As we get closer to the holiday season, things have slowed down considerably on the site. While the month of November was the best month that we have had so far, December has so far been a bit quieter and the orders have tapered off quite a bit.
You would think that would bother me, but it really doesn’t. It only makes sense to me because of the type of product we offer. Patterns are the first step of the creation process and this month people are spending time using the patterns that they bought last month to make their projects and gifts. It seems that most of what is selling at this time is either the ornament patterns or patterns for things that are quick and simple to make for last minute gifts.
If I were really astute and ambitious, I would be diligently drawing out as many patterns that I could so I could get a jump on next season. That way I would be way ahead of the game and be able to flood the market with new designs. I could take the scrolling and pattern community by storm. I certainly have enough new ideas to do such a thing.
But alas, I just can’t fit myself into that role. Truth is, I don’t really want to do that. I am not saying that I don’t want to be successful, but I can’t see the point in working yourself so hard that you miss taking time to enjoy your life. After all, what would you be working for if that were the case? What would you have to look forward to?
I believe that in order to have a good and happy life, you need to find a good balance. Many times I am asked how I can work so much and not be burned out by what I do. People tell me all the time how doing something that they love to do as a living (such as woodworking or painting) would ruin it for them if it were to become their ‘job’. Why then hasn’t it been that way for me?
Life is full of trade-offs. It is rare that we are able to get something for nothing. Whether the cost be actual or and emotional trade, we can usually be assured that nothing we get in this life comes without a price of some sort.
Being self-employed is a good example of that process. It is only through the eyes of an outsider that the self-employed person is seen as a person of leisure who gets to ‘write their own ticket’ and live a life of luxury. Any successful self-employed person that I have ever met has not been someone who typically puts in a given number of hours to their job and then turns it off like a switch to go and play. In fact, I have found it to be quite the opposite. The most successful self-employed people that I know are those who love what they do and it is a part of their life. Their work is their passion and it is always somewhere in the back of their minds, even when they are taking time away from it.
Is that a bad thing? I certainly don’t think so. I find it exciting and refreshing to have a kaleidoscope of activity to deal with on a daily basis. There is no such thing as a ‘routine’ day in my work, as there are always many changing factors. It is what keeps things interesting and fresh.
So even when things are slower, there is much happening. And I like to take time to enjoy the good parts that my work brings to me.
Through my work, I have met so many wonderful and creative people. Some have become real friends, even though we have never met in person or they may live thousands of miles away. The internet is a great catalyst for friendships such as these. We are able to communicate freely and get to know each other and share our passion for what we do.
Lately I have received many messages and pictures from my customers, showing me how they utilized the my designs. Many of them tell me of stories and also send pictures of how they utilized my patterns and perhaps added their own twist to them. I wanted to show you a couple of pictures that I received yesterday.
I had a customer Kevin order the set of tealight candle holders yesterday morning. By the afternoon, he had already made some for gifts and wanted me to share the pictures with you:
He cut them a bit thicker and I think that they came out wonderful.
I also received an email from Vicki, who is another customer. She had made my set of “The 12 Days of Christmas” ornaments for her grandson’s kindergarten Christmas ornament party.
She said she gave the teacher a decorated tin filled with several sets of the ornaments and the book, and the kids used glitter glue and flow paint and had a ball as the teacher read the story and they sang along. She cut the ornaments from 1/4” Baltic birch and dipped them in some resin her husband had left over and it made them “like iron” and stood up to the youngsters.
What a great idea!
It is stories such as these that are what drives me. It truly isn’t dollars and sales, but it is doing something that in some way makes a difference in someone’s life. Now I know that I am not solving global warming or saving the rain forests, but I think that in a small way, I bring a bit of joy into the lives of others who love to create and also help them pass on that joy to those around them. And while that may not allow me to buy expensive things and have a huge home, it fills my heart more than any amount of money can.
Call me a sentimental fool.
When we took a walk last night, it was quite cold out. We only walked a mile or so up the road to the mill and back along the river. It was quiet and clear and almost every house along the way is decorated with beautiful lights for the holidays. You could hear the river flowing and the sky was a deep black with what seemed like millions of stars. It was peaceful and beautiful and even though the air was bitter, I dressed warmly and I felt warm.
Many times during these walks we are quiet, and I my mind wanders. Last night I thought about what a good feeling it was for me to be able to do what I do and in a small way touch the lives of so many others. I thought about those kids and people like Jerrell here on lumberjocks who I helped with a candle tray design for a customer of his. It made me feel good that I could do something that contributes in a positive way to this world, however small it may seem.
This, my friends, is the best payoff I could ask for. It makes it all worth while to me and makes me understand how fortunate I am to be doing what I do. Thank you all who have supported me in living my dream.
Have a wonderful day!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"