My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #167: I Love Technology

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 11-17-2010 02:38 PM 4373 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 166: A Wonderfully Postive Outcome Part 167 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 168: The Pink Cloud is a Little Green Today :( »

I felt yesterday was quite a productive day. Although I didn’t get any drawing done, I was able to update the site and get the notifications out to the customers about the update and the new sales and such. I am really liking the new software for the site. It makes everything so easy and professional looking. I am now able to add images into the bulk emails I send out and even though I stick mostly to basic formatting, it allows endless possibilities so that I can make my notifications look pretty snazzy. It even inserts the logo from my site on the top of the email. That will help people to associate me with the site, I hope.

Technology is a wonderful thing. I think at how things have changed in just the past ten years and I am amazed at the power we have. The ‘toys’ that are in our own homes today are things that only a few years ago were only available to the most sophisticated or privileged ‘techies’. Now they are everyday things and easier than ever to use.

Just this morning I received a message from a customer who had a questions (In French!). At first I thought it was spam, but I kind of sort of understood some of it and thought it was worth some further investigation. So I went to Google Translate and dropped it in and viola! (that’s French!) it worked! I thought of Dennis who translates just about everything on this site and the thought of that alone is mind boggling! In any case, I was able to at least give somewhat of an answer to the customer this morning. I just typed in English and it translated to French for me. I am sure that all the grammar isn’t as proper as it can be, but at least they should be able to understand it. We will see.

I also figured out something quite exciting the other day. It seems my two year old camera has the ability to take videos. Now, I am not talking about shooting “Gone With the Wind” or anything like that, but just some short video clips up to fifteen minutes in length depending on the quality I choose. When I saw that, the little light bulb went off in my head. Many people have been asking me to do videos on both scroll sawing and painting techniques and I want to help them out, but purchasing a video camera just isn’t in the cards for me financially right now. I am just getting my head above water and really need to watch every penny. But the other day, I tried a couple of short videos (starring my three kitties!) and I was amazed at how good they looked. Even the sound was very acceptable without the use of an additional microphone. What a wonderful discovery!

So now my head is spinning with all the video shorts I will be doing and offering on my site. There are many people interested in the skating pond set that are afraid to pick up a paint brush and I feel if I can show them how easy it is to accomplish, perhaps they will give painting a try.

Also, there are many things that I can teach with scroll sawing that are better shown than talked about and I can start a little series there to get people going.

And the best part of it all is that the new site has massive capacity and also video capacity so I should be able to upload them right there for people to watch. (Oh, so cool!) Can you tell I am excited?

I attended a “live” painting class online last night at I wanted to see how things would work because I have never done that before. The cost was minimal and we receive the full pattern for the piece when the class was done, so there was little risk. One of my favorite designers was giving the class and I wanted to experience seeing how things were done.

I think the live video class has a good place for those who want to learn, but it wasn’t really for me. We were given prep instructions to prepare the background for the piece ahead of time. The prep included three videos showing the teacher explaining the techniques and we were able to paint right along with her. That part I loved. I thought that for someone who was learning that it would be a wonderful way to understand techniques and accomplish the painting.

However, in the actual live class, it was more or less a chatroom. The teacher came in at the designated time and we got moving from there. There were about 30 students in there and prior to the class, we were naturally instructed to keep the ‘chat’ to questions pertaining to the project. The teacher went through the steps one at a time and asked about questions, and there were occasionally some asked. For the most part, we were walked through the pattern and then able to click on photographs on the side bar which corresponded to the given steps.

It was nice to know that the teacher was there ‘live’ to answer questions, but I found that it was quite different from what I expected. The preparation videos I felt much better conveyed the process than just the written instructions. I don’t know if I expected the entire class to be a video, but I found myself wandering off to other tabs and coming back to see what was going on. The class lasted a couple of hours and I last left off when they were on a three minute break.

For myself, I feel that the written instructions with the photographs were just as good as the live class without the pressure. Again I am only speaking for myself, but if I were new to painting, I would be afraid to ask (type) a question and hold up 30 or so people at risk of appearing stupid. I saw that there were some questions asked, and I was happy for that, but I don’t know if I would be able to do that. It is just me.

I think for myself a better approach would be to show the basic techniques and then offer a good patterns with some step by step photos which progressed along with the instructions. That way people could do things at their own comfortable pace. Or else they could do as I did and watch the class and then go back and try the project on their own with a better understanding.

I suppose it is like comparing apples and oranges. Different people learn differently and I do think it is a good option for many to learn in this way. The site is wonderful and the teacher did a great job. There are also a load of videos of previous classes and techniques you can access with your membership there. I do recommend it to those who are interested in learning to paint.

I want to get back to drawing today, as I have some more trays in the works. I received my latest issues of Creative Woodworks and Crafts and the small fretwork dresser tray was in it. They did a nice job of showing it off and I really like the presentation.

From Magazine Publications

I remember doing that project just when I joined here at Lumberjocks, back in late May. Time sure flies, doesn’t it?

It seems again like I haven’t been at the scroll saw for quite a while. There are so many other aspects that have been calling me away from it and I can’t wait to get back to cutting. I hope to have a couple of new projects to show by the end of the week. I want to use my new wood!

Have a great Wednesday!

-- 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 grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3326 days

#1 posted 11-17-2010 04:37 PM

yea i just love the possibilities of you having some instructional video….doing ones that will excite a wood worker to want to get in there and get to cutting…nothing to hard…of coarse i cant watch them , since i only have dial up connection…but i dont count…but i think its a great thing…get it on…thanks for a good blog today…there always good….let the pink cloud hover today….and have a good day yourself…grizzman

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2942 days

#2 posted 11-17-2010 04:58 PM

Hi Grizz!

Yes you DO count! :)

I can always offer the video shorts on DVD. I have conversion software and I am sure I can figure it out. It would be nice to offer small ‘sets’. Whatcha think?

I also want to make it clear that I think the online painting class was great! I don’t think I made that clear. I think for someone just starting out with painting it is a wonderful way to get on the right track with the teacher right there for you to talk to if necessary. I love the entire site and what they bring to the creative world.


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

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2910 days

#3 posted 11-17-2010 08:03 PM

Hi Sheila.

Look out, George Lucas. Here comes Sheila the video producer! ;)

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Steven Davis's profile

Steven Davis

118 posts in 2937 days

#4 posted 11-17-2010 08:57 PM

Sheila, don’t host the videos, set up a channel on YouTube so that they will host it, publicize it, and pay for the bandwidth… and just embed the video on your own site. It will also allow you to get subscribers through YouTube (and probably other good things).

-- Steven Davis - see me at

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3058 days

#5 posted 11-17-2010 09:06 PM

I’ve been trying to steel myself to do videos. No luck yet. I’ll have to get someone else to voice-over them. No one will understand me!

Mind you if you can do it that might just tip the balance. Not being derogatory there or promising anything mind you.

You changed your ‘handle’ !

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2942 days

#6 posted 11-17-2010 09:15 PM

Oh Martyn – I hate my voice and also pictures of myself! You wouldn’t believe how many shots it took me to pic one for the show picture (the same one for my avitar!) I don’t really like my voice either. I love to sing though. When I sing along I usually put the volume up so loud I can’t even hear myself. Then it is OK. I promise no singing on videos though. I don’t want to scare away anyone.

Doing videos is something I have been avoiding for a while. I have seen so many crummy ones and I want them to be good. Decent quality and all. I think though that people really need to see how things are done on the scroll saw and with painting and finishing too. They would be helpful and get people interested. I am surprised how many woodworkers want step by step painting videos.

I figure if I start small, it will be OK. After all – you can’t throw rotten tomatoes through a computer screen!

Besides, accents are cool. The only accent I can do is a good Tennessee hillbilly one! :) (Though here in Canada they sometimes mistake my Chicago accent for a New York one!)

I would love to see videos of your work. Come on! I will if you will! :D

-- 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 3137 days

#7 posted 11-17-2010 11:05 PM

Hello and good afternoon Sheila (in the mittle of the evening here )

First : thanks for the kind word :-) and ooh boy I´m glad I have learned so much english the last year
so it goes pretty good to read and understand the danish gang is even talking english when it comes to
woodworking /tool specificwords just becourse of L J funny how a site like this has so big influence
on people ….LOL

Second : I want your camera or atleast to know where to get one , after two you said you wisch you cuold take vidio´s and wupti sudenly it can , wonder what it will transforme to next time …..LOL

Third : now you can laugh :—)) believe it or not I was actuly a DJ in my young days and I still remember
how funny and werd it is to hear my own voice coming out of the speakers if I have recorded something
I wanted to make a rehersel of …..LOL
it take a few times to get used to , I think the way you shuold make the vidioclip is pretty much covered
by members of L J , like woodwhispere, T-cheisel (T-Macdonal) , steveMaskery, Etc here is a link to
one of his
I just picked one as an excample , make some rehersels and have a scribt and most importen
no ahh , hoo , æææ, øøø, , mmmm between every word that just sound like you don´t
know what you speak about and where you want to go (lik a some politisians I know of…lol)
take a look at those three´s woodworking sites and see some of the vidios and you know what I
meen when I say just bee yourself and teache :-) bang bang bang the good thing about this is
you don´t have to look after the class and see if everybudy had understand it
make short vidioclip you can always clip them together to make them longer
but three to five minuts vidios to start with and then you can always make some there is alot longer
and sell them as DVDs …LOL

Fourth : one of the most importen hardwarethings is USE A TRIPOD ! sorry for my shouting :-)

A last note this teaching thing online with a chat at the same time newer works well or shuold I
say good enoff when you think of the efford that has been put into them and what people
had pay for it when it comes to creative things like woodworking and painting
its okay if you try to learn math , language , Etc. things thats typical use a blackboard

huu this was a longer one I stop now
anyway its pretty much covered my 3 cent (inflation)

have a great evening Sheila


View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2903 days

#8 posted 11-18-2010 02:45 AM

I recommend a tripod. Set it up with good lighting around the work. Florescent might not be the best ‘color’ – harsh, but you can reflect incandescent off a white board etc. You’ll ‘see’ it once you shoot.

The pros create a ‘storyboard’ to convey what each scene in the story will tell.

You can write a script about each scene. You don’t necessarily need to talk during the filming, you can talk over the film after; which will take all the juggling out of it. Not to mention talking over the noise of the saw!

If you have a PC, most likely you have the Window’s “MovieMaker” already installed? Import the movie to it and use the ‘timeline’ feature. I’m pretty sure you can do a voice over there? You can edit out the ‘screw up’ parts, put music behind it (or voice…), create fancy entrances and transitions – creative stuff…

If your camera doesn’t have the right format for MovieMaker, you can download the free AVC “AnyVideoConverter” which will allow you to change to the format required – probably .MOV?

With these simple tools (and free!) you can make professional looking instructional videos. I can’t wait to see it!

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

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