The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs 

Over at the Y a sign appeared by the front door. It was one of those black signs that you push the white letters into the folds of the rows. The sign read..."Help Wanted/ Lifeguards" It was there about 8 or 9 days.

It was replaced by a sign that read "Help Wanted/ Child Care Staff/ Apply Within".
That sign was up about 6 days.

Yesterday, some little urchin had made up their own little sign using the YMCA's board at the front door. It read "My A Hurts".

Yes, finally a sign I can relate to.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Rainy afternoon 

It was a great afternoon in the mosaic studio. But the project I'm working on...working out a technique actually...is a secret. So I can't report yet!

The wind started howling about 4PM. Very hurricainey. Creepy.

I have not yet cleaned my desk, but today I did clean 4 loads of laundry and the yellow bathroom.

I had a great workout today at the Y...made 1.91 miles in 30 minutes. The goal is 2 miles in 30 minutes. Pretty close. Why do I suspect my calves are gonna sieze up at 3AM?

As a little reward, I fixed myself a root beer float. It had been decades since I had one. It was delicious...so I fixed another one. There's a reason I'm hefty and have to run on the treadmill everyday. 2 root beer floats in 30 minutes...a new record.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

My heart is breaking 

My friend Suzy is moving away, leaving Florida.

The only redemption is that she is moving to Philadelphia.

Ultimately I can picture her volunteering with the Isaiah Zagar Foundation in the Magic Garden!

Suzy working on our Isaiah Zagar inspired mosaic wall. Posted by Hello

Friday, February 25, 2005

Ace is the Place 

Later in the afternoon I hightail it over to Ace Hardware.

"Hello, may I help you?" says the cashier, the minute I walk in.
"Plaster?" I ask.
"Aisle 3." she responds.

It takes less than a dozen steps to get to the box of plaster and turn around. On the way back to the register, I pick up a roll of duct tape, too.

This all rings up to $8.03. I have 8 one dollar bills and 3 pennies because I had been prepared for 84 Lumber not having change. I am in and almost out of Ace Hardware in less than 1 minute. However...

I stop to have a chat with Brian...How's married life?...How's Becca's teaching?...How's your folks?...Where's the new Ace store getting built?...Oh, closer to my house? Great!

Today I am going to play with plaster. I have an idea....

Thursday, February 24, 2005


May God cause my toenails to fall out if I ever, ever go in 84 Lumber again!!!

I knew it was hard to get service at Home Depot if you have tits, but at 84 Lumber I might as well have walked in and shouted “I have leprosy, tuberculosis and diphtheria!”

The first time I went in there about a year ago, I bought 2 cans of Rustoleum. The purchase came to about $6.00 and they could not change a $10.00 dollar bill! (Or at least that’s what they said!)

The second time I went in looking for grout and they don’t carry sanded grout.

Today was my 3rd and final attempt.

Two employees were standing near the door when I entered. They saw me, turned around and walked away.
“Hey,” I said. “Where’s plaster?”
“We don’t have plaster.”
“Jesus Christ!” I exclaimed, and went off to search the aisles.

This must have set off alarms…to have a female wandering unescorted among the goods.

I found the plaster just as the clerk found me and demanded to know what I wanted it for!!!!! I did not feel like I had to justify a purchase so I left.

I’ll go to Lowe’s later.

Suzy and Isaiah Zagar 

My friend Suzy the art teacher went to Philadelphia, saw Isaiah Zagar’s work, became inspired and returned to the high school with a plan.

Over the next 4 years she, and I ,the volunteer art mom, taught over 600 kids how to mosaic by tiling the art building. We applied directly to the concrete block and mosaiced the entire south wall of the art building. She got a grant from Disney and we got great donations from local suppliers especially Atlantic and Intercoastal.

If memory serves me correctly, that wall was 12 ft high by 72 ft long…around 850 sq ft.

Memory is all we have. The school got money to improve the campus and build new buildings. So a year and a half after completion, our mosaic was torn down to make way for progress.

That’s our connection to Isaiah Zagar. And why we want to try to help him.

I tried to phone Suzy last night but she must have been at one of those church Lenten suppers. I’ll go by and see her today after school.

I did go see Rich Rudden over at center for the arts yesterday. He’s from New Jersey and is familiar with Zagar’s work, too. I’ll post more about that later in the day.

Suzy standing with our wall's tribute to Isaiah Zagar.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


This article was in the SAMA newsletter that just arrived at lunchtime....

"Save Isaiah Zagar’s magic mosaic garden

Isaiah Zagar is a patriarch of the contemporary mosaic scene, and he needs SAMA members’ help. His principal sphere of activity has been the exuberant large scale mosaic treatment of buildings, vacant lots and alley walls in Philadelphia. The property next to Isaiah’s studio, 1022-24 South St., has become a landmark. People come from all over the world to see South Street’s “Magic Garden”, which he has created there with an installation of found objects and his trademark tile-and-mirror mosaics.

Isaiah “adopted” the property when it was a vacant, trash-strewn lot. Now it is an integral part of his mosaic world- even attracting tour groups. However, Isaiah never owned the property and the landlord wanted to sell- without the “distraction” of mosaics.

Isaiah and colleagues recently formed a non-profit organization to purchase the property, whose sale is now being carried for 2 years by an anonymous benefactor. During this period, a fund-raising campaign has been initiated, with a goal of $200,000. The benefactor will match this accomplishment with a gift of $100,000 to secure the purchase.

For more information visit the web site. Send an e-mail to info@isaiahzagar.com or call 215-327-9911 for the latest news."

Dear readers, there would have been no Mosaic Mom without Isaiah Zagar. I intend to help out and look into holding a fund raiser.

Holler at me if you want to help. Stay tuned for up dates....

East Side, West Side, Jog Around the Town 

Remember back to Junior High School.
Remember P.E.
Remember when the teacher would have the class run laps…and there would always be the one girl who couldn’t run if her ass was on fire?

That would be me.

At West Side Junior High School we had a torture called “Run the Block”…run around the block that comprised the school grounds. Anita Cosper and Suzanne Jackson could make it in about 4 minutes. Most girls made it in 5 minutes.

It took me 6 ½ minutes and I wanted to puke by the time I finished.

(There was one girl slower than me. She was really into hair styling and would not do any PE activity that threatened the do-du-jour. She failed PE all through High School but she became a hair dresser and now drives around in a Lexus.)

I was heavy in Jr. High and this was before the days of running shoes and sports bras. We’re talking Keds and Playtex here and it was ugly, really ugly. Parts moved independently and painfully. I never had a chance.

But yesterday on the treadmill at the Y, somewhere around the 23 minute mark I realized that that was more than 3 times the length of “the Block”. I was doing fine. My Champion brand jog bra was steady-on. My feet were gliding along in Sketchers. Arrowsmith was pounding cadence and entertainment through the Magnavox CD player.

It’s all about the equipment.

Anyway, some day I’ll go back to the old hallowed halls with a stop watch and see if my time has improved in 40 years.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Can't Decide 

There are 3 mosaics classes I'd like to teach. But I can't seem to find the right teaching venue. (This is a sure sign from God that I'm not supposed to be doing this at the moment, but I'll work around that.)

So sometimes I think I'd like to open a mosaic shop. I could have lots of students and do lots of cool projects.

Other times I think I'd like to open a florist shop where do-it yourselfers could come in and create. That'd be great for wedding party entertainment.

Then again, I've always wanted to be a waitress and wear a cute pink uniform with a doily hat and a big red rose pinned to my bosom.

Or maybe I could run a restaurant where the customers get whatever I feel like giving them on any given day. One day beans, the next day chicken, then tofu...that's probably not a good idea.

Anyway, I can't decide.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Running About 

The YMCA is always crowded. But if Monday and a National Holiday coincide, forget about getting the treadmill of your choice. Take whatever’s operational because there are 10 people in line waiting for the same machine.

I was lucky. I got the next to the last treadmill and the fellow who got the last one was an old time regular. We watched as 2 squabbles broke out minutes later.

During peak hours (10:30 to 1:30) and (5:00 to 7:00) you have to sign for your machine at the desk. The Newbies didn’t realize that they can get bumped off the machines if they fail to sign in. And that’s just what happened…only these 2 girls didn’t go quietly to the back of the line. Who can blame them? But Live and Learn.

This was my 9th straight day in a row. I’m going for 30 minutes at 3.5 or better each session. Today I wore my red shoes thinking I’d enjoy that they’re lighter weight than the new blue ones. But the arch supports were old and my shins were screaming within 12 minutes. I was yipping to make 30 minutes and get out of dodge. Live and Learn.

I fertilized my beans today. They’re flowering. Another 2 to 3 weeks and it’s chow time. I so want to plant the eggplant out but there’s likely to be one more cold snap. I have lived and learnt on that one.

Still doing hurricane clean up. Picked up lots of branches. Can’t find my gloves and quit stuffing limbs in the dumpster when I got a bad sliver.

Spent half a day looking for a 1099 so the accountant can continue to crunch along on the taxes. Found it, Yay!

Watered the Setcresea. Now need to cook the pork roast, vacuum the living room and watch Dr. Phil. Doesn’t look like mosaics are on the agenda today.

Saturday, February 19, 2005


I am going shopping today. I need to get 2 tables to mosaic. One for a wedding present and the other an order for a customer! Yay!

Friday, February 18, 2005

A Ride in the Benzy 

We have a friend who has worked really hard all his life. He is one of the smartest, most focused people we will ever know. And he’s made a successful career in a very competitive occupation.

He recently decided to buy himself a little reward.

Ordered it custom made from Germany, not Alabama.
Selected a perfect color.
Has more bells and whistles than a summer camp.

He took me for a drive on Valentine’s Day.
Oh my God, I got to cruise in a brand new Mercedes Benz.

The car was 3 days old. It was sooooo smooth. The interior was rich, but the most fun was the sun roof.
And the gadgets…Whoa! I’m not sure that I like that “they” can locate you at any time. But the motor flies down the road at 80 no sweat. It just feels good.

So congratulations, Speedo! You done good. Honk when you drive by!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hey! "Feels Like A Firecracker".... 

So glad you are having a good time in Spain. Good to hear the living arrangements are happy. Can't wait to hear all about your trip to Barcelona to see the mosaics!!!

Tender Peas 

That Plant Daddy played a trick on me. He shoveled up some cow poop and put it near my pea trellis. He made it look like the cow was going to eat my crop. Oh No!

That was pretty funny. We are enjoying having the neighbor's cow wander around at night and leave "deposits". I used Bossie's contribution to compost the eggplant planting bed yesterday.

However, if Bossie ever touches my crops, Bossie is TOAST.

Mosaic Mom happens to be an NRA Sharpshooter. Betcha didn't know that!

I love my baby sugar snap peas.  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Hee Haw 

“Hey, Grandpa, What’s for Supper?”

Drama on the high trees…
The Cedar Wax Wings came through for their annual “Strip the Winter Holly Berries Off the Trees” Day. Packs of them flood the branches of the Ilex cassine and the Ilex vomitoria. The berries are gone within minutes. It’s like a bunch of pirranah fish on a cow carcass. Meanwhile, the resident Mocking bird goes nuts trying futilely to defend his berry larder against the mob.
I was vacuuming the pool while the feeding frenzy was on. I was fearful that numerous birds might fly inside the screen room through the hurricaine rips, become dazed and then be easy prey for Zeus. Fortunately this did not happen.
By noon, our one day a year of Cedar Wax Wings was over.

Panic in the Oak…
The Blue Jays were screaming in the oak tree over by the dumpster. It was the snake alarm. With the warm weather, Mr. Black Snake or Mr. Corn Snake must be looking for nests with eggs.

Zeus dragged in a petrified squirrel carcass and gnawed on it all afternoon. Why do I buy him healthy yummy cat nuggets and then he eats sandy, ant infested blech? That squirrel might have had rabies, but Zeus has had his shots. Ultimately I got tired of looking at the grotesque buffet and tossed the squirrel in the dumpster.

Another freeloading pet…
Plant Daddy recently installed a screen door on the north end of the mosaic studio to keep oak leaves and mosquitoes out. So I approach the door early this afternoon and Mr. Toad is sitting on the threshold with his nose pressed up against the screen waiting to be let in!
When I open the door for him, he hops over to the table where the cats are fed. I see that there are no Friskies spilled on the floor today, so I give him some. They’re all on the dole around here!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Love the View 

When I open the overhead garage door in the mosaic studio, I look out into this greenhouse. This view has made me happy all winter.

Today the door will be open...it's going to be in the mid-80's today...and I will enjoy watching my eggplant and pepper seedlings grow. I will feel guilt to pick the tomatoes and I need to water the rest of the collection.

My main chore today will be to clean the darn oak tree leaves out of the pool. They are totally clogging up the main drain. I haven't had the screen room fixed from the hurricaine yet so I am paying the price today. Grrr.

The latest Florida trend is that houses with damaged roofs are installing advertising tarps instead of the plain blue tarps. What a great idea!

So it's off to work I go. Hi Ho!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day from Mosaic Mom!  Posted by Hello

Girls Night Out 

Last night I got invited to Girls Supper Out with Cat and Pam.

I am so proud of these girls. They are in their early 20’s and they are really succeeding against challenging circumstances.

Pam is the middle child in a family of 11. She has always been quietly devoutly religious. She recently lost a job because she wouldn’t help the business owner cheat. This just makes you hate evil doesn’t it? Pam takes the moral high road and ends up as the victim.
The good news is she landed on her feet with a good job at a service center. Yay!

Cat earned her A.S. degree at Florida School of the Arts last year. She has been wise enough to see that computer animation has become a very crowded career path. She is working as a Quality Control Supervisor for a phone company and has picked up extra money using her art for painting murals for interior design. She may go to UCF to get trained for Arts Education.

The obstacles these young women have are 1) affordable housing…it’s so hard to find a reasonable rent. And 2) reliable boyfriends…The boys they’ve encountered so far seem to want free rides, no commitment, no responsibility.

My girls are smart and have booted these freeloaders to the curb, but that hasn’t been without heartache. But like Pam says, “Where you get hurt is where you get compassion.”

While we were dining, Ian came into the restaurant. I hadn’t seen him in years. But here is what I will always remember about him…

Ian ha some sort of surgery in high school that sat him for a while in a wheelchair. One afternoon picking Helen up after school, I watched Ian roll his chair out into the middle of the street , grab the bumper of a car and get a free tow 2 blocks down to the public library! I have heard of “Boys will be boys” but that took the cake.
Ian is awesome.

So we had an impromptu class reunion. (I met all these kids volunteering on the mosaic wall mural project at the high school) What great kids these are!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Another Lotto outlet 

For tonight’s Lotto ticket, I stopped in at the Circle K.

It’s located on the corner where I was rear ended last fall, so I was nervous until the light changed and I cleared the intersection.

I was 6th in line. The first lady was buying a map. The second, a man was buying Lotto. The third man was getting a bag of ice. The 4th lady was buying tickets for Fantasy 5 and Lotto.

The man ahead of me, Number 5, wanted Marlboro Menthol cigarettes. He got a twist in his drawers when the cashier didn’t have them. Number 5 stormed out to the fuel pumps, jumped in his pick up truck, and sped off with his gas flap open and his gas cap dangling down on the chain.

I spent my 4 quarters on a quick pick. Wish me luck!

Green, Green 

I always hang up on telephone solicitors. The instant I determine that the caller is working a list, I put the receiver down.

On the other hand, I read junk mail advertising flyers cover to cover. I especially like Penney’s, Wal-Mart and Lowe’s.

Today I was pouring over the Badcocks furniture flyer and I noticed that birdhouses were featured accessories. Several of the sofa/living room photos showed birdhouses displayed on coffee tables, end tables or bookcases. And they were green tones.

I am now encouraged that sales will be good for the 2 pieces I’m working on- the little mosaic church birdhouse and the round hut mosaic birdhouse. The mosaic church has its green roof and I think I’ll work a green color palette on the hut too.

Yesterday I made good progress in the studio. But so far this morning I have been entrapped by the oobleck of chores.

In Florida, oak tree leaves fall in the spring. The new growth pushes the old leaves off, so we get fall in the spring. Oak trees are soooo messy in the spring. I was vacuuming the patio like mad this morning and grumbling about my lost time for mosaics.

Then at lunch, the TV weatherman said 2005 is possibly going to be the hottest year on record since records have been kept. I decided to think nicer of the oak trees. They will be giving me nice shade in August.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning! 

I got to eat fresh Loquats on my English Muffin for breakfast. New Crop. Very sweet and delicious.

Then while I was eating breakfast and reading the paper, I see that Home Depot has a sale on tile. Let's see, the colors are Brown. Grey, Sand. Beige, Bone and Caramel. There's a pallette for ya.

But I did go over to their site and they have a pretty good instructional series on tile setting. homedepot.com/knowhow
I borrowed this picture from them, too. I wonder if they really have green tile in stock?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mosaic Church Birdhouse Progress 

The little mosaic church birdhouse has its roof on. I used a new pattern for tiling the roof and I like the way it came out.

I did it in green ceramic and the whole thing began to remind me of the Church of the Holy Spirit where we used to attend. They had a green metal roof on a white wood building, so this is a rough model for the design.

I’ve had to make little miniature stained glass windows. I could never be a micro mosaic person. I find it way too tedious when I have to use tweezers to mosaic.

I’ve given some thought to the roof of the little round hut mosaic birdhouse. People will grab at mosaics, therefore, I try to build in some logical fingerholds. Little flat spaces where you can get a grip or else well attached handles.

In the case of the hut, the roofline shape coupled with the grab-it rule exclude any marble or ball poised on top. People would try to grab and lift it and the whole piece would drop and break.

Out in the garden, I planted sugar pod peas and a bed of onions. I wanted to plant out the tomatoes, eggplants and cantaloupe. The weather is sunny and pushing 80. Glad I held off though. Weatherman said temps will drop back to the 30’s again Friday.

I got the tax packages to the accountant today. Now they work their voo-doo and maybe we’ll get a refund….Yeah, right,and I could win the Lotto, too.

Monday, February 07, 2005

This was our mosaic mural wall at THS. Posted by Hello

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Everybody in our household has a cold at the moment. Good thing we have a mosaic Kleenex box! Posted by Hello

Friday, February 04, 2005

A Mosaic in TX 

Since Mobile Babe is in the area, maybe she will go to visit this mosaic wall by John Yancey at U Texas in Austin...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Mosaic topiary: Good idea; bad execution. Poor pre-planning on the container.  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Rabies Alert! 

Yes, I'm a hypochondriac, but I'm not making this up!

I read in the newspaper yesterday morning that a dog was captured a mile from here and it tested positive for Rabies! A little map showed that we live inside the quarantine area.

Immediately, I threw our 2 cats into their travel containers and drove to the vet. We should have had shots last April, but I never got around to it.

This rabies alert, however, qualified as an emergency, since Rabies is a disease I could catch....and no comments from any of you about how I already behave like a mad bitch anyway! Grrrr.

When we got to the vet's office, they had posted a huge full color sign about the danger zone and the alert. Fortunately, they had not pumped up the prices for the shots. $25.00 and 25 minutes later and I was headed home feeling safe and happy....

Well, Okay, I was wondering if squirrels were carriers for rabies and if this would justify my shooting them on sight....but i was otherwise content.

Then I had my own doctor's appointment in the afternoon because my thyroid is not as peppy as I think it ought to be.

Einstien that I am, I had tried to take 2 pills at once to get peppier, and this resulted in a week of headaches. My doctor gets tired of my trying to do things like this, so to discourage office visits for a few weeks, he gave me my annual exam.

Grrrr. I wished at that moment I had rabies. Grrrr.

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