My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1010: Something to Crow About!

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-14-2013 11:59 AM 2888 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1009: Yesterday's Progress Part 1010 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1011: Playful Kitties Tray »

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 ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

12 comments so far

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 4378 days

#1 posted 04-14-2013 12:23 PM

Wow! A 3d creation. The design alone is already amazing plus the construction makes it so attractive. Nice choice of the crow because the color black highlight contrast on the yoke. The kart gives a strong lift to the pumpkin while the wheels seem to be really fatigue. This separate you from others. Keep it going.
Have a nice weekend.

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4376 days

#2 posted 04-14-2013 12:27 PM

Thanks, Bert! It was something a little ‘different’ for me to do. Cutting straight lines is always a challenge on the scroll saw, but this came out OK. (Sanders help, too!) I like that the scroll saw is so versatile that you can do a lot more than just scroll work on it. This was fun to construct and build! I could do LOTS of these types of projects!

I hope you have a great day too! :)


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

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4260 days

#3 posted 04-14-2013 12:51 PM

Very creative. Put that old Crow to work…

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4312 days

#4 posted 04-14-2013 01:54 PM

Sheila that is one smart Crow.
It is fun to be in touch with the inner child
I feel really sorry for folk that grow up, except for Dr’s and Pilots and
Ok maybe not everyone :)

Have a great 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 kepy's profile


293 posts in 3730 days

#5 posted 04-14-2013 02:31 PM

Isn’t it great to have a job that gives you so much pleasure? Some years ago, I had a business of designing and cutting projects for tole painters. I also did custom cutting of their designs as they said they didn’t have time to cut and paint and they preferred painting. It was a lot of fun but the years caught up with me so now I only cut for pleasure and most go as gifts for someone.

-- Kepy

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4376 days

#6 posted 04-14-2013 03:32 PM

Thanks Roger!

Jamie – I love that I get to still be a bit ‘childish’ by making fun projects such as this! That is part of why what I do makes me so happy. If I can bring some smiles to others with my creations, than that is a great thing!

And Kepy – doing what we love is the best job ever! It may not pay a lot, but I would rather be happy than wealthy. I am happy that I could make a living doing something I love. I always say that and I mean it from the bottom of my heart. :)

Have a great Sunday!


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

View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4541 days

#7 posted 04-14-2013 04:51 PM

Great looking wagon, you could redo it for Halloween putting Jack O’Lanterns in the cart and using a black
cat to pull the cart, we all know how easy it is to train a cat to do something like that. Thank you for
sharing once again.

-- As ever, Gus-the 83 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4376 days

#8 posted 04-14-2013 04:56 PM

Thanks, Gus! I did make a cat pull toy for Halloween, but my kitty must be lazy because she is on the cart with the pumpkins! I call her Fiona>

But I should re-do her (or make her a ‘sister’) with the kitty pulling the wagon. So many ways to do this, I suppose. :) Thank you for your nice comments. :)


PS – Those are all natural wood colors on that project – roasted birch for the cat, yellow heart for the cart, padauk for the pumpkins and purple heart for the hat.

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

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24573 posts in 5132 days

#9 posted 04-14-2013 06:03 PM

You’re right, too much fun! Knock it off and get a real, boring job ;-)) The Halloween wagons are great.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 3529 days

#10 posted 04-15-2013 02:10 AM

Hi Sheila, this is a really cool project! It could make a great Fall decoration for a front porch – maybe a bit bigger or take out the pumpkins and it would make an awesome plant stand! I love that this whole project is done on the scroll saw – great project for kids to learn scroll sawing.
Continue to have fun! :)

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4376 days

#11 posted 04-15-2013 09:55 AM

I am happy that I got you thinking Anna! He would look cute on a porch with his wagon filled with colorful gourdes or other goodies from the season. He has so many possibilities! And yes – the scrolling is pretty easy on this project. The only area you need to really be accurate is with making the str

Thank you for your comments!


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

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3672 posts in 5168 days

#12 posted 04-17-2013 05:52 AM


What can I say but that “You’re amazing!”


-- Voltaire: “Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities, Can Make You Commit Atrocities” There are 112 genders (not including male and female)

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