My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #999: Strawberry Fields Forever

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-02-2013 11:28 AM 4340 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 998: Progress Report Part 999 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1000: Is It Really 1000?? »

As I said yesterday, it was our day to go to Digby to visit our dear friends Ellen and Bernie and their daughter Cindy and have a nice dinner. Cindy needed to work on Sunday, so our plans were postponed for a day and pushed into Monday. One of the great things about working for myself is that my schedule is flexible like that. Most of the time I am able to shift things around when something like that comes up and we don’t miss out on anything.

The key there though is that we need to keep focused and disciplined on those days when nothing special is going on. I have an imaginary time bank and if I fill it with enough hours worked, I feel no guilt whatsoever taking a day off now and then. This is totally up to Keith and myself individually, and one reason we never have any problems if one or the other (or both) of us want to do something other than stay home and work is that we both have similar work ethics and know that our fate for the most part lies in our own hands and we are willing to take responsibility for ourselves.

Many people hear the word “self-employed” and immediately picture someone sitting on a beach sipping a cocktail while others are chained to their offices or desks or doing their daily jobs. They fail to understand that small businesses don’t “just happen” and that usually it takes a great deal more time for a self-employed person to achieve success than it does someone who is punching a clock. The difference is (for me anyway) that we are doing something that we truly love and even though we are pretty much always on call and working, it doesn’t seem like work because we love what we do.

I realize that this lifestyle is not for everyone, and for some it is not possible to live the way we do. But for myself, and I think for Keith too, this is the way that we choose to live and we both feel that we are very fortunate to be able to do so. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the days pass. We are always busy and for the most part it is a really ‘good’ type of busy. I honestly look forward to getting up each morning and working on my business. And as those of you who read know, there are times when I am able to sneak away to the beach and have the best office in the world. I see more of that time coming this summer, and I am thinking now of ways to be able to accomplish some work and get some things done while I am away.

The rest of this week will be fun and exciting as I see my new projects come to life. While I didn’t get much done yesterday, I was able to cut out the overlay pieces on my second design of the recent group that I drew. This candle tray is one I call “Strawberry Fields Forever”, as it made me think of the Beatle’s song of the same name.

It is one of the times I was proudly able to accomplish a truly “random” design and have it look balanced and natural. Usually when I attempt “random”, I wind up doing what turns out to be “organized random” where the design starts to look like it repeats a bit. Somewhat like wallpaper. But this time it is truly a random design and I am very happy with the outcome.

The base of the tray is composed of the vines and the leaves. While this designs looks really intricate to cut, it is very forgiving and easy. I purposely made the tips of the leaves ever so slightly rounded so that it would be easy to make the turn while using a small 2/0 blade without having to make the sharp points. This cut down a significant amount of cutting time without compromising the design whatsoever. I also added the small blossoms in with the vine/leaf layer so that they would remain subtle and not take over the design.

The strawberries were made as overlay pieces. I chose to add eight of them – four larger and four smaller – but naturally you could add as many or few as you like.

The strawberries each have ten teardrop shaped seeds on them. I know I could have cheated and just drilled holes, but me being me wouldn’t let that happen. I think that making the seeds tear drop shaped was critical to making these look really nice, and it was worth the extra time I took to scroll each seed out. (Besides – I did ‘cheat’ and cut the berries stacked two high. That meant only 40 additional cuts instead of 80. It sounds like a lot but it only added about 15 minutes of time on to the project. Time well spent I think!)

As with the first tray, this piece is fresh off the scroll saw. I didn’t even get to finish sand the pieces or oil them or varnish and color them. That will come later on today. We didn’t get home from our dinner until after 10pm and both of us were tired. If I learned anything, it is not to start something new when I am tired. So I will work on them today, as well as cut some more out.

I can see that I am going to be multi-tasking and working on several of these projects at once. The subsequent blogs this week will probably be a mixture of different stages for several of the projects. I have no idea how long it will take me to complete all eight of the designs that I drew up over the weekend, but I expect it to be a week or so.

I feel like I am at Disney World and don’t know what ride to go on first!

As I look at all that is in front of me these next several days, it will be fun and exciting to see each one emerge from the pieces of wood that are now sitting on my table. It has been a while since I added new candle trays into my arsenal of patterns, and while the older designs are still very popular, it was time to introduce some new trays for the new season.

I plan on coloring this tray in with some acrylic stain, which will make the design look pretty cool I think. But I like showing the trays ‘naked’ too because they look pretty nice in natural wood too. (By the way – this tray is done in maple) I hope you stay tuned so you can see all the new trays I made. It is a fun journey and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

The sun is up now, and it is going to be a beautiful day. Unlike yesterdays grey rain, it is bright and beautiful and very pretty out. Perhaps I will be able to fit in a nice walk. It seems like ages since we have done that.

Have a great day today. Enjoy whatever life has to offer you!

-- 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 Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2833 days

#1 posted 04-02-2013 11:40 AM

This is way kool, Sheila. I like the 3-d effect.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2949 days

#2 posted 04-02-2013 02:40 PM

Thank you very much Roger! I hope 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 Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2885 days

#3 posted 04-02-2013 03:22 PM

Sheila that is very neat
The devil is in the detail, the teardrop just makes it a professorial job

Have a Sublime day

-- 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 NH_Hermit's profile


394 posts in 3125 days

#4 posted 04-02-2013 07:47 PM

Sheila, this is post #999!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That probably means tomorrow’s will be #1,000.

Good for you.

-- John from Hampstead

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3144 days

#5 posted 04-02-2013 08:41 PM

Jamie is right the teardrop tell the different between you and all others
and add alot to the design ….. love the 3-D :-)

you make me look forward to the strawberry seasson …... a bowlfull of fresh strawberry┬┤s with cream
to eat every day in three weeks …. Drooool !!

its not only selfimplyod that work twice as people who clock in and out five days a week :-)
saturday night it was 16 hours in the car for me ….. easter saturday is the bedst day in the year
for us …. its twice as big as new year evening
here on this island they all goes to the beach and cooking eggs over bonfire with the fammilies
that will say ….. the teenagers and younger adults its more about having fun with freind around the
fire and get quite a bit of beers ..... nomatter if its sun or in a snowstorm like this weekend
the families with children start out around ten in the morning and then it continue with the elder generations
minimum untill midnight on the beach …. the last I drow home was 8 aclock sunday morning
he was ready to see a bed several hours before ...... LOL

take care

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2102 days

#6 posted 04-02-2013 10:06 PM

Hi Sheila, I agree with Jamie and Dennis – the teardrops give the strawberries that wow factor and I like the 3D effect. This little tray would be great to serve a nice bowl of fresh strawberries on.
Enjoy your walk.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2951 days

#7 posted 04-02-2013 10:56 PM

Hi Sheila, I felt in several occasion on the opposite side of what you both have… focus and discipline. There are several factors to consider…. the office work and the family is always there to consider a protocol. However, I consider these other factors as the one that moves me, inspire me and likewise finance me (office work). I like your attitude on the commitment that both Keith and you are working on.
By the way, The strawberry overlay is a new technique nowadays that perks up the background. Very attractive design. My only question is how to effect a 3D on several layers. I can expect now that your painting skill will give a 3d life in those trays.

Have a nice day.

-- Bert

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3047 days

#8 posted 04-03-2013 12:08 AM

For your information, it is already Strawberry season in Florida! Yum, Yum!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2949 days

#9 posted 04-03-2013 12:39 AM

I am very happy that you all like it. It was one of those designs that just flowed. Sometimes designs come easier than others. I had a pretty good run here and I feel good about all the designs. I do believe that getting away from things for a while and focusing on other things does help. There are times when I work too long on something and I get rather bogged down. The past month and a half I have been working on the masks and the bunnies, with a couple of things for the magazine in between. I have felt like there hasn’t really been time to do scroll work. After finishing the different bunnies, I knew it was time to go back to doing some good scrolling designs. Reality hit that the large wholesaler was not only not going to have our designs, but they were putting out their own designs very similar to what Keith and I made. So it is time to really get focused and show everyone what we are made of.

Bert – it is easy to stay focused and disciplined when I love what I do so much. Besides that, I have you all here cheering me on. That means a great deal to me. Thank you all for the constant support you offer me. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

Erwin – our season will be arriving soon. But today we had a mini-snowstorm. Nothing stuck, but for a while you couldn’t see across the road! Crazy!

Have a good night everyone. :)


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

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