Before and After.. The Sad Story of a “Snake Bit” Project

The idea was grand. A colorful, well-designed, original stained glass panel for my little bathroom window. It took a lot of thought (and more than one glass of wine), but once I got the design that was in my head onto paper, I was rabid with excitement to create it.

I mulled over the glass colors for each element of the design, lovingly chose them for just the right shade, balance, and texture to make this one of my most outstanding panels yet. I even ordered a color of glass I didn’t have but wanted to use (setting the project back a week and a half), but when that glass arrived, I was very glad I waited. It was going to be a smashing success!

I couldn’t cut and shape the individual pieces fast enough. I worked on it during my lunch hour. I worked on it while cooking supper (between frying chicken and mashing potatoes). I worked on it before I took a shower and in a towel after a shower. I worked on it when I should have been doing dishes. My devotion to the completion of this panel scared my family & friends. I gave up motorcycle rides and fishing trips for this project.  Late into the night the MP3 player played while I cut, fitted, foiled, burnished, and soldered glass together. It was an all-consuming obsession to get it finished and put in place for all to admire.

In my haste to create and display this glorious idea, I must admit I made a few (two) teeny tiny (unbeknownst at the time) mistakes.  And when I say teeny tiny I mean, heck, what’s one-eighth of an inch in the grand scheme of things? I’d like to blame that one-eighth of an inch (and another one-quarter of an inch) on the device I used to measure the opening:

Inherited measuring device.

Recognize this? Ever seen one?  I found this treasure in my Dad’s workshop after his passing, I was thrilled when I got the okay to take it. I have lots of memories from this carpenter’s ruler. Naturally I insisted on using it to get the measurements for my project. After all, Dad was always so accurate when using it, and Mom always used to say “You are just like your father!” so I assumed I would be accurate, too. Why not?

I found out why not… I suck at using this! First, it wouldn’t fit into the opening properly because of its wonky folding-angling action. It was all elbows and non-flexibility.It was either too long to fit inside the opening or too short. I do not know how any houses have ever successfully been built using this. Dad must have been a genius. Second, I was on a ladder with a light fixture banging me in the back of the head, the sun was in my eyes, and I didn’t bother to put on my old lady reading glasses. Gads!

But since I was in such a rush to get to the fun part, I held it up in an approximate way, got my (painfully wrong) measurements, and went down the road. Shame on me.

After the aforementioned work assembling this exquisite example of my class and inspired creativity, it was time to place it into its window.This is a picture of it before placement into the window for which it was designed:

The snake bit panel.

It is all soldered together. It is patina-ed. It is waxed and polished. It is just the right colors. It was finished in record time. It is an eighth of an inch too tall and a quarter of an inch too narrow. It will not go into the window frame. Bright bars of sunlight pierce thru on either end, ruining the effect of my design. Too narrow? Tough luck… Too tall? Well, there was only one answer…. the stained glass artists’ best friend ~~ Mr. Grinder!

I ground and fitted, ground again and fitted again, ground some more, climbed the ladder and tried to fit again, went outside for a break, visited with the chickens, listened to music, drank a glass of wine, took a nap, cooked supper, drank another glass of wine, washed, dried & folded laundry, went to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard, watched Breaking Bad on AMC, then went back to the grinder. It didn’t seem to make any difference at all how many times I ran that edge against the diamond cutting wheel, it still would not go in that window! It was killing me! My husband offered to frame it in some manner or help in any way he could, but I was determined to make it fit without any outside help. I was just as obsessed with grinding a finished panel into submission than I was building the monster.

But like anything, if you are determined enough, you will achieve your goal. I did. I got it into the window. It was a nice, snug fit (top to bottom) and the gaps on the edges were …. well another pair of gaps to add to my collection.

It was pretty. It wasn’t exactly what my mind’s eye saw, and I must admit I was a little disappointed in the colors. But it was done. I was happy with the way it ended up fitting, and let it go as that. Chalk it up to experience (use a doggone tape measure!). On to the next thing, whatever that might be…

Then today it happened. The final chapter in the life of my obsession.

shame on me again

I blew off attaching it to the window frame because:

1. It fit so tight!

2. It looked good like it was!

3. I had already put the ladder up in the man cave and wasn’t real interested in getting bonked in the head again by the silly light fixture in order to put in a little bit of silicone to hold it in.

4. It fit so tight!

5. Laziness, plain and simple.

I have no idea what made it fall out of the window. It obviously hit the toilet on the way down, flipped over then crashed into the concrete floor, chipping the tile (but not the toilet). It is FUBARed (fouled up beyond all repair).

It was snake bit from its conception ~this is the only realistic conclusion.




© Copyright 2011 Leegay, All rights Reserved. Written For: Truth In Decorating

About Leegay

My husband and I live in the Texas Hill Country with a herd of animals and a million projects. We wouldn't have it any other way. Although being a big lottery winner might not be so bad.
This entry was posted in color, General comments, Life Lessons, Stained Glass, Window Treatments and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Before and After.. The Sad Story of a “Snake Bit” Project

  1. Linda says:

    I am very familiar with that particular tool. There is one just like it in my Dad’s tool box. Is there a little metal ruler that slides out of the first 6 inches?

    Sorry about the project, it was very pretty.

    • Leegay says:

      Yes it does have a brass sliding ruler. I tried to use it but adding the fractions blew my rabbit mind. I should gotten Steve to measure it for me, I know it would have been accurate then. Oh well, live and learn. I do know the next one will be both measured twice and glued in!! Thanks for the comment and for reading!

  2. Amy says:

    I fully expect to see a reincarnation of this rise from the “tiles” to be re-used/
    re-produced/re-built/re-done in a new project.. yes/no/maybe???

    • Leegay says:

      I wish there were enough large pieces to re-use. I put it on a shelf as a reminder to measure twice, cut once, and above all…. anchor it in!
      Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *