My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #125: My Own Self-Challenge

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 10-06-2010 01:04 PM 4247 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 124: Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder Part 125 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 126: The Results »

I am really excited again. Already I know that it is going to be a great day. I got up early again (well – maybe I should say earlier) because I can’t wait to get things rolling today. It is a good reason and a wonderful way to start the day. I have already read through all of my mail and it is still pitch dark out, but that is OK. By the time I am done here and showered and done my morning clean up it will be late enough to get going. Besides, we are having the roof redone and they have been showing up here just before 8am. That means that I can start to scroll saw earlier than my self-imposed 9am starting point.

I did well yesterday. It was one of those days that I sat down to draw and the design just flowed out of my pen- mouse like magic. It was one of those days when the sun and the moon and the stars must have been lined up just right because it came easy. I felt like an artist and a designer. I am not saying that with any arrogance or anything like that. Those days are special and incredible. Ask any designer. If they are honest they will tell you the same. I haven’t quite figured out why some days are better than others, but when I do, I will bottle and sell it to all the other designers. It just felt great.

I created another candle tray. This time I did a geometric style tray that I have been wanting to do for months. The design was inspired by the great Frank Lloyd Wright and although I didn’t copy any of his designs, I did try to use the “flavor” in which he designed to create this item. I probably should have done something more seasonal, as I am doing this for the catalog deadline, but sometimes you have to learn to go with the inner flow and let things create themselves. I had a Valentine’s tray planned as well as perhaps a St. Pat’s tray, as they will be suitable for the timing of the catalog, but I just wanted to do this type of try for a while and it was just time.

So I did.

I finished and refined the drawing yesterday and I picked a piece of dark walnut for it. Somehow I felt that dark wood would be the perfect choice for the look I wanted. I laid out the pattern and cut the perimeters and did the routing and today it waits for me to do the fretwork cuttings. I can’t wait to get at it.

This, my friends will be one of the most challenging pieces that you have seen me cut since I have been here at LJ’s. When you look at the finished piece, you may be wondering what I am talking about, but there are many straight edges and to me that is far more challenging than those beautiful and delicate little swirls you have come to expect from my work. Straight cuts on the scroll saw are much more difficult than the swirls. Because of the small size of the blade, it tends to wander slightly and follow the grain, even with the steadiest of hand. For this reason, I need to use the thickest blade possible which will still allow me to still achieve the precise corners necessary to the design. I cut the perimeter and center already using a #5 blade and I was very successful in keeping a straight edge on the 1/2” walnut. However, if I were to use that blade for the inside cuts, the corners would appear to be rounded and not as sharp and I want them.

I usually use a #2/0 blade for most of my small work, but I am afraid that the blade will waiver too much and the lines will look uneven. So my choice for the day will be the #2. A good in-between size that should do the job for me. I would have started last night, but I didn’t get to the point I am at until after supper and I wanted to be fresh and not rush things. I have some good music lined up and my workspace is sparkling clean and I am fresh and ready to tackle the task at hand, feeling well-rested and eager.

Here is a peek at the design to show you (I love to tease!):

From SLD333 Wright Inspired Candle Tray

I promise when I show it tomorrow, there will be no Photoshop tricks and you will see the real cutting, no matter what the outcome. We know each other well enough by now that you all realize that I will have no satisfaction in trying to be something I am not and making things appear better than they actually are. This will be a self-challenge that I will share openly and honestly with you, as I always have. I think I can do a good job and I hope I can do it justice.

Speaking of challenges . . . . I am also feeling as if I am ready to start my shoe carving in earnest today. I don’t see the tray taking all day by any stretch, and if I am successful with it and apply the first coat of oil on it, I can either start working on the next tray or start the shoe. I think that the shoe is going to be my choice because I don’t want the others to get too far ahead of me and I am riding on this small measure of success and think it is a good time to jump in and get my feet wet with it (no pun intended!) Up until now, I haven’t felt that creative and I didn’t want to start it until I was ready. It is difficult to define why, but I do feel ready now. Perhaps success breeds additional success as the saying goes.

So you can see why I am excited and raring to go! Who wouldn’t be? It is fully light out by now and time to get moving. I hope I have good news for you tomorrow.

“We become what we think about all day long”.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher

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

7 comments so far

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3029 days

#1 posted 10-06-2010 02:30 PM

Shelia, you always have such a positive attitude! It is indeed contagious. Your new design looks great from what I see. I also agree that a “sparkling clean” workspace breeds creativity.

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View BertFlores58's profile


1695 posts in 2915 days

#2 posted 10-06-2010 03:04 PM

This blog is full of realities in your life. The flow and direction are so vivid with what you are targeting. I can feel that there is no challenge in you on the things you do. I can say that it is a self-deternmination that is in you and it is the bright attitude that progresses… of course it goes with your accomplishments.

I like very much geometrical design such as spiral, parabolic and even combination of such. I am sure, your surprise one will let my mind work again.

About the shoe… that is a big challenge for everyone who joined though it is small. Just be careful as this is really tricky using a dremel. I have done some etching on a glass and sometimes I fell that I was just writing on a piece that is clamped or stable. The glass I was etching flew away about 3 meters and incidentally nobody was around my vicinity. The glass broke into several pieces in the floor. It did not hit me …. luckily.

-- Bert

View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3519 days

#3 posted 10-06-2010 03:42 PM

Good luck today, all those straight lines are truly a challenge. I really love the sneek peak that you gave, looks fantastic, as all your designs are :)
After readig your blog today, I have decided that today is going to be a great day for me as well. Sometimes I need to work on the attitude going into the day. Thanks

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3108 days

#4 posted 10-06-2010 08:35 PM

I don´t know how you do it Sheila , but you do it very good
yah what on earth is he talking about
people desided they want to have , and usualy do get a great day after they have read your
always possitive blog nomatter how dark you look at things that day :-) or hurdles you have been trugh

and now I have descovered you even are cable of saving days after they nearly is gone

thank´s for that Sheila and your always possitive stile
ceep up with your pink claud as you self say :-)

take care

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2913 days

#5 posted 10-06-2010 09:10 PM

6.5 hours later – with practically NO breaks – I am done cutting! Thank you to all my ‘cheerleaders’ who tole me I could do it! Now on to sanding and finishing . . . . (I will show you all tomorrow!)

:D Sheila

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

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2836 days

#6 posted 10-06-2010 11:58 PM

One of the things I like about you is how I know a lot of times exactly what you mean. You saw a need in the second paragraph to explain that you weren’t being arrogant. I didn’t see it that way at all, even without you explaining. I know exactly what you mean as I’m sure so many others here do if they think about it.
For me, there are times I’m thinking about an upcoming project that I just feel overwhelmed. I actually wonder if I can do it. Once I get to doing it though, if I’ll just put those thought out of my head and let my creativity flow, then it all just starts to fall into place without me even thinking about it.
For me, and the type projects I do, the hardest part is the beginning. I’ll use my present project as an example because I know you’ve been seeing it. The hardest thing for me was the beginning, where I had to pay close attention to the structural integrity of the project. That’s hard on me because I have to go slow and make sure things are just so. After the structure is stable I can move on to my “vision” for the project. That’s when things really get to be fun to me. That’s when I can just let things go and work withouth worrying much about anything but what I “see” in the project. While I don’t claim to be an artist, it does make you feel very artistic when this is happening.


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2913 days

#7 posted 10-07-2010 01:24 AM

Thank you so much William. I also know just what you mean! I must say though, I grossly underestimated the time on this one. I knew it would be a challenge, but it surprised me at just how long it took for me to do.

I am fortunate though that taking longer doesn’t matter to me. I would rather do one project at an excellent standard then ten rushed though that are just OK. I am not doing production work. Even with my little army of bears, I took time with each single one, knowing that each one would have an individual home. It is just my way of doing things.

I am absolutely exhausted right now. It is only 8:30 pm and I worked through all day, as well as put out a few fires and did some important things business wise. I just finished sanding and oiling the tray and taking pictures for tomorrow’s blog. You will have to wait until then to see it. :)

I am going to surf around here at LJ’s tonight and check on your unicorn and see how you are doing too. It is certainly an outstanding project! Thanks so much for your comments.


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

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