The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Bouggie on Down! 

Despite the heat, Plant Daddy and I have been improving the landscape around here. We've planted Bougainvillas along the front fence line.

Friday, July 29, 2005

To my surprize, I opened today's mail and saw that my article on vines was printed in our local Horticultural Learning Center Newsletter...

Vine Time

Do you need to hide a view? Want to soften hardscape fencing? Do you love low maintenance/high yield plants? Vines may be the solution for you.

Our vine collection began as an attempt to disguise an unsightly view of a dumpster across our west fence. We began with the Honeysuckles, Lonicera japonica and L. sempervirens. This immediately attracted hummingbirds for our enjoyment. We allowed Blackberry, Rubus spp. to naturalize and its fruits attract mocking birds and jays.

Blue flowered Thunbergia grandiflora has performed well in this hot, dry location but Dicentra (Bleeding Heart) and Quisqualis (Rangoon Creeper) failed to establish. Jasmine mesnyi, Primrose jasmine, not a true vine but a sprawling shrub, gets supported along the wire. It was easy to start and adds bright yellow bloom in the summer.

A wooden panel fence north of our screen porch hosts Confederate jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides. Can’t miss its powerful fragrance every May!

A sturdy section of chain link fence on our east side was taken over for the Wisteria. Both purple and white varieties are absolutely brilliant every April. Under the Wisteria canopy are ground cover vines, Hedera and Vinca.

A Clittoria variety someone gave us a few years ago rewards us with deep blue flowers. It grows alongside the intense red flowers and delicate foliage of Ipomea quamoclit, Cypress vine. Ipomea “Blackie” was eaten to death, otherwise all the vines are pest free.

Northern visitors are impressed with the amazing Gloriosa Lily, G. rothschildiana . We are ashamed to admit there is Passiflora in our pasture although some types are considered exotics. Last night we added the newest of our collection Antigonon (Coral Vine) to the front/north property line fence.

Vines give a flowing, free form appearance so this may not be an appropriate collection for a small formal garden. However, given room and support of a fence or trellis, these vines provide lots of low maintenance color, texture and enjoyment.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Christmas time? 

Yay! and a Big THANK YOU to my Mom for sending Christmas figurines for the mosaic Christmas tree! Whoo Hoo!

Doesn't it feel kind of odd though to give a gift to someone and you know they're going to hit it with a hammer?

And the Rooster figurine is going to be the featured piece for the Barn.

Now, if only the weather felt a little more like Christmas. Man, it's soooo hot.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Glue Disaster 

I had ONE LAST PIECE to attach to the mosaic watering can yesterday. A five minute job, yes?

Oh no! I globbed the silicon adhesive all over the side of the can.

Silicon is a mess to clean up. It made a haze when I wiped it. It didn't want to come off the porous surfaces...of, course the watering can wasn't sealed yet...
When I finally risked using a little mineral spirits, I dripped into the grout and got the grout oily.

All this in 96 degree heat for 45 minutes. Not Happy.

Our Ford Lawn Mower has finally died. After 9 years and numerous unfruitful trips to the repair shop lately, we gave up and bought a Deere. Plant Daddy is mowing on a smooth ride now. Photo soon.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Zeus Speaks... 

"Forget mosaics and gardening....when is someone around here going to pay attention to ME!!??"

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Blue moth 

This really pretty moth landed on the edge of my grout bucket.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Coupon Queen 

I shop with coupons.

I love coupons. Coupons is a sport. I am pretty good at it.

Last night we went to Lowe’s with a contractor’s coupon that had arrived in the mail. This coupon allowed me to buy a 24 pack case of Zephyrhills bottled water for $2.97. We bought 10 cases.

If I had bought that water at Publix, the cost would have been $4.50 a pack. So I saved $15.00 and will have several months supply.

Last week Office Max sent a coupon “$10.00 off purchases of $10.00 or more”. I went up and bought a jumbo box of Sweet N Low, a box of envelopes and a pencil. I paid 12 cents.

I routinely knock $6 to $8 dollars off my Publix bill. Since I only shop Publix for groceries, I have their floor plan memorized. I make my shopping list according to that floor plan. I also keep my coupons organized by Aisle number. I am a machine!

Anyway, no shopping today. I have 3 pieces to grout…if I can stand the heat. It was 96 degrees in the studio at noon yesterday. This weather is only good for sitting around the pool.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Tired of Okra, Ready for Beans Again 

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Chinese Food for Thought 

Wanna know what Mosaic Mom and Plant Daddy do in the privacy of their own home on Monday and Tuesday nights???

We study the History of China, of course. What were you thinking?

There is absolutely nothing on TV those nights, so we pop in our tapes from The Teaching Company and get down with the Han Dynasty. Last night we watched the lecture on Confucianism, Daoism and Moism. We had never heard of Moism and now we know Mo.

We are struggling a little because we are only up to 0 A.D. (zero A.D.) and already the Chinese have had 5 dynasties and can trace a history back 12,000 years. I can kinda co-date to Western Civ, but mostly I find myself saying “Hey, the West didn’t get that till 1200 A.D. and the Chinese have it at 200B.C.” I also wish I knew more Vedic/Hindu/Indian history and could think about how these civs were influencing each other. If the Learning Company has a tape of Indian history, I will buy that next.

What has impressed me the most so far was this…about 1200 BC, the Zhou people decided to overthrow the Shang Dynasty. “Grandpa” Zhou set out a plan that would take 300 years to get done, but the family kept at it and got it done. I had never heard of long range planning like that before. It’s scary isn’t it?

I have wondered for a long time why the Chinese didn’t develop mosaics or even tile art forms. They were awesomely advanced in ceramics, but it I wonder why it never went in that direction as it did for the Greco-Roman culture. Hmmm. Was the invention of mortar that important in western civilization? Was its formula that closely guarded?

Well, it gives us something to think about besides the crap and pap on TV networks.

Monday, July 18, 2005

No Stinkin' Lincoln 

It is 91 degrees in the mosaic studio and I have just knocked off for the afternoon. It rained about an hour ago but instead of cooling us off, it just created a steam bath.

I find myself impressed with a couple of things…

1. The guy who cut my hair on Saturday understands Florida weather. In this humidity, my hair is standing straight out in a wild frizz. His cut however, makes this look as if by design. So he’ll get a second visit.

2. Pleased with Tom’s Natural Toothpaste, I bought Tom’s Natural Deodorant. Since it is a product from New England, I fully expected it to fail in Florida. I thought it was probably fine for dainty Vermont armpits where a “hot” day is 80 degrees, but no way would it work here. Surprise! Surprise! So far so good. It has stood up to a day of wet sawing, mortar mixing and Bissazza crunching and I ain’t no stinkin’ Lincoln.

3. Speaking of Lincoln, the Society of Mosaic Artists sent an announcement that the next convention will be in Chicago in March. There’s a cool breeze of a thought on a hot afternoon.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Hair I Go Again 

I am going to the beauty salon this afternoon.

For most women, this might be a pleasure to look forward to, but I can feel the anxiety increasing as the hours pass.

I’m the kind of person who watches the make over shows on TV and I think the people looked better BEFORE the make over. “Products” make me sneeze. I once caught a horrible rash from one of those neck bowls.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good haircut. But I rarely get a cut that doesn’t require Plant Daddy to do a touch up in the back while I sit on a stool nekkid in the carport with a hand mirror. (Actually Plant Daddy gives a great haircut. I just can’t impose on him regularly).

Here are some of my salon memories…

At the age of 8, my mom took me to the beauty parlor. Waist length braids transformed to “poodle perm” in a matter of minutes. I cried for weeks.

When beginning my career in Atlanta, I went to a salon recommended by my friend Charlene. The stylist/owner “Jerry” invited me to rendezvous at his mountain cabin.
“But you’re a married man,” I protested as I refused.

He over processed the perm and I had an afro for months and months.

I loved Debbie. I saw her through 3 salons and she saw me through all the changing colors of my 30’s. Unfortunately Debbie left Florida.

After Debbie there was the gay guy who shaved my hair up to my ears; a Puerto Rican lady who kept shouting “Punk! Punk!” as she chopped; a cocaine addict who wanted me to drop the salon and come to her house. She said I could hop in her shower (yeah, right).

There was a woman with jet black dyed hair who never had a nice thing to say about any of her customers. (Gee, do you think she said ugly things about me after I left, too?)
There was a guy studying to be a barber. He gave a good cut but preferred the routine of men’s cuts to the flair of women’s style. There was a very heavy lady who sang Jesus songs the whole time.

All I want is a decent haircut. With a deep sigh, off I go. Will it be the start of a solid professional relationship or just another one cut stand?

Friday, July 15, 2005


Because it takes a while for adhesives to set...especially in this heat and humidity...I am working a mosaic on a watering can as well as 3 door holders and a Christmas tree. That way, something always needs a step.

Dremel the Christmas tree glass; add a piece to the watering can; check the mortar set on the door stop. Then run back to the house and get into the air conditioning. Repeat throughout the day.

In the cool of the evening yesterday, Plant Daddy and I planted 2 saucer hibiscus, 2 Turk's cap hibiscus, 3 Bougainvillas and 12 Lantana across the front fence line. Home improvement. Photos soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Mosaic Birthday Present 

Mosaic cat checks out neat mosaic birthday gifts...broken costume jewelry and chipped ceramic figurines!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

More Hurricane Amusement 

Don’t cha think there’s a profit to be made by corporate sponsorship on the Weather Channel?

“This Hurricane is brought to you by……”

A…Allstate Insurance
B…Bush’s Baked Beans
C…Coca Cola
D…Duracell Batteries
E…Energizer Batteries
F…Florida Tourist Council…PLEEEZE come back, ya’ll tourists!
G…Goodyear Tires…When ya gotta evacuate, Go Goodyear
H…Home Depot
I…Icehouse Beer…for your hurricane party needs
J…Johnson and Johnson First Aid Kits
K...Kingsford Charcoal
M…Mutual of Omaha Insurance
N…Nationwide Insurance
P…Publix…stock up early
Q…Quality Pump and Drain Service
R…Reynolds Aluminum Foil…line your grill
U…Universal Generator Service
V…Vegas...It's Dry Here...
W…Walt Disney World…PLEEZE come back, ya’ll tourists!
Y…YMCA…where you can get a hot shower if you ain’t got power
Z…Zephyrhills Bottled water

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Weather Entertainment 

Do you think that the weather channel or the weather forecasts on TV local stations are about news? They most certainly are not.

Those weather jockeys can barely contain their glee when they have a weather event to hype. Therefore, given that weather is not news, but entertainment, Plant Daddy and I got to thinking….

We do not like the way hurricanes are named.

First off, we think the names are not inclusive. After decades of female names, they finally included men’s names. Then in the 1990’s they added Hispanic names. Both of those were good moves. But the names are still boring milquetoast. We think Black and Asian names should also be used.

Like what about “Hurricane LaShondra”? Maybe “Hurricane Leehow”? “Hurricane Akbar Al-Sahid”?

Second, Hurricane names could be historical. That would be entertaining. Maybe “Hurricane Ben Franklin” and the weather team could interject stories about lightning. Or “Hurricane Chief Sitting Bull” and they could feature stories about tornados?

Third, we think they could generate a lot of cash by letting rich people buy names. Then we could have “Hurricane Shaquille O’Neal” devastating Houston. Or we could have a Pacific “Hurricane Kobe” that fizzled out.

Or will “Hurricane Obama” become organized in 2008? If we have “Hurricane Paris Hilton” are we all screwed? Does “Hurricane Saddam” find us all hiding in a bunker spider hole?

There’s some profit to be made here! Sell them names. Let us make book on the outcome!

As you can determine, we Floridians are punch drunk. And here comes another one.
Oh joy !

Monday, July 11, 2005

Thick as a Brick 

Hurricane Dennis has passed and today is brightly sunny and steamy.

The atmosphere is so thick that I walked out to the mailbox and decided to stay indoors the rest of the day. Scuba gear would be appropo. Am I ever going to get any mosaics done? Can you spell October?

So here comes Hurricane Emily.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Hurricane Update 

Nothing happened here except for Plant Daddy climbing up in the attic to see why there is a leak around the fireplace. He could not find and obvious wet spots in the roof, so when the weather dries out a bit, we will caulk again around the outside of the chimney.

Little Mind Escape came home to help us eat birthday cake. We had fun. Didn't have to use birthday cake candles for emergency lighting.

I have an order for 6 mosaic door holders. Yay! I got started today however, the temperature is only 83 degrees but the heat index is 97 degrees. It is a steam bucket that takes your breath away outside.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


To the tune of “Happy Birthday to You…and many more..or..or..”

Happy Birthday to me.
I’m now fifty-three.
Plant Daddy gave me orchids
And pruned up a tree…
That blocked my view…ew..ew.

Dennis joins the party

It’s dense outside. The sky is low and totally grey. The air conditioner has the house at 75 degrees, and all the windows are totally fogged.

There will no doubt be squally rain all day. We should be totally okay unless the wind speed in Crystal River exceeds 40 mph. At that point they will have to shut down the nuclear reactor and we’ll lose power for several hours.

We’ll all do what we can to help the folks in the panhandle tomorrow.

Friday, July 08, 2005

No Mosaic Momentum 

Wednesday we went to see our friend in the hospital. He had the greatest hospital room I have ever seen. He is at ORMC and can watch the helicopters flying in and out onto the helipad. Awesome.
And, Bonus, since he was in the Navy and served on a helicopter ship, he can sleep right through their noise and lights if he wants. Get Well Soon!

I've spent the last week or so trying to get the dumpster company to tip the can. It is July and the odors and the racoons are rampant. Finally after I complained to the county health dept., the dumpster people phoned to say they'd be here at noon.

Well, it is 1:30 and a no show, so another round of phone tags next week.

Pray for the folks in the Florida panhandle. Dennis looks bad.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Broken Bling on Mosaics 

People manhandle mosaics. Prepare for it both in construction and display.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Lookey What I Found! 

This is my driveway. This is a Coral Snake in my driveway. It is deadly poisonous.I do not know if it is a Texas Coral snake or an Eastern coral snake. By the time you read this it will be a dead coral snake.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

What a day! 

Matt...go over to the Ace Hardware in Tavares and ask Brian how it works.

Ricki...the peppers grown from seed from your Mom's plant are ready for pick up and transplant.

Fast Wind 

When Plant Daddy and I watched the 11 o'clock news and weather report last night, there were 2 tropical disturbances in the ocean. Neither had names.

This morning we have Tropical Storm Cindy and Tropical Storm Dennis. That was fast.

Looks like Dennis is headed this way. Bummer.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Christmas Mosaic 

Only 20 days and 5 months till Christmas!!!

That means I’ll spend the 4th of July applying Bissazza to the mosaic Christmas tree.

Later in the afternoon, we’ll have a swim and a BBQ with some pork chops and corn on the cob. The heat is fierce. Tropical Storm Cindy is headed for Texas and is sucking all the rain over there. This time we are high and dry and hot.

We passed the equinox 2 weeks ago. So I will remind myself as I am sweating in the studio today that the days are getting shorter.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

"Chain Smoker"

Friday, July 01, 2005

Blogger's on it 

I checked the Blogger help page. They are aware that they did something that caused the header spacing to go off. On the help page was some code that I was supposed to copy into my code writing page that MIGHT solve the problem...as if I should be messing around on that page at all! Sheesh! Anyway, they're on it and it should be fixed soon.

Mucho Mosaics 

I have finished another mosaic head/face. His name is "Chain Smoker". I have designed a stand...I hope Plant Daddy has some free time to weld this weekend. But I have yet to figure out how to mosaic a cigarette. Any suggestions?

I have started a third mosaic shoe! I have worked out a lot of the bugs and think I can now offer this as a class/workshop. I will see Rosemarie about it next week.

Good progress on the mosaic Christmas tree. Decided to use some ornaments that Little Mind Escape crafted! So it will be a complete family project...Plant Daddy's sculpture, my mosaics and Mind Escape's ornaments.

Other than that it's hot. Time to think about grilling chicken wings for the weekend picnic.

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