All posts by Elizabeth

Camilla and Jason’s Kitchen Mural


Camilla and I met on a bike ride near my house. She is an amazing cyclist and we had a great ride. Sitting and chatting afterwards she told me that she and her husband were real "do it yourselfers." They were fixing up their home project by project. Their current one was the kitchen. We talked about how my art might be included and would touch base about it later. Through emails and Facebook we discussed ideas back and forth, but they were potentially moving.

Plans changed and about a month ago they decided to have a mosaic behind the stove. I needed to see the spot and get an idea of the setting and what they might want in terms of design. They have a great house snuggled up next to the park. Their back yard has prefect view into the woods. Both of them love the outdoors and animals.

We measured up the spot and looked at some of the mosaics that I had already done. A plan began to hatch… woods, owls, a path and flowers. We got a bit stuck on color for the flowers but that will come.

Here is the sketch that I proposed:



I still have to add flowers that is today’s job. The nice thing about flowers is they come in so many shapes and sizes. I also have to create the shape of the piece so that mosaic looks good both with a stove that has a back piece or if they decide to get a flat topped stove it will still look good. I tried to do that with the tress that come down around the top of the stove and the trail leading to one side.

This mosaic has a lot going on in a small space and I want it to have lots of detail. I am going to have to find a mesh that is smaller to adhere the glass to. 🙂


I am always learning and this time is no different. In this mosaic the pieces are going to be small so I am trying a new mesh backing that I have not used before so I plan on trying it at home first. I will make a mosaic to put behind our oven on the same mesh and it is about the same size. So it is a double mosaic:)  I love birds so I have included a heron and a goldfinch, there is a tree and a pond. the nice thing about this mosaic is it can emerge as I make it!

Took a trip out to Camilla and Jason's house today to do a final "measure up." With the help of two great little helpers we go the size on the mesh so I can start creating in glass. Laid it out  right next to the one for our house when I came home.  I will start cutting glass tomorrow. A trip on Wednesday to Youghiogheny Glass for more glass.


Beer 1

I love beer. So sometimes I may ramble about it.  🙂
If you know me you know I love hoppy beer. However the last two beers I have had are outside my usual realm. I have had the great pleasure of belonging to a beer tasting club at a local bar – OTB. We have had two meetings thus far. At the second one,Matt from Philadelphia Brewing Co came to visit:) We tried a variety of their beers, and they were pretty good.  Then he pulled out a sample bottle (only one) of a seasonal beer called Kilty Pleasure which is a Scotch ale, and I liked it a lot! He mentioned that he only had one 1/4 keg in the warehouse of it left so immediately I raised my hand and asked to buy it! We were the happy owners of a really smooth scottish ale for the next month. Very nice indeed, and I can't wait for it to return again.

I returned the barrel today and to my great surprise Matt gave me a gift of their new beer, Fleur de Lehigh. They call it an unfiltered golden ale… well like I said hops make me happy but this was a winner.  The brewery describe it as, "unfiltered, golden ale blooms upon the palate with a vibrant, floral character and accentuates any seasonable feast. Fleur de Lehigh is brewed with chamomile, rhubarb, ginger, rose hips, and lemon grass; then fermented with our Belgian yeast strain to provide a uniquely full flavored yet highly drinkable spring/summer brew."

I would drink it again and yes drink it happily. Thank you Matt! 🙂

Medieval Madness Pinball Mosaic Table

Pinball has definitely become a central theme in my life over the last few years. My husband was a closet pinball addict and it surfaced when a friend of ours (Karl), brought a Cyclone to live in the basement of Dirt Rag. He was hooked and began collecting and refurbishing machines. His first two machines were Black Belt and Rollergames in around 1997.  Since then he has owned many machines which he has fixed up and then sold. Once in a while I will help with repainting of some of the playfields but it is mostly his hobby.

There are a few games that have become a permanent part of our household. One is Attack From Mars and the other is Medieval Madness. Both of these machines were built by Williams/Bally and they were both designed by Brian Eddy and Lyman Sheats. I really enjoy these two machines although they are both basically the same game. The artwork on these two games is certainly unique and fun. The art on both were done by John Youssi, and Greg Freres. I really love the particular art on the Medieval Madness so I decided to try and create a table using it as a theme.

What I really wanted to do was make a wooden frame and install a plexiglass insert with a light behind it to hang on the wall.  I looked into it for a while but…well, I guess I really wanted to make this design and I'm not really all that patient.  ðŸ™‚ I did however have this table which I had picked up at Construction Junction. It is a nice square coffee table that had been serving time in our "computer room". 

Now onto the design, there is so much going on in this machine, so much to choose from. I didn't want it to become too cluttered so I had to choose things that really captured the feel of the game. We have had this machine for about 5 years now, but while I was designing the mosaic and scrutinizing the art, I found little gems that I had never really been aware of. I never noticed that the sword the King of Payne is holding has a golden dragon twisted around it, He had to be included! Trolls are one of the "toys" in the game. They are plastic heads which pop up and taunt you as you try and hit them. One of the trolls has bird poop on its head 🙂 So he was definitely a shoe in.


Over the years a running joke in Williams games is having a cow in it. It is a called an "easter egg" , so of course I had to add a cow.

Lee suggested it hang over the tower and I loved the idea. One cow, one troll, the king, and of course, the big red dragon!

Two weeks of trial and error and it is finally a piece of art that I am proud of.

More pictures of the process, 

Here is a great source of information on the Medieval Madness IPDB.

Pat’s Coral Reef Window

Patrick, my dad, wanted a piece of art for his front window, and it was a perfect space for a mosaic!  He wanted either a scene with birds or a coral reef. I love both. Growing up we went on many bird walks and I also went to a Oglebay Nature camp where we would get up at dawn and go on a bird walks before breakfast! Many special memories are of the ocean too, vacationing as a child every other year we would go to a scuba diving resort on Andros Island in the Bahamas, Small Hope Bay. The decision in the end was to do a mosaic that Patricia (my mom)  would love. She loves birds and the ocean but Patrick thought she really would have wanted to have an ocean scene.

The window is a pretty large space by the front door  (33×58). We decided to make a mosaic that would fit into the already existing frame rather than trying to install a new window. The piece will be glass adhered to plexiglass  a special type that is is a stronger version of a polycarbonate. Then we will install it with quarter round molding to hold it in place.

These are the first sketches…

Here is the basic layout…



The lay out is almost done. I have locate a large piece of "Lexan" now. Lexan is abrand name for a high density polycarbonate (plastic sheeting similar to Plexiglass) This type of plastic sheeting has UV protection to proctect the piece for  years to come:) What a fiasco, I think I finally found some at Lowe's "special order" so it will be a few days before I can start cutting glass:( I did receive a very generous gift of glass from Jeff Kuchma, he had been given it from an stained glass artist friend It was not doing anything in his workshop and he wanted it put to good use so he gave it to me plus some very fun tools:) There are some really fun colors that will be great for the coral and some of the fish!

Here is where I am today with the project..


I have been working on plexiglass for the last week! It is cut and sized to the window. So the underwater creation is underway.

I wrastled with the grouper for awhile and the Rock Beauty (black and yellow fish) that was swimming toward you looked psycho so he got nixed.  I recalled last night at 3am what the sand on the ocean floor looked like, I hope I can recreate it. I'm thinking there needs to be some sea urchins too, humm… anyone else have any thoughts/ideas?



Here is where the mosaic is now…

All ready to install!

We installed the window weeks ago and I am sorry I haven't put up the final installation!

The window is pretty big so transporting was a big concern.  Without the grout the window was still flexible, I was really afraid that the glass would poop off when we lifted it up. This is the space it was going into…

Here it is being put in by Lee…

I mixed up the grout with a blue tint and had just enough to cover the whole piece, I was VERY close to not having enough. Lesson learned!!!

Jonathan and Beth’s mural.

I wanted to share this mural that I did a few months ago. Johnathan and Beth have created a wonderful home that is truly gorgeous! They have an old log house that they decided to renovate. They wanted to make their renovation as sustainable as possible and have an environmentally friendly home. They used everything from geothermal heating and cooling to recycled newspaper insulation. Every little detail and beautiful aspect of the old farmhouse was included in their "new home". They of course included many modern amenities. In the basement is a home theater along with game room. When designing the basement they went with dyed plaster, because they were hoping to avoid having to repaint it again and again over the years. So when they had their plasterer put the dyed plaster is put on the walls, at the point where the two rooms come together, the plaster was two different colors and there was a very obvious line : ( . Arlene (a dear friend of mine ) suggested to them that I could paint a mural for them! Since I am not usually in the business of painting murals (although I paint regularly) and I have never painted on un-primed plaster before, I was a bit skeptical when they asked me. I came up with a several different ideas from very organic  to simply geometric.

They ended up choosing a vine with flowers, birds, and butterflies. I thought that it was a very fitting choice for this rural farmhouse indeed. So I drew up some pictures with all sorts of pretty birds butterflies and flowers.

Working for the these two was such a great time. Johnathan and Beth made me beautiful lunches where we hung out and talked, and Johnathan was always ready with a cup of tea. (I'm a sucker for a cup a tea). Painting their basement was really a blast and as you can see it really pulled the two rooms together.


Alison’s Fireplace

 This is a picture of the fire place before the mosaic.

Alison's Fireplace
 Alison found me through a mutual friend Judy Herilla (,  an amazing women who developed my website. Alison has a great place here in Pittsburgh that she has been "fixing up". She has done much of the work herself, stripping wood work, refinishing floors, a very impressive lady! In her house there are fireplaces that were closed off, painted and repainted Alison stripped and finished her upstairs fireplace and had a vision for the living room. She contacted me and we began to design a piece of art for her mantel and hearth. Alison has a great collection of art in her house. Continue reading Alison’s Fireplace