My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #357: Inspiration

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 06-01-2011 11:41 AM 9239 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 356: Today Is Another Day! Part 357 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 358: Busy Times, Good Times »

I must be excited about June being here because I got up so early this morning (just after 4!) It was one of those funny times when you are just lying there for half an hour or so in the dark and can’t sleep. Nothing is troubling you or anything bad like that, you just are thinking about the upcoming day and can’t wait to get started. After a while, I thought “what the heck” and got up. I think the cats think I am crazy. :)

Yesterday was a good day.

I will have to say that it was the nicest day of the year so far. It was sunny and warm, not hot and there was a breeze but it wasn’t too windy. I spent the morning sorting through my clothes and getting my winter stuff ready to be put into storage – a sure sign that summer is nearly here. I always leave a couple of sweatshirts and long pants at hand just in case, but it always feels good to sort through things and get things (ahem) “organized” (there’s that word again!)

While I was sorting, I got a couple of good messages on my computer. My editor accepted the polar bear for the magazine. (YAY!) So now I will be writing up the instructions and sending him off for his excursion to New Jersey. Good thing that I too nearly 80 pictures while I was making him. I should have plenty of material to make a nice instructional article.

I also had a message from my largest pattern wholesaler contact. I had written her to ask the cutoff date for the next catalog. This is the first big holiday catalog that comes out at the end of August when people are getting back into their shops and thinking about all the autumn craft shows and also the holiday gifts. It is traditionally one of the best selling times of the year for patterns. I was told that the date would be around July first, so that gives me a month to really get my butt into gear and get those fall and holiday designs done. I don’t have to have really anything but the photographs for these new items by this date, but the instructions should all follow in the next couple of weeks after submitting them. This allows me to really stay focused and get some nice things out there.

I have always said that all I every ask for is opportunity. This, ladies and gentlemen, is it.

With the warm sun and the sand and the gentle ocean breeze calling to me, the future is now placed in my own hands.

Did you ever read the story of “The Ant and the Grasshopper?” It is funny how that childhood story comes to mind so often in what I do. People tend to think that being self-employed means staying in bed until ten in the morning if you wish and long, lazy afternoons at the pool or beach or on the golf course (if I golfed!) I love when people ask what I do and when I tell them say “Boy! You are lucky!” Luck has very little to do with it.

The longer I do this, the more I see that it is about discipline and balance. If I chose to sit on the beach every warm and sunny day, you could rest assured that I before too long I would probably have to buy a tent and sleep there too and learn to call it home, cats and all. Now that may not seem too bad during May or June, but come November and December when the weather changed, it would be pretty chilly.

That doesn’t mean that I can’t sneak away for an hour or so on a sunny afternoon and take a break. Most people get designated ‘lunches’. But the key here is to manage my time and accomplish so that I am able to take those special breaks and keep them well – special. It is a delicate balance that is always changing with every new element that is introduced in my life. I don’t think it is for everyone. But I like it and when it works, it is sweet.

In the afternoon I was ready to take my things to storage and retrieve my summer things and I had a list of errands that I needed to do. With living in the area I do, everything is pretty much in line on one highway that runs along the shore line. I simply started from the furthest point and worked my way back home.

The whole process took about two to three hours, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I almost stopped at the car wash to do the car, as it is sadly in need of a rinse, but it wasn’t really that bad and it was beginning to approach dinner time and it was time for me to head back. Perhaps another time. I arrived home and made supper on the grill and began doing some laundry and putting away my stuff and sorting receipts.

By the time I was done, it was nearly eight. I felt so rejuvenated though from accomplishing so much that I started a new drawing. Before I knew it, I was done. It only took a couple of hours to complete because I was thinking about it all the time I was driving along the coast. Many times if I think through things in my head first, when it comes time to put them on paper or the computer they go down pretty easily. This was one of those times.

Here is my typical ‘teaser’ for you all to see:

It is what I will call the “Classic Fretwork Shell” tray. I wanted to do something that was full of fretwork for some reason. The graceful shell design reminded me of the scallops that we are famous for here in Nova Scotia. While I was laying in bed thinking this morning, I though that I might embed a pearl bead in each of the scallop shells. I have ovals drawn in now, but I will change them to circles to accommodate the beads. I think it will add just the right amount of interest to this classic design.

So was I ‘goofing off’ yesterday? I don’t think so. Besides accomplishing the many errands I intended to do, I also got to enjoy the beautiful scenery and breath some fresh air and find inspiration for what I think will be a nice design. I can’t wait until I can crank up that saw and get cutting today!

Some days (many, lately) I do feel that I have a very good life.

I wish you all a wonderful day too.

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

3 comments so far

View KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3093 days

#1 posted 06-01-2011 12:09 PM

That shell tray looks like it’s going to be a very fancy, detailed piece. Good luck!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2944 days

#2 posted 06-01-2011 12:16 PM

Hi, Bob:
The horse I can sell and that is on my site. It is the polar bear that the magazine took. . . . Just saying! :)

It will be a fun day cutting that tray out. I haven’t chosen the wood I will use yet, but I am thinking of perhaps sepele or maybe even cherry. I think a medium colored cherry would look nice with an oiled finish. I hope I have some that is the right thickness!

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

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2866 days

#3 posted 06-01-2011 02:54 PM

It’s easy for someone to tell someone else how lucky they are. I’ve often gotten the same response as you. It gets to me sometimes. I love doing the woodwork that I do, but I don’t consider myself lucky at all. I have to push myself most days to be able to do even the simplest projects. Then I have someone tell me how lucky I am to be able to have time to do this. I am blessed after the wreck I went though not to be dead. I wouldn’t say I was lucky though. I feel like telling those people sometimes that if they think I’m so lucky, they can have it too. Just go break their back in multiple places. Then I want them to come back in a few years and tell me how lucky they feel.
Anyway, I’ve gotten off topic a little. I can’t help but think that some of the people who have told you this also are people who would never make it doing what you do. I have been self emplyed. Before I got down I run a successful mechanic shop and wrecker service. To make it successful though I worked twelve to twenty hour days from six to sometimes seven days a week. Then when all that was done I had to do the paperwork if I didn’t want the government on my case.
I admire the work you do. I don’t envy you one bit though. Working for yourself involves long days, hard work, and all for the chance to make it, or go broke. What some people don’t realize about self-emplyment though is that there is a very fine line between the making it and going broke.
I like the “teaser”. I am a fan of classic fretwork designs on anything. Some fretwork designs are simple on the surface, but yet can draw your attention in so intently that you can’t take your eyes off of it. One of the things I like to tell about classic fretwork styles though is that people have been cutting them since hundreds of years ago. Even before foot powered scroll saws, people used the first scroll saws to cut these type designs. The first scroll saws resembled very much a coping saw. You seen the Italiante Chandelier I done. It amazes me to think about it. That is a seventeenth century design that was probably originally cut by hand, with a hand saw. I built it in about 150 hours. How long do you think it took to do it by hand?


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