It seems kind of ironic that while taking some time "off" I accomplished more than I have in a long time. Funny how it sometimes works out that way.
Last week I was feeling rather "blah" about things. I didn't think that it was anything serious, as I know we all get that way sometimes, but I didn't like it at all. It wasn't that I had run out of ideas – in fact I think I have more ideas than ever – but I was really having trouble focusing on one thing at a time and it was hard to make some real progress doing anything.
I thought about it a while, and I realized that it had been quite a long time since I had taken some time for "me". Even though Keith and I made our escape to the city the week before, it seemed to me that most of our times away were nice, but I always had to come back and 'catch up' from getting away. The emails would be piled up. The house would need attending (those little demons that come to mess it up when we go away never failed to show up!) and I would be 'behind' in deadlines and projects – if not in reality, in my own mind. Whatever the case, I would come back and feel more anxious than ever.
Even though I love what I do every day, there comes a time when I need to take time for myself. Keith and I always have little home improvement projects and we are always looking for ways to use our small space more efficiently. I think I mentioned last week that we are going to be working on doing some closet and storage makeovers. We are fortunate to have three deep closets along our hallway and we want to use the space as efficiently as possible. I do admit that this is more Keith's project than mine. He tends to be the 'planner' of these types of projects and I am more than happy to cheer him on from the sidelines. While he does the big stuff, I appoint myself 'detail manager' and do much of the cosmetic things such as decorating (which we try to keep minimal, but attractive) and I am in charge of organizing my own things such as the many lines of paint we have here and my own embroidery, sewing and embellishing supplies. While this may sound like an easy task, anyone who has a hobby like this (let alone a business) knows how difficult it can be to keep the daily supplies organized. Most people are amazed at the vast variety of work we get done and tools and supplies we keep in our small, one bedroom place. Believe it or not – there is still some shelf space here and while we do have some things in storage at Keith's moms', most of our things that we use daily are kept right at our fingertips.
I try to keep things as neat as possible because Keith sometimes expresses the desire to move to a bigger place. I love it here though and don't even want to think of moving, as to me a larger place just means more to clean and keep organized and I don't want anything more in my life that will take me away from my designing than absolutely necessary. Besides – I am from the school of thought that the bigger place you have, the more stuff you accumulate. I can attest to this theory first hand regarding my purse. If I have a smaller purse, I get alone fine with less stuff. The bigger the purse I have, the more stuff I seem to 'need' to lug around with me. So I am very motivated about keeping things neat and in order and to a minimum.
I also don't buy into the theory that "a clean shop/studio is an unproductive shop/studio." I never did and never will. I find that I am unable to function in clutter and mess and while things do get mussed up a bit while in the middle of a project, I feel that everything should have a place and should be put back neatly and things kept clean. I love working in a clean environment, as it is not only safer when working with my power tools, but it allows me to concentrate on the task at hand instead of tripping over things or searching for things that I need. By taking a few extra seconds and returning everything to their place, or cleaning things when I am done using them, I find much more pleasure in creating and I also find that I enjoy the process so much more. I wouldn't have it under way.
So (back to my original thoughts) on Friday I decided that I was going to take the entire weekend 'off' and just do things that I wanted to do around here – without guilt or regret. I invited Keith to do the same. After all – we were for the moment caught up on all of our deadlines. It was a good time to do some things for ourselves.
Keith decided to work on the shelves for the first of the three closets. Ultimately, we are going to get a large, rolling tool box for the third closet, but first that meant using the space in the first closet more efficiently. Keith is planning to build new speakers for our TV/computer system and in the process we are going to remove the very large cabinet from our living room. That will mean that we will lose a good deal of our 'office space' as we keep things like paper and our printer and scanner in it. We may replace it with a smaller cabinet, but we need to relocate many of the things in it.
Here is a picture of what I will call "closet 1":
We keep our extra wood in there (smaller pieces) as well as the shop vac. Keith made the small shelves in the back to hold his pen blanks when he was turning, and we used to keep his lathe on the stand that is pulled out (you can see just the end of it) but since he doesn't turn much anymore, the lathe is at his mom's house and we want to utilize the space much better. He is beginning by building new shelves that will use the full space. He worked on that for most of the weekend, and I will show you progress pictures as we advance.
As for me – I cooked and did some wonderful domestic things this weekend.
We started out on Friday with a yummy lobster dinner with mom:
I organized all of my embroidery supplies and did general cleaning on Saturday. Keith and I also were able to take a ride in his Miata to get ice cream and spend a little time at the BEACH! I even had some time to embroider on my "A Perfect World" project. I will share pictures later this week when I finish up Panel 8.
Yesterday I cooked and sewed. I used the left over lobster to make a wonderful lobster bisque:
Keith doesn't like lobster, so I shared it with my neighbor, Lee.
I also made some yummy Kolocky cookies that my gram used to make:
And in between that, my "helper" Pancakes and I did some sewing:
and we made some curtains for my bedroom to go with the new bedding we got last week on our trip to Halifax.
All in all – it was a great weekend. I think I accomplished more than when I was "working"!
The nicest part of all is that all the while I was doing these things, I was planning my next projects. I sorted and organized my thoughts, and I am pretty much ready to move forward with things. This week I will be working on my submissions for the holiday issue of Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine and I pretty much know what I want to do. It will be a fun week and I am excited about the projects and can't wait to see them come out. You will have to stay tuned to see what I am thinking . . .
I am thinking that I need to take at least one day a week to do these kinds of things. As I said, I love my job and I am fortunate to be able to do what I do, but sometimes I just need time for "me". Especially with the weather turning nice out. I want to be able to live my life in a way where each and every day brings me happiness. Life is too short to be too busy to LIVE!
Today is Victoria Day here in Canada and many of the places like the post office are closed. I was going to take one more day to myself, but I am eager to get started on my new projects and I think that I will start working on them. For now, I feel satisfied that I accomplished a great deal here in my home and I know that by the time the weekend is here, I will be ready to take another day to do some more. Until then, I will be happy creating.
I wish you all a wonderful day today. Happy Monday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"