My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #404: Living is Better That Just Going Through Life

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 07-18-2011 01:47 PM 1495 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 403: A Sincere Thanks Part 404 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 405: Time After Time »

As I sit here on Monday morning and reflect on the weekend, I look back on it and think that even though I seemed to be busy every second of each day, I didn’t really get many things of substance accomplished. In reality I did check several things off of the list, but I can’t help but think that somehow I could have done better.

I suppose that sometimes I am not the best manager of time. I noticed that there are times like this past weekend when I appear very busy and I really and truly am, but at the end of the day when I am tallying what to check off the list of things to do, I come up rather short. It can be a bit disappointing.

I have always liked Mondays because they symbolize a fresh start to a new week. I think that is why I like the mornings too. By getting up before the rest of the world, it gives me a chance to get my bearings and jump a little ahead of the game.

Yesterday I talked about my blogging here and I was very happy to read that I have become a part of your daily routine just as much as you have become part of mine. I feel that even though it takes a little time for me to post every morning, the amount of positive returns that I receive back from the experience on so many levels is certainly worth it.

We are all creatures of habit. We like routine. No matter how spontaneous we are, there is comfort and security in organizing and controlling our lives. Although curve balls are a very real part of life, most of us are able to better cope with them if we have certain anchor points that we rely on to remain unchanged. What those anchor point are varies with each individual. Some need job security. Others find it in family. The requirements are as unique as the individual, but I believe they serve as ‘resting points’ in between the chaos that each day brings in our lives and helps us deal with life’s ups and downs.

Keeping a journal has long been looked upon as a positive activity. It helps us to slow down and step out of our life for a bit to ponder and evaluate our surroundings and events that are happening. It also helps us to think and reflect on our actions or on certain situations which may be overwhelming us at any given time. It allows us to document certain events in our lives, both positive and negative, so that we have a better understanding of them and perhaps make better decisions in the future. The bottom line is that it makes us think.

When I had jobs that I needed to drive to, I did much of this thinking on the way to and from work. In commuting each day back and forth, the driving itself became somewhat routine and it left lots of time for thinking and reflection on the days events. I found this ‘mental journaling’ to be very helpful. The car itself served as a buffer from the rest of the world, as there were no cell phones or other interferences to clutter my mind. To this day, I still enjoy a nice long ride in the car at times when I feel overwhelmed and overloaded. It clears my head and helps tune out the interference and clutter of life when I am trying to sort through something.

I find my writing here to be very similar. Many mornings I play barely audible classical music. I find it calming and peaceful. As I write here, I figure out what will be the priorities of the day. Those of you who read often know that I don’t always accomplish what I set out to do, but I don’t think that it really matters. The way I look at it is that it is a start or suggestion as to what I would like to see done. Frequently, I am over-optimistic and I do find that it is rare that I accomplish all that I set out to do. I have learned though that it is OK if that happens, and I have learned to stop chastising myself for not completing my daily mental list. The bottom line is that there was a list in the first place, and it served as a framework for my accomplishments of the day. I have learned that allowing the list to remain fluid is very important to my own well-being and satisfaction, and that I shouldn’t be judgmental if everything on it isn’t completed.

With all that said, it is time for me to get on with it.

I did get the 72 ponds cut yesterday to go with the figures. As usual, it took a bit longer than I anticipated. Each of the skating ponds measures approximately 8.5” x 11”. Each of the corners of the ponds are rounded 1.25”. I could have left the corners square, as it would have been much less work for me to do, but I felt it looked rather plain unfinished by doing so. My partner noted that it would be a bit of extra work for me to round the corners, and I conceded it would, but once I had the picture in my mind that it was going to be that way, there was no turning back.

I had toyed with the idea of cutting the rectangles on the scroll saw, as the trip to Bernie’s to use the table saw would take up half the day or more. There was no way to just drive up there, use the saw and leave. It would require at least half a day’s visit and a meal. Since I haven’t talked to him all week, I didn’t know if he had plans or not and didn’t really like the idea of ‘dropping in’ as Ellen so often invited us to do. In all likelihood, they were at the cabin anyway.

But cutting 30” x 30” sheets on the scroll saw did not seem to be the way to go either. Besides the fact that cutting a straight line on the saw is questionable on even a good day, cutting seemingly endless inches of 72 ponds with four straight edges each and making them look nice and professional was neither appealing or even probably possible for me. I must admit that I did seriously consider doing so for a bit. If anything it would be a challenge and hone my skills of cutting straight.

But now wasn’t the time to experiment. I wanted these to look nice.

We opted to go to Keith’s parents’ house and use his dad’s antiquated table saw to do the job. Although the saw was old, it usually did the job and since pinpoint accuracy wasn’t really required, we thought it would suffice. After a couple of tries, he actually got the motor going (under protest) and we were able to cut the long edges of the ponds. However, when we turned the saw off to reset the fence to cut the short edge, we found that the tired old machine has taken its last breath and refused to start. After several minutes of attempting to resurrect it, we made the final call and pronounced it dead.

What to do now?

Over in the corner, sat our cheap 10” sliding miter saw. We had picked it up cheap at Canadian Tire a year or so ago, and it sat on the floor of one of our closets for almost a year before we finally decided that the space would be used better by other things and stored it here. It finally had its chance to become the hero of the day and we put it to work.

We were able to finish our task uneventfully and got the 72 boards cut. I then took them home to round the corners on the scroll saw, which I also did without incident.

By the time that was done it was time to make supper, and just as I was doing so, I checked my mail and there was a call from Stevinmarine here on Lumberjocks. It was a challenge to make a band saw style box smaller than his own. Being up for the challenge and not to be outdone by him, I jumped right in – dinner could wait! I even got Keith involved in the design (if you could call it that) and gluing up of the box. It was a fine effort I felt and even though we were quickly unseated by KnotCurser, who made a box much smaller than ours, we had our moment of glory .

Most of all it was FUN!

So there went the day. Not without fun and silliness and a sense of friendship with my fellow woodworkers here. I find it to be a good life and one that I am happy to have. I am looking at 84 emails in my mail box at this moment. Some which I need to answer and some which I don’t. So if you are waiting for me to do so, please be patient. I need to play sometimes too.

I have my list mapped out for me today. Will I accomplish everything on it? Probably not. But the important thing is that I will enjoy doing what I do and push that pile a little further. After all, that is the difference between just going through life and actually living.

I hope you all enjoy your 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 William's profile


9906 posts in 2264 days

#1 posted 07-18-2011 02:58 PM

I’m glad you go your ponds cut. I don’t know how ya’ll do it sometimes. When I say ya’ll, I mean you and Keith along with several other woodworkers I know who work out of non-shops. Some have small shops. Then some have non-shops, or no shop at all. I have many tools in a large shop, and even I have to stop and do some head scratching sometimes to accomplish certain tasks. I usually do it over coffee. If I had to work like ya’ll I’d probably have to start doing my head scratching over something much stronger. So I commend you all who find ways of doing the nice work you do without a shop at all.
I’m often intrigued when I see little things going on. What I mean by little things is your box you posted yesterday. I don’t dare get involved though. As you know, I like large detailed things. I get aggrevated with tiny hard to see things. I congratulate you on your box. I’m glad ya’ll had fun on it. I have fun looking at it. I don’t think I’d have as much fun making one.
You said you bought the miter saw at a place called Canadian Tire? I have to ask. Is that a funny name or is it what it sounds like, a tire shop that sells tools too?
I ask this because it reminded me of a little town I lived in when I met my wife. It was a tiny nowhere named Puckett. In that town, just becasue a store sounded like it specialized in certain things, didn’t mean you wouldn’t find completely unrelated things as well. For example, I started doing some remodeling in the house I had. This was long before I even considered doing woodwork, so I had no tools. I asked around. I would never have thought, as I was told, to go to the auto parts store for a hammer and circular saw (skil saw).


View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 2439 days

#2 posted 07-18-2011 08:02 PM

I have always loved those old timey kind of places where you go in expecting to find certain kind of stuff but instead you are bombarded with li’l bits of everything stacked one on top the other and have to dig and hunt for things. The owner said if you need anything in particular just ask and he claimed to know where everything was and shore enough he did. This was a hardware store almost downtown Washington D.C. called Jenks Hardware that sadly closed and relocated and when he relocated it wasn’t the same and didn’t have the same charm it had.

What did this have to do with your post? Nothing! I just commented off William’s comment!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2037 days

#3 posted 07-18-2011 08:22 PM

I always have a list of things to do . Most of the time I may not get them all done , seem I have good intenion’s but something or someone seems to always slow it down , or the body say hey you stop and take a rest your hurting. It sure feels good when you finish a job or even part of one . I have a problem she say and that is sitting down I always got to be doing something . When I don’t get something done It makes me feel funny
have a good day

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8987 posts in 2341 days

#4 posted 07-18-2011 11:58 PM

Canadian Tire is a kind of big hardware store/auto store/ etc. I suppose it would compare with True Value in the States except that it has a full auto care center. They are all over Canada.

Here is the link to the Canadian Tire Website.

They also sell power tools and have their own line of tools called ‘Mastercraft’ (which many of the Canadians refer to as ‘Mastercrap’) They are decent for the price though if you don’t need high end stuff. The trick is to actually get the item that is on sale – they hand out rain checks by the thousands and at least here are known for items that are on sale being ‘out of stock’ exactly five minutes after the doors open the day the sales start.



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

View clieb91's profile


3491 posts in 3356 days

#5 posted 07-19-2011 02:44 AM

Sheila, I fully hear ya on this. In my last job I ran around all day long usually from 6 am until at least 5 pm. At the end of the day there was very little on my own to do list that was accomplished. I small portion on other’s lists. I am currently in a new position and working through the day to day stuff and taking tome to focus on those things that need to get done. As to long drives to no where for no reason other then to relax, love them and don’t get to do them as often as I would like these days.

Hope you had a good Monday :)


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View William's profile


9906 posts in 2264 days

#6 posted 07-19-2011 04:55 PM

There’s nothing wrong with those “crap” tools if they get the job done when you can’t afford better. I was having a discussion just last night with my wife about all my “crap” tools. I have about exactly three good name brand quality tools in my entire shop. Pretty much everything else is “what I can afford”.
By the way, since you’re “scroll girl”. This discussion started because of some scroll saw issues I was having. My frankenstein/Delta scroll saw is about on it’s last death rattle. I was upset that it has gotten so bad. The problem is I was breaking blades at a rate of about a a dozen and a half an hour and couldn’t figure out why. Usually this indicates a problem somewhere with the saw. I’ve wanted to afford a better saw for a couple of years now, but it hasn’t been in the cards. After griping a while about it, threatening to throw it out the door, then taking a cool down period (a time out), I stopped everything and figured out what was happening. Then I figured out a way to fix it like I have for so long.
My point is, those “crap” tools do have a place. As bad as some of them are, if it weren’t for the cheap price of some of them, some of us wouldn’t be able to do wood work. I agree 110% the old phrase I hear so aften about buying the best you can afford. The problem is that some of us can’t afford very much.


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

8987 posts in 2341 days

#7 posted 07-19-2011 05:15 PM

That’s why I have them, William! They are the best that I can afford. And as I said – they really do an adequate job in most cases.

Sheila :D

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

View William's profile


9906 posts in 2264 days

#8 posted 07-19-2011 05:34 PM

I also meant to tell you what caused the blade problem.
I think you know how the tensioning system works on a Delta. Well, when I would flip the lever to apply tension, the knob would move counter clockwise, loosening the tension setting as I was tightening. I wasn’t catching it easily because as I would release the lever, the knob was turning back clockwise to the original location so that when I look at it, the mark I have on it to mark it’s location was back correct. I wasn’t catching this because the only time to see it was when the saw was running, which is hard to see with the top arm in constant motion.
So on to investigating why. All the miles I have put on the saw had worn a groove in the bottom of the thumb screw. Apparantly this grooves was making the screw “follow” a movement when applying pressure. A file to the end of the screw quickly fixed the problem.
It’s about time to completely disasseble the old girl again and give her some much needed maintenance anyway. I need to finish my current project first though.


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