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My Journey as a Creative Designer -Painting, Woodworking and Beyond

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Listing all posts with label tole painting. Show all posts.
  1. I am trying to keep my promise to myself to get back to posting when I have made progress on some of my projects. With that said, I had a pretty productive weekend and wanted to share some of what I did with you all. 

    I spent most of Saturday working up in my shop. I had some orders to go out, and I have a large project that I am working on with another artist that I want to stay on top of and chip away at gradually. That way, by working it in with my other work, I hardly notice the time spent doing things and also can keep up while accomplishing my own work.
  2. It's funny how we fall into and out of habits. There are times when this happens with little effort or thought, and other times (usually when trying to develop positive habits) that it seems like a chore to follow through with things each day. There are also times in our lives when things change unexpectedly and along with it, our routines. I suppose that is part of living.

    For the past several months, it seems that every time I post here I am apologizing for not posting as often as I used to.
  3. Those of you who know me realize that I am an 'Organizational Junkie'.  

    Yes - I am actually very proud of that fact. I grew up with very limited means and I was taught to respect and take care of the things we have. Throwing them here and there only causes them to get lost or damaged. Besides - how can we be efficient if we have to stop and look for stuff while we are in the midst of creating? Maybe others can work that way, but I sure can't.
  4. It seems so long since I have posted, that I almost forgot how to do it. (Not really - but you get the point!)  

    The past month or month and a half have really been quite a change for both myself and my business. It is a good thing, but something that takes a bit of time to adjust to, and I find that I am finally feeling that I a getting 'caught up' and doing that. It has been a busy and crazy time for me, though. 

    Things really started to get busy when Lynne Andrews launched her "Inspirational Ark" series.
  5. It seems like it has been forever since I posted a blog. As a person who posted a new blog nearly every day for over five years, it seems that I have been quite lax lately in keeping up. I apologize about that.

    It isn't that I am not busy. Quite the opposite is true. It seems that the floodgates have been opened and all of a sudden things are really kind of wild. That in itself is wonderful, but it is also kind of scary. While I am thrilled and excited about this recent 'growth spurt' of my business, I still need to keep things under control.
  6. It has been a wild and incredibly busy week. I have spent most of my days up in my shop, working on cutting my wood orders. It is difficult to call it 'work' because I do enjoy doing what I do so much. With the release of Lynne Andrew's Noah's Ark series last week, there has been a huge rush to purchase the wood pieces from me. Along with this have been our regular orders and all the other business tasks. I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined being in such a wonderful and productive place for our business.
  7. I think that most who hear that I design for my living and have my own business have visions of me spending my days in the dreamy wonderland of creating. . . lolling away the hours overlooking the rolling meadow or gazing out to the ocean, drawing or painting my heart out to the sound of the lapping water on the beach. It is truly a wonderful thought, isn't it?

    While I have been able to experience days such as I described, they are few and far in between. As our little business grows, the daily part of running it seems to take up more and more time and less time is left to be creative.
  8. I am very pleased with the way things are going these days. It seems that many of the things that I have been planning over the past several months are all coming into reality, and so far the result has been more than I could have ever asked for. 

    I love working with other designers. (Are you seeing a theme here?) Having a "partner in crime" that you admire and trust really does make a difference. Not only are you motivated to do your absolute best, but you also learn a great deal from a fellow artist.
  9. As usual, it has been a wild and crazy week. Monday was spent finishing up sending out orders and (what else?) organizing some more! I suppose when I get on a roll, I really get into it. My office, as well as my shop, is so fine tuned right now it is amazing. I only have one more section to do that houses my needlework and embroidery supplies and I am totally good to go! That section isn't too bad, though, and I think that will need to wait for another time. I have so much to do to move forward! I have so many exciting things that are coming up soon and I can't wait to share them with you!  

    I will begin by talking about a project that I am doing with Amy Joanne Mogish.
  10. One would think that with me having a full-time business as a designer, that the majority of my day would be painting, drawing, and cutting new designs on the scroll saw, wouldn't they?  But lately, it seems that the 'business' aspects of our business fill much of the day, and sometimes there is little time left to do the creative things, let alone create for my own pleasure. 

    I am not complaining, mind you. I am thrilled that things are moving in a good direction. I truly enjoy doing things like cutting orders and helping customers.
  11. I had a crazy/busy weekend (again!)   I had hoped to have some time to paint, but it just wasn't in the cards for me yet. That doesn't mean that I didn't have a productive couple of days. It was quite the opposite. 

    Many of you who have followed me regularly here on the blog may have noticed that I am not posting as much. It isn't because I am not working as much or doing as much creating, but it is more because the 'production' side of my business has really grown.
  12. One thing about posting here less often - when I do post there is so much to share with you all! I feel like things are going fast forward again and I am back on the 'creative track' after a bleak two months for me. Those of you who have followed me for a while know that I usually try to look at the good side of even the not-so-good thing that happen. But sometimes, that just doesn't work. Try as I did, I found it hard to feel good about things.  It was time for me to step back and allow myself to go through the grieving process and get through my day.
  13. We all work for certain goals in our lives. Be it personal or professional, there always seems to be something to strive for and give out lives purpose. 

    I began my own business many, many years ago. I was in my 20's then and looking for a way to earn some extra income for my young family while doing something that I enjoyed. I had always loved 'making things' and thought that would be somewhat of a utopia for me. Justifying doing something that I love and being paid for it as well.
  14. I think I finally made it to the 'other side.'  By that, I mean that I feel as if I finally made it to the 'healthy' side of life. After weeks (and I mean WEEKS) of fighting various symptoms a cold/flu virus, I woke up this morning with the feeling that I am getting better. I still have a few of the symptoms. But I definitely feel that something has changed for the better. There is much less tickling in my throat and little congestion and no more body aches. I am on the mend.
  15. I had a pretty productive day yesterday. My goal was to get the 15+ orders that I had cut out all packed and shipped by the pickup time at our local post office and I was able to accomplish that. It may not seem like a lot to some of you, but it takes a great deal of time. Since most of the shipments are international, I have to fill out customs forms for each package and make sure everything is right. I was happy that my partner Keith decided to give a hand. It made a huge difference when two of us were working compared to doing it all on my own.
  16. As we begin a new month, I realize how quickly January has slipped by. Time has always seemed so relentless to me, but lately, I find that to be true more than ever. 

    Many of you have noticed that I haven't been writing as regularly or as often as I used to. After over six years of daily posting, I find that I have, indeed, backed off a bit and have taken a bit of a break from it. It felt odd at first, but soon it became something of a 'habit' to NOT write (funny how that happens!) and I found myself lost in the disarray of the things that life had thrown my way.
  17. Good day to you all. I am still in my 'organizational mode' here and I am sorry to say that I have been so busy that is has been difficult to find time to blog. Add to that the many wood orders I have been receiving (thank you!) and the fact that both Keith and I are fighting this cold/flu thingy that is going around, and you will understand why I haven't posted. It has been a crazy month to start out the new year, to say the least. 

    Our kitty Richard is doing better, though, so that is a relief.
  18. It really feels good to get back to creating. The last month and a half went by so quickly. Between the holidays and the chaos of having my beloved pets ill, it seemed that with a blink of an eye the month of December and now most of January is behind us. I wish I could say that I was more productive. But I spent my time doing what needed to be done and taking the time I needed to deal with these personal things. 

    I know I am working my way to a better place because there are so many ideas that are creeping back into my head.
  19. I spent the long weekend working on a new painting pattern set. While I have had this idea in my head for quite a while now, I had to just bring myself to do it. I don't know why I am always so timid about jumping into a new project. There is sometimes a fear that it won't come out like I envisioned it in my head. You would think that after all of these years of designing that I would be over those fears and have more confidence than that. But that isn't always the case. 

    I find that I am drawn to the soft, pale blue tones of winter.
  20. Last month, I was thrown a bit off track by life's events. It happens to the best of us. We set our goals.We work to achieve them. And then as we are rolling right along . . . BAM! "Life" gets in the way. It is just part of living. 

    As I get older, I am figuring out that the more resilient and flexible that I am, the easier things are. I have watched family and friends who are perhaps a little bit rigid in their thinking struggle because things aren't quite the same as they were before or things didn't go exactly as planned.
  21. (I want to note that I am was in no way compensated for this review. I researched and purchased this mask on my own.)

    In today's blog post, I am going to talk about something that I think is rather important. It is something that I have been lax on myself, but I made a vow with my woodworking friend (Leldon) that we are going to change things and try to do a bit better about it.
  22. The older I get, the more I seem to enjoy the concept of 'familiarity'. 

    I will follow up that sentence with stating that I do NOT feel "that old". (Really!)  I think that lately, though, the things that have come up unexpectedly have not exactly been things that I consider as 'pleasant'. I know that has nothing whatsoever to do with age, but for some reason, these days I don't feel quite as resilient as I have in the past. Is this due to circumstances? Or is it something that changes with time?  Perhaps our life's experiences just seem to pile up on us as we age and because we have more memories to look back on, we tend to remember the most traumatic ones for the longest amount of time.
  23. I realize it has been a long time since I posted a blog. To be honest with you all, it has been a rough couple of months. After losing my dear kitty and constant companion Pancakes suddenly early in December, the following week my other kitty Richard became gravely ill. The vet seems to think that his illness was triggered by the stress of losing Pancakes. Cats are very sensitive creatures. The combination of Pancakes just 'disappearing' and me being grief-stricken was something that he didn't understand.
  24. I am not going to kid you all. This has been a tough couple of weeks. I have struggled more than I have in a long time and I am still trying to recover from recent things that happened. I am getting there, but it is going to take a bit longer, I am afraid.

    I know that isn't what you are used to seeing from me. In general, I am a very positive person. A fighter. Someone who is able to look at even not-so-nice things and try to find a grain of something good in them. Keith used to say that I lived on a "Pink Cloud".
  25. Every once in a while, life throws us a little curve ball. These little surprises often come when we least expect them (thus – the term "surprise") and knock us for a loop. They never seem to occur during the lulls in our life, but when we seem to be the busiest. Sometimes that is just the way it goes . . .

    Last week, I had to take my dear kitty Pancakes to the vet.

  26. As we arrive on this final day of November, we realize that Christmas and the holidays are right around the corner. Once again, I am in awe of how quickly time passes. It seems like just last week I was working on my glass pumpkin and teaching video for the November ToleTown project, and here I am with another project (and video) due. It all seemed to happen in a blink of an eye. 

    But happen, it did, and as time marches brutally forward, we have no choice but to fall into line and try to do what we are able before the holidays are upon us.
  27. I'll start this post off by mentioning that it was a wonderful and productive weekend. After all the nice comments on my sloth picture, I was happy and very encouraged to continue in some of the directions that I have been heading. I am actually quite humbled by the kind comments I received from everyone, and it just goes to show the power of kind words and encouragement. I really felt like an "artist." (That may seem basic, but any artist knows that it is certainly not a given.) 

    I had quite a long 'to do' list of what I wanted to accomplish this weekend.
  28. I am slowly getting to the finish line with my sloth. I think that is quite appropriate, given that I am drawing . . . well . . . a sloth!  They don't do anything quickly, now do they? 

    Actually, I think this is going much quicker than I had anticipated. So far this has only taken three evenings to reach this point: the first for the background, the second for the branch and the beginning of the eye, and the third for the head. I believe it will only take one more session to be pretty much 'done'.
  29. There are two times during the year that seem to affect me the most regarding living here in Canada.  For those of you who may not know, I was born and raised in the United States. More specifically, in the Chicago area. I lived the first 42 years of my life there and I have many ties and fond memories.  About 12 years ago, I decided it was time for a change and the time was just right for me to move here to Nova Scotia. I am not going to go into details here, as it is a long story, but overall, I am very happy and enjoy having two countries to call 'home'.
  30. I seem to have really slowed down with  my blogs here these days. For those of you who are used to reading my posts every day, I promise you that I will get back to being here more often as soon as I can. It isn't that I am doing less (I don't believe) but that things have been spinning in different directions this year and I am sometimes unsure if my daily activities are 'blog worthy' or of interest to you all. Sometimes we just need to take a breath and  regroup before we can forge ahead.
  31. It is hard to believe we are at the end of another week already. I have been trying my best to stay caught up with things, and for the most part, I think I am doing alright. I have long ago abandoned the idea having to do "x" number of designs per week/month/year. If I measured my productivity by those numbers alone, surely it would be depressing and I wouldn't be fair to myself. There is so much more that is involved in my day-to-day activity that takes a good deal of time. 

    I have learned that the way to be most productive and feel the best about things is to just keep doing the best I can and be happy with that.
  32. As I began to post this morning, I realized that this is my 1800th blog post. When I started blogging several years ago, I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that I would be capable of writing that many entries! Just thinking of 1800 titles alone just blows my mind. But it has really been nice sharing my creative process with you all and I hope to continue to do so as long as you all want to read about it. I still feel there are several more chapters to write, and I hope you are right here with me.
  33. It is probably the most frequent question that I receive as a designer. . .

    "How do you keep coming up with so many new ideas?"  

    It is a big question and one that really has no quick answer. There are so many things that factor into creativity.  Our mood, general health, and overall attitude are things that immediately come to mind. It is difficult to be creative if we are overwhelmed or exhausted. It is for me, in any case. While some great designers and artists are at their best creating in a chaotic environment, I need to have things clean and orderly.
  34. It was exciting. 

    It was gut-wrenching. 

    It was just short of amazing. 

    At approximately 2am last night Nova Scotia time, the Cubs did it. They won a World Championship. It has been a long, long time coming . . . 

    Most of you know I come from Chicago. I lived the first 42 years of my life in the city and surrounding suburbs. The first 13 years of my life I lived on the south side of the city - IN the city. It was so different back then. 

    I remember the first ball game I ever went to.
  35. As a designer, we try to think of original things to create. When I mentioned that I wanted to make a "blue pumpkin with Christmas roses" on it, he cringed. He just didn't see my vision. 

    That is the risk we need to take every time we try something new. Over the years, I have learned to have a pretty tough skin. I used to be greatly influenced by those around me when I had an idea as to what I was going to design. I would try my best to explain things so that people would be able to see the same vision that I was seeing in my head, but I wasn't always successful in doing so.
  36. I am posting a little later than normal today. I am starting to wonder what 'normal' really is. I haven't been doing anything in particular this morning that is interesting or fun, (like sleeping! ;) ) but I have been doing the usual organizing and checking and responding to emails and general straightening of the house here. Things we all do in the morning. 

    Lately I feel as if my world is spinning a bit too quickly. More so than it usually does for me. I am not quite sure the cause of it and I am not quite sure that even really matters.
  37. Today's post will be pretty much to the point. I have already been out and back and have a multitude of tasks that I need to work on today. It is all a great deal of fun though, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

    Most of you have seen my completed pastel drawing of my dear cat Pancakes:

    I have had such a wonderful response to it that I can't express my appreciation for your wonderful support.
  38. It has been quite busy, as usual here for me these days. I was truly grateful and overwhelmed by everyone's response to my drawing of Pancakes. It truly makes me feel that I am on the right track with things and I am doing something right. Again - I have to give a huge 'thank you' to teachers who present online classes for us to learn and expand our artistic horizons. It his world of negativity and sadness, it does wonders to focus on something as simple as creating as an 'escape'.
  39. When last I left you on Friday, I had began a new artistic adventure. For my first time ever, I was using a new medium (New to me, that is!) in drawing with pastel pencils and blocks. I had seen a video from the very talented wildlife artist, Jason Morgan, in which he shared his 'discovery' of the joys of using "Pastelmat" pastel paper by Clairfontaine to draw with. He mentioned that it changed his entire perspective on pastel drawing.
  40. It is already past my 'normal blog time' this morning, so I will get right down to business. I am figuring out that sometimes we need to sacrifice chit-chat for quality content. While I like to sit and muse about the day, my plans and life in general with you all, I am finding that sometimes it is best if I just get to what I want to do and talk about it a little less. The photos speak for themselves. 

    My routine has changed somewhat lately and I have been trying to hit the gym prior to writing here.
  41. I have always been one of those designers that loves to work on designs from others that I admire. I can't help it. I see something that someone else creates that 'speaks to me' and I can't help but try to make the time to create it. I look at it as helping support the industry that I love so much. It also gives my brain a rest and keeps me feeling like I am having fun. After all - I believe that enjoying what I am doing is linked in a big part to the amount of success that I have.
  42. Yesterday was a good day in many respects. Not only did I feel as if I got a bit caught up with things, but I was feeling a bit more like myself again. (My productive self, that is!)  I think the two days away really did me a world of good. Not only was in inspired by seeing so much creativity and beauty, but I got a chance to not think about the business, my computer or any of my day-to-day tasks for a short time. While I missed having Keith travel with me, it was a comfort knowing that here was here at home to manage things and take care of the cats.
  43. "How can you miss me if I don't go away?"

    It's one of those questions that may seem to state the obvious, but few seem to get it. 

    As many of you that follow me know, I have been going through a kind of 'transition' all summer long. I have been blogging for what I think may be six years already (I truly lost count) and never mind sharing my creative adventures with you all. (Some personal ones as well!) You have been just as inspirational to me as you say I have been to you, and I have found out that I need this exercise of writing nearly every day to help keep me organized, productive and on track with things.
  44. It is hard to believe that we are already nearly halfway through with the month of October. I don't know if it is because I have been so busy, or because it is my favorite month of the year, but the days just seem to pass by even more quickly than usual and before we know it, winter will be here. 

    I never really mind winter. I don't mind any of the seasons really. If I had a favorite it would be autumn though, with its crisp mornings, cool days and sometimes cold evenings. The colors are beautiful as well.
  45. I feel as if I haven't done you all justice lately. Things have been quite busy here and I have been burning the oil late to try to squeeze more hours from the day. Because of that, something has to give and I find myself not getting up until after 6am in the morning. That may sound pretty early to some of you, but I always said that any time I put in before six was like a 'bonus' for me because I seemed to be so productive at that early hour. Any time I awoke that was after about 4:30 was a good time to start my day.
  46. I am happy to report today that the "Mystery of the Missing Little Pusheen" has been SOLVED!  (I know that you all have probably lost sleep over it!  ;) )  It seems that when Keith awoke and got out of bed, there was the little toy snuggled into the covers with him!  Apparently, Richard my kitty had brought me the Little Pusheen earlier and then left the ADDITIONAL Kitty at the doorway after Keith came to bed and the door was closed. So he really had brought me TWO toys that night! I am truly loved! 
  47. (Before anyone gets upset - This is just a fun story!) 

    I awoke this morning just as I did any other 'normal' day. It wasn't quite daylight yet and the sun was just beginning to peek over the eastern horizon. As it gently but persistently began to illuminate the morning sky, I knew it was time to begin my day. 

    I openend my bedroom door to see what my cat, Richard had left me today. Lately, for the past week or so, he has been depositing my little knit Pusheen toy at the threshold to greet me each day.
  48. It was a crazy/busy weekend. That means it went perfectly with my crazy/busy life of late. 

    As usual, there is just so much I want to accomplish and only 24 meager hours per day to fit everything in. And for some reason - those hours seem to get shorter every year. I think it is some kind of trick . . . 

    I am writing later than usual today because I have already been to the gym and back.  I am not usually one of those who boasts about my gym visits, but lately, whenever I can make it there I feel very 'accomplished'.
  49. I really love designing. Whether it is scroll saw projects, painting projects or even needlework, I like taking ideas that I have in my head and making them into reality. Sometimes people wonder how I began doing design work, but that is a difficult thing for me to answer. If the term "designing" means changing things up and 'not following the rules or instructions' for a particular project, then I suppose I have been designing most of my life. It seems I always had the ability to look at something and see it in a different way.
  50. Did you ever feel that you were running in lots of directions at once?  Lately, that is exactly how things have felt for me. I have been busy from the time I wake until the time I finally go to sleep, but have been going from one thing to another to yet another. 

    I don't think that this is a bad thing at all, really. Because in the process, I am checking off a lot of things that I wanted to get done and in the end, accomplishing a great deal.  To the outsider, it may not look like a lot, but when I think of the 'emotional real estate' that I am freeing up, I realize that these little pieces of the puzzle that are slowly falling together are far more important than I initially thought.
  51. As some of you may have noticed, I haven't been posting as regularly as you all may have been used to. It seems that the past couple of months have been a bit unsettling for me and I have been a little bit distracted. 

    I don't know if reading about our move is becoming tiring to you all or not. I hope it isn't. I am finding that settling in has taken much longer than I have anticipated and there is really no way around being distracted. After all, both living and working from home means that I am constantly reminded of all these little things that I need to do.
  52. As summer slipped quietly away, it made room for my favorite season of all - AUTUMN! 

    Many people dread the passing of summer, as they see autumn as the gateway to the ice and snow that comes with the winter season that follows. I am fortunate in that my health is good and I am able to appreciate all the seasons without problems. I actually love the cold, crisp air  of winter, along with the snow it brings. I don't even mind being inside for the season, as I am happy to have a nice and comfortable place (and several cats!) to keep me warm.
  53. As I continue my work as a designer, I also continue to learn and grow. I like to think that each project I do - no matter how large or small - teaches me 'something'. 

    I am often torn between working on my own projects and doing projects from other designers that I admire. Every day as I check my Facebook account and other social media venues I see more and more projects that I want to try. These come in many different types of media - woodworking, painting and even needlework and sewing.
  54. OK - so it hasn't been that 'wild and crazy'. But it is barely 10am here and I feel as if I have put in nearly a full day already. All my mail is organized, my desk is clean, and the mail is just about ready to go out the door. It is a good start to the week. 

    I also already have been to the gym this morning. While I am not one of those people who feels the need to report every time I go to the gym, I find that today it was somewhat significant. I have been playing 'hookie' from the gym most of the summer.
  55. Today's post will be a brief one. (Yes - I know! I always say that!)  

    My day yesterday was pretty much filled with doing some 'maintenance' things for the business as well as our home. Unfortunately, there is nothing profound or exciting about that. I don't really mind, though. The older I get, the more I like these 'non-exciting' days. 

    Today, however, I want to hit the ground running. I have a lot I want to accomplish and time is ticking. I want to make the best use of my day and see how much I can actually accomplish.
  56. Some of you may have noticed that I have been a bit 'unsettled' lately. While I have been keeping my self busy, I have felt as if I haven't been making much headway in several areas. Maybe the term 'overwhelmed' is a bit more fitting. 

    I have never been one to make excuses for myself. I learned at an early age that it is better to own up to the things you did or didn't do and then move on from there. To me, the consequences of thinking about things were far worse than the actual result most of the time.
  57. It is always a thrill to finish up a project. Whether it is a project that I designed, or one that I did that was created by someone else, I always feel a wonderful sense of satisfaction when I finally call it "done". 

    As most of you who read know, I am usually working on several things at once. I design my own projects, but at the same time I try to squeeze in some projects that were created by other artists that I admire. Like most of you, I am addicted to creating and when I see something that catches my eye, there are times when I just HAVE to find time to make it.
  58. We all that those 'little things' that we want to finish up in our lives. I think you may know what I mean - those 'extra' projects around the house that we may have put off for some reason. They range from things that take five minutes to others that take five or more hours or even days. It seems that we all have them and they are put on the 'back burners' of our lives until we decide that it is time to actually do them.

    Since we moved into our new home in June, my list of these types of projects has been long.
  59. This morning something occurred for the first time since moving to our new home. I awoke and it was still pitch dark outside. 

    I admit that I had a somewhat fitful night. I am not sure if it was the excitement of the day or thoughts of the days ahead or the warm humidity of the evening that was the cause. Maybe it was a bit of everything. Perhaps it is that I am feeling a bit more comfortable in our place here and things are (finally!) getting back to normal. I don't know. 

    I am on my second cup of coffee already and I may head for a third before I am done writing here.
  60. It seems that I frequently mention in my blogs here the importance of finding balance.  I think for most of us, it is something that is an ongoing quest. We have our work and responsibilities to fulfill, and we have our home and family obligations. Sometimes that doesn't leave much time for ourselves. 

    I am fortunate in that I truly love what I do. The saying "If you love what you do, you don't work a day in your life" is usually applicable, but there are still times when I would like to do other similar, no pressure things that I can do 'just because' at my own pace and without a time line.
  61. I have missed the past few days of blogging, but with good reason. It used to bother me to miss, but after over 1700 posts, I have come to understand that sometimes we need to have to stay off of social media and the computer in general in order to do the things that we want to write about. For me, that is usually doing some type of creating. (Although yesterday I had an eye exam appointment in the morning in Digby, which is about a hour drive from where I live. There was no way that I would have been able to write a quality post and get to the office on time.
  62. As an independent, freelance designer, I am fortunate that I am able to vary my designs to my heart's content. While I do have to (somewhat) follow trends, I have the flexibility of creating not only the type of pattern that I would like to see, but also pick the subject, type of media that is used to create it. It is really what makes things fun. 

    But with that fun, also comes responsibility. Many know that 'artists' tend to march to their own drummer. While this creates new and innovative projects for everyone to share, it isn't always guaranteed that they will be liked or even accepted.
  63. As I awoke this morning and came down the stairs, my cat (Richard) was sitting in my studio room, staring at the floor vent. You all know how cats can be. Just - well - looking . . . (and looking. . .  and looking.)  It kind of creeped me out. 

    The house in which we live is old. My studio is on the first floor, right above the basement. The basement with the stone walls that many of the 150 year old houses in this area have. The basement that had several mouse traps in it prior to Keith power cleaning it and painting the concrete floor.
  64. It is raining today. That is good for us here in Nova Scotia. 

    While it has been a beautiful summer by most people's standards (mine, anyway!) it has been quite dry and the rain is very much appreciated. I supposed that it is appropriate that the piece "Raindrops" by Chopin just came on my headphones. I didn't plan it that way. I am listening to a six hour playlist of 'relaxing classical music' from YouTube. I like that lately in the morning. It is a good way to begin my day.
  65. Aristotle said "The whole is more than the sum of its parts."

    While most of us know that in the literal sense that statement is incorrect, figuratively I think it has a lot of merit. The way that I interpret it is that we accomplish a great deal more working together with others than we can accomplish individually.

  66. Who doesn't like to daydream sometimes? Who doesn't like to allow their thoughts to wander to places impossible to visit? 

    As children, we learn to daydream from the many stories and fairy tales we are told and read about. We visit fantastic places, where nothing is impossible and characters are not always human. We hear of mermaids, wizards, and other magical creatures that take on a personality and life that can only occur in our imaginations. It is wonderful and fascinating all at once.
  67. The busier that I get, the more I want to do.  Why does it work that way?  

    I never understood the concept of "boredom." Even at a young age. With an entire world of things to do for work, leisure and fun, I don't know how anyone could feel that they were bored. I suppose it is the way we approach things and life in general. 

    I am always amazed at how quickly time seems to pass. If I had one thing that I could change in this world, it would be to slow things down a bit.
  68. These past couple of days have really been busy. (That is a good thing, right?) I am very pleased at how well-received our new items have been, and as I have been filling orders, Keith has been working to reorganize the site and make it a little easier to navigate.

    As our little business keeps growing, we are finding that it is dividing itself into two distinct avenues that attract different types of customers - Scroll sawing and Decorative Painting. While there is the occasional time when someone is like me and is interested in both, more so than not people come to the site to see one or the other.
  69. It is hard to believe that after such a BUSY day I would have trouble finding something to write about. But that seems to be the case here for me this morning. 

    Yesterday was my birthday. And while I thought that I would kind of treat it like 'just another day', I kind of got caught up in the celebration and somewhere in the afternoon, I decided to just go with the flow and embrace the day and enjoy it. 

    We went out for a late lunch/early dinner (Keith, his mom and me) and I got my lunch for free - "because it was my birthday".
  70. I can't believe how quickly the weekend passed! It was one of those times that it seemed that I blinked my eyes and it was gone. The weather was not that great, as it was muggy and overcast most of the time. We had a little rain at night, and I truly wish we had some more, as it has been very dry here in Nova Scotia this year and there have been some wildfires in our area. But we take what we are given and hope for the best. 

    Today is again overcast and muggy. It isn't hot though - almost 'autumn-like' in the coolness of the air.
  71. I awoke this morning to a thick cloak of fog. The cars were wet as well, so hopefully that meant we got some rain last night (although I heard nothing outside my window.)  Like so many other places, Nova Scotia is in need of some decent rain. Everything is quite dry and thirsty, and I understand there are several fires that we have as a result. The roads are all dusty as well, and even though I have recently tried to wash my car a couple of times in the past couple of weeks, by the time I arrive home it has another layer of dry dust on it.
  72. I love creating new patterns. I always have at least a dozen ideas in my head for new things to make. Over the years I have learned to write things down when I have a new idea that I want to implement. That way when I am a bit 'dry' or looking for something new to make and can't really think of the perfect project, I can look back on my list and it will at least point me in a direction and get things rolling. 

    Sometimes the ideas don't look so great later on.  I look back on them and say to myself, "What was I thinking?" and it goes by the wayside.
  73. Once again today I will keep my post rather brief. These days it seems that there is much to do and the clock is moving faster than ever. Having a larger place is wonderful, as we are able to spread our wings and do so much more, but it also requires a bit more maintenance. (Believe me though, I am not complaining!)

    I think that part of it is getting used to our new home here. I am finally able to sleep a little better. For one reason or another, it seemed that even though I was really tired, my nights were a bit fitful.
  74. Good morning to you all. It has been quite a busy weekend and I have a busy week ahead as well, so this will be just a short post to catch everyone up on what I am working on. 

    Over the weekend, I had several new orders that I had to cut. Once again, I really enjoyed working in the new shop upstairs. It was such a difference from working from the corner of the kitchen. Even though I made do for years, it feels so good to actually have room to do what I need to do - without making a mess of our regular living area.
  75. I really am a sucker for details. while I do like all kinds of designs, I really think that details are what set certain designs apart. As I look at my list of favorite designers, I think the ones with the extra 'touches' and fine details are really the ones that head my list. I am certainly drawn to them. 

    I believe that is the appeal of the "12 Days" set of ornaments that I am painting by Lynne Andrews. Her work is a beautiful combination of kind of a 'refined country' look with lots of little details and extras.
  76. It has been a perfect morning so far. (I know - I have only been up for an hour or so! But really, it is good!)  The air is quiet. The sun is shining. The world is still asleep. I am on my second cup of coffee and the cats have been fed and are lounging in their various spots, dreaming of the next meals (or whatever cats dream of!) 

    It is Thursday, and I have a full day ahead to do what I like best - designing. 

    I say this like it is an oddity, and in many ways it is.
  77. Over the past several months, it has been difficult to get what some call our 'real work' done. Both Keith and I have been torn in so many directions. But finally (FINALLY!) it seems that things are getting back on track and we are once again falling into a somewhat "normal" pattern (whatever that is!) It is a welcome change. 

    Being self-employed has its plusses and minuses. Obviously, I think there are far more plusses, or I wouldn't be doing what I do. I get to do what I love every single day - and that is a big plus - but sometimes it is hard to completely walk away from 'work' and focus on other things.
  78. Those of you who know me know that I am a firm believer in goals. Perhaps I developed this trait while working with several arts and crafts magazines for over 20 years. I am sitting here trying to think if I was so 'goal-orientated' prior to those days, or if that was when it really became embedded within me. 

    No matter what the reason, there is no turning back. Goals are part of my life and imperative to keeping me moving forward with both my work and my life. I think they are a good thing.
  79. As we begin this month of August, I am finally feeling as if things are getting back to 'normal'. Defining what that means isn't always easy, but after months of distractions and preparations and then our actual move, it feels pretty good.

    Everything essential to our daily living is just about done. Furniture is here and in place, boxes are put away and shops are set up. The most important thing though is that our 'creative places' are clean and comfortable and ready to be used for their purpose - creating and designing new patterns and projects.
  80. Yesterday I was away on an 'adventure'.  For most people, it wouldn't be what they considered 'exciting' but for me it was a nice day. 

    Keith's mom had her knee reconstructed this past April. Everything went well and she is doing better than ever on it. However, she still has one more procedure to have done on her other knee. That will be done in the upcoming months. 

    Yesterday was a 'girl's day' in which we traveled up the valley to New Minas, where the main hospital is located.
  81. As most of you are going through probably the hottest time of the year, I am here in Nova Scotia humming Christmas carols to myself and working on Christmas ornaments. Things are going just as I planned. 

    many of you know that I have been working on a year-long project of creating no less than six sets of Lynne Andrew's "12 Days of Christmas" ornaments (you can purchase the pattern book here: Christmas Blessings Pattern Book - or come and join our Facebook page dedicated to this project here:
  82. Having limited means can completely shut some people down. For others, it serves as a challenge - not only to meet, but often to be completely conquered. For them, having less doesn't mean giving up, but trying harder and often coming out of the situation even better than expected. It can be surprising what one can accomplish with a bit of determination. 

    I grew up with limited means. My parents were divorced when I was very young (at a time when 'divorce' was neither common or readily accepted.
  83. It has been over three weeks now since we made our 'final move' to our new home. In reality, it is closer to four. I look back and consider 'moving day' as the day we finally brought the cats here to our new home and began sleeping here, after our bed arrived. One would think that we would be all settled by now. Anyone who knows both Keith and I know how much we love to be organized. While he and I have many differences in the way we do things, one thing that we really see eye to eye on is having our things and work areas 'in place' so that we have the most comfort and efficiency possible.
  84. As I sit here this morning, trying to decide what to write, I realize how much we have accomplished in the past several weeks. I hope that I am not being tiresome talking about our moving adventures, but for Keith, the kitties and myself, it has been a life consuming event for the past several months. Not only from the day nearly three weeks ago when we finally brought the cats (and the coffee pot) to our new place here, but it has been on our minds for many, many weeks before that. We had first come to see this house early in March, and from the time we did that, we knew this is where we wanted to live.
  85. If this move has taught me anything, it is taught me that things don't happen overnight. Even if things appear to fall into place when looking in from the outside, there is usually a huge amount of work to make that happen. I am beginning to think that the more seamless that change appears to be, the more work it required to get there. "Effortless" takes more effort than we can imagine. 

    It has been over three weeks since we made the big move to our new place. (I actually had to check the calendar after I wrote that, as it seems impossible that it would be so long yet time passed so quickly!) These weeks have gone by in a flurry because every single day we were busy doing something from the time we awoke until the time we went to sleep.
  86. If anything, we are learning that expanding to a full sized home from a one bedroom apartment is an 'adventure'.  While customizing things to our own needs and preferences is fun, it is a lot of work and takes a great deal of time. 

    Yesterday we decided to take off to New Minas - a town that is about two hours away - as that is where the nearest Home Depot store is located. I mentioned before that I had not finished with my scroll saw room and one of the things that still needed to be done was to add in the shelving and some storage boxes to hold the pre-cut wood pieces for the kits that I am selling.
  87. Today's post won't be too long, but I wanted to show the progress that I made yesterday. As I mentioned, getting things how we like will be a 'work in progress'.  For people like Keith and myself, we have little understanding of that concept. We like to have everything done quickly, efficiently and pretty close to immediately. We are just like that. 

    But in life, things can't always happen instantly. I think that the older we get, the more we realize it. No matter how well-planned things are and how much we do to head off delays, things still come up and take more time than anticipated.
  88. Routines. 

    We need them for order, guidance and pacing. They help us set and keep goals and they keep us organized and productive.  Some people don't like routines, but I am one who embraces them completely. Perhaps that is from being around cats all of my life, as they are big fans of routines, as are many animals. 

    The past several weeks have been anything but "routine" for me. From the time we first saw our new home early in March, I have been a bit out of step.
  89. It has been a crazy couple of weeks! Even though I didn't get much 'work' done, I don't think I have ever worked harder in  my life. Perhaps it is because I am a touch older now (EGADS!) Or maybe it was because this was the first time that I had to not only move myself, but a moderately successful business as well. It certainly entailed much more than I had anticipated. 

    But all went well and there were barely any hiccups in the process. We were fortunate in so many respects.
  90. It is funny how something that has been a habit so long can fall out of being a habit so quickly. In the past couple of weeks, so many habits that I have acquired over time have been greatly altered. I expect it will be like that for the next few weeks, as we received the KEYS to our new place and are going to finally be able to start moving things there! How exciting this is for us!

    I am filled with a wide range of emotions right now. I go from being excited and happy to being completely overwhelmed.
  91. As I mentioned before, the next several weeks will be quite busy for Keith and I. We are in the process of preparing to move in the next few weeks and there is a great deal of things we need to do. It isn't that we were unorganized while living in our current place, but rather that we are expanding our living space to nearly four times what we have today. Needless to say, we are beyond excited. 

    While Keith and I think differently on several issues (and what couple doesn't?), one thing that we have in common is that we both love organization.
  92. In preparing to move in a few weeks, you can imagine that things are a bit different in my life these days. Even though the 'big day' is a couple of weeks away, my general routine is rather 'off' and my mind has been in many different directions. For the first time in years, I feel as if I am not producing designs like I should.

    This isn't a matter of "Designer's Block" or anything of that nature. I have more ideas than I have time to create. It is more like "Designer's Distraction" which means my mind is continually being pulled in other directions and it is difficult to focus on the task at hand.
  93. I have been busier than usual the past couple of weeks, and I expect that this will continue for the near future as we prepare our move into our new house. There is so much to consider and so much organizing to to! We are both really excited about it, but it is also very time consuming to plan and think things through and also figure out and purchase what we will need to make the move as seamless as possible regarding our business. 

    Since we no longer will be both working in one room, there have to be several adjustments made to our computer systems.
  94. One of the most difficult things that I find about owning your own business is finding the "off switch."  As someone who has been dedicated to creating and art for over 20 years now, working on art of business related things has not only become a habit, but also a lifestyle. 

    Many times my partner Keith mentions to me that my 'relaxing' (off) days look a lot like my 'working' days, as it seems that I am always in the process of making soemthing in some shape or form - be it drawing, painting, woodworking or fiber and needlework.
  95. It seems like I haven't blogged forever. Even though I have only missed for a week, it feels like much more time has passed than that. It has been over six years since I began posting nearly every day, and breaking away from that routine has been difficult, but I feel for now it is necessary. 

    We are going though many changes at this time. Keith and I have made the decision to move into a larger place and there is much preparation that needs to be done to make our move go smoothly.
  96. I am going to keep this post quick today, as I have some projects that I want to work on this weekend, but I did want to mention to you all that we once again updated the website and we are also having a sale coupon for those of us who subscribe to our Mailing List. I realize that I am not the best sales person in the world, but I thought that I would let you all know because there are so many of you that are new to our site and I want to give everyone a fair shot at the discount.
  97. As I sit here this morning, I can't help but feel content and happy about my life. Certainly things are not 'perfect' all the time - that would be unnatural - but when I look at things overall, the important things are going well, and I can hardly complain about trivial things that don't really matter in the big picture of my life.  My loved ones are all healthy, (Both those with and without tails!) our business is doing well enough to keep it going, and we are looking forward to moving to a beautiful new (to us) home in a few weeks where we can spread our wings and really fly.
  98. I am going to try to keep this post on the short side. As usual, I am doing many different things and I am running in several different directions. The weekend was busy and full and I have lots of new things that I am working on that I will be sharing in the near future. At last count, I am working with (I think!) FIVE other designers in one capacity or another on some really cool projects.  These collaborations are in addition to my own work in my own many directions, so you can imagine how my head just wants to explode! While some days it may not seem like I am doing much, you can rest assured that it appears that way only because I am not yet at liberty to speak (or write, if you will) about the many fun adventures that I am participating in.
  99. Yesterday was a tough day. Even though everything turned out alright, it was very emotionally draining. I am very happy to have it behind me, and I look forward to moving on ahead from here. 

    Nothing really tragic happened, but my dear kitty Pancakes needed to have some oral surgery done. I realize that many of you may think that this is an 'extravagance', but I assure you it is not. Any one of you who has suffered tooth pain should realize the importance and necessity of something like this.
  100. Is there such a thing as loving too many things about life?

    As I wake up each morning and try to plan out my day, I think my biggest problem that I am encounter on most days is which direction to head.

    One tends to view others that are self-employed as someone who gets to sit on the beach most of the time, drinking a tropical drink with a wide-brimmed straw hat and wondering where they will spend their next holiday. When I come across people that have that mentality (yes - they do exist) I just smile to myself.
  101. It has been another busy end of the week, as well as weekend. As we are moving into the second week of May, the weather is finally getting warmer and beginning to resemble spring and summer. Hopefully in the next week, I will be picking up my car from the place that is working on it and I will once again have my driving freedom. It has been a long story regarding  my vehicle this past year, and I don't want to bore anyone here with those details. There is enough good to focus on and talk about and hopefully that particular chapter in my life will end and I can move on from there.
  102. What is better than a beautifully crafted, furniture quality box?

    Why a beautifully crafted, furniture quality box filled with supplies, of course! 

    Yesterday, I showed you the lovely box that I snagged on the Derwent site last weekend. For the price (about $140 CDN or $115 USD SHIPPED from England) I was thrilled with the quality and workmanship that Derwent used to build it. But let's face it - the reason that I ordered it in the first place was to use it for storing my odds and ends of my pencil supplies.
  103. As an artist, I love getting new supplies. Besides loving to work in so many different types of media, being active on the internet and participating in classes and online forums exposes me to many, many different new and exciting products. It really keeps my creative juices flowing and I love trying new techniques and products. It is a wonderful part of what I do. 

    Many of you know that I live in a very small place. Keith and I have lived in a one bedroom apartment for over seven years now, and running a business from here has been a bit challenging to say the least.
  104. Sometimes I think I am my own worst enemy. There are times - especially when I am designing - that I am very, very hard on myself and just not happy with the way things are going. As a result, the things I do often take a great deal of time for me to complete. I wind up changing things and re-doing them several times before I even show them to you all. There are even times when these projects are scrapped and put in a drawer or completely discarded. Although I am happy to say that doesn't happen often, it does occur.
  105. There are a few things we can be certain of in this world. We have all heard the saying that "the only thing that we can be sure of is death and taxes", but as I get older, I find that something in that quote was left out. . . change.

    While some of us are uncomfortable with change, others thrive on it. I am not sure where my feelings lie in this equation, but I think they are somewhere in the middle.

    Change can be scary, as many times change is accompanied by the 'unknown'.
  106. I have so many wonderful plans ahead of me!  

    As I dream about our new, larger home as well as my very own studio, my head is filled with more ideas than ever. While I am proud of the way we made our business work while living in and working out of a small, one bedroom place, I can't help but feel wonderful that the time here will soon be behind me and both Keith and I will be able to spread our wings and really FLY!

    I am hoping that I am not deluding myself into thinking that with more room comes more hours in the day.
  107. OK.  It may appear that I have been 'slacking'. 

    Between cutting mountains of ornaments, having a cold/flu for a couple of weeks, and having some family things to take care of, it may seem that I have somewhat fallen out of the habit of posting here each day.

    There may be some merit to that, as it is no secret that I haven't been here every day as I have for the last several years, but that doesn't really mean that I am not creating. I just try my best to keep my posts here relevant to some sort of creating and I fear that showing piles of cut ornaments over and over may bore some of you.
  108. It seems that lately I haven't been here very much (blogging, I mean.)  Even though I have felt that I am busier than ever, Between starting off the year with a tremendous amount of orders, getting sick for a couple of weeks and then 'catching up' with things, I have felt very much out of my regular routine. I don't know if that is a bad thing or a good thing, as I am still accomplishing a lot, but just not in the usual places. 

    Add to that we are planning to move in several weeks.
  109. I am writing quick today because there is much to do. I am finishing up some new orders that came in yesterday and trying to get them out by tomorrow. I will be absent from social media for a few days because we will be heading out of town for a couple of days while Keith's mom has her knee surgery. We will try to stop in when we can, and orders may be delayed a bit longer than usual, but I know that you all understand. We should return by the end of the week and everything will once again be 'normal'.
  110. I hope you had a good weekend. Here in Nova Scotia, we are finally seeing some lasting signs of spring. While it is still cool out, it has been pleasant and sunny, and I dare say that the snow is behind us and I don't expect we will see any additional snow until late autumn. (You all know what an optimist I am though!) 

    I had a full weekend myself. It felt good to focus and accomplish as much as I did. I a large order, as well as some smaller ones that I have been working on and over Friday and Saturday I got just about everything cut (for the moment!) When I look at the pile in front of me, I am pretty pleased with it.
  111. A usual, my life has been quite busy. I suppose that is the result of having so many creative interests. I often am asked how I come up with my ideas and if I ever get 'dry' where I feel that I am against the wall. In all honesty, I do have my lulls in certain areas of my design work, but since I have so many avenues that I actively pursue, there is rarely, if ever a time when I feel that I have 'nothing to do' creatively. If I am feeling especially uncreative - which rarely occurs - I hop on Pinterest or jump into an online class to advance my learning techniques.
  112. Yesterday was one of those days when I felt as if I was running in circles. It wasn't bad at all, but there were just a lot of things on our plates and we were trying to accomplish a great deal in what seemed like a short amount of time.

    I know I said that our newsletter would go out by last evening, but we just didn't get that far. There was too much to do and by the time we got everything on the site, I was too tired and it was just too late.

    But all is not lost. Today is another day.
  113. I am running late today because I got distracted. I don't believe I mentioned it here in my blog, but in a couple of months we are moving into a much bigger place. Most of you who follow me here in social media know that for the past seven years, we have been living and running our business out of a one bedroom apartment. While it is clean and nice and we have used our storage to the utmost efficiency, we both decided that it is getting too hard to do so with our business growing the way it is and it is time to move to a bigger place.
  114. When I last posted on Friday, I spoke of being filled with self-doubt. Even though I have had many successes in things that I have tried to accomplish, most of them did not come easily. I don't for one second think that only happens to me. I have always looked upon humans as being an iceberg. We only see a small portion of their makeup and below the surface there is a vast part of them that only the individual can know about and understand. Within that part lies the struggles and victories; the failures and accomplishments; the experiences, feelings and knowledge that is the dictating core of each of our own personality.
  115. As an artist, I am filled with self-doubt.

    I am not saying that to gain your pity or sympathy, or to fish for compliments, but I truly feel that way. It isn't that I don't like or enjoy what I create. Most of the time, I am pretty satisfied with my accomplishments. The longer that I do this (create and design) the more I understand that there are very, very few people who are able to pick up a certain type of media and create a "masterpiece" with little effort. As with most things in this life, excellence is the result of many hours, days and months of practice and education.
  116. I did a funny thing yesterday. I wrote a blog in the morning and while I posted it on Lumberjocks (the woodworking site) I forgot to post it on my own site, Facebook, or any of the other places that I usually share it.  I suppose I am not quite back to 'normal' after all! 

    I am finding that getting back into stride is a little bit more of a process than I would have thought. It seems that sometimes once our general routine is changed or suspended, it isn't always easy to go back to how things were.
  117. "Things happen for a reason." 

    I have heard that saying for probably most of my life. I used to think it was something people just said to placate others when things weren't going as they had planned, but the older I get, the more that I feel that perhaps there is some merit to it after all. Maybe it is that I just want it to be that way, so that in my mind I can organize and make sense of things that cause chaos in our lives. It is hard to tell. 

    These past few weeks have certainly been different for me.
  118. I'm Baaaaaack!  

    While I felt the break was much-needed, I can't tell you how good it feels to be back to a routine again. I don't think I had a time in the six years that I have been writing when I had so much time off. I certainly haven't been as sick as I was these past few weeks.  It seems as if the entire month of March was a blur of cold remedies, doctors and naps. It is so out of character for me! But I am glad to say that I feel pretty safe in saying "I am on the other side of this" and pretty much back to normal.
  119. It seems like forever since I have blogged here.  After posting nearly every day for over six years, having two weeks off can feel like an eternity. At least to me it does. 

    The past week or so I have been busy resting. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, and in my case it definitely is. It takes a bit of effort for me to do 'nothing.' Because I am usually running at full throttle, I find it very difficult to find the 'off' button as far as being active. But for these past couple of weeks, I have had little choice, as whatever illness I acquired has been particularly draining and I have had little energy or ambition to do much of anything at all.
  120. These last couple of weeks have been kind of a blur. What started with Keith's being 'man sick' (our term for when he gets ill - which isn't often) had spread to me and even the cats have had their sick moments. I suppose it was probably time, as we both hadn't had any real illnesses in  what seems like years. Perhaps it was due to the mild on-again-off-again winter we have been experiencing. Maybe there just wasn't enough of a hard freeze to kill everything off that usually gets killed off by the cold.
  121. I try to keep my posts here positive and I think I am successful in doing that for these six years that I have been writing.  But sometimes life just throws us a curve ball and we have to take a step back from things. I haven't written this week because I have been down with a cold/flu. I have had lots of nice messages and notes from my readers wondering what was up, as they are used to me blogging nearly every day. I just wanted to explain to you all why I am not here. 

    I went to the doctor on Wednesday and she thought it was more of a flu virus that could take several weeks to pass.
  122. I read somewhere yesterday on  Facebook that 'resting isn't wasting time - it is your body repairing itself.' (If it is on Facebook - it must be true, right? ;) ) I tried to take that to heart because I actually accomplished very little yesterday. I kind of spent the day milling around. 

    When Keith went to do the daily errands of going to the store and post office, I found myself fighting to keep my eyes open. I hadn't really slept very much the previous night and I gave in to having a mid-afternoon nap.
  123. The past couple of days have had me down with a cold. It hasn't been a terrible cold, but enough to make me tired and move a lot slower than I would like to do. Fortunately, it has come at a time when things are slowing down a little for me. While there is never a 'good' time for being sick, I am glad this wasn't a month or so ago when I was in the midst of cutting the hundreds of ornaments that have been ordered from me.  (I always try to look on the positive side of things.
  124. Am I getting lazy?  It seems that I haven't finished posting my blogs as early as I usually do lately. I have been sleeping in a little later than usual these past couple of days because I feel that I am getting a slight cold. Keith has had the start of it all weekend and we jokingly call it "Man Sick" because we know that no illness that a woman could ever have could be so terrible so it deserved its own name. But now it seems that the Man Sickness has come to me and I am going to do my best to fight it off.
  125. Sometimes I feel as if I have triplets. In a way, I do. (Or even quadruplets or quintuplets - depending on how you look at it!) There are just so many aspects of creating that I enjoy, that it is difficult to stick to only one medium.  I love painting and drawing, but I also love embroidery and woodworking as well. Then there are paper craft and even sewing. I have so many ideas that cross over into other areas that it is hard to decide which ones I want to do at any given moment. I want to do them ALL! 

    I suppose there could be worse habits .
  126. Oh - I seem to be so late at getting to my blogs these days! I find that I wind up spending the mornings visiting my artistic friends' pages and seeing what they posted through the night. That usually takes me away to other places and gives me MORE ideas of new things to create. It is a vicious circle! ;) 

    I spent the day yesterday finishing up drawing my new patterns for the scroll saw projects I am making and I actually got MOST of them cut out. With all the errands and stuff that I had to do (office work, etc.
  127. It is hard to believe that it is MARCH already! Here in Nova Scotia, it is definitely coming 'in like a lamb' as we have sunshine and warm temperatures and a slight breeze. It really feels good to have the windows opened and allow the fresh air inside. Even if we do see another spot of winter, I am grateful for these little breaks. It is a nice indication of what is yet to come. 

    I spent yesterday working on some new designs as well as finishing up my "Day 3" of my Lynne Andrews' 12 Days of Christmas pattern.
  128. I am always looking for more time, it seems. Once every four years my wish comes true - we get an extra day to do things. Today is leap day and many consider it an 'extra' day. I will gladly take it!

    This year has been so busy from the start for me. I can't believe that we are through the first two months already. Time is certainly moving quickly - even more so than usual. I suppose it helps that I sit here on this February 29th with my window open slightly. I am enjoying the fresh air that is being brought in and the beautiful sunny morning.
  129. After a less than wonderful morning yesterday dealing with Google Images, I was able to finish the day off on a positive note. Apparently, Picasa (the place that hosts my online images for my blog posts here) has been taken over by Google. I realize this happened some time ago, but I recently received a notice that the change over would be completed some time in early May. Since the hundreds of images that I post here on the blog are linked to those Picasa files, I thought it was time for me to start using the Google Images interface and learn my way about.
  130. There is definitely a difference in taking down time when you own your own business. While some may think that being self-employed allows you to take time off more than when you have a 'real job', I am finding that actually the opposite probably carries a bit more truth.  

    As our business grows, so does our responsibility towards it. The process of filling orders, preparing packages for mailing and the other day-to-day tasks multiply quickly as we obtain more customers. It only makes sense.
  131. As usual, the weekend went by much too quickly. We had a 'visiting day' on Friday, and I had earmarked Saturday for cutting orders. Sunday was to be my day to 'relax', but that didn't really happen. (It never really does!)  I am not complaining though, as I did accomplish a lot and I was able to spend the latter part of the evening finishing up my Panel 1 on my latest embroidery project. 

    So much is going on lately in my life it seems. The growth of our business is really becoming more and more evident as each day/week/month passes.
  132. Today is going to be one of those posts where everything comes together at once. I guess that is typical when I do projects such as what I just completed. It seemed like I was here, there and everywhere and then suddenly - "BAM" (that's for you, Mary! ;) )  everything falls together nicely! 

    Well- sort of, anyway! (If it were only that easy!) 

    We managed to get everything completed and up on the site yesterday. I was proud because I even had my pattern packet finished BEFORE the update.
  133. I took the day off  from 'social media' yesterday for the most part because I was on a roll. I was in the process of finishing up sanding and packaging several wood orders that I wanted to get to the post by the time the truck came for pickup in the afternoon. (Check!)  I was also doing some drawing for a wonderful fellow designer and I wanted to get some things to her so she could get on with her own designing. She is creating some rubber stamps of her drawings and I am helping her out with the graphics.
  134. I feel like I have been on the 'slow train' lately. I am not sure exactly why that is. It seems like I am doing something from the time I get up in the morning until the time I go to sleep. 

    The days are passing much quicker than I would like them to. I look up at the clock and first it it mid-afternoon, then dinner time and then nearly midnight. How can time pass so quickly?  I don't remember it being like that in the past. 

    Perhaps it is that my head is thinking up new things much faster than my hands can make them.
  135. I am a sucker for nostalgia. It seems the older I get, the more I enjoy seeing things that remind me of  'days gone by'. It isn't as if I want to live in the past, but I think that those old fashioned items bring back many of the memories that I associate with them.  Memories of people and places and perhaps times when I had a bit less responsibility and life (for me, anyway) was a little simpler. It is somewhat comforting seeing these things and remembering. 

    The other day when I was at a Winners store near me, I saw (and ultimately purchased) a foil-covered Easter Bunny piece.
  136. These past few weeks have been quite busy. While I have always been pretty busy and had several things on the go at once, it seems that lately things have taken on a different 'tone' of busy. It is hard to describe. It is just a different 'feel' as to the things that have demanded my time. It is exciting and I will admit a little bit scary at the same time. When I take the time to actually asses things and consider what is going on, I realize that these new demands are just part of a growing business.
  137. Winter has finally arrived here in Nova Scotia. For the past two months, I think everyone around us here has held their breath and waited for the inevitable freezing temperatures, wind and snow. But up until yesterday, their dread has been pretty much unfounded. 

    Oh, we have had some snow and ice, but nothing to really complain about. A few inches here and there. A few storms that brushed by us and missed us by a whisker. Nothing that really lasted for more than a couple of days. Whatever accumulation we had would soon disappear and pale in comparison to the mountains of snow that was piled on us last year.
  138. My goodness! What a fun and productive weekend I had. I think I must be a little crazy because it seems the more directions I am going in at once, the more things I want to do. It may sound 'corny' but I feel so, so fortunate to be able to work doing something I love every single day. You must all think I am kidding when I say I can't wait to wake up and get started each day, but that is truly the case.

    On Saturday night, I probably only slept for a couple of hours because my head was so busy thinking of new ideas, I couldn't shut it down.
  139. With another week coming to a close, it is (once again!) amazing how quickly time seems to pass. Again this week was extremely busy, and my status of being 'caught up' was very short-lived. Being on top of all my orders lasted about six hours, and soon I had more orders to fill. I was thrilled with this, as it is what I have been working towards for many, many years. It is just sometimes hard to keep up.

    I have always had the mindset of getting things out as quickly as I possibly can.
  140. After Monday night's power outage, things got back to normal rather quickly. I spent the next day finishing up the outstanding orders that I had and getting everything boxed up and ready to ship out the door. I worked at a very relaxed pace and enjoyed packaging everything up. Among the orders was another one of my SLDPK238 Halloween Haunted Carousel kits, which is one of my favorite things to sell. I think of the people who are receiving the items and I really do take a lot of care and pride in the quality of what I am providing them.
  141. Yesterday was another full and busy day. We hadn't planned on doing our update until mid-week, but we were as ready as we were going to get so we thought it would be time. Keith's job in updating is getting all the new products up on the site. Besides posting them, he cross links them to other similar products and makes everything look nice and consistent. He really is the one that makes our site look good. 

    As for me - my job is to write the newsletter. You all know that I like to write and while sometimes I feel the newsletter is somewhat redundant because I am reiterating things that I write here in my blog, I do realize that our newsletter reaches a much larger audience and I kind of condense the two weeks or so of activity into one short mailing.
  142. It is hard to believe that the first month of the year is under our belts already. It seems like it was just December only a few days ago! Here in Nova Scotia, we have been (so far!) spared the fierce winter that we have become used to experiencing. Oh - we have had some snow, but it is nothing like what we experienced last year where we had storm after storm. I remember driving to Halifax at the end of April and still seeing small, stubborn piles of snow that did not want to seem to die. It was a brutal year for sure.
  143. It seems that I am always working on some sort of  'deadline'.  I know that people think of those who are self-employed as being free to do whatever they choose whenever they wish to do it. While we may find that our schedules are a bit flexible at times, I honestly believe that if we follow the 'take-the-day-to-go-to-the-beach' mentality that so many perceive us to have too often, it is with near certainty that our business will fail. 

    The entrepreneurs that I have known (those that have achieved any level of success, that is) work harder than anyone else that I have encountered.
  144. It has been another couple of very busy days. I am very fortunate that things are going so well and things keep me so busy. Not everything about what I do though is 'blog-worthy' or what I feel would be of interest. After all - how many times do you want to see photos of blank ornaments that I cut?  I am sure it loses its impact after a bit. 

    But my month of January has been pretty much spent at the scroll saw.  (or packaging boxes, or answering emails!)  While I have been able to slip some new designs in there, filling orders has taken most of my time.
  145. I am going to just do a short post today. It has already been quite a busy day and I need to stay ahead of things. 

    Yesterday was busy and productive. Among other things, I was able to do a lot of the ground work for my next project. (The one I am creating for Toletown, that I mentioned yesterday.)  This project is taking some thought and experimentation, because I am trying a technique that I haven't really seen done before.
  146. I had a truly wonderful and productive weekend. while most of the eastern part of the United States was getting pounded with a blizzard, oddly enough Nova Scotia escaped its wrath. In fact, tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday it is supposed to be 7 and 6 degrees Celsius respectively. What an odd winter we are having. . . 

    But living where we do, it didn't hurt to 'be prepared' for the storm, just in case it decided to change its path. It has been known to happen. We got all of our errands done on Friday and I planned to stay in the entire weekend and get some serious work done.
  147. You knew I was going to do it . . . It was just a matter of time. 

    You knew that I wouldn't be able to resist adding some BLING to my new SLD521 Damask Heart Ornaments and SLD522 Heart and Soul Candle Tray.

    But how could I resist?  The rhinestones I get from Rhinestone Canada are so PRETTY and they are so EASY to apply.
  148. I was really happy that so many of you liked the look of the Metallic Lustre Acrylic Wax from DecoArt that I added to my latest scroll saw projects. After allowing it to dry a day, I continued to finish off the project. 

    I know we live in a world where we want immediate results on everything, but sometimes we just need to wait a little bit and let things do their job or run their course for the best results. Not only when crafting, but in many situations in our lives.
  149. I had a truly busy weekend and I am finally feeling as if I am getting caught up with things. I spent much of Saturday cutting orders and I will be sending all of them out today. Then I can get on to more designing and some other things. 

    I also finished creating the pattern packets for my SLD521 Damask Heart Ornaments and also my SLD522 Heart and Soul Damask Candle Tray that I showed last week.
  150. As the second week of the new year comes to a close, I find myself reflecting. Not so much on the year 2015, but on the last two weeks - the beginning of 2016. It has been a crazy ride so far, with many wonderful things happening. It seems our customer base is growing every day, and I have had lots and lots of orders to fill.

    Even though it has been a lot of hard work, I find myself happy and grateful. After all - this is what I have been striving for the past several years. I have always wanted to have a viable and successful business that was centered around creating.
  151. Somehow when the calendar page turns to a new year, I always get the urge to reorganize. 

    It seems that as I pack away my holiday decorations, I am always thinking of which closets I want to weed through and which cabinets to straighten. I also seem to include my computer in this reorganization effort, as it seems like a great time to sort files and back everything up completely. While I do back up frequently throughout the year, it feels great to purge and sort and clean my electronic house as well.
  152. I love my job. There is always something new and exciting to work on, and it seems that I never run short of ideas for patterns for scrolling, painting and other types of creating. I think that the variety of mediums that I create in help keep me creative and always thinking of new things to make. It keeps me fresh. 

    After the past week or so of cutting over 50 dozen simple shaped ornaments, I was ready for something a little different. With the Valentine's Day holiday quickly approaching, I decided to make some fun and detailed pieces for the scroll saw using hearts as the theme and decorating them with pretty Damask motifs.
  153. Sometimes it seems so difficult to find time to get everything done. Things have been good here and I am pleased that everyone has seemed to like the new things we are doing. That is wonderful and I appreciate it so much. But I spent most of the week cutting instead of drawing, which slowed me down a bit. But I do what I can . . . 

    My partner Keith drew up some new designs over the weekend. Here are some of his new plaques for cutting. . . 

    The first design is a set of four scripture sayings that is available as a set or individually:

  154. Part of the learning process is trial and error. I think that the best tool for teaching is just to get in there and TRY!  I find though that my problem is that when I get some really slick new supplies, I hate to 'mess them up' by trying and possibly failing when using them.  I have done this for years, and I still have many painting surfaces that are beautiful but remain unpainted for this very reason - I don't want to mess them up.  

    But lately, I have wanted to try new things.
  155. I must admit that I almost didn't post today. I think I am getting 'lazy'. 

    The first week of the new year was quite the whirlwind for me. If things continue this way, I will probably age more than a year by next December. It has been crazy. 

    I am not complaining at all when I say that. In fact, I am thrilled beyond words at how things are turning out. It seems that many of the pieces that were set in place over the years regarding our little business are coming together to make things that work.
  156. It isn't as if I really took time 'off', but more that I was focused on some different things. I suppose though without the usual self-imposed deadlines I did slack off a bit. It just didn't feel that way. 

    One would think that taking time off would mean sipping coffee and daydreaming about how I plan to while away the hours of the day . . . Oh!  The romantic visions we have!  But in reality, we all know how quickly those vacation days pass and how when we look back at them we find ourselves wondering, "Where did all my 'leisure' time go?"  

    I am no different.
  157. The new year has just began and it has already started with a "BANG"! If these first few days are any indication of what is to come, we are on a wild and wolly ride!

    I am certainly not complaining though. Even though my old body is weary at this moment, it has been fun and I am very excited about all that the future is going to bring. Keith and I are both really thrilled. 

    I missed blogging these past few weeks, but I am rather happy for the time off. While our holiday here was quiet, it was very pleasant and I enjoyed it very much.
  158. I have always like New Year's Eve. Not necessarily for the parties (I am too old and boring for that!) but more so for the chance to 'start over'. It is kind of like Monday. A clean slate. New goals. Fresh beginnings. 

    Over the years I have learned to let go of things. The older I get, the more I realize that hanging on to mistakes and things that didn't work out quite like we planned can be somewhat detrimental to us. It seems the time we spend dwelling on those errors in judgment or behavior could be better spent planning out wonderful things for our future.
  159. I do admit that the past several days have been nice. I made it a point to gear back and I actually stuck with it as much as I could. It seemed odd at first, but it really made a difference in my attitude and level of stress.

    I love posting my blog here every day. I think it not only helps others with questions and helps get word out as to what new things I am doing, but it is a big part in my own motivational process. I can't tell you all how many nights I was ready to wrap things up and quit for the evening, only I wanted to have something finished to show in the blog the next morning.
  160. It has been a little over a week since I have posted here on the blog. After over five straight years of blogging nearly every day, it felt strange not to wake up and do so first thing every morning. But it was something that I felt was needed for me to step back and get hold on things, as everything seemed like it was becoming a bit overwhelming. 

    Work has been busy this year. Our little business is growing by leaps and bounds as we continue to offer new kinds of patterns and surfaces and head  in many different directions.
  161. Many of you may have noticed that I haven't been posting as regularly these past couple of weeks. It isn't that I haven't been doing things, but I have been doing things that I really don't want to share in public at this point. 

    Over the past six years of almost daily blogging, I have met many online friends from all over the world. I have also reconnected with friends and family from different times in my life, and I have enjoyed getting to know them again - some whom I haven't spoken to since we were children - and seeing their own children and families and learning about their lives.
  162. I truly don't know where the time goes. I know I said that many times recently, but it is hard for me to comprehend that it is already December 11th and the Christmas season is upon us.

    Perhaps the reason for autumn passing so quickly is that it is my favorite time of year. After all, we know that when we are enjoying something a great deal time seems to pass in the blink of the eye.

    Maybe it is because this is also the 'busiest' time of year for most people. So many of my friends are crafters and artistic people, and it seems that the time frame between September and January is the busiest for all of them as well.
  163. I am finding it kind of hard to decide what to write about these days. As Christmas is quickly approaching, I have been working diligently on some gifts that I am going to be sending out soon. As you can imagine, the gifts are heading for my family and friends, and many of them check in on my blog every once and a while. I do want to have what I am making them a bit of a surprise, so I can't really talk about things. It is a bit of a dilemma. 

    We are two weeks away from Christmas, and I believe that my gifts that need to be mailed will be out the door by tomorrow.
  164. I know I am not alone when I wonder where the time goes. It seems like just yesterday we were looking forward to spring and now already we are closing out the year. This week has been particularly busy for me because I have a few boxes that NEED to go out within the next couple of days in order to arrive in time for the holidays. I have really been pushing it. 

    Naturally, because these things I am working on are gifts, I won't be showing them here in my blog yet. As you can imagine, it seriously limits my posts here, as most of them are about what I am currently creating.
  165. As a designer and and artist, I think it is important to continually learn and work toward advancing myself. It seems that every time I accomplish a certain technique or skill, I feel satisfied only for a short time and soon I begin to look for ways to push myself to a higher level. It is just my nature. 

    Because I am fortunate enough to be able to work doing something that I love, I am able to explore these many facets of the artistic work in the name of 'work'. I admit that I am quite spoiled in this respect, as what many are only able to do in their 'leisure time' I can justify as 'working'.
  166. As time keeps marching on, we are getting closer and closer to the holiday season, as well as winter weather. When I awoke this morning, I looked out on my deck and saw this:

    The first significant indication that winter is just around the corner. 

    Even though it seems that this past year has gone by too quickly, I tend to take each day as it comes, and appreciate it for what it is.
  167. Even though I am creating something just about every day of my life, this time of year, brings me to a whole new level. As we enter the month of December, I can't help but feel a little stressed as I know my time to mail packages to my loved ones and friends far away is limited. Every year I vow to be ahead of the game, but it seems that most years I just squeak by.  

    I also love to participate in gift exchanges. I have so many talented online friends that create in a variety of mediums! I love receiving hand-made items from them.
  168. Good day, my creative friends. It is a calm and peaceful morning here in Nova Scotia with an overcast sky and a hint of misty rain that can't seem to decide whether it wants to be rain or snow falling. I actually love these kinds of mornings. As I sit here sipping on my second cup of coffee under a soft, fluffy blanket with Richard curled at my feet I am listening to "The Nutcracker Suite" on my headphones and feeling quite cozy. It is going to be a fabulous day.

    I finished my painting project yesterday and finished up the photography for the pattern last night.
  169. It seems like it has been weeks since I have written, even though it has only been a couple of days. These past few days I have been in "elf mode" and even though I have been terribly busy, I can't show much of what I am doing here yet. There are many surprises in the works.

    Over the weekend, I worked in many directions. I had wanted to make a pot of soup, but I haven't managed to do that yet.  Hopefully later on today.  

    I spent Saturday cutting orders and Sunday Keith took me to Yarmouth to do some shopping and we went to dinner and a movie.
  170. I began writing a blog post yesterday (really I did) and just as I got started, the power went out. This was the second time in the past few weeks this happened, which was unusual because prior to that, we had kept power for years. 

    One would think that I would have really been upset, but for some reason, I was not. I had just filled the orders that arrived overnight and the post was going to mostly be about some new things that I am going to work on in the future. Nothing that I can't discuss later on.
  171. I can't believe the whirlwind of time passing these days!  It seems that soon after the sun comes up, it begins to turn to dusk again. I know it is 'that time' of the year, and the darkeness never really bothers me, but I can't help but feel that I am in a time warp. Every day is jam packed with thing to do! It is actually very exciting.

    Yesterday we needed to head to Halifax to take my Mustang to be worked on and stored. For those of you who have followed the renovation of the car this past spring/summer, I need to mention that things don't always go exactly as planned.
  172. I had a wonderful and crazy/busy weekend. It is always busy this time of year, and this year is no exception. I not only began working on some Christmas gifts, but I also have been working on some different aspects to expand our little business. I can't wait to be able to share on that front, but since I am still figuring things out, I am going to wait. (I know! I can be downright MEAN! ;)  )

    Yesterday Keith's mom and I attended a penny sale for the cats that live on the nearby fishing wharf.
  173. Today is one of those days when I debated whether I should blog or not. Yesterday was one of those crazy/busy days when I finished my "work" at 11:30 pm (after being at it pretty much since I got up early in the morning!)  I am still looking at 91 emails in my mail box - 31 which aren't open yet - that need attention. 

    Ahh . . . the luxury of being 'self-employed'!  :)

    I say that with a smile because those of you who read regularly know how much I love my job.
  174. As I write today, I promise I will keep things short. (I know - I always say that!) I want to get going on writing our newsletter that we will be sending out later on today. I also want to get to writing on the instructions for the new ornament pattern that will be available to my scroll saw followers later on today. (SLD519 - Damask Locket Ornament Pattern) (The link will work as soon as I have the pattern available on the site.
  175. I am often asked how I can keep coming up with so many different creative ideas. 

    While one would think that the answer to this question would be easy, it really is not, and usually I find it a difficult thing to answer. 

    So many things can trigger a design; a distant memory from childhood, the way the light hits the fur on my cat Richard's back (I am looking at that now and noticing how glossy he is), or even a phrase or lyric from a song that we hear in the background of a busy day.
  176. "It's all in a days' work."  Well . . . two days I guess. 

    I spent the weekend focusing on what some would consider 'work'. After Friday's events, it was very hard for me to be my usual positive self. I know a lot of you feel the same. How does one cope with the senseless of what had occurred? I just don't understand it. 

    I decided that the best way for me to deal with myself and my own demons was to try to re-focus on something positive. The past week was incredibly busy, and I had lots of wood orders to fill.
  177. I have had my own business for over 20 years now. It began when I wanted to stay home and be with my son, yet still help contribute to the family income. Since I have always loved just about any type of crafting and creating, I felt that it was what I was destine to do - create and design. 

    I won't tell you that I haven't had my rough times. There were those who doubted my ability to be successful (and still do) as well as the time and economic restrictions that are required when maintaining a home-based business.
  178. Today's post will be a bit short. While I am working hard on new designs, there still isn't much that I can show you or even tease you with. I did get some wood cutting done yesterday and filled some orders, and I was planning and drawing my new designs in between. 

    I feel as if I am skipping blogging a bit more than normal. Again, this isn't because I am not making things, but more so just the opposite. Between email, posting orders, cutting, painting and drawing, the days are really going by quickly.
  179. There are days when things fall into somewhat of a lull and other days when my head seems to explode with ideas.  Lately, it seems that I just don't know where to begin . . .

    From the viewpoint of an outsider looking in, it may have appeared that my day yesterday was one in which I accomplished very little. Besides doing the regular mail and customer correspondence (and of course, my blog here) I spent the day milling about doing the 'regular' stuff around the house and .
  180. Yesterday I had a blog all written and ready to publish. It was a quarter of nine my time and I was feeling good because I usually post by about nine fifteen. I was ahead of the game and it was a great way to start off my Monday. 

    Then in the blink of an eye - POOF!!!! Our power went off. It remained off for nearly five hours. I knew the post was lost. 

    I do pretty well in power outages here. They don't happen frequently (usually less than once a year) but on a bright, sunny day without weather interference, I knew it would be a while before it was back.
  181. These last few days have been both busy and fun. I am so thrilled at all the positive responses that I had regarding my little pumpkin shaped plaques. Before I could even finish them, I had lots and lots of orders for the surfaces. Many people ordered just one or two, as they were planning to paint their own designs on them. It felt good to have something that was liked so much by so many. I am really pleased. 

    Needless to say, I have been quite busy these past couple of days. I hadn't even completed painting my own plaques, but I felt that I should spend the day yesterday cutting the orders.
  182. I was thrilled at the great response that I had yesterday to my Havest Blessing paintings by Lynne Andrews. It felt really good to paint something from someone that I had so much admiration and respect for and have others like it as well. What a fun and beautiful project this turned out to be!  (You can get the pattern HERE from Lynne's site.
  183. Yes - we are already into month 11 of the year.  How the heck did that happen? It seemed like yesterday that we were taking pictures of the nearly 4 feet of snow that had accumulated. Wow! How quickly this year has passed!

    But as I was outside the other day, on an overcast autumn afternoon, I couldn't help but notice the beauty. not only were the trees still half-filled with warm colored leaves, but the other plants and vegetation had also taken on deep, warm color. The air was calm and crisp (and 'bugless'!) and it even smelled of fall.
  184. I often get creeped out when things all fall into place like they should. I am uncertain why this happens. Perhaps after years of growing up with family, pets and children we learn that even when we try to plan things out in advance, there always seems to be something that happens and things change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not. 

    Lately things have worked out pretty well. Could it be that after all these years I am finally getting the hang of scheduling things for myself?  It isn't that I have 'coasted' along in my ventures - as there were more crazy/busy days than not - but after the past month of meeting several deadlines and then being able to create some new patterns AND get them posted on the site on time, I am beginning to wonder about myself.
  185. My goodness the mornings go fast! It is hard to believe that I have already been up a couple of hours. I love my mornings, as many of you already know, because it seems that I am able to accomplish so much in those first few quiet hours of the day. 

    Yesterday was a really productive day. It was one of those (rare) times when everything went 'as it should' and I was able to tick off just about everything that I had on my list - and then some. I filled orders, did errands, helped customers and I even assembled and photographed my new trinket box projects.
  186. When I think back to when I began painting and scroll sawing, I remember how different things were back then. I started both in the mid-90's and there was very little available online. I remember when we purchased our first home computer and I was thrilled at the thought of being able to type on it. My biggest excitement was that I would have a way to find and organize things like recipes and photos, as it was a time when my kids were young and my own little family was a focus. I never could have imagined how things would evolve.
  187. I am happy to say that I had a tremendously productive day yesterday. It was one of those days when everything just went like it was supposed to go. Perhaps it is in part because of my early start (I got up my 'normal time' for the first time in a couple of weeks - I have a slight cold) and I was able to get a jump start on my day and accomplish a great deal. I am hoping that many more days like that will follow. 

    The main thing that I accomplished yesterday was cutting out my three projects.
  188. One of the most exciting part of being a designer is the vast array of possibilities that are available. Those of you who follow me know that I am quite diversified in the types of designing I do. Not only do I love designing scroll saw and woodworking patterns, but I also enjoy designing instructions for painting and drawing. In addition, I am looking into the future and considering designing some soft sculpture and needlework patterns as well. The possibilities are truly endless. 
    Over the past couple of years, you have all watched me dapple with different techniques and media.
  189. It is hard to believe that we are nearing the end of another week. Time seems to be going by so quickly this year. I can't believe we are heading into the last week of October already. Yesterday Keith and I took a nice long walk around nearby Eel lake and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was what one would call a 'typical' autumn day - overcast, cool, breezy and it even drizzled off and on a bit. The road we follow when walking that particular path is surrounded by woods, and the colors of the trees was stunning, with most of them still full of their leaves.
  190. It is hard to believe that it is Wednesday already. As usual, time is going by faster than I would like. After some much cooler weather over the past weekend, we were reminded that winder is close on our heels. I know that people don't want to think about that, but it is going to arrive whether we think about it or not, so it is best to prepare the best we can for things and do what we can to make those long months pleasant.  
    After seeing snow flurries this past Sunday, I realized that very soon it will be time to put my car away for the winter, too.
  191. It isn't often that I am able to proclaim that I am 'caught up' with things. Usually I have several things on my plate that are lined up that need to be doing. In the past month or so, I have had six major deadlines that I needed to meet for various things that I had committed myself to doing. I can't tell you the relief that I felt yesterday when I completed the last one right on the deadline. All of the others came in on time, as well.  It was as if a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.
  192. I am finding that it is remaining darker for a longer period of time each morning when I awake. I have been up for over an hour, started my second cup of coffee, and have already been visited by all three of my cats this morning. (Pancakes is still here on my lap and Richard asleep at my feet, curled up in a ball on his little pillow with a blanket wrapped around him. I can hear him snoring quietly. It is so peaceful) The sun is just beginning to illuminate the eastern sky. This morning it is a light shade of grey with darker grey clouds drifting by.
  193. As I sit down and write this morning, I find myself struggling a bit as to which direction I want today's post to head. It seems that lately there have been so many new avenues that I have been exploring that it is somewhat difficult for me to discuss them all here without having extremely lengthy posts. While some of you may not mind that, I realize that other just don't have the time, as they are much like me - exploring the different avenues and wondering which one would be the 'best' to follow.
  194. There are two times when I really feel that I am not living in the USA anymore. One of them is in July, when the US celebrates Independence Day. It is sometimes hard to get used to the 4th of July being just 'another day' here in Canada. Although they do celebrate "Canada Day" - usually within a day or two of the 4th, it somehow just feels different. 

    The other day that I really feel that I am living in a different country than I was raised is Thanksgiving. While in the US we celebrate on the last Thursday of November, here in Canada it is observed the first week or so of October.
  195. I was debating on whether I should write today or not. Yesterday was one of those days when we were thrown a curve ball and I accomplished very little artistically. I didn't really want to be MIA again though, as it seems that these days some of the projects that I have taken on are taking just a bit more time than normal. I hope that means that the level of my work is also increasing. No matter how busy I get, I like to think that I am doing better things as an artist and designer. 

    Yesterday's 'life event' was that our 50" TV decided to die.
  196. Sometimes when I am at my busiest, I have the least to show you. There are so many things that Keith and I do to keep the business running that is 'un-glamorous' but necessary that sometimes I feel I have nothing interesting to show you in the mornings here. 

    Yesterday was a busy and productive day. On Monday, it was my turn for my Art Play Date 2015 project to play, so I have been busy cutting skate surfaces to ship out to those who requested them:

  197. After a rainy and overcast weekend, on this beautiful Monday morning the sun is bright and shining. It looks to be another lovely autumn day here in Nova Scotia. 

    The weather didn't bother me a bit though, as I was focused on doing some 'inside' things and working on some new projects and crossing off those deadlines. It was nice actually to not 'have' to go out anywhere, and I made good use of the time I had. 

    I don't think that I mentioned it here before, but I was invited to participate in a collaboration and create some designs for a book that is being published by
  198. It felt so good to be caught up yesterday. That, by no means translates to being 'done' with everything - but it more or less means that I am on a workable schedule. For a while there, I thought I was slipping, with getting things completed just under the wire. While I like to have deadlines to pace myself, there are times that the sneak up faster than I anticipate and I find myself wondering if I will be able to meet them. It can be a slippery slope when I don't leave enough wiggle room to allow for some things to come into play.
  199. Welcome October!

    Our last day of September went out with a bang. It was probably one of my most 'unfavorite' days of the year weather-wise. (Is that even a WORD?) It was very warm and humid, but it was also very rainy and windy which made it difficult to have the windows open without the rain blowing in. YUKKY! I was warm and uncomfortable most of the day. Thank goodness that it seems much cooler this morning. It is still breezy out and overcast (and I believe raining a bit) but nothing like yesterday.
  200. Yesterday I posted about the new Inktense colored pencil set I had purchased. There were several people who wanted to know more about them so since I was cutting wood most of yesterday at the scroll saw, I thought that I would answer some of the questions and talk about them some more here today.

    The "Inktense" products by Derwent not only come in pencil form, but they also come in pure pigment blocks, which resemble pastel crayons. 

  201. Some girls like shoes. Others like fine jewelry. Still others, fancy clothes. . .

    While I enjoy those nice things, they are something that I can take or leave. Don't get me wrong - I love having a couple of 'extravagances' such as my Chanel perfume and soap. (After all - I want to smell divine when doing my woodworking and painting! ;) )  But for the most part, I try to keep things simple. Except when it comes to art supplies . . . 

    I can almost hear you guys cheering already! 

    Some say we are judged by our peers.
  202. It is hard to believe that we have another weekend under our belts! But with the mornings getting cooler and the darkness lasting a little longer each day, it is hard to forget that the beautiful summer weather is giving way to autumn. Time surely passes quickly when we are busy! 

    Yesterday I spent the day with Keith updating the site and getting out my bi-weekly newsletter. We changed all the sales on our Pattern Specials page and we added another new pattern that Keith created.
  203. I got up early this morning and it is still dark two hours later. It is odd how quickly the days get shorter once a certain point is reached. It is getting dark much sooner as well, and I suspect that is why I wound up going to bed shortly after 10pm my time. It just seemed like my day was done. 

    I love these cool, autumn mornings. Even though we are only a day into autumn, it is nice to be able to say that. I sat on the deck yesterday with the cats for a bit, just taking in the warm sun and doing pretty much 'nothing'.
  204. At some time or another in our lives, most of us search for our purpose here on Earth. The reason we are here. The meaning of what our life is and why we are here in the first place. We want our lives to have meaning and purpose, I believe. We want to think that all the hard work and things we go through on a daily basis are for a reason. That somehow, in some small way we make a difference in the world. That somehow we make it better. 

    There are professions that are obviously noble.
  205. Good things take time. I have to keep reminding myself of that. 

    In today's world of 'instant gratification', we sometimes forget that everything we have and want can't always happen in an instant. Sometimes there is just no way around taking the proper steps and doing things methodically. 

    I am often reminded of this with my work. While I see a 'vision' of my finished project in my head, I don't always see the many steps it will require to get to that point.
  206. I had a dream last night that I awoke and all the leaves had already fallen from the trees. I was in Oak Lawn, Illinois - the place where I grew up in my teens. It was a place that is filled with many large and beautiful maple trees that lined the streets and they were always bursting with color throughout the autumn season. I was sad in my dream, because I was in front of my neighbors house with a carpet of spent leaves beneath my feet and as I looked up to the sky, only a few leaves were left dangling from the mostly bare branches.
  207. As some of you may have noticed, lately it seems like I am all over the place.  (OK - you may not have noticed any difference in things, but it certainly feels like it to me!) I am not sure how much of this is me, or how much is reality. 

    I am always doing lots of different things, but there are days when they all fall together like pieces to a puzzle and there are other days when very few of them seem to match up. I am sure that is just part of our ever-evolving and changing lives though and I try not to look at it too hard or take the days when seemingly nothing is accomplished too seriously.
  208. Lately it seems that I have been a bit 'unsettled'. I have been thinking in many directions and figuring out which path to follow next. There are lots of choices it seems, but I am not sure on which one to take to move ahead at full steam. It is odd. 

    I don't think that is a bad thing though. Choices are good and variety is what makes us well-rounded people. Right? I find that the more I see and learn, the more I want to see and learn more. Does that make sense? If I thought there were not enough hours in the day before, I seem to think that even more so now.
  209. I am going to write a quick blog today, because I wanted you all to know that we did a site update yesterday afternoon. We have some new patterns available for you and those who may want to start some new projects over the weekend. 

    Keith has two new patterns this time around. His first is a beautiful layered cross, with two different patterns for the backer. He calls it
  210. It is with a great deal of sadness that I write my post today. Yesterday morning, I was notified by The Wildcat Sanctuary that their beautiful tigress Layla had passed away. This hit close to my heart, as over the past few months I had come to 'know' Layla through the Sanctuary, as she was the subject of my tigress painting pattern that I recently created for the August issue of Painting Ezine online magazine.
  211. It felt good to get such nice feedback on my angel ornament project that I showed here yesterday. I am pretty excited about it myself. It felt good to really get something going in a good direction for my very patient woodworking followers. 

    It turned out to be a very busy day. While I was answering the many email that I received, I also had some orders for some wood pieces I had to cut so I shifted gears and went to the saw for a couple of hours. Even though I always have things to do, I never mind stopping and working on the scroll saw for orders.
  212. With the Labor Day weekend behind us, we realize that summer is coming to a close. Things are already changing. The mornings are darker and the night air is cooler. Before long summer will be a memory and it will be a new season. Autumn is upon us. 

    I know that I say this every year, but it went by much too quickly. Perhaps it is because our winter here was so long and brutal. I remember driving to Halifax in mid-April and still seeing piles of snow on the ground that hadn't melted.
  213. I spent the day yesterday mapping out a couple of new designs, as well as getting some things done around my home. It seems that the last several weeks I have been working from deadline to deadline, and it felt good to have things pretty much done and under my belt. I needed a short time to catch up with everything I think. 

    That's not to say that I don't have new deadlines to work on. It is great to have my focus a bit ahead and have some commitments that I want to fill to keep the business thriving.
  214. Yesterday I didn't write because I was working on my "Quick Paint" project for the online painting community called Toletown.  Last year I was asked by Lorrie, the manager of the site if I would like to be on the Toletown design team. I was very much thrilled with the chance, as I had been a member of Toletown for many years and I think it is a great venue for anyone who likes painting for fun. I am also thrilled to be in the company of some of my favorite painting designers, many who I also have been following for several years.
  215. I am afraid today's post won't be too exciting. I am in the process of uploading nine videos, and being the impatient gal I am, I am doing them all at once. I figured I would give my new computer components a chance to spread their wings and see what they can do. 

    So far, so good . . . 

    However, it is not without taxing my system a bit. I had a couple of things to show you, but I think I will wait until tomorrow. Uploading photos may just send it over the edge.
  216. I truly believe that I am very fortunate to live in a time when we have so many opportunities available to us via our computers. Not only does it allow us exposure to parts of the world that we may never be able to see, but it also is a great resource for learning new skills in ways we never thought possible. 

    Last year, I was invited to teach a class in the program "Art Play Date 2015" which was organized by a wonderful teacher (and my friend) Kelly Hoernig.
  217. This morning when I sat down here at my spot at my computer, ready to do the mail, my little cat Pancakes hopped right up here and snuggled in. He had greeted me with cooing and 'chirps' this morning and I was heating up my coffee - more enthusiastic than usual. Perhaps it is because he 'knows' that I made some cinnamon shortbread cookies last night and he knows me well enough to remember that I may steal one to have with my coffee for breakfast. He loves cookies and seems to favor the cinnamon flavored ones the most.
  218. I woke up this morning to a cool, gentle rain and the sun wasn't even really up yet. I have noticed this past week that whether it is cloudy or not, it is taking longer and longer to get light in the mornings.

    Something else changed as well. That cool, crispness is in the air again. After the heavy humidity and warmth that we experienced last week, it seems we have turned another page and are beginning a new chapter of seasons. Autumn is definitely knocking at our door. 

    I never mind this time of year.
  219. There are few things that make me feel better than seeing someone enjoying my patterns and making projects from them. After all - the reason I began designing in the first place was so others could learn and have fun with them. I try to make each pattern I create into a mini-lesson, so that people of all skill levels can create the project themselves. 

    Often I get notes or emails asking me if I mind if people change up my designs a little bit. Not only do I not mind it, but I encourage others to do whatever they like to make their projects truly personalized.
  220. Yesterday I felt a lot more like myself. After a couple of weeks of feeling a bit 'lost' I was back in full swing again working on three different projects at various stages. There's nothing like some good, solid deadlines to kick start us back to productivity!

    I know I am not alone in feeling this way. I have many friends who design and create all kinds of crafts from woodworking to painting and just about everything in between. I have seen them struggle and I have seen them soar and I don't think any of them can help or predict when one of these 'lulls' comes along.
  221. After a much needed break, I am back and finally feel ready to move forward in a productive manner. 

    It isn't because I have been short of ideas. Actually it is quite the contrary. I have so many things that I want to do that I seem to have been somewhat 'stuck' as to which direction I want to head first. It is as if all the thoughts and ideas have bottle-necked in my head and as a result, I have been quite overwhelmed.

    Add to that my little back issue that remained (I haven't been to the gym for nearly a month) and the warm spell we are going through here in Nova Scotia and I feel as if I have been pretty much useless as far as accomplishing anything.
  222. With the summer months here, it seems we are running just a bit slower. I know I am. I don't know if it was because of the back issues or if is attributed to some things that have been on my mind. We all go through highs and lows though, and for the most part, things are still moving in a forward direction - just slower. 

    The only thing that seems to be moving quickly is "time". It is hard for me to believe that it is the middle of August already. It seems that summer has just started and it is already beginning to feel like autumn.
  223. Yesterday I had to skip posting. Our internet had become so spotty that it was difficult to stay online for any length of time. Over the past couple of weeks, both Keith and I noticed the problem was getting worse. The thing that got us wondering though was that much of the time it would work fine, but then it would be 'dragging' for increasing lengths of time. Sometimes hours. 

    It is funny how dependent we have become on the internet. Not only for our business, but for our every day communication.
  224. There are times when I get impatient with myself. I always have lots of plans and things that I want to do, and many times I only get a fraction of the things actually finished. If by some chance I do get close to the bottom of my list, I then feel that I didn't set my goals high enough. As you can see, I am kind of setting my self up for a 'no win' situation. 

    It is hard sometimes to be objective though. Especially when I am dealing with myself. As I look at the Facebook posts of all my creative friends - both woodworking and painting - I see project after project and sometimes feel inadequate and as if I am not 'keeping up'.
  225. All of you who know me know how much I love cats. I have had cats all my life and they are always a huge part of my daily living. I also love autumn and the beautiful fall colors. the deep, rich tones are always a pleasure to paint and work with. 

    Last year I had an idea for a plaque for autumn/fall/Halloween. Unfortunately, it was a bit late in the season when I thought of it and I had to move on to other things. I was determined to have it done for this year. 

    Like many ideas that I have, it developed slowly.
  226. Today's post will be short. (Really!)  It seems that the past couple of days, I have awaken to a lot of emails that need my attention. I have spent much of the morning working on that and I am anxious to get to finishing up my latest painting. Then on to writing the packet. 

    I made good progress yesterday, adding details and thinking about the finishing touches that I will add today to complete it. I am pleased with how it looks, and feel good about it in general. 

    I have enjoyed hearing the feedback from people regarding the piece.
  227. Ahhhh  the sweet taste of "progress"!

    Like that first sip of coffee in the morning or the breathtaking beauty when the sun begins to illuminate the morning fog, it is something that sometimes causes us to just stop, take notice and enjoy.

    I am especially aware of positive progress in my current painting because things have been a bit of a struggle for me in creating it. Not because what I am creating is particularly difficult, but because there have been a few obstacles in place along the way.
  228. It is good to be back. Not only here blogging, but actually having something to blog about. Last week when I wasn't feeling my best, it reminded me just how important setting goals for myself and being productive was to my life. It is even more important because I am self-employed I think. Without setting new goals and working toward them every day, I would imagine that there is really no way that one could succeed.  I believe that 'success' and 'self-motivation' go hand in hand.
  229. Last week was not one of my usual weeks. Between getting the new computer and the issues I was having with my back, I felt that I didn't really accomplish a great deal. I have been writing here for over five years now, and I think this was the first time in all those years that I was here at home and took so much time 'off'. But sometimes it is needed. I always try to be positive and productive and have something interesting to write about. With the week that I had, I thought it best just to skip.
  230. I was really and truly writing my blog yesterday when some pretty impressive storms rolled in. Even though I am in the process of replacing the main components of my computer (motherboard, processor, memory, main drive) I really didn't want anything to happen to my current computer. I am awaiting delivery of the new SSD drive, and Keith should be changing things over in the next several days.  The board arrived on Monday.

    It should be a nice change, although it will be a bit of a chore to load everything up and get things in order.
  231. I can think of many people who live in lovely places, yet sometimes take them for granted. I don't think we realize that we are doing this until for some reason or another (school, job, etc.) we are taken away from our homeland for any length of time and then return to it. It seems that we come 'home' and look at things with new eyes. We notice things that we hadn't paid attention to before. Things that were right there all the time. 

    Coming from Chicago, I am perhaps more aware of this.
  232. The day took a somewhat unexpected turn for me yesterday when Keith decided to make the hour long trip to Bear River to replenish some of the pens that he had on consignment in the artisan shop "Flight of Fancy". He had received a call from the owner, Rob a couple of weeks ago and was asked to bring more fountain pens, as the last one he had there had just sold. 

    Even though Keith doesn't do much turning anymore, he still had some stock of beautiful pens left, and since it was a beautiful day and the sun was warm and shining, he thought it would be a nice time to take a drive to the shop.
  233. As I looked back at the last few blog entries, I hoped that I didn't appear to be negative or upset. While I was definitely going through a time where I didn't feel very productive or focused, I only shared those posts because I want you all to know that it is part of the process. Perhaps by me writing down and telling you all about it, it also helped to remind myself that it is perfectly natural (if not necessary) and something that I shouldn't be worried about. 

    I often receive emails from people that ask how I stay motivated and accomplish so much and keep my enthusiasm for what I do.
  234. I was sitting here this morning sipping my second cup of coffee and trying to think about something inspiring to write about today. Since I am still experiencing the lull that I mentioned yesterday, I fear that today's post would be bland and uninteresting. 

    "Why then would I even choose to write?", you may ask.

    To be honest, I considered the possibility of skipping. Of course, that would be the easy and probably the most logical thing to do. While there is seemingly limitless cyber-space available for blogs such as mine, I didn't feel that polluting the internet with a senseless post would be the answer.
  235. Yesterday morning I honestly did have an entire post written. I was just applying the finishing touches and corrections on it when my computer screen went blank. The power was out.

    It was a rainy morning here, but nothing like the violent storms I had experienced growing up in Chicago. The rain was soft and relaxing and when I first awoke I could hear some gentle rumbling of thunder in the distance.While the climate here in Nova Scotia is very similar to the one I grew up with living in Chicago, there are some differences.
  236. It isn't often that I am at a loss for words. However, as I begin to write today, I am finding difficult in expressing myself. 

    After yesterday's post of my recent painting of Layla the tiger, I received such a huge amount of positive comments from various social media venues that I am completely humbled and in awe. I just never expected it. 

    I sit here and write to  you all each morning, and I don't often think of the 'audience' that reads. Oh - I occasionally look at the numbers, like on lumberjocks.
  237. I missed posting yesterday because I had somewhat of a 'technical glitch'. It seemed that some of the RAM (memory) in my computer decided to quit on me and it did so in stellar fashion. Earlier in the prior day, I began getting a couple of memory errors. That happens at times and I thought nothing of it. But when I tried to do my morning mail and received five "blue screens of death" in the first hour, I knew something was truly amiss. 

    My main board, processor and memory sticks are over five years old.
  238. Yesterday was a full day, but I wound up doing some unexpected things. One thing that I have learned over the years is that in order to have any success with owning your own business, you need to be flexible. While being organized as well as flexible don't always seem as if they work together, it sometimes takes some very creative thinking to make sure they do. I think it is necessary to keep things moving in a positive direction. 

    I started out yesterday planning to work on my "Layla" painting.
  239. "There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe and mostly live." - Dalai Lama

    I was trying to decide what to write about this morning and I saw this on my Facebook timeline. It was a posted by a dear friend of mine named Charlotte who has her own decorative painting business called Roma Land Woodcrafts.
  240. I missed blogging yesterday because on Wednesday afternoon I received a call from the guys that are working on my car in Halifax.  They were DONE with it and it was finally ready to be picked up. After just over two months of waiting, you can bet I dropped everything and we planned to make the three hour trip to the city to go get it. I was really excited. 

    After the long and cold winter, followed by three months of not being able to drive my car, I really was looking forward to having it back.
  241. As an artist and a designer, I am always looking for good source material for my creations. I am not the kind of artist that usually can just draw from the top of my head. Oh, sure - I can draw cartoon-y type things or non-realistic items fairly well and you can tell what they are supposed to be, but for my higher end artwork and paintings, I like to have photographs as a reference. 

    This isn't always easy. I am always very aware and respectful of copyrights from fellow artists and photographers.
  242. Time always seems to move much too quickly, and lately more so than ever. I think because I have been keeping so busy the days just seem to bleed quickly into one another and before we know it, another week has passed. It is hard to believe that we are halfway through the year. 

    As those of you who read often know, I spent the last week or so working on some new scroll saw patterns for the site. At the time I was working on them it didn't seem like it was a lot, but seeing everything finished and posted makes me realize that I did indeed accomplish a great deal.
  243. If I am anything, I am patient. 

    I wasn't always that way, but as I get older and learn to appreciate things a bit more, I know that doing things right and getting things done properly takes time. Most times there is no way around that. 

    We live in a society where everyone wants everything fast. Whether it be their food, something they ordered online, or even something that is hand crafted, people don't seem to have the patience and respect that is required to offer something that is valued.
  244. One good thing about doing lots of types of creative crafts is that every time I get to do something else, it is new and fresh to me and I am excited about it. I love painting and I love the recent needle artwork that I have been attempting, but I also love creating cool wood things on the scroll saw. There is something that is so calming and peaceful about following a line with a tiny blade to create 'graceful wood'. 

    It is sometimes difficult to keep up with everything that is going on in my head.
  245. Yesterday was a busy day. I like that. I felt as if I was getting back on track and really accomplishing something. I didn't get to do the final photos of the new five candle tray patterns, but I did work on the three additional ornament sets that I will also be including in the next site update. (We are thinking either Sunday or Monday we will send out a newsletter.)  That will mean that I will have a total of eight new scroll saw patterns to post. It will feel really good for me to have that many, as I know when I spread myself out to other things and take on huge projects like the carousel, I sometimes feel bad that I am not adding more every two weeks with the new updates.
  246. Yesterday wasn't what I would call the 'best' of days. While I always try to be positive and put a positive spin on things, sometimes it doesn't work out that way. Actually, it was Monday that was the difficult day, but yesterday was more of the aftermath of dealing with a very stressful situation and for the most  part, I was pretty useless. Those who know me know that isn't my usual way. I always try to rise above the things that are bothering me. 

    I am not trying to be cryptic, but I really am not going to get into the details of the problem.
  247. One of the things that I like best about what I do is the great variety of ways I am able to create. As with most of you, the more I look and discover, the more I want to expand my 'crafting arsenal'. I find it very rare to meet people that only dapple in ONE type of creating. Most like to do many. 

    I am often asked how I keep coming up with fresh ideas. After over 20 years of doing this for a living, it seems that I never run out of new things to do. There are times when I feel as if I am hitting a little wall, and my creativity just isn't there, but when that happens, I have learned that switching gears really helps and by changing things up a bit, I am able to come back to whichever media I was feeling sluggish doing with fresh eyes and usually lots of new ideas.
  248. I am currently in the process of creating three different projects, in three different media forms. Actually, I am working on five, but only three are being actively worked  on. Then there are the multitudes of other projects that are all lined up in my head, awaiting their turn to come forward. (Do they count?) I suppose you can say I am 'busy'.

    It feels good to be in this place in my life. It isn't always like this. That is why when it is, I try to jump in and do as much as I can to get the ball rolling.
  249. What an amazing weekend!

    Not that anything paticularly unusual happened. For the most part, it was a 'typical' weekend. But I felt as if I accomplished a great deal and also had a chance to visit with some dear friends and enjoy some 'down time.' For me - I guess it IS unusual. 

    On Friday afternoon I received a call from my Canadian mom, Ellen. I call her that because both her and her husband Bernie have treated me like a daughter for the past eleven years that I have been here in Canada.
  250. Yesterday was a good day. Not only was the weather near-perfect with a blue sky and warm air, but lots was accomplished and several positive things happened as well. I couldn't ask for more.

    I spent the morning working on my new  patterns for the website. We are planning an update to be completed by later on today and I will be sending out a newsletter then as well. I feel good about that because I have three new patterns that I will be sharing, and Keith has added four since our last newsletter.
  251. I always find it funny that it takes hours to create a video that is only minutes long. While the process isn't difficult, like many things there is a learning curve and it can take a bit longer than expected to achieve the desired results. 

    As with anything, I need to go through the process several times so that I am familiar. My problem is that it is months between videos and sometimes I forget how I did certain things or some of the processing steps. Once it is completed, I am usually pretty happy with the results, and I vow to do more, but sometimes life gets in the way and I don't do another one for quite a while.
  252. Since I am in the midst of writing up patterns and doing things of that nature, I decided to share some great things about some of my very talented friends today. I am fortunate in what I do that I come across so many others with such amazing ideas. I always find so many wonderful and inspiring ideas from my friends, and I hope that they inspire you as well. 

    First off, I wanted to let you know that Steve Good has a new Ebook out. Steve has a great site called "
  253. Another beautiful week is beginning.

    The sun has just come up, revealing a crystal clear blue sky. There is dew on the grass and cars and the birds are happily chirping. A light breeze is whispering through the tree tops and you can still feel the crispness from the night air. How could it be any more "perfect"?

    What a way to start a week!

    We've had several days like this now, and I think that Mother Nature is perhaps making up for the long, harsh winter we experienced here.
  254. I suppose that I will never be accused of 'rushing through' things.

    Even when I seem to get something done quickly, many times I wind up going back and making changes in order to improve on it. I think this can be a good thing, but sometimes I wonder if it is counter productive or not.

    It is something that I can't really help. Often times, I will make something that is really good, and then either while I am writing the  pattern for it or making additional pieces, I realize that there were somehow better and easier ways to do things.
  255. Ok - I admit it. Yesterday I didn't get a lot done in the work department. Although I did accomplish some things, it was mostly 'putzing' around the house. 

    The past several weeks have been so, so busy. Sometimes it just catches up to you. I tend to get submerged in my work and it can consume me. But once in a while, I think I need a day to just do 'whatever' strikes my fancy and not think about it being 'work.'  Sometimes it looks like what I do for work (Keith mentions that to me often) but I know differently.
  256. Today's post isn't my usual happy and cheerful outlook on life and being creative. It is more or less a warning to all my customers, readers and friends. 

    Unfortunately, my day yesterday wasn't filled with the happy creativity that I would have liked and planned it to be. I had a disturbing experience and I feel that it is important to share it with you to hopefully help prevent (or at least make you aware) so the same thing is less likely to happen to you. While I am not sure how to fully prevent something like this from happening to me again (or to others) I feel the least I can do is remind you all about some basic practices that should be observed when we are online.
  257. This past weekend I was terribly busy and I had a wonderfully fun time. While I loved creating my last huge project, it felt really good to be able to do some other things. When I work on one thing, I often get ideas for other projects to follow. I have learned to write these ideas down in a file so that later on when I am looking for something new to do, I have lots to choose from. You wouldn't believe how long the list is! I call it my 'job security' though and it seems that the more I accomplish, the more new ideas I get.
  258. I took the day off of blogging yesterday because I slept in a bit. By the time I awoke it was after 8:30 am (which is LATE for me!) and by the time I got through the morning mail, it was already rather late to begin writing. I figured since I was in 'recovery mode' from the previous weeks work, there wouldn't be much to miss anyway. The world would get along without me for a morning. ;) 

    We spent a good part of the day updating the site. While Keith does most of the computer work for that, I do the writing of the newsletter.
  259. It doesn't take much to regroup and rejuvenate! I got everything out to the post office (in the pouring rain, I may add! It made things more exciting!) and back home by 1pm. Our little place here actually looked a bit EMPTY without all the paraphernalia from the carousels here. It seems that there have been parts and things here for WEEKS! My own carousel is safely put away until later on in the year. I think I have seen enough of it for now anyway to last a little bit. 

    Since it was cool and damp and rainy outside, I decided to actually make that pot of soup I talked about yesterday.
  260.  I had pretty much forgotten what it was like to see my kitchen table cleared. Or the counters for that matter. It seems that it has been months that I have been working on one thing or another and although I do manage to keep things fairly neat, there have been miscellaneous boxes, trays and wood parts placed neatly in piles here and there throughout the house. 

    It is part of working from home though and although we have a small place here, we are pretty good at staying organized and keeping things very neat.
  261. I had a very busy, yet very productive weekend. It rained most of the time here in Nova Scotia (as it is now) so I didn't really mind at all. I never really mind working though, as I really do love my job. 

    I worked on getting the first big batch of carousel kits completed. It was a milestone for me because it brought to reality something that I have planned for and dreamed about for nearly two years. I am really proud of them. 

    As I look at my kitchen table this morning, this is what I see:

  262. I had an amazingly productive day yesterday! It was one of those days that went somewhat like this:
         - I had a plan
         - I set a goal
         - I stayed FOCUSED
         - I worked
         - I got the job DONE! 

    It isn't that I don't always TRY to work like this. But most of us know that many days, we make plans to accomplish things and even with our best efforts, sometimes life just gets in the way.
  263. I am going to be cutting kits the next couple of days, and I am sure that it isn't what I would call 'fascinating' blog material. I will certainly keep you updated, but today I am going to talk about something else that may be helpful to some of you that read.

    I have many friends and readers who are fellow designers in both the painting as well as the woodworking industry. Many of them use social media sites such as Facebook and Pinterest to  promote their designs and reach new customers.
  264. I had mentioned yesterday that I was doing things in several different directions this week. Not only have I been cutting and creating the kits for the Haunted Carousels that have been ordered, but also working on a project for Tole Town, an online painting community. 

    I love doing projects like this. It doesn't only keep me busy, but it keeps me thinking in lots of directions.
  265. I am going to post quickly today (really!) because I have much to do. I have been working on cutting the wood kits that were ordered for my haunted carousel and I spent much of the day doing that. I was happy with how things went. I did everything in a nice, organized way and it made things pleasant and I got lots done in not too much time. 

    Yesterday was cutting all the large circular parts for the carousel. Any scroller can tell you that cutting circles can be a challenge. You would think that the large, gentle curves are easy, but for most they are harder than the more intricate designs.
  266. It is quiet out this morning. Even though every morning is quiet to some degree, the air seems still and I can actually hear the river rushing by from across the road. That is, when I am not typing. A few birds are singing and it is peaceful. The kind of sounds that remind me of walking in a forest preserve as a child. Growing up in a large city like Chicago, experiencing 'quiet' such as this was nearly non-existent. There were always noises in the city and suburbs. You could always hear traffic and sirens and other everyday noises that our consciousness filters out.
  267. I sit here and wonder as I begin to write today's post if you aren't all really tired of hearing of my little Haunted Carousel

    For the past month or so, I have been completely obsessed with creating it, painting it, and building it. It seems that I have had little else to discuss here because it has taken over my entire life. 

    Yesterday, as I completed the last save on the 77 page pattern (I added some more 'completed' photos in the back of the pattern - everyone likes more pictures!) I had the same feeling return that I felt when I completed my "A Perfect World" embroidery piece.
  268. Today is the day. Before I lay my head on my pillow tonight, I will call my "Scary-Go-Round" pattern and project "Finished"! (SLDP238) After over a month of working on it, I can finally consider it 'done' and move on to other things.  

    While a month may not seem very long to some of you, this project has occupied a huge part of each day (and night) and it seems that I have been living and breathing and sleeping with it nearly every second of each day.
  269. I woke up this morning after dreaming of my car. Last week I had taken it to Halifax to drop it off for a complete paint job and restoration. The process would take a few weeks to complete. In my dream, I had picked the car up and there was visible bondo and putty all over it. What paint there was cracked and there were many areas (like the hood) that had those tiny circles ground into it from using an orbital sander. I was sad. 

    I stuck my finger into the putty along the door frame and it was still pliable.
  270. Not everyone likes the same things. I know I am stating the obvious, but sometimes, as much as we do realize it, we forget that.

    I am no different. I see something I like and I find myself assuming that everyone I meet will like it as well. Be it food, a movie or even artwork or techniques. But having a partner like Keith helps keep me looking at things using realistic eyes. He and I are very opposite in our tastes and preferences. There is an old saying that 'opposites attract' and I believe that with my entire being.
  271. I had an absolutely wonderful productive weekend. I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel regarding my haunted carousel project. As I have mentioned previously, this has been one of the largest projects that I have ever created with the intention of  offering the pattern for reproduction. I want it to be just 'perfect'. 

    When looking at the carousel all assembled and painted, it can be quite intimidating.

  272. It has been a crazy/busy couple of weeks here. (Crazier and busier than usual, that is!) With finishing up my "Scary-Go-Round" Haunted Carousel and finding someone to do the work on my car, the days are just going by faster than ever. I want to note though that I am not complaining, but rather excited about it. All the while in the background, the regular day-to-day tasks of our business keep rolling along.
  273. These past several days  (as well as the next several days to follow) will be focused on completing the pattern for my SLDP238 Haunted Carousel. Even though the project was completed last week, the process of creating a comprehensive and workable  pattern is just as involved - if not more so - than making the actual project itself. 

    We all have our own methods of doing things. For me, thinking up and creating a design is just one element of the designing process.
  274. I haven't always been the most patient person in the world. Like most people, when I was waiting for something to happen, I wanted it now. I didn't like the feeling of waiting for things once I had my mind made up. whether it be food I ordered at a restaurant, a package that I ordered through the mail, or even when I was sitting waiting for the doctor or dentist. I had places to go and things to do and I didn't want to spend my day (and waste my time) waiting. 

    But as I get older, I have learned not only to not mind waiting for things, but going so far as appreciating the time spent waiting as part of my journey through life.
  275. Are you all tired of reading about this project yet?  I hope not. It is just been that it has really kind of consumed my life these past couple of weeks and because of that, I have had little else to write about. But I am getting to the end of my journey with this and soon will be moving on to other new things. I really appreciate all the nice comments and encouragement from everyone. When you work from home, outside feedback is really important - especially on the days when things don't go just right.
  276. The link to the FINISHED PATTERN and COMBO KIT is here:  SLDPS238 "Scary-Go-Round" Carousel Combo Kit

    For the past three weeks, I have been writing about a project that I was creating that I had been thinking about for over two years. I have hoped that it didn't get boring or tedious for you all to read, as my mind has been focused on little else and (for me, anyway) it was a long process to see it come to fruition.
  277. I did a lot of finishing touches on my haunted carousel yesterday. It was time to do finish up the final touches that I wanted to include before the final assembly and what I call the 'presentation' photographs. These were odds and ends and somewhat 'afterthoughts' that came to mind after finishing certain sections. 

    I had intended to show all the final photos today, but by the time I finished getting everything ready, it was after 10pm last night and I was just too tired to do any quality work.
  278. We had a beautiful weekend here in Nova Scotia. Finally we are seeing some warmer temperatures and are feeling the warmth of the sun. the grass is beginning to turn green again and the buds on the trees are finally, slowly emerging. Winter is definitely over. 

    On Saturday Keith and I drove to Halifax. We had some errands to do and supplies to pick up, and I had someone look at my car to bid for some work that I need to have done on it. It is eleven years old now and while I have kept it in good condition and the miles are relatively low, there are parts of it that are showing its age and I am at a fork in the road in making the decision to give it a 'face lift' or get something else.
  279. I am going to keep this post short today, as I have lots that I need to accomplish. It seems (as always) that time is absolutely flying by. I can't believe it is already May. There were still some remnents of snow on the ground the other day and it is odd to think that in a few weeks, I (hopefully) will be able to sit at the beach. I noticed this morning though that the grass is a greener shade of brown. Little by little, the plants and critters are beginning to awaken. When I go to sleep at night, I can once again hear the little creatures chirping from the woods behind us.