My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #100: Passing Another Milestone

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 09-11-2010 01:44 PM 4087 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 99: Memories of My Beginnings in Woodworking Part 100 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 101: Seeing Others Blossom »

Yesterday was a full day. It seemed that every minute I was busy but it was one of those days where at the end of it I looked at what I physically accomplished and it didn’t seem that it should have been so hard to do. I think some projects are like that though. They take much more out of us then we realize.

My main accomplishment was getting the written instructions of the Skating Pond done and to the Assistant Editor (who is the woman who used to be the Editor) of the Christmas 365 magazine. We had communicated since the other day and she was very happy that I was keeping the project in the magazine, but she requested the written instructions as soon as possible. When I told her that I would have them by Friday, she was glad because she said she could work on them over the weekend. So it was time for me to stay focused and get them done.

When I paint a new project, I keep a little notebook to jot down the colors that I am using as I go. The brand of paint I use (DecoArt) has over 250 colors available and it is easy to go on a rampage and use 100 colors on a project. If I were doing one of my own paintings, like my Cheetah that is on my site, I wouldn’t really be concerned with how many different paints I used. I love using acrylics and use them for many of my ‘fine art’ type of paintings because I am familiar with them and can get them to perform like oils without the odor or mess.

However, one thing that I don’t like doing with them is mixing them to achieve a certain color. They dry very quickly and it is near impossible to achieve the identical color back to back when you are mixing. You are probably wondering why anyone with a palette of over 250 colors would want more colors, but you would be surprised how many times when doing delicate shading or highlighting that you feel you need a color that isn’t there. All I can say is that it is like the question of “do we ever have enough wood?” You can replace it with ” do we ever have enough colors?” and most artists will also answer with a resounding “no”.

My DecoArt Palette:

From Miscellaneous

These are all their Americana Acrylics. I keep them all in a bench in the living room for easy access. The missing colors are the ones I am using now, as they fill it up pretty much. It is easy to see how one could just keep grabbing colors at will, without regard as to how many different ones will be used.

When I design a project for a pattern packet or for the magazine, I try to remember that others may not have all the colors in the palette as I do and I do try to overlap colors when possible. Now keep in mind, that I don’t compromise the design at all by doing this. It is just a matter of if I need a red and there are two or three reds that are close in color that would work, I would lean to the one I may have already used and continue with that instead of introducing a new and very similar color. To me it is just regarding the painter who may want to do the project.

I remember when I first started painting out of books, I would go to Michael’s or sometimes several of the craft supply stores with my list of paints in hand to get the paint colors I needed for a particular project. Typically there would be one or two colors that the store didn’t carry and it would initiate what I would call “A Quest” where I would hit every paint store in the south suburbs of Chicago looking for that color. More than a few times, after searching and finally finding the coveted color, I would go home and paint the design only to find that the elusive color would only be used to highlight a cheek or paint in a tiny button. How frustrating when I thought back on the hours of hunting for it!

For that reason, I also have taken to offering color swatches on my pattern packets. For the swatches, I smear a small drop of the color and name it right on the pattern so people can see what it looks like and the relation to the other colors (ie – if it is a slightly darker red than the previous base coat). This way if they already have something close, it will save them the time and money of trying to get a color that they don’t have.

But for the magazine and doing an article such as this, I needed to be dead-on. After all, part of what makes the magazine work is the advertising from the paint and brush companies and they also will pay a small endorsement fee for published articles to us designers for using their products.

Many designers use several brands of both paint and brushes and switch back and forth from article to article. For those of you who know me well enough through this blog however, you can guess that I stick to one brand for each. I have my reasons and I will talk about that another time perhaps.

So the instructions came to ten written pages, without the corresponding pictures or the paint list. That was a lot of technical writing even for me. I was planning on painting last night, but I finally sat down to do so and it was already 9:30 pm. I was tired and just felt like reading for a bit and calling it a night. I curled up with one of my three favorite cats “Richard” and read through some new books I received on Wednesday until I fell asleep.

Here is a picture of Richard in his Happy Place:

From Miscellaneous

I think for today and tomorrow I am going to take it a bit easy. I think I passed a good milestone yesterday. Writing the instructions for the skaters and all this commotion regarding them has made me want to finish my set even more. I don’t, however want to start in on it late at night when I am already tired from the day’s events. I think I will spend the weekend working on it “at leisure”. I want to make some more sticky buns, as the last batch is gone and also I have a birthday party today for a good friend that will be a fun and social event. I haven’t been with people in a bit and am looking forward to some face-to-face visiting.

Robert (my wood magazine editor) loved the star ornaments and I am going to be designing a set for him that will be done in light wood and tinted like I tinted the candle trays with red, white and blue coloring. This set of stars will be patriotic for those who haven’t already guessed and will be great for our Spring or Summer issues of the magazine. But I will get to that Monday.

I also have new candle trays to do for Halloween that I need to get done by the end of September. But a break is in order for now. I want to do what I want to do and have some fun. :) Keeping that balance is what will keep me fresh and from burning out.

Have a wonderful day!

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

8 comments so far

View jackass's profile


350 posts in 3736 days

#1 posted 09-11-2010 03:50 PM

Hi Scrollgirl,
Congratulations on your 100th post. I’m having difficulty keeping up with reading them all. Very informative though.

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2943 days

#2 posted 09-11-2010 04:00 PM

Wow, Jack! I just realized that it was my 100th. That IS a milestone, isn’t it? I am glad you like them and I will continue to write as long as you guys want me to. I can’t tell you how much you all mean to me. I truly consider so many of you my friends and appreciate your comments and support and friendship. It is always a bright part of my day when I am here on LJ’s and I really value the people that I have met and the things I have learned talking with you and seeing what beautiful work and inspiring work you all do. Here’s to the next 100!

:D <- annoying smilie!


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

View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3549 days

#3 posted 09-11-2010 04:57 PM

Congrats on the 100th blog!! I read your post every morning. I find the behind the scenes of pattern development very cool. Keep up the great work!

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3138 days

#4 posted 09-11-2010 11:55 PM

congrat´s Sheila thats a big milestone maybee not so much for you :-)
but for me it has and has been a pleasure all the way , not that I understand it all
but it has been the dot. over the i in the learning curve since I joyned L J
even thow your great blogs :—) is little too long for me to overwiew in one session
I have loved every minut with the dictionary.

cheers to the next 1000


View William's profile


9949 posts in 2865 days

#5 posted 09-12-2010 02:57 AM

I enjoyed seeing the palette. It amazes me that with everything else you do that you actually have time for painting. I think that’s why I hate painting so much. I just don’t ever seem to find the time for it. If I paint anything besides just a single solid shade, then I start wanting to dig in for the long haul and do little details. Then I will wind up taking longer to paint a project than it took me to build it. You seem to turn out these painted projects effortlessly though. The details I’ve notice on some of your projects would take me way too much time to achieve. I’d rather take that time to cut intricate designs. I guess that’s why I’ve told people in the past that I’m a scroller but I aint no painter.


View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3041 days

#6 posted 09-12-2010 04:07 AM

Hi Sheila, I enjoy reading your posts and articles and I read them daily and even come back to read comments. My wife has gotten interested in scroll sawing from seeing your patterns. I am lucky in that she also is a very good painter and does the painting for me. I’ll be posting a couple of her works to give you an idea of her skills. She does acrylic, water colors and oils but not so much oils(takes too long to dry).

What is the best all round kind of blade to use? I like the 5R blades and the 2R but my wife is not as comfortable with them as I am. She is breaking a lot of blades. I sort of think it is because she tends to take her foot off the pedal when she is turning her piece. It doesn’t happen every time but often enough. A tips you can offer for her? (other than keep cutting and get more experience)

Still waiting for the patterns.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2943 days

#7 posted 09-12-2010 04:10 AM

Thanks so much to all of you. You really know how to make a girl feel humble. I am glad that I inspire you Knucklenut because you also inspire me. There are some days when I wonder what I will write about and I ramble on, but people have told me that they like reading what I write, so on I go. It also helps me to organize my day and thinking and gets me moving in the morning in a positive direction. I like you all to see the different aspects of designing and it is good to share the good and the bad with my friends here.

Dennis, I appreciate your taking the trouble to translate my posts every day and I value your input a lot. You make me want to try harder and do better and you are great at cheering me on when I am feeling low. You are a good friend.

And William, it has also been great to see all of your talents and the wonderful work you do. I also enjoy reading your blogs and seeing what you are up to. It is good to share with others who share our passions.

As far as the painting goes, I just love it too. I haven’t had time to do the really nice stuff like I have in my Gallery on my site lately, but I feel the urge to do painting like that returning. I went through some difficult times before, as I had said, and I felt it robbed me of being able to create in that way. The past year and a half I have really worked to get my business back in shape and I am finally starting to see that happen. I hope that it continues. I think then when I am more secure with that, I will allow myself the time and luxury to do some more wildlife painting. It is still a bit off, but closer each day.

The stories you share and the projects you show all motivate me to work harder and do better. I can honestly say that I have a good life and am at peace with things. That is a great place to be. Hearing that you read every morning MrsN makes me want to write each morning. I think we are all here to support each other and that is great.

Thanks to you all for your support and friendship. I couldn’t have found a better group of people. :)


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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2943 days

#8 posted 09-12-2010 04:24 AM

I just saw the comment from Bearpie:

I use the 5R, 2R and 2/0R Olson blades most. I like the Olson brand the best because it really has the best control and doesn’t wander.

As far as the blade breaking – Is she letting the saw do the cutting? Sometimes people tend to push a little too hard and then blades break more often. You may be right with her pulling her foot off of the switch at the corners. If she is going too slow and twisting the wood to turn, it could very well cause breaking. I let up the pressure when turning. I think one of the most important things in learning to saw accurately is to pivot without going forward. You need to know how to control the amount of pressure you are using in feeding the wood through and that probably comes from more time on the saw and more confidence.

On my good sawing days, I am relaxed and can pivot pretty much in place and really stay on the line. You get kind of into a rhythm and you don’t even think about it much. I don’t have a foot pedal so my speed stays the same unless I manually adjust it while sawing. I could see how letting up on the foot pedal could possibly make the saw slow down at an inappropriate time. I don’t know if that is what she is doing, but it may be contributing to it. I guess just practice and confidence will help that. With a teacher like you, she should be on the right track soon. :)

I will contact you about the patterns by tomorrow. I was on the phone until 10:15 tonight about the site update as they are making things a bit more complicated than I wanted and I haven’t been able to put new things there. I will probably just send them to you and we can square up later.


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

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