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My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer #500: A Milestone

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 10-23-2011 01:10 PM 4216 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 499: The Power of Labels Part 500 of My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer series Part 501: New Projects In Progress »

I can’t help but notice the number of the entry to my blog here today. If someone had told me that one day I would be writing a 500 (+) part blog I think I would have thought they were crazy. (Maybe I’m the one who is a little crazy for actually doing it!)

A year and a half ago, I was told about this site from Steve Good, who has a sizable scroll sawing forum. It was at a time when I was looking to expand my business and he thought that I may like it here. I remember him telling me that it was a large forum, but there was not a large scroll sawing presence here, and it may not be what I was looking for. I thought I would take a look anyway.

The first thing that I noticed when I got here was the incredible quality of the projects that were posted. I found myself spending a lot of time browsing through the project pages and looking in awe at page after page of wonderful things made of wood. I must admit that it was a bit intimidating because many of the projects were of beautiful furniture and wood turnings and cutting boards made of exotic wood and I wondered if I would even fit in with the group here.

I looked around some more and decided to sign up for an account and I quietly did so, entering all the necessary information. When signing up, I noticed that we were each given a blog page. I hadn’t really ever thought about doing a blog before. The thought had never even crossed my mind. But something happened on the previous day that made me think that perhaps I would start one.

A customer had called me with a question about one of my patterns. I don’t remember at all now what the question was, but that doesn’t really matter. What struck me as funny was how shocked he was that I answered my own phone. He seemed quite amazed that it was ‘me’ he was talking to. He said he thought I had a staff to do that for me and never expected to be able to talk to me directly.

I, myself was shocked at all the fussing he made over me. At the time, I had about $6 in my checking account and was struggling to make ends meet. There had been some circumstances in my life that had changed recently and it was a time of ‘sink of swim’ for me as far as my business was concerned. Here I was wondering if I would be living on the street (with my three cats) and this customer had the impression that I was doing well enough to hire a staff.

At the time, I kind of laughed it off. But later on I got to thinking. It is funny how we look at others around us. We see the part of them that they want us to see without having any knowledge whatsoever what is going on under the surface. I have used the analogy that people are like icebergs many times before and this is one of the examples why I think that way.

We see people on the surface and sometimes we are quick to judge and make an assessment on what we observe. More often than not that judgment is incorrect. I am guilty of it myself and have done the same thing many times. There is so much more to people than what we see on the surface and sometimes the more we get to know about them, the more we realize that our initial impression wasn’t quite correct.

So perhaps it was the way the sun and the moon and the stars aligned up that day, but after that call and seeing the tools that were offered to me through this site, I decided to begin a blog. This wasn’t the first time that someone had that type of impression about me and it probably won’t be the last, but I felt that so many people had little idea as to what it entailed to run a pattern making business – and survive in it. I had several letters over the years that asked the simple question “how can I start my own pattern business?” as if the question could be answered in a paragraph or two. I may as well have been asked how to perform brain surgery.

And so I began my story here.

I look back on this past year and a half or so as one of great growth for both my business and myself personally. Along the way I have not only met wonderful friends from all over the world (and you are my friends!) but I also feel that I have helped others to have a better understanding of what having a small business in this economic climate is all about. Whether you are involved in scroll sawing or not, I hope that I have perhaps given you some ideas of the day to day things that having a small business (any small business) entails.

On the other side of the coin, I have come to value your friendships and input and daily discussions that you have offered to me. So many of you have been supportive and caring and have offered your advice and ideas in order to help me through some times that were difficult for me to figure out on my own. Your daily input in my life as friends and as colleagues is something that I have come to look forward to each day.

Not all days here are filled with lively discussions. Some are quiet. Many times it seems that on the days when I don’t get many responses here on the forum for my post, I usually get several personal messages that offer private discussions or advice or even just a pat on the back or a cheer. That to me is what defines friendship and I have certainly felt a closeness with so many of you as ‘real friends’ that I can’t even begin to name you. You all know who you are anyway. :)

So thanks so much for being a part of my life. Thank you for allowing me to be here every morning and talk about the good things and the not so good things that are going on in my life. I know that sometimes I wander off the ‘woodworking’ subject, but I think that you all know that woodworking is such a huge part of my life that I can always seem to find some way to justify just about anything that I do throughout the day as being related to my work in one way or the other.

One thing I am sure of – you will always help keep me grounded.

I look forward very much to the next 500! So far the journey has been wonderful!

Have a great Sunday!

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



12 comments so far

View flskipper's profile

flskipper

24 posts in 2420 days


#1 posted 10-23-2011 01:32 PM

Sheila:

Congrats on this great milestone. You always give so much of yourself and provide insight and honesty in your writing. Your writing not only provides an in depth look at how to run a small business, but also quality woodworking and life in general.

Thanks for all you provide on a daily basis.

Skip

View MyChipCarving's profile

MyChipCarving

476 posts in 1850 days


#2 posted 10-23-2011 01:34 PM

Hi Sheila, congratulations on 500 blog posts. I’m glad this has been good for you personally as well as for your business. Keep on …
Marty

-- Marty, https://www.MyChipCarving.com, 866-444-6996

View BritBoxmaker's profile

BritBoxmaker

4422 posts in 1761 days


#3 posted 10-23-2011 01:42 PM

Well done, Sheila. These milestones seem to just sneak up on us, don’t they?

Porgy (in the airing cupboard) saying “I think you’ll find these are MY towels”

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging. http://www.theartofboxes.com

View jackass's profile

jackass

350 posts in 2438 days


#4 posted 10-23-2011 01:51 PM

Congratulations on another milestone Sheila. You are a very prolific writer, and you seem to never run out of material, to keep it all interesting.
Jack

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6686 posts in 2704 days


#5 posted 10-23-2011 02:43 PM

Well written, Sheila.

Here’s to another 500.

Lee

-- by Lee A. Jesberger http://www.prowoodworkingtips.com http://www.ezee-feed.com

View ShopTinker's profile

ShopTinker

881 posts in 1493 days


#6 posted 10-23-2011 02:59 PM

500 days of the none writer writing. :)
Congratulations Sheila!

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7836 posts in 1645 days


#7 posted 10-23-2011 04:12 PM

Thank you all so much! It means so much to me to be a part of this great group. You all add so much to my life!

And Martyn – here is a pic of my beloved Coco (Chanel) for Porgy.

She wishes him a good day from ‘across the pond.)

Sheila :)

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

View littlecope's profile

littlecope

2951 posts in 2227 days


#8 posted 10-24-2011 01:12 AM

Congratulations Sheila!!
I’m looking forward to the next 500!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View mafe's profile

mafe

9622 posts in 1814 days


#9 posted 10-24-2011 01:32 AM

Congrat Shiela,
Sometimes I am afraid I write too much here on LJ, but I guess I can relax now.
500 blogs in 512 days, thats quite good.
Look forward to see you here in the future also.
Smile from me,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7889 posts in 2777 days


#10 posted 10-24-2011 02:57 AM

Sheila,

Thank you for a very good, well written, story…

... it’s amazing what we can do when our backs are up against the wall isn’t it…?

I’m glad you pulled yourself up UP & away! :)

Nice cats… Likes LETTUCE!? I don’t think any of our cats, over the years, ever liked lettuce… but, I also don’t ever remember anyone feeding them lettuce either… I guess we missed something… LOL Funny!

Glad you had a good Sunday…

Thanks again.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7836 posts in 1645 days


#11 posted 10-24-2011 03:04 AM

Thanks again everyone.

Joe – two of our cats LOVE lettuce. Richard and Pancakes. They both like spinach too. Coco will have a little spinach only when offered. The other two beg like babies when we have any ‘greenery’ in the kitchen. Both of them eat at least one or two leaves of lettuce or spinach at a time. I saw the picture in my internet travels and I thought it was so funny. I thought I would post it to make people smile too. I am glad you like it!

Sheila :)

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

View Michael1's profile

Michael1

403 posts in 1385 days


#12 posted 10-25-2011 09:45 AM

Very well written Sheila. Congrats on this milestone and here’s to another 500 in the future.

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina, http://www.scicaskets.com

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