I often write about the importance of balance in our lives. I think the subject comes up so often (at least for me) because achieving balance isn’t something that just happens and then we are done with it. It is something that needs to be adapted as a lifestyle and attended to continuously. As soon as we forget about trying to keep a balance, something always seems to come along to upset things and throw them out of kilter. But that is just how life is.
I often have aspirations of taking one day off per week and doing just what I want to do, not what is required for my business. This only makes sense, as one would think that working continually on even a job that is pleasurable would become somewhat taxing if it is forced upon us every single day. It is as if we had a favorite food – such as lasagna – and day after day after day we had a plate in front of us that we were required to eat. It wouldn’t take long to look at it with disdain and find no pleasure in eating it at all.
It isn’t always that cut and dry when dealing with situations from every day life. Especially something complex such as a home based business. While it is easy for some to say “you need a day off” or “you deserve a day off” – they may be right, but in actuality, there are things that still need to be done that in good conscience I can’t walk away from or ignore.
It is at these times when things turn rather grey that I find that I have to pick and choose what I will attend to and what can wait until the following day when our business is considered open. But that isn’t always easy.
I find myself waking up some days and thinking that I will take a day “off” but then the business needs a couple of things here and there. An email from a customer comes in with a simple question. An order is places that only takes a minute to fill. There is just a bit left to do on a drawing that I am working on and I have the urge to spent just a bit of time completing it.
These things are all harmless in themselves, but many times I wind up getting pulled in to one thing after another and soon it turns into pretty much what I would call a “working day.” I am not saying that is bad, but the funny part is that I don’t usually even realize it until it is well into the afternoon and I start having to think about supper before I have spent any free time doing what I want to do at all. It is funny how it slips up on me.
Yesterday was kind of like that. I had declared that I wanted to take a day “off”, but I began just finishing up a couple of things that I didn’t get done on Saturday. I never mind the orders coming in, and I probably won’t ever change the fact that I get them out as soon as they come in – no matter what the day – but the other stuff kind of got hold of me and before I realized it, it was nearly 3pm and I hadn’t even started on my own play time.
I did work on the plywood key ornaments, as well as do some finishing on the hard wood ornaments that I showed in yesterday’s post. I was just going to do one or two things to them, but soon I found myself caught up in finishing them almost completely. While that is good for work, I found myself feeling a little put out with myself because the stuff that I had planned to do for my own enjoyment was sitting on the table looking at me, untouched.
After I consciously realized this, I almost threw in the towel and abandoned the “day off” plan altogether. After all, I had a business to run and it was going to be a busy week ahead. How could one more day of work actually hurt me? It had to be good to progress on things for the good of the business – right?
I kind of felt a small pang of resentment building up. Nothing big, but I caught myself thinking “I NEVER get to do what I like to do” and even though I have my heart and soul poured into my work, I know that even a hint of those feelings were not good. I needed to attend to them.
So I stopped right then and there and I cleaned up everything and set out to do what I had intended to do all along – spend some time doing my own “fun” painting. While I feel that all painting is “fun” I think there are different feelings involved when we are painting for ourselves and for profit. It doesn’t mean that you don’t like doing something for profit, it just takes on a different persona when you are doing something only for your own pleasure and nothing else. And I think that it is important to our well-being to do so every once in a while. This not only goes for painting, but for woodworking or any other hobby-turned-business that we find ourselves doing. It helps us re-discover those feelings of joy that we had when we just started out and keeps our passion for our craft alive.
With that said, I will save the “work” pieces that I finished until tomorrow’s post to show you. For today, I will show you what I did for “fun.”
I worked on two additional pieces from the Harvest Pull Toy pattern by Terrye French that I had started a couple of weeks ago. I now have 7 of the 8 pieces done and I will try to complete the final piece later on this week. These designs were intended to be painted on a large platter, but I chose to make them three dimensional stand up decorations. They are fun and whimsical and very relaxing for me to do. Painting someone else’s designs is much more relaxing for me than painting my own, as I am always thinking on my own and with painting others’ directions, it takes very little effort and stress. The first one is a scarecrow and candy corn piece:
He is very cute and I love the colors. I may have to add some Glamour Dust Paint on his shirt though. All of the pieces so far have some sparkle to them and I want him to fit in.
The second piece is a scarecrow as well. This time it is only his head:
I don’t know where I would add sparkle here, as I don’t want him to look odd. believe it or not, I do use the sparkles with some discretion. (not really, but sort of!) I may add some to his hat, but I am unsettled on that. If I do, they will be very subtle.
I only have one piece left to go as I said. Then I will take a picture of everything together. I am not quite sure where I will display these as of yet, but I have left them sitting here in the open since I began working on them and I do think they are darling and add to whatever room they occupy. I am sure I will find something to do with them.
So that is all I have to show for today. A little of this and a little of that. I think in the long run I had a pretty good and productive weekend – both in the work area and also in the play area. I almost lost the play part altogether, but with a little self-awareness and self-observation, I was able to pull the day out of the fire.
I look at these two little pieces that I finished up and I no longer have feelings of longing and resentment. (Not that they were strong, but they were creeping up in all honesty.) Today I can face what I need to do for my work with a fresh attitude and give it the enthusiasm it deserves. I wouldn’t have those feelings if I hadn’t stopped for a couple of hours and had some fun on my own.
I hope you all have a wonderful Monday. As the sun is coming up, it looks like a beautiful, yet overcast day. I expect it may rain even. But for me it will be a day of fun and accomplishment and a fresh start to a new week that will hopefully bring many new and exciting things. It’s all good.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"