I have missed the past few days of blogging, but with good reason. It used to bother me to miss, but after over 1700 posts, I have come to understand that sometimes we need to have to stay off of social media and the computer in general in order to do the things that we want to write about. For me, that is usually doing some type of creating. (Although yesterday I had an eye exam appointment in the morning in Digby, which is about a hour drive from where I live. There was no way that I would have been able to write a quality post and get to the office on time. I am not as quick as I used to be!)
I don't think I do many things 'quick' these days. I haven't decided if that is a bad thing or good thing yet either.
It seems I used to fly through tasks with lightning speed, accomplishing things left and right. The check list was long and it was rare that I didn't accomplish at least most of what I set out to do (and in the time frame that I allowed myself to do it!) But lately, it seems that I have a permanent ticket on the "Slow Train" and no matter how hard I try, one thing or another just won't let me go any other way. But is that really a bad thing? I am beginning to think it isn't.
When I was younger and raising my children, there were always lots of things to do. Besides taking care of them, there were numerous chores around the house as well as trying to earn a little extra money for our family through crafts. If I ever wanted to do something for myself, the only way I would be able to do so was to hurry through my other tasks in order to squeeze out an extra hour or so (if I was LUCKY!) for myself. It just didn't happen often. I think that running at that pace for so many years conditioned me to live my life in a certain way. I am sure that most who were in similar situations could relate.
But now the kids are grown and it is just Keith, myself and the kitties. There is no school bus to catch, no costumes to make for school plays and holidays and no parties to plan. It is much quieter in life in general. Some call it the "empty nest" but I like to call it the "quiet nest". The quiet allows me to spend a bit of time following my dream and creating.
But one thing that I noticed is that when I do something, I have slowed down considerably. I can't seem to hurry through things like I used to. I am not sure of the reason, but I feel in my heart that part of it may be because after all those years of rushing through things, I want to take my time and enjoy each and every journey that I encounter. Time has passed so quickly and yesterday my youngest daughter turned 26 years old. How the heck did over a quarter of a century pass since she was a born? It seems like maybe a couple of years went by – but 26?!? Wow! It really got me thinking.
I don't live my life with regrets, but if I could change one thing about it, it would be to pay more attention to TODAY and enjoy the here and now. The Carly Simon song line of "These are the good old days" comes to mind often. These ARE the good old days and one day we may be looking back on TODAY and thinking how awesome it was. Instead of rushing by things, I want to appreciate every single day and enjoy every minute of it. It too will pass quickly.
With that being said, I have spent the past few days creating a 'Quick Paint' project for Toletown online painting community. If you are not familiar with them, you should check them out at www.toletown.com. It is a wonderful place for beginner and advanced painters alike. For the annual subscription (there are also monthly and quarterly memberships available if you would just like to try them out, too.) you receive TWO full, online painting classes as well as a "Quick Paint" project. The online classes have accompanying videos with them which show new techniques and highlights the projects. They all have full instructions and line drawings that you can download and enjoy on your own time. You can see all the benefits for each type of membership on the "Membership" page. It is certainly a lot for your money.
Anyway – it was my turn to do the Quick Paint project for the month. I thought that I would make a cool Potion Bottle to offer members, as I am in the process of making some more of these fun and cute bottle project patterns to sell on my own site. (Stay tuned – they will be coming up shortly!) I thought as ornaments Halloween they would make nice, cute additions to wreaths, trees, etc. Here is the 4" version:
But as I was making the small 4" ornament, I wanted to do a larger piece that could stand up on a mantle or side board. Now that we have a full house to decorate, I am looking for new ways to display things. So I decided to also make a 6" version of the ornament that was cut from 1/2" stock and could stand on its own. Her is that photo:
But then I got to thinking . . .
Wouldn't this be nice even BIGGER, standing in an easel or as the center of a nice wreath?
So I created a 10" version as well, cut from 1/4" material:
I realize it looks much the same as the other two, but I wanted people to really SEE the difference in sizes and hopefully it would get their imagination motor running. While it took a while to get things finished, I think that the time was well-spent.
Each piece is embellished with some cool glass pearl beads and real seashells!
I am offering both the mermaid charms by themselves as a product on my site (EMB11)
. . . and I am also offering a complete package of elements that I call an "Ocean Mix" (EMB12) which can be used in a variety of crafts.
I really love the beautiful pieces that I came across and so far they have been really well-received by you all. I will continue to add pieces as I use them in my own creations. :)
I think the presentation of the pieces together really looks wonderful.
By the time I got home yesterday, it was nearly noon. I spent the rest of the day and evening creating the pattern packet for these fun bottles. The packet has 31 step-by-step photos and came out to be 17 pages long! No wonder it took me a while to do!
The length of the pattern doesn't mean that it is difficult. I think it is quite the opposite. The reason there are so many photos is because I want every level of painter to be able to accomplish the project. The techniques are not difficult at all – as a matter of fact, they are very basic. I just think by breaking things down into 'baby steps', newcomers are much more receptive to things and able to follow along without worries or stress. And isn't that how it should be when creating or starting something new?
Perhaps it is because of my 20 years of writing for magazines. Or maybe it is because after going through life on the "Fast Train" I am enjoying this ride on the "Slow Train" at this point in my life. Yes – there is lots to do. Yes – there are deadlines to meet. But I am finding that if I don't take time to enjoy the journey, than reaching the goals just doesn't mean as much. After all, the journey is what fills up most of our lives. By learning to enjoy that part of things the most, we are naturally happier and feel more accomplished. Don't you think?
This weekend I plan on going back to doing some of the things around my new home here. I have lots of 'house projects' that I want to complete before the weather changes. I want to spend some time making our house a home and enjoying the newly acquired space we have. I will be filling orders and painting and drawing in between, but for a couple of days at least, I want to shift gears and do some more home decor projects. It will not only be fun, but make things more comfortable and attractive here where we live. I will certainly keep you posted on what I am up to!
Keith has also been working on some new projects and he wanted me to give a sneak peek of his latest scroll saw design:
I guess those upcoming holidays are going to be on the "Fast Train" too and will be here before we know it. It is our job as designers to keep you all busy and happy with new designs for your own holiday gift giving and shows.
I thoroughly enjoyed every step of making the fun potion bottles. While in my head I have imagined perhaps 10 or more versions of potion bottles, I am learning to take it one design at a time and not try to rush through the process. One by one they will come to be. In the mean time, I know in my heart that I did my best presenting them and explaining how to recreate them. I hope you all appreciate that and enjoy it as well. :)
I wish you all a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Autumn is just around the corner. I hope you enjoy these final days of summer and take the 'slow train' to wherever you are heading. You won't regret it, I promise!
Happy Friday to you all!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"