The process of creating my mosaic art pieces.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Long Weekend 

Kid came home for a quick visit and told us all about her adventures in cooking school.

Does the heart good to see her so happy and doing something she loves.
This week pastry...tomorrow the world.

Plant Daddy and the Z boys worked hard today on their cars and also did repairs on the mower and the pressure washer.

On Friday, I got a manuscript that needs an edit so I have been mostly pounding at the keyboard for 2 days. It's 27 pages of scientific stuff and the formatting of those scientific equations is tough!

Maybe we'll all get a break by Labor Day Weekend!
Oh, I guess not. That's plant the garden weekend.
It never ends.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mosaic Life Lessons 

Learning Life Lessons To Learn Over and Over Again…because sometimes I forget.

Lesson 1) The Winn Dixie Rule: You can shop at Winn-Dixie, but you can never check out.

I needed the popsicles Plant Daddy likes. W-D is the only store that carries that brand he likes. I had not been to Winn Dixie since April, but I ventured forth.
Nice new store, smelled clean. Found the goods, made a B-line for check-out.

I unloaded the popsicles onto the belt. I was psyched…and the man in front of me tells the checker… “I left my wallet in the car. I’ll go get it.”


We wait and wait and wait.

“Gee, I hope he comes back,” says the checker.

I loaded my popsicles back into the cart and headed to the other station.

There are 3 people in the only other open lane.
They are ALL using welfare cards to buy baby formula and the clerk is checking them very carefully.

I tell myself to pack my patience. Eventually they get finished and I get to pay and out in the parking lot…

The welfare crew piles into a $40,000 Royal Blue Dodge Truck, ¾ ton dual rear wheel, SHINY NEW TRUCK…with Indiana plates. Poor? HA! I’m the stupid one!

Lesson 2) The Rogan Josh Rule: If you eat Rogan Josh Sauce, your sweat will stink the next day.
Corollary: Spraying perfume into your arm pits will only make this worse.

I am not even going to bother to tell you this story, you get the picture.

Lesson 3) The Yankee Geezer Rule: If you stand in the produce section (at Publix) looking at vegetables and exclaim, “They’re charging WHAT!?!?!”, natives will think you are a Yankee Geezer.

Did you know they are charging $2.99 a pound for Okra?
Geeze, that means I harvested about $4.00 worth last night!
Costs more than the chicken breasts I bought!
And my crop out back looks better, greener, fresher.
Holy Cow!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mosaic leaves 

I am really enjoying working on the mosaic variegated leaves. They look great from the patio a few feet behind this soon to be grill area.

I try to do a little everyday and progress will show over time...but the gnats are so bad today I cannot stand to go outside. Blech!
I'll wait for better weather to arrive.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blue Tailed Skink 

Gee, Mosaic Mom…
Is that a strange ceramic wall ornament you are adding to the wall mosaic?

No, it’s just a Blue Tailed Skink that wanted to watch me work!

(The little fellow is almost 8 inches long...compare to the space I had drawn for a tile to be placed. He gave me quite a startle!)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sweet Potatoes 

The sweet potatoes are coming along nicely.
Mmmmm…can’t you just dream about Thanksgiving and eating warm sweet pie from seeing this photo?

Bunnies eat the vines that grow through the fence.
Plant Daddy found out on Saturday that gopher turtles eat these vines, too!
We all want chow.

We are still harvesting a few okra and bell peppers, but all else is gone.
My freezer is king now. It’s time to eat what I put in deep freeze in February.

We placed the seed order yesterday…dreaming of the fall garden.

On August 9th, there is a program on Vegetable Gardening at the Lake County Ag Center.
(Or catch one in the county you live in.)
It’s free or $5.00…very low price.

Now, I’m going to spout off here…a pet peeve.

A lot of Yankees/winter visitors/snowbirds/ retirees come down here to Florida and they never bother to learn the crops and the crop cycles.

They bitch about the high price of food at Publix.
They bitch about the soil.
They bitch about their gardens failing (because they’ve done something stupid like plant Broccoli in June!)

Please people, take this class.
Learn these protocols!
Shut up already!

On the other hand, box stores make a fortune selling these idiots petunias in May, so why don’t I just hush now.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Okra Recipe Not Slimey 

Okra Recipe Not Slimy

I learned this method for cooking not slimy okra from a lady from Tennessee.
Guaranteed easy. Guaranteed not slickery.

1. Butter the roasting pan or glass baking pan. Slice okra as shown.
Set all the okra pieces on end!
Salt and pepper.

Roast at 350 for 20 minutes.

2.Look at how they have reduced and dried!

Stir. Back in to roast for another 10 minutes.

3. This was 70 okra. All pods were appx 4 to 6 in long. It took a week of harvesting to get a pan full.

All those 70 okras shrunk and dried this much…but baby, this is good eats.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Organic Dilemma 

Today a friend and I ate lunch in an organic restaurant.

It was a bistro with vegan oat burgers.
It was a head shop with hemp products and incense.
It sold healing crystals.
And they offered an organic food co-op.

They had it all.

(Wait…it just occurred to me…they were NOT playing that weird New Age flute music over the PA. No wonder I didn’t react badly when I walked in. Anyway…)

I chatted with the girl making my veggie sandwich.

“Can I bring my veggies to the co-op or do I have to be certified organic?” I asked.
“What do you grow?” she asked back.
“Right now I have eggplant, okra, green and red bell pepper, jalapeno peppers…”

At the mention of jalapenos she got excited.
Seems she needed jalapenos for the organic salsa recipe.

“I use no herbicides, no pesticides, BUT,” I cautioned,“ I do use fertilizer from a bag.”

Her face sunk.

I guess I failed the test.

Their sandwich was very tasty.
I enjoyed a nice blueberry soda to go with.

This soda was really, really good.
It was a very pleasant lunch.

If you come over to my house, we can go out in the backyard and harvest all the ingredients for that sandwich. You can have it absolutely fresh…garden to plate within 20 minutes.

It’s never been sprayed.
But I guess it’s not organic because I don’t fertilize with poo-poo…OMG!

On the other hand, that’s why I did not order any raw food at their restaurant.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hot and Bright 

It's summer. Hot and bright.

You can just feel the glare...the sunburn...
I had a lapse of judgement and mowed the yard here today without benefit of hat or long pants or sunscreen.
Oh I'm gonna hurt later.
Already have a headache from the glare.

I never learn, do I?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Hate Mondays! 

Mosaic Mom’s Crazy Bad Day

And I have the SHINER to prove it!

Midnight Sunday: I hop in bed and my nose starts running and sneezing. It is 2:30AM before I get enough nasal spray and Benadryl in me to stop the allergy attack.

Monday Morning: I drag out of bed at 9:00AM and pad into the bathroom where a sizeable cockroach greets me. I immediately go get the serious roach spray and apply it to both bathrooms.

Monday Lunch: My friend and I have a great time at lunch talking over our writing projects, but I am feeling drowsy from antihistamines so I order a Coke. A full strength, full sugar, full caffeine Coke.

From the restaurant I planned to go to the botanical garden and snap a pic of a ZZ plant for an article. From the restaurant I exit into the wrong lane. If I want to turn around, it will cost me 2 miles. I ditch and head home.

Monday an hour after lunch: My heart is pounding from the caffeine infusion. Can you have a stroke from caffeine?

Monday,3:00PM : Plant Daddy built a nice shelf on the back of the golf cart to haul trash. I want to be a hero and paint it for him. I try to remove the bolts, ease the shelf out and WHAM!

The edge of the plywood flies up and hits my right eye. My glasses are toast, bent beyond my ability to repair them. I have to locate the spare glasses and an ice pack! I have a shiner!

Monday 4:30PM: Plant Daddy comes home. Is there a nice dinner waiting for him? No, just a wife with an ice pack on her face offering microwaved hot dogs. Blech!

Monday 11PM: I call it quits. I take Benadryl and aspirin and hope Tuesday will be SAFER!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Happy Sunflower 

This is a flag of happiness sailing 8 feet up in the air!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mosaic Carrots 

I made a little progress on the tops of the carrots.

I apply smashed Heineken beer bottles directly into globs of caulk.Very Carefully!

So far, I have not sliced my thumbs open, but this is a dangerous area till I get these glass edges dremeled.

I do not drink the beer while I am doing this work. Just afterwards.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

roasted summer veggies 

Very Tall Sunflower 

It's been a great year for growing sunflowers.

I am 5 ft 7 and this one towers over me! Makes me feel like a kid. I love it...and I'll harvest all that birdseed too.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Corn Snake 

You can’t scream every time you see a snake. There’s just too many of them.

You MUST keep an eye out for where you sit though!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mosaic of an Orange 

It’s hot and humid…the camera lens fogged up when I opened the shutter to take the shot. It was sticky and buggy and mosaicing wasn’t all that much fun today…but I got a lot done.

The bell peppers in the dish are setting up. I still have to make sure they won’t slide off the wall once I mount them.

The orange peel is advancing. But I only have 5 orange tiles left. I will have to redesign the piece to make a leaf by the snake and make the orange smaller.

The cap is on the tomato.

A lot of the white background is on.

Plant Daddy almost stepped on the cat and almost fell when climbing down the ladder. He was putting new light bulbs over the mosaic desk. Stupid cat.

Got 1.3 inches of rain. The mosquitoes are hell.

For those of you missing the Case Against Casey, there’s new fun tomorrow. A case just north of here in Wildwood goes to trial. The crackhead parents let their anaconda get loose from its cage and it killed their 2 year old kid. Blech! Will Nancy Grace be making a report on it?

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Birthday Horoscope 

If today is your birthday, your horoscope says…

Romance, family and friends hold harmony this year. After all, isn’t that what life is all about? Take care of business, but remember that love is the bottom line.

Say, that’s pretty good birthday advice.

Now where's the cake?

Friday, July 08, 2011

Sand Hill Crane Mosaics 

Yesterday while I was working, two sand hill cranes wandered up to see the progress.

I think they were not amused. They wandered on over to the feeder. They sure do suck up a lot of bird seed.

Plant Daddy and I did a dry fit on the grill...notice it is in its place along the wall. I like to do sculptural, dimensional mosaics, like the bell peppers in the bowl. But I have to make sure they won't get smashed as the grill lid opens and closes.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Blue Danube China Mosaic 

I had a salt and pepper shaker set that I wanted to add to the on-going wall mosaic project...but the scale of the wall is so large that the small ceramics got lost.

What to do?

I decided to put the bell peppers in a bowl...that Suzy had given me years ago when she got new china...but how to make sure the peppers stayed in when put vertical in a bowl on a wall?

I tried dremeling to rough the Blue Danube glaze so the adhesive would attach securely, but I wasn't satisfied. So...

I cut a hole with the wet saw through the bottom and used fiberglass tile backing sheet strips to secure the piece.Voila!

One pepper down...one to go then I'll mount it to the wall. Yay!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Casey Anthony Not Guilty 

As seen on TV...there,as the verdict was read...sitting in the courtroom, in the seat right in front of George and Cindy Anthony ...was our own...Brian Feldman!

Those seat tickets were numbered (assigned seating). Didn't he get lucky to be seated with such a great camera shot.

Way to go Brian Feldman!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

What's up on the 4th? 

Yesterday we had BBQ, Baby!

Helen had her friends over for a swim and the Z car club showed up a day early! Fun!
So we had BBQ chicken, pork n’ beans, pasta salad and garlic bread. Yum…but here’s the best part…

Anabel brought homemade flan for dessert. It was AWESOME!
Many, many thanks for a heavenly treat.

Thanks to John for working the mosaic wall. He did the foliage at the bottom and saved me a lot of pain. I just can’t comfortably sit cross legged on the concrete slab and apply tiles. Hero!

Today I went out and applied 2 tiles, gave up because of the heat again, and sat inside on the couch watching the Casey trial the rest of the day.

Watching the trial is like watching 24 hour hurricane disaster coverage. You know that typhoon has to make landfall eventually…it’s just a question of how much damage will be done.

I got a note from an editor today. One of my pieces has won a first place in a national contest. It was called “Buy One, Get One Free” and was actually about climate change! It will be published in August. Yay!

Just when you think the garden is done...I harvested 20 !!! tomatoes tonight. Also got a handful of okra and zipper cream peas. I don't ever remember a season running all the way in to July. But I'll take the fresh tomatoes any time, thanks.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Mosaic Bunny Eye 

Mosaics is small bits applied continuously till the picture is done. That’s philosophical, huh? Anyway, despite rain, I made small progress along the wall.

The turquoise around the onion is a tile from Spain called Ondo No.5. My cousin Carol gave it to me a few years ago.

The bunny’s eye is a giant sized green marble. I had to use the wet saw to cut it in half so it would stay flat on the wall. It was a gift from Jackie.

More Heineken bottle glass went towards carrot tops. Yay, Plant Daddy.

And because the orange on the carrots is rectangular, I decided to make the orange on the orange in circles. Oh, my aching thumbs! But it looks great.

We have 7 people coming for BBQ today, so I gotta get crackin’ on marinating chicken.

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