My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #47: A New (Self) Challenge

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-20-2010 01:27 PM 4445 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 46: Scrollgirl's Gone Batty!!! Part 47 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 48: The Best Way to Learn is to Teach Others »

I really appreciated the positive feedback on the Gothic Bat Candle Tray yesterday. It was a wonderful boost and some great suggestions were made. I am extremely intrigued by the Inlace Metal Dust that was suggested and I think that I have got to get my hands on some. Getting it here in Canada may be a challenge though as a friend of mine who does beautiful turning told me about it a while back and I couldn’t find any. I guess I have to hit Google and see what I can see. That would open a lot of doors for me design-wise, as I do love my little hint of sparkle here or there.

I tried the red glass seed beads for the eyes on the ebony bats and although they would have been acceptable I guess, I wasn’t really happy with them. Although cute, they made the bats look ‘bug eyed’ (like house flies) and the holes in the tiny seed beads were much too predominant for my taste. I picked them out with a knife, sanded the bats and tried again – this time with clear, flat-backed Swarovski crystals. The crystals were small enough, but they weren’t red. In the pink cloud world, I would have found red, and I am sure they probably exist somewhere, but I decided to settle with the clear, as it really still looks quite cool anyway. I found the crystals in the section of the store where they sell nail polish, as they were meant for ladies to glue onto their nails. (Can you imagine!) In any case, they made fine eyes for my little bats and they look pretty good. And most important – they are no longer “blind as a bat”.

I was going to use the red beads for the eyes on the bats on the tray, but I liked the way the eyes slanted and I feel it would have taken away a bit from slightly sinister look of the bats. Thus the suggestion for the Inlace. (I want it, I want it – but I want it NOW! LOL) I would love red metallic eyes and I think of all the other possibilities and ways to use that product. Hummm . . . .

One last thought on this project. It is interesting to me how difficult everyone assumes it is to cut. There is really very little difficulty involved with this one. There are not tricky turns or fancy manipulating of the saw blade. I guess that taking your time with the drilling is probably the most important thing to remember (and yes, I will say that in the instructions) By using a brad-point drill bit, you gently touch the drill to the wood and can center the bit quite easily. If you take your time to do this step right, the rest is really a cake walk. The only other thing I can think of that may be seen as difficult may be the eyes. But if you drill toward the center of the face, all you need to do is pull the corners out with the scroll saw blade to form a kind of tear drop and zip, you are done. The rest of the cuts are really forgiving and easy.

Someone commented that they thought the bats might be better off with more material holding the bats in place. I understand their concern, but I do stand by my design and can assure you they are quite sturdy. They are held on at five points each and although the points are small, the bats are extremely stable and under no danger whatsoever of falling off. I would venture to say that even if you happened to make a mistake and cut through one of the points, it would be fine. It is an illusion that they seem so fragile. I realize that many of you work with much larger blades and may forget that I use blades that are sometimes the thickness of a hair. That makes the detailing part of the job quite easy. You remove so little material at a time it is very easy to control.

So I guess the designing aspect of it was a success. I find the best designs are those that look difficult and complicated, but in reality are very easy and quick to execute. The tray part of the design took me under two hours to completely cut. If you add the prep, drilling and routing in, it was probably around three. I don’t consider myself a fast cutter. I am usually in no hurry when I cut and I put on some nice music and take my time. So a few hours on a project just doesn’t seem like a lot to me. Especially considering some of the other projects I have seen here at LJ’s!

I posted my pictures of the project and sent them to my editor and also the main wholesalers to keep up with things, and I received an email back from my main wholesaler within minutes saying she loved both the Autumn Leaf Candle Tray and the Gothic Bat one and she asked me if I had more. I told her I was working on many versions of them and she asked if I could have any more to her by the end of the month, as they wanted to include them in their autumn/holiday catalog. Now the cut off for the catalog was a few weeks ago and she had just picked up the Snowflake Candle Tray set and I thought I would have to wait for the next catalog. So I was excited about getting them into this issue, because it is traditionally their best catalog with all the customers lining up their autumn and winter shows and gifts. She asked how many I would be able to get her and I told her I would try to do 4-6 more designs by then. (YIKES!!)

So I guess it is really time to kick it into high gear and get going! I have a bit under 2 weeks to get these things done and I want them to be every bit as well thought out and attractive as the previous designs. This will be a great test and self-challenge for me. It isn’t as if the ideas weren’t already incubating in my head, as I was kind of rolling them around there as I had said previously, but thinking through the details and seeing them come to life will be a wonderful test for myself. I feel very much up to the task and I look forward to the next two weeks with excitement and enthusiasm.

On the down side (if there is one) I guess any thoughts of my entering the ‘fluidity’ contest went out the window. I had a nice project in mind that I was working the details out with but this is just too important and I am going to have to let it go. But there will be other contests, right?

With that said, I will get to it this morning. I starting drawing last night and hopefully will finish drawing the next tray today. Perhaps if all goes well, I can even begin cutting. We’ll see. I would rather draw – cut – finish, draw – cut- finish than do all the drawing, all the cutting and all the finishing at one time. It seems that starting and completing each project individually not only keeps me fresher, it allows me to give the attention each one deserves to be unique and beautiful. I am not one for mass production as a rule.

Do I push myself too far? I really don’t think so. I like having deadlines and goals to strive for. I think it makes me work not only harder, but better.

”You can’t hit a home run unless you step up to the plate. You can’t catch fish unless you put your line in the water. You can’t reach your goals if you don’t try.” – Anonymous

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

6 comments so far

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3798 days

#1 posted 07-20-2010 02:01 PM

Oh Boy Sheila, another deadline. You work good under pressure. There is no doubt in my mind you can do it. Looking forward to seeing more of your creations. Have a nice day.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3061 days

#2 posted 07-20-2010 02:09 PM

You seem to thrive under pressure, Sheila. Be careful though.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4110 days

#3 posted 07-20-2010 06:04 PM

Sheila, Packard Woodworks carries inlace metal dust in seven mineral varieties. Try


View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2946 days

#4 posted 07-21-2010 05:40 AM

Just be careful for those deadlines and target date.

I think we have same in common, due to the 7 rush boxes, I had cancelled my brain twisting design for the fluidity contest but I still want to make it later on and I will just compete and challenge myself if that is possible. I know Martin had done the impossible once and there is always the second, 3rd, nth time.

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2944 days

#5 posted 07-21-2010 11:45 AM

Thanks so much for your support everyone. I set the bar high, but there is always ways to back it down if things get too hectic. I do have a very goal-driven personality and thrive on deadlines, but for the most part, as I get older I have learned to be realistic when I shoot too high. I see the signs when they approach and it tells me that perhaps I am too optimistic. I guess that comes with ‘maturity’ LOL

@ barbs – Thank you for the link. I am looking for someone who sells it here in Canada, but it will be a great start, as it was hard to find anything at all on it. I appreciate the link very much!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3139 days

#6 posted 07-21-2010 01:25 PM

congrat´s big time from here :-)
to get anything in a catelog/magazine after the deadline is an impossiple mission!!!
that say something about how high standard you work is and how high they
presiate your work :—))
fantastic for you,you are the best, hurraae

best thoughts

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