My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #514: Bring on the Scroll Saw!

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 11-06-2011 01:31 PM 10665 reads 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 513: I'm Really Getting Excited About This Next Project! Part 514 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 515: Baby Steps Can Take Longer, But the Results Are Often Worth It »

I was kind of proud of myself yesterday. I stayed focused. I was disciplined. I pretty much did nothing but draw all day. I did take an hour out to go for a hike in a new place in the woods near the house and that was nice and refreshing. The air was quite brisk and for the first time this year I had to put on layers of clothing to keep warm. But I was warm enough and the walk was just what I needed for a break from the computer. It reminded me how pretty things are around me.

As we walked by the river we saw this animal on the other side. It looked like a giant rat, but fatter. It was the size of a large cat and could have been a beaver but its tail was long and thin like that of a rat. It was scurrying along the bank and plunged into the cold water, swam up the river a few feet and got out again and went under some leaves.

I thought I was quite well-versed in critters from these parts, but I have never seen the likes of it. It was one of those generic rodent type animals that surely are abundant here in the woods. Kind of creepy but kind of cute too. Nonetheless interesting.

I like going for walks in different places around where I live. There is such a mixture of woods and homes that there seems to be endless choices with each one being more picturesque than the next. We walked from a main road along the river through a logging path into the woods. The path came out a couple of miles away at another main road which we frequently travel, and we looped back to where we parked the car, walking along the river again.

It is amazing to me how different things look when walking compared to driving by. Things look far more vast and you tend to notice so many details that you hadn’t seen before. We walked past an old deserted apple orchard on the way back to the main road. Many of the trees still had apples on them. I find it odd how even an orchard can look unkempt and neglected, but many of the trees were leaning and broken and even though some still had fruit on them, they appeared to be dead. I can’t help but try to picture how the place was in its prime with the house well-kept and the trees and orchard thriving. I wondered how long ago it was abandoned.

I am not sure why old places such as this are so interesting to me. When I see things of this nature, I seem to get lost in thought as to what brought them to their current state. I would love to know the history and stories behind these properties. It really gets me thinking.

I worked on the ornaments until 10pm last night. I wouldn’t have thought it would have taken me so long to finish them up. The frames for all 12 are identical, and I only needed to draw the inside designs. They are the negative type of design with wispy little lines creating the images. They are not for the novice cutter, but they shouldn’t be too difficult to accomplish. I am excited about working on them today and I am wondering if I will be able to get them all finished before the day is done. I am not sure, seeing as how long it took to draw them. They may take much longer than expected.

I plan to cut them out of maple or birch. I think that the light colored wood would look best on them and they will show up better on the tree. They are going to be cut in a self-framing style, where the center oval is bevel cut so it will be recessed back a bit from the frame. I plan on staining the frames in dark jewel tones of deep blue, burgundy, purple and green, giving them a somewhat Victorian essence. I then want to apply some gold leafing to the frames, which will give them a slight glimmer. I have both the brush-on leafing and the leafing sheets, and I want to experiment to see which one will give the best look. I want the effect to be subtle, and allow the deep color of the frame to show through. Since I think the sheets will cover more, I am leaning toward the brush-on. I think I will have more control that way.

Finally, I may hang a small bell from the bottom of each ornament. I am not sure on this part yet though. I would think that I would need to find bells that aren’t quite as brightly finished as what I see as new. I picture the leafing to be a bit duller and don’t want the bells to overpower it, but to accent it. I think a trip to the store to see what is available is in order. I want to get just the right ribbon too, for hanging them. I have a picture in my head and want it to be just right.

Details are important.

For some reason, I am really proud of these. They look so good on paper and usually the paper doesn’t do justice to the finished projects, so I am excited. Perhaps it was time that I was really excited about a project. It seems so long since I have done drawing like this and it feels good. It is one of those projects that it doesn’t really matter who likes them, because I do. Sometimes those are the best.

So I have an extra hour this morning and I plan on using it well. I have some writing that I need to do and I will do that until the hour is decent enough for me to get at the saw. The rest of the day I will be happy doing what I love to do – cutting. I am already considering what music I will choose to accompany me in this task. I haven’t quite decided on that yet.

Below is a peek at one of the finished ornaments:

I hope you like it.

Have a wonderful day today. Use that extra hour doing something you love to do!

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

9 comments so far

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2644 days

#1 posted 11-06-2011 04:27 PM

Mother nature is so awesome in what it shows and shares with us .Shelia I believe you proably did see a rat a Muskrat

You have a wonderful day

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2949 days

#2 posted 11-06-2011 04:35 PM

Yep! That is exactly what we saw. Black rat tail and all! :) I had a couple of pm’s that said the same and when I saw it on Google I know that was it. I hear some people eat them. I think this one is safe, though. ;)

Have a good day, Dave, and thanks!


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

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18293 posts in 3704 days

#3 posted 11-06-2011 08:02 PM

Yeah!! I like it!! ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4081 days

#4 posted 11-06-2011 09:13 PM


That’s a COOL pattern you came up with…

Have you done anything with Unicorns? My wife loves Unicorns.

Yes, a Muscrat was my first thought too… then, I thought it possibly could be one of these… but, I don;t think they would like the cold weather…

I trapped this guy / gal in our garage a couple of years ago… must have gotten in when we had the door open to get more ventilation…

That is an Opossum! I think we have some in the back yard… they eat snails & other stuff (even some of our avocados, when we have them… their payment for getting the snails).

They probably don’t even live up where you are…

Have a good one!

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

View woodtickgreg's profile


212 posts in 3147 days

#5 posted 11-07-2011 12:26 AM

I really like your new ornament design ! can’t wait to see the rest of them. I was sitting at my scroll saw today and a thought came to mind, even though my skills on the saw are good and I do difficult projects but the real artist is the one that draws the patterns for people like me that can’t draw ! and then I thought of you and wanted to say thank you ! and then I read this blog and it just reaffirmed my original thought. you need to know that us non drawing wood workers appreciate what you do and I hope that you feel good about that.

-- wood tick tools for turners by woodtickgreg @

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3144 days

#6 posted 11-07-2011 01:14 AM

OOH No Sheila ….it will take a few years before >I´m ready to break out the fretsaw
and try one of your designs…. LOL
you wiil understand when I had to focuse about 20 hours this week on one plane iron to lappe the back,
sharpen and honning … becourse the swedish steal is so hard and the factory made such a lauzy job
on it …......nothing at all that looked like a try on lapping from them and the back was horrible hollow :-(
the chipbreaker and levercap likewise …. it was a short wooden jack plane … (I think the type
is called a german plane over there ) I bought 8-10 years ago before I knew anything about planes realy
except what I cuold remember from the schooldays ….. now it behave like a dream :-)
I just need to hone the bottom of the plane and grease it can take shavings nearly as fine as a smoother
and nearly as thick as a scrubplane … yyyubiii :-)
now I just have to take a half glass of painkillers for the back ….. LOL

have a great evening (midtnight here )

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2949 days

#7 posted 11-07-2011 02:50 AM

You guys are really great! I worked on cutting pretty much of the day and I am so tired tonight. Then I came back here and saw all the nice comments. You sure know how to make a girl feel good. :)

Woodtick – it was very nice of you to say that. I am fortunate that you guys like my designs and let me do what I love to do. Without you, I wouldn’t be able to. I appreciate that very much.

I promise I will answer more tomorrow, but I really need to go to bed soon. I just wanted to say ‘thanks!’


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

View ArtistryinWood's profile


107 posts in 3716 days

#8 posted 11-07-2011 05:12 AM

Very nice Sheila and i second woodtick’s comment.


-- It seem's to me i could live my life, a lot better than i think i am. Andrew, Midland, Ont.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2949 days

#9 posted 11-07-2011 11:21 AM

Thank you too, Andrew. It does mean a lot to me. :)

Joe – we would have the occasional possum when I lived in the suburbs of Chicago. They used to love to tear apart the garbage (along with the raccoons) Yes – the looked like giant rats with their dark, beady eyes and pink, rope like tails. Creepy! I don’t know if they are this far up north. I am happy to say that I haven’t come across any yet.

Dennis – I would love to see you try the scroll saw one day. I bet Silke would like it too. It really is a lot like using a sewing machine and quite safe. You don’t have to start with intricate designs. Like anything else, one step at a time is the way to do it. Hopefully one day you will have time to experiment on it. In the mean time, I also enjoy seeing you restore your tools and planes. I know it is a painstaking process, but in the end, it must be very satisfying to see the good results. Keep up the good work and thanks. :)


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

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