to the next big thing, whether deisgned by you or someone else, because they don’t have the time you do invested in it.
All that being said, I do not think the tray that you do have run their course yet. I say that because I still see you designing trays that look new and unique. When they have run their course, a lot of the tray will start looking somewhat similar. Only you can say when they are at the finish line. As you’ve said many times before, you do your work months in advance of when the work is shown in the magazines. Therefore, it has to be your eyes that tell when they are done. I wish I could tell give you advice on that, but I have never cut a candle tray. It’s just not my cup of tea.
I’ve noticed something lately though, that you and I, although going down very different roads with our wood, also seem to be going down very parrellel roads. A lot of the general idea of what you talked about in this post is also true of the project I just finished. I’ve done a lot of those. I haven’t done forty or sixty like you have, but I find that larger projects have a smaller number of times and variations you can do them, before they get old. I feel like I won’t do another carousel or rocking horse for a while. If I do I fear people will look and say, “Oh, yet another carousel horse, again”. I must admit too that even though I’m happy with this last one, I also don’t have a want to work on another one for a good long while.
Have a good day and go clear your head. Clearing one’s head is something that has to be done from time to time. I can never see how anyone plugs away day in and day out doing what you do. It would drive me crazy. I love scrolling, but I have to step back from it sometimes too so it doesn’t burn me out on it. So go to the beach, and be sure to bring back some pretty photos for us.


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