My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #546: I Do Believe That Enjoying Life is the Secret to Keeping Creative

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 12-08-2011 01:32 PM 1488 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 545: Holiday Inspirations Part 546 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 547: How Can I Recommend Something That I Don't Believe In? »

Yesterday was filled with doing more ‘Secret Santa’ things, so again it is not easy to talk about them.

I spent the day organizing things and making lists and getting things ready to send out. I know that I had better hurry, because time is running out.

I try not to make too many Christmas things for the holidays for those who are on my list who live away from me. That narrows it down to just about everyone. I always felt a bit of disappointment when I received a cool Christmas decoration that I opened on the 25th of December, only to have to pack it away soon afterword. I like making things that are maybe winter themed because they can be left out after all the Christmas things are put away. After all the rush and decorations that accompany the Christmas season, no wonder people are sad or depressed after it is over and there is nothing but the cold winter ahead. It all seems so bland and like a bit of a let down.

Perhaps that is why I like my all season tree so much. It is cheerful all year long.

I had a really good time playing with the magnetic sheets that I had obtained a couple of months ago. While I am not able to show exactly what I did with them, I discovered several new applications for using them with my art. I am very excited about it and spent several hours yesterday playing on the computer with pictures of my own paintings and Photoshop and I came up with some really nice things.

I love Adobe Photoshop. Between that and Illustrator, I have the world at my feet as far as graphics. I wish I had another life to live to dedicate to computer and digital graphics. There is always so much that you can do and learn and there are so many free tutorials available online that you could live 100 lifetimes and still never learn everything about the programs.

I always find it odd that I enjoy both traditional art and techniques from the past and still enjoy computers and technology. There is part of me inside that is nostalgic and longs for simpler times, while there is the other part of me who embraces technology with open arms and loves to learn and explore and experience all the new things that it has to offer. Somehow it doesn’t seem as if the two should mix, but in my life, they certainly do.

I was thinking back to what is now fifteen years ago when I was first introduced to a personal computer. It fascinated me that first time when I signed on to AOL and discovered that I would be able to “chat” with others from all over the country in real time. Everyone could talk at once, too no matter which side of the country we lived in.

Emails were another mind boggling concept to me. Being able to send letters and files in an instant were incredible. And now look at us.

But enough about that. Time for me to get to work.

I think it is good for me to shift gears and do things like this from time to time. While part of me feels bad because I am not doing ‘real work’, there is the other part of me that knows that I need days like this in my life. It is part of keeping the balance.

The orders on the site have slow down a bit, as they always do this time of year. Everyone is well into making their holiday gifts and while there are to be a few last-minute orders, the flurry of the past couple of months has calmed down quite a bit. That is normal and fine.

If I were a really enterprising woman, I would already be busy working on my new stuff for Spring. I suppose in my mind I am considering several new things that I am going to do, but I am not going to do it yet. I think it is more important to live the season at hand and take some time to enjoy it.

Many times I am asked how I can still come up with new ideas and not be burned out from constantly working. Those of you who read on a daily basis know that hardly a day goes by when I don’t do something work related. I could really see how that could get to a person after a couple of years and they would start to resent it.

I used to feel as if I wasn’t doing enough for my business. If I took the afternoon to go to lunch with a friend or wanted to bake or clean the house, I felt that I was taking that time away from my work and if my business failed, it would be my own fault. How could I do other things when trying to establish and build a business?

But I realize that that was a wrong way to approach things. I do have a good business established. I have worked hard to make it that way. There is room at this point, to let the business stand on its own a bit and take some time to enjoy life in general. After all, why else would I be doing this? There would be no joy in my life if I were to just sit here and crank out patterns. I would come to hate my job I am sure.

I am finding as time goes on that some of the best selling patterns I have are those that have come from my heart. The ones that I create just because I want to create them, are the ones that people seem to like best. Now that I have established a good foundation of over 500 patterns on the site, I no longer have the worry wondering if I have enough to keep people busy and happy. Usually the problem my customers have is deciding which patterns to choose. I think that is a good problem.

I think from now on, I am going to work on new designs from a quality not quantity point of view. It isn’t as if I haven’t done that up to this point, but I no longer feel the urgency to make “x” amount of patterns per catalog/season. I would rather make one or two excellent patterns than several more mediocre ones. I think it is a reward that I have somewhat earned over the past several years of killing myself. I also think that by doing this, I will save myself from feeling overwhelmed and burning out.

So with that said, it is back to my elf work today. Even though it is raining out (I would much prefer snow!) I will try to remain in the holiday spirit while I work. And in the back of my mind, I will be planning what wonderful things I will be doing in the year ahead.

Have a wonderful day today!

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

3 comments so far

View ksSlim's profile


1276 posts in 2919 days

#1 posted 12-08-2011 04:12 PM

Good for you on the Secret Santa tasks. People may not remember all that you accomplish in business, but they’ll surely remember how you made them feel. Enjoy your elf work today.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3065 days

#2 posted 12-08-2011 04:37 PM

That cat just about sums up how I feel about the retail side of Christmas (my job unfortunately). I have heard the word so many times at work now that the actual word itself has lost any meaning.

On a happier note. Good to hear your creativity is not flagging and that its quality rather than quantity that counts.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2949 days

#3 posted 12-08-2011 09:06 PM

That’s why I like to do stuff all throughout the year. I like doing stuff for “no reason at all” just because I want to or to show appreciation to someone. I don’t like that one day a year is the day we are “supposed to” be kind and give gifts to others. My friend Cari was a nurse in the open heart surgery department of the hospital. She rarely got holidays off. We usually shifted a day or two one way or the other and it was fine that way. All this Black Friday stuff and crazy holiday shopping is really something that I don’t like. I never did. Call me crazy, but you can all have it! I try my best to do what I can all year. This year there aren’t going to be many painted gifts from me. I just haven’t had the time. I know that the people who count will understand. I have learned to just do what I can and not sweat it out. I think that has helped a lot to keep pressure off and keep the creativity flowing.


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

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