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

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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'.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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'.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. "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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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 .
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. I am going to keep my post short today. (I know - I always say that!) I had planned on doing some drawing yesterday, but we kind of changed plans and that didn't really happen. I never really mind when things change up like that, as a little bit of being spontaneous is good for us. Many times things are even better than we anticipated. I think that was the case here. 

    We decided to invite Keith's mom over at the last minute, as we always enjoy her visit. It was a dreary and stormy day outside and it was nice to have some company.
  36. 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.
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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.
  50. 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.
  51. 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.
  52. 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.
  53. 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.
  54. 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.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. 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.
  58. 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.
  59. 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.
  60. 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:

  61. 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.
  62. 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.
  63. 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.
  64. 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.
  65. 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.
  66. 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.
  67. 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.
  68. 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.
  69. 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.
  70. 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.
  71. 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.
  72. 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'.
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. 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.
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. 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.
  80. 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.
  81. 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.
  82. 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.
  83. "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.
  84. 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.
  85. 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.
  86. 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 .
  87. 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.
  88. Yesterday was another busy day. I had so many parcels to package up and ship out that it took me most of the day to get everything done. I was fortunate to get to the post office by 4pm, as they closed at 5 and it took them nearly an hour just to process all the parcels. It was a good day. 

    I am really pleased at the response to my little pumpkin surface. (SLDPK127 on my site)

  89. 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.
  90. 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.
  91. 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.
  92. 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.
  93. 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.
  94. 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.
  95. 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.
  96. 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.
  97. 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.
  98. 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.
  99. 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.
  100. 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.
  101. 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.
  102. 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.
  103. 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.
  104. 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:

  105. 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
  106. 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.
  107. 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.
  108. 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. 

  109. 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.
  110. 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.
  111. 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'.
  112. 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.
  113. 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.
  114. 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.
  115. 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.
  116. 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.
  117. 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
  118. 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.
  119. 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.
  120. 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.
  121. 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.
  122. 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.
  123. 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.
  124. 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.
  125. 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.
  126. 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.
  127. 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.
  128. 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.
  129. 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.
  130. On Friday we took a bit of an unplanned trip for the weekend. I say "a bit" because we knew we wanted to plan a getaway, but we didn't really know exactly where we were heading or for how long. Sometimes those are the best types of vacations. 

    We didn't really make the decision until Thursday, and then we finished up our site update and got things ready to head out. Fortunately, we have our dear friend and neighbor Lee who looks in on our kitties when we go away like this.
  131. 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.
  132. 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.
  133. 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'.
  134. 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.
  135. 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.
  136. 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.
  137. 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.
  138. 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.
  139. 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.
  140. 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.
  141. 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.
  142. 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.
  143. 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.
  144. 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.
  145. 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.
  146. 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.
  147. 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.
  148. "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.
  149. 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.
  150. 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.
  151. 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.
  152. 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.
  153. 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.
  154. 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.
  155. 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.
  156. I stayed quite busy yesterday, doing one of the things that I love to do. I really love so many of my creative aspects, and switching from one to the other back and forth always seems to keep me freshly excited about every one of them. 

    Yesterday I spent the day at the saw. I had my headphones on and I was into a 'classical' mood. I got lost listening to my three favorite composers - Rachmoninoff, Beethovan and Mozart. It made a good thing even better. Before long, the three additional trays were cut and ready to sand.
  157. 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.
  158. Yesterday was a beautiful day. The perfect day to just take off and put the top down on the car and drive. The night before, we made the decision to take the day off. After the long and harsh winter, the idea of getting out in the sun sounded wonderful. It truly was. 

    Both Keith and I are always busy. I think most people who own and run their own businesses are that way. There is a misconception that by owning your own business and being your own boss, you get lots of time to do what you like.
  159. I didn't post yesterday because I got a good deal of drawing done. I am on a drawing binge and actually working on several new scroll saw designs at once. It seems that I get like that - work in a flurry and then move on to something else - but I hate to stop the process when I am on a roll. Not even to take the time to cut things out. I will probably be doing that over the weekend and then have the projects ready for next week. I think it will be fun.

    Here is a sample of what I am working on.
  160. 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.
  161. 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.
  162. 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.
  163. 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.
  164. 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 "
  165. 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.
  166. 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.
  167. 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.
  168. 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.
  169. 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.
  170. 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.
  171. 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.
  172.  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.
  173. 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:

  174. 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.
  175. 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.
  176. 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.
  177. 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.
  178. 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.
  179. 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.
  180. 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.
  181. 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.
  182. 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.
  183. 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.

  184. 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.
  185. 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.
  186. 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.
  187. Those of you who are on my Facebook page (Sheila Landry Designs Scroll Saw Art) or personal friends of mine, know that this has been a really crazy week. Besides finishing up my "Scary-Go-Round" Haunted Carousel project (which is now available for pre-order), 

  188. 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.
  189. 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.
  190. 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.
  191. 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.
  192. 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.
  193. It is getting to be that time again (actually, it is a little late!) for our next website update announcement. We usually try to send out a newsletter about every other week, but this time was just a tad longer. I have been somewhat side tracked with my haunted carousel project and I am afraid that I don't have anything new to offer this time around. I think that is a first for me, but in seeing the results of my last couple of weeks of work, I know it will be worth the time and effort. After all - slow and steady wins the race, right? 

    Keith on the other hand has several new plaques for you all to enjoy.
  194. Yesterday was a really good day for me. A milestone even. After weeks of wracking my brain and trying to figure out the best way to build my "Scary-Go-Round" Haunted Carousel, I finally decided on trying a method and cut out the pieces and THEY WORKED! 

    With all the woodworking and small project construction that I do on a daily basis, you would think that this would be 'easy-peasy' for me, but that really wasn't the case. If I were making this a one of a kind project that I was keeping for myself, perhaps that would be true.
  195. I was so thrilled to have such a productive weekend! Even though I am 'busy' most days, it sometimes seems like there are times when we feel like we are working hard and in the end, little is accomplished. (Or little is noticed, anyway!) But this weekend, we made big strides on both our home organizational project that we began a couple of months ago, and also I made progress on my "Scary-Go-Round" Haunted Carousel. I woke up today ready to take on another week and the world in general.
  196. I was absolutely thrilled with the progress that I made yesterday on my "Scary-Go-Round" painted carousel project! After all the thinking and planning, I think it is coming together rather nicely. I was debating on whether I was going to put it aside for a little bit and do some other work, but I can't help but keep moving forward and forging ahead. As each element is completed, I find myself wanting to hurry and get to the next part. It is wonderful to see my ideas turning into reality.
  197. I have never been really 'fast' when I am creating a new design. Whether it is the process of making one of my own creations or following the instructions of someone else, things just seem to take me a long time. Often people mention how quickly I produce new projects, and I find that rather odd. It seems that more times than not, I take quite a bit longer than I anticipate to complete anything that I am working on. I think that I can attribute the illusion of me working so quickly with the fact that I spend a large portion of my days on whatever is in front of me at the time.
  198. Spring has finally arrived here in Nova Scotia! After the long, harsh winter, even me - one who loves winter - was ready for a change. The days are getting longer and the air is warmer and the last remnants of snow piles are slowly disappearing. 

    I often find that the change of season encourages me to do some work around the house. Even though I was in the midst of my Haunted Carousel project, as well as several other things that I have on the go, on Saturday I opened up and let the warm air and sunshine in and went to town on doing my 'spring cleaning.
  199. I skipped posting yesterday because I felt there was little new that I had to show you. I know that sometimes when that happens, I find something interesting for a 'filler post', but I didn't want to take the time to think in other directions. I was on a mission. 

    The new project that I have begun working on has consumed me. I find myself thinking about it most of the waking hours of my day, and even as I awake momentarily in the middle of the night to roll over. It has been a long while since something has taken over so much of my thought process.
  200. I always find it amazing how quickly things can go from uncertainty to progress.

    Only a few short hours ago, I was somewhat stuck - paralyzed and afraid to move forward with things for fear of mucking things up and failing.I was thinking about several things at once on this project, as there are many things that need to be worked out. Not only the design of it, but also the construction. I had been looking at the big picture all at once, and by doing so, it appeared to be very complicated.
  201. Today's post will be quick.  (Really!)  Yesterday, as with many Mondays, I had a lot of 'odds and ends' to do to get my week started. I didn't really sit down to draw until later in the day, and while that was all well and good, I don't have much more to show you.  

    Add to that, I got up late today (around 8am - YIKES for me!) but since I was drawing until about 11:30 last night, I feel that my time was not wasted and I am kind of on a roll. It's all good.
  202. As a designer, I have many (many) ideas for new projects. I am fortunate in that I keep my eyes open and by merely observing things around me in the world, I find lots of sources of inspiration. I am not always sure how this process works, as some days I am overflowing with ideas and others it just seems that nothing makes sense or wants to fall into place. Much of my designing process is 'automatic' and I sometimes forget just how to go about things when I am in a lull. Many projects that I create are things that I have thought about for a while, and try to fit in when I have time to do so.
  203. Good day to you all! I am happy to say that I awoke today to NO snow! (There IS hope!) I state that half-jokingly because even though I love living in an area with four seasons - and I love them ALL - I have just about had  my fill of the white stuff for a while. Each morning it seems we were waking up to another 2-3 inches of snow, and while it usually disappeared by the afternoon, it was a little disheartening all the same. The forecast ahead shows temperatures above freezing for the next several days, with the promise of "+10" by the middle of next week.
  204. You know - there are days when I really do get mixed up! (Yes - I know! Some of you think EVERY day!) 

    With all the different things I am doing and all the calendars, dates and reminders that I give myself, sometimes things do happen to slip by my steel trap of a mind. I suppose I am only human! 

    Last autumn, I created a painting pattern that turned out to be one of my favorites. It was a bit 'darker' than my usual cheerful pieces, but I think that is what I liked about it most.
  205. I woke up this morning to NO new snow!  There was only a light coating of frost on the deck, cars and places where the grass what peeking through the drifts, but no new snow.  There is HOPE! 

    Yesterday's storm was rather short-lived. After the morning blanket of snow re-covered the melting drifts, it too succumbed to the warming temperatures and sun throughout the day. By the evening, all the new snow was gone and little by little the drifts are shrinking and receding.
  206. It snowed this morning.


    I guess I should be used to it, but I truly couldn't believe how much had once again accumulated over the night. It looks to be about 3-4 inches, and is still coming down as I write. Following is a snapshot of my view from my deck across the yard to the road and river bank:

    That 'hill' that I pointed out is a 6-7 foot wall of snow that is probably about 10 feet deep.
  207. We've had a couple of busy days and there are busy days ahead as well. Part of me feels like I am on vacation, as it is going to still be a couple of days until I will be able to 'work' again. We had a wonderful holiday, with a great day and meal on Saturday with our family on Keith's side. It was good to get out for the day, although I was a little worried about Richard our cat. He wasn't doing well on the antibiotic that he was prescribed earlier in the week. 

    While the medicine did help him, it also made him sleepy and he had no appetite.
  208. I often write about a place in my mind where I see very vivid visions of projects that I want to design. While it may sound strange to you all, it honestly is the truth and truly exists. This is the reason that I wake up so excited most mornings!  I can't wait to start each day and one by one bring each of these projects to 'life'. 

    While I know it isn't always possible, I WISH you all could see the hundreds (yes - HUNDREDS) of spectacular things that I have planned for future projects.
  209. It is another beautiful and sunny morning here on the bank of the Meteghan river. The air is calm and there isn't a cloud in the sky. Little by little the huge piles of snow is receding and we are able to see brownish patches of what promises to be green grass.  Spring is definitely on its way. 

    It has been a long winter for us here in Nova Scotia. As with many other parts of the world, we seemed to have our fill of ice and snow. The past several years we have had mild winters, and I believe that it has somewhat spoiled our expectations of what winter is.
  210. I often feel as if I over use the word  "inspiration." It seems like every other day, I am inspired by something. I guess it is because after living a life of creating, we train ourselves to look at things differently than most people do. I can look at the sky and wonder which DecoArt Americana paint colors I would use if I were to paint it. I look at the architecture of an old building or an iron fence and think of ways I could replicate that pattern in a scroll saw project, and I look at the flowers and grasses that grow in my yard, or an insect of some sort and try to figure out how I could create a dimensional needle work picture of in.
  211. I always try to write about interesting things that happen throughout my day. It seems that people like to see what it entails to run a small business from home these days. So many of my readers have or or thinking of beginning their own business with their crafts and I thought it would be helpful to them to see that it isn't just days upon days of drawing, painting, doing woodworking and going to the bank to deposit money. There is LOTS of things in between that may not be as fun and romantic as it may appear from the outside.
  212. I had a really busy and productive weekend. On Saturday, we got another couple of inches of SNOW, much to my dismay. Even though I love winter, I must admit that it is getting a bit tiresome and I am looking very much to the upcoming spring again. I miss being able to walk in the woods or go to the beach. I also am very anxious to have my car back. I won't do that until the roads are fully clear. 

    I am not really one to complain though. Especially about things like the weather, which we can't change.
  213. As we close out the final weekend of March, I can't help but be amazed at how quickly the year is passing by. I realize that for most who have been experiencing an exceptionally snowy winter, time is not moving fast enough. But for myself, it seems that these first three months of 2015 have zoomed by in a flash. Being busy can do that to you.

    I was pretty much out of commission yesterday as far as my computer goes. It seemed to have a problem running slow in the morning and after running a quick scan and finding a couple of threats on it, I decided to run a full scan just to be sure that nothing was amiss.
  214. I slept in a bit this morning. It is dull and grey and raining out today. But that isn't really a bad thing. Once again, I am beginning to see a small patch of what I think is 'grass' in the middle of the yard. While I realize that we have a long way to go, I know that it will be just a matter of time before we see our entire lawn and the huge banks of snow finally melt away. But at least it is a start.

    Typically, I don't like this time of year. It isn't because I don't like warmer weather or the spring, but I don't really enjoy the muddy bleakness that goes with it.
  215. It is a beautiful and sunny Wednesday morning here in Nova Scotia. One would expect to open the window and hear the birds chirping cheerfully, welcoming the dawning of another spectacular day. But that isn't really the case (yet!). There is still about two feet of snow on the ground and although the sky is clear and the sun bright, it will be just a while longer until we find ourselves rid of the snow and able to see the grass beneath and open the windows fully. But patience will pay off eventually and it WILL happen.
  216. No matter how long I have been doing woodworking, it seems that I am always learning something new. Most of the time, too, this knowledge comes when I need something or stumble onto something while I am focusing on something else. It is kind of cool. 

    This weekend I spent creating some new things for my grand daughter, Willow. 

    Willow is about 18 months old now, and really at a 'busy' age.
  217. It is snowing today. 


    (Or should I say still?)

    I always fancied myself to try not to be one who complains about things that we have no control over. I think the weather falls under that category. In my eyes, we have two choices - either deal with it, or move somewhere else. 

    Since I don't see myself moving anytime soon, I think that I need to suck it up and take a breath and use this 'indoor time' wisely to do other things.
  218. We awoke this morning to yet another "blizzard". I have lost count as to how  many blizzards we have already had this season. They forecast it yesterday, and I laughed mockingly to myself thinking - "here we go again, with all these scare tactics."  

    Keith went to Halifax yesterday He had to go pick up a few things. Usually I would take the trip with him - especially now when I have been pretty much tied to the house for the past three months - but responsibility got the best of me and I knew I had a bit of paperwork to do in order to complete my taxes.
  219. Good day to everyone. Today is going to be another one of those 'odds and ends' days. I really think that the entire week will be like that. After getting so many little things accomplished over the weekend, I think I am on a roll and while I have other designs in mind, I really want that progress to continue. It feels so good seeing things finding their place around here, and while most people moan and groan a bit about organizing, I think that once we start the organizational ball rolling, it is hard to stop.

  220. It was still dark when I first awoke today. As I was going through my morning emails, I heard the sound of the plow going by on the road. Once again it had snowed. 

    We were supposed to get 10cm of additional snow on Saturday evening, but that never really materialized. We got some snow here and there, but it didnt' really stick much, as the warmer temperatures are trying to work their way here, but keep being pushed back by the unrelenting cold winter air that isn't quite ready to give in to spring.
  221. I debated on writing today because I am not sure if I have anything very interesting to discuss today. After putting in some really long hours the past week or so, I think it is time for me to take a breath. I had to smile to myself when someone who placed an order put a note that said how anxious they were for the patterns. It really made me feel good to know that the hard work I invested was appreciated and people like the design. 

    It isn't always like that. I am not mentioning this out of anger or disappointment, but because my goal here with my blog is to paint a realistic picture of what it entails to run and operate a small, home-based business.
  222. Today I am revealing the fourth and final new trinket box pattern that I created over the weekend. I was really pleased with all the kind reponses that I have received regarding them. It feels good to make something that people seem to like so much. 

    I spent the day yesterday writing up the pattern packets for these projects. I tried to include some step-by-step photos so that even newer scrollers would be able to make the projects successfully. Actually they aren't that difficult at all.
  223. It is NOT snowing today.

    It is hazy and dull outside, and I can see the tops of the bare trees waving slightly in the breeze. There are still mountains of snow - some drifts 3-4 feet high - and they are no longer that beautiful pristine white, but rather rather dirty looking and grey. As I look out to my car, however, I notice that the banks of snow that surround it no longer have it completely encased. They have pulled back quite a bit, leaving a gap between the wall of snow and the car itself.
  224. Yesterday I featured a sweet bunny basket and accessory pattern. I mentioned that it was just one of four new designs that I completed over the weekend. While I showed you some "snapshots" of the finished project, I spent the day taking what I call 'presentation photos' of all four projects. 

    Having nice photos is really helpful when selling patterns. I find that people enjoy not only seeing nice, clear photos of what the pattern includes, but also likes suggestions of how to display and use the finished pieces.
  225. I had a good and busy weekend! It just goes to show that when I set my mind to doing things, I can really accomplish a lot. On Friday I finished up three drawings for new patterns.  It may not seem like a lot, but I keep adding little extras to make them even more special and allow those who purchased the patterns to do lots with them.

    To me, patterns are much more than just handing off some line work. Especially in scroll sawing, where the lines are what we follow with the saw. While there is some skill in creating patterns that "work" without pieces falling out, I believe that being a designer is far deeper than that.
  226. Yesterday turned out to be a pretty good day. After the chain of minor disasters the day before, I spent the first part of the day organizing things. I keep things in pretty good order most of the time, but to me, organization isn't a once a year/month/week thing. It is something that has to be attended to on a regular basis and once it becomes a habit, I find we do it without even thiking about it. 

    Every once in a while though, I find that I have become a bit lazy (or busy, if you will) and things start to pile up a bit and get out of order.
  227. This week has not been one of my favorite weeks of all time. Like everyone else, once in a while we have some crummy days.  Mine had decided to come all at the same time it seems. I was having some 'technical difficulties' on Tuesday, and while I intended to spend the day drawing my new designs, I wound up spending the majority of the day 'fixing things' and putting out fires. (not literally).  I did have a nice evening though when I threw in the towel and spent the latter part of the day visiting.
  228. It's sunny outside and looks to be a beautiful day. I can see the tops of the trees along the riverbank swaying in the breeze though, so I am certain that although it looks warm outside, it is a bit deceiving. As we work our way into March, I am thinking that it is more 'lion-like' than 'lamb-like' and that we will just have to have a bit more patience for milder weather. In all honesty, this winter has gone by very quickly. Perhaps the reason that I am not so annoyed with it as others is that I have been so busy.
  229. It is snowing out. I woke up to another 2 inches of fresh snow over the 3 feet we already have on the ground. We went for a walk last night and it was cold out, but there was no wind and it was truly beautiful. The roads were clear and you could even walk on the salty pavement in most parts. Both Keith and I marveled at how much snow we have had already this year. It has certainly been more than we have had in a long time. 

    We took a drive to Yarmouth on Saturday. It was clear and sunny and it felt good to get out.
  230. It is NOT snowing today. 

    The sun is shining and I can actually see hints of blue sky peeking from behind the clouds. (And yes - I am happy about it!) 

    Those of you who read often know that I love winter. I love just about any season that comes to Clare, Nova Scotia. I long ago stopped being crabby about the weather because there is truly nothing that I could do about it. I figure it is a poor use of my time complaining about something that I have so little control over (aside from moving, which is out of the question.
  231. You all know that I never mind winter. In fact - I actually LIKE it most times and try to enjoy every season and day that comes my way. But when yesterday's beautiful, white and fluffy snow turned into an icy rain, and I looked at my pretty red car encased up to the dash in a block of frozen snow, I couldn't help but think ahead to warmer days. It happens to the best of us. 

    One of the many advantages of being active on social media - especially when you are a member of many 'creative' groups - is that I am constantly inspired by all the amazing talent of my internet friends.
  232. It is snowing outside this morning. 

    Rather hard, actually. I ventured out to bring the garbage to the end of the road, as we have had to have the bags sitting on our little deck these past two weeks. This isn't because we are lazy. There is simply no other place to put it. When our driveway was cleared last week from the big storm, the tractor dumped about 8 feet of snow onto our trash bin across the road. We probably won't see it for several weeks.

    As walked the trash out to the road, dressed in my plaid flannel jammie pants and black wool coat, I noticed how pretty the river was.
  233. It isn't often when I find myself ahead of schedule. Usually I am pushing hard to get everything done in the time frame that I have more so than not made for myself. I am pretty good at being disciplined and more or less keeping to that schedule, although I allow it to fluctuate a bit one way or another. 

    My "working weekend" must have paid off though because initially we weren't planning to do another website update until later this week. We found though that we had enough new patterns that we could move ahead and update things early.
  234. It snowed this weekend. 

    We have another several inches of fresh snow over some icy rain that fell. It just can't seem to decide what to do outside, so it is doing everything. 

    It is hard to believe that the weekend has gone by so quickly. Not so much because I didn't accomplish anything, but more so because I got so many things done. Lately I haven't been blogging much on the weekend only to give myself a break from the daily routine. I figure that will give me more to talk about during the week and I will have more interesting posts.
  235. Today's post will be a bit short, I am afraid. Not because I have been idle, but much the opposite. 

    I find that when I design lately, I work on a certain theme and wind up doing several different projects in that style. I am not sure if that is good or bad. On one hand it makes me feel kind of 'wishy-washy' because I can't seem to settle on one version. On the other hand, it is nice to be able to design a project for scrollers, and then be able to offer a painter's version that is similar.
  236. Yesterday seemed to fly by in a minute. It was one of those days when one minute you were pouring your first cup of coffee and what seemed like the next minute you were pouring your bedtime tea. The sad thing about it (well - sad for me anyway) was that I really didn't feel that I accomplished that much. Not as far as designing anyway. 

    We all tend to fall into habits of setting benchmarks for ourselves by measuring tangibles. (How many new things did we create today? How many pages did we write? How many ornaments did we cut/paint?) 

    While keeping track of how many things we produce each day is important, sometimes we fail to remember that what is equally important is the other things we accomplished - the things that are far more difficult to measure.
  237. As I came to write my post this morning, I noticed that I am on my 1,500th post.  Who would have that that nearly five years ago when I began blogging that I would wind up on such a wonderful journey?!

    I remember as I wrote those first words of that first blog entry nearly five years ago . . . I was nervous and thinking to myself "Who would want to read anything that I wrote?" I nearly stopped right then and there and abandoned the idea altogether.

    But something told me to keep typing.
  238. After the last few days of snow and wind, it finally seems to have calmed down here. As I look outside this morning, everything is calm and the sun is shining brightly. What a beautiful winter day it is! 

    I am happy to say that our winter storm wasn't that bad for us. While I know it was a hard on many (and I feel badly for that) we were fortunate that we were safe and warm and power was uninterrupted throughout the duration. Adele was able to get to the wharf finally and check on the cats there.
  239. I never mind the snow very much. Being from Chicago, I am used to polar temperatures as well as blistering heat and humidity. Anyone who grew up in Chicago knows that it is just part of life, and the old saying "if you don't like the weather - just wait - it will be different in a couple of hours" is one that really put things in perspective living in The Windy City.  

    I suppose that is why I take things like the weather in stride. When I moved here to Nova Scotia, Canada eleven years ago I had people look at me as if I were crazy.
  240. Today's post will be a quick one. I just wanted you to all know that the patterns for the new projects are completed and listed on the site. We had quite a few new items this time and I am just going to post them quickly here for you all.

    Keith had several new word art patterns and a new cross pattern. The word art patterns are as follows:

  241. I spent the day yesterday finishing up my three new patterns as well as taking the photos for the pattern. It filled up most of my day (along with my usual errands and post office trip) and by the time I was finished, it was nearly bed time. I am going to be working on the pattern packets today, and hopefully by later on in the day we will send a newsletter out letting everyone know that the site is fully updated. 

    As usual, it took a bit longer than I expected, but the results I feel were good and I am happy with the photographs.
  242. Everybody likes a challenge now and then. I know that when I challenge myself, I not only usually learn something new, but I grow as an artist and designer. If I don't push myself into doing something that is a bit out of my comfort zone, then things start to lose their excitement. 

    Sometimes it is hard to take the time to challenge yourself when you are self-employed. It seems that we are working from deadline to deadline, and it is easy to slip into the habit of taking the path of least resistance in order to keep up with things and meet all of my deadlines.
  243. It is snowing out.


    I must say that this has been one of the snowiest winters we have had here in Nova Scotia since I came here to live eleven years ago. We already have an average of 2-3 feet on the ground and they are predicting more snow by the weekend. I laugh at the predictions because I think that they are merely guessing. As I checked today's forecast before I began writing this post, it said "Precipitation not expected in the next three hours." Yet as I look out my window, there are large flakes falling and our deck is once again coated with a thickening white carpet of snow.
  244. I didn't post this weekend because I was in the middle of several different projects. We are hoping to do our site update this week and I had some ideas for new scroll sawing patterns that I wanted to work on. I did that along with working on painting the first piece of furniture that Keith built for our reorganizing project. 

    If you remember, the first  piece was a printer stand that would also hold the bodies of our two computers and also the modem and router:

  245. Organization is an ongoing process. You don't just organize things once it seems. I have come to that realization as I think back on how many times I have blogged about making our small place here more efficient and organized. 

    I have been writing for nearly five years now (I think!) and it seems that every year around this time we always come up with new and improved ways to make working from our home here not only more efficient, but more aesthetically pleasing as well. After all - we do live here and while we don't mind having some electronics and tools out in the open, we still want our home to be pleasant and comfortable and look - well - like a home! 

    Our little business is growing.
  246. I missed blogging yesterday because Keith needed to pick something up from Halifax and I decided to accompany him. The weather was "questionable" and I didn't feel comfortable with him going along. Here in our part of Nova Scotia, snow can be quite treacherous. It  comes very suddenly and accumulates very fast and makes the roads quite hazardous in a blink of an eye. Unlike the flat lands that I grew up with in the Chicago area, Nova Scotia is covered with hills and valleys.
  247. Like many of you who live on the Eastern coast and Midwest, we were hit pretty hard yesterday with a pile of snow. As I write this today, we are still getting more, although it isn't coming down quite as quickly. But it is part of winter and part of life here in Canada, and I take it as it comes. 

    Our latest dose of winter began just after noon yesterday. By 3pm, we already had quite a bit of new snow, with no signs of things letting up. My cat Pancakes was crying at the door, as the snow always seems to fascinate him, so I took him out for a short walk after I was done shoveling the walkway just to show him how deep it was.
  248. It is coming our way. . . 

    After about a foot of snow on Saturday, and cleaning up yesterday, there is warning of anywhere from 40-50 additional cm of snow heading our way, starting this afternoon. (That's about 20 inches). The next week ahead also predicts snowfall, but tonight we will have a bit of a warm up that will change the snow to ice pellets and then it will turn back to snow again. All this will include winds as well.

    Winter has definitely arrived in Nova Scotia.
  249. Well, it seemed like January just flew by! What has started out to be a mild winter has turned into a lot of snow, wind and sleet. I think that yesterday we had the biggest snowfall yet for this year, and they are predicting 30-40 more cm of snow tomorrow.  Winter is definitely here.

    I think the month went by quickly for me because I had so much to do. My work schedule was even what I would consider heavy - and it takes a lot for that to be the case. I had several deadlines to get my submissions into different online and paper publications on time, as well as a site update and the usual tasks of the business, and it has kept me pretty much jumping for the entire month of January.
  250. One of the biggest problems that I have is deciding on a 'version' of how to make a certain design. I suppose that I have been designing so long, that I realize that not everyone has the same taste and preferences. It is rare that when I think of something new to make that I only think of it in one way. Since I design things for a living, I always try to appeal to the most people possible. This often means including more than one style of the same item, and allowing the customers to choose which way they prefer to make it.
  251. It is with much relief that I am writing this morning. It isn't usual that I get stressed out over doing a project, but these past few weeks have been somewhat worrisome to me. I mentioned the other day that I was invited to participate in the Art Play Date online class event, and while I was thrilled to be asked to teach, I was somewhat intimidated. 

    After all, the line up of teachers included many teachers that I have followed and admired since I began painting. These were what we call the "big brushes".
  252. We had some catching up to do on our errands yesterday, so I got a late start at finishing up my project for the Art Play Date.

    It actually felt really good to get out and get some fresh air. The world around us was like a winter wonderland - so beautiful with the freshly fallen snow - and it looks like something out of a movie. The snow was still falling yesterday, but it was a very tiny, fine snow and there was still a substantial amount of wind. But as I wake up today, it is bright out and calm and even prettier than yesterday.
  253. We were very fortunate that the first 'blizzard' of the season wasn't as fierce as predicted. 

    Oh - we got snow alright. And some pretty intense howling winds as well. It is hard to say how much we wound up with in the end, but I am thinking it averaged about a foot. With the wind so strong you can see grassy areas in places and the drifts are two feet high in others. Such is winter in Nova Scotia.

    I never mind the cold and snow. I much prefer it to the sometimes muggy heat that summer brings.
  254. All this month I have been working in many directions. I know to some of you that is nothing new, but this month it seems that I have skipped posting a little more than usual - not because I have not be doing anything, but pretty much the opposite. 

    When I do projects for myself, I never mind showing you all the processes and steps along the way. I love sharing this part of things with you all because I know that many of my readers here have their own businesses, and I think it sometimes helps to see how others do things and gives everyone a different perspective.
  255. I am checking in a little late today because yesterday the day got away from me and I was doing the final editing and proofreading on my SLD489 Layered Heart Damask Box with Monogram pattern.

    I actually finished everything up early this morning, and I sent all the orders out from last night for the patterns.
  256. Today's post will be quick. (Yes! I know I always say that!) But I really will try because I have lots to do today and need to keep moving. 

    We are getting ready for another site update, and hopefully we will have everything in place by tomorrow. Both Keith and I have some new patterns that we want to post and we hope to put some different patterns on special as well. I am still writing up the packets for my two new scroll sawing patterns and I should be done by this afternoon (barring all disasters!) 

    I was slowed down a bit because of putting in the new computer drive.
  257. I always like sharing my triumphs here on the blog. It feels great to accomplish something positive and be able to share it with you all, my readers. But sometimes when I do something, it doesn't work out exactly as I have planned. (I know! Hard to believe, right???) I never mind telling you all about those times either though because I really want people to understand that being successful does NOT mean having everything work out perfectly every time. Anyone who tells you different is lying.
  258. Today's post will be brief. I didn't get to finish cutting my new projects yesterday as I planned to do. First off, I decided to add more into one of the projects. It is a design that has some lettering included with it and I thought it would be nice to offer an entire alphabet to go with it. That way those who buy the pattern can customize it to say anything they want. They can even use the alphabet for any other project they care to use it for, making it really versatile. 

    Then, me being me, I decided for my one project to offer two versions of the alphabet with the pattern.
  259. I can't believe another weekend has passed by already! It seems like the time is just flying by and here we are already halfway finished with January. That is probably good news for those of you who don't like winter. As I write this morning, there are gusts of wind blowing outside as well as sporadic rain. Spring is right around the corner. 

    I took an unscheduled day Saturday to travel up the valley with Keith. He had purchased something from Kajiji and was going to meet the seller and was looking for some company.
  260. It seems like forever since I designed a woodworking pattern. With all the new directions that I have been working in (not to mention the holidays!) there were several other deadlines that I needed to meet in other areas of my business. 

    I try to do as much as I can with each part of the business - both painting and scroll sawing - but now that the magazine that I worked with for the last 15 years is no longer there, other things have taken its place as far as my time goes. 

    I don't think I mentioned it before, but Keith and I were invited to submit designs to a new scroll sawing magazine in Germany and we have been working with them as well.
  261. Today I am going to tell you all about an important lesson that I learned (again) yesterday. Not so much because I am proud that I escaped disaster, but more so because I want remind you all the importance of "backing up" your computer files that are important to you. It is something that most of us do far less than we intend to do and because of that, we cause ourselves a lot of unneeded anguish. 

    I'll start at the beginning . . . 

    A couple of days ago when I was working on my new video, I had an issue with my computer.
  262. Yesterday was one of those crazy/busy days that seemed to be over before it began. It seemed like the every day business tasks (answering emails, filling orders, talking to customers) filled the majority of the time. Before I knew it, it was getting dark and I was running out of steam.  

    I am not at all complaining about this, as I realize it is part of having a business that is successful, but I am afraid it doesn't make for much interesting blog reading for you. So I decided to showcase a couple of our older patterns that may have been lost in the shuffle of our 500+ items on our site and bring them to your attention.
  263. The world we live in is ever-changing. That is probably one thing that we can be absolutely sure of. 

    Since the fall of Creative Woodworks magazine, Paintworks, and all of the All American Crafts publications, many of us who are in the designing and creative industry were dealt a harsh reminder of just how volatile being a free lance designer can be. 

    We have the freedom of choosing what we do with each day. We don't have to 'punch in' and account to a cranky boss or supervisor.
  264. It seems that this year more than ever I have noticed that people seem to have the 'winter blues.' With the holiday season over and cold weather setting in all over the USA and Canada, it seems that most people are dreading the upcoming months of cold and ice. 

    Here in Nova Scotia, we had a relatively mild December. Usually we are already deep in the grips of cold and ice by the year's end, but this year it was much warmer and there was very little snowfall to speak of. There was just a dusting once or twice that seemed to melt away by the next day.
  265. I am j
    ust going to write a short post today to let you all know that we completed another site update. I also will be sending out a newsletter later on today to let our subscribers know the same. 

    Sometimes I sound as if I am repeating myself here, but I do realize that many of you just check in from time to time and don't read my posts every day. In the past I have had people come to me that have missed when I show new products and I understand that not everyone gets to see each post I make.
  266. Those of you who read often know that I am a "morning person".  I love getting up in the morning - the earlier the better. Anything after about 5am and I am good to go.

    Because of that, I don't tend to be a 'night owl'. Usually after dinner I slow down a bit and do some things that don't require a lot of thought or concentration. It is what I consider my 'down time.'

    But lately, since I have jumped back into full swing after coasting a bit in December, I just don't seem to have the luxury to take time to do that.
  267. I had a good and busy weekend. It feels really good to be back to work and return to something that resembles 'normal'. Between the past several weeks of one thing or another, I haven't really felt like I was in a good 'production mode' for a while. But that is fine, as we all need a break from our regular routine once in a while. Usually I go pretty much non-stop and even when I take time 'off' I am doing something work related. Slowing down a bit for the past month allowed me to regroup, re-organize and think about what I want to do in the upcoming year and beyond.
  268. I had a good month taking it slower and enjoying the holidays. But now it is time to get back to working full steam. While slowing down was something that I felt was needed, somehow the ideas kept coming at the same pace and I feel that I have even more things that I want to make.  Time is ticking . . . 

    I am excited about just about every aspect of my work right now. The woodworking part is as fun as ever. The painting part is also exciting. I even look forward to cutting out surfaces and working on my saw, which some may feel to be a bit mundane.
  269. I woke up to a blanket of white snow yesterday. It was the first significant snow of the year for us. We had a couple of light snowfalls before, but nothing that really stuck or looked nice. In fact, everyone seemed to be commenting on how warm the weather had been. 

    Keith and I had gone for a walk the previous evening (New Year's Eve). We walked down our street to the end of the block where the old mill was located. It is always a nice walk - especially at night when the stars are brilliant in the dark, Nova Scotia sky.