I suppose I need to reevaluate my definition of the meaning of having 'time off'. While I had a wonderful weekend, I had intended to take a couple of "me" days and just putz around the house here and do some things completely for myself. I also wanted to catch up on a couple of things like bringing out the autumn decorations (we don't have many, but I like them anyway) and changing my all season tree to a cool Halloween theme. After all, we are now into the last week of September. Certainly it is time to pack away the beach theme items and bring out something a little more appropriate for the season.
But alas – things don't always happen the way we plan. I am thrilled to say that we are having our best month ever on the site. It seems that all the hard work that Keith and I have been doing is paying off for us. I know you have seen me write about our growth as a company before, but I mention this because so many people think that when someone has a business like ours they achieve "instant success" and it is so far from the case. These small increments in growth are the results of many, many different actions and lots of planning. Sometimes things work out and other times they don't. I suppose the trick is to have more work out than not and the resulting mix leaves you somewhere ahead of where you started. It is all gradual.
I also mention this because I don't think a week goes by when I am not asked "how do you succeed in being a designer?" from someone. To me, they may as well be asking "how do you succeed in doing brain surgery?" or something similar because it isn't the type of question that one can answer in a quick sentence (or paragraph, or book for that matter!) It is a combination of many liquid factors and the answer is very different for each person who asks. So many things come into play and the formula that works for one person certainly may not be the best for another. I think that reading and researching and networking and studying trends are all important factors. Then people need to try different things and combinations of things to see what will work for them. There is no quick and easy road. But once on the right path, it can be a wonderful journey.
With that said, I spent the weekend cutting orders. I had thought that I would wait until Monday, but as they kept coming in and I saw them piling up, the 'business side' of me wanted to get them out as quickly as possible. By Sunday evening, I had an entire table filled of wood pieces done – most of them ready to ship today. :)
I still have a bit more to go on the Terrye French train pieces, but the boot kits and the other kits will all mail out today. I was really proud!
I was also thrilled that so many people enjoyed my new designs. It really makes me feel that I am starting to get on the right track with things, and that is a definite plus for our business and gives us confidence to continue on. Not only did the new kits sell, but the new patterns that Keith and I posted recently are also doing really well. Our mailing list is really growing fast as well, which means more people are enjoying our designs and will be looking for new things in the future. We are both thrilled about this.
I also wanted to show off a beautiful gift that I received from a very talented artist named Kerry Anderson. I met Kerry on Facebook a couple of months back and I was immediately in awe of her talent. She is looking to design some painting patterns, and is just starting out. Her art pieces are unique and deep and beautiful and I am continually struck by them every time she posts pictures of her creations. I can't wait for her to create patterns of some of her designs, as I will be the first in line to purchase them. You all know I have my favorite designers and paint their things in my time 'off' and Kerry will be at the top of the list, I am sure.
Anyway, Kerry sent me this beautiful Jester Key that she painted as a 'thank you' for my support of her new venture as a designer.
Isn't it amazing? The beautiful detail is just stunning!
Kerry's style is just so wonderful! If you could see this piece up close, I am sure you will be blown away as I am with it.
I only see good things in Kerry's future, and I can't wait until she begins making patterns for her beautiful artwork. I am sure that once the painting community sees her talent that she will be embraced as one of the industry's finest. You can bet that I will be showing more of her amazing work here in my blog. I think it is a real treat for everyone to see. As Kerry develops her business, I will be sure to offer links so you will be able to find her. Right now she is still in the process of getting things off the ground.
I love knowing so many creative people. As I was working this weekend on orders, I thought of all the creative hands that my wood pieces would be passed on to and it made me happy and made me feel good about everything. While I suppose that I didn't really have 'time off', I did spend it in a way that makes me happy. And that is what is the most important things, isn't it?
I have come to the conclusion that you can't really completely take time off from a business such as mine. To me, it is like a parent taking time off from their children. You can get away for short bits of time, but you are always drawn back into things. But that isn't always bad.
While trying to keep a structure in place can be a good thing, it isn't always the most practical. I am beginning to think that I am trying just a bit too hard to compartmentalize things in a business where things are very abstract. So for the time being, I am just going to go with the flow. I'll take time for myself when there is a lull and work when I need to. We will see how that will work for now. ;)
As the sun came up this morning, the grey clouds that brought the rain yesterday are beginning to disperse. I see blue sky now and the sun is poking through more than hiding. It is warmer here, and I think that the warm summer air is making one final showing. I even brought back out my shorts again yesterday.
As always, I love Monday's as they are to me a fresh start for a wonderful new week ahead. I wish you all a great week, wherever you are. May it be filled with fun and creativity!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"