The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Proficiency Test 

The Radish, Fennel, Potato Salad was a flop. After all that slicing and dicing and chopping...it was a fairly bland event.

Thank goodness for that because the Okra Bhindi was hot, hot, hot.

I had to mix the two together to eat supper. Plant Daddy on the other hand loved Okra for the first time, couldn't get enough!

Anyway, the trick about the Radish Salad is that it will stay with you ALL NIGHT. Even with Tums, you will wake up at 2:00AM and shout, "Is the house on fire?"

Friday, September 29, 2006

SAMA and Masala 

SAMA, The Society for American Mosaic Artists, sent me a personal password yesterday. At some point I am supposed to log on to their newly designed web page and create a personal space.

I am very happy about this. I have been trying for three years to get them to update my photo in the members gallery. Now I will be able to do it myself!

There’s probably going to be high traffic at the site over the weekend, so I’m going to sit back and let some other people try this first and work out the bugs. I’ll link you over when I get my page up over there.

In the mean time, I saw an announcement in the paper today about another Fall Festival I might get a booth at. I’ll call them over the weekend, won’t dilly dally lest they sell out!

It’s kinda fall-ish weather. Usually we don’t see this for 3 more weeks yet. The highs are still near 90 but it’s dry. You can catch your breath out there.

So I took a walk across the pasture this afternoon. Saw 7 very large crows, the fox squirrel and the biggest spider I have ever seen in my life. Supersized nature all afternoon.

I tried a recipe this morning that I will never make again. I haven’t even tasted it yet, but just doing the vegetable prep work took an hour and 15 minutes and I haven’t even cooked the potatoes! Here it is:

Warm Potato, Radish, and Fennel Salad: In a bowl mix 1 Tbsp chopped fennel leaves, 1 tsp grated lemon zest, 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper. Whisk in ¼ cup olive oil. Thinly slice 1 fresh fennel bulb. Add the sliced fennel, 10 sliced radishes and ¼ cup red onion to the salad. (up to that point was over an hour!) Cook 1 lb ¼ inch sliced baby red potatoes in salted boiling water, covered about 7 minutes. Drain. Add to salad and toss. Shave ½ cup Parmesan cheese over top. Serve warm.
I hope it’s good cause it ain’t never happening again!

Also tonight a new okra recipe. I bought this packet of stuff called Bhindi Masala. Basically all I have to do is cook the okra and dump the packet of stuff on. I hope it’s good because those are cooking instructions I can handle!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Yesterday I picked up 3 excellent rocks. I will convert them to "happy rocks" over the weekend.

I picked up the phone on Tuesday. Asked the lady who answered if I could buy a booth in their craft fair in November.

"Nope, sold out," she snapped.

What show sells out in their first year?

Oh well. Perhaps I'll have a mosaics studio open house that weekend...or a garage sale.

Since the weather is cooler...89 instead of 91,,,and that DOES make a difference...I spent the day fertilizing the garden. Yum, Okra. Alton Brown did a show on how to cook okra last night. I'm inspired. Will cook today.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

That's Better. 

Okay Blogger got fixed.
Here's a photo at 7:00AM yesterday in my front yard.

Stupid Blogger!!! GRRRR! 

I want to post a photo of the power company from yesterday but Blogger is burping...AGAIN! GRRRR!

The phone repair man has not shown up yet either. GRRR!

This will not put me in a cheerful mood on the day.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Power Yes, Phone Maybe 

The power guys got us transferred and we were only without juice for 3 hours.
Now the timeclocks are all reset on irrigation and propagation lines and we are good to go...almost...

Oops...the power guys broke the phone line.
So how am I posting?
The power crew patched up for a temporary service.
I'm good unless it rains and shorts out...SIGH

Embarkque promises repairs by Thursday...

Back is Back 

My back is better. I have basic mobility again. I ain't ready to go dancin', but I can get up and around on my own. Yay!

The power company never showed up last Tuesday, but they said they will be here today to cut power ans swap out for a new power pole. Meanwhile I have turned the air conditioner way cold to chill the house in case they make a long morning of it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tomorrow fer sher 

The linesman pulled in to the driveway again today and said they'd be here to cut power and install the new power pole tomorrow...

will they or won't they?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thirty Years Ago This Fall and Here We Are Again 

Déjà vu.

One fall morning, thirty years ago, I drove my little red Toyota pick-up truck from Athens to LaGrange (about a 2 hour drive) and spent the day helping my mother with chores.

One of the chores was to take her two old and totally loveable dogs to the vet. They enjoyed going bye-bye truck, but weren’t able to hop up into the truck bed on their own.

So I bent over and lifted each 60 lb. Mutt in and out. 4 times that day.

That evening I drove back to Athens…and when I arrived at my apartment, I couldn’t get out of the truck.

I had to throw myself onto the ground and crawl inside on my hands and knees. I couldn’t get out of bed the next day. It was excruciating low back pain.

I had to phone somebody to come help me get to the student clinic. With good drugs and bed rest, I finally recovered. It was awful.

Through all my years of nursery work, I had some backaches, but nothing ever approached that Athens event…until now.

Lifting six 50 lb. golf cart batteries did the job. (And just to make sure, I planted 5 rows of onions the next day).

I am in agony. I am on prescription Motrin and still in agony. Plantdaddy has rubbed me twice with Icy Hot. Agony. Hot showers. Agony.

Can’t sit. Can’t stand. Can lay in bed with pillows under my knees but can’t get out of bed on my own.

I hate myself for being so stupid.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Cat Mosaic 

Everything I mosaic has cat hair in it...
and I wouldn't want it any other way.
This is the best cat ever!!

Well, I do need to throw some d-con up in the attic. I heard mice last night. Plant Daddy says they're in his lab at work. Sharon says they're in her house in Apopka. Another cold winter coming.

Meanwhile, it's 91 degrees today and I hate the hot weather when it's September and I soooo want to cool off! Grrr.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Radish Salsa 

Corn, Avocado and Radish Salsa

Dice 9 large radishes and toss in a bowl with

1 avocado chopped and
1 cup of corn and
3 Tablespoons of chopped onion and

squeeze the juice of 1 lime all over it and lots of salt and pepper. Yum.

However….if you’re at the store getting these ingredients, I suggest you stop by the aisle where they stock Lysol and Oust and Glade…if you get my drift!

Corn, Avocado, Radish Salsa spells out C…A…R…S…and if you’re riding in the car later after supper you remember the O for onions because you say “O” for “Open the goddam window!”

Thursday, September 21, 2006

All Wet 

Remember when I wrote a poem that talked about how it rains every time my neighbor cuts hay?
Well, he did and it did.

I can't tell if I'm sick from a cold or just terminally stopped up from pollen and dust since the neighbor's cutting and baling hay.

The neighbor across the street is cutting and baling hay too. It is hopeless for me to think of existing right now without sinus drainer medicine.

The power boys are still having confabs in my front yard but still have not cut power and installed me a new pole.

I have finished my writing assignment. If the teacher says it doesn't stink, I'll post it. Meanwhile I'm going to go find some Afrin. I was going to write something inspirational about gurus, but all I can think about at the moment is how I can't breathe.

Life's pretty basic ain't it?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mosaic Inspiration 

I take a writing/publishing class in Barbara Doll's Art Room at Mt Dora High School on Tuesday nights.

This is a very inspirational setting...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Good Bye Ruby Tuesday 

I spent my day doing the laundry I could postpone yesterday since the power outage wasn't going to be an issue. I vacuumed, dusted, scrubbed, baked a potatoe casserole and was otherwise domestic.

Then off to Writer's Class for the evening. Plant Daddy picked up where I left off and while I was gone he baked apple turnovers! Yum!

I have a photo to post tomorrow, but the connection isn't working and all I can say is STUPID BLOGGER! Grrr! All those kids from California must be on line and jamming it up. Grrr!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Change in Plans 

A hot, tired, sad looking linesman showed up at 4:00PM. He said all had not gone well on the day. His crew was behind and they would not be getting to my electric pole switchout on Tuesday. They would let me know 24 hours before it happens tho.

So look for a blog right here tomorrow!
When I closed the gate behind the linesman, I found my ebay order in the driveway! My first ebay order ever, Yay! Stands for the mosaic shoes.

First Fall Okra 

We haven’t gardened all summer because of the heat, but the first fall harvest is in! I had fresh home grown Okra for supper last night…

translation…as hard as he tries, Plant Daddy cannot swallow slickery Okra…

There will be no blog tomorrow since we are expecting the power company to execute a transmission line transfer…

translation…They gonna put in a new power pole in the front yard and they gotta cut service to the house for a while to do that….Mom, not being an early riser, may not get a shower in the morning and may be stinky all day!

I gotta get all the laundry done and ironed today…can’t do it tomorrow. Also gotta get all my writer class homework done and printed.

Here is a photo of the Okra flower.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Christmas Mosaics 

Christmas is coming fast!

I started a small Christmas tree today. My plan is to take the big mosaic tree to the craft show and use it as the hooker to sell the small ones!

Then I thought Little Mind Escape might like to use the big mosaic tree for store decoration.

Then I thought about how good the tree is going to look next to our fireplace on Christmas Eve. Happy mosaic dreams.

Work was slow in the studio tho since it's still over 90 degrees! Grrrrr.

Will plant more blackberries tonight and a second planting of radishes!

Plant Daddy cleaned out the center greenhouse for winter vegetable production.
Yay! Lettuce!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Mosaic Mom's Mall Trip 

My Day at the Mall

An anomolie!!! …Mom spiffs up…

The dermatologist cleared me for applying make-up and I couldn’t wait to spackle some pancake over that damn skin cancer spot on my cheek!

Masking being accomplished, I toodled over to the local mall for a hair-cut.

The luck of the draw hair cutter was (yikes!) YOUNGER than Little Mind Escape and while she didn’t give me a great clip, it’s adequate and I feel peppier!

At Books a Million, one clerk was available for 7 customers in line at the coffee bar, so I grabbed a chair, rested my feet and just scooted up as the line got shorter. Originally I was going to buy Plant Daddy’s Rice Krispy Treats and chocolate for Uncle Eddie and Chai Tea, but being annoyed after a 15 minute line trek, all I bought was the Krispy Treats. Grrr.

Looked for dish towels at the Dollar Store but didn’t like the designs.

Got my wrist watch battery replaced.

Scouted Home Depot unsuccessfully for paver tiles.

Scored Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner. Yum!

After dinner Plant Daddy and I will be planting blackberries along the front fence!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Mosaics and Writing 

When I started making mosaics 7 years ago, I struggled on each project just to control the materials.

Substrate properties. Tesserae properties.
I had to learn to select the best adhesive for the application.
I had to learn to mix mortar consistently, use a trowel, use a caulk gun, pick the right PVA. Grout. Polish. Sealers.

I had to learn to cut precisely by hand, snap cutter, wet saw.

I had to learn design elements specific to this art form.

It took me about 3 years till I felt like I could solve almost any problem that was going to crop up. About 4 years until I could walk in the studio and produce exactly what I had conceived.

In other words, the materials handling no longer got in the way of artistic expression.

When I first began to write my masters thesis, the mechanics of scientific writing were hard. Now, after 30 years, I can crank that stuff out in my sleep.

I wonder how long it will take me to feel as if I’ve got a mastery of the mechanics of fiction writing?

Good News...The phone company service call just boosted my internet speed from 33 to 48KB. It won't stay fixed, but it's a zippy day today.

Bad News...The power company will shut us down on Tuesday for transmission line work. No Air Conditioning for a hot flashing woman...nargh!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Durock and Bisazza 

Today is like Durock and Bisazza...there will be shining moments and basic dull cement.

I have to go to the dermatologist. I hope the cancer is gone off of my face. I am so tired of looking at that big red blob on my cheek. Grrrr.
Hopefully the Effudux has done its job and eliminated it.

Happy Birthday to Suzy! Yay!

I have to go to writers Group tonight. I am discouraged. It has taken me 2 days to write one paragraph. I am apparently as slow at writing as I am at Mosaics. Sigh!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Get Published Class 

Despite the fresh new buildings there, being at Mt Dora High School last night for Writers Class was eerie.

I had not been on that campus since the fall term of 2000.

Susan Weinstock was still the art teacher there at that time. We were working on a community art project for the YMCA.

In order to collect her students’ contributions, I drove onto campus one morning, parked and walked in, but found the main office doors locked.

“Odd,” I thought. So I rapped on the glass.

An alarmed looking principal unlocked the door, poked his head out, and hissed, “What are you doing here?”

“Collecting student art from Mrs. Weinstock for the YMCA display.”

“How did you get in? This campus is under lockdown! Didn’t the police stop you?”

“ No police out there,” I replied.

He withdrew inside and locked the door again, leaving me outside with whatever the threat was. I could see a pow-wow happening on the other side of the door.

Within minutes, the school bell sounded and the campus boiled with teenagers changing classes. Apparently, the police had left but forgot to tell the school to go back to normal.

I got my visitor pass, retrieved the art and left. Never had reason to go back.

Susan passed away from cancer in the spring 6 or 7 years ago.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Classy Classes 

Even though Suzy didn't have a Drawing Class and I didn't have a Mosaics class, we met for a picnic in the Art Room at THS. We enjoyed shrimp salad and cookies, then did a thorough cleaning...stacked chairs, moved tables, hung art on the walls. It really looked spiffy.

Today I am really really really looking forward to the Writers Class in Mt.Dora. I haven't taken a writing class since beginning journalism in college!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

All Dressed Up... 

and no where to go.
Due to insufficient enrollment, Basic Mosaics will not be offered through Lake County Adult Education this term. We'll offer again in October.

This is my Mobile Mosaics Cart Transport system that Plant Daddy rigged for me...based on his fishing cart model. I'll just leave it packed for next time!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Music Mosaic 

I heard this little song on the radio as I was driving home from the mall this afternoon…

Where do bad people go when they die?
They don’t go up where the angels fly.
They swim in a lake where they boil and fry
Don’t see ‘em again till the 4th of July.

Ain’t that cuuuute?

You just gotta love those jolly Nirvanah boys…that Kurt Cobain...yes, um hum.

Friday, September 08, 2006

EBAY Good! 

Last night,under Plant Daddy's aegis, I made my first purchase on EBAY!!!
I got these risers for my mosaic shoes.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Mosaics Class Starts Monday! 

Let’s HAVE FUN…and make something beautiful and useful!

Syllabus/ Week to week …what’s on tap in the studio…

Week 1. September 11th….Introduction…the History Channel, Discovery Channel, ….followed by HGTV!…The history of mosaics, the science of mosaics and the How-To of mosaic art! Practice making basic cuts and select your project for the class!

Week 2. Sept 18th. Ladies, Start your engines…er, your Projects. Paint, Sand, Measure, Nip and Cut…Learn to mix mortar. Massage the Mastik! Get those creative designs outlined! It’s a “SNAP”!

Week 3. Sept 25th. Tesserae, Tesserae, everywhere Tesserae.

Week 4. October 2nd. Start this scary month off with a Guide to Grout! We won’t be cleaning it! Heavens no. This class is FUN… not work! Learn to select colors. Do you want that with or without sand? What grout will and won’t do…Some of you speedy gals may be ready to apply grout and start a second project! Wow!

Week 5. October 9th. Happy Birthday to my sister. She crochets for a hobby. Keeps her warm up in North Dakota! Anyway, here in Florida, we should be finishing up the designs and applying grout to the projects.

Week 6. October 16th. We’ll learn a trick to finishing the edges of a mosaic…and did your paint get “dinged” ? Time for a touch up. Then let’s apply sealers.

Week 7. October 23rd. Final Class. Mosaic Artists have a secret tradition. Come learn what it is…ooooh’s and aaaahhh’s all the way round…guaranteed! You can fill out the teacher evaluation and…Did you sign up for “Holiday Mosaics” beginning October 30th?

Register by calling 352-253-6780!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mango Mosaic 

It’s all about the Mangos

It kills me to say this…

I now have a Winn-Dixie card.

See, I had been a chauvinistically loyal Publix shopper since 1972 when I came to Florida, but there’s been a shift in paradigm.

So what changed?

My friend Suzy dragged me into the Tavares Winn Dixie one afternoon. She was getting fruits and vegetables for her art class to draw still lifes. Those were beautiful fruits and vegetables.

Yes, I am impressed by quality produce.

I especially noticed that the mangos were 99 cents, while at Publix they were 1.29 for far less quality. I bought some mangos and they were perfect.

Then I tried some bell peppers and tomatoes. Perfect again.

I went back for lettuce, green beans, squash and mini-watermelon. I applied for the card.

I’m still not brave enough to scout out the canned goods and staples at W-D. Let alone their meat case, but it’s a start.

The monopoly is over.

P.S. You may wonder why I don’t have all this from my own garden. Good question.

I do not garden in July and August when it is 10,000 degrees outside. Now that it is past Labor Day, I have started the fall garden and will enjoy cultivating in the cool evenings.

During mid summer, I am grocery store dependent, just like Yankees are in mid winter.

Also note: We have germinated 2 mango seeds! Go PlantDaddy! Maybe by 2008, we’ll have our own Mango crop!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Mosaic Christmas Tree 

The Mosaic Christmas Tree is complete now. I have dremeled all that I am going to dremel! Tonight, Plant Daddy will help me move it to the office for storage till Christmas!

The Brocolli seeds I planted have imbibed...are all swollen up with water...should germinate today or tomorrow. I seeded Radish, Cabbage, Turnips and Collards yesterday, too.

Yeah, Yeah, I know I should not eat Collards and Turnips. I once had to go to the emergency room after eating them. Seems I am sensitive to oxalic acid. But I love them, so I'm tempting fate here.

This is what we call Risky Behavior when you're a middle age garden mosaic lady!

Monday, September 04, 2006

He's Baaaack! 

Sand Hill Crane Daddy was back at the bird feeder this morning. Yay!

The Ground Doves never returned after the hurricanes, but the Mourning Doves and Island Doves are thriving under Plant Daddy’s regular feeding program.

So are the Quail!
We have 2…let’s hope for a good breeding season for them…however…the other morning, Plant Daddy saw the Coyote in Bland’s pasture. Not good for Quail or Zeus.

My chores today are pay bills and go to the Dollar General to buy dish towels.
I’d better spend some time writing Mosaic Class Handouts, too. Classes start one week from today!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The garden so far:

Two Bell Peppers...Cal Wonder Variety

Onions from seed...Texas Grano

Five assorted Tomatoes...three seedlings from the last patio crop, one Roma and a new variety from Plant Daddy's friend Ed.

Today is Broccoli Day...I will get those seeds in today fer shure!

Maybe some cabbage ,too.

Green Beans looking good...Cherokee Wax and Contenders.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Correll Dinnerware 

Cleaning up the mosaic studio last night, I came across a Correll plate.
Corelle is the type that says it won’t break.

I thought I would chunk it up and let the students use it for class next week.

I pinched it with the nippers. Nothing.
I tapped it with a hammer. Nothing.
I dropped it on the concrete floor. Nothing.

I got a bigger hammer and WHOA!

That Corelle plate SPLINTERED.

No nice chunks for mosaics, just hundreds of pieces 2 inches long by 1/8th inch wide and sharp, sharp sharp like needles on each end.

Plant Daddy helped me get it all sucked up into the Shop-Vac.

Did I wrap the plate in newspaper before I hit it...in the manner in which I will instruct my students to do it for SAFETY REASONS??? Why of course not, but I sure had a big reminder why that's an important step!

Thanks to my friend Anne for sending a dish (not the Correlle dish) with a great bird and fruit design.
I will use that on a birdhouse definitely!

Friday, September 01, 2006

My cabin doesn't leak when it doesn't rain 

Mosaic Classes

Yesterday I started assembling supplies for Beginning Mosaics Classes which start September 11th.

It has rained already this morning, now the sun is out. It is going to be humid all day.

Once upon a time, Plant Daddy and I considered leaving Florida for cooler climes. We heard of the White River area in Arkansas. Nice fishing for Plant Daddy. Cold weather for me to plant bulbs. Yay Tulips!

To research this area, we subscribed to the local newspaper there. Things were looking good; the paper reported on the local arts group, library committee, and they had a thriving Parish. I was ready to go.

Land prices were SOOOO LOW!!! … a few hundred dollars an acre. I asked my friend Betty, a snow bird from Arkansas, “What’s up with these great prices?”

“What’s up is the land,” said Betty. “Literally.”

I didn’t get it.

Betty explained that the acreage was on the side of a mountain. It would never be suitable for a homesite. It was too steep and rocky.

Today’s Orlando Sentinel reports a story about people who bought Florida swampland via the internet. Cheap prices, sight unseen. Why would people do that?

I don’t get it!

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