The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Gotta get cracking! 

I have been accepted into an art event on May 14th. I can set up a table and sell mosaics! Yay! But man, o, man, I’ve got to get busy. I have not got a lot of inventory.

Yesterday I fely lousy. Chills and a headache. Today I knew I had to make up time. I drank a Pepsi and buzzed all afternoon. By close of play today I had created some new mosaics for the show.

I made 3 Happy rocks ready to grout.

I had finished tiling Plant Daddy’s Sunflower. I will dremel it tomorrow, tape off and possibly grout. It probably won’t go to the show because it is too heavy. So PD made a smaller version this afternoon. I will get the tiles set on it tomorrow.

I chipped up some blue dishes and got the rim on an orchid pot.

Plant Daddy and I made a run to Lowe’s. I bought a Strawberry pot to mosaic in shades of green. I will add 2 cow statues and call it “Greener Pastures”.

I finished a 4” and a 6” pot mosaiced with Master Tile, dremeled and grout ready. And I have a scrap pot “Junkyard Dog” half grouted that I can finally finish off tomorrow.

Seven items to grout….my hands are going to be dry and cracked tomorrow.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Tile Nightmare 

The big international tile trade show is coming in 5 days. I am very excited about attending. So much so that I had a nightmare about it last night...

I dreamed that my friend had arrived to pick me up but I had overslept and had not taken a shower. She said there was not time, so I had to throw on clothes and go to the convention in dirty clothes out of the laundry bin and with no shower. YECH!

I will be sure this does not happen in real life.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Mosaic Shoe Travels 

The mosaic garden shoe got taken to Rosemarie’s Stained Glass Shop yesterday. She put it in her display case. I was both happy and sad.

Happy because the shoe looked really good on display like that. Sad because Plant Daddy’s shoe stand wouldn’t fit inside the case. With the stand, the shoe was too high to fit, so I brought the stand home.

While at Rosemarie’s, a lady came in to sell cosmetics. I realized that I hadn’t bought any cosmetics since before the Target store at the mall remodeled. Back then (a year and a half ago!), I bought a slab of Almay Nearly Naked face smear on cover up stuff (am I revealing an attitude about beauty products with that description?). I never even opened the package. I still have it. Needless to say, I am not a potential customer.

While on the beauty subject though, I will tell you that I gave in to pressure and dyed my hair. Everyone at the party looked younger than me. I felt very old. So I grabbed a bottle of “Ash Blonde” and washed it in and I have the most TANGERINE colored hair you can imagine now. It is truly hideous orange, but it will wash out and I will get back to normal soon.

I drove out to Sanford and delivered “Carmenita” to a lady. She loved it! I had made one eye green and one eye blue. She said her husband’s eyes are that way, so it had more meaning to her.

I picked up another birdhouse at Michael’s and some “on sale” candles for hurricaine season supply and I still have $1.83 left on my Christmas gift card! Yay!

Today a lady is coming over to see my work. I have things set out on the ping pong table for her to see. Should I cover up Mr. Happy?

Also I have to get the center of Plant Daddy’s new sunflower sculpture mosaiced. I’d better get crackin’.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

There's a bee inside the mosaic garden shoe. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 25, 2005

Mosaic Shoe 

Well Bond Glue had a contest....something like..."You glued WHAT with Well Bond???!!!" Laurel True won with a mosaic shoe. (I hope I am remembering the winner's name right, if not, somebody tell me, please).

Anyway, it looked easy. So I thought I'd try it.

Holy Moly. Mosaicing a shoe is extraordinarily hard. I was nearly brought to tears. But now I know a little more about mosaicing sculptural things.

My new gardening shoe Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Linguistic Quiz 

I'd'a'thought I'd'a'scored more on the Dixie category...

Linguistic profile

Your Linguistic Profile:

55% General American English

40% Dixie

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

0% Yankee

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Saturday, April 23, 2005

My Mother's Day Gift 

Another Highwayman painting is added to my collection. This one is by the Highway Woman, Mary Ann Carroll. It was painted in 1971. That was the summer I first came to Florida.

I had been driving south down I-75 through Georgia in the rain. But as soon as I crossed the border into Florida, the clouds broke and the sun came out. I always took that as a fortuitous omen. Well, at least, I have been here ever since.

I saw my first Highwayman painting in a gallery in the early 1980’s. It was a poinciana tree by Albert Hair. I could never get that picture out of my mind. When I went back a few weeks later to make the purchase, the painting was gone.

The one I bought today is exactly the right colors of the Florida sunsets. I just love it.

Highwaywoman painting Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005

7 hours of work and 100 drive miles for a $2.00 part! Grrr! Posted by Hello

The 7 Hour Gate Repair 

I posted my idea about cocooning on Monday. I wanted to go as long as I could without having to run around in the car. This would save gasoline and time away from the mosaic table. I was sure I had enough groceries, so I was set. Yeah, right.

Tuesday morning, about 10:30 or 11:00 AM, I decide to repair our front gate. A car had backed into it and cracked a corner brace. This looked straight forward to me, remove corner brace, locate replacement part, install replacement.

We had an old chain link fence gate that had sat around the farm for decades. I had used it a couple of times to support snap peas in the garden. It was around here somewhere. I could cannibalize the replacement part.

Was it in the mosaic studio? No.
Was it in the Z shop? No.
Was it in any of the greenhouses? No.
Was it in the old garden area? No.
Was it by the Photinia? Near the dumpster? In the Phlox field? No. No. No.

Where was that darn thing and now I have spent an hour looking for a part. PlantDaddy must have thrown the old gate away when he removed a chain link fence from the front yard a few months ago. Grrr.

Plan B. Take the broken corner part, apply epoxy to fix the crack, re-install.

I sat down in the front driveway with a rack of tools to remove the broken part. I was grimacing trying to loosen the bolts. A big black Mercedes sedan speeds past going east, then screeches tires, pulls a U-ie and comes to rest in the driveway.

The driver and his passenger thought I had fallen and I couldn’t get up. “No”, I said, “I’m just trying to repair the gate, but thanks.” That was actually sweet. Awww.

I take the corner brace to the mosaic studio, slap on the epoxy and go to lunch. After lunch, all is looking good. I get the mended part reinstalled. It’s going swimmingly, until I straighten the gate. The epoxy lets loose. Damn.

It’s just after 1:00PM now. Two and a half hours and the gate is still broken. I call Plant Daddy. “Please go to Home Depot and pick up a replacement part on your way home.” I am mindful of my vow to save gas, time, etc.

Plant Daddy says “No. When I get home we will work together to take the whole gate down and carry it to the Z shop and I will weld the broken part.”

I realize this is a marital disaster in the making, so I break my vow and head out to secure a replacement part and get the gate fixed before this escalates.
I go to Tractor Supply in Eustis. Unbelievably, they don’t have the part. They tell me Lowe’s doesn’t have the parts, only Home Depot does. I drive all the way to Leesburg to the Home Depot.

The first employee tells me the fence parts are in the garden section. I walk and walk.
I look and look. No fence parts.
The next employee says walk to the other end of the store by lumber. No parts there.
The third guy sends me outside by lumber and yes, there’s parts….but not my part!

The styles must have changed in 28 years, so I choose what I think will work. It is a curvy elbow, not a pointy elbow…and it has no bar code. The box full of these fence parts is labeled “carpet adhesive”. I know I cannot go to the cashier with this.

I take the entire box and head back across the store to the service desk. I wait in line behind a burly man renting a truck and a Spanish lady with a baby seeking road directions. The service manager phones the fence department for a SKU number for this part so I can check out.

And he phones. And he phones. And he phones. And the fourth time, he is getting annoyed. “If you can’t raise an answer, what chance did I have?” I ask. He doesn’t smile back. But at last we get a SKU. I take my one part and head to the check out.

There is one cashier. I am 5th in line. The line grows quickly to 13 people. Four people, all men surprisingly, abandon their purchases. They drop their merchandise on the floor and walk out of the store. The line stays pretty constant at 10 to 12 people. Home Depot is losing business, but they don’t care.

I check out. It is just after 3:30 PM. I get home and install my corner bracket and it is shit. It doesn’t fit very well and it drags along the ground. It is now 4:15.

Plant Daddy gets home at 4:23 and he has….a replacement gate corner part! He decided to go to Home Depot after all. The store in Apopka had the right part, a pointy one that matches …and fits.

PD and I compare cash register receipts. His part cost $2.00. My part cost $5.00. No, wait, the cashier has charged me for 2 parts instead of one. I am going to run back to the store and return the part and try to get my money back. I wade out into 5:00PM traffic.

At the Home Depot again, I find myself 3rd in a line of 7 for returns. Merciful Jesus, it goes smoothly. She believes me and I get a refund.

I make it home by 6:00PM. It took 7 hours. A simple gate repair is all I accomplished on the day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mosaic experiment 

I am still thinking of ways to use glass frit when I mosaic. So today I tried an experiment.

I put 3 different blobs of adhesives on a scrap of Durarock. From left to right the adhesives are Type 1 Mastic, Silicone, and PVA.

I think the PVA turned out great! Now to apply it to the project.

An experiment with glass frit and mosaic adhesives Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Mosaic Birdhouse "Hut" finished today. Posted by Hello

Monday, April 18, 2005

Highwaymen Art 

Gary Monroe, an art professor at Daytona Beach Community College, wrote a book about the Highwaymen artists. Little Mind Escape invited me to attend his guest lecture yesterday.

The Highwaymen artists Kelvin Hair, Horace Foster and Mary Ann Carroll were exhibiting and Monroe was selling his book at the lecture venue. Thank God they were not accepting plastic or I’d now own another couple of paintings.

The lecture was very good but focused on 5 of the 26 Highwaymen artists. No mention of Sam Wells, the Highwayman work I own. But I did see Wells’ photo among a group honored by the State of Florida…it seems the Bushes collect Highwaymen now!

Mary Ann Carroll’s daughter owns a gallery in Sanford now. She gave me directions for finding it. I think I will ask for a Carroll painting for Mother’s Day.

The Blue Martini 

Before the art show we ate dinner at The Blue Martini. I had always seen its sign (with the neon martini glass) and been curious. ME had eaten there once or twice so we chanced it.

Apparently last night was not a good night to chance it. The waitress handed us menus but the kitchen was out of everything we asked for. ME had to order 3 times and I ordered twice…before I finally got a bowl of soup that was tepid at best when it arrived.

Live and Learn. Didn’t starve or get ptomaine, so c’est la vie.

The Luxury of Gasoline 

When we moved out here in 1978, there was very little traffic. We were afraid no one would come to our nursery for plants because we were so far out distant.

Traffic got heavier and heavier through the 80’s and 90’s and on and on until 9-11. That weekend, traffic stopped. No car traffic. No truck traffic. It was like 1978 all over again.

Gradually, traffic came back, until gasoline prices first hit $2.00 a gallon. Then commercial traffic continued, but private cars vanished. Traffic rebounded a little. Consumers adjusted around $2.10 a gallon. But now at $2.25, traffic has died.

In other words, our road is busy 6:00AM to 6:00PM with commercial trucks and commuter vehicles. But after 6:00PM, Nothin’, Nada, Zippo. People aren’t driving.

I myself, am going to see how long I can go without going out. On April 12th, I stocked up on groceries and I didn’t drive again till the trip to the art lecture yesterday. Now, I have nothing scheduled till the first week in May. I will see how long I can stay in. Apparently, judging by traffic volume, a lotta other people are thinking this way, too.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Sneaky Tide 

The cap on the bottle of Tide detergent serves as a measuring cup. Pour to Line 1 for medium loads. Pour to Line 2 for large loads. Overflow if washing the SAMA mosaic aprons.

This afternoon, I reached for a new flavor I had just bought at the grocery store. I twisted the cap, poured the detergent into the measuring cap/cup, dumped the liquid into the water and….wait a minute…that cap was a different size. It was bigger!

I double checked against the old flavor that was still in stock on the shelf. I summoned Plant Daddy and he concurred. The new cap is bigger.

That means more detergent went into the wash. That means I’d have to replace the bottle of Tide sooner…if I hadn’t caught the switch.

As a stockholder in Proctor and Gamble, I like this profit boosting scheme. As a consumer, I’m going to save the old cap forever, or use a store bought measuring cup.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Cousin Carol gave me a plate. I turned it into 2 mosaic flower pots. "Carol" and "Ragweed" Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I Love My Post Man Sometimes! 

Oh Happy Day!
Oh Happy Day!
My registration for Coverings
(THE International Tile Trade Show)
Has come my way!

Earlier in the day I was griping about the mailnan. A lot of mail has gone missing in action lately. But as of the noon delivery, all is forgiven.

I have already sorted through the exhibitors list and picked 25 booths to visit...and I'm only up to the companies starting with the letter "N".

I will link Coverings soon...with photos!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Tossing and Turning 

For the last 3 nights I have been plagued by nightmares.

Sunday night I was chased by a red delivery truck with no driver on Hwy 441 in Apopka. I finally escaped by driving along a railroad track.

Monday night I was heading out to Jeanine LeClaire’s wedding and walking across Donnelly St. The Mt Dora Police were chasing a bank robber and almost ran over me as they came speeding up the top of the hill.

Tuesday night I was stabbed by Paul Milander, the evil character in CSI Crime scene. He stabbed my hepatic artery and I died instantly in a bathroom stall at Tavares High.

Please God, let me get some sleep tonight!

PS Good Luck and all our prayers to Ricky to pass his art review on Friday!!!

Survival of the Fittest 

Because it was a long cold winter, we decided to build a cat door in the mosaic studio.

Before we had this portal, we kept a door propped open for feline access, but I was feeling too damp and drafty all the time with this arrangement. The cat door, with it’s 2X4inch riser, stopped the floor draft nicely. We trained the cats to climb in and Bob’s your uncle.

The portal was an immediate success for all parties. I was warm and they had 24 hour access to chow.

Last night I went out to the studio to close up for the night and POW! A problem just appeared at my feet….literally!

Well, it seems Mr. Toad, who winters indoors, no longer had an open door to exit, so he pooped right in the center of the floor. Toad Poop! It was a whopper and he was sittin’ there bigger than a big dog just grinnin’ and watching me clean it up. Grrrr.

So I gathered him up and put him outside for the season. I knew he wouldn’t figure out how to re-enter through the cat door.

Today I watched a damn SKINK walk up to the cat door, climb the 4 inches up then stroll inside. Grrrr! Skinks are everywhere this year. I hate them. One goosed me, ran between my legs the other day.

I declare skink war in the studio.

I hope they are not some endangered species.

I hope I can make them one. Grrr. These “pets” need to learn their boundaries.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Miss Thistle...or How I play with Bissazza Posted by Hello

Monday, April 11, 2005

Dropped on its head 

The mosaic pot pictured below began its career in a mosaics class that Suzy taught 4 years ago. She started it for demonstration purposes but didn't want to finish it, so I brought it home and added tiles and assorted bling. I always liked the intense blue color of the beads.
Today while storing new pots, I found this one broken. It looks like it was picked up and its plastic bag tore, dropping it on the concrete floor. No way to patch it, so it retires.

Packages were mailed out today. Book to Pittsburgh, sunglasses to Texas, and Georgia, you'll have to sign for the necklace because the postal clerk couldn't get the insurance form to scan.

A torn plastic shopping bag has caused a fatal error for this mosaic pot. Time to retire him to the garden and make him grow some parsley. Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 10, 2005

12th Anniversary 

I became Catholic 12 years ago today. It is a decision I have never regretted. I am moved to awe and reverence and love thinking about the universality of the Church.

Grouted 3 pieces today. Two more mosaic faces and a mosaic flower pot called "Thistle". Helen dropped by for a visit and declared "Thistle" a success. Whoo-hoo!

Sparky is well under way. And Plant Daddy got the stands welded for the 2 faces I made last week. What an out put! Still not sure tho if I'll sell at Sorrento.

Helen brought home Tea Pot Pot which I had given her for her apartment 2 years ago. I was glad to see that the painted interior had held up well and not peeled even after having an Aglaonema installed for so long.

Weary Traveler 

Hooray! Plant Daddy made it home safe and sound. He still has a cough, but is already up and at 'em and checking greenhouses, garden, birdbaths, etc.

Today's paper reports that the Sorrento Show is the same weekend as the Apopka Arts and Crafts Festival. I had forgotten that. Someone suggested yesterday that I ought to seriously consider the Leu Gardens Show next year. I wish the local botanical gardens had a sale/show where I could rent a table. That would be ideal for lawn and garden style mosaics.

I made 2 more faces yesterday. I got spark plugs inserted into a 6 inch pot for another "Sparky" genre design. I started a 4 inch pot with Bissazza. Lots to do to finish all this today!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Carmen on left still needs grout, but Miss Anxious is ready. Posted by Hello

No Commute to Work 

For the last 3 days, I’ve lived in the mosaic studio. I get to my desk by 9:30 AM and leave between 8:30 to 9:30PM. It’s been heaven.

I have finished 2 mosaic faces, a mosaic flowerpot and I’d have finished the other pot if I hadn’t’a broken the drill. Hope Plant Daddy doesn’t read that!

Plant Daddy has been in Oregon since Wednesday, so I haven’t even left the farm. It feels strange not to have driven to the grocery or post office or bank, especially after all the pre-party activity frenzy.

I’ve gone nowhere and seen no one for 3 days. Wow!

(Just as an aside…because of the high price of gas, I am not driving to the YMCA on a daily basis. I am sure I will give that membership up when it expires.)

With Plant Daddy gone, I don’t even think about cooking or cleaning. I have loads of work/shopping/laundry to do before he gets in this afternoon. He will want hamburgers tonight for supper. Hope I remember how to cook.

A lady phoned before the party to invite me to sell mosaics at Sorrento next weekend. I am trying to build up the inventory in the $20 range. I haven’t decided if I will go or not yet.

Since my workbench is clean, I phoned a woman who wanted mosaic lessons, but her schedule doesn’t open up till May. Too bad she won’t see a nice clean studio.

The only downside to all this mosaic work is that my nose is stopped up. I made a lot of dust grinding eye holes into tile eyeballs yesterday. Oh well, that’s why God made Sine-Aid.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Down and Out 

Plant Daddy flew his Mom home to Oregon after the festivities here.

Word from Aunt Little Bo Peep is that Plant Daddy and Plant Gramma are sick in bed with viral pneumonia.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Clean up 

I was up and at 'em at 5:15AM today to see Laura and Jake off to the airport.

I've spent the morning watering the greenhouses and potted plants, cleaning out the fridge...just how many bags of salad did I buy?...and doing sheets and laundry.

I've promised myself good nutrition today, ie no more cake and ice cream, pretzels, sodas or potatoe salad, or left over Chinese take out. I must get back into a routine now and get mosaics organized again.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Helen, Eric and Gramma at the art opening Posted by Hello

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