My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #979: Time

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 03-10-2013 11:43 AM 1366 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 978: Time to Write Part 979 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 980: New Week, New Ideas »

I decided not to write yesterday and instead took the time to work on my pattern instructions. To me, it had been crawling along and I was finding it hard to concentrate on writing it when there were outside distractions. I had adjusted all of the photographs that I intended to use for the article and all I needed to do was write the step-by-step instructions That should have been the easy part. But I just couldn’t seem to get the ball rolling. That happens sometimes.

As I was sitting here in the morning preparing to write my blog, I began thinking about the pattern. It was so peaceful and quiet that I started thinking through what I wanted to say for the introduction, which is usually the most difficult part of writing for me. I decided to write down what I said and before I knew it I was rolling right along, so I didn’t want to break the momentum and stop.

By noon or shortly thereafter I was just about finished. It felt very good to have that little monkey off of my back. Not only did I finish, but I also uploaded all the files so they would be waiting for my editor whenever she was ready to work on them. I know the deadline for the next issue is fast approaching and I don’t like to do anything that would slow her down.

I felt a great deal of relief getting that assignment posted. Between that, the site update, making the two new videos and preparing my taxes, I have felt rather frazzled the past couple of weeks. It seemed that everything was pulling at me at once (more than usual) and the last thing that I had time to do was to create patterns – either for painting or scroll sawing. I felt as if I was always working, yet nothing really new was coming from the long days. While I knew in my mind that it wasn’t necessarily true, I much prefer seeing new projects emerge more frequently than they had be recently. It is hard not to get discouraged sometimes.

These internal tasks are necessary to the business though. They are the structure on which our business is built. While it would be great to be able to just draw, cut and paint projects every day, all day, my time doing that would be short-lived because no business is able to survive on product alone. There is all kinds of other things that take a great deal of time that need to be done in order to keep a business running. Collectively, these other tasks probably take more time than the designing itself, and while looking in from the outside it appears running a business is all fun, more than likely that isn’t the case. At least not when you have a healthy business.

I know I have mentioned this before, but I still sometimes have people saying to me how they would love to have their own business because they would be able to sit and draw or cut or paint all day. I want you all to know that I am not complaining about these other things that I have been doing, but merely pointing them out as a reason why the new patterns aren’t coming out fast enough. I wonder though as I type this – am I explaining this for the benefit of others? Or does actually thinking about it and writing it down help justify things in my own mind, when I feel that i am not producing enough new material (as I have felt of late)?

Perhaps it is a little of both.

But I need to get over it, as feeling inadequate when juggling so many things at once is certainly counterproductive. I have seen many friends of mine attempt to succeed in their own businesses, only to see them give it up after several months (or even years) because things got to be “too much.” I didn’t blame them. As many times it took doing “too much” to make the business lucrative and to realistically support them. I understood completely.

But one of the luxuries that I have in my life is that I am fortunate to live very simply. My children are grown and I am not really responsible for anyone but myself – save for the cats. I am at a point in my life where I am able to take things down a notch or two and live life in a way that is conducive to this type of business. So I take advantage of it.

It is easy for me to get lost in work. There are many times I work on my own schedule and don’t even make meals. Keith and I eat separately much of the time and that is fine for both of us. We like different things and both feel that there is nothing wrong with that. If by chance we are hungry at the same time and want the same thing, we share a meal together. It happens a couple of times a week and that is good enough for both of us. We have no need whatsoever to sit at the table together at a given hour like the Cleavers. Really. That is one of the reasons it works for us.

I realize that everyone isn’t like that though. I found it to be much tougher to have my own business when the kids were small and i had family responsibility. There were many stolen moments when they were napping or at school when I was dead tired and decided to work anyway because that would be the only chance I had. But that was life back then. And I never regretted putting them first and working around their schedule. They were the most important things in my life back then, as they should have been and I am happy for the choices I made.

Time mellows you. As you grow older, you tend to look at life a bit differently. Schedules become less stringent. Things that were once of paramount importance don’t seem to be as much so anymore. We tend to gaze upon the world with softer eyes. At least I do.

I came across this note the other day. It was a quote from the late comedian George Carlin. I remember that I read it before, and you may also have done so. But I wanted to post it here because I feel it is appropriate for how I have been feeling of late. It is something to think about on those days when you “just don’t seem to get enough done” that I have been mentioning (perhaps too much) lately. It reads as follows:


George Carlin’s wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate. An observation by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.

George Carlin

I always really liked him. And with that – I think I said enough for today.

Enjoy your Sunday.

-- 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 Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4000 posts in 2230 days

#1 posted 03-10-2013 04:18 PM

Wow! You’ve more than made up for short blogs earlier! Thank you for sharing George’s thoughts. Very thought provoking as fits his character.
You also started me thinking (LOOK OUT!). I wonder if it is time for you to consider allowing people whose passion is to do book keeping and detail work to perform their passion along side you performing yours. You will never be shed of it completely, but the burdensome part could be tempered if you found a compatible relationship. You are the leader of a growing business, and you cannot do it all—all the time. You are a creative person more than a “disciplined” accountant. You are the generator, the lead creator, not a shipping clerk. It sounds like you’re reaching a point where you have to decide to kick it up a notch or throttle back a bit. I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before, so forgive my bad memory if I have, but I found a book that inspired me and explained things in a way that I could relate to and understand. More important than just understanding, I was motivated to implement. Dave Ramsey wrote a book called “EntreLeadership” that I can highly recommend. It’s a pretty easy read, yet profound in its implications. You can find it anywhere on the Internet. For example, his has been the only explanation where I could grasp and generate the difference between a dream, a vision, a mission, and a goal. It is imperative to have a WRITTEN document that outlines these. Not only is it useful to you, but to anyone working with you. Writing it out really brings things into a sharp focus and relieves your mind of being “lost in the fog of I wants”. It will be a point of discussion between you and Kieth and hopefully agreement. That combined with Dave’s financial guidance in “Total Money Makeover” almost guarantees success, any way you define it.
And there’s more. Have I mentioned BitCoin? I’ve offered on my site to accept this virtual currency for several reasons. It is more secure than any other type of money handling, is international, no fees, and no central regulators. Got my attention.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL One should always prefer the probable impossible to the improbable possible.

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4000 posts in 2230 days

#2 posted 03-10-2013 04:25 PM

Oh, one more thing. Since you write so much, have you considered using the dictation now built into Windows OS? You speak to your computer and it does the typing, spell checking, grammar checking (if you use Word). It can type nearly as fast as you speak, and as you “get used to each other” it gets better and better. I’ve used it, but I use so many different programs that don’t support it yet, that I’ve not done it lately. You can even command your computer while doing something else. So, say you’re painting and you think of something. Your computer is sitting nearby waiting. Sheila: “Wake up. Start word. Start dictation. yak yak yak yak Stop dictation. Save doc as idea465987569346.” Computer: Yawn, please wait, type type type type. are you sure? OK.”
Ok, I took some liberties, but that’s roughly the scenario.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL One should always prefer the probable impossible to the improbable possible.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2915 days

#3 posted 03-10-2013 04:59 PM

Yes, I suppose the post was a little longer than usual today. I think that with the feeling of being ‘caught up’ on things, it really allowed me some time to think.

All of your suggestions will be taken to heart, Dan. Both Keith and I do appreciate them very much. I know that there will be a time when we will need to delegate some of the tasks to others, but for now we are holding the fort down pretty well. As we keep growing however, we know the time will come when this will change.

I just set up a new system to keep track of the finances and I spent the remainder of yesterday entering in this year’s figures. It is going to be much easier than my former system and should only take an hour or so a month to keep it current. Getting it set up was the chore, but now it is in place and it will help things a great deal.

I will look into the materials that you suggested and definitely consider them. I find that I am most comfortable with moving slowly and taking time to think through my decisions. That is something that I didn’t do when I was younger. But the older I get, the more I see that the poorest decisions that I have made in my life were the ones I rushed into. I rarely regret my choices when they are well thought through. Fortunately, the business is growing slowly, so it allows us plenty of time to consider things. I think that makes for a stable foundation and healthy business.

As far as the writing goes, I really don’t mind typing every morning. I usually can type just about as quickly as I talk and it is very therapeutic for me to sit in the quiet of the morning and share my thoughts. It is as if I am mapping out my day or as I have said before – having coffee with many of my friends. Keith stays up later than me and also sleeps later, so it gives me the quiet of the morning. I think he would hear me if I spoke in the morning and I would be self-conscious of that too. I am sure I would eventually get over it and as with the other things, I will look into it but for now I don’t mind the typing at all.

It’s funny. After writing this blog, I read a story in the New York Times that really kind of pertained to my thoughts. The link to it is here: and it is entitled “Living with Less. A Lot Less” I kind of like that philosophy and I also live it to a great extent.

As a good friend reminded me today – it is all about balance. Balancing our life with work, play and rest. It is an ongoing project for me and I find that little by little I am finding the answers. It is all a journey, and one that I enjoy.

Thank you Dan for your thoughts and insights and suggestions. I truly do appreciate them.

:) Sheila

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

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2068 days

#4 posted 03-11-2013 01:18 AM

Hi Sheila,
Great blog and thanks for sharing George Carlin’s thoughts. I never get tired of reading it. I particularly like this line:
”And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.”

And I agree with you, it’s all about balance!
Enjoy your evening. Love the long hours of daylight!

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2915 days

#5 posted 03-11-2013 10:49 AM

Morning Anna! I am glad you like the quote. A lot of it makes sense and I think that once in a while, it is good for people to take a look at things. I hope you had a good weekend and got out to the shop a bit. :)


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

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2799 days

#6 posted 03-12-2013 12:27 AM

George has always been one o my favorite comedians. He certainly has common sense, and that is what life is all about.

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

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