Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Show Time ~ Again!!

For my readers who live in the Tallahassee area, I'll be doing one show before Christmas at the DowntownMarket's "Just One More" event on Saturday, December 11.  Here's a copy of the flyer.

Please be sure to visit my booth and, if you mention this blog post, you will receive a 10% discount on any purchases at my booth.

Later this week, I'll be posting a few teaser pictures of some of the items I've been working on.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Refurbishing a Patio Table

As I promised, here is the latest BIG project I did this past summer.

Here is the before photo of our patio table. As you can see, there really isn't anything wrong with it (except that it's really drab). It's still in good shape and looks decent enough. But we had always talked about mosaicing it and decided we wanted to show our team spirit in the process. So, we went with a Seminole head in the center and some type of border that would be decided later (I don't usually wing it when it comes to designs, but I had trouble envisioning anything and just dove right in). This kind of indecision makes me procrastinate more than I should!

Throughout this post I'll show you the steps I took to use stained glass to mosaic my design on this table. The tabletop is a composite wood product which contained a laminate surface on the top and bottom. Since the table had been exposed to the weather for at least 10 years and still showed no sign of wear, warping or swelling, I decided I could mosaic right on the surface. Some people suggested replacing the top with concrete board, but that presented more problems than I was willing to deal with and I just went ahead with my plan.

The first thing I had to do was patch the umbrella hole. I taped a piece of cardboard over the hole on the top of the table and put it top down on the patio. Then I used a spray insulation and filled the hole. My thinking was that I would have a smooth surface on the top after removing the cardboard and would be able to just cut the excess from the bottom.

Actually I thought that was pretty logical thinking until I removed the cardboard from the top. Of course, the insulation stuck to the cardboard and some of the insulation came off. I didn't completely freak out and decided that when I started to mosaic, I would just fill in with thinset. It ended up being a pretty easy fix!!
Here's a picture of my initial pattern. I think the cartoon looks a little childish but in the back of my mind there was some vision there and, most importantly, a border plan. I did enlarge the center medallion a little and really thought I would use this border (more on that later).

I transferred the center "medallion" pattern to the table using carbon paper. It's a little difficult to see in this picture, but you can see the outline of the Seminole head drawn on the table. (Click on the pics to enlarge and see more detail).

Now, it's time to get down and dirty with the real work! I had gathered all my materials: glass, glass cutter, wheeled nippers, thinset, containers for mixing, a jug of water and various and sundry tools that I thought I would need. Oh, and let's not forget the band-aids!!

Here's what I accomplished after my first day of work. Thankfully, I started this project on Labor Day weekend, Mr. Man was working and I had the whole day to myself. I had anticipated getting a little further along, but I was a little slow to start, I guess.

After working with the table at regular height, my back was killing me! I had some bed risers that I use for my tables at shows and put them under the table legs. Worked well, but it still wasn't tall enough. Mr. Man had a great idea to put my folded show table under the risers and it worked perfectly! If you ever decide to do this type of project, be sure you can raise your work surface to a comfortable height. You'll be glad you did!!

I kept going back and forth with using the tweezers and toothpicks. Whatever it takes to get those little pieces perfectly situated!

Here's what I finished the first weekend (with several breaks, a football game and a family get-together). I was quite pleased with my progress so far. I didn't think that was too bad!

Of course, with projects this large, I have trouble just stopping and picking up later. The total project took me 3 weeks and I worked on it in the evenings and weekends every minute I could fit in there. Of course, this meant that I was working in the dark sometimes and since I don't have a real shop to work in, I was outside under the patio (thank goodness for good weather). Although my radio kept me company, it was still a little scary after dark.

Until I started this project, I didn't realize that we had a resident 'possum! Every night about dark-thirty, that little rascal would come sneaking out of the little creek (a/k/a ditch) beside our property and stroll across the lawn. A little freaky the first couple of times I saw him, but I considered him company after a while!!!

I still had not decided on what to do with all that space between the medallion and the outer edge of the table. I talked about adding a little something to take up all that white space (like "FSU" or a feather or tomahawk in various places), but after I got to this point, I was ready to just get the border glued down and then fill in with white. I toyed with this idea but didn't like using so many colors for the border.

Finally, I decided to go with this border and use white square tiles to fill in.

Here's a work in progress while laying down all that white! I know it looks like a lot of white, but I was surprised at how quickly I got it done.

All the white is finally filled in! Next, I had to scrape off the excess glue and get ready for grout.

I wanted all the white tiles grouted in white and the rest in black. I first taped off the areas that would get white grout (the face, feather and background) so I could apply the black grout. I didn't completely tape off the white background area because I was sure I wouldn't go outside the taping.

This is the scariest part of making a mosaic for me.  I know the black grout will cover all my glass and will look horrible and it will appear there is no return at that point.  But, after using the damp sponge and the glass starts shining through, there is an amazing transformation!  Although I knew better, I didn't wear gloves during this process.  Gloves just feel very clumsy to me and I thought I could just wash off the grout afterwards.  Wrong!!!  It took quite a bit of scrubbing with various soaps to get all that black off my hands and from around my cuticles.  Yuck!  Next time I'll wear gloves.

Here's the table after applying and cleaning the black grout. 

Next, I had to tape off the black areas and get ready for white grout.  This process just can't go fast enough for me at this point.
Of course, my timing is usually a little off.  The evening I was ready to spread the white grout, the "love bugs" showed up.  You can see one of the little buggers at the top right (on the white tiles) in this picture.  For those who don't know, "love bugs" take to the air twice a year in this area (usually May and September) and are a major pain.  In addition to being a menace to car finishes, they are attracted to light colored objects (such as white tiles) and decided to make their flight when I was ready to apply my white grout!

Here's a close up of what happened after I spread the white grout and before I wiped it off.  This was a pretty light season for the love bugs but still was an added distraction during grouting!

Yes, they fly in pairs ~ read more about them here.

Finally, after cleaning all the grout and letting it sit for a few days, I was able to seal the grout and set the table back in its place.

Mr. Man thinks it's a masterpiece (I love my fans!)  I realize that I'm a very inexperienced mosaicist and am extremely critical of my work (I see something wrong w/it everyday), but I'm pretty proud of this accomplishment.

Now, the patio really doesn't do the table justice and I think we'll have to do something about the patio next!!

Monday, November 1, 2010


I can't believe how long it's been since I last published a blog post. I apologize for abandoning my blog and I really, really, will try to be a little more consistent in the future.

Just to bring you up to date, I've haven't been real productive in the broken china treasures business lately. I just haven't had the motivation to really get in gear.....but....I think I may have my mojo back! I've signed up for our local Downtown Market's "Just One More" show that will be held December 11 at the heart of our downtown area. I've decided to make some small victorian inspired stained glass panels, some new and "tried and true" suncatcher designs and then I'll focus on some new jewelry ideas.

During the past year I've been keeping a little "idea book" with me at all times. I thought I would have filled it up by now, but the ideas just aren't coming to me like I thought they would. If you're the creative type and always forget your ideas, I highly recommend using an "idea book". Mine's just a small wire bound notebook that fits in my purse and when I come across something that appeals to me I note it in my little book. It might be a picture from the internet, a necklace I saw someone wear or a dream design I had the previous night. It's a little hodgepodge of ideas that provide some needed inspiration when I get the itch to create!

I'll post pictures shortly of the stained glass and broken china treasures I plan to take to the December show with me. Keep checking back ~ I promise I'll be posting on a more regular basis.

P.S. I made a glass mosaic table this past summer and plan to do a blog post about it. Please come back and visit!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

And the Winner is........

The Fall Business Womens Expo was a lot of fun! I want to thank Dee of Runako Designs for sponsoring. There were over 30 vendors that participated and we had a lot of fun visiting each other, although I didn't have time to get to everyone. I'm sorry, but I'll certainly check out the other shops and blogs this next week.

Now is the time to announce the winner of the Blue Willow heart pendant.....drum roll, please......

Pearl a/k/a TheBeadingGem is the winner!!! The Blue Willow pendant is on it's way to Canada and I can't wait to see what type of necklace or other embellishment Pearl will add to it.

Check out Pearl and 4 other artists at The Bead Sisterhood and follow her on her blog ~ The Beading Gem's Journal and her trendhunter portfolio.

Thank you to everyone who visited and posted a comment on my blog and, again, congratulations to The Beading Gem.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall Business Women Oline Expo - Booth #23

Hello! Welcome to my blog!

I'll start by telling you a little about myself. I'm a legal assistant by day and manic glass and china artist by night (and weekend). I love working with broken china and stained glass creating jewelry, suncatchers, home and desk items and just about anything in glass/china. I've been busy restocking my Etsy shop and will continue to add new items throughout the weekend. I hope you will stop in and enjoy browsing.

In previous posts, I've shared some of my projects and showcased special pieces. I would love for you to become a follower so you can stay updated on future projects and pieces.

I've decided to have a special giveaway for this inaugural expo!

Everyone who leaves a comment on this post by noon (ET) Monday, 9/28, will have a chance to win this Blue Willow heart shaped broken china pendant! The drawing will be held Monday evening (September 28) and the winner will be announced on Tuesday.

Blue Willow is one of my favorite china patterns to work with and I love how it looks in this heart shaped pattern - also my favorite shape! As you will see in my Etsy shop, I have a variety of patterns and shapes and will also work with you if you would like a special order.

Don't forget, for a chance to win the pendant above, leave a comment here before noon on Monday, 9/28.

After leaving your comment, follow the link above to return to the Expo home and visit the other vendors.

Getting Ready for the Expo!!

Remember, after midnight tonight, we will begin our Fall Business Women Expo sponsored by Runaka Designs and it will end on Sunday. I haven't decided what type of special I'll be having (a discount for my Etsy store or a giveaway) but you can be sure it will be a first for me!! I'll be updating my Etsy shop tonight with new, never before seen items.

Be sure to go to the Girls Night Out blog, visit all the vendors participating in the Expo and leave comments on their blogs. Can't wait to see you!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fall Business Women Online Expo - Come Join Us Saturday!!

Runako Designs is graciously sponsoring a Fall Business Women Online Expo this weekend, September 26, for a special online girls night out. Please come by and join us for this exciting event and visit all the special women business owners who are showcased in this expo. Just click on the link above and take a virtual tour of the blogs of all these talented and wonderful women.

Remember visit the expo this weekend and visit all the great vendors! See ya then!