The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Rainy Tuesday 

Yesterday I transplantes 3 good sized clumps of Tradescantia/Spiderwort. Then I installed a 7 gallon Bougainvilla along the front fence. It was a hot steamy day and today I am tired and my shovel foot is sore.

But my timing was good because it has been rainy and drizzly all day so planting shock is lower. And it's one less day to have to drag the hose.

I ran errands to Lowes and Ace Hardware and the post office. My Bissazza tile will be ready for pick up tomorrow!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day '05 

Plant Daddy added fuel stabilizer to the tank and test fired the generator yesterday. I have been buying pork n’beans and batteries already. I need more candles, too. We are getting ready for another hurricane season.

The temperature hit 92 in the mosaic studio, so we bought a small air conditioner. It’s not large enough to cool the entire room, but it does give a cool breeze. Very nice upgrade!

My next project is going to require a lot of saw time, so I am getting the equipment prepared. I scrubbed my wet saw with a stiff brush and a little Simple Green last night. With the goop removed, I see that I have a little rust starting on the plate and rails. Not good.

Eggplant Recipe
My Ichibans are happy, happy. And plentiful, plentiful.
This turned out yummy!

2 onions
4 cups of diced eggplant
2 zucchini
¼ cup of fresh Basil

I fried the onions in olive oil till clear. Peeling and dicing Ichibans was a snap! Chop off the ends and peel lengthways. They end up looking like a stick of butter. Then quarter and dice, toss in the pan. Grate the Zucchini directly in to the fry pan. Add Basil. Cook on medium till the moisture is out. Salt/pepper.
Now at this point, I liked it. But I knew I could not slip this past Plant Daddy. So I dumped it in to the Cuisinart and pulverized it. Then I dumped it in a sauce pan and added Ragu. Served it on spaghetti.

I loved it. Plant Daddy tolerated it. Since I have 15 Ichibans sitting in the fridge and this recipe used 8 at a crack, we will see this menu item again this week.

Today, however, we are grilling a turkey.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Mosaic church birdhouse  Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Mosaic statue "Gearhead" watches the other gearhead in the family. Posted by Hello

Friday, May 27, 2005

Mosaic Christmas tree beginning 

Yesterday I hopped over to Master Tile and ordered the green Bissazza to start work on the mosaic Christmas tree. I ordered some dark red grout and a new type of nippers, with convex instead of flat cutting surfaces. I feel soooo totally extravagant and I’m also excited about getting started.

I was going to make this Christmas tree project last summer, but I got involved with the mosaic art car. I heard that there is to be another art car made this summer, but I have to force myself to stay off the committee and get my own work done.

I made a little project called “Gearhead”. It’s a comic motif head with Bissazza hair. I measured the hair surface 3.75 x 2.25 inches. Or just about 8 ½ sq. inches. I am counting the number of tiles I use so I can better guestimate the amount of Bissazza I’ll need for the Christmas tree. So far I have 26 tiles on and the area is not complete.

I have to paint the stand Plant Daddy welded for the hanging head pictured below. Plant Daddy will be moving Little Mind Escape in to her new apartment in Orlando today. Sad to be leaving Deland.

Tonight from 6 to 8PM I am having an open house in the studio. I handed out flyers at the Botanical Gardens Show. No one registered for the class over the Memorial Day weekend, but perhaps some friends and neighbors will drop in.

I hope the lady will come pick up her order too.

Tomorrow I’ll open the studio at 9AM but if no one shows up for classes, I am going thrift store shopping. I need more figurines to chop up for assemblage. I may go on a jar hunt too.

The Stetson Guitar Concert Series starts today. I will look to see if the Chicago professor will be giving a performance. If so, I will be trucking over to Deland over the weekend for some good music.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Grout Color 

Correction: That woman’s name was Mary Elaine Joyner. (I always hope people will Google themselves and find me and renew old friendships.)

Back last week, I stopped by Rosemarie’s shop. She was teaching a stained glass mosaic stepping stone class. The students were just beginning to mix their grout and Rosemarie was ever so eager to tell me about the creamy new polymer blended grout she’d found. She pulled out the bag; it was good old Mapei.

“Yes, it’s creamy,” I told her,” But watch out for color changes. White is not staying true.”

Today I was grouting a piece and Hooray! The Mapei shifted to yellow just like I hoped it would because yellow looks great with the composition!

This evening we harvested tomatoes, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, onions, cucumbers and eggplant. Plant Daddy had to pick the veggies low down because my sinuses are soo packed and stuffy.Tonight before bed I am going to take a super duper nose Drano pill so I can sleep through the night. Lights out!

27 years 

Memorial Day Weekend marks my “Years in Florida” Anniversary. This year marks 27 years in the Sunshine State.

I moved here slightly before Memorial Day. On Memorial Day weekend, Mark Holmes took me to a corn party in Apopka. The hostess was Patty Lust, of Lust and Long Farms. These were families who grew Zellwood Sweet corn out on the muck at Lake Apopka.

I had not previously heard of Zellwood Sweet Corn but Patty was cooking and serving it by the case. It was totally awesomely sweet! I had never eaten anything like it. Thinking it was the only thing to be served to eat, I ate 6 ears. Then Patty said, “Time for dinner” and brought out the steaks. I died. I was sick from eating so much. But I learned to limit my sweet corn consumption.

Also there was Mary Kay Joyner. Her family owned the Massey Ferguson tractor dealership in Apopka. Mary Kay in her late 20’s had braces on her teeth and was not enjoying sweet corn season that year.

Ultimately, the state environmentalists closed the Apopka muck farms. Most of the sweet corn now comes from Lake Okechobee. Patty married and moved away to south Florida. The tractor dealership closed and Mary Kay married and moved, too. The area that used to be farms just started selling for houses for millions of dollars for the lakefront property…as if lawn fertilizers and septic tanks and jet skis aren’t going to pollute…oh well.

Shortly after Memorial Day, Mark introduced me to Plant Daddy…and the rest is history!

My sinuses are in extreme agony today. Nothing is working except spray and pain killers. What the heck is in bloom? Or is it a germ? Nargh!!!

I have one piece to grout today and two for sealer, then I’m sitting in the A/C away from pollen the rest of the day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A Hanging Head Mosaic Posted by Hello

Monday, May 23, 2005

EEEEEKKK!!!! Posted by Hello

You are not alone 

Many years ago when we had the nursery, we built a latrine.

I was always very proud of it because in the South it is a mark of status to have a "brick shit house".

Over the years it has been ever so handy to use it instead of dragging dirt into the house.

This morning I finished a long grout session and went into the "Hut" for a break.
I had a feeling of not being alone. I looked around and didn't see any snakes, lizards, or even the wren which is trying to nest in the latrine this season.

I pee. I'm happy. Then I flush and Holy Moly! I wasn't alone!

My Girl Scout leader always said most people get poisonous bites on the butt. It almost happened to me. I am still shaking.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Mosaic studio improvements 

Yay! Plant Daddy hung a screen door on the south side of the studio today.
I can catch a breeze.
No more mosquitoes! No more deer flies.
No More Mr. Rat Snake...I suppose the skinks will still find a path through...
No more glare at lunchtime when the sun reflects off the greenhouse!
I am very happy thanks to PD.

I broke the head I was mosaicing when trying to drill the hanger. That would have bothered me once, but now I'll just work around it in the design.

The heat was oppressive this afternoon. In the Z shop, Melvin barfed and had to be taken inside for an A/C cool down. He's OK now.
I gave up and went indoors about 2:30 and created a super batch of salsa with all the ingredients fresh from our garden.

Ran to the 7/11 for chips and remembered to buy a Lotto ticket this week. Good Luck to Me!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Not in the studio at the moment 

Yesterday I ran to the stained glass shop to see about the glue. Then on to the tile shop for sealer. Don't "normal" women dash to Dillard's and the hairdressers, etc? oh well.

I spent the afternoon cooking all those green beans Plant Daddy picked. We ate green beans and bacon yesterday and had green bean salad today. You can never be on a diet in Florida in May. Eggplant, corn, green beans and blue berries. Awesome.

Today I took Little Mind Escape to get a passport. She wants to go to Paris. Awesome!

Maybe tomorrow I will get into the studio which would be propitious since I have a comission piece to be picked up next Friday and I haven't even started! Duh!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

What's this world coming to? 

Last evening Plant Daddy and I headed to Lowe's for a list of supplies chief among which were for the swimming pool. We badly needed chlorine and a telescoping aluminum pole to hold the leaf skimmer net.

Lowe's did not have a telescoping aluminum pole. We absolutely had to have one, so we bit the bullet and headed to Home Depot across the street.

Home Depot had the pole and we picked up all the other items on out list. Plant Daddy pointed out that the store was clean. The usual paper trash wasn't in the aisles. I noticed that we walked right up to a cashier without waiting in a line of 12 people (we were 2nd of 4).

I checked the cash register tape; was not double billed for any items like last time. Got home and had no returns.

Who ever would have thought I'd have a successful trip to Home Depot?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


My allergies have been really, really bad the last few days.

I took so much Sine-Aid that my ears started to ring and my heart was racing. So I had to break down and take an anti-histamine. Now I can breathe, but I can’t stay awake. What a sad trade off.

The rain last night helped clean the air a bit, but I’m still sneezing. The Confederate jasmine is going on the chopping block the next time we have the tree removal men out here to work.

In order to stay indoors yesterday, I stayed out of the mosaic studio and worked in the kitchen instead. I replaced the shelf liner paper in a bank of cabinets and finally repaired that drawer whose bottom had fallen out.

I sorted out a bagful of gadgets we never use, including nut picks, barbeque skewers, and cookie cutters. Between my stuff and Little Mind Escape’s college dorm room leftovers, I am going to have a heck of a big yard sale in the fall.

Today I am going to round up some books to donate to AIM (Alliance for International Monasticism) per their request in their last newsletter. I love making less to dust.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Job Interview 

While we are awaiting the results from Little Mind Escape’s first job interview, I will tell the story of my first job interview out of college.

I had graduated UF and had taken certification at Clemson University to become a Horticultural Therapist. I was applying at Peachtree-Parkwood Hospital in Atlanta. Peachtree Parkwood was a psychiatric “milieu” and also operated a drug and alcohol rehab unit.

Having all kinds of occupational therapy was the in thing. The hospital had an OT, an art therapist, a dance therapist, a music therapist and they wanted me, a horticultural therapist. It had to do with specialized, high priced, billable hours, but I didn’t know about that back then.

I drove to Atlanta and crashed with my “Uncle” Henry and “Aunt” Jean. They were my father’s distant cousins. They were very, very wealthy and had a mansion out by the botanical gardens. They always had a houseful of guests.

They also never wore clothes.

I wonder if my parents knew that these folks were home nudists before they arranged for my visit there (?). To this day I am scarred by the memories of my Aunt Jean, who was in her 50’s then, cooking and vacuuming in the nude. BLECH! In front of their own 5 children and any number of house guests! Double Blech!

I was so eager to get to the interview on Monday morning, that I arrived at the hospital an hour early. The administrator who did most of the interviewing was great. Very cordial and put me at ease.

Interviewing with the staff on the alcohol unit was fairly straightforward; they had a program for recreational therapy that I could fit right into.

The psych staff was God-awful. I had never met a more collectively constipated bunch of people in my life. They sat at a table and sat me in a chair in the middle of the room. I had to answer rapid fire questions about constantly changing topics. I suppose it was designed to see how I’d react under stress. I guess I passed.

I was hired. I loved teaching flower arranging and gardening to recovering alcoholics. But the psych people were my undoing. They stole every piece of gardening equipment I bought. They spent more time in staff meetings than in patient care. They were all having trysts so politics was a land mine. It was grim.

I got on well with the other therapists. I got interviewed on the Today in Georgia TV show as the Hort Therapist. I got written up in the papers. But after 9 or 10 months, I just couldn’t stand the job.

I quit and went to grad school.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Discovery Gardens Show 

There would be no Mosaic Mom without Plant Daddy. Thanks, PD, for all your hard work lifting and totong those heavy mosaics today!

We arrived just at 8AM and we were so lucky and soooo happy that they gave us a set up spot not too far from the entrance. We loaded the bins onto the dolly and rolled in. PD left and I had everything set to go at 9:AM.

At first the visitors were few but it really picked up after 10AM. The gardens looked lovely, lots of blooming iris at the entrance. I was near some specimen Crepe Myrtle which were budded but no sign of bloom. I also loved the shade afforded by the huge Viburnum hedge.

People were great chatting about mosaics and gardening and hobbies in general. A wonderful woman who is a gardener and a birder bought "Blue Bird House". Another lady placed an order for some items for pick up at the studio Memorial Day weekend.
There was a lot of interest but no takers for the Door Holders.

Lots of people picked up flyers for the Memorial Day Weekend classes! I hope we have a crowd of mosaic lovers over here to compete with the car restoration boys.

The only thing I would have done different was take less items....they were heavy to pack and tote. It was great fun. Thanks to all at HLC and Discovery Gardens.

Here is my little mosaic set up at the Discovery Gardens this morning! Posted by Hello

Friday, May 13, 2005

Prayer request 

Everybody toss up a prayer for Little Mind Escape who has a job interview today.

Garden Show 

Many, many, many, years ago, before mosaics were a twinkle in my eye, I was on the Board of the Lake County Horticultural Advisory Committee. Our assignment was to recommend/approve projects for the county agents.

Chuck Hudson of Grass Roots Nursery, became committee chair and under his administration the Discovery Gardens was formed. This may not be historically correct, but it is how I remember it. Chuck did a great job and today, 6 miles from here, is a small botanical garden and learning center.

They recently sent a flyer announcing a field day May 14th . There is to be an open house, demonstration gardens, plant clinic, etc. I asked the chair if I could do a mosaic demonstration. She visited MM and saw that gardening is my mosaic theme. Therefore, I got the OK to set up a table of mosaics in the gardens tomorrow during the open house.

I am so excited, I cannot believe this is true. I expect the phone to ring and they will say, “We made a mistake. Don’t come.” I made my mosaics for garden use and showing them in a garden setting is ideal. It is the perfect fit. If I can’t show here, I can’t show anywhere. Pins and needles. Toss up a prayer for old MM!

And, more excitement, as an “entry fee” they asked me to donate one of my large mosaic pots!!!

I was going to spend today packing and loading up the truck, but Plant Daddy decided to go fishing. I will have to load up tonight after he cleans the fish smell out. I hope my pots don’t pick up a pompano/whiting odor. Doom….

They want me there for set up at 8:00AM. The weather forecast is good.
“Roger, Challenger, go with throttle up.”

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Mosaic Strawberry pot "Greener Pastures" Posted by Hello

Mosaic strawberry pot "Greener Pastures" Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tuesday trip 

Usually Mr Dumpster tips the can early, like 6:50Am. Then we lock up the gate and have the rest of the day free.
Mr Dumpster didn't bring service till 1:10PM yesterday...Grrr...so I was late running errands.

I went to Rosemarie's and picked up my mosaic garden shoe so I can show it at the botanical gardens this weekend.

I went to the post office where the postmistress is begging people to adopt kittens.

Next to the gas station where I could not make the pump work. Grrr...And the two guys named Sameer couldn't get it to work either. Finally moved to the other pump and filled up.

Dropped in the Arts Center and paid dues so I can stay on the mailing list...hope they have some mosaic projects this year.

Swung around over to the aluminum recycle station and earned $2.49! Hey, it paid for the day's gas, don't knock it.

Finally to Publix for more Synthroid so I can stay alive. Had a nice chat with Irina the check out cashier who is studying Pharmacy.

Home just in front of Fisherboy/PlantDaddy and his pompano!

It was a nice day.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Grouted the Sunflower sculpture Center, Blue Danube Mosaic flower pot and the Greener Pastures mosaic strawberry pot. Plant Daddy don't get no hot meal on a busy day.  Posted by Hello

Cap and Gown 

Mosaic Mom has never graduated.

“But,” you say,”MM, you have a Master’s degree. How is it that you never graduated?”

Well, I never donned cap and gown and promenaded to a podium for a scroll.
I never did.

The LaGrange High School Class of 1970 35th Class Reunion is to be held this fall. But I don’t really belong. I graduated in July 1969. In a whopping big graduating class of 5.

By attending summer school every summer, I had accumulated enough credits to exit high school early. The 4 boys I graduated with were “Bad Boys” (this being defined in those days as the boys who smoked cigarettes!). These boys had to repeat enough classes to get a diploma.

So one afternoon in July, around 2:30PM, the five of us lined up in Wee Willie’s office. Please don’t ask me the real name of the Principal. All that remains is the nickname.

Wee Willie did not shake hands with us. He merely handed out the paperwork. The speeches were something like this…

“Stay out of trouble.”
“Stay off school grounds.”
“Stay out of jail.”
“Stay alive.”

And to me…”Good luck.”

That was it. No parents. No photos. No party afterwards. No presents. Nada. Zip. Pack for college. Get out of town.

College graduation. University of Florida. My parents were busy divorcing and expressed no interest in attending graduation ceremonies. I determined very quickly that sitting in the heat of Florida Field at 2PM was a bad thing. Therefore I applied for absentia, drove to my first job and the diploma came in the mail.

Ditto University of Georgia.

That’s why I so appreciate that Little Mind Escape did the ceremony. She’ll never have to look back and wish for that cap and gown experience.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day 

There are electronic gadgets that will jam cell phone signals. Unfortunately, these gadgets are not legal in the US. They could be used AND OUGHT TO BE USED to silence cell phones in church or movie theaters or hospitals…or GRADUATION!

Despite the Dean’s plea at the start of the ceremony, cells rang and people babbled the whole time. The man left to Plant Daddy took a call, then the lady left of them. Then the man to my right yakked on and on . It is totally rude and infuriating. But by golly, I spotted a student in cap and gown chatting away on the gym floor. God help us.

Happy Mother’s Day…

Little Mind Escape gave me a new tablecloth with cute garden theme items…eggplants, pears, onions and flowers. I Love it. Thank you.

I hope my gift got to my Mom on time. I was late getting it in the mail, but hope it arrived???

In the mosaic studio…
Mosaic Mom’s hands are aching and cramping from so much mosaic work out in front of this show on coming up Saturday.

I think I can get the mosaic strawberry pot “Greener Pastures” finished this week. It is tiled and mostly dremelled. I am going to do a quick interior paint tomorrow then start grout work.

There are 2 more 6” mosaic flower pots done ready for clean up and sealer. And that’s going to have to do it. I’ll post photos soon.

In the garden….
We are harvesting lots of eggplant and cukes. The second crop of green beans will be in this week and the tomatoes are just starting for harvest. Onions are showing good size and the little carrots are hanging in there. The okra and peppers are waiting for a spell of hot weather. Should get that this week with temps in the 90’s.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

SHE DID IT! Yay! Little Mind Escape graduated! What a great Mother's Day gift! Posted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

Tomorrow a group will gather to wash the mosaic car before it goes up for sale on e-bay. I'll have to miss since tomorrow is graduation day over at Stetson!!! Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Coverings part 2 

The sales rep at Superior Tile Cutter, Inc. was super. He carried a line of nippers with different cutting heads. In all he had 4 different head models. I know I got on their catalog mailing list. I hope they take direct sales or have a local distributor because I want all those clipping head nippers.

This morning Sonia King, founder and president of SAMA, is speaking on "New Trends in Mosaics". Unfortunately, I need to be DOING mosaics this morning, not listening to a talk about them, so I won't be making another trip to the trade show....although I really, really want to. The show May 14th is good motivation for getting some work done!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Coverings Trade Show 

Yesterday my friend and I attended the Coverings trade show. What an awesome day!

It was the first time I had attended an event in the new Orange County Convention Center. Great building. New, huge, I couldn’t imagine that Coverings was ever held in the smaller building across the street.

Having adequate parking in the convention center area was grand. Plant Daddy and I had actually ditched FNATS nurseryman’s trade show 2 years ago because we simply could not get a parking spot. Access at this new building was easy, signage was good.

At 5:00PM, exiting the new parking area was a nightmare. We mis-read the signs and wound up in the taxi lane. That cost an extra 20 minutes. But otherwise, loved the new location.

Florida Tile deserves first place booth award! They designed their booth like a shoe store. Those shoes and that tile were a perfect combination for style. That this activated both of my addictions didn’t hurt either. They had incorporated a lot of seating area, again just like a shoe store. As people tired out at the end of the day and sat down, there was additional opportunity for the Florida Tile sales staff to make contact.

The second best display was up in the hospitality area. There is a whole second floor area to the show where companies show exclusive lines for select customers. My friend qualified as a select customer and was invited upstairs to see private stock.

I wish I could remember the name of this place, because the way they displayed their glass tile was unique. They put it on a curve instead of on a flat board. This caught the light better so the product looked shinier. This display also suggested more applications.

Totally Unexpected…companies that sell headstones and the machinery to carve them! Hadn’t expected to see that. I saw a solid granite toilet, too!

Nice…the fellows at Hardibacker gave me a lesson in cutting curved shapes in Durarock.I will be loyal forever. Thank you.

Nasty…the Spectra Lock grout systems man greeted me then ditched me for a cell phone call. Was I back at Home Depot? I walked away with a vow never to use his product.

I registered to win a truck at Master Tile, but I never found the Raimondi booth to register to win a new wet saw.

The Chinese had tiles composed of dots the size of a large pin head. They had other tiles with fabulous wavy texture. Beautiful but I can’t believe they can ship these tiles without significant breakage.

There were some Turkish companies showing this micro-mini mosaic inset, too. Lot of circumactum mosaic and/or glaze pattern. The display slabs of Turkish stone were to die for! I’ve never seen stone that rich looking. The Turkish sales guy was very nice to me.

Diago Gallery had a tile that looked like leather. Now there’s an exciting wall treatment.

Adagio fused glass tiles gorgeous. I wished they were giving samples. I’d’a worn it as jewelry.

Jellybeans !

Raku Art Tiles!

Moroccan tiles!

Fascinating Botanical natural look tiles.

Phoenician Arts…love their classical style mosaics in opus regulatum but shipping is probably prohibitive.

COGIR USA had had a unique Scandanavian blue and white cirle tile and some very interesting glazes and textures on their 4x4x1/2” tiles. Learned to watch for metric conversion.

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Mosaic style art tiles!

Lunch at the Peabody.
A shopping spree on I-Drive after convention hours!
What a great, great day it was!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Mosaic Orchid pot, 4" pot, two 6"pots and three mosaic garden rocks. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Indigo Bunting 

The birds were lined up at the bird bath today. The jays went then the mocking bird. Next two thrashers had a dip. Then came the total surprise bird…An Indigo Bunting!!!

Sometimes in April, Bluebirds show up for a few days. I guess they are migrating through. I did not see them this year.

When we had the drought, the Scrub jays, which are also blue colored, came up for water. Usually the Scrub Jays live along the back fence line and we only see them when we go for a walk back there.

We have 3 Blue Jays that visit twice daily.

But an Indigo Bunting was a total treat. I had only ever seen one in Florida and that was up at Lake Jem years ago. This was a single male (I had to look it up in the bird book to be sure I had seen what I had seen). He was exquisitely turquoise. I hope he comes back.

I worked like a maniac this weekend still aiming towards the show May 14th. I have 6 finished ready for sealer, one grout ready, one ready for clean and trim, and four 6” pots painted out. The strawberry pot is painted and the colors selected. Started thinking about the patterns for application this evening.

Plant Daddy got so much accomplished. Go look at his photos! Go, Daddy, Go.

More Bird thoughts
The last two evenings while walking, I have heard but not seen the Sand Hill Cranes.
The NightHawks are here already so it officially summer. Also since Bland has expanded his lake, there are Whip-o-will calls coming from the south now. They used to only be in the lake north of us.

If you can understand the phrase…”used to only be…” you are a Southerner no matter what the linguistic quiz says.

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