My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #507: Computer Gremlins - Just In Time for Halloween!

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 10-30-2011 12:10 PM 5234 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 506: It is Just One of Those Days . . . Part 507 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 508: We Dodged a Bullet - The Storm Missed Us »

OK We are going to try this again. Yesterday was a bit of frustration and I am still do not quite understand what happened. I have written blogs in different sessions before – even closed things out completely on my computer and came back and what I had written was still there. I am reading just above the boxes here that ‘drafts are saved every 30 seconds’ and I believe that. But yesterday, for some reason that wasn’t the case. Maybe in the spirit of Halloween the site here is a little haunted. Ya think?

In any case, today is a new day and I am going to hop right back on that pink cloud that I fell off of yesterday and get back to smiling. I think that is the best solution.

I really kept my nose to the grind stone yesterday – despite my rocky start in the morning. I spent a lot of the day putting together the pattern instructions for the little gingerbread ornaments that I posted here last week. Since I offered three different ways of finishing them. it was a little bit of a challenge to present the directions in an organized manner that wouldn’t confuse people. Besides the final pictures, I had 12 step-by-step photos to go along with the directions.

The funny thing is that even though putting this together was a bit challenging, I am very happy with the result and I am proud of how the packet looks. I am just as proud about that as I am the finished project, as a matter of fact.

We hear that positive reinforcement is one of the best motivators, and I truly believe that. Earlier this week, I received a couple of compliments from customer as to how much they liked my pattern packets. The said how clear and detailed the instructions were and how even the most novice woodworker would be able to understand them and create the project successfully. I liked hearing that and it is a better reward to me than any amount of money could be.

In these days of so many people offering free patterns on the internet, sometimes it is discouraging as a pattern designer to see everyone else giving away their patterns for free while we are working so hard here to make patterns to sell. I know that everyone has different circumstances, and that designers who earn their living entirely off of pattern making are few and far between, but Keith and I continue to try to be successful at doing it.

I am a firm believer that in the end all of our hard work will pay off. I just keep trying to make the best patterns that I possibly can and hope that people are willing to spend a little money to get the quality I offer over the free patterns. If I didn’t believe in that, then I have no business doing what I am doing.

As it turns out, we are doing all right. We are hanging in there and even in these difficult times, we are holding our own among the other companies in the industry. I am very proud of that and we had a really good month this month and I see that there are more and more new customers every day. If we can grow in this climate than we are doing something right.

It isn’t all great though. Yesterday I received a very terse email from a customer who had ordered the day before. I had accidentally sent him the wrong pattern via email. In his message to me yesterday morning, he scolded that he emailed me three times to make me aware of the problem and I ignored him. This email was in all caps and he was definitely YELLING at me.

Those of you who know me or have done business with me know that I usually answer you within minutes of your emails. I am always chained to this computer it seems and even when I am away for a couple of hours, I return messages as soon as I get back here. I looked through my mail program and there were not any messages from the gentleman at all. I looked in Spam and nothing was there either. I do think it is strange because I had indeed received the final message yesterday and if he was sending it to the same place then why hadn’t I received the other two? More gremlins in the computer?

It bothered me tremendously that he thought that I was ignoring him. I looked up his order and I indeed did make the mistake of sending the sled ornament pattern instead of the sled pattern that he ordered. There was nothing else to do except apologize and send him the new pattern, which I did within minutes of receiving this final email. I somehow still feel his anger and it still does bother me.

Mistakes can happen. Especially when computers are concerned. I have learned over the years that everything that happens with computers is not always logical. There are sometimes unexplained glitches that foul things up and I think that it is part of the nature of the beast. As with many things, we need to accept the bad things with the good.

I hope that customer understands that I wasn’t being lax or lazy with his order or concern. I took full responsibility for the error I made and I apologized. That was about all I can do. I know the saying is that you can’t please all the people all of the time, but when you own a business, you can certainly try. I only hope that maybe after he makes the project he will see that my pattern is a quality one and understand that the error was just a mistake. It happens to everyone.

Today I am back on my pink cloud. I am finishing up an update for the site and I have a new feature that I am offering that I will be talking about tomorrow. I finally am at a point where all the ‘office stuff’ is done and I will be free to design and create this week. It seems like a while since I have been able to do that.

I am often amazed at how little time I have to actually draw and cut. That seems like it is such a small part of the business these days, yet it is one of the most important parts. As we become more successful, the time seems to be less and less and that is sometimes troublesome. But on the bright side, it shows that the business is growing and it keeps me hungry to work in the shop and keeps my days fun. For the most part, my customers are delightful and I thoroughly enjoy my daily interactions with them. It really makes all the work worth the effort.

I hope you all have a beautiful Sunday today. It is still dark out so I don’t know what kind of day it will be. I thought I heard a little rain earlier, but it is quiet now. I will just have to see what the day will bring.

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

-- 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 MoshupTrail's profile


304 posts in 2509 days

#1 posted 10-30-2011 01:50 PM

Arthur C. Clarke wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. I think computers come under that category for most of us. Perhaps someone could explain what went wrong, but at this point, it just doesn’t matter. You’re back in the pink cloud.

p.s. Angry customer probably knows what he did wrong on the first 3 emails. After all, the 4th one got through! So he did something different.

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2948 days

#2 posted 10-30-2011 02:02 PM

Thank you Moshup. I also think computers are magic! When we think of the power we have right on our desks and how far they have advanced in such a short time, it is truly amazing. Between our little network here of computers (Keith’s and mine) we have over 9 TB I think. (That’s over 9,000 GB!) Keeping everything fine tuned and working together and sharing this and not sharing that between us is quite a feat in itself. When major changes are made (we just added several TB’s via a couple of hard drives last week) there is bound to be some hiccups. But it comes with growing and we need to work with it and expect it.

As for the customer, I learned early in business that you never know what is happening on the other side of the screen or phone. Maybe a family member is ill. Maybe he is ill himself. Maybe he just is having a bad day. I try to let it roll off of me if I know I did my best, but sometimes I still can’t help feeling bad. But you are right, something different was done for the third message to arrive. I am happy that I was able to fix the problem quickly. Hopefully he will calm down and understand. If not, I know I did all I could to try to make him happy.

I hope you have a great day today. I know mine is better already! :D


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

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 2797 days

#3 posted 10-30-2011 02:45 PM

Don’t forget that he ended up with a free sled ornament pattern for his troubles.

People at work always ask me “why is my computer doing this” and I always say “because it can”. Most of the time the problem is that the computer does what we tell it to do instead of what we want it to do and some times there is no known explanation. The problem must be caused stray electrons “gremlins”.

Enjoy your pink cloud day! Our afternoon forecast is for clouds that are gray and leaking, which translates to popcorn and a move.

-- 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 2948 days

#4 posted 10-30-2011 03:00 PM

You’re right, Dan. I don’t swear at my computer (too much) because I realize that I am the idiot programming it and telling it what to do. Besides – if I anger the computer gods too much it can revolt and give me the ‘blue screen of death’ LOL! I treat it with kindness and gentleness in hopes of staying friendly. Some days though it tries my patience. ( Just like the kids did when they were little!)

Now it is dark and rainy and windy out. But I am having rappie pie for dinner (it is Keith’s birthday tomorrow and his mom is making his special birthday dinner – complete with blueberry pie for dessert!) How can anything be better?

:D Sheila

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

View HerbC's profile


1764 posts in 2888 days

#5 posted 10-30-2011 03:52 PM

Blueberry pie from the Maritimes! The best blueberries I ever had were wild ones we (my daughters and I) picked in Newfoundland many years ago. I was wiring up a friends cabin out in the boonies and the place was covered in low growing blueberry bushes. With his permission we harvested almost five gallons!

Hopefully your grouchy customer will accept (I sure he already knows but probably doesn’t yet admit) that allthough the original error was yours that he probably made several himself…

Has a good day up in those northern climes. Here in the Panhandle of Florida it’s a beautiful sunny fall day, still warm enough to wear shorts but there’s just a hint of chill in the breeze…

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4081 days

#6 posted 10-30-2011 05:34 PM


That costume looks like a MUTATED Horny Toad! LOL


Yep… Haste Makes Waste…

We have to slow down… and methodically do what we have to do…
I know… it’s not easy filling orders… there is a lot of room for errors to be made.
Things have to be checked & rechecked several times before sticking the stuff in the mail, etc.

Develop routines & procedures that get the stuff out the door as quickly and accurately as we can…

One thing is to Remove interruptions… just let them go, taking messages, etc.
I have found that as soon as I am interrupted from a normal routine and I come back to it, I find myself speeding-up and missing things that should have been done… and it results in error & lost time.

Relax… keep that music going in the background… :) LOL

Have a good one…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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