Making the Best of What Is

The Thursday before the Sunday that I flew off to New York, I took a Mosaic Birdbath Making class at the Orange Caterpillar Studio.

The reason I mention that it was right before going to New York is that I was frantically unprepared for my trip and was kicking myself for overbooking my time with a class. But as usually happens with these things, I’m glad I went.

The class was taught by Robin Carlson. She teaches many other fun classes at her studio including Bottle/Flatware Beading, Fused Glass, Candle Making, and Melted Bottles.

My friend Cheryle pulled us all together and got the class scheduled. Don’t you love people who organize a good time for you and all you have to do is show up?

We set to work, first figuring out how we wanted to set our pieces, and then gluing them into place.

Well, at least that’s how most people started out. They used the pieces of glass, beads, and tiles that Robin had available for us.

Silly Cheryle and I decided to bring decorative plates to use in our mosaic. I had accidentally broken a plate of a hunt scene that I really liked and thought this would be a way to repurpose the broken pieces. While Cheryle had a duplicate plate that she wanted to put to good use.

While using our own plates was a marvelous idea, in reality there were issues. Like plates are not flat and some areas are thicker than others. Cheryle’s plate was even thicker than mine and it was difficult to cut up. My plate was already broken, but I had to cut it into smaller places and remove parts that wouldn’t lay right. So while others were busily gluing, Cheryle and I spent a great deal of time wrestling with cutting.

By the time I got to adding the grout, I felt like I was lagging far behind and ended up slopping too much grout on. In my defense, I needed excess grout to cover the edges of my thick plate (me on the right).

Cheryle had a similar problem. She called her mosaic an earthquake and worried that the poor little birdies would cut their feet off on the jutted up edges.

We were sent home with our birdbaths, which needed to set overnight, have the excess grout sponged off, and then be sealed.

I didn’t have time for sponging and sealing because of my New York trip. When I returned home, I saw that I needed to fix some pitting and cracks with additional grout. I also had rough edges that were too sharp to leave as they were.

Fortunately, I have a grinding tool with a diamond grinding toolamajig that worked awesomely to take away sharp edges. The finished result is now sitting out in my mini-woodland.

I think my rework is a good example of “making the best of what is”. I know if I made another birdbath, I would do a better job knowing what I know now, but I like that my plate was given a new life.

As for Cheryle (the little stinker), she went back and made another mosaic birdbath, going with the principle of cutting losses and starting out fresh with beautiful results!

So what do you usually do – try to fix your mistakes or start from scratch? There’s no right or wrong answer here. I’m just curious…

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  1. Postscript: The other flub I did lately was forgetting to add yogurt culture to a new batch of yogurt. Warm milk alone does not yogurt make. I added culture five hours later and waited five hours more and believe it or not, got yogurt. Just goes to show, it’s never too late.

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