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Forum topic by Heidi Neely posted 01-11-2013 02:05 PM 3048 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Heidi Neely

550 posts in 3680 days

01-11-2013 02:05 PM

While looking around the shop yesterday, it occurred to me that I’m very good at starting new projects, but not so much at finishing them. I get a new design idea in mind, get excited to get started, and somewhere along the way I either lose my drive & enthusiasm for the project, get busy with life (the kids, work, holidays, etc.), or I get frustrated about something, so I put it off “for now”....set it aside & have every intention of getting back to it. Only thing is…I don’t, lol! Does anyone else find themselves doing this too? It’s a real problem!

The projects in this pic are anywhere from 2 years to 6 months old….they’ve been gathering dust sitting on the work bench in a stack, in hopes that one day I’ll get my act together & finish those babies up! Some people make resolutions for the new year to lose weight, or stop smoking, etc. MY resolution is a promise to myself to get my butt in gear & finally take the time to get these done! I go FAR too long between project postings on here. Time to correct that. Happy New Year, LJ’s,...and may we all kick up some dust & let the woodchips fly this year! ; )


-- Heidi :) “The only source of knowledge is experience”

31 replies so far

View Randy_ATX's profile


881 posts in 2947 days

#1 posted 01-11-2013 02:13 PM

Happy New Year. The ONLY way I can work is to have multiple projects going on at the same time, less likely to get bored. Yes, life gets in the way. I have been working on a simple project for 6 months now. :)
Your projects look great.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 2981 days

#2 posted 01-11-2013 02:25 PM

Heidi, you have some exceptionally beautiful work there, and it would be a shame for them to not be brought to a point where you could call them finished. The picture size does not really do your work justice and I have no idea as to what your artistic inspiration sees as to the finished results, but at least two of the panels seem close to completion.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3018 days

#3 posted 01-11-2013 02:29 PM

I can’t really say that I don’t finish what I start, it’s the love I have for doing it but when it comes to other things that I hate doing such as house chores and stuff around the house cleaning etc… they most definitely get put off to the point where it gets so bad I am forced to take time from the wood shop to clean, having a dog with a dog door doesn’t make matters any better either. LOL

Nice pieces of work you have there Heidi.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Heidi Neely's profile

Heidi Neely

550 posts in 3680 days

#4 posted 01-11-2013 04:31 PM

The funny thing is, I’m great at getting stuff accomplished in all other areas of my life….thank goodness! If carving/woodworking was my profession it probably wouldn’t be a problem to get it done. I guess since it’s a hobby and I have no one to answer to on it except myself, I feel like I can be a bit lax. I would like to get them done soon so that I can have a few more projects to post…..because its been a while :)

-- Heidi :) “The only source of knowledge is experience”

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 4226 days

#5 posted 01-11-2013 06:09 PM

It doesn’t matter how long it takes to finish something, but finishing things is important. If we don’t finish things, we bog ourselves down to the point that we can’t finish anything – even if we try. I find that holding harmony in the feelings and not getting frustrated is the key. It will all get done at the right time and pace.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View AJLastra's profile


87 posts in 2734 days

#6 posted 01-11-2013 06:32 PM

Ahhhhh the dilemma, Heidi. You came close to nailing it when you said things would be different if this was your way of making a living. I make SOME of my living at this and I can tell you, there is stuff all over the place here!!! when we have “lives” and other obligations, its hard to be consistent with our hobbies. This should be FUN. That’s what a HOBBY is supposed to be. I’ve gone back and forth from hobby to business and I can assure you, a great measure of FUN goes out of this great craft when you start building in deadlines. Even deadlines you create in your own head. My wife is still waiting for her “new ” dining room table because an 18th century Queen Ann porringer table for a local gallery took its place in line. I had more fun building the table. I managed to make Christmas gifts for family and friends. THAT was a blast. it wasn’t a blast having to scramble to meet the deadline to deliver the custom keep sake boxes for another gallery. From what we can see from the online pics, you create work that simply cannot be rushed any way. Great stuff. My advice is simply this: when you make the time to go out to the shop, devote your time and energy exclusively there. dont bring a phone. Keep the kids and husband out. Leave the music off. Put yourself completely into the work and even if that means just an hour, you’ll know when you walk out of the shop, you gave what time you had 100% of the effort the craft deserves. do that each and every time, and I promise you you wont feel like a procrastinator… least not as much.

View Heidi Neely's profile

Heidi Neely

550 posts in 3680 days

#7 posted 01-11-2013 06:54 PM

The great part about woodworking & carving for me AJ is having my boyfriend out in the shop with me. It allows us to spend some quality time together while doing something we both enjoy. The kids and phone however can be big distractions, so it works out best for me to carve on weekends while my kids are away visiting their dad.

My boyfriend has his own custom woodworking/cabinetry business (for 10 years now) and also works for another company as well, so I have seen first hand how deadlines & creating someone else’s vision that might not necessarily be your own vision or taste can zap the fun right out of woodworking. I’m glad that mine is only hobby based :)

-- Heidi :) “The only source of knowledge is experience”

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30440 posts in 2844 days

#8 posted 01-11-2013 08:27 PM

Guilty on all charges. I have been staring at a couple prototype projects for a few months now. I need about 3 months off from the regular job to work in the shop.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 3190 days

#9 posted 01-11-2013 08:45 PM

I hate the finishing aspects…but a poor finish shows up more than what gets finished…so suck it up and deal with it.

now in your defense, leaving stuff unfinished might reveal flaws in the wood that would render your finishing efforts a waste. but on the other side of that coin, finishing might prevent stuff that will render your piece a waste.

on the carvings, a pack of Qtips, a few plumbers flux brushes, a roll of paper towels and a case of beer will get you through it (the last part really helps I think).

View Heidi Neely's profile

Heidi Neely

550 posts in 3680 days

#10 posted 01-11-2013 09:14 PM

As far as finishing….I meant projects started & stopped leaving the carving undone…not finishing as in a stain or clear coat. But that will be part of my “finishing” after I get that far. All 4 of these were just barely (roughly) started….long way to go…. ;)

-- Heidi :) “The only source of knowledge is experience”

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Heidi Neely

550 posts in 3680 days

#11 posted 01-11-2013 09:47 PM

Jonathan, Keith is well, & thank you for asking! Last year was a much better & more prosperous year for us! I started 2 part time jobs over the summer, and Keith was approached to be a specialty woodworker for a big company here in San Clemente that does mostly specialty work. Just like that, everything started turning around for us :)

He still takes smaller side jobs for his own company when time permits, plus he’s still training Jiu Jitsu as many evenings a week as he can, so he stays very busy! I’m glad we live together, or else I wouldn’t probably see much of him!! Lol!

-- Heidi :) “The only source of knowledge is experience”

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3018 days

#12 posted 01-11-2013 09:49 PM

I didn’t mention that I am retired with an income and so being in my shop gives me purpose and keeps me busy aside as I already mentioned I love making sawdust that being said it does allow me to have desert on the table after my meal figuratively speaking.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Roger's profile


21011 posts in 3310 days

#13 posted 01-12-2013 12:23 AM

Glad to see you kickin the dust off. I’ve been that way in 2012, and told myself pretty much what you just said. I’m a procrastinator in a weird kinda way. It seems like when I do get going on one thing, something else happens which means stoppin this to do that, then it’s like a domino effect… Wish us all a better 2013. Work/Play safe. Keep makin dust is my new sayin

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3524 days

#14 posted 01-12-2013 01:24 AM

I am one of those who sometimes gets a project almost done and lets it sit on the back burner for months, getting in the way and having to be moved every now and then. I have many things going on and some are just abandoned as hopeless! Others will never get done or may be re-purposed for something else. Some will eventually get finished. So in conclusion, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Feel better now? I do!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Heidi Neely's profile

Heidi Neely

550 posts in 3680 days

#15 posted 01-12-2013 01:34 AM

Yes, i do! Your description sounds all too familiar! I guess I’m in good company in the procrastination department :)

-- Heidi :) “The only source of knowledge is experience”

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