My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #924: The Process

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 01-05-2013 12:23 PM 3545 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 923: Creative Drilling Part 924 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 925: Snowflake Candle Tray »

As usual, I am the queen of underestimation when it comes to time. Thank goodness my job and life are fairly flexible and the things that I do aren’t completely reliant on my own estimations as to how much time a particular project would take. If that were the case, I would be lost.

In trying to figure out why this happens so often and why I just can’t seem to get over the hurdle of accurately judging how long something will take me, I have come to the conclusion that it probably happens this way because I enjoy what I do so much. We all know it never seems like things take a long time to do when we like doing them. Time passes quickly in our minds and it seems as if it takes a great deal less to complete things that are pleasant for us to do.

So there. I have taken a potentially negative trait and turned it into a somewhat positive one. At least in my head. My conclusion is that I like what I do so much it seems like it takes no time at all to accomplish certain tasks, when in reality, the clock keeps ticking.

My hopes were to finish my cutting on the new project yesterday. I must admit that I didn’t start until mid-afternoon, as there were other business things that needed to be done before I settled down at the scroll saw. In looking at the drawings that I had made, I thought there would be no trouble at all not only completing the tray itself, but also the add-on snowflakes. So I coasted through my morning tasks without worry or a single thought of time.

As I began cutting, I once again fell into a nice rhythm and thought about how much I appreciated my saw. I am not sure if it is because of the Excalibur or the comfort of feeling as if I knew what I was doing or a little bit of both, but things hummed along just fine. As always, it was a thrill for me to see the design unfold on the piece of ash as the small pieces of wood fell to the floor, one at a time. I turned the piece over to look at the back countless times, as you could really see it unfolding that way and appreciate the beautiful grain. It was like unwrapping a gift, one layer at a time and with each cut made I was more excited.

As I continued cutting though, I did also realize that finishing up the tray would take the better part of the day. While the cuts were not particularly difficult, they were small and many of them were fussy. Snowflakes can be like that. It is sometimes difficult to remember that everything you do on a snowflake is multiplied by six. Even if there are only three inside cuts per arm, that means the entire flake has 18 inside cuts. I was glad that I only decided to pepper the tray with ‘occasional’ snowflakes, filling in the rest with swirls which gave them movement and interest. When the design is completed you will see why I did things this way.

(As I side note, did I ever mention how it bothers me when I see 8 sided snowflakes?? There are no such things that naturally occur in nature and it is a pet peeve of mine when I see them. Just a random thought!)

Back to the tray . . .

I think it really came out nice:

The snowflakes on it are not the easiest cuts, but with some time and patience (and a 2/0 Olson scroll saw blade) they were not difficult at all. Perhaps a bit time consuming though. Remember – just because things take a bit more time, doesn’t mean that they are difficult. I think people confuse the two. I like to enjoy the process.

And here is a shot of the random swirls.

I am not good at “random” things. My head tries to constantly organize things and my random stuff usually turns out like wallpaper, where a design that appears to be random in actuality is a repeat of the design in some form or another. It was truly more difficult for me to draw the swirls and make them look how I wanted than to draw the snowflakes themselves. How crazy is that?

Today, I have several more individual snowflakes to cut out. By the time I was finished with this, it was dinner and there was stuff to do around here that needed attending. So I thought instead of pushing it I would finish the cutting up today. No harm in that.

I am liking this quite a bit, and I think it will look good knowing what I still have in store for it. But you will have to wait and see what else I have up my sleeve. ;)

On a final thought, I did want to post a reminder that Lee Valley tools has their Free Shipping on orders $40 or more for two more days. (And let’s be honest – what order there ISN’T under $40??) I just thought I would let you all know in case you are in need of anything or have any extra Christmas money to spend. With shipping costs as they are, it would save you a good amount.

I hope you like the progress report. To me, it is rather fun seeing this design evolve. All the while that I am cutting, I am designing in my head and thinking of the next projects to make.

And so the cycle continues . . .

Have a great Saturday!

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

8 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2855 days

#1 posted 01-05-2013 01:14 PM

Hi Sheila I think I see myself as faster than I am
I also underestimate the time on a project that
I may think is just up my street. Cant be an age
thing as I’m only 21ish LoL
I think those who do 8 sided flakes do it because
it is easier than spacing a 6 sided one? Maybe?

-- 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 Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2919 days

#2 posted 01-05-2013 01:20 PM

Well, see Jamie – I am only “21-ish” myself! It must be an age thing! ;)

Of COURSE it is easier to make the 8 sided ones (only marginally if you know what you are doing!) But “easy” and “correct” aren’t always terms that are used together. (“easy” and “lazy” are far more interchangeable though!) I think maybe because I am a wee bit over 21, I look at things differently (although at 21 I wouldn’t have liked an 8 sided snowflake either!) I don’t know why it bothers me so much. But when I see it, I go “Grrrrrr!” LOL

We all have our peeves I suppose.

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"

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2803 days

#3 posted 01-05-2013 02:17 PM

That is just some super fine scrollin.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3084 days

#4 posted 01-05-2013 05:02 PM

Might be that if we knew how hard is was, or how long it would take, we might not have started it in the
first place. Not that a woodworker would ever fib to themselves about anything to do with playing with
wood or nice machines, but the mind does do weird things with time and money. This is just my thoughts,
and might not mean anything to you young kids.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2919 days

#5 posted 01-05-2013 05:12 PM

Thank you so much Roger. You are always so encouraging to me! :)

Gus – I do truly enjoy the process. I think that most woodworkers are that way. Most of the ones I know like seeing their projects come to be one small step at a time. Woodworking, like other hobbies, gives us a great deal of satisfaction. I don’t know why, but it is part of the creative process.

For me, scrolling is the same. All we are actually doing is removing one little scrap of wood at a time. I try to tell people that when they see an intricate design and are somewhat anxious. I have always been able to look at things like that. I don’t know if it is because of my teaching background or whatever reason. Not expecting things to just “fall together”.

I look at all the lumberjocks here and it seems that the ones who do the best work are the ones who get the most pleasure from the process. I look at Jordan and Dennis Zongker and many others who do beautiful and intricate work and I can’t for the life of me fathom the time that they put into it. The only answer is that they truly do love what they do.

We have all heard the phrase “do things because you love them, and the rest will come” and I do believe in that philosophy.

In any case, it is all good. Thanks for your input. :)


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

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2072 days

#6 posted 01-05-2013 06:31 PM

The tray is beautiful Sheila and beautifully cut too. I enjoy doing intricate designs and I don’t really care how long it takes me. The process is the fun! I’ve got so many projects stacked up in my head – when is Spring coming so that I can get out to my workshop again! Ah well, I can focus on my carving and woodburning in the meantime and stock up on scrolling patterns! These candle trays are a great idea. They are on my gift giving list.
Enjoy your day. Dull, wet and cold here. I really must get my Christmas tree down today!

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6855 posts in 3978 days

#7 posted 01-06-2013 09:39 AM

Hi Sheila,

You are gifted with a design style that is enviable!

You’re not so bad in the cutting department, either.

Beautiful, as always.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2919 days

#8 posted 01-06-2013 12:09 PM

Hi, Anna! Yes, I think that much what I like about scroll sawing is taking my time and creating the projects. Watching the pieces fall out, one by one and leaving behind beautiful fretwork is part of the charm. Like you, I don’t concern myself with how long it takes to cut. As the saying goes – “it is what it is!”

Lee – thank you very much for your nice comments. I am happy you like it. :)


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

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