My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #336: Another Pull Toy Replica

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 05-11-2011 01:03 PM 4684 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 335: "I See the Light!" Part 336 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 337: "Learning to Fly" »

I can’t remember when I last felt so good about things. I have always loved what I do, but it just seems like things are really falling into place and it is truly a pleasure to get up every morning to work. I don’t know if it is the new tools or my friends or being organized or just being at a good place in my life that makes it so enjoyable. Perhaps it is because I am doing what I have always wanted to do. It feels so wonderful being able to draw and make fun things and be creative. Although I do realize that I can get overwhelmed at times, I think between the deadlines and the computer and the wholesalers and the customers there is a good sense of balance in my life and it does keep me fresh. I am getting better at recognizing the stress points and I think I am learning to alleviate them by either focusing on something else or taking a step away altogether for a bit. These things may sound simple, but they are actually quite profound.

Yesterday was such a satisfying day. I was excited about my new project and couldn’t wait to get started on it. It is a companion to the Antique Horse Pull Toy and although it is similar, it has some different features that make it fun and unique on its own. As with anything, the sheer fact that I now had a better idea of the building process helped me to feel far more comfortable in thinking it though and putting it together. I had learned from the mistakes that I had made on the horse and before I even touched the piece of wood, I felt confident that it would go smoothly.

I have been very pleased with the reception of the horse pull toy replica. The responses from those who have seen it, as well as the sales of the patterns have been encouraging. I believe that is because the world is in such a tumultuous time right now that many people long for what is perceived as a simpler and less complicated era. As with the skating pond, these nostalgic decorations stir up memories of those times and in some ways bring comfort. I find myself getting lost in pleasant thoughts as I researched and created these items. I think about days before computer games and electronics when toys were powered by a child pushing it along on a floor and filling in the blanks with their own imagination.

I realize that it may sound silly, but things like this trigger some wonderful and comforting thoughts for me. When I was in Chicago, we visited the Museum of Science and Industry and one exhibit that we saw has been there ever since I was a small child. It is called Yesterday's Main Street and it has always been one of my favorites. It consists of a short walkway which is a replica of how a typical main street would have looked in the early 1900’s. Complete with clothing and food stores, and even a dentists’ office and silent movie theater (which showed two alternating movies continually.) For the several minutes you were at the exhibit, you were transformed to another place and time in history.

Not only does it allow you to ‘visit’ a place long ago and feel what it is like to be part of it, but now for me, it also brings back memories of school trips and friends and my own childhood and growing up and being at the museum. I have a photograph of myself and several of my high school friends in an old model “T” car that we had taken when I was in my sophomore year of high school when I was 15. We used to take the bus to the city and spend the day at the museum ourselves. The museum was so large that we would have teams and play a kind of hide and seek game and spend the entire day exploring. It was a great time and a wonderful memory. (I will post the picture in a bit)

Back to the project . . .

For the second in the nostalgic toy series, I chose to make a Grizzly Bear Pull Toy. I have had an incredible piece of Wenge here that I acquired last fall when we were in Halifax and I have been waiting for the proper project to use it for. I thought that the beautiful grain of the wood would resemble the short, dark hair of the grizzly and it did a splendid job of doing so.

From SLD350 Antique Grizzly Bear Pull Toy

I made the wheels a bit simpler than I did on the horse, as I felt I wanted the grain of the wood to be the focus for this project and keeping the wheels simple were necessary to accomplish this. I also decided to make the wheels of Baltic birch plywood and paint them to resemble aged metal wheels that were popular back then.

From SLD350 Antique Grizzly Bear Pull Toy

When the bear was finished, I was thrilled with him, but he needed something else. Even though his “fur” was quite impressive, he appeared a bit plain. I had recently obtained a roll of ‘rusted’ wire and some small bells that also had a rusty finish on them. I thought they would be perfect for this project and strung the bells on the wire and made a collar for him.

From SLD350 Antique Grizzly Bear Pull Toy

The wheels I painted a color called “Soft Black” which is a DecoArt Americana Acrylic paint that is readily available. I love the color because it is a brownish-black and looked less crisp than straight black. I then brushed a layer of Antique Gold Metallic paint over the wheels, not quite covering them fully. This gave the worn metal effect that I was seeking and looked wonderful. Finally, I thought that the bells were a bit too dark and rusty next to the dark wood of the bear, and I brushed a bit of the gold here and there on them to highlight them.

I am very pleased with the overall look. (The pictures I have here are not good because I finished after 9pm last night and didn’t have any natural light to work with. I plan to retake them today and replace them here so you can see the details a bit better)

Every step of this project was a pleasure to do. In cutting on my new saw (with the new light) I felt so comfortable and happy having such a beautiful saw to work with. I can’t believe the difference! The more I cut on it and the more comfortable I get, I find that it is wonderfully relaxing to work on. Switching from my DeWalt saw to the Excalibur is like when I moved up from my Buick Regal to the Mustang. The Regal was nice, but there was a whole different feel driving that Mustang. The Excalibur really brings my sawing up to a whole new level. And now with the light too! That is like the cherry on top of the hot fudge sundae!

I hope you enjoy my new little friend here. I have other companions for he and the horsie too. I need to write instructions today and also work on something that I am doing for Bernie. I also have some new candle trays that I need to make, and ornaments and so many other things. The list is long but it is one fun project after another and I can picture them all in my head and can’t wait to make them real. It will be a fun adventure.

From SLD350 Antique Grizzly Bear Pull Toy

Have a great day!

-- 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 patron's profile


13606 posts in 3366 days

#1 posted 05-11-2011 03:12 PM

wonderful new addition to your work

you certainly are a power house
of creative and fun ideas

and positive energy

always a good start to my mornings

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3328 days

#2 posted 05-11-2011 06:33 PM

well would i be over the top here if i said good choice of animals…lol…am i prejudice…lol…i might have to say that i am…but i love it, i love the wood choice…that is one wood i have not ever worked and im afraid if i bought some , it would be dooms day for me with wanting more…but im so glad you did this with the wood you did choose…great job Shelia..

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

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3140 days

#3 posted 05-11-2011 06:40 PM

dang you was first Grizz
or wuold have said I know one more than me who wuold love this bear :-)

thankĀ“s for sharing it Sheila :-)

take care

View stevebuk's profile


57 posts in 2709 days

#4 posted 05-11-2011 09:00 PM

Got to hand it to you sheila, they are stunning. I think the idea of romantic nostalgia is one of those feelings that never leave us, and we have to bring it to today’s younger society too.
Keep it up, cant wait for the next one..

i am going to contact you regarding an idea.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3043 days

#5 posted 05-12-2011 01:19 AM

I read this post this morning on my pager but was not able to access pictures till I got on my computer and I will admit that I like the bear pull toy and think it is cute!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2945 days

#6 posted 05-12-2011 01:50 AM

Thank you everyone for the nice comments. Grizz – you know I was thinking about you when I made this! :) I love doing these for a nice change. They are so different from the fretwork that I usually do. There is something really satisfying about “building” something and having it come out nice – no matter how simple it is.

I have been thinking about more ‘toys’ of this type and have many ideas, as well as some great suggestions from others (thanks, Steve!)

I was not feeling one hundred percent today – really bad allergies to some bug bites – and I didn’t get on the computer much, but I want you to know that I do really appreciate your encouragement. I will be back at it tomorrow, hopefully. Thanks again! :)


-- 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 2913 days

#7 posted 05-12-2011 05:07 AM

Twice blessed is he who earns his daily bread doing that which he would cheerfully pay to do.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2945 days

#8 posted 05-12-2011 11:57 AM

I am that BT! :)

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

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