Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Slow Tiles and Snow Tales....

Details and More .....

I was Home all last week on Vacation, Dear Readers, so I was able to (almost) ignore the weather and concentrate on some of my bigger more challenging projects! I say almost ignore the weather because it was impossible to ignore that it continued to snow and snow some more.... I was thankful that I did not need to go anywhere! We are not as buried in the stuff as they are in the Eastern part of the State.... but with several feet of snow piled everywhere... it is difficult to get around! So I stayed inside and tackled some of those big projects, and many small ones as well! It was Wonderful to just be able to dig in and jump from project to project! I have so much to show you, it is way too much for one post! The largest project was the tiles for the Conservatory floor.... I still needed to make more tiles, and paint them, and varnish them....

I needed to be more specific in the colors and patterns of the tiles than I was with the Castle Hall floor, because here I wanted to make an overall design that resembled a carpet. I repeated many of the patterns I had in the first carpet, but I also made a few new ones. And then I needed to make them into a design....

Here above you can see the basic design of the first "carpet" 
composed of all the left-over tiles from the Castle Hall floor.

And here is a view of the layout for the new "carpet".

I did end up swapping around a few of the new tiles with the old carpet.
I replaced a few of the central tiles to make the circular pattern complete.
And once I was happy with the pattern of the tiles, I needed to start gluing them in place!

To do this without losing track of the pattern, 
I lifted a section of three rows, in order, onto a piece of cardboard.
Then I glued them in place one row at a time.
After the first two rows were glued, I removed two more rows,
Being careful to keep them all in order.

This is a tedious and Slow process!
It took an entire day of gluing and shifting....
while the Snow piled up outside!
But eventually they were all glued in place
with space between for grout....

I let the glue dry completely overnight.
Then began the grouting the next day....

Of course, I was so busy adding the grout, 
I forgot to take any pictures until it was almost done...

Here you can see the grout only partly washed off the tiles.
As the grout dries you need to keep going back over them with a damp sponge.
You want to only leave the grout in the cracks, 
but if you rub too hard it removes too much of the grout.

Here the grout is all done and all dry.
But there is only one problem....
It looks too clean and new!!!
So I had to "dirty" the floor with several washes of 
watered down brown and black paint.

This also had to be left to dry in order to see if the color was dark enough.
And then I needed to decide whether or not to "seal" the floor with polyurethane.
I was afraid it would make it too shiny.... which it did!

But I figured I could always "scuff" it up again with an abrasive sponge.
Above you can see it before I did any scuffing.... it's a bit too glossy!
And while I was "muddying" the floor, 
I also dirtied up the base of the walls a bit too.
This is supposed to be an old and well used building!
This whole process used almost half my vacation time!
But I got it done!!!
And rather than leave you there, 
I will show a glimpse of a few of the other projects I worked on.
Beginning with the painting of the Willowcrest....

Yes, there will be more trees on the bedroom walls....
Eventually they will look more like Spring than Winter!

These wall murals need to be finished before the walls are glued in place!

I also added a light over the door on the front porch....

Which I realized I had to do before I closed off 
access to the upstairs Hallway....
because the wires needed to be run across the floor 
and down the kitchen wall, same as for the inside hall light.

And while I was tackling Big Old Unfinished Projects...
I decided to make the Ceiling of the Castle Great Hall a priority!

Yes, those Saints are patient....!
I have removed the ceiling and set it up on my "easel"
really just a chair with arms which can hold the heavy roof panel!
This is really difficult to photograph... 
it is a curved surface, so the light reflects off it 
no matter where you position the light.

I worked a lot on Saint Hedwig.... 
here is a "before" picture.....

And here is an "after" picture!
I don't know why I am so concerned with 
making these Saints so detailed....
It is nearly impossible to see them on the ceiling....
But I guess it is a case of "I will know it is there"
so I must make them as detailed as I can!
The Saints on this side of the ceiling are now pretty much done...
it is the other side where the Saints are still very incomplete!
Believe it or not, Dear Readers, These were Not 
the only projects I worked on this week!
I really astonished myself with how much got done!
But I think the rest is better left for another post....
but before I go, I just wanted to show you more of the Tiles....
And the Snow....

Because surely, one of the Great Pleasures of being Home all week
was being able to play in all that snow when the sun came out!

Piled high around the doors....

Burying everything  in white...

But perhaps we can just have a glimpse inside....
at the sun on those amazing tiles....

And somewhere in there the seeds are still sprouting...

And we are so busy admiring those tiles,
we have no time for re-potting the seedlings!

And just in case you need to see the real life snow....
My garden gate barely shows above the drifts!
So there you have it Dear Readers,
Slow Tiles and Snow Tales, or Snow Tiles and Slow Tales....
Details, details, details!
I have been busy on my Vacation!


  1. WOW, Betsy, those tiles are fantastic work, the result after grouting and adding the dirt is really stunning! It looks like a realistic, old tiled floor and if you are now look in your beautiful conservatory it is a feast for the eyes :D!
    Your painted saints on the ceiling is such another artistic and fantastic work. You say, no one will see it, but now WE also know they will be there ;)!
    Thank you for sharing the picture of all the snow around your house, now we can imagine how much snow there has been fallen...........wow, lots and lots!!! In comparison with your part of the world, we have had just one snow flake ;)!
    Take care and stay warm, dear friend. Warm hug, Ilona

  2. de jolis coloris lumineux pour ce carrelage, de qoi lutter contre la morosité du temps neigeux

  3. Suivre votre travail est toujours un plaisir Betsy, votre carrelage est incroyable. La photo de votre jardin me fait rêver car ici à Bruxelles cela fait des années qu'il n'y a pas eu de neige.

  4. You have so many fantastic projects! I like the tile in the greenhouse. She looks incredibly beautiful! You are a great artist!
    Saints written great!
    I'm tired of the snow! We are waiting for spring! :) :) :) :)

  5. Hello Betsy,
    I want to spend a snow day with you working on projects! The floor is stunning. I love the tiles and the carpet design is so beautiful. The bedroom will be a masterpiece. the trees are looking great and the sky background is beautiful and calming...talk about sweet dreams and inspiring mornings! I would love a mural like that! I think the "because I know it's there" projects like the saints is one of the most fulfilling types of project a miniaturist can do. It makes the room feel real for you and that is what counts most. They are looking gorgeous! I can't wait to see more of your wonderful artwork. I can't wait for the spring, but your mini world does look wonderful with the carpet of snow.
    Big hug, and thanks again for always inspiring me.

  6. The tiles are just amazing. They look fabulous. Your work is very inspiring and your pictures are fun to look at.
    Yes, we are snowed in too. Too much white and enough with the cold temperatures - bring on Spring!

  7. I'll repeat it: those tiles ARE amazing. That floor is a real masterpiece. The whole conservatory is. And as for the ceiling in the castle - you are not the only person who will see it (if only in your mind's eye) don't forget the little folks who live there!
    Beautiful. Lots of love,

  8. Believe it or not I love the weather you have over there! This season over here there is almost no snow and as for winter it is much too warm. :(
    But I LOOOOOOOVEEEE your tiled floor - yeah as you didn't know I still am in love with the Castle floor, lol. And of course it is good to see all the Saints again! Great to know you work on them from time to time too. :)

  9. Hi Betsy! It never ceases to Amaze and Delight me, the amount of intricate detail that you infuse all of your work with! No one is surprised that you have given so much thought and devoted so much time to the saints on the ceiling because this is what makes it a true Work of Art and not just a miniature. Your attention to the tiles on the floor of the conservatory, is a testament to your style and it looks Simply Fantastic!!! :D Again, it is the dedication to the details that makes your work So Outstanding and Such a Pleasure to see!
    What Beautiful Photos too! The snow piled up around the Conservatory, is Christmas Card Perfect. And although I am grateful to not have to shovel the walk in Real Life, I am envious of the purity that it gives to The Folly and the grounds around the Greenhouse and the way it invites the viewer to leave the cold outside, and step into the delicious comfort of the conservatory, where the stove is aglow, the seedlings grow and those Beautiful tiles, will warm your toes. :))


  10. You need to take more vacations if this is what you are able to achieve in a week. The tiles are just beautiful, a wonderfully colourful contrast to the exterior. I would have, without a doubt, lost track of the pattern and then realised after they were stuck down. I think the wash of paint really makes them look realistic. As for the roof, wow! Your painting is superb. Drive careful and stay warm =0)

  11. I really hope you will have another week off very soon - because I loved looking at what you've achieved. All the work you've put into these tiles... every minute worth. Elizabeth already said what I felt when looking at it - she's right about your dedication to every detail... and even to those who won't be visible anymore - but we all will know they are there. Your tiles are awesome and all your work of dirtying paid off - they look so realistic now. And it was great seeing you work on the Saints again... your painting skills always leave me breathless, what a wonderful work on Hedwig's halo. Ah, and the trees... wonderful trees on the walls... what could be better than having a forest in your house? And last but not least - your photos were fantastic as usual... it's always a pleasure to peep into your conservatory, you're able to catch any raw sunbeam with your camera. But the last photo gave me the shivers... you know I'm allergic to that cold white stuff... ;O)

    Birgit (who is going to write you tomorrow after coming back from the post office)

  12. Yikes! That's a lot of snow! The melting won't be so much fun. But your mini snow looks incredibly inviting! The conservatory is just breathtaking with your gorgeous tiles.

  13. My goodness Betsy, I don't know where to begin - you have been hard a work and those tiles are fabulous - you have so much patience! I think that the conservatory is my favourite piece of yours, the colours are so warm and inviting, but then again, that's the first time I've seen your Saints Ceiling, and WOW, that is an amazing piece of work - I'm so glad you shared it with us, because now it is not only you but also us who 'know it's there',! I'd love to see all of your patient saints!


  14. What I like most about this project is that it is so unique. The floor has an original pattern the wall are hand-done. Fantastic project!

  15. The tiles are amazing. Your mini snow is so realistic.

  16. The floor looks fantastic. I like the tree mural and also the tree branch fireplace, very creative. Several feet of snow over here would equal chaos :D

  17. Your tiles and little works of art and the overall effect is just amazing - well done and I too hadn't seen your saintly ceiling before. You really are very clever with a paintbrush. I love it!