My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #434: If the Bird Gets Up Early Enough, Does It Catch Two (or even Three) Worms?

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 08-17-2011 11:57 AM 6626 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 433: A Special Thank You to You All! Part 434 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 435: Lots of Good News1 »

I woke up early today and was debating whether or not to try to get back to sleep. It would have been easy to do so, but there were too many things on my mind and after a couple of minutes of trying to feel sleepy again, I just gave up and got my day started. I really don’t mind though, as I could use the extra couple of hours to get a handle on things for the day.

I still have emails to catch up on from the weekend. The combination of slacking off and going to a couple of dinners created a bit of a backlog in my email box. I realize that people don’t expect me to get back to them immediately all the time, but I do like to get back to everyone in a timely manner and I seem to be a couple of days behind. I have taken the advice from Dennis and have been trying to do emails in batches so not to be so distracted. It isn’t easy for me though and I find that if I put them off, they just move down the list and sometimes get forgotten. My Gmail page shows the last fifty emails received, and I know that seems like a lot, but with all the projects and stuff that I watch and comment on it is easy to fill that page quickly if I don’t keep on it. Once I see that there are emails overflowing to page two, I know that I am falling behind and have some work to do in order to clear them out and catch up. The other day it even went to page three (yikes!)

I need to dedicate at least an hour or so for clearing things out, as having that many open emails really bother me. I need to keep my answers to the point and not ramble on when answering (stop laughing!) so I can get the job done. There will be time for socializing later. It will feel good when I get caught up and everything is filed where it is supposed to be. I’ll do my best.

One email I received yesterday was from one of my wholesalers who was looking for a couple of patterns that they had chosen for the upcoming catalog. There were four that she needed – three were mine and one was my partners. During the last ‘crunch time’ we had only supplied the pictures of the items, knowing that the actual pattern packets were not needed until later on.

Well . . . ‘later on’ is now and even though my partner had his done, I did not. It was time to drop everything and focus on this.

Sometimes I am like a bad child who needs to be told to do everything. I know some of you think that I am really organized and I suppose in ways that I am, but in other things, unless I have a real deadline in front of me, I tend to procrastinate and wait until the bitter end to do things. Shame on me.

Two of the patterns were already published in the magazine. The instructions were for the most part written but they still needed to be reformatted into a packet form. One was published last year sometime and one just recently. The other is the Fiona Cat Pull Toy which is the black Halloween cat I made from the roasted birch a few weeks ago.

I started putting the older pattern together first and about an hour or so into it, I realized that the Adobe Illustrator line work was not in the designated folder with all the pattern components. Humm . . . I then spent the next half hour or so looking at back ups on my own computer and also the computer where the back up files are located and didn’t find the files either. Since the pattern was drawn almost three years ago I had reformatted my computer and it appears that somehow in the process, those files were not transferred or backed up. Great.

The catalog information was already at the printer, so there was really no turning back on this one. I had the pictures of the projects (they were 12 mini Halloween ornaments) that were directly from when the magazine published them (thankfully!) and I was planning on using their pictures for the pattern cover. I have the actual project in storage, but sometimes the magazine is nice enough to send me their pictures that they used for the article if I ask because they take really good ones. On this particular project, they did a fantastic job of close ups of each of the 12 ornaments, so I was in business.

After looking everywhere I could think of and still not finding the files, I knew there was nothing more that I could do except re-draw the 12 ornaments, which took me the next couple of hours. It wasn’t the way I had intended to spend my day.

I tell you this story because people like Kelly (rivergirl) are always saying how organized I am and it somewhat embarrasses me because of stuff like this. If she only KNEW! I think that many times I fall into the ‘I’m neat because I am a slob’ category. I have this utopia that I dream of where everything is where it is supposed to be and in its place, and some days I can almost say that is true. But once we start living and moving things around and using them, it sometimes throws things out of kilter. So take note, Kelly if you are reading this. I am not as good as you think! :)

I saw a forum post yesterday here about whether the woodworkers here on Lumberjocks spend most of the time building their shops or building ‘stuff’. When thinking about it, I realize that many more of us than we realize have shops that are their ‘works in progress’ and take a lot more of their woodworking time than originally thought.

Bottom line is that organization takes a bit of time and work. Even when we are organized, it takes time to stay organized and keep on top of things because it can all change rather quickly. There are many times I wonder where my day goes, and I feel as if I had accomplished little, but in looking back I do see that taking the time to do what I am supposed to be doing may mean a little less productivity on this end, but will save me a load of time in the long run. After all, you can’t be a great chef making pies all day and not spend some time cleaning up the kitchen. Everything we do doesn’t have to be counted in our daily tally of new accomplishments in order to be meaningful and effective.

So with that said, I have to kind of back pedal today and get those other two patterns done. They should have been done a couple of weeks ago, and I feel somewhat aggravated with myself for not completing them. I have this talent of shoving things like this on the far back burner and totally forgetting about it until absolutely necessary. But now is the time to bring it front and center and check it off the list.

Sad thing is that it also makes me realize that it is time for me to do a major back up of my work again and all that is involved with that. For the most part everything is in decent order though, and it shouldn’t take more than an hour or so to move files so that they are where they should be before I back them up. Optimistically, I think I can possibly get all that done today. (Oh – and I need to finish catching up on that mail too! You see, I have forgotten already!)

In looking at the list grow, I see that I have a full day ahead. It is just beginning to get light out now and on top of it all, its garbage day so I have to put all the trash on the road or miss the truck.

At least I am getting an early start. :) Have a good one!

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

5 comments so far

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2898 days

#1 posted 08-17-2011 01:16 PM

I completely understand your “being neat because I’m a slob” theory. For myself though, I’d change that to “I physically neat because I’m a mental slob”. What I mean by that is I am extremely vigilant in that things must be done in a certain way. Things have to be put in a certain place. Things unorganized drives me absolutely crazy. My family swears I have obsessive compulsive disorder. I do all this though because if I didn’t, nothing would ever get done because I’d forget half of what I’m doing or spend a majority of time searching for things that I had forgotten where I placed.
I can’t remember anything. From my years of mechanical experience, I can still rattle off torque specs for any popular engine ever made, like a first ot second generation Chevy 350. Don’t ask me most days what someone told me ten minutes ago though.
As for things being done in order, I develop certain routines. Lord forbid something forces that routine to be changed for any reason. It takes me weeks or sometimes months to learn a new routine, and I will absolutely feel like I am constantly forgetting something during that transition period.
So I understand completely. If you’re situation is anything like mine though, there is a method to your madness. The neatless that some see is a desperate attempt not to let everything fall apart. If they could only see the clutter in your mind.
I may be way off base, but does this actually hit the nail right on the head?
Have a good day Sheila. I hope you’re successful in getting caught up. If you do, be sure to take a break. IT’s usually during my breaks that I ponder what it is that I forgot after being so careful to make sure I forgot nothing.
And the madness continues.


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2975 days

#2 posted 08-17-2011 01:27 PM

I think that peeking into the ‘clutter of my mind’ could be really scary for some people! After all – I am blonde! :D

There is always lots going on in there. I rarely find what others call ‘idle time’. Not without some degree of guilt anyway.

On Facebook I play Scrabble daily with my long time friend from high school, Carlene. We usually have about 20 games going at any given time because you only make one move and then wait until the other responds, which may be a couple of days down the line. I use the game to take my ‘breaks’. Sometimes I play a move or two during lunch, sometimes after the day is done and I want to unwind, I play several games or get all ‘caught up’ there. It is great because there is no pressure with us to play. You can play for five minutes or an hour. If someone calls or comes over, you can continue later. Yet, it relaxes me and takes me away from all the ‘job’ stuff for a bit. It is a good way for me to clear my head before I go to sleep so I am not thinking about work related stuff too much and can fall to sleep easily.

Part of it too is wearing so many hats. But there is really no good answer to that. I like that part actually, and as long as I can make it work, I will do what it takes.

You have a good day too! :)


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

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2898 days

#3 posted 08-17-2011 01:41 PM

Maybe I need to find something like your scrabble game to do. I often find myself lying in bed with an idea on a project I’m doing bothering me to the point that I eventually get up in the middle of the night, since it’ll be keeping me awake anyway, and make my way over to the shop. Then, once there, as long as I’m feeling alright, my “short trip to the shop” will get away from me and I’ll wind up messing around with the idea the rest of the night.


View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 2824 days

#4 posted 08-17-2011 02:38 PM

“I’m neat because I’m a slob”, That’s Funny!

I’m a slob because I’m a perfectionist! example: I don’t have time put all of these tools away and organize them exactly how I want them; so I pile them on the bench, table, or floor until I have time to do it exactly the way I want and I never have time. I have some tools that have a dedicated spot. I always put those away, right away. My files of all size go in the drawer to the left of my vise, My staples and various staple guns go in the drawer to the right. Handsaws hang on the pegboard to the right of the window. Planes go on the center shelf in tall storage cabinet. Router bit”s in the top drawer on the island cabinet. Wood screws and sets of drill bits on shelves to the right of the window.

Once I’ve established the “Perfect” organized location for something I’ll always put it away. Unfortunately, only about 20% of my stuff has an assigned “perfect” location and the rest is moved from spot to spot.

But, someday over the rainbow, everything will have the “perfect” organized location and I’ll know exactly where it is. :) Have a wonderful, organized, clutter free day!

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2975 days

#5 posted 08-17-2011 04:17 PM

I am right there with you, Dan! That is why I don’t back up stuff like I should. I want everything in perfect order before I back stuff up and that usually takes longer than I care to admit. Finally, my partner tells me to ‘just do it’ or sends the files for me so at least they are done.

I am what I consider a ‘reformed perfectionist’ and I don’t let (as many) things get to me as I used to. I think I have mellowed out quite a bit! I just have to keep remembering what is important and what really isn’t.

Thanks for sharing your story. It is nice to know I have lots of company! :)


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

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