My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #968: Measuring Up

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 02-23-2013 12:37 PM 2205 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 967: Christmas Came in February for me! (Off Topic!) Part 968 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 969: New Video Posted on Painting and Finishing Techniques of the "America!" Word Art »

Why is it that every day I get up early and I am busy all day, and still don’t get nearly what I plan to get done finished?

I am not trying to complain here, but I just noticed that and sometimes it kind of gets to me. I used to think that it was because I wasn’t organized enough, but even after many makeovers, lists and physical reorganizing of supplies, projects and such, it sometimes doesn’t seem that I get nearly enough done each day. I am beginning to wonder if it is just that fact that I am living a full life that there is always a lot to do and that I would be better off rolling with the flow and enjoying things than worrying about them all the time. What will be, will be.

I suppose it isn’t easy (or maybe even possible) to live your life within a neat little package. There is no way you can (or would want to) buffer yourself from daily happenings and things that upset the balance a bit. After all, that is what real living is, isn’t it?

I have seen the type of people that have a regimented schedule and it upsets them tremendously any time that there is something that disturbs it. When I first had my children nearly thirty years ago, I figured out that while some sort of schedule was necessary to keep thing running smoothly, keeping strictly to a schedule when you had children was a bit of a folly and those who said that they did follow things to the letter either were exaggerating quite a bit or outright fibbing. Or they had very unhappy children. And while it is nice to have some law and order in your life, in reality most people’s lives are just not like that and thinking that you can live your entire life on a schedule is quite an unrealistic way of thinking. At least it is for me.

When I was younger and in the chaos of raising kids, keeping up a house and also working on my crafts for extra income, on occasion I would dream of the times when it would be ‘just me’ and I could spend all day doing as I please. It seemed to me that in the future lay a utopia of world where I called the shots and only had to be responsible for myself. On those days when I was worn out from the day to day family activities, that time in the future seemed rather sweet. Not because I didn’t enjoy my children, as raising them was certainly the best time in my life, but the thought of having the time to follow my own passions seemed quite nice.

Now though, the kids are all grown up and settled and happy. It is a time when I am able to fill my empty nest with my work (and of course – cats!) I am for all purposes my own boss. Yet I still find days when I wonder where all the time goes and don’t feel as if I accomplish a great deal. I am realizing more and more that what they having been saying all along has merit:

It is the journey that is important, not only the destination.

I should have known that all along!

For those days with the children – those busy days when I didn’t know what to do first – were the best days of all. The time spent as a lunch mom. The costumes I made for them. The parties. The days at the library, zoo, pool, park, etc., etc., are the times I remember with the most happiness. Busy does not equal bad. I think it is quite the opposite. And some of those days that we are tearing our hair out the most are the days that hold the best memories. At least they do for me.

So I am going to go with the flow and do what I can every day. And I need to stop apologizing to myself for not getting enough accomplished. Because when I look back on the things I do and the friendships I make and keep, I think that I am doing pretty good.

Our little business is growing. As it grows, it requires a little more time and responsibility. Since we are actively working to expand our business and grow it, why should it be a surprise that when it gets larger it requires a bit more from us? It is only common sense.

The important part is that I still enjoy what I am doing. I enjoy the personal contact with people – whether it be customers or woodworkers or painters or friends. It is a big part of why I like what I do so much and it personalizes things a great deal.

Yesterday, among several positive emails, I had a phone call from a customer in the United Kingdom. He had ordered some patterns a couple of weeks ago and he took the time to make a phone call to me to thank me for the good customer service. All the way from England. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed yesterday and anxious because I wasn’t pushing the pile fast enough, but that call made all the difference in the world. I also had at least three emails throughout the day from customers who I had assisted one way or another through emails, also thanking me or updating me on things. It really made me feel better, as it showed me that all the time I spend on correspondence and helping other is spent well. There is no way to measure that.

So I guess the moral of my story is that even though I don’t have something new to show everyone every day, it doesn’t mean that I am not accomplishing. I am not saying this for your benefit as much as I am saying it for my own. I tend to set standards quite high for myself and I find myself somewhat disappointed when I don’t have new designs to show or great progress made on them every single day. But like that time spent with my children, the time I spend doing things that can’t be tallied or calculated is probably the best accomplishment that I can make.

We aren’t always able to measure things in a concrete manner. Sometimes a small gesture or a kind word can do wondrous things for others. Many times we do these things without even thinking about them or realizing the impact that have. The important thing we need to do is to follow our hearts and do what we feel is right.

The rest will fall into place.

I wish you all a wonderful Saturday today. I hope you do something you enjoy!

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

9 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2912 days

#1 posted 02-23-2013 01:57 PM

Sheila there is an old story about the only person whom ever got their work done by Friday was Robinson Crusoe. I don’t listen to the perfectionists, I live in the real world. It’s a great place with friends and neighbors that I can have the time of day with and a wee cuppa tea. My customers are wonderful, they provide me the income that lets me do what I enjoy. When my Mom died she had a full a full workbench, plans and dreams projects completed, some not but she was a very happy person.
I wish at times that I could be organised, then I get a friend to slap me back into the real world. I could always post some pics of my bench and desk. It would give you a laugh.
Have a great day, play with the cats and get done what you can


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2976 days

#2 posted 02-23-2013 02:09 PM

I am finding that the more I know you the more we are a lot alike Jamie. It is not often I feel “stressed” but lately it just doesn’t seem like I am getting enough new designs finished. But in reality, I am. I have high standards for what I do and I believe in Quality not Quantity. I have said that many times before. I would rather have one design that I cut and tested and feel good about than ten that are “meh’. In the long run, that is what will bring me success. I don’t know why I sometimes feel I don’t do enough. Must be leftover from my childhood influences. Not really a good thing. I need to fight that feeling more often than I care to admit.

I am happy in my life. I still don’t think I am the best “business person” in the world, but that is OK too. I don’t have to be. I suppose with leaving the one company that I am a bit more apprehensive because that was a decent chunk of our income. But already we are gaining some ground in other places and that alleviates these feelings just a bit. It will take some time and we will recover and be better off than before.

Thank you for your friendship and support and sharing your stories. I like them and it does make me feel better knowing that I am on the right track. You mother sounds like she was a wonderful person with her priorities in the right order. We should all be so lucky! (And can be!)

Have a great day and thanks for the boost. It means a great deal to me. :)


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

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6860 posts in 4035 days

#3 posted 02-23-2013 03:46 PM

Hi Sheila;

Once I hit the 50 mark, I found myself saying; “it is what it is”. When I was younger, the very idea of accepting things as they were, was simply out of the question. Now, that self inflicted pressure to constantly get more done is gone. That’s not to say I sit around doing nothing, I just am at ease with what I can do.

A lot of decisions have much less importance when I put the 50 year rule to the test…will it matter 50 years from now? If not, I don’t sweat it.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2129 days

#4 posted 02-23-2013 05:55 PM

Good morning Sheila. When I was in my 40s and 50s I used to dream of having long days to do wood work or other creative stuff when I retired. I’m retired over 4 years now and still have not had a full day to work in the workshop. It seems I am busier than ever but not always with the creative things. However it is all good and I just need to live and enjoy every minute I’m blessed with. It took me a long time to learn that lesson :)!
A beautiful sunny day here!
Enjoy your day and know you are an inspiration to us all with what you do and share.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3074 days

#5 posted 02-23-2013 10:52 PM

I try to be in the shop everyday but some days the wife drags me along with her. Does it upset me? Sometimes but I have learned that if I don’t get to the shop today, there is always tomorrow or the next day. No big deal! Keeping the wife happy does wonders for peace around the house! I just do what I can and finish when I have time.

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2860 days

#6 posted 02-24-2013 12:14 AM

And, here it is, February is almost over…. How fast time goes by just doesn’t seem right.

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

View Natalie 's profile


367 posts in 2022 days

#7 posted 02-24-2013 05:09 AM

Nice post, thanks for sharing that. For me, it’s a darn good thing I can enjoy the process, cuz I have to be the slowest woodworker ever! But I do enjoy the process, in fact, being in my shop is I when I forget the world and everything else about life that’s hard. I am a very impatient person and goal oriented in most ways, but the miracle is that I have endless patience for woodworking and all the mistakes I make or things I forgot to allow for.

Woodworking and gardening are meditation for me.

-- Natalie - My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I don't like to go there alone.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2976 days

#8 posted 02-24-2013 12:13 PM

Hi, Natalie:
I suppose my gripe is I want time to take time to be patient! LOL I am also a very patient and detailed person. I like having the TIME to be patient and not have to rush things so they come out exactly as I like. When I feel like there is too much happening, I feel rushed and don’t enjoy the process of creating nearly as much. I do find creating (woodworking and painting too!) very therapeutic. I always feel a great sense of calm when I am doing what I love.

Thank you for your comments. :)


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

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3092 days

#9 posted 02-25-2013 05:05 PM

There are also those, present company excepted, who seem to live in a perfect little world where all they will hear is praise and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. You never know one of them may read this comment and think (for a change). Probably not though as they tend to be precious little individuals.

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

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