My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #193: Getting "Unstuck" by Changing Gears

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 12-13-2010 01:35 PM 4598 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 192: Finding Inspiration Part 193 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 194: Project Progress and Thinking Back »

I really like when I get so involved in doing a project that I can’t wait to get up in the morning to get at it. Today was one of those days. After feeling kind of stuck for a while on what to do for someone special on my list, I finally got the idea on Saturday and since then it has grown like a well cared for seed and looks like it is going to be turning out to be a pretty cool project.

I decided to paint a wooden sewing box for a friend of mine who loves to do counted cross stitch. Although I knew what I wanted, I couldn’t quite picture the project in its completion and I was rather stuck. I think that sometimes that just happens to us. We know we want something, but we aren’t quite sure what exactly the outcome will be.

I once read that it was impossible to reach your goals if you don’t know what they are. This little project that I am doing is a fine example of how true that can be. I knew I wanted something special that had to do with sewing, but I wasn’t quite sure what. Until I really thought about it and got a good picture in my mind of what the finished item would be, I felt paralyzed and couldn’t move forward or even begint to make it. After all, would you get into your car and start driving if you didn’t know where you were going? I think not. Without a definitive destination you would be senselessly driving around and wasting your time. It wouldn’t make any sense.

But once you decided on where you wanted to go and what your final outcome would be, it would be much easier to get there and reach your goals. That’s not to say you wouldn’t make a wrong turn now and then, but at least you would have a clear idea of where you wanted to wind up. I think this applies to many aspects of our lives. Once we clearly define what we want to accomplish, it is far easier to work towards it. It just makes sense to me.

Back to the box . . .

I began by base coating the box with three coats of acrylic paint. I sanded very lightly in between the first and second coat so the surface would be smooth and easy to paint on. While the paint was drying in between coats, I drew up my main figures of what I wanted on the box.

A vintage teddy bear . . .

From Diana's Sewing Box

An old fashioned sewing machine . . .

From Diana's Sewing Box

Another teddy bear to keep the first one company . . .

From Diana's Sewing Box

And a little sleeping kitty just because I love cats (so does Diana!) . . .

From Diana's Sewing Box

I shaded the lid and added a nice red accent stripe on the routing. This took a while because the red also required a couple of coats and I wanted it to stay neatly in the routing bead. I will probably add more later on, but for now this is a good start.

From Diana's Sewing Box

I matched the bottom of the container to the lid. I then started base coating the sewing machine. The base coat is the middle value of color, allowing room for both shading and highlighting . . .

From Diana's Sewing Box

You can see on the handle of the sewing machine to the right that I began to do some shading and highlighting. The handle itself is a really cool old gold metallic paint. There will be more gold accents on the sewing machine as well by the time I am through. This is as far as I got yesterday . . .

From Diana's Sewing Box

Now comes the fun part. After the base coating is done, I really enjoy the shading and highlighting part, as well as the detailing. This is the time when I get to let loose and just paint. My grandmother used to have a sewing machine like this (didn’t everyone’s grandmother have one?) and I remember the gold metallic designs swirled on the black painted machine. This certainly brings back memories of that sewing machine.

I hope you all don’t mind me showing all of this. It’s getting to be ‘crunch time’ and I will probably spend the next two weeks working on stuff like this. It is kind of fun to show it as I go along and I suppose that technically it is a woodworking project. It just highlights the finishing and painting aspect more. :)

It is funny that while I am doing this project, there are many wonderful new ideas that I have for the scrollsaw hatching in my head. I can’t wait to get to them either. It just goes to show that sometimes changing gears is really a great way to be inspired.

I hope you all have an incredible Monday!

-- 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 TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18316 posts in 3733 days

#1 posted 12-13-2010 02:03 PM

You better hope Dana doesn’t read your blog ;-))

You seem to have what I call the definition of happiness. Glad to go to work in the moring and glad to go home in the evening.

-- 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)

9231 posts in 2977 days

#2 posted 12-13-2010 02:10 PM

No, she doesn’t “do computers” at all! LOL I am quite sure that it will be a surprise to her on Christmas :)

And yes, I am pretty happy. It has been a long, LONG time since I could really say that. I am healthy and I love what I do and have a good life. I also have good people in my life (like you all) who share my love of art and creativity. What more is there?


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

View tdv's profile


1188 posts in 3127 days

#3 posted 12-13-2010 02:43 PM

Sheila your friend is gonna really love that! Beautiful work & a good lesson in holding off ‘til you have the fire
Being happy shows in your work I always find if my heart isn’t in it I’m not happy with my product
Happy Monday to you too!

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3360 days

#4 posted 12-13-2010 07:20 PM

yea sheila this is going to be a beauty…she will just love this…what a grand job your doing…enjoy your day …grizz

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

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3172 days

#5 posted 12-13-2010 08:57 PM

I don´t think anyone will take it bad up and dramatise this bescourse you show a thecnic
thats possiple to do on wood and has been many times during the history in europe and
if I ain´t too much out of the way allso in the rest of the world …LOL

I look forward to see the rest of this little blog serie about this project

take care

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3075 days

#6 posted 12-13-2010 10:09 PM

Sheila, I am really glad you did not paint over the other box cause I thought it was really beautiful and judging by how you did your first one, I know this one will come out absolutely beautiful and Diana will be thrilled! How big is the box?

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View William's profile


9950 posts in 2899 days

#7 posted 12-14-2010 02:15 PM

Sheila, it’s looking great. I am often impressed by your painting skills. I, on the other hand, am real good at painting and staining, as long as whatever I’m painting is going to be one solid color.
I hoped though that I could comment on your goal oriented style without offending you. I agree with you to a point. On probably 99% of my projects, I just can’t get started on a project until I have a clear picture in my mind of exactly what I wish to build all the way down to the smallest details. True I often change directions in the middle of a project, but I have to have that final goal in mind before I start, and I have to stop and contemplate changes in that set plan before I make the change.
However, I wanted to talk about the other 1% of my projects. I’m referring, by the way, to my most pleasurable projects. Every once in a blue moon, I will start some kind of wood project simply by taking a pretty piece of wood to the saw and just start cutting. I’ll make it up as I go along with know idea about what I’m building until some time when I’m in the middle of it. I compare this to having a sip of fine wine in the middle of a nice meal to cleanse the palette. It’s enjoyable to work with wood every once in a while just because I enjoy working with wood. If that project winds up in the fire wood pile, then so be it. Since there was no set plan to begin with, then it’s no big loss.
Now I’m not suggesting you do this. If the idea of doing so doesn’t appeal to you, then there’s no way it would be enjoyable to you. I just had to throw that out there because you made a few comments in this post that made me smile when I read them.
One in particular, you said, “After all, would you get into your car and start driving if you didn’t know where you were going? I think not.”
Yes I would. Yes I have. Just as I have started a project without a plan on what I’m building, I have often started driving without a plan on where I’m going. I have found many times in my life where I had to just go. I love driving. I got in my car (truck) and just drove. If I seen a road I didn’t know where it went, I took that road and seen where it did go. It is not the things I know, but the things that I do not know, that make life worth exploring. Sometimes, that road leads nowhere. In this beautiful world we live in though, nowhere is still somewhere. It may not be somewhere that we wish to be, but it’s still somewhere.
Of course, Sheila, current fuel prices have greatly reduced my driving without destinations, but I’m still sure you can get my point.
I don’t at all wish to suggest that you are wrong. I only wished to explain my reasoning for purposely flying by the seat of my pants though and hope it makes you smile for this reason. You too, I know for sure, have the same desire to visit the unknown. I know this because I have read numerous times of your walks in the wood. I’ve read of your adventurous walks with no exact plan of where you were going besides out of the house. So you see, a journey without a plan can be fun. It doesn’t make it impossible to reach a destination, only harder to tell when you’ve made it there.


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2977 days

#8 posted 12-14-2010 02:27 PM

Hi, William!
I don’t take any offense whatsoever in what you are saying. You are absolutely right and I do thank you for pointing that out.

There have been many times when I do just get in the car and go. I have even documented some of the recent trips here on my blog and in my Picasa folders. You are right. Those were some of the most fulfilling and fun trips I have had. I thank you so much for reminding me of that.

Perhaps there is a little bit of that way of thinking in this project after all. As you see, besides the sewing machine, bears and cat, there is nothing else drawn on the box. I suppose those four characters are going to be the foundation of the project. But I also want to have things on the lid and also to fill in the other areas. Much as you do with your wood projects, I am just going to let them come as they will and see what I feel will fit well when I am ready for them. It will be interesting to see how it comes out.

That isn’t my usual way of designing, and not in my comfort zone, but you are right in saying that sometimes that is when we make our best pieces. I think it helps us from getting stale and bored with things.

I appreciate your insights very much. I think it is one of the reasons why these discussions and friendships are so important to me. I believe it is always valuable to see things from more than one point of view, which is impossible without the input of others.

Thank you very much for helping me see things in a different light. :)


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

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