My Mosaic Wall – My Sugar Glider

A lot of people still don’t know what a Sugar Glider is, which is probably a good thing. They’re adorable, snuggly, loyal, and more work than someone would expect for a tiny marsupial that weighs less five ounces. A lot of people buy them on impulse, like Ivy and I did, and then realize they’re not just an expensive, smart, hamster-sized creature that is content to live alone in a cage and chew things. A lot of them end of being neglected or rehomed. Ivy and I had one for eight years until she passed away. Mia, as we named her, had a lot of adventures with us. She was on Pets 101 on the Animal Planet with us, played escape artist and got lost several times in our old place, and spent about six hours a day on average sleeping in my shirt and sharing my lunch when I worked from home.

A few weeks ago I thought it would be fun to add a sloth to a bare spot I had on the wall. I looked at cartoon pics of a sloth and laid out a draft of it on a 12 inch square tile. I was pretty excited at how cute it was and expected this to be an easy project. I used bathroom white tile from the Habitat for Humanity Restore, gray floor tile from the same store, and various pieces of brown glass tile and black penny tiles from Home Depot. I’ve got some Dollar Tree broken plates for the leaves.

Unfortunately once I added it to the wall it looked terrible. But I wasn’t worried because once I add the grout everything usually falls into place. Except because there was so much white, it didn’t look at all like a sloth.

So I painted the in between spots with black grout paint. It looked ridiculous. And worse, I discovered sloths didn’t have tails so I had to chip away the tail, much to the annoyance of the husky next door who DID NOT LIKE all that hammering and chiseling. This was the final, which I hated. I planned to go out the next day and chip the whole thing off the wall which I have never done before but I was not pleased with it, at all.

When I looked at it closely, I saw that it kind of reminded me of Mia, my old Sugar Glider. She was gray and hung upside down from things and resembled this bad attempt at a sloth. She passed away a few years ago and I had failed to memorialize her on the wall previously.

I picked up medium gray grout stain and mixed it with my grout. I chiseled away the nose and the sky where the big ears would need to go. I didn’t want to chip away the sky where the sloth tail had once been, and add the tail back. But Sugar Gliders have long tails. I placed the tail tile over the sky tile, to go give it a 3D look but more so because I didn’t want to start chipping away too much of the long-settled piece beside it.

Finally, my finished result! Still not great but a lot cuter than it was before and now I’ve got my little Mia to make me smile when I look at the wall.

Now that I’ve got the gray stain I may go back and work on the Easter Island heads again. If I do, I’ll add an update to the last entry.

Two weeks ago I started an oil painting class so I may be adding pictures of new art one of these days.

Until then, happy creatiing!


When Sugar Gliders Run Away

 Around 5:30 tonight I put a pan of lasagna in the oven and decided to take Mia, my sugar glider, outside  to get some fresh air. I’ve taken her out lots of times and let her play on little trees or bushes where I can keep an eye on her.  In New England we only have short bursts of hot weather so I wanted her to feel some sun on her face.

I stepped outside my door and to the one half tree right next to my townhouse.

Because I think Mia is the cutest thing ever, I set her on the tree  for a second to take a picture of her. And wouldn’t you know the little monster scurried up that tree so fast I couldn’t stop her. It doesn’t look  high in the pics it, but it is. There was no where she could go, except to the leafy tree next to it, but the street was right on the other side. If she decided to glide around she could SPLAT on a car. 

The two dogs stood next to me, wondering where Mia was, and why I kept looking up. At this point I was sure she’d be down any second as she has bonded to me and is usually clinging to my arm or shoulder. I ran inside and got my camera, shut the oven off less my lasagna burn, and went back out. I used the camera both to tape her, thinking it would be a cute footage for later, and also because I could zoom in and find her when she was hiding in the leaves.

A half hour went by. She wasn’t coming down. The neighbors came home. Yay! Both sets actually arrived at the same time. I got my big ladder which was actually not big at all near the tree. I climbed it, but it was no use.

At this point, we were about 90 minutes in. One neighbor went in, the other stayed with me (a woman). At this point, people in houses all around were starting to peek their heads out. Some kids asked what was going on. The man across the street from me, who in five years I’ve never met, yelled over, “Your cat stuck in the tree?”

“No, my sugar glider.”

“What?” I’m used to this. No one knows what a sugar glider is. I explained what she looked like and added, because it’s a fun fact, that we were on Animal Planet. He came over with his BIG ladder but it still wasn’t big enough. It reached about halfway up the tree. He shimmied up it in seconds and coaxed her with bread shoved into broom bristles. She walked up to end of the broom then ran back up, well out of reach.

The sun was setting and since she’s nocturnal and I’m not, I really needed to get her down before darkness fell or I could lose her forever.

So the neighbor, Mike,  went home and got the giant ladder which was as high as the tree. He mentioned then he had been in Iraq. I noticed his Marine shirt. If anyone could save my glider, he could. After a while of all of us shaking the stump and the leafy tree, banging the ladder against the tree to spook her, nothing happened. Mia ran back and forth, playing glider games: eating bark and bugs, washing her hands, gliding from the stump to the leafy tree, playing peek a boo…

Finally the Marine, against my pleas, climbed the giant ladder. “Well look at this,” he called down. There was a little cubby area in the top of the tree and Mia was hiding in there. He reached in and though she protested, he was able to grab her and come, one-handed, down the ladder. He gave her to  me and I promptly put her back in her cage where she will rest in solitary confinement until the panic wears off both of us. No more outdoor trips. She is hiding under her blanket now, tired from her big adventure. Two hours in a tree was a long time for her, and for me 

I am grateful she came out of it unscathed and pleased that everyone worked so well together to save my litter sugar glider.

Note: the outdoor pics were taken on a day she behaved herself on a tiny tree. No pictures today except of her sleeping quiet and safe under her blanket.