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My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer #633: Writing, Writing, Writing

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 03-05-2012 10:53 AM 3810 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 632: New Project Just About Finished Part 633 of My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer series Part 634: Many Directions »

I am afraid that today’s post won’t be very exciting. I worked most of the day yesterday on writing instructions and I did get the materials ready to ship the Kitty Cat Chalkboard to New Jersey for publication. I don’t know why it seemed to take so long, but there were 18 pictures that I included in the instructions and doing the editing on them took me a bit longer than I anticipated. But that is all behind me now and the pickup is scheduled and it will be on its way later on today. That is always a good feeling.

Today’s task is to work on the Bear Chalkboard and finish the instructions on it, and then continue on with the other two packets. It will be good to finally have that stuff ready and get it all up on the site. Then we can do another update.

We are coming upon our ‘slow’ season and I want to work hard during it so that there won’t be so much of a lull. Hopefully by offering new things and projects, it will keep things flowing. I have one more project that I need to do for the magazine for their August issue and then we are looking at Christmas projects again.

And the cycle continues.

I finally redecorated my little all season tree this weekend. It looked so nice with all the hearts and red beads that I left it up for the whole month of February. But it got to be that every time I was looking at it, it made me feel that I was being lazy and finally just got to it and changed the ornaments to the shamrock and clover ones. (I was told by a customer – correctly mind you – that a “shamrock” has only three leaves, not four, and that any plant with four leaves should only be referred to as a “clover”)

I would have liked to have something a little sparkly on it, but I couldn’t find any beading or appropriate garland that was suitable without looking gaudy. I also think it would be cuter if there were some characters or Leprechauns or something of that nature. It will give me something to think about to improve it for next year. I have a couple of ideas, but there are other things that I need to tend to that have to take priority. It will have to do for now.

In any case, as it is getting light out, I see that we have had a couple of inches of snow fall overnight. I suppose that winter isn’t over yet.

I hope you all have an enjoyable Monday. I know that mine will be productive. While I enjoy the everyday things that make this job exciting, once in a while I do appreciate the quiet. I am sure it won’t last for long.

Have a good day.

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



5 comments so far

View HamS's profile

HamS

1227 posts in 1140 days


#1 posted 03-05-2012 11:18 AM

Sheila,

In my world the documentation is the part I hate. Writing programs is fun and when they work it is even more fun, writing technical notes for other programmers is okay, at least they appreciate your ingenuity and creative genius, writing user documentation is just a drudge. Why can’t people see that? Do they really need to be told that if you want to save your work you need to click on save? I suspect you face the same mental challenges when you are writing instructions.

H

-- My mother named me Hamilton, I have been trying to earn my nickname ever since.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7899 posts in 1670 days


#2 posted 03-05-2012 11:33 AM

I have developed ‘templates’ for certain types of projects, and that helps. For instance, all of my self framing plaques have the same basic instructions, as do my candle trays, etc. I have a basic formula that I follow where I more or less plug in the measurements and colors (if staining) and stuff like that. But some projects like these chalkboards are different than what I have done before and I more or less started from scratch. Also for the magazine, I need to add in lots of photos, even if they use only half of them. The still require color correction and editing and the likes of that.

I have had customers tell me (as you said) that they don’t need to know every single step of the process (like returning the table to zero, etc.) and while I don’t ‘dumb down’ the instructions, I try to make them so that even someone that is trying to make this as their first project will be able to do so successfully, and understand the process. Like with the pumpkins I showed the other day. Intermediate painters would probably feel it is overkill, but those who haven’t painted find the 10 steps very helpful and give them a sense that they can accomplish the finished project. That is important.

I think that offering too much information is far preferred over not offering enough. The more seasoned woodworkers/painters can always skim over information they feel is unnecessary, but I want it there for the novices.

One other problem is that when writing so many patterns, things become ‘routine’ and I don’t want to omit important things after writing it so many times before. The templates do help me include all the steps and not leave anything out – even if I think that it is a ‘given’ (like the ‘click save’ command in your own writings.)

Thanks as always for your insights. :)

Sheila

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

View patron's profile (online now)

patron

13181 posts in 2092 days


#3 posted 03-05-2012 07:10 PM

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

View Roger's profile

Roger

15333 posts in 1555 days


#4 posted 03-05-2012 07:19 PM

I know what you’re sayin about a how-to process, and you wouldn’t want to leave anything out to someone that may be a bit more “green”, I’ll say, but, don’t overthink it, it’ll just make your head explode. Speakin of green, I’m lookin over, a 4-leaf clover…...........etc…. St. Pats is comin soon. along with some green ale.. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Kentuk55@bellsouth.net

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7945 posts in 2803 days


#5 posted 03-05-2012 07:20 PM

David… That’s FUNNY!

I wonder if the cats can really be trained to sleep in their own cubby-hole & not fight for others?? LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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