My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #841: We're "Growing!"

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 10-09-2012 11:52 AM 2480 reads 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 840: Rumors of My Retirement Have Been Greatly Exaggerated Part 841 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 842: Rolling Up Our Sleeves »

The past couple of weeks, I had talked about some new directions that Keith and I were going to try out. While this direction may seem similar, there is still a LOT to learn.

A month or so again, I was approached by Jim Barry, the owner of which is a great company that distributes both paper and electronic woodworking plans for over 20 designers. He ships world wide and has a great reputation for being fair and honest.

Jim asked me if we would be interested in teaming up with him as a new outlet for not only our scroll sawing plans, but my painting patterns as well. If you visit his site at the link above, you can see that he covers a huge array of woodworking projects that range from smaller scroll saw items like I design to large furniture pieces and yard art. One thing that is really cool is that Jim is located right here in Nova Scotia – up a bit north from me in Loch Katrine, which is just a bit south of Antigonish where Keith and I went this summer on our way to Cape Breton. It is funny how small the world can really be.

While I felt that we were up to our eyebrows with things, we knew that in order to grow as a company, we needed to spread our wings and try some new venues for our designs. Between talking to Jim and doing a little research on our own, we felt that he was a reliable and upfront person and also honest and straight forward. He and his wife Gina have been in business for many years and their list of other clients was very impressive. We thought we would give it a try.

All of you who read know that I am not good at making a long story short, but I am trying my best to do so here.

After lots and back and forth, we decided to jump into this new venture. This was no small task, as between Keith and I we have probably over 500 patterns. We needed to update many of the older designs that had outdated information and get them in top shape before sending them on. As I stated many times recently, we do things a bit differently now (and hopefully better) and we had to decide just how much ‘tweaking’ we had to do to bring the older designs up to snuff. It was a tremendous amount of work on all parts, but the result was that everything is really in great shape now.

Jim and Gina have spent the past month or more loading our stuff into their huge database, and we really appreciate their efforts.

One thing I found about Jim is that he is full of great ideas. When he initially approached me, I thought he was only interested in the scroll saw patterns. But he loved my painting patterns as well and wanted to take everything that we sold. He also had the idea that many of my painting patterns would make wonderful huge lawn art patterns. He has the ability to print quality pattern sheets any size and saw a great new avenue for Keith and I to follow in designing.

I will talk more about things in detail later on, but the results of our efforts were realized yesterday when we finally finished our first collaboration of ‘growing’ one of my recent designs into huge yard art. I am very excited!

I started with my SLD402 Boo Ghosts and Pumpkins pattern:

And we “grew” the ghosts to almost 4 feet tall!

Jim and Gina Built and painted the prototype:

And they even found some great plastic chains at the dollar store for the ghosts to hold! The results is wonderful! (That’s Jim with the grouping on his lawn)

He even sent us a picture of how they look in the dark, with some spotlights and some spooky glitter! (You all know I love sparkles!)

I can’t tell you all how great it feels to see this project come to be. While it is similar to draw on a small scale, there are many new factors to consider when making patterns this big. Learning to draw for the plotter, how to instruct people so that they can recreate the project and all the new things was a bit of a challenge, but one we were both up for. Keith is currently working on his first large design too, and we are both very excited and pleased with how they are coming out.

But I want to make it really clear that we could have never done any of this without Jim’s guidance. He has been so patient and wonderful with us, sharing his experience and knowledge and putting up with my 50,000 questions and mistakes. He has turned out to be one of the nicest guys we have ever met, and we are very grateful to him for his help and guidance.

From a business side, he does everything very professionally and how it should be done. All the terms we discuss are done in writing, and we have a written agreement. This is something that (especially after my recent dealings with other companies) is essential to any type of business agreement. I can’t stress enough how important having things in writing is for all parties. Not only does it prove that both sides are being honest and straight forward, but it also insures that everyone is thinking in the same direction and there is nothing left to chance. That is where misunderstandings and bad feeling begin and it can be really detrimental to both sides. Contracts are a great way to clear the air and start off on a great note and build confidence in each other. I don’t think I will ever go back to doing things any other way in the future.

So all is well and we are very happy and excited about the future. The link to the pattern on Jim’s site is here: 48-SLDYA802

It feels great to have a new outlet for our patterns, and better yet, to have new colleagues and friends. Keith and I are bursting with new ideas with working on a large scale, and we will be able to incorporate not only scroll sawing, but also painting and general woodworking into our arsenal of patterns.

We are also learning how to make good cover photos in Photoshop without having to make the full sized designs. Creating each design would not be practical for us, as we have so little room here as it is. Since it doesn’t involve an intricate amount of woodworking, such as fitting and so forth, we think that it is unnecessary for us to make each large piece. Here is my rendition of the ghosts and pumpkins pattern that I made up in Photoshop:

I think it looks pretty nice. I think that it took me longer to make that picture than it did for Jim and Gina to create the real project! But I will get better with time.

I am very optimistic about moving into the general woodworking area. Not only does it allow us to keep making patterns, but it also will allow us to reach a broader audience and try some new things in the process. While there are still some things we need to figure out, such as shipping and setting up the site for orders for these types of designs, we are hopeful that our designs will bring something fresh and new to this area of woodworking and that we will do well.

Who knows what it will lead to next?

I want to publicly thank Jim and Gina from both Keith and myself. He is a great breath of fresh air and brought back out faith in trusting other businesses to handle our products. I hope you all check out the other great projects and patterns he has to offer too. I am confident that he will take good care of you!

Have a great day!

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

20 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2823 days

#1 posted 10-09-2012 12:05 PM

Sheila this is wonderful news

I’m sure that it is all going to go great

Youve worked hard and deserve the credit

for your work

A wise business person keeps their creative

people happy, that in turn makes them more money

Also having your technical help makes the product

more valuable.#


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3002 days

#2 posted 10-09-2012 12:10 PM

Glad to hear things are working out better for you both, Sheila. This seems like an ideal opportunity to ‘expand’.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2886 days

#3 posted 10-09-2012 12:12 PM

This has been incredible for us, Jamie! We would have NEVER been able to do this without Jim! Some of his clients are the biggest names in the woodworking world and his reputation is great. We are so fortunate that he has taken us under his wing and is willing to guide us through this process of learning. It is so much more than we thought it would be, but is also very rewarding. We see good things for all of us with this! :)


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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2886 days

#4 posted 10-09-2012 12:23 PM

Thanks, Martyn! With the ability to print larger patterns, the world is our canvas! This has been a real shot in the arm for us as designers and also as a company. I know that the saying ‘things happen for a reason’ is a cliche, but I can’t help but feel that things just happened at the right time. Kinda scary! :)


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

View Rick13403's profile


256 posts in 3471 days

#5 posted 10-09-2012 12:25 PM

That is great news, Sheila! Glad you found that new door opening. But I will continue to get my patterns direct from the source! I did see Keith’s post about the larger patterns and thought at the time that it was a great next level. Good luck to both of you.

-- Rick - DeWalt 788 & Ex21 -

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4127 days

#6 posted 10-09-2012 01:30 PM

Congratulations—- on the new venture, on the new healthy business relationship and on .. well everything!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6851 posts in 3946 days

#7 posted 10-09-2012 01:36 PM

This is excellent, Sheila. I’m really pleased to hear you’ve met and are working with a professional. The difficult lessons learned recently will be arrows in your quiver for life.

Great photoshop work as well.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2886 days

#8 posted 10-09-2012 01:46 PM

Thanks to all of you! I am also excited about the Photoshop stuff. I really had fun! I made a custom swatch set for the palette of the paint that I recommended for the palette, so I was “painting” on the computer with the exact colors that would be available. It was in many ways, just like painting with paints.

The actual set up of the picture was certainly a challenge to learn. There were I think twelve layers to this picture. Each shadow was done individually and each component was independently added also. Such a fun learning process though! I think the picture took me longer to make than if I were to actually cut and build the design! But as with anything, each time I do it, it will come a little easier. I think it shows a nice presentation of the finished project without me having to invest a great deal of money and time (not to mention space). I found that most of the companies who produce this type of pattern do the cover shot this way. I must say though, I think mine looks pretty realistic. I am proud! :D

Thanks so much for your cheering! It means a lot knowing I have so many wonderful and talented friends behind me!


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

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3270 days

#9 posted 10-09-2012 03:21 PM

what a wonderful blog it was today, to hear of this new venture and your new relationship with an honest and kind business, one who truly has your best interest at heart, i hope it all goes gang busters…lots of sales and with so many new ideas i know you both will have, im excited to see it be successful, i can feel your excitement in the blog…..congrats for a new venture….....i hope all goes good today…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View MrsN's profile


985 posts in 3492 days

#10 posted 10-09-2012 04:41 PM

I usually shrink designs down, I don’t know the last time I made one bigger. But this is so cool!!! I am so happy for your new path!!!!

View TripleB's profile


80 posts in 2635 days

#11 posted 10-09-2012 04:42 PM

Congrats Sheila, Sounds like you have made a good decision for your business. Working with good people leads to good things.


-- Join me at

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3081 days

#12 posted 10-09-2012 06:24 PM

congratulations Sheila and Keith
I new you were up to spring a big bombshell :-) but never gesst it was that big
I was thinking of you today while I was painting
the wooden house in the autumn sun with a pretty stiff wind
coming along the side of the house so the paint blew of the pensel before
the pensel hit the wood ….. very funny to try to find an angel
to stay so I wasn´t filled with paint and the same time have it
to get on the wood …. have you ever seen a Swedish red lawn … LOL

the pumpkin and the gost looks very good in the big scale say Silke :-)

take care

View ellen35's profile


2734 posts in 3399 days

#13 posted 10-09-2012 07:10 PM

Great news, Sheila!! But… will you have to expand your space!! How can you get so much done in such a small space!! If anyone can… it is you!!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View BertFlores58's profile


1694 posts in 2888 days

#14 posted 10-09-2012 10:38 PM

Wow. The new direction that opens up is making the twist. This time it is genuine and enthusiastic… Gina and Jim started the work already on it and that is really a good sign of interest from them on your skills and ideas. I agree with Ellen, literally you been doing small models and patterns that if you think big and you will be in the world of amazing things. More knowledge to get more power!

All the best in the new adventure.

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2886 days

#15 posted 10-10-2012 01:49 AM

Thank you all again so much! We are really happy as I said. We’ll do fine here in our little place! As I said – we won’t be making lots of big prototypes. Many of the designs are going to be done in Photoshop and if we don’t have to do much ‘building’ than we will be OK. You all would truly be amazed that our place is a neat as it is. We really do keep things to a minimum. The important thing is that everything has its place. When the places get ‘full’ – we weed some of the stuff out. It truly is kind of fun to be able to do so much from our place here. If we had a bigger place, we would just have more “stuff.”

We are excited to see where this will take us. All the positive feedback from you all really made us both feel great! Thanks again! :)


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

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