The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Saturday, July 31, 2004


You can buy a beginner/student set of tile nippers for about $8.00.

The pair of nippers I use every day are standard issue QEP brand, cost about $14.00 and are readily available at Lowe’s or that other home improvement store that I will only go to if I’m desperate.

Professionals usually get the $22.00 heavy duty nippers. I find these too heavy for my hands.

But the best nipper I own is my Leponitt clippers. These set me back $28.00 plus shipping and handling. They are opposed wheel cutters instead of ceramic crushers and they slide through glass and delicate ceramic like a warm knife through butter.

I tagged my QEP’s with a dog tag. When I volunteered at the high school, I could always tell my pair from Suzy’s. The dog tag also reminds me that these will bite me if I get my fingers in the way.

I love my Leponitt clippers so much, I gave them a name. I love them so much, I gave them a necklace to wear; no dog tag here. It is a real gold necklace, too. I clean them. I rotate the blades. Okay, it’s obsessive, but they’re a good tool.

Tomorrow when I go to work on the art car, I am taking my Leponitt nippers. Good heavenly days, I hope they don’t get lost or pinched. The thought of losing them gives me the willies. Nargh!!!!

Friday, July 30, 2004

It Ain’t Over Till the Fat Lady Sings 

Wednesday night on the art car project, Patti, who is new to mosaics, put some yellow tiles in the blue tile section. She was alarmed when she discovered her mistake and called for help.

Rich and I glanced over and I’m sure we had the same thought…”The adhesive’s not dry. No big deal.” I’d have picked the tiles off one at a time and reset them, but Rich just took his left hand and wiped them off the car into the dirt. Then he swooshed a paper towel over the area to remove the glue and said, “Go ahead, and stay below this line with yellow.”

Patti’s mouth was agape and my heart went out to her. It’s just that beginners don’t know how to correct mistakes.

Today I made a major screw up.
Back to Basics pot was freshly grouted. I stood back to admire my work and decided I hated the grout color. I had just spent 2 and a half hours grouting and the tones were too yellow. Jiminy Cricket. What to do? Grout is, after all, a cement. Are mosaic mistakes set in stone, so to speak?

I striped off my shoes and carried Back to Basics into the grass and turned the high pressure hose on it. I washed every bit of grout off. TaDa.

I’ll let it dry a day or two then I’ll grout with blues and mochas.

I am enjoying the sense of confidence I had today.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Taped Up 

Yesterday was an incredibly fruitful day.
Today I was a slacker.

All I did was get sealer applied to a door holder and get the Back To Basics pot taped up ready for grout tomorrow.

I also saw a neat pattern for trimming those awful 12x12 floor tiles with glass gems. I saw it in a magazine while I was sitting on the couch doing NOTHING.

Rudden phoned this afternoon and I signed up for 2 more art car shifts.

And the mosaic world turns....

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Die and Go to Heaven Happy Day 

Mosaic Mom’s Busy Mosaic Day

Plant Daddy woke me up early when he went out fishing this morning. But it turned out to be a long happy busy day for all.

Plant Daddy caught no fish but enjoyed meeting up with Helen on the beach. :) When PD came home, his crib was in place and waiting to greet him. (Bottom picture).

I did post office chores then headed to Mt Dora for my art car shift. It was like being in heaven. Joe Difiore, master of mosaic sculpture, and Rich Rudden, master of smooth andamento, were there at work along with Rich’s friend Patti.

Can you imagine the conversation? Everything from the properties of grout to mosaic tile sources to art festivals to favorite music. Completely positive and uplifting and educational. Just die and go to heaven awesome for me!

We had to run for cover and quit for the day when the lightning got too close. I was very frightened. Patti was relating a story about how her father had been struck by lightning while seeking shelter in a gazebo. The lightning broke his ankle. Yikes!

Had I been hit, I’m sure I would have gone straight to mosaic heaven after such a happy evening of work.

Joe DiFiore applies shells on the roof. Posted by Hello

Rich Rudden and Patti work the dolphin and the sand. Posted by Hello

Here is Plant Daddy's "Crib" with Plant Daddy's creation Adenium 'Calypso' inside. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Lady in Waiting 

Today I am a lady in waiting.

The tractor hydraulic box is leaking, so it must get hauled to the shop in Eustis for repair. I am waiting on the tractor repair man.

The light in the pool is burned out. I am waiting for that repairman to show.

While I am waiting I have finished the sealer on the Plant Daddy Crib. It is ready to plant with Anthuriums now. I have applied sealer to another pot similar to “Miss Jewel”. I am happy to have 2 finished.

Denise called from Gainesville and told me about her internship at a horse farm. This will help her get into Vet School.

A lady called from a garden club and wants me to be a speaker. Unfortunately, she lives in a town 45 minutes away. I think I will pass on that one.

Yesterday, I saw a “Help Wanted” poster for mosaic artist assistants. I would like to apply, but I suspect that is the job Rich Rudden talked about on Sunday. That is the one where they are going to start work at 6AM to avoid the heat. I love mosaics, but I cannot be on any job site at 6AM!

Also yesterday I bought Sonia King’s mosaic book. It is tremendously inspirational. I have lots of time to read it while I wait. 

Sunday, July 25, 2004

This was the section of the mosaic art car that I got to work on this afternoon. Under the fish and around to the light. Could have used Plant Daddy and some Bondo for a repair on this corner! Posted by Hello

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Shoo !  

Perhaps it didn’t make sense to readers when I wrote that the Bug Man told me to stay indoors while the spiders and roaches dripped from the ceiling and died. He was not suggesting that I stay cooped up with them.

Most of the pest problems here are outdoors in the carport. Spiders nest in the beams of the ceiling and roaches nest in the leaf litter in the patio. They really only come inside the house when the pesticide level gets very low.

Unfortunately, I have to walk through the carport to get to the mosaic studio or to the laundry room or to the trash can or to turn off the swimming pool pump.

Half hour ago I open the back door to take out the trash and there’s a huge rustling noise in the bushes. I suspect it is the giant armadillo that’s been hanging around lately, but I want to be sure it’s not a coyote or raccoon before I proceed across the carport.

I get the flashlight but I can’t spot anything. I make it to the trash can and dump the banana peels. Then I sing LOUDLY as I walk over to turn off the pool pump. I shuffle my feet and sing…”I’m not here to eat you Mr. Armadillo. Don’t jump at me and I won’t jump at you and we’ll both not have to poop ourselves tonight”.

Mr. Armadillo liked my little song and cooperated and sat still for the brief time I needed to do my errand and get back indoors.

In the studio this afternoon, I epoxyed a clock onto the strawberry pot and got a little jazzy about having to share my space with an 8 inch skink. It ran up the wall and now lives in the cabinet where I keep my adhesives.

It’s a jungle out there!

photo copyright, Terry Hibbits

Friday, July 23, 2004

The Crib is Grouted 

Plant Daddy’s Crib is grouted.
It looks good, but it was a bear. That pot was one of the most uneven cylinders I have ever encountered. Getting the grout line even across the top and bottom was a challenge.
Anyway, it looks good. Pictures soon.

I think I have a new rule for grouting.
Rule 1. Never grout on a rainy day.
Rule 2. The new rule. Never grout on a hot day.

The temperature in the shade at 1PM was 90 degrees. I grouted from 1 to 3 PM. Even though I didn’t run the fan, and even though I misted the pot with water from a hand sprayer, the grout was drying too fast and getting grainy. So new rule.

I couldn’t grout this morning because the bug man came. Hooray! He advised me to stay indoors several hours till the spiders and roaches finished falling down and dying. Who am I to argue with that?

In Rich Rudden’s Mosaic class last spring, a lady who had moved here from Ft. Lauderdale talked about how she couldn’t get workmen/repairmen to come to her home in that area. Or if they came and decided the job was too difficult, they’d leave.

Today I called 5 pool service companies before I found one that would come fix our pool light that’s out. They all want the weekly service but not repair work. Anyway, they may yet look at our job and walk away. Nargh. Well, I face that on Wednesday.

I am looking forward to the Dr. Phil Group tomorrow and my shift to mosaic the art car on Sunday. I hope it won’t be so hot all weekend.

Even though the mosaic art car is under a tent, it could still be a hot afternoon. Posted by Hello

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Letter "M" 

My Blog About Things That Start with the Letter “M”

1. Mosaics – The Main Topic of this Blog.
2. Moms – June Cleaver as a role model.
3. Music – My favorite piece of music is the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 7th symphony.
4. Masterpieces – Vincent Van Gogh has got it going on.
5. Mona Lisa – Been there, seen that, move on.
6. Modern Art = Mess…ooo 2 M’s at once. Tee Hee!
7. Modems - Where Spy Bots live
8. Macrame – This was a cool hobby in the ‘60’s. What happened?
9. Marijuana – This was a cool hobby in the ‘60’s. What happened?
10. Mangos – What a delicious fruit!
11. Mission Impossible – Admit it; you can still hear the theme song in your head.
12. Mice – Always move into the attic in the fall.
13. Monocotyledon – Corn is one. So is palms.

Easy quiz: Why did I list 13 things?

Will Macrame make a come back?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Pest Control 

Our Pest Control Service should have come on Monday, but the technician cancelled due to rainy weather. While I appreciate not having mud tracked on the carpets, IT IS GETTING DESPARATELY BUGGY AROUND HERE!!!
The Pharoah ants are in the cupboards.
The cockroaches congregate around the back porch light and fly in the back door at every opportunity.
In Florida we have Housekeeping Spiders that hunt down and eat cockroaches, so they are coming in. They are a little large (like a 6 to 8 Inch spread). One fell on me in bed Tuesday night. I shrieked. Then I couldn’t get back to sleep wondering where he was. Grrr.
Ox beetles are digging nests in the sand in the patio.
Our bat population has expanded from 3 to 5. I wonder where the hell they live…could it be my attic?
I killed a huge Brown Widow spider in the carport yesterday and nailed a deer fly and several mosquitoes in the mosaic studio today. The gnats are very annoying. 
Please, Lord, let the man with the pesticides arrive on time Friday!

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Simon and Garfunkel 

The sky is grey and white and cloudy.
Sometimes I think it’s hanging down on me.
That was a Simon and Garfunkel song I always liked. I was thinking about it all day because today was cloudy.
It is a very rare event to have an all day cloudy day in Florida. Back in the 1970’s the St. Petersburg Times newspaper would give its subscribers free newspapers if the sun didn’t shine on the Times building that day. They didn’t lose this bet too often.
The sun did break through at noon, but it went back in. Yay!
So the temperatures stayed down in the 80’s and it was a perfect day in the mosaic studio. I cancelled all my other plans and worked tile. I had a beauty parlor appointment and I need to go to the Y, but once I get into tile, I get tile odor on me. I hate to have to take a shower before I can go to the Y and sweat. It doesn’t make sense.
I got Plant Daddy’s Crib all tiled. I got Back to Basics all tiled. I got somebody’s Christmas present fixed where I messed it up with a bad batch of mortar. I got the front of Nikki’s birdhouse 80% done. Everything just flowed. Ahhhh.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Random thoughts  

Vacation thoughts: What do Micanopy, Appalachicola and Mt. Dora Florida all have in common?
Answer: No matter how cute your shops are, I won't stay and browse the stores if I can't find a potty. Walking 2 blocks and begging for a key to the restroom at the Amaco doesn't count for easy access, either.
Mosaic thoughts: Thanks to Mind Escape for giving me the excellent blue broken plate pieces.
Mosaic thoughts 2: I have been assigned to mosaic the art car on Sundays from Noon to 3PM.

Sunday, July 18, 2004


Or How to Tell You’ve Lived in the Land of Disney World Too Long
Part 1.
You visit Florida Caverns. (This is a state park near Marianna, Florida that features tours of a small cave).
Midway through the tour, the ranger points out a bat in a nook in the cave ceiling. While the bus load of elementary school age campers ooohs and ahhhs, you realize it is a phony bat because the ranger is careful to close and lock the door of the cave after each group visits; ie, the bat can’t fly out at night to feed.
Part 2.
You are driving along the Gulf Coast near Ft. Walton Beach and see a structure that looks like the Seattle Space Needle. You think it is a View Ride like the kind at Cypress Gardens or Silver Springs. But it sits way back from the highway behind an imposing fence topped with barbed wire.
MM: If that’s a tourist ride, they need better signage and access.
PD: Maybe it’s an air traffic control tower for Eglin Air Force Base, Tyndall Air Force Base, and Pensacola Airport.
MM: Nevermind.

Friday, July 16, 2004


Mosaic Mom and Plant Daddy were looking for a panacea (a cure-all) when we drove into Panacea, FL on Tuesday afternoon on our way to Port St. Joe.
“Stop the car! Mosaics!” I hollered.
Plant Daddy slammed on the brakes and skidded into a parking lot opposite a concrete slab factory. I hopped out and began photographing the mosaic on their sound barrier wall.
Then, trying to dodge huge dump trucks going in and out of the plant, I walked to the office and asked who did the mural.
“The Wakulla High School Art Class,” answered the skinny kid in the blue uniform.
MM:”Were you in the class when they did the work?”
MM: “Thanks”
The mosaic is a series of 7 panels (maybe plywood or maybe a plywood/durock combination) and measures 8 ft. high by 28 ft long. The panels are attached to the wall on wooden frames. The students could not have safely worked direct method mosaics along the road with all the noise and heavy traffic from the factory. Also the mosaic panels can be removed and saved should the need arise.
It was a unique sight right out there on Highway 98 in Panacea, FL.
And what did Plant Daddy find to like in that little town? The photo below says it all.

What Plant Daddy loved to see in Panacea, FL Posted by Hello

Wakulla High School Mosaic Art Project on Hwy 98 in Panacea, FL. Posted by Hello


Mosaic Mom has lapped the state of Florida.
Put your finger on Jacksonville in the upper right corner of the map of Florida.
Now trace a line along the east coast all the way to Key West.
Trace up from Key West to Miami and follow Alligator Alley west across the Everglades to Naples on the west coast.
From Naples trace along the Gulf Coast through Ft. Meyers, Sarasota, St. Pete, Tampa, Crystal River, around the bend to Appalachicola, Panama City, and Ft. Walton Beach  all the way out to Pensacola.
Jog up to Milton and follow I-10 straight across the top of the state due east back to Jacksonville.
Like the song says, “I’ve been everywhere, man, I’ve been everywhere.”

Monday, July 12, 2004


Mosaic Mom and Plant Daddy are going on a little trip up into the Florida panhandle. We will be looking for new plant varieties and ceramic tiles. What a combo!
We probably won't get to post till Sunday. Till then, TaTa, as we go Bye, Bye Car.

Rich Rudden applies a cartoon stencil on the art car and outlines the form with a sharpie marker. Posted by Hello

Saturday, July 10, 2004


Happy YMCA!
The Dr. Phil Ultimate Weight Loss Support Group met this morning. About 30 women showed up ranging in age from teenagers to an 83 year old lady. There was orientation and weigh-in and taking the “Readiness Test”. We got a lot of good handouts on nutrition and exercise. We start into the book on Key One next Saturday.

Happy! Happy! 

Happy Adeniums!
Our friend Neill has been growing these specimen Adeniums for almost 20 years. I visited him after lunch and snapped these shots. They are in 30 gallon clay containers and weigh nearly 150 lbs each. This one has a canopy approximately 5 ft. wide. Stunning.

Calypso Adenium hybrid in a 30 gallon pot. Posted by Hello

Art Car  Posted by Hello

Happy! Happy! Happy! 

Happy Art Car!
From Neill’s, I went over to the Arts Center where the art car is now parked waiting its beauty treatment.

Rich lined out the basic elements of the cartoon this afternoon.

Friday, July 09, 2004

52 and you're all through! 

At 12:20Am on my birthday, I was winding my alarm clock….and it died. I thought it might be an omen. Perhaps this was going to be my last birthday ever! I was sad.

Then I remembered this was a $4.00 plastic clock from a drugstore. This clock was so old I had worn finger spots on the artificial metallic-look surface. It was probably long over due to go kaput.

Besides, I can use it for the mosaic Christmas tree. I can take it apart and use both the face and the clockworks. I was happy and went to sleep.

Plant Daddy came home from work early and brought me a GEORGEOUS orchid plant. He also got me 3 tubes of glue for mosaics work which was very, very nice. Then off we went to the Y for a work out in anticipation of our celebratory supper at Mr. Fat Thighs.

We met up with Helen at the restaurant and the food was great as usual, until I bit into a rock. I am really glad I didn’t crack a tooth or lose a filling. Bye, Bye Mr. Fat Thighs.

On the way home, we decided to stop and buy a new alarm clock. We want one clock in the house to be wind up in case of hurricanes.

Publix didn’t have one. Eckerd’s didn’t have one. Walgreen’s had one. The 20-something year old cashier said, “I didn’t know you could wind a clock.”

DUH! Maybe I really have lived too long.

Anyway, I am happy with my new clock and will set it for early tomorrow. The Dr. Phil Diet Support Group meets at the Y at 9:00AM.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


Always wear your safety glasses when you mosaic.

Always. Always. Always.

They call these incidents “accidents” not “purposes”.

I was cutting a glass bead and sure enough, it shattered and I got a shard in my left eye because I wasn’t wearing safety glasses. DUH!

I immediately came in the house and flushed with fresh water then Celluvisc. My eye felt gritty for about a half hour, so I repeated the flush. It did quit hurting after that. I’ll know tomorrow morning if I have any scratches or redness or infection…not a great way to start off my birthday.

I was darned lucky. Don’t do what Mosaic Mom did. Use your safety glasses. Grrr.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


Plant Daddy is in BIG TROUBLE.

Mosaic Mom’s Okra is dying.

Mr. Plant Daddy sprayed Mosaic Mom’s Okra for aphids a few days ago.

Mr. Plant Daddy used the same sprayer to apply aphid spray that he used for Round-up weed killer.

“But I washed it real good…”
“Duh! It had Round up in it.”

I still love Plant Daddy. But I guess I will be buying Okra at the produce stand for the rest of the summer.

Maybe we should change the name of his blog to “Plant Reaper”.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Blue Twinflower 

I live 2 miles from a convenience store.

Another way to express this is ‘one beer length from the 7/11’.

If a yahoo buys a beer, opens it in the parking lot of the convenience store and starts drinking it and driving down the road, he or she will finish the beer and toss the can in front of my house five gulps later.

Usually I get beer cans because the yahoo doesn’t want the evidence in his truck, but also a nice assortment of Mountain Dew cans, Diet Coke, Sprite, etc comes my way.

This is a real money making opportunity for Mosaic Mom. How many people can sit at home and have yahoos throw recyclables at them?

I collect the booty every Sunday or Monday evening and I make about $2.00 per month this way. This being the first can collection foray after the Fourth of July, MM is flush, honey! Lots of cans.

For a bonus tonight, while out walking along the highway shagging cans, I discovered this little wildflower called Blue Twinflower. Isn’t it cute?

Monday, July 05, 2004

Plant Daddy's "Crib" in the foreground with Strawberry pot and Back to Basics on the table behind. Posted by Hello

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Mosaic Flag 

Happy Fourth of July Everybody!

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Saturday Celebration 

In the Studio

I lined out and started putting “ornaments” on the Mosaic Christmas tree.
Hip Hip Hooray, it’s underway.
Will she make it by Christmas Day????

The Strawberry pot is coming along just perfectly despite a treacherously curved surface. I am so pleased with it!

Back to Basics pot is making me angry. A cabinet knob that I attached won’t straighten out. I set it the first time with silicon and the second time with JB Weld. Tomorrow I think I’ll just mortar around the whole thing and move on. If some little street urchin grabs it and pulls it loose, I’ll guilt his mother into purchasing the pot…how’s that?

Jake’s Father’s Day pot and Nikki’s Birdhouse are still on the table. I like having a number of projects working at once so I can keep busy while the glue dries.

In my Head

When I need a break, I go here via Internet and look at the photos. To paraphrase a current popular song, “This is how You remind me of what I really am”.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Partha Visits Us 

Our friend and fellow plant breeder Partha visited today. We always enjoy seeing him.

Horticulturist G. Parthasarathy with the Aglaonema cultivars, Jewel of India and Emerald Star, that received U.S. patents for ornamental indoor foliage plants.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

JB Weld 

I used my entire supply of JB Weld this afternoon and still didn’t make a dent in
reinforcing the mesh properly on the Mosaic Christmas Tree. Grrrr. I’ll ask Plant Daddy for suggestions when he gets home.

I made good progress on the “Back to Basics” pot; finished a Door Holder, and started a Christmas present.

I planted sweet potatoes today and checked on the Bell Peppers I had seeded out a few days ago. One little pepper plant is up, but that’s all I need.

I watered the Quisquallis. When we buried it under a concrete slab, it survived 7 years and started to vine again once we moved the slab. Now that we have it placed in an ornamental place of honor, it doesn’t want to grow for nothing! Go figure.

I had a flash concept for a mosaic bicycle. Bicycles are a category in the Art Car world. I thought of a fun design, but how to accommodate the weight not only of the tile but also of the metal framework I’ve envisioned? Hmmm.The things my little mind chews on…

We had been wondering what was chewing holes in the leaves of the Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis) I captured a green looper caterpillar. A little Sevin dust and we’ll be good to go.

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