Monday, December 31, 2012

My Tiny World

What Took Me So Long....?

I have been asking myself that question a lot lately, Dear Readers, and I have found no satisfactory answer! I was LATE with my Christmas card (again), which you can see above in the just finished not-yet printed original... in part because I couldn't make up my mind about what to include in the drawing..... and eventually just had to go with my original idea... a Detailed drawing of the Mini Tree House project which has been my  obsession for most of this year! It had occurred to me part way through the year that one of the things I loved so much about this scale was that I was building things in roughly the same scale as many of my drawings... so it felt familiar .... and SO Exciting to render these things in three dimensions!!! The other reason the Christmas card is late is because it was Complicated to draw in TWO dimensions all the details that I had built in Three dimensions! Here you can see the printed card standing next to the Tree House to show the relative sizes.....

And here below is a photograph of the setting of the Tree House that I was using for my card.....set up AFTER I had done the Drawing...

Obviously my drawing is not a perfect copy of the original... artistic license had to come into it! But it took me most of two weeks to complete the drawing! And now that it is done.... I want to share it with all my Friends out in Blogland!!!

But that is not the only project about which I have been asking that question, Dear Readers! You may remember that I have been making Tiles for my Castle Great Hall for what seems like Forever!
Here you can see the Great Hall with all the tiles laid out carefully on the floor.....

And here you can see them closer..... not yet glued in place.......

And VERY irregular in size! There are about 1300 individually painted tiles! 
And they have been waiting for a LONG time for me to make up my mind just exactly HOW I was going to attach them... and whether or not to use Grout....
I finally had enough TIME to concentrate on those questions this week! 
I decided to do a test sample on a scrap of plywood to see what the tiles would look like with grout....

And I decided I LOVED it with grout!!!
So after spending HOURS carefully adjusting tiles for fit and color and pattern arrangements.... 
I was ready to start the gluing .....
NOT so easy with all the tiles in place!!!
I started by removing two rows at a time, keeping them in the exact order I had chosen... 
laying them out on a strip of paper.... 
and gluing one row at a time, making sure there was enough space for grout around each tile....

This took me most of another ENTIRE day! 
And in the process I discovered that my rows were too many with the spaces added for grout.... 
and my pattern was upset depending on Which tiles in each row were discarded!!!

But I made them fit!!!
All neatly lined up with spaces between.....

And then I started on the Grout......

I used my fingers to apply it... working it carefully into every space..... 
and then wiping off the excess with a damp sponge before it had hardened too much....
One small area at a time.....

And HOURS later.....

With the grout all in place I had to wait for it to dry before I could tell what the colors would look like. 
The grout is a pale gray when dry... and there was a sheen of "gray" residue on the tiles.....

As Gorgeous as it looked.... I felt it needed something more.....
For such an "Old" Castle the floor looked too NEW!!! 
I am NOT in the habit of deliberately "aging" my minis.....
But this time it was really necessary....

I tested a "dirty" wash on my trusty sample tiles...... 
You can see the darker tone if you look carefully....
Encouraged by the sample I started in on the floor.....

Spreading Mud around! It will dry to a lighter color... 
so I may have to do this a couple more times to get the color of Aged Floor that I am looking for!

Giving new meaning to "making the New (tiles) Old and the Old (Castle) New"!
But lest you think that is all.... 
there is one more thing that didn't take much Time to make but was a long Time Coming.....
Ever since I started building the Library of the Tiny Tree House I have been Certain that it Must have a Globe, because what Library would be Complete without one?
First I had to find a Bead the right size....

Here I found a one-quarter inch wooden bead ....
and drew the rough outlines of the Continents upon it....
And painted the Oceans blue.....
Then I made a stand out of a tiny section of Spindle.....

And while it does not tilt at the proper Modern angle.... 
the Globe SPINS!!!
Can you believe how Tiny it is???

And can you see how well it fits in the Library..... 
on the top of the Cupboards in the back....!!!
And so while the grout is drying... and the Tiny World is spinning....
So is the Real World!!! 
From East to West..... Bringing in the New Year.....
Where I have just spent the Most Amazing Hour in a Spontaneous International Blog Party.....
Friends commenting on each others' blogs... hopping from blog to blog.... 
All visiting at Practically the Same Moment....
From All Corners of the Globe!!!
How Incredible is THAT??
So, Dear Readers, From My TINY World to Yours.....
May this New Year Bring Us All Great Joy....
And may the things we Long for.... be Not so Long in coming!


  1. Hi Betsy! Good Heveans, haven't you been busy.
    The tiles are incredible, and the grouting sets them off perfectly! Your patience is always an inspiration.
    I also love the cards you made - especially your hand! Really cute!!
    Have a great New Year

  2. What a stunning floor! I don't think I would ever want to do all the tiles but the result is just amazing Betsy!!
    The patterns on tiles, the little perfect globe and your card is just showing your incredible talents once again!
    Hoping to see more of them soon I wish you a very happy New Year!

  3. Dear Betsy,

    I have discussed many times this year with my Son and my Niece who have both done art subjects this past year, that one of the difficult aspects of being an Artist is the decision making. As artists we are naturally creative and have many ideas....but which one do we commit to? Part of the challenge is to develop the idea without going completely off course, and it ALWAYS takes longer than you think it will.The best part of being an Artist is looking at the finished product and feeling proud of all you have achieved no matter how hard it was to reach the final result.

    You should feel very proud of all that you have created Betsy, you have stayed true to your original idea and at the same time developed it to it's full potential. The drawing is beautiful and the floor incredible, what a beautiful example of commitment to your art!
    Thank you for all your encouraging comments on my blog over the last year, it has been a joy!!
    Much love and Happy New Year to you and yours!!!
    Fi xx

  4. hello Betsy.. happy New year to you!!

    The card is beautiful, I can imagine it took al lot of time!
    I love the floor..the grout and the ageing really brings the floor to live, it's beautiful!!!

    And the globe is small and it can spin??? Amazing! I hope you will continue to amaze us in 2013 :-)

  5. Dear Betsy, you can be very proud on your talents and skills. The past year it was a pleasure for me to visit your blog and see what you had found out :D! This post about the tiles, grout and the Christmas card is like the others: full of creativity and talent! I thank you for that, Betsy!
    I wish your family and you a healthy, creative and Happy New Year!
    Warm hugs, Ilona

  6. Dear Betsy,
    The tile floor is amazing! I wish you could produce them "life" size for my clients. Thank you for sharing your wonderful projects throughout the year,
    you truly are an inspiration to all of us. All the best for the New Year!

  7. Betsy, your tiles are so colourful and amazing. What patience you have! I would like to wish you a Happy New Year. Have a wonderful day!

  8. The tile floor is wonderful!
    I hope that in 2013 you keep sharing all these wonders with your readers.
    I wish you and all your loved ones a great New Year!

  9. I spy with my beady eye and spot an "E" in those tiles :):). Dear Betsy. E must equal excellence in your case.

    Firstly, let me tell you how much I have always love your cards. Who cares if this one is late. It is stupendously fantabulous! I thought your card last year was hard to beat but wow, here you go with this one. And in only 2 weeks? Amazing!

    Now, those tiles. FINALLY! teehee :) . Last night I was "laying" tiles too. And of course I was thinking of you. I think no one here does it the epic way you do :). Mine is but a way, way lazier and less creative method.

    And then the globe :). How appropriate that you should be posting about a globe when we were "globe trotting" making virtual visits to welcome the New Year :). It's us playing already :):). Together :).

  10. My, this was kind of a miracle-overflow! I had trouble keeping my eyes in my head... Your card is a masterpiece, who cares it's a little too late - in my opinion it's always good to keep the Christmas spirit throughout the year. And that incredible, teeny tiny globe - evin spinning! And the tiles... THE TILES! Simply beautiful! What an incredible amount of work and time and effort - but worth every single bit of it. The hall looks stunning - and I totally agree with you: It had to be grout! ;O) Happy New Year to you and your dear ones - and I'm really looking forward to what will be on your Christmas card this year!


  11. The floor is wonderful.
    I like the tiny globe.
    Happy 2013!
    Bye Faby

  12. Hi Betsy, Firstly a very happy new year
    Your tiled floor is simply amazing and just reminds me of the decorated floors i have seen in some of the castles here in the UK the time and effort its taken you to produce this is very well worth it. Best Wishes Tony

  13. It's just been amazing following your creation of this and to see it pictured against your hand is incredible. It's so easy to forget just how little this project is.

    Wishing you a very Happy New Year

  14. What amazingly creative projects! I wandered over to share New Year Wishes and am blown away by what you have been doing. Glasses raised to an equally creative 2013. :-)

  15. What amazingly creative projects! I wandered over to share New Year Wishes and am blown away by what you have been doing. Glasses raised to an equally creative 2013. :-)

  16. Your drawing skills are amazing! The tree house is magical. It is so sweet! And the castle is awesome. I love those tiles. But the library is my favorite. It's so cozy. I'll bring my cup of chocolate and grab a book. I'll be there for hours! LOL!
    Happy New Year!

  17. Ok, firstly, the floor is a glorious combination of craft and skill and, please, patience and perseverance. What I would give to have that much patience. I think it looks fantastic with the grout and the seasoning, so to speak, it turned it from a collection of handsome handmade tiles into an actual surface, a very difficult effect to achieve. I not only love how it looks, I love your process, how your rooms develop with your imaginations twists and turns. That's the creative process as both a metaphor and reality.

    Second, but not second in wow factor, your card is lovely. I love your hand in the lower right, opening the door for us, and the family portraits, with the stories they suggest. I would love to see more of your drawings, Betsy, if you would like to share.

  18. Your card is really awesome! I may have to steal that idea. Your tiles and floor turned out great too. You have a lot of patience. Best wishes for the New Year.

  19. This is kind of amazing - I was thinking, "Why doesn't she share her Christmas card with her blog friends?" And there it was! And so many comments, wow!
    Secondly, I found your discussion of the installation of the tiles really interesting. The finished floor is wondrous.
    Friday already - at least this was a short week. Enjoy the weekend. Keep on creating!
    Lots of love,

  20. Hello Betsy,
    All the best for the new year my friend!
    What a terrific idea for a christmas card! You trully are talented and have mastered many different mediums. That floor was worth every minute of hard work. It is spectacular and so unique. I love it. I think the grout makes it look even more perfect. Great, great job Betsey. Your miniatures are real works of art.
    Big hug,

  21. I forgot to say on your recent post, I absolutely love your tiles, and the fact that they are all individually made! I have noticed similar tiles as yours in old churches and love the colours and all the different patterns mixed. I put in a new tiled floor in Karl Edi's bathroom, but they were just printed sheets of tiles.