Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bases, Bricks And Beyond....

Follow That Paper Brick Road.....

While Daphne and Renee were sleeping, Dear Readers, I was busily applying bricks to the Folly foundation. I had a whole week of vacation to use, and while I was not able to spend the entire time working on the bricks, I did make a great deal of progress on the base for The Folly! You might recall that I had recently "upgraded" the builders foam "ground" that The Folly sits on, shaping it more carefully to allow for an entire "Garden Room" on one side of the grounds. Here you can see I have started to add the bricks to the "cellar wall" at the side of The Folly foundation. It was at this point that I realized I would need to continue with the "upgrade" to the base so that the brick work could be designed for the entire landscape! This is Not a small task!

To begin with, I needed to test the position and spacing for the front porch stairs... to make sure they would "land" at the edge of the property with the right amount of height for each step. I have this problem with my "properties"... I want them "elevated" which only means they need more "landscape" around the building for the stairs to land on... which requires a bigger base... so I was trying to keep The Folly base in the size I had originally made! It looked as though I could make it work.... so I started to build the steps and inset them into the "ground".

Well, really, they Almost fit.... that bottom step is a "doozey"!
So I ended up adding just one more step on the outside of the walls.

I also started to build the side entrance steps that lead to the side garden.....

Which would also need the extra step on the outside of the base walls!

Here you can see I am testing the extra step at the front too..... 
yes, I think they are absolutely necessary!
And then you must Forgive me, Dear Readers, 
because I went off on one of my crazy little tangents....!

I decided that I needed to make the little "gardens" on either side 
of the front porch of The Folly be removable from the base.... 
so that I could make "seasonal" versions 
that could be swapped out from time to time....!
So I cut off a corner "slice" of the pink foam ground.....

Making the bottom cut as close to one inch deep as I could 
(so I could use one inch thick foam boards to build my interchangeable "pod" gardens)...

I carefully cut the front edge of the "gardens" and glued it back in place on the base. 
This will provide the framework for the "pods" to sit within.

Then I glued a thin layer of cardboard to the bottom of the opening 
so the base would be as level as possible for the "pods" to sit upon.

 I did the same for the other side of the porch.
Now I can make the "plantings" be changeable according to the seasons!
(Yes, I know, I am a bit over the edge with the Seasons!)

Here The Folly is back in position... 
and you can just see the edges of those Garden "pods" beside the porch!
(You can have no idea how excited this makes me, Dear Readers, 
to have a Garden that will be changeable!!!)

So with that problem settled, I could continue with the mission of attaching all those Bricks!

Starting with the walls for the Side Garden... 
and the Door surround....

And starting on the "floor" area of the tiny "Glass House" 
which will be part of this side garden.
(I apologize for the dark shot... it was getting late!)

At this point I decided it was time to add the "bricks" 
to the foundation of "The Folly" itself...

And then there was a post needed at the end of the brick wall next to the side steps....

And I made a bunch of "edging bricks" from sculpey 
to go around the edges of the gardens....
Here I am testing the look and placement...

And adding the bottom step "outside" the base walls!

And working on the herringbone flooring for the "Glass House".....
seen in the bright morning light!

Here you can see the Tree House in its position on the side of The Folly base....
and the areas that will be brick walls have been painted red...

Here is the other side view... sorry about the dark photos...
and the messy tables....

This is the side entrance.... 
(the whole base is up on blocks for the painting...)

And brick by brick I am making progress on all the walls.....!

Yes.... it is late ... again!
But isn't that looking lovely in a reverse sort of way?

At this point, Dear Readers, 
I began to see that I would not get all the bricks done during this vacation, 
and I thought that maybe I would feel like I accomplished Something
 if I at least completed the brick foundations on Hardwick Hall! 
(Remember that is what started all this brick mania!)

So I masked the areas that would not want to be painted brick color....

And I painted them with primer and then a base coat of red paint.

And I decided to do the same with The Folly 
where the bricks had been added to the foundation...

Then I added layers of acrylic paint 
to make the bricks look a bit more dirty and aged...
Then added a coat of varnish to seal them prior to adding the grout!
But I had neglected to buy more grout.... so that step will have to wait!

Meanwhile, I had also decided that The Folly's front steps 
needed some more "refinement"... 
so I added some low newel posts 
as well as an extra section of retaining wall along part of the front...

And an added corner post at the side entrance.....
Because I had remembered that I had
 a wrought iron arbor gate that would be perfect for this spot!

Yes, I do believe it was made for this garden!
And eventually it will be old and rusted.....
but that is still a long way down the road!

Meanwhile.... there has been a Marathon of brickwork....
(you know it is late again!)

There are so many steps still to go....

Someday the Tree House will be attached.... 
and might even look like a Tree!

Those bricks will be painted and aged and grouted.... 
and might even look like bricks!

The side gate will lead you to a little yard and garden.....
 with a Glass House.....

And the brick path will lead you to the front steps.....
past a garden of ever changing flowers.....
And a lilac bush that blooms for but a week of every year....!
Ah, Dear Readers, did you wonder why I call it "The Folly"?
It's a Long Long paper brick road....
Bases, Bricks and Beyond!


  1. Hello Betsy,
    Seasonal gardens! that's Brilliant!!! You have done some fantastic work! The layout of the yard is just beautiful and the idea for a changeable garden is inspired. I love the brick patterns you have used and the house is feeling so realistic. I can't wait to see more Betsy. It is fantastic! Wow!
    Big hug

    1. Thank you, Giac! I have debated the seasonal gardens idea with myself for a long time now... and finally decided that i would just regret it if I didn't give it a try! Of course, I have yet to make the plants...... So we will see how much I like the idea when i need to make several versions of every plant! LOL!

  2. Wow! This all looks fantastic! Well done! :D

    1. Thank you Brae! You have no idea how much inspiration I take from Your projects! Thank you for showing the brick-making techniques you used.... I have learned from you!

  3. Don't want anyone breaking their neck on them steps!
    You certainly are a stickler for reality. And it all looks grand - I do love the idea of "pod" gardens. What a great idea! And the little gate is so sweet. (Can't wait to see your lilac bush...)
    Love, Mom

    1. Hi Mom! Those steps are better than none at all... which is what we had before! LOL! I will have to get back to work on my lilacs....!

  4. Wow! That's a lot of bricks. I'm amazed at the gate and how pretty your pathways are. Can't wait to see your gardens.

    1. Hi Sheila! I hope you are willing to wait... I am slow and have too many projects! LOL! The gardens will eventually get built.....! Thank you for commenting!

  5. Im so impressed with your brick work! it looks great! I didn't expect the side entrance but it works! great job I hope you find the time to do more.


    1. Thank you Marisa! The bricks have been a Looooong time coming! I really want to get that part of this base done! So I'm working at it!

  6. *sings* How many bricks can a girl lay down... in just one vacation's weeeeeek??? The answer, my friend, is looking at Betsy's blog... the answer is looking at Betsy's blooog... Sorry, Mr. Dylan, but I couldn't help this one... *grin* Wow, Betsy, I am in awe... you've been busy as a bee - and all of your brickwork looks awesome!!! And along with the bricks you were also developing the most wonderful ideas - I truly love your garden concept... and above all the idea with the changeable garden parts is ingenious (says the woman who just puts away Fluby's garden when Strawberry Cottage is turned into Christmas Cottage *LOL*) Wonderful, wonderful work!!!


    1. Dear Birgit, it is an Honor to be immortalized in a "Dylan Ballad"! LOL! Yes, those bricks are a major undertaking! And the Pod gardens have been brewing for some time now... every time I make a tiny flower, I can't bear the idea of putting it together with others that don't naturally bloom at the same time! Crocuses and Snowdrops just don't go with Roses and Peonies! LOL! But then I must remember how much longer it will take to make all the different Seasons.... Am I Crazy???? (Don't answer that!) LOL!

  7. pretty project and beautiful work

  8. Oh my gosh! That looks amazing!!

  9. Hi, Betsy.
    All that brick work is just incredibly well done! I love the varied patterns that you've used. The walls, too, look so complex - you do have a magic touch. The wrought-iron arbor gate is perfect for the side entrance. I agree that it seems made for just that spot. Your idea for seasonal landscaping pods is brilliant. How exciting that you can have the right flowers for the right season! I think you've accomplished an amazing amount of work during your week's vacation - and all of it inspired and inspiring.

    1. Thank you Marjorie! I am so glad to be finally making all these walls...! They have been waiting for years! The gardens will probably take me another few years to get to... I have too many projects! LOL!

  10. Hi Betsy, I am convinced that you never sleep. The light levels in the photos take us from dawn through to late night.
    I am so impressed with your work and love the idea of changeable gardens. Now that seems a lot of fun to me.
    All the best.

    1. Hi Janine! In the Summer it is difficult to sleep enough... the light keeps me awake and the birds... and the promise of sunlight on my projects! I am looking forward to getting to those gardens... eventually! LOL!

  11. I have to agree with Janine Betsy, I am SO Impressed too! :D
    First off with the way that you have incorporated the various levels to the base; Second the Brilliance of being able to make your garden seasonal; Third the idea of a glass house within the enclosure; and Finally your Wonderful mix of brick patterns, with the iron garden entrance and the "secret garden" type wall and door and the aged finish applied to the bricks on your Hardwick Hall; All AMAZING!!!
    Don't Stop cause you are on a Roll! :D


    1. Dear Elizabeth, I am so glad you like all the little details I am fitting into one small-ish landscape! (I have visions of a real "secret garden" that torment me too! So only including the door is a very small part of what it "suggests"!) I am glad I tried out the different brick patterns... they define the different parts of the area.... As for the pod gardens.... I know you understand how slow I am with making plants.... and now I want to make several versions of each one!!! This could take some time! LOL!!!

  12. Que de briques!!! Quel travail!! Quelle patience!!
    J'aime beaucoup la grille et la tonnelle en fer forgé, je suis curieux de voir tout cela terminé.

    1. Dear Jean-Claude, you will have to have some patience too! LOL! I am not fast... the gardens will take me a long time even once I have finished the bricks! But it will be worth it in the end! Each part that I make brings me closer to what I have imagined... I am impatient to see it all done too!

  13. Bravo for your patience. Your brick work is amazing. So many variations, especially the herringbone floor. The idea of changing the garden according to the seasons is brilliant. Thank you for sharing.
    Hugs, Drora

    1. Thank you Drora! I decided that the area had so much brick surface that I needed to break it up into different patterns in the different areas! I have never tried herringbone before.... so it was a good opportunity to learn! I am hoping the pod gardens will work... I think they will be a lot of fun to change with the seasons.... once I get them made! This could take a while! LOL!