My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #364: Unstuck

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 06-08-2011 12:37 PM 3980 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 363: Progress Part 364 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 365: The Finish Line is In Sight »

I have made some good progress on my skating figures, and will be finishing them up today. I realize that I may have sounded like I was behind schedule in doing them, but actually, I am quite ahead of the deadline, which is the 27th of this month. In reading your responses and also the personal messages from you, I do see that perhaps I do drive myself a bit hard at times and should give myself a break. I looked at the calendar yesterday and saw that I had plenty of time to do a good job and get these to the company for photography. So what am I so worried about?

Sometimes I need to take a breath and re-evaluate things (mostly myself.) I tend to be hard on myself and have been that way for as long as I can remember. Even when I am successful at something, I recall the times when I wasn’t and not wanting to rest on my laurels, I try to push myself more. This is a tough business I am in. Especially when gas is over $4 a gallon in the States and everything else is so expensive. People have little disposable income to spend on their hobbies and the entire craft industry is struggling.

I have been told many times that even if I am able to hold my head above water in times like this, I am doing really well. I look around at my fellow designers and there are very few who are able to sustain a living with only their designing. I want to be the exception to that. I don’t think that it will be easy at any stage of the game, but it will always be interesting and fun.

I had some personal stuff that I needed to get done yesterday in Yarmouth. It probably could have waited a day or so until after this job was finished, but it was warm out and the sun was shining and it was an incredibly beautiful day. I had finished painting half of my figures and I thought it was a good time for a break. So I put the top down on the car and took the long way into town – through the back roads and in coming home, I drove along the ocean. It took me twice as long to get there as it would of had I taken the highway, but it was well worth the extra hour spent. My partner and I discussed his plans for marketing his beautiful pens he is creating and I suppose you could have called it a mobile business meeting.

After I returned home, which was around dinner time, I did the mail (there is always email) and caught up on some correspondences. By then it was nearly eleven and time for me to call it a night.

I feel good today and refreshed and motivated. Since I work pretty much every day of my life in one way or another, these impromptu breaks are important to me. I love my job, as you all know, but I also want to enjoy the rest of life just a little bit too. After all, isn’t that what I am working for?

It seems funny that I have the need to justify these breaks, even in my own mind. I hear how people loathe their jobs on a daily basis and there is part of me that feels somewhat guilty because I like mine so much. Others work for the day they can retire, and in my own mind, retirement simply doesn’t exists. I have built my life around teaching and creating and sharing what I create with others and I realize that I am very lucky to make it work for me.

I live a much simpler life than many of you would choose. I don’t possess a lot of ‘things’. But I am comfortable in where I am. Isn’t that what it is all about anyway? Of course, I would love to have a bigger shop one day and loads of cool tools and not worry about whether or not my patterns would sell. But I suppose that is the price I need to pay for having things the way I have them now and being happy doing what I do. I believe that I am much better off than a lot of people with much bigger bank accounts than I have. And of course, I have my health too. How could I ask for more?

So I thank you my friends for helping me stay grounded and see what the most important things are in life. I tend to get too worked up about things sometimes and it begins to overwhelm me. It is a wonderful gift to be able to vent a bit here and in return have so many wonderful people to encourage me and sometimes bring me back to realty. I appreciate you all very much.

Today I will finish the painting on the figures and make the stands for them. The Creative Paperclay that I use for the stands is an air dry product and takes at least a full day to cure. While that is happening, I will begin to lay out the instructions and get the pattern packet into shape. I found a couple of minor errors on the original pattern and I want to be sure it is correct this time. I have a friend who is a painter that offered to review and proof read the pattern for me. I think I will take him up on it.

I feel calmer today and ready to take on most anything. The past few days I have felt a sense of anxiety, as you may have noticed. But I am ready to move ahead now and it seems that a ride in the country for a couple of hours did wonders for getting me out of the mud I was stuck in. Time to move onward.

Have a wonderfully productive day!

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

6 comments so far

View KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3093 days

#1 posted 06-08-2011 12:48 PM

No need to feel guilty about or justify enjoying the fruits of your labor! You earned the money to pay for the gas and the time you took ENJOYING yourself. :-)

I envy your job schedule and would love to be able to take a few hours to do simply enjoy life when I felt like it.

You have a good thing going – just make time for those “rides in the country” more often. :-)


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2945 days

#2 posted 06-08-2011 12:55 PM

Thanks Bob. Sometimes it is a tightrope when considering ‘time off’. Trick is to have a good balance of work and play, with work winning out most of the time. I work pretty constantly in the winter, with very little times off. I don’t have access to my car and sometimes only get out to do grocery shopping once a week or so. But that allows a bit more flexibility in the warmer months. However, summer is the time when many of the fall and winter designs are due, so I can’t goof off too much. Otherwise I will have a very lean fall and winter. But a day or a couple of hours here and there don’t hurt – and actually help. I don’t mind working until eleven if it allows me those couple of mid-day hours. :)

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

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2829 days

#3 posted 06-08-2011 01:10 PM

James Dean said “Dream as if you’ll live forever, Live as if you’ll die today”. I live by this quote
You need to go for more drives with the top down. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2945 days

#4 posted 06-08-2011 01:14 PM

I’ll be honest Roger – it did feel mighty SWEET to be driving yesterday. I’ll take a car over a plane any day. I have always loved driving and it is pure pleasure to experience the sounds and smells and the warm sun. Simple but oh, so grand!

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

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3061 days

#5 posted 06-08-2011 01:38 PM

Good to see progress that you are happy with.

ps. Try gas (petrol) at $8 a (US)gallon as in the UK at present.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2945 days

#6 posted 06-08-2011 02:38 PM

I know you have it much worse then we do, Martyn! I remember not too long ago thinking how $6 a gallon sounded outrageous. Now it isn’t that far off it seems.

Some women buy shoes. Some jewelry. Some take vacations. Some like fancy cloths. I suppose I drive my Mustang in the warm months as my indulgence. I am fortunate that I work from home, as I only need to take the car out on occasions. When I worked in downtown Chicago, 30 years ago, my train ticket was $90 per month, and I had to pay to park the car at the station. Fortunately, I don’t have to drive to work every day. I probably fill the car only maybe 2 or 3 times a month, at $55. If I had to drive to my job, I certainly wouldn’t have (or at least use) the Mustang.

I like to look at it as one of the perks of being ‘on call’ most of the time. :)

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

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