My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #836: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 10-03-2012 11:38 AM 1346 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 835: Inspiration Part 836 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 837: The Greatest Rewards »

I am feeling a bit more like myself these last couple of days. And that is good. I must be honest and say that these past couple of weeks have been trying on us. After the issues of a couple of weeks ago came to light, it really has shaken me to my foundation. Things are still up in the air there, but I have really and truly refocused on other positive things and avenues to follow.

It hasn’t been exactly easy, and it has taken a conscious effort, but like anyone who gets hit in the head with a sledge hammer, you have two choices – to die or to get up and keep going. As the quote from the Monty Python movie says – “I ain’t dead yet!”

I felt like I made good progress yesterday on assembling pattern packets. I don’t know, but sometimes I think I make it out to be more than it is and it rather stifles me. I work here with Keith who immediately puts together his pattern packets when he finishes each project and I must say I am a bit envious at his discipline. I tend to leave all the components of the pattern in a file folder for “later when I have the time” and move on to the next idea before I finish writing up what I just made. But sometimes my folder of ‘projects to be made into packets’ has several sub-folders in it and I know it is time to get my butt in gear and write. I need to work on my timing with that a bit better. Perhaps seeing the finished project in my hand is its own reward and then I am eager to move on to the next.

When my daughter Danielle was small, she was certainly an adventurer. My oldest – Phil – was the type of child where if you spent the day at the zoo, he would sleep all the way home – exhausted by the exhilarating experience.

Danielle, however, would seem to absorb even more energy from an outing such as that, and I remember more than once when we would arrive home from an exhausting day out at the zoo or the pool or a picnic and as we were pulling into the driveway, she would ask “can I call (insert the name of any one of ten friends) ?” No matter how much fun she had, she was always thinking of her next move and planning ahead.

I’ve never noticed the parallel before, and to be honest it used to exasperate me. Even in my early 30’s it made me feel old trying to keep up with her. And I look at her now at 22 years old and she is pretty much the same way. Always on the go and always planning. But she is happy with things that way and that is what counts. Perhaps she is more like me than I realized.

So I continue on with my multiple things in the works and I really don’t mind it. Some of you who have read for a while know that when I get even close to ‘catching up’ I begin to feel lost. Multi-tasking must be part of my personality.

The good news is that I am really proud of these packets. After the incident with the company trimming my patterns down, it got me wondering if I wasn’t perhaps giving instructions that are too detailed. I began having some doubts in my own ability and wondered if I was overdoing it a bit on making the packets.

But since we found a way to print decent color that was so cost effective, I figure that I would rather err on the side of offering too much information than not enough. Working for the magazine got me into the habit of taking photos all along every time I make a new project, and since digital pictures don’t cost a cent to be developed and included, I certainly don’t see why not.

Each packet I make and sell is like a lesson. With transferring our pattern files to the new wholesaler we are working with and actually looking at the older patterns again, it makes me realize just how far I have come in what I do. Our work is so much better and complete than it was even just a few years ago. Not that it was bad then, but much, much better now. And I am proud of that.

There is that obsessive part of me that wants to go back and start rewriting the older patterns and bring them up to the par we are at now, but I have fought that urge and thought better of it. With over 500 patterns, it would take a huge amount of time to do so and what would really be gained? There was nothing really wrong with them, we just do things better now.

I think the time is best spent making new designs and moving forward. So that is what I plan to do.

It’s hard looking back at older work sometimes, but it is also very good for us. Seeing what we had done in the past, and what we were proud of then is a good indicator as to how much we have advanced and accomplished. My older patterns are tangible documentation as to not only how much I have grown as a designer, but also as a teacher. And that is all good. Besides the advance in technology, I also see an improvement on the way that I teach the projects. I am glad that I am still learning and look forward to seeing what the future will bring.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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

4 comments so far

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2803 days

#1 posted 10-03-2012 12:16 PM

You are very wise young lass. :) I really like the reflection pic. I’d like to know what’s on that little mind that is so deep in thought

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2919 days

#2 posted 10-03-2012 12:22 PM

I don’t consider myself “wise” Roger. I do plenty of stupid things. Let’s just say I am a “perpetual student.” We all look back and cringe at some of the things we did/made etc. I think the most functional way to look at things is by thinking “where do we go from here?” and use what we learned from past experiences to help us make better decisions now.

I loved the kitty picture too. I tried to find the photographer to give credit, but I could not.

Have a great day today, Sheila

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

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2921 days

#3 posted 10-03-2012 10:37 PM

I agree totally with what you said, “use what we learned from past experiences to help us make better decisions now.” To add with it, there is no turning back if something goes wrong. Recurrence is just a repeat of what was done. In all business plan, there is always ION – Improvement Opportunity Notice. This is the quality that we as human will be different from those automatic making machines. Truly, the past is the foundation of what we will be in the future… thinking of the direction were we should be.
Thanks for this Sheila for me to be reminded of the past will really help a lot.
Have a nice day, too.

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2919 days

#4 posted 10-03-2012 10:43 PM

I really do think that mistakes are good opportunities to advance Bert. We have to be aware of our mistakes and analyze what went wrong and try to apply that knowledge to future practices. Sometimes it is difficult to detach the emotion from a bad situation, but if we can look at things objectively and change our behavior because of them, we will find that even negative things can be beneficial to us. It’s all in the way you approach things. I don’t know if people understand the power we have to shape our own futures. Attitude is something that can make a huge difference.

Thank you as always for your insights. I hope you have a great evening.


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

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