My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #453: (Have you heard?) The Bird is the Word

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 09-06-2011 01:12 PM 14613 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 452: Online Scroll Saw Class Lesson #8 is Posted Part 453 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 454: A Good Day »

As I awoke this morning I couldn’t help but think that I made a good tactical move yesterday. Even though that above all things I wanted to stain in my bird ornaments, I made the choice to cut out the little skating ponds and get them ready to ship.

Now I am the kind of girl that sometimes doesn’t look at the entire project. For example on the skating pond sets, I only seem to consider cutting the five characters on the scroll saw as the ‘work’ part of it. I tend to forget that I still have to cut and sand the little ponds. I suppose since they are only rounded rectangles, I figure they are easy and don’t figure in the time for me to make them. (I did figure it in when I calculated my total time on making the project, so that is good!) But when making 36 of anything, plus a few extra to have around, even if it takes five minutes to do it adds to the time.

My plywood pieces were cut to 30” x 30” initially for storage and so they could fit in my car easily. The ponds are 8.5” x 11” so that means I get six ponds per sheet (I keep the extra wood for later projects or to cut the skaters themselves out of.) I found it is easier to cut these on the table saw and that involved going to my partner’s parents house to use it. That took at least an hour, if not two with the subsequent visiting.

I then needed to round the corners on the scroll saw. I have this neat plastic corner gadget that makes it easy to trace nice rounded corners so with tracing and then scrolling them, it went pretty fast. After that was done, I wanted to sand everything smooth, and used my 1/3 sheet orbital sander to do that. I did that on the front porch (which is where the good decision making came into play) and finished everything up within about an hour or so. Now I can really say ‘all done’ except for packing everything up in the zip bags that I am expecting to arrive today.

By the time I finished that and all the housework and laundry and stuff that I needed to get done it was just about 5PM and time to make dinner. I was kind of bummed out because it seemed another day had gotten away from me without me working on my bird ornaments.

I was getting a little tired, but I wanted to have them stained by the end of the evening so I decided to keep on working on them until they were finished. By around 10:30 I was done, and I felt that at least I accomplished something on them.

I still am working on what to do about hanging them. I think that I am going to offer an overlay of vine work that can be done of the scroll saw in a circle that I can attach a hanger to. I even thought that I may do not only the vine work, but as a second option also offer the circle of holly leaves to that they can be used as Christmas ornaments. Since the ‘frames’ will be cut separately, it will be easy to offer both versions and then let my customers decide which would be best for their intended use.

Below are the pictures of the finished set:

I think they look quite nice. I used the DecoArt Staining and Antiquing gel along with the Americana Acrylic paints to make tints and just brushed them over the top. Since I followed the scroll saw lines, it was quite easy to block in the colors of the tints without having to worry about transferring lines and shading and all of that. The gel makes the colors sheer, so the natural color of the maple shows through and the grain of the wood gives a nice variation of color and adds depth and interest.

It is a simple process and I think a very effective way to add some color to your work (and it is also very inexpensive!) I am thinking of doing a video which will show me using the stains and coloring in one of the birds.

Of course, if you wish you could leave the pieces natural color:

I think that both are attractive and each one can have many applications – either as stand alone projects or as added elements into other larger projects such as boxes and plaques, either as overlay pieces or scrolled right into the piece.

I really like doing patterns like this and seeing what people come up with. It is one of the things that makes my work so much fun.

Today it is raining out. I am really happy that I decided to do the sanding on the porch yesterday and got that checked off of my list. I am also happy this morning that I stuck to my guns last night and finished up these ornaments. It is good to have them done to this point.

Today I will work on the framing of them. I haven’t really pictured in my mind what I am going to do yet, and that I believe is part of why I have taken so long on them. But I have been thinking about it and have a pretty good idea of what I want to do now so I think it is time to get to drawing.

I have to go to Digby for part of the day, but hopefully I will get some of this done this morning. Since we ‘lost’ the day yesterday with the holiday, this week is sure to go by fast.

I hope you all enjoy the bird ornaments. I still have a list of another eight that I want to draw and make into another set. Then there are the many other projects that I am thinking about. I suppose I just have to check off one thing at a time and go from there. It is a good place for a designer to be.

Have a good one everyone!

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

12 comments so far

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 2768 days

#1 posted 09-06-2011 01:25 PM

You are a very busy lady. Congrats on the weather related good call. It’s very satisfying when we change our original plan and then something later makes us glad that we did. Have a great day.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2920 days

#2 posted 09-06-2011 01:30 PM

Thanks, Dan:
It seems that I have been putting these little ornaments off since last week when I received the order for the additional skating pond sets. Sometimes it is so hard because I want to do two (or three!) things at once and there are only so many hours in the day. Getting these orders is good though and I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t really appreciate them. It is just a matter of being flexible. Today is a gloomy, wet and foggy day and I am so happy that I don’t have to sit on the porch for a couple of hours and sand. AND I got the ornaments done besides. I suppose being flexible is the key in cases like this. It makes everything work. :)

Have a great day yourself!


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

View sawdust99's profile


26 posts in 2892 days

#3 posted 09-06-2011 03:21 PM

They really look great. I would like to see some sort of plane frame around them and a hole or maybe screw in a small screw eye to hang them. With to much detail it is hard in my area to get a real high price for ornaments. Maybe you could offer just a plain ring of any shape to go around them along and also a detailed ring. Just thinking .


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2920 days

#4 posted 09-06-2011 03:27 PM

That’s a really good point, Bob. They really only take about half an hour to cut. I did cut the featured one and did a video of me cutting the whole thing but for some reason the camera stopped (UGH!) I will be re-shooting that video again though so I will see the time better.

I also stack cut these and you could probably cut them three or four at a time and really cut down on production time. Cutting one layer of something this delicate is difficult, as you need a bit more resistance for better control.

I really like your idea of a plain frame for them to sit in. It will be easy to do and costs no more to include it in the pattern and I think you have a great point. I thank you very much for your input. This way the ornaments themselves are the focus and not the frame.

I will post pictures as soon as they are done. :)


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

View patron's profile


13604 posts in 3341 days

#5 posted 09-06-2011 03:39 PM

the birds are gorgeous sheila

good call on the porch and the weather

have a great day too

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

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3018 days

#6 posted 09-07-2011 04:26 AM

Wow Sheila, just a coat of paint and the birds really “POP”, they look so much better with the colors than they do plain.

I have been busy with making segmented bowls. Finished 2 so far and turning the third and have 3 more in the works. A year ago I had absolutely no interest in segmented bowls or vases, so what changed?? I have no idea except maybe that I’ve changed? I am kind of wondering if the extra room in the shop makes it easier to do segmentation because I have the space for laying them out whereas I was crowded before. They are actually fun to make, lots of figuring out the layers, angles, patterns and glue ups. Most of the time is spent cutting and gluing and and then bing bam the turning takes “minutes” and the finished product is awesome! I’ll be posting my second segmented vase soon.

Keep designing, you’re good at it!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10100 posts in 4052 days

#7 posted 09-07-2011 08:11 AM

AWE… what a sight to behold!

Those birds are just wonderful!

Really COOL!

Your flock is really growing… very nicely!

Thank you very much for the update!

Keep them hatching!! LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2920 days

#8 posted 09-07-2011 12:36 PM

Thank you all again for your kind words. I am going to be working on the packets and finishing these up and have them on the site by the weekend. I am glad that you like them and looking forward to making the next set. :)


-- 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 2842 days

#9 posted 09-07-2011 04:24 PM

Nice birds Sheila.
However, I’m a little disappointed.
When I read the title for this post, I was sure we were going to get to see a video of you singing the old Trashmen song, The Bird Is The Word.


View William's profile


9949 posts in 2842 days

#10 posted 09-07-2011 04:40 PM

And I’m giving you fair warning, put your coffee down if you don’t want to spit it all over you computer if you dare click this link. It’s a a YouTube video with the song, The Bird Is The Word, all wrapped up into a funny video featuring scenes from my favorite TV show, House, with voiceovers from a show I can’t stand, but they do make this video funny, The Family Guy.
I apologize, but it’s your fault Sheila. You now have me looking up weird songs from the 60s and 70s on YouTube.
Remember May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose?
And my favorite “weird” song of all time is the Assumption song. Trust me, go watch it. It’s funny. Don’t get shocked before watching it all. If any of you have dirty minds, this song will reveal that you do. Watch the whole thing.


View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3161 days

#11 posted 09-07-2011 04:48 PM

Thanks William. I was hoping someone would have a link to the bird song.

Sheila, these are great looking bird designs and the painting just puts them off the chart.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2920 days

#12 posted 09-07-2011 05:24 PM

Yes, I had seen part of that episode of Family Guy some time ago and I couldn’t get that silly song out of my head when I was making these. It’s funny how some things stick with you, isn’t it?

I appreciate all of your kind comments! ;)


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

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