I'm not exactly new to woodworking but I'm definitely still a novice. I make a lot of little projects, and with them a lot of little mistakes that I'd like to learn from before they happen. I've made some small boxes, a coffee table, a butcher block, some book cases (simple open frames-not cabinet style) some photo albums and similar projects.
So what is my question? Simply, from some of you more experienced folks, what would be a good apprenticeship as far as project progression. So far I've built things I wanted or needed or things I wanted to give as presents to other people. I've definitely learned some things and I'm learning more by reading several magazines and woodworking books, but nothing beats training under a master craftsman. Unfortunately I don't have one of those handy and even if I did, he/she probably wouldn't tolerate my odd schedule.
So for someone that likes to build things, all things, what would be some good projects to build essential skills? Obviously boxes with different joinery are great to build the most basic and fine skills alike, but what else?
I have plans to build a bed, a dining table, some cabinets, and several other things. Right now I've been treating all my pieces as training pieces and all are in reasonable states of presentability, but I'd like to make something that really "shines".
Any "learning" project suggestions?
I make everything from my own plans and drawings but I don't really have any idea how to do proper lay-ups for cuts and often find myself changing my designs mid project for things I think will work better, or because I have no idea how to really do (properly) what I want.
So for us true novices how did you masters start? I've already jumped into the deep end, now I want to learn how to swim.