My Journey As A Creative Designer – Woodworking and Beyond #1840: The “Maiden Voyage” Completed!

After what seemed like a long, long time, I have finally completed the first (and largest and most complex) piece from Lynne Andrews’ Inspirational Ark series! I can’t express the wonderful sense of accomplishment that I feel right now. It isn’t that the piece was particularly difficult or complex, but it has been painted at a time when I have been incredibly busy (ironically – from cutting ARKS for this series) and my part of our business was somewhat being re-shaped and turning in a new direction. Needless to say, I am very excited. 

The piece itself is incredible:

Lynne Andrews’ attention to details always amazes me. With the entire Ark measuring about 9" wide and 8" tall, she fit the cluster of ‘passengers’ onto the piece with beautiful artistry.

The colors are also amazing, and when one thinks of a palette of Prim or country colors, we don’t expect to see the beautiful, vibrant tones. It surprises me each time I paint her designs. 

Noah himself is cute and comical. 

“My” Noah came out looking like a mix between Christopher Lloyd and Santa. He has a slightly worried expression on his face which I can possible attribute to the amount of stress he is feeling in wondering if he “forgot” any of his passengers. (Unicorn, Noah. Unicorn!) 

Each of the places on the Ark holds something new to look at. The little turtle on the left:

… and the snake on the right . . .

a>)  The group is not only for painters but for others who want to cheer us on. It is fun and amazing to see all the different ‘versions’ of the pieces. 

The entire set is quite impressive:

There is a smaller Ark ‘ornament’ for each month (plus a bonus piece – the reindeer) and I even developed a little dowel tree to display the Arks, if one wants to do it that way.

Lynne has created a design for the topper and a ‘wave’ fence for the bottom of the tree:

It makes for a nice presentation. 

I re-worked the tree design though since the above photo was taken to be a bit more stable:

ter today. I know I mentioned that it would be sent yesterday, but we had a slight change of plans and decided to wait one more day. It will have a special discount coupon code in it that is good site-wide, so be sure to sign up on our Mailing List if you plan on visiting us. (Those of you who are in Amy Mogish’s Halloween Club – Hang on to your one-time discount and use this for now – only one coupon can be applied at a time!) 

Keep watch for your copy and code later today. 

Well, that should do it for today. I hope you enjoy seeing my piece finished. I don’t know why, but it feels fabulous to have this one in the books. I have had so little time to paint for my own personal pleasure that it seems like a huge accomplishment. I know most of you understand. 

Happy Tuesday to you all!

from Tumblr

My Journey As A Creative Designer – Woodworking and Beyond #1839: #1839 More New Projects

What a beautiful and busy weekend we had! 

There is something about the nice weather that just makes us want to ‘do’ things, isn’t there? Even though Friday was a rather dark and dreary day, with heavy rain for most of the day, things calmed down by the evening and both Saturday and Sunday were warm, sunny and picture-perfect!  We couldn’t have asked for better!  I was actually rather happy for the rain on Friday, as it gave all the flowers and plants that I just put in a chance to settle. While watering with the hose is OK, there is nothing like a drink from Mother Nature to really make a difference. The timing couldn’t have been better. Also, the fact that the weekend was clear and lovely made a lot of people from this area happy, I am sure. I know it did me. 

I had planned on working in my shop most of the day Saturday, leaving Sunday for me to enjoy the outside and have my “day off”, but when I came down for a light lunch at around 1 pm, Keith and I got to talking and we figured it would be a nice day to head out and take a drive. After all, we were both cooped up most of the winter, like everyone else. I suppose that is one of the best parts of being self-employed – being flexible enough to seize the moment and change things up a bit. We put the top down on Keith’s Miata and headed up north to New Minas for some quick shopping and fresh air. We weren’t disappointed. 

In this case, it was truly the journey that was the treat. Everything in our area is beautiful and green and pretty. Sometimes in winter, we tend to forget what a beautiful place Nova Scotia is. Although I enjoy the snow as much as the nice weather, I find that I truly enjoy all four seasons and by winter’s end, I look forward to being out in the country and driving around our beautiful province. It is refreshing and fun. 

Because I played “hooky” on Saturday, it meant that I needed to work a bit on Sunday. I didn’t mind at all though, as I love my shop and splitting the work up into two days was not at all a hardship. Before long, I got a pile of work finished – not only the orders I had pending, but I was able to make some extra things and fill up my stock as well. It is good to feel that everything is under control. I finished by about 3 pm or so and still had some time to do some crafting on my front veranda before I needed to make dinner. It was a great weekend. 

Last week, I spent some more time fine tuning and organizing my studio. We are coming up on a year in our new home here, and I still needed to “tweak” the last of my two large cupboards here in my workroom. While most everything was in good shape, I have now had a chance to ‘settle in’ to my new environment and had a better feel as to where everything should go. I promise that I will be showing everything soon. I may even make a short video of things. I feel that since moving into our place here, I have been able to have much better productivity because of the additional room. It is so easy to keep neat and supplies that I use are right at hand. The key is to KEEP things in order and take the time to put things back when I am done with them. I am in that habit and rarely leave my shop or studio in disarray. It only takes a minute to tuck things back where they should be and it saves lots of time hunting for things later on. (That is my lecture for the day!) 

In reorganizing things, I once again ‘visited’ my beautiful embroidery supplies. One thing I haven’t taken much time for since moving here is embroidery. I am very grateful for the increased amount of work, but I sorely miss the quiet time I had stitching in the evenings or on a nice day when there was a lull in my work. I still have ambitions of creating some kits for you all to enjoy, as I realize that many of my readers and customers also love needlework. My goal is to have at least one done by the end of the year. (Remember – the first one is the most difficult!) I think it will open up an entirely new avenue of creativity for all of us. 

Because of this, I decided to pick up my needle and thread and just START stitching. I thought I would start small, and decided to make some little sheep. I used the linework from my “SLD504 Layered Sheep Bowl and Baa-bins” pattern and was trying to figure out how I would stitch a little sheep. Since I had at least five ideas in my head, I thought that I would ‘limber up’ by stitching them all, one at a time. By the time I ran out of ideas, I thought I would figure out what to do with them. So far, I finished two of them and I already have a pretty good idea as to where they will wind up. You will just have to stay tuned. 

The first one I decided to stitch in all Bullion Knots. For those who don’t know, Bullion Knots are like French Knots on steroids. While French Knots have usually 2-3 wraps, Bullion Knots can have up to 30 or even more. These make long, tapering knots that I thought would depict a wool coat of a sheep beautifully. I used my pretty #12 Perle Cotten thread from Valdani Threads and created this cute little wooly guy:

Isn’t he fun??  I have quite a beautiful collection of thread from Valdani and I plan to use them in my embroidery kits. The colors are amazing, colorfast and very high quality. It feels good to actually USE the threads that I have purchased from them and actually see how pretty they look. What fun, new adventures we will have in store! 

The next sheep on my mind was also done by using Bullion Knots. (I guess I didn’t do enough of them in the first sheep!) This time, I thought of making little Bullion Knot rosettes, with glass pearl centers. I finished the second sheep up last night: 

I used a solid creme #12 Perle Cotton for this project and little glass pearl seed beads. He is just as cute as his friend.  I think together they make a nice pair. 

But that is only the beginning. I have lots of friends in store for these guys and you will have to come back and see what I am going to do with them. I promise it will be fun. 

Before I go today, I want to share a new pattern from Keith as well. He created this beautiful SLDK459 Amazing Grace Sectional Plaque by using and modifying several beautiful fonts.

Happy Monday to you all! 

those “good to be alive” days. 

from Tumblr

My Journey As A Creative Designer – Woodworking and Beyond #1838: Happy Mail and New Projects!

I’ll begin today’s post with some news that I just found out. My photos source for all my blog posts (Image Box) just informed me when I signed in that it is “closing” as of June 30th. Even though I haven’t been blogging much lately, I used to do so just about every day, so you can imagine the number of photos that I have stored there. What it will mean to you, my readers is that when you go to my older blogs, the images that use that address (all except will not have any photos. Needless to say, I am not really happy about it. 

But it is what it is and I suppose that I have to move forward and adapt. From today’s post on, I will be using my Google account to host the photos shown here, so hopefully, Google will have some longevity and not go anywhere soon. One never knows what the day will bring. 

On a positive note, I had a wonderfully productive day yesterday. I got my mail sent out, put together some new patio furniture that arrived on Monday, cut my orders out that are shipping today, and I spent some time in the yard doing some much-needed work in our yard. Since we were in ‘moving mode’ last year at this time, I really didn’t have time to do much on the outside of our home for the summer. I had wanted to do some basic landscaping that wouldn’t require much maintenance, as my time is always so pressed. So I chose some ‘lazy plants’ as I call them to fill the outside area and add some color and cheer to our home. 

I was fortunate to see on Facebook that a neighbor was giving away some pretty variegated hosta plants and I picked up 10 of them a couple of weeks ago. I thought they would fill the front of the house in nicely and I knew they required little to keep them full and growing. I had the 10 buckets sitting in the front of the house for the past couple of weeks and I was waiting for a lull in my schedule to make time to plant them into the ground. Yesterday seemed the perfect day, as I had just finished assembling the furniture for outside and finished up all of my orders. It was still early in the afternoon and the sun was shining and bright. Since we had a rainy week last week, the ground was nice and soft and things went quickly. I also ran to the nearby garden center to get some Impatients. These are some of my favorite flowers and I know they will fill in the small flower bed as time goes on. I had enough left not only to fill the flower bed and make a couple of additional planters but also to put some in between the hostas in front. Later on, it will add a nice splash of color. So here is the result of my efforts:

I also got a few hanging planters of flowers. I just couldn’t resist these beautiful yellow begonias:

… or these exotic Impatients:

Amy had sent me a BEAUTIFUL winter glitter house (That is real glass glitter on it! You should see it sparkle!) this past winter as a Christmas gift. The house fits perfectly with my little skating pond scene and I loved adding it to the vignette. I had asked Amy if she would make me one in Turquoise, as it is one of my favorite colors, and she graciously did so. She even put a little kitty on the back, inside wall of it! 🙂 

As you can see, she sent me a couple of ‘blank’ houses to play with on my own. I want to do a Halloween one and I couldn’t find them here. Finally, she sent me a pattern of the beautiful chalkboard robin plant poke that I admired. She is so fun and talented, and I love all of her stuff. Amy and I are working on her Halloween Club that is kicking off now. The designs are completely hers and I am cutting the wood pieces for the members. It has been widely successful and we are both thrilled with the outcome. You can get more information on the club at her website here:   It is never too late to join! 

As for my other work, I am just about finished up with my “Maiden Voyage” Ark from the Lynne Andrews Inspirational Ark Series. 

All I need to do is to finish the details on the little birds and add the hay under the front animals. Then I can move on the ‘month-by-month’ pieces. You can find the patterns for the Ark pieces at Lynne’s site: and the wood pieces (including the display tree) on my own site Painting Surfaces page. I am pleased that Amy is also designing a fence and topper for the tree so those who are in both clubs can use the same display tree and only need to switch the fence and topper. I haven’t seen what Amy has come up with, but I am sure it will be fabulous!

You can join our Facebook pages for both of these projects and paint along with us or just watch and cheer us on. The Classic Halloween Ornament Club page is here: and the Inspirational Ark page is here:  

Both groups are fun, helpful and inspiring! 

Finally, I wanted to show you all a couple of new project designs from Keith. He created this Psalm 56:4 plaque that says “Choose Faith Over Fear” (SLDK726

He also created a plaque to honor dispatchers (SLDK727 – Dispatch/Dispatcher – The Thin Gold Line) which include four versions of the plaque. 

Either plaque would not only make a great Father’s Day gift but a nice project for any time of the year. 

So that is about it for today. I have several directions to head. My biggest problem is deciding what to do first. 🙂  (That is a good problem to have!) 

Happy Thursday to you all! The weekend in just around the corner! 

from Tumblr

Greg Klassen is a fu

Greg Klassen is a furniture maker in the Pacific Northwest who finds inspiration in its landscape and translates that into his work. His River Collection is a series of intricately designed and handcrafted tables that feature embedded, blueish-green glass “rivers” running throughout each piece. The naturally uneven edges of the wood and their vivid grains provide the perfect “shore” to mimic bodies of water.
from Tumblr