Good news! The repetitive stress injury is slowly healing and I was able to have some mosaic fun this week!

It’s been a little over 5 weeks since I realized I had to stop all activities and give myself some time to heal due to the excessive pain, swelling and soreness in my left shoulder, arm and hand. I’m 75% healthy and am reintroducing myself to the work table. I have learned how to adjust for pain and prevention of re-injury which has been very difficult for me to do. I am a creature of habit; working long hours hunched over the latest mosaic or two; forgetting to stop to eat, pee or sleep until the colorful images in my head come through my fingers and onto the mosaic in front of me. I can no longer keep that kind of regime. I suspect I will never be able to do what I once did from this point forward.

I can’t yet hold a glass scorer (I have the “gun” shaped model) for more than a second or two in my left hand before my fingers no longer can grip it. I can nip glass because I use my right hand for that which has luckily been unscathed by the RSI. I have had to rely on my useless right hand for many things this past month that my left hand took for granted.

Never one to cut a straight line … ever … in glass (not with fancy glass cutting systems or an inexpensive scorer) it didn’t bother me very much that my nipped pieces were less than perfect when I started back to work this week. That’s normal for me and I’m okay with that. What bothers me is the lost strength involving something as mundane and uneventful as nipping many pieces of glass. I can’t do it just yet. I’m not happy about that.

Putting all of my grumpiness aside, I am proud to say I’ve worked on three things so far and now have more to add to the grouting pile!! Last week I was going to have my daughter help me with grouting the 3 pieces I had ready to go but I had a really bad physical day and was in a lot of pain on her day off and had to take care of the pain instead. That has been the hardest adjustment. I can no longer push past the pain and continue on with what I was doing like I used to. I have to do at-home physical therapy on the pain-filled days and on the good days too. Actually, all this really means is that it might take a little longer to get a mosaic completed, but by golly, it will get completed.

Cute frame ready for grout - Valentine's Day themed

The photo above shows the first thing I did this week that I’ve been wanting to get to. It may not get grouted in time for V’day but I am going to list it anyway because I think it has a Shabby Chic quality to it that might appeal to some. It also would look cool in a girls room of just about any age.

A few tips for those who are learning about mosaics:

1) When using dish shards this thick in mosaics, always use thinset to glue them to the substrate.

2) Once all the pieces have been placed and glue is dry, at least 24 hours before grouting, take some Weldbond or other PVA glue and cover all nipped sides of the shards with it, creating a membrane around the shards. This small step often prevents the water used in mixing the grout to get sucked up into the shards which makes the grout too dry and it will fail (cracks). See example below:

Next was the Christmas themed item I wanted to do in January but couldn’t. Each month I want to work on one holiday themed item so that when the holidays roll around again, I’ll be a little more prepared. This too, will possibly reduce the wear and tear on my body if I have any custom orders to add to the family gifts. Maybe they’ll be on time in 2012! That would be nice.

Vintage milk glass candy dish gets a face lift with a Christmas theme!

And lastly, I managed to start working on the catcher’s mask. It no longer looks like a Star Wars Storm Trooper but I swear it DOES look like Princess Leia. The customer has seen it and approves so far. Ball chain will be added once grouted to depict the frame that goes around the mask for protection. It’s been daunting but fun to work on this one.

This is the baseball, shown before (more than a few times) but I added a hanger.

Upcoming Projects:

Campbell’s Soup shards serving tray: After trying many different combinations and sharing the photos on flickr, the customer and I finally agreed that this combo was the best one for the tray.

Using stained glass in the colors within the shards was the right solution. I’ve gotten the “go ahead” sign and will be starting on this very soon.

Beyond Borders Mosaic Auction for DWB/MSF: This year the specs are laid out very simply and clearly by the very talented mosaic artist, Lin Schorr. See her beautiful work at and find out information on the collaborative works I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of through the years. She coordinates this whole project like no one else can. Not only does she coordinate it, she also photographs each piece of art for the online auction and then gathers them all up and shows them in a gallery setting before the online auction. One of these things would be enough for me. She works hard and is one of the best people I know to get it done professionally making it look extremely easy as she does it.

The artwork is to be no larger than 6×6 inches. I have been thinking about what to do for months and have figured out my love for suns, swirls, moons, stars will be the design concept once again. The actual size of the mosaic will be 5×5 inches fitted in a frame making it 6×6 inches once completed.

It won’t take long to do but starting will be difficult. I put so much pressure on myself last year when I did this auction. In the end, I really didn’t like what I did and was shocked that it actually sold.

This year, after I get over the initial fear that I’ll screw it up, I’m positive it will be fun to create.

Etsy News: I’ve managed to list another few items recently and am happy that they are getting some views. Finding things made a year or so ago to list is not all that difficult but takes time getting just the right photos and waiting for the sun to help me out! I obviously think the sun helps show the true magic that stained glass holds. Candles work well too if I’m listing luminaries, but nothing beats the sun for everything I make.

Yesterday, I was one of four Shops of the Day for the Promoting Creative Friends Team. I was so honored and thrilled to have been chosen. The most fun was seeing the Shop Stats.

Total views were 371, total favorites were 147.

Here’s the stats for the day before to show you how awesome being part of this team really is:

Total views were 95, total favorites were 30.

For a single day with just my normal promotional rounds, these stats are pretty good. But to see how much of an impact the PCF Team made on them yesterday is really mind blowing.

To understand this, these stats are for the nice folks searching Etsy who happen to find my shop and stay a minute or so to view it. If they really like it, they favorite it. It also means these same folks take a look at the items within the shop and find an item or two to favorite.

Now it’s time to go rest up a bit and deal with pain that has decided to start up from typing on the computer for too long, reminding me once again that I no longer have super human strength. Settling in for a nap with a kitty cat at my feet is not a bad way to heal. These actions do a lot to heal the spirit.

Stay peaceful.

©2012 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics