Thursday, July 20, 2017

My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1846: Catching Up

The longer I am away from blogging, the more projects keep piling up and the more overwhelmed I feel about writing again. It is funny how that works, isn’t it?

I didn’t realize how long my break from writing was until I received several emails from some of you who were somewhat concerned about my absence. I very much appreciate being missed, and I promise I will do my best to try to post more regularly. It is just that sometimes getting back into a routine can be tough. 

I certainly have been busy. Even though it is only mid-July, as I designer I realize that the autumn and holiday seasons are quickly approaching. That has always been our busiest time and while I feel I have a little bit of a start on some new designs for the upcoming seasons, there never seem to be enough hours in the day (or days in the week, for that matter) to accomplish everything I set out to do and keep up with ideas. I always say that is a good thing – and it is – but it is hard to fend off the feelings of being overwhelmed sometimes and keep my thoughts as organized as I would like. It takes a great deal of practice. 

One of the main reasons that I have been absent in the past couple of weeks was that I had a visit from a fellow artist and friend from Virginia. (VERA!)

I ‘met’ Vera at the beginning of last year when I started the Facebook group for Lynne Andrews 12 Days of Christmas ornaments. Vera instantly stood out because she was such a huge help with keeping that group going. Along with our friend Lynn, Vera and I were the ones who answered questions, encouraged others, and overall, kept things running smoothly. Vera painted SIX sets of the ornaments herself and was a wonderful inspiration for others. We came to chat with each other almost on a daily basis and found we had so much in common that we could have been sisters. When Vera said she wanted to visit, I was thrilled to have her. She spent a full week here in Nova Scotia with us and you would think that we had been friends our entire lives. 

While we spent some time playing 'tourists’ and looking around our area, we spent much of our time brainstorming and talking about creating and what the next projects would be. It was wonderful to have someone here who shares my passion for making things, and it really lit a fire under me. It was a great time and lovely to have someone to share my excitement about creating with. We have so many great new ideas that we hope you will all enjoy. 

But she had to eventually go back, and last Friday we took her back to the airport in Halifax. But I feel that I have a new sense of dedication and purpose, and couldn’t wait to get started on some new things. 

I did finish my “Five Little Sheep” embroidery designs. As I mentioned in previous blogs, they were what I consider to be a kind of warm up exercise in working on my embroidery skills. I do want to branch out and create some unique needlework kits, as I have looked and the types of projects and kits I have in mind are not to be found. I think I can tap a new area and hopefully bring something to people that they can’t really find anywhere else. This has been something that I have wanted to do ever since I worked on my “A Perfect World” sampler two years ago. There was so much interest from people and so many requests to create patterns and/or kits that I feel it is something that would be well-received. But I wanted to take my time and do things right. I have been spending many months getting things ready in preparation for launching this line of patterns and kits. 

The first subject that I chose to create was a Nautilus seashell brooch. 

It is created using high-quality threads, glass pearls, and glass seed beads. There is a pretty crystal bead in the center, too. When I first showed it on Facebook, I was overwhelmed by the response. It was very encouraging and there is even a shop that wants to order my kits wholesale.  It will be a fun, new adventure. 

Of course, after the initial piece was done, I needed to recreate it in order to take step-by-step photos for the pattern and put the steps in logical order. As a designer, I often start with an idea and build on it as I progress. I do this with my painting patterns as well and thus I usually need to make everything two times when creating a pattern. But that way I feel very comfortable in the process and I feel it qualifies me to teach it properly. As those of you who purchased my patterns in the past know, I like to have full and complete instructions. I think this stems from working for the magazine for over 20 years. I don’t know how to write patterns any other way. 

So I am working in that direction to make sure things will be clear and have the high quality that everyone is used to with my work. More information will follow soon on that in later posts. 

The other thing I did this week was that I created a new set of painting surfaces. This set of autumn leaf ornaments is really fun and versatile:

They are my 'signature’ bevel-cut, two-piece style and I can think of so many wonderful autumn and Halloween things to put inside them to make them unique. 

I decided to paint Lynne Andrews’ “Candy Corn Crows” (painting pattern for the crows are at her website at and use DecoArt’s new Extreme Sheen Metallic paints for the leaf frames. I think they came out really nice. 

This was kind of a crummy picture, as I finished them last night right before bed, but I posted it on Facebook and have had a wonderful response. I think they will be well-received. :) 

So you all see, my laziness in writing isn’t really because I have been lazy. It has been because I have been so busy working on new things that I have found it harder and harder to keep up with you all. I promise I will try to do better, as I don’t want to feel overwhelmed and make my blog posts so long that you all don’t have time to read them. I will aim for short and to the point posts until I can really be caught up.

We are planning a site update in the next couple of days. I will have the leaf surfaces available then. I invite you to join our Mailing List if you haven’t already.  That way you will surely see our new projects. 

Keith has three new projects as well …

… A second Rustic Welcome plaque – this time a moose (SLDK729) :

… a new Biblical plaque (SLDK730) : 

… and finally, a new Wall Art or Overlay plaque (SLDK731 - Sweet Dreams):

So you see, there is plenty of new designs for everyone. 

Thanks to those of you who missed me. It made me feel good that you care. I hope that you enjoy all of our new ventures and that both Keith and I give you all some ideas and inspiration so you can enjoy being creative as well. 

Happy Thursday to you all! 

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