My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1030: Staying On Top of Things

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 05-11-2013 10:42 AM 1476 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1029: Little by Little, Things are Coming Together Part 1030 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1031: A Contest For You to Enter! »

The past couple of days have been truly busy. All of a sudden I went from being practically caught up with my designs to having several important deadlines looming over the next couple of weeks. I did not miss writing because I was slacking or taking time off, but rather I took the extra hour or so it requires for me to post to catch up on correspondence and emails and other things like that. I am sticking by my usual complaint of not being enough hours in the day to complete all I would like.

I am “getting there” on my projects though, and I do admit that I miss the correspondence that I have with you all through writing these posts. While I realize that it does take some time out of my day to keep up with things, I also realize that because of how I do things, it is the source of a great source of joy and inspiration for me each day, and I have missed that.

It is our slower season for selling patterns. But like the story of “The Ant and the Grasshopper” that I retell every now and then to you, this is the time when we sometimes need to work our hardest. It is time to lay the ground work for the autumn and holiday seasons and not a time to slow down.

I am always concerned about things during these months, but with each passing year I realize that it is just part of the cycle for our business, and I need to allow it to play itself out and not let it cloud my thinking. It is however a good opportunity to start thinking about new venues along with new designs and that way we can continue to expand the business and allow it to grow. So I look at it as a good thing.

The design that I was working on last week was accepted by the magazine that I submitted it to. I was thrilled to hear that, as it will be the first time my patterns will be published with this company, and will be the first time that I will be seen by a somewhat different demographic. I suppose that is part of why I felt a bit of pressure when creating it, as working in a new arena for new people left me with lots of unknowns, which can be frightening. While I never take for granted having my projects displayed in Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine, after working with them for fifteen years I am familiar with their expectations and I have earned their respect and I don’t feel pressure.

However, working with a new publication is much like the first day on a new job. One feels a bit awkward and unsure of themselves, even if they know they will do a good job. It takes a couple of rounds I expect to feel a bit more at ease. That will come with time.

This week has been pretty much consumed by designing a new submission for a painting kit. I still don’t really want to show it just yet until I am completely done with it. It is a bit involved and I have been really and truly working about it diligently every day. There have been a couple of instances where I spent hours painting only to take the sander to the piece and do it over, changing some of the aspects of the design to better suit what I was thinking. It is just a slow process. But I am happy with what I have done so far, and I am in the home stretch. I may even finish it up today.

When it is completed, I need to refocus on my other deadlines. I have them all lined up in order of urgency. It is possible to accomplish them, but only with strict attention and discipline. But I am pretty good at that for the most part, and I think they are all attainable.

In the mean time, I may not post every single day. As I get a sound footing with these new ventures, I would rather err on the side of being conservative rather than show my hand before its time. While Creative Woodworks likes that I show and promote my work here for you all to see, I am not sure of the policies of the new magazine and I would rather wait just a bit to do that until I am positive that it is OK to do so. I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

As far as my painting that I am doing, it is more for my own peace of mind that I hold my cards close for just a little bit on this one too. I work in a competitive business and I have been told more than once that I put myself out here too much or too early. Part of me doesn’t think that would have a negative impact on things, but as I said, I am sitting on the cautious side lately so I thought I would play it safe®. Such is the world in which we live.

So for today, I settled for posting a new project in my gallery. I tend to fall behind on that part of things and I had intended to get all the new pieces in there in the next couple of weeks. I posted the Pocket Full of Posies candle tray for those of you who may have missed it.

It is fitting for the time, as spring has definitely come to our area.

It is somewhat foggy here this morning, but the fog should be lifting shortly. I had forgotten how that happens in the summer months, as the sun is up now at 6am and more so than not, it is overcast early only to be clear and sunny by noon. A sure sign that summer is on its way.

I wish you all a great weekend.

-- 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 Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4008 days

#1 posted 05-11-2013 01:08 PM

Hi Sheila,

I have to say, I applaud your being able to make a living doing what you’re doing. I know there have been times when the smart thing to do would have been to throw in the towel and go get a job. Determination and stubbornness goes a long way in keeping small businesses going. (in my case, being too dumb to give up)

As a business owner, I know how slow times need to be recognized as part of the game, but it is so difficult to do. I have a partner in another business, and when the phones don’t ring for an hour, he wanders around picking up phones to see if there’s a dial tone. You’d think after thirty years, he’d have learned that its part of the game, but nope. Quiet times still scare him.

Again, I admire your efforts and abilities.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2101 days

#2 posted 05-11-2013 04:54 PM

Good Morning Sheila,
I’m with Lee. I think that it is great that you keep going and keep your business afloat with new ideas and new venues. It’s not an easy task in today’s economy and techno age. Your business ethics and your great designs will keep you forefront in the market.
Enjoy your day. I think our sunshine is disappearing for a few days. Ah well, we need the rain too!

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2950 days

#3 posted 05-11-2013 09:16 PM

Hi Sheila,
I noticed the base that you painted the top face only… the curves. At a glance, I thought it was a different cut too. Now you gave me an idea that if you make 3 objects or more then overlay all of them in a certain arrangement, I can make variations of geometrical figures and I can also expose the design of the sides. I really appreciate how you create those innovations of your originals to make anybody say “WOW!”

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2948 days

#4 posted 05-12-2013 10:17 AM

Thank you so much Lee, Anna and Bert. You are all certainly all important influences on me and some of my best cheerleaders. I honestly can say that without your encouragement and support, I don’t think that I would be in the same place that I am.

Lee – I agree with you wholeheartedly. I go through the same thing of wondering why I am crazy enough to do what I am doing. There are lots of people that think we are coasting along here and don’t realize the struggles we have to fact just to stay in business. But looking at the alternatives, like you I think that it is worth the fight to do something I love. I wonder if we ever will get over the insecurities we experience during those slow times. I know I am not there yet. Even when I do well, I try to work harder because I know from doing this a long time that it doesn’t always last. To me it is like riding a bike – If you stop peddling, you will no longer move forward.

Anna – your support is greatly appreciated also. I love hearing about your day and what you are up to and feel as if I have made a good friend on the other side of the country. I love seeing your projects and I really appreciate your input and ideas. Thanks for your friendship and support.

And Bert – You always put a thoughtful perspective on things. I admire your work very much and I also learn from your postings. It really is satisfying to think that something that I make will spark a fire in you to apply it to your own ideas in some way. Thank you too for taking the time to become my friend. :)

I appreciate you all very much!


-- 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

6859 posts in 4008 days

#5 posted 05-12-2013 01:38 PM

Great analogy. Like you said, when you stop pedaling…it doesn’t take long before your efforts disappear, unless of course you’re on a hill, facing down. As you know, I have been physically away from woodworking for a while and I imagine most LJ’s have no longer have any idea who I am.

In my current business, if we’re not constantly tweaking our website, the same thing will happen. And, being a new business, we don’t know when the usual slow times are. What’s worse is Google is always changing their algorithms, without notice or regard to what their screwing up on existing websites, it really keeps us on guard and off balance.

Oh well, as one of my good friend says…onwards and sideways.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2948 days

#6 posted 05-12-2013 01:43 PM

We also fight the “google battle” all the time Lee. So much of our time is spent working on things that our customers don’t really see. The behind the scene stuff is really a sponge when it comes to our time. But as you said, they keep changing and keep us on our toes regarding our site and the advertising aspect of it.

For being a designer, I sometimes feel that I don’t do enough new designs (even though I work all day, nearly every day!) It does get frustrating sometimes to feel like we are going sideways, but that is preferred to backwards, I suppose.

It is nice to know some people understand and that we are not alone in feeling this way. Knowing that other companies that I admire experience similar things sometimes helps. Thanks so much for your input. :)

Have a great day! Sheila

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

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