The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Beach Boy Special 

Round, Round, Get Around, I get around...

Went to see Kerry Lewellen today so was near the Lowes in Altamonte Springs. Needed White grout and mortar. But I had to pee and their bathroom was closed. So I left without grout.

Went to Intercoastal, they had only Custom grout not Mapei. Decided that was OK till Jeff said did I want a 25 lb bag? Well no, a 10 lb bag lasts 2 months. On the road again.

Went to Ace Hardware. Their grout is all UNsanded. Grrr. I am logging more miles today than MobileBabe.

Went to the Lowe's in Leesburg. Got grout and mortar. Complained about the color changes I had seen. They said I should phone it in to Mapei Tech Services.

After supper, Plant Daddy and I drove to Deland to take Mind Escape her mended computer.

Man. I am glad to be home with my feet up tonight.

Tomorrow I have to run to Mt Dora for stained glass. Varoom. Zoom Zoom.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Injured Reserve! 

I need morphine! I need Percoset! I need Oxycontin!

Okay, maybe all I need is a Band-aid and 2 Bufferin.

I wish I could tell you that the accident I had was due to something macho…like a run-in with the wet saw or the dremel.

It might even sound dramatic just to say I got a deep, nasty cut from the English porcelain tile I’m working into a birdbath at the moment.

But noooo, boys and girls. I am injured and knocked out of my ability to mosaic for the next few days because of a set-to with some frozen chicken thighs.

They didn’t want to come apart and I forced the issue and my right thumb is now on the injured reserve. I will spare you the details, because it’s pretty grisly. But the bottom line is no mosaics for me till I heal up a bit. Grrrrr.

Thanks to Plant Daddy for taping me up. Man, do I feel stupid. Well, live and learn and avoid those frozen chicken parts. Grrrr.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Not So Mellow Yellow 

Look at the pieces on November 17th (19th?). They are the miniatures I did for Artophile.

The grout on the grape cluster is “Straw”, but the others are “White” grout.

The grout on the Blue and White modern one looks okay; but the others yellowed out. They don’t look white do they? They look lemon yellow.

Yellow really compliments that fish, and it didn’t affect the other designs so badly. Yellow grout is a color many mosaic artists would love to create. It’s hard to achieve.

But I didn’t want it! I wanted white. I got a contamination somewhere.

When I grouted “Face It!”, the white went yellow again. Not good.

Yesterday I needed to grout a birdhouse and the color could not yellow. This piece would be ruined if the tone went off.

So I started clean. New buckets, new sponges, Rags in a box for wipe cloths, and bottled water for grout mixing and rinsing. It worked. The white held pure.

I did notice that the newspaper on which I was working turned yellow wherever globs of grout fell. Maybe there is some chemical reaction going on there and it gets in my sponges when I set them on the counter.

I will switch back to using a towel underneath and see, cause I sure as heck can’t afford to be using bottled water to wipe grout haze.

“Oh please, pass the Perrier. I must swab the grout!” AS IF!!!!

Friday, November 26, 2004

This Cinderella birdbath is about to become a beautiful princess in stained glass! Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A Happy Thanksgiving Story... 

Thanks to Aunt Terri for sending this happy story....


A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad
attitude and an even worse vocabulary.
Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with
profanity. John tried and tried to change
the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing
soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's
vocabulary. Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The
parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier
and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the
bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked
and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a
peep was heard for over a minute.

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the
freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto
John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you
with my rude language and actions. I'm
sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully
intend to do everything I can to correct my
rude and unforgivable behavior." John was stunned at the change in the
bird's attitude.

As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change
in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Birthday!!! 

Happy Birthday to Plant Daddy!!

Tee Hee...when Plant Daddy gets home I am going to pretend to be mad at him.

I am going to tell him he forgot to fix the donut tire in my car trunk.

When he opens the trunk he will find his present and be so surprized! Tee Hee!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Here I stand, Head in Hand Posted by Hello

Monday, November 22, 2004

Mosaic Mom on the Move 

It was "Run the Route" day today. Here's where I went...

1st stop...Stained glass store to get materials for the next bird bath...no one there...will return Wednesday.

2nd stop...Mt Dora Center for the Arts to drop off Artophile mosaics

3rd stop...Lake County Courthouse...to pay the taxes for the year...I love the old tile in that building. I hope they never remodel it.

4th stop...Bank..putting money in this time.

5th stop...Post office...package to Iraq for Christmas

6th stop...Lowe's for Plant Daddy's birthday present...Happy Happy!!

7th stop...Intercoastal tile...to confirm design for another birdbath

Now I am tired. No photos or mosaics or nothin else but a little football for us tonight.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Will this print once or twice? Blogger pictures sure is funky lately. ANyway, this is the hand stand that Plant Daddy made for head in hand.Can't wait to see the 2 pieces together. Posted by Hello

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Mosaic Shopping 

I was on a shopping spree in Sanford today. As always, mosaics were on my mind.

If Burdines truly morphs into Macy’s, will those Macy’s carpetbaggers remove the charming and beautiful mosaic seashells at the entrance doors as they try to turn the store into a Yankee city slicker establishment?

At the floral supply store in Sanford, I spotted some neat Styrofoam forms. There were 12 inch styro balls that Rich Rudden might could use to make mosaic marbles for one of his projects. And there was a 5 ft. Styro cone …that gives me ideas!!!!

Michael’s craft store had reworked their floor plan. The mosaic supplies were in a different location and seemed to be expanded. There were several new glass products I had not previously noticed and they had more of those tiles that look like broken dishware. I like to look, but I never buy my mosaic supplies there. I grabbed the floral picks I needed and left.

I still need to get to downtown Sanford and check out the rumor that there is a mosaic supply shop there. Unfortunately, my car goes right to the mall and I never venture further. Maybe next time.

I bought myself 3 shirts at the mall…a party shirt (for Brian’s wedding), a Publix shirt (one I would wear for general street wear), and a mosaic shirt (one I will wear till it’s totally threadbare).

Friday, November 19, 2004

3x5 inch mosaics for Artophile fund raiser. Posted by Hello

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Head in Hand on Plant Daddy's desk...waiting for a hand shaped stand. Posted by Hello

Volunteer Stint 

I volunteered at the Center for the Arts from 1 to 4 PM this afternoon.

One artist came in to drop off hand made Christmas cards. They were very contemporary style, fabric collage.

Another artist brought in mosaics! Her name is Ann and she does picasette onto silver tea pots and sugar bowls. It’s beautiful work. I will get photos next time I’m in town.

I got one visitor to sign up as a volunteer. They always need extra hands during the art festival in February. Hope it works out for him.

The other volunteer, Janet, and I painted Christmas ornaments with glaze. They will be fired and put up for sale as a fund raiser.

Larry from Two Fat Cats tile shop dropped by. He said he might provide space for artists over at his place on Saturday mornings. This could be exciting. Hope it works out. I could take some of my large pots over there and sell off the back of the truck.

The Center’s violin teacher called in sick so I was asked to phone the students and tell them about the cancellation.

The Center has a new art merchandising idea called “Artophile”. The artists draw or collage pieces about 3” by 5”. These are sealed in opaque envelopes. People pick any envelope and pay $5.00…like a white elephant sale. You could get a cute miniature watercolor or you could get a very abstract 3x5 “ assemblage.

I decided to contribute a couple of mosaics to this project. I made 5 mosaics tonight that will fit into the opaque envelopes. I will grout and trim them tomorrow and get pics posted.

Last but not least, “Head in Hand” is finished and I turned it over to Plant Daddy to weld a stand for it.

It was a pretty productive little day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Grrrr Mammogram ! 

Grrrrr Mammogram

So like, I’m 52 and I figure I ought to get one.

I had one scheduled for October 14th. That day, I showed up at the brand new, state of the art Florida Waterman hospital and they had NO POWER. No lights, no elevators, no radiation department, zip, nada, nothing.

They were trying to do registration by hand because they had NO WORKING COMPUTERS. The waiting line was 2 hours long. People were starting to bail but they couldn’t reschedule because there was no power or computers. So I bailed, too.

I was eventually rescheduled for today. I tried to call first to make sure the lights were on but the phones weren’t working over there. Still, you can’t get that lucky twice, so I figured I’d drive by and check it out.

This time they were having a “Hot Zone” decontamination drill.

State of the art f%^&ing hospital and they shut the parking lot down to stage the drill. I had to park in East Jesus and walk 7 minutes dodging ambulances, paramedics and the inflatable virus containment tent just to get to the front door…where they have the cheapest, crappiest landscape ever seen in a commercial building…but fortunately they are letting it die by not watering it! Grrrrr.

So registration goes smoothly. The mammogram ladies get me in at EXACTLY 10AM and do me and it doesn’t even hurt. Then I wait…and I wait…and I wait.

What am I waiting for? The technician says the radiologist will read the shots now and say if more pics are to be taken. And I wait and I wait and after 45 minutes, I walk out.

Maybe the radiologist has a real emergency. Or maybe the radiologist is outside playing with the firefighters in the tent. I am cold in my little gown and I am getting grouchy, so goodbye.

I hike back to the car past EMT’s in Tyvek suits with respirators.

Helen’s roommate, Jenn, went to Singapore for study abroad just as SARS was breaking out. Jenn said her greatest fear was having a minor accident and getting hauled to the hospital where she’d get infected with SARS for sure because all the sick people were at the hospital. No kiddin’.

Then seeking to spend my entire day waiting, I drove over to the Car Tag Office.

Plant Daddy is taking the Big O off the road for an overhaul, so we have to surrender the tag.

I take a number. I am called within 2 minutes by a nice girl named Martha who processes me in under 30 seconds and hands me a receipt. I am in and out of the Tag Office in under 5 minutes. Yay! Happy Mosaic Mom.

I go to Publix. I find Diet Black Cherry soda in stock. I buy 12 cans. Double Yay!

So I guess, it is a great day. Hope the radiologist is having a good time in that inflatable Hot Zone tent.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Second try...stupid program...this is one of the centerpieces we made Sunday for Deb's rehearsal dinner Posted by Hello

Ides of November 

Yesterday I vacuumed the pool, did 2 loads of wash, vacuumed the house, back porch, laundry room and mosaic studio. I sliced the back off another 3/8 tile to take it to 1/4 inch thickness and I finished all the piece work on the Face. I cooked a gourmet spaghetti supper (this means I added hamburger to Ragu) and I folded and stashed the laundry around midnight.

I don't know why I had such a burst of energy after weeks of dragging my butt around tired all the time, but I was glad for it. However, today I am totally pooped...not peppy at all.

All I aim to do is pot a bromeliad into a larger pot. Then maybe I will get the Face dremelled and grouted.

Plant Daddy will get left over spaghetti and that's it.

Here's a cute poem. My Mom used to recite this all the time, but it was sent today via Aunt Jo, so it must be a family classic...

When they offered us noses
I thought they said roses,
And I asked for a big red one.

When they passed out the brains
Ithought they said trains,
And I missed mine.

When they gave out the looks
I thought they said books,
And I said no, thanks.

When they gave out the legs
I thought they said kegs,
And I ordered two fat ones.

When it came time for chins
I thought they said gins,
And I ordered a double.

Next time I'll listen!!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

A First for Me 

I had heard it could be done from Joe DiFiore, but I never dreamed I could do it.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention so...

today I sliced a tile on the wet saw...sideways!

I needed the lizzard image and the handmade Italian tile was just too thick. After I cut the lizzard to size, I sliced the whole thing down by about 1/4 inch.

I didn't know I could hold my breath that long.!

Deb had a bunch of us over to her house this afternoon and we made 10 flower arrangements for the rehearsal dinner. Pictures tomorrow>

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Energy for Mosaics 

Ya gotta eat right. So here’s what we’re having for dinner tonight…

Garlicy Green Beans
Eggplant Casserole
Onion Roasted Potatoes
Fresh Pineapple Chunkettes

Garlicy Green Beans

1½ Lbs Green Beans
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic
2 slices of bacon
2 cubes Chicken Bullion

Cut the g’beans into ½ inch bits. Slice the garlic and fry it up with the bacon. Add the garlic bacon greasy stuff to the g’beans and bullion cubes and boil gently for half an hour.

Eggplant Casserole

2 small Eggplants
2 Tbs. Butter
4 Tbs Milk
4 Eggs
Cracker crumbs for the top

Peel, chunk up, boil till soft, drain and mash up the eggplant. Beat the eggs, add with the milk and butter and the eggplant mash. (Temper this so you don’t curdle the eggs). Top with cracker crumbs. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes at 350.

Onion Roasted Potatoes

4 medium potatoes
1 Sweet potatoe
1/3 cup Crisco oil
1 envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix
(Rosemary from your garden if you have it)

Wash and chunk the potatoes and toss them in a large baggie with the oil and soup mix. Put in a 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle on some Rosemary leaves if you like. Bake at 425 for 25 to 35 minutes.

Fresh Pineapple Chunkettes

Buy a fresh pineapple at the store, then let it sit around and ripen a few days so it will be sweet. It’s ripe when it’s bright yellow and smells good.

Cut the top off by cutting about ½ inch down into the flesh.

Now, stop what you are doing and go plant the top in potting soil so you will have a nice houseplant.

Wash your hands since you were just out in the greenhouse, then peel the rest of the pineapple, chunk it up and eat it.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

In the Kitchen 

The greenhouse repair boys knocked on the door at 6:30AM this morning waking us up to let them in the gate to work. Grrr.

We’d’a had it open if we’d’a been expecting them. Grrrr. But glad to see them anyway. This is, after all, post hurricane Florida. At close of play today they were half way done. Three houses up and 3 to go.

I made excellent progress on the latest bird house and I got one key piece ground and fit on the Face.

Old friends Steve and Susan dropped by in the afternoon. Steve and I hatched a plan to mosaic the backsplash in their re-modeled kitchen. I will go see them for preliminary measurements and design ideas next week.

This evening Plant Daddy and I went to Lowe’s. In the Dream Kitchen display area, there was a countertop made out of Portobello Blue Cayman tiles.

At first it caught my eye and I thought it looked pretty good with the white cupboards and blue backsplash.

But on closer inspection, I decided that the green mottling in that pattern kinda looked like algae when used in a kitchen. What looked organic and pond like in a pool, looked unsanitary on a countertop.

My kitchen tonight produced chicken wings and BBQ beans. Yum!

Portobello Blue Cayman tiles

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

This is the first mosaic I ever saw. It is the library at the University of Mexico. We were visiting as tourists in 1967 or 68! I was 13 or 14 maybe? It's hard to impress a teenager, but this did it!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Silent Spring 

Plant Daddy scared me on Sunday night. He said he had not noticed any birds on Sunday afternoon.

When I mosaic, I can shut the world out; so I could not say he was right or wrong…but it had seemed oddly quiet.

This was based only on the observation that the Wrens had not come inside the studio and pooped all over everything. I had not noticed the Blue Jays at the bird bath either.

Yesterday, I determined to bird watch and see if the specter of “Silent Spring” was upon us. (Hoo-Ha! Something new to fret about! Out with hypochondria; In with environmental disaster!)

My fears were quickly quelled (how’s that for alliteration, huh?) Between 11:00AM and 3:00PM here’s the list of birds I saw:

Mocking birds
I heard one Sand Hill Crane and usually there are 3 in this group. Keep an eye on that.
Downy Woodpecker
Flicker Woodpecker
Pair of Osprey
I heard the Wrens but didn’t bother to locate the little shits
I saw a tiny yellow thing, maybe a warbler
I saw 3 or 4 tiny grey things maybe flycatchers or swifts
Blue Jays showed up late in the afternoon

Remarkably absent was Mr. Brown Thrasher. I’d better look for him. Hope Zeus hasn’t been at work.

Heard the coyotes early, 10:30 AM. Very unusual to hear the pack howl in the daytime, but Bland is logging his forest to clean up hurricane damage. The crew could have disturbed them.

Coyotes could account for the lack of Quail and Doves yesterday, too.

Anyway, no crisis on the feathered front. Back to hypochondria as a full time hobby.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Dog Days of Summer 

Okay, it's Nov 8th to you, but it's still in the 80 degree range here. I'm still in shorts and sleeveless...so my title about dog days of summer stays.

My Mom phoned today to thank me for sending doggie treats for her new pooch, "Boy". Her cat is named "Girl". Is there a pattern here? Anyway it was great to hear from her and her latest art project gave me ideas....I'll discuss that later.

The phone rang at lunchtime and Rich Rudden was there. He had just read my blog back from the spring about his cute dog "Spanky". He is hoping to win a bid and start a new project soon, too! Yay!

So I had a happy day because of the doggies! Bow Wow! Bye for now!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

My messy desk!  Posted by Hello

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Beautiful Fall Day 

Lots happening in Mosaic Mom’s Mosaic World ….

I had the truck Friday so I took Bridgette her bird bath. She was happy with it. She set it at her business for the day till she could take it home. During the afternoon she phoned to say someone made an offer to buy it!

Mike gave me a sample of commercial underlayment fabric to test for making a mosaic garment. Later I took it to Deb who is a professional seamstress. She said it could not be stitched since it was pre-gummed and would jam the needle. She gave me a sample of upholstery to try.

Current projects on my desk include…a memory box, a birdhouse, a flower pot and the face.

I have really enjoyed constructing the mosaic memory box out of Durarock. I am using fiberglass mesh to reinforce the corners. The lid construction is going to be a hoot. I am thinking of a design like a ziggurat.

The bird house started out as a copy from a book project, but very son took a turn. It was supposed to be flat work and show off the dishware, but I really don’t like picasette style. So I found a ceramic swan, chopped it down with the wet saw and BAM! It’s now heading in a sculptural direction.

The flower pot is nearly done. Just a few more green bits of glass to serve as leaves and it will be ready for polish and grout.

Grrrr. I had always heard you could cut sheets of Bisazza on a wet saw. I wanted to use a sheet of Bisazza to finish the back of the head. The saw cut the glass…but the tiles fell off the paper when I tried to move from the saw back to the workbench. What is the trick to cutting sheets of Bisazza? Must find out.

Patti called and says she will come get her flamingo screen door soon. She had brought it over to see if it could accept a mosaic application. Plant Daddy said there was too much lead in the composite metal…i.e., too soft to hold the weight of mosaics. It will be nice to see her again.

Friday, November 05, 2004

It’s a Boob with a Nipple! 

Yesterday was my first day this year back with the Art Club at THS. I loaded up sodas and Little Debbie snacks and took 2 mosaic projects for discussion.

I was running late and the kids were already busy on one side of the room judging classmates’ art work for exhibition in the teacher’s lounge. They all flocked to the food, had a quick discussion of mosaics then departed for the day.

Suzy and I chatted about the new classroom (excellent!) and the new crop of kids (also excellent!) then I asked to look at the work the kids had just judged.

There was some really neat originality. One girl (name?) did some fall leaves that were outstanding!

The real talent as a colorist was a girl named Audrey who had done a self portrait in colored pencil. Really advanced for high school work.

First place had been awarded to Jose for a cartoonish but striking pencil rendering of a Sheena, Queen of the Jungle-like figure.

Only… there wasn’t enough jungle to cover “Sheena” and her boob was hanging down from under the palm frond. This is a real No-No in High School land. No Nekkid body parts.

Not only did Sheena have a tit, she had a nipple! That is downright scandalous for high school.

I pointed this out to Suzy. She said she had seen it and told him to correct it, but she thought it was not too obvious (!?!) and SHE”D LET IT GO!!!!

Good God, this kid needs to be clipped for pushing the boundaries since he was specifically proscribed from drawing tiddies, but what’s Suzy’s motive for putting this, uncensored nipple, in the teacher’s lounge?

This could really get exciting. Stay tuned.

P.S. You can keep high school kids from drawing nekkid people but then they go to art college and make giant clay sculptures of all sorts of rumps and tiddies! Pay back!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Move Over, Joe! 

Joe DiFiore is out. Mosaic Mom has a new crush.

Check out Felice Nittolo


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Wired about Wireless 

Once upon a time I had wireless service with Cingular. But their service got really crappy and their price got really high. So I moved to AT&T Free-To-Go Pre-Pay where I have lived happily ever after.

So Dang it. AT&T sells their pre-pay program to Cingular.

I found out today when I phoned the 800 number to add minutes to my account. Usually all I have to do is press some buttons, give up the charge card number and Voila! I am free to go for 45 days.

I use up my days before I use up my minutes. It works for me.

So today, no easy dial computer AT&T system.

Just to add minutes with Cingular I had to talk to an operator in Bangalore, India who put me through to a girl in Texas, who sent me to a girl in Brooklyn who sent me to a girl in Illinois who sent me to a girl on a cell phone back in Bangalore who finally took the charge number and gave me a confirmation number.

All this took close to half an hour.

Looks like I’m going to have to look into becoming a Sprint customer. GRRRR!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

The Rabbit Died! 

My Running Rabbit Grinder was made for stained glass, not for constant grinding and shaping of commercial ceramic tiles. Even though I have rotated the grinding spindle as recommended in the instructions, I have worn out the diamond grinding surface in one year.
Yesterday, I tried to remove the grinding head for cleaning and perhaps squeeze one more project out of it. The head was stuck on the motor mount. I couldn’t get it off.

I tried WD-40 and a hammer, thinking that it had just cemented itself on, but soon realized that it had seized metal to metal. I knew Plant Daddy and his metal skills from the automotive shop could fix it, so I hollered for help.

PD sprayed it with a liberal amount of penetrating jelly then hit the Running Rabbit with a bigger hammer. Oh No!.....

The grinding head was still stuck and the motor now made a clicking noise. I’m thinking bent power shaft; my rabbit must be dead!

I was toting the whole unit to the dumpster when Plant Daddy said, “It’s already dead. Let me play with it a little.”

I left the carcass on his work bench and wandered to the house to add “new grinder” to my Christmas Wish List. But within minutes, PD was summoning me back to the shed.

He had managed…with the help of vice grips, screwdriver and pliers…not only to remove the grinding head, but to adjust the fan. It seems the horrible clicking noise was not a bent motor shaft; it was a loose plastic fan.

Running Rabbit was running again. Yay! Plant Daddy is a real hero.

The grinding surface is still dull. I’ll be signing off this blog then surfing over to the page where I can order a new head. But I’d rather be getting just a part than a whole new machine. Again, Yay! Way to Go, Plant Daddy!!

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