My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #329: Just Plain Busy (and a New Toy!)

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 05-04-2011 01:27 PM 5297 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 328: A Pretty Good Day Part 329 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 330: Many Business Decisions to Make »

I must say that I am feeling a bit relieved today. There seemed to be a lot of little things piling up yesterday and I think it was getting to me a bit. Sometimes it is the small things that can add up and create anxiety. Each one of these things in itself was not really that big, but thinking about them all at once began to overwhelm me.

When I realized that stuff was getting to me, I sat down, made a list and began checking things off one by one as I accomplished what I needed to do. By the end of the day, I felt much better.

Days like that don’t happen often, but it seems that sometimes the little things can pile up and before you know it, you are forgetting something or missing something that you need to do. I find the best way to deal with them is to take a breath and get better organized. I find that taking the time to sit down and make a list is well worth the time, because it allows me to think about the task at hand rather than worrying about what I may be forgetting to do.

I finally got my box packed up to ship out to the magazine today. That is always such a daunting task, so it seems. Packaging up delicate fretwork and sending it into the postal system (AND expecting it to arrive in tact) is something that has taken me years of practice to figure out. I think I have the process down now, but that was only after learning things the hard way.

Last year I even wrote an article on packaging and shipping, although my editor has yet to run it in the magazine. (I need to remind him of it – another thing to add to the list!) There are definitely ways to minimize damage when shipping and when I implement them, I am fairly successful at getting things to their destination in good shape. Nothing is worse than hearing that my hard work was damaged in shipping.

With that out of the way, I needed to call a couple of customers and get some orders out. I always like talking to customers, as more times than not I hear of their latest ventures in regards to woodworking and which projects they are making. This feedback is valuable to me because it not only tells me what is going over well with people, but also what people may be looking for in the future. Many times when talking to my customers, I find that by the time our conversation is done, I have made another friend. It is a really good part of my business.

Keith spent the day working on getting his new lathe set up. I am trying to talk him into doing a tool gloat on it, but I think he wants to wait until everything is in place to do so. He is very meticulous about things and I am sure that once he has built the stand and the cabinet to store it in, he will be happy to share.

I can say from my own observation that I am quite impressed with it. It is just about the size of the new scroll saw and it runs very quiet. It is a General International variable speed maxi-lathe vs+ (model 25-200 M1). I can’t believe how smooth and quiet it runs. He has only tried it out on the floor in the corner of the kitchen, but honestly the scroll saw makes more noise than it does.

I know the kitchen isn’t an optimal place to do lathe work, but we have all smooth laminate flooring and he was working in the far corner away from the counters and stove and such and after about two minutes with “the monster” (the shop vac) everything was clean. He only turned a couple of things, but I think for the time being at least, it is very workable and will be OK.

Dennis asked me to sneak a picture of him at the lathe, so I did:

He spent the day preparing some pen blanks of plain maple and getting his new tools in order. He made a nice slimline pen, which I think is awesome and then we even drilled out some blanks on the scroll saw to fill with epoxy that was tinted with acrylic paint to experiment and see how they would come out. Keith tried a couple of crosses and I of course did a cat. The epoxy is drying so we won’t be able to turn them until later today or tomorrow. I promise to show them to you all.

He also tried turning a small hollow bowl, which looks like a finger bowl for the kitties:

I think it is really cute and it made me happy to see Keith so happy and excited. He set up several pen blanks to work on today and I think we have created a monster! With his being so particular and detail-minded, I can only imagine the beautiful things that he will create in the future. It will be fun to see for sure.

And finally . . .

I was thrilled when last night right before retiring I tried the site and it actually worked. Hallelujah!!! Now I can spend the next couple of days preparing the update for it. With being gone the beginning of April, I didn’t update it last month at all. I have a couple of new items to post and I want to change the free pattern too. I also want to change the sales so that my customers can stay interested during the warmer months.

Much to do . . . much to do!

It looks like it is going to be another nice day outside, although it is a bit overcast. I bar-b-qued yesterday for the first time of the year and made some great ribs on the grill. I am ready for some summer cooking and the outdoors. The only negative about things are the bugs are also enjoying the nice weather. Time to get out the bug spray. I remember last year someone told me about something you can hook on your belt, but I haven’t been able to locate it yet. Please PM me if you remember this or have any information regarding it, as I would like to get one. :)

I hope to accomplish a lot today. I have more ideas for different projects and need to get moving on them. It looks to be a busy day. I hope you all have a great one!

-- 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 huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2640 days

#1 posted 05-04-2011 02:39 PM

Shelia , I know what you mean , by little things building up and overwhelm you . Some times these little jobs can take more time getting the tools and set up to do them , then the actual job . By writing a list sometime a job can be combine with another and does help . Looks like Keith is enjoying himself. But I’m sure he won’t want to sit like that all the time . Looking forward to seeing the pens

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4004 days

#2 posted 05-04-2011 03:25 PM

Hi Sheila;

I know what you mean by having to package things very well to have half a chance of arriving without damage.

We go to extremes when shipping our Ezee-Feed units. We used to use custom sized cardboard shipping boxes, but too many units got damaged during transport. I was beginning to believe the drivers were trying to get us to get a different shipper.

We started making crates out of 1/2” ultra lite MDF, with 1/4” luan plywood. We also use cardboard protectors, hot melt glued in place to hold things. While this does add to the cost of the product, it has almost eliminated any complaints of damage.

Keith looks comfortable on the floor, playing with his new lathe, but I bet he’ll like having a cabinet or stand to place it on. That’s a nice little bowl he did.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3140 days

#3 posted 05-04-2011 06:59 PM

:-) great to see you already working on it but don´t rush so much keith
if you have waited until you had made the cabinet for it , it wuold have been
so much more of a pleasure to to turn the first thing …. LOL
looking forward to hear more about the lathe and seing items from it in combination
with the scrollwork
great to hear your site is up and running smothly again Sheila :-)
I expecting a little package myself in one of the next days from England
I am very excited in what shape it will arive after have been thruogh two country´s
best demolitionsystem … lol

take care

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2945 days

#4 posted 05-04-2011 08:31 PM

Yes, he is planning on the building of the stand/cabinet right away. He just wanted to give it a little test run to see how it worked. He certainly isn’t going to be sitting on the floor all the time to work! :) It is just a matter of reorganizing a lot of stuff and making room for it.


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

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3328 days

#5 posted 05-04-2011 11:25 PM

that is a really nice lathe, and a nice size to start on, good luck kieth…

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

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2913 days

#6 posted 05-05-2011 09:45 AM

Hi Sheila.

Here’s a tip for Keith. Put up a ring of curtain rods around his lathe area and hang some shower curtains from it to keep everything contained. They’re cheap, and thge space at top and bottom allow good air circulation and heat dissipation.

As for shipping, ever try cutting 1/4 or 1/2 inch sheets of styrofoam to fit and then stack them in a box? Also, hobby shops that cater to the radio controlled model boat set carry a liquid foaming plastic. Lay out your pieces on a flat sheet, protect with waxed paper and then pour a bit of the mix in the box. It foams up to fill the voids.

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

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3738 days

#7 posted 05-25-2011 06:06 AM

I used to work as a shipper/receiver for a retail camera company. I got really good at packaging fragile cameras, enlargers and such to be shipped all over rural Manitoba (including bushpilot deliveries up north). A smashed camera is expensive and a real hit to the reputation of the store, so I had a lot of motivation to do it right :-)

I’ve got to stop reading about how much fun lathework is…Jen is pretty tolerant of my tool habit, but…

Good to see you’re back in the swing of things, hopefully the irritating little things always remain small for your!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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