My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1187: Doing Something for Myself - "Reaching for the Stars" Tree Topper

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 12-09-2013 12:35 PM 2576 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1186: A Free Scroll Saw Pattern and a Contest Part 1187 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1188: Another Update to Our Site! »

As a “professional designer” and a craft person, it seems as if I am always creating things for someone else. Be it the magazine, items to sell, or gifts to others, it has been somewhat of a struggle for me to be able to justify taking some time to make some fun projects that I want to keep for myself. Especially at this time of year.

But when I changed over my little “all season” tree to a Christmas theme last week, I noticed that I didn’t have any type of star or ornament that would make a suitable topper. It looked nice, but the top of the tree was . . . well . . . “NAKED” and I felt it really took away from the overall look.

Every time I entered the store, I looked through the Christmas displays to see if I could find anything suitable. while they had some nice things, they had nothing that would really look nice or go with this year’s “theme” that I decided to make my tree.

I had recently done a massive organization of all of my things that were in storage. Since we have a small place, we keep a lot of our storage in Keith’s mom’s basement. She only lives about ten minutes away from us and it is a nice excuse to stop over and visit more often. But from me moving a couple of times, things there were in disarray and I found I was holding on to far more stuff than I needed. A few weeks ago, we spent the afternoon sorting through things and I really pared down things a great deal. Now everything is in a large plastic container. I have one for each season/holiday which includes all of my decorations for that time of year. It really makes it fast and simple to switch things out. AND – you don’t forget anything either!

You would be amazed at the nice things that I found! :)

Among them was a set of “Cozy Cubby” ornaments that I had painted long ago. The design is by Debbie Mitchell – a tole painting designer that I admired much when I started out painting. I had all of her books and loved all of her designs.

Since I had five or six of her ornaments painted, I figured that I would use them on my tree this Christmas season. (I will show pictures of the finished tree tomorrow, as I have several pictures to show here today already.) I also remembered that one of her books had a design for a teddy bear tree topper that would be perfect for the tree.

I worked hard this week and stayed up late writing and working because I needed to reach a certain point in my work so I could justify taking the day Sunday to actually paint something for myself. I was please when I had met my goal Saturday night because I knew that the entire day Sunday would be mine to do as I pleased – guilt free. It is rare that this occurs, but I NEED to do it more!

It felt great to follow another’s design instead of having to figure things out myself. It isn’t that I mind designing at all – in fact I LOVE it, but it is very relaxing to be able to do something according to someone else’s directions and not have to think too much! It turns out that I kind of do my own thing anyway, but the general idea is in front of me and it makes for a very fun and relaxing day.

The Star Tree Topper consisted of a pretty gold star with a little boy bear climbing over the top and a girl bear hanging on the bottom. Both of them had darling jammies on which I always find fun to paint. They reminded me of the saying “reaching for the stars” and perhaps that is part of why I liked the design so much. I got them base coated and began the shading on the clothing:

And they only took me a couple of hours to complete.

I then added a beautiful ribbon in the center of the star, which also doubles as a way to attach it to the tree:

The boy bear has a real bell on his hat:

And the little girl is carrying a string of bells.

I did take lots of pictures of my tree, but I didn’t want to inundate you all with too many pictures at once. I will certainly post them tomorrow for you all to see. :)

As I sat and painted, in my cozy little place, I couldn’t help but feel how fortunate I am. All the work of organizing our shop and home really set me at peace. Our business is having its best year ever. I have so many wonderful and creative friends that share our love of art, woodworking and painting. We have our health. We are not in ‘want’ of anything.

It’s good to feel this content with my life. I am very grateful for my family and my friends that I have met in person, and those I have met through my blog here and through my art.

The best part is that I have what seems like a million other ideas for fun projects – both painting and scroll sawing – and I look forward to sharing them all with you!

I have had some people ask me what I want for Christmas and I can honestly say “nothing.” I am truly happy with what I have and the life I live, and I can’t think of anything else that would make me happy. It is a great place to be, and I appreciate it so much because it wasn’t always this way. Several years ago I was going through some very difficult times and things looks very bleak for me. But I learned how to get myself out of the hole I dug for myself and I am happy that those days are behind me. I don’t regret them though, as they are good reminders of how things can be, and they certainly make me appreciate what I have now even more.

Funny how getting older does that to you.

So I will end for today with this thought. Remember that you need to take care of yourself. If you don’t, you won’t be able to care for those around you. We need to feel content and happy with ourselves in order to be our best. And never stop reaching for your own star.

I wish you all a very happy Monday.

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

7 comments so far

View KnotCurser's profile


2032 posts in 3574 days

#1 posted 12-09-2013 12:45 PM

That’s precious!

And your painting is fantastic as well.

I’m getting “older” as well and while I don’t really NEED anything for the Holidays, I most certainly WANT things – even if it’s a new tube of scrollsaw blades or #60 drill bits. It’s fun to give relatives and friends a list of things that they have NO idea what the things are. Just to hear them go “uh…......Okay…....sure” when they read your list of stuff you wish. ;-)



-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2638 days

#2 posted 12-09-2013 01:05 PM

WOW! Absolutely Beautiful, you are so very very creative. I’m not very artistic, but I certainly appreciate the fine works of others. I do recognize balance, position, shading, attitude and such, but just don’t draw or paint well.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3425 days

#3 posted 12-09-2013 01:09 PM

Thank you both. But as I mentioned, this wasn’t my design. I painted it from an instruction book by Debbie Mitchell, who designed several books starring these darling bears. I do like how it came out though. Debbie’s designs were some of the first that I attempted as a painter and they certainly inspired me to continue painting.

I really appreciate your nice comments and I am glad you enjoy the bears. :)


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

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 2638 days

#4 posted 12-09-2013 01:42 PM

Sheila, Some 20 years ago when my wife was kinda heavy into scrolling, she made sereral sets, we still have six or seven , of reindeer about 3” high from red cedar 1/4” thick. One of the four in the set has slipped on the ice and is facing you on his butt, feet askew., another ihas also slipped and fallen, but as the legs are tword the front to hold it erect you are looking at end grain and it has faces you with an eye on each side, one is a side view looking ahead another is side view with face facing you. All have hemisphere eyes that are glued on; the legs are cut seperately and glued on she painted the hooves and antlers on each and added small red bows. Thease sets come out every Christmas season right after Thanksgiving and are some of my favorite of her many hand crafted decorations. I feel certain she copied the set frol a scrolling document but you may consider a take off on this idea since you scroll and paint. Just a thought.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View Roger's profile


21011 posts in 3310 days

#5 posted 12-10-2013 02:38 AM

Your painting skills are fantastic as are your scrolling, scrollgirl. :)

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

View Celticscroller's profile


1284 posts in 2579 days

#6 posted 12-10-2013 03:56 AM

Oh how cute! Beautifully painted. I have some painting books by Debbie Mitchell and I really like her work. I should go through my library of painting books and get inspired!
All I want for Christmas is TIME!
Enjoy your evening. Our first snow fell today. More to come tomorrow.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3425 days

#7 posted 12-10-2013 01:21 PM

Thank you Anna! I would love to see something that you painted by her design. They are really fun.

Sheila :)

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

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