My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #447: Lots of Stories - It Was a Busy Day!

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 08-31-2011 12:38 PM 19817 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 446: Birds and People and Things and Stuff Part 447 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 448: Everyday Business Stuff »

Well, I can’t wait to get at things today. There is so much to do and it seems like so little time to do it. I don’t feel stressed at all though, only exhilarated. It is the good kind of busy that people like me strive for, and depending on how things go, the next few weeks should be quite productive.

I always seem to have stories to tell and today isn’t any different. Although yesterday started out simple enough, the day brought with it some interesting things that made it somewhat remarkable (depending on your definition of ‘remarkable’, that is!)

It began simple enough. I wrote the blog, did my mail, and got ready to head out and do my errands. I had a catalog order that needed to be brought to the post office and while I was out, I had to pick up some spray shellac for some projects that we are working on, including the one set of my songbird ornaments.

Much to my dismay, after going to all four possible places here in Claire that would carry it, I was unsuccessful in finding any. The closest that I came was to find brush-on shellac, which would not do for the delicate fretwork that I wanted to use it on.

I have become quite fond of using spray shellac for my fretwork. I dip the pieces in mineral oil, and after allowing it to set for a couple of days, finish it off with a couple of coats of spray shellac. The resulting finish is far superior to the look of poly and gives a nice soft sheen. Since the fretwork is not going to need a durable finish, and really only needs light protection from dust and moisture in the air, this is a really nice answer and the results is just beautiful.

On Monday I was in Digby, which is a larger town about 45 minutes to the north of where I live, and I also looked there at several locations to find the elusive spray. No one there had it, but I had purchased it at our local hardware store before so I didn’t think much of it and I assumed that I would just pick it up here. Wrong.

This now became the focus of my day. As I returned home, I realized that I didn’t want to settle with spraying these ornaments with poly and it was quickly turning into a quest to find the spray somewhere. Since I have to be near Digby again today, I called the one place that I didn’t check there that I thought may carry it – Wal-Mart. (At this point you can tell I was getting desperate!)

After being on hold for almost ten minutes, a young guy answered the phone. I reaffirmed that I was speaking with someone in the paint department and he told me he was. I asked him if they carried spray shellac and he replied “Spray sack?”


I said “No. Spray S-h-e-l-l-a-c” speaking as clearly (with my Chicago/Canadian accent) as possible.

He replied “I never heard of that.”

I asked him “You never heard of shellac and you work in the paint department?”

He answered “Nope.”, obviously not giving a damn.

I said “Never mind.” and hung up.


Now I was quite frustrated and decided that I would have to call Yarmouth, which is about 45 minutes drive south of us. I tried the local Kent store there (which is like a smaller version of Home Depot) and at first the lady that was at the paint department said she had never seen it. At least though, she sounded like she cared and while we were talking, she said “Oh, here it is! I’ll be darned, I would have never known if I hadn’t been looking for it!”

So it was off to Yarmouth we were heading.

Before we left, since I was already riled up a bit, I decided to call the Goodyear place and see what they decided to do about my car. (Yes, I am a glutton for punishment!) When I called, the man answered the phone in their usual chipper manner, asking how he could help me. I asked for the manager Joe, and he said that Joe was at another location, but perhaps he could help me.

I explained to him that Joe was looking into how they did some rear end work on my car and put it back together incorrectly and it cost me almost double to repair it the second time and he was supposed to call me on Monday and I hadn’t yet heard from him. His attitude changed immediately.

“Well, that is something that Joe needs to help you with.” he said.

“Ok.” I said, “Why don’t you give me the number of the location where he is and I will call him there and find out?” I asked.


“Are you still there?” I asked.

“How about I just have him call you tomorrow when he is back?” he said.

I could tell he didn’t want to sic me on Joe at the other location, and normally I would have pursued it, but since I had to go and get the shellac, I decided to let him off the hook. “Fine.” I said. “Just tell him to call me tomorrow and that it is a priority.”

“I certainly will!” he said and then took my name and number.

We’ll see . . .

We headed to Yarmouth and there were only two cans of shellac at the Kent store so I bought them both. My entire purchase consisted of two cans of spray and three rolls of paper towels cost me $39 and change. Sheesh!!!
That’s all I am going to say about that. Mission accomplished at least.

While in town, we decided to show Keith’s pens to a couple of stores to see if they would sell them. We stopped in one store which carried some higher end jewelry and stuff and thought they would be a good fit. The first lady to greet us was friendly and warm. When we asked if they may be interested in the pens, she said she didn’t make those decisions but would get the owner who was right around the corner.

The owner came and barely looked at us. Before the words were even out of Kieth’s mouth, she brushed him off like you would brush a mosquito. She actually didn’t even look at him and kind of blurted out “no, I wouldn’t want anything like that” without even looking at the pens. We were kind of dumbfounded and gathered up as much of our dignity as we could and left. What a rude and ignorant woman!

I quickly remembered why I hate to sell my finished stuff. There are days I can handle rejection and days that it gets to me. I really felt for Keith and I was very pleased that he was in a good state of mind and although disappointed, he didn’t seem discouraged. In fact, we proceeded through town and went into a stained glass shop and he thought that he would ask them if they would be interested in his pens.

Even though they had mostly glass items, they did seem interested. They were attending a trade show in Halifax this weekend and they asked for a card and said they would definitely consider purchasing some of the pens for the upcoming holiday season. They were nice and friendly and you could tell they were genuinely in their interest. What a difference from the previous owner!

We decided enough is enough and headed on home. By now it was after five and we made a quick stop at the one gallery to see how things were there. There were no pen sales for the month, but the owners were positive and thought they would do well in the upcoming holiday season. It was good to check in and keep in touch.

We stopped at Keith’s parents house on the way home and helped them bring in a cord of firewood to the basement for the winter. The hour or so of physical labor did me good I think. I thought of both the idiot at Wal-Mart, the car place, and also the shop owner each time I threw a piece of wood on the pile. It was very therapeutic.

When I arrived home, there was a great email that I was hoping for waiting in my email box. It was a reorder from the Artist’s Club for more skating figures! It is funny, but I had a feeling that I would be getting one soon. Perhaps it was just me hoping. The order came only a week or so after the initial presentation of the project, so that means that it was selling pretty good I would imagine. They ordered half the quantity as the initial order, but that is really pretty good because with all the other things I have to do and another wholesale deadline coming on Sept 19 it is probably all I can handle right now. With the holidays and Christmas coming up in the next few months, I hope that it continues to sell and I can fill the orders little by little like this. It worked out perfectly.

All in all it was quite an eventful day. I did manage to get the bird ornaments oiled in between all this stuff and hopefully I will get some of the painting done today. I need to order more bags for the Artist’s Club order and I am looking to send them out on Tuesday (Monday is a holiday). I hope that by them selling well, they will be more likely to take other things from me. I am optimistic.

I took a picture of the first eight oiled birds for you to see:

I love the way the oil brings out the veining lines. A quick coat of shellac and this part of the set will be ready to go. I still have to make the wreaths for them to sit in, and also add some color to the other eight, but I am well on my way and I like how they look so far.

Busy is good. I am happy that things are beginning to pick up and that all the leg work we have done is beginning to pay off. I am looking forward to a great autumn and holiday season and still have many new ideas that I need to make reality.

It is going to be a great several months.

Have a happy Wednesday!

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

6 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3061 days

#1 posted 08-31-2011 02:10 PM

The birds are beautiful, Sheila. I’ve almost given up with shops (stores) these days for woodwork consumables. I mostly use the net and its mostly there the next day.

Co-incidentally I stock the paint section at Mole Valley Farmers and we don’t do spray on shellac there either. When I took it over ,two months ago, for some reason we stocked two types of Teak Oil but no Danish Oil. This has been changed and the Danish is selling fast. Although strangely the picture on it looks as if its from the 1960’s showing a short haired young brunette in a hooped tee shirt with a scarf and some dodgy looking pine cladding in the background.

I am presently going stir crazy, not even being allowed in the shop, trying to design, in front of a PC with designer’s block.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2944 days

#2 posted 08-31-2011 02:24 PM

I was wondering how you were holding up Martyn! Isn’t it Murphy’s Law or something like that? When I am broke and go shopping, there is always stuff that I really want to get. When I have the money or a purpose, I just can’t seem to find the right things. Maybe you are ‘trying too hard’ with designing. Maybe relaxing in the yard with a cup of tea and a good book will inspire you. I know it is hard because I am like you in that I don’t like to not be doing ‘something’. But you have to take care of yourself this time and relax. It is so hard, I know!

Yes, the shellac thing worried me. Is it a ‘dying’ finish? It seems like I just figured it out and now no one seems to have it. It looks so much nicer than the poly stuff. Hard to describe, but it just looks better. And of course, I WANT it now that I have tried and liked it. You wonder about it if even the packaging is dated. Here they have to blow the dust off the cans when you pick them up, it seems. Not too promising. :(

The shop was irritating. I am not generally a mean person (I don’t think!) but I will admit that I will feel some satisfaction if/when I see the ‘going out of business’ sign in that shop. In telling Keith’s mom about what happened, she relayed that the woman is notoriously rude like that. (His mom gets along with everyone!) Had I known, I would have stayed clear. My thoughts are that it is her loss and it is also one reason that I don’t want to sell my things outright. In all these shops and things, the only thing I brought to them were a couple of prints and note cards in Annapolis Royal. I can stand rejection on that stuff if she didn’t like it. But she did buy many of them outright. Good for me. I quit while I was ahead (for now) and don’t really want to sell stuff like that at all right now. Maybe another time.

Hang in there – you need to take care of yourself. :)


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

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 2793 days

#3 posted 08-31-2011 03:24 PM

There’s no excuse for rude. With that attitude she apparently never want’s to sell you anything either. Rather than leave the door open, she’s burned the bridge and executed the engineer.

Your birds look great. I can’t decide which one I like best.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2944 days

#4 posted 08-31-2011 03:40 PM

You don’t have to decide, Dan! They are all in one set! :)

Thanks for the nice comments.


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

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3140 days

#5 posted 08-31-2011 04:41 PM

I´m sorry both you and Keith seems to run into so many rude people .. no one deserve that
we can always get #&%¤#£$# if we screw things ….....but that is a lot easyer to take.

your birds is very nice :-) reminds of those Silke made 4-6 years old with coloured perls and we ironed
them to be hanged in the windows or in a mobile :-)
maybee an idea for the coloured :-) anyway Silke looks forward to see them too
she just tryed to use a fret/coping saw alone for the first time in sloyd … she came home and told
it didn´t go well at all …. I think they use rougher blades than me becourse I remember she didn´t
have that kind of troubles last year in the basement :-) but she also told the teacher called them the
girlyclass becourse so many needed help with the saw :-) ..... not easy to use a handtool if you never
have seen a tool before … :-)

have a great day both of you

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2947 days

#6 posted 08-31-2011 05:02 PM

Well, even other LJ like myself doesnt know what is the difference with the Danish Oil or Philippine Coconut Oil. LOL. I ask a lot of managers of the stores… they dont know those mentioned items here in LJ. HIDE GLUE, PVA, SPAR, TURPENTINE, LINSEED OIL, ETC… It is much better to take a photo and show them… Visual language…

THE BIRDS… very impressive and very moody. Just noticed one thing…. all of those birds in the picture are mouth shut…. suggest to have some with those like singing or tweeting birds with open beaks.

Thanks and be patient with those hardware people..

-- Bert

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