Gazing balls update: Yesterday afternoon, at approximately 4:15 PM EST, I waved goodbye to 10 boxes filled with packing peanuts and spheres. I put bubble mailers cut to fit the top of each 12x12x8 inch box the ball was sitting inside of and then placed that box on top of packing peanuts and surrounded the ball with some too. The box size I had was 14x14x14 inches, so the fit was a snugly one but there was room for packing material around them.

My bedroom on Dec 13, 2011 --- crowded with boxes filled with TLC and gazing balls (can you see reflections from the other gazing balls I've got sitting by the window on the other side of the room?)

Yes, some of the boxes are sitting on my bed. That side of the room is wide open now. I haven’t been able to see the floor in months! The other side of the room is my studio side … that side is a MESS! Dry grout is everywhere and has probably stained the carpet a bit. It will take some elbow grease to get it all cleaned up and organized. That will come soon enough. First I get to rest a bit.

Sadly, I was so rushed to meet my deadline, I wasn’t able to take shots for future use in a portfolio. However, I am hoping when the bride has a chance next year after the wedding in January, she might share some pictures with me. I did manage to get a picture of myself working on one. I found I had a program that did some alterations to photos. In the months to come I am going to have a blast playing with that!

Yesterday, in the morning, I decided to take out each ball and give them a good polishing, clean the grout off of each and get them shined up well before adding them to the packing box. Before I did that, though, I put 5 of them on my bed and took a cool shot of them resting there waiting for their “massage” as I call it.

When I picked up the 6th ball, I saw major cracks in the grout, 3 pieces of mirror had fallen off and I remembered there had been a box that fell over and hit the floor hard on Sunday night (I was almost asleep). I completely forgot about it on Monday and went about busily grouting what needed to be grouted and doing what I had to do.

Much to my dismay, I didn’t have time to polish the rest of the balls or clean off the grout that then was visible everywhere to me on each ball I picked up to pack. I spent that time fixing the cracked gazing ball, mixing the grout too quickly and feeling like it would never match up at all. I hope by the time it arrives tomorrow, it will be all one color. The worst thing though was seeing a ball I had done the night before that looked to be in two different colors of grout! I was beside myself, wishing I had more time to re-grout that one; to give them each all the love they deserve after all this hard work and care I had put into them. Seven months is a long time, for me, anyway, to work on a custom job. But my time was up and I had to get them packed and out.

I had scheduled the pick up the day before and because they can’t give a specific time they will arrive to get them, I had to be ready to go before noon, I knew, which was when the mail is often delivered.

I wrote to the customer after they were all completely packed up, telling her I inserted a small piece of cloth and instructions in each box on how to clean them. When I got to box #3 and saw a lot of spots that I would have cleaned off if I had the time, I gathered up a small baggie and placed a small amount of grout mixed with colorant in it and a scraping tool which was part of a set I purchased at www.marylandmosaics.com — one of the best online shops to get mosaic supplies. 

I bought these a few years ago (and they have become one of my most valuable possessions because they do a great job with very little effort of cleaning off the grout and glue on glass and mirror!) and told the customer she’d have to do some polishing and cleaning. I was out of time. When I wrote to her telling her I was sick and could use a little more time she said she needed them by Dec 15th and couldn’t give me anymore time because she needed to work with the florist and caterer with them. I know it takes time to create centerpieces and she had been so great about giving me extra time when I was sick. I knew I had to do what I could to meet the 12/15 deadline and I did. Even if it meant I wasn’t as happy with them as I wanted to be. And asking a customer to finish up the job for me isn’t something I feel comfortable in doing but I saw no other way.

I also saw each one as imperfect … I was in panic mode at that point … nothing looked good enough … what was I thinking in even assuming I could do this to begin with, I thought? The months spent on R&D wasn’t good enough, I should have tried harder to find the perfectly shaped sphere without lumps, bumps, large gaping holes, misshapen triangles. I had hit the wall in exhaustion and knew all of what I was feeling was emotional stress and not much was even true at that point. Stress can do a lot to your brain and being aware of it, almost immediately, I knew I had to keep moving forward and not look back. I did something many wouldn’t have even attempted and I did it for the cost of materials only. I needed to feel proud of what I accomplished but thought, fleetingly, if the customer isn’t happy, I’ve failed …

But then, as I’ve trained myself to do, I knew I hadn’t failed at all because I did it. It might not be perfect but I’m not a machine, I’m human and these balls were all made using the human touch and long hours of work. I’m grateful for the experience, I’m grateful that I have enough money left after everything was finished for a small bottle of wine to help celebrate. What else do I really need? After all, the learning experience is what I yearn for and I definitely got that with this job!

After I waved goodbye to each box and knew the repair kit in box 3 would be what was needed to get them as polished as they should be, I checked my email and found a reply from the customer telling me I could have another week to polish them and get them to my standards if I needed it! OH NO!! I could have really used that extra week, but there was nothing I could do at that point. They were on their way to her. I did tell her I would gladly go to them if they needed major repair. Where the wedding is and where I live is less than a 3 hour drive. I can definitely go with a small kit and a packed lunch and do what needs to be done.

So today, I am sad that I had to let them go before I was ready and sadder still that if I had written to her over the weekend telling her of my progress, she’d probably have given me the time I needed at that point. This job was a learning experience from the very start.

But, it’s done and it’s time for me to do what I can to rest for a day or two (although I’m on pins and needles hoping they get to her safely!) because I have a few orders waiting for me and all my gifts to make for Christmas!

Etsy News: I have been making lots of treasury’s daily. I enjoy it tremendously. I only share a small portion of them here on the blog but share each link on my Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/EarthMotherMosaics-Cindy-White/101853741152 if you want to see all I do each day, “like” my page and you’ll get updates (lots of them, I have a lot to share some days!). I’ve also been featured in many and share them on FB as well. This week so far, I’ve been in 2-4 a day which is good exposure for my shop and my mosaics. I’m very pleased that the treasury teams I joined (many now!) have used my shop in their team treasury’s and I definitely plan to do the same for them! After all, sharing the love is what it’s all about!

I’m also very pleased to announce that I’ve made two sales this past week on Etsy. I didn’t think I’d get much if any traffic to my shop because it hasn’t been re-opened that long. I’ve tried searching on Google and haven’t found anything new or relevant for my shop. But the good news is, folks are finding me anyway and two boxes left yesterday with a sun catcher and a small luminary in each box headed to their new homes. Yay!

SOLD!

SOLD!

After seeing this shot, I should have included some tea lights for the customer … I always try to do what I can to make the shopping experience a good one for them. I was so stressed out about the gazing balls, all the other things I normally would do (like include a nice thank you note) was left undone. It might be time to ask my daughter to help me once in a while when I am stressed out so that I can still do the small touches I like to do when people order from me.

And that is about it from the studio for this week. Next week I should have some things to share about the custom orders. And by then I should have some clue as to what I’m making for my family!

Have a great week!

Stay peaceful.

☼-EarthMotherMosaics

©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics

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