Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Victoria Day weekend

I had a good chuckle with the woman at the hardware store on Saturday. I was buying tile adhesive and grout so that I could get started on this mosaic I've had in mind for quite some time. We were talking about how we need a break from work every so often, even when we really love our work, just to recharge our batteries. She asked what I was up to for the weekend, if it would be a break - and I told her that I was starting this mosaic. She laughed and said, 'So I guess you're working anyway. Aren't you still putting pieces together?' - she has a point.

Anyhoo, I've been saving broken dishes and tiles ever since we moved into this house, hoping that someday I'd build us a picnic table top. After talking with DH, we decided that a picnic table is probably something we'd want to be able to drag around the yard and having a mosaic table top probably would make it too heavy. Never easily discouraged, I kept saving broken dishes.

DH built me a place (with steps!) to climb up on so that I can better reach the clothesline (I love my 'solar dryer' ' there's nothing more luxurious to me than climbing into clean, sweet smelling sheets that were dried on the line) - this was a big improvement, as I used to stand on an upturned log. Yes, for 8 years (the log was a birthday present to me one year, but that's another story). The platform to stand on was just crying out for SOMETHING, so, remembering the big box of broken dishes, a plan was hatched.

Now, I've never done this before and if I ever do again, this will be considered one of my 'early' mosaics...not the smoothest process so far, but it is coming together.

Things I've learned:

  1. It's a good thing it's not a picnic table top. The broken dishes are many different thicknesses, and the final surface will not be smooth flat, not by any stretch of the imagination. One would not want to balance one's wineglass on here.
  2. Working in the hot sun is not a good idea. The adhesive dries before the pieces can be assembled on it.
  3. Have enough of the colour you are using broken into usable bits ahead of time. Otherwise you will be hammering away at dishes while the adhesive is drying (in that hot sun).
  4. 7+ years of broken dishes does not amount to what you though it would, once all the useful pieces are separated from the way-too-lumpy ones. It's a good thing I'm really the only one who will be standing up here! (see item 1) - not smooth surface)
  5. Lay out the area to be done, then move all the pieces, then apply adhesive to the area, then move all the pieces back. In my situation, any deviation hoping for time saving measures will have the opposite to desired effect (read: it took me most of the blinking day to get this much assembled). If this were not such a big piece, I'd lay everything out on a drawing of my layout (to scale), then move them area by area to the adhesive covered surface.
  6. When using more than one colour, it would be advisable to break each colour individually and store them in colour sorted buckets. This would eliminate the need to hunt through a wheelbarrow full of sharp (!) shards looking for just one more piece of green...
  7. Wear eye protection. And hand protection (I wore acid proof gloves - thus the gorgeous tan lines at my wrists - see item 2) hot sun).
  8. Do not, under any circumstances, start thinking of what colours of dishes are still in the cupboard, chip and crack free. This is a dangerous road to go down. Call your friends instead. You'll be surprised how many of them have boxes of broken dishes sitting around that they'd be happy to unload on you.
There are probably things I've forgotten, but that's what springs to mind this morning.

While I was preoccupied with my piecing, DH built a simple arbor for the grapes. Every year we have difficulty as our grapes need somewhere to go, but have nowhere. They end up covering the fence and growing big long vines out from the fence by several feet, then on to the ground. There was no where to train them before, but DH came up with this clever, simple solution. He built simple brackets, screwed them to the existing fence posts, then strung wires across the tops. Part of the afternoon yesterday was spent pruning the grapes and getting them to run along those wires. It's not the greatest photo, but you get the idea. This is the part of the yard we tend to sit in during the summer months, so it will be really nice to have it looking a little less woolly and wild.

Back to stitching,



Suzanne Earley said...

I particularly like number 6. Very good point...

Vicki W said...

Oh, I wish I lived nearby - I too have a box of broke dishes. Some are glass too. I did a mosaic shelf with buttons once that was a lot fun and I also have a "dream plan" of doing something like what you are doing! What fun! Can't wait to see it done.

Lisa said...

Hi Suzanne,
I got another chance today to wish I'd invented number 6 two days ago.
Ah, hindsight.

Vicki - I wish you lived nearby, too. We could have a big mosaic party and trade lots of yummy bits of stuff.
I like the button shelf idea...do you have any photos of it anywhere?

Suzanne Earley said...

i am such a moron sometimes. i just reread your post and realized that what I really meant was that I particularly liked number *8* -- although I do think number 6 is a good point -- number 8 is really the one that made me laugh.

LOL. Read carefully, Suzanne....proof your comment to make sure you are saying what you meant.....

Quilt Nut said...

rofl Lisa-no thinking of the unbroken dishes in the cupboard, that is something i would do!

love the arbor idea