Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Catching Up

This past month has been busy, busy, busy. First there was the craft show, then there was graduation at the University of Texas. Throw in on top of that a computer meltdown that luckily was not my hard drive, which had not been backed up in a very long time. In the hustle and bustle these events caused, something had to give. And that something was my blogging. But now I have a small break before the graduation party starts over, this time for high school. So I'll try to catch up--although I will warn you that high school graduation will be followed very quickly by a very full summer schedule which right off the bat includes our family vacation and church girls camp. So my crafting my suffer, but I'll try my best to keep up to date documenting what I am able to get done.

OK, so let's get started by talking about the craft show. I worked pretty hard to get items done I could take to the show. In fact, I ran myself so ragged that week of the show that on Thursday I was seriously considering not attending. But I persevered and not only managed to finish my project but actually took them all to the craft show where I stayed most of the day. We'll discuss the show in a while, but first let me catch you up on the preparation:

Monday, May 4

The week started off with stepping stones and glass cutting. I had promised to take my youngest up to Austin for a book signing on Tuesday, May 5th. But the only way I could do that and still get my projects done was to get some stones into molds and to cut enough glass that I could work at my oldest daughter's apartment while the two girls were off playing during the day. (Playing may be a bit of an exaggeration since my 14 year old spend most of the day going to classes with her older sister.) Anyway, most of Monday was taken over by errands I had to run and I didn't get out into the garage until after dinner. I had intended to pour two Texas stones over the weekend, but didn't get them done. Luckily I had gotten another mold on Friday and I had all the glass work laid out for two stones. So all I had to do was mix the cement and pour it. Sounds pretty straight forward. Of course you have to remember who was running this show. So naturally things didn't go quite as planned.

Since I was trying to work fast and I couldn't remember exactly how much concrete each mold made, I grabbed a 40 lb bag of cement and decided to mix it all up. This ended up being quite a chore for a couple of reasons. First of all, while running errands during the day I had forgotten to buy more concrete. So I ended up using a bag that had sat in my garage for a quite a while. This meant that it had hardened a bit, which translates to lots of hard chunks in my bag. This made mixing it by hand quite a chore, and it took a lot longer than it should have. But I pressed on, got the concrete mixed to the right consistency and then poured my two stones.

And then I realized I had mixed way too much cement. But I didn't panic, I just decided that I would dye the cement and make a longhorn stone. That would definitely use up all the extra cement. Wrong! I poured the longhorn stone and still had a ton of cement left. Once again, I didn't panic. I simply decided to use this as an opportunity to create a free handed glass stepping stone. So I traced the mold I was going to use, laid out my design and poured the stone. Was the cement all used up as a I had hoped? No. But by then I had had it. I really needed to get to work cutting glass. So I took out a couple of more molds and just poured the cement into them. And this is what I ended up with: one longhorn stone, one large glass mosaic stone, and two small cement only stones.

Finally the cement was all used up! I cleaned up my equipment, and vowed never to mix an entire bag of cement again. Unless of course I am prepared to make 6 stones. Or I black out this whole experience and totally forget what a mistake mixing a whole bag is. With my memory that is a distinct possibility. But hopefully the fact that I am writing about this experience will prevent such a thing. Hopefully!

Now, since I am writing this post long after I actually did this work I can jump forward and show you the results. I guess getting behind does have at least one small benefit. So after spending all of the 5th in Austin, I went into the garage on the morning of the 6th to turn out my stones.

They all came out of their molds in excellent condition.

And cleaned up well:

Although my longhorn stone had a funny consistency in the coloring:

Not sure what happened there, but we'll just say it adds to the character of the stone.

Please ignore my foot in the above picture.

I hate my feet, but they seem to sneak into the pictures of my stepping stones.

Maybe I subconsciously have a foot fetish.

Maybe its all related to the calls I used to get at work from the man who wanted
to know if my feet were sweaty.
Maybe I should make a stone using some of these:

Maybe I should focus and quit rambling about feet.

As I was saying, all the stones turned out well.

I especially liked the free handed mosaic I created.

This was really fun to make. I loved cutting the glass as I designed it. I will definitely do more of these kinds of stones.

As I was working in my crowded, cluttered garage, I was reminded of a very important step in making stepping stones.


Why, you ask? This is why:

Stones are tender when they first come out of the molds. Especially ones you haven't reinforced with wire. I was working in a small space where all my new stones were laid out on the ground. I tried to step over the stones, but ended up stepping on one. It immediately cracked. What a waste! But at least it was just one of the extra stones that was only made out of the left over cement. I would have cried if it had been my mosaic one!

So there you have my story of the stones. Coming next is my account of more glass cutting and and mosaics. I would do it now, but my blog isn't the only thing I have neglected. Poor Dakota is way past due for a walk. And she has been actively hinting that she wants one for the past hr. So check back again soon. There should be another update soon.

1 comment:

Brianne & Jarod said...

Ok..I just want you to know that I read that entire post...laughing all the way, but feeling mighty exhausted and the need for a nap! I am amazed that you got all of that done!