My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1000: Is It Really 1000??

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-03-2013 11:45 AM 1872 reads 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 999: Strawberry Fields Forever Part 1000 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1001: Back to Business »

So how does one begin their 1000th blog post in a series?

Most of you who know me and read regularly know that I am not a ‘numbers’ girl. I tend to look at numbers as a necessary evil, be it when they are referring to things like age, number of friends we have, or even net worth. While I realize the importance of how numbering something helps us organize things in this crazy world we live in, I can’t help but think that numbers on their own can be cold and desensitizing. Looking at someone or something based solely on statistics and numbers only gives us a very small part of the picture, and hopefully people look beyond those initial figures and consider everything that is involved. For while using numbers is an efficient way to benchmark something, it is rarely enough to give us a complete understanding of any given subject or event. We need to teach ourselves to look further.

But as I sit here this morning and begin writing my 1000th post, being aware of that number, it causes me to look back and reflect on my life over the past three years. I joined nearly three years ago, at the end of May in the year 2010. The site here was referred to me by Steve Good – a scroll sawyer who writes a daily blog of his own at his site Scrollsaw Workshop. He thought that I would enjoy it here and perhaps use the site to network and market my own site. Little did I know how much impact joining here would have on my life.

I had recently gone through some major life changes. I was just coming out of a time when things in my life were not so good. I had made some poor decisions in the past that had really affected me both mentally and physically. For a designer, this is a huge disaster. After a long battle of receiving my paperwork to live here in Canada (I was originally from the Chicago area) I felt worn out and deflated. My business was struggling because for the past several years my attention was elsewhere, and I was barely surviving financially. I had hit the proverbial ‘bottom’ and I realized that it was sink or swim for me and I would have to give the business a full blown effort, or give it up completely and seek employment elsewhere.

But I finally did have my paperwork and I lived in a beautiful small town that was peaceful and quiet. I didn’t want to give that up after fighting so hard to be here. The problem was (and is) that there are few jobs available in our area, and certainly none that required any amount of creativity. As I recovered from the battle that I had just fought, my need to be creative grew, and I knew that I would only be happy doing what I feel I was meant to do – be creative and teach others to find their own creativity within themselves. So it was with much trepidation that I began this blog.

In the week prior to me beginning my daily writings here, I had two separate calls from customers who were both amazed that I answered my own phone. At that time I had been a contributing editor for Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine for nearly 12 years already, and with that position, people naturally thought that I was highly successful and thought that I employed a full staff. I found that almost laughable, as the truth was that my finances were quite a disaster, and the business was not only not self-sustaining, but probably costing me money in the long run. My life was very much the opposite of what they pictured.

So when I joined Lumberjocks and saw that as a member we each got our own blog page, I thought it would be a good place to tell my story. After all, there are many woodworkers here that are aspiring to have their own businesses and many of them are going through many of the same things that I was regarding business. I thought it would be a great place to talk about these inside things and not only learn from them, but also hopefully help them avoid some of the pitfalls that I encountered. So I started writing.

I never intended this to be a daily practice. I thought that I would check in once a week or so and just write occasionally. But as soon as I began, I met some very inspirational people that I now consider ‘friends.’ I had felt silly writing that first post. After all – who wanted to read about someone who had a struggling business. I certainly wasn’t a role model for anyone, and I still didn’t know if I would even be able to continue what I was doing for much longer. But I did feel that I had learned some things over the years and I wanted to share that information with others and also learn from those who have had experiences that they were willing to share.

It is because of you, my readers that I keep writing. You have all embraced me as not only a designer and colleague, but also as a friend. I can’t even begin to count the great number of friends that I have gained from writing here every morning. You live in all corners of the world, yet come by to ‘visit’ me and share your lives with me, as I do mine with you. You have supported me and inspired me and not only shared in my triumphs, but helped me on some of my most difficult days.

In the beginning, when more days were a struggle than not, you all gave me a reason to keep moving ahead. I found myself doing things because I didn’t want to disappoint you all and once I started writing on a daily basis, it gave me a purpose to keep working hard and make a good example of myself and keep coming back.

There were days when I would just not feel like working, but I pushed myself to do so in order to have something to show for the day in the next mornings’ blog. And when I did present my accomplishments, the positive comments and encouragement that I received from you all got me through some times when I doubted myself and felt so unsure that I was doing the right thing. You were all like cheerleaders to me, and I didn’t want to let you all down.

As a result, I am now in the habit of having a good work ethic again. I always try to do the absolute best that I can because not only do I know that you all expect that of me, but I also expect that from myself. This is all the result of the positive support and reinforcement that you have given me. I don’t know how I can ever thank you enough for that.

When I began this blog, I had just emerged from a very abusive relationship. My self esteem was in the basement. I had lost all confidence in my abilities and I didn’t trust any of my own decisions. I look back on these three years and I realize that it is not only because of my being fortunate enough to find a wonderful partner, but also because of all of you – my friends – that helped turn things around for me. You have all contributed to the person I am today – honestly happy and comfortable with my life. And that is the source of my creativity.

I realize that this post is a bit personal, but from the first time I posted, I warned you that it may be the case from time to time. You cannot separate creativity from personal feelings. While I do speak personally on occasion, I have prided myself that in 1000 posts I don’t discuss politics, religion or other beliefs of that manner, or try to force my opinions on you. The only opinions that I wish to promote are kindness, compassion and creativity. (Oh – and an occasional cat picture!)

I apologize for the length of this post, but these are things in my heart that I want to say.

Thank you to Martin and those of you who maintain this site. You have enriched the lives of so many through your efforts.

Thank you to Steve Good for sending me here. You are a mentor to so many and I truly admire your dedication to woodworking and scroll sawing in particular.

And thank you to all of my friends that I have met through this blog. Old and new, there are just too many of you to thank individually, yet every single one of you holds a special place in my heart. You are all the inspiration that gave me new life as a designer and a person.

But most of all, thank you to Keith, my partner, for putting up with my daily antics and believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. We have seen our little business growing together, and I know this is just the beginning for us.

I had thought of ‘retiring’ from writing after my 1000th post. After all, how much can I say? But as new people come into the woodworking field, I feel that I still can offer something to them here each morning, as we watch our business grow. Besides – there is no way that I want to lose touch with those of you who stop by to say ‘hi’. For some it is our only time to communicate, and I would miss that terribly.

So on we go to the next 1000. I have no idea how far the road will lead. As long as you want to put up with the cat pictures and the quotes and my silliness, I will keep writing.

I did do some cutting yesterday, and I had some pictures to show you. But this has gotten too long already and I will post them tomorrow. While I was cutting though, as usual I had my music on. This time it was some old Elton John stuff – really old from when I was a teenager (I adored him back then – and maybe still do!) I heard a great song that I probably haven’t heard in 20 years and I found it on YouTube. Just something nice to start your day:

I hope you enjoy it. We’ll see you tomorrow! :)

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

20 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3034 days

#1 posted 04-03-2013 12:10 PM

You are welcome, in all senses of the word. Fly high, range widely.

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

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2854 days

#2 posted 04-03-2013 12:25 PM

Sheila Congratulations on the 1K.
What is the next milestone?

Have a Stupendous Day

-- 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 Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2802 days

#3 posted 04-03-2013 12:31 PM

Very well said Sheila. Cheers to you, and everyone involved here on LJ’s

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

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 2882 days

#4 posted 04-03-2013 12:42 PM

It is interesting reading your blog today. I am a numbers guy because I was a Mechanical Engineer for a large part of my life. I remember when I first noticed your blog you were number two behind Frank. I started watching that progression. I do not always read every word but scan for information sometimes. Other times I will read every bit of it, like today. One interesting side note. I and my wife are cat people, also. More than a few time I will copy a cat picture, like today, and E-Mail it you her just to brighten her day.

Having spent the second part of my working career (now retired) in sales I am all about customer service. I can say that there has never been a time when I have not received OUTSTANDING customer service from you and Keith.

I do not tend to be much of a writer, so I just sometimes blog. An issue, or grip, or question. Something like that. However, your is one that will catch my eye every day – THANKS

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View sweetsaw's profile


32 posts in 2055 days

#5 posted 04-03-2013 01:08 PM

I look forward to your blogs everyday.

-- Doyle, OHIO

View scrollsaw's profile


13032 posts in 3852 days

#6 posted 04-03-2013 03:43 PM

I realy enjoy reading your blogs thank you for taking your time to write them.

-- Todd

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2918 days

#7 posted 04-03-2013 04:02 PM

Thank you all so very much. There is so much more that I could say. I found myself rambling on just a bit. I am surprised at how emotional I got writing this mornings’ post, just thinking back to where I was when I started in comparison to where I am now in my life. Believe it or not, I am a loss for words. :)

I am glad you enjoy the blogs too. Sometimes sharing funny pictures or a thoughtful saying is a good way to start the day. An hearing from you all each day really makes a difference for me. To me, this is time very well spent.

Thank you again.


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

View Ken90712's profile


17556 posts in 3187 days

#8 posted 04-03-2013 04:36 PM

Sheila, First off congrats to you on #1000! While I don’t scroll I do seem to be drawn to your blog. I suspect part of it is your eloquent style of writing. I bought a scroll saw and have used it maybe twice. Looks good in the shop though! LOL Were glad your life is back on track and sorry to hear of your stuggles. I’m with you on how much pleasure and help we have recieved from this website!

Stay strong and look fwd to another 1000 aye.
Ken and Blondie.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2071 days

#9 posted 04-03-2013 05:04 PM

Good morning Sheila. A great blog as always. The struggles in life can either make or break us – you jumped off a cliff and found your wings to soar! You have touched many peoples lives and been an inspiration to us all.
Enjoy your day.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View nancyann's profile


106 posts in 1891 days

#10 posted 04-03-2013 05:47 PM

I joined LJ when I read an email from Steve Good to others about what blog would be good to join, and he stated that LJ was his favorite. I have not been in here long, but long enough to know that there’s alot of great folks in here, including yourself. Congrats on your 1000th blog! I thank you for all you have taught me, and looking forward to learning more. Thanks girl.

-- Nancy Antley

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 2480 days

#11 posted 04-03-2013 10:10 PM

Life is full of journey, enjoy them. 1000 posts is a milestone to celebrate.

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View Leldon's profile


67 posts in 2871 days

#12 posted 04-03-2013 10:31 PM

You are the reason I joined and I am glad I did. Your blogs are always great, even if they arent all completely about scrollsawing or woodworking. I look forward to seeing a 1000 more! :)

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2920 days

#13 posted 04-03-2013 10:37 PM

I should say that both writer and reader benefit from a milestone (10 centuries) of blogs written. Thanks Sheila. I belong to a “not so good in writing” but with your longer blogs and easier to understand, a lot of enhancement came into my way. I like also to thank you of the variety of ideas and creations aside from the scrollsawing. I am very particular in selecting those LJs and you are one. The thousand blogs you made are read several times by you daily as long as there are comments. I noticed you read and likewise you reply back. The fact that you return all those comments with positive reply makes every reader worthy.

Thanks for all your effort in directly making this LJ as your diary… Keep it up and going…

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2918 days

#14 posted 04-04-2013 12:15 AM

Wow you guys! You are all great! I find myself at a loss for words (which I know is hard to believe! LOL) I agree Bert – I think we all benefit and learn from each other. There are so many positive things that occur when people are brought together with similar interests. This is the best kind of group to be involved with. We all have different skills and different areas of expertise, yet we are all willing to share what we know with others. To me, it is the way things should be in our world. I know it is unrealistic to expect that, but wouldn’t it be nice? I have learned so much here, and I hope that others have learned from me too. And I hope to continue to post here as long as I have something to offer.

Thanks again for your friendship and support. :)


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

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3500 days

#15 posted 04-04-2013 09:00 AM

Congratulations on #1,000 Sheila!!
Though I seldom comment, I read (and enjoy!) your Blog almost every day… Your Positive Outlook is Contagious and always starts my day off on the right track…
Your willingness to face (and determination to overcome) life’s adversities, both large and small, is always an inspiration as well…
Keep up the Great Work my Friend!!
May your Well of fresh and new ideas never run dry,
and may your search for the right words to describe the journey always be a short one!! :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

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