My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1011: Playful Kitties Tray

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-15-2013 11:15 AM 2688 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1010: Something to Crow About! Part 1011 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1012: Catching Up »

After two weeks of going full-steam just about every minute of the day, I am finding that I am coming down off of my adrenalin rush that I have been experiencing with all these new designs that I have created. It isn’t that I am out of ideas, or even that I have completely finished with these that I have before me, but I found yesterday that I was just kind of running out of steam.

I spent the day working on the pieces for the article that I am doing for the magazine. The article is going to be on how you can take one pattern and come up with several very different looking finished projects. Those of you who are familiar with my work know that I am good at that, and more often than not my biggest problem when designing is just which path to take when developing a new design. I am sure that I would be able to output several times the amount of designs that I do if I would just stick to one type or style of pattern, but there is always something inside of me that won’t allow that to happen. I like to think that if I offer one or two additional finishing options, it will perhaps encourage people to try something that perhaps they hadn’t considered trying before. After all – if the instructions are right in front of them, it may entice them to give a new technique a go.

Perhaps it is the teacher inside of me.

So this article is a good fit for me I believe. Now the only problem is thinking where to stop as far as how many ways I can take a single, simple pattern and make it look different. I don’t know if Debbie (my editor) knew what she was getting into when giving me a green light on this article. Or maybe she did after all . . .

In any case, I spent the day yesterday drawing, cutting and sanding the pieces. When they were all ready for their various finishes, I paused a minute to think about things and I looked up at the clock. It was already six in the evening and I was feeling a bit tired and not really much like starting something new. I decided to take Jamie’s advice and have “a cuppa” and take the evening “off.” (What the heck is that like???) There was no way that I would finish last night and why risk mucking things up by doing them when I was not at my best? Besides . . . I had just run a marathon of designing and I needed to take a breath.

I made some blueberry tea and curled up in my jammies with my trusty Pancakes and played some hidden object games for the evening. I admit that I enjoy my computer games (mostly hidden object and word or puzzle games) and it helps me relax at the end of the evening. Lately though, I have been too tired to even unwind at the end of the evening more than an couple of minutes and I find that I do miss it. Even though I do a job that I love to do, it sometimes feels good to do “nothing” but mindless searching for things or solving some puzzles.

It was light out when I got up this morning, and I realized that this wasn’t just because spring is arriving, despite the temperatures that we are experiencing, and that I had slept a little longer than usual. But that is good, as I have learned in my older age that sometimes we just need to listen to our bodies and not push them too hard, for fear of repercussions in the form of colds and flu and other things that get hold of us when we are run down. (You all may have noticed that I rarely get sick. I think that part of that is because I have learned to pay attention to things and when I am tired, I stop and rest. It is a luxury that I can afford most of the time because I try to keep a good work ethic when I am feeling good.)

So today I feel good and I look forward to finishing up the pieces for the article. In the mean time, I have (yet another) candle tray that I didn’t show you all of the group. This one I think I will call “Playful Kitties” for obvious reasons.

The base is cut from 1/2” oak, and I am leaving it a natural color. I oiled it and I then sprayed it with lacquer and the look is very rich and beautiful. While the oil/lacquer combination looks good on most pieces, I find that it really makes oak look quite stunning, as it gives it a warm glow and shows the grain off beautifully.

The kitty silhouettes are cut from 1/4” walnut. Their contrast with the oak works perfectly and the piece is both simple and fun.

But don’t let the simplicity fool you – there are a LOT of cuts in this design. Silly me when designing this knew that there were five inside cuts for each of the paw prints – yet I chose to put nearly 30 of them in the piece anyway. But it was relaxing to cut this out, and I had some wonderful music playing and got ‘lost’ in the process, as I often do.

Besides – I thought for the size of the piece, I added precisely the amount necessary to make it look good. And I threw in a couple fish and mice in the mix for fun.

I think it came out nice. And yes – I know I need to make a dog one now. I find it is easier to make a generic cat than a generic dog pattern. I don’t really want to get into making specific breeds, as that would probably take up a year of my time to satisfy everyone. So a generic puppy tray will be in the works in the near future.

Today will be a good day. I still have some other versions of the trays you had already seen to show you, but I will save that for tomorrow. I need to take my car in for some seasonal maintenance tomorrow morning so if I get a blog out tomorrow morning, it will be short.

A new week is beginning and I have the window cracked open and can hear the birds singing. The three cats are all sleeping nearby and it looks to be a wonderful day. I hope you all have a good day too.

Happy Monday!

-- 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 jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 2595 days

#1 posted 04-15-2013 11:56 AM

This cat one is great! I was telling my girlfriend about all of your work and I know she will love all of your designs visting your website. Great stuff as always, have a good day Sheila!


My cat Oreo also approves of this fine work…lol. This is as big as Oreo will ever get, she is the runt of a 13 cat liter!


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3296 days

#2 posted 04-15-2013 12:01 PM

these are really nice sheila, always love the playful kitty…you have a nice day…

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

View BertFlores58's profile (online now)


1694 posts in 2915 days

#3 posted 04-15-2013 12:33 PM

The cats been on the merry go round. That is where your love shows just like when you do to your pets. When you stare at them it shows movement. I can see what you mean organized random. There is always balance in all angles. Take a break and you deserve it after a heavy week. Have a nice day.

-- Bert

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2849 days

#4 posted 04-15-2013 01:04 PM

Sheila I love it a wonderful gift for all cat lovers.
One can never have too many Cuppas :)
Yes each of us would pick our own favorite breeds
I think you need to think Disney and co for a generic cartoon type of dog

Sheila have a wonderful day, with Tea Scones & purrs life dont get better


-- 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 Rick13403's profile


256 posts in 3497 days

#5 posted 04-15-2013 02:06 PM

Another great pattern, Sheila. I don’t know how you do it.

-- Rick - DeWalt 788 & Ex21 -

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2066 days

#6 posted 04-15-2013 05:24 PM

Hi Sheila, the cat try looks great. Bert gave me another idea with his comment. How about a tray like a merry go round? :)
Enjoy lots of cuppas! I’m glad to hear you are finally getting Spring. Sunny and warm here today.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2797 days

#7 posted 04-16-2013 12:28 AM

Full speed ahead, Sheila. You go girl

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2913 days

#8 posted 04-16-2013 01:07 AM

Wow, you guys! I come back here tonight and saw all your nice comments!

Joe – What a HANDSOME boy Oreo is! He is just awesome. Thanks for sharing his picture here. :)
Bert – I started out with six kitties (trying to be random) and I decided to make another because it looked much more balanced. I really do think things out and sometimes it takes a bit longer for me to do things because I change my mind after seeing them complete. I could leave them ‘as is’ and they would be OK, but I can’t leave them when I know I can do better. :)
Bob – I hope you are doing well. I have missed seeing you and haven’t been on FB much. I am glad you like the kitties.
Jamie – Good ideas as always. You are right – NEVER too much Cuppa! I always appreciate your friendship and encouragement.
Rich – Thank you also for your support. You really make me always want to do better.
Anna – I like the merry go round idea, too. That would be a cool project! We had a beautiful and warm day today. It cooled off in the evening, but it is getting warmer little by little each day.
And Roger – Thanks to you too. Some days I feel like the energizer bunny!

Have a great evening everyone. :)


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

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics