My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #181: Poinsettia Candle Tray

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 12-01-2010 02:43 PM 5334 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 180: Silly Things Make Me Happy Part 181 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 182: Nativity Candle Tray is Finished »

Sometimes I have to laugh at myself when I look back and read the goals I set out for myself in any given day. I think if I ever actually achieved all I set out to do, I would be labeled “superwoman”. I don’t think it is necessarily bad to set our goals high. When my kids were young, I used to tell them “If you reach your goals, you are setting them too low”. Now I was only kidding when I said that, and I made sure they knew it, but I can’t help but think that there is just a little tiny morsel of truth in that. I sometimes feel that when I achieve certain goals that I set for my self, I must be setting the bar too low. If it is too easy to achieve your goals then certainly you mustn’t have asked enough of yourself. But over the years, I try to think that I have learned to find a good balance of what is actually a goal I can obtain. Yesterday, however was a poor example.

I had stated in my blog that I planned on cutting out the next two candle trays. I should have realized then that I was being a bit ambitious, but I suppose I was up there on my pink cloud thinking I could actually do it. The day started out with things going pretty well. I spent some time choosing the right pieces of wood for the two trays. I had thought I had some nice oak for the poinsettia tray and I was thinking a lighter maple would be nice for the nativity tray. I wanted to use oak because I planned on using some stain to add color to that tray. However, I didn’t have any oak that was suitable. The one piece I found in my stash that was close was slightly warped and also had some mold on it. (By the way – if anyone knows how I can eliminate mold in the oak, please let me know. I have a piece that seems to have a slight problem with it)

I decided to go with ash. I had a nice board (I was going to title my blog “A nice piece of ash” but I thought better of it!) and it would be a find substitute for the on the poinsettia tray.. I actually like it better, as the base color is quite pale and the tinting looks really nice on it.

By the time I picked my boards and set them up, it was already getting on to late morning. I then had two lengthy phone calls – one with a wonderful customer and the other with my editor regarding the promotion of my skating pond set – and by the time I was finished and ready to hit the saw, it was already after noon. The final realization that I wouldn’t be completing both trays came when I started cutting the poinsettia tray. I don’t know if any of you remember my strawberry lazy susan project that I had posted previously (a picture of it is in my gallery). It looks simple and has over 500 cuts and took me many hours to cut it. Well, the poinsettia tray is in a similar wispy style and when I was drilling the entry holes, it occurred to me that this is exactly the same type of piece. I knew I was in for a long afternoon.

Now I didn’t mind that at all, as I think the lazy susan came out wonderful and I did like the look of the candle tray. When drilling, I realized that I had 128 internal cuts in it, not including the drilling holes for the center of the flowers and the berries. I immediately adjusted my goals and the timing in my own head and just enjoyed the task at hand. I suppose that is one of the many benefits of being my own boss. It is easy to shift the time line as things come up and both the phone calls, although unanticipated, we certainly welcome and beneficial.

In any case, it was after six when I finished the actual cutting. I was extremely pleased with the outcome of the tray. Here is a picture of it all finished:

From SLD339 Poinsettia Candle Tray and Charms

And the detail of the design:

From SLD339 Poinsettia Candle Tray and Charms

It wasn’t quite finished being sanded when the photos were taken, so there are a couple of rough edges. I did finish sanding it and I used the staining medium on it to add color to the flowers and the holly leaves. I really was happy with the outcome:

From SLD339 Poinsettia Candle Tray and Charms

And again, here is some detail of it:

From SLD339 Poinsettia Candle Tray and Charms

I still need to cut the charms out today and I also plan on cutting out the nativity candle tray, which is much simpler to cut. I finished up at around 9:30 last night and although I didn’t finish everything that I wanted to, I was extremely happy with what I did accomplish. Quality and not quantity and all of that.

I think goals are important and very useful if you don’t get too hung up on them. It is nice to set them and have something to work for, but it is also good to allow for life to get in the way sometime and have your goals flexible enough so that if something comes up, you don’t feel as if you failed if you don’t reach them as you originally planned. I use goals as guidelines to help me plan my day, and especially since I have been writing this blog, realize that they do change often and it doesn’t mean that I was a failure, but quite the opposite. I think that being flexible is a great asset to anyone who has their own business, as it is a far more realistic way of thinking and you are less likely to be derailed in your plans than if you were rigid in your way of thinking. At least it works that way for me.

I hope you like the candle tray. I am looking forward to completing the other one today. I am still shooting to get the site updated by the weekend and since it is only Wednesday, it is quite possible. I will give it my best shot.

May you all have a happy and creative day!

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

4 comments so far

View Rick13403's profile


256 posts in 3500 days

#1 posted 12-01-2010 04:14 PM

Good morning Sheila, The poinsettia candle tray is out of this world. The tinting makes the whole thing pop out. I can’t wait for you to update your site because there are patterns that I want to pick up for the winter shop time. Thank you for sharing your designs with the rest of us,

The Scroller and Toler

-- Rick - DeWalt 788 & Ex21 -

View Handi75's profile


377 posts in 3470 days

#2 posted 12-01-2010 10:38 PM


This one is pretty sweet. I like it.


-- Jimmy "Handi" Warner,,, Twitter: @Handisworkshop, @HandisCreations

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2915 days

#3 posted 12-01-2010 10:41 PM

Thank you both. I just finished applying the acrylic matte spray to it and it really brought out the grain wonderfully. I am so pleased with it! It looks even nicer than what I photographed last night when there was no finish on it. I will be retaking the pictures tonight and have some more in the morning, as well as the nativity tray. That came out cool too. :)


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

View helluvawreck's profile


31044 posts in 2862 days

#4 posted 12-01-2010 11:00 PM

You do beautiful work, Sheila, and you are quite productive; and no wonder since you have such a wonderful attitude toward your work. :) Keep up the good work.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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