Three Years Later…

I can’t believe it’s been over three years since I finished my mosaic a day project and I’m finally ready to resurrect this blog.   I’m not starting another project a day  but I will be talking about creativity and how to bring more of it into your every day life. Look for more details right here in the coming weeks.  Right now I’m excited to talk about a project I recently finished.

This is the story of Ellie the Painted Elephant.  The fun started when I was browsing in a bookstore and happened to leaf through one of the many coloring books. Suddenly, with a jolt, the idea for a mosaic found me.  It was just like Elizabeth Gilbert described in her book, Big Magic. An idea found me, I said yes and decided to “cooperate fully, humbly and joyfully”.  I felt completely different when the idea grabbed me; it was like I came back to life.  I don’t know where I had been but I definitely came back from somewhere that wasn’t quite as alive as I now felt.

Picture from Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta

Picture from Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta

I immediately bought the book and went home to started planning and drawing.  This happened on a Sunday and I wanted to be ready to start making the clay tiles in class on Tuesday evening.  It felt amazing to be working on a project again!  My life had meaning and focus again!


This drawing sat on my kitchen window sill while I was making the tiles

Each week I was so excited for Tuesday evening to come so I could continue to make the tiles.  In between classes I made copies of the picture and colored them using various color schemes and I asked my friends to tell me which they liked the best.ellie-colors

I created a ritual that I followed before I started each work session; I laid out my drawing on the table and put all the finished pieces down.  It was like a kids puzzle – matching the shape to the tile.  Then I  admired what I had done, took a deep breath and felt that calm, happy, satisfied, proud feeling wash over me.  I never felt frustrated and I never wanted to hurry to finish.  I was experiencing such bliss with this project.  I savored every moment.

Tiles complete, glazing started

Tiles complete, glazing started

Glazing almost complete

Glazing almost complete







It took me a few months to make all the tiles and glaze them since I only got to work on the project about 2 hours a week.  Finally, I had all the pieces completed.  I took it all home and glued Ellie (that’s the elephant’s name) onto her board.  Ah, she looked so pretty!


I had been thinking about the background all along and I knew exactly what it looked like. I just had to find the glass tiles I was seeing in my mind.  This part took me a couple months partly because it wasn’t easy to find exactly what I wanted and partly because life events interfered.  I kept going, though, and finally the background was glued down.  Grouting day finally arrived!  I took Ellie back to the mosaic studio to be grouted.  It was  important to me to share this final step with my mosaic friends and of course I wanted to show off the finished project.

And then she was done.  Ending projects is always a little difficult.  I had focused on this project for almost a year and it all suddenly ended.  An interesting thing happened then – all along I thought Ellie was going to hang in my den over the couch but I realized as soon as I finished making her that I didn’t need to keep her.  I felt so close to the project but when the process was complete and I saw the finished product, I was done.  It was a very satisfying experience and I’m proud of myself for completing it and I’m ready to keep going onto the next projects.   I have several ideas for projects that came from this one and I’m excited to move on.

I’ve been thinking about it the past few days and realized again that it really is the process that matters to me.  I love the end product but I don’t feel attached to it.  I would love for someone to have it that just sees this beautiful elephant and falls in love with her.  That would make me happy.

Ellie the Painted Elephant

Please send me a comment if  you have any interest in owning Ellie the Painted Elephant.  She really is a joy to have around!

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Day 365 – The End of a Year

the end

This is the official last day of my project.  You may notice that I had to skip a number to get today to come out to-day 365.  For some reason I had a hard time counting during the year.  I looked back and saw that I had the same number twice a while back and I didn’t feel like renumbering.

This has been such a fun project for me.  I wasn’t sure when I started that I would continue for a whole year.  I remember it felt a little daunting on that first day.  Here I am, though.  I am so proud of myself!  Some days I didn’t feel creative but I still had to create something and somehow I did.  Some days I had other things I wanted to do but I found time to make a mosaic even if I had to give up sleep.  I wasn’t perfect and I missed a some days but I know I did the best I could and I didn’t give up.

The mosaics were never as important to me as the process to create them.  It amazed me that every day I thought of some kind of design.  Some days it came easy and other days I had to reach and stretch to find the design but I always came up with something.  I definitely have themes that I go back to all the time.  It’s like comfort food – certain designs always make me feel safe.  I also tried to get out of my comfort zone and try new things.  It was a constant back and forth, stretching and contracting, just like it is in other parts of life.

So now I have a bunch of little 4 inch (about) square mosaics.  I decided that I want to sell them and donate the money to a creative cause.  I haven’t decided exactly what – please let me know if you have ideas.  Within the next month or two I’ll provide more information about how to purchase the mosaic if you’re interested.  In the mean time please look through the last year’s posts and pick out your favorite(s).

Please continue to check my blog out regularly. I plan to continue creating mosaics and I’d love to share them with you and share my creative process.  I hope I can inspire you to rediscover your creativity!

I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received from friends and strangers.  It feels so good!

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Day 364 – Grouting Week 52

Week 52, I did it!  This is the last Sunday grouting for this project.  I’m amazed and proud that I completed this project.  Tomorrow is officially the last day.  I’m not sure yet what I’ll post but I want to have an official last day posting.

This week was really fun.  I enjoyed going back to the first week and looking at the mosaics, reading what I wrote about them and remembering what it felt like as I started this year long project.

So here we, go my last six mosaics.  Enjoy!

Monday - Spiral Doodle

Monday – Spiral Doodle

Tuesday - Cloudy Day

Tuesday – Cloudy Day

Wednesday - Cloudy Moon

Wednesday – Cloudy Moon

Thursday - Saturn

Thursday – Saturn

Friday - Turtle

Friday – Turtle

Saturday - Flower Detail

Saturday – Flower Detail






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Day 363 – Flower Detail

On the first Saturday of my project I created a landscape, my favorite design.  Tonight I decided to do the opposite and create a detail of a flower. 

mosaic project day 363

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Day 361 – Turtle

The first Friday of the project I made an abstract design but I wrote that I thought it looked like a turtle.  So tonight I created a turtle.  First I’ll show you the drawing I did of the turtle.

mosaic project day 361 drawing

And now here’s the mosaic.  I drew his face on because I decided it’s too small to do in mosaics.  I’m going to glue beads on for the eyes after I grout.

mosaic project day 361

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Day 360 – Saturn

I didn’t remember that I was so focused on the sky during the first week of this project.  The first Thursday I created a mosaic of the full moon.  Since I did that last night I thought I would venture out to Saturn tonight.  I love the colors I used.

mosaic project day 360

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Day 359 – Cloudy Moon

The third day of my project I created mountains with clouds.  Tonight as I was driving home I saw a big moon a couple of days past full with clouds drifting across it.  I created my mosaic moon by painting textured, clear glass with silver and yellow metallic paint on the back. 
mosaic project day 359

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