“The time you enjoy wasting is not time wasted.”Anonymous
Last night we turned our clocks back. If there is ever an indication that we are approaching the holiday season, for me, that would be it.
I find it interesting that so many people are opposed to changing the clocks altogether, and every six months or so there is usually quite a fuss made about it on social media. I am trying to recall whether there is more of an uproar in the autumn or in the spring when the clocks are adjusted. I am thinking that more lean toward dreading the autumn ‘falling back’ and losing that extra hour of daylight in the evening rather than ‘springing ahead’ in April. For some reason, most seem to like it to stay light out longer. They view the early darkness of the winter months as depressing. It makes them feel a bit sad.
As for myself, I have no problem whatsoever with the change. While I love my dark and peaceful mornings, I also find that the earlier setting of the sun doesn’t bother me in the least. Perhaps it is because the fall season is my favorite, followed by winter. I know I am not in the majority on this opinion, as so many seem to dislike winter and the cold weather it brings. But I tend to associate it with things of comfort such as snuggling with my kitties, warm sweaters, and lovely, hearty food. I am not one who likes the heat and humidity. I don’t like being uncomfortably hot or confined to using air-conditioning not to sweat. Sleeping in the summer also has much to be desired, as it is easier to add another blanket than sleep with practically nothing on and still be hot. So there is that.
I also have many fond memories of my younger during the autumn and winter months. When I lived in Chicago as a child, we used to walk after school to the Chicago Park District facility several blocks from our home to participate in the many classes and activities that were offered. Most of them began around 4pm and since we got out of school at 3:15, we had just enough time to drop our books at home, change, and get to our classes. They usually lasted about half an hour each and we typically took classes in tap dancing, ballet, and gymnastics. We were done by 5:30 and our small groups of friends walked home together, as we all lived near each other and went in the same general direction.
After Halloween, it was certainly dark by the time the classes were dismissed. Our southside neighborhood closely resembled the streets depicted in the classic movie, “A Christmas Story” (the one with the boy who wanted the BB gun) and I loved walking down the dark streets with the soft glow of the streetlights and the bungalow homes of the city. I loved chatting with my girlfriends about all the things that young girls chatted about: our dance classes, homework, and (of course!) boys! It was never a hardship to walk the mile or so it took to get home.
As time went on and the Christmas season approached, the houses became even more magical as they were decorated for the holidays. You could look down each block and see the soft glow of colorful lights adorning the windows and porches, and see into the front picture windows of the many beautifully lit decorated Christmas trees. I remember how cold it got some nights, and how I would try to concentrate on other things so as not to think about how my hands, feet, and nose were freezing. Perhaps that is why the lights were so special to me. The distraction of them kept me from thinking of the cold.
On the warmer nights near Christmas, we would stop and sing Christmas carols at houses to earn money for presents for our families and friends. (We did this on weekends, too) Most of our group were in the girls’ chorus and we loved to practice and sing on our walks home. We would knock on the door of a home that looked like people were there and sing and they would give us nickles, dimes, and even quarters. At the end of the evening, when we were ready to part ways, we would divide up the money between us evenly. Thinking back – they probably paid us off to send us on our way. (ha!) But back then, it was just something that we did and we saw nothing at all wrong with it. We even went caroling on the weekends as it came closer to Christmas, and our evenings usually ended at our friend Donna’s house with her mom making us all hot chocolate as we counted out our take. I remember one year, I made five whole dollars to buy gifts for others! I was so excited!
As I grew up, those distant memories have stayed with me. There is something about the darkness filled with softly lit lights that always brings back those good feelings. Add to that the crispness of autumn and even the cold air of winter, and to me, there is nothing wrong with it at all. After all – it is still the same 24 hours every day. Right? The hours are just named a little differently. I would rather worry about things that I can control, anyway.
The past week was quite full for me. As I mentioned, I am trying to post a blog at least once a week here in order to get in a habit of doing so. Otherwise, I find that things pile up a lot and I get overwhelmed.
This past week was incredibly busy. I had put an announcement out to my customers that I don’t intend to be shipping out orders in December, and I had asked them to order as soon as they could for things that they expect to get to make for the holidays. Since I am the first step in the chain of things for them making gifts for their loved ones and friends because I provide the surfaces for them to paint on, I find that anyone ordering after November with the intention of receiving the surface to paint in time for Christmas will have a good possibility of being disappointed. The mail service in the USA is a mess, and since most of my customers are from the USA, I feel that it is best to just put out the notice that there will be no shipping in December and I will not attempt to ship until the second week in January. I will still be accepting orders, but I don’t want people to be disappointed if things don’t arrive on time. It is as simple as that.
I realize that many don’t understand my thinking on this, but besides the above reason, I feel that I really need some kind of extended break from my work. I am so grateful that it has been such a busy year, but there has been little actual time off for me. Even though I take a few days here and there, they are usually spent catching up on housework and cooking or trying to cram some online classes in. It hasn’t allowed me a real rest or time to develop and design new projects of my own.
The last thing I want to happen is for me to burn out, so I feel that it is in everyone’s best interest for me to just kind of pull the plug on the ‘production’ part of the business and take a much-needed, meaningful break. That way I can also enjoy the holidays that I work so hard towards every day. I may be a bad businesswoman, but it isn’t about the money. While I have to earn a living at what I do, I don’t want it to be consuming to the point of overwhelming me. I have so many design ideas in my head and have had little time to implement them, as usually by the time I am finished in the evening with my “work-work” I am too tired to do any “creative work.” I really think this is the answer.
So far, my customers have been awesome and have really understood. I can’t tell you how many notes I received after they read my note to them regarding my plans. It is nice to know that my customers really DO care. That is why I work so hard to make things extra nice for them. I have no doubt that when I am ready to return to my usual schedule, they will all be there waiting for me. I will also have lots of fresh and wonderful things for them as well. It will be a win/win for everyone.
In the meantime, I have many seasonal patterns that are available for PDF downloads, which won’t require mailing, postage, or delays. Following are just some of my favorites:
One cute pattern that I have is my “Santa – Making a List . . . “Painting pattern:
Another is my “Jingle Elves Ornaments Pattern” (which includes all NINE ornaments!):
And I even have my own “12 Days of Christmas” ornament set pattern:
All of the above patterns (and MANY MORE that I create) can be painted on just about any surface. And those of you who have purchased or tried my patterns before know that each one is quite comprehensive, with many full-color, step-by-step photos so even beginning painters can be successful with them. I am very proud of all of them. You can see more of my own Christmas and Winter patterns on my website here: https://tolepaintingdesigns.com/decorative-painting-categories/patterns/christmas-painting-patterns/
I think because I do so much cutting and work for others, that sometimes my own patterns get lost in the shuffle of things. My Tole Painting Designs site is quite large, and I know I drive Keith crazy with all the different surfaces that I create for others, as well as my own designs.
Besides my “North Star Village” series, I haven’t had much of a chance to do my own designing this year. I hope to change that in the upcoming months and over the next year. I have so many wonderful ideas to create! It just seems a shame that I haven’t had time to work on them. But I hope to change that.
Well, I guess I filled up an entire blog post (and then some!) with rambling on about some of the things that are on my mind. I guess not every post has to be educational or promote something. Sometimes it is just nice to put these thoughts out there for everyone to see and also to read them myself. That way you all know where I am coming from and where I am heading.
As a final thought, I hope by doing some of these things and implementing some of these ideas, I am able to share my enthusiasm and creativity with others and inspire them to do something joyful. I want to spend more time in my “Let’s paint (and CREATE) with Sheila Landry” Facebook group and participate more there. It is hard when I am cutting wood most of the time and not creating something new or different. I so love seeing what my members are doing and hope to have more to show them as well.
With all of that said, I hope you have a great week ahead. As for me, I will take that “extra hour” that we gained today and work on some secret gifts that I am making. I can’t show them here now, but I will in a future post. In any case, I will be doing something that I love and have a good day. I hope you do as well.
Until next time . . .