No job should be this much fun.
I know I have said it before, and that some of you may think that I am exaggerating, but I find if anything, I tone it down. This past week and a half should be proof of that.
In the last week and a half, I drew up seven new candle trays as well as a new project for the August issue of Creative Woodworks and Crafts magazine and pretty much got all the prototypes finished. I still have one more tray that I didn’t even really show you yet, but I will wait for that until tomorrow. My deadline was to mail off this design by Monday (tomorrow) as well as write an additional article for the magazine, which I will be doing today. In between that, Keith and I printed and assembled 150 new painting kits which included cutting our 1800 ornaments between us, packaging them, and getting them out the door. (Oh – and we spent a day at Bernie and Ellen’s during that time too!)
You can say I have been busy. :)
But busy is a good thing when you love what you do. And that truly applies to me. My only complaint is that there are only those 24 hours each day in which to accomplish all that I want to do and still have time to do the things that we need to do in our daily lives.
I must admit, I haven’t cooked very much lately, although I have made some nice quick dinners. We have missed going to the gym a couple of times, too. But the ideas are here and I think that I have to take advantage of that and run with it while I can. (Besides – we were due for a rest week from the gym anyway) I just need to get these done and meet my deadlines and move forward. Our goal is to have the site updated by next weekend and have all the new patterns available, as there have been many asking. Writing them shouldn’t take too long because most of the instructions are repetitious and the basic assembly is pretty straight forward. By blogging about them each morning, it helps me get the pictures done little by little, too. Although there are some final pictures to be taken, for the most part they are finished. So we are good.
Yesterday, I spent the bulk of the day finishing up the pattern for the magazine. I wanted to do something a little different, and since the project is for the August issue, I thought that a late summer/early fall item would be appropriate.
I love building things, and I had an idea of making another vignette on the line of my Pull Toys that I had done in the past. This time, I thought that I would do a cute crow pulling a cart with some pumpkins. The project would not only involve building the cart itself, but also the shaping of the crow and the pumpkins. I thought it would be a nice change from just scrolling a flat piece and I had a ball making it.
Since the piece is done in a Primitive style, it is very easy to both shape and to paint. No skill is really needed at all, as I wanted it to look kind of grungy and – well – Primitive.
When I told Kieth what I had in mind, he looked at me with skepticism. I had learned long ago that while I may be OK at making up these ideas, I don’t always relay them verbally in a way that people can understand. I kind of just shut my mouth and let people see the finished product, and then they can judge.
I had shown the body of the crow earlier in the week, before it was shaped. I knew then that it would come out OK and I was excited to see it done. I was still working out a couple of things in my mind though and took my time so that by the time it came to when I had to actually DO things, I knew what to do. This has worked for me in the past and didn’t fail me this time either.
So without any more jabbering, here are the pictures of the final piece . . .
The vignette includes a crow pulling a cart with two shaped pumpkins on it:
The crow is about 7 inches long and maybe 5 inches tall. The crow and pumpkins are made of poplar, and the cart made of oak. I wanted the pieces that needed to be shaped to be made of a softer wood so it would be easier to do so. I suppose pine would be alright to use, but I didn’t want any grain pattern to show really.
You can see that the crow has a couple of stars in his mouth. Crows are noted for liking shiny objects. Maybe he saw them on the ground along the way. His feet are also made of oak because I wanted them to be a bit denser and heavier than the poplar so that his center of gravity would be low. I was concerned that he would want to topple over when I saw the pattern on paper, but because of the length and position of his feet, it is very stable and it wasn’t a problem at all.
I was unsure for quite a time as to how I would have him pull the cart. I didn’t know whether to drill into his wings, but I thought that would interfere with the design. I thought that if I created a type of yoke to slip over his shoulders, that would work well, and it did. (you should have seen the look on Keith’s face when I tried to explain that one to him!)
Rather than glue the yoke in place, I just slip it over his head and he is good to go. It was really a very simple solution to the problem:
The pumpkins themselves were fun and easy. I simply cut them into segments, shaped each segment and the stem using the sander and a rotary tool, and then painted and reassembled them. I thought the rusty wire curly-cues looked really cool, too!
For the cart, I chose to do a checkerboard design on the sides. This followed along with the primitive/country theme. The wheel hubs were made in mis-shapen star shapes, too – and of course, I applied a single crystal rhinestone on the center of each of the stars as well as the stars that they crow is carrying in his beak. (I have to have a little sparkle in there somewhere!)
Attaching the rope to the cart was another thing that I thought a great deal about. I decided to just add on a simple tab on the front (complete with a star in the middle to match the theme) and I think it looks perfect. I even put a little bit of raffia on the bed of the cart for more interest.
Here is a close up of one of the pumpkins so you can get an idea on the size. It is about 4” in diameter.
Overall, I just love this project. I can honestly say that I am going to feel bad about packing this one up and sending it on its way. I know it will be months before I see it again. Right now it is on my kitchen table as a centerpiece and it is one of those projects that I just can’t stop looking at.
I know that the Primitive style isn’t something that everyone likes, but it is pretty popular and I can really see why. While I love doing those exacting and refined cuts on the scroll saw, there is something that is really cute, fun and charming about pieces like this that I just love. After making this, I just want to do more.
I thought of naming my crow “Russell”, but that would be too obvious. I am still thinking of a catchy name for this project – or perhaps I will just give him a name that doesn’t have to do with anything in particular.
Bottom line is that I love him and I am really happy with how he came out. When he was done last night and I was admiring him, even Keith was smiling when he saw him. I could tell that I surprised him and that he really liked it too. “I wonder what Debbie is thinking she is going to get?” he said to me (Debbie is my editor at the magazine.) Surely she must also think I am crazy when I tried to explain that my next project would be a “crow pulling a cart of pumpkins.”
I hope she is pleasantly surprised!
Today is another busy day, as I need to work on the article that I am writing for her. I hope to get it all finished, as well as the accompanying pieces that I will be writing about. But I feel up for it and I know pretty much what I am doing, so hopefully it will all come together nicely.
I wish you all a wonderful and happy Sunday! I hope you take time to have fun and do something creative!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"