My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #192: Finding Inspiration

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 12-12-2010 04:22 PM 4044 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 191: Overcoming "Blocks" Part 192 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 193: Getting "Unstuck" by Changing Gears »

After yesterday’s blog was finished, I went for my daily walk. As I had stated, it was snowing and turning out to be a beautiful day. I decided to take my camera on my walk with me so that I could share some pictures of what inspires me.

I had spoken about being rather stuck on a gift that I was contemplating making for a friend for Christmas. Although I knew I wanted to makes something special, I was unsure as to which direction I would take. The recipient loves to do cross stitch, and keeps with here a medium sized cookie tin with the supplies she is using for the current project. Although the cookie tin is quite adequate and functional, I feel that I could make something that would be a bit more artistic and somewhat nicer for this purpose. Since she does most, if not all of her cross stitching at home, the item I had in mind wouldn’t necessarily need to be portable.

I also noticed that she really likes nostalgic teddy bears. In fact, the current cross stitch picture she is working on is one of teddy bears in a sewing room. It is absolutely beautiful and is almost fully covered in stitching. The scene is several vintage teddy bears among sewing paraphernalia and it has an overall nostalgic look to it. The colors are deep and rich and it is quite beautiful. She has a nice place reserved for it on the wall of her dining area where she does much of her work.

While I was walking, I was thinking about the box I would like to make for her. I originally had a medium sized rectangular box that was about 10 in long by 7” wide and almost 3” deep. It was a bit smaller than the cookie tin she was using though and the quality of the box was mediocre. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to invest the time and effort necessary to paint it because it just wasn’t the type of thing that I would consider a keepsake. I am sure I would be able to use it for something, but it just didn’t seem right for this project.

It is amazing to me how getting out and having a change of scenery can get your mind going in a new direction. It felt so good walking in the fresh air and walking through the falling snow and not trying so hard to come up with something. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and the break that I was taking and getting out. I wasn’t cold at all, and took my time to walk the trail and appreciate the smells and sounds and look of the day.

When I was just about home, I remembered that I had some nice wood pieces that I had bought from a painting supplier several years before. Among them was one of my favorite pieces to date – a round box that was intended to keep cookies in. I had painted up one from a Betty Caithness pattern which looked like a Victorian house and sweet shop.

This is the other side:

And the lid:

I don’t keep many of the things I paint, but I really do like how this one came out and it still sits up on the top of my refrigerator to this day. I had bought several of these pieces, as I loved the shape of them and the quality was really nice. Although it is a bit larger than the cookie tin she is using, I think it will make a nice piece to keep her supplies in and hopefully be something she will keep for many years. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it before.

I plan to paint the gift with some teddy bears and perhaps a vintage sewing machine on it. I thought that on the lid I could perhaps paint a tape measure and some spools of thread and scissors. I want to keep the theme nostalgic. In one of my other life times, I used to design and sell mohair teddy bears, and I believe I still have some pictures of my own bears that I had made for reference photos. It is quite exciting to see the project coming together in my mind and I am very anxious see it come to life.

I retrieved the container from where I had it stored and sanded and base coated it yesterday. While it was drying in between coats, I spent the day drawing. I have two bears and the sewing machine drawn, and I also decided to do a sleeping kitty on the back, as she also loves cats. Although all the details are not clear yet, I think in the end it will be a fine piece to give as a gift to a special person.

It is amazing how a simple walk in the woods can clear your mind and inspire you. I don’t know what reminded me of that container, but something did between the time I left the house for the walk and the time I returned home. Perhaps letting go and not trying to think so much was the answer. Just allowing the pleasant and simple things in life to be the focus seemed to do wonders to clear my mind and get back on track. Letting the inspiration come to you instead of looking for it.

We all have creative blocks from time to time. When we are in the midst of them, it is sometimes difficult for us to see a way out. I think that backing off and refocusing on something that gives us pleasure, no matter how simple it is, can be a wonderful way to overcome those difficult times and stimulate our creativity.

At least it is worth a try. Enjoy your day!

From Dec 11 2010 Walk

-- 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 Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 2986 days

#1 posted 12-12-2010 08:01 PM

This is lovely and almost a shame to repaint something else over it! But don’t let me sway your thinking.

You have a beautiful place to take your daily walks in but for me, I can do without the snow! My back hurts more in the cold so I do not miss the low freezing temperatures! Although I do miss the beauty of the fall colors and fresh fallen snow especially when they are light and fluffy and sticks to all the branches. It has been quite cold here in Fla. the past week and will continue through the next week, although you folks up north would laugh at our “cold” temperature and gladly exchange our lows for your lows it is cold for us who have become acclimated to the warmth. We have our fireplace burning and seem to be the only ones on our block to be using it daily. I especially love to have it going this time of year and love the warmth it provides! Call me a wimp, I don’t care! ;-)

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2888 days

#2 posted 12-12-2010 08:29 PM

Hi, Erwin:

I am not painting over the container that I showed. I just was showing it for size and shape. I have another one that I am doing the new painting on. :)

It is nice here despite the cold. I actually enjoy the snow and cold weather. Always have. I wouldn’t have it any other way! :)


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

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18249 posts in 3644 days

#3 posted 12-13-2010 12:26 AM

That is one awesome cookie box!! I supose you will post he gift box when it is done, eh? Bet she will ove it ;-))

I like the snow and cold too, when I have the option of being out in it or not. The pits when you are working out there all day. I think the coldest I have ever been was working on the VA hospital in Seattle. I is on top of Beacon Hill, the wind was blowing off the sound at 20 mph all day. It was below freezing. There were no sides on the building yet, just the steel structure. That steel held the cold too. You could not wear enough clothes to stay warm all day. If you did get enough on, you could not move !!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2888 days

#4 posted 12-13-2010 12:01 PM

Thanks TS! I will be posting progressive reports on painting the new one. :)

I wear 3 – 4 layers when taking my walks. The layers are thin and then I have a longer wool sweater that goes over everything. It is not uncomfortable and I haven’t been cold at all yet. I got some waterproof hiking boots from LL Bean several years back and they are great. They are as good as new and I can walk in a couple of inches of water and still not have wet or cold feet. Really quality boots. They weren’t expensive either as boots go.

I am only out there for at the most an hour, so that helps too. I wouldn’t like it if I had to be there all day either. It is just good to get out and get some fresh air. :)


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

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4060 days

#5 posted 12-13-2010 12:53 PM

Wow, this is beautiful Sheila. The detail in your pieces is just amazing to me, especially this one. This is a work of art… wonderful… love it.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2888 days

#6 posted 12-13-2010 01:43 PM

Thanks, Chip. I liked that one too. That was designed by Betty Caithness and I painted it from her pattern. She is incredible. :)


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

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