My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #831: Designs That "Live Inside My Head"

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 09-27-2012 11:51 AM 3377 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 830: On Learning New Things Part 831 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 832: 'Lacy Wood' (Not Lacewood) »

There have been many times when I have mentioned the designs that ‘live in my head.’ I know that probably sounds kind of creepy, but they are there and they are real.

(No – I haven’t been drinking anything more than my usual coffee, but I will say that I was unable to get my usual brand and I am trying something different this morning. But back to the story . . . )

The longer that I do this (design), the longer the list gets of things I want to do. While some of you may dream of tropical islands and sitting on a beach in the sun sipping a margarita, I tend to daydream of a wonderful place where there is no such thing as time and I have all the tools, paints, wood, colors and accessories I need to create and bring to life all the incredible designs ‘living in my head.’ It is a magical place, where I never have to eat or sleep or get tired and I can just spent the rest of eternity drawing and painting and doing woodworking and projects. How fun it would be!

But we all know that in the real world, things are not quite like that. While I consider myself extremely fortunate to have such an awesome job of designing, there is always the other things that need to be done that get in the way such as cleaning the house, grocery shopping, cooking, etc. Not to mention the business side of things. And then there is sleep. Why, oh why do we even need that anyway?

So as I grudgingly concede to reality, I still offer myself the luxury of daydreaming and planning about new and exciting things to make. They are exciting to me, anyway. If you all could only take a peek inside my head and see all the cool things that I am thinking about, you would be excited too. There are literally hundreds of projects, waiting for me to bring them to life. This is all good.

One thing that I have learned about these designs is that they have to be treated in an orderly way. As they began congregating early on, there wasn’t much of a problem. If I were one or two designs behind in producing them and bringing them to life, it was really no big deal. They would just wait patiently until their turn came and things would progress in an orderly fashion.

But lately, there has been a huge increase in their population. The past couple of years have inspired so many new ideas and thoughts, that I have found there is no way that I could produce them all in a timely manner. Many times seasons come and go and I haven’t even made a fraction of the designs that I intended. While it used to bother me, I have found that these ideas can be very patient if we train them to be that way and don’t mind waiting until next year to be born. And that is a great benefit to me.

Yesterday I was working on some of the new things that I have recently been talking about. Sometime in the mid afternoon, I received an email from my editor from the magazine. She had sent a new editorial forecast for the upcoming issues, which let us know of the deadlines for the upcoming year.

Much to my surprise (and dismay) I noticed that the next deadline for the next issue that was in production was NOW.


With all the things that have been going on the past month, I hadn’t even realized that it was almost a month since I sent my last submission. Once again, time has not been my friend!

The issue in question would be coming out in the middle of January, meaning that any submissions could have a Valentine’s theme. It just so happened that one of the designs that lived in my head fit that theme perfectly (I had a couple actually, but I liked one in particular)

Since I had already thought through this piece in my daydreams while I was creating other projects, it came to reality rather quickly. I shifted gears from what I was doing and immediately began drawing. It was as if I was copying a page from a book, only I was copying the idea that I had in my head, and by dinner time, the drawing was nearly completed.

Below is a segment of the design:

This is going to be really cool!

Needless to say I am going to spend (part of) the day cutting. I am happy and excited because I can picture just how this is going to look. I also look forward to a day at the saw.

I am very grateful for these designs that live in my head. They have come to my rescue many times before. While to some it may seem like it is ‘easy’ for me to have accumulated such a collection, I can tell you that each one of them has taken much thought and consideration in its creation.

While some of you may think I am a little crazy in thinking this way, I prefer to look at it as ‘job security.’ Hopefully, things will always be that way.

Photo courtesy of

I wish you all an incredible Thursday!

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

11 comments so far

View Rick13403's profile


256 posts in 3560 days

#1 posted 09-27-2012 12:36 PM

Good morning Sheila, I always thought that it must be a little crowded up there in your head with all of those ideas just milling around waiting for their turn. I understand what you are saying it is just my head is mostly empty! Keep on helping the rest of us poor emty minded cutters with your designs.

-- Rick - DeWalt 788 & Ex21 -

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2975 days

#2 posted 09-27-2012 12:45 PM

Sometimes they fall out of my ears onto the pillow when I am sleeping!!! Then I have to round them up again and shove them back in! It can be exhausting!!!

Seriously – I am glad you like what I come up with. I always try to do something fun and different. It is great to be appreciated! Thanks Rick! :)


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

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3092 days

#3 posted 09-27-2012 01:20 PM

Whilst others talk of their holidays abroad I tend to spend mine, like this week, in the shop, downloading some of the designs in my head. You’re not the only one and I don’t consider it strange to visualise the perfect shop in any way, whatsoever.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2975 days

#4 posted 09-27-2012 01:25 PM

Yes, Martyn! We are both fortunate that our ‘vacations’ can happen any time and anywhere. Planning and thinking through the processes is part of the pleasure I find in designing, so I can enjoy doing so any time I wish. That anticipation of seeing things actually come to life is quite exhilarating. I feel very fortunate to be able to appreciate and enjoy it. I am not surprised that you do also. :)


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

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3141 days

#5 posted 09-27-2012 01:30 PM

Great place to store all those wonderful ideas and plans. I think all of us have quite a few ideas and shop plans
stored, but are just not that good at making them real. Like your blogs and the cat pictures. We have a new
tan and black tiger stripe that is patiently training her new staff.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2975 days

#6 posted 09-27-2012 01:36 PM

I had a large male cat when growing up that looked much like the cat in the picture. He just wandered into our lives one night and decided to stay. We aptly named him “Tom” as he like to go out on the prowl each night and returned at dawn to sleep off the nights’ events.

Congratulations on your new secretary. May she bring you many years of joy! :)


-- 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 3171 days

#7 posted 09-27-2012 05:30 PM

take me there … take me there ….to the place :-)
it doesn´t have to be the perfect world
just a shop with all the handtools that have been made and all the
different wood types there is cut up in rugh sices to what ever we want to make :-)
how do you manage to live with out headache all the time
I know when I tumbling around with more than three complex ideas /problems that
needed to be solved the big sledgehammer start to wake up from its buty sleep
and when it does that it has a wish of execising on my head …
I gess we all know of how something live there own life up there :-)

do I like your double edge valentine theme … yes .. its a great ideea to set the bat and the hart together :-)

liked the creative playing with the apple yesterday :-)

since I can´t draw or paint other than with wide brushes on houses …. lol
and not being creative enoff to came up with my own cartoones
I did surgested the sparetime school thing to borrow equipment so its possiple
to cast pictures on the wall either with the help of PC or the old fassion way
with lightprojectors and picture so they can decorate all the white walls with cartoones
the children like …... its a great way for us noncreative to come around such a problem
and borrow from others … or if you have photographies yourself you want to use
depending on the equipment they can borrow they will use the winther to collect
drawings and pictures that we can select from in the spring and in the childrens
sommervacation the transforming from boring white rooms to a happyhouse can be done :-)

take care

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2594 days

#8 posted 09-27-2012 08:56 PM

Exactly. Ditto. What else to say…I have tried to categorize my ideas and prioritize them, very difficult. My enthusiasm far exceeds my current capabilities. There must not be a sketchbook large enough….the design looks great.

-- I never finish anyth

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2978 days

#9 posted 09-28-2012 12:58 AM

Hi Sheila,
In most cases, the design that lingers in my mind, specially during my idle periods becomes so nice and amazing. The motif of stars using the usual rhombus shape for making the cubes become a combination of both stars and rhombus. The techniques are just cut and paste. Here are some of those variations that just came into my mind while driving on the road to office:

Next on the construction line.

-- Bert

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2128 days

#10 posted 09-28-2012 03:16 AM

Intriguing design Sheila. Looking forward to seeing the rest of it. how do you keep track of all your wonderful ideas? If I don’t write an idea down as I’m thinking of it I can lose it!

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2975 days

#11 posted 09-28-2012 09:44 AM

Hi, Dennis:

I am glad you liked the Snow White picture from yesterday. Of course, it isn’t mine. I had just seen it in my travels. Some very clever person came up with it. I hope you showed Silke! :)
No headaches, really, just sometimes a bit overwhelmed. What to do first. I do write lots of things down so I don’t forget them. I need to do that more, as sometimes ideas get lost in the crowd!

I like the idea of projecting images on white walls. Quick and easy way to brighten things up! I am sure the children love it!

Thank you Philip. Prioritizing is sometimes an issue. What I want to do first doesn’t necessarily coincide with what needs to be done for deadlines and such. Even though I am self-employed, I still need to follow some rules! But it is all good!

Bert – your designs are as always very well thought through and intriguing. Thinking through the next project while working on one is something I also do all the time. Sometimes that is where my best ideas begin. Being creative and creating is my best form of inspiration I think.

And Anna – As I mentioned, I do keep a notebook to write things down. When I have dry spells I can flip through it to remind me of some of my brainstorms. Sometimes the ideas don’t look as good the second time around, but many of them are useful and are inspirational enough to pull me out of any slump I may be in. I need to write more of them, as I say.

Thank you all for the 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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