Those of you who know me know that I am a firm believer in goals. Perhaps I developed this trait while working with several arts and crafts magazines for over 20 years. I am sitting here trying to think if I was so 'goal-orientated' prior to those days, or if that was when it really became embedded within me.
No matter what the reason, there is no turning back. Goals are part of my life and imperative to keeping me moving forward with both my work and my life. I think they are a good thing.
Many think that setting goals is setting yourself up for failure. I don't agree with that mindset at all. To me, it doesn't matter if I always achieve the goals I set for myself, as sometimes I realize from the beginning that I am setting the bar too high. But whether or not I reach the goals in the self-assigned time frame is usually inconsequential, as they still function in keeping me moving forward and accomplishing. More often than not, that is the thing that is important.
Of course when I have 'real' deadlines I do my best to meet them. It is important to be known as reliable and someone that is trustworthy. This is especially true if we are self-employed. Self-motivation is a key factor in achieving success, and a reputation for getting things done when promised can make or break someone who is working at their own business. Keeping promises, doing excellent work, and being honest are things that give a person a reputation of integrity, which is something that is key to having a successful business. They all go hand in hand.
So the longer I do this the more I realize how important it is to make and strive for both personal and professional goals. As as result, it has become a habit for me to set goals for just about everything that I do. Some are obviously going to be more important than others. Many are just personal goals to keep me on track. What began as a business practice has become quite a habit that has bled into pretty much every aspect of my life. I like that, though. As I mentioned, it keeps me producing and moving forward.
Late last year I decided to make a goal for myself. I had seen a pattern from the very talented Lynne Andrews and went to her website (http;//www.lynneandrews.com) and I fell in love with several of her designs. I immediately ordered some patterns and her book called Christmas Blessings. I especially loved the book because it had the pattern to her "12 Days of Christmas" ornament set. I knew that even though I was very busy with my own work and designing, I HAD to paint it.
I got to thinking though of how beautiful this set would be as a gift for my close friends and family members. Long story short, I decided to create SIX sets of them. Five to give away and one for myself. It was already November though and making 72 ornaments in less than a month was too lofty a goal for even myself. Each ornament is beautifully detailed and has lovely lettering on it. While Lynne offers the option of using a marker for the lettering, I chose to paint it. So I came up with an idea . . .
I created the six "Day 1" ornaments in time for Christmas. I wrapped each one carefully and put a note in that each recipient would receive an ornament a month for the next year, finishing up next December. That way I would have the entire year to paint the six sets and each of my recipients would receive an ornament a month for the entire year. It was like an "ornament a month" club. I loved this idea because it not only gave me a bit of time to do things 'right', but allowed me to remind these loved ones just how important they are to me all year long. And besides – who doesn't like receiving a gift in the mail? I even set up a Facebook page called "12 Days of Christmas by Lynne Andrews - We are Making Them!" as a support group and we now are over 300 members. It seems that there are many others who want to do this project, but find it better to do it in the company of others. It is a real success story.
When I moved last month, I kind of fell behind my goal of "one Day per month". While I felt a bit bad about it, everyone understood. After all – if they weren't understanding, they wouldn't be on my list, right? So I am doing a little catch-up work here and getting back on schedule. I am pleased with the outcome and last week I finished up my Day 6 ornament. I actually have began Day 7 and will have photos soon, but I finally took the time to properly photograph my Day 6 pieces. Following are those pictures. . .
As with the previous ornaments, the Day 6 ornaments came out beautiful:
The colors that Lynne chooses for her designs are just remarkable:
Instead of using the porcelain ornaments referred to in the book. I cut my own in MDF. They are two-pieces and have a beveled center, allowing a bit of dimension when the center is pushed back into the frame. They are available on my site here: SLDPK129 - Elegant Bevel-Cut Frame Ornaments.
They really are a nice alternative for the porcelain. Making them from MDF also made them easier to ship without fear of breaking. :)
Each ornament is finished with a layer of JoSonja's Opal Dust, which is available from The Artist's Club.
And for my own pieces, each one is embellished with some beautiful Siam Red hot fix 2mm rhinestones from Rhinestone Canada.
I find this to be a beautiful, unifying element in the 12 pieces. :)
I love to see them altogether.
They look pretty cool in quantities.
If I feel bad about not quite staying on "schedule", all I need to do is take my own set out and gaze at them for a bit. (YES! I DO THAT! ;) )
When I see them all together, I get a feeling of accomplishment and pride. Each one is beautiful in itself, and together they will make an incredible display. I hope those who I am sending them to feel the same way!
With finishing up "Day 6", I am officially half way through my goal. I know we are now into the month of August, and I have to step up my pace a little bit on the remaining six ornaments if I am to have them delivered on time. I do feel back on track though, and I think I should be caught up soon.
These ornaments have not only been fun to do, but they have brought so many of us together and for me, I have made so many friends through them. Not only have I made wonderful, creative friends through the Facebook page, but I have gotten to know Lynne Andrews herself. She is not only wonderfully talented, but also a very kind and giving person. I hope one day to meet her in person so I can give her a nice hug and really have a good visit.
I love having art and artists in my life. This includes woodworkers, painters and needlework artists as well. The thing about artists is that they are focused on creating things and improving the world. At least that is true for the 'true artists' that I know. Somehow, creating something fills a need in our souls to contribute in a positive way to our world. Whether it be teaching, learning or designing, it is all good. It builds friendships and self-esteem and helps us look at the positive things that our world has to offer. It is a lovely way to spend our days.
I want to once again express my thanks to Lynne for sharing her amazing talent with us all. I also want to thank my artistic friends customers who allow me to do what I love. And finally, my family for putting up with my desire to create, hoard supplies, and live, eat and breath art. I hope to them it is worth it.
On to the next half of achieving my goal . . .
Happy Tuesday to you all! I hope you do something creative today! :D
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"